THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR

[Book III, Act III, Scene I. The Suite on the Titan Ic. FLYD, HARVEY, ALICE, CLINT, CHASTITY, NIK and AUSTIN are here, having just appeared in the room. Much to their surprise, not only is the ship upside down, but it is also under water.]

Alice : [Tries to express her surprise] Glug!

[The ship has clearly capsized and sunk. The room is full of water, with various bits of furniture (and AUSTIN's chest) floating around. The ship is clearly on an incline, as there is an upwards slope to the bathroom door, which is shut.]

Austin : [Swims to the bathroom door and tries to get it open] Glug!

Chastity : [Grabs onto Austin's floating chest] Muuggggule!

[AUSTIN pulls the door open, revealing that, although the bathroom is also flooded, there is a pocket of air there, large enough for everyone to fit into.]

Alice : [Swimming into the room, and popping her head above the water] Gasp! I thought this ship was unsinkable!

Clint : [Swimming to the air pocket] My suitcase! My drink! [Swims back down towards his belongings]

Harvey : [Gasps for breath as he enters the pocket] By the saints, out of the frying pan and into the fire eh, although a wet and soggy fire at that! Did we all make it?

Nik: [Surfacing with a calm demeanor] It's a pleasure to be in your company, but why didn't you tell me you are water-breathers?

Flyd: [Swimming about with hand lens, pops up in the bathroom, which feels suddenly much smaller] Interesting! [Pulls out sopping notebook and dripping pen, looks at them and then starts to cry like a little girl. Well, like a four-hundred pound little girl with a mustache and a bad suit. To Chastity] My kitty! We left my kitty! Poor Fluffy. Do you have any tuna salad? Fluffy loved tuna salad.

Chastity : [Still clutching onto Austin's chest. To Flyd] Don't be so hasty. I'm sure your kitty is here...[looks back down into the water] somewhere. [To Austin] Did you get the contents from Dicey's chest? Was it our equipment?

Alice : [To Nik] Water breathers? Cool! I didn't know we were water breathers! [Ducks her head beneath the water, only to surface a few seconds later, gasping and spitting out water] Cough!

[The chest miraculously has followed the party in, and floats to the surface, taking up valuable space in an already uncomfortably cramped location.]

Chastity : [Paddles over to the chest] Now this looks promising [Slightly opens the chest and peeps in. #001 by Austin's chest?

Nik: Worry not, I shall endeavour to save the kitten. [Swims back into the cabin, looking for a kitten.]

[CHASTITY manages to open the chest, revealing it to be full of the party's equipment, as well as some extra bits and pieces, such as jewelry, ornaments and gold. All the jewelry and ornaments are very ethnic, and clearly belonged to the INDIANs at some stage. Also here is FLYD's cat case.]

Alice : Yay, there's the cat, Mister Flyd. [Frowns] Unless, of course, the Indians took him out and ate him.

[NIK is gone, having swam back down into the room.]

Clint : [Swimming back up again, bringing a bottle of Brandy on each hand] Ok, if we drown, at least we won't be thirsty, eh!

Harvey : Good idea, Private, to volunteer to collect all our equipment, well done that man! [Points up at the air vent of the bathroom, which is out of the water] Look, the air pocket must continue up there, let's try and get through it while Clint goes back for the rest of our luggage.

Alice : Good idea, Harvey. [To Clint] I'll mind the brandy while you go back.

[The vent is within easy reach, and it should be possible, with a bit of a boost, for someone pull themselves in. The vent is fairly wide, but narrow enough to concern FLYD.]

Nik: [Resurfacing next to Chastity, gasping for air] No sign...huh,huh,...of any pussy.

Alice : I think we might have found him, Nik. [Opens the cat case] Here kitty, kitty...

[Inside the case is FLUFFY, an Egyptian-hairless type cat.]

Fluffy : Growl! [Scratches Alice on the arm.]

Alice : Ow!

Flyd : [Grabbing Fluffy and hugging her] Oh, poor baby! Did the nasty woman try to hurt you? [Glances at Nik] I thank you for your bravery.

Austin : [To Alice, smiling and wiggling his eyebrows] Nasty woman? [Smirks and tries to prise open the air vent cover with his dagger]

Alice : He must have been thinking of you, Austin.

[AUSTIN gets the vent off, and it falls into the water. It does seem possible to get into the shaft, and leave the bathroom that way.]

Chastity : [Looking up at the air vent, and then at Flyd, and then at the air vent] Erm woman and children first? Bah too late to my desk - Nik swimming under ALice and then saying "no sign of any pussy" - kicking myself! Wasted gag.

Clint : [Swimming back up again, bringing a bottle of Brandy on each hand] Ok, if we drown, at least we won't be thirsty, eh!

Harvey : Good idea, Private, to volunteer to collect all our equipment, well done that man! [Points up at the air vent of the bathroom, which is out of the water] Look, the air pocket must continue up there, let's try and get through it while Clint goes back for the rest of our luggage.

Alice : Good idea, Harvey. [To Clint] I'll mind the brandy while you go back.

[The vent is within easy reach, and it should be possible, with a bit of a boost, for someone pull themselves in. The vent is fairly wide, but narrow enough to concern FLYD.]

Nik: [Resurfacing next to Chastity, gasping for air] No sign...huh,huh,...of any pussy.

Alice : I think we might have found him, Nik. [Opens the cat case] Here kitty, kitty...

[Inside the case is FLUFFY, an Egyptian-hairless type cat.]

Fluffy : Growl! [Scratches Alice on the arm.]

Alice : Ow!

Flyd : [Grabbing Fluffy and hugging her] Oh, poor baby! Did the nasty woman try to hurt you? [Glances at Nik] I thank you for your bravery.

Austin : [To Alice, smiling and wiggling his eyebrows] Nasty woman? [Smirks and tries to prise open the air vent cover with his dagger]

Alice : He must have been thinking of you, Austin.

[AUSTIN gets the vent off, and it falls into the water. It does seem possible to get into the shaft, and leave the bathroom that way.]

Chastity : [Looking up at the air vent, and then at Flyd, and then at the air vent] Erm woman and children first?

Austin : [Quickly to Chastity] Perhaps I should go first to check that it is safe [Pulls himself up into the vent standing on Clint]

Harvey : That's the spirit sister, it'll give them a chance to prepare some food for the men, seeing as how we're all tired from heaving the equipment around.

[CLINT pops back up one more time with the last of the bags, which he places on the chest.]

Nik: I shall volounteer to find a way out. I will swim for the surface as long as it seems reasonable. That way you will know, that if I don't come back I am not dead, and you can follow.

Clint : [Desperately trying to hold the two bottles and climb through the vent at the same time] I suppose someone must check if it is safe to go this way.

[Both CLINT and AUSTIN attempt climb through at the same time, with the net result that they both fall back into the water with a huge splash.]

Alice : [Indignantly] Hey! Be careful, you've soaked us!

Chastity : [Watching Austin and CLint struggle over each other in aa effort to climb up the vent] Great, the vents already jammed up and we've no escapees!

Harvey : Alright lads, one at time! Ah, it does the heart good to see such bravery. I'm very proud of this party, you know, proud of your professionalism.

Alice : [Swallowing some water from the backwash of the splash] Hey, did someone just pee in the water?

Chastity : [Looking at Fluffy shaking its leg] Best not think about it, my dear. Next you'll be worrying about killer jelly fish, savage man-eating sharks, or strange men swimming under you and looking up your skirt [Glances at Nik] Lets get out of here! Tries to clamber onto the chest to reach the vent

Austin : [To Alice] We are in a flooded toilet, so there will be more than pee in this water. I expect that there is some light salad dressing around here too, and Miss Hatwearer's thong.

Alice : [Wrinkles her nose up in disgust, as a pair of soiled tartan underpants float passed her] Yes, I suppose.

[CHASTITY clambers onto the chest, and is soon inside the vent. It extends about 40' into the distance, and then turns, but there is plenty of space of there for everyone.]

Clint : Oh yeah, now I remember, I left something floating on the toilet before we left the ship. Must be around here somewhere.

Alice : I got some of the porters to come in and remove it, Clint.

[ALICE climbs up into the vent, followed by NIK, HARVEY and FLYD, who fits in with surprising ease.]

Chastity : [Calling out the vent] Come on, or are you waiting for Clint's floater to cruise by your nose up? [Reaches a hand out to help anyone up]

Clint : Off you go then, Lawyer. I wouldn't really feel at ease with you sticking your nose up my arse.

[AUSTIN goes up, followed by the equipment, and finally CLINT. Everyone gets their equipment, and are now fully suited up with armour etc.]

Harvey : Right then, let's see where this vent leads to.

[Before the party can sort out any kind of marching order, voices can be heard from ahead. It is difficult to understand them, but there is clearly a woman crying, and what sounds like a Scottish, or possibly French, person shouting at them.]

Chastity : That sounds like Jerome's favourite waiter up ahead. I'm sure he'll be glad to see us.

[Enter DUNCAN, BOSE HATWEARER and some other passengers, heading towards the party.]

Duncan : [With his usual outrageous Scottish accent] Mon dieu!

Clint : [To Bose, holding his bottles behind his back] Err... is that a fish in your hat?

Alice : That's not her hat, you fool, that *is* a fish!

Bose : [Bursting into tears, before running to and embracing Austin] Oh, Mr. Sleaze! This is all too terrible! First, someone stole my necklace, then the unsinkable ship sank, and then we couldn't get out because all the bodies of the steerage passengers were blocking the way!

Duncan : [To the party] C'mon, back the way ye came.

Duncan : It sank, hen. [Gestures back the way they came] Ah've got an inflatable liferaft that we can escape with. Everyone has been coming down this way, using your suite as a stop off. [Thinks for a second] Ah hope you dinnae mind me sayin', but there were more than a few comments about the smell in the bathroom!

Chastity : [Puts her open hand to her chest, with an innocent look on her face] Well don't look at me. Everyone knows that ladies don't make bad smells in the bathroom. I'm sure you'll find that the toilet seat is also probably left up! [Looks to Clint] Hmmm? [Back to Duncan] Where does everyone go after our suite?

Duncan : [Glancing at Clint, before turning back to Chastity] Aye, ah know what you mean. The escape route is out through your window - the liferaft will pull people to the surface. Now, come on, the air pocket isnae going to last much longer - she cannae take no more!

Clint : [To Chastity] How could I guess the ship was going to sink? [To Duncan] Off you go then, we'll follow you.

Duncan : [Angrily] I said, the air vent is going to collapse!

Alice : No you didn't, you said [thinks] well, I don't know what you said, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't that.

Duncan : [Pushes passed the party with the passengers, but turns back once they are through] Come on!

Chastity : Right you are. [Starts reversing back up the vent, unfortunately into the still stationary Alice] Oops, sorry dear. [To the others] Get a move on, for Phili's sake!

Austin : [To Ms. Hatwearer, holding her hand comfortingly] Ohh, my sweet, sweet lady, what a nightmarish circumstance has befallen you. Typical of the steerage to die in the only exit. Fear not, we shall escape soon. Are you injured in any way?

Alice : Ow! [Turns to see that Flyd is standing unnecessarily close to her, and jumps back slightly, into Chastity] Woah!

Bose : [To Austin] Most greviously! These savages [points at Dicey] would only take about ten percent of my luggage!

[From around the corner in the vent come about ten more porters, each struggling under the weight of some huge chest or suitcase.]

Clint : [To Bose] Fear not, I'm sure the Lawyer [points at Austin] will help you carry all your luggage!

Austin : [To Bose] Oh my God! Well we shall have satisfaction in the courts when we return safely home. These French savages as so badly trained these days.

Nik: [To Austin, slightly bewildered] You actually think they deliberately choose where to die?

Bose : [Touches Austin's hand to her face, talking to Clint] Oh no, not with hands this soft. I would expect some like you, with brutish features and manners to carry it. [Turns to Nik, wrinkling her nose up in disgust] Of course that's not what he meant, they are far too stupid to choose anything, it is simply that they did not care. [Gives a little shiver of anger] Oh! They are so selfish. [Snaps at one of the porters] Be careful with my collection of hairdryers!

Nik: [Pausing, even more bewildered] Oh,...but...well, maybe they concentrated on surviving?

Bose : [Clearly exasperated with Nik] See? Just think about themselves, as usual!

Alice : [Whispering to Chastity] Wow, she just oozes class, doesn't she?

Bose : [Looking at Alice] Are you that prostitute that became intoxicated at dinner?

Alice : What? Hey!

Austin : [To Bose] No, I believe that prostitutes charge for sexual intercourse. She is not a prostitute. But let us not dally on such distasteful discourse, we should make good our escape, before more inconsiderates disrupt our bid for saftey.

[The porters carrying BOSE's luggage have all gone through, and are now in the water, along with the other passengers, so just DUNCAN, BOSE and the party are left in the vent.]

Alice : [To Austin] And I suppose you're more familiar with the dealings of prostitutes, are you?

Duncan : C'mon! Let's go!

Austin : [To Alice] You would be suprised at how often prostitutes appear in court. [To Bose] I fear , good lady, that this is the only way out [Helps Bose escape]

Chastity : Can this matter be discussed later, people? [Goes back to the bathroom end of the vent] Make sure that case with the hairdryers is tightly sealed shut. There's nothing more deadly than a hairdryer in the bathroom water! [Tries to climb down on top of a floating chest]

Alice : Oh, so first you screw them in a cheap hotel, and then you screw them in a court of law!

[BOSE is lowered down, and immediately slaps the porters who are helping her.]

Bose : Stop touching me!

Alice : [Watching Chastity climb back down] Well, climbing up here was a waste of time, wasn't it?

Chastity : [Watches a revolting brown nut-covered "log" float into one of Bose's pockets. Smiling to Alice] Not entirely.

Flyd : Look out below! [Jumps into the water, "bomb" style, sending everyone sprawling around in the water.]

Duncan : [To the rest of the party] Come on! Let's go! Let's go!

Austin : [Spots the "log" and scooshes it away with a soda bottle that was floating near by. To Bose] Not far now, sweet lady, we shall soon be free of this abhorrent scene.

Harvey : Come on, niece, let's go! [Jumps in.]

[Enter LLOYD CHRISTOPHER, coming from further up the vent, panting.]

Lloyd : Wait! [Pauses for breath, and takes a look at those still left in the vent.] Clint! Alice! Hold on!

Clint : [Watching Flyd float in the water, amongst several other objects] Not even I am sure I want to go that way. Harvey : Come on, niece, let's go! [Jumps in.]

Duncan : [Giving Alice and Clint a slight push, but not enough to knock them over] Come on, hurry up!

Lloyd : [Approaching] You've got to listen to me! [Eyes bulging and hair blowing wildly around, so he looks completely insane] The future of the whole world could depend on it!

Harvey : [Sighs a soggy sigh] Indeed sir, I would expect nothing less! These days one can't even scratch his prosterior without some catacylsm occuring on the other side of the world! But surely you can tell us when we have the ladies safely on the lifeboat, eh?

Lloyd : No! You've got to come with me - let the others go on the lifeboat.

Duncan : [To Lloyd] Look, Jimmy, I don't know who you are, but there's nothing back there, I told yae, it's dangerous.

Chastity : [To Lloyd] Why must we follow you? [To herself] Oh no, you told us that [To Lloyd] What is back there?

Duncan : [Angrily to Chastity] It doesnae matter what's back there, you've all got to get out. It doesn't matter what he says, because I was told by the Hierophantic Knights to get you out! [Takes out a small flask of oil, and throws it down between Lloyd and the others] Tell me who's important than them, huh?

Lloyd : [Increasingly frantic] I was sent here by Sven!

Clint : [To Alice] He is insane after all. [To Lloyd] Right. Sven. Right. Next thing you're gonna tell us you're just back from hell!

Lloyd : No, you're just back from there!

[The vent is burning now, but it would be possible to jump across.]

Lloyd : I don't have time to explain - how can I prove it to you?

[DUNCAN starts pushing CLINT and ALICE towards the edge.]

Alice : Hey!

Chastity : That knowledge is enough for me. [To Harvey] Come on, Colonel, don't say you losing your sense of adventure? It sounds like Sven may need our help. It is time to repay our dept to him. [Clambers back into the vent again, trying to avoid getting burnt]

Duncan : [To Chastity] It's not a real French thing to do to kick a nun, but I've got to do it, Sister! [Tries to kick Chastity off]

Alice : [Draws her sword] Come on, Stinky!

Clint : [Drawing his sword] You look so sexy when you handle your weapon, Bimbo. [To Duncan] Leave the sister alone, and you'll live.

Alice : Of course, you just look sad when you hand your [does finger quotes, almost taking her eye out with the sword as she does so] weapon!

Duncan : [Pulling out a broken bottle to attack Clint] Ye dirty bastard, I thought you were the best of them, but you're just a sack of shite like the Colonel. You dinnae have any business messing with the Hierophantic Knights!

[DUNCAN tries to jab CLINT with his broken bottle of Buckfast*, but between them, ALICE and CLINT knock him over the edge and into the water.]

Chastity : [Tries to help pull Duncan into the water] Just get out and leave us then! centuries ago.

[DUNCAN flounders in the water, and is quickly helped by some of the porters. In the meantime, the rest of the party climb back up to the vent.]

Flyd : [Soaking with perspiration and completely out of breath] Phew! This adventuring life is not for the faint of heart! [Looks ahead to see the burning vent] Oh.

[It looks just about possible to leap across the flames.]

Lloyd : Quick! Before it gives way.

Chastity : Come on everyone. On on through the burning fires... [Jumps through the flames to Lloyd] you. "My divine mission in life is to brew the 'bionic tonic'"

[CHASTITY sails through the fire, but, due to her wet clothes arrives in safety at the other side. LLOYD tries catch her, but only succeeds in knocking the two of them to the ground.]

Lloyd : [Mortified with embarrassment] Mrs. Browne! I'm so sorry, I just wanted to make a good impression! You know, I'm always the kind of guy to accidently spill drinks and stuff on people that I'm trying to make a good impression with, but, you wouldn't mind that, would you? You wouldn't hold it against a man who accidently spilled some milk on you? Would you Chastity? It is okay to call you Chastity, isn't it?

[HARVEY, NIK and FLYD each go through, leaving just AUSTIN, CLINT and ALICE on the other side.]

Austin : [Waving to Bose] Farewell, my love, I cannot rest until I find the criminal who stole your necklace.

Bose : [Sigh] What a man!

Chastity : [To Lloyd] You may call me Sister, Mister. Now, if you don't mind, would you get off of me. It's not polite to spread yourself over a Nun who's all hot and wet with a manky habit. [Trys untangle herself from Lloyd]

Lloyd : [Gets up from Chastity, somehow managing to accidently grope almost every part of her anatomy as he does so] Thanks, Sister. [Looks to Harvey] Wow, it's a pleasure, Colonel! [Shakes his hand]

[CLINT, ALICE and AUSTIN leap across, just as the vent behind them collapses. In the background DUNCAN can be heard calling out.]

Duncan : You dumb bastards! There's no way out, you're all going to die, because we took the last liferaft. [Roars with almost hysterical laughter, which stops abruptly] Oh no! I left it behind, [screams] we're all gonna die! Come back and help us, please! Please! [Pauses a second] Oh wait, here it is. [Calls out] You're all going to die! [Laughs again]

Chastity : Typical Frenchman, never sure if he's advancing or retreating; gloating in victory or staring defeat in the face.

Clint : [To Lloyd] You better have a good explanation for this, mister. But first, let's try to get out of this place.

Lloyd : [Trembling with excitment, turning to Austin] Mr. Sleaze, a pleasure! [Looks to Alice, but lowers his eyes, clearly feeling very self conscious] Hi. [Brightens again as he turns to Clint, with a huge smile] Hey! I'd really like to punch your shoulder, but I'm afraid you'll hit me back! Sorry, sorry, I'm saying too much!

Alice : Saying too much? You're not making any sense!

[There is only one way to go in the vent, as one way is full of water and the other just leads back the way the party came.]

Lloyd : There's only one way, but I can't come with you.

Chastity : [Raging at Lloyd] After dragging us in here you'd better be coming with us. We've trapped ourselves with you ready to risk life and limb on you insistance, and all you can do is try and slope off like a dog who pooped behind the sofa. It's not on!

Lloyd : I - I - [mouth opens and closes a few times, but words come out] I have no choice! It's like a really wise woman told me before [looks meaningfully at Alice] that if you tell people what they're supposed to do before they do it then your telling them what to do could mean that they won't do the thing they're supposed to do.

Alice : Sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

Austin : [To Lloyd] Do you work for the Knights? Is the shape-shifter identifier on the ship?

Lloyd : I do, and I'm afraid I can't answer that question, Austin.

Chastity : But why can't you come with us? Are you physically incapable?

Lloyd : In a few minutes, I will be. [Starts to shimmer] Actually, in a few seconds, I will be. [Fades to almost invisible] Actually, in - [Disappears]

Alice : What was all that about? [Peers up the vent] Well, it looks like there's only one way to go.

Chastity : [Looking back at the burning/crumbling vent] And I think we should go that way without much delay. [Heads up the vent]

[The whole party head up the vent, which is continuously creaking and rattling, as though the whole thing could fall apart any moment. There is only one way to go, as most of the vents leading off are either on fire or under water. Eventually the party comes to the end, and can see a grille which leads to another room.]

Harvey : According to my calculations [takes out a soaking notebook and pencil] this leads to the vault. I don't want to worry anyone, but we are actually going deeper and deeper into the ship. [Looks through the grille] It is the vault!

Chastity : [To Clint] Isn't this where you're meant to say "I'll kick the grille in"?

Clint : [To Chastity] Sure it is, Chas. [To all] I'll kick the grille in. [Kicks the grille in] [CLINT easily knocks it in, revealing that this indeed the vault. It is about three quarters full of water, and contains absolutely nothing save for one box at the end, which measures about 10' x 5'. There is someone swimming in the water. They don't appear to be looking for anything, merely swimming for pleasure.]

Alice : Hey! What happened to all the gold?* What's going on here?

[The figure swims over to a high shelf across from the party, where there is a towel and a lit cigar, before pulls himself onto it, and sitting down. It is DARIUS, dressed in nothing but a pair of swimming trunks. As he turns to face the party, they can see that he has a huge scar, that runs from just inside his left shoulder right across his chest and stomach down to the top of his right thigh. It is clearly an old scar. He nonchalantly picks up the towel and dries his face, before picking up his cigar.]

Darius : [Smiling] Well well, fancy meeting you here! [Takes a puff]

Harvey : You sir! It is no fancy of mine to meet you here! Trouble follows you like wasps following a fizzy drink in the hands of a screaming child, what! Did you send that man to stop us escaping this doomed vessel?

Darius : Are you sure that it's trouble that follows me? And not me who follows trouble, like, like a fly is drawn to shit? [Big smile] I didn't send anyone Harv, I just came to see the ten million GP, and imagine my disappointment when I found that it was all gone! This ship is just full of surprises.

Nik: [Whispering to those closest by] Oh, my, that must be a really bad guy, the way you've all lost your speech?

Alice : Oh, he's not so bad, it's just that he's a member of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, who killed most of us the last time we met and sent us all to hell.

Darius : [Sadly] Sigh, they always remember the bad things, don't they?

[DARIUS appears to have a large chest on the shelf near him.]

Clint : [To Darius] Give me one good reason why we shouldn't kill you right here.

Austin : [To Clint] Because we need him to get out of the ship. He would hardly be taking a light afternoon swim if he didn't know an escape route. [To Darius] What is in the box?

Chastity : [To Clint] And given he tends to have more magical gadgets than Jerome has failed inventions, I wouldn't put it past him to have something to kill us all somewhere. [To Darius] I can't say this is a pleasure. Did you have anything to do with that blustering idiot further down the air vent?

Darius : Chastity, you of all people should know that I.m not the kind to consort with blustering idiots! In answer to your other questions, well, I.ve got a present for you. [Opens the chest.]

[Inside the chest, bound and gagged, and struggling to get free is FAETAN.]

Clint : [Hand on sword, but not drawing it] I knew this wasn't a pleasure visit. What did you do to her? And Jarl?

Austin : [Swims over to Faetan and unbinds her slowly. To Darius] Do you have a suitable escape route for all of us, or are you going to leave us here to die?

Faetan : [Drawing in a deep breath of air] I knew it was you, you slimy piece of maggot-ridden filth! Not you, Austin... [Glares at Darius]

[AUSTIN starts to swim across, and is now about half way across.]

Darius : [To Faetan] You know, I think I preferred you with the gag on. [To Clint] I didn't do anything to her, I just thought it would be easier to put her away for a while - I'm sure you all know just how annoying she can be.

Harvey : Indeed so, Darius! What makes you think we want anything more to do with the little jade, eh? She has dumped us in a lot of trouble with the powers that be, thanks to her father! Assasins, they think we are! Assasins!

Darius : [Laughs at Harvey] What makes you think *I* want anything to do with her?

Clint : Maybe the fact that you've got her tied-up in your chest?

Darius : Clint! You kinky bugger! [Hand over heart, covering the top of his scar] I promise you though, she is there only for convenience.

Alice : [To the others] Eauh! She has to pee in that?

[AUSTIN is almost over to the ledge now.]

Faetan : [Grimacing] What assassins? [Kicks at the chest]

Darius : [Pointing at the party] Those [pause] awful, awful, terrible people who killed all the indians.

Faetan : They wouldn't have done it without reason...unlike you, traiterous carrion-eater!

Darius : Traitorous what? [Eyes water up, and he puts his hand to his throat] Oh! You're just so mean!

Alice : Why are you here, Darius?

Darius : To be honest, I was hoping to see what all that gold would look like, so imagine my disappointment when all I got was Mighty Mouth here.

[ALICE puts on her thinking face for a few seconds.]

Alice : Hm.

Faetan : You should've left well enough alone then! Now you're gonna get another scar to match that first one! Rarr... [Struggles more fervently]

Clint : [To Darius] So you're telling us you've got nothing to do with Faetan being tied up in that chest? And how do you know about the indians?

Darius : [With another wounded look at Faetan] Gasp! Personal insults about my appearance? You know, you really have fulfilled all my expectations. [Shakes his head slowly] That hurts, you know. I got this scar in a moment of unparalleled foolishness, and it is bad enough that it is always here to remind me of that, without you bringing it up again. [Turns to Clint] Oh, no, I tied her up alright, and you have to admit, she is marginally less annoyingly like that, but I didn't bring her her. I guess her hero father did.

Alice : [Prompting] And the Indians? How did you know about them?

Darius : [Leaning forward, speaking quietly] Can you keep a secret?

Alice : [Also leaning forward] Yes.

Darius : So can I.

Nik: [In a low, calm, pleasent, yet slightly demanding voice] Could someone please clue me in on this. I feel a little clueless.

Harvey : [To Nik] Perhaps later, sir! [To Darius] What are you doing here, really! I don't believe you've come all this way to see the gold, which, I believe Ms Hatwearer is currently pilfering from this boat. Tell me this, how do you plan to leave this doomed vessel?

Nik: [In a low, calm, pleasent, yet slightly demanding voice] Could someone please clue me in on this. I feel a little clueless.

Harvey : [To Nik] Perhaps later, sir! [To Darius] What are you doing here, really! I don't believe you've come all this way to see the gold, which, I believe Ms Hatwearer is currently pilfering from this boat. Tell me this, how do you plan to leave this doomed vessel?

Darius : [Winking and pointing at Harvey] You know, Harv, I'm glad you were the one that those awful men didn't kill - otherwise the rest of them would never have got out of hell. Truth of the matter? I came here to get that. [Points into the water at the large box] And I'm going to use that to get out of here. [Thinks for a few seconds] I suppose, seeing as you all hate me so much, you'd rather find your own way out.

Alice : [To Nik] It's a long story, but we've come across him a few times before.

Flyd: [Sloshing forward to set his kitty case upon the aforementioned big box.] I say...[Examines box for seaworthiness with his handlens, looks at Darius grinning obseqiously] Hmmm, ah, yes! Very good. Teakwood, solid resin sealant, triple-coated varnish. Yes, this will do nicely. [To Darius] You woundn't by chance happen to have a lollipop or a turkey sandwich, would you, sir? Oh, and can we perhaps get a ride on this fine crate? First rate ride! Perhaps we could tow Miss Jarl along behind? I'm quite certain we could rig a suitable sail from Sister Browne's Bloomers.

Chastity : [Angrily, to Flyd] Mr. Flyd! I would thank you not to bring up my undergarments into conversation. I will most definitely not be removing my underwear for your benefit.[To Faetan] I take it you are OK, my dear. What happened to you? And also your father?

Faetan : I'm fine, Chastity, or rather, I will be once I get away from this guy. I'll tell you about my father later on. [Turns her glare on Darius] In private.

Darius : [Laughing at Faetan] Whooo! I'm scared!

[With that, DARIUS leans over, and grabs the arm of AUSTIN, who is just climbing onto the shelf, and pulls him all the way up.]

Clint : So what's on the large box then, Darius?

Austin : [To Darius] I can manage. [Starts untying Faetan]

Darius : There's a teleportation ring there that belongs to the Hierophantic Knights. I couldn't bear the thought of it being trapped on the ocean floor, so came here to redeem it.

Clint : [Drawing his sword] I would put him down now, Darius. A fight now would leave us all without time to escape this doomed vessel.

Clint : So what's on the large box then, Darius?

Austin : [To Darius] I can manage. [Starts untying Faetan]

Darius : There's a teleportation ring there that belongs to the Hierophantic Knights. I couldn't bear the thought of it being trapped on the ocean floor, so came here to redeem it.

Chastity : That's Flyd's dog shaped kitty case, Clint. [To Darius] More crucial to our situation, what's [emphasises]in the large box?

Darius : [Smiling warmly at Chastity, and giving the air a light punch] Oh, Chastity! I'm glad to see that your time in hell didn't turn you into a sharp tongued sarcastic harpy.

Austin : [To Darius] so we may all leave using the ring [To Nik] Could you please set the ring for, for [To Harvey] Colonel, Where were we going again? [Massages Faetan's wrists and ankles to get the circulation going again]

Nik : [Bows slightly] As long as it is of the same, or at least, similar configuration to the other one, this will not be a problem. [Dives into the water to check the box.]

Faetan : [To Austin] Thanks - I can manage though.

Darius : [Still smoking nonchalantly, and addressing Alice] That shirt looks really good on you when it's wet.

Nik : [Resurfacing] There may be a problem - it is markedly different from the other one. It seems entirely more complicated.

Chastity : [To Harvey] O Phili, I hate this. We're going to need even more help from that smug horseman over there. Can you ask him while I attempt to cover up your niece from his lecherous gaze. [Pulls out a spare tea towel and stands in front of Alice] Dry yourself off a bit, my dear. Your starting to look like you could work that Jarl bar.

Clint : [To Chastity] Nah, that would mean she would have to start charging for her services.

Austin : [To ALice] Pay him no heed my dear, he is just jealous of the fact that you could charge if you wanted, where as he will always have to pay. [Smiles as he help Faetan up].

Alice : [To Chastity, while taking the towel to dry her hair] Aw, do you think so? Thanks, Chastity! [Big smile, before turning and glaring at Clint] If you consider being disgusted by you a service, Clint, then I'm sure it will cost you a fortune.

Darius : [Taking one last drag of his cigarette] You know, you don't really have to ask me for help. It doesn't really bother me what you do.

Alice : [Thinks for a second, clearly suprised at Austin's kind words] That's right, Austin.

Faetan : Thanks, Austin. Now, if you'll just excuse me while I reopen this scum's scar.

Darius : [With a bored voice] Down, boy.

Clint : [To Chastity, and then to Austin] Will someone put some sense into her little head?

Alice : [Indignantly to Clint] Hey!

Faetan : It's alright, I'll leave him alone. For now.

Darius : For once, girl. Let's see some action, rather than empty threats. Plant one here. [Juts out his chin invitingly.]

[FAETAN leans back and swings with all her might, only for DARIUS to catch her fist, and swing her over his back into the water.]

Darius : [To the others] Now, seeing as you're all too arrogant to ask for my help, I'll offer it. Would you like me to help you out of here with the ring?

Chastity : [Muttering to herself] Arrogant? Preposterous! [To Darius] Darius, would you help us get out of here with the ring? [Gives a sarcastic smile] Please. [Face drops again and she crosses herself]

Darius : Why, Sister Chastity, it would be a pleasure!

Alice : Hey look! Faetan is drowning!

[This is true, her armour is dragging her under water, but DARIUS grabs her by the scruff of the neck, and pulls her back onto the shelf, coughing and spluttering.]

Darius : It's okay, Faetan, you don't have to thank me. [Dives in, and proceeds to open the box.]

Harvey : [Unhappy] Harrumph! What is the probability that Darius will choose to send us somewhere even worse than this?

Chastity : [To Harvey] Most likely, Colonel. We know that when ever he helps us that there is always some twist, usually to help manipulate future events his way. Unfortunately, as usual, we are left with little choice. That's what sticks in my gullet, he even gets us killed and we still have to ask for help! [Grumpily kicks at the side of the vent]

Darius : [Surfaces, and treads water in the middle of the vault] Aw, come on Chastity, hell wasn't all that bad was it?

Chastity : [Looks at Austin, briefly smiling before visibly catching herself and quickly frowning again] As it's name suggests, its was Hell down there! Now, what about this ring?

Darius : I've set it to transport you all to Delerium - there's a great bar there, I know you'd all love it. My advice is to check it out, [glances at Alice] maybe get a job there [looks back to the party in general] and take it easy until the Knights come looking for you again.

Austin : [Looks at Chastity, briefly smiling before visibly catching himself and quickly smirking again. To Darius] It was the dieing bit I didn't like. I had only had that suit on for an hour. [Passes Faetan a handkerchief to dry her face]

Darius : Well, it wasn't all bad was it?

Harvey : [Angry] By the saints, sir! If you are trying to wheedle some kind of gratitude out of us, you can forget it!

Darius : How sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful party!

Chastity : [To Darius] Em, this bar your sending us to. I hope it isn't "Jarl's Juicy Jugs", as I fear the ring will be either destroyed or under a pile of rubble.

Darius : No! Say it ain't so! Sigh, will the world never again thrill to the delight of Jarl's Juicy Jugs? [Glances behind him] What do you say, Faetan?

[FAETAN doesn't answer, and just grinds her teeth irritably.]

Darius : It's okay, this is a different type of ring - you will appear just outside the town. It isn't linked to another one.

Austin : [To Darius] I wont thank you right now, if you don't mind. I'll wait to see what happens first. [To the party] Shall we get the hell out of here then? [Dives through the ring]

Darius : They always say that, but they never thank me!

[AUSTIN disappears as soon as he approaches the ring.]

Harvey : [Looks down at his armour, before looking at Darius] I hope this isn't a trick, Mr. Darius.

Darius : Of course not, Harvey!

[HARVEY leaps in, and sinks straight down, but also disappears when he approaches the ring.]

Clint : Aren't you going to join us, Darius?

Darius : Oh, God no! I'm here to take the ring away. I'll let you mob go through first.

Chastity : [To Clint]I'm sure we'll see him soon enough anyway. Like the proverbial bad GP. [Holds her nose and jumps down to the ring]

Faetan : [Through gritted teeth, to Darius] I'll taste your blood before I die! [Jumps through the ring]

[CHASTITY disappears down the ring, soon followed by NIK and FLYD, who give each other a resigned look, before leaping in.]

Darius : [Still swiming about, clearly enjoying himself] Come on in! The water's fine! You know, a lesser man would probably be a bit miffed that you haven't yet bothered to thank me for saving your lives all these times.

Clint : That's because you probably took them just as many times, Darius. And you're not lesser man, are you? [Holds his sword] Another time, Darius. [Jumps through the ring]

Darius : So, Alice, do you have any parting insult for me?

Alice : Actually, I have a bit of advice for you. You should keep an eye out for pitchforks.

Darius : It's a bit late for that, isn't it?

Alice : [Shrugs] Idunno. [Leaps in, and disappears.]

[DARIUS swims to the shelf and picks up his equipment, pausing for a moment to light another cigar, which he pops into his mouth.]

Darius : I love it when a plan comes together.

[Book III, Act III, Scene II. Outside Stacy-Lou's Tavern. FLYD, HARVEY, ALICE, CLINT, CHASTITY, NIK, FAETAN and AUSTIN are here, having just appeared. The tavern is a large, Wild West style saloon complete with swinging doors. The party are in the middle of what was a reasonably large town, almost all of which has been destroyed. Bodies litter the street, and most of the buildings have been burnt to the ground, and the majority are still smouldering. The tavern has taken quite a lot of damage also, but any fires there have been put out. Somewhat surprisingly, it sounds like there is a raucous party going on inside, with sounds of cheering and laughter, as well as music booming out.]

Harvey : [Looking around] By the saints! What manner of place has that blackguard Darius sent us to now? What is going on here?

[Suddenly, a man is thrown through one of the windows, and lands on the ground in front of the party. He is STILL BENNER, and is dressed in leather trousers and a cotton shirt.]

Alice : Maybe we could ask him?

Still : [Glaring back at the window, and shouting] I had a hat!

[A huge, day-at-the-races, fruit-and-ribbons, style floppy hat is thrown out after him.]

Chastity : [To Still] Excuse me, Young man. We are a bit lost. Where are we, and [gestures round to the devastated town] what has happened to the town?

Still : [Putting on his hat, and dusting himself down] Where are you? You're [catches a glimpse of Clint, and slowly turns his head around, taking in each party member in turn, before bursting out laughing] What the hell are you supposed to be?

Alice : [Indignantly] What's his problem? Our clothes are dry!

[This is true, of everyone.]

Still : Dry? [Roars laughing again] Well, that makes it all okay then, doesn't it?

Clint : I suspect some trick from Darius again. The best course of action is obviously to investigate our surroundings. I suggest we head to this building [points at the bar]. Looks like a good source of information.

Austin : [To the Party] Methinks that Darius has once again worked a foul trick on us. [To Still] Where is this town and what is it called?

Faetan : It looks like we are somewhere in the south. [Heads into the Bar] This must be one hell of a party.

Chastity : [To Clint] A good source of information if you want to know how long it takes to hard boil an ostriches egg, maybe. But this place looks like it holding the Pearce's family re-union!

Harvey : [Catching Faetan's arm] Hold on there, Private, no one's going in until we're ready, and I think we have a few questions for you.

Still : Where are you? [Spreads his arms wide] Don't you recognise the town? This is Dementia! Just a few miles south of the Red Blood River.

Chastity : [Shaking her head] Dementia! Darius up to his half truths as usual!

Still : So, where are you lot off to? A fancy dress party?

Austin : [To Still] No, we have just been to a fancy dress party, but it exploded and sank.

Still : [Peers at Austin] What?

Faetan : [To Still] He said shut your face before I stick my fist in it, scumbag [Stares aggressively at Still. To Harvey] Can I go in now?

Nik: This place looks dangerous. We should proceed with caution.

Faetan : [To Nik] Screw caution, we should proceed with danger [Waves her sword in the air] after all, this place looks like we've just left! [Laughs]

Alice : Dangerous? It's only dangerous because of her! [Points at Faetan]

Still : [To Faetan] It's not in my nature to punch a woman, but I'm not shy of learning you a lesson in manners.

Harvey : [Annoyed] Screw caution? And is that how you ended up bound and gagged with Darius?

Faetan : [To Harvey, throught gritted teeth] No, and I'm gonna kick his butt next time I see him. [Mutters to herself]

Alice : [Rolling her eyes] Like you did the last time?

Austin : [Smiling at Faetans tantrum, looking her up and down] A bit feisty after bing locked in that box, aren't we? [Gives her the look] Up for some action?

Nik: When I said proceed with caution, I didn't mean my old friend Anthony Caution. I meant we should be carefull.

Faetan : [To Alice] And you did better? [Gives Alice the once over]

Alice : If by better you mean I didn't spend my time making idle and annoying threats against someone who could clearly beat me, then yes, I did.

Austin : [Putting his right hand up] Now now ladies, lets us compose ourselves and look less screaming-fish-wifey and more sexy bombshell. [Stares at them both] Nik is correct, we should find a safe location from which to reconoitre the area and compose a plan.

Alice : [To Faetan] Yeah! No more fish-wifey behaviour! [Sticks her tongue out at Faetan]

Still : [Watching the exchange curiously, before taking out a bottle and taking a big swig out of it] Safe location? Where the hell do you think you're going to find a safe location at this time?

Harvey : This time? Why is it so hard to find a safe location now?

Still : Because it's the end of the world! Burn, baby burn!

Clint : [To Still] Careful with that bottle, brother! It would be of better use if we would sit down and drink it.

Still : Oh, don't you worry - we're all going to make sure that all the liquor is finished by the time [slight pause] they return.

Faetan : [Pause] 'They'? Sounds ominous. Who are they?

Still : Where have you been for the last three years? They are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!

Faetan : Huh. Figures. [Shifts her jaw from side to side, then glances back at the others] You have some questions, right? I've got some things to say too. Let's go in. I'll buy.

Harvey : What do you mean three years? We've just left the unsinkable Titan Ic a few moments ago, about to go belly up, what!

Nik: The Four Horsemen!!, even more caution would be advised.

Clint : [To Nik] Geez, with so much caution, no wonder you became a monk!

Alice : The Four Horsemen on the rampage for a few years - even more caution again! Darius must have sent us into the future, who knows how things have changed in that time - no wonder this guy thinks we look strange. [Turns to Faetan] Let's hear your story before going in, Phili knows what kind of bizarre technology they have in there, and we all know how certain members of the party are distracted by shiny lights and loud noises. So what happenned?

Faetan : [Begins edging away from STILL] Let's go somewhere quiet at least. [Stiffens, looks around] Hey...where's Jerome?!

Nik: [In disbelief] Sent us into the future?? What deviltry is at work here? me.)

Still : Yeah, where *is* Jerome?

Alice : [Glares at Still, before turning to Faetan] He's dead.

Still : Lot of it about these days, there's a lot of it about! [Notices the party glaring at him] Okay, I'll give you some space. [Steps back to let the others talk]

Faetan : All right. First off, I want to say that I've been-- [Eyes widen as she suddenly sees Flyd] What the hell?! [Regains composure, glancing at Nik, then everyone else] These guys okay?

Alice : [Dismissively] Oh, it's just technology - we've travelled into the future loads of times.

Alice : Oh for God's sake! Just tell your story, okay? They are perfectly normal. [Turns to Flyd] Er, Mr. Flyd, you're perspiring on me.

Flyd : That's not perspiration.

Alice : Eauh. [Steps away from him, before turning impatiently to Faetan, prompting] So anyway?

Faetan : All right, erm... [Scratches the back of her head, shifting her weight to the other foot] I went back to see Da...Himo...and we teleported away from the inn. We talked for a bit, but not for long enough. [Sighs] He said it was imperative that I find you guys, and sent me to the ship. While I was waiting, Darius grabbed me from behind and stuffed me in the chest. [Pauses for a moment to unclench her fists, and calms] And that's when you guys came along. Any questions? [She looks uncomfortable about something, starting to speak...then closing her mouth and looking around]

Alice : Any questions? [Glares at Faetan and stares her straight in the eye, pointing at her] How about ... [thinks for a few seconds] um [puts her finger down] hm. [Turns away, but turns back quickly] Is he Vitun Kusipaa? Why wasn't he dead? What was the explosion about? Why did Dicey want to kill him? How does Flyd's cat breathe in that box? [Face gets contorted with rage] And what the hell is that rash? [Points to the pattern on her (own) blouse.]

Faetan : [A bit flustered] I don't want to know about the rash... I can't tell you if he's Vitun or not. He didn't say. I have no idea what kind of explosion you mean, and whoever this Dicey is, well...he's outmatched if he thinks he can kill Da! [Pulls out a notebook and scribbles something down] Who's Dicey?

Clint : [Suddenly alarmed] ANOTHER notebook? I'm sick of all these notebooks around! I would like to know who gave you all one, because I never got one [Turns his gaze to the size, sulking].

Alice : No one gave you one, Clint? [Takes out her "My Little Pony" notebook and writes something down, before turning to Faetan] You didn't ask?

Faetan : [Proudly holding her notebook] It's hard to keep track of all the people that deserve a beating, so... Anyhow... [Puts the notebook away and clears her throat] Um...there's something I need to say. If you don't mind, that is. [Puts her hands behind her back]

Alice : [Nudges Clint] Here's where she's going to tell us about Vitun, it's gonna be great!

Clint : [To all] Get your notebooks ready!

Faetan : Er... It's not that. Ahem. Uh... [Scuffs boot, takes a deep breath and doesn't look at anyone] I've kind of been...no, I *have* been...a real pain in the arse. I'm brash, loud, and pushy...and, well...I'm working on that. [Gets a little flushed] What I'm trying to say is that I might not be a Knight, but I honestly believe in what you're doing. I want to help. I won't punch anyone, and I won't throw any more tantrums! Let me fight for you, it's one of the few things I'm good at. [Glances around nervously, then hesitantly goes on one knee, holding out her sword and planting it in the ground] My blade and life are yours, I swear it as a Jarl.

Harvey : [Rubs a sideburn] Well, I suppose you can't say fairer than that, what! But you must understand, dear girl, that trust is a hard thing to earn, and knowing as we now know that you are the seed of one of our multitude of enemies, well, I'm sure you do understand that we can't just act as if nothing has happened! For all we know, you might be working for your father! [Taps his nose with his finger] Covert surveillance and all that, what!

Faetan : [Grins] Understood, sir. But I have to speak up in my father's absence. He's a good man, and true to the Hierophantic Knights. I'd stake my life on it. He's not your enemy, nor am I! Well...[Glances at Alice] ...most of the time, I'm not.

Nik: [In a deeply troubled voice] If the four horsemen are riding, all good forces should set aside their differences. [Approaches Still Benner] My good and honest man, tell me this; are there four horsemen literally riding around, or is it that war, famine, death and...[mumbles to himself] has struck the land?

Alice : [Looking at Faetan, notebook in hand] Sorry, that was brash, loud and? [Gives a mischevious smile and turns to Clint] You know, I'm kind of wondering if she's a shapeshifter!* [Looks back to the still kneeling Faetan, before whispering to the others] Er, what happens now? Do we take her sword?

Still : [Strolling back to the party, addressing Nik, pointing at him with his bottle hand] There really are four horsemen, literally riding across the land! They are death on a horse! They leave nothing alive in their trail.

Harvey : [To Faetan] Well, my girl, we're in this together for the time being, so let's all try to get along, eh! No fighting, punching, kicking, gnashing, clawing, sniping, slashing, garroting, knobkerrying, flatjacking, tailgating, sidestepping or window jumping throughing!

Still : Aw!

Faetan : [Standing up] Right, sir. At least, not to party members. Well, at least not to most party members. [Thin smile at Alice]

[ALICE doesn't reply, and just smiles back, writing something in her notebook.]

Harvey : [To Faetan] Alright, private! Welcome back to the troop! [Turns to Still] Where's the last place these four horsemen struck?

Still : Here!

Alice : I thought they were supposed to kill everything?

Still : There are always a handful of survivors - but this was the first time they left a building standing. They even missed the beer! All the survivors from the other towns have gathered here to celebrate.

Chastity : Why do I get the image of sheep being herded into a pen before going to the butchers. [To Still] Did it not occur to anyone that this may have been a plan be the Horsemen to collect up and finish off the survivors? [To Harvey] We may not have much time, Colonel.

Austin : [To Chastity] I suspect that you may be correct, Darius may have left this place to collect us and other 'hangers on'. [Looks around]

Still : You mean, it's a trap? Those devious bastards!

Nik: What an evil and sinister plan. We should be very cautios.

Alice : [To Nik] You're a very cautious kind of guy, aren't you? [To the others] Well, what now? Do we go in?

Chastity : As much as I hate to walk into a trap, especially in a bar, but I see little option at the moment. We'd best find out what means are available to us. [Heads up to the door of the bar, but not before peeping through the broken window]

Clint : [To Nik] With so much caution, you'll never get laid. [To all] Let's go in, with so many people from the surrounding areas we'll definitely be able to get some wisk... I mean, information.

Alice : Yes, I'm definitely in a mood for whiskinformation!

[Everyone gathers around CHASTITY, looking in the window. The bar is jammed with people drinking and carousing, with a man playing the piano in the corner. The people are all dressed very differently to what the party would normally expect, wearing what look to the party to be really futuristic styles.]

Chastity : [Adjusting the belt on her habit so that her truncheon is easily at hand] Don't people wear the funniest things. There is someone wearing a dish cloth as a head covering. Don't they realise what they have on their person? [Turns to the group] Shall we go in? [Carefully steps through the broken window and waves to bar tender, pointing at the broken window] Excuse me, my good man. You should get that fixed!

Clint : [To Chastity] I know we're probably on the future, but I think they still use doors in here. [Looks at Still for a moment] Hum, actually I'm not sure.

Still : You all sure are one wierd group of people! [Points at the swinging doors] Of course we use doors, just push them.

Alice : Cool. [Steps up to the swinging doors and pushes them hard. Almost immediately, they swing back and knock her to the ground] Ow!

Harvey : [Picking Alice up from the ground] Careful, my dear niece, who knows what gadetry these futuristic townsfolk utilise! [Cautiously pushes apart the doors and steps through it]

[HARVEY correctly operates the doors, and steps through, followed by the rest of the party. STILL, however, stays outside.]

Still : What a bunch of freaks. [Holds one nostril closed and, leaning his head back, pours a small amount of whiskey up the other] Oh yeah!

[Book III, Act III, Scene III. Stacy-Lou's Tavern. FLYD, HARVEY, ALICE, CLINT, CHASTITY, NIK, FAETAN and AUSTIN are here, having just entered. The tavern is full of people, singing, dancing and gambling, with some good old honky tonk music being bashed out on the piano. Almost as soon as the last party member crosses the threshold, the music stops, as does all the singing, dancing and most of the gambling, as the people turn and look at the party incredulously. The party clearly stand out, being dressed entirely differently to everyone else.]

Meredith : [The only gambler who hasn't turned to look at the party, being too busy slapping down his five aces] My hand, I believe! [Notices that no one is paying attention to him] Hello? [Turns and looks at the party] Well, slap my thigh! What the hell is that?

Belle : [A barmaid, who seems to be in charge] Well well, what have we got here?

Harvey : We have a thirsty troop, that's what, my good madam! [Bows to Belle and turns to the others] What ho!

Clint : [To Meredith] I hope you didn't mean it.

Austin : [To Belle] We have travelled from afar, and were attacked by many indians, who stole our stage coach and most of our personal effects, and, alas killed our good friend, the late Dr. Trindle. [Pauses] BSc. PhD.

Meredith : [To Clint] I did, look! [Holds up his cards, revealing that he has each of an ace of spades, diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades.]

[There is still a stunned silence, broken only by the occasional titter and snigger from the crowd, clearly amused at the party.]

Belle : Well, if you're thirsty, I suppose we'd better get you some drinks. I hope you didn't spend all your money on your fancy dress costumes.

Harvey : [Looks down at his clothes] But we are not in fancy dress, my good woman! Merely retro fashion has come full circle, and in a few months time, you'll all be wearing this!

Chastity : Unless of course the world ends before then. [Nervously laughs]

Faetan : [To Belle] Like he said [nods to Austin] we were attacked by indians, so we didn't have time to change.

Belle : I think you can be pretty sure of that! [Smiles at Harvey] Come on now, what are you really doing in that get up?

Austin : [To Belle] Err, what year is this?

Harvey : Good question, private Sleaze! Good thinking, that man! [There is a lot of whispering and muttering at AUSTIN's question.]

Belle : Well, honey, I'm starting to think you lot shouldn't be allowed out on your own! What asylum did you escape from?

Alice : That's not important right now - but we do need to know what year it is.

Belle : Why, it's 1512.

Clint : I think I need a drink.

Harvey : [Gasps in shock] What? But that's impossible! It just can't be! [Turns to the party] That Darius has done it to us again, what!

Belle : I think I need to see the colour of your money.

Alice : [To the others] I'm confused. [Glances at the rest of the patrons, who are still watching, although slowly losing interest]

Austin : [To Belle] Well, that answers your question. Moments ago we were teleported here by one of the four horsemen, who we were completely unable to kill or harm, he was just too tough. We come from 1278, he said that he was sending us home, and we had little choice but to come as we were on a sinking ship at the time. So 34 years has passed and our clothes are out of date somewhat [Looks in horror at his own brand new suit, and then at the new ones the punters are wearing]

Harvey : [To Alice] That makes two of us, my dear niece! [Fumbles around in his pockets for a few moments before producing a gold piece and shows it to Belle] There you are my dear!

Chastity : [To Austin] Emmm, Austin I've some good news and some bad. The good news is that you suit is not 34 years out of date. The bad is that you miscalculated, and it's actually 234 years out of date. Sorry. [Sympathetically pats Austin on the shoulder]

Alice : [To Austin] Thirty four years? [Thinks hard] Are you sure about that? [Takes out her note book, and does the math] Hm, this makes it look like four thousand and twenty six years, which I don't think is right either, but, it's probably -

Meredith : [Getting up from the table] Two hundred and thirty four years. [Smiles] Meredith Fonda, pleased to meet - oh! [Eyes light up on seeing the gold]

Belle : [Snatching the gold from Harvey] Where did you get this?

Alice : [To Clint] Well, Clint. Two hundred and thirty four years without washing, and you still smell the same, how about that?

Meredith : [Still watching the gold piece in Belle's hand] Time travel? What are you talking about?

Clint : Look, we've told you our story. The unsinkable ship sank, and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sent us here, probably to get us killed for good. [To Belle] So what about those drinks?

[The whispering and muttering has now stopped completely, and there is a stunned silence in the room.]

Belle : You - you claim to have met one of them? And he sent you here?

Harvey : It would seem that we are a little out of place here, and out of time too, for that matter. [To Belle] Is there a private dining room we can use? That gold piece should be worth a lot now, being an antique and all that, what!

Austin : [To Meredith] We were an elite band of knights, charged with the task of defeating the four horsemen. They killed us in a fearsome battle [Maplin swings Temporidus in the air with a whipping sound], we went to hell and eventually got ourselves resurrected. The horsemen obviously teleported us here to stop us interfeering with their plans, and they appear to have succeeded.

Belle : [Pulls out a tiny handgun from her brassiere] Put the sword away. [Turns to Harvey] Give me a second piece, and you can have your private room.

Austin : [Puts Temporidus away. To Belle] Err, sorry, no need to get all aggressive. Anyone would think you hadn't seen a sword before.

Belle : Oh, I have. That's the Horsemen's weapon of choice, but the fact that you backed off means that you can be hurt by a gun, not like those unholy scum. I don't buy your story about time travel, but you can have the back room. [Points it out] I'll bring in some drinks.

Flyd : [Stares at Belle's brassiere] Hmm, I've no idea what it is she holds, but, [waggles his fingers] perhaps I should check if she has another?

Belle : [Cocks the trigger] Perhaps you shouldn't.

Harvey : [Bows to Belle] You have my thanks, dear lady! [Gestures to the room] Come troop, quick march to the dining room! Hut hut! [Marches towards the room]

Austin : [To Flyd] It's called a gun, a crude but a loud and effective projectile weapon. Usless against the horsemen. To kill them you need a good sword like this one [Points at Temporidus. To Temporidus] don't you?

Chastity : [Pulling Flyd by the arm] Come along, Mr Flyd, before you get us into any premature trouble. [To Belle] A large glass of cooled, boiled water in the back room would be lovely, dear, when you have a moment.

Clint : [To Belle, while following Harvey] I'll have a Louis XIV please.

Flyd : A gun you say? [Takes out his notebook and scribbles furiously for a moment, before looking from Austin to Temporidus, and scribbling some more] And are all these, guns, kept in ladies undergarments?

Belle : A what? Never heard of it. I'll get you a whiskey.

Temporidus : [To Austin] There are no swords like me, for I am unique!

[HARVEY opens the door, to reveal a large room with a table and plenty of seating for the party.]

Meredith : [To Belle] You know, it looked like that sword just spoke!

Belle : Oh, don't be stupid, just go back to cheating at cards.

Harvey : [Sitting at the table] Thank you, my dear. And perhaps a plate of sandwiches for the troop. On that point, what futuristic sumptous banquet of delights can you provide a famished group of wanderers?

Flyd : [Staggers into the room] Indeed, food! Look at me, I'm wasting away! I'm not half the man I was! [Grabs his stomach and squeezes it to show how much weight he has lost. Falls limply into a seat] I must eat soon, or I'm sure I shall die!

Faetan : I'm starving too, I can't recall the last time I ate, and I suspect a battle it on its way [Looks out of the window (If there is one)]

Nik : Mr. Flyd, I urge caution in your consumption of foodstuffs. It has been known for men to choke on sandwiches in their anxiety to satisfy their hunger.

Belle : Okay, in this crazy futuristic world of ours, we've got [dramatic pause] sandwiches!

[Exit BELLE.]

Alice : [Sitting down] I'm still confused.

[There is nothing outside, save for burning buildings. This part of the tavern seems to be in remarkably good shape.]

Harvey : Well, by my calculations, I'd say we've not eaten in over four thousand and twenty six years, what! [Furrows his brow] No wait, that can't be right! Well, [slams a fist on the table] a long time anyway!

Flyd : [Gets up and moves very close to Alice] Are you confused, Ms Basset Short? [Holds out his arms] Perhaps a big hug is all you need! [Begins drooling and performing the occasional pelvic thrust]

Chastity : [To Harvey] Well, technically we not eaten for [pauses, looking at Alice's confused expression]...em, yes a while. I do hope the sandwich fillings in this future aren't something indigestable. Something simple and wholesome like roasted locusts with oyster dressing, or pan fried quails beaks. Eh, Colonel?

Alice : [Regarding Flyd suspiciously] I don't think that'll be necessary.

Nik : [To Alice] What is the source of your confusion?

Alice : Well, Still said the Four Horsemen appeared four years ago, then Austin said that we went thirty four years into the future, but Chastity thought it was two hundred and thirty four, while Harvey seems to think it is four thousand, and those people have weapons like we did in Hill House, and why do we think we all look so strange? Because, it's like the time when I went to my Debutante party, and Sylvia Masterson had told me it was a vicars and tarts party, and Daddy gave me ten GP and told me to go upstairs. [Thinks for a moment] What was the question again?

Harvey : [Looks up at Flyd in shock] By the saints! Dearest Alice, come, sit between me and the good sister this instant!

Nik: [Pulls some berries and what seems like a little piece of bark, out from the small piece of cloth attached to his staff] Excuse my impoliteness, but I prefer a much more balanced and nutrisious diet. Excessive eating is the road to bad health.

Harvey : [To Chastity, Alice momentarily forgotten] Oh sister, quails beaks! What I wouldn't give for a ponnet full of quails beaks! And thruses ankles! With a smattering of bees knees and snakes feet! [Licks his lips]

[Enter BELLE, carrying a plate of particularly limp sandwiches, and several glasses of whiskey, which she puts on the table.]

Belle : So, time travellers, how do you find the future?

Alice : Well, mostly we just sit around arguing, and it just happens.

Harvey : [Looking at the sandwiches] Disappointing. My dear, disappointing.

Belle : Don't be put off by their looks, they are really [waves her hands in the air] futuristic and each one tastes like a different type of food. [Points at one] That one is like honeyed golden locusts, for example, while this one here tastes like quails beaks.

[Exit BELLE.]

Alice : Excellent! [Picks up one and bites into it] Aw! This one tastes just like plastic!

Clint : [Picks up a whiskey glass] I'll have to agree. Of course, if the bottle is on its way, it's a whole different story. [Wink and finger gun to Belle] D'you know what I mean?

Belle : [Pops her head back in] Okay, knock yourselves out. [Slides a bottle down the table towards Clint]

Harvey : My dear niece, the wrapper still surrounds it! [Looks again at the sandwiches and samples one] Agh, wrong again! It does taste like plastic! Ha, some future this has turned out to be, eh! I would have thought they would have developed little pills containing whole gastronomic courses, flying horse wagons, buildings larger than the eye can see! Small magical boxes that play music! But no. It seems the entire sum total of our genius, is to create a plastic flavoured sandwich! Gah!

Flyd : [Munching happily] Actually, they're quite good when you actually remove the wrapper, Harvey! These will definitely keep the wolf from the door. [Looks around] But where are yours?

Alice : [Nonchalantly spitting out some of her sandwich into her handbag, in the mistaken belief that no one can see] So, what were we talking about?

Clint : [Drinking straight from the bottle] We were talking about the future.

Harvey : I'm sure the good woman will be bringing ours in presently, Mr Flyd. [Looks at Alice and frowns] I believe we were talking about confusion, my dear, but I can't be sure.

Alice : [Looking from Clint to Harvey and back again, confused] Er, hang on a second. [Checks her notebook] Oh no! Someone has just spat some half chewed food into my notebook!

Flyd : I believe we were talking about ladies undergarments. And the question of concealed weapons within.

Harvey : Savages! These futuristic people are absolute savages! So troop, what are we to do. Wait here, trapped like mice in a cage, until the four horsemen turn up?

Alice : Hey! I remember what we were talking about.

Harvey : [Delighted] Bless you Alice, that's fantastic! What were you talking about?

Faetan : [Sighs, pokes half-heartedly at the sandwich] The future sucks... I wonder if he's still around...? [Stares absently at the sandwich as though waiting for it to stare back]

Alice : [Looks straight at Harvey, as though she's about to say something momentous, but holds his gaze for several seconds, getting more and more self conscious] Uh, I - I've forgotten. [Takes a sandwich, and starts nibbling on it.]

Austin : [To Faetan] You wonder if who is still around? [To Alice] Dearest Alice, I believe you were about to question the incongruity of the witness borne by Still with the assertion by Belle of the distance we have travelled into the future, the deliberate error on my behalf notwithstanding.

Alice : Was I? I mean, I was, yes. [Turns to Harvey] What he said.

Harvey : [Shrugs at Alice] Sounded like a bunch of legalese to me, my dear girl! You! [Shouts at Austin] Speak like a person, what! No good handing in a report that only you can understand, eh! We've no enigma machine at our disposal, you know!

Austin : [Disdainfully to Harvey] Behave like a person, and I will consider it.

Faetan : [To Alice] Himo. He told me it was no accident Sven looked the same as he did when I was a child. My grandfather was the same way...apparently he was one of the original Hierophantic Knights, Corwyn Jarl. So, I was thinking maybe Da was that kind of knight too. [Pokes the sandwich]

Alice : So Hierophantic Knights never age? Excellent! [Glances at Chastity] Guess it came a little too late for some of us, eh?

Faetan : [Blinks, and shoves the sandwich awaaaaay] I never said that... Rather, he said there were different kinds of knights. But I didn't get to ask him any more about that. [Thinks for a moment] You know what, maybe I can talk to the cook and whip up something a little more tasty than this crap! [Brightens happily]

Nik: Actually age, and the trouble following it, can be kept at bay by a balanced diet and gainfull excercises. A bit of caution in dangerous situations is of course always adviseable. [Staring for a moment at the small half-eaten berry in his hand] If this Darius did not want us to interfere in his plans, why didn't he just kill us, or send us somewhere even further away? I think we should be cautious in this matter.

Chastity : You don't know Darius. He likes to amuse himself with the delusion that he manipulates the destiny and actions of this group at his will. But in actual fact we just go along with his plans looking for the ideal moment to eradicate his evil in the name of Phili. [Looks round the group for backup] Isn't that right, everyone. or did I dream that last night??

Nik: [Looks around the group with an open, interrested expression]

Alice : Actually, I thought it was more the case that we are always trying to kill him, but keep getting outsmarted.

Harvey : Ah, dear niece, we are learning about the enemy! I am compiling a list of all his measures and counter measures, so one day, when we have a true understanding of his wily ways, we will not only be on equal footing, but the victors in that confrontation!

Flyd : Can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs, you mean. [Begins drooling] Ah, what I wouldn't give for a plump fresh, egg laying chicken right this minute! These sandwiches are palitable, but certainly not adequate for a man of my modest appetite!

Alice : [Noting the glint in Faetan's eye] Of course, we don't really have time for cooking now. Anyway, what about the whole year thing? What's going on there?

Chastity : [ To Harvey ] Excellent, Colonel. As I expected from a man of your military experience. So how is the list coming on, given that the world is about to end? Any glaring weaknesses? Substantial chinks in his armour? Blind spots to manoeuvre into?

Nik: [Looks surprised at flyd, then turns to Harvey] Bravery, caution, discipline and wisdom. You, my good friend, certainly has the quality of great military leaders.

Harvey : Well, we only have the people in the bars word for it that we have been dumped into the future, dearest Alice. It's quite probable that this is all a part of Darius's plan, to alienate and confuse us!

Flyd : [Looks at Nik] Are you going to finish that berry?

Harvey : [Stands up and bows to Nik] And you sir, are a gentleman! And hopefully, a soon to be indispensible member of this troop, eh!

Nik: [Looks at the berry, slightly confused] Oh,...well yes. It is quite delicius. Three of these contains enough to sustain a man for a day, in emergencies. [Takes out a little sour berry] Would you like to try one?

Nik: [To Harvey] Safety in numbers is a well tested strategic measure, so naturally I'd like to be in your company in these difficult circimstances.

Flyd : [To Nik] And in these difficult circumstances, I feel I require a full days sustinance, so I would like to sample three of your berrys. To begin with.

Austin : [Sigh] When you two have finished sampling eachothers 'berries', perhaps we could get out of this place and find out what the hell is going on, before the patrons of this establishment hand us over to the horsemen, or just mug us for our gold. Did you see their eyes light up when they saw our gold?

Harvey : Indeed, we must discover our purpose here! Gah! [Slams his fist on the table] The four riders run riot, killing all in their path. They are victorious and nothing in this day and age can stop them. Their evil will prevail, and the world will be destroyed. The end? No. We are sent here by, incredibly, one of the riders themselves, but to what purpose? [Scratches his sideburn] It is my belief that we have been sent here to thwart the riders from their world ending buffoonery, a turn of events which Darius must not wish realised. So, he brings us here to stop them, knowing that we are the best damn troop of adventurers in this, or any other time! What say you, troop?

Alice : I say Darius has done a top job of making us alienated and confused. If we do just escape from here, what do we do then? Maybe we should try and find out a little more from these people.

Harvey : Good thinking, dear niece! Who better to tell us what has been happening here. How and where it all started! If there is a pattern to their slaughter! If there is a restaurant still standing on this infernal land!

Austin : [To Harvey] Yes, Darius must have infiltrated the Four Horsemen in order to bring about their downfall. This obviously is not an easy task and we can therfore expect [Looking at Alice] his behaviour to be confusing, as he must keep them convinced that he is genuine and at the same time help us destroy them. Ipso facto, he is on our side and we should trust him. [Looks at the others, gets up and begins a rousing speech] I postulate that he has sent us here, into the future, to kill the horsemen, perhaps they are weakens by many years of war, perhaps we will learn something of value which we can use against them.

Alice : Um, I don't really know.

[There is a knock on the door.]

Alice : Maybe that's him at the door?

Harvey : [Calls out loudly] Who is it? [Quietly] Be on your guard, troop! [Puts his hand on his sword]

[From without can be heard MEREDITH's voice.]

Meredith : Why, it's me, Meredith Fonda.

Harvey : [Looks confused before clicking his fingers] Ah, the card sharp! [Loudly] Come in!

[Enter MEREDITH, with a smile and a pack of cards.]

Meredith : Howdy! [Smiles at Harvey] I thought y'all might like a friendly game of cards.

Alice : [To Harvey] Careful, Uncle Harvey, it might start out as a friendly game of cards, but the next thing you know you've no bra on and still owe a debt!

Austin : [To Meridith] Are you saying that you want to play cards with a lawyer? [Gestures to himself. To Merideth] Does this establishment have a gambling license?

Harvey : [To Meredith] No thank you my dear, I do not gamble.

Meredith : [To Austin] Of course not! Then again, the world is about to end, so who cares? [Gives a little smile] I sure liked the gold your friend had earlier. [Glances at Harvey] Dear. [Flutters his eyelids.]

Alice : [Uneasily] Uh oh, this can only end in one way.

Harvey : I meant, my dear sir! Do forgive me!

Chastity : [To Alice] What, Austin getting jealous and going off in a huff? [To Meredith] I'm not sure this is quite the right time for a game of trumps, as we've not quite finished our meal. [Looks at the plate of limp sandwiches] Well, the table is being used anyway. But please take a seat. Maybe you could help us. able to answer.

Austin : [To Chastity] As you have probably noticed, I have much better taste than that [Points at Meredith. To Chastity] Veritas odium parit. [Sticks his tongue out at Chastity]

Alice : You have tasted much better than that? Oh-kay!

Meredith : [Shuffling his cards] Well, how can I be of assistance to you kind and wealthy folks?

Harvey : What we need is some information. What's been happening here, when it started.

Meredith : Information about what? [Gazes longingly at Harvey's gold pouch] I really hope I can help you.

Flyd : And don't forget Colonel, if there's a restaurant around here!

Austin : [To Meredith] You will get none of our gold, trickster. You are of no help to us, please leave.

Meredith : What? [Stands up indignantly] Fine. [Turns to leave]

Alice : [To Austin] What's wrong with you? How are we going to find out what's going on?

Austin : [To Alice] And you think he is a reliable and trustworthy source? All he wants is our gold.

Alice : A lot of people want gold, but it doesn't necessarily mean they are completely evil.

[MEREDITH tips his hat to ALICE, and leaves.]

Clint : [To Alice] While others want no money and just do it for fun.

Harvey : And what are you going to do with your gold, private Sleaze, when you are lying next to your severed head, with Pestilence standing over you, laughing? We need the information this man has!

Alice : Other of course, don't do it at all and are very frustrated.

Harvey : [Looks at Alice, brow furrowed] Do what, dear niece? What do you mean?

Austin : [To Harvey] He will tell us anything, true or false, just to get our money, I have met his type before. [Looks out of the window looking flustered. Straightens his cuffs and checks for stray fluff] However, I do need to find a good taylor.

Alice : Why, play cards, Uncle! What else could I mean? [Turns to Austin] How then, Mr. Sleaze, do you suggest we get any information?

Austin : [To Alice] We could go out there [Points out of the window] and find out for ourselves. [Tuts] Honestly, any excuse to sit on your behind and have a natter.

Alice : Any excuse? Well, how about, I'm really tired after that whole ship thing? Or, I'm so full after the sandwiches I can barely move? Or even, time travel makes me really sleepy?

Harvey : Well, Sleaze? Are you going to [glances at Faetan] jump through the window?

Austin : [To Harvey] Err, no, why would I want to do that Colonel?

Faetan : How 'bout we do it the old-fashioned way and just BEAT it out of him, eh? [Looks hopeful]

Nik: Shouldn't that be him out of it? But why beat our friend in the decadent suit out of the window?

Chastity : I think that Faetan was referring to Meredith and beating information out of him, and not actually beating the lawyer up and throwing him out the window. [Looks at Nik with mock suspicion] You wouldn't be playing mind games with us, would you? Planting suggestions into our heads to violently vent your frustration at Austin sending a convenient source of information out of the room. And I thought you were a man of piece and tranquillity!

Nik: I am most certainly a man of one harmonic piece. [Takes a not so deep breath] Tranquility is something we should all desire, but the road to get us there will often be fraught with danger. A balanced diet, gainfull excercice and a cautious approach to danger is likely to get us there.

Chastity : [Looking at the remnants of the sandwich platter, then out the window at the devastation wrought by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse before turning back to Nik] I don't know about the diet or the approach to danger, but you're sure to get at least some sort of exercise soon, so one out of three isn't too bad. Whether the exercise is gainful or just painful remains to be determined. But as my second husband George would say, "No Pain no Gain". He'd also take this philosophy into his daily exercising as well. [Briefly looks nostalgic] How he loved his physical jerks.

Nik: What a coincidence, trivial as it may be. My mentor said "No brain no pain" but I never quite figureout what he meant.

Chastity : Your mentor must have been talking literally, because the experiences of certain members of this party would prove the saying to be false.

Austin : [To Chastity] No kidding. [Sigh! Goes to the door and opens it swiftly expecting Meredith to be listening at the key hole] [The door swings open, to reveal that the party is in full swing outside, with MEREDITH sitting down playing cards. As soon as the door opens, everything stops, and everyone turns and stares.]

Meredith : [Nodding at Austin] That's him, that's the guy!

Clint : [To Austin] Already making friends, Lawyer?

Austin : [To Meredith] I apologise for my abruptness earlier, and the misunderstanding that ensued. My colleagues have now explained the situation to me and I would appreciate it if you could come and discuss matters with my colleagues, if you are still in the mood. [Stands waiting at the door]

Chastity : [Suddenly coughing. Wide eyed to Alice] Was that an apology?

Alice : In human terms, no. In Austin terms, it is akin to grovelling and snivelling.

Meredith : [Sniffs haughtily] There is, of course, the matter of the charge.

Austin : [Turns his back on Chastity a bit more] That matter you will have to discuss with my colleagues. You must understand that earlier on today we were attack by a hoard of savages who held us to ransom. They took slighty over one million gold pieces worth of jewelry from me, and as you can understand I am not in the best of moods after that. [Turns and goes back to the window in the sandwich room]

[Upon hearing this talk of millions of gold pieces, the people in the bar start chattering excitedly.]

Alice : [Rolling her eyes so angrily that they make noise] Do you want to say that again a bit louder, Austin? I think the really shifty looking guy over there in the corner didn't hear.

Really-shifty-looking-guy : I did.

Alice : Oh, great, Austin, now every one of these losers will want to try and rob us. [Looks to shifty looking guy] No offence.

Really-shifty-looking-guy : None taken.

Chastity : [Loudly so that everyone can hear] Austin, maybe you should point out that we're nearly penniless as a result.

Austin : [To Alice and the bar] There is no point in robbing us now as we were robbed this morning, they took everything I had, barring some rather expensive ladies underwear, but I beileve I negligently left that in the bathroom on the boat. [Looks forlorn] Only an idiot would rob someone who has just been robbed.

Alice : [To Austin] Strange, because when I was robbed, the only thing they took was some rather expensive ladies underwear!

Meredith : Alright, I'll talk to y'all, [points at Austin with mock seriousness] but only because you're so god damned cute!

Austin : [To Meredith, with a sardonic grin] I aim to please.

Clint : I always knew his aiming was poor.

Austin : [To Clint] At least I have something to shoot. [Turns and faces out of the window in a huff]

Chastity : Hmmm. An interesting choice of phrase to use in front of a room of gun totting drunks with nothing to lose and possibly robbery on their minds! [Steps away from Austin]

Alice : True, Chas, and it's not like they're shooting into a paper tissue, either!

Meredith : [Sitting down] So, who's up for cards?

Clint : [Sitting at the table] I'm on. It's been a while since I got out of jail, so I haven't played a lot lately, but I believe you'll find me a worth opponent. [Drinks from his bottle]

Meredith : I hope so - but I'm not really much of a card player, I only learned yesterday. [Starts performing all sorts of outrageous shuffling tricks, flicking the cards from one hand to another, throwing them up in the air and catching them etc]

Alice : [Barely able to contain herself] This is going to be great! We'll fleece him!

Meredith : Play, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

Austin : [Ignoring Alices smutty and rude remarks. To Meredith] What's the game?

Meredith : Snafflepoffle. [Pushes the entire pack of cards into his mouth, before leaning over to Alice and pulling them from behind her ear] I'm not very good though.

Clint : Snafflepoffle? My favourite game! It's been a while though, can you remind me of the rules? [Offers his bottle to Meredith] Say, why do you think tomorrow we die?

Meredith : Well, the object of the game is to get a full snaffle - unless one of the other players has a poffle, of course.

Alice : [Nodding] Of course.

Meredith : [To Clint] Why? Well, because of the Horsemen, of course! They might have missed us, but what have they left? Nothing, no food, no animals, and, worst of all, hardly any whiskey wasn't urinated into by Pestilence. [Gestures at the whiskey that Alice is drinking] Sure, some of it had sugar added to help the taste, but any fool can tell the difference.

Alice : Gulp! [Puts the glass down, wide eyed] I knew that.

Austin : [Smiling at Alice] Enough to make one t-total, or dead [Goes back to looking out of the window as if expecting trouble]

Chastity : By Phili, the holy scriptures must have been poorly transcribed. They say that volumes of whiskey would lead to Pestilence in the end. But as it turns out in the end Pestilence led to volumes of whiskey. [Shakes her head] When we get back I must get those monks to brush up on their tenses! I knew it was a mistake send them originals to the Abbey of Bockie. Those monks and their tonic brewing always were an embarrassment.

Nik: [To Harvey, not so loud, but those nearby will hear.] Maybe the warrior can smart-talk some information out of that card-player, while they play Pafflesnoffle.

Alice : [To Nik] Do you mean Clint? Well, I'm afraid it's unlikely that he'd be able to smart talk anything outside of a - a - [thinks really hard] um, not - very - smart thing!

Clint : [To Meredith] Paffle! I mean, Snoffle!

Harvey : Quite so, dear niece! [Turns around and gives a huge wink towards to Nik, before turning to Meredith] You there, sir! When did all this malarkey start, eh? How long has it being going on? Surely this can't be the only pocket of resistance still operating?

Clint : [To Meredith] Paffle! I mean, Snoffle!

Harvey : Quite so, dear niece! [Turns around and gives a huge wink towards to Nik, before turning to Meredith] You there, sir! When did all this malarkey start, eh? How long has it being going on? Surely this can't be the only pocket of resistance still operating?

Nik:[Moves towards Harvey with an open expression]

Faetan : [Stays close to the door, toying idly with a sharp, pointy knife] I doubt they'd try to ruin everything, colonel. If they destroy all the farmers, they won't have anything to sustain them. [Watches the game] Mind if I see how a round is played? I want in.

Meredith : [To Faetan] Well, I only recently learned myself, but hopefully I.ll be able to give you a few pointers. [Starts dealing the cards, to himself, Clint, Alice and Austin, talking to Harvey as he does so. Each card, of course, is thrown at almost light speed across the table, landing perfectly in front of the intended player] I wouldn.t exactly describe this as a pocket of resistance, more of a cap full of survivors.

Alice : Is a cap bigger than a pocket?

Meredith : Much smaller. This has been going on for four or five years, no one really knows. The Horsemen just appeared . sure, we heard reports of them, but, as far as we were concerned, they were just stories. But it got worse, [glances at Faetan] and you.re wrong. They destroy everything.

Clint : Of course they do. And it's almost impossible to kill them. I'm surprised we haven't seen walking fingers around yet.

Austin : [Looks at the cards dealt in his direction. To Meredith] I have no intention of playing this silly game [Turns his back]

Nik: [To Harvey, in a low, concerned voice] A pang of suspicion has penetrated my mind. Could it possibly be, that that man [Points to Meredith] is some kind of card-shark?

Austin : [Mutters to himself, grimacing] No brain, no pain [Shakes his head and looks out of the window].

Chastity : [To Nik, but loud enough for Meredith to hear] I doubt if he is in this instance, he's probablyt just passing time pleasantly. Only a fool would try to cheat at cards with a man who's been resurrected from hell itself, slayed demons and warriors alike, and still refuses to wash!

Meredith : [Collecting all the cards, speaking to Austin] You might be cute, but you've sure got a shit attitude. Why the hell did you call me in here if you only wanted to behave like that?

Austin : [To Meredith] I said that my colleagues would like to speak with you, I did not ask to play cards with you. You are most presumptuous.

Clint : [To Meredith] He keeps calling me names like that as well. I think it eases his ego. [Picking up the cards] So what do I do now?

Nik: [To Chastity] What? Doesn't Harvey wash? I don't believe you, he appears completely soignated. And...[pauses slightly] he's not in the game either.

Chastity : [Says nothing, just looks at Nik and raises her eyebrows]

Alice : [Snapping at Nik] Watch your mouth - Harvey hasn't been drinking at all today!

Meredith : [To Austin] And you are most pissy. There is a large crowd of people in the next room who are already suspicious of you and your friends. I hope no one says anything to make things worse. [To Clint] Right, [deals him and Alice two more cards] now all of us turns their cards over. [Shows his] Darn, I've only got a rootintootin.

Austin : [Muttering] Kettle, pot, black.

Alice : How's this? [Shows her hand. It consists of all different cards. The suits, while similar to those the party have seen before in cards, are distinctly different]

Meredith : Tarnation! You've got a wuffle! [Hands out a piece of paper to Alice]

Alice : [Examining the paper] What's this?

Meredith : It's your winnings - five crowns.

Clint : [To Alice] Already getting secret papers from strangers? You loose no time. [Shows his cards] What do I get?

Nik: [Says nothing, scratches his bald head and withdraws slightly. From the looks of it, he's thinking hard.]

Alice : [Irritably, to Nik] Tut! Could you not do that? It's a really annoying sound.

Meredith : [Gasps at Clint's hand, which contains a pair of twos, and theatrically claps his hand to his forehead] Oh, come on! Are you sure haven't played this game before? Ten crowns for you, my man! [Hands over another note]

Nik: [Stops scrathing] Sorry. [Still thinking hard.]

Alice : [To Meredith] Let's play again. [Turns and glares at Nik] Tut tut!

Nik: [Looks at Alice with a questioning expression]

Alice : I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to concentrate when someone in the room is thinking that hard.

Meredith : [Shuffles the cards] Right, one more time, but this time, you two have got to take it easy on me, okay? [Starts dealing]

Austin : [Looking at Alice. Mutters] No pain.

Alice : [Smiles sweetly back at Austin, pointing at him] Mundane pain. Bane, but in vain. [Claps her hand to her chest, and curls up her lip in disgust] Absolute disdain. [To Meredith] Let's play cards.

Meredith : Okay, what have you got?

[ALICE shows that she has what resemble two kings.]

Alice : Two kings and a queen.

Meredith : [Peering at the cards] I only see the two kings in your hand.

Alice : That's right.

Austin : [Looks hopeful for a moment at ALice's first scentence, then cringes at her last. To Meredith] So you haven't seen the horsemen yourself, do you know anyone who has?

Meredith : [Turns to face Austin] Fuck off. [Turns back to the card table, and seems taken aback at the surprise of the others at his language] What? Hey, it's the end of the world - I don't have to be polite to people who behave like that. [Smiles at Alice] Wow! That's another five crowns!

Alice : Yay! This is a great game!

Clint : [To Meredith] I would be more careful with your language. He's a lawyer, and he's got a talking sword. [Putting his cards on the table] So did I win something this time?

Faetan : [Withdrawing from the door, casting one last look, and sits next to MEREDITH] Whoever heard of paper being worth anything? Ridiculous! Deal me in. [Grins]

Meredith : Gasp! [Looks at Clint's cards] Oh no! Another ten crowns! [Hands the cash over] I don't care about his sword, I let my gun do the talking. You guys do know what I'm talking about, don't you?

Alice : We're familiar with them.*

Meredith : [Winks at Faetan] Now, I only have so much money, so take it easy on me! [Deals hands for himself, Faetan, Clint and Alice.]

Faetan : [Grins further, eagerly gathering cards into a pile] Are there any shops left around here? I'd hate to leave this place with such an OLD fashion. [Fingers the sleeve of her shirt distastefully]

Meredith : Shops? I don't think you understand. There is *nothing* left. No shops, no farmers, no nothing. [Turns over his cards with a smile] I've got a bunglewarker.

Alice : [Turns hers over] What have I got?

Meredith : Oh, too bad, you've only got a kuffufle-warfer. That means you must pay me thirty crowns.

Faetan : Har! [Looks smugly at ALICE, then flips cards over] And this?

Meredith : Ah, that's quite good. You've got a neeberfeeber, so you only have to give me five crowns.

Alice : Hah! [Flashes a smile at Faetan, before looking at the ten crowns she is holding, with a look of dismay] Hey! I've only got ten.

Meredith : Well, I guess we'll have to come up with an alternative then, won't we?

Clint : [To Alice] It seems you're gonna do it for money after all. [Suddenly realizes he hasn't shown his cards yet] Errr... how much is this worth? [Puts his cards on the table]

Faetan : Guh... Um, one more round?

Harvey : No, no more rounds, troop! We've too much to do to just sit around here playing cards! [To Meredith] Where was the last place the riders struck? Perhaps you can supply us with a map, so we can track their movements, possibly discover a pattern, and thereby, realise where they'll strike next! Troop, give whatever money you've earned back to Meredith. I believe that will cancel dear Alices debt.

Nik: [Looks at Alice with a questioning expression]

Alice : I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to concentrate when someone in the room is thinking that hard.

Meredith : [Shuffles the cards] Right, one more time, but this time, you two have got to take it easy on me, okay? [Starts dealing]

Austin : [Looking at Alice. Mutters] No pain.

Alice : [Smiles sweetly back at Austin, pointing at him] Mundane pain. Bane, but in vain. [Claps her hand to her chest, and curls up her lip in disgust] Absolute disdain. [To Meredith] Let's play cards.

Meredith : Okay, what have you got?

[ALICE shows that she has what resemble two kings.]

Alice : Two kings and a queen.

Meredith : [Peering at the cards] I only see the two kings in your hand.

Alice : That's right.

Austin : [Looks hopeful for a moment at ALice's first scentence, then cringes at her last. To Meredith] So you haven't seen the horsemen yourself, do you know anyone who has?

Meredith : [Turns to face Austin] Fuck off. [Turns back to the card table, and seems taken aback at the surprise of the others at his language] What? Hey, it's the end of the world - I don't have to be polite to people who behave like that. [Smiles at Alice] Wow! That's another five crowns!

Alice : Yay! This is a great game!

Clint : [To Meredith] I would be more careful with your language. He's a lawyer, and he's got a talking sword. [Putting his cards on the table] So did I win something this time?

Faetan : [Withdrawing from the door, casting one last look, and sits next to MEREDITH] Whoever heard of paper being worth anything? Ridiculous! Deal me in. [Grins]

Meredith : Gasp! [Looks at Clint's cards] Oh no! Another ten crowns! [Hands the cash over] I don't care about his sword, I let my gun do the talking. You guys do know what I'm talking about, don't you?

Alice : We're familiar with them.*

Meredith : [Winks at Faetan] Now, I only have so much money, so take it easy on me! [Deals hands for himself, Faetan, Clint and Alice.]

Faetan : [Grins further, eagerly gathering cards into a pile] Are there any shops left around here? I'd hate to leave this place with such an OLD fashion. [Fingers the sleeve of her shirt distastefully]

Meredith : Shops? I don't think you understand. There is *nothing* left. No shops, no farmers, no nothing. [Turns over his cards with a smile] I've got a bunglewarker.

Alice : [Turns hers over] What have I got?

Meredith : Oh, too bad, you've only got a kuffufle-warfer. That means you must pay me thirty crowns.

Faetan : Har! [Looks smugly at ALICE, then flips cards over] And this?

Meredith : Ah, that's quite good. You've got a neeberfeeber, so you only have to give me five crowns.

Alice : Hah! [Flashes a smile at Faetan, before looking at the ten crowns she is holding, with a look of dismay] Hey! I've only got ten.

Meredith : Well, I guess we'll have to come up with an alternative then, won't we?

Clint : [To Alice] It seems you're gonna do it for money after all. [Suddenly realizes he hasn't shown his cards yet] Errr... how much is this worth? [Puts his cards on the table]

Faetan : Guh... Um, one more round?

Harvey : No, no more rounds, troop! We've too much to do to just sit around here playing cards! [To Meredith] Where was the last place the riders struck? Perhaps you can supply us with a map, so we can track their movements, possibly discover a pattern, and thereby, realise where they'll strike next! Troop, give whatever money you've earned back to Meredith. I believe that will cancel dear Alices debt.

Meredith : [To Clint] Woah! That means you owe me fifty crowns! It looks like my luck has finally changed! [Glances at Harvey] I'm afraid not, but two of your gold pieces will sort it out.

Clint : [Getting up in a storm] I guess the lawyer was right about you after all! How do we know you're not fooling us anyway?

Meredith : What? Are you calling me a cheat?

Clint : No, if I wanted to call you a cheat I would have called you a cheat but because I didn't want to call you a cheat I didn't call you a cheat, I just want to know if you know how can we know if you're not fooling us. [Pause, breath intake] Simple, eh?

Nik: [To Harvey, a little surprised] Is he calling him a cheat?

Harvey : [Looks at Clint, opens his mouth, scratches a sideburn and looks back at Meredith] Good sir, no one here is calling you a cheat, we are just not used to your customs, or your games. However, I will pay the debt and we'll call it quits, eh! [Fishes in his pockets and takes out two gold coins and a fluff covered golden honeyed locust] Rejoice! [Pops the locust in his mouth, crunching merrily] Here you go! [Hands the coins to Meredith] There, the debt is paid and all honour is satisfied!

Alice : [To Nik] That's sure what it sounded like to me.

Meredith : [Bowing graciously to Harvey] Sir, you are a true gentleman. [Turns to Clint] You know because I told you! [Quickly divides the pack in two, and then does that shuffle-on-the-table thing with them] Any one up for another game?

Clint : Sure!, I love this game! [Glances quickly at Harvey] Or maybe not.

Harvey : [Quickly] No! No thank you sir, we've not the time or [shakes his empty pockets] funds, to partake in your game. Now, how about that information? Can you supply us with a map?

Meredith : Of course I can supply you with a map. Unforunately, they are in short supply these days, so it'll cost you five gold pieces. However, if you buy a map, you get free information with it.

Alice : How about we just take the free information?

Meredith : It's only free with the map - it costs three pieces of gold on its own.

Alice : If we pay, will you throw in a free map?

Meredith : Sure.

[ALICE smiles and gives the others two thumbs up.]

Chastity : [Patting Alice on the back] It's good to see that all that time you used to spend shopping wasn't wasted after all. A cunning haggle.

Alice : [Beaming proudly] It's just a shame he doesn't sell shoes too, or we'd laughing! Harvey, can you pay the man? [Lowly, to Chastity by way of explanation] Daddy took my credit card off me after the Dodeo Rive incident.

Harvey : [Hands over the cash] This had better be good.

Meredith : [Smiling as he takes the gold] Ask me anything you want.

Clint : [To Meredith] Are you gay? Where can I get women around here? Is the money you gave me enough for a bottle of Brandy? Why are you smiling? When is the world going to end? Why has Alice been pregnant for more than 9 months and there's still no baby? Why do people think I smell? Am I asking too much? Why do you think I'm asking too much? Why is Harvey staring at me with that look?

[ALICE listens with interest, and is clearly trying to come up with a question of her own.]

Meredith : Oh, they are very real.

Alice : [Jumping in] How many of them are there?

Meredith : Er, four.

Meredith : [Taken aback at Clint] Um, yes. In the next room. It was, but I won it back. I'm not any more. I don't know. I don't know who Alice is. Because you do. No. I don't think you are, just too quickly. I don't know who Harvey is. [Exhales a huge breath.]

Harvey : [To Nik] We have had some encounters with those blackguard horsemen before. They are very much real, but I would not describe them as people. Each seems to have his own speciality, Pestilence, Contagion, that kind of thing.

Austin : [To Harvey] The map, colonel?

Meredith : [Dismissively to Austin] Information first, map afterwards. [To the party in general] Anything else?

Nik: [To Meredith] Why are you happy?

Meredith : Because of all the gold I just got.

Clint : Did you cheat on us during the game?

Meredith : Of course not!

Chastity : To your knowledge has anyone stood up to the horsemen and survived?

Meredith : Oh, God no!

Chastity : And in these, ehem, hard times, who has been maintaining everyone's hopes and spirits with the word of Phili? Are where can we find them?

Meredith : Phili? Well, the general feeling is that he's abandoned the realms. There are a few priests around and the odd nun, but any armies have long since been destroyed.

Alice : What's odd about the nuns?

Meredith : They're nuns.

Alice : Ah, I see what you mean.

Chastity : [Looks disapprovingly between Alice and Meredith] I see that values of loyalty, devotion and moral upstanding are still considered odd, even in this age. [Shakes her head] How disappointing. [To Meredith] Are there any people continuing to resist the horsemen, or is everyone pretty much next door drowning their sorrows?

Meredith : It's not so much a drowning of sorrows, more a celebration of life! I think most people have given up, and are just trying to stay alive. Others are trying to bring their dear departed loved ones to Insomnia, but those bastards have stopped letting people in. Don't ask me why the horsemen haven't attacked there.

Chastity : I take it that Insomnia will feature on this map you are going to produce to us? [To Harvey] This sounds like perhaps our next port of call, Colonel.

Clint : [To Meredith] Why haven't the horsemen attacked Insomnia?

Meredith : [To Chastity] But, of course I'll show you where Insomnia is. I haven't a clue why the horsemen haven't attacked it - to be honest, it's the one place that deserves destruction. Self satisfied bastards.

Alice : Just so's we're straight - [glances to Austin] I mean clear, so not to worry - this is the year 1512, and the horsemen only appeared four years ago, right?

Meredith : Right.

Alice : And what kind of thing was going on in say, 1278?

Meredith : Well, people were far less civilised than now. In fact, they were practically savages, running around with swords and the like. In fact, rather like you lot, except with less developed weapons.

Chastity : Was there anything of note going on that may have prompted the horsemen's appearances. Evil leaders, strange cults, or even [shudders] large rock music festivals? [Crosses herself]

Meredith : [Gives Chastity a curious look] Anything of note? Other than the war, you mean? [Thinks for a moment] Well, there was that live gig by the SG 29ers when the guitarist bit the head off a live child, but things were pretty much on the way before that happened.

Nik: What war? Tell us all about it.

Austin : [To Meredith] The guitarist who bi the head off the small child, what did he look like?

Alice : Tut! What war? Have you been living in a monastary or something? Everyone knows about the war between the north and south!

Meredith : Actually, the war is between the east and the west.

Meredith : An evil looking swarthy kind of guy, with a black eye.

Clint : Who won the North and South war? Why was there a war between East and West? Who won it? When did these wars finished? Is there any Louis XIV around here? How many more questions do we have left?

Chastity : And does that include oft-repeated questions about bottles of vintage brandy. [Looks at Clint]

Meredith : North and south? [Shakes his head] They've never really had a war - the two big powers have always been East and West. There are more of us than those Western devils, but, with the help of the four Horsemen, our armies have been defeated. They never invaded though, and no one is quite sure why, but some believe it is because the Horsemen turned on them first.

Alice : [Prompting] The Louis XIV?

Meredith : Never heard of it.

Meredith : Not at the moment, but if he asks that question two more times, I'm going to start counting it.

Clint : Who won the North and South war? Why was there a war between East and West? Who won it? When did these wars finished? Is there any Louis XIV around here? How many more questions do we have left?

Chastity : And does that include oft-repeated questions about bottles of vintage brandy. [Looks at Clint]

Meredith : North and south? [Shakes his head] They've never really had a war - the two big powers have always been East and West. There are more of us than those Western devils, but, with the help of the four Horsemen, our armies have been defeated. They never invaded though, and no one is quite sure why, but some believe it is because the Horsemen turned on them first.

Alice : [Prompting] The Louis XIV?

Meredith : Never heard of it.

Meredith : Not at the moment, but if he asks that question two more times, I'm going to start counting it.

Nik: [To Meredith] How long has this rivalry betweem east and west persisted?

Meredith : Oh, it goes back hundreds of years.

Chastity : Considering where we've just come from, how many hundreds of years?

Nik: Further back than the year of the lord 1278?

Meredith : Oh yes, at least seven or eight hundred years. [Takes a deep breath] You know, you have asked an awful lot of questions.

Chastity : Well you did ask us to ask. Now what about this map. [Aside to Harvey] I'm starting to wonder if Darius didn't just send us forward in time, but also managed to transport us into some other world as well. What with the war being East/West, strange place names, nun's being considered odd...

Nik: [Mostly to Harvey, but speaking into the room] What deviltry is at work here? Has the world turned 90 degrees? Have we travelled further into the future? Or into the past? Or are we asleep? Or dead? Or in another world? [Pauses a second] This is most strange, we should be very cautious.

Alice : Well, Chas, remember that where we come from, a lot, well, that is to say some, or rather, one or two people think that Nuns are odd, and place names such as Dementia and Insomnia are not really all that different from Hysteria and Delerium. As for the East - West thing, well, I just don't know what's going on there.

Flyd : [Clears his throat loudly] I believe that Nik may be on to something. Perhaps we have been transported so far into the future that it seems like another world. Perhaps this is a different war of which this strangely femininely named gentleman speaks? Perhaps the Horsemen have returned to ride again? Nik. [Facing Flyd, speaking aloud] Yes, it could be. All alternatives should be considered though. Rushing to conclusions, or rushing anywhere else, without aforethought and caution, is the road to disaster.

Alice : Maybe we should proceed with caution, Nik?

Faetan : [Sitting up straighter] What about the Hierophantic Knights, or Vitun Kusipaa...? Have you heard of them, or of the Jarl family?

Meredith : [Thinks for a few moments] No, no and [thinks for a moment] no.

Faetan : WHAT?! Impossible!! All right, I'm in agreement with Nik, this seems like a completely different world altogether! Not having heard of the Jarls... Pfah!

Clint : Hum, you must really trust that gun, saying you don't know the Jarl family. [Turns back to rest of the party, muttering the words Oh. My. God.]

Alice : Of course, none of us had heard of the either, Fae.

Meredith : [Winking at Clint] I trust it with my life, and have done so on several occasions.

Faetan : [Clearly incensed] We're wasting time here. Let's just get to Insomnia and figure out what the hell is going on. [Folds arms crossly] I still think MY method of getting information would have been more profitable.

Alice : It sure worked a treat on Darius.

Meredith : [Starts drawing out a map] Insomnia is about twenty miles north of here, but I don't know how you're going to get there - there isn't really any transport any more.

Faetan : [Glaring daggers at Alice, then at Meredith] Don't tell me the civilization is so advanced that walking is completely out of the question.

Alice : [Indignantly] Hey! Civilisation is so advance that walking is completely out of the question! [Theatrically puts one of her feet onto the table, showing her unfeasibly high stilletoes] Twenty miles in these? I don't think so!

Meredith : Er, she said it, not me.

Faetan : [Growling at ALICE] Then take them off and put on some DECENT shoes! What kind of adventurer prances around in high heels?!

Alice : I think, my dear Faetan, that 250GP calf skin heels qualify as decent shoes!

Faetan : 'Dear' Faetan? Don't get all hoity toity on me! Slap on some sandals, we need to get moving!

Harvey : [Glowers at Faetan] My dear woman, Alice can wear whatever she wishes, as long as it's army regulation, and [looks at Alices stilettos] that style never did the lads in the 19th any harm! Ah, those good old mine finder boys! What courage, what style, what!

Faetan : ARGH! FINE! Then why don't YOU tell us how we're going to get to Insomnia, colonel?! Maybe we could ride a maaaaaaaaagical flying carpet! [Makes annoying hand gestures in the air]

Alice : Magic carpet? Excellent! About time you made a helpful suggestion, Faetan!

Meredith : Maybe you could buy some horses with your gold? I happen to know someone who is selling some.

Clint : [To Faetan] Well, you should have brought one from that cave in Hell*, then! [To Meredith] Whatever happened to "The world is about to end, let's forget about money and just share everything we have"?

Harvey : [Watches Faetan for a while] What's she doing? Is she conjuring a magical carpet for us? Or is she merely being flippant?

Alice : [To Harvey] You know, I wish she'd take things a little more seriously, we are on a mission from God here.

Meredith : Actually, it was "The world is about to end, so let's grab all the money we can, because once the food runs out, things are going to get a whole lot worse."

Harvey : [Scratches a sideburn] What use is money now? Surely with most of the population dead, supplies are plentiful? Surely value has been wiped from everything overnight.

Meredith : You still don't understand, do you? The Horsemen have destroyed [emphasises] everything. It isn't enough for them to simply kill people, those of us left alive are left to starve and scrape by until they, or their unholy helpers come back to kill us off. People are so desperate, there is no chance of them co-operating, because they are too busy pulling together supplies for their families.

Alice : Where are all the supplies for your family?

Meredith : I blew it all on a cockroach race - I swear to God, 16/1, but it was a dead cert, an absolute dead cert.

Harvey : By the saints, those horsemen certainly know how to wreak havoc, don't they! You mentioned horses, Meredith. I presume their value has also increased considerably? How much are we looking at to rent enough for our party? [To Faetan] Any sign of that carpet yet, my dear?

Nik: Maybe we should reconsider the idé of walking. It would allow a stealthy and cautios approach to any enemy's stronghold. [Turns to Alice, in a kind fatherly voice] Not only is barefoot walking beneficial to the health, it also builds character.

Clint : [To Alice] Sounds like you need a lot of barefoot walking, Bimbo!

Alice : [To Clint] I guess with one shoe rammed up your ass, and the other up his [points at Nik] I'll have no choice!

Faetan : [Growling at Harvey] I can't seem to be able to find it.

Meredith : I would say, twenty gold pieces per horse. [Glances at Flyd] And an extra ten for his. Nik [Taken aback, facing Alice] I'm sorry if I have offended you, I only meant it as a friendly advice.

Alice : In that case, make sure you let me know when you do want to insult me, because I doubt I'll be able to tell the difference!

Austin : Ten geepee's each? It sounds like we are walking. Does anyone have that amount of money? [Looks at Harvey] COlonel?

Nik: [To Alice, surprised] Oh,...well,... I'd never want to insult anyone.

Alice : [Muttering under her breath] It's just as well....

Harvey : I can pay for the horses, but I would like to see them first.

Meredith : But of course. [Hands over a crudely drawn map] Shall we go?

Chastity : [Looking round the room. To Meredith] I think so. We done quite enough here. [To Harvey] Thank goodness you're so astute with your money, Colonel. No doubt an inheritance from you ancestral piles.

Alice : [Brightly] As long as it isn't a case of inheriting piles from the ancestors! [More serious] The bad piles, I mean, not the good ones, you know, like piles of money and stuff.

Austin : [To Chastity, smiling, almost laughing] No Doubt, sister, no doubt. Didn't one of your husbands have a saying about that?

Harvey : Enough of your smut, Mr. Sleaze! I do not want you to make my niece uncomfortable with your lewd ways.

Meredith : [Holding open the door] Right, let's go. [Exit ALL, into the main bar.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene IV. Stacy-Lou's Tavern. FLYD, HARVEY, ALICE, CLINT, CHASTITY, NIK, FAETAN, AUSTIN and MEREDITH are here, having just entered from the back room. The tavern is as it was, but a little quieter. Several of the people are talking in hushed tones, and a man in a Hawaiian type shirt, standing at the bar with his back to the party, is clearly the topic of some of the conversations. The party attract more attention as they enter, and some people are clearly uneasy at their presence.]

Meredith : The horses are just outside, and fine animals they are too.

Clint : [Looking at the man with the Hawaiian shirt] At least we're not the only ones badly dressed. I wonder if he's going to sing and dance for us?

[Enter JIM IGNATWATSKI, carrying a large glass of milk on the way down from the counter. He is clearly a bit worse for wear, and walks straight into CHASTITY, spilling the contents all over her.]

Jim : [Leaning back to get a good look] Someone appears to be wearing my drink.

Clint : [To Chastity, smiling] First the pregnancy, now a white dress. You never cease to surprise me, Sist.

Jim : [Glances at Clint, before turning back to Chastity] Madam, I [drawls out the word for a good five seconds] presume that you [drawl] don't expect to marry me.

Alice : Oh no, Chas, it's awful hard to get the stain off when a guy splashes that white stuff all over your dress.

Austin : [To Chastity] I have the perfect thing [Hands Chastity a packet of super-absorbent disposable cloths]

Chastity : [Taking the clothes from Austin] Why, thank you. [Starts to dab off the milk. To Jim] Be more careful, my man. [Indicates to the milky clothing] I don't want to make a habit of this!

Nik: [To Jim] Proper concentration can prevent such accidents.

Austin : [Nodding smuttily, in agreement. To Nik] But it is fun just to let yourself go, sometimes.

Nik: [To Austion] Surely with so large a quantity, one can have troubles coping.

Austin : [To Nik] Yes, a large quantity can be overwhelming at times [Muses a while] Shall we examine the horses [Looks at Belle] Do you like to ride?

Jim : [Swaying slightly, and pointing at Chastity] I'm trying to be careful, but you, [pause] madam, stepped in front of me. You have [pause] completely compromised the integrity of my drink, you are now simply reeking of uh, milk, and I will thak you not to take that tone with uh, me.

Belle : Only if I get to use my whip.

[The man at the bar turns around, and leans back against it, elbows on the bar. It is MISTER BODDY.]

Boddy : [Putting an unlit joint into his mouth] Well, I don't think they look like freaks.

Austin : [Walks over to Belle] Naturally, dear lady, the whip is essential. When would suit you?

Belle : Bend over, lover boy, there's no time like the present.

Alice : [To the others] Hey, look at that guy at the bar!

Austin : [To Belle] Come this way [Gestures to the room they had the sandwiches in, offering his arm to escort her]

Nik: [Looks at the guy at the bar] Yes, what about him?

Belle : Oh no, here. Now.

[Some of the nearby customers begin a-whoopin' and a-hollerin'.]

Alice : [To Nik] We met him before - in the future, way in the future! [To the others] Didn't we?

Austin : [To Belle] Why?, they haven't paid [Gestures to the crowd. To Belle] I don't do shows for free. Do you?

Chastity : Considering all the confusion that occured when we last discussed the future, lets just say he looks familiar. [Pauses for thought] In fact, too familiar. [to Boddy] Where's your horse today?

Belle : [Grabs Austin by the shirt, and leans in close to him] You want me to do a show for you for free, don't you? It's so much more enjoyable when there's an audience. Now, strip!

Boddy : [Inclines his head sideways, as though surprised to be asked this question] Waiting outside. [Pauses for a second] Who are you?

[The bar has quietened down, although it isn't clear if it is to listen to this conversation or to watch AUSTIN and BELLE.]

Chastity : You look like someone we know, or will know, or [pauses, and starts again] You look very like someone we've met before. The name Darius doesn't meant anything to you? "whuppin'"

Boddy : Darius? [Shakes his head] Should it? [Lights his joint and takes a long drag]

Belle : [Turning away from Austin] You're not supposed to smoke that in here.

Boddy : I don't care.

Austin : [To Belle, pulls aways from her and straightens his shirt. To Belle] I have no intentions of performing in public, gratis or otherwise. Excuse me. [Walks over to the door outside]

Belle : [Catches Austin by the arm] Aw, come on, honey.

Austin : [Suprised at the invasion of personal space, frees his arm] I don't know what customs you have around here, but for now I must decline. [Walks to the door]

Faetan : [To Austin] Hold on there, sport, wait until we're all ready.

Belle : [Furious, and shouting at Austin] Get the hell out of my bar!

[STEWART JIMMIE, one of the customers, stands up and addresses AUSTIN.]

Stewart : Now, just hold on a minute here, that ain't no way to speak to a lady.

Nik: [Speaking to Harvey, gesturing towards Austin] Is he going to bring a horse in here?

Harvey : I'm not sure he needs to, seeing as how he's already made a horses ass of himself, what?

Nik: What?

Austin : [Waiting for Nik and Harvey to finish the 'what'ting. To Harvey] Colonel, what year was it that we experienced in our future incarnations?

Harvey : [Gives Nik a curious look, before turning to Austin] It was 1997, I believe, Private Sleaze.

Stewart : [Prodding Austin in the chest] I think you should apologise to the lady.

[BELLE, in the meantime, is walking towards BODDY, clearly meaning business.]

Austin : [To Stewart, brushing the prod marks] I already have, and had you been sober you would have heard me saying 'Excuse me' to the good lady. [Walks to the door and waits for the others]

Stewart : [Standing in front of Austin] Your words may have said it, but your heart sure didn't. Apologise to the lady, or I'll break your jaw.

Austin : [To Stewart] Very well [To Belle] I appologise, good lady, for any offence I have caused you. Your customs are unfamiliar to me.

Belle : Apology accepted, but get out, and take your freaky looking friends with you.

Alice : [To Harvey] Phew! At least that means we don't have to leave!

Austin : [To Belle] It will be a pleasure [To Harvey] She means all of the party [Walks out of the bar]

Alice : Amazing. Everywhere he goes, he spreads sunshine!

Belle : [To Boddy] I thought I told you that you couldn't smoke that in here.

Boddy : You did, and I told you that I didn't care.

Belle : [Grabbing someone's drink and throwing it over Boddy, extinguishing the joint] Now, what do you think about that?

Boddy : [Wiping his face] To tell the truth, I'm a bit pissed.

[In one quick movement, BODDY pulls out a dagger and stabs BELLE in the eye with it, much to the horror of those around her. She whirls away from him in shock and pain, with blood pouring from her left eye.]

Boddy : [Shrugging, as he pulls out another joint] But it'll pass.

Austin : [Stopping short of the door. To Body] I know she is quite a handful, but don't you think that was a bit harsh?

Boddy : [Shrugs] It's the end of the world. What does she care if I smoke in here or not?

Stewart : [Pulling out his gun] I'm going to kill you!

Alice : [To the others] What do we do? We've got to warn these people!

Austin : [To Body, laughing at the irony of it all] True, true [To Alice] Warn them about what exactly, honeybuns?

Alice : [Shocked] About him! [Thinks for a second] And maybe you!

Chastity : [Moving towards Belle] Let me help you.

Stewart : I'm telling you, I'm gonna shoot! [Points his gun at Boddy]

[Just as some other customers are moving towards him, BODDY nonchalantly pulls out and throws a dagger in one swift movement at STEWART, striking him just below the adam's apple.]

Boddy : It's gettin' so a soul can't have a drink in peace.

Faetan : Right! That's enough! [Pulls out her sword]

Nik: [To Boddy] I will have to ask you to stop your violent behaviour. I must warn you that my hands are deadly weapons, and should you not refrain from further aggressivity, my countermeassures might mean your death.

Boddy : [Steps away from the bar, and adopts a classic, rolling fists boxing stance] Unlikely!

Harvey : Very unlikely, Nik! That man is death on two legs. But usually he's on four, if you catch my meaning, private! [Looks around the bar] We can do nothing for these people, they're already dead.

Nik: [Assuming "The weasel", a defensive martial arts position.] Should we just stand by and watch relatively innocent people get killed?

Alice : No! [Draws her sword]

[BODDY punches NIK hard in the face and sends him flying to the ground.]

Boddy : Strike one to Mister Boddy!

Nik: [Gets up, assuming the same position] I'm a man of piece, and my patience is not nearly drawing thin. There's still time to find a peacefull solution.

Clint : [To Nik] I don't think so! [Pulls out his sword]

Faetan : Too right, Clint! Besides, he kinda reminds me of someone that I don't think I like... [Puzzles about it for a moment, then shrugs and leaps forward] Grrr-bahhhh! [Just as CLINT, FAETAN and ALICE start to advance on BODDY, the doors are kicked open. Enter PESTILENCE SOTOT, carrying STILL BENNER's head on his shoulder.]

Pestilence : [With a look of mock concern] Is there a doctor in the house? I appear to have a growth on my shoulder.

Chastity : [Looks up, surpised, from wrapping one of her tea towels round Belle's head to cover her left eye. To Clint] Clint, haven't you and your friendly sword already had the pleasure of dispatching him?

Clint : We surely did, Chas. It definitely seems like this world is upside down. And I don't have Beau with me this time.

Pestilence : Beau? You mean [mock dramatic pause and a big smile] Beaucaphalus The Wonder Sword? [Pulls out a sword that is identical to Beaucaphalus]

Beaucaphalus : Behold! I am the mighty Beaucaphalus!

[The people in the bar begin to back away, cowering into corners. One or two make a break for it out through the windows, but this is soon followed by blood curdling screams. The only people still standing are BODDY, the party and MEREDITH, who approaches PESTILENCE.]

Meredith : Mr. Pestilence, please, haven't you done enough to us?

Pestilence : Done enough? Done enough? Guy, we haven't even started yet!

[PESTILENCE throws STILL's head to MEREDITH, who catches it, only to see PESTILENCE disembowel him with BEAUCAPHALUS.]

Beaucaphalus : Oooh yeah!

Austin : [Gives Temporidus to Clint] I hope you know how to use Temporidus. [Readdies his sling] I am sure that Mr Body was acting in self defence!

Nik: [Moves up next to Clint, assuming "The Cobra", agressive martial arts position] I'll be by your side, battling this vile crature.

Clint : [To Temporidus] I hope you're ready for this. [To Pestilence] I see dying once is not enough for you. You keep coming for more.

Temporidus : I am Temporidus the Wonder Sword! I am ready for anything!

Pestilence : [To Clint] Dying once? I haven't died yet, guy, but maybe you can see into the future. [Gives a big smile] Then again, if that's true, then I sure hope we won't all be wearing that get up then!

[PESTILENCE swings hard, and almost knocks CLINT over as the two swords clash.]

Boddy : [Looks to the huddled crowd, most of whom, despite having guns, haven't even taken them out] Now, I don't like to complain much, but I'm pretty miffed that I came into a crowded bar, a bar who's existence, might I add, is due to my magnanimity, that no one even recognised me. Terrified-Customer-#1 : But, who are you?

Boddy : [With a smile] I'm Death. The shy one.

Austin : [To Boddy, looking worried] You could have chosen a better bar to save.

Boddy : [Gives Austin a curious look, before looking around at the rest of the party] You know, I'm not sure.

Clint : [To Castity, while trying to parry the blows from Pestilence] Pestilence hasn't died, and Darius doesn't go by his name. This must be a dream, or rather a nightmare. I wonder how can we wake up.

Pestilence : [Swinging and hitting Clint] Now, where did you get that nice sword from, my friend?

Harvey : [Swinging and hitting Pestilence, but doing no damage] Gah! We're in trouble, troop!

Boddy : Let the games begin! [Drops a tiny black ball on the floor, and, suddenly, the room goes pitch black]

Nik: [Attacking Pestilence] Vile beast, I'll be the death of you.

Austin : [To Nik] I hope so. Let him eat you, he might choke to death. [The room descends into chaos, filled with sounds of screaming. It is so dark that none of the party can see anything. Everyone is pushed and pulled around, until eventually, after about five minutes, the screaming stops. None of the party are sure of where they are, but everyone is crushed up against what are clearly other bodies.]

Pestilence : Where are they?

Boddy : I don't know - let's just back out of here and set the place alight, I don't like the look of that sword.

Pestilence : Excellent - I'm in a mood for burnin'.

[The party can hear the sounds of people leaving the room.]

Alice : [Whispering, after a few minutes] Hey, can any one hear me?

Austin : [Whispering to Alice] Shhhs, it could be a trick.

Alice : [Whispering too loudly] What? Speak up!

Harvey : [In the traditional, Harvey-style whisper] Quiet, niece! [Blaring] He said it could be a trick!

[Some of the people are clearly still alive, as there is much moaning and groaning going on.]

Nik: [In a clear voice] A Trick? You think so?

Austin : [To Nik] It is of little consequence, as they are either going to kill us or burn us alive. [Austin tries to wriggle free].

Clint : They seemed to be affraid of Temporidus, so we better get out there and try to do something with it, rather than staying here and getting burned alive. [Tries to free himself]

Alice : You know, this mightn't be the right time to say this, but when it went dark, someone distinctly pulled me over here, and plonked me down on this spot, right on top of what feels like a handle. Either that or it's a hand. Hey!

Austin : As I mentioned before, Darius, aka Mr. Body appears to be on ourside, but has infiltrated the horsemen in order to engineer their demise. If he had acknowledged us he would have given himself away, perhaps he saved us. Alice, pull the handle, it may be an escape route.

Austin : [Whispering to Alice] Shhhs, it could be a trick.

Alice : [Whispering too loudly] What? Speak up!

Harvey : [In the traditional, Harvey-style whisper] Quiet, niece! [Blaring] He said it could be a trick!

[Some of the people are clearly still alive, as there is much moaning and groaning going on.]

Nik: [In a clear voice] A Trick? You think so?

Austin : [To Nik] It is of little consequence, as they are either going to kill us or burn us alive. [Austin tries to wriggle free].

Clint : They seemed to be affraid of Temporidus, so we better get out there and try to do something with it, rather than staying here and getting burned alive. [Tries to free himself]

Alice : You know, this mightn't be the right time to say this, but when it went dark, someone distinctly pulled me over here, and plonked me down on this spot, right on top of what feels like a handle. Either that or it's a hand. Hey!

Austin : As I mentioned before, Darius, aka Mr. Body appears to be on ourside, but has infiltrated the horsemen in order to engineer their demise. If he had acknowledged us he would have given himself away, perhaps he saved us. Alice, pull the handle, it may be an escape route.

Austin : [Whispering to Alice] Shhhs, it could be a trick.

Alice : [Whispering too loudly] What? Speak up!

Harvey : [In the traditional, Harvey-style whisper] Quiet, niece! [Blaring] He said it could be a trick!

[Some of the people are clearly still alive, as there is much moaning and groaning going on.]

Nik: [In a clear voice] A Trick? You think so?

Austin : [To Nik] It is of little consequence, as they are either going to kill us or burn us alive. [Austin tries to wriggle free].

Clint : They seemed to be affraid of Temporidus, so we better get out there and try to do something with it, rather than staying here and getting burned alive. [Tries to free himself]

Alice : You know, this mightn't be the right time to say this, but when it went dark, someone distinctly pulled me over here, and plonked me down on this spot, right on top of what feels like a handle. Either that or it's a hand. Hey!

Austin : As I mentioned before, Darius, aka Mr. Body appears to be on ourside, but has infiltrated the horsemen in order to engineer their demise. If he had acknowledged us he would have given himself away, perhaps he saved us. Alice, pull the handle, it may be an escape route.

Clint : [To Alice] But pull gently, it might not be a handle after all.

Austin : [Crawls to where Alice's voice came from] I'm sure Alice is quite an expert on the matter, Clint.

Alice : Right. Hm, it's quite stuck, I think. Hang on.

[There follows the sounds of grunting, followed by a creaking of hinge, and then someone being punched in the face.]

Alice : Ow! Last form dom #71

Nik: She knows how to handle a handle?

Harvey : Alice, are you okay?

Alice : No! I hit my face with the trap door!

Faetan : [Wryly] I guess she doesn't.

Austin : [To Alice] Make sure there is nothing ontop of the trapdoor before you open it. [Austin helps Alice to check] Get a firm grip, and pull.

Clint : [To Nik] Austin on the contrary is an expert handle handler.

Austin : [To Nik] Of course Clint is not as he has to little to practice with.

Clint : Whereas Austin always makes sure he's got a good practice session on his lonely nights. [Pause] He's got a lot of practice.

Ausitn : [To Nik] Clint prefers sheep.

Austin : [Whispering to Alice] Shhhs, it could be a trick.

Alice : [Whispering too loudly] What? Speak up!

Harvey : [In the traditional, Harvey-style whisper] Quiet, niece! [Blaring] He said it could be a trick!

[Some of the people are clearly still alive, as there is much moaning and groaning going on.]

Nik: [In a clear voice] A Trick? You think so?

Austin : [To Nik] It is of little consequence, as they are either going to kill us or burn us alive. [Austin tries to wriggle free].

Clint : They seemed to be affraid of Temporidus, so we better get out there and try to do something with it, rather than staying here and getting burned alive. [Tries to free himself]

Alice : You know, this mightn't be the right time to say this, but when it went dark, someone distinctly pulled me over here, and plonked me down on this spot, right on top of what feels like a handle. Either that or it's a hand. Hey!

Austin : As I mentioned before, Darius, aka Mr. Body appears to be on ourside, but has infiltrated the horsemen in order to engineer their demise. If he had acknowledged us he would have given himself away, perhaps he saved us. Alice, pull the handle, it may be an escape route.

Clint : [To Alice] But pull gently, it might not be a handle after all.

Austin : [Crawls to where Alice's voice came from] I'm sure Alice is quite an expert on the matter, Clint.

Alice : Right. Hm, it's quite stuck, I think. Hang on.

[There follows the sounds of grunting, followed by a creaking of hinge, and then someone being punched in the face.]

Alice : Ow! Last form dom #71

Nik: She knows how to handle a handle?

Harvey : Alice, are you okay?

Alice : No! I hit my face with the trap door!

Faetan : [Wryly] I guess she doesn't.

Austin : [To Alice] Make sure there is nothing ontop of the trapdoor before you open it. [Austin helps Alice to check] Get a firm grip, and pull.

Clint : [To Nik] Austin on the contrary is an expert handle handler.

Austin : [To Nik] Of course Clint is not as he has to little to practice with.

Clint : Whereas Austin always makes sure he's got a good practice session on his lonely nights. [Pause] He's got a lot of practice.

Ausitn : [To Nik] Clint prefers sheep.

Alice : We are still talking about the trap door, right? [Shocked cry] Hey! Someone just grabbed my left breast. [Sound of someone being slapped] Ow! Someone just slapped me!

[Creeaaak! The door is slowly opened.]

Alice : Right, I've got it open, but it's pitch dark down here too.

Clint : I'm not sure we should rush in. Last time we rushed into something we ended up being sent to this foresaken place. [To Austin] Women don't like being called sheep, you know.

Harvey : Behave yourselves, men! Let there be no more talk of sheep until we get out of this place. By the saints, I'd swear it's getting hot in here!

[This is indeed the case. There is also the sound of flames, but it is still pitch dark.]

Nik: In the cold north, where I hail from, men are generally only concerned with war. we let the women handle other matters, big or small.

Alice : Interesting Nik, but not particularly helpful. I'll try and light a torch.

[Cue sounds of torch being lit.]

Alice : Ow! It burnt me, but I couldn't see it!

Austin : [To Alice] That is because we are in a magical darkness caused by the black sphere, I suspect this places is on fire right now but we can't see it. We should go down through the trap door now! [Tries to get down through the opening, feeling his way for a staircase] Follow me!

Alice : Oh-kay! [Slides down, causing a squelching sound as she does so] Hey, it's nice and soft down here!

Clint : [Trying to find the trap door] Whatever you do, don't get your hands on me with the excuse of lack of light, lawyer. [Steps on someone's genitals] Oups.

Harvey : Quickly, it's getting warmer in here. Ah, there it is.

[HARVEY and CLINT descend, finding that ALICE and AUSTIN are already down. It is still pitch dark, however. The others are all now at the edge of the trap door, and each can feel that there is someone there, although not who it is.]

Alice : Hey, wouldn't it be really evil if Darius sneaked down here with us?

Clint : [Reaching for Temporidus] Or even worse, Pestilence?

Austin : [To Alice, grunt] You landed on me [Lifting Alice off him. To Alice] Why would Darius sneaking down here be evil?

[Wriggles away from AUSTIN, as he tries to shift her.]

Alice : Because, er, because if he made us *think* we were going to escape, only to then kill us, it would be really awful, wouldn't it?

[From a short distance away, a flicker of light is approaching the party.]

Austin : [To Alice] Yes, yes it would be really awful. [Austin get into a crouch and moves towards the light] Lets go, help is comming.

Nik: [Climbing down the stairs] What an intriguing plot this Darius is engeneering.

Nik: It's hard to observe the appropriate caution, when things are happening so fast.

Faetan : Well, let's make them happen a little faster. [Trots forward and sheaths her sword] Hey! Who's there?

Alice : Oh, pooh on your caution! Who needs it? [Trips and falls over] Ow!

[Enter SVEN GORING, carrying a large glowing orb.]

Sven : Hail and well met! I fear I am too late to save anyone not in the tunnel, for the fire outside is burning hard, but what is success without the spectre of failure? [Leans back and bellows a hearty laugh] Sven Goring's the name - Goring by name, and goring by nature.

Alice : Sven?

Sven : [Getting closer so the party can see him clearly] That's me! [Does a double take on the party] Woah! Fancy dress party, was it? Haw!

Alice : [Punching Harvey on the arm] I told you! I told you we'd meet him again?

Harvey : Er, did you?

Clint : Yes she did. In fact she said we'd meet him in the dark place. [Punches Sven hard on the shoulder] And goring by memory! Don't you remember us?

Sven : [Looks at Clint in surprise, before touching his shoulder and smiling] Hah! [Punches Clint's shoulder, slightly harder] I'm afraid I don't, and I'm quite sure that if I met a group as lovely as this, [eyes roam across Alice and Faetan] I'd remember. Come on, follow me, let's get out of here before the place burns completely - we can talk as we go. Last Conor #92

Faetan : [Going rigid with shock] It...it can't be... [Swallows hard, then continues in a squeak] Can it...?

Alice : It looks like it... Hey! Where's Flyd? [Looks back at the trap door] Oh no! He didn't make it.

Sven : [Stops and looks back] I'm afraid if there's someone left, there's no going back - unless he got out before the fire spread, he's spending tonight in Valhalla.

Alice : What about tomorrow night?

Sven : [Thinks] Valhalla.

Alice : And the night after that?

Sven : That would also be Valhalla.

Alice : [Thinking hard] So, [pause] that would mean that the night after that again he'd be in?

Sven : [Laughs] Haw! You had me going there, friend! [Big flirty wink at Alice] Come on, no time for joking now, let's just get beyond the saloon.

[ALICE says nothing, but looks around her, puzzled.]

Clint : It looks like no-one knows us, but they're all on the same side as we know them to be, so it should be safe to follow Sven. [Looks back] But what about the fat g..., er, Flyd?

Faetan : [Following Sven in a daze, eyes wide as she stares up at him] How did...? [Trails off, blinks, and shakes her head] Is Peter still with you?

Harvey : Yet another casualty in this senseless war against evil, private Scar! Gah! Our path may cross with Mr Flyds again, in the future, or even the past, perhaps! [Turns to Sven] Well met again, good sir! It does this old soldiers heart good to see you alive and well! We'd thought you were dead, old boy!

Sven : [As the group emerges into daylight] Dead? Haw! Not likely, old Sven is wiley enough to keep away from those horsemen. [Glances at Faetan] Peter? Don't know the guy, but if he's friends with you lot, I'm sure he's a top man. [Pause, but still smiling] So, you mob obviously know me, but I'd remember meeting with a bunch who dressed as oddly as you, so what's the story? [Sven, of course, is still dressed as a viking.]

Faetan : [Weak smile] Wish I knew... Say, um...would you happen to know of a Himo Jarl...perchance? [Fidgets]

Clint : Here we go again... [Nods affirmatively to Sven, muttering the words "say you heard of him!"]

Sven : No, I - [glances at Clint] Oh, HIMO Jarl! [Big smile] Sure I do! The old bastard, how is he? [Out of the side of his mouth to Clint] It is a he, right?

Alice : No, but Himo is! [FAETAN glares hotly at CLINT, but says nothing and looks hopefully towards SVEN]

Nik: [To Sven] Mayhap, my well-met friend, you would disclose the nature of you presence at this time and place?

Sven : Of course, of course! When I heard that this bar was left standing, I suspected it was part of a plan by the horsemen - you know, making people believe they'd survived, only to kill them again? That would really by Death's style. I had hoped to try and get more people out, but I was too late. [Looks around the party] So, what's your story?

Austin : [To Sven patting on the back] Good to see you again. The last time we met was in 1278, hence our dated [Looking at his brand new suit in disgust] clothing, when we unfortunately witnessed your demise at the hands of the horsemen. [Wincing at the memory] We also died in that conflict but managed to escape from Hell. Peter was your comrade. Time travel has bought us together here, and I suspect that our past could be your future, but rest assured, Valhalla will be yours.

Sven : [Gives Austin a curious look] You're saying that you - [breaks off] 1278? [Gives a doubtful smile] Come on, guys, trying to have some fun at old Sven's expense, eh? How old do you think I am? I was only born in 1482! Your past is my future? I don't know, guys, there are some strange things going on here, but you're gonna have to do a whole lot better than that to convince me!

Austin : [To Sven] Are you a Hierophantic Knight yet? Ever met a curious fellow called Darius?

Nik: [To Sven] It is quite possible that we have travelled in time, using a magical device. The problem is that we were tricked, and thus do not know how long forwards, or backwards, we have travelled. Our 1278 might thus come after your 1512, if, for instance, another count has been begun.

Chastity : The problem is also compounded by calendar changes. The church did at one point reset the calendar to begin round the birthday of the prophet Thaldus. We may be in a land where this change did not happen.

Sven : Hierophantic Knight? [Shakes his head] Sorry, friend, I don't know what you're talking about - but I will tell you this, you're starting to freak me out!

Alice : [Looking from Nik to Chastity and back again] *Back* in time? Well, that might explain why Boddy didn't know who Darius was, or why Pestilence didn't recognise Clint, or why Beaucaphalus didn't recognise us, or Sven didn't recognise us.

Nik:[Speaking slowly] Yes..., back in time... It seems more and more likely, the more you think of it. Didn't someone mention that those Knights didn't age? That way Sven could be here now, become a knight later, and then live on for thousand of years. But then, what foul scheme are we pawns in? We should be very cautious.

Sven : A thousand years? [Puts his head back and gives a huge belly laugh] If can live for a thousand years, then let's throw caution to the wind! In fact, maybe I could even take on Iok!

Austin : [Smiling] Excellent, we have gone back in time [Straightens his cuffs] So this suit is the height of fashion. [Smiles and straightens his cuffs once more, checks his hair in his pocket mirror, inspects Maplin and smiles again. To the party] You may take photographs if you wish.

Alice : Yay! I think it would be great to get some shots of the landscape!

Miguel : So let me get this straight, we've gone back in time to where the original four horsemen were rampaging around, there are neither Hierophantic nor Fundamentalist Knights, no one is evening trying to stop the horsemen and [with a trace of panic in his voice] Louis XIV hasn't even been invented yet?

Harvey : On top of that, we have only one magic weapon, but what about Darius? Or Boddy?

Chastity : No, Austin. Your suit has gone from being out of date by a couple of hundred years to being probably a thousand years out of fashion.

Austin : [Laughs at Chastity] Never mind, no one would ever expect a nun to understand the intricacies of fashion and time-travel. [To Harvey] Darius does appear to have saved us once more.

Sven : Haw! [Gives Austin a friendly punch on the shoulder, making him stagger a little] Think of it this way, Austin, you're going to be setting a trend!

Harvey : That is indeed the case, Private. But the question is why? If we really have been sent back in time, then he doesn't know who we are, yet has still saved us. Most rum and uncanny.

Austin : [Staggers back to his feet. To Harvey] As I have mentioned before, I believe that he may have infiltrated the horsemen, that is why so many of those upstairs were not dead, he probably just knocked them to the floor, acting the part.

Chastity : Perhaps seeing Clint holding Temporidus made him think that he could use us to make him more powerful. He's perhaps realised this when we first met him and realised that he had to keep us alive to send us back to help him. That would explain why he's been helping us along so far.

Harvey : So Darius has gone back in time too?

Alice : [Points back at the saloon] I don't think they are acting, Austin, look! [The saloon is burning away.]

Alice : [Wide eyed at Chastity] Wow, Chastity, that's such a sneaky plan that it's the kind of thing I'd expect Darius to come up with!

Austin : [To Alice] I meant Darius, not the punters. [To Chastity, smiling] At least you are trying Chassers, better luck next time. [Looks down the passage from where Sven came. To Sven] Where does this lead to?

Alice : [Puzzled] What? If they weren't dead, why would they stay in a burning building?

Sven : It doesn't really lead anywhere, Oz, this used to be an escape route if the bar was raided after hours by the cops.

Chastity : Where as you, lawyer, are just trying!

Sven : [Laughs loudly at Chastity] Haw! What a group!

Austin : [To Chastity] Handbags at dawn [Make a gun with his hand and pretends to shoot Chastity] Well it is part of my job, where as for you it is just another habit, pun intended. [To Sven] shall we proceed with the escape then?

Chastity : [Looking around] With the lack of Horsemen and burning bar around us I thought we had escaped? Maybe a plan to combat Pestilence and the other evil fiends is in order. [To Sven] Do you have any comrades in arms?

Nik: [To Sven] Was the place raided by puppies? Intrieguing!

Sven : [Doubtfully] Ye-es, I guess it would have been. [To Austin] Good old Chassers here is correct - we have indeed escaped. Unfortunately, I don't have any comrades in arms - I was with a group who was pursuing the horsemen, with the intent of getting more people to join us, but we were ambushed by one of their mopping up crews - everyone else was either killed or deserted. But yes, yes! A plan to defeat Iok and the others is definitely in order.

Nik: A cautious plan, I might add.

Sven : Haw! What a sense of humour! [Slaps Nik hard on the back] The time for caution is finished - now's the time for reckless self-endangerment and careless and foolish plans. [Glances at Alice] What do you say?

Alice : [Smiling broadly] If you want careless and foolish plans, then I'm your man!

Austin : [To Sven] She means that she is your woman, if you require a foolish one.

Chastity : Careless and foolish. And not necessarily in that order, such is the diversity of the girl.

Austin : [Feigned astonishment] Did I say foolish? I meant careless, as in carefree, [To Sven] as Alice is when you are here. Such is your prowess and charisma. [Checks his nails]

Nik: [To Sven, in a flat voice] I've never been the humour type, but I caught that one.

Austin : [To Nik] Your vis comica is unsurpassed {Checks the shine on his shoes

Alice : [Dryly, to Nik] If you caught that one, then I fear your sense of humour is as poorly developed as Austin's.

Sven : [Gives Austin a sceptical look, that slowly breaks into a smile] Oh, yes, yes! [Does a quick tickle of Austin, one finger on either side, causing him to squirm away] What a sense of mischief, what a group! [Steps back] I don't know if I buy your story about time travel, but if you're up for it, I'd be honoured to join such cool group. [Shakes his head, still smiling] Such is my prowess and charisma, haw!

Faetan : [Grinning] Back in time, then... This is wonderful! I know EXACTLY who to find! We have to locate Corwyn Jarl, he's connected to the Hierophantic Knights! Eeeeeeee!

Sven : [Suspiciously] Corwyn Jarl? What does he look like?

Faetan : [Pauses in her reply, finger half-raised] I... I don't really know... I think Da said he had dark hair, and intense green eyes that just infiltrated your soul... You've heard of him, yes?

Alice : Yeah, maybe you spotted him across a crowded bar, when your eyes locked in an intense embrace?

Sven : Well, I met *a* Corwyn, who had dark hair. I don't know if that's him, because he certainly didn't look like a Knight, and well, if that is him, I think there may be a problem.

Faetan : [Blink] What kind of problem?

Sven : I think I may have broken his jaw.

Faetan : YOU WHAT?!?!?! [Sputters for a few moments] But...WHY?

Sven : I couldn't help it! He was the most obnoxious, arrogant and downright aggressive person I've ever met.

Alice : That's gotta be him!

Faetan : [Smiles fondly, going dreamy-eyed] Grandpa...

Alice : What? Grandpa is 1200 years old? Or more??

Austin : [To Faetan] Let's not get carried away here. There are quite a few guys around with dark hair, Clint for one.

Faetan : [Sizes up Clint] Really? I thought it was just dark from the grease... And yeah, Grandpa was one of those knights who lived for a really long time. Sort of like... [Glances at Sven] Well, sort of like a viking we knew.

Austin : [To All] Well let's not stand around here fantisising about it, let's do something, action not words, lets put facts where presently there is only fiction.

Faetan : [Nodding] Right-o! Come on, monster! [Pounds Sven's shoulder]

Alice : Yes, yes, Austin! That's what we need, action and not words!

Clint : [Punching into the palm of his hand] Exactly, we need to get off our asses, and do something.

Harvey : Hear hear! We need to stop just standing around, wasting time and talking nonsense.

Chastity : It's just like my third husband, George, used to say, there's a time for talk, and a time for action. We've already seen the time for talk, and God knows there's been enough for that, we need action!

Nik : For once, I counsel action too. We have spent enough time talking.

Alice : [Applauding Nik] Yeaah! No more talk, just action!

[The party continue in this vein for a while as SVEN speaks.]

Sven : [To Faetan] Monster? Hah! If that Corwyn really is your Grandpa, it's you that we'll be calling monster from now on!

Alice : [Breaking out of the "No more talk, action" cycle] At least it's better than what we've been calling her so far!

Faetan : Say whatever you want, I'm in too good a mood to feel like punching you right now! [Proudly walks next to Sven, and sticks her tongue out at Alice] Nyeh!

Alice : Put that thing away, Faetan, God only knows where it's been.

Faetan : [Smirk] As for you, yours is only a question of where it hasn't-- [Stops, glances ahead] Ahem. Let's keep walking.

Alice : Yes, why don't you? The rest of us will stay here and continue discussing our plan of action.

Faetan : Yeah, well, keep walking while you do. Remember what happened the LAST time we stood around bickering in a tunnel after facing those demons.

Alice : [Sigh] Keep walking where? [Shakes her head, before glancing at her notebook and reading softly to herself] Brash, loud and pushy.

Nik: [To Sven] My friend, we are strangers here. We cannot make intelligent and cautious battle-plans, lest we have information. Tell us all you know, no detail is to insignificant.

Chastity : Well not quite alll you know. For a start, do you know how we can get to Insomnia, as that seems to be the only place left by the horsemen.

Sven : The best way to there would be on my wagon! [Turns to Nik] The Sister is right, my cautious friend. Time is running out, if I spend all my time trying to fill everybody in on the details, we could be too late.

Chastity : [To the group] Right then, lets get the show on the road. [Seeing ALice's eyes light up at the chance to dirve a wagon again. To Sven] Emm, I take it you will be driving?

Nik: I'm an excellent driver.

Austin : [To Nik] Good, because I am an excellent passenger. [Examines his nails, then looks back to Nik] and traveling companion. Do you do shoes too?

Sven : [To Chastity] Well, unless someone else wan-

Alice : [Interrupting] Me! Me! Me!

Chastity : [To Sven] I think you had better drive. We don't have the time for Austin to inevitably bring out the necessary paperwork to cover Alice's driving. We had decided that time was more of the essence.

Nik: [To Austin] No, I prefer to walk barefoot. It's good for the health, and it builds character. In extreme climates [Displaying a pair of straw-sandals, attached to his belt] I wear these. [To Alice] Sure, I was just offering my help.

Clint : [Running] I'll get there first! I won't be Contagion's dog! [Stops for a moment] Errrr... where's the wagon?

Austin : Sven know the way, and the horses will be familiar to his voice, always handy when being attack by indian and the likes, if you horses know who is boss.

Harvey : Alice, fairs fair now! I've had a chance driving, as have you. It's only right that someone else get a turn, eh! [Turns to Sven] Then, by your leave, lead on, good fellow! Last fro mColin #161

Sven : [Clapping Harvey on the back] Haw! I knew you were brave right from the start. [Gives a big toothy grin at the others] I hope you're all ready for some reckless and foolhardy driving! [Starts walking towards a large piece of tarpaulin.]

Alice : [Sulkily] Reckless and foolhardy driving? And this you all choose instead of me? Fine.

Sven : [Pulls off the tarp, to reveal a "Little House on the Prairie" type wagon] Here we go. There are clothes inside that you can change into so you'll all be a little less conspicuous.

[Exit ALL, into the wagon.]

Chastity : [To Sven] I think you had better drive. We don't have the time for Austin to inevitably bring out the necessary paperwork to cover Alice's driving. We had decided that time was more of the essence.

Nik: [To Austin] No, I prefer to walk barefoot. It's good for the health, and it builds character. In extreme climates [Displaying a pair of straw-sandals, attached to his belt] I wear these. [To Alice] Sure, I was just offering my help.

Clint : [Running] I'll get there first! I won't be Contagion's dog! [Stops for a moment] Errrr... where's the wagon?

Austin : Sven know the way, and the horses will be familiar to his voice, always handy when being attack by indian and the likes, if you horses know who is boss.

Harvey : Alice, fairs fair now! I've had a chance driving, as have you. It's only right that someone else get a turn, eh! [Turns to Sven] Then, by your leave, lead on, good fellow! Last fro mColin #161

Sven : [Clapping Harvey on the back] Haw! I knew you were brave right from the start. [Gives a big toothy grin at the others] I hope you're all ready for some reckless and foolhardy driving! [Starts walking towards a large piece of tarpaulin.]

Alice : [Sulkily] Reckless and foolhardy driving? And this you all choose instead of me? Fine.

Sven : [Pulls off the tarp, to reveal a "Little House on the Prairie" type wagon] Here we go. There are clothes inside that you can change into so you'll all be a little less conspicuous.

[Exit ALL, into the wagon.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene V. Inside the carriage. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CLINT, AUSTIN, CHASTTY, SVEN and FAETAN are here. The carriage contains a large chest, full of Wild West type clothes. There is a large selection, so each party member can choose what they want.]

Alice : [Holding up a "Mrs. Ingles" type dress, and a can-can type hooker dress] Wow, just the stuff for us, Chas!

Sven : [Smiles at the hooker dress] Haw! You should probably know that the type of women who wear those dresses also wear an awful lot of make - [breaks off] You'll be fine!

Austin : [Manages to find a smart black suit with scarlet silk lining, a Blunt Yeastwood style black hat and, of course some black aligator skin cowboy boots with gold plated spurs] Huuh, these will have to do I suppose. The things I have to wear in the name of saving the world.

Austin : [Manages to find a smart black suit with scarlet silk lining, a Blunt Yeastwood style black hat and, of course some black aligator skin cowboy boots with gold plated spurs] Huuh, these will have to do I suppose. The things I have to wear in the name of saving the world.

Chastity : Oh very inconspicuous. [To Alice] I'd recommend the high neck dress, my dear. Less danger of [indicates towards her bosom] spillage. [Picks up a can-can dancers outfit aswell as a pilgrim-style dress.] Hmmm. [Rips off the dress part of the can-can dress, leaving the corset in one hand and the pilgrims dress in the other] Time to resurrect my hour-glass figure, [looking round the group self-consciously] in the name of disguise, you understand. [Heads out of the wagon to quickly change]

Austin : [To Chastity] I'll hardly be inconspicuous travelling with a nun dressed half as a prostitute and half as a pilgrim, [Pauses] with a massive studded dildo hanging from her belt. I think I look quite the part.

Alice : Hour glass figure? [Thinks for a second] I always thought they were shaped like this. [Traces out an hourglass in the air.]

Harvey : [Putting on a John Wayne style cowboy outfit] Let us wait and see what marvels her corsetry can provide!

Sven : So, do you want to head straight to Insomnia? Or shall we make a detour and pick up grandpa? [Chastity can be heard muttering to herself on the other side of the wagon, out of view]

Chastity : If I just put this corset on first...[grunt]...like...[groan]...Oh, my eye!...[grunt, groan]...so. Now tie the cords to the wagon to tighten in up [pause] and step away... [The wagon suddenly lurches sideways]

Chastity :...a bit more maybe... [Another lurch. Small boxes topple onto the floor, and a couple of party members grabbing arms to support themselves]

Chastity :[slightly wheezy] Just one more time... [The wagon tips briefly onto two wheels, as if a herd of buffalo have hit it side on, before crashing back down onto all four wheels. A huge cloud of dust can be seen to have been blown up outside]

Chastity : [A bit breathless] Now, put the dress on over the top. [pause, with starched linen rustlings], put my back belt on [with obvious glee] a notch or two up, and we're done. [Chastity steps back into the wagon, who's suspension is still bouncing and squeeking from the drop down, brushing dust from her hair]

Chastity : There you are, back to my youthful figure. [Of course, there is virually no visible difference in Chastity's figure at all]

Austin : [Dusting himeself off. To Chastity] Amazing what a corset can do, it almost destroyed the wagon.

Chastity : [Running her hands over her hips] Much like this figure destroyed many a mans heart in my youth. by

Nik: [Looking down on his clothes] This attire has served me well on numerous occasions, so I'll stick to it.

Alice : [Wondering out loud to herself] Did she sit on someone in her youth? [Turns to Austin] Just imagine, if the corset is almost powerful enough to destroy the wagon, what could it do to you?

Sven : [To Nik] Well, far be it from me to criticise a man who wants to adventure in his pyjamas, but mark my words, you're going to attract a lot of attention in that crazy get up. [Plucks an apple from the tip of one of his helmet horns and starts eating it.]

Chastity : [To Nik] It may be best to change. We do have to be practical, you know. [With much corset creaking, tries vainly to pick a hat up off the ground, before giving up and flipping it up into the air with her foot] It'll be OK. These corset ties always loosen off after a while.

Clint : [Picking up a pair of dirty trousers, and a greasy white shirt] I suppose I'll have to wear these. But they look way too new. [Puts the clothes on the ground, and jumps on them for a while] Much better. Time to change, ladies! [Takes off his own trousers and shirt, and puts on the new ones]

Austin : [To Clint, in disgust] Too new, for what? A Scarecrow? Firelighters?

Chastity : [Quickly looks about, sniffing] Who's got cheese?

Clint : [To Austin, while putting on a pair of boots, with holes on their soles] In case you didn't understand, we're trying to pass unnoticed. Something you don't seem to be familiar with. [Picks up a typical cowboy hat, with a bullet hole in it] Perfect. [To Chastity] How do I look, Chassers?

Austin : [To Clint] Well I hope for their sake they can't smell, otherwise they'll notice you in the next state.

Chastity : Suffice to say that if we bump into any of your relatives, we may have trouble telling you apart. You look every part a man who engages in the sins of drinking, gambling and fighting in bars. Well done.

Clint : [To Chastity] Thanks Chassers! Although I better not tell you what kind of woman you look like. [Points up to the sky] You know, He might be offended.

Chastity : Thank you for being so considerate, but Phili understands that my new super slim youthful look is to help in his work, not through any personal vanity.

Austin : Yes, he wouldn't fall for the disguise, he's not that stupid [Gets out his nail polisher and starts manicuring Maplin's nails]

Nik: [Picking up some cheap, yet clean grey trousers, and a shirt of fading yellow colours, alonf with a farmers worn-out straw hat] This will have to do then. [To Sven] I can trust you in safekeeping my clothes?

Sven : Haw! Are you asking me or telling me, friend? We'll keep your clothes in the carriage, in this very chest, so there won't be any - [gets momentarily distracted at Alice changing into her saloon girl dress] ahm, [shakes his head and looks away, glancing at Clint] Excellent, excellent, that's a really good look for you - you might want to keep your name quiet though - I'm not sure anyone is going to believe a cowboy called Clint.

Harvey : [Tips his hat to Chastity] Why sister, you do look the very personification of youth itself in that outfit! [Looks around at the party] Well done lads, we certainly look the part now, eh! [To Sven] I think we'll head straight to Insomnia, Sven!

Faetan : [Picking at the dresses distastefully] Urgh... I think I'll go butch. [Picks out a leather-fringed vest and loose rust-colored long-sleeved shirt, keeping her breeches as they are and pulling on some cowboy boots...glaring at anyone that tries to sneak a peek though she does nothing to hide herself in changing] There. Better. Now for the hat... [Tries to jam the hat on her head, but the hair springs back up and tosses the hat across the wagon] Bah. Hats are for the weak.

Harvey : [Looks around at everyone else wearing a hat] Well, madam, I think you are very wrong there! And we can't have you looking completely out of place among a nation of hatwearers, can we! [Looks around and finds a Laura Engles style bonnet] There you go, my dear. It even has straps to tie around your chin!

Faetan : [Stares horrifically at the bonnet] Are you crazy?! I'd rather vomit blood from my eyes than wear THAT!

Alice : [Impatiently] Come on, Uncle Harvey! She's clearly going for the lesbian look, that's entirely the wrong kind of hat. What she needs is a pierced nose and a headscarf. Why, once she has those, she can start backpacking across Asia!

Faetan : [Stares blankly at Alice for a moment] Okay...whatever... The scarf is a good idea, though. [Rummages about for a paisley handkerchief and ties it at her throat]

Alice : [With an evil smile] You wanna tie that a little tighter?

Faetan : [With an eviller smile] You wanna boot up your butt?

Alice : What's that? Some kind of lesbian precursor to anal sex? No thanks.

Faetan : [Getting angry] Hey slut, watch your mouth! There's a nun present!

Harvey : [Gasps in shock] Enough private! This is not some fancy dress festival we're attending, we must blend in with the rest of these people! Now, if that means wearing some odd futuristic styled headgear, then that's exactly what you will do! This is not a fashion parade, it's a mission from God! Now, find yourself a hat, put it on, and stop trying to cause trouble, just for troubles sake! [Turns to Sven and shakes his head] By the saints, Sven, and you wondered if we wanted to collect another Jarl on our way?

Alice : [Gives a big yawn to Faetan] I'm not sure which is more annoying, the bile that spews forth every time you speak, or the stench that spews forth every time you open your mouth. You know, Fae, I'm on your side, I went to boarding school, and I knew what those full backs used to really get up to when they were supposed to be picking each others' corns, so I'll thank you not to direct your misplaced anger and frustration at me. [Holds up a closed fist, fingers facing Faetan] Girl power! [Confidentially to Faetan] If you're uncomfortable with a hat, you might consider a brown paper bag, I'm sure the rest of us would be more than happy to see if we can find one large enough to contain your head. [Pause] If such a thing exists.

Sven : [Raised eyebrows at Harvey] I can see now why you don't!

Clint : [To Alice] While you're at it, why don't you find another one for yourself? Just leave the girl alone, you complain about her temperament but keep asking for more. [Finds an ordinary looking hat and gives it to Faetan] Here, wear this one. [To all] Now let's get going and find some action, I'm sick of all the bickering and talking. I wanna kick some butt!

Alice : [Recoils in surprise] What? You're complaining to me about asking for more? When did I do that? When I kept calling her bimbo? When I said I'd rather vomit out my eyes than wear the hat her uncle picked out for her? When I called her a slut? Keep it up, Clint, and the only butt that's going to be kicked will be yours!

Sven : [Turning back to look into the wagon with a big smile] Haw! What a bunch of personalities! I bet they really love each other, though, don't they?

Harvey : Yes, that's what I had originally hoped it would be too.

Chastity : [To Sven] At least blood has only been spilt a couple of times. [To the bickers] Come now, stop all this. You're acting like C grade celebrities in a rain forest! Lets get on with the mission in hand. We'll need all our physical and mental guile in Insomnia, I'm sure. here"

Clint : Yeah, and I'm really affraid my butt might be kicked, so I better behave. [To Alice] Oh, behave!

Alice : Be sure you do!

[The carriage sets off, with SVEN driving, CHASTITY beside him and CLINT beside her. The others are all within the carriage, but can see out the front.]

Sven : Right, Insomnia is about twenty miles away, and, while I'm sure a tough party like you would rather walk, this is the best way to travel. We should get there in about three hours unless there's a problem.

[Almost immediately, the carriage screeches to a halt, and there's a man standing in the middle of the road, just up ahead. It is difficult to see his face, as his hat is pulled down slightly.]

Clint : [Back to Austin] Would this be another of your friends, Lawyer? [To Sven] Do you know who that is?

Chastity : [To man on road] You there, on the road. Don't you know the dangers of just wandering on the road? Haven't you heard of the Tufty Club? Remove yourself this instance and let us on our way! [To Sven] Some people can just be so rude!

Austin :[Chuckles] C grade celebrities, do you recall Doop Snoggy SnogG, Matty Feeler, Jenny Jessy Winfrey and Ed Winchester, [Laughs] WHat a bunch of loosers, more like F grade celebrities. [Pauses] Remember Reverend Cleophus Brown, now there, ladies and gentleman was a celebrity.

Sven : No, but I have a sure fire way of finding out.

Alice : [To the others] Maybe he's Grandpa, or one of his obnoxious friends.

Sven : [Calls out] Who are you?

[The figure lifts his head to reveal that he is ROURKE. He smiles at the wagon.]

Rourke : I'm your worst nightmare.

Alice : I guess he's connected to Corwyn, then!

Rourke : I sure do, Missy. But then again, that's because I'm one of those dangers!

Clint : Well well, this seems like a family reunion! Of course, if Pestilence is around, this thing [points at Rourke] had to be around too. [In low voice, to Sven and the party] He is a very dangerous character. I say we kill him right now.

[The seating in the carriage is as follows. Front row : Sven, Chastity, Harvey. Second row (inside the cover) : Faetan, Clint, Nik. Back row : Alice.]

Alice : [Leaning over between Nik and Clint] Hey, if we really are in the past, and we kill him, how can we then meet him in his future?

Rourke : [Takes out a sawn off shot gun] I'd like to see what you've got in your wagon.

Chastity : [To Rourke] A dangerous worst nightmare. Don't flatter yourself. You barely reach the rank of "Evil Minion".

Clint : Well, if he's got one of those too [points at the shotgun], then it might be a bit hard to kill him. And to meet him in our future.

Rourke : [Smiles, and pushes his cool shades back a little] And you, my dear barely reach the rank of fat ex-prostitute! Nik [Quietly slips out of the back of the wagon, kanding with cats grace behind the wagon. Moves forwards along the side (hopefully) staying out of Rourke's view]

Rourke : Nice horsey! [Shoots the lead horse in the face, showering Chastity, Clint and Sven in blood and horse brains] I've got a bone to pick with you, Viking.

Austin : [Stops polishing his nails. To Sven] Your disguise seems to be pretty good, everyone thinks you are a viking. Can you kill Rourke?

Harvey : [Looks at the dead horse] Now that's just typical of his type of character, isn't it! Killing a poor dumb animal just for the sake of it! I see time has not mellowed his temperment!

Clint : [To Sven] What have you done to this guy that he's so pissed off with you?

Alice : [To Harvey] We'd better keep him away from Faetan, then!

Sven : [To Austin] I'm not in disguise, I am a viking, and proud of it! If you mean this guy, then I'm pretty sure I can. [To Clint] I didn't do anything to him.

Rourke : Not to me, but you broke Corwyn's jaw, Viking boy, and now we're here to shove that helmet so far up your ass that the point will come out your mouth.

Alice : [Whispering to the others] Now, was that just full of homoeroticism, or what?

Harvey : By the saints, I don't know about that, dear niece, it sounded totally gay to me! [To Rourke] Look, greasy, we've on a tight schedule here! You might have escaped from Hell thanks to you know who, but let me tell you this, get in our way this time, and you'll be sent right back there, one way ticket, express!

Clint : [To Harvey] I thought we had agreed on the fact that we're back on the past, so he [pointing at Rourke] doesn't know us. [Touches the handle of Temporidus] But he will soon!

Rourke : [To Harvey] Escaped from hell? [Laughs at him, before cocking the gun] I only want the viking, the rest of you scum can go free. [Makes a thinking face] Or I can kill you too. It doesn't bother me, although it might be annoying if I'm late back - it's steak night tonight, you see.

Faetan : [To the others] This is our chance to meet Grandpa!

Alice : And, that's a good thing, right?

Clint : [To Sven, pointing at Rourke's gun] Do you have a big gun too?

Harvey : [Glares at Clint, before turning back to Rourke] Well, my greasy haired friend, you can't take the viking! Not without coming through us, first! Clint, are you ready with that sword? [Takes out his own sword]

Chastity : Colonel, if we wait for him to come to us he'll just treat us like that poor beast there. [Quickly to ALice] The horse I mean, not Clint. [Holds out her mace, whilst climbing down from the coach, trying to at least afford a little cover from Rourke. Back to Harvey] His weapon has a greater range than ours, we'll have to rush him.

Sven : No, friends, I'll go with him. That weapon is far more destructive than yours, and he would easily take you out if you try to rush him.

Rourke : [Points his gun at Clint, smiling] I sure do have a huge weapon. And my gun is big, too. Now, what's it to be?

Austin : [To ROurke] Prove it then, lets see your big weapon, slime boy. [Pauses] Corwyn is going to kick your bottom so hard when he finds out that you've been shooting his realative's horses.

Rourke : Hey bitch, here's my weapon. [Holds up the gun] What relative?

Austin : [To Rourke] I meant your cock, grease monkey. Do you have one at all?

Chastity : [exasperated] Mr. Sleaze, was that [emphasises]really necessary? [To Sven] What dealings have you had with this foul man?

Austin : [To Chastity] None at all thank goodness. [Huff] I am sick and tired of scum of his ilk [Points at Rourke] Popping their ugly heads up and getting in our way, shooting the horse and the like. Who the hell does he think he is? [To Rourke, furiously] Piss off! [Goes and sits in a huff at the back of the wagon]

Rourke : The question is not who do I think I am, it's who the fuck do you think you are! [Fires at Austin's back]

[The blast hits AUSTIN square in the back and sends him flying into the back of the carriage.]

Chastity : [Ducking down at the blast] You can always trust Austin to antagonise someone. Even if they don't need it. [Takes a peek to see how Rourke reloads his weapon]

Nik: [The moment Rourke fires his weapon, Nik rushes forward and attacks with Stun/Kill Attacks] Foul beast, Ill be the death of you.

Clint : Right, now I'm sick of it. [To Rourke] If you're a man, then stop hiding behind that weapon and let's have a proper fight! [To Sven] And aren't you going to do anything?

Sven : [Grabs Clint's shoulder] Easy, friend. There's a time to act and a time to be cautious. He has us outgunned.

[NIK jumps from the side of the wagon, only for his body to freeze in mid air, causing him to fly passed ROURKE, who pops another cartridge into the gun. Enter TOM SELLSICK from behind a rock at the side of the road.]

Tom : [Genially] Now, I know what you're thinking, but he did try to sneak up on Rourke, and, you know, that's just not nice.

Clint : [To the group] Oh. shit. [Pause] I think we should follow Sven's advice this time.

Alice : [Checking Austin] He's dead!

Rourke : [To Clint] That's a good idea, boy. Let's all get off the wagon.

Faetan : [Seeing Sellsick] Shit! that's the guy who stole my Talisman.

Sven : Come on, team, we'd better get down. [Climbs off the carriage]

Alice : [Wiping bits of Austin off herself] What about Austin? What'll we do with him?

Clint : [To Alice] Do you want to carry him? I think we have to leave him behind.

Faetan : [Clearly very upset at Austins death. To Alice] Is he in your tummy now? [Gets down from the wagon]

Alice : [Hand on stomach] I am carrying him.

Alice : I guess so, although what the availability of orbs will be here is anyone's guess, given that the Knights don't even exist.

Rourke : Alright, people, pick up your stuff and let's go. [Kicks Nik hard in the ribs, causing an audible crunch] Come on!

Harvey : [Eyes narrowed] He's paralysed.

Rourke : [Kicks Nik right in the crotch] Then he won't have felt that?

Tom : [Laughs] You're such a tease, Rourke. [Clicks his fingers, and suddenly Nik is moving again, writhing in agony] Now, who here claims to be related to Corwyn?

Faetan : [To Tom] Austin thought that I might be related to Corwyn, he might be my great uncle or something, but it's a long story. [Looks at Austins body]

Nik: Ouch

Tom : Great Uncle? That's a little unlikely, although, given the number of offspring that he's sired, one was bound to track him down sooner or later. [To Rourke] Let's take them to Corwyn, just in case.

[The party collect their things, and walk ahead of TOM and ROURKE, leaving AUSTIN behind as some vultures begin to circle.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene VI. A small encampment. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CLINT, CHASTTY, SVEN and FAETAN are here, having been escorted by TOM and ROURKE for about fifteen minutes. The encampment consists of about seven tents, and a number of bandit types are sitting around, jeering at the party as they enter. One man is lounging in front of a large fire, smoking a huge cigar. He is dressed in a very fine suit, complete with top hat and shades. This is CORWYN.]

Tom : Corwyn, it looks like it's time for a family reunion.

Corwyn : Family reunion? [Takes a big drag of his cigar] The question is, do we have it before, or after I kill the viking?

Alice : [Whispering to the others] He seems in good health for someone who's supposed to have a broken jaw, isn't he?

Nik: [Barely hearable] Ouch, ouch, I should have been more cautious.

Corwyn : Well, well, Sven Goring, it is a pleasure to meet you again.

Sven : I would like to say the same, but I can't bring myself to tell such a blatant lie.

Harvey : [To Nik] Are you alright, private? Take deep breaths and the pain will soon pass, lad! [Looks at the others] We've got to be, in the words of our private with the swollen privates, cautious.

Faetan : [To Tom] Austin thought that I might be related to Corwyn, he might be my great uncle or something, but it's a long story. [Looks at Austins body]

Nik: Ouch

Tom : Great Uncle? That's a little unlikely, although, given the number of offspring that he's sired, one was bound to track him down sooner or later. [To Rourke] Let's take them to Corwyn, just in case.

[The party collect their things, and walk ahead of TOM and ROURKE, leaving AUSTIN behind as some vultures begin to circle.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene VI. A small encampment. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CLINT, CHASTTY, SVEN and FAETAN are here, having been escorted by TOM and ROURKE for about fifteen minutes. The encampment consists of about seven tents, and a number of bandit types are sitting around, jeering at the party as they enter. One man is lounging in front of a large fire, smoking a huge cigar. He is dressed in a very fine suit, complete with top hat and shades. This is CORWYN.]

Tom : Corwyn, it looks like it's time for a family reunion.

Corwyn : Family reunion? [Takes a big drag of his cigar] The question is, do we have it before, or after I kill the viking?

Alice : [Whispering to the others] He seems in good health for someone who's supposed to have a broken jaw, isn't he?

Nik: [Barely hearable] Ouch, ouch, I should have been more cautious.

Corwyn : Well, well, Sven Goring, it is a pleasure to meet you again.

Sven : I would like to say the same, but I can't bring myself to tell such a blatant lie.

Harvey : [To Nik] Are you alright, private? Take deep breaths and the pain will soon pass, lad! [Looks at the others] We've got to be, in the words of our private with the swollen privates, cautious.

Corwyn : Well, let's not be so cautious you don't even speak! Come on, who is it?

[FAETAN shifts uncomfortably, but doesn't say anything.]

Harvey : Perhaps it's my old age creeping up on me, but I don't have a clue what you're talking about, fellow! Who is what, what?

Corwyn : [Turns to Rourke] What the hell is this?

Rourke : He's probably senile. One of the claimed that they had a relative of yours with them - unfortunately he had to be killed.

Corwyn : [To the party] This is wasting my time. Is one of you related to me, or not?

Chastity : [To Faetan] COme along, child, do pick this time to be bashful. You may just save all our skins, so choose your words carefully, please. [Pats Faetan on the back, nudging her forward slightly]

Faetan : [Glares at Chastity for a moment, before turning to Corwyn] I'm your relative. Your, er, great great great granddaughter.

[TOM, ROURKE and CORWYN burst out laughing at this.]

Corwyn : [To Tom and Rourke] Kill them.

Chastity : [Looking shocked, to Corwyn] I can't believe you'd kill one of your own family. Have you no standards? This girl is your future!

Corwyn : [Thoughtfully] I could try screwing her, I suppose. [Glances back at Alice] Or possibly her. [Looks to Chastity] Or, hm. [Smiles at Chastity]

Faetan : I, [gets self-conscious] I can prove it.

Alice : [Whispering to the others] Hey, maybe Faetan is her own great, great, great, great Grandmother!

Chastity : [To Alice] I don't know if that's more revolting or sinful! The implications for the poor wee souls soul [pauses, wiping an eye] ...well it just makes me weep the prospects it has or [pause, sniffs] hasn't. [Glares at Corwyn] Especially if it were done knowingly! before it leaves town!!

Alice : Well, it would be even more revolting if *I* was her great great great great grandmother!

[CORWYN, FAETAN and some lackeys head into one of the tents.]

Tom : Anyone hungry?

Clint : Tom, you sick asshole. What do you win from all this?

Tom : [Putting up his hands, as though wounded] Hey, hey, hey! I'm not the bad guy here. Frankly, it hurts me to see others suffer. I'm just trying to bring family together!

Rourke : On the other hand, I'm just a bastard. [Gives a growl to Chastity] And I like fat chicks, Brunhilde.

Clint : [To the group and Sven, in low voice] So what's it gonna be, are we just going to sit and watch Faetan bit someone's crutch and Chastity smash someone else's, or are we going to give them a good fight?

Alice : Are we sure that's what she's actually doing? I'm not sure what kind of family you had, Clint, but there is a remote possibility that her proving she is part of Corwyn's doesn't involve oral sex.

Clint : The question remains, Bimbo, are we going to sit like ducks, or are we going to do something about the situation we're on now?

Chastity : I think we should wait for Faetan to return, she may be able to sort out this mess. It's worth a try. [Enter FAETAN and CORWYN, coming from the tent.]

Rourke : What'll it be? Will we kill them?

Corwyn : No. I'm not sure I believe her story, but it's at least possible that it's true.

Harvey : Well, perhaps then you can leave us carry on with our journey.

Chastity : And lend us a horse perhaps?

Corwyn : It's not quite as simple as that. Faetan told me that you are trying to get into Insomnia, so here's the deal. If you really are what she said, you will be able to get in there, if not, you'll fail. If you fail, I'll kill all of you. If you succeed, then my group and I will help you.

Rourke : Help this bunch of losers?

Corwyn : [Narrows his eyes at Rourke] If she's telling the truth, which I suspect she may, this bunch of losers is actually a reknowned bunch of powerful adventurers, who spared your lives because they felt like it.

[ALICE beams proudly, and gives FAETAN two thumbs up.]

Corwyn : [Catching sight of Alice] Well, most of them are, anyway.

Alice : [Dismayed] Hey!

Nik : [Cautiously prodding at his swollen crotch] Ah, this is so. I think using the power of HuFlungDung, I lifted my mental awareness beyond my corporeal containment, just before you struck me with your foot. I think you may have done more damage to your foot, than to my nether regions! Observe! [Pivots around and performs a high kick, before screeching and collapsing in a heap, hands between his legs]

Rourke : Care to do another demonstration? [Readies for another kick.]

[CORWYN punches ROURKE hard in the face, and knocks him to the ground.]

Corwyn : Enough. We'll set you up with another horse, and any thing else you might need. Follow me. [Walks into the large tent.]

Harvey : [Helps Nik from the ground] Not to worry lad, a bit of ice and in a few months you'll be right as rain! [To the others] Well then, Faetan, I'm not sure what you told him, but I'm sure it was the truth, and so, you have my thanks. Now, let's see what's what, what! Come along, troop! [Walks into the tent]

Chastity : [To Corwyn] Could you fix us up with another Mr. Sleaze? I think it may be beyond my powers. [Gets on her knees, clasps her hands in prayer] Oh, great Philli, mighty art thou. In thine infinite wisdom, could you ressurect the recently deceased Mr. Sleaze, even though he is wholely unworthy of such a blessing, him being a theif, a liar and a cheat, not to mention his other unmentionable sins, so that he may help us in our quest?

Tom : Sleaze? Was that the one Rourke killed? Well, with a mouth that shoots off so much, he's bound to be shot sooner or later. You're better off without him, he's just a liability.

Alice : Hey, we've got plenty of liabilities! [Waves at Clint and Faetan] That doesn't mean we want them shot! [Mutters to herself] Most of the time.

[HARVEY, CHASTITY, ALICE, FAETAN, NIK, CLINT, TOM and ROURKE enter the tent. CORWYN is here, talking to a beautiful woman, NEFIRITIRI, who is lounged across a number of cushions.]

Nefiritiri : I am Nefiritiri, [gazes upon each of the party members] Corwyn tells me you claim to be not of this time. I want you to tell me everything. [Glances at Tom] Get out, and take that stupid thug of a barbarian with you.

Alice : [Protectively standing in front of Clint] Hey! That stupid thug of a barbarian is with us!

Nefiritiri : I meant Rourke.

[Exit TOM and ROURKE.]

Nik : Another mister Sleaze, sister? Do you mean, to take another carnation of mister Sleaze out of time, and bring him here? If so, I must urge caution, as the old saying goes, without wrapper, although the outside of each tin looks similar, what lies within is always mystery! And usually turns out to be kidney beans!

Clint : Kidney beans? I'm not even hungry! [Looks at Nefiritiri] Although I guess I could eat someon... I mean, something now. [Wink!]

Nefiritiri : [Licks her lips salaciously] I'm sure you could, but let's concentrate on the task in hand. Why are you here? And where are you from?

Harvey : [Loudly] Private Sleaze, by the saints! The last thing in the world this dear creature needs is you drooling all over her! Stand aside this instant, I say, this instant! [Barges past Clint, and bows to Nefiritiri] Harvey Kingston Short, ex Colonel of the Kings Reach fusileers, fifth regiment, don't you know! Charmed to meet you, dear woman!

Clint : [Looks around puzzled for a moment] [To Harvey] What did the Lawyer do this time? [To Nefiritiri] Right, he'll do the talk [pointing at Harvey], and when that's done I'll take care of the action. [Wink!]

Alice : [To Clint] Look, Clint Sleaze, just calm down, right?

Nefiritiri : [Shakes Harvey's hand] Delighted to meet you, Colonel. Why don't you tell me what this is all about?

Harvey : [Lost in thought, staring at Nefiritiri for a few moments, turns to Clint] Hmm? Lawyer? Gah, did I say Sleaze? Well you damned well know I meant you, private Scar! Don't want to speak ill of the dead, but [lowers his voice] we all know that Sleaze is the last one who'd drool over a most beautiful lady!

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] I am Sister Chastity of our lord. We are from Queensview, in the future as far as we can tell. We were convenied by Philli himself, to battle the evils of the world, known to us as Iok Sotot, Dan Gsten, his sons, Pestillence, Contagion, Death and their cronies, and we have fought them several times. Who are you?

Nik : [Looks around the tent and assumes the lotus position on the floor] Perhaps we should mediate and bring clarity to our thoughts concerning the tangled web the divine beings see fit to weave us within. And then, some tofu.

Nefiritiri : I am a genie, Chastity. A mythical and magical creature, that no one would have dreamed of believing in until Iok and the others came. The ease with which you and your friends talk of magic surprises me, for it is a very unusual thing here. I haven't heard of Dan Gsten, but we all know Iok and the others. How do you propose to kill them?

Clint : We have a magical weapon. It's with our belongings. [To Nik] And kidney beans with tofu has got to be the worst combination I've ever heard of!

Nik : [Stops his humming for a moment] Yes, but only until you add the lentils!

Nefiritiri : Magic weapon? Excellent. May I see it?

[Rather conveniently, some LACKEYs bring the party's equipment into the room.]

Clint : [Picks Temporidus from the sack] [To Nefiritiri] Meet Temporidus, the Wonder Sword. [To Temporidus] Come on, say something, the lady's got her eye on you!

Temporidus : Hey, sweet cheeks.

Nefiritiri : My my, [smiles, and strokes the blade] who made you?

Temporidus : [Aggressively] Who made *you*?

Nefiritiri : Touche! [Turns to Corwyn] I believe them.

Harvey : [Bows to Nefiritiri] Of course we were telling the truth, my dear. We are on a mission from God, after all! But why do you have Rourke and Sellsick working for you? You do not seem evil, but they are among the most evil henchmen I've come across!

Nefiritiri : True, especially Rourke. I just know he's going to come to a sticky end some day. The truth of the matter is that they don't work for me, they work for him. [Points at Corwyn]

Corwyn : [Tips his hat at the party and smiles] They are model employees.

Clint : [To Corwyn] And who exactly are you?

Harvey : [Cautiously] And that means, that, well, he [points at Corwyn] is evil? And have you granted three of his wishes? Evil wishes?

Corwyn : [Dryly] I'm the great, great, great, great grandfather.

Nefiritiri : [Regards Corywn] I'm not sure he's evil, [smiles] but he's certainly naughty. He's only used up two of his wishes.

Alice : So where's your lamp?

Nefiritiri : Lamps are so tenth century, I much prefer lavish hotels now. At least, I did until the Four Horsemen came.

Harvey : [Turns to Corwyn] So, what are you going to do with us?

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] The last time we encountered Rourke he was working for Contagion Sotot himself. [To Corwyn] Did you know this?

Chastity : [To Faetan] COme along, child, do pick this time to be bashful. You may just save all our skins, so choose your words carefully, please. [Pats Faetan on the back, nudging her forward slightly]

Faetan : [Glares at Chastity for a moment, before turning to Corwyn] I'm your relative. Your, er, great great great granddaughter.

[TOM, ROURKE and CORWYN burst out laughing at this.]

Corwyn : [To Tom and Rourke] Kill them.

Chastity : [Looking shocked, to Corwyn] I can't believe you'd kill one of your own family. Have you no standards? This girl is your future!

Corwyn : [Thoughtfully] I could try screwing her, I suppose. [Glances back at Alice] Or possibly her. [Looks to Chastity] Or, hm. [Smiles at Chastity]

Faetan : I, [gets self-conscious] I can prove it.

Alice : [Whispering to the others] Hey, maybe Faetan is her own great, great, great, great Grandmother!

Chastity : [To Alice] I don't know if that's more revolting or sinful! The implications for the poor wee souls soul [pauses, wiping an eye] ...well it just makes me weep the prospects it has or [pause, sniffs] hasn't. [Glares at Corwyn] Especially if it were done knowingly! before it leaves town!!

Alice : Well, it would be even more revolting if *I* was her great great great great grandmother!

[CORWYN, FAETAN and some lackeys head into one of the tents.]

Tom : Anyone hungry?

Clint : Tom, you sick asshole. What do you win from all this?

Tom : [Putting up his hands, as though wounded] Hey, hey, hey! I'm not the bad guy here. Frankly, it hurts me to see others suffer. I'm just trying to bring family together!

Rourke : On the other hand, I'm just a bastard. [Gives a growl to Chastity] And I like fat chicks, Brunhilde.

Clint : [To the group and Sven, in low voice] So what's it gonna be, are we just going to sit and watch Faetan bit someone's crutch and Chastity smash someone else's, or are we going to give them a good fight?

Alice : Are we sure that's what she's actually doing? I'm not sure what kind of family you had, Clint, but there is a remote possibility that her proving she is part of Corwyn's doesn't involve oral sex.

Clint : The question remains, Bimbo, are we going to sit like ducks, or are we going to do something about the situation we're on now?

Chastity : I think we should wait for Faetan to return, she may be able to sort out this mess. It's worth a try. [Enter FAETAN and CORWYN, coming from the tent.]

Rourke : What'll it be? Will we kill them?

Corwyn : No. I'm not sure I believe her story, but it's at least possible that it's true.

Harvey : Well, perhaps then you can leave us carry on with our journey.

Chastity : And lend us a horse perhaps?

Corwyn : It's not quite as simple as that. Faetan told me that you are trying to get into Insomnia, so here's the deal. If you really are what she said, you will be able to get in there, if not, you'll fail. If you fail, I'll kill all of you. If you succeed, then my group and I will help you.

Rourke : Help this bunch of losers?

Corwyn : [Narrows his eyes at Rourke] If she's telling the truth, which I suspect she may, this bunch of losers is actually a reknowned bunch of powerful adventurers, who spared your lives because they felt like it.

[ALICE beams proudly, and gives FAETAN two thumbs up.]

Corwyn : [Catching sight of Alice] Well, most of them are, anyway.

Alice : [Dismayed] Hey!

Nik : [Cautiously prodding at his swollen crotch] Ah, this is so. I think using the power of HuFlungDung, I lifted my mental awareness beyond my corporeal containment, just before you struck me with your foot. I think you may have done more damage to your foot, than to my nether regions! Observe! [Pivots around and performs a high kick, before screeching and collapsing in a heap, hands between his legs]

Rourke : Care to do another demonstration? [Readies for another kick.]

[CORWYN punches ROURKE hard in the face, and knocks him to the ground.]

Corwyn : Enough. We'll set you up with another horse, and any thing else you might need. Follow me. [Walks into the large tent.]

Harvey : [Helps Nik from the ground] Not to worry lad, a bit of ice and in a few months you'll be right as rain! [To the others] Well then, Faetan, I'm not sure what you told him, but I'm sure it was the truth, and so, you have my thanks. Now, let's see what's what, what! Come along, troop! [Walks into the tent]

Chastity : [To Corwyn] Could you fix us up with another Mr. Sleaze? I think it may be beyond my powers. [Gets on her knees, clasps her hands in prayer] Oh, great Philli, mighty art thou. In thine infinite wisdom, could you ressurect the recently deceased Mr. Sleaze, even though he is wholely unworthy of such a blessing, him being a theif, a liar and a cheat, not to mention his other unmentionable sins, so that he may help us in our quest?

Tom : Sleaze? Was that the one Rourke killed? Well, with a mouth that shoots off so much, he's bound to be shot sooner or later. You're better off without him, he's just a liability.

Alice : Hey, we've got plenty of liabilities! [Waves at Clint and Faetan] That doesn't mean we want them shot! [Mutters to herself] Most of the time.

[HARVEY, CHASTITY, ALICE, FAETAN, NIK, CLINT, TOM and ROURKE enter the tent. CORWYN is here, talking to a beautiful woman, NEFIRITIRI, who is lounged across a number of cushions.]

Nefiritiri : I am Nefiritiri, [gazes upon each of the party members] Corwyn tells me you claim to be not of this time. I want you to tell me everything. [Glances at Tom] Get out, and take that stupid thug of a barbarian with you.

Alice : [Protectively standing in front of Clint] Hey! That stupid thug of a barbarian is with us!

Nefiritiri : I meant Rourke.

[Exit TOM and ROURKE.]

Nik : Another mister Sleaze, sister? Do you mean, to take another carnation of mister Sleaze out of time, and bring him here? If so, I must urge caution, as the old saying goes, without wrapper, although the outside of each tin looks similar, what lies within is always mystery! And usually turns out to be kidney beans!

Clint : Kidney beans? I'm not even hungry! [Looks at Nefiritiri] Although I guess I could eat someon... I mean, something now. [Wink!]

Nefiritiri : [Licks her lips salaciously] I'm sure you could, but let's concentrate on the task in hand. Why are you here? And where are you from?

Harvey : [Loudly] Private Sleaze, by the saints! The last thing in the world this dear creature needs is you drooling all over her! Stand aside this instant, I say, this instant! [Barges past Clint, and bows to Nefiritiri] Harvey Kingston Short, ex Colonel of the Kings Reach fusileers, fifth regiment, don't you know! Charmed to meet you, dear woman!

Clint : [Looks around puzzled for a moment] [To Harvey] What did the Lawyer do this time? [To Nefiritiri] Right, he'll do the talk [pointing at Harvey], and when that's done I'll take care of the action. [Wink!]

Alice : [To Clint] Look, Clint Sleaze, just calm down, right?

Nefiritiri : [Shakes Harvey's hand] Delighted to meet you, Colonel. Why don't you tell me what this is all about?

Harvey : [Lost in thought, staring at Nefiritiri for a few moments, turns to Clint] Hmm? Lawyer? Gah, did I say Sleaze? Well you damned well know I meant you, private Scar! Don't want to speak ill of the dead, but [lowers his voice] we all know that Sleaze is the last one who'd drool over a most beautiful lady!

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] I am Sister Chastity of our lord. We are from Queensview, in the future as far as we can tell. We were convenied by Philli himself, to battle the evils of the world, known to us as Iok Sotot, Dan Gsten, his sons, Pestillence, Contagion, Death and their cronies, and we have fought them several times. Who are you?

Nik : [Looks around the tent and assumes the lotus position on the floor] Perhaps we should mediate and bring clarity to our thoughts concerning the tangled web the divine beings see fit to weave us within. And then, some tofu.

Nefiritiri : I am a genie, Chastity. A mythical and magical creature, that no one would have dreamed of believing in until Iok and the others came. The ease with which you and your friends talk of magic surprises me, for it is a very unusual thing here. I haven't heard of Dan Gsten, but we all know Iok and the others. How do you propose to kill them?

Clint : We have a magical weapon. It's with our belongings. [To Nik] And kidney beans with tofu has got to be the worst combination I've ever heard of!

Nik : [Stops his humming for a moment] Yes, but only until you add the lentils!

Nefiritiri : Magic weapon? Excellent. May I see it?

[Rather conveniently, some LACKEYs bring the party's equipment into the room.]

Clint : [Picks Temporidus from the sack] [To Nefiritiri] Meet Temporidus, the Wonder Sword. [To Temporidus] Come on, say something, the lady's got her eye on you!

Temporidus : Hey, sweet cheeks.

Nefiritiri : My my, [smiles, and strokes the blade] who made you?

Temporidus : [Aggressively] Who made *you*?

Nefiritiri : Touche! [Turns to Corwyn] I believe them.

Harvey : [Bows to Nefiritiri] Of course we were telling the truth, my dear. We are on a mission from God, after all! But why do you have Rourke and Sellsick working for you? You do not seem evil, but they are among the most evil henchmen I've come across!

Nefiritiri : True, especially Rourke. I just know he's going to come to a sticky end some day. The truth of the matter is that they don't work for me, they work for him. [Points at Corwyn]

Corwyn : [Tips his hat at the party and smiles] They are model employees.

Clint : [To Corwyn] And who exactly are you?

Harvey : [Cautiously] And that means, that, well, he [points at Corwyn] is evil? And have you granted three of his wishes? Evil wishes?

Corwyn : [Dryly] I'm the great, great, great, great grandfather.

Nefiritiri : [Regards Corywn] I'm not sure he's evil, [smiles] but he's certainly naughty. He's only used up two of his wishes.

Alice : So where's your lamp?

Nefiritiri : Lamps are so tenth century, I much prefer lavish hotels now. At least, I did until the Four Horsemen came.

Harvey : [Turns to Corwyn] So, what are you going to do with us?

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] The last time we encountered Rourke he was working for Contagion Sotot himself. [To Corwyn] Did you know this?

Corwyn : [To Chastity] You're a liar, Rourke has never even met him. [Turns to Harvey] It's as I said. You'll have to prove to me that you are this legendary party - get into Insomnia, and I'll help you.

Harvey : [To Corwyn] The good sister is not lying, Corwyn. Bear in mind that we have come from a future time, and know things you do not. For instance, did you know you bear a startling resemblance to you great great great grandson, Himo? Or that the war between the west and the east will one day cease? Or that there will one day be marvelous food other than sandwiches? But I digress, dear sir! Yes, we will attempt to get into Insomnia. Do you by chance have maps or other information on the towns layout? Underground cellars and suchforth?

Corwyn : If you know so many things that I don't, figure it out yourself.

[NEFIRITIRI gives CORWYN a reproachful look.]

Corwyn : Don't give me that. Insomnia should be simple to get into for a party like yours, so full of brave fighters, wonderful magic users and brazen tarts.

[ALICE gives a puzzled look to FAETAN, who looks down, blushing.]

Harvey : Well, we shall see, Corwyn, we shall see. So, what's the op? Just get into Insomnia and then what? Come back out again?

Corwyn : Tom will be with you - he'll be able to let me know if you've succeeded or not. There are horses outside for you, you may take them. Don't think that getting in there will be easy, those bastards have their town so well protected that not even the Horsemen have been able to get in there yet.

Nik : [Takes a joss stick from his pocket and lights it] We should take a cautious approach when nearing the city. Who can say what lurks within it's walls? [Waves the incense under his nose and around his head, inhaling deeply]

Alice : Well, let's go!

[Enter TOM.]

Tom : [Genially] Hi there! So, are we ready to go?

Harvey : Almost. [Turns to Corwyn] Why can't the genie come with us? She could tell you whether we got into the town in a blink of an eye. You wouldn't even have to wait for him indicates Tom to come here before you know. And besides, he is probably quite infamous in these parts, and our mission would have more of a chance of success if he is not with us.

Corwyn : [Coldly] Nefiritiri stays with me.

[NEFIRITIRI shrugs at HARVEY and holds her hands up.]

Corwyn : Tom keeps a lower profile than you might imagine, he won't be a problem.

Tom : [To Harvey] Now, why don't you turn that frown upside down? [Gives a big smile]

Faetan : [Glances from TOM to where SVEN supposedly waits outside, then back again and frowns] Let's just go and get this over with.

Clint : Tom, keeping a low profile? Only when he's sitting on a pile of shit on his Ferrari's seat. That's as low as he can go. [To Tom] So are you already working for Pestilence?

Harvey : [To Clint] Language, private! [Turns to Corwyn] And of course Sven is going to join us on this trip. We need his local knowledge.

Corwyn : Of course.

Tom : [Starting to walk out] Working for Pestilence? [Smiles] Oh, you guys! And hey, I wish I did have a Ferrari - even if there was a pile of shit in it, but how would that happen, I wonder?

Alice : I guess a tramp could climb in and do it.

Tom : Yeah! [Smiles, and gives Alice a playful tap on the chin]

Faetan : All right then, to Insomnia. [Looks back over her shoulder at CORWYN] Maybe we'll find time to talk more later. [Follows TOM]

Alice : [Getting up on a horse] Well, I find it all too easy to believe that you're related, Fae!

[The group head off, moving towards Insomnia.]

Tom : So, you lot think I work for Pestilence? That's a bit rich, isn't it? Surely Corwyn wouldn't have sent me along unless he trusted me completely?

Faetan : [Shrugs noncomittally] Maybe. Who knows when you'll decide to change alliances.

Tom : [Big smile at Faetan] Who knows who you're allied to?

[An arrow comes from nowhere and goes straight through TOM's throat, causing his mouth to fall open, and blood to pour out.]

Sven : What the hell? Where did that come from?

Corwyn : [Coldly] Nefiritiri stays with me.

[NEFIRITIRI shrugs at HARVEY and holds her hands up.]

Corwyn : Tom keeps a lower profile than you might imagine, he won't be a problem.

Tom : [To Harvey] Now, why don't you turn that frown upside down? [Gives a big smile]

Faetan : [Glances from TOM to where SVEN supposedly waits outside, then back again and frowns] Let's just go and get this over with.

Clint : Tom, keeping a low profile? Only when he's sitting on a pile of shit on his Ferrari's seat. That's as low as he can go. [To Tom] So are you already working for Pestilence?

Harvey : [To Clint] Language, private! [Turns to Corwyn] And of course Sven is going to join us on this trip. We need his local knowledge.

Corwyn : Of course.

Tom : [Starting to walk out] Working for Pestilence? [Smiles] Oh, you guys! And hey, I wish I did have a Ferrari - even if there was a pile of shit in it, but how would that happen, I wonder?

Alice : I guess a tramp could climb in and do it.

Tom : Yeah! [Smiles, and gives Alice a playful tap on the chin]

Faetan : All right then, to Insomnia. [Looks back over her shoulder at CORWYN] Maybe we'll find time to talk more later. [Follows TOM]

Alice : [Getting up on a horse] Well, I find it all too easy to believe that you're related, Fae!

[The group head off, moving towards Insomnia.]

Tom : So, you lot think I work for Pestilence? That's a bit rich, isn't it? Surely Corwyn wouldn't have sent me along unless he trusted me completely?

Faetan : [Shrugs noncomittally] Maybe. Who knows when you'll decide to change alliances.

Tom : [Big smile at Faetan] Who knows who you're allied to?

[An arrow comes from nowhere and goes straight through TOM's throat, causing his mouth to fall open, and blood to pour out.]

Sven : What the hell? Where did that come from?

Nik : [Following the group] I will run alongside your horses, for I will not use any beast who's will has been broken.

Faetan : [Snarling] Dunno, but someone's gonna die! [Draws sword and wheels around in the direction of where the arrow came from]

[Another arrow fires, clearly coming from just up ahead, on the right hand side, and strikes SVEN in the eye, causing him to fall from the horse.]

Sven : By Odin's beard, they've got me! Last Conor #58

Faetan : [Bellowing] Darius, you pus-infested crippled sheep-thieving lowland maggot-pie! Come out and fight like a man!

Nik: [Assuming "The Mantis" martial arts darting position] Behind me, my friends.

Clint : [Drawing Temporidus] I don't think so, cautious boy. [Follows Faetan]

Chastity : [Drops down from her horse and pulls Sven behind the cover or their rides] Sven, how bad do you feel your wound is?

Nik: [Looking from side to side and behind himself] A boy? Where? Is there any civilians we should protect?

Clint : Show yourself, coward! [To Nik] I mean the killer, not you.

Chastity : Now, there was no need for that, Clint. I'm sure Nik is still smarting from his last attack. As my first husband, George would say, "Once beaten, twice shy". [Turn her attentions back to Sven]

Sven : I'm pretty bad, Faetan. [Loses consciousness.]

[ALICE and HARVEY both draw their weapons, as BODDY steps out of the undergrowth.]

Boddy : [With a little bow] My apologies for the over dramatic entrance, but it was merely in the interests of self-protection.

Chastity : Why target just Sven? What has he got that the rest of us don't? Apart from an arrow in his eye, of course. Something powrerful and magic perhaps? [Starts to frantically search through Sven's clothes]

[SVEN's search doesn't reveal anything spectacular.]

Boddy : It's not a case of him having something that the rest of you don't, more that the rest of you have something that he doesn't.

Faetan : [Hands on hips, looking a bit cross] What, you mean an arrow in the eye?

Boddy : [Mock surprise] Oh! That's two things! However, between you and me, it's not the arrow in the eye.

Clint : No, I think he means two functional eyes. [To Boddy] Something you won't have for much longer.

Boddy : Easy tiger, I just wanted to talk to you. [Smiles] Say, that's a really nice sword.

Clint : [To Boddy] Of course it is, want to take a close look at it? [Starts approaching Boddy]

Faetan : [To Boddy] The late Austin Sleaze bought that sword back from Hell, where you helped send us, wise guy. Talk fast cos we're loosing patients with you.

Boddy : [To Faetan, while nodding at Sven] Then you'd better take care of him, shouldn't you? [Calmly, to Clint] I don't want to fight you. Rest assured, if I did, you would already be dead. [Looks around the party] I suspect you already know that.

Harvey : So what do you want?

Boddy : You clearly don't belong here, and, I must admit, you've got my curiosity piqued. I'd like to know where you came from, why you are here and where you got that sword from.

Alice : What was the first question again?

Boddy : Perhaps someone else can answer.

Faetan : [To Boddy] As Far as we know we are from the future, and we did get the sword in Hell. [Pauses] We have met you several times before, but obviously that is in your future, so you don't remember it. Tricky huh? [Pauses] Oh, yes, we are here to kill Pestillence and Contagion, Iok, Dan Gsten and any other slime we find, present company excluded, of course.

Chastity : I would say not necessarily, but that may lead to one of those temporal anomaly discussions again, so I won't bother.

Faetan : [Scratches her head. To Boddy] But of course, the next time you meet us, in your future, we won't know who the hell you are [Scratches her head again] This is all fucked up.

Boddy : From the future? Hm, and how did you get here?

Nik: Walking on our feet of course.

Boddy : [Taking out a cigarette and lighting it, before looking up at the others in the group] Even those on horseback? [Flicks the still lit match at Nik, burning his forehead, before addressing him] You're either a smart ass or a moron. Either way, don't talk to me again. [Looks around at the others] My question was, how did you get from the future to here?

Clint : [To Boddy] It's none of your business. If you just wanted to chat, you shouldn't have shot Sven. Now get the fuck out of here, or I'll temporarily forget the temporal anomaly and shove Temporidus up your arse.

Nik: Oh, we were sent here by a man named Dar-... uhm...we came by the use of some magical rings, created by a knighthood called "The Hierophantic Knights"

Boddy : [To Clint] Try it, gay boy, and you'll be dead before you've got your zip open. I don't know which one was Sven, but I know that neither of these guys arrived here with you. [Looks at Nik] By a man named what?

Clint : [To Boddy] Actually, I won't bother. I wouldn't want to dirty my weapon with all the shit you must have inside. [To Chastity] When I say my weapon I mean Temporidus, of course.

Alice : Yes, but what do you mean when you say Temporidus?

Boddy : But you're prepared to dirty on Iok and the others?

Clint : [To Alice] Why are we even talking to this looser? [Moves over to check on Sven]

Clint : [To Alice] Why are we even talking to this looser? [Moves over to check on Sven]

Alice : [Too low for Boddy's ears] Because we know he's involved with the knights? Because he's the one who sent us back here?

[SVEN is badly wounded, and in some discomfort.]

Boddy : [Sigh] Alright, enough of the theatrics, here. [Throws a tennis ball sized cube to Clint] Break that open over the wound.

Faetan : [Sidling to place herself between Boddy and Clint] And what about Tom, hm?

Boddy : [Gestures to Tom] Him? Looks like he's dead to me, but if you get him into Insomnia, they might be able to help.

Clint : [Breaking the cube open over Sven's wound] This better work.

Faetan : [Eyes narrow and stay locked on Boddy, as she spits to the side] What do you want with the sword?

Boddy : [Still smoking, follows the spit with his eyes, before looking back to Faetan] You know, you just can't buy that kind of class. I don't want your sword, I just want information.

Alice : [Annoyed at the class remark] I can do that too! [Spits out of the side her mouth, but a sudden gust of wind blows it back into her face and hair] Gah!

[CLINT breaks open the cube, and some purple dust falls onto SVEN. Almost instantaneously, the wound begins to heal up, and SVEN sits up.]

Sven : [Blinking a few times] I had better just calibrate. [Swings a punch at Clint's arm and misses, before blinking another few times] Here we go again. [Swings and misses again, but goes through the same blinking procedure, before swinging hard and hitting Clint with enough force to knock him over] Haw! Excellent! [Gets to his feet, and leans over to help up Clint] Thanks, friend, I had a good feeling about you from the start.

Faetan : [Glances back and starts to smile with relief, then frowns fiercely again and glances at Boddy] There are other ways of getting attention, you know. We'd be more likely to talk if you weren't announcing yourself so morbidly.

Boddy : Other ways of getting your attention? How about saving your lives back at the saloon? Is that a better way?

Faetan : Oh don't be such a drama queen! How about 'Hi, my name is...' [Pause] Oh forget it. [Stalks back to the others, crouching next to Clint]

Alice : [Watching Faetan walk back] Don't be such a drama queen? [Lets out a long breath of air in exasperation]

Boddy : I'll ask my question again. Who sent you here?

Faetan : One of your relations. [Fusses over Sven, brushing at his shoulders and setting the helmet right]

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] Are you going to answer my question? I came here because I thought you might have something interesting to say - if not, I'll leave you alone, but the next time we meet, I won't be quite so cordial.

Nik: [Moving next to Chastity, speaking in a low voice to Chastity] If you, my most elegant lady, is as well-wised in th art of healing, as thou art strong in faith, mayhap I could have you assistance?

Harvey : [Turns away from Sven to look at Boddy] Alright, I'll tell you, as you have helped us once, and we owe you some type of explanation. We've been sent here by a man named Darius, from a different time to yours, and we're not sure why. We think it has something to do with the four horsemen, possibly to stop them, but we don't know for certain. That weapon is also from the future, but only private Scar can use it. In anyone elses hands it is useless. Now, fellow, will you aide or thwart us further?

Alice : [Whispering irritatably at Harvey] It's not only Clint, it's just that he was the first to grab it.

Boddy : [Pauses for a second] And this Darius fellow, did he, by any chance bear a startling resemblence to me?

Faetan : Spittin' image.

Chastity : [To Boddy] Hence my opening question to you in the bar. [To Faetan] And as for you, young lady, enough of this spitting behaviour if you please. It is most unbecoming. [To Nik] I can only use Phili's powers sparingly, but I'll do what I can for your injuries. [Reaches into her bag and pulls out a jar of what looks like brown gunk mixed through with the odd piece of straw] I have this natural poultice that may not aid the healing, but should help with the pain. [Chastity holds a tea towel to her nose and opens the jar. The stench that drifts from the open jar is so acrid that even the body of the horse shot in the face starts to twitch violently]

Chastity : [Muffled through her tea towel] It's quite potent stuff. I'll can apply it to your ribs, but you'll have to do your [cough] unmentionables yourself. door, or is it more a case of walking like John Wayne for a while?

Alice : Woah, boy! [Tries to stop her horse from rearing up]

Boddy : Interesting, very interesting. I have to leave now, but I've a feeling that we'll meet again.

Alice : In the room with no exits?

Boddy : [Thinks for a second, before speaking with, for the first time, some surprise in his voice] Probably!

[Exit BODDY into the undergrowth.]

Clint : Once a wanker, always a wanker. Instead of just asking some questions, he had to start shooting around. [To Chastity] What do you have inside that jar, the unmentionables from your late first husband? Put them away, even I suffer from the stench!

Chastity : [Watches Boddy disappear before looking down in distain at the corpse of Tom. Still muffled through her tea towel] What do we do with this piece of evil excrement? Despite my ways of healing and forgiveness I'm tempted to let Clint hack apart his lifeless body and scatter the disembodied limbs to the four winds. In the name of Phili, of course. [To Nik, holding up the jar] Do you want some of this?

Nik: I am quite capable of coping with the pain myself. My injuries however, are so severe that later they could prove fatal, should I again recieve punishment of the same type.

Sven : [Stands in front of Tom] No, Sister, no one is going to hack anyone. We agreed to take him to Insomnia, and that's what we're going to do. I'm not sure how we'll get in, but if we can persuade them to let us in, they might be able to help him.

Chastity : [To Sven] That's just as well, as it would have obviously flown against my better sensibilities to see him taken limb from limb. The penance to Phili would have been terrible, possible even as high as a dozen "Hail Phili" prayers! [Turning to Nik] Let me tend to your wounded body then. [Thankfully she closes the jar of poultice, and then lays her hands on Nik's ribs] Oh, Phili, please heal this soldier of your war against evil [bows her head in prayer]

Faetan : [To CLint] He is already dead, what good would hacking him to pieces do? [Pointing at Clint with her sword], anyway, Mr. Slash happy, the people at Insomnia may even give us a reward for taking the corpse there.

Clint : [To Featan] Easy with that sword, Fae. Don't start something you can't finish.

Alice : [With a mischevious smile] Again.

[The look of pain that has been contorted onto NIK's face for the last half hour slowly subsides.]

Harvey : [To Clint] Easy, private. Keep your anger until such time as it is needed.

Chastity : [Opening her eyes from prayer, sees Nik looking less distressed and smiles] Praise Phili. [Turns to the rest of the group] Shall we get going, then? Who wants to strap Tom to his horse?

Sven : I'll do it. [Looks at Clint, and does a boxing stance with a mock serious face] My buddy Clint will help, won't you? [Big smile at Clint]

Clint : Sure, Sven, I'll help you.

[The two put TOM on his horse, and everyone remounts.]

Harvey : So, Mister Sven, what is so special about Insomnia?

Sven : There are a lot of rumours, one is that the four horsemen are afraid to attack it, while another is that they already have attacked it, and yet another that they couldn't be bothered attacking it.

Faetan : So we really have to go there and find out for ourselves. My guess is that it is still standing.

Nik: [To Chastity, in a very relaxed voice] Allow me to express my gratitude to your beningn God, and to your pleasant personality.

Faetan : [To Nik] What do you think Alice means, 'In the room with no exits' [To Alice] What was that about? He seemed suprised but he understood. If only you could be like that more often.

Chastity : [To Nik] A simple prayer of thanks will be more than enough. [To Faetan] I wouldn't worry about it, dear. Phili moves in mysterious ways. His gift of premonition to Alice is probably just a way of showing us that there is actually some pre-planning to our destinies, and not just random chance encounters rolled up on deity dice.

Faetan : [To Chastity] They say that Philli doesn't play dice. [Spits on the ground] but I reckon that's bollocks, he does play dice, but he also knows what the result will be beforehand. Deity humor type stuff, they have a laugh 'cos it all seems crazy to us mortals. [Smiles and raises and eyebrow of 'oh well']

Chastity : [Cringes as Faetan's saliva hits the dusty road. In a tired voice] Please watch the spitting, dear.

Nik: I dont know what the "room with no exit" was about, but it could be of grave importance to us. [To Chastity] Later, when my soul is in complete harmony, I will be most able to expres my gratitude. At that time, i shall say a silent and respectfull prayer to your God.

Alice : [Tutting in irritation at Faetan] You know, if you could spend a little less time trying to be such a hard ass, things would be a whole lot easier on all of us.

Sven : Haw! Good party banter, eh? I love it. So, Alice, what was the whole room without exit thing about?

Alice : I'm not so sure, every so often I get a flash of something. This time it wasn't very clear, but I'm pretty sure that the next room we speak to Boddy in won't have any exits. I didn't see it very well, but I got the feeling it will be a small stone room.

Harvey : Small stone room eh, dear niece! You've not being wrong yet with these flashes, and I dare say you won't be wrong this time either, by gum! [Scratches at a sideburn and points at Tom] Why do you want to bring that along with us? If we're to bring a body, let's bring private Sleazes body! Can't just leave the man in the field, needs a decent burial, what!

Sven : I've heard that, in Insomnia, it is possible to bring someone back to life. If it is true, then we have to bring him. However, good sir, you have a point. We should return to the point where your friend was killed, and get his body too. In fact, if I am right, we can just head down this off road, and that will get us there.

[The party head down the road, and see the stripped remains of the carriage. The cover has been removed, and it is up on blocks.]

Alice : Crikey! It's like we parked it in Limerick!

Faetan : HEY! Clear off! [Chases the vultures, snarling, then starts searching for Austin with an anxious look]

[FAETAN scares off the rather well fed and satisfied looking vultures, without too much trouble, but the wagon is empty.]

Alice : Hey! Those vultures work fast, don't they?

Faetan : Oh NO!!! How the hell are we gonna get him back?! [Distraught, tries to run hand through hair, but gets stuck] Rarr...stupid... [Jerks her hand free, starts yelling at the departing vultures] YOU JERKS!!! Come back here and cough up those bones!

Alice : [Quietly to the others] Is it just me, or does any one else see the irony of a lawyer being carried off by vultures?

Sven : [Gives Alice a wry smile, before turning to Faetan] Easy, monster. His body has been taken alright, but not by the vultures. Even they would have left a trace.

Chastity : We haven't needed a body in the past for Alice's tummy orb, so maybe we'd best make our way to Insomnia.

Nik: It would, in my humble opinion, be best to try and recover the body. Maybe our friend cannot be brought back to life, if his physical body is elsewhere. Also, he would deserve a decent funeral, should we be unable to revive him. But how do we find him?

Alice : I don't think Austin would be that concerned about getting a decent funeral - he's not that kind of guy. Now, while it is true that it would be better to bury his body, than having it with Phili knows who, doing Phili knows what to it, we're not really in a position to do anything about it, unless Sven knows of some body stealing cult?

Sven : Yes.

Alice : You do?

Sven : No, I meant yes we're not in a position to do anything.

Alice : [Thinks for a second] Hm. Anyway, I agree with Chastity, let's head onto Insomnia, that sounds like a nice place to get a good night's sleep.

Nik: Well, let's go then. As we do not know what the town is like, and as many rumours shrouds it, a cautious approach is called for.

Harvey : Right, troop, let's go.

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene VII. The Gates of Insomnia. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CLINT, CHASTTY, SVEN and FAETAN are here, having just arrived. The gates are about a hundred feet away, and it looks like the entire town is walled, and that all the surrounding area has been cleared.]

Sven : There it is. As far as I know, there's no way of getting in without crossing the clearing.

Alice : Maybe we could build a really big wooden horse, and hide in it?

Chastity : Maybe we could walk up to the gates and ask to get in?

Alice : It's just so simple it might work!

Clint : Or just kick the door open.

Sven : Haw! I like the cut of your gib, Clint, but it could be difficult to get across unseen.

Alice : Maybe if we put a large sheet over him? They wouldn't be able to see him then.

Sven : True, Alice, but they would be able to see a moving sheet, and would probably just shoot that.

Clint : What do you suggest, Sven? Is there any secret passage you know of?

Sven : I'm afraid not. I was kind of hoping that you lot could charm, or threaten your way in.

Chastity : Maybe we could race across the clearing, brandishing Tom's body, begging for entrance into the city to help him? They may respond in kind to our merciful pleads. If this doesn't work and they start firing at us, we could also use Tom's body to shield our retreat.

Nik: Maybe they have cleared the area for defensive purposses. I shall volountier to go forth, to if if they shot at anything that moves. [make a motion to move out into the cleared area.]

Chastity : [To Nik] For a man so determined to be cautious, doesn't your plan strike you as being somewhat wreckless?

Alice : At least it isn't as cold as using poor old Tom as a shield! [Thinks for a moment] Of course, it probably isn't as good, either!

Chastity : Hmmmm, "Poor Tom" indeed! Anyway, I don't like to think of it as cold, more practical.

Nik: Well, I would move forwards cautiously. [beginning to move into the cleared area]

Chastity : [To Nik] Hold on. We could maybe test the water, so to speak, by poking Tom's body out of the cover and seeing what happens. [To Alice] It would seem quite practical. He'd dead anyway, after all.

Faetan : [To Chastity] That would just let them know we are here, break our cover.

Chastity : [To Faetan] A good point my dear. [Pauses for a moment] Maybe we could use Tom's body to...[Trails off] Oh I don't know, I'll leave the details to the tactical warriors among us. By nature I am a creature of healing and mercy, not of battle and wanton cruelty.

Nik: [Slightly puzzled]If we have to persuade them to let us in, they'll have to know we're here, don't they? Last form Ole #15

Alice : That's the way it appears to the untrained, no doubt, Nik.

Faetan : Hrmm... Sven, does waving a white flag signify peaceful intentions? Or would that be considered aggressive?

Sven : I guess that depends on the way you wave it, Monster! But yes, in general, a white flag is a sign of truce. How these people will react to it though, is any one's guess.

Harvey : [To Sven] Why are these people so aggressive towards strangers? Surely in this day and age, when the population is being persecuted to the point of oblivion, they'd be only too happy to welcome a group of hardy adventurers into their fold, eh?

Faetan : [Starts breaking some branches a ways off] Anyone got a white article we can wave about? I'll give it a good shake about fifty feet that way...so if they're going to attack, they won't head in your guys' direction. Maybe Tom wants to come along, heh... [A few seconds pass in silence.]

Alice : [Sigh] Okay, I think I have something. [Puts her fingers in her waistband, about to pull down her skirt] Oh wait, they're not white. How about this? [Hands over a moth eaten handkerchief that was once white.]

Faetan : [Takes it, looks it over, and shrugs] That'll do. Thanks. [Ties together the sticks into a makeshift pole, tucking it under one arm.] Tom will come along to keep me company. He likes arrows better than I do. Everyone okay with this?

Clint : Sure, go ahead. I'm not sure if Alice will agree to using "poor Tom" as an arrow shield, though.

Alice : In the absence of a poor Clint to use an arrow shield, I suppose he'll do. However, is it really such a good idea to approach with what appears to be a human shield when trying to form a truce?

Sven : Good point Alice, but otherwise, who ever goes out is risking themselves. [To Faetan] I'll go, Monster.

Chastity : [To Sven] Watch how you go. That eye of yours still looks a bit tender and bloodshot.

Faetan : [To Sven] You take care monster [Gives Sven a friendly punch on the arm]

Sven : [To Chastity] Actually, Sister, it was the other eye that he hit!

[SVEN moves up towards the gate. As he approaches, a small, shuttered window opens, and a shotgun is pushed out. Next a small gate set into the large one opens, and out steps BENSON HEDGES.]

Benson : [Bellowing] Hello! [Calmly] Hello. We need the rest of them to step forward too.

Faetan : [To the party] He is one ugly mother f... [tails off]

Alice : For God's sake, Faetan, it's only a little bloodshot!

Benson : [Roaring] Hello! [Calm and quiet] Get the others to come out.

Sven : Haw! What others?

Benson : Alice, Chastity, [shouts] Clint! [Calm again] Faetan, Harvey and the other guy.

Faetan : [To Alice] I was talking about Benson [To Sven] How do we know this isn't a trap? I don't like the look of him!

Nik: [Moves slowly and confident forwards] Greetings my friend, well met.

Clint : Well met? I don't think so - the last time we encoutered this guy, he used to work for Pestilence as a butler. And I kinda... er... pushed him a bit too strongly, and he triped and fell. And with all this future / past / present vortexes and all that crap, I don't know if he can remember that or not. [Pauses] Plus he's got one of those fire spitting weapons.

Benson : Hello! The rest of you will step forward, now.

Faetan : [Steps forward] What the heck [Spits on the ground, folds her arms, and stands looking tough but casual]

Alice : How do they know who's here? [Looks around at the others] Do we have any choice? [Steps forward.]

[Currently FAETAN, SVEN, NIK and ALICE are in view of the gate.]

Clint : Ah, what the heck. [Steps forward] I suspect our friend Darius is involved in this.

Benson : Hello! The rest of you will step forward, now.

Faetan : [Steps forward] What the heck [Spits on the ground, folds her arms, and stands looking tough but casual]

Alice : How do they know who's here? [Looks around at the others] Do we have any choice? [Steps forward.]

[Currently FAETAN, SVEN, NIK and ALICE are in view of the gate.]

Clint : Ah, what the heck. [Steps forward] I suspect our friend Darius is involved in this. [CHASTITY and HARVEY also step forward. As soon as they do, about a hundred other shutters shoot open, and shotguns appear out of each, cocking in a terribly intimidating fashion.]

Benson : [Bellowing at the top of his lungs] Hello! [Calms down] Right, all of you, stand on one leg.

Harvey : [Looks at the Benson] I say sir, don't think that we dance to your call, what! You may have one of those new fangled gun things pointed at us, but we will not abide unnecessary tomfoolery from you, what! Now, we've got a man down who needs your attention, so, what are you going to do about it, eh?

Nik: [Whispers to Chastity] Did he say which leg?

Faetan : [Shouts to Benson] Which leg?

Benson : [Roaring back] Left! [Turns a glare on Harvey and shouts] Nothing! [Normal voice] Nothing unless you do what I say.

Faetan : [Stands on her left leg. To Benson] Okay, what now?

Clint : Who's gonna lift Tom's leg?

Benson : [Grabs a hip flask and takes a huge drink out of it] Hello! [Takes another drink to calm himself down] Everyone jump up and down!

[Every one is now standing on one leg.]

Alice : [Looks at the others] This is a little strange even for Darius, isn't it?

Clint : [Starting to jump up and down] I would suspect Pestilence behind this kind of crap, except that they're not supposed to have managed to enter Insomnia.

Alice : [Also starts jumping] I'm getting a really bad feeling about this. Maybe they just want to humiliate us before killing us?

Clint : [Shouting at Benson] Hello! Do you just want to humiliate us before killing us?

Benson : [Takes a huge drink, but speaks before he's finished, and coughs it up all over himself] No!

[HARVEY and CHASTITY reluctantly join in, as does SVEN.]

Sven : [To Faetan] Come on, Monster!

Faetan : [TO the others] Perhaps this is a test to see if we are shape changers [Starts hopping] Maybe the shifters can't hop. [To Benson] What next?

Benson : [Takes out a crumpled piece of paper and reads from it, holding it right up to his face] Now you must all sing the Queens View anthem backwards.

Alice : What? What the hell kind of morons does he think we are? [Almost immediately falls over] Ow!

Faetan : [To Benson] I was only in Queensview for two days! How the hell am I supposed to know the anthem backwards? [Still hopping]

[Suddenly the gate behind BENSON swings open, almost knocking him over. Enter ADAM TORQUE and AUSTIN SLEAZE, the former looking suprisingly benign, and the latter rather smarmy.]

Austin : Ah, I think that is enough.

Alice : [Just getting up] What the hell is this?

Chastity : [Stops hopping and trying to remember then anthem backwards] Mr. Sleaze! I should have suspected such nonsense could only have come from one source. [Looks over Austin] I see that Philli has done an overly good job of your ressurection once more! [Frowns in distaste at Austins smarmyness]

Austin : [Smirking smugly, strides over to Chastity] And how plesant it is to see you again Sister Chassers. Philli obviously values me greatly, and I can't say I blame him [Holds Maplin into the sunlight] You may gaze upon the beauty of Maplin, Philli's finest creation [Looks lovingly at Maplin, then pulls his sleeve back] That's enough for today. [Looks at the deshevilled party and does a kind of laughing 'oh dear' smirk]

Harvey : Gah! What the hell is wrong with you, Sleaze?

Adam : [With a friendly smile] I think your friend was simply trying to verify that you were who you appeared to be. Welcome to Insomnia.

Austin : [To Harvey] Adam is quite correct, one cannot be too careful. You could have been shapeshifers, or worse still, you could have been the genuine article [Smirks. Sees Faetan in her ruffeled hair, tough but cool pose] You look like you've been a naughty girl [Winks at her. To the party] You'll never guess what's for lunch! [Pauses] Horse steaks! Bar-b-qued. Lovely.

Alice : I suppose after being confronted with the horse's ass that is you, it's no surprise the whole horse theme is going to continue.

[The party hear the sounds of all the guns being cocked and pointed at ALICE.]

Austin : [Waves down the guns] It's okay, her intercranial volume and neuronaly density are low! She is often this rude, It's so hard to get good staff these days. [To the Party] Come on then, let's get inside. Chop chop. [Ushers everyone inside. Introductions on the way] Adam, this is Faetan, colonel Harvey, Alice, Clint, Sister Chastity and Nik [Points at Chastity's 'Mace'] That's is the sisters 'divine mace', a rather odd design. Clint, do you still have Temporidus? Temporidus, are you there?

Clint : I do. But I'm starting to wonder if you're the real Sleaze; how can we know you're not a shapeshifter yourself? [In loud voice] Will the real Sleaze Lawyer please stand up, please stand up.

Nik: [Gets up, stands bewildered for a moment looking from side to side] What? Do you think it is a false Austin

Faetan : [To Austin] What the hell happened to you?! We thought the vultures...well, I thought the vultures...ate you!

Alice : I think you'll find, Faetan, that the real vulture is here! [Points at Austin angrily]

Austin : [Inspects his nails briefly] Most amusing, Alice, most amusing. My carelessly discarded and badly wounded, yet still beautiful body was rescued from the carriage by some of this [gestures to Adam] gentleman's gentlemen.

Faetan : Ah. [Looks around uncomfortably for a moment] Well, at least we got in without too much trouble.

Austin : Well it's nice to see that you are all pleased to have me back. Your appreciation is most welcome, it's not as if it hurt like hell or anything, being shot in the back and picked at by vultures after being abandoned by my 'comrades'. [Whips out a nail polisher and adds a quit finishing touch to a nail]

Clint : Yes, well it's nice to see that as soon as you met people with big guns you set upon humilianting us. A typical Lawyer behaviour that would be expectable from scum like you.

Austin : [To Clint] Humiliation? Hardly, it's not as if I made you snog Harvey, or lick chastity's arm pits. Harmless fun really, compared to being shot in the back, or being down wind of you.

Clint : You were shot because you were being a pain in the arse and not obeying a guy with a big gun. You make it sound as if it was us [pointing at the party members] who shot you!

Alice : [Standing beside Clint, adopting a similar pose] Whereas in actual fact, it [emphasises] should have been us!

Harvey : I say Sleaze, what's occuring here? Last we saw you, you were shot in the back, face down in the mud, dead as a doornail, eh! Now here you are, basking in smarm and prolonging this reunion beyond gentlemanly levels! However, good to see you up and about, private! [Turns to Torque] Can we enter your town?

Adam : [Bowing graciously] But, of course! All of Mister Sleaze's party are welcome.

Clint : Mr. Sleaze's party, eh? Just what kind of lies have you spread around this time, Lawyer?

Harvey : [To Clint] Relax, private. The poor dolt is no doubt traumatized into confusion by his recent recovery. Here is not the time or place for this arguement, eh! Let's just get inside the town quick smart, what.

Faetan : Yeah...sounds good. [Glances sidelong at Austin again] Hey, your suit doesn't have a hole in the back...

Alice : [Confidentially to Faetan] It does, but it's lower down!

Nik: It doesn't have one in the front either.

Austin : [To all] This is a new suit, I would hardly wonder round in a wrecked suit, dripping with my own blood. People might get the wrong idea. [To Alice] At least I don't use that hole to talk out of.

Alice : Maybe you should, it might make more sense than you usually do.

Austin : [To Alice] Nice to know that you aer still fascinated with my derrier.

Alice : Maybe you should, it might make more sense than you usually do.

Austin : [To Alice] Nice to know that you aer still fascinated with my derrier.

Alice : Only in so far as I would like to kick it.

Austin : [To ALice] Your obsession precludes your protestation. [Places a single white glove on Maplin]

Alice : [Looking with distaste at the glove] On the contrary, Austin, your obsession engenders my protestation.

Adam : [Smiling nervously] Perhaps you would all be more comfortable in the mayor's house.

Alice : Depends on who the mayor is.

Adam : I am.

Austin : [To Adam] Your hospitality is most welcome. Do not worry about the consant bickering and squabbling in the party, they have not seen R & R since, since ... for so long I can't remember.

Adam : [Face sags slightly] That is unfortunate, because I have a mission for them to do.

Alice : A mission? What is it?

Adam : A call to pursue an activity of perform a service, but that's not important right now. What is important is the nature of the mission, for, if you are successful, it will prove that all of what the good Mr. Sleaze has told us is true.

Nik: It should be! He's a lawyer!

Alice : Oh, great, Nik! Now they'll never believe him!

Harvey : [Looks curiously at Nik] By the saints lad, what impossible utopian country are you from? [To Adam] What's this mission you've mentioned? [Looks around] But perhaps we should discuss this in private, in the mayors house, eh.

Faetan : [Nodding in agreement] Eh! And maybe with some real food...? [Looks hopefully at Adam]

Adam : Of course, we've got [leans in with a big smile] sandwiches!

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene VIII. The Mayor's House. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CLINT, CHASTTY, SVEN, AUSTIN, ADAM and FAETAN are here, having just entered. The part of the city they saw on the way was in remarkably good repair, and everyone looks surprisingly happy, compared to those on the outside. The house is quite modest, and the party are lead into a small sitting room.]

Adam : Please, make yourselves comfortable, so that we may discuss your mission, and, of course, get you those sandwiches.

Sven : Sandwiches? By Odin's beard, man, these people have been through a terrible time - they need proper food, steaks, wine, beer, blood in their teeth, that kind of thing!

Faetan : As long as it doesn't taste like plastic, I'm happy.

Nik: [To Adam] Perhaps, if it is not to much to ask, some berries, water, a little bread and some chee...valrous food for my friends.

Faetan : [Glancing at Clint with a grin] And some cheese.

Adam : Well, I'm not sure if I can find anything that doesn't taste like plastic, but let me see what I can do.

[Exit ADAM.]

Clint : [Calling after Adam] And some brandy!

Alice : You know, I think there's something strange going on in this town, did any one else notice it? I can't really put my finger on it, but.... hm, let's see. [Stands looking at a painting of the town] Hey! None of these people are moving. [Taps the painting] Hey! Hey!

Faetan : [Stares at Alice blankly for a moment, then glances at Austin] You've got 'em wrapped around your little finger. How did you do it?

Austin : Simply by dazzling them with my wonderful personality and devastating good looks. [Flashes a smile, before stretching out Maplin extravagantly.]

Clint : [Looking out the window] What do you mean, Bimbo? They all look perfectly happy.

Alice : That's just what I mean, Stinky! Why is everyone so happy? Seeing as how the four horsemen are rampaging around outside and all.

Harvey : [To Nik] Eh? What's that lad? Chevalrous food? Is that some breed of polite cow or something?

Faetan : [Staring at Maplin for a moment...then shakes herself and moves to peer out the window as well] The city seems well fortified. No one seems to be in any extreme danger, so why shouldn't they feel at ease? [Frowns] Unless, this is some vile haven for the horsemen.

Alice : [Turning to face Faetan, so they are suddenly almost nose to nose] What kind of fortifications protect a town from the Horsemen? They've managed to destroy every other town in the area - surely at least some of them were fortified too.

Faetan : [Putting her finger to Alice's shoulder...sloooowly pushing her out of her 'circle'] The Hierophantic Knights, perhaps. Maybe they've got something similar to the shield they erected around Queens View. [Pause] Or maybe a lot of guns.

Alice : [Pushing Faetan's hand away irritably] They've got a lot of guns and you still got in here!

Clint : Also, no one could get through the Hierophantic Knight shield, and it wasn't just turned on and off.

Sven : Haw! These Hierophantic Knights sound like one serious bunch of shield builders!

Austin : The bar was also unharmed, and most of the people in there seemed as cheerful as any punter usually are. Perhaps the horsemen are saving this place for some grand finale, [Muses] or this could possibly be a sanctuary type place. [Enter ADAM.]

Adam : [Excitedly] The sandwiches are on their way!

Austin : [Claps his hands] Excellent, I expect the party have forgotten how to use knives and forks anyway!

Clint : [Feeling the hilt of his dagger] I remember how to use a knife, Lawyer.

Nik: I've never used them, my hands are deadly weapons.

Chastity : [Looking irritated at Nik] Put those things away, and you, [glares at Clint] put that thing away. [Looks at Adam] What is this mission you want us to do?

Adam : Well, Madam, there is something very, very unusual going on in the town, and, given the wonderful description of your party's abilities that Mr. Sleaze gave us, we were rather hoping you could solve it for us.

Faetan : [To Adam] Well, how about you tell us about this mission, then we might be able to help you. [Looks at Austin] What did you tell him?

Adam : I didn't tell him anything. I'm sure you noticed that there is something different about this town - the people here are all very content, and the reason for that is that there is no death.

Alice : Wow, so everyone in the town can hear well?

Adam : [Thinks for a moment] Well, most of us can.

Austin : [Laughs at Alice's joke] Aaah, the master of the bad joke strikes again. [To Adam] So, why is there no death in this town?

Faetan : [Looks around somewhat distractedly, muttering under her breath] I don't see him here...strange...

Alice : Yeah, I don't see him either, [nods her head slowly] very mysterious...

Adam : Well, when I say that there's no death, there actually is, but all those who die in Insonia recover.

Faetan : So Tom will be up and running before long? [Pause] I'm just wondering why we haven't seen Jerome yet, I mean...if Austin is here, shouldn't the little guy be too?

Alice : [Exasperated at Featan's naivete] I think it is very unlikely that they would have resurrected him without bringing back his penis too!

Clint : So, how do people come back from the dead?

Adam : [Smiles] That's what we'd like to find out. Currently, we place their bodies in a casket in the graveyard, and, invariably, they wake the following morning, with all their wounds healed.

Faetan : So that's our mission? To find out why they come back to life?

Chastity : Would it be possible to resurrect the good doctor? Perhaps if he was present, Alice would spend less time thinking about other people's genitals.

Adam : Where is this doctor?

Clint : [Pointing at Alice's stomach, making a gun shape with his hand] Click click!

Adam : Actually, we need his body for this. [Looks at Chastity] That is correct - we want you to find out what is going on beneath the casket. If your party is truly as heroic as Mr. Sleaze says, it will be but a trivial task.

Sven : Haw! This party laughs in the face of death! [Punches Clint's shoulder] What do you say, Stinky? Fancy some adventure?

Austin : [To Chastity] Nope hope of that ever happening Chassers. If we go to the graveyard we may find that it is some kind of sanctuary, or that the Chruch crypt has some mysterious device hidden in it perhaps?

[ALICE appears to be deep in thought, and oblivious to the unkind remarks of CHASTITY and AUSTIN.]

Clint : [Smiling broadly at Sven, before punching him back] Sure do!

Harvey : [Unhappy with all the horseplay] Maybe there's something like the orbs that the Hierophantic Knights use. [Thinks a moment] Will use.

Faetan : I don't know about this. Why question a good thing? Whatever's doing it might take offense if we start poking our noses where we don't belong.

Adam : Our concern is that the Four Horsemen are waiting to attack here. They have avoided us so far, and any other town or building that has been spared, as always been ravaged in a particularly violent fashion later on. Our belief is that whatever is below the town has made us survive this long, but, will ultimately lead to our demise.

Alice : [Snapping out of her thought with a smile, clicking her fingers] That's why men don't wear skirts!

Harvey : [Confused] Why?

Alice : Because of their, um [makes a slight stroking motion with her fingers] their [tilts her hands upright] legs!

Nik: It could be magic both benign and malign, we'd best be cautious.

Alice : [Embarassed, and turning to Nik, speaking loudly] Yes! Yes! Caution is what we need!

Faetan : [Rubs her chin, knitting her brow] What about kilts? [Ponders again] Hrmmmm...

Austin : [To Faetan] Technically speaking, kilts are not skirts. [To all] Shall we go and have a look then? Is anyone still wearing a pendant?

Harvey : What pendant, Private?

Chastity : [Poking Faetan in the back] Stop that at once, young lady! I think you're spending too much time with Alice!

Alice : [Appealing] That's what *I* keep saying!

[Enter KELLY SHORT, banging the door open. KELLY is a beautiful woman, with a fantastic dress on, a wonderful hairdo and an expression so angry that even FAETAN is taken aback. She is carrying a tray of sandwiches, which she slams down on the table.]

Kelly : [Petulantly] There! [Addressing Adam] I suppose there's something wrong with these too, is there?

Adam : Er, normally the bread is on the outside of the sandwich, and the meat on the inside, but, er, these look great! [Forces on a smile]

Faetan : Um... [Shakes her head, somewhat chagrined, and peers out the window again to look at the people]

Alice : [Gives Kelly a curious look, before turning to Faetan and whispering] That's not the window, it's a picture.

[It is, of course, the window.]

Nik: I have no pendant that i know of, and if i had, I'd probably not know how to use it.

Alice : Don't tell me you've lost it, Nik! What kind of person loses their pendant?

Kelly : [With an exasperated sigh] Can I go now?

Adam : Er, perhaps you might get us some drinks?

Kelly : You want something to drink? With food? What-ever. [Storms out]

Harvey : [Watching Kelly stomp out] Doesn't she look a little like you, Niece?

Alice : No she doesn't!

Austin : [To all, strutting up and down the lenght of the room, Sheerluck Homely style] What is important here is that last time we were in a similar situation, Darius tricked us into turning off the shield over Queensview. He achieved this but giving us pendants, that would allow us to pass through Hell unharmed, to gain entry into Queensview via the Hellmouth in the town. Once there the secret devices that he had hidden within the pendants destroyed the shield. [Pauses] This time Darius gave us nothing, but helped us escape, telling you to come here. Once more there is somthing special about the graveyard and the church, and we are about to go there to find it. It is possible that our attempt to find the cause could destroy the positive effects of whatever it is we seek [Finishes looking at Adam] The sermon endeth.

Clint : [Jumping, as though waking up] Are you finished, Lawyer? Just how is the situation similar? Other than the facts that we are involved, and there's a town involved?

Faetan : Let's keep watch on Tom tonight, then. Can't be much harm in observing... [Glances at Adam] Unless you've tried that already?

Austin : [Still looking very smug. To Clint] Darius is the key. He wanted into Queensview. He got in by tricking us into destroying the shield. [Pauses] Darius wants into Insomnia.[Pauses] He can't get in possibly because of what is in the graveyard.[Pauses] He got us to come in here.[Pauses] Adam has asked us to investigate the anomaly... weird thing in the gravey yard. [Pauses] The thing in the graveyard could be a kind of shield.

Adam : Yes, we have. One of the locals slept in one of the coffins with a recently deceased lady, and she was still dead the next morning.

Alice : Did she come back to life the next night?

Adam : [Shakes his head slowly] No, but now that you mention it, he's still sleeping there.

[ALICE wrinkles up her nose and gives a little shiver.]

Harvey : [To Adam, looking a little ill] Do you have any reason to believe that the thing in the graveyard is acting as a shield?

Adam : No. It hasn't stopped people from coming in - however, the Horsemen have never even tried to get in either. tasty...I feel robbed.

Faetan : Odd...you'd think they'd be assaulting the place nonstop. [Thinks a bit] If there were just some way that we could monitor Tom... Austin, you wouldn't happen to remember anything about it, would you?

Austin : Not a thing, other than waking up in a suit I wouldn't be caught dead in. [Sniggers at his joke]

Alice : You mean, you were locked into a box, and someone actually left you out?

Adam : The coffins are never sealed, nor covered in.

Faetan : Then we should go see these things, first of all. And you knooooowwww... [Smirks a little] I think I'm the only one out of you lot who hasn't died yet. If all else fails, then...heh...

[Enter KELLY, carrying a tray of glasses of wine, most of which has been spilled, which she slams down on the table.]

Kelly : Is that it?

Faetan : Got milk?

Kelly : Milk?

Chastity : Yes, dear, as from a cow.

Kelly : [Gives Adam a withering look] Do I have to milk a cow?

Adam : No! There's some in the fridge.

[KELLY stands there and doesn't move, still looking at ADAM.]

Adam : In the kitchen?

[KELLY stands there and doesn't move, still looking at ADAM.]

Adam : The - the room across the hall.

[KELLY gives an exasperated sigh and storms off, slamming the door after her.]

Alice : [Watching her leave] I don't think she's at all like me!

Faetan : Yeah, you probably would have run into the door first.

Alice : If it was a choice between that and talking to you, I would do it gladly!

Faetan : Oh, well, then... [Points towards the door] Be my guest!

Alice : Fortunately, there are other things to do in the room rather than talk to you. [Turns away from Faetan]

[Much to ALICE's dismay, at that very moment, KELLY bursts in the door and smacks it off her head.]

Alice : Ow!

Kelly : [Looking at the jug of milk in her hand] No, they say [squeaks like a mouse] eek, eek! [Looks at the milk, before looking to Faetan and back down at the milk again] I mean, moo, moo! [Smiles and holds the jug up to Faetan.]

Faetan : Thanks! Hope it wasn't too much trouble. [Grins]

Kelly : Well, actually, it was. It was kept in a little room that was really cold, and when I opened up the door, my nipples went all hard, see?

Clint : [Sexy growl] I can help you with that!

Faetan : Ugh... [Frowns and sits down heavily, tucking ravenously into the sandwiches and milk]

Kelly : [Glares at Clint with her lip curled up in disgust] Keep away from me.

Adam : [Laughs nervously at Kelly] So, [raises his voice a little to be heard over the chewing of Faetan] what I'd like you to do is to go into one of the graves tonight with a body.

Faetan : [Swallows a bite] Tight fit, y'know. [Rowmpf, takes another bite]

Alice : Maybe if you didn't put so much food into your mouth in one go, it wouldn't be.

Austin : [Puts an other glove over the white glove on Maplin and delicately nibbles a sandwich. To Kelly] Thank you for the sandwiches, good lady, I expect that you must be most bored of such chores. You do look rather stunning, and you beautiful dress suggests that you may be on your way to a ball, may I have the honor of accompanying you? [Bows to Kelly slightly] My colleagues wish to spen some time sleeping with corpses.

Kelly : [Turns her glare on Austin for a few seconds, before giggling foolishly] This old thing?

Clint : Back off, lawyer, there is the matter of the cold nipples to sort out first. [Folds up eight sandwiches and places them, and his entire hand into his mouth.]

Adam : [To Austin] So, does that mean that you will not be accompanying the party on the mission?

Chastity : [To Clint] Don't be such a greedy gannet. I do hope your not planning to speak with your mouth so full.

Austin : [To Adam] Quite correct, I should go with my team, who knows what could happen if I didn't. [To Kelly] Perhaps we could meet up later, are there any parties anywhere tonight?

Chastity : [To Kelly] Don't answer him, my dear. He'll only try to take advantage of you. [Looks at Kelly, then to ALice, then to Kelly again] You don't know if you have any relatives called Alice, or Harvey, or Aldwyn, do you?

Austin : [To Kelly, smiling plesantly] Please pay no heed to the good sister, she means well but you know how convents have a strange effect on elderly ladies. Even if there are no parties tonight I should very much like to take you dancing, some time soon, [Raises his eyebrow a moment] If I may be so bold.

Clint : [Spewing out crumbs all over the party and the floor] No, Sister, I wasn't planning on speaking. [Carries on chewing]

Kelly : [Getting all selfconscious] Why, I'd love to go dancing with you.

Alice : [Looks at Chastity] What are you talking about, Chastity?

Adam : Now, we have given some thought to your mission, and we would like two members of the group to remain behind. As - as insurance.

Austin : [To Kelly] It would be an honor. But first I must undertake this mission [Bows a little to Kelly] If you will excuse me [To Adam] Very well, perhaps Faetan and Harvey should wait whilest we go on. Faetan, you looks a little sleepy, and Colonel, you look like you could do with a little rest and some sandwiches. How does that sound to you?

Harvey : No you may not, private Sleaze! You've had enough RnR for one day, lying on your back for almost twenty four hours doing nothing at all! The troop needs all it's recruits tonight, and that includes you, young fellow me lad! Why, what if this coffin transports us all to another timeframe! Our paths may never cross again! [Thinks a moment] Your weekend pass is approved, private! Enjoy!

Faetan : [Looking up from her sandwich] Well, I'm not staying behind!

Adam : Actually, based on the description given to us by Mr. Sleaze, the most valuable members of the group are himself and Sven. Now, clearly, the leader will not stay behind, so we'd like to suggest Clint.

Clint : [Points at Kelly] Click-click! [Looks back to Adam] Not going to happen, I'm afraid. That's just not Clint Scar's style.

Chastity : Well, I'm definitely coming along. Snooping around graveyards in the dead of night? If these people are being laid down in Phili's grace, it's only right that one of representatives be there for any resurrections!

Sven : [To Adam] Sir, you're going to have a hard time stopping any of this mob from going to the graveyard - they're not the type to turn their back on adventure.

Adam : Then I will have to ask you to leave, and try to survive outside the town.

Nik: Though we have travelled far, my well-trained body is far from it's limits, I feel myself fully capable of action. I would be both proud and happy to join this group of rightous people on their quest to right a wrong.

Harvey : [To Nik] And you are of course, welcome to join us! However, [swings around to Austin] as for some of needing rest and sandwiches, what tish! What tosh! And what the blue blazes nonsense have you told your host? As you well know, Sleaze, we work together, all of us! And we're leaving no one behind on this mission, eh!

Adam : I am afraid you are. Sir, you may not realise it, but, as leader [gestures to Austin] Mr. Sleaze has to make the difficult decisions. Either two of you stay behind, or you leave.

Sven : [Sitting on the table with his feet on a chair, eating a sandwich] He might be right Harvey. It's best to split up temporarily than to compromise the entire mission. I don't like to turn my back on a fight, but I'll volunteer for sandwich duty.

Austin : [To Harvey] Adam insists on two of us staying behind, [To Adam] Does is have to be two of us, how about just Sven here ? [Pats Sven lightly on the arm] He is almost two people.

Alice : Then, if we get Austin, who is almost a person, that would make two!

Sven : [Roaring laughing at Austin] Haw! Sir, you embarass me with your praise - I feel I am already more of a man for having spent time with your party! [Turns to Adam] What say you, kind sir? Will I do as hostage?

Adam : It is not a hostage we seek, but it must be two people.

Clint : Okay, I'll stay, but only if Kelly here promises to look after us.

[KELLY giggles self-consciously.]

Austin : [Frowns] Well let us just hope we don't have to fight all the horsemen at once, if you two are staying here. [To Harvey] Well Colonel, do you aggree?

Harvey : [Furrows his brows] Hmmm, I suppose that would be alright. Confined spacesin the coffin, lack of ventilation and all that, what! [To Clint and Sven] Good men, as always, loyalto duty, I salute you! [Harvey snaps a salute]

Sven : [Giving an extravagent salute back] If trouble lies ahead sir, I hope you do not encounter it until we meet up again! [Turns to Clint, clearly expecting a similar salute from him]

Clint : [With a big cheesy grin, to Kelly] Now, let's see if we can't do anything about that frozen nipple situation.

[Exit CLINT and KELLY.]

Alice : [Watching the two go out the door] You know, she does look a little familiar...

Chastity : [To Adam] What size is this coffin? And what's it made of. It'll have to be pretty sunstancial to fit us all in!

Austin : Excellent! Colonel, once more you are proof that with age comes wisdom. [To the others] Shall we go?

Harvey : [Looking after Kelly] Don't think so, my dear niece! She certainly doesn't remind me of any one, that's for sure! I've never met anybody with such a clumsy way about them, before!

Nik : [Nods his head] But clumsy in action does not mean clumsy in mind, let's not forget, as the great Zen once said! [To Adam] I too would like to know how large this coffin will be. I must prepare my body for ultra suppleness, should the need arise for fitting oneself into the tiniest of spaces.

Alice : [Accidently poking herself in the eye with a particularly sharp sandwich corner] Ow! [Blinks a few times] I know what you mean, Harvey, I know just what you mean.

Adam : The coffin will comfortably fit six.

Alice : So, including the body, there will be me, Harvey, Nik, Chastity, Austin and Faetan. Yay! [Applauds happily] Looks like we're all gonna fit!

Harvey : [Delighted] Indeed so, dear niece! With room to spare, I should think! This calls for a celebratory sandwich, what! [Grabs one from the plate and chomps merrily, before stopping suddenly and looking at Adam] I say old man, you make your coffins big in these parts, don't you? Pretty well fed populous, I'll wager?

Nik : [Swinging a leg over his shoulder] But surely that makes seven, including the body?

Adam : And you'd win, sir! We have a specially built coffin that you can avail of. Please, follow me. [Opens the door.]

Sven : Right, you lot, look after yourselves. I'll be waiting here with my buddy Clint. I've a feeling we're going to be inseperable. [Looks around] Hey! Where's he gone? [A big smile comes across his face] That old dog!

Alice : [Wide eyed with surprise at Sven] I thought she was really nice looking! [Glances at Nik] You know, sometimes, even I can't resist temptation. [Pushes him ever so gently, causing him to rock back and forth.]

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act III, Scene IX. The Graveyard. ALICE, HARVEY, NIK, CHASTTY, AUSTIN, ADAM and FAETAN are here, as well as TOM's body. The graveyard looks pretty much like any other one, and a large grave has been dug in the centre, into which the party will just about fit.]

Adam : [Good naturedly to Alice] I hope you're not afraid of being locked up in a box!

Alice : [Peering into the grave] At least this time I don't have to wear handcuffs. [Looks back at him] Hey, if the last time someone spent the night with a dead person nothing happened, why should it be any different?

Adam : Er, [looks to Harvey] perhaps you'd like to answer this one?

Harvey : Indeed sir! Aha, perhaps the last chap who stayed the night with a body was actually a murderer, and the poor body came back to life during the night, only to be murdered again in the morning.

Alice : Or maybe it wasn't really a body at all, and just some kind of mannequin!

Adam : [Makes to say something, but then thinks better of it] Hm, good point, Harvey. Actually, we are rather hoping that whatever power is bringing back people to life will be intrigued at finding a number of people.

Faetan : [Looks at the coffin with a little smile, then sighs] This has to be the weirdest thing I've ever done.

Harvey : Really. [Surprised] Really? Well, by your reckoning, perhaps we don't need a body with us at all. I mean that whatever power is bringing people back to life will be even more intriqued at finding a number of people in a coffin, seemingly, for absolutely no reason whatsoever,

Nik : I presume that the coffin will not be covered in soil while we are in there? For even though I will attain zenlike catatonic enlightment through meditation, thereby slowing my heartbeat to one thousanth of its normal speed, the air used by the others will quickly run out.

Adam : Perhaps, but I would like to do it with a dead body first.

[ADAM pauses as he can hear ALICE and AUSTIN sniggering in the background.]

Alice : [Putting on a straight face] Sorry.

Austin : [With a cough] Excuse me.

Adam : [Irritated at Alice and Austin] It will be covered, but all those who have recovered have appeared outside the grave. It has never been a problem.

Faetan : So...if we die because we don't get enough air, we'll just come back to life anyway. Is that what you're saying?

Harvey : But there is indeed something in what the fellow says, Adam! All those who were placed into the ground were already dead, and did not need air! What if we suffocate during the night?

Adam : [Taken aback at Faetan and Harvey] Alright, alright! [Puts his hands up, before saying, thoughtfully] I suppose, we could kill you.

Alice : [Rolling her eyes] Or you could just send a pipe down!

Adam : Ah, yes, for air.

Alice : [Considers this for a moment] Actually, I was going to say so we could smoke some cheese, but yeah, yours could work too.

Faetan : And maybe some potpourri...ol' Tom isn't smellin' so good.

Alice : So, who get's the bottom bunk?

[It looks like the coffin will fit three along the bottom, and three on the top.]

Harvey : [Claps his hands together] Right then, that's all sorted! [Looks at the party] Now troop, we're all going to be in very close proximity to each other, in an enclosed space so I have here some kit we may need! [Hands each member a cork] Now, you no doubt know what to do with that! [Sticks the cork into a torch for a few seconds and then starts rubbing black streaks across his face with it] Camoflague! Just the ticket!

Faetan : I prefer to be on top. [Pause] That didn't sound right...

Harvey : And I'll go on the bottom! Stop any worms who try to burrow in through the floor from getting to you ladies!

Faetan : [Reddening faintly] Er...much obliged, sir. [Busies herself with the 'camoflauge']

Alice : [To Faetan] That doesn't surprise me. [To the others] That said, I'll go on top too.

Austin : [Smelling the cork delicately] An entirely distasteful vintage. [Screws up his face in disgust, before throwing the cork away] I believe I belong on top.

Alice : That's just a waste of time. [Looks directly at Harvey] Hey! Where's Harvey gone? the library, dangit!!!

Faetan : [Peering at Austin with a sidelong glance] Er... [Smears on more black to hide the red]

Nik : Well, it would seem the top level is now taken, so I shall go underneath. However, I will not stop worms, for everything has a place on this earth, and that very worm might contain the spirit of a dead loved one!

Austin : [Stepping in front of Faetan] Oh no, my dear, you are more of an Autumn girl. Let me. [Takes out his own make up bag]

Alice : [Starts putting on some bright red lipstick] Well, I suppose a little can't hurt.

Harvey : [With pride as he takes in the scene] What professionals, eh!

Adam : [Watching Alice put on more make up] Yes, but professionals in what?

Chastity : Hm, I think I will go on top too. That will work, won't it?

Harvey : [Downcast] Sadly no sister. I'm afraid the top is taken by Alice, Faetan and private Sleaze. However, you're more than welcome to share the lower tier with Nik and myself.

Alice : And the now rotting and fetid Tom! [Sees Chastity downcast face] Don't worry Sister, just pretend you're lying beside Clint! [Stops a second] Oh. I see.

Chastity : Okay, as long as I don't have the lawyer on top of me.

Harvey : This is going to be an awkward situation and no mistakes, eh! I say that Faetan goes above the good sister, Alice above me, and private Sleaze can rest above Nik and Tom. How's that, lads?

Austin : [Sneering] Ah yes, comfortable position for you, no doubt, Colonel.

[HARVEY, CHASTITY, NIK and TOM take up their positions.]

Alice : [To Austin and Faetan] Now, be careful when you get in that you don't do anything awkward. [Steps out onto Nik's crotch.]

Nik : Yeaargh!

Alice : Oops! [Jumps off, onto Harvey's crotch]

Harvey : Yeaargh!

Alice : Oops! [Jumps off, onto Tom's crotch]

Tom : Yeaargh!

Alice : Hey! I thought you were dead!

Tom : I am, but it STILL hurts! [Dies]

Faetan : Em...sure... [Eyes Austin's make-up bag warily] It's camoflauge...right...? I don't really wear cosmetics...

Austin : [Pulling the bag back] Actually, it isn't, but, [smiles benignly at her] Perhaps you should. [Steps into the coffin.]

Faetan : Maybe later. [Looks at the last space, and fidgets somewhat before climbing in] Well...here's hoping we'll see the sun on the morrow.

Nik: You should not worry, my ladies. If you fall asleep I'll knock you up. [Knocks on the wood next to him.]

Chastity : [To Nik] You'll do nothing of the sort, and no "touching wood" for luck will help you. [Looks round the coffin] I hope we're OK in here, [Glares at Nik, whilst knocking the wood next to her] touch wood. [Pauses thoughtfully] Em, Alice, do you think this constitutes a room with no doors?

Austin : Hmm, well thought Chassers, I can't think of a more appropriate place for Darius to anoy us. A captive audience. Perhaps we should work on our escape plan, Colonel? A last from Dom #27

Alice : Maybe, Chastity. What I felt is that it was going to be a room with no exits - and I guess a tomb is like that. Once you're in, you never get out. [Silence for a few moments] Aaaargh! [Tries to sit up, and bangs her head] Ow!

Harvey : By the saints, settle down troop! There's no need for panic! Especially when the lid isn't even closed, what! Adam, pass down the airpipe and let's crack on with this. [Quietly to Austin] And as for an escape plan, I'm certainly thinking about it! Luckily I have with me a spoon, with which we can easily dig our way out, should things go awry!

Faetan : How can you guys be soo relaxed when being burried alive without an escape plan, other than a spoon? This seems a bit weird.

Adam : Of course. [Pushes the time down, and the lid is closed]

[It is suddenly very, very dark.]

Alice : Calm? I'm not calm! In fact, I'm so not calm I make your normal demeanour look calm!

[There is silence for a few seconds, followed by the sound of an extremely loud fart.]

Harvey : Gah! Which one of you had the bean sandwich? Oh, that was me! Do excuse me, troop!

[There is another, rip roaring fart, that fills the already too small coffin with a revolting smell.]

Alice : Aw, God! Did someone bring Clint in here? I'm getting out. Hey! The lid is stuck!

[The party can hear earth being thrown onto the coffin.]

Austin : [Scoosh scoosh, the scent of very expensive aftershave fills the coffin masking all affle odors] That should improve things a little. [To Faetan] I am in aggreement with you Faetan, I am sure that Adam said that they don't even lock the lids, let alone bury the coffins in soil. This is weird. Adam said, and I quote 'The coffins are never sealed, nor covered in.'.

Alice : It sure sounds like it's being covered in to me!

[The party hear the sound of someone kicking the lid hard.]

Alice : Ow! It is stuck!

Harvey : I thought we were all agreed that the coffin was going to be covered, which is why we have the airpipe! But don't worry troop, I am even now, as I speak, scraping an escape hole in the bottom of the coffin. Should be done in a few weeks! So no panic, now troop!

Faetan : Why panic when we can die camly. You guys do have a better plan than that don't you?

Harvey : [Stops scraping] Listen my girl, there's no need to worry about anything yet. Our mission is to find out what happens during the night, and that's what we are going to do. I'm quite sure they'll come along tomorrow and dig us up! Now, let's all try to get some sleep! Boost morale! Or if you'd prefer, we could all have a singsong!

Alice : Sing? We can hardly breathe with the mysterious farter, and you want us to sing?

[Someone farts the first few bars of "Frere Jacques".]

Nik : I know a chant to raise the spirits and focus the mind on oneness! All together now, Omni padme omniiiii! Omni padme omniiii! focus

Harvey : Now I certainly know that wasn't me! If I was to toot a number, it certainly wouldn't be any johnny foreigner rucus, I can tell you! Who is it? Is it one of us?

Austin : Darius? Is that you?

Faetan : I have a nasty feeling that Mr. Sellsick may have rejoined the land of the living. Mr Sellsick, it that you? [The party hear the sound of someone striking a match.]

Alice : For the love of Phili, no!

[The match illuminates, miraculously not causing an explosion in the methane filled space. The party can now see that PESTILENCE is in the coffin with them.]

Pestilence : Well! Isn't this cosy?

Harvey : [Jumps in fright] Gah! It's him! What do you want here!

Pestilence : Well, I heard what you were up to, and I was just [emphasises] dying to see what would happen. [Screws up his face as lets loose another rip-roaring fart] You know, my wife was right, I shouldn't have added to her 239 bean soup.

Alice : [Trying to push away from him] What do you mean?

Pestilence : Because then it was [Irish accent] too farty! [Parp!]

Harvey : By the saints, trapped in a coffin with a complete flatulent madman! A fate worse than death itself! How did you get in here?

[The layout of the coffin is as follows. Bottom row, from left to right : HARVEY, CHASTITY, NIK and TOM. On the top row : ALICE, AUSTIN, FAETAN and PESTILENCE.]

Pestilence : Flatulent madman? [Louder] Flatulent madman? [Screams in anger] Flatulent madman? [Parp. He calms down] Yeah, I guess I am pretty flatulent, now that you come to mention it. I was kind of curious as to what goes on in here, so thought it might be a good idea to check it out for myself - you know, spend a bit of time with you, interface with the people that Boddy is so fascinated with. [Turns and looks at Tom] Say, that's a nice moustache.

Harvey : To what purpose is this interfacing intended? Eh?

Nik: Surely he's mad. I don't have a moustache

Pestilence : [Puts on his thinking-hard face] Gee, I don't know, I guess I spent so much time thinking about to get us all together, that I never gave any thought to what we'd actually talk about. What a reek. [Looks at Nik] We can fix that.

[PESTILENCE reaches over to NIK with a knife and cuts a curly moustache into his upper lip, causing him to scream in pain, before putting the knife away and turning back to the party.]

Pestilence : [Genially] You'd be amazed at how that happens to vampires.

Chastity : I think he's talking about Tom's moustache. [Shouting at Pestilence] Watch out, don't hold that flame so close to Tom's face. [Grimaces a faint sizzling sound can be heard] Oh, that's just great. A coffin full of bottom burp and now burnt hair smells!

Chastity : [To Pestilence] What part has Adam Torque in your plans? I take it he's in on all of this?

Pestilence : [Now with the match pushed into Tom's mouth, to hold it up] Sorry about that. Sometimes I just don't know what I'm thinking about when I [sound of zipper being undone] make all these awful smells. [Urinates on Faetan and Nik] Hey, is it just me, or has it got really warm in here?

Pestilance : [Ziiip!] Adam Torque? I guess I was kind of planning on torturing him to death, [with a wounded look] he's been saying the most awful things about me!

Harvey : Has he indeed! And do you think you deserve them? [Tries to keep as far away from the sodden Nik as he can]

Chastity : [Sarcastically] Really? I can't imagine!

Pestilence : [Nodding at Chastity] I know! The cheek of him! [Glances at Harvey, and claps his hand to his breast] I can honestly say that I am not the homicadal maniac who roams the countryside killing innocent, God fearing people in the name of Seth.

Alice : And aren't you?

Pestilence : [Insulted] Absolutely not! [With some pride] I'm the homicadal maniac who roams the countryside killing innocent, God fearing people for fun!

Nik: [Tries to sit, but bonks his head into something] Well mister, you have certainly pissed me off.

Harvey : [Glares at Pestilence] Well, enjoy it while you can, you fiend! Before your head ends up on the top of a sword.

Pestilence : [Theatrically dismayed at Nik] Oh no! [Glances at Harvey] Hey, that's good advice - live every day like your life is about to end with your head on top of a sword, I like that! [Takes out his dagger and stabs Nik in the throat, showering the party in blood, and causing Nik's body to convulse in pain.]

Harvey : Sister, can you do anything! We have a man down here! [Tries to stem the flow of blood from Niks throat]

Nik: [Body stops convulsing for a moment] I should've been more cautious. [Convulsion resumes]

Chastity : [Sighs] Twice in a matter of hours. Very cautious I'm sure. [Puts her hand over Nik's throat and mutters an incantation] Phili, hear our healing prayer.

Faetan : [Fuming in anger, terrified] You son of a [punches Pestillence as hard as she can]

Harvey : [To Nik] Try not to talk, lad! [Grabs the end of the air pipe and shouts into it] Get us out of here! Get us out of here right this instant!

[FAETAN connects with PESTILENCE's left eye.]

Pestilence : Ow! [In really wounded voice] Ow, there's no need to be so nasty about it, that really hurt. [Rubs his right eye.]

[Despite CHASTITY's prayer, nothing happens, but ADAM's voice booms down the pipe.]

Adam : What's going on down there?

Pestilence : [On the verge of tears] She punched me, she really hurt me, gosh, she's just so mean! [Headbutts Faetan, breaking her nose and cheek bones, showering the party in blood]

Austin : [To Pestilence] Was that fun?

Harvey : [Into the pipe] We're being attacked by Pestilence, that's what! Dig us out of here this instant!

Chastity : [To Harvey] Colonel, I fear that Pestilence being down here is in fact the best reason Torque would have [emphasises] 'not' to dig us out.

Adam : Right, straight away. We - [breaks off] Oh no! [Blood curdling scream] Nooooo!

Pestilence : [To Austin] It sure was! But not as much fun as biting your nose off, I'd say!

Alice : [Starts kicking the lid of the coffin] Get us out! Get us out!

Pestilence : [To Chastity] So, let's have a [thinks for a second] a chinwag! What are you lot here for? And I mean in this time, not in this coffin. dig

Harvey : [To Chastity] Pestilence isn't trapped in here with us, sister! He appeared once the lid was closed and the coffin covered. If the man is a vampire, then he can't face sunlight and will have to flee once the coffin is opened!

Pestilence : That's true. If I was a vampire!

Austin : [To Pestillence] Well, we were sent here through a time portal by a fellow called Darius, to what ends we know not. Are you a vampire?

Pestilence : [Irritated] That is not the question I asked. [Pulls out his knife again and kills Nik] Now. [Calming down with a reassuring smile] Let's try that again, shall we?

Harvey : We're here to stop your ilk from destroying the world. Presumably.

Austin : [To Pestilence] You see we did not come here deliberatley, Darius sent us here, when he said he would send us to a safe place, he mentioned nothing about time-travel. So, generally speaking, we have been wondering around a bit lost, saw what you and the boys were up to and thought we'd have a jolly old fight and see if we couldn't kill you, or die trying, again, as we did in the future. If you follow my temporal reasoning.

Pestilence : [Sad face, puffing his cheeks out with a sigh] Well, that's a pity, I really kind of had my heart set on it. Hm.

Pestilence : [Interested] Yes, yes, I see. [Nods several times and rubs his chin] How about you kill me [emphasises] and die trying?

Harvey : If you had a heart, which I doubt, foul fiend!

Pestilence : [Turns to Harvey, with a surprised look] Harvey, you, you wound me with your harsh words. Would someone with no heart have thought to bring you a present? [Takes out a large flask of oil, and almost drops it] Woah! These things sure are slippy!

Chastity : I don't like the look of that. [Tries to blow out Pestilence's very slow burning match]

Harvey : Look, whatever you want to do with us, I ask you as a genteman, to leave the ladies go free! Then, we can get down to it!

Austin : [To Pestilence] Do you have to kill us now? I have only been alive for a few hours. I'm sure we ahve plenty of interesting things to talk about, like shield generators, Heaven, Hell, magic swords, trailer parks, how Seth is sucha big girls blouse, insecure and tetchy. [CHASTITY blows out the match, and sends the entire coffin into darkness. Peace and stillness reign for a few seconds, before the match relights again.]

Pestilence : [Giddy like a school child] It's one of those novelty matches that relights after you blow it out - we had them for Iok's birthday, and when he was torturing those monks with matches under his fingers, why, [pauses to wipe a tear of mirth out of his eye] you should have seen the look on his face when the matches kept coming back on!

Pestilence : [Unscrewing the top of the oil] No, I don't have to kill you now, but, not being a gentleman, I don't really have a proper sense of timing. Just ask me, [looks at Alice] ask me what makes a real gentleman.

Alice : Er, what makes a -

Pestilence : [Interrupting] Timing! [Laughs, but stops immediately] But seriously, folks, you'll thank me for this in the long run. [Drops the can of oil so it is pouring all over Nik and Harvey.]

Austin : [To Pestilence] What about our chin wag? We were just warming up, pun temporally intended, and I don't plan on doing any long runs anywhere, so I won't be thanking you for burning us to death.

Harvey : You plague ridden devil! I'm glad you end up the way you end up! Talk about divine justice!

Pestilence : [Looks at Harvey, before turning open mouthed to Austin, in mock horror, before turning back to Harvey once again] Okay. Um, it's like when that sadistic fucker Phili who claims to love everyone on the planet sets up a group like Iok and the rest of us to torture his minions, and finds out that more people end up believing in us than him. You think that we're evil? He's the evil one, he's the insane sadist, he's the twisted, depraved bastard. [Calms down for a moment, before giving a big, sheepish grin at the party] Well, to tell the truth, I'm a pretty twisted, depraved bastard myself. [Lights a match, and throws it onto the ground.]

[The entire coffin explodes in a fiery ball, as everyone screams in agony. Fortunately, the pain doesn't last too long, and soon there is nothing left but the charred remains of the group.]