THE QUEENS VIEW AFFAIR

[Book III, Act VII, Scene I. The Corridor. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, FAETAN, ARAMIS, VASCO, FENTON, RICKY, KENNY WHO?, KENNY WHY?, KENNY WHAT? and PEARSE PEARCE are here.]

Aramis : [Gives Alice and extravagent bow] My dear girl, were I not afraid that tears might tarnish the reputation I have so striven for, I would weep with emotion.

Alice : [Mindless giggle] Can we swap him for Faetan?

Clint : [To Aramis] Please don't! Last time we had a tears session it lasted forever. And I don't have enough drink to wait until it's over.

Aramis : Ah! A man in touch with his feelings, I like that! However, time is of the essence, and we must get to the gate.

Harvey : [Rubs his sideburn]  To the gate you say, dear sir? Why of course, but how have you heard of it? [Big smile] And how did you come to be here, just in time for a splendid fight?

Aramis : We were tipped off [pause] by, I believe, some friends of yours. Myself and these most upstanding [leans in confidentially Austin, Harvey and Clint] and virile, I believe, [loud again] were tracking Pearce and his odious family. We came expecting that you would have already had them defeated and incarcerated [bows slightly] but I apologise for interrupting your fight.

Clint : There was a handful of them, but we were doing fine. Thanks for giving us a hand anyway, that came in very handy. [Pause; then to Chastity] No offense, sister.

Alice : [Flutters her eyelids at Aramis and sighs to no one in particular] He's just so handsome.

Aramis : [Smiles modestly at Alice] This is the third outfit I have seen you in, my dear, and, incredibly, [exagerated shake of the head] you are even more fetching in this one.

Alice : [Self-consciously] This old thing? Well, it does fit like glo- I mean, like a pair of - I mean like a - [avoids Chastity's look] like a - like a really well fitting [tails off lamely] set of clothes.

Austin : [To Alice, stropily] It's nice that everyone is so careful not to talk about Chastity's bloody hand. Just like nobody talked about my arm when we were in hell. [With a snort of derision] NOT! [Turns his back on the party, then turns back to Chastity] Well never mind, I'm sure Phili will have it slapped back on in no time. What about those healing potions that that nice fellow Chief Slyfunk gave to us? I certainly could use one [Points at the numerous cuts on himself]

Alice : [Annoyed] Austin! Don't don't talk about her hand! [Rolls her eyes] Tut! And right in front of her and all!

Chastity : It pleases me to see that your experience in hell has served to increase your faith Austin. Using the healing potions is a good idea, perhaps you could get them out of my backpack? [Turns to give Austin access.]

Austin : [To Chastity, whilst rummaging in her backpack] Why thank you sister, it pleases me that you are [Thinks something and then thinks better of saying it] pleased. [Gets 4 healing potions and 6 extra healing potions from Chastity's pack]

[CHASTITY takes two of the extra healing potions and drinks them back, while each of CLINT, ALICE and AUSTIN take one also.]

Aramis : [Sympathetically] Ah, a most grevious wound, my dear lady. We will make sure that these brigands are suitably punished.

Clint : [Looking much better*] Ah, these came in very handy!

Austin : [Looking suprised as his wound heal in front of his eyes] Wow, this stuff certainly beats Louis XIV !

[FAETAN gives a huge sigh.]

Alice : [Doubtfully] I don't know Austin. Okay, it cures wounds in front of your eyes, reinvigorates flagging spirits and gives an all round whoosh, but, it just doesn't have that taste.

Harvey : [To Aramis] Good sir, why are you so keen for us to go to the gate?

Aramis : [Nods at Fenton and Vasco, who drag the prisoners away] We were contacted by the Hierophantic Knights, who have obtained some intelligence that there are a few groups trying to enter a mysterious gate that is hidden beneath this very house. The Pearces were hired by one to retrieve the gems, but our researcher has suggested that the other groups can probably get through the gate themselves.

[FAETAN clears her throat.]

Clint : [To Faetan] Not now. [To Aramis] How can they go in without the gems?

Aramis : How? [Laughs aloud] I haven't a clue, although we have a sciency type with us who might be able to tell you. I'm afraid I am too much of a barbarian to share your interest in such things, my friend.

[FAETAN narrows her eyes at CLINT, but says nothing, although there is a distinct low growl coming from her.]

Alice : [Looking around] We'd better hurry. That thunder makes it sound like there's going to be some rain.

Chastity : [To Faetan] Faetan, dear, have you something to say?

Austin : [Takes his hip flask and has a swig. To Alice] I see what you mean, Louis XIV should be supplied with the healing potions as a chaser. [To Faetan] Feeling a bit frisky there girl? All dressed up and no one to fight?

Faetan : Thank you, Chastity, I do. [Looks around, clearly nervous] I know that I promised to serve the party and protect you all, but I don't think it's working out. I feel like I need more training before I can really be a part of the group. [Glances at Aramis] Aramis, you said before you could help me out, does that offer still stand?

Aramis : But, of course, my dear, lady. I would be honoured, if not a little distracted by your overwhelming beauty.

Alice : [Mutters to the others] I wonder what kind of [does the finger quotes] "training" she has in mind.

Faetan : [To Austin] I'm ready to fight, alright, I just think it would be better all round if I take a break from the party, just temporarily, so that I can really fulfill my vow. [Takes a deep breath, and looks around at the rest of the party]

Austin : [Looks somewhat dissapointed. To Faetan] I thought you were doing rather well, adventuring with us. But go if you must. [Offers Faetan his hip flask, smiling] Don't be too long training, or you might miss all the [Deep meaningful stare] action.

Chastity : [To Faetan] Well if you feel you must, then you must. May Phili protect you and guide you well. [Aside to Aramis] You may want to work on her anger management and initial tactical appraisal skills.

Faetan : [Grimaces at Chastity for a moment, before taking the flask and knocking back a mouthful, smiling at Austin] Don't worry, Austin, I'll be back, you can count on that. [Turns to Clint] Well, Clint, this is it. Things have been strange between us since that whole Verminator* thing, and the trick you pulled on Kelly* but let's part on good terms. [Turns to Chastity] Sister, I don't know how to thank you, you're the one who kept me in the party when things got tough.

Aramis : [To Clint] Looks to me like we're dangerously close to tears, here! [To Chastity] Good sister, they will be uppermost in my mind when we begin our training.

Faetan : Heh! Take care of Alice, Harv. Heaven knows she needs it. Say hi to Jerome too, if he ever comes back around. [Picks up her things, and turns to Aramis with a nod] Ready.

Harvey : [Nods at Faetan] Well, goodbye dear girl. I'm sure you'll do very well at boot camp, and send us a note before graduation day, when we'll try to see your passing out parade, what!

Alice : [Dryly] Yes. I'll do my best to see that. It would be a thrill. [Turns to Harvey] I won't need so much looking after, not now that she's gone.

Clint : [To Faetan] Do come back when you feel you're ready. I'll miss your jokes, your cookies and someone to mud wreste with the bimbo.

Faetan : Heh, right, I'll bet! [Punches his arm] See ya 'round! We'll have to spar next time we meet.

Aramis : Right then, good luck, my friends. Kit is waiting for you at the gate with more information.

Alice : [Face lights up] Kit? Wow! We're going to get a talking carriage? Man, that's way better than Faetan!

Harvey : [Nods towards Faetan] She's still here, Alice.

Alice : Oh.

Harvey : [Gives a salute to Aramis] I hope we'll meet again sir! [Holds the door open for the party]

Chastity : Who's Kit?

Austin : [To Faetan] I going to miss you [Gives Faetan a big hug, and a kiss. Looks a bit teary].

Faetan : [Gives him a playful punch] You'll be okay, big guy. [Looks at Alice] This is it.

Alice : Yes.

Faetan : Hm.

Alice : Hm.

Aramis : [To Faetan] Perhaps you would be kind enough to help the others restrain the prisoners, while I discuss matters with the others, even though the mere suggestion of you tying someone up renders all my attempts at concentration useless.

[FAETAN goes to the others, while ARAMIS and the party step outside the door.]

Aramis : Kit is a scientest, who was doing some work for the Hierophantic Knights. By the way, I must admit, I am now even more impressed at your party, although not in the least surprised that such a heroic group would count you amongst their number. She is waiting at the gate for you.

Clint : Kit is a she? I'm starting to like this already.

Chastity : Don't get excited now, Clint, you'll start to perspire. I'm sure she is much to educated to be interested in your animal desires, in more ways than one.

Alice : Eauh, Chastity! [Gives a shiver] Come on, let's go to the gate, but let's not go through that field with the sheep in it. Just in case.

[The party take the long, but safe route to where the gate was. Standing at the top of the ladder* is a dark haired woman dressed in a red jumper and brown skirt, standing looking over the ledge.]

Chastity : [To dark haired woman] Kit, I presume? Aramis sent us to meet you.

Kit : [Turning around, notebook in hand, with a bright smile] Hi! You must be Chastity! Aramis told me so much about you, about all of you, it really is great to get this opportunity to work with all of you, although I will miss Aramis as he's such a devil, with the way he speaks and the kinds of things that he can get away with, and sorry, I didn't mean to go on too much about him, it's just that I'm a little nervous meeting you all, well, not so much nervous, but apprehensive, although I don't mean that in a bad way and my goodness, he never said that you only had one hand, but why would he, for I suppose you only need one hand to bless yourself with! [Gives a really nerdy and nervous laugh]

[KIT is about twenty six years old, and is definitely on the nervous side. She has a thick pair of glasses on, with huge black frames that she keeps adjusting as she speaks. She has a backpack with her, that is on the ground beside her.]

Harvey : [Clearly reeling from the pace and quantity of her speech] Gah! Slow down girl, this old soldier's ears often need adjusting when meeting someone new.

Chastity : No need to be apprehensive, dear. We're all friends in this group [Glances to Alice] now. I am indeed Sister Chastity Browne [Points to Harvey], this is Colonel Harvey Bassett-Short, [points to Alice] and his niece Alice. [Points to Austin] This is the Austin Sleaze, lawyer and finally [Points to Clint] this is hormonally charged Clint Scar.

Kit : [Nods excitedly at Chastity] Oh yes, I studied up the notes that Aramis and the Knights provided on each of you. [Face drops slightly as she glances at her notebook] Although, given the number of you who have more than two heads, I suspect that they are less than accurate.

Alice : Well, I'm delighted to meet you Kit, I just know we're going to be great friends.

Kit : [Shakes hands with her] Thanks Alice, Aramis said that you were unusually [glances at her notebook] uh, friendly.

[ALICE beams happily.]

Kit : [Glances at Clint] Zoinks!* [Blanches slightly] I had heard about it, but I never believed it could smell quite so bad. Incredible! Incredible! [Face sags] Er, please don't kill me. [Steps behind Chastity]

Chastity : [To Alice] Finally, another female who has her nasal senses intact. There seem to be an awful lot of women out there who seem unaware of Clint's, em, features.

Austin : [To Chastity and Kit] And his featurelesses [Smirks at his own joke. Shake Kit by the hand] Pleased to meet you Kit.

Alice : I know what you mean Chastity, and, in fairness, look at the size of his nose, who could miss that? Unless [becomes thoughtful] yes, size of the nose is related to [shocked] oh! [Gives Clint a curious look]

Kit : [Shakes hands with Austin] Y-yes. Pleased to meet you.

Chastity : [Innocently to Alice] I understand your shock realisation. With a nose like that how could he not be aware of his odour problem. [To Kit] Now, to business. I understand you have some information for us.

Clint : I'm glad you all enjoy my features. Shall we go down to this gate now?

Kit : Well, like Clint says, it would be best to go directly to the gate. I can talk on the way.

[Everyone starts climbing down the ladder.]

Kit : First off, you have to keep in mind how secretive, vague and, in my opinion, disorganised the Knights seem to be. All I know is that you are searching for an item, which is inside this gate. However, there is also at least one other group looking for it, I belive that they are the ones who hired those people to attack you.

Chastity : Huh, you'd think they'd find someone better than the Pearces! [Continues to awkwardly make here way down one-handed] Don't look up my habit this time, Clint!

Kit : [Now down by the cave] Well, [glances at her notebook again] judging by the skill the Knights believe your party has, the Pearces were a, um, [gets flustered] an - an insult! Anyway, they believe that these other people may have found [as though this is incredible] another way in. [Pauses, as though expecting gasps of amazement]

Austin : [To Kit] I miss Faetan, you know. Alot. [Gets his sling ready for action] Let's hope we're not too late.

Chastity : Then why send the Pearces et al to the vault? [Look of realisation] Unless to stop us getting in. Of course. [Goes to click her fingers, but realises her fingers are wrapped up in a teatowel in her bag] Damn these phantom digits!

Clint : Well, it'll take more than a handful of gangsters to stop us!

Alice : [To Kit] I don't miss Faetan, you know. At all.

Kit : [Looks from Alice to Austin] Er, okay. [Looks with a little distaste at Chastity's bloody stump] You know, you really should put a bandage on that, Sister. Would you like me to help?

Alice : They kind of stopped us the last time though, didn't they?

[CLINT doesn't reply, but just lets rip an enormous fart, causing the rest of the party to lean back.]

Kit: Wow. I mean, wow!! He farts on command! Truly a unique and remarkable talent to behold...besmell...whatever! [Turns toward Austin and Alice with a shrug and apologetic smile] I don't think I'll be much of a replacement for your Faetan. From what I understand she was a bit of a [checks notebook] bruiser? Gah! I mean, a fighter! Yes, heh! No, indeed, I can barely lift a sword, let alone swing it hard enough to wreak some real damage, so sorry!

Alice : [To the others] Well, I like her already! Right, let's check out this gate, shall we?

[The party go back to where they found the gate, and everything is as it was.]

Kit : [Eyes gleaming] Incredible! Behold the savage primitivity of the work, and yet...such exquisite detail and beauty...truly a wondrous find indeed...and to think what might lay beyond it! Why, the thought gives me the cold shivers, it does!

Austin : [To Kit, dryly] Perhaps some sort of coat would be in order.

Kit : [Beams happily, missing the joke] I believe it would! In all of my excitement to meet with your party, I'm afraid I left my beloved labcoat behind...I shall have to recover it later, I suppose!

Chastity : [Pointing to Kit's feet] You may also want to get some of those lab shoe covers as well, considering what you're standing in. As for what's behind the door, we know that there are at least a reasonable number of blood thirsty monsters waiting for our return.

Kit : [Glances down] Great poop in the sky! Why, these spoors are antiquated! What an interesting smell...fascinating consistency... [Glances back at Chastity] Blood thirsty monsters, you say? Fantastic! Ah, my zoology notes... [Pats herself down] Now where did I put those...

Harvey : [To the others] Well, she's certainly enthusiastic, eh troop! [Takes out his sword, and looks around] Now then, let's see whats what, what.

Chastity : [To Harvey] Hold on there, Colonel. I understand your enthusiasm to rid the area of these unPhili monsters, but we still have to figure out how to open this door with the gems.

Austin : [To Chastity] I believe that the Colonel was encompassing the opening of the door in his enthusiatic rousings. He is well aware that one cannot pass through a door without first opening it. Sister.

Chastity : If am sure he is. But apart from needing the gems we still have to establish how to open the door, which may take some time. As highly accomplished a soldier as Harvey is, he cannot stay at peak readiness indefinitely. I was only aiming to suggest that he prepare himself when the door is about to be opened.

Harvey : There is no harm being prepared for any eventuality, dear sister! Why, what would happen if the door opened on its own accord, and we were all unmercifully slayed due to our state of unpreparedness? I've lost more than one platoon in those circumstances, let me tell you!

Kit : Oh dear! I hope they were found again, yes?

Austin : [To Kit] I do believe that the colonel means lost, as in deceased. [Austin inspects his nails carefully, frowns slightly and then gentley buffs one on his right hand briefly, with a buffing stick]

Chastity : Although, given some of his stories, you can't be sure. [Looks over to Harvey for confirmation]

Austin : [To Chastity] Indeed, sister. [Smiles at his perfect nails, puts his buffing stick away and looks at Harvey for conformation. To Chastity] This is obviously more complex a situation than we first thought. 'Lost' could mean many things. [Looks ar Harvey to see if he has decided upon a reply yet. To Chastity] They could be 'lost' as in : dead or, unable to navigate to the correct loci or, they became dissinterested and went home or, got so bored waiting they slipped into a coma, or due to a prolonged mission away from home they became 'lost' and uncertain about their future paths and purpose in life. [Admires his reflection in his shoes]

Chastity : [Looks to Harvey. To Austin] Quite. [Looks To Harvey again. To Austin] Or maybe he had a wager, using some of his platoons as collateral, and when said wager was not won, the platoons were "lost". [Looks At Harvey. To Austin] Although I doubt it. [Looks back to Harvey]

Harvey : Gah! Did I say lost? I meant lowest! [Glares at Austin] Private Sleaze! Must you do that in public?

Kit : [To party in general] If you give me the gems, I can get the gate open.

Chastity : [Confused, to Harvey]Lowest? Does that make sense? Oh, nevermind that now.[To Kit]If we do give you some gems, if we indeed have any with us, how do you plan to use them, my girl? We've only just met you, after all.

Harvey : Of course it doesn't make sense sister, but that's what we get for being unprepared! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, what!

Kit : [To Chastity] Why, to open the gate, Sister! Didn't Aramis tell you that? I've actually made something of a hobby studying these gates, one of my favourite papers is the classic "A proposal for a notionally hierarchical architecture for the third, fifth and seventh tangental interfaces", by Dr. Melvin Umatsu. [Sighs, and claps her hand to her chest] What a paper! Would you like to see it? [Rummages through her back, but stops abruptly, and looks up embarassed] Er, but you're all probably familiar with Dr. Umastu's work, I guess.

Alice : [Swallows hard, before speaking dead seriously] Yes. Yes, we are. [An awkward silence passes.]

Kit : So then, the gems?

[ALICE doesn't reply, but looks enquiringly at the others.]

Chastity : [Returning Alices enquiring look] You do still have them, don't you? May as well pass them to the one who knows how to use them.

Alice : [Gives Chastity a doubtful look] Austin? He'll probably just sell them!

Harvey : I believe she means Kit, dear niece.

[The gems are handed over. KIT begins a thorough examination of the gems and gate, which takes about ten minutes. During this time she doesn't speak to the party, but "oohs" and "aahs" enough to be annoying. Eventually she places the gems on the gate. As soon as the last one is placed on, there is a grinding sound, and the door moves out slightly, before rolling to the side, as it was the first time the party saw it.]

Kit : [Beaming with pride] Ah! Physics, possibly the greatest of all the sciences.

Alice : I'm more of a chemistry kind of girl myself.

[There is a corridor here that extends about twenty feet in, before coming to a corner. Up ahead there are sounds of a fight.]

Austin : [To Clint] After you, stinky. [Gestures towards the corridor]

Chastity : [Holds her mace in her hand, and turns to the group] Before he go in, has anyone any good ideas that'll stop us from being gruesomely slaughtered by the savage hordes within? [To Kit] Do you have any special gadgets in that sack of yours?

Austin : [Brightens up a little as he readies his sling and then waits to see what Kit has in her sack] This should be interesting. [To Kit] Please show us your clockwork and battery operated devices first.

Chastity : [Glances disapprovingly at Austin. To Kit] Maybe something to help us in the fight we shall no doubt be embroiled in shortly.

Austin : [To Chastity] I was thining that she may have a club like yours [Points to Chastity's 'studded' club] or even a clockwork one. [Wiggles his eyebrows at Kit] How about it?

Kit : A - a clockwork club? No, but I do have a clockwork candle. I'm not sure if my equipment is particularly useful in an offensive way. All I've got are things like gyroscopes, kaleidoscopes and -

Alice : [Excitedly] That's it! We can use the kaleidoscope!

Harvey : Why dear sister, it is my experience that hordes only become savage when not given their full payment after the, ahem, deed is done! If we honour our promises, then no ill will come!

Kit : Er, what do we do with the Kaleidoscope?

Alice : We simply put in the corner, and let them get distracted by it, so we can just slip by!

Harvey : But what if we're trying to slip by the corner we've placed the Kaleidoscope? Surely they'll see us then? And what if we also become distracted? Remember the blue dragon, dear niece!

Clint : Look, forget about knobs, kaleidoscopes and all the rest. [Takes out his sword] Sounds like there's a fight going and we haven't been invited! Not that sounds damned impolite, to me!

Chastity : Maybe we should at least discreetly peek round the corner up ahead and seen what's going on first.

Alice : [Gets all distracted] Blue dragon, hmm.

Harvey : [Impressed] My goodness, absolute wisdom beyond your years, good sister! Let's do that very thing, troop!

Austin : [To Harvey] Wisdom beyond her years? Are you calling her senile?

[As one, the group slowly creeps up to the corner. HARVEY peeps around the corner, as does CLINT, leaning on top of him. ALICE's head appears next, followed by AUSTIN, then CHASTITY and finally KIT.]

Kit : I wonder, if maybe only one of us had peeked, would we be more discreet?

[She needn't worry, as those in the fight are too preoccupied to notice them. There are four of the creatures previously met by the party at the gate, fighting with what appear to be three humans, two men and a woman. The humans are all quite tall, and of unusually slim build, and all three have long hair. They are clearly winning the fight, and one of the creatures bursts into dust in the same way as the ones that the party killed did.]

Alice : [Whispering] Should we get involved? [Face is wracked with thought for a moment] Who's hand is that?

Harvey : By the saints, I think the men of the party should definitely get involved! The ladies should stand back out of harms way, however!

Clint : [Draws his sword] I'm ready, Harvey!

Austin : Let's get stuck in then! [Shoots at one of the baddies]

Alice : Well, I'm ready too!

[There is no time for the party to get involved, as the last three creatures are quickly destroyed. One of the humans turns and faces the party. It is quickly apparant that he is not human, as he has pointed ears. This is SIEGFRIED, who looks to the party like he is an elf. Although everyone has heard of them in legends and such, no one in the party has ever actually seen one. In general, the legends say that they are the most beautiful and kind creatures to have ever lived.]

Austin : [Relaxes from his shooting stance. To Siegfried, casually] What were those things anyway? [Looks at the dust on the floor. To Siegfried] I am Austin Sleaze, please to make you aquaintance.

Harvey : [To Siegfried] By the saints, soldier, that was an impressive piece of combat!

Siegfried : [Turns to the woman, Helen] I believe they are humans.

Helen : They certainly smell that way.

Tristram : [The third man] Should we kill them?

Siegfried : I don't believe that there is a need.

Harvey : [Smile drops more than a little] Well, a damned fine piece of action, at any rate!

Clint : [To Austin] I think the nice looking chick was talking about your aftershave, lawyer.

Siegfried : [To Harvey] Yes, yes it was. You are humans, yes? Why are you here?

Harvey : Why, we certainly are, dear sir! As human as human can be, what! And prime specimens too, I might add! And, though I'm loathe to say it, we'd best keep our reasons for being here to ourselves, for now. Until we are better aquainted, I'm sure you understand.

Helen : [Covering her mouth with her hand, and speaking quietly to Tristram] They're so ugly, so savage!

Siegfried : What if we do not wish to become better acquainted with you?

Harvey : [Laughs long and loud, slapping Siegfried good heartedly on the shoulder] By the saints, good sir! [Wipes tears from his eyes] What a wit you have! Please, warn me before cracking another gag like that, or my heart will never last our acquaintance!

[Both TRISTRAM and HELEN instinctively grab the hilts of their swords, but SIEGFRIED holds a hand up to calm them, before looking with distaste at his shoulder.]

Siegfried : Please do not touch me again.

Helen : [Whispering to Tristram] Maybe he's trying to have intercourse with Siegfried?

Kit : [Clasping her hands near her cheek, eyes shining with sheer delight] Ohhh, they're just like I hypothesized they would be! So beautiful and kind! [Zooms forward with a deep bow to Siegfried] Good, GOOD sir, it is SUCH a pleasure to finally meet someone like you! I'm Dr. Kit Walker, on a scientific research mission. Please, can I pester you with millions of questions? Kwah ha ha ha!

Siegfried : [Calmly, yet with a hint of impatience] You may ask me four questions, as long as none of them involve phrases such as "kwah ha ha ha".

Harvey : [To Kit] Indeed so, please refrain from using that most unplatoonlike gobbledegook! It is heretofore [whips out his notepad] going into my black troop book as an illegal utterance!

Siegfried : [With a flicker of warmth to Harvey] So you people do have some civilisation after all? We had been lead to believe that you were little more than savages, who kill anything that they cannot have sexual relations with.

Alice : [To Clint] You'd better keep back out the way, Stinky!

Kit : [Shocked] Goodness, no! All right, four questions...blast, and I have so many good ones, too! All right, then, let's see... [Thinks for a bit] Tell us about your history, how and why your people came to be here!

Austin : [To Siegfried] Well, some of us humans are savages, but many are not. We here {Gestures to the others have spent many years fighting evil, such as Pestillence Sotot, Iok Sotot, Contagion Sotot and such like, and strive to avoid killing the innocent, even if they have been lead astray. At this moment we are continuing our mission to save the world, part of a plan of action we started several thousand years ago. [Looks at Siegfried's head band momentarily, and raises one eyebrow momentarily] What, if I may ask, brings you fine warriors here?

Clint : As long as you just quietly stand there looking pretty, bimbo!

Harvey : [Aghast] My goodness no, sir! Perhaps thousands of years ago, when our descendants fought with the chimps for a sniff of a banana, but we have come a long way!

Alice : [To Clint] What do you mean, pretty bimbo?

Siegfried : [To Austin] You seem to have a rather unfortunate association with these Sotots you speak of. However, I am not aware of them.

[TRISTRAM and HELEN begin whispering between them.]

Siegfried : We came to investigate if the rumours that humans had come through the gate may be true. I see now that they are.

Tristram : [Steps forward, pointing at Alice] Is she fat? Or pregnant?

Harvey : [Pointedly ignoring the question, but darting a nervous glance every now and again towards Alice] Where is this place?

Kit : Oh, ah, let me check my notes... [Checks, glances up] Both. Hey... [Checks again] Well, that's what they said, but...perhaps some inaccuracies have been made... [Starts scribbling out something]

Alice : [Indignantly] I'm not fat!

[TRISTRAM and HELEN exchange a look that is somewhere between fascination and horror.]

Helen : [With distaste] You mean, you've actually had - had a penis inside of you?

Alice : [Embarassed and confused] Well, um, once or twice maybe but...

Siegfried : Helen, please. [Turns to Harvey] This is The Interior.

Kit : Are there more of you, then? Or are you three the only ones of your kind?

[TRISTRAM gives a little snigger, but stops abruptly upon being glared at by SIEGFRIED.]

Siegfried : Yes, there are more of us. However, we have not coverd the Interior in the same rash like manner as you people have covered your world. [Turns to Alice] Please forgive me companions. Few of us have ever met humans, and we have all heard childish and outlandish stories about your savagery, such as your fondness for eating the flesh of living things, your violence and your overwhelming desire for carnal and phsyical pleasures. [Is talking to the party, but clearly can't take his eyes off Alice's bump]

Harvey : The interior, you say? Interior of what, the planet itself?

Kit : Ooooo...now that's a good question, pity I didn't think of it! [Jots down notes wildly]

Siegfried : Yes, the interior of the planet. We established a long time ago that living on the surface leaves one susceptible to all kinds of radiation and effects from the stars. Really, it is little wonder that your behaviour is so erratic.

Austin : [To Siegfried] And who exactly established that living on the surface leaves one susceptible to all kinds of radiation and effects from the stars? Sounds like a trick to me, to keep you lot out of the way whilst your enemies conquer the surface. [Gives Helen a brief look over]

Chastity : [Looking nervously at Tristram and Helen's hand hovering over their sword hilts. Quietly to Austin] All things considered, I don't think it's polite to refer to our new acquaintances as "you lot".

Austin : [To Chastity, calmly] And it's also rude to whisper [Looks at Tristram and Helen. To Siegfried] Are Helen and Tristram your offspring?

[TRISTRAM snickers at this question, but quickly stops.]

Siegfried : In answer to your earlier question, Mr. Sleaze, I doubt you would recognise the name if I were to tell you, and suspect you would not understand the reasons if they were explained to you. [Glances back at the other two] No, they are not my offspring.

Alice : [Getting annoyed at the sniggering] Look - [steps forward]

[Immediately, SIEGFRIED, TRISTRAM and HELEN step back, clearly uneasy with ALICE moving forward.]

Harvey : I say, dear Alice, calm down now! We are unfamiliar with these peoples customs and habits, eh! Perhaps sniggering is a way of being friendly among these fair people. [To Siegfried] In our culture, it is considered rude to snigger like children at other people. these

Austin : [To Siegfried] If you don't tell me the name you will never know if I know of the name or not, and therfore you will remain in ingnorance as to that knowledge. In any event, what harm would it do to tell me the name of the one who discovered such enlightening information?

Siegfried : As it is in ours. However, you do not belong here, and you will find that the people of the Interior will consider you freakish and peculiar, if you insist on staying, that is. Here, on the outer rim, people tend to be more tolerant of such strangeness as yours.

Alice : [To Austin] Looks like Clint will be more accepted here than at home!

Siegfried : [To Austin] You make the mistake of believing that I care. We have dallied enough here, and must take our leave. I advise you to return to your own world, for you do not belong here.

Chastity : [To Siegfried] We have no fear of others prejudices. We have encountered many in our fight for good, and are hardened to such attitudes and obstacles. We would be honoured if you would show us around.

Harvey : No can do, I'm afraid, old boy! We're here for a damned good reason, and a few jibes and taunts can't disuade us from it!

Siegfried : [To Chastity] Yes, I'm sure you would. [Turns to Harvey] I cannot prevent you from going to the Interior, but you will not be permitted to enter our city. [Casts a baleful eye over the party, paying particular attention to Alice]

Harvey : [Aghast] And why not, good sir? Surely you wouldn't begrudge us a little comfort and hospitality in this place? And how are we to avoid your city, when we do not know it's name?

Austin : [To Chastity] The elf implied he didn't care what we think, and I can see why. [To Harvey] We are waisting our time with these people Colonel, we have a world to save, a mission to complete. I doubt if this place can be worse than Hell, and we have survive that several times, so we should get moving.

Siegfried : Our city is Euphoria. [Turns to Austin and gives a slight nod] Correct. Good day to you.

[Exit SIEGFRIED, HELEN and TRISTRAM, further down the corridoor. It is the only way forward.]

Alice : Hey! They weren't nice at all! And what was their problem with me?

Austin : [To Alice] Their problem was that they hadn't had a shag in a very long time. [Chuclkes]

Alice : [Unhappy] I don't know, they seemed like a pack of wankers to me.

Harvey : Very odd people indeed, dear niece!  Well, if that's the type of reception we receive from eveyone in this place, it's going to be a most annoying journey! Clint : Don't let it bother you! You meet preeks everywhere you go!

Chastity : [Shakes her head] It's so rare to meet such rude, smug, childish, arrogant, self important individuals. They didn't say they were lawyers, did they?

Harvey : [Laughs long and loud] Why dear sister, what a wag you are! Absolutely hilarious! Hilarious I tell you! But they couldn't have been lawyers, because they didn't charge us for answering their questions!

Alice : Lawyers, eh? I suppose they were really sexually frustrated, so that narrows it down to either lawyers or estate agents!

Kit : Well, I'm very much disappointed with them. I had been led to believe that they were a wonderful race, and that Euphoria is supposed to be the most beautiful of all Elven cities. [Looks down the corridoor] What happens now?

Austin : [Ignoring his ignorant peers. To Kit] It seems as though you heard the stories they wanted you to hear. Did you see what they were wearing? They looked like five year olds at a fancy dress party. No taste whatsoever.

Alice : [Buffing her (well bitten) nails in a pure Austin manner] Well, I guess that depends on what kind of fancy dress parties one went to as a five year old, Austin.

Austin : [Looking at Alice's clothing] I doubt that. [To Harvey] Well Colonel, shall we get moving [Gestures along the corridor]

Harvey : Now now, troop! It's going to be bad enough if everyone else in this place is against us, without we ourselves at each others throats! [Looks down the corridor] Well, nothing for it but to see what's around that corner!

Alice : [Smiles at Austin's remark, before turning to Kit] That's that sexual frustration we were talking about.

Kit : [Gets red of face] Er, is it?

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene II. In The Caves. CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, in that order, two abreast, walking down the corridoor. Up ahead, they can hear a elf's voice calling out.]

Man : No! Confound it! A pox upon our luck, a pox, I say!

[As the party creep up, they see an elf, PHILIPPE PHILLOPE, and a female elf P'ERENDOS GALLOS.]

Chastity : Oh dear, more discontented souls in this supposed harmonious place.

Austin : [Looks at Philip] Oh, my, god. What in the [Pauses, aghast] What the hell is he wearing? I looks awful. If this is what a lack of star light does to you I'm going back to the surface.

Alice : What do you mean? I think it looks great - just like the one I had for that fancy dress party when I was five!

Philipe : [Looks at the party, with a big smile] Could it be? [Sniffs] It has to be, humans! Oh, happy day!

Austin : [To Alice, deadpan] Oh, happy day. Wooo.

Alice : At least he's better than the others - I hope he's not afraid of me. [Steps out so he can get a good view of her] Hello.

Philipe : [Gasp] Wonderful! [Starts walking around, looking at Alice from a safe distance] Such savagery! Do you know who the father is?

Alice : [Rolling her eyes, irritated] You know, there are only so many times I can hear that before I start getting annoyed.

Philipe : [Looks at Clint] I bet it's you!

[CLINT doesn't reply, but points at PHILIPE making that irritating "click click" sound.]

Austin : [To Philipe] Where did you get that jumper?

Chastity : [Looking at Philipe] Such fearless curiosity. Just like..[Looks at Kit and pauses. To Harvey] WE'd better not let this elf and Kit get talking, we'll be here all day.

Harvey : Harrumph! At least he is prepared to talk to us, and simply insult us, good Sister, what!

Peg : [Steps forward to Austin and speaks in almost a monotone] This is Philipe Phillope, the world famous shoe inventor and artist. The jumper is one of his own creations. I am P'Erendos Gollados, but you may call me Peg.

Kit : [To Chastity] You know, these ones are much more what I expected, maybe the others are fakes? Cheap facsimiles?

Chastity : [To Kit] Lets find out. [To Peg] We've just met three very rude and arrogant members of your race with headbands on. One seemed to be the leader, and one of the others was a female called Helen. They should have just passed you. Do you know who they were, and why they acted in such an odd manner?

Philipe : Pah! They are scum! Arrogant swine that should be wiped from the face of the earth. Oh yes, there was a time when they all knew my name, but now I am cast out like all the rest - I hate them, and I will have my revenge, [so loudly that small rocks fall from the ceiling] I will have my regenge!

[An awkward silence passes.]

Alice : So, er, you do know who they are?

Peg : Yes. They are Helen, Siegfried and Tristram. They are Euphoric Elves. [Shows a flicker of emotion for once] Once, Philipe was feted as one of the greatest geniuses of our time, now he is treated almost as low as a human. [Tiny pause] No offence.

Austin : [To Philipe] They were indeed the most arrogant scum I have ever met. Good with their swords though.

Kit : [Puzzled] Why on earth would they cast out the likes of you two? Were they jealous of your fashion sense, perhaps?

Peg : The Euphoric Elves are a particularly closed group - they rarely tolerate outsider. Such was the impact that Philipe had on them, though, he was granted the freedom of their city. However, they later saw fit to revoke the freedom.

Chastity : Scandelous! Did any particular event cause this change of thinking?

[PHILIPE adopts a pose off to one side, with the back of his hand theatrically placed against his forehead.]

Peg : [Showing some emotion at last] They claimed that he had dried up.

Alice : Not getting enough fluids, huh?

Peg : No. They claimed that his ideas had begun to dry up. Him, one of the greatest geniuses to ever live.

Chastity : Had they? What sort of ideas was Philipe coming up with? Or was this just a ruse to rid the city of free thinkers.

Peg : Philipe is probably the greatest shoe inventor to ever live. He is the man who invented the clog. [Pauses for gasps of amazement and/or applause.]

Alice : [Impressed] Very good. [To the party] I guess they were forerunners of clogs.

Peg : [Carries on] Unfortunately, the Euphoric Elves seemed to believe that another idea of that calibre would strike Philipe almost immediately, and so he was permitted to live in the city for a short while. When it wasn't forthcoming, he was told to leave.

Clint : How long is a short while?

Peg : [For once doesn't look someone directly in the eye, and mumbles slightly] About towunmeres.

Clint : What was that? How long?

Peg : [Sharp intake of breath] Two hundred years.

Alice : Two hundred years without an idea?

Austin : [Smirking, as he checks that his teeth are clean using a tiny mirror] Then I guess you don't have the record after all, Alice.

Alice : [Narrows her eyes at Austin] I'm starting to get one now.

Peg : Philipe was going to travel to the surface, to see if he could find inspiration from the savages that live there.

Harvey : [Glowering] I say, less of the savage remarks, eh!  How were you going to travel to the surface?

Peg : [Unimpressed at Harvey's ire] On foot. We were going to go through the gate up further, but were told by Siegfried and the others that the gate was sealed, to prevent further incursions by the sav - by humans.

Chastity : Further incursions? You mean to say that there have been humans down here before?

Peg : Yes. There still are humans in the Interior. They reproduce at such an enormous rate that much of the Interior was once taken over by them. [Gives a curious look at Alice]

Chastity : Do the remaining humans have any sort of social standing within the interior? What happened to their numbers? [Thinks for a moment] By Phili, there wasn't a war, was there? That would explain why the other three elves we met were so unfriendly.

Peg : Humans have little social standing, but they do not seem overly concerned at this, preferring instead to indulge in intoxication and reproduction. There was no war between the Elves and the Humans, they simply don't like you. Humans are the only creatures in the Interior that view procreation as entertainment, and such behaviour has created much suspicion. [Takes another look at Alice, and gives a little shiver]

Clint : [To Peg] I know what you mean. Procreation is so annoying. But there's ways to avoid it and just have fun. Want me to show you? [Click-click!]

Chastity : [Stands stiffly upright] Well I can tell you that not all humans behave in those ways. I follow the belief that procreation should be reserved for that very purpose, and that intoxicating drinks should be reserved for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately not all of our race hold these values [Looks at Clint] along with a couple of other value to boot.

Peg : [To Chastity] That's precisely the type of behaviour that I'm talking about. [To Alice] I presume he is responsible for that? [Points at her stomach]

Alice : Certainly not!

Peg : [Clearly doesn't believe her] But it is true that humans think about sex more often than elves?

Austin : [With a smirk] I suspect humans rarely think about elves.

Alice : How often do elves think about it?

Peg : Once every fifteen years. What about humans?

Alice : [Giving Clint a baleful look] About once every fifteen seconds!

[PHILIPE throws himself to his knees, and buries his head in his hands]

Philipe : [Wailing] Why? Why? Why?

Peg : That, unfortuntely, is part of the problem. It is not simply the quantity of times that they perform this horrific and debasing act, is it the fact that it often results in procreation. There was a time when humans were all over the Interior like rash. [Puts a hand limply on Philipe's shoulder] There there.

Clint : Hey!, I'm on your side, I wish it didn't result in procreation!

Chastity : Ironic then that quite often procreation leads to a rash all over the exterior of Humans.

Philipe : [Looks up and holds his hands out to the party] You've got to help me! I need your savagery! Your rawness!

Clint : Hey, if you're looking for a male partner talk to the lawyer, not me. [Looks at Peg] I can entertain your assistant in the mean time. [wink!]

Austin : [Raises his eyebrows. To Chastity] Really, sister? You seem to know a lot about this topic? Borne witness to many procreative rashes, have we?

Chastity : Only in my nursing of others!

Austin : Well, I suppose procreation does require more than one. [Inspects his immaculate nails with a smirk]

Austin : [Takes out his notebook. To Philipe] What we have here is clearly a case of unfair dismissal. Were you part of an Inventors Union, or was an idea per portional time period contract signed on behalf of all parties? [Jots down a note] Yes, yes and after two hundred years I'm sure some tenancy rights will also come into play, rendering your forced eviction null and void. [Looks up] How does the justice system work here?

Peg : [Dryly, to Clint] While you may find it easy to entertain [glances at Alice] human females simply by sticking an appendage into them, you will find Elven women require considerably more effort.

Alice : Actually, it's not really just sticking it in. It's more sticking it in, then taking it out, then sticking it in and - [notices Harvey watching her] er, that's not what you meant, is it?

Peg : No. [Turns to Austin] To question the decision, you would have to question the High Council in Euphoria.

Clint : [To Peg] A difficult woman, I like you already!

Peg : A typical human, I dislike you already. However, I am curious as to why you have come down here.

Austin : [Straighting his cuffs] Well it certainly wasn't for the fashion shopping. [Holds out Maplin, seeing how the colours reflected from Philipe's jumper dance on the walls]

Chastity : We are on a holy quest for good. We believe that a holy artifact, cultured from Phili's power and mercy, is down here.

Clint : I also came to see how the chicks look like down here. [Looking at Peg's chest] I must say I'm not disappointed!

Peg : I must say I'm not surprised. It seems that tales of human debauchery are not exagerrated after all. I had thought it unlikely that they would use inaminate objects, but now it doesn't seem quite so unreasonable.

Alice : [Nodding] Yeah, [quick glance at Austin] some even do it by themselves!

Peg : What is this holy artifact that you speak of? We may be able to assist you.

Philipe : [Stands up, staring seriously at the party] I want to see your shoes.

Kit : [Blushes] And we barely know each other! Well, all right... [Displays a pair of dirty well-worn sneakers] They don't look like much, but they're comfy!

Philipe : [Shouting] Comfy? Comfy! What good is comfy? I want daring! [Paces the room] I want originality! I -

Alice : Excuse me -

Philipe : [Dismissing her with a wave of his hand] No, I don't need sex right now. [Closes his eyes and sighs] I just need inspiration.

Alice : [Muttering to Kit] I wonder if having a stiletto [shows her own shoe] shoved up his ass will give him some.

Kit : [Stifles a 'kwah ha ha' with her hand] Oh dear...! Well, perhaps it just might! Why, I knew of a fellow who once had a shoe jammed up his rear so hard that shoelaces flew out of his mouth. And you know what he invented? French fries! Or rather...it's more of a folk tale than anything, but...um...yeah.

Peg : [Steps in front of Philipe] You said earlier that you were seeking some magical item. May I ask what it is?

Austin : You may.

Peg : What is it?

Harvey : It is a wand, dear woman. And it is very old, given in mistake to someone from this place, a long long time ago!

Chastity : For some of weak character the temptation to mis-use power is too much. We must stay strong, like the great profit, who, whilst fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, was tempted by dessert.

Peg : A wand? That is a little vague, but it is likely to be in Euphoria. They get all the cool things.

Clint : It's hard to believe anything in this place can be called Euphoria, given the reactions of the people we met so far.

Peg : The Euphoric Elves are very selective about who they let in, particularly when it comes to humans. I know of only one who may pass freely in and out of Euphoria.

Chastity : And who might that be?

Peg : [The barest hint of a smile crosses her lips] Cocan.

Alice : Hey! Didn't we meet someone called Cocan?

Chastity : [To Peg] He wouldn't happen to be a large warrior type, with a big booming voice by any chance?

Peg : [Smiles and goes all dreamy, before snapping back to her normal demeanour] I suppose that could be one way of describing him.

Harvey : By the saints! If it really is our old friend Sven, then we'll have no problem getting in. [Nudges Philipe] In fact, you could say we're a shoe in, what! [Roars with laughter]

Philipe : [Doesn't reply, but sneaks a quick look at Harvey's footwear] Sigh! Boots.

Chastity : Well, that would appear to be our [quotes] "man on the interior". [Smiles at her own little pun] Shall we depart for Euphoria?

Alice : Of course, Sven is actually dead, isn't he?

Philipe : [Scurries around the room, examining everyone's feet] My God! Where is the originality? Surely you people have some kind of different footwear to us?

[An awkward silence drags passed.]

Philipe : Well, don't you?

Chastity : [Irrated, To Philipe] A very short while ago we didn't even know [makes a point of ponting her stump at Philipe] you people existed! How do you expect us to make a comparative comment on shoe stylings between our races?

Philipe : I don't want a comparative comment - I just want to hear what types of footwear have appeared on the surface in the last few hundred years. It must have been almost a thousand years since the last human was welcomed into the Interior - surely you've come up with something since then? Surely you can give me, Philipe Filoppe, the spark of an idea?

Clint : [To Philipe, while pointing to his boots] These are my boots. They have a hole in the bottom, but they are very useful at kicking doors open. And they're very good at kicking annoying people's asses.

Chastity : [To Philipe] Well I don't really like raising my habit, but in the name of race relations... [Lifts her habit to review a pair of sandle shod feet] These are very airy and comfortable. [Notices that one of the sandles is undone at the back. Bends down to re-do the buckle] Tsk, that happens quite often. Fortunately the front thongs catch between my toes, preventing the sandle from coming off. [Stands back up, lowering the hem of her habit]

Philipe : [Testily to Chastity] Yes, yes, yes, whatever. [Peers at Clint] Hole in the bottom, you say? [Inspiration hits, and he clicks his fingers, turning to Chastity] Front thong between your toes? No back strap? [Gasps, and drops to his knees, lifting up her habit to get a proper look] Show me again!

Alice : [Covering her eyes] I don't like the way this is going.

Austin : [Moving to get a closer look] I like the way this is going.

Chastity : [Outraged] Unhand me this instant! [Makes a swing to slap Philipe, but in her rage forgets herself and swings with her left, in effect lightly brushing Philipes hair to the side with her bloody teatowel wrapped stump]

Chastity : [Frustratedly] Argh! [Tries to slap Philipe with her right hand, whilst twisting herself away out of his grasp]

Clint : Here's some action! Go, Chassers!

[CHASTITY's second swing connects with PHILIPE's jaw, and sends him staggering back. PEG immediately puts her hand on her sword.]

Philipe : [Looking like a madman] No! Give me my pad!

[A small easel is set up, and PHILIPE sets to work. Minutes later he steps back, revealing a fine picture of a flip flop.]

Philipe : [Stepping back] I present the [pauses, thinking of a name] the Frimmergergigger!

Clint : [Unimpressed] Looks like a flip-flop to me.

Philipe : [Turns to Clint] Flip-flop? Flip-flop? [Thinks hard to himself] Philipe Fillope presents the Flip Flop? Philipe Fillope's Flip-Flop? [Takes on a strange combination of open mouthed awe and big smile] That's brilliant!

Harvey : Yes, hmmm. Indeed. [Turns to Peg] Can you take us to see Cocan? It is of the upmost importance, my dear!

Peg : Yes, I believe I could. However, it depends on whether or not he is in Euphoria - it is not an easy place to get into.

Chastity : [Just calming down] Do you know where he goes when not in Euphoria? [In the background, PHILIPE paces up and down, smiling and shaking his head, repeating the words "Flip flop" over and over.]

Peg : I believe he keeps a house in Dementia.

Chastity : [Turns to Harvey] Can that be correct? I thought that the Basset-Short Mansion and grounds were on top of what used to be Dementia. Unless.. [turns to Peg] Is there another town down here called Dementia?

Peg : Very clever, Sister. The town's name is [pauses, looks from side to side, before leaning in and speaking quietly] Paranoia. It is from habit that I gave you a false name. I apologise.

Philipe : [Stands in front of Clint] Flip flop! [Catches Clint by the shoulders, and kisses each cheek with an extravagent smacking sound]

Chastity : [To Philipe] I'd be careful who you do that too. You may well get more than you bargained for. [Looks round the group members] In so many different ways. [To Peg] Maybe we would be better going to meet Cocan in Paranoia then.

Clint : [Pushing Philipe away] Gah! [To Peg] Are you sure this guy isn't from Paranoia himself? [To Philipe] Do that again, and I'll kill you!

Alice : [Smiles at Clint's discomfort, and starts singing] Philip and Clint, sitting in a tree, K - I - S - S - [pause] er, S - E - uh, gah!

Philip : [Steps back from Clint, smiling from ear to ear with admiration] Such savagery! Such brutality! You're wonderful! I bet you're probably dying to have sex aswell. [Turns to Peg] I knew the ones on the surface would be like this, I just knew it!

Peg : [To Chastity] Currently two of our member are fighing some Morcs. I suggest we wait until they are finished, and then leave. Unless, of course Philipe's [strange accent] Bachtacht [normal accent] would like to kill something.

Chastity : [To Clint, Trying to copy Peg's strange accent, but drawing much to long on the vowels] BAchtAcht [normal voice] I believe that's you! [Closely To Peg] What's it mean?

Peg : [Completely neutral expression and voice] It means friend.

Chastity : [Looks at Clint disgustedly wiping the side of his face, and to Philipe, jumping from one foot to the other saying flip, flop, flip, flop in a singing tone. To Peg] OK then. [Looks down the passage] Who are the other two you speak of, the ones fighting those horrible monsters, Morcs.

Peg : Bud and Jefferson. They were guarding the entrance to the Interior while we went to check the outer gate. They were attacked shortly after we met you.

Clint : [Still wiping his cheeks] Attacked by who?

Chastity : [To Clint] The Morcs? Weren't you listening? Or were you distracted by something? [Glances at Peg's jumper, shaking her head]

Alice : [Mutters to Chastity] Are you sure it was that one?

Chastity : [Looking at the joyous Philipe and then the scowling Clint] I'm quite sure the attraction may only go one way there.

Alice : Oh, I don't know, maybe he's just playing hard to get. [Points at Clint and smiles] Click-click!

Clint : [To Alice] He's all yours, Bimbo. [Quick look at Austin] Unless the lawyer is faster, of course.

Alice : Why Clint! You've gone the most darling shade of crimson. In fact, I'd say it's almost [with relish] pink!

Austin : [Clicks his heels together and bows] I would have to be very quick indeed, Mr. Scar, to be faster than you.

Clint : No way, I've got my sights aimed and ready to fire! [Winks at Peg]

Peg : [Holds Clint's gaze for a few moments, before looking to his crotch and back up again] Whatever it is you wish to fire, I will thank you to keep it well away from me. Now, there are only two Morcs left, so we should really depart.

Harvey  : [Turns to Alice and whispers in usual Harvey style] I say, dear niece, and they wonder why people confuse elves with fairies! Ha! [Turns back to Peg] Then let us depart, dear woman!

Chastity : [To Peg] How do you know there are only two Morcs left? Are you in some sort of special communication with your two friends?

Alice : [To Harvey] The one I'm surprised at is why more people don't confuse Clint with a fairy! [Glances at Austin for a second] Oh, now I see.

Peg : But of course. Are you not all in constant communication? Do you not feel each others' thoughts?

Harvey : [Shudders] My dear, good heavens no! [Looks at Clint] There are some who are barely capable of speech, let alone show a natural leaning towards telepathy! [Laughs loudly at the thought]

Alice : [Joins in with Harvey's laughing] Yeah, [points at Clint] he no speak proper!

Austin : [Bored sigh] While other members of the party seem hardly capable of thought.

Harvey : [Indicating Austin] That man has a natural propensity for the pomposity, I say! 

Austin : While you, sir, have a propensity for pontification, an affectation for arrogance and an inclination for the imperious!

Harvey : By the saints, what rot that man does talk! And think, I'll warrant! Arrogant, me! What balderdash! [To Peg] You there, are we going to meet your friends or not!

Peg : Yes.

[PEG leads the group down the corridor, where two other elves are waiting.]

Peg : This is B'Urandacus Dubatos, and this is Jefferson Jefferson.

Bud : [Holding his hands up] Greetings, Savages.

Jefferson : [Adjusting his jacket] Hello. [Eyes scan over the party] Hm. Yes. I'm sure we have some spare clothes.

Chastity : [To Austin] Isn't it Ironic the fact that we have to wear those jumpers in order to travel incognito.

Austin : I shall not wear one.

Jefferson : [Adjusts his jacket again] That does not surprise me.

[The entire group moves on, only for the ground to give away, sending everyone sprawling into a pit.]

Alice : [Somehow landing underneath everyone] Ow.

Clint : [Trying to get up] I hope that wasn't your hand, lawyer.

Austin : And I hope that wasn't your ass.

Alice : [Straining to turn around] Hey!

Chastity : [Looking under Clint] Oops, sorry. It's my hand. It must have fallen out of my bag! [Reaches down and gets hold of her severed hand]

Clint : [Jumping back] Gah! Must you keep it with one finger pointing up?

Alice : Yes, and look which finger it is!

[Book III, Act VII, Scene III. In The Pit. PEG, BUD, PHILIPE, JEFFERSON, CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, all in the pit. The pit is about twenty feet deep, and fifteen feet long. The edges are solid rock, but very smooth.]

Harvey : [Checking the rock] Gah! We're in a tight spot, right enough.

Chastity : [Closing her bag after putting her spare hand away. To Peg] Are the Morcs capable of doing this?

Peg : Yes.

Harvey : I say! Why weren't there any Morcs around when we met up with you chaps, eh? Eh? [Peers at Bud and Jefferson]

Bud : [Almost irritatingly calmly] Because they're dead.

Clint : Where are their bodies then? And who set up this trap then?

Jefferson : Bodies? Why would they have bodies if they're dead? [Turns to Bud, and the two roll their eyes at each other]

Peg : Perhaps the pit was constructed before they died. Perhaps it was another group of Morcs who are, at the very moment preparing to slaughter us.

Clint : [Grabbing his sword] Where? [Looks around, seeing nobody] [To Alice, pointing at Peg] I think she's even worse than you when it comes to having visions.

Peg : [To Alice] Do you have visions?

Alice : Sometimes. They're more premonitions though, where I get a flash of -

Peg : [Turns to Jefferson] Curious how the underdeveloped mind can sometimes have insights. I wonder if any of them have any other mental powers.

[A man appears at the top of the pit, looking down at the party. This is ALEC HAVENFORD. He is quite well dressed, but his clothes have clearly seen better days.]

Alec : Hello.

Clint : Hi. [To Austin] He looks just like you.

Austin : No he doesn't, he is quite different. However, I wouldn't expect you to be able to notice that, as it would probably require abstract thought.

Clint : Require what? [To Alice] Is he talking rubbish again?

Alice : [Shrugs] Idunno.

Alec : Why are you in a pit?

Chastity : We didn't know it was here and fell in. Will you help us out of it?

Alec : [Rubbing his hands together thoughtfully] Probably, but first, some information.

Alice : [To the others] Yay! [Looks up] How do we get into Euphoria?

Alec : [Momentarily confused] Er, no, I mean, I want information. What are you doing here?

Chastity : [Annoyed] Bah, never look for uncondition aid from a man in a suit, even disheveled one. [To Alec] We are trying to find a friend of ours called Cocan. Do you know of him?

Alec : [Excited] Cocan? [Calm] I mean, Cocan? What is your business with him?

Chastity : He is an friend of ours, and we seek to meet up with him again. Now will you please help us out of here?

Alec : Yes, yes, in a moment. [Pause] Do you know any of his other friends?

Chastity : I take it you are refering to his slightly less masculine companion, Milicent Fluff.

Alec : [Disappointed] No.

Chastity : Well who did you have in mind, then?

Alec : [Mumbling] Sven.

Alice : Ben? [To the rest of the party] Hey, I think I know who he's talking about - it was this guy I met once at a party, and when I tried to ask him his name, he just kept saying Ben Dover.

Alec : [Exasperated sigh, and speaking more loudly] Sven.

Clint : What? Cocan and Sven? I thought Cocan was Sven? Huh?

Chastity : [To Clint] Evidently not. [Suddenly looks up. To Alec] Is Peter with them?

Chastity : [Chuckles briefly to herself] Ah Peter, what a guy. [Looks up, a bit confused] Anything in particular, or a surprise mystery item. [To Alice] Do we have any of that blue dragon left?

Austin : [To Alec, deadpan] So how about helping us get out of here, then we can all sit around a nice cosy campfire, and chat about Sven and Cocan and have tea and biscuits?

Alice : I don't think so Chas.

Alec : After you've proved you know them. You should be able to offer me a drink.

Austin : [To Alec] Well, Sven and Cocan are these two great big strapping warriors, who are generally very heroic and disturbingly chirpy and optimistic about everything, the ladies adore them in a kind of silent fainting manner, and they both have a tendencey to greet their friends with slaps on the back and punches on the arm, which tend to leave one a little bruised, but most certain of who is the strongest. Is that enough to prove our relationship with Sven and Cocan?

Clint : Or are we going to have to describe the penis incident?

Alice : Oh come on, Clint! How is telling him about how you lost your testicle going to help?

Harvey : The fellow seems to think that Sven would have given us some type of drink - I didn't know him as well as the rest of you, was he fond of alcohol?

Harvey : [Looks around the party] Come come, troop, think hard and fast, or we might be stuck in this hole for quite some time!

[ALICE thinks hard.]

Chastity : [To Alice] Take that day dreaming grin off your face, girl! When the Colonel said think hard he didn't mean for sinful thoughts.

Austin : [To Alec] Do you refer to the liquor known as Louis XIV?

Alice : [Distracted by Chastity] Tut! Now you've interrupted me! [Turns to Harvey] What was the question again?

Alec : [With a big smile to Austin] I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Chastity : [Looking at Alec, to Austin then Philipe. To Alice] There seems to be an awful lot of that attitude down here. No wonder reserving intercourse for procreation is such an issue!

Alice : [Outraged] You know something Chastity, I think we can safely say that a large proportion of the attitude [gestures around the pit] is yours, caused by your constant interruption of people's thinking, ranting about sex and - [stops short, and blinks several times, before continuing in a small voice] you probably meant down here as in underground, didn't you?

Austin : [Looks at Alice, then Chastity, then Alice] Who cares what she meant? [ To Alec] I have a little Louis XIV. Can you help us out of the pit please?

Alec : Throw it up.

Alice : [Turns quickly to Clint] He means the bottle. To him. From someone's backpack.

Austin : [Laughs, like it's obviously a joke] Sure, with the deeds to my stately home and the keys to my safe! [Sighs! Inspects Maplin's nails and smirks. Sigh!]

Alec : Okay.

[ALEC disappears from sight.]

Austin : [Quickly drinks the rest of his Louis XIV from his hip flask] Where the hell has he gone?

Alice : [Wide eyed and mouth hanging open] What the hell did you do that for?

Chastity : Come now, my dear, are you really surprised? All things considered. [Looks round the group] Do we have any tangible item that Sven may have given us? That fellow does not seem to value our knowledge of Sven.

Austin : [To Alice] I refuse to be held to ransom by a conman and an opportunist who preys on the unfortunate. We had no guarantee that he could help us out of this pit anyway. I suspect that he would have taken my flask and left us here. Had he been sincere in his intentions he would have helped us out of this pit without making us pay first. That much was obvious, and has now been confirmed by the his departure. Chastity : Come now, my dear, are you really surprised? All things

Alice : [Exasperated] What about the rest of us being held to ransom by [prods Austin in the chest] this opportunist?

Peg : [Calmly] I see that humans always revert to type. Each of you were so suspicious of the other that you have both lost out. Perhaps he really was sincere, but intimidated by you?

Chastity : [Nods her head] I agree. Oooh how I hate unscrupulous opportunists who prey on those less fortunate than themselves. [Raises her eyebrows to Alice] Austin is correct, though, that this man does seem to have his own agenda, and isn't too forthcoming in helping us out of this pickle.

Clint : That still doesn't explain why he finished the Louis XIV without even sharing it!

Alice : [Suddenly realising the enormity of Austin's crime] Hey! [Turns to Clint] And I bet he stole it from Daddy's house too!

Austin : [To Alice] I resent that! Freven filled my hip flask for me, thank you very much, and I have been sharing it out liberally. I recall giving all who wanted it, a swig, shortly after the battle with the Kennys and Pearces, and on several other occasions. However, if you have forgotten my generosity then maybe I will never again share *my* Louis XIV.

Alice : [Steps back, a little startled] Well, [turns to Clint] that sounds like a confession to me!

Peg : Is this where they kill each other? Or where they copulate?

Austin : [Calmly to Peg] Your sarcasm is not required thank you.

Chastity : [To Peg] You seem to be struggling to understand the complexities of Human group dynamics.

Peg : Not as much as the human group is. [To Austin] It is not sarcasm, merely curiosity. However, given the manner in which you and the stranger projected each other's fear onto the other, I am neither surprised nor insulted to be accused in this manner.

[Enter GALL, stepping into view at the top of the pit.]

Gall : [Calling back to someone else] We've got some! [Sniff sniff] They're humans alright, let's kill them.

Bud : Hey! I'm not a human!

Jefferson : I say, what human would wear such magnificent clothing? We are elves.

Gall : [Still calling back] It looks like they're elves, let's torture them!

Clint : [To the party] It looks like they're baddies, let's kick them!

Alice : Do we kick them before we get out of the pit? Or after they take us out and kill us?

Gall : [Points at Clint] Hey! I remember you! [Laughs] I told you not to come back!

Chastity : [To Clint] I thought you'd killed that monster? [To Bud] Are these Morcs re-incarnated after their bodies disappear?

Bud : It's not so much re-incarnation as rebirth. They return to their birth pool.

[There are now a good fifteen or twenty Morcs gathered around, looking in.]

Gall : Let's put them all to sleep. [Throws a small glass cannister into the pit, which, upon breaking open, causes the pit to fill with purple gas.]

Harvey : Gah! Poison!

Austin : [Attempts to hold his breath *before* the purple gas gets to him] mmmph!

Chastity : [Hurriedly looks round the group being swamped with gas, the sheer steep sides of the pit, the large group of Morcs encircling the pit, and finally down at the stump of her left arm] Bugger!

[The Morcs cheer as more of the gas is thrown in, so that, after a few minutes, the pit is dense with the smoke, and all that can be heard is the sound of people losing consciousness, and the voice of one of the Morcs, CLOY, laughing at the party.]

Cloy : Ha! Look at that! I've never seen such thick gas, how stupid they are to have been caught down .. [slows down] there. [Cough] I think I've inhaled some of the [sound of someone falling into a pit]

Austin : [Sighs] Here we go agai...[Slumps slowly to the ground cradling Maplin close to him]

Alice : Hey, everybody! Wake up! Wake up! I've got a great plan, all we need to do is ...umph. [Falls unconscious.] [Book III, Act VII, Scene IV. In the Morc Cave. PEG, BUD, PHILIPE, JEFFERSON, CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, all in a huge net suspended from the ceiling, and about twenty feet off the ground. The cave is huge, about 100' in diameter, and there are about a hundred Morcs here, shouting abuse at the party. Amongst them are COARSE and GALL, dressed up in some of AUSTIN's and some of ALICE's clothes respectively. Everyone's equipment is off to one side, and the entire group is suspended over a large vat of thick brown slime.]

Gall : [With a mini-skirt, high heels and lipstick on] Why fiddle de dee, it's been almost five minutes since I had sex, I think I may have to kill someone.

Coarse : Why Missy Gall, I know we've never met before, and that you've probably done it with most of the male population already, but let's go for it.

[COARSE and GALL pretend to have sex in front of the party.]

Alice : [Wrinkling up her nose in disgust] What is wrong with these people?

Peg : [Breaking her gaze from the slime] Unfortunately, that is how most people here see humans.

Austin : [To Peg] What vile imaginations most people here must have.

Peg : [Watching Gall and Coarse writhing on the floor] You mean this isn't an accurate representation of how humans behave? However, misrepresentation of human behaviour is the least of our worries at the moment.

Philipe : Oh, woe is me - the very day that I come up with my greatest invention ever, I die.

Chastity : [To Philipe] Not yet, my friend. Give not into thoughts of dispair. I shall raise our spirits with a hymn. [Starts to sing] They met with Phili, those beautiful martyrs, the heathens,they did boil their bones, the pain...[Stops] Oh, that may not be the best one for the moment.

Peg : This Phili you speak of had better act quickly. Once we are lowered into the Nascency Pool, it will truly be the end.

Clint : What is that nascency pool supposed to be?

Peg : [Looks directly at Clint, before giving an unnecessarily deep sigh and rolling her eyes] A Nascency Pool is the source of all life in the Interior.

Alice : So, what happens when we are lowered in?

Peg : [Dead calm] We die in extreme agony.

[The Morcs continue shouting at the party and throwing the odd rock at them, although some seem to be slightly distracted, and are looking off to one side.]

Austin : [To Peg] This would appear to be an appropriate moment to call for help, would it not? [Austin Screams] HELP!

[Suddenly a huge panic rips through the Morcs, and they begin screaming in panic, and heading towards an exit, although they are not so panicked that they forget to stop and scoop up some of the liquid beneath the party.]

Gall : [Falling to the ground] What the hell kind of sick and twisted people wear these shoes? [Throws a show at Alice]

Philipe : You should - [tuts, and raises his voice to be heard over the noise of Alice's head being hit by the shoe] You should consider getting a pair of flip flops!

[The panic continues, with at least half of the Morcs now gone, and most of the liquid removed. Enter ROY THE ARCH LICH, wielding a huge sword, and giving a blood curdling howl.]

Alice : [Rubbing her forehead] Hey, looks like we've been saved!

Peg : No, now it looks like we'll be turned into the undead.

Austin : [Sees Roy] Looks like someone forgot to moisturise!

Alice : [Indignantly] Hey! It was late when I got to bed last night, okay? [Spots the howling Roy for the first time, and gives a shiver] Oh.

[The Morcs continue their charge out of the cavern, with ROY slowly walking towards the centre, near the pool and the party.]

Clint : Is he after them or after us? If only I would have my sword with me now!

Roy: [Howling in a horrible way in the fashion only the long since dead can] All shall die! All shall suffer! All shall be...discombobulated! Eaten by woodchucks! Set aflame and used to roast marshmallows! Fear me! Fear the Arch-Liche! Boooga Booga Booga! [Lets out a huge roar, which even causes Clint to blanche from the smell of his breath]

Alice : He seems to be after everyone!

Clint : [Covering his nose] [To Austin] What's disbombobombolated? Last from Miguel #14

Alice : [Rolling her eyes at Clint's foolishness] It obviously means to have all your bombobombos taken away!

Kit : Well, actually, it means to become upset, or confused. Truly, what a frightening apparition...and yet, the way it speaks...I find myself both terrified and fascinated! What a fantastic emotion!

Roy: [hearing Kit's words, stops and stares at Kit with empty sockety things] I...terrify you? I'm frightening??? [bursts into tears and falls to his knees] I scare everybody! Everybody! I'm such a fecal stain on the toilet bowl that is humanity! Even when I try and make friends...WAAAAAAAAH! I...i...I... [remaining gibberish is drowned out by loud undead tearful sobbing]

Clint : Oh great, Kit, now you've gotten him in tears. I hate tears sessions. [Shouting down at Roy] Will you at least get us out of here before crying?

Clint : Oh great, Kit, now you've gotten him in tears. I hate tears sessions. [Shouting down at Roy] Will you at least get us out of here before crying? Roy [Still bawling like a child who fell off hius bike for the first time] Huh? Sniff...sniff. You know, ettiquette dictates that you're NICE to someone when you ask them for a favor. I mean just because I'm 'terrifying' and 'horrific' and 'smell like a pack of buffalo that simultaneously let out a bovine-eqsue batch of flatulence' doesn't mean I don't have feelings too. Do you know how long I slave over a hot oven just so you'd have fresh and crispy cranberry and Hazelnut muffins after I saved you? But does anyone think about the poor Lich's feeling or needs or want? Nope, it's just 'Hey ugly, how about you do something for us, then we'll go back to mocking you until your self-esteem has evaporated like morning dew?' it just so horrible...it makes me want to cry. [Cue the waterworks]

Clint : Oh great, here we go again. [Shouting down] Hey!, in case you haven't understood, I am being nice! Now will you take us out of here? And stop crying like a baby!

Austin : [To Roy] Can you let us down please. Then we may try your cakes. [To the party] They certainly can't be any worse than Faetan's cookies. [Idly inspects his nails. Sigh. Mutters] Out of the frying pan into the councilling session.

Alice : Yes! We weren't being nasty to you. When one of us says "smell like a pack of buffalo that simultaneously let out a bovine-eqsue batch of flatulence", we mean Clint!

Chastity : Especially at the range we're at now. You can almost taste it this close. [Optimistically] I hope there will be tea with your cakes? made Roy cry!!! Roy [Stops his whining] Really? You meant someone else? [claps his 'hands] Oh, this has all been a horrible misunderstanding. Let's see. How to let you down. [looks up at the group, looks at his sword, then looks at the party again.] I can't remember. Does falling hurt? Oh well... [and the rope gets cut...] made Roy cry!!! together...

Chastity : [Desperately tries to push her arm through the net and hold on. Shouting to Roy] Move the cauldron away!

Roy: [looking up] Why? Wouldn't it soften the blow? Or does liquid make it worse? I wish I remember what things felt like....

Austin : [To Roy] The liquid will kill us!

Roy: [looking up at Austin] Oh. Right. The death thing. I keep forgetting you still have that. My fault! [goes to move the cauldron but can't budge it] Sorry. my bones are too weak. All my msucle and sinew and the like seems to have decayed a bit too much. Are you sure it's not just soup?

Alice : Hey! I thought the Morcs took away the liquid with them?

Harvey : And I thought the fellow cut the rope?

[Everyone looks to the rope and sees that this is almost true, for there is just a single strand of rope now holding the net in place.]

Harvey : I suppose if it held this long, it'll hold for another whi-

[HARVEY doesn't get to finish, as the rope snaps, sending the entire group onto the cauldron. Fortunately, BUD and JEFFERSON take the brunt, landing at the bottom.]

Bud : Ow! It's burning, get off us!

Alice : [Landing on top] Hey, what do you know? For once I didn't land on the bottom, it's great to not get hurt.

[Bonk. A pulley falls from the roof and hits her square on the head.]

Alice : Ow.

Austin : [Looking fearfully at the goo, tries to get out of the cauldron. To Bud] Be careful not to splash any of that goo on me!

Chastity : [To Alice] I bet that's not the first time he's said that to another man! [Starts to struggle to get out of the cauldron] I know your unaccustomed to being on top, dear, but it would help if you got out the pot, please.

Alice : Yes, Chas, it's great to be on top for a change!

[Everyone piles out, and onto the floor.]

Jefferson : [Indignantly to Roy] Look at my jacket, it's ruined! Ruined I say! [Suddenly realises what he's talking to] But, er, I'm sure it was an accident.

Roy : [Quivering his top lip...if he had a lip] No, I'm a failure. A wretched abysmial failure! [begins bashing his head on the wall, and with each smack, a chipmunk frozen in a block of ice with a horrific expression of terror and fear on it's little cuddly rodent face appears ten feat in the air and falls to the ground] No good! I'm No good! No good at all!

Austin : [Ignoring Chastitys obsesive sexual comments. Looking at Roy] Curiouser and curiouser [Watches as another chipmunk hits the floor. To Chastity] It looks like someone needs a hug. [Points at Roy. Then turns away and check his hair and suit in his pocket mirror] [An awkward and embarrassed silence comes over the group.]

Alice : Er, there there, there there.

Peg : Curious, he obviously doesn't want to kill us.

Alice : [Sigh] Okay, but just this once. [Gives Austin a huge hug]

Clint : Tears and hugs. [Sigh!] And not even a bottle to drink while this goes on.

Austin : [Takes advantage of the huge hug to give Alice a huge kiss with tongues] Last by Dominic #38

Roy: He's eating her! Stop that! [lurches towards Austin with his skeletal arm reaching into his tattered and palid robes...]

Alice : [Pushes back from Austin and slaps him across the face] How dare you? [Turns to Harvey] You understand, I'd have pulled away faster if it wasn't for the taste of Louis XIV on his lips.

[The four elves say nothing, but exchange knowing glances to each other.]

Austin : [To the elves, smirking] See, no chance for procreation with her! She's as fridgid as [Looks at Peg's hair cut] err, a nun in an igloo.

Peg : [Eyes rest on Alice's pregnant bump] So I see.

Alice : Not frigid, just not desperate.

Harvey : [To Roy] You there, thanks for saving us, but what's all this about?

Roy : [stops pounding his head against the wall.] The chipmunks? I'm not quite sure. My...magic...acts up when I'm emotionally stressed. Or do you mean why did those creatures kidnap you? I'm not sure about that? or did you mean what's with my horrific appearance? That's too horrible and depressing a story to tell. And once I start I just get more depressed than I usually am, which makes me want to go into greater detail about the suffering that is my existence and so we have this downwars spiral affect that just ruins my day, even if I have a picnic planned. Or did you mean something else?

All : [Quickly and loudly] Something else!

Harvey : How about what you want from us?

Roy : Well, I did want you to eat my muffins. I figured if I saved you AND you saw that I was a good cook...I might finally have some sort of people who weren't terrified of my dessicated appearance. [lowers his head] You see...for centuries everyone's just run from me screaming things like, 'Undead horror,' or 'He ate my sister after turning her into a purple alligator.' Things like that. And it's been decades where I had a conversation without the scentence, 'Please don't vivisect me,' coming into the picture that... [starts crying for 2-3 mintues before starting again.] I just want people to know I'm not a bad guy. To have friends. To be with humans and elves and around people who know it's what's INSIDE that counts. Even if those insides rotted away and devoured by maggots centuries ago. [reaches into his robes and pulls out a sack] Are you sure you won't have a muffin? [holding back tears to come with expected rejection]

Roy : Well, I did want you to eat my muffins. I figured if I saved you AND you saw that I was a good cook...I might finally have some sort of people who weren't terrified of my dessicated appearance. [lowers his head] You see...for centuries everyone's just run from me screaming things like, 'Undead horror,' or 'He ate my sister after turning her into a purple alligator.' Things like that. And it's been decades where I had a conversation without the scentence, 'Please don't vivisect me,' coming into the picture that... [starts crying for 2-3 mintues before starting again.] I just want people to know I'm not a bad guy. To have friends. To be with humans and elves and around people who know it's what's INSIDE that counts. Even if those insides rotted away and devoured by maggots centuries ago. [reaches into his robes and pulls out a sack] Are you sure you won't have a muffin? [holding back tears to come with expected rejection]

Alice : Well, as long as it isn't made from a purple alligator, sure, Clint will try one.

Austin : [Looking slightly pail, but determined. To Roy] I will have a muffin [Takes a deep breath and reaches into the sack for a muffin] muffin

Roy : [squeals with delight] still be warm and toasty. They're Cranberry and Hazelnut. They're suprisingly good looking.

Austin : [Looks at the muffin, raises one eyebrow in suprise. Takes a bite, chews etc. To Roy] Well, I must congratulate you on your culinary skills. I am Austin Sleaze, lawyer, pleased to make your acquaintance [Smiles at Roy and eats some more muffin]. am eats tastes like boiled lard and those collections of hair that occur in your bath/shower drain every so often. See, Roy hasn't needed to eat for many, MANY years and although he loves to bake, he forgot the little importance of TASTE...

Roy : [Giddy as a schoolgirl] I'm so glad you like it. Have another!

Alice : [Whispering to the others] Do you think he's going to die?

Clint : That looks nice, lawyer, have some more!

Austin : [Turns away from Roy and spits the muffin on the ground. Then turns back to Roy] Hmm. Quite excellent. We have all been undead once too you know. [Looks at Kit] Well, most of us.

Kit : [Circling Roy eagerly with shining eyes] Wowza wowza wowza...you, sir, are amazing! How do you move? How old are you? Where did you learn to bake? May I try one too? AMAZING! So beautiful...

Roy : [Holding the bag out to Kit] But of course, everyone can have one!

Peg : Do we have to?

[ROY says nothing, but his lower lip begins to quiver.]

Clint : For Phili's sake!, even I will eat one, if it keeps him from crying! [Pause, looks at the muffins again] Then again, a little crying never hurt anyone.

[Tears well up in ROY's eyes.]

Harvey : [Quickly takes a muffin] Come on, Private! [Lowly] Just take a bite and spit it out, he'll never notice. [Bites into it, before surreptiously turning his head and spitting it out, covering the unfortunate Jefferson.]

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] That's not how you do it, Uncle! [Takes a bite of one, before pretending to cough, and turning back again, beaming] See?

[Everyone's attention is drawn the the mess of phlegm, saliva and muffin bits on her shirt.]

Clint : For Phili's sake!, even I will eat one, if it keeps him from crying! [Pause, looks at the muffins again] Then again, a little crying never hurt anyone.

[Tears well up in ROY's eyes.]

Harvey : [Quickly takes a muffin] Come on, Private! [Lowly] Just take a bite and spit it out, he'll never notice. [Bites into it, before surreptiously turning his head and spitting it out, covering the unfortunate Jefferson.]

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] That's not how you do it, Uncle! [Takes a bite of one, before pretending to cough, and turning back again, beaming] See?

[Everyone's attention is drawn the the mess of phlegm, saliva and muffin bits on her shirt.]

Kit : [Takes a muffin, and a bite...chews thoughtfully...face brightens] Wow... WOW! These are the most disgusting things I've ever had! Try one, Chastity! Roy, I must have the recipe! It's astounding!

Roy : [Face dropping] Oh no! I knew you would hate them, I just knew it! [Puts a hand to his head and starts wailing, making what has to be one of the most irritating sounds the party has ever heard]

Alice : [Glaring at Kit] Tut! What's wrong with you? That's the second most annoying sound I've ever heard!

Kit : [Somewhat flustered] I don't understand...I love them because they're so disgusting! Er...drat, I never was good with words... [Pats Roy on the back] There there, ducks...I didn't mean any harm, I truly didn't!

Harvey : [To Kit] Madam, if being truthful about his cooking has upset him this much, I fail to see how refererring to him as a bird will improve his demeanor, what! By the saints, erm, [looks closely at Roy] man, pull yourself together! We all enjoyed your culinary prowess, in fact, looking forward to your next batch! [To Alice] Dear niece, we can always use them as weapons against the enemy, what! this much, what! By the enjoyed your Dear niece,

Roy : [completely and utterly overwhelemed by the massive amount of commentary hitting him at once due to absolutely no human contact for god knows how long] I so terribly confused. My muffins are good because they are bad? Bad because they are good? [to Harvey] I am pulled together. I haven't had anything fall off my body in weeks... And then It was just my pancreas, which i thought I lost when I was only 386, but when you get my age, all shrivlled and mummified bits look alike. [Looks at Alice] See, I have the same problem. it's why I can't eat my own cooking anymore. Watch! [opens jaw wide enough to stick a muffin in, which causes a sickening snap and the party sees sinew holding Roy's jawbone peel off.] Mee? Mhis Mis Mhat malmays mappens! My man't meat my mown Muffims!

Alice : [With an expression that betrays how close she is to throwing up] Ye-es.

Harvey : Well, sir, thank you for your assistance. We must be on our way now - important mission and all that, what!

Roy: [pushing his jaw back together with a crack and a twitch] Yo-you're leaving? But we were just starting to become...dare I say it...friends? [flings himself to the ground around Harvey's legs] TAKE ME WITH! TAKE ME WITH! I'm so damned lonely! [suddenly the cauldron begins to overflow with farm gravy]

Chastity : By Phili, what's going on with the pot? [To Roy] Are you causing that?

Alice : But, where do you want to go? [Looks to the others and asks quietly] What do you think? Will we ever be allowed in anywhere ever again if he comes with us? [Thinks for a moment] Then again, we did manage okay with Faetan.

Roy : [looking up from now gore and drool covered shoes] Sorry about that. My powers tend to go haywire when I'm emotionally distressed.

Harvey : [Suddenly realising how warm the farm gravy is] Gah! [Jumps back from Roy] Just as well I'm wearing my regulation boots, they won't let anything leak in - or out. Why, I can remember having to drink soup from a soldier's boot back in the Midgegpytian campaign of '42, and it didn't spill a drop. [Thinks for a moment] Or was that out of a woman's shoe in Kairo?

Alice : [A trifle miffed at being ignored] But anyway! Where do you want to go?

Roy : [Standing up]I want to go where people can stand my undead visage and see the loveable Lich beneath. Where flowers bloom and where babies won't cry and be forced into decades of therapy from being around me. Where people will appreciate me, not as a vile mockery of Gods with strange and possibly demonic powers, but as a bake of great renown and the inventor of the scone. I did you know. But when ever I try an enter a city, people scream and run or come at me with pointed sticks. Especially this Elf city named Schizophrenia or Bullemia or something like that. They've chased me away 84 times already! And all because I accidentally turned one of their villagers into a two headed buffalo. I didn't mean to! he just kept calling me 'Scabies Face!' I figure if I come with you, people will realise through you that I'm really not all that bad. And then...perhaps...I can find the city of Euphoria, and cook for them! I bet a whole city of Elves would lvoe my food, seeing how sophisticated and genteel they are. [Looks at the 4 elves in the 'party] Hey! Are you from there?

Chastity : Hmmm. Considering the reputation humans seems to have down here,[loudly for the elves benefit] which is completely unfounded, [normal volume again] I doubt very much if we will convince any of the town dewellers to call us their friends, let alone someone with such a...erm, how shall I put it... such a visually challenging hurdle to overcome. [Face brightens up] Although I think I know of a couple of men who could help us, if only we can find them.

Alice : [To Roy] You don't know what kind of reputation we've got, things could get worse for you!

Peg : [Unimpressed at Roy's emotionalism] We are from neither Schizophrenia or Bullemia. We are from [pauses, and looks from side to side to ensure that no one is listening in] Paranoia.

Jefferson : [With a snort of derision] Tut! Typical, everyone wants Euphoria, and [with much irritation and frustration] no one wants Paranoia, Bullemia or Cholera.

[The other elves nod in agreement, muttering to themselves.]

Chastity : [To Jefferson] Well we want to go to Paranoia. We would like to meet up with our friends Cocan and Sven.

Jefferson : [With a snort of derision] Tut! Typical, everyone wants Paranoia, and [with much irritation and frustration] no one wants Euphoria, Bullemia or Cholera.

Peg : That is a good thing, Jefferson.

Jefferson : I didn't say it wasn't!

Roy : [Listening Intently] So I can come with? I won't envenerate anyone! And I'll cook breakfasts! And Paranoia sounds lovely! I'm quite familliar with with Paranoia...

Peg : Very well, we will bring you to Paranoia. However, it is up to yourselves to get into Euphoria.

Alice : No offence Roy but [to the others] is there any way we can make him a little less conspicuous?

Jefferson : If he wants to be inconspicuous, then travelling with humans is not the ideal strategy.

Austin : [To Alice] Let's just go. It's not as if anyone is going to attack us when Roy is with us, although 'self defense' is a bit of a grey area. [Ponders some legal implications being undead]

Chastity : What we need is a good story to explain Roy's appearance. Considering the reputation humans have down here, maybe we could say that what has happened to him is a result of him not having intercourse. That may also help alleviate some of the prejudices against us as well. [Looks at the doubtful expressions of the elves] although I may be being a bit optimistic there. Failing that a big hooded outfit should do the job.

Austin : [Looks at Chastity] What a reamarkably stupid idea.

Chastity : [Glares back at Austin] And your contribution to the group idea pool was? Oh, thats right, nothing! Thank you for your efforts.

Austin : [To Chastity] Just because you are too stupid to understand my contribution to the group idea pool, does not give you the right to get angry with me. My contribution was succinct, to the point and practical. [To Harvey] Colonel, standing around here listening to the ramblings of an insane nun will not progress our mission, may we get a move on? angry Harvey will

Roy : [puzzled] Why is everyone yelling?

Chastity : [To Austin] Your impatience and sweeping assumptions on peoples behaviours are far from practical. [To Roy] Do you you have a hooded robe that you could wear? That way people may get to know the real you before they make assumptions about you, just because you are one of the decaying undead.

Alice : I don't think it was such a stupid idea - I mean, look at what not having intercourse has done to Austin!

Harvey : By the saints, Private! We'll have none of that talk to the good Sister, I'll not have you insulting her! Now, does anyone have an unfeasibly large cloak? [Looks around] Sister?

Austin : [To Chastity] Stop yelling for heavens sakes. The cloak will not cover up the smell, and it will make the elves and others suspicious. They will want to know why we are hiding something, if they don't smell him first.

Peg : [Dead calm, to Roy] I am not shouting. Nor or any of the elves here.

Roy : Good. I get depressed when people yell, because it's usually my fault they're yelling. [to Chastity] I have this robe that I'm wearing. And I bet I could find a robe. Or Morc clothing. Should I wear that?

Alice : Here you'll find it's usually Austin's fault. I don't think the Morcish clothing will fit - Chastity, have you got anything?

Austin : [To Alice, sincerely] That is a fantastic idea Alice, Chastity, do you have a spare habit?

Chastity : [Sighs] I should have a spare used one hidden at the bottom of my bag. It's never good to see a nun with a dirty habit. [Rummages about in her bag, and pulls out a soiled habit and hands it too Roy] It may be a bit short in length, and a bit wide for you. [Quicky] Due to your body having wasted away over the years, of course.

Clint : So is this it? We're finally moving? [To Roy] Ran out of tears?

Roy : Not really, no. But at least I have a nifty Nun outfit. That's me Roy, the Eternal Optimist!

Alice : [Looking into the farm gravy] What was the stuff here that the Morcs took away?

Peg : Nascency Fluid. It is the cornerstone of life in the Interior.

Austin : [To Peg] Is it good to drink?

Peg : It depends on whether or not it is your own Nascency Fluid.

Austin : [To Peg, with a 'getting blood out of a stone' tone] So, let us pretend that it is my own Nascency Fluid. Is it good for me to drink? [Examines his nails ]

Peg : [With no change in her tone] It is neither good nor bad.

[In the background, ALICE rolls her eyes so violently that the others can actually hear them.]

Austin : [To Peg, still examining his nails] And If I were not the owner of the Nascency Fluid that I was consuming, what would happen?

Peg : [Blinks once, and turns to Harvey] Is it normal human behaviour to not look directly at the person to whom they speak?

Harvey : Gah! It's certainly normal Private Sleaze behaviour!

Peg : [Clearly not going to answer Austin, and pointing to what appears to be an exit] I believe that this is the general direction that we should take.

Austin : [Looking directly into Pegs eyes] Is it normal elven behaviour to answer questions with ignorantly short and inadequate answers.

Clint : [Heading towards the exit] [To Peg] This direction, you say?

Peg : No.

Clint : [Stopping] [To Peg] No it's not normal Elven behaviour, or no it's not this way?

Austin : [To Peg, looking into her eyes] That was a rhetorical question. Do elves know rhetoric?

Peg : No it's not normal Elven behaviour. My apologies if my answer confused you, but I was speaking to your associate. You are correct, that is indeed the way.

Peg : Yes.

Bud : [To the rest of the party] She can keep this up all day, despite the increasingly desperate efforts of your friend. Save him from further humiliating himself by stopping this.

Alice : [To Clint] Come on, Stinky, let's go!

Clint : [From the exit door] That's about time!

[Exit ALL, through the exit, most heaving sighs of relief.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene V. Outside Paranoia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, KIT, ROY, PEG, BUD, JEFFERSON and PHILIPPE are here, standing outside a huge walled town, with the wall stretching as far as the eye can see. Set into it is a massive wooden gate. The walk has taken several hours, and the party are all quite tired now, and visibly so. As the group advance towards the gate, a huge voice booms out when they are about five feet away.]

Voice : None shall pass!

Chastity : [Turns to Peg to say something, thinks better of it and turns to Jefferson] Would it be better if you spoke out here, being inhabitants of the town as you are?

Austin : [Shouts] Then why do you have a gate? Last by Dominic #2

Austin : [Shouts] Then why do you have a gate?

Roy : This is all my fault. They can probably tell I'm a loathsome beast from the Stugian depths of Hades even while dressed as a portly nun.

Alice : On the contrary, Roy, they can probably tell Austin's a loathsome beast from the Stugian depths of Hades because he's dressed as a lawyer!

Voice : Er, it's because of the gate that none shall pass.

[PEG narrows her eyes slightly at CHASTITY.]

Jefferson : [Deadpan] Yes. [Long pause] It would - [normal voice] Gah! I'm just not good enough yet! Ask me again, Chastity, I'll get it right this time.

Peg : [Stepping forward] It is I, P'Erendos Gallos.

[Sounds of hysterical laughter come from inside the gate.]

Clint : [Screaming to the gate] Mind telling us what the joke is? We want to laugh, too!

[A small shutter opens in the gate, revealing the face of KARES, an elf who looks similar to PEG and company.]

Kares : It really is you, Peg! [Laughs again, before stopping and sniffing] With a human now, eh? [Looks at Clint] She hasn't been seen for two years, you wouldn't believe who she left with.

Austin : [To Kares, looking at him] Try us, who did she leave with?

[PHILIPE steps forward, now wearing a laurel wreath on his head, and clasping a crudely fashioned pair of flip flops to his chest.]

Philipe : She left with me, to await my inspiration. Behold the [holds up the shoes] Philipe Fillope Flip Flops!

[KARES doesn't reply, but gives something of a shocked gasp.]

Harvey : So, now that the hippies and backpackers will be taken care of in the footwear department, can we enter your town?

Chastity : [To Harvey] Don't forget the people who wash in communal showerinf facilities that don't want to contract horrendous flesh eating foot diseases. They're catered for too, now. the Roy [from beneath his nun's outfit] Oooh! Shoes! I want shoes. I've never had shoes! What are shoes?

Roy: [to Chastity] Does that include me? I'm pretty sure death counts as a horrendous flesh eating foot disease. I mean look, I've got nothing but bones on my toes. And even that's suspect...

Chastity : [Nervously glances towards Kares. To Roy] I don't think now is really a good time to be showing off parts of your time ravaged body. Although, I think Flip Flops may be a bit late for you. A pair of shoes to completely cover you feet would be better. But we'll address that later.

Roy : [puzzled] Shoes are feet? [Looks at the pair being held up by Philipe] I thought they were ear muffs...

Alice : [To Chastity] It's a pity we can't get him a pair of shoes that go up passed his head!

[KARES momentarily disappears from view, and then the gate opens.]

Kares : [In awe] Can it be true? May I - may I touch the ... flip flops?

Philipe : No. But you may admire them from a distance.

[KARES moves closer.]

Philipe : You may move closer.

[KARES moves closer.]

Philipe : You may move closer.

[KARES moves so close that their noses are literally touching.]

Philipe : That's close enough.

Austin : [Watching the farce] It's hard to believe that a place exists that has such an underdeveloped sense of haut couture.

Kares : [Irritated] You don't know what you're talking about - we Elves have a wonderful and keen appreciation for all things artistic, items that savages such as yourselves would know nothing about. Why, look at this!

[KARES holds out his watch, which is clearly a miniature cuckoo clock, that is so large, he can hardly hold his hand up.]

Kares : See? [Presses a button, and out pops a cuckoo.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Chastity : [To Harvey] I bet Jerome could have bettered that, had he been here!

Austin : [To Kares, looking him in the eyes, with a look of horror] All too clearly.

Kares : [Smugly] I thought so.

Harvey : [Struggling to get his bow out] Damned birds! [Looks around] Where's it gone?

Peg : We must hurry. The people are clad in uncomfortably tight shoes, the sock industry has us at its mercy and I'm sure the Veruca epidemic is still raging. [To the party] If you wish, I can tell you Cocan's address.

Austin : [To Kares] Twat. [To Alice] These guys are going to love mocasins and rollerblades.

Peg : [To Austin] You shouldn't have said that.

Kares : The elves may enter, but not the humans.

Chastity : [To Kares] Please excuse out associate. He was not referring to you, he was merely introducing himself. Please may we enter. It is essential that we see our fellow human Cocan, who lives within your walls.

Austin : [To Kares] Hey, why can't we come in? I think mocassins are very nice too, and, indeed I believe I own two pairs of them.

Kares : [To Peg] Is that true?

Peg : Yes. He is a twat.

Kares : Okay, but I'm afraid I have bad news - Cocan is dead.

Austin : [Laughs] Again! He's almost as careless as us. [To Kares] When will he be ressurected? I feel the makings of a party...

Harvey : [Outraged] What? Cocan is red?

Kares : No, I said "Cocan is dead".

Harvey : [Calm] Oh, okay.

[Time passes.]

Harvey : Hm. That's much worse.

Kares : Resurrected? [Shakes his head] He can't be resurrected - his Nascency Fluid was destroyed a few months back. Cocan is very much dead.

Clint : What about Sven? Have you heard of someone named Sven?

Kares : I have not.

Austin : [To Kares] How did he die? WHo killed him?

Kares : [Shakes his head sadly] In a terrible accident - he was knocked down by his own driver.

Alice : Huh? What the hell kind of driver would do that?

[Cut to a recording of ALICE driving the getaway carriage back in Book III, Act I, Scene IX, veering onto a footpath, sending pedestrians scattering in all directions, and smashing straight into MISTER PAPPODOPOLUS' fruit stall, covering the party in water melons, rotten apples and other, assorted fruits.]

Alice : Anyway, if he was in the carriage, how could the driver have knocked him down?

Kares : He was actually going to pick him up when it happened.

Clint : Who is his driver? And is he still around? Roy [Still confused] I'm dead. Very much dead. Like this Conan guy. Dead for ages. Maybe I can go see him if he's dead?

Kares : Jim Ignatwatski. He still lives in Paranoia.

Kares : [Realising Roy's appearance for the first time] What the hell is that?

Austin : [To Kares] Oh, Jim, yes we have met him briefly, several times in time. [Ponders] I wonder if he has met us yet. [To Kares, casualy] Do you have a time travel device in the city?

Peg : Time travel is about as probable as humans who can control their animal urges of violence and procreation.

[KARES draws a sword, and points it at ROY.]

Kares : What the hell is it?

Clint : Oh, him? He's just a monster who happened to save our lives. I wouldn't do that to him if I were you, by the way.

Chastity : [To Kares] He is a human who has learned to control his animal urges of violence and procreation. This is why humans make very little effort in these areas of social behavior. He is perfectly friendly, if not a tad emotionally unstable.

Roy : [Starting to blubber] I'm not a monster! Surew I may be undead and weild unholy powers of the damned, but I have aheart and soul and feelings just like you! [pauses] Well, not a heart, That withered up and got pecked at by crows centuries ago. Still, I have the feelings and soul. Although sme philosophers state the undead don't have souls. Okay...I at least have feelings. And they're been trod upon like a moth eaten dogskin rug.

Kares : [To Peg] Are either of them saying anything that's even remotely true?

Peg : He is a monster, he did save our lives and he is emotionally unstable. However, I do not believe he will cause any harm in Paranoia.

Peg : He is also intensely annoying.

Peg : He is also intensely annoying.

Roy : {letting the waterworks flow I am not! I'm just lonely. Why is everyone and everything so cruel to me? it's not like I use babies for tennis rackets or anything...

Alice : [Covering her ears] So what you use babies for?

Kares : [To the party] Can you keep him under control?

Roy : [still crying] You could try talking to me. I am able to converse, but no, just treat me like I'm a second rate nothing on the intellectual level of yarn. It's fine, I'm used to discrimination. [to Alice] I use them for baking. They make great muffins.

Kares : [Looks at Roy with barely concealed contempt, before turning back to the party] Like I said, can you keep him under control?

Roy : [To Kares] Would you like a muffin? They're baby free! [stage whisper to party members] It's called Bribery! Shhh!

Austin : [To Kares] Yes, we can keep him under control.

Kares : [Ignoring the offer of the muffin] Make sure you do, Mr. Twat.

Peg : [To the party] I am sorry to hear about Cocan. I can give you his address if you wish, perhaps you may be able to track down some other acquaintences that way.

Austin : [To Kares] My name is Mr. Sleaze, the others were having a joke at my expense in refering to me as Mr. Twat. [To Peg] Yes, we would like Cocans address, please, it is our only lead.

Kares : [To Austin] I don't care.

Peg : Number thirteen, Valhalla street. It is straight down that street [points out a street] and to the left.

Austin : [To Kares, beaming a big smile] Good! I am glad. [To Peg] Thank you. [To Colonel] Shall we go.

Chastity : [Picks up her bag and makes ready to go down the street. To Roy] Don't be so quick to declare yourself as undead. It can play right into the hands of peoples prejudices. I mean you don't see me shouting to out to all and sundry that I'm a nun. [Dusts down the front of her habit, checks her holy bible is safely in the pocket over her heart, and straightens the crucifix pendant round her neck] OK, lets go.

Harvey : Well said, Sister. I mean [big wink] Chastity!

[The party head down the street as directed, while PEG and the others go off on a different direction. The party don't attract too much attention, and several elves walk past them, with only a few muttering comments. Before long, they are outside the house. It is fairly large, with a small, well tended garden at the front. The street too, is well looked after, and generally very clean. The gate is clearly just on the latch, and can be opened by anyone.]

Alice : [Tries to open the gate, and fails] Hm. [Looks at it closely, before trying and failing again] Hey! [Shakes the gate hard, before giving up in disgust] Looks like a job for you, Austin.

Clint : [Pointing at his left boot] Can I?

Alice : The boots stay on, Stinky!

Austin : [To Clint] No, you cannot. [Austin opens the gate, walks up to the door and knocks]

Clint : [Yawning] Boring. [After a few seconds, the door opens. Standing there is NEFIRITIRI, who does a double take in surprise.]

Nefiritiri : What are you doing here?

Chastity : We could very well ask you the same thing? We're here to investigate Cocan's death. And you?

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Looking for the wand. [Pauses] Nice to see you again too. May we come in please?

Nefiritiri : [Looks from Austin to Chastity] I see nothing has changed. [Curtly to Chastity] I live in Paranoia, and I am here to sort through Cocan's things. And I think you're a liar. [Takes a drag of her cigarette, before stepping back from the door and speaking to Austin] Come on in.

Chastity : [Caught off guard. Blusters] Liar? Lair? I can assure you we want to find out how Cocan was killed. [Turning to Harvey, slightly unsure] Don't We?

Austin : [To Nefiritiri, sincerely] I'm sorry to hear about Cocan. I didn't know that you knew him. He saved our lives not long ago. [Lights a cigarette] It was even more disturbing to hear that he cannot be resurrected. The elves said his 'Nascencey' fluid was destroyed, and therefore he has gone for ever.

Nefiritiri : [Who clearly has been crying] That's true, Austin. The fluid was destroyed about a year ago - [shakes her head] and I still can't believe he died in such a stupid fashion. For a man who has killed all kinds of monsters, from dragons to hairdressers, to die in an accident like that, well, it just seems wrong.

Harvey : Er, yes, Sister, of course we do, of course we do!

Nefiritiri : [Giving Chastity a baleful look, but addressing the rest of the party] But that is not why you are here, yes?

Harvey : Indeed, my dear, that is not why we are here, though finding out the sad news about Cocan has indeed dampened our enthusiasm for adventure, I can tell you! 

Nefiritiri : [Steps back into the hall, which is decorated with all manner of Viking related paraphenalia] You're more than welcome to have a drink here, but I'm afraid I can't ask you to stay, Cocan left some very specific instructions about some items that are in the various rooms. However, there's a hotel a few streets over that usually has rooms, although I think they usually rent them by the hour.

Alice : What's the name of this hotel?

Nefiritiri : Tart.

[ALICE doesn't reply, and just looks confused.]

Chastity : [To Alice] My dear, I think Nefiritiri is refering the name of the hotel, Tart.

Alice : [Bewildered at this abuse] Look -

Nefiritiri : [Interrupting] That is correct - it is the Tidy And Relaxing Tavern. It was also Cocan's favourite bar.

[Shows the party to the drawing room, and starts pouring out some drinks.]

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Do you remeber the wand, that's what we came for. We had no idea cocan, yourself, or this entire realm come to think of it, were down here.

Nefiritiri : [Passing out the drinks] The wand to determine the shapeshifters? I didn't know it was here. [Takes a drink] Most people on the surface don't know about the Interior - frankly, I'm surprised that you found it. We heard about it a long time ago, and had some rather interesting times getting in.

Austin : [Accepting his drink] Thank you. Yes, the wand to determine shapeshifters. Believe it or not, there was an entrance to the interior in Alice's garden.

Nefiritiri : I find it all too easy to believe - I presume this garden brought into the family by Faern Short?

Alice : Yes!

Nefiritiri : Then the wand is almost certainly in Euphoria.

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Did Faern Short sell the wand to someone?

Chastity : Could you tell us Faern was, and how did this person come into possession of the wand? We had heard a couple of rumours mentioning the name, but nothing was very clear.

Nefiritiri : I can't be sure if he sold it - but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Faern came to the Interior a long time ago, and was one of the few humans to be permitted entrance to Euphoria. However, his behaviour set the human movement back hundreds of years, and, after his drinking, gambling and cavorting got too much for them, he was asked to leave.

Alice : [With a big smile, and two thumbs up to Harvey] He certainly sounds like one ours, Harv!

Harvey : Hm. Yes.

Clint : Yes, he definitely sounds like a cool guy. [Downs his drink] Can I have another, Nefi?

Nefiritiri : Help yourself.

Harvey : Did you meet Faern?

Nefiritiri : Yes. He spent several years in the Interior, moving in and out of Euphoria, but eventually returned to the surface.

Clint : [Picking up a bottle of brandy] So how old does that make you?

Nefiritiri : About two and a half thousand years.

Alice : Crikey! That's almost as old as one of Clint's socks! How did you manage that?

Nefiritiri : Genies age more slowly than most. I also spent some time in Euphoria [goes a little dreamy] that helps retard the aging process somewhat.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Really? [With a renewed air of interest, but trying to be casual] What is in Euphoria that does that?

Nefiritiri : I don't know - and the Euphoric Elves don't want anyone to know.

Austin :I expect it is the wand that reduces the effects of ageing. [Glances at the window] I think we are being watched by someone in the garden.

Chastity : [Eagerly] Well, looks like we'll have to be going to Euphoria, then. [Quickly] For the wand , of course. [Turns away from the group to cover her awkwardness. Stops and points out the window] Hey, who's that in the garden. [Everyone turns and looks out the window, which faces the back garden.]

Alice : Yeah, I see them too - there are a few of them, there's a blonde girl, a nun, a guy with a really big cloak, a -

Harvey : Actually, niece, I think you'll find that's out reflection you can see, however, Private Sleaze is correct, there is someone hiding behind that tree.

[This is true, there is someone just visible, wearing the traditional trenchcoat, hat and dark glasses of a spy.]

Clint : [Downing another glass] I don't see anyone.

Chastity : Maybe if you got you nose out of that glass for a moment! [To Nefiritiri] Is there a back door to this place?

Nefiritiri : Yes, just out the door you came in and to the right.

[The figure has clearly realised they have been spotted, and makes a bolt for it. At the same time, there is a knock on the front door.]

Chastity : [Rushes out the route Nefiritiri describes] Quickly after them!

[HARVEY joins with CHASTITY, but, by the time they get to the door, the figure is long gone. Meanwhile, there is another knock on the door.]

Nefiritiri : What's going on? Should I get it?

Clint : [Pouring yet another glass] Who is it? Come in!

Austin : I'll get it [Goes to the front door and opens it].

[AUSTIN opens the door to reveal MILICENT FLUFF, standing outside, looking her best.]

Milicent : Hello. Is Nefiritiri here?

Austin : [To Milicent, deadpan] Hello Milicent, how nice to see you again. Please come in, Nefiritiri is in the livingroom. Did you happen to notice someone running away from the garden a moment ago?

Milicent : No, I didn't see anyone.

[NEFIRITIRI comes out to the hall and hugs MILICENT, who is dressed pretty much as she is in her picture, but without the wand.]

Nefiritiri : Oh, Milicent, I'm just going through his things now, it's so difficult.

Milicent : I know, I know.

Nefiritiri : About two and a half thousand years.

Alice : Crikey! That's almost as old as one of Clint's socks! How did you manage that?

Nefiritiri : Genies age more slowly than most. I also spent some time in Euphoria [goes a little dreamy] that helps retard the aging process somewhat.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Really? [With a renewed air of interest, but trying to be casual] What is in Euphoria that does that?

Nefiritiri : I don't know - and the Euphoric Elves don't want anyone to know.

Austin :I expect it is the wand that reduces the effects of ageing. [Glances at the window] I think we are being watched by someone in the garden.

Chastity : [Eagerly] Well, looks like we'll have to be going to Euphoria, then. [Quickly] For the wand , of course. [Turns away from the group to cover her awkwardness. Stops and points out the window] Hey, who's that in the garden. Bah, badly timed boss Q&A visit!! [Everyone turns and looks out the window, which faces the back garden.]

Alice : Yeah, I see them too - there are a few of them, there's a blonde girl, a nun, a guy with a really big cloak, a -

Harvey : Actually, niece, I think you'll find that's out reflection you can see, however, Private Sleaze is correct, there is someone hiding behind that tree.

[This is true, there is someone just visible, wearing the traditional trenchcoat, hat and dark glasses of a spy.]

Clint : [Downing another glass] I don't see anyone.

Chastity : Maybe if you got you nose out of that glass for a moment! [To Nefiritiri] Is there a back door to this place?

Nefiritiri : Yes, just out the door you came in and to the right.

[The figure has clearly realised they have been spotted, and makes a bolt for it. At the same time, there is a knock on the front door.]

Chastity : [Rushes out the route Nefiritiri describes] Quickly after them!

[HARVEY joins with CHASTITY, but, by the time they get to the door, the figure is long gone. Meanwhile, there is another knock on the door.]

Nefiritiri : What's going on? Should I get it?

Clint : [Pouring yet another glass] Who is it? Come in!

Austin : I'll get it [Goes to the front door and opens it].

[AUSTIN opens the door to reveal MILICENT FLUFF, standing outside, looking her best.]

Milicent : Hello. Is Nefiritiri here?

Austin : [To Milicent, deadpan] Hello Milicent, how nice to see you again. Please come in, Nefiritiri is in the livingroom. Did you happen to notice someone running away from the garden a moment ago?

Milicent : No, I didn't see anyone.

[NEFIRITIRI comes out to the hall and hugs MILICENT, who is dressed pretty much as she is in her picture, but without the wand.]

Nefiritiri : Oh, Milicent, I'm just going through his things now, it's so difficult.

Milicent : I know, I know.

Harvey : [Still looking out the window] Blast, the bounder has fled the scene! Gah! We'll never catch the blackguard now! Gah!

Austin : [To Milicent] Would you care for a drink? [Looks a little suprised as he realises that Milicent is, in fact, female, and not a tranny]

Milicent : Thank you, mine's a babycham.

Nefiriti : [To the others] Poor Milicent was there when Cocan died.

Chastity : [To Harvey] I sure we'll cross swords with them eventully, Colonel.

Austin : [Pours Milicent a Babycham and gives it to her. To all] I'm just going to have a quick squiz around the back garden, to check for foot prints etcetera. [Goes into the back garden, to check for foot prints etc.]

Milicent : I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. The elves in Paranoia are quite paranoid. quite paranoid.

Austin : [Returns from the back garden] There was nothing out of the ordinary. No footprints either, so I guess that it must have been an elf. [To Nefiriti] I assume that elves leave no footprints? no footprints.

Roy: I don't leave footprints. I leave a trail of oozing pus sometimes...

Chastity : [To Roy] Hmmm. Maybe we'd better re-think our shoe plan for you and find you some wellington boots. They won't ooze as you move around, you'll just have to remember to empty them out every now and again.

Nefiriti : Not true.

Milicent : I think than there are many people in the Interior who can leave no footprints.

Clint : But who would be interested in spying on us?

Austin : [To Clint] With hot fashion secrets like 'flip-flops', comming from us, I should think most of the Interior are interested in spying on us.

Alice : [To Chastity] They mighn't ooze, but they sure would squelch - that is, if the ooze he produces is anything like the baked beans that were in my boots that time.

Milicent : [To the party] So why are you here? Cocan would have loved to have met you.

[ALICE takes a sip of her drink, making an unfeasibly loud slurping sound.]

Alice : [Glares at Clint] Tut!

Austin : [Glances at Alice. To Milicent] We came to the interior seek the wand that we had several thousand years ago. It will enable us to identify shapeshifters. We were on our way to see Cocan, as he was our best lead, until we learned of his untimely demise. [Ponders, then looks at Milicent] We have actually met Cocan, and your goodself, though in a rather unconventional manner, hence you won't know who we are.

Harvey : [Glares at Clint] Private Scar, your manners in front of the ladies, I do declare, are unworthy of this troop! Kindly curb your vile beverage quaffing noises, as of the now! [Turns to Milicent] We tend to be bounced from time zone to time zone, my...erm, dear!

Clint : [Mutering to himself] Right. [Long and loud fart] Bimbo, please. Not in front of other people.

Kit : [Looks impressed] Truly? How do you manage to accomplish this, if I might ask? Dr. Umatsu released a few short texts about his theories of time travel, I'd like to compare notes.

Alice : [Red faced] Sorry, Stinky.

Milicent : [Daintily drinking some of her drink] I know who you are Austin, as well as Harvey, Alice, Chastity and Stinky. I suppose it was inevitable that Faetan would have left the group by now.

Alice : [Turns to Clint indignantly] Hey!

Harvey : [To Kit] My dear, I'm sure even your great Dr Satsumu would agree that the best thing about time, is that the future is a wonderful dumping ground for unpleasant tasks and empty promises. Why certainly we can swap notes on time travel later on, my dear!  [Turns to Milicent] But how? How do you know us all? Surely we have not yet met?

Kit : [Beams happily and takes out her notepad to add a few more scribbles] Thank you, sir!

Harvey : [Bows to Kit] A pleasure madam!  

Milicent : [To Harvey] That's correct, we haven't, but the others told me about you.

[MILICENT daintily sips on her babycham.]

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Do you have any idea how we could get into Euphoria? We were told that we'd have trouble getting in, as we are humans. [Glances at ROy] Well, most of us are.

Roy: [indignant] I'm biologically human! if you scraped through the layers of decay and mildew you'd see my remains are the same as any other long dead and preserved human corpse. Dying doesn't make me any less human. Unless by human you define one as being alive... But then Elf's would be human too...

Alice : As would Clint.

Nefiritiri : [Shakes her head] I think you'll find it impossible. Even Cocan wasn't allowed enter for the last year - things have begun changing in the Interior, and Euphoric Elves have completely closed their borders.

Chastity : That is going to make our acquisition of the wand very difficult indeed. We really need to get into Euphoria. I doubt if we could disguise ourselves as elves.

Roy : Could I pose as a very sick elf? or do you think they'd just let the undead walk on in. I could carry a big sign that says 'Not plague ridden!'

Austin : [Smirking] We could introduce them to 'sock shoes', and they will be so in awe of our footwear design capabilities that they will invite us to stay. [Laughs]

Alice : No one's going to believe that, Roy.

Harvey : [To Milicent] So, er, Miss, how did Cocan die?

Milicent : He was knocked down.

Roy : Could I pretend to be Cocan. he's dead. I'm dead. I bet all undead look alike to mortals...

Clint : And who knocked him down? [Empties whatever liquor is left on the bottle he's now holding]

Nefiritiri : [To Roy] Unlikely.

Milicent : Jim Ignatwatski knocked him down - he was Cocan's driver. It was a terrible thing to behold.

Alice : He was a bad driver, then?

Milicent : No, I mean the accident was a terrible thing to behold.

Nefiritiri : Look, Milicent, they are stunned into silence.

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Well, it is very sad. Jim must be remorseful. Is there anything we can do whilst we are here, to help you?

Milicent : Yes, Jim was inconsolable when it happened. When we carried the body to the house he was very upset.

Nefiritiri : [Shrugs] I'm afraid not.

[The Cuckoo clock springs to life.]

Clock : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Nefiritiri : It's getting late - would you like directions to the hotel?

Clint : Yes please. We would also like to talk to Jim if possible.

Austin : [Finishes his drink and stands] Well, thank you for your hospitality. It seems our visit to the interior is somewhat ill fated. A good nights sleep in a hotel is certainly in order [Muses] I wonder if they have a sauna.

Kit : [Scribbling down a few more notes before replacing the notepad in her coat] I wonder if any elves might be there...there's still so much to learn!

Nefiritiri : [To Clint] Jim will almost certainly be at the hotel. He has been in very strange form since it happened, so I'm not sure if he'll speak to you.

Milicent : [To Kit] There won't be too many Elves there, the Tart is a human hang out, but, rest assured, you'll encounter many of them in Paranoia, but be warned, they aren't very tolerant of humans.

Nefiriri : To get to the Tart, go to the end of this street, turn left onto Lonely Street and keep going until you get to the junction with Morose Road Turn right there, and it's on the corner with Bitter street.

Alice : [Taking down the directions] What comes after "to"?

Nefiritiri : There's a map.

Alice : [Taking the map] Hey! This isn't a map, it's a child's maze from the back of a DacMonalds tray cover!

Nefiritiri : Is that going to make any difference to you finding the hotel?

Alice : No.

Harvey : Well, thank you kindly, madam! Your hospitality has being most welcome, even in this time of grief. [Bows to Nifiritiri] Well troop, it's time to be away to a warm Tarts bed!

Clint : I hope they serve drink there. All this talk left me thirsty.

Harvey : [Getting up too] Who else was there when Cocan died?

Milicent : There were three of us. Myself, Jim and Boddy, but there was nothing we could do - he gave some last words for Nefiritiri, and then died.

Chastity : [COughs on the final sips of her tea. To Milicent] Boddy? It seems an age since we last met with him. I take it he's still in Paranoia, my dear.

Milicent : Oh, yes. He and Cocan became great friends, which was nice, especially after all that ugliness between Sven and Darius.

Harvey : Ugliness? Pray tell, what ugliness?

Austin : [To Harvey] Darius and Boddy are pretty ugly.

Harvey : [Sighs] Ah, private Sleaze, as helpful as you are sympathetic in this mournful time.

Austin : [To Harvey] Oh, come now colonel, you know as well as I do that it was probably Boddy the got Cocan killed, not Jim. We all know what a slippery character Boddy is.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] What were Cocan's last words, if I may ask?

Harvey : Slippery, yes indeed, private, but how can we point the finger of blame without knowing the full facts?

Alice : I don't know, I always thought they were pretty cute - pretty horrible too, of course.

Milicent : Well, I really shouldn't say - but relations got a little strained between them. [Goes to the mantlepiece and picks up a picture of a group of people] Shortly after we found the Nascency Fluid, things began to break down. This was the last time that we were all together.

[MILICENT shows the picture, it appears to be BODDY, DARIUS, MARCUS WERNER, PETER DEADPAN, MILICENT, SVEN, COCAN, NEFIRITIRI, JIM IGNATWATSKI, LLOYD CHRISTOPHER and another man who looks like PETER. Everyone has their arms around each other, and all are smiling. It is clearly a posed picture.]

Milicent : [Still holding the picture, and rolls her eyes at Austin's words] You don't know what you're talking about. I was there when it happened. [To Harvey] I told you the full facts.

Nefiritiri : I'm not sure - I wasn't there when it happened, but maybe Milicent can tell you?

Milicent : I can't remember exactly, but they were a message to Nefiritiri, about some thing he left here for her.

Harvey : Well, it certainly must have been crucially important if they were Cocans last words on this mortal coil, eh! [To Milicent] Think my dear! It may be vital that you remember every word, verb, noun and nuance of his deaths whisper!

Chastity : [COughs on the final sips of her tea. To Milicent] Boddy? It seems an age since we last met with him. I take it he's still in Paranoia, my dear.

Milicent : Oh, yes. He and Cocan became great friends, which was nice, especially after all that ugliness between Sven and Darius.

Harvey : Ugliness? Pray tell, what ugliness?

Austin : [To Harvey] Darius and Boddy are pretty ugly.

Harvey : [Sighs] Ah, private Sleaze, as helpful as you are sympathetic in this mournful time.

Austin : [To Harvey] Oh, come now colonel, you know as well as I do that it was probably Boddy the got Cocan killed, not Jim. We all know what a slippery character Boddy is.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] What were Cocan's last words, if I may ask?

Harvey : Slippery, yes indeed, private, but how can we point the finger of blame without knowing the full facts?

Alice : I don't know, I always thought they were pretty cute - pretty horrible too, of course.

Milicent : Well, I really shouldn't say - but relations got a little strained between them. [Goes to the mantlepiece and picks up a picture of a group of people] Shortly after we found the Nascency Fluid, things began to break down. This was the last time that we were all together.

[MILICENT shows the picture, it appears to be BODDY, DARIUS, MARCUS WERNER, PETER DEADPAN, MILICENT, SVEN, COCAN, NEFIRITIRI, JIM IGNATWATSKI, LLOYD CHRISTOPHER and another man who looks like PETER. Everyone has their arms around each other, and all are smiling. It is clearly a posed picture.]

Milicent : [Still holding the picture, and rolls her eyes at Austin's words] You don't know what you're talking about. I was there when it happened. [To Harvey] I told you the full facts.

Nefiritiri : I'm not sure - I wasn't there when it happened, but maybe Milicent can tell you?

Milicent : I can't remember exactly, but they were a message to Nefiritiri, about some thing he left here for her.

Harvey : Well, it certainly must have been crucially important if they were Cocans last words on this mortal coil, eh! [To Milicent] Think my dear! It may be vital that you remember every word, verb, noun and nuance of his deaths whisper!

Milicent : [Sigh] He said "I have a message for Nefiritiri, tell her I left something for her."

Harvey : [Scratches a sideburn] What, and that was all? A little vague, what! Hmm, [to Nefiritiri] does that seem anyway of importance to you?

Nefiritiri : I think he was referring to an Orb. He had told me previously that the orb would keep me safe if anything ever happened to him. I don't know exactly what it looks like, but Boddy will be able to identify it.

Harvey : I see. We might also be able to help you out on that score, we've all seen quite a few in our  time!  In fact, the good sister Chastity is quite an expert on orbs, seeing so many in her time!  

Nefiritiri : Thank you, I'm sure. If Boddy can't identify it, I'll let you know. Feel free to call in while you're in Paranoia.

[Exit the party.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VI. Outside the Tidy And Relaxing Tavern. HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, KIT and ROY are here, having just arrived. A MAN walks passed, and looks at ALICE.]

Man : Tart.

Alice : [Laughs] Oh, you mean the hotel!

Man : [Slightly confused] Hotel? [Walks off]

Austin : Let's go and find Jim. [Goes into the TART]

Roy : [excited] I can bake tarts! Anyone want some? My speciality is Guano and baked bean tarts!

Alice : [To Roy] Well, I'm quite hungry now, so I won't have any.

[The group heads into the bar. It is absolutely filthy, and has quite a number of humans sitting around eating and drinking. There are no non-humans in the place. Standing behind the bar is RAGGEDY ANDY, who's even dirtier than the bar. Also here is BODDY, sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and smoking what looks like a cheese cigarette.]

Andy : [Clearly perturbed at Roy's presence] Mwoah? What the hell is that? I hate damned freaks!

Boddy : [Turning around and looking] It's okay, I know them. They're not that freakish.

Chastity : Whoa, Deja vu. [Checks to see if Boddy looks armed]

Boddy : Well, well, well. Come on in and have a drink.

Austin : [To Boddy] Is the drink palatable in this tavern? [Looks at Boddy suspiciously] You look much to much like Darius for my liking. I don't know if I could tell you apart.

Boddy : The drink is okay, but the ware is even filthier than Andy here. The last time we met, you made the same claim, but I can assure you, we're quite different.

Austin : [Sits beside Darius] Well, you probably understand that our previous encounters with Darius have been somewhat traumatic. Death has that effect on me, and you do bear an uncanny resemblance.

Boddy : No doubt I do, but I haven't seen Darius for a while, certainly before he first met you lot.

[Some filthy looking drinks in some filthy looking glasses are served up by the filthy looking barman.]

Boddy : So, why are you in Paranoia?

Chastity : [Holds one of the glasses up to the light] Tut, filthy! [Puts the glass back on the bar. To the barman] Could I have a cup of tea, by any chance? [To Boddy] We were here to find Cocan, as we were told he could help us get into Euphoria.

Andy : Tea? Sure!

Boddy : Well, that's kind of unfortunate, on two counts. First, no one can get into Euphoria at the moment, and second, Cocan is dead.

Andy : Here's your tea!

[Places an impossibly delicate, yet filthy, tea cup on the counter, and pours the contents of a teapot into it. They land with an audible squelch, as the cup fills with a thick and slimy substance.]

Andy : Enjoy!

Chastity : [Looks at her "tea"] Hmmm, I think this has been left to stew a bit too long in the pot!. [To Boddy] Yes, so we have been hearing. What brings you here?

Boddy : [Taking a long drag on the cigarette] Hah! You haven't changed a bit Chastity. I've spent a lot of time in the Interior, I like to come back every so often. Euphoria's a pretty cool place, but unfortunately the border is now shut. [Looks at Roy] What's his story?

Roy : I'm the Arch Lich. IS everyone here dead as well. They sure SMELL dead. And kinda looks dead. A tavern of the Damned. This is pretty cool! I'm finally amongst those that can understand me! I'm so happy! [starts blubbering]

Boddy : I gotta admit, I prefer him to Faetan.

Clint : [To Chastity] Well, if you're not going to have it... [Downs his glass, and Chastity's glass immediately after]

Chastity : [Looks at Clint chewing down the last drops of her tea, and takes a tactical step back]

[CLINT's stomach makes a disgusting gurgling and lurching sound, but seems to settle down.]

Boddy : [To Andy] Let's have some food all round, at my usual table.

[BODDY escorts the party to a relatively quiet table.]

Boddy : So, why do you want to go to Euphoria?

Austin : [To Boddy, quietly] We are looking for the wand that we left here several thouand years ago, the one to identify shapeshifters. We have been told that our best bet is Euphoria.

Boddy : So, despite travelling 2000 years back in the past to get the wand, someone then brought it to Euphoria? Let me guess [looks over Alice, Clint and Harvey] there was a relative of yours involved, right? [Smiles] Man, Pestilence sure knew how to give out curses.

[The door of the bar opens, and in steps OHMLOSS HECKLER. As he does, the bar goes quiet. He walks to the bar, and is just about to speak, when BODDY calls out to ANDY.]

Boddy : Garcon! Some food here if you please.

[OHMLOSS turns and glares at BODDY, who merely tilts his glass to him.]

Chastity : [Looking at Ohmloss] My what a serious fellow. He must be an official of some sort.

Boddy : Oh, he's very serious, and he got through the maximum penis length permissable for cops with almost an inch to spare.

Ohmloss : [Walks over to the party] As you are strangers in town, I'll assume you haven't had time to be warned about the real lowlifes here. [Looks meaningfully at Boddy]

Boddy : [Takes a drink] Oh, they know who the real lowlifes are, that's why they're with me. But, and this is just between you and me, you understand, they're even worse than I am. Got any cheese?

Austin : [To Boddy, suprised] They have police men here, ha! Like it isn't a prison already. [Ponders. To Boddy] Do they give Police jobs to the insecure elves, to make up for their small penises? You know, give them a feeling of power, make them feel like they are worth something?

Boddy : [Nods in agreement] Possibly, possibly. [Thinks for a moment and then shakes his head in disagreement] I don't think so - I mean, it would take a lot more power than they actually have.

Ohmloss : [Hammers the table angrily with his fist] Enough! [Glares at Austin] I don't know who you and your friends are, but I'll be watching you, you can be sure of that. [Points angrily Boddy] And you! Two of your buddies are in jail, one is dead and one has disappeared, it's just a matter of time before we get you.

Boddy : [To Austin] You see, [nods at Ohmloss's finger] that's like his penis, only bigger.

[ANDY squeezes in with some filthy looking burgers, which are passed out.]

[Clint starts eating his burger happily]

Clint : [To Boddy, while showering the party and Ohmloss with burger crums] Who's in jail?

Austin : [To Boddy, looking at the finger] How sad. [Looks at the Burgers. To Boddy] What is it that you like about this place?

Ohmloss : [Dodging some of Clint's crumbs] Horbiger and Ponto. Two stupid elves.

Boddy : You mean, "too stupid elves". I don't Austin, I suppose it could be because most Paranoid Elves don't come in here. In fact -

[BODDY is interrupted by ALICE, who is leaning over her burger, roaring laughing, despite the copious amount of burger debris in her hair from CLINT.]

Clint : [To Alice] What'sh sho funny? [To Roy] Try one, they're delishioush!

Alice : [Looks up, beaming] I just made a funny face on my burger!

[This is true, there is a funny face on the burger.]

Ohmloss : Losers! [Storms back to the bar, where he starts speaking quietly to Andy]

Harvey : My, he must have a manhood larger than most policemen, what! Most others would have truncheoned one of us before leaving! [Turns to Boddy, munching soggily on a burger] So, what brings you to this place, Boddy?

Boddy : [Leaning over his own burger for a moment, before looking back up] Well, you know me, where ever people are in need, where ever there is oppression, where ever there is evil [smiles] I'm the one behind it! [Holds his burger up to the party] Look, I just made a sad face on my burger!

Alice : [Visibly saddened] Aw!

Boddy : The truth is Harvey, I've been in the Interior for a while now, and was trying to get back to Euphoria, but, with Cocan dead, our chances are slim.

Ohmloss : [Turning from the bar] God damned humans, it's your fault that Euphoria is closed.

[There are distinct grumblings from the rest of the bar, which is almost entirely human.]

Roy : Hey! Don't blame me! According to these guys I'm not human. [turns to party] What am I exactly besides a being to mock behind his moldy and decayed back?

Boddy : I have to admit, I'm kind of curious about that myself. What is your story? What are you looking for?

Austin : [To Ohmloss] If that were true, then why did they lock you out too? [Feigns surprise] Oh, silly me, it's because you have a tiny tadger, of course.

Roy : You actually want to hear my life story?? [Excited] Finally! Someone who wants to hear me and won't scream profanity and throw bricks, mud and rotten fruit at me! Well, I was born about many many years ago. I can't remember when. Everything feels like April to me now. Ive gotten to that point where time just doesn't have a meaning. I can't even remember what i looked like when I was alive. Isn't that sad? It would depress me, but I've learned there's so much more to be depressed about in life. Or in my case death. Although death really isn't that depressing. it's the combination of the two. which ir ironic because you're supposed to find a balance in life instead of extremes, and yet when I finally did, it made my existence all the worse. Is existence the right word? probably millenium's someone actually asked him about his thoughts and feelings. Assume for the moment it's massive frantic squeals of joy

Boddy : [Completely unmoved] That's not what I meant. The question was what are you looking for?

Ohmloss : [Storms back to the table, pointing angrily at Austin] So what? Unlike you savages, we don't use them for sticking into whatever orifice presents itself! In fact, if you were in an Elven bar, you'd be mocked for having such a large one!

Alice : [Rolls her eyes, muttering] Oh, God. Every man's dream. [To Chastity] Let's not go to one of those bars, or we'll never hear the end of it.

Austin : [To Boddy] Oops, opend up a whole can of worms there [Sniggers at his onw joke]

Roy : Love, respect, kindess, hugs. And the chance to set up my own bakery in Euphoria. I'm a great baker! I don't want to be known as the vile and feared arch lich anymore. I want to be known as the inventor of the scone!

Ohmloss : [Turns away from the party, but stops, and turns back again, pointing at Boddy] You're nothing but a criminal! Your friend Cocan was nothing but a criminal and I suspect this bunch of losers are the same, probably part of your smuggling activities.

Boddy : Hey! That offends me - I don't deal in contraband.

[OHMLOSS turns away, and BODDY takes out a cheese cigarette, which he takes a drag of, before offering it to the party.]

Boddy : First time's free!

Austin : [Whips out his note pad. To Ohmloss] Hey, that's slander, [Scribbles some notes] You had better watch your step, twinky boy, or I'll sue you until you're shining flip flops for a living!

[ALICE reaches out for the cigarette, but is intercepted by HARVEY.]

Harvey : I think you've had quite enough cheese for day, my girl! [Shakes his head] Funny face, indeed.

Ohmloss : It's not slander, it's a statement of fact.

[Startling everyone, KIT lets out a blood curdling scream, which is somewhere between being extremely annoying and somewhat frightening, and slams her glass down on the table.]

Kit : Can we all just stop talking about penises and anal sex for [shouts] just one second? [Stands up] I can't take this any more! I was told that you were a bunch of heroes, but it's not even remotely true. [Looks at her notebook] My briefing, it's worse than useless! I came expecting an heroic Colonel, a saintly nun, a handsome lawyer, a beautiful maiden and a grizzled but [reads from the notes] handsome in a George Clooney kind of way fighter, and what do I get? I get a deaf old coot, a bitchy hypocrite, a smarmy, sleazy penis obsessed swine, a mindless tart and an unwashed barbarian! [Turns to Roy] And as for you? [Holds her hands up and waggles her fingers] Freak! Your cakes taste even worse than Clint smells.

[Squeezes out from behind the table.]

Kit : I'll leave, and you can carry on with ill company all you like! Just be careful you don't end up like him. [Points at Roy]*

[Exit KIT, storming out of the bar. Silence descends for a good few seconds.]

Boddy : [Eventually breaking the silence, by looking to Roy] Hugs and kisses, eh? Well, good luck with that.

Austin : [To Ohmloss] Well I hope you have some proof. [Scribbles] Calling a nun a criminal! I never, you just don't get that high quality of policemanship any more. [ Watches Kit storm out the door] She really was a bit thick wasn't she. Didn't get it at all, I think she thought heroes wore flowing capes and did lot's of jumping through windows.

Roy : Bu...bu....WAAHHHHHHHHHH! [Complete and total emotional breakdown which causes a lavender Hippopatmus juggling 8 tree sloths to appear behind the bar counter. And it's snowing inside.] turns out there aren't any sloths in this world...

Andy : [Calls out angrily from behind the bar] Hey! Can't you read? [Points at a sign above the bar, which reads "No Magic".]

Alice : [Nods in agreement with Austin] Yes, I was wondering why she wore her underpants on the outside.

Harvey : [To Roy] Come on man, pull yourself together! [Squeezes Roy's shoulder reassuringly, and appears to be only slightly disconcerted at the chunk of flesh that comes off in his hand]

Roy : WAAAHAAAAHHAHAH! [notices the flesh of his in harvey's hand] Did I mention I'm a leper?

Clint : Here we go again... [To Andy] Another round for me and Chassers, please.

Harvey : Er, no. [Tries to push the flesh back onto Roy]

Boddy : Anyway, I think you'll find it difficult to get into Euphoria, now that Cocan is dead. He was the only human they truly liked.

[ANDY slops some tea out, and passes it over.]

Harvey : [To Boddy] So, you were there when he died?

Boddy : Indeed I was.

Roy : [Desperately Hopeful] Would they like me? [To Harvey] I'm not really a leper. I just wanted someone else to have a brief glimpse into the wallowing misery that encompasses my existence.

Boddy : The probability of their liking you would be inversely proportional to the amount of whining and blubbering they hear. Roy [crying again] Oh no! I'm doomed! The downward spiral of misery continues....downward. [Another fit of depression, fetal position wailing and such causes one of the table across the room to come to life and start belching the Alphabet]

Boddy : You know, even I'm starting to want him to fail to get in.

Roy : [stops crying] because you empathize with the plight that is my existence? Because you understand the sadness that I'm wallowing in like an Elephant in a tar pit, trapped, doomed to only sink farther the harder they try to escape?

Boddy : Sure. Why not?

Ohlmoss : [Starts to leave, but goes to the party again] I'm warning you, I've got my eye on you - I've heard you came looking for Cocan, and in my book, that means you're scum like him.

Clint : Oooo, we're sooo scared. [To Roy] I'm joking, you don't have to start crying again.

Roy : But I'm so good at it. [OHMLOSS doesn't reply, and just storms out of the bar.]

Boddy : I'm probably going to have to go soon too. [Looks at his watch, which is a cuckoo watch like the one Kares had] Damned Elven watches.

Chastity : [To Roy] That may be so, my....em....thing, but it sparks off your magic and, as much as this place is a filthy hole, we don't want to be thrown out. It seems to be the only place to rest. [Looks around] Unfortunately.

Roy : [whimpering] See? I can't even be horribly nigh-suicidally depressed right!

Chastity : Well, please don't feel the need to practice.[Picks up her newly slopped cup of tea, glances into the cup and then passes it to Clint] Sorry, Clint, this was yours, wasn't it.

Austin : [To Roy] why don't you pull off all of your dead flesh, and then polish up your bones. I'm sure you'll feel much better then. [Austin winks at Maplin. To Roy] I don't believe that you have seen my dear Maplin [Smiling, Austin shows Roy, Maplin (Austins left forearm)] Isn't that the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

Chastity : [Watching Austin's performance. To Boddy] It's probably just as well that Policemans not about now.

Austin : [Puts Maplin away (Pulls his sleve back and straighten it to perfection)] Enough! Must not have too much of a good thing! Crowds would start to gather.

Clint : For Phili's sake, pull yourself together, lawyer! [Downs his cup, only to realise after that it was solid tea and not liquor] Gah!

Chastity : That's just what I was thinking. [To Harvey] How are we to get at the wand, Colonel? I'm sure this silence from you is due to you hatching a master plan of cunning tactical genius. I'm all ears.

Austin : [Laughs at Clint drinking tea] You'll be a nun before the day is out!

Chastity : By Phili, what a thought! [Shudders] Although he does bare a spooky resemblance to Sister Densefolicalata. [To Alice, pointing vaguely to her top lip] She had a bit of a problem with facial hair. Poor girl.

Alice : [Haughtily] That's not going to work on me. [Almost immediately, sneaks a look into her compact]

Harvey : I don't know, Sister. I'm stumped, caught with a sticky wicket, bowled out. It seems like the only human with any chance of getting into Euphoria is dead, but I must say, I don't like the way that Policeman was talking about him, no! [Thunders out and hammers the table] Not one little bit!

[BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Boddy : Okay, I've got to go. I'm in here most nights, so if you get any leads, make sure to give me a call. Andy here will set you up with rooms. >[BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.] Roy [screams's] BUT I'M DEAD! DEAD! DEADDEADEAD! DEADSKI! CORPSE! ROTTING IN MY OWN GRAVE! [hits head against the fall, stuff that we all hope is dandruff falls onto the floor].

Chastity : [Looks at Roy, and rolls her eyes] By the Sisters of Mercy. If there is every a movement where people aspire to be dead looking, miserable, manic depressives with a persecution complexes, society will be in real trouble ! [To Andy] Could you show us to some rooms, please?

Alice : [Holding her hand up, covering her upper lip, with the result that her mouth is covered, but she is still audible] Look, Roy, why are you ranting at us about this? You're dead, get used to it!

Andy : I sure will.

[ANDY goes upstairs with the PARTY, while BODDY leaves.]

Andy : I knew Mr. Cocan, you know.

Chastity : Really? Why would that policeman think he was a criminal? The man we met was a hero.

Clint : [To Andy, while dusting some of Roy's "dandruff" from his coat] Did he tell you anything in particular about Euphoria?

Chastity : [Goes into her bag and pulls out a diary, opening it where a bookmark with "today" emblazoned on it is] Gosh, it must be Friday afternoon already!

Austin : [To Andy] Thank you Andy, that was most informative. [To Harvey] Well, colonel, the troop could do with some sleep I expect.

Andy : As a matter of fact, he did, one day in May.

Alice : Will you tell us?

Andy : [Whipping guitar from behind his back] I'll do better than that, I'll sing it for you.

[Enter BODDY, NEFIRITIRI and MILICENT.]

Andy : [Singing] One evening as the sun went down, And the jungle fire was burning, Down the track came Cocan hikin', And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning. I'm headed for a land that's far away, Beside the crystal fountains, So come with me, we'll go and see, That good old Euphoree Town.

[ANDY takes a breath, while MILICENT, NEFIRITIRI and BODDY give a single clap, before twirling around slowly.]

Andy : In that good old Euphoree Town, There's a land that's fair and bright, Where the handouts grow on bushes, And you sleep out every night, Where the boxcars all are empty, And the sun shines every day, On the birds and the bees, And the cigarette trees, The lemonade springs Where the bluebird sings, In that good old Euphoree Town.

[ANDY plays a short solo, while the other three do a small "Pulp Fiction" style dance that doesn't involve moving their feet.]

Andy : In that good old Euphoree Town, The jails are made of tin, And you can walk right out again, As soon as you are in. There's no short-handle shovels, No axes, saws, or picks, I'm a'goin' to stay, Where you sleep all day, Where they hung the jerk, Who invented work, In that good old Euphoree Town. [Exit BODDY, NEFIRITIRI and MILICENT.]

Alice : I thought it was called Euphoria.

Andy : [Putting away the guitar] Poetic licence.

Harvey : Indeed, Private, it is quite late.

Andy : [Looks to his left and right, as though checking that there is no one listening] I saw Cocan die.

Clint : [Unblocking his hears] [Loudly] Really? You saw him die?

Andy : Yes, I saw him die. [Pulls out the guitar and strums it, singing] With my little eye.

Alice : [Holds a hand up] Please don't sing.

Andy : Good idea, there may be people listening - we can meet early tomorrow morning, and I'll tell you then.

Austin : [Deadpan, To Andy] I can't wait. Which way to our rooms please?

[The long silence is only broken by Chastity chuckling as she flicks through earlier pages from her diary, stopping at the occasional entry]

Chastity : [Puts her diary away, still chuckling] Ah, Peter. What a guy! [To Andy] Sorry, I seem to have missed that. Where are our rooms?

Clint : The guy is probably as deaf from his singing as we are. [Stops for a moment, looking behind the bar] I wonder if I can help myself to a night cap. [To Roy] Do you drink?

Chastity : [To Clint] Don't encourage him. I get the feeling he'll be one of those emotional drunks. lads!

Andy : Faith 'n begorrah, I am, to be sure, sir. [Shakes his head] I mean, yes. Unfortunately, it is illegal to serve alcohol after eleven o'clock, for which I've my alarm clock set - and it'll go off any seco-

[ANDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Andy : There you go. [Opens a door to a tiny room with five beds. It is filthy, and a huge stench of mildew hits the party] Enjoy, but not a word to anyone about what I said.

Chastity : [Wrinkles her nose as she enters the room] What disgraceful state these beds are in. [Goes over to the nearest bed and quickly tucks in the sheets, with hospital corners. Happier, To Andy] That's better. You'd better have a word with your maid.

Clint : There's a maid?!? Send her in, I need someone to tuck in! I mean, tuck me in!

Andy : Maid? [Laughs]

Alice : Is there even a window in the room?

[There clearly isn't.]

Andy : Of course, look! [Goes at a loose brick in the wall, until it comes out] There!

[Exit ANDY.]

Austin : [With a look of horror on his face, staring at the 'room'] Oh my god [Pauses in stunned silence] It's more cramped than the prison cell in Adam's place in Insomnia.

Alice : [Looking out the "window"] Hey! There's an ugly naked guy here!

[Unfortunately, the window does not overlook any picturesque setting, only the next room.]

Harvey : [Looking through the window] Dear Niece! That man is not naked. [Takes a closer look] By the saints, that's the hairiest back I've ever seen! [Replaces the brick with a shudder]

[Everyone beds down for the night.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VII. The Bedroom. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY and ROY are here. It is impossible to tell what time it is, as it is pitch dark, but the party are awoken by someone hammering on the door.]

Harvey : [Angrily] What is it?

Alice : [Looks around] I think it's someone hammering on the door.

Chastity : [Hurriedly gets up, but not before discreetly donning her habit, and moves to the door. Calling through the door] Who's that at the door? Stop that thumping!

Andy : It's me, Andy. I thought you'd like a wake up call. Some folk sleep a bit late in that room.

Chastity : Hardly surprising, it's like eternal night in here. [Lights a lamp] Watch your eyes everyone! [Opens the door slightly to check Andy is alone]

[It is, of course, blindingly bright outside. ANDY is alone here.]

Alice : What time is it?

Andy : Three in the afternoon.

Clint : Already? [Looks at the bed at his side, only to be nose to nose with Roy] Gah! There's a monster here!

Alice : [Sniff sniff] Gah! It sure smells like that there's a monster here!

Harvey : Thank goodness we have you here private Scar to mask the smell, what! [Yawns massively] By the saints, three in the afternoon!  That's the latest I've slept since private Stickleback swapped my breathmints with sleeping tablets when I wasn't looking, many, many years ago when I was a fresh faced recruit! Anyway, [to Andy] what were you going to tell us last night? And note I say tell, not sing! boundary="----_=_NextPart_001_01C2E232.65441CC0" This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.

Alice : [To Roy] Sure we can, in fact, we just went [looks up at the cuckoo clock on the wall, and begins counting the hours that everyone's been asleep]

Andy : [With a smile to Harvey] I'll do better than that, I'll [breaks off] Oh. Well, the truth is, I overheard you say that you were surprised that the police thought Cocan was a criminal - I also find it hard to believe. I also [deep sigh] I also saw him die.

Alice : [Gives up counting] Well, we've gone a long time without doing it!

Chastity : [To Andy] Did you see anything out of the ordinary when he died?

Austin : [To Roy] Get a grip, crusty boy, they are not talking about you, they are talking about their own farts and bad breath [Gets dressed with amazing speed and steps out of the room, inspecting himself in his pocket mirror, nods, puts the mirror away. To the party] You had all best get out of bed, lest you incur fees for an additional night stay.

Alice : Actually, Austin, we were talking about your farts and bad breath.

Andy : [To Chastity] As a matter of fact, I did. [Takes out his guitar and strums it, before starting to sing] One day -

[CLINT reaches out, grabs the guitar and smashes it to pieces against the wall.]

Clint : Sorry, but I couldn't take another one of those songs this early in the morning. [Opens some mouthwash and drinks it down] Ah! You gotta love that high alcohol content.

Andy : [A little downcast, but seems to get over it] It was a terrible thing. It was very dark, so I didn't see too much, just the carriage plunging into him, and then those four people carrying him off.

Austin : [Exclaming] The four who carried im off, who were they? [Spins round to the face the party] I bet you it was them who killed Cocan, probably Pestillence, Contagion and two others, or their cronies. [Notices a fleck of dust on his shoe and quickly flicks it off]

Alice : It was them who killed him! Milicent told us as much - remember? She said it was Jim, Cocan's driver who killed him.

Andy : I didn't see all of them, just Milicent, Boddy and Jim. The fourth man was turned away from me. You have to remember, it was very dark, and difficult to see anything.

Austin : Hey, Milicent lied to us, h ... she said there were only her, Boddy and Jim. I bet the fourth person was the killer! But why did Milicent try to protect the fourth person, unless, [Dawning realisation] Maybe they are shapshifters!

[The corridoor and room are lit up by a timely flash of lightening.]

Alice : That's it! I bet that's it! Gosh, you're so clever Austin!

Andy : What's a shapeshifter?

Roy : You know, conspiracy theories d nothing to relieve the constant paranoia running through my undead frame.

Alice : [Points at Roy] Maybe he's a shapeshifter!

Clint : I wouldn't call that a shape. [To Roy] No offense.

Roy : [with a mix of anger and distress] Offense taken!

Austin : [To Alice] That is extreemly unlikely, shapeshifters cannot even mimic acne, let alone five centuries of decay. That's why Adam was spreading scalies.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes at Roy, before turning to Clint] Phili on horse! It's like having Faetan back in the party!

Harvey : [To Andy] This is most rum and uncanny, sir! Your story is quite different to that which we heard from two of the very people you claim to have seen. Did you talk to the police about this?

Andy : No. The police in Paranoia are scum, little more than thugs who live to oppress and intimidate innocent people.

Alice : So what you're saying is that they're considerably nicer than cops elsewhere? [ANDY gives a big yawn.]

Andy : Excuse me! Yes, that's the case.

Austin : [Pondering, in an intellectual posing manner] Soooo ..., we need to find out who the fourth person was. We either must know them, or of them, otherwise Mili and the others whould have no need to conceal the identity of the fourth person from us.

Andy : Well, best of luck - I'll be back here later this evening if you want to talk again.

Clint : [With a shocked look on his face] But who will be taking care of drinks for breakfast?

Andy : My wife, Mandy.

Clint : So, there was a maid after all! I suggest we dress up, go get some breakfast, and try to solve the mistery of the 4th person. [Pause] Now, where did I leave my trousers last night? [Fart!]

Alice : [Wiping her face down with a towel] Look, Clint. First off all, everyone else is dressed, second, it's too late for breakfast, and third, [looks at the towel] this isn't a towel. [Shivers, and hands the trousers to Clint.]

[Exit ANDY. A few minutes later, the party go downstairs. The bar is fair empty, with just three or four customers. Behind the bar is RAGGEDY MANDY, talking to BODDY.]

Mandy : [Looking over Boddy's shoulder at the party, paying particular attention to Clint and Austin] How're you doin'? [Points] Click-click!

Clint : [To Roy, pointing at Mandy] See? You're not the only decaying human in here.

Boddy : [Turns around at the bar, and gives a sniff] Ah, I guess you were in the dark room, right?

Harvey : Sir, I have no interest in photography or it's development process, so no, I was nowhere near a dark room, by gad! [Scratches at a sideburn and sits down] What pray tell, is for breakfast?

Boddy : [Bemused] Sir, I have no interest in your breakfast or it's procurement, so I do not care.

Mandy : [Angrily, to Harvey] We finished serving breakfast at 7.30AM. You're too late. [Turns to Austin and Clint, giggling foolishly] Can I get you boys anything? Some breakfast maybe?

Clint : [Wink!] How about some fried eggs and sausages, and a glass of brandy. Make that a bottle.

Mandy : Why, sure, honey! [Winks back]

Boddy : [Drinks some of his own drink] You must be really hungry, Clint.

Austin : [To Clint] Perhaps you can flirt with her enough to get breakfast for all of us.

Chastity : If it's as good as the food yesterday I think I'd rather do without, thank you.

Clint : [To Austin] She seemed to go for you too, why don't you ask her. [To Chastity] Are you sure you don't want to munch a cup of tea?

Chastity : On the basis that any drink that you willingly order from a bar can't be good for one's constitution, again I'll defer. Thank you.

Austin : [To Clint] Because, while it may be flattering for her to [finger quotes] go for you, Clint, I would rather not encourage her. [Quietly, to the party] Should we discuss last night's conversation with Boddy?

Chastity : [Quietly] I don't think so. He was there, and obviously has something to hide.

Chastity : If it's as good as the food yesterday I think I'd rather do without, thank you.

Clint : [To Austin] She seemed to go for you too, why don't you ask her. [To Chastity] Are you sure you don't want to munch a cup of tea?

Chastity : On the basis that any drink that you willingly order from a bar can't be good for one's constitution, again I'll defer. Thank you.

Austin : [To Clint] Because, while it may be flattering for her to [finger quotes] go for you, Clint, I would rather not encourage her. [Quietly, to the party] Should we discuss last night's conversation with Boddy?

Chastity : [Quietly] I don't think so. He was there, and obviously has something to hide.

Boddy : [Finishes his drink] Good day, Mandy. [Walks passed the party] See you later, folks.

[Exit BODDY.]

Alice : So what do we do now? Talk to Nefiritiri?

Chastity : [Pulls a face] Lets not. The one person we haven't talked to is Jim. The others seem to be most keen to convince us not to, with the tales of his distraught mental state. [Quickly to Roy] Not a peep from you!

Harvey : Good idea Sister! Nefiritiri said that he spent a lot of time here. [Looks around, before calling to Mandy] I say! Do you know where Jim Ignawatski is?

Mandy : [With a plate full of a horrible looking breakfast] Oh. Didn't you hear? Jim died last night.

Harvey : [Aghast] Dead? Jim? By the saints, how?

Mandy : I'm afraid he took his own life. [Comes over all wistful] And such a pretty boy he was, too.

Roy : Where did he take it? And why does death automatically mean you become ugly! Sure, I'm hideous, but I'm older than there are numbers. I think. And the Necrophilliac guild would be more than happy to show you pretty and dead boys.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] So I guess it's true that wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age.

Chastity : [To Mandy] How exactly did he take his own life? Overdose? Hanging? Bizarre hair combing incident? [Looks down at the plate of food] Breakfast?

Mandy : I think it was a combination of hanging and hair combing. The poor man was having a terrible time since Cocan's death. The police accused him of being a criminal trying to muscle in on Cocan's turf, while civilians, and, in particular, women, turned against him because of what he did.

Harvey : [Darkly] Yet another promising lead come to nothing, the poor cove! It seems to me that someone is doing away with members of Cocan and his group! If that is so, then Milicent or Nefiritiri could be next!

Alice : But didn't Jim kill Cocan?

Mandy : [Now sitting at the table] Yes, yes he did.

Austin : [To Mandy] This is a private conversation. Please leave.

[Exit MANDY, in a huff.]

Chastity : I find that unlikely, as he supposedly died last night, and we only decided upon visiting him a moment ago. I think there seems little else to do than return to Cocan's house and have a look for clues. Any of our contacts so far seem under suspicion of one sort or another.

Harvey : Well dear niece, that is indeed what we are being lead to believe. But there is something about this whole business to me which smells more than, well, [indicates Roy].  I wonder if Jims death was a consequence of our planned visit?

Austin : That is correct. Someone is lying. Who was the fourth man? If, indeed, he exists. We can choose to believe Boddy and Milicent, or the heretofore unknown Raggedy Andy.

[Enter OHMLOSS, who spots the party and walks up to them.]

Ohmloss : I presume you've heard the news. Jim Ignawatski is dead.

Alice : Yeah, Harvey, but since when did we ever do the logical thing?

Austin : [Coldly to Ohmloss] We heard.

Ohmloss : I know you people probably believe that Cocan couldn't have done anything wrong, but this is just more proof that he was involved in foul play. It wouldn't surprise me if Jim was murdered, but I care so little, quite frankly it almost makes me vomit.

Chastity : [To Ohmloss] Yes, we have just heard the disturbing news. Can you tell us what happened?

Chastity : Interesting. [To Harvey] I think that must be the first case of gut-wrenching apathy I've ever heard of!

Ohmloss : [Leans over and hammers his fist on the table] I don't care! I'm telling you, I just [punctuates each word with a hammer on the table] care - one - little - bit! [Steps back, dead calm] He was found, hanged, down by the river.

Roy : So you do care then! And who is this guy anyway? [then looks at Ohmloss] And who are you?

Austin : [To Ohmloss] At least one of the residents of this town is well hung.

Ohmloss : [Ignores Roy] In the Interior, having large genitalia is a sign of stupidy. I've got my eye on you lot - I find your arrival most suspicious. First Tarsus disappears on the same night that Cocan dies, and then, just a few days later, Jim allegedly commits suicide on the same night that you arrive.

Alice : Hey! Maybe we did it?

[OHMLOSS stares at her.]

Alice : [Shakes her head] I mean - how, how dare you! [Quietly to the others] It is one big coincidence though, isn't it?

Austin : [Laughing at Ohmloss] On the surface we are intelligent enough to know that genticular dimensions have no relationship to intelligence. [Smirking] Unless, of course, male elves have their brains in their penises? [To Harvey] We should track down this Tarsus person, and see what they know.

Ohmloss : [Sneers at Austin] But clearly not intelligent enough to know that penis size is directly related to animal instint, which clearly drives you people. However, I am not angry with you, in the same way one cannot be angry at a wild animal that breaks the aerial off your carriage in a wildlife park. [Turns to Mandy] Where's Boddy?

Mandy : [Shrugs] Idunno.

Ohmloss : Tell him I'm looking for him.

Mandy : No.

[Exit OHMLOSS.]

Clint : [Pushing his sausages to the side] [To Mandy] Do you know who's Tarsus?

Mandy : He's a weasly little toad.

[ALICE turns and looks at AUSTIN, but says nothing.]

Mandy : He's a small time criminal, that did a bit of work with Cocan. Word had it that he was about to turn Cocan into the cops.

Alice : Wow! He's a magician?

Mandy : No.

Clint : Do you know where he lives? [To the group] I suppose that would be a good place to start.

Austin : [To Mandy] What work did he do with Cocan? Were they pimps, hustling prostitutes? [looks at Alice as he says 'Prostitutes']

Mandy : He has a room upstairs, he's been living here for a few months. Of course, the room isn't as nice as the one you had.

Alice : Is he there now?

Mandy : No, he hasn't been around for a few days - not since the day Cocan died, I think.

Alice : Aw come on, Cocan was hardly a [looks meaningfully at Austin] pimp [normal demeanour] was he?

Mandy : I don't know what they were doing, but I think it was something to do with Cocan not being allowed back into Euphoria. Of course, the ironic thing is that when they heard he was dead, they wanted him buried there.

Clint : I thought no-one was being allowed in Euphoria, not just Cocan.

Austin : [Laughs] Haha! Excellent, I have figured it all out. [Sigh!] Well now that is settled what should we do? [Examines his nails, and smiles at his own genius]

Mandy : That's true - but he was allowed in and out even when no one else was.

Alice : [To the others] So, should we check out Tarsus' room?

Austin : [To Alice] What the hell for?

Alice : [Briefly raises an eyebrow in surprise] Because if we do, there's a chance that you'll be gone when we come back.

Clint : To see if he's hiding under the bed, lawyer.

Mandy : Well, I don't think he's in the room, and I'm pretty sure he's not hiding under the bed.

Alice : How do you know?

Mandy : Because I searched under there when I was looking for valuables.

Clint : Did you find any?

Austin : [Sigh!] Why waste time searching some lowlife conman's room, when Cocan isn't even dead, and probably already in Euphoria. Where we need to be. [Looks at the silence and blank expressions on everyones faces. Sigh!] Look, it simple, Cocan faked his own death to get into Euphoria. The fourth person seen at the scene of the aledged death of Cocan, was in fact, Cocan, and the apparently deceased 'cocan' was infact a dummy. Cocan knew the only way he could get into Euphoria was to fake his own death and then be taken there for burrial. [Sigh! Looks at him self in his pocket mirror, lovingly]

Mandy : A couple of hun - I mean, no.

Alice : Huh? So Cocan was the fourth man?

Mandy : In that case, who's buried in his grave?

Austin : The dummy.

Clint : [To Chastity, in low voice] We must remember never to let Austin carry a flask of Louis XIV with him again. It's clearly affecting his brain.

Alice : [Looks quickly at Clint] Hey! [Visibly disappointed] Austin had more Louis XIV?

Harvey : Hrm. An interesting theory, Private Sleaze, but how do we prove it?

Austin : [To Harvey] Well, the way I see it we have two options. Firstly, we could get into Euphoria, find Cocan, and there by prove that he is living. Alternatively, we could get into Euphoria, dig up Cocan's grave, and examine the festering remains and try and work out if it was Cocan. If it is we can go and get the wand and then get the hell out of this bloody place.

Clint : Does that mean we're not going to look under the bed in Tarsus' room?

Mandy : [To Clint] You can come and look under the bed with me.

Harvey : But, she said that Cocan is buried here - the Euphoric Elves wanted his body.

Mandy : [To Clint] You can also come and look on top of the bed with me.

Harvey : Furthermore, he has only been dead a few days, so while he may smell like Clint, he won't have decayed too much.

Mandy : [To Clint] You could even look under the sheets with me.

Harvey : But do we really want to go gravedigging?

Mandy : [To Clint] We don't have to just look, either. If you know what I mean.

Alice : [Rolling her eyes and banging her hand against the table in frustration] God almighty, Jim knows what you mean, and he's dead! We get it, okay?

Austin : [To Harvey] Well, if the Euphoric elves don't have the body yet, all we have to do is dig it up, and fob off a few Policemen with complexes about their miniscule genitelia and IQ's.

Harvey : Well, if it's what we must do. Who here has experience digging graves?

[An uncomfortable silence descends.]

Mandy : [To Clint] I'm talking about sex, by the way.

Clint : [To Mandy] If you can get us into Euphoria, I promise to think about it.

Mandy : [Almost before Clint is finished his sentance] I promise to get you into Euphoria.

Harvey : It is not going to be a pleasant task digging the grave, but if it must be done, it must be done. Now, the question is, should we go about an official exhumation, involving the towns judicial system, or [eyes light up] mount a covert operation at night, say, 0200 hours? must be done, exhumation, operation at

Austin : [To Harvey] A covert operation sounds like the way forward, it could take years to get the local judicial system to allow us to exhume the body.

Chastity : And I'm sure Cocan could do with a proper re-burial, if it is him in the grave. I doubt if these heathen lands have done the right thing.

Alice : Two hundred hours? Aw, come on! It can hardly take that long!

Austin : [Flicking through a notepad] I don't have much on the laws of this land, it fact, nothing at all. [To Mandy] Do you know where there is a complete description of the legislature upheld by the judicial system in this realm, or city, as the case may or may not be?

Mandy : Um, no. I couldn't help but overhear you, and, although I think what you're up to is vile and disgusting, and I'll probably spend the rest of the day badmouthing you to all my customers, I would have to say that the police would probably help you, as they were not fans of Cocan and the others. [Looks to Clint] I wouldn't say anything about you, honey.

Austin : [To Harvey] Excellent, Colonel, the police will do the digging for us! [Pauses] Hmmm, perhaps my theory was flawed. [Checks the shine on his shoes, and smiles] Oh well, only one way to find out!

Alice : [Looks shocked] Perhaps your theory is flawed? [To the rest of the party] Are we sure that's the real Austin?

Chastity : [To Alice] Maybe he has been swapped with a shapeshifter during the night. Unfortuanately the shapeshifter skin blemish test won't work, as Austin spends so much time checking for any skin imperfections, he's almost become his own worst enemy. [Give Alice a wink] Maybe we'd better kill him just in case. [Turns to wait far Austin's reply]

Clint : [To Austin] Well? Are you a shapeshifter?

Austin : I am not. Proof that I am who I say I am can be taken from my lack of surprise at Chastity's churlish suggestion. Unless there are any other time wasting activities that you wish to suggest, I propose that we find the small penised policeman, and get the local constabulary to dig up the corpse.

Alice : Do we want to tell anyone else? Or go straight away?

Austin : [To Clint] No. [To Chastity] But I bet you wish you were, it would save you all of those costly 'Big nun' outfits.

Harvey : Yes, yes, Private, we already established that.

Austin : For you, perhaps, Colonel, but certain members of the party often require things to be said twice. [Turns to Alice] For you, perhaps, Colonel, but certain members of the party often require things to be said twice.

Alice : But anyway. Do we just go straight to the cop?

Harvey : I see no harm in putting the judicial wheels in motion, dear niece.

Alice : Cool! So not only do we get the cops to do the digging, but they'll also give us a lift?

Chastity : Well, that remains to be seen. I just hope that our experience of the local authority isn't totally representative of the whole organisation. I don't think I fancy standing in a dark graveyard surrounded by police shouting and gesticulating wildly as to their lack of interest in us.

Harvey : [To Mandy] Well, Miss? Is that chap representative of the local constabulary at large.

Mandy : Oh, God, no!

Alice : Phew - that's a relief.

Mandy : He's by far the most tolerant to humans.

Clint : [To the group] You don't seriously expect that the police will help us grave digging, will you?

Chastity : Personally, no. Although obviously my digging rate is more than slightly impaired, so they may take pity. I just hope that they bother to let us out of the grave before they fill it back in!

Alice : So, do we just call to the police station? Or should we try and find Ohmloss? Of course, he could be anywhere.

Mandy : Actually, he's just across the street in his carriage, watching you with binoculars.

[This is true.]

Harvey : [Glares out the window] Then by God, we'll speak to him first, the prying sneak!  No doubt he was our mystery onlooker at Cocans house yesterday! Come troop, let's grab the man!

Alice : It could be, although the guy from yesterday was dressed differently.

[OHMLOSS realises he's been spotted, and leaps out of the carriage, nearly being knocked down as he does so, before heading across to the bar.]

Chastity : Colonel, how about we walk over there in a non-threatening manner. We do need his co-operation, and rushing out there to grab will put the fear of Phili up him!

Clint : [Hitting the table with his fist, sending sausages flying all over] Yeah! Let's grab him and kick him!

Alice : What harm is there in that? Let's treat him the way cops treat innocent girls on a harmless night out [eyes narrow as she puts on her cross face] lock him in a cell for the night and threaten to tell his father unless he gives someone a kiss.

Harvey : It's a well known human game, old boy! We have to guess what the mystery bag [indicates the sausage] contains, and the one who wins get to nominate a member of their group to eat the thing! I was about to do just that when the greasy object shot from my hands, unfortunately striking you! [Hands his handkerchief to Ohmloss] There old boy, you can clean yourself off with this!

[It's probably too late, as OHMLOSS opens the door, only to be smacked in the face by a huge, greasy sausage.]

Ohmloss : [Horrified] They're throwing meat at me! You savages!

Clint : [To Harvey] What? I mean... yes, that's right. Just a game.

Harvey : Indeed so, just a game us strange humans like to play, what! Now, may I ask why you were spying on us just then?

Ohmloss : Well, I couldn't help but notice, as I glanced at you from across the street, that you seemed surprised at my presence, and felt it appropriate to come across and talk to you.

Harvey : Well, I think our surprise stemmed from the manner in which you seemed to be, well, glancing at us! However, there was something we need to ask you, as it happens!  A rather delicate matter.

Ohmloss : I wasn't so much glancing at you, as watching you. I find the whole business surrounding Cocan's death very suspicious, and even more suspicious that you should turn up looking for him just days after he died.

Alice : What about the fact that we're travelling with a decaying and stinky monster? That's pretty suspicious, if you ask me.

Ohmloss : Well, that's true.

Alice : Then, of course, there's Roy too!

Austin : And while you keep us under observance, your town goes to rack and ruin, while real criminals and neer do wells run riot! Furthermore, sir, I resent the accusation that we may be somehow implicated in Cocans death! Where is your proof?

Harvey : While it may be suspicious, I can certainly assure you that we had nothing to do with Cocans death! In fact, we can prove that very thing, but unfortunately, his body would first have to be exhumed.

Chastity : Gosh, Colonel, there's an ideal. [To Ohmloss] Well, would the police care to exhume his body to further investigations?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : Hrm. Well, I suppose the body won't smell any worse than you people normally do. Okay, let's go.

[Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

Ohmloss : Kick our clogs?

Alice : He means die.

Ohlmoss : Nothing, we just return to our Nascency pool.

Harvey : [Suddenly laughs long and loud, wiping tears from his eyes] Why sister, that is just the best thing! Quite capital! [Laughs again before turning to Alice] What on earth did she mean, dear niece? Austin : [Grits his teeth, before quickly unclenching them, checking for any signs of damage with a mirror]

Chastity : [With a smile] Why, he comes back after inventing flip-flops, of course! > [Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VIII. The Graveyard. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, ROY and OHMLOSS are here. There are also a number of elves wioth shovels, and they are digging up a grave, that has what appears to be a statue of SVEN on the gravestone. All of the elves look extremely uncomfortable.]

Ohmloss : [Gives a shiver as the enter the graveyard] You know, I'll never understand you people - it's bad enough that you die, but to leave a body behind that your family then plant in field full of other bodies [gives another shiver] it's just unnatural.

Alice : [To Harvey] I don't know, I think it's a nun thing.

[The ELVES strike coffin, and soon have it up on the surface. All of them, including OHMLOSS, step back from it.]

Ohmloss : Go on then!

Harvey : [Holds his handkerchief to his face and steps forward] By doing this, not only will I prove that we are completely innocent of his death, but that poor Jim died in vain! [Tries to open the coffin]

Alice : My God, the smell!

Ohmloss : He hasn't even opened the coffin yet!

Alice : I know, I was complaining about them. [Waves at Clint and Roy.]

[HARVEY opens the coffin, and everyone is hit by the unmistakable odour of decaying flesh. Inside is a dark haired human male, about 5' 6" tall, with a goatee. He has clearly been dead for a few days. At his feet is an orb.]

Ohmloss : [Covers his eyes with his hands] This is too disgusting!

[Each of the elves is clearly overcome by the sight.]

Clint : [Stepping between the orb and the Elves, and whispering to Austin] You know what to do, lawyer.

Harvey : [Loudly] Aha, and there we have our proof! [Points to the body] See, that is not Cocan! Does anyone recognise this cadaver?

Austin : But of course. [Steps up to the coffin, and comes back with a smile] I got what I wanted.

Alice : What about the orb?

Austin : Oh! I was momentarily distracted by the watch and wedding ring. [Snatches the orb and slips it into his pocket.]

Ohmloss : [Forces himself to look] That's Tarsus!

Harvey : Tarsus? You know this man? Tell me, did you know he was missing?

Austin : [Changing his white gloves for a clean set of ... white gloves] Tarsus, hmm, it appears that my hypothesis was correct. [To Harvey] We must get to Euphoria, and continue our misson. [To Ohmloss and the elves] I don't think we need the coffin and body any longer, you may bury it again, please. [To Ohmloss] Has this helped your investigations any?

Ohmloss : [Still shocked by the sight of the body] Tarsus was once a co-conspirator of Cocan's - he was about to tell us all, after being involved in one final deal. [To Austin] It has - I suspect Cocan is alive, and we're going straight to his house to tear it apart.

Harvey : I feel that Cocans house has already been picked apart, by those who were involved in this subterfuge! I think you will be wasting your time, officer, but as you can now see, we are completely innocent of Cocans death, eh! were involved in this subterfuge! I think you will be wasting your time, officer, but as you can now see, we are completely innocent of Cocans death, eh!

Austin : [To Harvey] We had not been officially accused. I expect that they realised that that would have been a futile move to make, when they realised who they were dealing with. [Examines his nails, and smiles] Such is my reputation. [To Ohmloss] Ofcourse, finding the body of Tarsus does not mean that Cocan is alive. Someone else may have already stolen Cocan's corpse, or perhaps a simple clerical error put this man in the wrong grave.

Ohmloss : Of his death, maybe, but I'm sure you're guilty of something else. We're off to get a search warrant, and then, by God, we'll find out what's going on here. [To the other elves] Let's just leave it here, I can't take any more of this dead body thing.

Ohlmoss : We know who and what we're dealing with.

Alice : [To Chastity] Well, could that be true, Chas? Could the local priests have made an error?

Harvey : [To Ohmloss] You do? Would you be able to tell us? Who knows, perhaps we can help!

Chastity : It is unlikely, child. Priests don't make mistakes, they merely follow the sometimes mysterious ways of God.

Ohmloss : [Narrows his eyes at Harvey] It is precisely because of you that The Euphoric Elves closed their borders.

[Exit OHMLOSS and the ELVES.]

Harvey : Me! How dare the man, I've never been anywhere near Euphoria! The blackguard! [Turns to the others] So, we have an orb! I wonder why it was buried with him!

Alice : Maybe it's because you haven't been near there that no one else is allowed in? [Considers this for a moment] Anyway, what happens now? How do we figure out what the orb is for?

Chastity : We can't risk asking Boddy and the others, as I'm sure they'd be after it as well. I'll bet it was left by Cocan. But as for finding this out, the proof will be in the using, I suppose.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn] Hmm, well, usually when we use one, we appear in another time and place, so I wonder if this orb is supposed to bring us to Cocan?

Alice : But who buried it? Surely it was Boddy and the others? And, remember, he did tell Nefiritiri that there is something hidden in his house for her.

Harvey : It must have been Boddy and his cronies. But surely if Millicent knew the orb was here, then she would have told Nefiritiri. [Shrugs] Unless both Nefiritir and Millicent both believe that Cocan is dead. [Looks at the body] Let's leave this place, troop, for lately all I seem to be able to smell is the stench of death!

Chastity : [Glances at Roy] Funny that! [To Harvey] I agree, lets not stay around here. We're conspicuous enough as it is without hanging around newly dug graves.

Alice : [Glances at Clint] Well, it's better than the stench of - [breaks off] Actually, it's not. It's a whole lot worse.

[The party are interrupted by the unmistakable click of a crossbow from behind. There is a HOODED MAN at the entrance of the graveyard, who's face is obscured by his cloak.]

Man : Who are you that defile the grave of Cocan? Speak quickly, before I shoot one of you in the face.

Harvey : Calm down sir, there is no need for this! For this is not Cocans grave! 

Chastity : This may be the grave of Cocan, but it is not Cocan's grave. [Indicates towards the open coffin] See for yourself.

Man : [Slowly walks forwards] Despite what the gravestone says? [Moves closer] So I see. Who is this unfortunate?

Austin : [To The hood] The police who have small penises and dug up the grave said that this corpse was Tarsus. [To Harvey] We should leave this place quickly, before it attracts any more cloacked figures [Looks at the cloaked figure] Who are you?

Man : Tarsus? [Chuckles] Then Cocan is almost certainly alive. I am not at liberty to divulge my name to you now, but we will probably meet again. Whether or not I kill you will depend on your relationship with Cocan.

[The HOODED MAN turns and slips out the gate, disappearing down the street.]

Clint : Quickly, let's follow him!

Harvey : Hmm, and so the plot thickens, troop!  We can't give that cove too much of a head start, so let's get out of this cemetary! [Closes the lid of the coffin]

Alice : Good idea, Stinky!

[ALICE and CLINT run out to the gate, but the man has disappeared without trace. All that is here are ordinary elves going about their business, giving ALICE and CLINT the occasional disapproving glance.]

Austin : [ Goes over to where the hooded figuer had stood and lloks at the foot prints, then walks over to Alice and Clint] Did he leave muddy foot prints? [Looks down the street]

[The figure did leave footprints, that look as though they came from boots. He was about the same height as BODDY and COCAN, but probably not as broad shouldered.]

Alice : Not many - there are a few, but he mustn't have picked up much mud, as they disappear after a few steps. [To Harvey] We're probably going to have to mention it to someone, as we're pretty stuck now. If we don't get to her soon, Ohmloss will surely tell her.

Harvey : But dear niece, I don't think Ohmloss saw the orb! And he certainly didn't see us taking it! However, you are correct in that we will have to tell someone. But who can we trust! Gah! There's not one person outside of this troop that I trust in this cursed place!

Alice : Between you and me, Harvey, there is more than one person inside of this troop that I don't trust! What I meant is that he's going to tell Nefiritiri that Cocan mightn't be dead - I think he saw the body.

Harvey : Indeed, this is without question! Alright troop, I think we should head towards Cocans old house, and try to get there before the police!

[The party go to COCAN's house.]

Alice : So, before we knock on the door, what are we going to tell her? [Looks around at the others] Do we really believe that she thought Cocan was dead?

Clint : I don't think she believed it. But if we don't tell her we saw the body, then we have nothing at all to tell her, right?

Alice : If we don't tell her, then Ohmloss surely will.

Harvey : Well, I'm not sure it matters as long as she believes that we believed her!

Alice : [Reels slightly from Harvey's logic] Right. [Looks away for a second and then back again] Let's just knock. [Knocks on the door.]

[A few seconds later, NEFIRITIRI opens the door.]

Nefiritiri : Ah, come on in.

Harvey : [Bows to Nefiritiri] Good day madam, we come with some incredible news! I must be brief as the police follow on our very footprints, hell bent on ripping this house apart! Our news is this! Cocans body is not buried in the graveyard, someone named Tarsus is. We believe that Cocan is not dead, and may even now be in Euphoria!

Nefiritiri : [Shocked] What? How can he not be dead? The others saw him die! [Turns around for a moment, before looking back] Boddy and Milicent are upstairs at the moment - why don't we ask them what's going on?

Harvey : Sadly not madam, I have no wish to be here when the police arrive. How about we leave this house and ask our questions somewhere more, well, less enclosed?

Chastity : Yes, this should be interesting, although I can't say that I'm surprised that Boddy is involved in some sort of conspiracy.

Austin : [To Nefirititi] I don't expect they will know either. I think Cocan faked his death to get into Euphoria, unless they buried him in the wrong grave.

Nefiritiri : [Reeling from all the contradictory points of view] Hold on! You're saying that you don't think Cocan is dead, and that Boddy is helping him cover it up? Well, Boddy was one of the few witnesses, but, okay, where will we discuss this? In the house or somewhere else?

Harvey : How about a quiet corner of the Warm and Relaxing Tavern, troop?

Austin : [Deadpan] Hmm, yes, very discreet and private.

Alice : [To Harvey] Tart.

Nefiritiri : Okay, let's go for that. [Calls out] Milicent? I'm going out for a few minutes.

[Everyone returns to the Tidy and Relaxing Tavern, and sit down in a quiet corner.]

Nefiritiri : So, what's all this about?

Austin : Well, if Cocan suspected that someone was spying on him he may have decided not to tell anyone, lest his plan is compromised. Boddy is not Darius, and Boddy has, so far, been good to us, despite what happens in the future, and even then I don't think he did anything bad did he?

Alice : He did let over a thousand people get killed in Insomnia after fooling us into getting people to get rid of their weapons. Then again, he did headbutt Adam and stole Corwyn's hat, so he can't be all bad.

Nefiritiri : Well, first of all, Boddy is Darius, in the same way that Cocan is Sven, and Milicent is Peter. They are more alike than you might imagine. I know there was trouble with the police, but I wouldn't have thought it was bad enough to warrant this. Ohmloss visited me yesterday, and claimed that Cocan and the others were stealing Nascency fluid from the Euphoric Elves, and selling it to the Morcs. got none...

Harvey : That's incredible, my dear! What would Cocan do such a thing? Surely he must have known that if was caught, his life would be finished in this place? What could have made him take that risk? [Thinks for a while] Unless he was trying to buy something very important from the Morcs with the fluid?

Nefiritiri : I wouldn't have believed it myself, either, but I did come across some in his house just a few days ago. I think it was from Euphoria.

Alice : So he really was stealing the stuff? [Glances out the window] Hey! There's that guy again!

[Just outside is the person who was spying on the party from NEFIRITIRI's garden the previous day, dressed identically. This is clearly not the same person that they met in the graveyard. He appears to be making little effort to hide.]

Clint : What do you mean, they're the same? Sven is dead, and Cocan apparently is alive! And what would that nascency fluid be good for? This is all too confusing for me, I need some fluid myself. [Calls at the bar] Mandy, dear, bring me some drink please!

Harvey : You're right, dear niece! Perhaps he's spying on Nefiritiri? Do you recognise the build of the man, my dear?

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him!

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him!

Harvey : By the saints, why does that not surprise me [indicates the spy]. So, looks like Boddy has hired someone to keep tabs on us, or you, Nefiritiri. I wonder if it is Cocan himself? Or perhaps even Jim?

Austin : [To Alice] If he was really sneaky you wouldn't even know it. Well, I expect he can clear a few things up when he gets in.

[BODDY and the SPY look over at the party, and BODDY gives a cheerful wave, before heading over to the bar.]

Boddy : [To Mandy] I left a coffee after me last night, could you get it? It's bound to be warmer now than it was when I first got it.

[BODDY gets the coffee, and sits with the party.]

Boddy : Hey folks. [Drinks some of the coffee through a straw, making a ludicrous slurping sound] Mm-mm! On Tue, 11 Mar 2003, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alice : [Clearly a little annoyed at Boddy, and about to say something, before looking around, puzzled] Hey! Where's Roy?

Boddy : The flaky fellow? Last time I saw him he was trying to squeeze in beside Tarsus in Cocan's coffin. I think he was saying something about how Kit was right? It was difficult to tell, there was so much crying and wailing going on.

Clint : [Pointing at some of the sausages still left on the floor] I think he left some fingers behind.

Austin : [To Boddy] Odd fellow that Roy, blessed with eternal life and wonderful powers and all he does is cry. Maybe he had a small penis too, [Pauses] or perhaps it fell off.

Alice : [Laughs at Clint] They'll probably taste better than [suddenly realises with horror what Austin said, and turns around to take a closer look at one of the sausages] Eauh!

[BODDY says nothing, but drinks some more of his coffee with another annoying slurping sound.]

Austin : [To Boddy, producing the sphere] Can you tell me the magical properties of this orb, Mr Boddy?

Boddy : [Nonchalantly picks it up, and tosses it in the air a few times, before putting it back down] Yes, yes, I can. [Drinks some more coffee] It's a transportation orb, that works in tandem with one or more other ones. When you activate the other one, you are transported to where ever that one is.

Austin : [Picks up the orb and sticks back into his bag. To Boddy] So, I expect that you have heard that Tarsarus was in Cocan's grave, but who was it that was spying on us in the back yard, that you spoke to?

Boddy : I was aware of it. [Drinks some more coffee]

Harvey : Gah! Answer Private Sleaze's question, man! Who was it?

[BODDY doesn't answer, but beckons to the man outside, who comes across. In the meantime, BODDY pulls a curtain around the alcove where the party are to give them some privacy. Seconds later, enter COCAN THE BARBARIAN through the curtains, taking off his spy hat and glasses.]

Cocan : [With a big smile] Haw! I should have known you wasters would have turned up to spoil our plan!

Clint : [With a look of surprise on his face] Is he for real? [Punches Cocan hard on the shoulder]

Austin : [Smiles] Good to see you again. So who's in on the plan, does Nefi know? [Straightens his cuff]

Cocan : [Smiles to himself for a moment] You know, Stinky, I'm sure you can do a whole lot better than that! [Hits Clint hard on the shoulder, and roars with laughter as he staggers a little, before turning to Austin] I don't care what Sven thought, you don't look at all gay to me, Austin. [Squeezes in between Chastity and Alice] Woah, Chastity! We're going to have to do something about that. [Snatches Boddy's coffee and takes a drink, before looking at Alice] I bet you didn't see this coming, Shooter.

Alice : [Glancing down at Cocan's huge bare thighs, and swallowing hard, before speaking hoarsely] No.

Boddy : [Lighting a cigarette] I'm afraid she wasn't. Nefiritiri isn't the woman that you used to know - she's gone and got herself a conscience.

Cocan : [Mock angry] Hey! You say that like it's a bad thing, that's my wife you're talking about!

Austin : [To Cocan] Did you fake your death to get into Euphoria, escape the police, or was there some other reason? And I am not gay, and never have been.

Cocan : [Stretches his legs apart to get comfortable] It was to get into Euphoria. I was on good terms with the elves there, and was hoping they'd be so disappointed to hear that I had died while a persona non grata, that they'd steal the coffin. Then, when they'd open it, we'd all use the orb to appear. [Gives a big smile at Austin] Well said, you sure do look a man's man to me! [Glances at Alice, who's perspiring a little] Are you okay?

Alice : [Cough] Fine! [Looks down to where Cocan's bare rippling thigh muscles are touching against her fishnet stockings, before flapping her hand in front of her face] Say, is it hot in here, or is it me?

Cocan : Haw! I think it's me! [Catches her in a headlock and ruffles her hair all over the place, before letting her go.] You kind of messed up our plan, actually, but nice work all the same. I have to say, though, I'm a little disappointed that no elf arrived to check out the grave.

Austin : [Lights a cigarette ina long holder, blows two perfect smoke rings] My appologies for spoiling your plan. Perhaps there is another way to get the orb into the city. [Austin casualy inspects Maplin, smiles blissfully] They must take supplies into the city, we could secret the orb in a supply wagon or some such.

Cocan : Euphoria is a surprisingly self-supportive place. Unless one of them came out, it will be almost impossible to get back in.

Harvey : [To Boddy] What happened to Tarsus?

Boddy : [Shrugs] He was a weak link. He knew about the smuggling of Nascency fluid, and was about to shop us. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.

Austin : [To Cocan] And what were you trading the nascency fluid for?

Cocan : Haw! You make it sound like I was in it for the profit, Austin! We didn't sell it, it's all stashed in a thermos back in Boddy's place.

Austin : [To Cocan] Oh, excuse me, I have been wrongly led to believe that you were trading it with the Morcs for something. The morcs had a huge cauldron of the nascency fluid. [Blows some more smoke rings. Rhetorically says] So what are you stashing it for, a picnic. [Austin casually takes off his coat, rolls up Maplin's shirt sleeve, carefully, and gets a small bottle of jojoba oil from his pocket and carefully starts massaging some oil into Maplin]

Boddy : We were stashing it to give to the Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Confused] But, who did you steal it off?

Boddy : The Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Satisfied] Oh, okay.

Cocan : Had a run in with Morcs, eh? Vicious little brutes, aren't they? I suspect it was their own Nascency fluid. Things in the Interior work a little differently to up above.

Harvey : [Nods in agreement] By the saints, you're not wrong on that score! Thinking about it, private Sleaze does have a point though, why didn't you have the orb smuggled into Euphoria somehow, rather than this whole death ruse? And did Jim really commit suicide?

Cocan : [Laughs at Harvey] Haw! Sir, you are just like Sven said! Very good! [Smiles and shakes his head] He asks me why we didn't get it smuggled in when I've just told him that no one can get in or out, haw!

Chastity : And Jim?

Cocan : Well, that's a rather delicate issue, so I think I'll let Mr. Boddy answer that part of Harvey's question.

Boddy : [Sprawled lazily back in a chair] No, he didn't commit suicide.

Alice : Yay! So he's not dead? I really liked him!

Boddy : Oh, he's dead alright. He just didn't commit suicide.

Clint : [To Boddy] So you killed both Tarsus and Jim? Somehow I'm not a bit surprised.

Boddy : [Mildly amused] Actually, I didn't kill either of them. Jim killed Tarsus, and Cocan killed Jim.

Harvey : [To Cocan] What? You killed Jim? A Hierophantic Knight?

Cocan : [Jovially] Aw, come on, Harvey! This is war, there are always casualties, you as a military man should know that better than anyone! We tried to get him to leave, but that didn't work. He was a weak link, and the integrity of the mission was going to be comprimised.

Chastity : [To Cocan] Surely he knew of the plan before you all started so why would he have given your mission away. You must have ruthlessly labeled him as expendable before you started, or did he have a change of mind mid-way through?

Cocan : Haw! Sister, you judge me cruelly! He did have something of a change of heart - he was getting a fairly tough time from people when they believed that he had killed me, and was on the verge of blurting it out. It wasn't through choice that we dealt with him, we had to do it.

Alice : I'm confused. You were stealing Nascency Fluid from the Euphoric Elves and then storing it so you could give it back to them? Why?

Boddy : Because without it, they would die. People in the Interior are very protective of their Nascency fluid.

Chastity : [To Boddy] But you wouldn't be doing this for charity, by the hypothetical goodness in your heart. You must be looking to gain something in return. It would seem to me that with a store of Nascency Fluid you could, in the correctly manipulated circumstances, almost demand anything you desire in return for it. Sucurralous behaviour that I wouldn't put past you! Want did you hope to gain?

Cocan : Haw! [Laughs at Boddy] Looks like she's got your number, alright!

Boddy : What you say is true, Sister, but only of someone with far less scruples than ourselves. Quite frankly, there's a war coming. It's already started on the surface, and is going spill under here soon. The last* time round, the Interior shut its borders, and millions of people on the surface died as a result. This time things are much worse. More people will die, and then attention will be focused on the Interior, which will fall soon after. The Euphorics have shut their borders in the foolish belief that the same behaviour as last time will protect them, and soon the other clans will follow their lead, and even Paranoia will throw out humans. the

Chastity : [Nodding her head] Hmm, very interesting indeed. But you still haven't answered the question, have you.

Boddy : It depends on which question you mean.

Harvey : I think the sister wants to know what you hope to gain.

Boddy : [Spreads his hands wide] There's going to be a war, unlike almost anything the world has ever seen, and we're going to need everyone. In general, Elves are smarter than humans, better looking, have better personal hygiene and have greater access to magic, but they are too insular and self satisfied. In the past two thousand years, humans have had countless wars, lost millions of people and have had to rely on the likes of you to save them, but have produced an unimaginable amount of classic art, literature and music. They have invented everything from the Hamstrain to teleportation devices to resurrection tools. The Euphoric Elves have had nothing but democracy, peace and brotherly love, and what did they produce? The Cuckoo clock.

[Right on cue, BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to mind.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Boddy : The point is, the Euphoric Elves are going to be dragged into the war. If they do it now, we all might stand a chance of survival. If they wait until humanity falls, the earth is doomed.

Clint : Right. But that still doesn't explain why do you rob nascency fluid from the Elves to give it back to them.

Harvey : Has it got anything to do with the wand we're looking for?

Boddy : [To Clint] Hey, we're not barbarians, you know? [Smiles and glances at Cocan] Well, most of us aren't. We want the Elves to be involved in a bloody war, not to kill them. The plan was to use the missing Nascency fluid to bring them out of Euphoria to get them involved in the war, as soon as we made contact, we were going to give the fluid back. [To Harvey] It's got nothing to do with your wand, other than the fact that it's most probably stuck in Euphoria.

Chastity : Well how much have you aquired so far. It'll take a lot to lure them out surely, or will a flask full be enough?

Boddy : I would have thought a flask was enough, but apparantly not. At the rate we were smuggling it out, it would take years to get them to react.

Alice : So what happens now?

Boddy : Either we come up with a plan real quick, or just hang around waiting for some dumb luck to come along.

Harvey : A strategy that's suited us for many months now!

Alice : [Nodding eagerly in agreement] I'll say! I've definitely met a load of [stops a second] oh, dumb luck?

[Enter the HOODED MAN from earlier. He sits down in the alcove across from the party, although it isn't clear whether or not he sees the party.]

Chastity : [Indicates to the hooded man] Ah, I think Mr. Luck may have just entered the building.

Cocan : [Glances out] Do you know this Luck character?

Austin : [Still oiling Maplin as if Maplin were a Swiss watch] Only inasmuch as he has been following us and spying on us for sometime. If he some kind of voyeur pervert?

Boddy : How long has he been spying on you? [Grimaces slightly at Maplin] And what has he done that suggests he's a pervert?

Chastity : [To Boddy] He approached us at Cocan's grave, after we'd found Tarsus' body in the coffin. He mentioned that how he greeted us depended on our relationship with Cocan, but I don't think he was referring to any strange perversions. That may just be Austin's wishful thinking.

Cocan : Haw! What a character! [Jovially claps his hand on top of Austin's, and is only slightly dismayed at the manner in which it slips off]

Boddy : Will we kill him?

Alice : [Looks at Austin, before turning back to Boddy] Better not.

Austin : [Finishes oiling Maplin, dries Maplin off, straightens his sleeve, and put his jacket back on. To Cocan] Why don't we invite him over here and ask him what he wants?

Cocan : Off you go, and make sure to tell that serving wench to send over far too much beer.

Austin : [To Cocan] Me? You must be joking, it could be dangerous. [Blows two more smoke rings]

Boddy : I see you haven't changed. Let's sort this guy out. [Pulls out a dagger and draws back the curtain] Hey! [Throws the dagger towards the stranger, causing it become embedded upto the hilt in the wooden wall, inches from his head.]

[The MAN doesn't even flinch, although he does glance at the hilt, before taking out what looks like a heavily modified crossbow, and putting it on the table in front of him.]

Clint : Ah, Boddy, charming as always. [Gets up and walks to the hooded man] Who are you? [Tries to examine the man's face, to see if he can recognise him]

[As CLINT approaches, the man leaps up, grabbing his crossbow, and points it at CLINT's throat. His hood falls back as he moves, revealing his face. He is clearly a Euphoric Elf.]

Altho : [Crossbow pointing at Clint's throat, but absolutely dead calm] I am Altho Kindlier. Speak your business before I shoot you in the face. Bore me with unnecessary detail and I will shoot you in the throat. Attempt to intimidate me with the usual mindless human rhetoric and I will shoot you in the testicles.

[In incredibly quick time, both BODDY and COCAN have their swords drawn, and are either side of CLINT, with their swords to ALTHO's throat.]

Alice : [Clearly confused at the speed of Cocan and Boddy] Hold on! [Pulls out her own sword, but fumbles it, causing it to land hilt first onto Chastity's foot] Oops.

Austin : [Casually watches the posturing, see Alice's sword go through Chastitie's foot] Woops! [Blows two smoke rings, and looks back to the 'fight', reddies his sling shot discreetly]

Altho : [To Mandy] If you have anything to drink that is even remotely close to the standard to which Euphoric Elves are accustomed, bring it to me. If you do not, bring me an empty glass, into which I shall spill the blood of this reprobrate.

Clint : [To Cocan] Is he talking about me? [To Altho] That's the gratitude you show. I came here to avoid a confrontation, whereas you're clearly looking for it. If it's a fight you want, let me grab my sword, and let's fight like men. Or like man and elve, whatever.

[COCAN and BODDY cock their swords noisily.]

Cocan : For someone who's supposed to in a closed city, you're very far from home.

Altho : For someone who's supposed to be dead, you only smell marginally worse than normal humans.

[Each of COCAN, ALTHO and BODDY burst out laughing, and lower their weapons.]

Altho : [Bows slightly to Clint] My apologies. I had to determine the nature of your relationship with these scoundrels. I would offer to buy you a drink if this hell-hole had anything more palatable than stale Oxen urine.

[MANDY, who is on her way out from behind the counter with a glass of yellow liquid does an about turn and heads back in.]

Chastity : [Hands Alice back her sword, sits down and rubs her foot] Please try and be careful, dear, you could hurt someone with that.

Alice : With a sword? Yeah, right. [Reaches out, but pricks her hand on it] Ow!

[COCAN and ALTHO embrace.]

Altho : I knew you couldn't be dead. I was sent here to check it out.

Cocan : [Escorting Altho back to the table, and speaking to the others] I told you they'd come, haw! Good old Euphoria.

Altho : [Sitting down] Of course, it was incredibly arrogant of you to assume we'd steal the body. What was it? An orb hidden in the coffin?

[COCAN glances over at BODDY who gives him a look which clearly says "I told you so."]

Altho : [To Chastity] You have only one hand.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Austin : [Blows two smoke rings. To Altho] We humans from the surface have no nascency fluid at all. When we die we stay dead, unless we are resurrected by a friendly genie, or such like.

Altho : [Considers this for a moment] That isn't true of Cocan and Boddy.

Boddy : [Points at Altho, winking and making that irritating "click click" sound] It is when we're on the surface.

Alice : Speaking of friendly genies, you've been very quiet, Nefiritiri.

Nefiritiri : Yes, I have.

Austin : [To Boddy] So now that we are down here in the Interior, do we, the present parry from Queens View, assembled before you now, have nascency fluid somewhere? And further to this, can we assume that if Chastity kills herself, she will come back to life, her hand reformed?

Chastity : [To Austin] I cannot kill myself, it would be a mortal sin of the highest order. [Turns to Boddy, with great interest] It's a good question though.

Austin : [To Chastity] Well, I'm sure that if you ran into a Morc encampment and started pounding them with your ... [Looks at Chastity's club] truncheon, that they would kill you for free.

Chastity : [Looks unceratin] I'm sure they would, although I hold concerns on their methods.

Austin : [To Chastity] If you like, I could give them some advance instructions. Which 'method' [Does finger quotes just to annoy] would you prefer? [Blows two smoke rings whilst musing] Perhaps a slow strangulation, giving you enough time to gasp a quick prayer [Blows another smoke ring] or the rack, allowing ample time for a full and complete range of prayers [Waves his hand casually] etc. Or even better, burning alive, to give that extra edge of urgency and sincerity to your pleas? [Austin muses these options. Looks at Nefiritiri. Casually to Nefifritiri] Amazing, is it not, how much time we can waste, with idle chatter and personal slights, before getting round to the point. You too must be bored rigid. [Checks his nails]

Chastity : What, does your idle chatter bore you as well?

Clint : [Puts his head to one side and snores, before pretending to wake up with a start] Muh! I just had a terrible nightmare, that we were all sitting around listening to the lawyer. [Looks around] Gah!

Nefiritiri : [Shooting Cocan a dirty look] I'm too angry to be bored.

Boddy : [To Austin] The answer to your questions are no, and no. Obtaining Nascency Fluid in the first place is [glances from Cocan to Nefiritiri] well, let's just say it's not easy.

All : It's not easy.

Chastity : [Sadly looks at her stump] Oh well, when it comes to the question of my missing hand it looks like I'm still...[pauses for the pre-pun anticipation]...looking for the answer.

Austin : [To Chastity] The word you are looking for is 'stumped', sister. [Austin stubs out his cigarette]

Cocan : [Bursts out laughing] Haw! [Grabs Austin in a headlock and ruffles his hair, before letting go] There's no way he's gay, not with such a vicious sense of humour.

Nefiritiri : [Coldly to Austin] My. You're just delightful, aren't you?

Altho : [To Boddy] Will this last much longer?

Boddy : By the time they're finished, it'll feel like it's been going on all day!

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Just letting Chassers know what it was like to be the butt of the disfigurement related jokes that this lot, including Chassers, subjected me to in Hell.

Chastity : [Innocently] I have no idea what you mean.

Altho : I am pleased that you are alive, Cocan, but I must return to Euphoria.

Boddy : Well, it's funny you should mention that, this bunch here are looking to get into Euphoria.

Altho : What a coincidence. [Pause] Good luck with that.

Chastity : Altho, perhaps you could help us enter Euphoria.

Altho : No. I do not wish to offend anyone, but I do believe that you are little more than savages, who kill anything that they cannot procreate with. And, might I add, I am more well disposed towards humans than most Euphoric Elves.

Austin : [To Altho] 'kill anything that they cannot procreate with'? How absurd. Is Faern Short soely responsible for this, humanities most non egregious reputation?

Alice : [Stands up] Hey! You leave him out of this, Austin.

Altho : [Looks at Alice for a moment, then back to Austin] My apologies. Sometimes you let things procreate with you. Faern isn't solely responsible. In fact, I remember him as one of the more agreeable humans.

Boddy : It's a pity that you elves take such a short sighted view of things. Retreating into your own little domain will ultimately lead to your demise.

Harvey : [Annoyed at Altho] And few will shed tears, by the saints! Since coming here, I'm incredulous at the pomposity and arrogance on display from these people!

Altho : Since meeting you, I am not even remotely surprised at your aggression. I suspect your claim that few will shed tears is based upon the natural ignorance that characterises your race.

Boddy : If the Euphoric elves fall, so too will the rest of the Interior. However, unless they get involved on the human side right now, they will definitely fall.

Austin : [To Altho] For a race that claims to be so intelligent you seem to be amazingly short sighted. You never seem to ever do anything. [Does a why expression thing with his hands] What is the point in living if you never do anything? Making the occasional coo-koo clock, flip-flop, or clog is hardly living life to the full. All elves do is ponce around slagging off other races off for actually doing something. If elves actually did something the other races might actually pay some attention to what you say. [Pauses] Oh, but I forgot, elves don't care what anything else thinks. They want to die in ignorance. [Looks at Altho] I can assure you that Pestilence, Iok, Contagion and any of their kind will have a very great deal of fun torturing your people to death as they scream 'Why are you doing this, guuurgh' [Blows two smoke rings, casually]

Clint : [To Austin] That's ok, let them be. Maybe they're just... scared!!

Austin : [To Clint] I doubt that, stinky. Anyway Altho here is by far the smartest elf we have ever met, so goading him by calling him 'scaredy' is hardly likely to get a human like response that you seek, to boot, a rash and angered rush to prove his bravery. [Sigh!]

Clint : I didn't call him scaredy, lawyer, I called him scared. Wash your ears.

Austin : [To Altho] You, sir, are your peoples best hope. I expect that they would listen to you, whereas they would probably just kill us, with blank expressions on their faces. How may we help you to convince the elves that they must stand with us to fight our common enemy? [Casually flicks some ash from his cigarette into the ash tray]

Altho : [To Austin] While it is true that I am too intelligent to merely goaded into reacting, it is also true that I am too intelligent to be flattered into it.

Alice : [To Clint] Wash his ears? What about you? How about washing [emphasises] your ears? And your face? And your hands? And your feet? And [glances at his crotch before pausing] well, to save me the trouble of naming out all the parts, how about just having a wash?

[ALTHO goes quiet, and his face takes on an even more blank expression than usual for a few seconds.]

Altho : Because of, or perhaps in spite of your impassioned pleas, my people are prepared to talk to you. There are, however, three caveats. Firstly, they are unusually divided about this issue, so you may expect a somewhat less welcoming reception than you have come to expect from us. Secondly, Euphoria is about to be attacked by the Morcs so, while we are prepared to let you in, it will not be an easy task getting to one of the entrances. Thirdly, [gravely] we wish to hear more of these flip flops of which you speak.

Cocan : [Slamming his hand on the table, causing everyone to jump] Haw! I knew it! I knew they'd be able to talk you around.

Austin : [Looking momentarily speechless] Flip-flops? How about deeley-boppers, or pom-pom socks? [Pauses in disbelief, looks at Altho] I believe we are all doomed.

Chastity : [To Altho] Well, firstly I am intrigued by to find a reception that is less welcoming than that to which we've become accustomed to down here. Secondly, this group have become masters of tact, disguise and intrusion, so we should manage to get to an entrance. [Briefly turns to Alice] Who can forget the glory of the blue dragon, the cattle herd, or even the flying bicycle. [To Altho] And as for the flip-flops, the inventor down here, I suppose you could call him the interior designer, is in Paranoia at this moment, so you may manage to convince him to accompany us to Euphoria.

Altho : The question of you being doomed or not is directly related to the Euphoric Elves involvement. However, the probability of your getting the Elves involved is directly related to you bringing the designer of the flip flop, or at least one of his representatives who is capable of reproducing what is no doubt a fiendishly clever and intricate design.

Austin : [To Chastity] I am sure that we are quite capable of describing the 'flip-flop' to the elves without the aid of an 'interior designer', which I must say, is a suprising amusing pun, for a nun. [Sniggers briefly]

Chastity : [With no small amount of surprise] Why thank you, Austin. From you that is praise indeed. Unfortunately, being human we have no chance at all of impressing the Euphoric elves eevnen with a design so [looks down at her battered and patched up sandal] fiendishly clever and intricate. I think we have no choice but to find Philippe Filoppe.

Alice : But where are we going to find him? Paranoia is a big city, and he's hardly likely to just fall into our laps, is he?

[The door swings slowly, giving an ominous creak as it does so. Enter HOBO HAGGINS.]

Hobo : Hello. Excuse me moment. [Puts a ghettoblaster up on the counter, and starts it playing, before leaving again.]

Austin : [Goes over to the ghettoblaster and turns it off. To Chastity] We don't need Fillipe Filope. He didn't design the flip-flop, he merely listen to our description of the awful things and thought he had invented it. He is insane. [Looks at the ghettoblaster. To Altho] Do you like ghettoblasters too? [Just before AUSTIN turns off the stereo, some deafening circus type music can be heard, which mercifully breaks off as the stop button is pressed.]

Altho : No. However, Philipe Fillope is well known amongst our people.

[Enter HOBO once more, bursting through the door in a cartwheel, singing along to what would be playing on the ghettoblaster had it not been interfered with.]

Hobo : De de de de de de de de de [Finishes the carthweel by standing in front of the party with a flourish] Announcing the all new, all singing, all dancing, Flip Flop! [Starts clapping, clearly expecting the entire bar to join in]

Chastity : Now there's an improvement I'd never thought of, the dancing Flip-flop. I've only even seen people shuffling painfully slowly in them before. [To Austin] Maybe we're serving Phillipe a little short here.

Austin : [Sigh!. To Chastity] Okay, he may be of some use to us. I for one cannpt be bopthered trying to talk up the flip-flop, even if it has to be done to get into Euphoria. I guess Fillipe is the elf for the job. [Gets a pocket mirror out and sorts his hair out, for several minutes, as Cocan ruffled it a minute ago]

Hobo : [Slowly stops clapping, clearly irritated that no one has joined in.] I give you, Philipe Fillope!

[Enter PHILIPE and PEG. The former wearing a laurel wreath on his head and clasping a pair of flip flops to his chest.]

Philipe : Behold! The flip flop!

[ALTHO says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly.]

Chastity : [quietly to Austin] We'll have to butter him up to make sure he gets comes along. [Applauding towards Philipe] Very impressive, Philipe. We've been hard at work while you've been busily making your vision into reality, we have found a way to open up your market into [pauses for effect] Euphoria.

Austin : [Says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly, with a look of absolute HORROR on his face. Then, slowly] Oh, [Pauses] my [pauses] god. [Looks truly horrified] Knitted flip-flops.

Philipe : [Holds them up] Behold the beauty of the flip flop! [Turns to Chastity] I knew it! I knew that I would be invited back, and brought into the city in victory. What time does the victory carriage leave?

Chastity : [examines the flip-flop, nodding in approval] Nice needle work. I particularly like the knitted flower on the top. Nice touch. [To Philipe] Soon, but we may have to go in a more clandestine manner to the city. We don't want anyone stealing your glory before we show it off to the Euphoric Elves.

Philipe : Clandestine? Clandestine? I don't think so! If The Great Philipe goes to Euphoria, he does so first class!

Clint : Oh, but it will be a first class presentation, you will shock everyone with a sudden appearance in the middle of Euphoria!

Philipe : And how do you propose to do that?

Cocan : [Throws back some beer] Yeah, Stinky? How are we going to do that?

Altho : I must admit. I am quite curious about this myself.

Clint : Euh... an orb? A secret entrance? [Shrugs his shoulders] dunno.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn, before looking from Alice to Altho] I have noticed that you elves seem to have difficulty speaking to my niece. Those Euphoric elves we spoke to earlier seemed almost frightened of her. And you only moments ago seemed a little lost before answering her question. Why should that be?

Altho : That is adequate. Let us leave immediately.

[Everyone gets up.]

Cocan : Haw! This is what I like to see - an honourable party, good in thought and word and deed, going out to fight evil.

Mandy : Hey! Who's going to pay for their accomodation? And what about the drinks bill? And all those breakfasts?

Boddy : Your sacrifice in the name of the MAFF is much appreciated.

[Exit ALL.]

Mandy : Hey! [Looks around, dismayed that there is no one left] Hm, this is where he sat. [Hugs the seat where Clint was sitting, and rubs her cheek against it] Oh, Clint! [Looks slightly sick] Eauh. [Leans away from it, but leans forward to hug it again] Oh, Clint! [Leans back again] Eauh. [Faints, and falls under the table.]

Altho : [Sitting so he is angled slightly away from Alice] Her condition is alien to the people of the Interior. Here, only animals procreate in that fashion.

[ALICE says nothing, but rolls her eyes in irritation and gives a sigh of frustration.]

Altho : The rest of you will find it difficult to enter Euphoria, but your association with her will make it almost impossible. The logical thing would be to let her go.

Philipe : [Outraged at Clint] Dunno? Dunno? No one who makes plans for Philipe Fillope ever uses a sound like "dunno"? D'you know?

Peg : [Breathing slightly heavier, with a suggestion of perspiration on her forehead, and she looks Altho up and down] I'll go. I don't mind the danger.

Austin : [To Altho] Alice is not pregnant, but I don't suppose that matters since no one has ever seen through the ruse, even after being told about it. Anyway, we can't leave Alice as she is the most valuable member of the party, so it's all or nothing, buddy boy. [Blows two smoke rings].

Alice : [Annoyed] What do mean, most [realisation dawns] oh. [Big smile] Thanks Austin! [Looks to Clint and sticks her tongue out at him]

Altho : As you wish. [To Peg] Are you familiar to the point of intimacy with the design of the flip flop?

Peg : Yes.

Altho : Then it is settled.

Alice : [Still beaming] So be it! We shall be the Fellowship of the Wand!

Altho : No. If anything, we are a loose association.

Harvey : So, we are the loose association of the wand? No, not quite a sharp enough ring to it. How about the Mere Acquaintances of the Flip Flop?

[Book III, Act VII, Scene IX. A derelict house. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, BODDY, COCAN, ALTHO and PEG are here. The party are in an extremely dilapidated house, which clearly hasn't been lived in for several years.]

Alice : [Looking around] You know, I thought Euphoria would look a bit nicer than this.

Altho : This is not Euphoria. It is a secret exit out of Paranoia. [Pushes back some rubbish to reveal a trapdoor, before turning to the party] This is your final chance to back out. There is a dangerous road ahead of you.

Austin : [To Altho] If we don't take the dangerous road ahead, the one behind us will probably catch up pretty soon anyway. [To Harvey and the others] Let's go.

Altho : You are correct. Paranoia will soon be attacked by the Morcs, and Euphoria is already under siege. The situation is serious, the Nascency Fluid has been poisoned by persons unknown, so it is crucial we return to help with the war effort.

Cocan : [Reaches into his backpack and takes out a flask] Just as well that we've got some fresh fluid so, isn't it?

Altho : [Gives a flicker of a smile] I had hoped you were behind the recent spate of thefts. The reintroduction of the fluid should be enough to counteract the poison.

Cocan : Haw! Who'd have thought that theft could be so beneficial, eh, Austin? [Gives Austin a hefty nudge]

Alice : [To the party] Is it just me, or does Cocan seem very different from Sven?

Clint : [Opening the trap door] I'm getting really sick of all this standing around and chatting. Let's just go and pick a fight.

Austin : [Barely managing to stay upright from Cocan's hefty nudge. To Clint] Yes, lets go before we all die of retrospectively-based physically-expressed aggreably complimentary associative actions. [Austin rubs his shoulder where the blow landed]

Clint : Yeah. [Pause] What did you just say?

Cocan : [Slightly put off by Alice's remark, but beams again, punching Clint hard on the shoulder] Haw! You're certainly no different, Stinky, let's go.

[Everyone goes down through the trapdoor, and form a marching order with COCAN and ALTHO in the front, BODDY and CLINT next, CHASTITY and PEG after them, then AUSTIN and finally ALICE and HARVEY. After just a few feet, it sounds like someone is coming from up ahead.]

Austin : [Looks at Clint and blinks Faetan style] Let's go.

Clint : [With a happy smile on his face] Yeah, like I said! [Goes through the trap door]

Altho : [Draws his sword] There shouldn't be anyone here. It is almost certainly a Morc.

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Cool! But just to be certain... [Shouts] Who's up there?

Austin : [Reddies his sling shot. Whispers] Who else knows of this passage?

[A male human shuffles into view, holding large sword. He is in his late seventies, and is quite out of breath.]

Bernard : Hold! I am Sir Bernard! A Knight who has come in search of the Holy Grill. I seek your aid.

Altho : [Glances back at the party] This is almost certainly a trap. We should kill him.

Harvey : By the saints, we should certainly not! Have you any respect for the aged? [Turns and bows to Bernard] If it is a grill you seek, good sir knight, there is one where we have just come from, but believe you me, it could by no stretch of the imagination be considered in any way holy!

Austin : [Looks at Bernard] You're a bit old for this type of thing are you not? Where is your entourage?

Bernard : Good sir, I fear that many of them have died in our long search. Myself and the remaining three finally traced the grill to a cave not far from here. We advanced, fighting foe upon foe, pausing to carry out the occasional good deed, until we came to the river of fire. [Pause while he has a brief coughing fit] The river of fire is known to and feared by many, for infamous is its power evil. [Has another coughing fit]

Altho : [Before Bernard can continue] The question was, where is your entourage?

Bernard : Eh? Oh, the survivors are being held captive by a fearful monster. And I just don't mean the type of monster that can easily be felled, for this was a monster of unusually -

Altho : [Interrupting] This is a waste of time.

Austin : [To Altho] I agree. If only Roy were here, we could leave the two of them to chatter ad nauseam. Let's go.

Chastity : [To Austin] Don't be so hasty. We can't just brush past a old warrior on a holy quest! [To Bernard] Your quest is a holy one, isn't it?

Bernard : I'm on a mission from God.

Cocan : Haw! That's great, old timer, but what do you want us to do about it?

Bernard : Will you please help this old Knight rescue his comrades?

Chastity : Where are they? aLong this very tunnel? And are they all in as good condition as yourself?

Bernard : I fear not. Being the most youthful and fit of them, I was able to escape. They are back along the way I came.

Austin : [With an expression of mild horror] He is the youngest? Are they worth saving? They are practicaly dead already.

Altho : [Distastefully] I agree. Frankly, I find even being near him offensive. Further, I find it highly unlikely that this isn't some type of Morc subterfuge.

Cocan : Aw, come on, Altho! We can't pass up the chance to fight a monster and save some people. I'll bet that there are some beautiful women too, right Ben?

Bernard : Er, yes, yes there are.

Austin : [To Bernard] But are there any beautiful human women under the age of sixty?

Chastity : [To Austin] I think you'll find that beauty is contained within, and so I don't see what relation there is between beauty and age!

Bernard : Of course!

Clint : Roar! I don't think we can leave here without helping this poor Knight.

Alice : [Whispers to Clint] Sounds like wishful thinking to me!

Austin : [Smirking. To Chastity] So you fancied Roy then?

Alice : [Nods in agreement, poker face] Yes, he did appear to be very nice.

Austin : [Nods in agreement with Alice, poker faced] 'Within'. [Deliberatley smirkish poker face]

Chastity : Don't be ridiculous. His inside was as decrepit as his outside.

Alice : [Gives Austin a knowing look] Right.

Clint : Come on! I thought we had some babes to, uh, save.

[Enter MONILYN MARROE, a beautiful and breathless human female.]

Monilyn : Oh, Bernard, have you found help? Can these handsome and brave people really be here to help us?

Austin : [Smiles graciously at Monilyn] Fear not, we will save you. [Takes Monilyn, swavely by the hand and cuddles her to his chest] Show us where you friends are.

Monilyn : [Gives a mindless little giggle and hugs Austin] Oh, thank you, sir!

Altho : [To Boddy] I see that I was correct to assume these humans are as controlled by their carnal desires as most of the others I have met.

[MONILYN begins to lead the party down the path.]

Harvey : [Takes out his sword and looks at Altho] Ha, sir, if you believe that private Sleaze is desirious of that woman you are most mistaken! [Laughs long and loud] [HARVEY's laugh resounds about the mystified party.]

Monilyn : [Pauses, and looks back] Well, are you kind people going to help me?

[Time passes]

Monilyn : [Taps her foot impatiently] Well/

Clint : Hey babe, I'm here, I mean, we're here already, we'll protect you from now on! Unless there are other babes, I mean, victims, to rescue!

Chastity : [To Altho] See? Can you have any doubt about the ability of human males to resist carnal desire in the presence of a young lady?

Altho : No. None.

Monilyn : [Smiles] Oh, thank you so much!

[The party comes to a fork in the passageway, with MONILYN taking the left.]

Altho : I strongly advise against following her. Euphoria is down the other way, and we are in a rush.

Clint : I suppose so. Of course, we could bring her along, you never know, she might be a good fighter. Believe me, women know how to scream and kick.

Harvey : Well, time is pressing, but we can't leave this defenceless damsel on her own!  I'm sure whatever bother she is in can be put to rights in no time at all! Come troop, let's follow her!

[Everyone follows MONILYN until she stops just before the opening of a large cavern, that is clearly lit up by flames.]

Monilyn : They are in there, with that terrifying monster. Please be careful.

Clint : [To Harvey] Far from me to run away from action and adventure, Colonel, but although this smells like easy pussy, it also smells like a trap.

Altho : [To Boddy] Is he discussing our alleged impending fight? Or his probable impending fornication with this female?

Boddy : Hard to say, knowing Clint, he could be talking about the impending fight with the female!

[The party peer in the opening. This a huge cavern, at least 120' x 120'. There is another exit at the opposite end, and near that is a cage that is jammed packed with knights.]

Bernard : That is where my colleagues are held. The monster must currently be out hunting.

Clint : So why don't you go and open the cage? We'll protect your friend here in the mean time.

Bernard : Okay, but I hope the monster doesn't attack when I'm out there on my own.

Monilyn : [Pleading look at Clint] Oh please, my friends are there too, at the back! Please help him!

[BERNARD sets off across the floor as fast as his legs will carry him, which is very, very slow.]

Clint : [About to answer Monilyn, looking at her breasts, but pulls away at the very last moment] [To Altho and Cocan] You're the military experts, so it's your call.

Altho : I told you at least twice that this was a trap.

Cocan : Haw! Who cares? Let's go kill a monster.

[BERNARD carries on across the floor, pausing for a few moments to catch his breath.]

Austin : I, too, believe that this is likely to be a trap. I suggest that Monilyn and I wait back in the corridor.

[A huge, terrifying, growling can be heard coming from the opposite corridor, followed by enormous foot steps, pounding into the ground.]

Alice : [To the party] Hey! I bet that's the monster!

Clint : Maybe it's Roy, and he's on for a revenge! [Pauses for a moment] Nah, can't be him, if he would pound his feet on the floor like that, they would surely fall off. [Draws his sword] A beautiful babe, and now a fight. All I need now is some booze, and I'm in heaven!

Harvey : [To Alice] Well, it certainly sounds rather ominous, eh, dear niece! [Points his sword towards the corridor] You ladies should stay back out of the way, while we deal with the threat!

Alice : [Draws her sword] Who do you mean, Harvey? Austin and Monilyn?

[CHASTITY clears her throat irritably.]

Alice : That's a pretty bad cough you've got there, Chas. You might want to wait back with the ladies.

[Enter BALKLINE GROOT, a hideous creature about twelve feet tall, with a horned head that has flames pouring out of it.

Bernard : [Turns to look at the party] That's the monster.

Balkline : [Gives another roar, before speaking in a guttural voice] Who dares enter the lair of Balkline Groot?

[Silence descends for a few moments, before ALICE tentatively puts her hand up.]

Alice : Er, who's Balkline Groot?

Balkline : [Rolls his eyes, causing jets of flame to shoot up] Me!

Chastity : [To Balkline] Why have you imprisoned these knights? Who do you think you are?

Harvey : Indeed so, good sister! That's the spirit, show that you have plenty of it, by Phili!

Chastity : Phili's spirit indeed, Colonel, all the more power to us. [To Bernard] We are on a holy quest as well. Empowered with the love of Phili.

Alice : [Proudly] Yes! We're just full of it, ask anyone!

Balkline : [Grabs Bernard by the leg] Tasty tasty!

Bernard : Help! Help!

Chastity : Gosh, the monster must be on a diet. Bernard's nothing but skin and bones. [Glances around the cavern] unless he's got a dip, of course. Hold on. [Raises her mace at Balkline, shouting at Balkline] Unhand that man at once!

Austin : Then I guess we'd better keep the chubbier members of the party away from him, eh, Chas? [Gets flustered] Er, I mean...

Balkline : I will let him go on one condition.

Alice : Fine. Our condition is that you leave us to go free once he's released. [Beams proudly at the others, only to wince in pain as Balkline throws a small rock at her, which bounces off her head] Ow!

Clint : What's your condition?

Balkline : A little feverish, if truth be told.

Altho : Speak, monster. Tell us what you want.

Balkline : [Still with his deep, guttural voice, although he's clearly trying to sound nice] I want to be set free. I want to be able to dance through the fields again, but I was trapped here by an evil wizard. All you need to do is release my collar. [Points to a large metal collar around his neck]

Altho : [To the party] I suggest we leave.

Chastity : [To Balkline] How do we know that you weren't trapped down here by a good wizard and in fact your previous dances in the fields weren't in fact ruthless and bloody rampages. [Points round to the imprisoned knights, and the general scene of terror in the cavern] This is hardly the work of an imprisoned martyr. Where are your paintings of mountains, your emotional diary cataloguing your emotional turmoil, or even the student unions named after you?

Balkline : [Somewhat hurt] You mean, you haven't heard of Balkline U? [Clicks his fingers, and the imprisoned knights, BERNARD and MONILYN all disappear]

[AUSTIN falls to the ground, before getting up quickly again and dusting himself off.]

Austin : Excuse me.

Balkline : They were just a trick, to get you to come down here. I can't leave this cave. [Rubs his eye] They took all my crayons, you see, so I couldn't do any drawing.

Chastity : [To Balkline] Who do you mean by they? [Turning and addressing Cocan, Boddy and Altho] Have any of you heard of Balkline U?

Clint : Aw Chassers, we can't leave him here like that! [To all] Anyone got some crayons to leave him?

Boddy : I suspect he's talking about Balkline University, which probably only exists in his head.

[BALKLINE stands up straight and roars angrily, causing more flames to leap from his body, although none are directed at the party.]

Boddy : [Leans over towards Balkline, and lights a joint off him] Let's get the hell out of here.

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Boddy : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Balkline : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Austin : [Yawns] This is boring. Let's just leave, anyone could see through his silly trap.

Chastity : I agree, lets go. I can see no reason to help this monster. Most disappointing.

Balkline : [Shouting] I'll give you a reason!

[The cavern is filled with the sounds of people cheering, and of men marching. There are too many different noises to be able to clearly identify them, but it sounds like several of the party's names are being called out.]

Balkline : How's this for a reason?

[The walls of the cavern become covered in images, many of which are of cheering people, marching soldiers and the like, but also of each person there. HARVEY appears, dressed in a brilliant white uniform, ordering about a bunch of soldiers, CLINT appears, lying on a leopardskin duvet, drinking a bottle of Louis XIV brandy and surrounded by a bunch of women, CHASTITY appears in a tranquil garden, sitting on a bench talking to several nuns, AUSTIN appears in a courtroom, apparantly defending a beautiful woman and ALICE appears dressed in a suit, wearing glasses that make her look particularly intelligent and is addressing a parliament. The others also appear, with COCAN leading a huge viking army killing Morcs, ALTHO standing in a peaceful forrest, with several other Elves, and, finally, BODDY appears, sitting in simple country cottage, with a fresh faced pleasant looking woman who's cooking apple pie.]

Balkline : I can make this true for any one of you, all you have to do is let me free. [Pauses for a moment, then thunders] Well?

[Abruptly, the sounds and images cease.]

Chastity : [Just as abruptly] No! [Turns to leave]

[As Chastity's refusal fades through the cavern she turns back round]

Chastity : If all you can do to convince us of your worthiness of release is to try and stir up the greed with us, then you are not worthy of our help. We are not drawn into your temptations. [Turns away from Balkline, and quietly, under her breath] much [To the party] Let us leave.

Harvey : Gah! Sir, you are a cur, this troop cannot be tempted like this, isn't that true, troop?

Alice : [Unconvincing] Er, yes.

Austin : [Gives Maplin a quick rub] Yes. Very, uh, true, Colonel.

Cocan : Well said! [Looks at Boddy] A cottage?

Boddy : What can I say? I'm a man of simple wants.

[BALKLINE gives a cry of frustration, and the floor of the cavern disappears, with the party perched precariously on a tiny walkway that extends from BALKLINE to the entrance they came in.]

Chastity : [Briefly glancing down into the abyss. Hurriedly] Lets really go. Now!

Harvey : Stellar advice, good Sister!

[BALKLINE lets out another roar, and huge shards of the walkway disappear, cutting him off from the rest. BODDY, COCAN and ALTHO are trapped on one piece, sticking up in the middle, while the rest of the party and PEG are on a larger piece, about six feet from the entrance.]

Balkline : Now you will pay!

[Each of the shards that people are on start to move agonisingly slowly, leaning towards BALKLINE.]

Austin : [Gives a high pitched girlish shriek, before calming down again] What are we going to do?

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no!

[Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party]

[Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh!

[HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man! boundary="Boundary_(ID_9m4BgxyzKMKmAaI0hS4p3g)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_9m4BgxyzKMKmAaI0hS4p3g) Conor.Ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no! [Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party] [Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh! [HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man!

Rod: [Tethers the rope to a conveniently placed rock] Fear not intrepid adventurers! It is I, Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, and I have come at the behest of a well-endowed femme to save you! Of course, she did say something about a mon- [catches sight of BALKINE] BY THE GODS! What is that thing!? It looks like melted swiss cheese was left on the corpse of a rotting animal in the sun for three days! HURRY, HURRY! USE THE ROPE! OH GOD IT'S AWFUL!!

Clint : [Holding on to Harvey, who in turn is holding on to the rope] I knew this was a trap. And I never really believed the girl was real, especially after she seemed interested in the lawyer.

Alice : And is that why you said, and I quote, "I believe the girl is real"?

[The ledge gives another lurch, and tilts over more.]

Boddy : [Takes out the flask of nascency fluid] The fluid! You take it! [Throws the flask to the party.]

Alice : I've got it! [Reaches her hands up high in the air to catch it, but it smacks her square in the forehead and bounces into Clint's hands] Ow!

[The ledges fall even more, but all the party now have got hold of the rope, and end up dangling in the air, in the following order : CHASTITY, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, PEG and CLINT.]

Chastity : [Starts to awkwardly climb up the rope] Its just as well my third husband, George, taught me how to climb ropes whilst carrying objects in one hand as part of his adventuring exhibitions. Otherwise I'd be in a bit of bother!

[WILL tries to pull on the rope, but to no avail. The surprisingly dextrous CHASTITY, however, manages to start moving up.]

Will : Perhaps your combined weights are heavier than I expect, for I am experiencing difficulty pulling you up. Furthermore, unless we lose some weight from the rope, I fear it will snap.

[As if by magic, one of ALICE's shoes slips off, and smacks AUSTIN in the face, before hitting PEG, and finally CLINT.]

Austin : Ow!

Peg : Ow!

Clint : Ow! Watch it, will you, bimbo?

Will : Perfect! The rope will hold you now.

Chastity : [Reaches the top of the rope and clambers onto the ledge, briefly catching her breath] Thank you, good Knight. [Gets up] Let me help you. [Wraps the end of the rope over her shoulder and round her waist, tug-of-war anchor style, and grips with her right hand] Pull, by Phili. [Despite her efforts, Chastity has a quick glance over Rod's shoulder to see how the other three are getting on]

Clint : Hurry up there, I can't hold for much longer! [Looks up, noticing Peg's "features"] Then again, the view is lovely from down here, you might want to take your time.

Peg : [Calmly to Chastity] Please hurry. I suddenly feel dirty.

[HARVEY gets to the top, and helps pulling the others up, until everyone is up. The other three, ALTHO, BODDY and COCAN have disappeared beneath a cloud of dust and flame, and noise from the rock crashing makes it obvious that they wouldn't hear someone from the party calling them.]

Alice : [Calling] Cocan! Boddy! Altho! [To the party] I wonder if they can hear me calling them?

Austin : [To Alice] Perhaps they will if you shout a little louder. [Looks at Peg] Do you still feel dirty?

Peg : I believe that I will -

[PEG winces as ALICE roars out again, almost deafening the rest of the party.]

Peg : [Shakes her head, and blinks a few times] I believe that I will feel that way for a long time to come. [Gives Clint a cool look]

Alice : [Hoarsely to Austin] Nope, I don't think they heard.

Rod : [Bows before the party] Greetings, my friends! I am Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, but you may call me Rod.

Alice : [To the party, still somewhat hoarsely] Do you think he's a porn star?

Chastity : [Unravelling herself from the rope. To Alice] If you don't know then I expect he's not. On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : I don't know if you're one or not, Chastity, but that doesn't mean you aren't. After all, there is that postcard from the Under City.

Harvey : [Thrusts his hand out to Rod] I thank you sir, for saving our lives! Unfortunately, the other three were important. [Thinks for a moment] Well, two of them were, I suppose. Hm. Well, one of them was, anyway!

Chastity : [To Alice] An image of lies and deceit, as you well know. [To Rod] How did you know to find us. You mentioned, with some colour, a lady? boundary="Boundary_(ID_mX5iePYEi35/j1eAAdekQA)"

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Rod: [Takes Harvey's hand and shakes] Think nothing of it, knight's duty and all that. As for the others, two out of three acceptable casualties isn't bad! [Murmurs under breath] Better than my usual ratio, anyway.

Harvey : [Shakes vigorously] Hah! What a fellow, what a sense of humour! [Smiles and shakes his head, speaking softly to himself] Better than my ususal ratio, haw!

Peg : Thank you for saving us. I am P'Erendos Gallos, an Elf. [Indicates each of the others] This is Harvey, Clint, Austin, Alice and Chastity. boundary="Boundary_(ID_yXSc3ylAVetZNrQmxRw4Xw)"

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Rod: Yes, you must forgive my often literal phalanx of soliloquy. It comes with the knightly territory, you see. Anyway, yes, a strapping young lady by the name of Monilyn led me here. [Turns around and points down the passageway] Somewhat caught up with the whole rescuing routine, I lost sight of her when I heard you all berating the monster and came a running.

Alice : Monilyn? That's the same person who helped lead us here. You see, we all agreed it was a trap when there was a crinkly knight leading us, but as soon as the large chested, scantily dressed woman appeared, we had to come charging down here. [Gives Austin and Clint a dirty look] Typical men, minds so small that they can't even - [looks down] Hey! Where's my shoe?

Austin : [To Rod] Alas, chivalry is so often mistaken for pre-copulatory manoeuvreing.

Chastity : And quite often pre-copulatory manoeuvreing is often poorly disguised as chivalry.

Alice : Yeah, and quite often chivalry is often disguised as [pauses as she looks confused] hey!

Rod : Er, well, yes. Anyway, may I ask what you good people are doing in this place?

Clint : [Slipping the flask into his backpocket, and, miraculously, succeeding] We're just, er, adventurers. On the way to Euphoria.

Peg : [Looks straight at Rod] Yes, what a coincidence. May I ask why you are going to Euphoria?

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, pin-up calendars? What sort of Knight does those?

Alice : [Does a little pose] Why, this Knight, of course!

Chastity : [Confused] Oh, right. Obviously modesty is not one of your many virtues then, Good Knight. [To the party] Has anyone thought to check if the other three showed any chance of escape?

Alice : [Limps to the edge] No, but I think it's a pretty fair bet that at least Cocan and Boddy will escape, given that we meet them in the future. [To Will] Oh, we've travelled into the future many times.

[An uncomfortable silence descends.]

Alice : Er, no. I don't recall meeting any Mongese. [Moves away from the edge and from Rod]

Chastity : [To the rest of the group] Suddenly I feeling a bit less saved that I was am minute ago. to do with it?

Rod : And why wouldn't you? [Stares off into space for a moment] With the Mongese threat still hanging over us.

Alice : [Figeting nervously with the bottom button of her cardigan] So, er, Rod, where do you think your current quest will lead you?

Rod : [Snaps back to his previous, friendly demeanour] Actually, I was rather hoping to get into Euphoria.

Harvey : [Claps his hands together in delight] Well I say, good sir knight! That's exactly where we are off to, and I'm sure this troop would only be too happy for your company until we reach Euphoria!

[Silence briefly reigns]

Chastity : [Turning round from the cliff. To Rod] Yes, you will be most welcome. My apologies if you thought I was ignoring you, but I was trying to see throught the smoke and dust to spy Cocan, Boddy and Altho. Especially as I was under the impression that we needed Altho to get into Euphoria.

Rod : [Big smile] I am honoured. I know not of this Altho of which you speak, it sounds like some magic dust, which one must sprinkle upon one's self. However, I think our first problem will be to get passed the Morcs.

Clint : Wait a minute. What kind of knight did you say you were?

Rod : I'm a questing Knight. Although, I do take some time out occasionaly to rescue hapless strangers or to appear in the occasional pin-up calender. [Thoughtfully] Or sometimes both at the same time.

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, I think we've had this conversation already. [Indicates towards the tunnel] Shall we go?

Clint : Pin-up calendars, you say? [Looks briefly at Chastity] I mean, yes, let's go. But how do you expect to get into Euphoria? Do you know a secret entrance?

Alice : [To Rod] Do you have any samples of your work?

Rod : Of course! [Flips through a small photo album of him in various poses, e.g. with slayed dragons, grateful damsels who were clearly recently in distress etc.]

Alice : [Slightly disappointed] Actually, I was thinking the [notices Chastity's gaze] yes, Chastity, good idea! Let's go!

Rod : [To Clint] I think this leads to a secret entrance. I presume it'll be guarded, so there may be some difficulty.

Chastity : Surely if it's a secret entrance into Euphoria it'll not be guarded by Morc's but by Euphoric Elves [Pauses] Ah, I see your point.

Austin : Is it the case that not only is the secret entrance guarded by Euphoric Elves, but that it is also being attacked by Morcs?

Rod : That is indeed the case.

Alice : [Confused] Hold on a second, are we the [emphasises] only people who don't know where the entrance is?

Austin : Actually, [emphasises] you are the only person, Alice. We all know where it is.

Alice : [Visibly disappointed] Hey!

[Book III, Act VII, Scene X. A narrow passageway. CLINT, ROD, ALICE, CHASTITY, PEG, AUSTIN and HARVEY are here, marching in twos, in that order. The passage is quite winding, and the party is slowly making its way along.]

Alice : [Still sulking] So, how come I'm the only one who doesn't know where the entrance is?

Peg : This passageway leads to the entrance. Everyone else knows because they were listening to Altho when he told us. However, I expect that we may encounter Morcs, so perhaps everyone should ready weapons.

Rod : [Draws his broadsword] Morcs? HA! And again I say, HA! I've killed entire subspecies of Morcs with not so much as a scratch. But, eh, for clarification, what exactly do the buggers look like?

Alice : So, you didn't kill them with a sword, then?

Austin : They are fearsomely ugly, with a body odour that is frankly offensive and a taste in fashion that makes certain members of this party look in vogue.

Clint : [To Austin] He wasn't looking for a description of you, lawyer.

Austin : Which is why I didn't give him one, Mr. Scar.

Rod : [To Alice] Matter of fact, I used a spatula. Twas during the more desperate times of the war. bungling, it's no surprise. Sorry about that)

Alice : [Momentarily impressed] That's nothing, we once defended an entire city from a swarm of Bunglewarkers with no more than a piece of sellotape and a jar of Uncle Jim's honey.

[From up ahead the party can hear a lot of noise, that suggests there are very many people there. They are speaking, but there are a lot of grunts and screams too.]

Peg : [To Rod] I believe that you are about to see Morcs first hand.

[The Morcs are clearly not just around the corner, but some distance away, and making quite a bit of noise.]

Rod : [To Harvey] I take it you're the commander of this company, so I'll follow your word. That said, what do you favor? Should we charge headlong into danger, or..eh..some other tactic?..

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Charging headlong sounds like a great idea. [To Rod] I like you already!

Chastity : See?

Chastity : [Looking a bt surprised. To Harvey] You mean you have another tactic? I don't think Clint is going to like that much! Charging headlong into danger is what he does best!

Harvey : Gah! We had enough charging into combat with that Faeplan girl. I suggest we cautiously edge forward.

[The party cautiously edges forward.]

Harvey : Hm, well, perhaps a little less cautiously than that.

[The party edge forward a little more quickly. The passage leads to a ledge, that overlooks a huge valley. About two hundred yards away is a walled city, with a large number of armoured figures up on the ramparts firing arrows onto an enormous crowd of Morcs below. The Morcs do not seem to be making much headway, but don't appear to be concerned at getting killed either. In one part of the wall is what appears to once have been a doorway, which is now blocked up with debris.]

Alice : [Points at the now unpassable doorway] Yay! I bet that's the entrance!

[Each time a Morc gets killed, it disappears. Further back, out of view of the walls, but almost directly below the party, are a bunch of Morcs constructing an enormous catapult, that looks capable of firing something about ten cubic feet in size. It is incredibly intricate, and they have clearly been at it for many weeks, although it looks almost finished now. There are four or five Morcs working on the catapult, and several thousand attacking the city.]

Rod : [To Clint] You show great courage! Ever thought of knighthood? We have a health plan and everything. [To Chastity] Fear not, dear sweet emissary from the heavens, we shall strike down upon these lowly mongrels with nothing less than the FURY of Phili's wrath!

Austin : [Musing] There is a fine line between stupidity and bravery.

[Everyone's attention is drawn to ALICE throwing a peanut into her mouth, and missing, causing the peanut to fall down and hit one of the Catapult Morcs on the head. He looks around, confused, but doesn't see the party.]

Austin : [To Rod] Alice is very, very brave.

Chastity : [Looking down at the catapult] Why do I get this flashback of us with Jerome at the base of Adam's tower? [Looks back round nervously]

Rod : [Eyebrows shoot upward] AH HA! A thought! If we were to commandeer their artillery we could use it to clear the blocked entrance!

Alice : [Still looking over] My guess is because of all the acid and cheese you've been taking Chastity. [Looks directly at Chastity] Everyone knows you're doing it, and soon it'll start to effect your concentration. [Makes a puzzled face] Or is that me? [Moves her hand across the front of her face] Hey look! My hand leaves a trail! Cool!

Peg : Perhaps she shouldn't be standing so close to the edge.

Harvey : By firing on them? I don't think so, sir!

Rod : Don't worry! I've done this sort of thing countless times, it has an at least above average success rate. Besides, look at that place [Points at the castle] you seriously don't think they're insured?

Austin : I would like to point out a fatal flaw your plan to fire upon the Euphoric Elves. They think of us as little more than savages, who spend their time either fulfilling their wanton and perverse sexual desires, or trying to wreak havoc through violence, and, as such, will not be particularly keen to bid us enter. Firing upon them is unlikely to improve opinion of us.

Rod : [Looks positively crestfallen] Oh, well. I guess we won't do it then, no biggie, it's all the same to me. Though, it'd have been quite the knightly entrance.

Clint : We could try to charge through all the morcs, using some of the magic potion [shows the flask of nascency fluid]. I'm not sure what's the effect of drinking this, though. [To Austin] You're an expert on trying out dubious liquids, wanna be a tester again?

Austin : I believe that it is Alice you should be speaking to about drinking bodily fluids.

Alice : Hey! Oh, that's right, you take them anally, don't you?

Peg : Drinking the Nascency Fluid will kill you. Only Euphoric Elves can use it. Only a fool would drink it.

Austin : Alice?

Rod : Nascency Fluid you say!? Why, that is the item for which I've been questing! It's said to extend the life of whomever drinks it. [Grimaces] I'm more than a little disappointed that its lethal to all but the dainty sorts. [To Peg] You're sure humans can't drink even a wee bit? Maybe gain an extra day or two?

Alice : [Nudges Rod and whispers, shaking her head] You don't want to drink any bit of wee.

Peg : Humans can, but the particular fluid we have belongs to the Elves. All higher life forms in the Interior have their own Nascency Fluid, which is poisonous to others. However, Altho suggested earlier that the Morcs may have discovered how to use other people's.

Rod : [Takes a knee in front of Alice, looking suddenly overtaken with emotion] Oh sweetly ignorant nymph, how refreshing for me it is to know that your kind still exists. For without ladies like you, I'd be out of a job! [Turns back and looks at Peg] Well, that all sounds rather unnecessarily complicated.

Alice : [Gives a mindless giggle] Thank you! [Whispers to Austin] What did he say?

Austin : He said that you're a moron.

Alice : Hey! [Clearly doesn't know who to be angry at]

Peg : It is considerably less complicated than the fornication, violence and death that characterises the lives of humans.

Clint : But that's just so easy!

Rod : [Scratches chin] AH HA! Another brillant plan! We still overrun the catapult, except this time we use it as a platform by which to launch Peg over the walls so she can convey our friendly intentions to the elves! Then, AND ONLY THEN, do we turn the weapon upon the blockaded doorway and thus gain DYNAMIC entry into the city of Euphoria [Nods in complete self-agreement].

[Chastity turns round to look for a reaction from Peg at Rod's plan, but gives up with nothing after what seems like an age]

Chastity: How would we know that she had convinced the elves?

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Rod : [Huffs] I'm sure she'd land harmlessly on her feet, waif of a girl like her. Regardless, I realize I've been overstepping my authority here. Who am I to dictate to such a band of seasoned adventurers? Thus, from this point forth I will concede to whatever plan you devise, as long as it somehow involves using the catapult. [Nods]

Alice: How about we all go in the catapult? We could us some of Chastity's spare habits as parachutes.

Chastity : [Looks in her bag] Well, there are a few left, despite Roy sneeking off with one on. But I'm sure I could manage to compensate with a few of the teatowels I still have left from Hell. [Pulls out a tea-towel with a recipe for Devil-cake printed on it. Looks down] I take it you don't mean for us all to go at once.

Alice : Why not? Anyone who's left here will probably find it very difficult to get away, given that we'll probably attract some attention.

Chastity : Thats Ok, I was just making sure. The last thing we would want is for any plan to go wrong. [Looks round] Talking of which, how do we get down there from this cliff?

Rod : [Positively elated] So, we're actually going to use the catapult!? SUCCESS! [Waves broadsword around over his head] Alright comrades, CHARGE! Ahhh!! [Takes a few running steps forward, then remembers there was a cliff and comes to a skidding stop.] Right, a way down to the bottom..Hmm

Harvey : [Looking down] Well troop, I believe we only have to find a way onto the catapult itself, which lies below us!  Why, I'm sure we could just jump from here onto the spoon of the machine, cut the rope and we're away, soaring over the heads of these beasts!

Clint : Hum, is that feasible, Colonel?

Harvey : Which part, private Scar? The soaring over beasts heads, safely landing in a the city, or the act of  reaching said catapult?

Rod : [Whips around, smiling wide] I have complete faith that all the physics will just work themselves out.

Harvey : [With disgust] Pah, I have no care for those charlatans, sir, and could care less if they do or do not work themselves out!  Just because they have a glass ball they feel the need to tell gullible fools what the future has in store for them! Charlatans sir, charlatans, I tell you!

Alice : [With an exasperated sigh] Just work themselves out? You know, physics working things out isn't like something just falling off a tree! [It is definitely feasible, although whoever jumps in first will clearly be squashed by the others.]

Alice : Bags I go in first! [Lowly to Harvey] I don't want to get squashed by the others.

Peg : Given that we are about to use their catapult to propel ourselves somewhat recklessly into the city, what is to stop them simply following us?

Peg : These gullible fools you speak of, where do they find such things?

Chastity : [Sighs] I think you'll find that the Colonel is actually remonstrating about Psychics who ply their fraudulent trade in carnivals. I'm suprised that you don't have any down here. Carnivals are places filled with laugher and fun. [Pauses thoughtfully] Unless they happen to have brutal ghost trains, dubious barn owners and small magicians called Daniel!

Peg : I am quite sure that the elves of Euphoria have considerably more sophisticated tastes, and find little joy in a badly put together Waltzer machine. Before we embark on this foolhardy plan, I would like to repeat my reservation concerning the possibility of the Morcs simply following us in, and our being mistaken as an advance invasion party.

Alice : Off you go then.

Peg : What do you mean?

Alice : Repeat your reservation.

Peg : No.

[There are a number of large barrels stacked up near the catapult. It isn't clear exactly what the Morcs are up to, but looks as though they are putting the final touches to the catapult.]

Chastity : We had better make our way down soon, whilst the Morcs are distracted by their machine.

Harvey : Well said, Sister! Time is of the essence.

Alice : I think we can jump into the main part, but can we also destroy the catapult to stop them following us in?

Clint : If only those barrels were of explosives, we could try to make them explode just after we've been launched.

Chastity : They probably are. There wouldn't be much point launching them into the city if they weren't going to cause some sort of harm.

Austin : [Glances at Pegs jumper] Perhaps the barrels are filled with Paula Smithers and Hugo Biss outfits and plan to drive the elves with good taste. [Smirks to himself as he straightens his cuffs]

Peg : [Blinks her eyes tiredly] If you are representative of the type of people that wear those outfits, I'm sure it would be an excellent strategy. However, I am quite sure that the Sister is correct.

Alice : Maybe there are Morcs in the barrels? You know, like the wooden horse of Roy?

Chastity : [To Alice] Don't be silly. That would be suicidal, being flung over the wall li...[trails off and looks round nervously] What was our plan again?

Austin : That would actually be a cunning plan for the Morcs, for if they can be "reborn" as it were, then they could wear the elves down with attrition. Unfortunately we can ill afford to be so reckless.

Peg : When Morcs are reborn, as you put it, they return to their Nascency fluid. Normally this is kept a safe distance from any battle site, but, given the manner in which they removed the Nascency Fluid from the cave earlier*, it is quite possibly nearby.

Alice : Don't worry, Chastity, none of the Morcs was as big - I mean, none of the Morcs was, uh, were as clever as us, so would be unlikely to secure the services of a parachute.

Clint : But if they are inside the barrels, then by making them explode we would be killing them, no?

Harvey : Haw! Typical civilian rot! You are forgetting sir, that it is unlikely the Morcs are explosive, so that, if they were placed in a barrel, then the barrel wouldn't explode on contact. Of course, maybe they are explosive, and the intention is to rain explosive Orcs down onto the city, and the barrels are merely used to store hot refreshing tea for the boffins operating the machine?

Rod : [Scratches head] Wait, why don't we just drain one of the tea / explosive morc / designer clothing barrels, stow away inside it, and that would provide us a little bit of a cushion for when we arrive in the city. Then, when the elves look on at how amazingly BRILLIANT we are, they will surely understand we are not Morcs! First though, we need to solve the nagging quandry of what is actually being housed in these mysterious barrel-shaped...barrels!

Harvey : Well said, sir! We need to imagine what we would put in the barrels if we were firing them into a city - any suggestions, troop?

Alice : I'd put a big bunch of my little ponies, so that when the enemy opened up the barrel they'd be so distracted by their lovely faces and wonderful braidable hair we could just sneak up and kill them all.

Harvey : Er, actually, maybe if we try to imagine what the Morcs would put in.

Alice : Easy, they'd put soil in them.

Rod : [Stares off into space] I remember the seige of Pooty Applewater Castle, the insidous enemy played the entire Ace of Base library over loudspeaker whilst they pelted us with grapefruit. The horror, the horror..

Harvey : By the saints, sir!  Not so insidious that the enemy did not wish to see your troops come down with scurvy, eh!  The amount vitamin C in a grapefruit is quite plentiful!  I'd almost say it was decent of them! [Looks down] So, we are all prepared but for a plan to destroy the catapult, correct?

Alice : [Looks down at the Morcs] Er, are you asking them or us? Assuming it's us, maybe we can figure out some way to use the soil?

Clint : How do we know it's soil that is inside the barrels? Another one of your insights?

Chastity : Well that would make sense as a bombardment tool. Cover the city in oil then set light to it. Or at the very least upset the elves natural cleanliness by making a mess of their city. [Tilts her head at the barrels] Unless the barrels are all upside down and they're stamped 710?

Austin : [Deadpan] Yes, that's much more likely.

Clint : Maybe if we set them on fire it'll make a smoke curtain that will prevent the Morcs from correctly aiming at the city!

Austin : Whilst also pointing out to the entire Morc Army where we are. How about this. You could just pour oil onto the catapult and then light it just as we are about propel ourselves into the city. Simply really.

Alice : Off you go then! Hey, that was an easy plan. Austin goes down, kills all the Orcs, liberally douses the catapult with oil, helps us all down, fires the catapult and then blows up the oil. Thanks Aussie, that's real square of you to help out like that!

Austin : Douse oil? In this suit? Have you taken leave of your senses?

Chastity : I think it may be left to the more action oriented members of the group to get their hands dirty. [Glances at Clint] Some of us seem in have jumped the gun in that respect already.

Clint : It's not dirt, it's skin colour. [Makes a big act of trying to clean his hands, and shows them back, still as dirty as before] See?

Alice : [Glances at Austin] Whereas some of us have dirty minds!

Peg : Now that we have established that there is, in all probability, oil in the barrels, how can we best make use of this information?

Alice : But what about the smell, Clint? Honestly, you're sweating worse than an Irishman chairing a meeting the morning after having had too much beer and cheese!

Chastity : Alice, I've told you before about exaggerating. There is no way even Clint can be that...[a gust of wind briefly blows past Clint to Chastity, and the resulting sensory overload briefly causes Chastity to stagger to the edge of the cliff] Whoa, by Phili, your right! [Tries to regain her balance]

Ohmloss : I wasn't so much glancing at you, as watching you. I find the whole business surrounding Cocan's death very suspicious, and even more suspicious that you should turn up looking for him just days after he died.

Alice : What about the fact that we're travelling with a decaying and stinky monster? That's pretty suspicious, if you ask me.

Ohmloss : Well, that's true.

Alice : Then, of course, there's Roy too!

Chastity : Gosh, Colonel, there's an ideal. [To Ohmloss] Well, would the police care to exhume his body to further investigations?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : Hrm. Well, I suppose the body won't smell any worse than you people normally do. Okay, let's go.

[Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

Ohmloss : Kick our clogs?

Alice : He means die.

Ohlmoss : Nothing, we just return to our Nascency pool.

Harvey : [Suddenly laughs long and loud, wiping tears from his eyes] Why sister, that is just the best thing! Quite capital! [Laughs again before turning to Alice] What on earth did she mean, dear niece? Austin : [Grits his teeth, before quickly unclenching them, checking for any signs of damage with a mirror]

Chastity : [With a smile] Why, he comes back after inventing flip-flops, of course! CDD

Harvey : Well, to prove our innocence of this crime beyond a shadow of a doubt, my good sir! And then you can better spend your time looking for real criminals, eh! > [Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VIII. The Graveyard. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, ROY and OHMLOSS are here. There are also a number of elves wioth shovels, and they are digging up a grave, that has what appears to be a statue of SVEN on the gravestone. All of the elves look extremely uncomfortable.]

Ohmloss : [Gives a shiver as the enter the graveyard] You know, I'll never understand you people - it's bad enough that you die, but to leave a body behind that your family then plant in field full of other bodies [gives another shiver] it's just unnatural.

Alice : [To Harvey] I don't know, I think it's a nun thing.

[The ELVES strike coffin, and soon have it up on the surface. All of them, including OHMLOSS, step back from it.]

Ohmloss : Go on then!

Alice : My God, the smell!

Ohmloss : He hasn't even opened the coffin yet!

Alice : I know, I was complaining about them. [Waves at Clint and Roy.]

[HARVEY opens the coffin, and everyone is hit by the unmistakable odour of decaying flesh. Inside is a dark haired human male, about 5' 6" tall, with a goatee. He has clearly been dead for a few days. At his feet is an orb.]

Ohmloss : [Covers his eyes with his hands] This is too disgusting!

[Each of the elves is clearly overcome by the sight.]

Clint : [Stepping between the orb and the Elves, and whispering to Austin] You know what to do, lawyer.

Austin : But of course. [Steps up to the coffin, and comes back with a smile] I got what I wanted.

Alice : What about the orb?

Austin : Oh! I was momentarily distracted by the watch and wedding ring. [Snatches the orb and slips it into his pocket.]

Ohmloss : [Forces himself to look] That's Tarsus!

Austin : [Changing his white gloves for a clean set of ... white gloves] Tarsus, hmm, it appears that my hypothesis was correct. [To Harvey] We must get to Euphoria, and continue our misson. [To Ohmloss and the elves] I don't think we need the coffin and body any longer, you may bury it again, please. [To Ohmloss] Has this helped your investigations any?

Ohmloss : [Still shocked by the sight of the body] Tarsus was once a co-conspirator of Cocan's - he was about to tell us all, after being involved in one final deal. [To Austin] It has - I suspect Cocan is alive, and we're going straight to his house to tear it apart. were involved in this subterfuge! I think you will be wasting your time, officer, but as you can now see, we are completely innocent of Cocans death, eh!

Austin : [To Harvey] We had not been officially accused. I expect that they realised that that would have been a futile move to make, when they realised who they were dealing with. [Examines his nails, and smiles] Such is my reputation. [To Ohmloss] Ofcourse, finding the body of Tarsus does not mean that Cocan is alive. Someone else may have already stolen Cocan's corpse, or perhaps a simple clerical error put this man in the wrong grave.

Ohmloss : Of his death, maybe, but I'm sure you're guilty of something else. We're off to get a search warrant, and then, by God, we'll find out what's going on here. [To the other elves] Let's just leave it here, I can't take any more of this dead body thing.

Ohlmoss : We know who and what we're dealing with.

Alice : [To Chastity] Well, could that be true, Chas? Could the local priests have made an error?

Chastity : It is unlikely, child. Priests don't make mistakes, they merely follow the sometimes mysterious ways of God.

Ohmloss : [Narrows his eyes at Harvey] It is precisely because of you that The Euphoric Elves closed their borders.

[Exit OHMLOSS and the ELVES.]

Alice : Maybe it's because you haven't been near there that no one else is allowed in? [Considers this for a moment] Anyway, what happens now? How do we figure out what the orb is for?

Chastity : We can't risk asking Boddy and the others, as I'm sure they'd be after it as well. I'll bet it was left by Cocan. But as for finding this out, the proof will be in the using, I suppose.

Alice : But who buried it? Surely it was Boddy and the others? And, remember, he did tell Nefiritiri that there is something hidden in his house for her.

Chastity : [Glances at Roy] Funny that! [To Harvey] I agree, lets not stay around here. We're conspicuous enough as it is without hanging around newly dug graves.

Alice : [Glances at Clint] Well, it's better than the stench of - [breaks off] Actually, it's not. It's a whole lot worse.

[The party are interrupted by the unmistakable click of a crossbow from behind. There is a HOODED MAN at the entrance of the graveyard, who's face is obscured by his cloak.]

Man : Who are you that defile the grave of Cocan? Speak quickly, before I shoot one of you in the face.

Chastity : This may be the grave of Cocan, but it is not Cocan's grave. [Indicates towards the open coffin] See for yourself.

Man : [Slowly walks forwards] Despite what the gravestone says? [Moves closer] So I see. Who is this unfortunate?

Austin : [To The hood] The police who have small penises and dug up the grave said that this corpse was Tarsus. [To Harvey] We should leave this place quickly, before it attracts any more cloacked figures [Looks at the cloaked figure] Who are you?

Man : Tarsus? [Chuckles] Then Cocan is almost certainly alive. I am not at liberty to divulge my name to you now, but we will probably meet again. Whether or not I kill you will depend on your relationship with Cocan.

[The HOODED MAN turns and slips out the gate, disappearing down the street.]

Clint : Quickly, let's follow him!

Alice : Good idea, Stinky!

[ALICE and CLINT run out to the gate, but the man has disappeared without trace. All that is here are ordinary elves going about their business, giving ALICE and CLINT the occasional disapproving glance.]

Austin : [ Goes over to where the hooded figuer had stood and lloks at the foot prints, then walks over to Alice and Clint] Did he leave muddy foot prints? [Looks down the street]

[The figure did leave footprints, that look as though they came from boots. He was about the same height as BODDY and COCAN, but probably not as broad shouldered.]

Alice : Not many - there are a few, but he mustn't have picked up much mud, as they disappear after a few steps. [To Harvey] We're probably going to have to mention it to someone, as we're pretty stuck now. If we don't get to her soon, Ohmloss will surely tell her. boundary="Boundary_(ID_pg+8ZLnk5Khj0cqpv08U8Q)"

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Harvey : But dear niece, I don't think Ohmloss saw the orb! And he certainly didn't see us taking it! However, you are correct in that we will have to tell someone. But who can we trust! Gah! There's not one person outside of this troop that I trust in this cursed place!

Alice : Between you and me, Harvey, there is more than one person inside of this troop that I don't trust! What I meant is that he's going to tell Nefiritiri that Cocan mightn't be dead - I think he saw the body.

[The party go to COCAN's house.]

Alice : So, before we knock on the door, what are we going to tell her? [Looks around at the others] Do we really believe that she thought Cocan was dead?

Clint : I don't think she believed it. But if we don't tell her we saw the body, then we have nothing at all to tell her, right?

Alice : If we don't tell her, then Ohmloss surely will.

Alice : [Reels slightly from Harvey's logic] Right. [Looks away for a second and then back again] Let's just knock. [Knocks on the door.]

[A few seconds later, NEFIRITIRI opens the door.]

Nefiritiri : Ah, come on in.

Nefiritiri : [Shocked] What? How can he not be dead? The others saw him die! [Turns around for a moment, before looking back] Boddy and Milicent are upstairs at the moment - why don't we ask them what's going on?

Chastity : Yes, this should be interesting, although I can't say that I'm surprised that Boddy is involved in some sort of conspiracy.

Austin : [To Nefirititi] I don't expect they will know either. I think Cocan faked his death to get into Euphoria, unless they buried him in the wrong grave.

Nefiritiri : [Reeling from all the contradictory points of view] Hold on! You're saying that you don't think Cocan is dead, and that Boddy is helping him cover it up? Well, Boddy was one of the few witnesses, but, okay, where will we discuss this? In the house or somewhere else?

Austin : [Deadpan] Hmm, yes, very discreet and private.

Alice : [To Harvey] Tart.

Nefiritiri : Okay, let's go for that. [Calls out] Milicent? I'm going out for a few minutes.

[Everyone returns to the Tidy and Relaxing Tavern, and sit down in a quiet corner.]

Nefiritiri : So, what's all this about?

Austin : Well, if Cocan suspected that someone was spying on him he may have decided not to tell anyone, lest his plan is compromised. Boddy is not Darius, and Boddy has, so far, been good to us, despite what happens in the future, and even then I don't think he did anything bad did he?

Alice : He did let over a thousand people get killed in Insomnia after fooling us into getting people to get rid of their weapons. Then again, he did headbutt Adam and stole Corwyn's hat, so he can't be all bad.

Nefiritiri : Well, first of all, Boddy is Darius, in the same way that Cocan is Sven, and Milicent is Peter. They are more alike than you might imagine. I know there was trouble with the police, but I wouldn't have thought it was bad enough to warrant this. Ohmloss visited me yesterday, and claimed that Cocan and the others were stealing Nascency fluid from the Euphoric Elves, and selling it to the Morcs. got none... boundary="Boundary_(ID_pqw32capP3UQ8WbHqG6GAQ)"

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Harvey : That's incredible, my dear! What would Cocan do such a thing? Surely he must have known that if was caught, his life would be finished in this place? What could have made him take that risk? [Thinks for a while] Unless he was trying to buy something very important from the Morcs with the fluid?

Nefiritiri : I wouldn't have believed it myself, either, but I did come across some in his house just a few days ago. I think it was from Euphoria.

Alice : So he really was stealing the stuff? [Glances out the window] Hey! There's that guy again!

[Just outside is the person who was spying on the party from NEFIRITIRI's garden the previous day, dressed identically. This is clearly not the same person that they met in the graveyard. He appears to be making little effort to hide.]

Clint : What do you mean, they're the same? Sven is dead, and Cocan apparently is alive! And what would that nascency fluid be good for? This is all too confusing for me, I need some fluid myself. [Calls at the bar] Mandy, dear, bring me some drink please!

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him!

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him! boundary="Boundary_(ID_GxhkQwqmuufhhOhEkfjiKw)"

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Harvey : By the saints, why does that not surprise me [indicates the spy]. So, looks like Boddy has hired someone to keep tabs on us, or you, Nefiritiri. I wonder if it is Cocan himself? Or perhaps even Jim?

Austin : [To Alice] If he was really sneaky you wouldn't even know it. Well, I expect he can clear a few things up when he gets in.

[BODDY and the SPY look over at the party, and BODDY gives a cheerful wave, before heading over to the bar.]

Boddy : [To Mandy] I left a coffee after me last night, could you get it? It's bound to be warmer now than it was when I first got it.

[BODDY gets the coffee, and sits with the party.]

Boddy : Hey folks. [Drinks some of the coffee through a straw, making a ludicrous slurping sound] Mm-mm! On Tue, 11 Mar 2003, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alice : [Clearly a little annoyed at Boddy, and about to say something, before looking around, puzzled] Hey! Where's Roy?

Boddy : The flaky fellow? Last time I saw him he was trying to squeeze in beside Tarsus in Cocan's coffin. I think he was saying something about how Kit was right? It was difficult to tell, there was so much crying and wailing going on.

Clint : [Pointing at some of the sausages still left on the floor] I think he left some fingers behind.

Austin : [To Boddy] Odd fellow that Roy, blessed with eternal life and wonderful powers and all he does is cry. Maybe he had a small penis too, [Pauses] or perhaps it fell off.

Alice : [Laughs at Clint] They'll probably taste better than [suddenly realises with horror what Austin said, and turns around to take a closer look at one of the sausages] Eauh!

[BODDY says nothing, but drinks some more of his coffee with another annoying slurping sound.]

Austin : [To Boddy, producing the sphere] Can you tell me the magical properties of this orb, Mr Boddy?

Boddy : [Nonchalantly picks it up, and tosses it in the air a few times, before putting it back down] Yes, yes, I can. [Drinks some more coffee] It's a transportation orb, that works in tandem with one or more other ones. When you activate the other one, you are transported to where ever that one is.

Austin : [Picks up the orb and sticks back into his bag. To Boddy] So, I expect that you have heard that Tarsarus was in Cocan's grave, but who was it that was spying on us in the back yard, that you spoke to?

Boddy : I was aware of it. [Drinks some more coffee]

Harvey : Gah! Answer Private Sleaze's question, man! Who was it?

[BODDY doesn't answer, but beckons to the man outside, who comes across. In the meantime, BODDY pulls a curtain around the alcove where the party are to give them some privacy. Seconds later, enter COCAN THE BARBARIAN through the curtains, taking off his spy hat and glasses.]

Cocan : [With a big smile] Haw! I should have known you wasters would have turned up to spoil our plan!

Clint : [With a look of surprise on his face] Is he for real? [Punches Cocan hard on the shoulder]

Austin : [Smiles] Good to see you again. So who's in on the plan, does Nefi know? [Straightens his cuff]

Cocan : [Smiles to himself for a moment] You know, Stinky, I'm sure you can do a whole lot better than that! [Hits Clint hard on the shoulder, and roars with laughter as he staggers a little, before turning to Austin] I don't care what Sven thought, you don't look at all gay to me, Austin. [Squeezes in between Chastity and Alice] Woah, Chastity! We're going to have to do something about that. [Snatches Boddy's coffee and takes a drink, before looking at Alice] I bet you didn't see this coming, Shooter.

Alice : [Glancing down at Cocan's huge bare thighs, and swallowing hard, before speaking hoarsely] No.

Boddy : [Lighting a cigarette] I'm afraid she wasn't. Nefiritiri isn't the woman that you used to know - she's gone and got herself a conscience.

Cocan : [Mock angry] Hey! You say that like it's a bad thing, that's my wife you're talking about!

Austin : [To Cocan] Did you fake your death to get into Euphoria, escape the police, or was there some other reason? And I am not gay, and never have been.

Cocan : [Stretches his legs apart to get comfortable] It was to get into Euphoria. I was on good terms with the elves there, and was hoping they'd be so disappointed to hear that I had died while a persona non grata, that they'd steal the coffin. Then, when they'd open it, we'd all use the orb to appear. [Gives a big smile at Austin] Well said, you sure do look a man's man to me! [Glances at Alice, who's perspiring a little] Are you okay?

Alice : [Cough] Fine! [Looks down to where Cocan's bare rippling thigh muscles are touching against her fishnet stockings, before flapping her hand in front of her face] Say, is it hot in here, or is it me?

Cocan : Haw! I think it's me! [Catches her in a headlock and ruffles her hair all over the place, before letting her go.] You kind of messed up our plan, actually, but nice work all the same. I have to say, though, I'm a little disappointed that no elf arrived to check out the grave.

Austin : [Lights a cigarette ina long holder, blows two perfect smoke rings] My appologies for spoiling your plan. Perhaps there is another way to get the orb into the city. [Austin casualy inspects Maplin, smiles blissfully] They must take supplies into the city, we could secret the orb in a supply wagon or some such.

Cocan : Euphoria is a surprisingly self-supportive place. Unless one of them came out, it will be almost impossible to get back in.

Harvey : [To Boddy] What happened to Tarsus?

Boddy : [Shrugs] He was a weak link. He knew about the smuggling of Nascency fluid, and was about to shop us. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.

Austin : [To Cocan] And what were you trading the nascency fluid for?

Cocan : Haw! You make it sound like I was in it for the profit, Austin! We didn't sell it, it's all stashed in a thermos back in Boddy's place.

Austin : [To Cocan] Oh, excuse me, I have been wrongly led to believe that you were trading it with the Morcs for something. The morcs had a huge cauldron of the nascency fluid. [Blows some more smoke rings. Rhetorically says] So what are you stashing it for, a picnic. [Austin casually takes off his coat, rolls up Maplin's shirt sleeve, carefully, and gets a small bottle of jojoba oil from his pocket and carefully starts massaging some oil into Maplin]

Boddy : We were stashing it to give to the Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Confused] But, who did you steal it off?

Boddy : The Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Satisfied] Oh, okay.

Cocan : Had a run in with Morcs, eh? Vicious little brutes, aren't they? I suspect it was their own Nascency fluid. Things in the Interior work a little differently to up above.

Cocan : [Laughs at Harvey] Haw! Sir, you are just like Sven said! Very good! [Smiles and shakes his head] He asks me why we didn't get it smuggled in when I've just told him that no one can get in or out, haw!

Chastity : And Jim?

Cocan : Well, that's a rather delicate issue, so I think I'll let Mr. Boddy answer that part of Harvey's question.

Boddy : [Sprawled lazily back in a chair] No, he didn't commit suicide.

Alice : Yay! So he's not dead? I really liked him!

Boddy : Oh, he's dead alright. He just didn't commit suicide.

Clint : [To Boddy] So you killed both Tarsus and Jim? Somehow I'm not a bit surprised.

Boddy : [Mildly amused] Actually, I didn't kill either of them. Jim killed Tarsus, and Cocan killed Jim.

Harvey : [To Cocan] What? You killed Jim? A Hierophantic Knight?

Cocan : [Jovially] Aw, come on, Harvey! This is war, there are always casualties, you as a military man should know that better than anyone! We tried to get him to leave, but that didn't work. He was a weak link, and the integrity of the mission was going to be comprimised.

Chastity : [To Cocan] Surely he knew of the plan before you all started so why would he have given your mission away. You must have ruthlessly labeled him as expendable before you started, or did he have a change of mind mid-way through?

Cocan : Haw! Sister, you judge me cruelly! He did have something of a change of heart - he was getting a fairly tough time from people when they believed that he had killed me, and was on the verge of blurting it out. It wasn't through choice that we dealt with him, we had to do it.

Alice : I'm confused. You were stealing Nascency Fluid from the Euphoric Elves and then storing it so you could give it back to them? Why?

Boddy : Because without it, they would die. People in the Interior are very protective of their Nascency fluid.

Chastity : [To Boddy] But you wouldn't be doing this for charity, by the hypothetical goodness in your heart. You must be looking to gain something in return. It would seem to me that with a store of Nascency Fluid you could, in the correctly manipulated circumstances, almost demand anything you desire in return for it. Sucurralous behaviour that I wouldn't put past you! Want did you hope to gain?

Cocan : Haw! [Laughs at Boddy] Looks like she's got your number, alright!

Boddy : What you say is true, Sister, but only of someone with far less scruples than ourselves. Quite frankly, there's a war coming. It's already started on the surface, and is going spill under here soon. The last* time round, the Interior shut its borders, and millions of people on the surface died as a result. This time things are much worse. More people will die, and then attention will be focused on the Interior, which will fall soon after. The Euphorics have shut their borders in the foolish belief that the same behaviour as last time will protect them, and soon the other clans will follow their lead, and even Paranoia will throw out humans. the

Chastity : [Nodding her head] Hmm, very interesting indeed. But you still haven't answered the question, have you.

Boddy : It depends on which question you mean.

Harvey : I think the sister wants to know what you hope to gain.

Boddy : [Spreads his hands wide] There's going to be a war, unlike almost anything the world has ever seen, and we're going to need everyone. In general, Elves are smarter than humans, better looking, have better personal hygiene and have greater access to magic, but they are too insular and self satisfied. In the past two thousand years, humans have had countless wars, lost millions of people and have had to rely on the likes of you to save them, but have produced an unimaginable amount of classic art, literature and music. They have invented everything from the Hamstrain to teleportation devices to resurrection tools. The Euphoric Elves have had nothing but democracy, peace and brotherly love, and what did they produce? The Cuckoo clock.

[Right on cue, BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to mind.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Boddy : The point is, the Euphoric Elves are going to be dragged into the war. If they do it now, we all might stand a chance of survival. If they wait until humanity falls, the earth is doomed.

Clint : Right. But that still doesn't explain why do you rob nascency fluid from the Elves to give it back to them.

Boddy : [To Clint] Hey, we're not barbarians, you know? [Smiles and glances at Cocan] Well, most of us aren't. We want the Elves to be involved in a bloody war, not to kill them. The plan was to use the missing Nascency fluid to bring them out of Euphoria to get them involved in the war, as soon as we made contact, we were going to give the fluid back. [To Harvey] It's got nothing to do with your wand, other than the fact that it's most probably stuck in Euphoria.

Chastity : Well how much have you aquired so far. It'll take a lot to lure them out surely, or will a flask full be enough?

Boddy : I would have thought a flask was enough, but apparantly not. At the rate we were smuggling it out, it would take years to get them to react.

Alice : So what happens now?

Boddy : Either we come up with a plan real quick, or just hang around waiting for some dumb luck to come along.

Harvey : A strategy that's suited us for many months now!

Alice : [Nodding eagerly in agreement] I'll say! I've definitely met a load of [stops a second] oh, dumb luck?

[Enter the HOODED MAN from earlier. He sits down in the alcove across from the party, although it isn't clear whether or not he sees the party.]

Chastity : [Indicates to the hooded man] Ah, I think Mr. Luck may have just entered the building.

Cocan : [Glances out] Do you know this Luck character?

Austin : [Still oiling Maplin as if Maplin were a Swiss watch] Only inasmuch as he has been following us and spying on us for sometime. If he some kind of voyeur pervert?

Boddy : How long has he been spying on you? [Grimaces slightly at Maplin] And what has he done that suggests he's a pervert?

Chastity : [To Boddy] He approached us at Cocan's grave, after we'd found Tarsus' body in the coffin. He mentioned that how he greeted us depended on our relationship with Cocan, but I don't think he was referring to any strange perversions. That may just be Austin's wishful thinking.

Cocan : Haw! What a character! [Jovially claps his hand on top of Austin's, and is only slightly dismayed at the manner in which it slips off]

Boddy : Will we kill him?

Alice : [Looks at Austin, before turning back to Boddy] Better not.

Austin : [Finishes oiling Maplin, dries Maplin off, straightens his sleeve, and put his jacket back on. To Cocan] Why don't we invite him over here and ask him what he wants?

Cocan : Off you go, and make sure to tell that serving wench to send over far too much beer.

Austin : [To Cocan] Me? You must be joking, it could be dangerous. [Blows two more smoke rings]

Boddy : I see you haven't changed. Let's sort this guy out. [Pulls out a dagger and draws back the curtain] Hey! [Throws the dagger towards the stranger, causing it become embedded upto the hilt in the wooden wall, inches from his head.]

[The MAN doesn't even flinch, although he does glance at the hilt, before taking out what looks like a heavily modified crossbow, and putting it on the table in front of him.]

Clint : Ah, Boddy, charming as always. [Gets up and walks to the hooded man] Who are you? [Tries to examine the man's face, to see if he can recognise him]

[As CLINT approaches, the man leaps up, grabbing his crossbow, and points it at CLINT's throat. His hood falls back as he moves, revealing his face. He is clearly a Euphoric Elf.]

Altho : [Crossbow pointing at Clint's throat, but absolutely dead calm] I am Altho Kindlier. Speak your business before I shoot you in the face. Bore me with unnecessary detail and I will shoot you in the throat. Attempt to intimidate me with the usual mindless human rhetoric and I will shoot you in the testicles.

[In incredibly quick time, both BODDY and COCAN have their swords drawn, and are either side of CLINT, with their swords to ALTHO's throat.]

Alice : [Clearly confused at the speed of Cocan and Boddy] Hold on! [Pulls out her own sword, but fumbles it, causing it to land hilt first onto Chastity's foot] Oops.

Ohmloss : I wasn't so much glancing at you, as watching you. I find the whole business surrounding Cocan's death very suspicious, and even more suspicious that you should turn up looking for him just days after he died.

Alice : What about the fact that we're travelling with a decaying and stinky monster? That's pretty suspicious, if you ask me.

Ohmloss : Well, that's true.

Alice : Then, of course, there's Roy too!

Chastity : Gosh, Colonel, there's an ideal. [To Ohmloss] Well, would the police care to exhume his body to further investigations?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : My accusation is based on the fact that you are humans. Inherently untrustworthy savages who spend their time fornicating, fighting and flinging food around. Why do you want Cocan's body exhumed?

Ohmloss : Hrm. Well, I suppose the body won't smell any worse than you people normally do. Okay, let's go.

[Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

Ohmloss : Kick our clogs?

Alice : He means die.

Ohlmoss : Nothing, we just return to our Nascency pool.

Chastity : [With a smile] Why, he comes back after inventing flip-flops, of course! boundary="Boundary_(ID_97dIg3UxJ2eCXxFctCsnzQ)"

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Harvey : Well, to prove our innocence of this crime beyond a shadow of a doubt, my good sir! And then you can better spend your time looking for real criminals, eh! > [Exit ALL, following OHMLOSS.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VIII. The Graveyard. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, ROY and OHMLOSS are here. There are also a number of elves wioth shovels, and they are digging up a grave, that has what appears to be a statue of SVEN on the gravestone. All of the elves look extremely uncomfortable.]

Ohmloss : [Gives a shiver as the enter the graveyard] You know, I'll never understand you people - it's bad enough that you die, but to leave a body behind that your family then plant in field full of other bodies [gives another shiver] it's just unnatural.

Alice : [To Harvey] I don't know, I think it's a nun thing.

[The ELVES strike coffin, and soon have it up on the surface. All of them, including OHMLOSS, step back from it.]

Ohmloss : Go on then!

Alice : My God, the smell!

Ohmloss : He hasn't even opened the coffin yet!

Alice : I know, I was complaining about them. [Waves at Clint and Roy.]

[HARVEY opens the coffin, and everyone is hit by the unmistakable odour of decaying flesh. Inside is a dark haired human male, about 5' 6" tall, with a goatee. He has clearly been dead for a few days. At his feet is an orb.]

Ohmloss : [Covers his eyes with his hands] This is too disgusting!

[Each of the elves is clearly overcome by the sight.]

Clint : [Stepping between the orb and the Elves, and whispering to Austin] You know what to do, lawyer.

Austin : But of course. [Steps up to the coffin, and comes back with a smile] I got what I wanted.

Alice : What about the orb?

Austin : Oh! I was momentarily distracted by the watch and wedding ring. [Snatches the orb and slips it into his pocket.]

Ohmloss : [Forces himself to look] That's Tarsus!

Austin : [Changing his white gloves for a clean set of ... white gloves] Tarsus, hmm, it appears that my hypothesis was correct. [To Harvey] We must get to Euphoria, and continue our misson. [To Ohmloss and the elves] I don't think we need the coffin and body any longer, you may bury it again, please. [To Ohmloss] Has this helped your investigations any?

Ohmloss : [Still shocked by the sight of the body] Tarsus was once a co-conspirator of Cocan's - he was about to tell us all, after being involved in one final deal. [To Austin] It has - I suspect Cocan is alive, and we're going straight to his house to tear it apart. were involved in this subterfuge! I think you will be wasting your time, officer, but as you can now see, we are completely innocent of Cocans death, eh!

Austin : [To Harvey] We had not been officially accused. I expect that they realised that that would have been a futile move to make, when they realised who they were dealing with. [Examines his nails, and smiles] Such is my reputation. [To Ohmloss] Ofcourse, finding the body of Tarsus does not mean that Cocan is alive. Someone else may have already stolen Cocan's corpse, or perhaps a simple clerical error put this man in the wrong grave.

Ohmloss : Of his death, maybe, but I'm sure you're guilty of something else. We're off to get a search warrant, and then, by God, we'll find out what's going on here. [To the other elves] Let's just leave it here, I can't take any more of this dead body thing.

Ohlmoss : We know who and what we're dealing with.

Alice : [To Chastity] Well, could that be true, Chas? Could the local priests have made an error?

Chastity : It is unlikely, child. Priests don't make mistakes, they merely follow the sometimes mysterious ways of God.

Ohmloss : [Narrows his eyes at Harvey] It is precisely because of you that The Euphoric Elves closed their borders.

[Exit OHMLOSS and the ELVES.]

Alice : Maybe it's because you haven't been near there that no one else is allowed in? [Considers this for a moment] Anyway, what happens now? How do we figure out what the orb is for?

Chastity : We can't risk asking Boddy and the others, as I'm sure they'd be after it as well. I'll bet it was left by Cocan. But as for finding this out, the proof will be in the using, I suppose.

Alice : But who buried it? Surely it was Boddy and the others? And, remember, he did tell Nefiritiri that there is something hidden in his house for her.

Chastity : [Glances at Roy] Funny that! [To Harvey] I agree, lets not stay around here. We're conspicuous enough as it is without hanging around newly dug graves.

Alice : [Glances at Clint] Well, it's better than the stench of - [breaks off] Actually, it's not. It's a whole lot worse.

[The party are interrupted by the unmistakable click of a crossbow from behind. There is a HOODED MAN at the entrance of the graveyard, who's face is obscured by his cloak.]

Man : Who are you that defile the grave of Cocan? Speak quickly, before I shoot one of you in the face.

Chastity : This may be the grave of Cocan, but it is not Cocan's grave. [Indicates towards the open coffin] See for yourself.

Man : [Slowly walks forwards] Despite what the gravestone says? [Moves closer] So I see. Who is this unfortunate?

Austin : [To The hood] The police who have small penises and dug up the grave said that this corpse was Tarsus. [To Harvey] We should leave this place quickly, before it attracts any more cloacked figures [Looks at the cloaked figure] Who are you?

Man : Tarsus? [Chuckles] Then Cocan is almost certainly alive. I am not at liberty to divulge my name to you now, but we will probably meet again. Whether or not I kill you will depend on your relationship with Cocan.

[The HOODED MAN turns and slips out the gate, disappearing down the street.]

Clint : Quickly, let's follow him!

Alice : Good idea, Stinky!

[ALICE and CLINT run out to the gate, but the man has disappeared without trace. All that is here are ordinary elves going about their business, giving ALICE and CLINT the occasional disapproving glance.]

Austin : [ Goes over to where the hooded figuer had stood and lloks at the foot prints, then walks over to Alice and Clint] Did he leave muddy foot prints? [Looks down the street]

[The figure did leave footprints, that look as though they came from boots. He was about the same height as BODDY and COCAN, but probably not as broad shouldered.]

Alice : Not many - there are a few, but he mustn't have picked up much mud, as they disappear after a few steps. [To Harvey] We're probably going to have to mention it to someone, as we're pretty stuck now. If we don't get to her soon, Ohmloss will surely tell her. boundary="Boundary_(ID_pg+8ZLnk5Khj0cqpv08U8Q)"

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Harvey : But dear niece, I don't think Ohmloss saw the orb! And he certainly didn't see us taking it! However, you are correct in that we will have to tell someone. But who can we trust! Gah! There's not one person outside of this troop that I trust in this cursed place!

Alice : Between you and me, Harvey, there is more than one person inside of this troop that I don't trust! What I meant is that he's going to tell Nefiritiri that Cocan mightn't be dead - I think he saw the body.

[The party go to COCAN's house.]

Alice : So, before we knock on the door, what are we going to tell her? [Looks around at the others] Do we really believe that she thought Cocan was dead?

Clint : I don't think she believed it. But if we don't tell her we saw the body, then we have nothing at all to tell her, right?

Alice : If we don't tell her, then Ohmloss surely will.

Alice : [Reels slightly from Harvey's logic] Right. [Looks away for a second and then back again] Let's just knock. [Knocks on the door.]

[A few seconds later, NEFIRITIRI opens the door.]

Nefiritiri : Ah, come on in.

Nefiritiri : [Shocked] What? How can he not be dead? The others saw him die! [Turns around for a moment, before looking back] Boddy and Milicent are upstairs at the moment - why don't we ask them what's going on?

Chastity : Yes, this should be interesting, although I can't say that I'm surprised that Boddy is involved in some sort of conspiracy.

Austin : [To Nefirititi] I don't expect they will know either. I think Cocan faked his death to get into Euphoria, unless they buried him in the wrong grave.

Nefiritiri : [Reeling from all the contradictory points of view] Hold on! You're saying that you don't think Cocan is dead, and that Boddy is helping him cover it up? Well, Boddy was one of the few witnesses, but, okay, where will we discuss this? In the house or somewhere else?

Austin : [Deadpan] Hmm, yes, very discreet and private.

Alice : [To Harvey] Tart.

Nefiritiri : Okay, let's go for that. [Calls out] Milicent? I'm going out for a few minutes.

[Everyone returns to the Tidy and Relaxing Tavern, and sit down in a quiet corner.]

Nefiritiri : So, what's all this about?

Austin : Well, if Cocan suspected that someone was spying on him he may have decided not to tell anyone, lest his plan is compromised. Boddy is not Darius, and Boddy has, so far, been good to us, despite what happens in the future, and even then I don't think he did anything bad did he?

Alice : He did let over a thousand people get killed in Insomnia after fooling us into getting people to get rid of their weapons. Then again, he did headbutt Adam and stole Corwyn's hat, so he can't be all bad.

Nefiritiri : Well, first of all, Boddy is Darius, in the same way that Cocan is Sven, and Milicent is Peter. They are more alike than you might imagine. I know there was trouble with the police, but I wouldn't have thought it was bad enough to warrant this. Ohmloss visited me yesterday, and claimed that Cocan and the others were stealing Nascency fluid from the Euphoric Elves, and selling it to the Morcs. got none...

Harvey : That's incredible, my dear! What would Cocan do such a thing? Surely he must have known that if was caught, his life would be finished in this place? What could have made him take that risk? [Thinks for a while] Unless he was trying to buy something very important from the Morcs with the fluid?

Nefiritiri : I wouldn't have believed it myself, either, but I did come across some in his house just a few days ago. I think it was from Euphoria.

Alice : So he really was stealing the stuff? [Glances out the window] Hey! There's that guy again!

[Just outside is the person who was spying on the party from NEFIRITIRI's garden the previous day, dressed identically. This is clearly not the same person that they met in the graveyard. He appears to be making little effort to hide.]

Clint : What do you mean, they're the same? Sven is dead, and Cocan apparently is alive! And what would that nascency fluid be good for? This is all too confusing for me, I need some fluid myself. [Calls at the bar] Mandy, dear, bring me some drink please!

Harvey : You're right, dear niece! Perhaps he's spying on Nefiritiri? Do you recognise the build of the man, my dear?

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him!

Mandy : [To Clint] Anything for you, honey. [Starts pouring out some disgusting looking beer]

Nefiritiri : The Morcs can use it - the more they have, the more of them there are. As for Sven and Cocan being the same, well [sigh] I don't really have time to go into right now, but, one is a reincarnation of the other.

[Everyone looks out the window. It is impossible to see the SPY's face.]

Nefiritiri : [To Harvey] You know, he looks very familiar....

[BODDY comes along, and nonchalantly starts talking to the SPY.]

Alice : You know, some times Boddy is so sneaky, one almost has to admire him!

Harvey : By the saints, why does that not surprise me [indicates the spy]. So, looks like Boddy has hired someone to keep tabs on us, or you, Nefiritiri. I wonder if it is Cocan himself? Or perhaps even Jim?

Austin : [To Alice] If he was really sneaky you wouldn't even know it. Well, I expect he can clear a few things up when he gets in.

[BODDY and the SPY look over at the party, and BODDY gives a cheerful wave, before heading over to the bar.]

Boddy : [To Mandy] I left a coffee after me last night, could you get it? It's bound to be warmer now than it was when I first got it.

[BODDY gets the coffee, and sits with the party.]

Boddy : Hey folks. [Drinks some of the coffee through a straw, making a ludicrous slurping sound] Mm-mm! On Tue, 11 Mar 2003, Conor Ryan wrote:

Alice : [Clearly a little annoyed at Boddy, and about to say something, before looking around, puzzled] Hey! Where's Roy?

Boddy : The flaky fellow? Last time I saw him he was trying to squeeze in beside Tarsus in Cocan's coffin. I think he was saying something about how Kit was right? It was difficult to tell, there was so much crying and wailing going on.

Clint : [Pointing at some of the sausages still left on the floor] I think he left some fingers behind.

Austin : [To Boddy] Odd fellow that Roy, blessed with eternal life and wonderful powers and all he does is cry. Maybe he had a small penis too, [Pauses] or perhaps it fell off.

Alice : [Laughs at Clint] They'll probably taste better than [suddenly realises with horror what Austin said, and turns around to take a closer look at one of the sausages] Eauh!

[BODDY says nothing, but drinks some more of his coffee with another annoying slurping sound.]

Austin : [To Boddy, producing the sphere] Can you tell me the magical properties of this orb, Mr Boddy?

Boddy : [Nonchalantly picks it up, and tosses it in the air a few times, before putting it back down] Yes, yes, I can. [Drinks some more coffee] It's a transportation orb, that works in tandem with one or more other ones. When you activate the other one, you are transported to where ever that one is.

Austin : [Picks up the orb and sticks back into his bag. To Boddy] So, I expect that you have heard that Tarsarus was in Cocan's grave, but who was it that was spying on us in the back yard, that you spoke to?

Boddy : I was aware of it. [Drinks some more coffee]

Harvey : Gah! Answer Private Sleaze's question, man! Who was it?

[BODDY doesn't answer, but beckons to the man outside, who comes across. In the meantime, BODDY pulls a curtain around the alcove where the party are to give them some privacy. Seconds later, enter COCAN THE BARBARIAN through the curtains, taking off his spy hat and glasses.]

Cocan : [With a big smile] Haw! I should have known you wasters would have turned up to spoil our plan!

Clint : [With a look of surprise on his face] Is he for real? [Punches Cocan hard on the shoulder]

Austin : [Smiles] Good to see you again. So who's in on the plan, does Nefi know? [Straightens his cuff]

Cocan : [Smiles to himself for a moment] You know, Stinky, I'm sure you can do a whole lot better than that! [Hits Clint hard on the shoulder, and roars with laughter as he staggers a little, before turning to Austin] I don't care what Sven thought, you don't look at all gay to me, Austin. [Squeezes in between Chastity and Alice] Woah, Chastity! We're going to have to do something about that. [Snatches Boddy's coffee and takes a drink, before looking at Alice] I bet you didn't see this coming, Shooter.

Alice : [Glancing down at Cocan's huge bare thighs, and swallowing hard, before speaking hoarsely] No.

Boddy : [Lighting a cigarette] I'm afraid she wasn't. Nefiritiri isn't the woman that you used to know - she's gone and got herself a conscience.

Cocan : [Mock angry] Hey! You say that like it's a bad thing, that's my wife you're talking about!

Austin : [To Cocan] Did you fake your death to get into Euphoria, escape the police, or was there some other reason? And I am not gay, and never have been.

Cocan : [Stretches his legs apart to get comfortable] It was to get into Euphoria. I was on good terms with the elves there, and was hoping they'd be so disappointed to hear that I had died while a persona non grata, that they'd steal the coffin. Then, when they'd open it, we'd all use the orb to appear. [Gives a big smile at Austin] Well said, you sure do look a man's man to me! [Glances at Alice, who's perspiring a little] Are you okay?

Alice : [Cough] Fine! [Looks down to where Cocan's bare rippling thigh muscles are touching against her fishnet stockings, before flapping her hand in front of her face] Say, is it hot in here, or is it me?

Cocan : Haw! I think it's me! [Catches her in a headlock and ruffles her hair all over the place, before letting her go.] You kind of messed up our plan, actually, but nice work all the same. I have to say, though, I'm a little disappointed that no elf arrived to check out the grave.

Austin : [Lights a cigarette ina long holder, blows two perfect smoke rings] My appologies for spoiling your plan. Perhaps there is another way to get the orb into the city. [Austin casualy inspects Maplin, smiles blissfully] They must take supplies into the city, we could secret the orb in a supply wagon or some such.

Cocan : Euphoria is a surprisingly self-supportive place. Unless one of them came out, it will be almost impossible to get back in.

Harvey : [To Boddy] What happened to Tarsus?

Boddy : [Shrugs] He was a weak link. He knew about the smuggling of Nascency fluid, and was about to shop us. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.

Austin : [To Cocan] And what were you trading the nascency fluid for?

Cocan : Haw! You make it sound like I was in it for the profit, Austin! We didn't sell it, it's all stashed in a thermos back in Boddy's place.

Austin : [To Cocan] Oh, excuse me, I have been wrongly led to believe that you were trading it with the Morcs for something. The morcs had a huge cauldron of the nascency fluid. [Blows some more smoke rings. Rhetorically says] So what are you stashing it for, a picnic. [Austin casually takes off his coat, rolls up Maplin's shirt sleeve, carefully, and gets a small bottle of jojoba oil from his pocket and carefully starts massaging some oil into Maplin]

Boddy : We were stashing it to give to the Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Confused] But, who did you steal it off?

Boddy : The Euphoric Elves.

Alice : [Satisfied] Oh, okay.

Cocan : Had a run in with Morcs, eh? Vicious little brutes, aren't they? I suspect it was their own Nascency fluid. Things in the Interior work a little differently to up above.

Harvey : [Nods in agreement] By the saints, you're not wrong on that score! Thinking about it, private Sleaze does have a point though, why didn't you have the orb smuggled into Euphoria somehow, rather than this whole death ruse? And did Jim really commit suicide?

Cocan : [Laughs at Harvey] Haw! Sir, you are just like Sven said! Very good! [Smiles and shakes his head] He asks me why we didn't get it smuggled in when I've just told him that no one can get in or out, haw!

Chastity : And Jim?

Cocan : Well, that's a rather delicate issue, so I think I'll let Mr. Boddy answer that part of Harvey's question.

Boddy : [Sprawled lazily back in a chair] No, he didn't commit suicide.

Alice : Yay! So he's not dead? I really liked him!

Boddy : Oh, he's dead alright. He just didn't commit suicide.

Clint : [To Boddy] So you killed both Tarsus and Jim? Somehow I'm not a bit surprised.

Boddy : [Mildly amused] Actually, I didn't kill either of them. Jim killed Tarsus, and Cocan killed Jim.

Harvey : [To Cocan] What? You killed Jim? A Hierophantic Knight?

Cocan : [Jovially] Aw, come on, Harvey! This is war, there are always casualties, you as a military man should know that better than anyone! We tried to get him to leave, but that didn't work. He was a weak link, and the integrity of the mission was going to be comprimised.

Chastity : [To Cocan] Surely he knew of the plan before you all started so why would he have given your mission away. You must have ruthlessly labeled him as expendable before you started, or did he have a change of mind mid-way through?

Cocan : Haw! Sister, you judge me cruelly! He did have something of a change of heart - he was getting a fairly tough time from people when they believed that he had killed me, and was on the verge of blurting it out. It wasn't through choice that we dealt with him, we had to do it.

Alice : I'm confused. You were stealing Nascency Fluid from the Euphoric Elves and then storing it so you could give it back to them? Why?

Boddy : Because without it, they would die. People in the Interior are very protective of their Nascency fluid.

Chastity : [To Boddy] But you wouldn't be doing this for charity, by the hypothetical goodness in your heart. You must be looking to gain something in return. It would seem to me that with a store of Nascency Fluid you could, in the correctly manipulated circumstances, almost demand anything you desire in return for it. Sucurralous behaviour that I wouldn't put past you! Want did you hope to gain?

Cocan : Haw! [Laughs at Boddy] Looks like she's got your number, alright!

Boddy : What you say is true, Sister, but only of someone with far less scruples than ourselves. Quite frankly, there's a war coming. It's already started on the surface, and is going spill under here soon. The last* time round, the Interior shut its borders, and millions of people on the surface died as a result. This time things are much worse. More people will die, and then attention will be focused on the Interior, which will fall soon after. The Euphorics have shut their borders in the foolish belief that the same behaviour as last time will protect them, and soon the other clans will follow their lead, and even Paranoia will throw out humans. the

Chastity : [Nodding her head] Hmm, very interesting indeed. But you still haven't answered the question, have you.

Boddy : It depends on which question you mean.

Harvey : I think the sister wants to know what you hope to gain.

Boddy : [Spreads his hands wide] There's going to be a war, unlike almost anything the world has ever seen, and we're going to need everyone. In general, Elves are smarter than humans, better looking, have better personal hygiene and have greater access to magic, but they are too insular and self satisfied. In the past two thousand years, humans have had countless wars, lost millions of people and have had to rely on the likes of you to save them, but have produced an unimaginable amount of classic art, literature and music. They have invented everything from the Hamstrain to teleportation devices to resurrection tools. The Euphoric Elves have had nothing but democracy, peace and brotherly love, and what did they produce? The Cuckoo clock.

[Right on cue, BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to mind.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Boddy : The point is, the Euphoric Elves are going to be dragged into the war. If they do it now, we all might stand a chance of survival. If they wait until humanity falls, the earth is doomed.

Clint : Right. But that still doesn't explain why do you rob nascency fluid from the Elves to give it back to them.

Harvey : Has it got anything to do with the wand we're looking for?

Boddy : [To Clint] Hey, we're not barbarians, you know? [Smiles and glances at Cocan] Well, most of us aren't. We want the Elves to be involved in a bloody war, not to kill them. The plan was to use the missing Nascency fluid to bring them out of Euphoria to get them involved in the war, as soon as we made contact, we were going to give the fluid back. [To Harvey] It's got nothing to do with your wand, other than the fact that it's most probably stuck in Euphoria.

Chastity : Well how much have you aquired so far. It'll take a lot to lure them out surely, or will a flask full be enough?

Boddy : I would have thought a flask was enough, but apparantly not. At the rate we were smuggling it out, it would take years to get them to react.

Alice : So what happens now?

Boddy : Either we come up with a plan real quick, or just hang around waiting for some dumb luck to come along.

Harvey : A strategy that's suited us for many months now!

Alice : [Nodding eagerly in agreement] I'll say! I've definitely met a load of [stops a second] oh, dumb luck?

[Enter the HOODED MAN from earlier. He sits down in the alcove across from the party, although it isn't clear whether or not he sees the party.]

Chastity : [Indicates to the hooded man] Ah, I think Mr. Luck may have just enteredri.ed.ac.uk> -=- Fri, 14 Mar 2003 14:59:01 +0000 (GMT) -->

Austin : [Casually watches the posturing, see Alice's sword go through Chastitie's foot] Woops! [Blows two smoke rings, and looks back to the 'fight', reddies his sling shot discreetly]

Altho : [To Mandy] If you have anything to drink that is even remotely close to the standard to which Euphoric Elves are accustomed, bring it to me. If you do not, bring me an empty glass, into which I shall spill the blood of this reprobrate.

Clint : [To Cocan] Is he talking about me? [To Altho] That's the gratitude you show. I came here to avoid a confrontation, whereas you're clearly looking for it. If it's a fight you want, let me grab my sword, and let's fight like men. Or like man and elve, whatever.

[COCAN and BODDY cock their swords noisily.]

Cocan : For someone who's supposed to in a closed city, you're very far from home.

Altho : For someone who's supposed to be dead, you only smell marginally worse than normal humans.

[Each of COCAN, ALTHO and BODDY burst out laughing, and lower their weapons.]

Altho : [Bows slightly to Clint] My apologies. I had to determine the nature of your relationship with these scoundrels. I would offer to buy you a drink if this hell-hole had anything more palatable than stale Oxen urine.

[MANDY, who is on her way out from behind the counter with a glass of yellow liquid does an about turn and heads back in.]

Chastity : [Hands Alice back her sword, sits down and rubs her foot] Please try and be careful, dear, you could hurt someone with that.

Alice : With a sword? Yeah, right. [Reaches out, but pricks her hand on it] Ow!

[COCAN and ALTHO embrace.]

Altho : I knew you couldn't be dead. I was sent here to check it out.

Cocan : [Escorting Altho back to the table, and speaking to the others] I told you they'd come, haw! Good old Euphoria.

Altho : [Sitting down] Of course, it was incredibly arrogant of you to assume we'd steal the body. What was it? An orb hidden in the coffin?

[COCAN glances over at BODDY who gives him a look which clearly says "I told you so."]

Altho : [To Chastity] You have only one hand.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Austin : [Blows two smoke rings. To Altho] We humans from the surface have no nascency fluid at all. When we die we stay dead, unless we are resurrected by a friendly genie, or such like.

Altho : [Considers this for a moment] That isn't true of Cocan and Boddy.

Boddy : [Points at Altho, winking and making that irritating "click click" sound] It is when we're on the surface.

Alice : Speaking of friendly genies, you've been very quiet, Nefiritiri.

Nefiritiri : Yes, I have.

Austin : [To Boddy] So now that we are down here in the Interior, do we, the present parry from Queens View, assembled before you now, have nascency fluid somewhere? And further to this, can we assume that if Chastity kills herself, she will come back to life, her hand reformed?

Chastity : [To Austin] I cannot kill myself, it would be a mortal sin of the highest order. [Turns to Boddy, with great interest] It's a good question though.

Austin : [To Chastity] Well, I'm sure that if you ran into a Morc encampment and started pounding them with your ... [Looks at Chastity's club] truncheon, that they would kill you for free.

Chastity : [Looks unceratin] I'm sure they would, although I hold concerns on their methods.

Austin : [To Chastity] If you like, I could give them some advance instructions. Which 'method' [Does finger quotes just to annoy] would you prefer? [Blows two smoke rings whilst musing] Perhaps a slow strangulation, giving you enough time to gasp a quick prayer [Blows another smoke ring] or the rack, allowing ample time for a full and complete range of prayers [Waves his hand casually] etc. Or even better, burning alive, to give that extra edge of urgency and sincerity to your pleas? [Austin muses these options. Looks at Nefiritiri. Casually to Nefifritiri] Amazing, is it not, how much time we can waste, with idle chatter and personal slights, before getting round to the point. You too must be bored rigid. [Checks his nails]

Chastity : What, does your idle chatter bore you as well?

Clint : [Puts his head to one side and snores, before pretending to wake up with a start] Muh! I just had a terrible nightmare, that we were all sitting around listening to the lawyer. [Looks around] Gah!

Nefiritiri : [Shooting Cocan a dirty look] I'm too angry to be bored.

Boddy : [To Austin] The answer to your questions are no, and no. Obtaining Nascency Fluid in the first place is [glances from Cocan to Nefiritiri] well, let's just say it's not easy.

All : It's not easy.

Chastity : [Sadly looks at her stump] Oh well, when it comes to the question of my missing hand it looks like I'm still...[pauses for the pre-pun anticipation]...looking for the answer.

Austin : [To Chastity] The word you are looking for is 'stumped', sister. [Austin stubs out his cigarette]

Cocan : [Bursts out laughing] Haw! [Grabs Austin in a headlock and ruffles his hair, before letting go] There's no way he's gay, not with such a vicious sense of humour.

Nefiritiri : [Coldly to Austin] My. You're just delightful, aren't you?

Altho : [To Boddy] Will this last much longer?

Boddy : By the time they're finished, it'll feel like it's been going on all day!

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Just letting Chassers know what it was like to be the butt of the disfigurement related jokes that this lot, including Chassers, subjected me to in Hell.

Chastity : [Innocently] I have no idea what you mean.

Altho : I am pleased that you are alive, Cocan, but I must return to Euphoria.

Boddy : Well, it's funny you should mention that, this bunch here are looking to get into Euphoria.

Altho : What a coincidence. [Pause] Good luck with that.

Chastity : Altho, perhaps you could help us enter Euphoria.

Altho : No. I do not wish to offend anyone, but I do believe that you are little more than savages, who kill anything that they cannot procreate with. And, might I add, I am more well disposed towards humans than most Euphoric Elves.

Austin : [To Altho] 'kill anything that they cannot procreate with'? How absurd. Is Faern Short soely responsible for this, humanities most non egregious reputation?

Alice : [Stands up] Hey! You leave him out of this, Austin.

Altho : [Looks at Alice for a moment, then back to Austin] My apologies. Sometimes you let things procreate with you. Faern isn't solely responsible. In fact, I remember him as one of the more agreeable humans.

Boddy : It's a pity that you elves take such a short sighted view of things. Retreating into your own little domain will ultimately lead to your demise.

Harvey : [Annoyed at Altho] And few will shed tears, by the saints! Since coming here, I'm incredulous at the pomposity and arrogance on display from these people!

Altho : Since meeting you, I am not even remotely surprised at your aggression. I suspect your claim that few will shed tears is based upon the natural ignorance that characterises your race.

Boddy : If the Euphoric elves fall, so too will the rest of the Interior. However, unless they get involved on the human side right now, they will definitely fall.

Austin : [To Altho] For a race that claims to be so intelligent you seem to be amazingly short sighted. You never seem to ever do anything. [Does a why expression thing with his hands] What is the point in living if you never do anything? Making the occasional coo-koo clock, flip-flop, or clog is hardly living life to the full. All elves do is ponce around slagging off other races off for actually doing something. If elves actually did something the other races might actually pay some attention to what you say. [Pauses] Oh, but I forgot, elves don't care what anything else thinks. They want to die in ignorance. [Looks at Altho] I can assure you that Pestilence, Iok, Contagion and any of their kind will have a very great deal of fun torturing your people to death as they scream 'Why are you doing this, guuurgh' [Blows two smoke rings, casually]

Clint : [To Austin] That's ok, let them be. Maybe they're just... scared!!

Austin : [To Clint] I doubt that, stinky. Anyway Altho here is by far the smartest elf we have ever met, so goading him by calling him 'scaredy' is hardly likely to get a human like response that you seek, to boot, a rash and angered rush to prove his bravery. [Sigh!]

Clint : I didn't call him scaredy, lawyer, I called him scared. Wash your ears.

Austin : [To Altho] You, sir, are your peoples best hope. I expect that they would listen to you, whereas they would probably just kill us, with blank expressions on their faces. How may we help you to convince the elves that they must stand with us to fight our common enemy? [Casually flicks some ash from his cigarette into the ash tray]

Altho : [To Austin] While it is true that I am too intelligent to merely goaded into reacting, it is also true that I am too intelligent to be flattered into it.

Alice : [To Clint] Wash his ears? What about you? How about washing [emphasises] your ears? And your face? And your hands? And your feet? And [glances at his crotch before pausing] well, to save me the trouble of naming out all the parts, how about just having a wash?

[ALTHO goes quiet, and his face takes on an even more blank expression than usual for a few seconds.]

Altho : Because of, or perhaps in spite of your impassioned pleas, my people are prepared to talk to you. There are, however, three caveats. Firstly, they are unusually divided about this issue, so you may expect a somewhat less welcoming reception than you have come to expect from us. Secondly, Euphoria is about to be attacked by the Morcs so, while we are prepared to let you in, it will not be an easy task getting to one of the entrances. Thirdly, [gravely] we wish to hear more of these flip flops of which you speak.

Cocan : [Slamming his hand on the table, causing everyone to jump] Haw! I knew it! I knew they'd be able to talk you around.

Austin : [Looking momentarily speechless] Flip-flops? How about deeley-boppers, or pom-pom socks? [Pauses in disbelief, looks at Altho] I believe we are all doomed.

Chastity : [To Altho] Well, firstly I am intrigued by to find a reception that is less welcoming than that to which we've become accustomed to down here. Secondly, this group have become masters of tact, disguise and intrusion, so we should manage to get to an entrance. [Briefly turns to Alice] Who can forget the glory of the blue dragon, the cattle herd, or even the flying bicycle. [To Altho] And as for the flip-flops, the inventor down here, I suppose you could call him the interior designer, is in Paranoia at this moment, so you may manage to convince him to accompany us to Euphoria.

Altho : The question of you being doomed or not is directly related to the Euphoric Elves involvement. However, the probability of your getting the Elves involved is directly related to you bringing the designer of the flip flop, or at least one of his representatives who is capable of reproducing what is no doubt a fiendishly clever and intricate design.

Austin : [To Chastity] I am sure that we are quite capable of describing the 'flip-flop' to the elves without the aid of an 'interior designer', which I must say, is a suprising amusing pun, for a nun. [Sniggers briefly]

Chastity : [With no small amount of surprise] Why thank you, Austin. From you that is praise indeed. Unfortunately, being human we have no chance at all of impressing the Euphoric elves eevnen with a design so [looks down at her battered and patched up sandal] fiendishly clever and intricate. I think we have no choice but to find Philippe Filoppe.

Alice : But where are we going to find him? Paranoia is a big city, and he's hardly likely to just fall into our laps, is he?

[The door swings slowly, giving an ominous creak as it does so. Enter HOBO HAGGINS.]

Hobo : Hello. Excuse me moment. [Puts a ghettoblaster up on the counter, and starts it playing, before leaving again.]

Austin : [Goes over to the ghettoblaster and turns it off. To Chastity] We don't need Fillipe Filope. He didn't design the flip-flop, he merely listen to our description of the awful things and thought he had invented it. He is insane. [Looks at the ghettoblaster. To Altho] Do you like ghettoblasters too? [Just before AUSTIN turns off the stereo, some deafening circus type music can be heard, which mercifully breaks off as the stop button is pressed.]

Altho : No. However, Philipe Fillope is well known amongst our people.

[Enter HOBO once more, bursting through the door in a cartwheel, singing along to what would be playing on the ghettoblaster had it not been interfered with.]

Hobo : De de de de de de de de de [Finishes the carthweel by standing in front of the party with a flourish] Announcing the all new, all singing, all dancing, Flip Flop! [Starts clapping, clearly expecting the entire bar to join in]

Chastity : Now there's an improvement I'd never thought of, the dancing Flip-flop. I've only even seen people shuffling painfully slowly in them before. [To Austin] Maybe we're serving Phillipe a little short here.

Austin : [Sigh!. To Chastity] Okay, he may be of some use to us. I for one cannpt be bopthered trying to talk up the flip-flop, even if it has to be done to get into Euphoria. I guess Fillipe is the elf for the job. [Gets a pocket mirror out and sorts his hair out, for several minutes, as Cocan ruffled it a minute ago]

Hobo : [Slowly stops clapping, clearly irritated that no one has joined in.] I give you, Philipe Fillope!

[Enter PHILIPE and PEG. The former wearing a laurel wreath on his head and clasping a pair of flip flops to his chest.]

Philipe : Behold! The flip flop!

[ALTHO says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly.]

Chastity : [quietly to Austin] We'll have to butter him up to make sure he gets comes along. [Applauding towards Philipe] Very impressive, Philipe. We've been hard at work while you've been busily making your vision into reality, we have found a way to open up your market into [pauses for effect] Euphoria.

Austin : [Says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly, with a look of absolute HORROR on his face. Then, slowly] Oh, [Pauses] my [pauses] god. [Looks truly horrified] Knitted flip-flops.

Philipe : [Holds them up] Behold the beauty of the flip flop! [Turns to Chastity] I knew it! I knew that I would be invited back, and brought into the city in victory. What time does the victory carriage leave?

Chastity : [examines the flip-flop, nodding in approval] Nice needle work. I particularly like the knitted flower on the top. Nice touch. [To Philipe] Soon, but we may have to go in a more clandestine manner to the city. We don't want anyone stealing your glory before we show it off to the Euphoric Elves.

Philipe : Clandestine? Clandestine? I don't think so! If The Great Philipe goes to Euphoria, he does so first class!

Clint : Oh, but it will be a first class presentation, you will shock everyone with a sudden appearance in the middle of Euphoria!

Philipe : And how do you propose to do that?

Cocan : [Throws back some beer] Yeah, Stinky? How are we going to do that?

Altho : I must admit. I am quite curious about this myself.

Clint : Euh... an orb? A secret entrance? [Shrugs his shoulders] dunno.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn, before looking from Alice to Altho] I have noticed that you elves seem to have difficulty speaking to my niece. Those Euphoric elves we spoke to earlier seemed almost frightened of her. And you only moments ago seemed a little lost before answering her question. Why should that be?

Altho : That is adequate. Let us leave immediately.

[Everyone gets up.]

Cocan : Haw! This is what I like to see - an honourable party, good in thought and word and deed, going out to fight evil.

Mandy : Hey! Who's going to pay for their accomodation? And what about the drinks bill? And all those breakfasts?

Boddy : Your sacrifice in the name of the MAFF is much appreciated.

[Exit ALL.]

Mandy : Hey! [Looks around, dismayed that there is no one left] Hm, this is where he sat. [Hugs the seat where Clint was sitting, and rubs her cheek against it] Oh, Clint! [Looks slightly sick] Eauh. [Leans away from it, but leans forward to hug it again] Oh, Clint! [Leans back again] Eauh. [Faints, and falls under the table.]

Altho : [Sitting so he is angled slightly away from Alice] Her condition is alien to the people of the Interior. Here, only animals procreate in that fashion.

[ALICE says nothing, but rolls her eyes in irritation and gives a sigh of frustration.]

Altho : The rest of you will find it difficult to enter Euphoria, but your association with her will make it almost impossible. The logical thing would be to let her go.

Philipe : [Outraged at Clint] Dunno? Dunno? No one who makes plans for Philipe Fillope ever uses a sound like "dunno"? D'you know?

Peg : [Breathing slightly heavier, with a suggestion of perspiration on her forehead, and she looks Altho up and down] I'll go. I don't mind the danger.

Austin : [To Altho] Alice is not pregnant, but I don't suppose that matters since no one has ever seen through the ruse, even after being told about it. Anyway, we can't leave Alice as she is the most valuable member of the party, so it's all or nothing, buddy boy. [Blows two smoke rings].

Alice : [Annoyed] What do mean, most [realisation dawns] oh. [Big smile] Thanks Austin! [Looks to Clint and sticks her tongue out at him]

Altho : As you wish. [To Peg] Are you familiar to the point of intimacy with the design of the flip flop?

Peg : Yes.

Altho : Then it is settled.

Alice : [Still beaming] So be it! We shall be the Fellowship of the Wand!

Altho : No. If anything, we are a loose association.

Harvey : So, we are the loose association of the wand? No, not quite a sharp enough ring to it. How about the Mere Acquaintances of the Flip Flop?

[Book III, Act VII, Scene IX. A derelict house. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, BODDY, COCAN, ALTHO and PEG are here. The party are in an extremely dilapidated house, which clearly hasn't been lived in for several years.]

Alice : [Looking around] You know, I thought Euphoria would look a bit nicer than this.

Altho : This is not Euphoria. It is a secret exit out of Paranoia. [Pushes back some rubbish to reveal a trapdoor, before turning to the party] This is your final chance to back out. There is a dangerous road ahead of you.

Austin : [To Altho] If we don't take the dangerous road ahead, the one behind us will probably catch up pretty soon anyway. [To Harvey and the others] Let's go.

Altho : You are correct. Paranoia will soon be attacked by the Morcs, and Euphoria is already under siege. The situation is serious, the Nascency Fluid has been poisoned by persons unknown, so it is crucial we return to help with the war effort.

Cocan : [Reaches into his backpack and takes out a flask] Just as well that we've got some fresh fluid the building.

Cocan : [Glances out] Do you know this Luck character?

Austin : [Still oiling Maplin as if Maplin were a Swiss watch] Only inasmuch as he has been following us and spying on us for sometime. If he some kind of voyeur pervert?

Boddy : How long has he been spying on you? [Grimaces slightly at Maplin] And what has he done that suggests he's a pervert?

Chastity : [To Boddy] He approached us at Cocan's grave, after we'd found Tarsus' body in the coffin. He mentioned that how he greeted us depended on our relationship with Cocan, but I don't think he was referring to any strange perversions. That may just be Austin's wishful thinking.

Cocan : Haw! What a character! [Jovially claps his hand on top of Austin's, and is only slightly dismayed at the manner in which it slips off]

Boddy : Will we kill him?

Alice : [Looks at Austin, before turning back to Boddy] Better not.

Austin : [Finishes oiling Maplin, dries Maplin off, straightens his sleeve, and put his jacket back on. To Cocan] Why don't we invite him over here and ask him what he wants?

Cocan : Off you go, and make sure to tell that serving wench to send over far too much beer.

Austin : [To Cocan] Me? You must be joking, it could be dangerous. [Blows two more smoke rings]

Boddy : I see you haven't changed. Let's sort this guy out. [Pulls out a dagger and draws back the curtain] Hey! [Throws the dagger towards the stranger, causing it become embedded upto the hilt in the wooden wall, inches from his head.]

[The MAN doesn't even flinch, although he does glance at the hilt, before taking out what looks like a heavily modified crossbow, and putting it on the table in front of him.]

Clint : Ah, Boddy, charming as always. [Gets up and walks to the hooded man] Who are you? [Tries to examine the man's face, to see if he can recognise him]

[As CLINT approaches, the man leaps up, grabbing his crossbow, and points it at CLINT's throat. His hood falls back as he moves, revealing his face. He is clearly a Euphoric Elf.]

Altho : [Crossbow pointing at Clint's throat, but absolutely dead calm] I am Altho Kindlier. Speak your business before I shoot you in the face. Bore me with unnecessary detail and I will shoot you in the throat. Attempt to intimidate me with the usual mindless human rhetoric and I will shoot you in the testicles.

[In incredibly quick time, both BODDY and COCAN have their swords drawn, and are either side of CLINT, with their swords to ALTHO's throat.]

Alice : [Clearly confused at the speed of Cocan and Boddy] Hold on! [Pulls out her own sword, but fumbles it, causing it to land hilt first onto Chastity's foot] Oops.

Austin : [Casually watches the posturing, see Alice's sword go through Chastitie's foot] Woops! [Blows two smoke rings, and looks back to the 'fight', reddies his sling shot discreetly]

Altho : [To Mandy] If you have anything to drink that is even remotely close to the standard to which Euphoric Elves are accustomed, bring it to me. If you do not, bring me an empty glass, into which I shall spill the blood of this reprobrate.

Clint : [To Cocan] Is he talking about me? [To Altho] That's the gratitude you show. I came here to avoid a confrontation, whereas you're clearly looking for it. If it's a fight you want, let me grab my sword, and let's fight like men. Or like man and elve, whatever.

[COCAN and BODDY cock their swords noisily.]

Cocan : For someone who's supposed to in a closed city, you're very far from home.

Altho : For someone who's supposed to be dead, you only smell marginally worse than normal humans.

[Each of COCAN, ALTHO and BODDY burst out laughing, and lower their weapons.]

Altho : [Bows slightly to Clint] My apologies. I had to determine the nature of your relationship with these scoundrels. I would offer to buy you a drink if this hell-hole had anything more palatable than stale Oxen urine.

[MANDY, who is on her way out from behind the counter with a glass of yellow liquid does an about turn and heads back in.]

Chastity : [Hands Alice back her sword, sits down and rubs her foot] Please try and be careful, dear, you could hurt someone with that.

Alice : With a sword? Yeah, right. [Reaches out, but pricks her hand on it] Ow!

[COCAN and ALTHO embrace.]

Altho : I knew you couldn't be dead. I was sent here to check it out.

Cocan : [Escorting Altho back to the table, and speaking to the others] I told you they'd come, haw! Good old Euphoria.

Altho : [Sitting down] Of course, it was incredibly arrogant of you to assume we'd steal the body. What was it? An orb hidden in the coffin?

[COCAN glances over at BODDY who gives him a look which clearly says "I told you so."]

Altho : [To Chastity] You have only one hand.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Chastity : [Forlornly looking down at her bandaged stump] Alas yes. I lost my left hand during a recent battle. I miss it, despite it being stored in my bag, just in case. Can you do anything to help. I see my Boddy's watch that your people can achieve marvelous things with your technology.

Altho : [Looks genuinely surprised, turns to Boddy] Why doesn't she just kill herself?

Boddy : [Rolls his eyes] I think you've been spending a little too much time in Euphoria, friend.

Austin : [Blows two smoke rings. To Altho] We humans from the surface have no nascency fluid at all. When we die we stay dead, unless we are resurrected by a friendly genie, or such like.

Altho : [Considers this for a moment] That isn't true of Cocan and Boddy.

Boddy : [Points at Altho, winking and making that irritating "click click" sound] It is when we're on the surface.

Alice : Speaking of friendly genies, you've been very quiet, Nefiritiri.

Nefiritiri : Yes, I have.

Austin : [To Boddy] So now that we are down here in the Interior, do we, the present parry from Queens View, assembled before you now, have nascency fluid somewhere? And further to this, can we assume that if Chastity kills herself, she will come back to life, her hand reformed?

Chastity : [To Austin] I cannot kill myself, it would be a mortal sin of the highest order. [Turns to Boddy, with great interest] It's a good question though.

Austin : [To Chastity] Well, I'm sure that if you ran into a Morc encampment and started pounding them with your ... [Looks at Chastity's club] truncheon, that they would kill you for free.

Chastity : [Looks unceratin] I'm sure they would, although I hold concerns on their methods.

Austin : [To Chastity] If you like, I could give them some advance instructions. Which 'method' [Does finger quotes just to annoy] would you prefer? [Blows two smoke rings whilst musing] Perhaps a slow strangulation, giving you enough time to gasp a quick prayer [Blows another smoke ring] or the rack, allowing ample time for a full and complete range of prayers [Waves his hand casually] etc. Or even better, burning alive, to give that extra edge of urgency and sincerity to your pleas? [Austin muses these options. Looks at Nefiritiri. Casually to Nefifritiri] Amazing, is it not, how much time we can waste, with idle chatter and personal slights, before getting round to the point. You too must be bored rigid. [Checks his nails]

Chastity : What, does your idle chatter bore you as well?

Clint : [Puts his head to one side and snores, before pretending to wake up with a start] Muh! I just had a terrible nightmare, that we were all sitting around listening to the lawyer. [Looks around] Gah!

Nefiritiri : [Shooting Cocan a dirty look] I'm too angry to be bored.

Boddy : [To Austin] The answer to your questions are no, and no. Obtaining Nascency Fluid in the first place is [glances from Cocan to Nefiritiri] well, let's just say it's not easy.

All : It's not easy.

Chastity : [Sadly looks at her stump] Oh well, when it comes to the question of my missing hand it looks like I'm still...[pauses for the pre-pun anticipation]...looking for the answer.

Austin : [To Chastity] The word you are looking for is 'stumped', sister. [Austin stubs out his cigarette]

Cocan : [Bursts out laughing] Haw! [Grabs Austin in a headlock and ruffles his hair, before letting go] There's no way he's gay, not with such a vicious sense of humour.

Nefiritiri : [Coldly to Austin] My. You're just delightful, aren't you?

Altho : [To Boddy] Will this last much longer?

Boddy : By the time they're finished, it'll feel like it's been going on all day!

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Just letting Chassers know what it was like to be the butt of the disfigurement related jokes that this lot, including Chassers, subjected me to in Hell.

Chastity : [Innocently] I have no idea what you mean.

Altho : I am pleased that you are alive, Cocan, but I must return to Euphoria.

Boddy : Well, it's funny you should mention that, this bunch here are looking to get into Euphoria.

Altho : What a coincidence. [Pause] Good luck with that.

Chastity : Altho, perhaps you could help us enter Euphoria.

Altho : No. I do not wish to offend anyone, but I do believe that you are little more than savages, who kill anything that they cannot procreate with. And, might I add, I am more well disposed towards humans than most Euphoric Elves.

Austin : [To Altho] 'kill anything that they cannot procreate with'? How absurd. Is Faern Short soely responsible for this, humanities most non egregious reputation?

Alice : [Stands up] Hey! You leave him out of this, Austin.

Altho : [Looks at Alice for a moment, then back to Austin] My apologies. Sometimes you let things procreate with you. Faern isn't solely responsible. In fact, I remember him as one of the more agreeable humans.

Boddy : It's a pity that you elves take such a short sighted view of things. Retreating into your own little domain will ultimately lead to your demise.

Harvey : [Annoyed at Altho] And few will shed tears, by the saints! Since coming here, I'm incredulous at the pomposity and arrogance on display from these people!

Altho : Since meeting you, I am not even remotely surprised at your aggression. I suspect your claim that few will shed tears is based upon the natural ignorance that characterises your race.

Boddy : If the Euphoric elves fall, so too will the rest of the Interior. However, unless they get involved on the human side right now, they will definitely fall.

Austin : [To Altho] For a race that claims to be so intelligent you seem to be amazingly short sighted. You never seem to ever do anything. [Does a why expression thing with his hands] What is the point in living if you never do anything? Making the occasional coo-koo clock, flip-flop, or clog is hardly living life to the full. All elves do is ponce around slagging off other races off for actually doing something. If elves actually did something the other races might actually pay some attention to what you say. [Pauses] Oh, but I forgot, elves don't care what anything else thinks. They want to die in ignorance. [Looks at Altho] I can assure you that Pestilence, Iok, Contagion and any of their kind will have a very great deal of fun torturing your people to death as they scream 'Why are you doing this, guuurgh' [Blows two smoke rings, casually]

Clint : [To Austin] That's ok, let them be. Maybe they're just... scared!!

Austin : [To Clint] I doubt that, stinky. Anyway Altho here is by far the smartest elf we have ever met, so goading him by calling him 'scaredy' is hardly likely to get a human like response that you seek, to boot, a rash and angered rush to prove his bravery. [Sigh!]

Clint : I didn't call him scaredy, lawyer, I called him scared. Wash your ears.

Austin : [To Altho] You, sir, are your peoples best hope. I expect that they would listen to you, whereas they would probably just kill us, with blank expressions on their faces. How may we help you to convince the elves that they must stand with us to fight our common enemy? [Casually flicks some ash from his cigarette into the ash tray]

Altho : [To Austin] While it is true that I am too intelligent to merely goaded into reacting, it is also true that I am too intelligent to be flattered into it.

Alice : [To Clint] Wash his ears? What about you? How about washing [emphasises] your ears? And your face? And your hands? And your feet? And [glances at his crotch before pausing] well, to save me the trouble of naming out all the parts, how about just having a wash?

[ALTHO goes quiet, and his face takes on an even more blank expression than usual for a few seconds.]

Altho : Because of, or perhaps in spite of your impassioned pleas, my people are prepared to talk to you. There are, however, three caveats. Firstly, they are unusually divided about this issue, so you may expect a somewhat less welcoming reception than you have come to expect from us. Secondly, Euphoria is about to be attacked by the Morcs so, while we are prepared to let you in, it will not be an easy task getting to one of the entrances. Thirdly, [gravely] we wish to hear more of these flip flops of which you speak.

Cocan : [Slamming his hand on the table, causing everyone to jump] Haw! I knew it! I knew they'd be able to talk you around.

Austin : [Looking momentarily speechless] Flip-flops? How about deeley-boppers, or pom-pom socks? [Pauses in disbelief, looks at Altho] I believe we are all doomed.

Chastity : [To Altho] Well, firstly I am intrigued by to find a reception that is less welcoming than that to which we've become accustomed to down here. Secondly, this group have become masters of tact, disguise and intrusion, so we should manage to get to an entrance. [Briefly turns to Alice] Who can forget the glory of the blue dragon, the cattle herd, or even the flying bicycle. [To Altho] And as for the flip-flops, the inventor down here, I suppose you could call him the interior designer, is in Paranoia at this moment, so you may manage to convince him to accompany us to Euphoria.

Altho : The question of you being doomed or not is directly related to the Euphoric Elves involvement. However, the probability of your getting the Elves involved is directly related to you bringing the designer of the flip flop, or at least one of his representatives who is capable of reproducing what is no doubt a fiendishly clever and intricate design.

Austin : [To Chastity] I am sure that we are quite capable of describing the 'flip-flop' to the elves without the aid of an 'interior designer', which I must say, is a suprising amusing pun, for a nun. [Sniggers briefly]

Chastity : [With no small amount of surprise] Why thank you, Austin. From you that is praise indeed. Unfortunately, being human we have no chance at all of impressing the Euphoric elves eevnen with a design so [looks down at her battered and patched up sandal] fiendishly clever and intricate. I think we have no choice but to find Philippe Filoppe.

Alice : But where are we going to find him? Paranoia is a big city, and he's hardly likely to just fall into our laps, is he?

[The door swings slowly, giving an ominous creak as it does so. Enter HOBO HAGGINS.]

Hobo : Hello. Excuse me moment. [Puts a ghettoblaster up on the counter, and starts it playing, before leaving again.]

Austin : [Goes over to the ghettoblaster and turns it off. To Chastity] We don't need Fillipe Filope. He didn't design the flip-flop, he merely listen to our description of the awful things and thought he had invented it. He is insane. [Looks at the ghettoblaster. To Altho] Do you like ghettoblasters too? [Just before AUSTIN turns off the stereo, some deafening circus type music can be heard, which mercifully breaks off as the stop button is pressed.]

Altho : No. However, Philipe Fillope is well known amongst our people.

[Enter HOBO once more, bursting through the door in a cartwheel, singing along to what would be playing on the ghettoblaster had it not been interfered with.]

Hobo : De de de de de de de de de [Finishes the carthweel by standing in front of the party with a flourish] Announcing the all new, all singing, all dancing, Flip Flop! [Starts clapping, clearly expecting the entire bar to join in]

Chastity : Now there's an improvement I'd never thought of, the dancing Flip-flop. I've only even seen people shuffling painfully slowly in them before. [To Austin] Maybe we're serving Phillipe a little short here.

Austin : [Sigh!. To Chastity] Okay, he may be of some use to us. I for one cannpt be bopthered trying to talk up the flip-flop, even if it has to be done to get into Euphoria. I guess Fillipe is the elf for the job. [Gets a pocket mirror out and sorts his hair out, for several minutes, as Cocan ruffled it a minute ago]

Hobo : [Slowly stops clapping, clearly irritated that no one has joined in.] I give you, Philipe Fillope!

[Enter PHILIPE and PEG. The former wearing a laurel wreath on his head and clasping a pair of flip flops to his chest.]

Philipe : Behold! The flip flop!

[ALTHO says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly.]

Chastity : [quietly to Austin] We'll have to butter him up to make sure he gets comes along. [Applauding towards Philipe] Very impressive, Philipe. We've been hard at work while you've been busily making your vision into reality, we have found a way to open up your market into [pauses for effect] Euphoria.

Austin : [Says nothing, but opens his eyes wide, and breathes out audibly, with a look of absolute HORROR on his face. Then, slowly] Oh, [Pauses] my [pauses] god. [Looks truly horrified] Knitted flip-flops.

Philipe : [Holds them up] Behold the beauty of the flip flop! [Turns to Chastity] I knew it! I knew that I would be invited back, and brought into the city in victory. What time does the victory carriage leave?

Chastity : [examines the flip-flop, nodding in approval] Nice needle work. I particularly like the knitted flower on the top. Nice touch. [To Philipe] Soon, but we may have to go in a more clandestine manner to the city. We don't want anyone stealing your glory before we show it off to the Euphoric Elves.

Philipe : Clandestine? Clandestine? I don't think so! If The Great Philipe goes to Euphoria, he does so first class!

Clint : Oh, but it will be a first class presentation, you will shock everyone with a sudden appearance in the middle of Euphoria!

Philipe : And how do you propose to do that?

Cocan : [Throws back some beer] Yeah, Stinky? How are we going to do that?

Altho : I must admit. I am quite curious about this myself.

Clint : Euh... an orb? A secret entrance? [Shrugs his shoulders] dunno.

Harvey : [Scratches at a sideburn, before looking from Alice to Altho] I have noticed that you elves seem to have difficulty speaking to my niece. Those Euphoric elves we spoke to earlier seemed almost frightened of her. And you only moments ago seemed a little lost before answering her question. Why should that be?

Altho : That is adequate. Let us leave immediately.

[Everyone gets up.]

Cocan : Haw! This is what I like to see - an honourable party, good in thought and word and deed, going out to fight evil.

Mandy : Hey! Who's going to pay for their accomodation? And what about the drinks bill? And all those breakfasts?

Boddy : Your sacrifice in the name of the MAFF is much appreciated.

[Exit ALL.]

Mandy : Hey! [Looks around, dismayed that there is no one left] Hm, this is where he sat. [Hugs the seat where Clint was sitting, and rubs her cheek against it] Oh, Clint! [Looks slightly sick] Eauh. [Leans away from it, but leans forward to hug it again] Oh, Clint! [Leans back again] Eauh. [Faints, and falls under the table.]

Altho : [Sitting so he is angled slightly away from Alice] Her condition is alien to the people of the Interior. Here, only animals procreate in that fashion.

[ALICE says nothing, but rolls her eyes in irritation and gives a sigh of frustration.]

Altho : The rest of you will find it difficult to enter Euphoria, but your association with her will make it almost impossible. The logical thing would be to let her go.

Philipe : [Outraged at Clint] Dunno? Dunno? No one who makes plans for Philipe Fillope ever uses a sound like "dunno"? D'you know?

Peg : [Breathing slightly heavier, with a suggestion of perspiration on her forehead, and she looks Altho up and down] I'll go. I don't mind the danger.

Austin : [To Altho] Alice is not pregnant, but I don't suppose that matters since no one has ever seen through the ruse, even after being told about it. Anyway, we can't leave Alice as she is the most valuable member of the party, so it's all or nothing, buddy boy. [Blows two smoke rings].

Alice : [Annoyed] What do mean, most [realisation dawns] oh. [Big smile] Thanks Austin! [Looks to Clint and sticks her tongue out at him]

Altho : As you wish. [To Peg] Are you familiar to the point of intimacy with the design of the flip flop?

Peg : Yes.

Altho : Then it is settled.

Alice : [Still beaming] So be it! We shall be the Fellowship of the Wand!

Altho : No. If anything, we are a loose association.

Harvey : So, we are the loose association of the wand? No, not quite a sharp enough ring to it. How about the Mere Acquaintances of the Flip Flop?

[Book III, Act VII, Scene IX. A derelict house. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY, BODDY, COCAN, ALTHO and PEG are here. The party are in an extremely dilapidated house, which clearly hasn't been lived in for several years.]

Alice : [Looking around] You know, I thought Euphoria would look a bit nicer than this.

Altho : This is not Euphoria. It is a secret exit out of Paranoia. [Pushes back some rubbish to reveal a trapdoor, before turning to the party] This is your final chance to back out. There is a dangerous road ahead of you.

Austin : [To Altho] If we don't take the dangerous road ahead, the one behind us will probably catch up pretty soon anyway. [To Harvey and the others] Let's go.

Altho : You are correct. Paranoia will soon be attacked by the Morcs, and Euphoria is already under siege. The situation is serious, the Nascency Fluid has been poisoned by persons unknown, so it is crucial we return to help with the war effort.

Cocan : [Reaches into his backpack and takes out a flask] Just as well that we've got some fresh fluid so, isn't it?

Altho : [Gives a flicker of a smile] I had hoped you were behind the recent spate of thefts. The reintroduction of the fluid should be enough to counteract the poison.

Cocan : Haw! Who'd have thought that theft could be so beneficial, eh, Austin? [Gives Austin a hefty nudge]

Alice : [To the party] Is it just me, or does Cocan seem very different from Sven?

Clint : [Opening the trap door] I'm getting really sick of all this standing around and chatting. Let's just go and pick a fight.

Austin : [Barely managing to stay upright from Cocan's hefty nudge. To Clint] Yes, lets go before we all die of retrospectively-based physically-expressed aggreably complimentary associative actions. [Austin rubs his shoulder where the blow landed]

Clint : Yeah. [Pause] What did you just say?

Cocan : [Slightly put off by Alice's remark, but beams again, punching Clint hard on the shoulder] Haw! You're certainly no different, Stinky, let's go.

[Everyone goes down through the trapdoor, and form a marching order with COCAN and ALTHO in the front, BODDY and CLINT next, CHASTITY and PEG after them, then AUSTIN and finally ALICE and HARVEY. After just a few feet, it sounds like someone is coming from up ahead.]

Austin : [Looks at Clint and blinks Faetan style] Let's go.

Clint : [With a happy smile on his face] Yeah, like I said! [Goes through the trap door]

Altho : [Draws his sword] There shouldn't be anyone here. It is almost certainly a Morc.

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Cool! But just to be certain... [Shouts] Who's up there?

Austin : [Reddies his sling shot. Whispers] Who else knows of this passage?

[A male human shuffles into view, holding large sword. He is in his late seventies, and is quite out of breath.]

Bernard : Hold! I am Sir Bernard! A Knight who has come in search of the Holy Grill. I seek your aid.

Altho : [Glances back at the party] This is almost certainly a trap. We should kill him.

Harvey : By the saints, we should certainly not! Have you any respect for the aged? [Turns and bows to Bernard] If it is a grill you seek, good sir knight, there is one where we have just come from, but believe you me, it could by no stretch of the imagination be considered in any way holy!

Austin : [Looks at Bernard] You're a bit old for this type of thing are you not? Where is your entourage?

Bernard : Good sir, I fear that many of them have died in our long search. Myself and the remaining three finally traced the grill to a cave not far from here. We advanced, fighting foe upon foe, pausing to carry out the occasional good deed, until we came to the river of fire. [Pause while he has a brief coughing fit] The river so, isn't it?

Altho : [Gives a flicker of a smile] I had hoped you were behind the recent spate of thefts. The reintroduction of the fluid should be enough to counteract the poison.

Cocan : Haw! Who'd have thought that theft could be so beneficial, eh, Austin? [Gives Austin a hefty nudge]

Alice : [To the party] Is it just me, or does Cocan seem very different from Sven?

Clint : [Opening the trap door] I'm getting really sick of all this standing around and chatting. Let's just go and pick a fight.

Austin : [Barely managing to stay upright from Cocan's hefty nudge. To Clint] Yes, lets go before we all die of retrospectively-based physically-expressed aggreably complimentary associative actions. [Austin rubs his shoulder where the blow landed]

Clint : Yeah. [Pause] What did you just say?

Cocan : [Slightly put off by Alice's remark, but beams again, punching Clint hard on the shoulder] Haw! You're certainly no different, Stinky, let's go.

[Everyone goes down through the trapdoor, and form a marching order with COCAN and ALTHO in the front, BODDY and CLINT next, CHASTITY and PEG after them, then AUSTIN and finally ALICE and HARVEY. After just a few feet, it sounds like someone is coming from up ahead.]

Austin : [Looks at Clint and blinks Faetan style] Let's go.

Clint : [With a happy smile on his face] Yeah, like I said! [Goes through the trap door]

Altho : [Draws his sword] There shouldn't be anyone here. It is almost certainly a Morc.

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Cool! But just to be certain... [Shouts] Who's up there?

Austin : [Reddies his sling shot. Whispers] Who else knows of this passage?

[A male human shuffles into view, holding large sword. He is in his late seventies, and is quite out of breath.]

Bernard : Hold! I am Sir Bernard! A Knight who has come in search of the Holy Grill. I seek your aid.

Altho : [Glances back at the party] This is almost certainly a trap. We should kill him.

Harvey : By the saints, we should certainly not! Have you any respect for the aged? [Turns and bows to Bernard] If it is a grill you seek, good sir knight, there is one where we have just come from, but believe you me, it could by no stretch of the imagination be considered in any way holy!

Austin : [Looks at Bernard] You're a bit old for this type of thing are you not? Where is your entourage?

Bernard : Good sir, I fear that many of them have died in our long search. Myself and the remaining three finally traced the grill to a cave not far from here. We advanced, fighting foe upon foe, pausing to carry out the occasional good deed, until we came to the river of fire. [Pause while he has a brief coughing fit] The river of fire is known to and feared by many, for infamous is its power evil. [Has another coughing fit]

Altho : [Before Bernard can continue] The question was, where is your entourage?

Bernard : Eh? Oh, the survivors are being held captive by a fearful monster. And I just don't mean the type of monster that can easily be felled, for this was a monster of unusually -

Altho : [Interrupting] This is a waste of time.

Austin : [To Altho] I agree. If only Roy were here, we could leave the two of them to chatter ad nauseam. Let's go.

Chastity : [To Austin] Don't be so hasty. We can't just brush past a old warrior on a holy quest! [To Bernard] Your quest is a holy one, isn't it?

Bernard : I'm on a mission from God.

Cocan : Haw! That's great, old timer, but what do you want us to do about it?

Bernard : Will you please help this old Knight rescue his comrades?

Chastity : Where are they? aLong this very tunnel? And are they all in as good condition as yourself?

Bernard : I fear not. Being the most youthful and fit of them, I was able to escape. They are back along the way I came.

Austin : [With an expression of mild horror] He is the youngest? Are they worth saving? They are practicaly dead already.

Altho : [Distastefully] I agree. Frankly, I find even being near him offensive. Further, I find it highly unlikely that this isn't some type of Morc subterfuge.

Cocan : Aw, come on, Altho! We can't pass up the chance to fight a monster and save some people. I'll bet that there are some beautiful women too, right Ben?

Bernard : Er, yes, yes there are.

Austin : [To Bernard] But are there any beautiful human women under the age of sixty?

Chastity : [To Austin] I think you'll find that beauty is contained within, and so I don't see what relation there is between beauty and age!

Bernard : Of course!

Clint : Roar! I don't think we can leave here without helping this poor Knight.

Alice : [Whispers to Clint] Sounds like wishful thinking to me!

Austin : [Smirking. To Chastity] So you fancied Roy then?

Alice : [Nods in agreement, poker face] Yes, he did appear to be very nice.

Austin : [Nods in agreement with Alice, poker faced] 'Within'. [Deliberatley smirkish poker face]

Chastity : Don't be ridiculous. His inside was as decrepit as his outside.

Alice : [Gives Austin a knowing look] Right.

Clint : Come on! I thought we had some babes to, uh, save.

[Enter MONILYN MARROE, a beautiful and breathless human female.]

Monilyn : Oh, Bernard, have you found help? Can these handsome and brave people really be here to help us?

Austin : [Smiles graciously at Monilyn] Fear not, we will save you. [Takes Monilyn, swavely by the hand and cuddles her to his chest] Show us where you friends are.

Monilyn : [Gives a mindless little giggle and hugs Austin] Oh, thank you, sir!

Altho : [To Boddy] I see that I was correct to assume these humans are as controlled by their carnal desires as most of the others I have met.

[MONILYN begins to lead the party down the path.]

Harvey : [Takes out his sword and looks at Altho] Ha, sir, if you believe that private Sleaze is desirious of that woman you are most mistaken! [Laughs long and loud] [HARVEY's laugh resounds about the mystified party.]

Monilyn : [Pauses, and looks back] Well, are you kind people going to help me?

[Time passes]

Monilyn : [Taps her foot impatiently] Well/

Clint : Hey babe, I'm here, I mean, we're here already, we'll protect you from now on! Unless there are other babes, I mean, victims, to rescue!

Chastity : [To Altho] See? Can you have any doubt about the ability of human males to resist carnal desire in the presence of a young lady?

Altho : No. None.

Monilyn : [Smiles] Oh, thank you so much!

[The party comes to a fork in the passageway, with MONILYN taking the left.]

Altho : I strongly advise against following her. Euphoria is down the other way, and we are in a rush.

Clint : I suppose so. Of course, we could bring her along, you never know, she might be a good fighter. Believe me, women know how to scream and kick.

Harvey : Well, time is pressing, but we can't leave this defenceless damsel on her own!  I'm sure whatever bother she is in can be put to rights in no time at all! Come troop, let's follow her!

[Everyone follows MONILYN until she stops just before the opening of a large cavern, that is clearly lit up by flames.]

Monilyn : They are in there, with that terrifying monster. Please be careful.

Clint : [To Harvey] Far from me to run away from action and adventure, Colonel, but although this smells like easy pussy, it also smells like a trap.

Altho : [To Boddy] Is he discussing our alleged impending fight? Or his probable impending fornication with this female?

Boddy : Hard to say, knowing Clint, he could be talking about the impending fight with the female!

[The party peer in the opening. This a huge cavern, at least 120' x 120'. There is another exit at the opposite end, and near that is a cage that is jammed packed with knights.]

Bernard : That is where my colleagues are held. The monster must currently be out hunting.

Clint : So why don't you go and open the cage? We'll protect your friend here in the mean time.

Bernard : Okay, but I hope the monster doesn't attack when I'm out there on my own.

Monilyn : [Pleading look at Clint] Oh please, my friends are there too, at the back! Please help him!

[BERNARD sets off across the floor as fast as his legs will carry him, which is very, very slow.]

Clint : [About to answer Monilyn, looking at her breasts, but pulls away at the very last moment] [To Altho and Cocan] You're the military experts, so it's your call.

Altho : I told you at least twice that this was a trap.

Cocan : Haw! Who cares? Let's go kill a monster.

[BERNARD carries on across the floor, pausing for a few moments to catch his breath.]

Austin : I, too, believe that this is likely to be a trap. I suggest that Monilyn and I wait back in the corridor.

[A huge, terrifying, growling can be heard coming from the opposite corridor, followed by enormous foot steps, pounding into the ground.]

Alice : [To the party] Hey! I bet that's the monster!

Clint : Maybe it's Roy, and he's on for a revenge! [Pauses for a moment] Nah, can't be him, if he would pound his feet on the floor like that, they would surely fall off. [Draws his sword] A beautiful babe, and now a fight. All I need now is some booze, and I'm in heaven!

Harvey : [To Alice] Well, it certainly sounds rather ominous, eh, dear niece! [Points his sword towards the corridor] You ladies should stay back out of the way, while we deal with the threat!

Alice : [Draws her sword] Who do you mean, Harvey? Austin and Monilyn?

[CHASTITY clears her throat irritably.]

Alice : That's a pretty bad cough you've got there, Chas. You might want to wait back with the ladies.

[Enter BALKLINE GROOT, a hideous creature about twelve feet tall, with a horned head that has flames pouring out of it.

Bernard : [Turns to look at the party] That's the monster.

Balkline : [Gives another roar, before speaking in a guttural voice] Who dares enter the lair of Balkline Groot?

[Silence descends for a few moments, before ALICE tentatively puts her hand up.]

Alice : Er, who's Balkline Groot?

Balkline : [Rolls his eyes, causing jets of flame to shoot up] Me!

Chastity : [To Balkline] Why have you imprisoned these knights? Who do you think you are?

Harvey : Indeed so, good sister! That's the spirit, show that you have plenty of it, by Phili!

Chastity : Phili's spirit indeed, Colonel, all the more power to us. [To Bernard] We are on a holy quest as well. Empowered with the love of Phili.

Alice : [Proudly] Yes! We're just full of it, ask anyone!

Balkline : [Grabs Bernard by the leg] Tasty tasty!

Bernard : Help! Help!

Chastity : Gosh, the monster must be on a diet. Bernard's nothing but skin and bones. [Glances around the cavern] unless he's got a dip, of course. Hold on. [Raises her mace at Balkline, shouting at Balkline] Unhand that man at once!

Austin : Then I guess we'd better keep the chubbier members of the party away from him, eh, Chas? [Gets flustered] Er, I mean...

Balkline : I will let him go on one condition.

Alice : Fine. Our condition is that you leave us to go free once he's released. [Beams proudly at the others, only to wince in pain as Balkline throws a small rock at her, which bounces off her head] Ow!

Clint : What's your condition?

Balkline : A little feverish, if truth be told.

Altho : Speak, monster. Tell us what you want.

Balkline : [Still with his deep, guttural voice, although he's clearly trying to sound nice] I want to be set free. I want to be able to dance through the fields again, but I was trapped here by an evil wizard. All you need to do is release my collar. [Points to a large metal collar around his neck]

Altho : [To the party] I suggest we leave.

Chastity : [To Balkline] How do we know that you weren't trapped down here by a good wizard and in fact your previous dances in the fields weren't in fact ruthless and bloody rampages. [Points round to the imprisoned knights, and the general scene of terror in the cavern] This is hardly the work of an imprisoned martyr. Where are your paintings of mountains, your emotional diary cataloguing your emotional turmoil, or even the student unions named after you?

Balkline : [Somewhat hurt] You mean, you haven't heard of Balkline U? [Clicks his fingers, and the imprisoned knights, BERNARD and MONILYN all disappear]

[AUSTIN falls to the ground, before getting up quickly again and dusting himself off.]

Austin : Excuse me.

Balkline : They were just a trick, to get you to come down here. I can't leave this cave. [Rubs his eye] They took all my crayons, you see, so I couldn't do any drawing.

Chastity : [To Balkline] Who do you mean by they? [Turning and addressing Cocan, Boddy and Altho] Have any of you heard of Balkline U?

Clint : Aw Chassers, we can't leave him here like that! [To all] Anyone got some crayons to leave him?

Boddy : I suspect he's talking about Balkline University, which probably only exists in his head.

[BALKLINE stands up straight and roars angrily, causing more flames to leap from his body, although none are directed at the party.]

Boddy : [Leans over towards Balkline, and lights a joint off him] Let's get the hell out of here.

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Boddy : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Balkline : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Austin : [Yawns] This is boring. Let's just leave, anyone could see through his silly trap.

Chastity : I agree, lets go. I can see no reason to help this monster. Most disappointing.

Balkline : [Shouting] I'll give you a reason!

[The cavern is filled with the sounds of people cheering, and of men marching. There are too many different noises to be able to clearly identify them, but it sounds like several of the party's names are being called out.]

Balkline : How's this for a reason?

[The walls of the cavern become covered in images, many of which are of cheering people, marching soldiers and the like, but also of each person there. HARVEY appears, dressed in a brilliant white uniform, ordering about a bunch of soldiers, CLINT appears, lying on a leopardskin duvet, drinking a bottle of Louis XIV brandy and surrounded by a bunch of women, CHASTITY appears in a tranquil garden, sitting on a bench talking to several nuns, AUSTIN appears in a courtroom, apparantly defending a beautiful woman and ALICE appears dressed in a suit, wearing glasses that make her look particularly intelligent and is addressing a parliament. The others also appear, with COCAN leading a huge viking army killing Morcs, ALTHO standing in a peaceful forrest, with several other Elves, and, finally, BODDY appears, sitting in simple country cottage, with a fresh faced pleasant looking pregnant woman who's baking an apple pie.]

Balkline : I can make this true for any one of you, all you have to do is let me free. [Pauses for a moment, then thunders] Well?

[Abruptly, the sounds and images cease.]

Chastity : [Just as abruptly] No! [Turns to leave]

[As Chastity's refusal fades through the cavern she turns back round]

Chastity : If all you can do to convince us of your worthiness of release is to try and stir up the greed with us, then you are not worthy of our help. We are not drawn into your temptations. [Turns away from Balkline, and quietly, under her breath] much [To the party] Let us leave.

Harvey : Gah! Sir, you are a cur, this troop cannot be tempted like this, isn't that true, troop?

Alice : [Unconvincing] Er, yes.

Austin : [Gives Maplin a quick rub] Yes. Very, uh, true, Colonel.

Cocan : Well said! [Looks at Boddy] A cottage?

Boddy : What can I say? I'm a man of simple wants.

[BALKLINE gives a cry of frustration, and the floor of the cavern disappears, with the party perched precariously on a tiny walkway that extends from BALKLINE - Bernard should have said something here]

Altho : [Before Bernard can continue] The question was, where is your entourage?

Bernard : Eh? Oh, the survivors are being held captive by a fearful monster. And I just don't mean the type of monster that can easily be felled, for this was a monster of unusually -

Altho : [Interrupting] This is a waste of time.

Austin : [To Altho] I agree. If only Roy were here, we could leave the two of them to chatter ad nauseam. Let's go.

Chastity : [To Austin] Don't be so hasty. We can't just brush past a old warrior on a holy quest! [To Bernard] Your quest is a holy one, isn't it?

Bernard : I'm on a mission from God.

Cocan : Haw! That's great, old timer, but what do you want us to do about it?

Bernard : Will you please help this old Knight rescue his comrades?

Chastity : Where are they? aLong this very tunnel? And are they all in as good condition as yourself?

Bernard : I fear not. Being the most youthful and fit of them, I was able to escape. They are back along the way I came.

Austin : [With an expression of mild horror] He is the youngest? Are they worth saving? They are practicaly dead already.

Altho : [Distastefully] I agree. Frankly, I find even being near him offensive. Further, I find it highly unlikely that this isn't some type of Morc subterfuge.

Cocan : Aw, come on, Altho! We can't pass up the chance to fight a monster and save some people. I'll bet that there are some beautiful women too, right Ben?

Bernard : Er, yes, yes there are.

Austin : [To Bernard] But are there any beautiful human women under the age of sixty?

Chastity : [To Austin] I think you'll find that beauty is contained within, and so I don't see what relation there is between beauty and age!

Bernard : Of course!

Clint : Roar! I don't think we can leave here without helping this poor Knight.

Alice : [Whispers to Clint] Sounds like wishful thinking to me!

Austin : [Smirking. To Chastity] So you fancied Roy then?

Alice : [Nods in agreement, poker face] Yes, he did appear to be very nice.

Austin : [Nods in agreement with Alice, poker faced] 'Within'. [Deliberatley smirkish poker face]

Chastity : Don't be ridiculous. His inside was as decrepit as his outside.

Alice : [Gives Austin a knowing look] Right.

Clint : Come on! I thought we had some babes to, uh, save.

[Enter MONILYN MARROE, a beautiful and breathless human female.]

Monilyn : Oh, Bernard, have you found help? Can these handsome and brave people really be here to help us?

Austin : [Smiles graciously at Monilyn] Fear not, we will save you. [Takes Monilyn, swavely by the hand and cuddles her to his chest] Show us where you friends are.

Monilyn : [Gives a mindless little giggle and hugs Austin] Oh, thank you, sir!

Altho : [To Boddy] I see that I was correct to assume these humans are as controlled by their carnal desires as most of the others I have met.

[MONILYN begins to lead the party down the path.]

Harvey : [Takes out his sword and looks at Altho] Ha, sir, if you believe that private Sleaze is desirious of that woman you are most mistaken! [Laughs long and loud] [HARVEY's laugh resounds about the mystified party.]

Monilyn : [Pauses, and looks back] Well, are you kind people going to help me?

[Time passes]

Monilyn : [Taps her foot impatiently] Well/

Clint : Hey babe, I'm here, I mean, we're here already, we'll protect you from now on! Unless there are other babes, I mean, victims, to rescue!

Chastity : [To Altho] See? Can you have any doubt about the ability of human males to resist carnal desire in the presence of a young lady?

Altho : No. None.

Monilyn : [Smiles] Oh, thank you so much!

[The party comes to a fork in the passageway, with MONILYN taking the left.]

Altho : I strongly advise against following her. Euphoria is down the other way, and we are in a rush.

Clint : I suppose so. Of course, we could bring her along, you never know, she might be a good fighter. Believe me, women know how to scream and kick.

Harvey : Well, time is pressing, but we can't leave this defenceless damsel on her own!  I'm sure whatever bother she is in can be put to rights in no time at all! Come troop, let's follow her!

[Everyone follows MONILYN until she stops just before the opening of a large cavern, that is clearly lit up by flames.]

Monilyn : They are in there, with that terrifying monster. Please be careful.

Clint : [To Harvey] Far from me to run away from action and adventure, Colonel, but although this smells like easy pussy, it also smells like a trap.

Altho : [To Boddy] Is he discussing our alleged impending fight? Or his probable impending fornication with this female?

Boddy : Hard to say, knowing Clint, he could be talking about the impending fight with the female!

[The party peer in the opening. This a huge cavern, at least 120' x 120'. There is another exit at the opposite end, and near that is a cage that is jammed packed with knights.]

Bernard : That is where my colleagues are held. The monster must currently be out hunting.

Clint : So why don't you go and open the cage? We'll protect your friend here in the mean time.

Bernard : Okay, but I hope the monster doesn't attack when I'm out there on my own.

Monilyn : [Pleading look at Clint] Oh please, my friends are there too, at the back! Please help him!

[BERNARD sets off across the floor as fast as his legs will carry him, which is very, very slow.]

Clint : [About to answer Monilyn, looking at her breasts, but pulls away at the very last moment] [To Altho and Cocan] You're the military experts, so it's your call.

Altho : I told you at least twice that this was a trap.

Cocan : Haw! Who cares? Let's go kill a monster.

[BERNARD carries on across the floor, pausing for a few moments to catch his breath.]

Austin : I, too, believe that this is likely to be a trap. I suggest that Monilyn and I wait back in the corridor.

[A huge, terrifying, growling can be heard coming from the opposite corridor, followed by enormous foot steps, pounding into the ground.]

Alice : [To the party] Hey! I bet that's the monster!

Clint : Maybe it's Roy, and he's on for a revenge! [Pauses for a moment] Nah, can't be him, if he would pound his feet on the floor like that, they would surely fall off. [Draws his sword] A beautiful babe, and now a fight. All I need now is some booze, and I'm in heaven!

Harvey : [To Alice] Well, it certainly sounds rather ominous, eh, dear niece! [Points his sword towards the corridor] You ladies should stay back out of the way, while we deal with the threat!

Alice : [Draws her sword] Who do you mean, Harvey? Austin and Monilyn?

[CHASTITY clears her throat irritably.]

Alice : That's a pretty bad cough you've got there, Chas. You might want to wait back with the ladies.

[Enter BALKLINE GROOT, a hideous creature about twelve feet tall, with a horned head that has flames pouring out of it.

Bernard : [Turns to look at the party] That's the monster.

Balkline : [Gives another roar, before speaking in a guttural voice] Who dares enter the lair of Balkline Groot?

[Silence descends for a few moments, before ALICE tentatively puts her hand up.]

Alice : Er, who's Balkline Groot?

Balkline : [Rolls his eyes, causing jets of flame to shoot up] Me!

Chastity : [To Balkline] Why have you imprisoned these knights? Who do you think you are?

Harvey : Indeed so, good sister! That's the spirit, show that you have plenty of it, by Phili!

Chastity : Phili's spirit indeed, Colonel, all the more power to us. [To Bernard] We are on a holy quest as well. Empowered with the love of Phili.

Alice : [Proudly] Yes! We're just full of it, ask anyone!

Balkline : [Grabs Bernard by the leg] Tasty tasty!

Bernard : Help! Help!

Chastity : Gosh, the monster must be on a diet. Bernard's nothing but skin and bones. [Glances around the cavern] unless he's got a dip, of course. Hold on. [Raises her mace at Balkline, shouting at Balkline] Unhand that man at once!

Austin : Then I guess we'd better keep the chubbier members of the party away from him, eh, Chas? [Gets flustered] Er, I mean...

Balkline : I will let him go on one condition.

Alice : Fine. Our condition is that you leave us to go free once he's released. [Beams proudly at the others, only to wince in pain as Balkline throws a small rock at her, which bounces off her head] Ow!

Clint : What's your condition?

Balkline : A little feverish, if truth be told.

Altho : Speak, monster. Tell us what you want.

Balkline : [Still with his deep, guttural voice, although he's clearly trying to sound nice] I want to be set free. I want to be able to dance through the fields again, but I was trapped here by an evil wizard. All you need to do is release my collar. [Points to a large metal collar around his neck]

Altho : [To the party] I suggest we leave.

Chastity : [To Balkline] How do we know that you weren't trapped down here by a good wizard and in fact your previous dances in the fields weren't in fact ruthless and bloody rampages. [Points round to the imprisoned knights, and the general scene of terror in the cavern] This is hardly the work of an imprisoned martyr. Where are your paintings of mountains, your emotional diary cataloguing your emotional turmoil, or even the student unions named after you?

Balkline : [Somewhat hurt] You mean, you haven't heard of Balkline U? [Clicks his fingers, and the imprisoned knights, BERNARD and MONILYN all disappear]

[AUSTIN falls to the ground, before getting up quickly again and dusting himself off.]

Austin : Excuse me.

Balkline : They were just a trick, to get you to come down here. I can't leave this cave. [Rubs his eye] They took all my crayons, you see, so I couldn't do any drawing.

Chastity : [To Balkline] Who do you mean by they? [Turning and addressing Cocan, Boddy and Altho] Have any of you heard of Balkline U?

Clint : Aw Chassers, we can't leave him here like that! [To all] Anyone got some crayons to leave him?

Boddy : I suspect he's talking about Balkline University, which probably only exists in his head.

[BALKLINE stands up straight and roars angrily, causing more flames to leap from his body, although none are directed at the party.]

Boddy : [Leans over towards Balkline, and lights a joint off him] Let's get the hell out of here.

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Boddy : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Alice : Sure, I've got so- [breaks off] I mean, no, what on [rolls her eyes] earth would any of us be doing with crayons?

Balkline : [Lets out another roar] Set me free!

Austin : [Yawns] This is boring. Let's just leave, anyone could see through his silly trap.

Chastity : I agree, lets go. I can see no reason to help this monster. Most disappointing.

Balkline : [Shouting] I'll give you a reason!

[The cavern is filled with the sounds of people cheering, and of men marching. There are too many different noises to be able to clearly identify them, but it sounds like several of the party's names are being called out.]

Balkline : How's this for a reason?

[The walls of the cavern become covered in images, many of which are of cheering people, marching soldiers and the like, but also of each person there. HARVEY appears, dressed in a brilliant white uniform, ordering about a bunch of soldiers, CLINT appears, lying on a leopardskin duvet, drinking a bottle of Louis XIV brandy and surrounded by a bunch of women, CHASTITY appears in a tranquil garden, sitting on a bench talking to several nuns, AUSTIN appears in a courtroom, apparantly defending a beautiful woman and ALICE appears dressed in a suit, wearing glasses that make her look particularly intelligent and is addressing a parliament. The others also appear, with COCAN leading a huge viking army killing Morcs, ALTHO standing in a peaceful forrest, with several other Elves, and, finally, BODDY appears, sitting in simple country cottage, with a fresh faced pleasant looking pregnant woman who's baking an apple pie.]

Balkline : I can make this true for any one of you, all you have to do is let me free. [Pauses for a moment, then thunders] Well?

[Abruptly, the sounds and images cease.]

Chastity : [Just as abruptly] No! [Turns to leave]

[As Chastity's refusal fades through the cavern she turns back round]

Chastity : If all you can do to convince us of your worthiness of release is to try and stir up the greed with us, then you are not worthy of our help. We are not drawn into your temptations. [Turns away from Balkline, and quietly, under her breath] much [To the party] Let us leave.

Harvey : Gah! Sir, you are a cur, this troop cannot be tempted like this, isn't that true, troop?

Alice : [Unconvincing] Er, yes.

Austin : [Gives Maplin a quick rub] Yes. Very, uh, true, Colonel.

Cocan : Well said! [Looks at Boddy] A cottage?

Boddy : What can I say? I'm a man of simple wants.

[BALKLINE gives a cry of frustration, and the floor of the cavern disappears, with the party perched precariously on a tiny walkway that extends from BALKLINE to the entrance they came in.]

Chastity : [Briefly glancing down into the abyss. Hurriedly] Lets really go. Now!

Harvey : Stellar advice, good Sister!

[BALKLINE lets out another roar, and huge shards of the walkway disappear, cutting him off from the rest. BODDY, COCAN and ALTHO are trapped on one piece, sticking up in the middle, while the rest of the party and PEG are on a larger piece, about six feet from the entrance.]

Balkline : Now you will pay!

[Each of the shards that people are on start to move agonisingly slowly, leaning towards BALKLINE.]

Austin : [Gives a high pitched girlish shriek, before calming down again] What are we going to do?

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no!

[Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party]

[Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh!

[HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man! Conor.Ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no! [Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party] [Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh! [HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man!

Rod: [Tethers the rope to a conveniently placed rock] Fear not intrepid adventurers! It is I, Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, and I have come at the behest of a well-endowed femme to save you! Of course, she did say something about a mon- [catches sight of BALKINE] BY THE GODS! What is that thing!? It looks like melted swiss cheese was left on the corpse of a rotting animal in the sun for three days! HURRY, HURRY! USE THE ROPE! OH GOD IT'S AWFUL!!

Clint : [Holding on to Harvey, who in turn is holding on to the rope] I knew this was a trap. And I never really believed the girl was real, especially after she seemed interested in the lawyer.

Alice : And is that why you said, and I quote, "I believe the girl is real"?

[The ledge gives another lurch, and tilts over more.]

Boddy : [Takes out the flask of nascency fluid] The fluid! You take it! [Throws the flask to the party.]

Alice : I've got it! [Reaches her hands up high in the air to catch it, but it smacks her square in the forehead and bounces into Clint's hands] Ow!

[The ledges fall even more, but all the party now have got hold of the rope, and end up dangling in the air, in the following order : CHASTITY, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, PEG and CLINT.]

Chastity : [Starts to awkwardly climb up the rope] Its just as well my third husband, George, taught me how to climb ropes whilst carrying objects in one hand as part of his adventuring exhibitions. Otherwise I'd be in a bit of bother!

[WILL tries to pull on the rope, but to no avail. The surprisingly dextrous CHASTITY, however, manages to start moving up.]

Will : Perhaps your combined weights are heavier than I expect, for I am experiencing difficulty pulling you up. Furthermore, unless we lose some weight from the rope, I fear it will snap.

[As if by magic, one of ALICE's shoes slips off, and smacks AUSTIN in the face, before hitting PEG, and finally CLINT.]

Austin : Ow!

Peg : Ow!

Clint : Ow! Watch it, will you, bimbo?

Will : Perfect! The rope will hold you now.

Chastity : [Reaches the top of the rope and clambers onto the ledge, briefly catching her breath] Thank you, good Knight. [Gets up] Let me help you. [Wraps the end of the rope over her shoulder and round her waist, tug-of-war anchor style, and grips with her right hand] Pull, by Phili. [Despite her efforts, Chastity has a quick glance over Rod's shoulder to see how the other three are getting on]

Clint : Hurry up there, I can't hold for much longer! [Looks up, noticing Peg's "features"] Then again, the view is lovely from down here, you might want to take your time.

Peg : [Calmly to Chastity] Please hurry. I suddenly feel dirty.

[HARVEY gets to the top, and helps pulling the others up, until everyone is up. The other three, ALTHO, BODDY and COCAN have disappeared beneath a cloud of dust and flame, and noise from the rock crashing makes it obvious that they wouldn't hear someone from the party calling them.]

Alice : [Calling] Cocan! Boddy! Altho! [To the party] I wonder if they can hear me calling them?

Austin : [To Alice] Perhaps they will if you shout a little louder. [Looks at Peg] Do you still feel dirty?

Peg : I believe that I will -

[PEG winces as ALICE roars out again, almost deafening the rest of the party.]

Peg : [Shakes her head, and blinks a few times] I believe that I will feel that way for a long time to come. [Gives Clint a cool look]

Alice : [Hoarsely to Austin] Nope, I don't think they heard.

Rod : [Bows before the party] Greetings, my friends! I am Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, but you may call me Rod.

Alice : [To the party, still somewhat hoarsely] Do you think he's a porn star?

Chastity : [Unravelling herself from the rope. To Alice] If you don't know then I expect he's not. On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : I don't know if you're one or not, Chastity, but that doesn't mean you aren't. After all, there is that postcard from the Under City.

Harvey : [Thrusts his hand out to Rod] I thank you sir, for saving our lives! Unfortunately, the other three were important. [Thinks for a moment] Well, two of them were, I suppose. Hm. Well, one of them was, anyway!

Chastity : [To Alice] An image of lies and deceit, as you well know. [To Rod] How did you know to find us. You mentioned, with some colour, a lady? boundary="Boundary_(ID_mX5iePYEi35/j1eAAdekQA)"

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Rod: [Takes Harvey's hand and shakes] Think nothing of it, knight's duty and all that. As for the others, two out of three acceptable casualties isn't bad! [Murmurs under breath] Better than my usual ratio, anyway.

Harvey : [Shakes vigorously] Hah! What a fellow, what a sense of humour! [Smiles and shakes his head, speaking softly to himself] Better than my ususal ratio, haw!

Peg : Thank you for saving us. I am P'Erendos Gallos, an Elf. [Indicates each of the others] This is Harvey, Clint, Austin, Alice and Chastity. boundary="Boundary_(ID_yXSc3ylAVetZNrQmxRw4Xw)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_yXSc3ylAVetZNrQmxRw4Xw)

Rod: Yes, you must forgive my often literal phalanx of soliloquy. It comes with the knightly territory, you see. Anyway, yes, a strapping young lady by the name of Monilyn led me here. [Turns around and points down the passageway] Somewhat caught up with the whole rescuing routine, I lost sight of her when I heard you all berating the monster and came a running.

Alice : Monilyn? That's the same person who helped lead us here. You see, we all agreed it was a trap when there was a crinkly knight leading us, but as soon as the large chested, scantily dressed woman appeared, we had to come charging down here. [Gives Austin and Clint a dirty look] Typical men, minds so small that they can't even - [looks down] Hey! Where's my shoe?

Austin : [To Rod] Alas, chivalry is so often mistaken for pre-copulatory manoeuvreing.

Chastity : And quite often pre-copulatory manoeuvreing is often poorly disguised as chivalry.

Alice : Yeah, and quite often chivalry is often disguised as [pauses as she looks confused] hey!

Rod : Er, well, yes. Anyway, may I ask what you good people are doing in this place?

Clint : [Slipping the flask into his backpocket, and, miraculously, succeeding] We're just, er, adventurers. On the way to Euphoria.

Peg : [Looks straight at Rod] Yes, what a coincidence. May I ask why you are going to Euphoria?

Chastity : [Briefly glancing down into the abyss. Hurriedly] Lets really go. Now!

Harvey : Stellar advice, good Sister!

[BALKLINE lets out another roar, and huge shards of the walkway disappear, cutting him off from the rest. BODDY, COCAN and ALTHO are trapped on one piece, sticking up in the middle, while the rest of the party and PEG are on a larger piece, about six feet from the entrance.]

Balkline : Now you will pay!

[Each of the shards that people are on start to move agonisingly slowly, leaning towards BALKLINE.]

Austin : [Gives a high pitched girlish shriek, before calming down again] What are we going to do?

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no!

[Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party]

[Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh!

[HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man! boundary="Boundary_(ID_9m4BgxyzKMKmAaI0hS4p3g)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_9m4BgxyzKMKmAaI0hS4p3g) Conor.Ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : It's too far to jump, oh no! [Enter SIR RODORPOLTAS VERSKELTANBEL, a knight dressed in shining armour.]

Rod : Hah! Fear not, fair maiden, for I shall save thee. [Throws a rope to the party] [Needless to mention, the rope manages to get wound around ALICE's neck.]

Alice : Gurgh! [HARVEY quickly cuts that part, and holds on tight.]

Harvey : Well done, that man!

Rod: [Tethers the rope to a conveniently placed rock] Fear not intrepid adventurers! It is I, Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, and I have come at the behest of a well-endowed femme to save you! Of course, she did say something about a mon- [catches sight of BALKINE] BY THE GODS! What is that thing!? It looks like melted swiss cheese was left on the corpse of a rotting animal in the sun for three days! HURRY, HURRY! USE THE ROPE! OH GOD IT'S AWFUL!!

Clint : [Holding on to Harvey, who in turn is holding on to the rope] I knew this was a trap. And I never really believed the girl was real, especially after she seemed interested in the lawyer.

Alice : And is that why you said, and I quote, "I believe the girl is real"?

[The ledge gives another lurch, and tilts over more.]

Boddy : [Takes out the flask of nascency fluid] The fluid! You take it! [Throws the flask to the party.]

Alice : I've got it! [Reaches her hands up high in the air to catch it, but it smacks her square in the forehead and bounces into Clint's hands] Ow!

[The ledges fall even more, but all the party now have got hold of the rope, and end up dangling in the air, in the following order : CHASTITY, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, PEG and CLINT.]

Chastity : [Starts to awkwardly climb up the rope] Its just as well my third husband, George, taught me how to climb ropes whilst carrying objects in one hand as part of his adventuring exhibitions. Otherwise I'd be in a bit of bother!

[WILL tries to pull on the rope, but to no avail. The surprisingly dextrous CHASTITY, however, manages to start moving up.]

Will : Perhaps your combined weights are heavier than I expect, for I am experiencing difficulty pulling you up. Furthermore, unless we lose some weight from the rope, I fear it will snap.

[As if by magic, one of ALICE's shoes slips off, and smacks AUSTIN in the face, before hitting PEG, and finally CLINT.]

Austin : Ow!

Peg : Ow!

Clint : Ow! Watch it, will you, bimbo?

Will : Perfect! The rope will hold you now.

Chastity : [Reaches the top of the rope and clambers onto the ledge, briefly catching her breath] Thank you, good Knight. [Gets up] Let me help you. [Wraps the end of the rope over her shoulder and round her waist, tug-of-war anchor style, and grips with her right hand] Pull, by Phili. [Despite her efforts, Chastity has a quick glance over Rod's shoulder to see how the other three are getting on]

Clint : Hurry up there, I can't hold for much longer! [Looks up, noticing Peg's "features"] Then again, the view is lovely from down here, you might want to take your time.

Peg : [Calmly to Chastity] Please hurry. I suddenly feel dirty.

[HARVEY gets to the top, and helps pulling the others up, until everyone is up. The other three, ALTHO, BODDY and COCAN have disappeared beneath a cloud of dust and flame, and noise from the rock crashing makes it obvious that they wouldn't hear someone from the party calling them.]

Alice : [Calling] Cocan! Boddy! Altho! [To the party] I wonder if they can hear me calling them?

Austin : [To Alice] Perhaps they will if you shout a little louder. [Looks at Peg] Do you still feel dirty?

Peg : I believe that I will -

[PEG winces as ALICE roars out again, almost deafening the rest of the party.]

Peg : [Shakes her head, and blinks a few times] I believe that I will feel that way for a long time to come. [Gives Clint a cool look]

Alice : [Hoarsely to Austin] Nope, I don't think they heard.

Rod : [Bows before the party] Greetings, my friends! I am Sir Rodorpoltas Verskeltanbel, but you may call me Rod.

Alice : [To the party, still somewhat hoarsely] Do you think he's a porn star?

Chastity : [Unravelling herself from the rope. To Alice] If you don't know then I expect he's not. On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 conor.ryan@ul.ie wrote:

Alice : I don't know if you're one or not, Chastity, but that doesn't mean you aren't. After all, there is that postcard from the Under City.

Harvey : [Thrusts his hand out to Rod] I thank you sir, for saving our lives! Unfortunately, the other three were important. [Thinks for a moment] Well, two of them were, I suppose. Hm. Well, one of them was, anyway!

Chastity : [To Alice] An image of lies and deceit, as you well know. [To Rod] How did you know to find us. You mentioned, with some colour, a lady? boundary="Boundary_(ID_mX5iePYEi35/j1eAAdekQA)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_mX5iePYEi35/j1eAAdekQA)

Rod: [Takes Harvey's hand and shakes] Think nothing of it, knight's duty and all that. As for the others, two out of three acceptable casualties isn't bad! [Murmurs under breath] Better than my usual ratio, anyway.

Harvey : [Shakes vigorously] Hah! What a fellow, what a sense of humour! [Smiles and shakes his head, speaking softly to himself] Better than my ususal ratio, haw!

Peg : Thank you for saving us. I am P'Erendos Gallos, an Elf. [Indicates each of the others] This is Harvey, Clint, Austin, Alice and Chastity. boundary="Boundary_(ID_yXSc3ylAVetZNrQmxRw4Xw)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_yXSc3ylAVetZNrQmxRw4Xw)

Rod: Yes, you must forgive my often literal phalanx of soliloquy. It comes with the knightly territory, you see. Anyway, yes, a strapping young lady by the name of Monilyn led me here. [Turns around and points down the passageway] Somewhat caught up with the whole rescuing routine, I lost sight of her when I heard you all berating the monster and came a running.

Alice : Monilyn? That's the same person who helped lead us here. You see, we all agreed it was a trap when there was a crinkly knight leading us, but as soon as the large chested, scantily dressed woman appeared, we had to come charging down here. [Gives Austin and Clint a dirty look] Typical men, minds so small that they can't even - [looks down] Hey! Where's my shoe?

Austin : [To Rod] Alas, chivalry is so often mistaken for pre-copulatory manoeuvreing.

Chastity : And quite often pre-copulatory manoeuvreing is often poorly disguised as chivalry.

Alice : Yeah, and quite often chivalry is often disguised as [pauses as she looks confused] hey!

Rod : Er, well, yes. Anyway, may I ask what you good people are doing in this place?

Clint : [Slipping the flask into his backpocket, and, miraculously, succeeding] We're just, er, adventurers. On the way to Euphoria.

Peg : [Looks straight at Rod] Yes, what a coincidence. May I ask why you are going to Euphoria?

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, pin-up calendars? What sort of Knight does those?

Alice : [Does a little pose] Why, this Knight, of course!

Chastity : [Confused] Oh, right. Obviously modesty is not one of your many virtues then, Good Knight. [To the party] Has anyone thought to check if the other three showed any chance of escape?

Alice : [Limps to the edge] No, but I think it's a pretty fair bet that at least Cocan and Boddy will escape, given that we meet them in the future. [To Will] Oh, we've travelled into the future many times.

[An uncomfortable silence descends.]

Alice : Er, no. I don't recall meeting any Mongese. [Moves away from the edge and from Rod]

Chastity : [To the rest of the group] Suddenly I feeling a bit less saved that I was am minute ago. to do with it?

Rod : And why wouldn't you? [Stares off into space for a moment] With the Mongese threat still hanging over us.

Alice : [Figeting nervously with the bottom button of her cardigan] So, er, Rod, where do you think your current quest will lead you?

Rod : [Snaps back to his previous, friendly demeanour] Actually, I was rather hoping to get into Euphoria.

Harvey : [Claps his hands together in delight] Well I say, good sir knight! That's exactly where we are off to, and I'm sure this troop would only be too happy for your company until we reach Euphoria!

[Silence briefly reigns]

Chastity : [Turning round from the cliff. To Rod] Yes, you will be most welcome. My apologies if you thought I was ignoring you, but I was trying to see throught the smoke and dust to spy Cocan, Boddy and Altho. Especially as I was under the impression that we needed Altho to get into Euphoria.

Rod : [Big smile] I am honoured. I know not of this Altho of which you speak, it sounds like some magic dust, which one must sprinkle upon one's self. However, I think our first problem will be to get passed the Morcs.

Clint : Wait a minute. What kind of knight did you say you were?

Rod : I'm a questing Knight. Although, I do take some time out occasionaly to rescue hapless strangers or to appear in the occasional pin-up calender. [Thoughtfully] Or sometimes both at the same time.

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, I think we've had this conversation already. [Indicates towards the tunnel] Shall we go?

Clint : Pin-up calendars, you say? [Looks briefly at Chastity] I mean, yes, let's go. But how do you expect to get into Euphoria? Do you know a secret entrance?

Alice : [To Rod] Do you have any samples of your work?

Rod : Of course! [Flips through a small photo album of him in various poses, e.g. with slayed dragons, grateful damsels who were clearly recently in distress etc.]

Alice : [Slightly disappointed] Actually, I was thinking the [notices Chastity's gaze] yes, Chastity, good idea! Let's go!

Rod : [To Clint] I think this leads to a secret entrance. I presume it'll be guarded, so there may be some difficulty.

Chastity : Surely if it's a secret entrance into Euphoria it'll not be guarded by Morc's but by Euphoric Elves [Pauses] Ah, I see your point.

Austin : Is it the case that not only is the secret entrance guarded by Euphoric Elves, but that it is also being attacked by Morcs?

Rod : That is indeed the case.

Alice : [Confused] Hold on a second, are we the [emphasises] only people who don't know where the entrance is?

Austin : Actually, [emphasises] you are the only person, Alice. We all know where it is.

Alice : [Visibly disappointed] Hey!

[Book III, Act VII, Scene X. A narrow passageway. CLINT, ROD, ALICE, CHASTITY, PEG, AUSTIN and HARVEY are here, marching in twos, in that order. The passage is quite winding, and the party is slowly making its way along.]

Alice : [Still sulking] So, how come I'm the only one who doesn't know where the entrance is?

Peg : This passageway leads to the entrance. Everyone else knows because they were listening to Altho when he told us. However, I expect that we may encounter Morcs, so perhaps everyone should ready weapons.

Rod : [Draws his broadsword] Morcs? HA! And again I say, HA! I've killed entire subspecies of Morcs with not so much as a scratch. But, eh, for clarification, what exactly do the buggers look like?

Alice : So, you didn't kill them with a sword, then?

Austin : They are fearsomely ugly, with a body odour that is frankly offensive and a taste in fashion that makes certain members of this party look in vogue.

Clint : [To Austin] He wasn't looking for a description of you, lawyer.

Austin : Which is why I didn't give him one, Mr. Scar.

Rod : [To Alice] Matter of fact, I used a spatula. Twas during the more desperate times of the war. bungling, it's no surprise. Sorry about that)

Alice : [Momentarily impressed] That's nothing, we once defended an entire city from a swarm of Bunglewarkers with no more than a piece of sellotape and a jar of Uncle Jim's honey.

[From up ahead the party can hear a lot of noise, that suggests there are very many people there. They are speaking, but there are a lot of grunts and screams too.]

Peg : [To Rod] I believe that you are about to see Morcs first hand.

[The Morcs are clearly not just around the corner, but some distance away, and making quite a bit of noise.]

Rod : [To Harvey] I take it you're the commander of this company, so I'll follow your word. That said, what do you favor? Should we charge headlong into danger, or..eh..some other tactic?..

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Charging headlong sounds like a great idea. [To Rod] I like you already!

Chastity : See?

Chastity : [Looking a bt surprised. To Harvey] You mean you have another tactic? I don't think Clint is going to like that much! Charging headlong into danger is what he does best!

Harvey : Gah! We had enough charging into combat with that Faeplan girl. I suggest we cautiously edge forward.

[The party cautiously edges forward.]

Harvey : Hm, well, perhaps a little less cautiously than that.

[The party edge forward a little more quickly. The passage leads to a ledge, that overlooks a huge valley. About two hundred yards away is a walled city, with a large number of armoured figures up on the ramparts firing arrows onto an enormous crowd of Morcs below. The Morcs do not seem to be making much headway, but don't appear to be concerned at getting killed either. In one part of the wall is what appears to once have been a doorway, which is now blocked up with debris.]

Alice : [Points at the now unpassable doorway] Yay! I bet that's the entrance!

[Each time a Morc gets killed, it disappears. Further back, out of view of the walls, but almost directly below the party, are a bunch of Morcs constructing an enormous catapult, that looks capable of firing something about ten cubic feet in size. It is incredibly intricate, and they have clearly been at it for many weeks, although it looks almost finished now. There are four or five Morcs working on the catapult, and several thousand attacking the city.]

Rod : [To Clint] You show great courage! Ever thought of knighthood? We have a health plan and everything. [To Chastity] Fear not, dear sweet emissary from the heavens, we shall strike down upon these lowly mongrels with nothing less than the FURY of Phili's wrath!

Austin : [Musing] There is a fine line between stupidity and bravery.

[Everyone's attention is drawn to ALICE throwing a peanut into her mouth, and missing, causing the peanut to fall down and hit one of the Catapult Morcs on the head. He looks around, confused, but doesn't see the party.]

Austin : [To Rod] Alice is very, very brave.

Chastity : [Looking down at the catapult] Why do I get this flashback of us with Jerome at the base of Adam's tower? [Looks back round nervously]

Rod : [Eyebrows shoot upward] AH HA! A thought! If we were to commandeer their artillery we could use it to clear the blocked entrance!

Alice : [Still looking over] My guess is because of all the acid and cheese you've been taking Chastity. [Looks directly at Chastity] Everyone knows you're doing it, and soon it'll start to effect your concentration. [Makes a puzzled face] Or is that me? [Moves her hand across the front of her face] Hey look! My hand leaves a trail! Cool!

Peg : Perhaps she shouldn't be standing so close to the edge.

Harvey : By firing on them? I don't think so, sir!

Rod : Don't worry! I've done this sort of thing countless times, it has an at least above average success rate. Besides, look at that place [Points at the castle] you seriously don't think they're insured?

Austin : I would like to point out a fatal flaw your plan to fire upon the Euphoric Elves. They think of us as little more than savages, who spend their time either fulfilling their wanton and perverse sexual desires, or trying to wreak havoc through violence, and, as such, will not be particularly keen to bid us enter. Firing upon them is unlikely to improve opinion of us.

Rod : [Looks positively crestfallen] Oh, well. I guess we won't do it then, no biggie, it's all the same to me. Though, it'd have been quite the knightly entrance.

Clint : We could try to charge through all the morcs, using some of the magic potion [shows the flask of nascency fluid]. I'm not sure what's the effect of drinking this, though. [To Austin] You're an expert on trying out dubious liquids, wanna be a tester again?

Austin : I believe that it is Alice you should be speaking to about drinking bodily fluids.

Alice : Hey! Oh, that's right, you take them anally, don't you?

Peg : Drinking the Nascency Fluid will kill you. Only Euphoric Elves can use it. Only a fool would drink it.

Austin : Alice?

Rod : Nascency Fluid you say!? Why, that is the item for which I've been questing! It's said to extend the life of whomever drinks it. [Grimaces] I'm more than a little disappointed that its lethal to all but the dainty sorts. [To Peg] You're sure humans can't drink even a wee bit? Maybe gain an extra day or two?

Alice : [Nudges Rod and whispers, shaking her head] You don't want to drink any bit of wee.

Peg : Humans can, but the particular fluid we have belongs to the Elves. All higher life forms in the Interior have their own Nascency Fluid, which is poisonous to others. However, Altho suggested earlier that the Morcs may have discovered how to use other people's.

Rod : [Takes a knee in front of Alice, looking suddenly overtaken with emotion] Oh sweetly ignorant nymph, how refreshing for me it is to know that your kind still exists. For without ladies like you, I'd be out of a job! [Turns back and looks at Peg] Well, that all sounds rather unnecessarily complicated.

Alice : [Gives a mindless giggle] Thank you! [Whispers to Austin] What did he say?

Austin : He said that you're a moron.

Alice : Hey! [Clearly doesn't know who to be angry at]

Peg : It is considerably less complicated than the fornication, violence and death that characterises the lives of humans.

Clint : But that's just so easy!

Rod : [Scratches chin] AH HA! Another brillant plan! We still overrun the catapult, except this time we use it as a platform by which to launch Peg over the walls so she can convey our friendly intentions to the elves! Then, AND ONLY THEN, do we turn the weapon upon the blockaded doorway and thus gain DYNAMIC entry into the city of Euphoria [Nods in complete self-agreement].

[Chastity turns round to look for a reaction from Peg at Rod's plan, but gives up with nothing after what seems like an age]

Chastity: How would we know that she had convinced the elves?

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, pin-up calendars? What sort of Knight does those?

Alice : [Does a little pose] Why, this Knight, of course!

Chastity : [Confused] Oh, right. Obviously modesty is not one of your many virtues then, Good Knight. [To the party] Has anyone thought to check if the other three showed any chance of escape?

Alice : [Limps to the edge] No, but I think it's a pretty fair bet that at least Cocan and Boddy will escape, given that we meet them in the future. [To Will] Oh, we've travelled into the future many times.

[An uncomfortable silence descends.]

Alice : Er, no. I don't recall meeting any Mongese. [Moves away from the edge and from Rod]

Chastity : [To the rest of the group] Suddenly I feeling a bit less saved that I was am minute ago. to do with it?

Rod : And why wouldn't you? [Stares off into space for a moment] With the Mongese threat still hanging over us.

Alice : [Figeting nervously with the bottom button of her cardigan] So, er, Rod, where do you think your current quest will lead you?

Rod : [Snaps back to his previous, friendly demeanour] Actually, I was rather hoping to get into Euphoria.

Harvey : [Claps his hands together in delight] Well I say, good sir knight! That's exactly where we are off to, and I'm sure this troop would only be too happy for your company until we reach Euphoria!

[Silence briefly reigns]

Chastity : [Turning round from the cliff. To Rod] Yes, you will be most welcome. My apologies if you thought I was ignoring you, but I was trying to see throught the smoke and dust to spy Cocan, Boddy and Altho. Especially as I was under the impression that we needed Altho to get into Euphoria.

Rod : [Big smile] I am honoured. I know not of this Altho of which you speak, it sounds like some magic dust, which one must sprinkle upon one's self. However, I think our first problem will be to get passed the Morcs.

Clint : Wait a minute. What kind of knight did you say you were?

Rod : I'm a questing Knight. Although, I do take some time out occasionaly to rescue hapless strangers or to appear in the occasional pin-up calender. [Thoughtfully] Or sometimes both at the same time.

Chastity : [Nodding her head while listening, mumbling] Questing? Good. Rescuing strangers, good work. [Coughs] Hold on, I think we've had this conversation already. [Indicates towards the tunnel] Shall we go?

Clint : Pin-up calendars, you say? [Looks briefly at Chastity] I mean, yes, let's go. But how do you expect to get into Euphoria? Do you know a secret entrance?

Alice : [To Rod] Do you have any samples of your work?

Rod : Of course! [Flips through a small photo album of him in various poses, e.g. with slayed dragons, grateful damsels who were clearly recently in distress etc.]

Alice : [Slightly disappointed] Actually, I was thinking the [notices Chastity's gaze] yes, Chastity, good idea! Let's go!

Rod : [To Clint] I think this leads to a secret entrance. I presume it'll be guarded, so there may be some difficulty.

Chastity : Surely if it's a secret entrance into Euphoria it'll not be guarded by Morc's but by Euphoric Elves [Pauses] Ah, I see your point.

Austin : Is it the case that not only is the secret entrance guarded by Euphoric Elves, but that it is also being attacked by Morcs?

Rod : That is indeed the case.

Alice : [Confused] Hold on a second, are we the [emphasises] only people who don't know where the entrance is?

Austin : Actually, [emphasises] you are the only person, Alice. We all know where it is.

Alice : [Visibly disappointed] Hey!

[Book III, Act VII, Scene X. A narrow passageway. CLINT, ROD, ALICE, CHASTITY, PEG, AUSTIN and HARVEY are here, marching in twos, in that order. The passage is quite winding, and the party is slowly making its way along.]

Alice : [Still sulking] So, how come I'm the only one who doesn't know where the entrance is?

Peg : This passageway leads to the entrance. Everyone else knows because they were listening to Altho when he told us. However, I expect that we may encounter Morcs, so perhaps everyone should ready weapons.

Rod : [Draws his broadsword] Morcs? HA! And again I say, HA! I've killed entire subspecies of Morcs with not so much as a scratch. But, eh, for clarification, what exactly do the buggers look like?

Alice : So, you didn't kill them with a sword, then?

Austin : They are fearsomely ugly, with a body odour that is frankly offensive and a taste in fashion that makes certain members of this party look in vogue.

Clint : [To Austin] He wasn't looking for a description of you, lawyer.

Austin : Which is why I didn't give him one, Mr. Scar.

Rod : [To Alice] Matter of fact, I used a spatula. Twas during the more desperate times of the war. bungling, it's no surprise. Sorry about that)

Alice : [Momentarily impressed] That's nothing, we once defended an entire city from a swarm of Bunglewarkers with no more than a piece of sellotape and a jar of Uncle Jim's honey.

[From up ahead the party can hear a lot of noise, that suggests there are very many people there. They are speaking, but there are a lot of grunts and screams too.]

Peg : [To Rod] I believe that you are about to see Morcs first hand.

[The Morcs are clearly not just around the corner, but some distance away, and making quite a bit of noise.]

Rod : [To Harvey] I take it you're the commander of this company, so I'll follow your word. That said, what do you favor? Should we charge headlong into danger, or..eh..some other tactic?..

Clint : [Drawing his sword] Charging headlong sounds like a great idea. [To Rod] I like you already!

Chastity : See?

Chastity : [Looking a bt surprised. To Harvey] You mean you have another tactic? I don't think Clint is going to like that much! Charging headlong into danger is what he does best!

Harvey : Gah! We had enough charging into combat with that Faeplan girl. I suggest we cautiously edge forward.

[The party cautiously edges forward.]

Harvey : Hm, well, perhaps a little less cautiously than that.

[The party edge forward a little more quickly. The passage leads to a ledge, that overlooks a huge valley. About two hundred yards away is a walled city, with a large number of armoured figures up on the ramparts firing arrows onto an enormous crowd of Morcs below. The Morcs do not seem to be making much headway, but don't appear to be concerned at getting killed either. In one part of the wall is what appears to once have been a doorway, which is now blocked up with debris.]

Alice : [Points at the now unpassable doorway] Yay! I bet that's the entrance!

[Each time a Morc gets killed, it disappears. Further back, out of view of the walls, but almost directly below the party, are a bunch of Morcs constructing an enormous catapult, that looks capable of firing something about ten cubic feet in size. It is incredibly intricate, and they have clearly been at it for many weeks, although it looks almost finished now. There are four or five Morcs working on the catapult, and several thousand attacking the city.]

Rod : [To Clint] You show great courage! Ever thought of knighthood? We have a health plan and everything. [To Chastity] Fear not, dear sweet emissary from the heavens, we shall strike down upon these lowly mongrels with nothing less than the FURY of Phili's wrath!

Austin : [Musing] There is a fine line between stupidity and bravery.

[Everyone's attention is drawn to ALICE throwing a peanut into her mouth, and missing, causing the peanut to fall down and hit one of the Catapult Morcs on the head. He looks around, confused, but doesn't see the party.]

Austin : [To Rod] Alice is very, very brave.

Chastity : [Looking down at the catapult] Why do I get this flashback of us with Jerome at the base of Adam's tower? [Looks back round nervously]

Rod : [Eyebrows shoot upward] AH HA! A thought! If we were to commandeer their artillery we could use it to clear the blocked entrance!

Alice : [Still looking over] My guess is because of all the acid and cheese you've been taking Chastity. [Looks directly at Chastity] Everyone knows you're doing it, and soon it'll start to effect your concentration. [Makes a puzzled face] Or is that me? [Moves her hand across the front of her face] Hey look! My hand leaves a trail! Cool!

Peg : Perhaps she shouldn't be standing so close to the edge.

Harvey : By firing on them? I don't think so, sir!

Rod : Don't worry! I've done this sort of thing countless times, it has an at least above average success rate. Besides, look at that place [Points at the castle] you seriously don't think they're insured?

Austin : I would like to point out a fatal flaw your plan to fire upon the Euphoric Elves. They think of us as little more than savages, who spend their time either fulfilling their wanton and perverse sexual desires, or trying to wreak havoc through violence, and, as such, will not be particularly keen to bid us enter. Firing upon them is unlikely to improve opinion of us.

Rod : [Looks positively crestfallen] Oh, well. I guess we won't do it then, no biggie, it's all the same to me. Though, it'd have been quite the knightly entrance.

Clint : We could try to charge through all the morcs, using some of the magic potion [shows the flask of nascency fluid]. I'm not sure what's the effect of drinking this, though. [To Austin] You're an expert on trying out dubious liquids, wanna be a tester again?

Austin : I believe that it is Alice you should be speaking to about drinking bodily fluids.

Alice : Hey! Oh, that's right, you take them anally, don't you?

Peg : Drinking the Nascency Fluid will kill you. Only Euphoric Elves can use it. Only a fool would drink it.

Austin : Alice?

Rod : Nascency Fluid you say!? Why, that is the item for which I've been questing! It's said to extend the life of whomever drinks it. [Grimaces] I'm more than a little disappointed that its lethal to all but the dainty sorts. [To Peg] You're sure humans can't drink even a wee bit? Maybe gain an extra day or two?

Alice : [Nudges Rod and whispers, shaking her head] You don't want to drink any bit of wee.

Peg : Humans can, but the particular fluid we have belongs to the Elves. All higher life forms in the Interior have their own Nascency Fluid, which is poisonous to others. However, Altho suggested earlier that the Morcs may have discovered how to use other people's.

Rod : [Takes a knee in front of Alice, looking suddenly overtaken with emotion] Oh sweetly ignorant nymph, how refreshing for me it is to know that your kind still exists. For without ladies like you, I'd be out of a job! [Turns back and looks at Peg] Well, that all sounds rather unnecessarily complicated.

Alice : [Gives a mindless giggle] Thank you! [Whispers to Austin] What did he say?

Austin : He said that you're a moron.

Alice : Hey! [Clearly doesn't know who to be angry at]

Peg : It is considerably less complicated than the fornication, violence and death that characterises the lives of humans.

Clint : But that's just so easy!

Rod : [Scratches chin] AH HA! Another brillant plan! We still overrun the catapult, except this time we use it as a platform by which to launch Peg over the walls so she can convey our friendly intentions to the elves! Then, AND ONLY THEN, do we turn the weapon upon the blockaded doorway and thus gain DYNAMIC entry into the city of Euphoria [Nods in complete self-agreement].

[Chastity turns round to look for a reaction from Peg at Rod's plan, but gives up with nothing after what seems like an age]

Chastity: How would we know that she had convinced the elves?

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Peg : [Unmoved] I am not sure which surprises me more. The ludicrous suggestion or the implication that you, Sister, appear to endorse it. I suspect that anyone who thinks that it's a good plan is a -

Alice : I think it's a great idea!

Harvey : Yes, yes. I'm sure that she would survive, especially if there are thatched roofs inside, but I doubt the Elves would let down their defences, especially for a group of savages, what?

Chastity : [To Peg] Just because I didn't cast derision upon the plan does not mean that I think it to be a good one. I'm sure Autsin would agree with this line of argument? [Turns to Austin for backup]

Austin : Where you may have been technically correct in you assumptions, Sister, I'm afraid that your recent past performance in the idea department may casting a poor light upon you. Your proposed excuses for Roy's appearance to the elves being damning evidence. [Clads Maplin in a matt black calf-skin glove to rule out the Morc's spotting any glare from his immaculate nails]

Rod : [Huffs] I'm sure she'd land harmlessly on her feet, waif of a girl like her. Regardless, I realize I've been overstepping my authority here. Who am I to dictate to such a band of seasoned adventurers? Thus, from this point forth I will concede to whatever plan you devise, as long as it somehow involves using the catapult. [Nods]

Alice: How about we all go in the catapult? We could us some of Chastity's spare habits as parachutes.

Chastity : [Looks in her bag] Well, there are a few left, despite Roy sneeking off with one on. But I'm sure I could manage to compensate with a few of the teatowels I still have left from Hell. [Pulls out a tea-towel with a recipe for Devil-cake printed on it. Looks down] I take it you don't mean for us all to go at once.

Alice : Why not? Anyone who's left here will probably find it very difficult to get away, given that we'll probably attract some attention.

Chastity : Thats Ok, I was just making sure. The last thing we would want is for any plan to go wrong. [Looks round] Talking of which, how do we get down there from this cliff?

Rod : [Positively elated] So, we're actually going to use the catapult!? SUCCESS! [Waves broadsword around over his head] Alright comrades, CHARGE! Ahhh!! [Takes a few running steps forward, then remembers there was a cliff and comes to a skidding stop.] Right, a way down to the bottom..Hmm

Harvey : [Looking down] Well troop, I believe we only have to find a way onto the catapult itself, which lies below us!  Why, I'm sure we could just jump from here onto the spoon of the machine, cut the rope and we're away, soaring over the heads of these beasts!

Clint : Hum, is that feasible, Colonel?

Harvey : Which part, private Scar? The soaring over beasts heads, safely landing in a the city, or the act of  reaching said catapult?

Rod : [Whips around, smiling wide] I have complete faith that all the physics will just work themselves out.

Harvey : [With disgust] Pah, I have no care for those charlatans, sir, and could care less if they do or do not work themselves out!  Just because they have a glass ball they feel the need to tell gullible fools what the future has in store for them! Charlatans sir, charlatans, I tell you!

Alice : [With an exasperated sigh] Just work themselves out? You know, physics working things out isn't like something just falling off a tree! [It is definitely feasible, although whoever jumps in first will clearly be squashed by the others.]

Alice : Bags I go in first! [Lowly to Harvey] I don't want to get squashed by the others.

Peg : Given that we are about to use their catapult to propel ourselves somewhat recklessly into the city, what is to stop them simply following us?

Peg : These gullible fools you speak of, where do they find such things?

Chastity : [Sighs] I think you'll find that the Colonel is actually remonstrating about Psychics who ply their fraudulent trade in carnivals. I'm suprised that you don't have any down here. Carnivals are places filled with laugher and fun. [Pauses thoughtfully] Unless they happen to have brutal ghost trains, dubious barn owners and small magicians called Daniel!

Peg : I am quite sure that the elves of Euphoria have considerably more sophisticated tastes, and find little joy in a badly put together Waltzer machine. Before we embark on this foolhardy plan, I would like to repeat my reservation concerning the possibility of the Morcs simply following us in, and our being mistaken as an advance invasion party.

Alice : Off you go then.

Peg : What do you mean?

Alice : Repeat your reservation.

Peg : No.

[There are a number of large barrels stacked up near the catapult. It isn't clear exactly what the Morcs are up to, but looks as though they are putting the final touches to the catapult.]

Chastity : We had better make our way down soon, whilst the Morcs are distracted by their machine.

Harvey : Well said, Sister! Time is of the essence.

Alice : I think we can jump into the main part, but can we also destroy the catapult to stop them following us in?

Clint : If only those barrels were of explosives, we could try to make them explode just after we've been launched.

Chastity : They probably are. There wouldn't be much point launching them into the city if they weren't going to cause some sort of harm.

Austin : [Glances at Pegs jumper] Perhaps the barrels are filled with Paula Smithers and Hugo Biss outfits and plan to drive the elves with good taste. [Smirks to himself as he straightens his cuffs]

Peg : [Blinks her eyes tiredly] If you are representative of the type of people that wear those outfits, I'm sure it would be an excellent strategy. However, I am quite sure that the Sister is correct.

Alice : Maybe there are Morcs in the barrels? You know, like the wooden horse of Roy?

Chastity : [To Alice] Don't be silly. That would be suicidal, being flung over the wall li...[trails off and looks round nervously] What was our plan again?

Austin : That would actually be a cunning plan for the Morcs, for if they can be "reborn" as it were, then they could wear the elves down with attrition. Unfortunately we can ill afford to be so reckless.

Peg : When Morcs are reborn, as you put it, they return to their Nascency fluid. Normally this is kept a safe distance from any battle site, but, given the manner in which they removed the Nascency Fluid from the cave earlier*, it is quite possibly nearby.

Alice : Don't worry, Chastity, none of the Morcs was as big - I mean, none of the Morcs was, uh, were as clever as us, so would be unlikely to secure the services of a parachute.

Clint : But if they are inside the barrels, then by making them explode we would be killing them, no?

Harvey : Haw! Typical civilian rot! You are forgetting sir, that it is unlikely the Morcs are explosive, so that, if they were placed in a barrel, then the barrel wouldn't explode on contact. Of course, maybe they are explosive, and the intention is to rain explosive Orcs down onto the city, and the barrels are merely used to store hot refreshing tea for the boffins operating the machine?

Rod : [Scratches head] Wait, why don't we just drain one of the tea / explosive morc / designer clothing barrels, stow away inside it, and that would provide us a little bit of a cushion for when we arrive in the city. Then, when the elves look on at how amazingly BRILLIANT we are, they will surely understand we are not Morcs! First though, we need to solve the nagging quandry of what is actually being housed in these mysterious barrel-shaped...barrels!

Harvey : Well said, sir! We need to imagine what we would put in the barrels if we were firing them into a city - any suggestions, troop?

Alice : I'd put a big bunch of my little ponies, so that when the enemy opened up the barrel they'd be so distracted by their lovely faces and wonderful braidable hair we could just sneak up and kill them all.

Harvey : Er, actually, maybe if we try to imagine what the Morcs would put in.

Alice : Easy, they'd put soil in them.

Rod : [Stares off into space] I remember the seige of Pooty Applewater Castle, the insidous enemy played the entire Ace of Base library over loudspeaker whilst they pelted us with grapefruit. The horror, the horror..

Harvey : By the saints, sir!  Not so insidious that the enemy did not wish to see your troops come down with scurvy, eh!  The amount vitamin C in a grapefruit is quite plentiful!  I'd almost say it was decent of them! [Looks down] So, we are all prepared but for a plan to destroy the catapult, correct?

Alice : [Looks down at the Morcs] Er, are you asking them or us? Assuming it's us, maybe we can figure out some way to use the soil?

Clint : How do we know it's soil that is inside the barrels? Another one of your insights?

Alice : No, look, it's written on the side, just turned away from us. [Points at the barrels] You can only see the end it, see? O - I - L.

Chastity : Well that would make sense as a bombardment tool. Cover the city in oil then set light to it. Or at the very least upset the elves natural cleanliness by making a mess of their city. [Tilts her head at the barrels] Unless the barrels are all upside down and they're stamped 710?

Austin : [Deadpan] Yes, that's much more likely.

Clint : Maybe if we set them on fire it'll make a smoke curtain that will prevent the Morcs from correctly aiming at the city!

Austin : Whilst also pointing out to the entire Morc Army where we are. How about this. You could just pour oil onto the catapult and then light it just as we are about propel ourselves into the city. Simply really.

Alice : Off you go then! Hey, that was an easy plan. Austin goes down, kills all the Orcs, liberally douses the catapult with oil, helps us all down, fires the catapult and then blows up the oil. Thanks Aussie, that's real square of you to help out like that!

Austin : Douse oil? In this suit? Have you taken leave of your senses?

Chastity : I think it may be left to the more action oriented members of the group to get their hands dirty. [Glances at Clint] Some of us seem in have jumped the gun in that respect already.

Clint : It's not dirt, it's skin colour. [Makes a big act of trying to clean his hands, and shows them back, still as dirty as before] See?

Alice : [Glances at Austin] Whereas some of us have dirty minds!

Peg : Now that we have established that there is, in all probability, oil in the barrels, how can we best make use of this information?

Alice : But what about the smell, Clint? Honestly, you're sweating worse than an Irishman chairing a meeting the morning after having had too much beer and cheese!

Chastity : Alice, I've told you before about exaggerating. There is no way even Clint can be that...[a gust of wind briefly blows past Clint to Chastity, and the resulting sensory overload briefly causes Chastity to stagger to the edge of the cliff] Whoa, by Phili, your right! [Tries to regain her balance]

Austin : [Tired and exasperated sigh] Is the plan to simply wait up here and snipe at each other until it is too late, and the Morcs have fired the oil into the city? --- to be, well, glancing \ No newline at end of file .com> -=- Mon, 31 Mar 2003 06:05:47 -0800 (PST) -->

Rod : [Huffs] I'm sure she'd land harmlessly on her feet, waif of a girl like her. Regardless, I realize I've been overstepping my authority here. Who am I to dictate to such a band of seasoned adventurers? Thus, from this point forth I will concede to whatever plan you devise, as long as it somehow involves using the catapult. [Nods]

Alice: How about we all go in the catapult? We could us some of Chastity's spare habits as parachutes.

Chastity : [Looks in her bag] Well, there are a few left, despite Roy sneeking off with one on. But I'm sure I could manage to compensate with a few of the teatowels I still have left from Hell. [Pulls out a tea-towel with a recipe for Devil-cake printed on it. Looks down] I take it you don't mean for us all to go at once.

Alice : Why not? Anyone who's left here will probably find it very difficult to get away, given that we'll probably attract some attention.

Chastity : Thats Ok, I was just making sure. The last thing we would want is for any plan to go wrong. [Looks round] Talking of which, how do we get down there from this cliff?

Rod : [Positively elated] So, we're actually going to use the catapult!? SUCCESS! [Waves broadsword around over his head] Alright comrades, CHARGE! Ahhh!! [Takes a few running steps forward, then remembers there was a cliff and comes to a skidding stop.] Right, a way down to the bottom..Hmm

Harvey : [Looking down] Well troop, I believe we only have to find a way onto the catapult itself, which lies below us!  Why, I'm sure we could just jump from here onto the spoon of the machine, cut the rope and we're away, soaring over the heads of these beasts!

Clint : Hum, is that feasible, Colonel?

Harvey : Which part, private Scar? The soaring over beasts heads, safely landing in a the city, or the act of  reaching said catapult?

Rod : [Whips around, smiling wide] I have complete faith that all the physics will just work themselves out.

Harvey : [With disgust] Pah, I have no care for those charlatans, sir, and could care less if they do or do not work themselves out!  Just because they have a glass ball they feel the need to tell gullible fools what the future has in store for them! Charlatans sir, charlatans, I tell you!

Alice : [With an exasperated sigh] Just work themselves out? You know, physics working things out isn't like something just falling off a tree! [It is definitely feasible, although whoever jumps in first will clearly be squashed by the others.]

Alice : Bags I go in first! [Lowly to Harvey] I don't want to get squashed by the others.

Peg : Given that we are about to use their catapult to propel ourselves somewhat recklessly into the city, what is to stop them simply following us?

Peg : These gullible fools you speak of, where do they find such things?

Chastity : [Sighs] I think you'll find that the Colonel is actually remonstrating about Psychics who ply their fraudulent trade in carnivals. I'm suprised that you don't have any down here. Carnivals are places filled with laugher and fun. [Pauses thoughtfully] Unless they happen to have brutal ghost trains, dubious barn owners and small magicians called Daniel!

Peg : I am quite sure that the elves of Euphoria have considerably more sophisticated tastes, and find little joy in a badly put together Waltzer machine. Before we embark on this foolhardy plan, I would like to repeat my reservation concerning the possibility of the Morcs simply following us in, and our being mistaken as an advance invasion party.

Alice : Off you go then.

Peg : What do you mean?

Alice : Repeat your reservation.

Peg : No.

[There are a number of large barrels stacked up near the catapult. It isn't clear exactly what the Morcs are up to, but looks as though they are putting the final touches to the catapult.]

Chastity : We had better make our way down soon, whilst the Morcs are distracted by their machine.

Harvey : Well said, Sister! Time is of the essence.

Alice : I think we can jump into the main part, but can we also destroy the catapult to stop them following us in?

Clint : If only those barrels were of explosives, we could try to make them explode just after we've been launched.

Chastity : They probably are. There wouldn't be much point launching them into the city if they weren't going to cause some sort of harm.

Austin : [Glances at Pegs jumper] Perhaps the barrels are filled with Paula Smithers and Hugo Biss outfits and plan to drive the elves with good taste. [Smirks to himself as he straightens his cuffs]

Peg : [Blinks her eyes tiredly] If you are representative of the type of people that wear those outfits, I'm sure it would be an excellent strategy. However, I am quite sure that the Sister is correct.

Alice : Maybe there are Morcs in the barrels? You know, like the wooden horse of Roy?

Chastity : [To Alice] Don't be silly. That would be suicidal, being flung over the wall li...[trails off and looks round nervously] What was our plan again?

Austin : That would actually be a cunning plan for the Morcs, for if they can be "reborn" as it were, then they could wear the elves down with attrition. Unfortunately we can ill afford to be so reckless.

Peg : When Morcs are reborn, as you put it, they return to their Nascency fluid. Normally this is kept a safe distance from any battle site, but, given the manner in which they removed the Nascency Fluid from the cave earlier*, it is quite possibly nearby.

Alice : Don't worry, Chastity, none of the Morcs was as big - I mean, none of the Morcs was, uh, were as clever as us, so would be unlikely to secure the services of a parachute.

Clint : But if they are inside the barrels, then by making them explode we would be killing them, no?

Harvey : Haw! Typical civilian rot! You are forgetting sir, that it is unlikely the Morcs are explosive, so that, if they were placed in a barrel, then the barrel wouldn't explode on contact. Of course, maybe they are explosive, and the intention is to rain explosive Orcs down onto the city, and the barrels are merely used to store hot refreshing tea for the boffins operating the machine?

Rod : [Scratches head] Wait, why don't we just drain one of the tea / explosive morc / designer clothing barrels, stow away inside it, and that would provide us a little bit of a cushion for when we arrive in the city. Then, when the elves look on at how amazingly BRILLIANT we are, they will surely understand we are not Morcs! First though, we need to solve the nagging quandry of what is actually being housed in these mysterious barrel-shaped...barrels!

Harvey : Well said, sir! We need to imagine what we would put in the barrels if we were firing them into a city - any suggestions, troop?

Alice : I'd put a big bunch of my little ponies, so that when the enemy opened up the barrel they'd be so distracted by their lovely faces and wonderful braidable hair we could just sneak up and kill them all.

Harvey : Er, actually, maybe if we try to imagine what the Morcs would put in.

Alice : Easy, they'd put soil in them.

Rod : [Stares off into space] I remember the seige of Pooty Applewater Castle, the insidous enemy played the entire Ace of Base library over loudspeaker whilst they pelted us with grapefruit. The horror, the horror..

Harvey : By the saints, sir!  Not so insidious that the enemy did not wish to see your troops come down with scurvy, eh!  The amount vitamin C in a grapefruit is quite plentiful!  I'd almost say it was decent of them! [Looks down] So, we are all prepared but for a plan to destroy the catapult, correct?

Alice : [Looks down at the Morcs] Er, are you asking them or us? Assuming it's us, maybe we can figure out some way to use the soil?

Clint : How do we know it's soil that is inside the barrels? Another one of your insights?

Alice : No, look, it's written on the side, just turned away from us. [Points at the barrels] You can only see the end it, see? O - I - L.

Chastity : Well that would make sense as a bombardment tool. Cover the city in oil then set light to it. Or at the very least upset the elves natural cleanliness by making a mess of their city. [Tilts her head at the barrels] Unless the barrels are all upside down and they're stamped 710?

Austin : [Deadpan] Yes, that's much more likely.

Clint : Maybe if we set them on fire it'll make a smoke curtain that will prevent the Morcs from correctly aiming at the city!

Austin : Whilst also pointing out to the entire Morc Army where we are. How about this. You could just pour oil onto the catapult and then light it just as we are about propel ourselves into the city. Simply really.

Alice : Off you go then! Hey, that was an easy plan. Austin goes down, kills all the Orcs, liberally douses the catapult with oil, helps us all down, fires the catapult and then blows up the oil. Thanks Aussie, that's real square of you to help out like that!

Austin : Douse oil? In this suit? Have you taken leave of your senses?

Chastity : I think it may be left to the more action oriented members of the group to get their hands dirty. [Glances at Clint] Some of us seem in have jumped the gun in that respect already.

Clint : It's not dirt, it's skin colour. [Makes a big act of trying to clean his hands, and shows them back, still as dirty as before] See?

Alice : [Glances at Austin] Whereas some of us have dirty minds!

Peg : Now that we have established that there is, in all probability, oil in the barrels, how can we best make use of this information?

Alice : But what about the smell, Clint? Honestly, you're sweating worse than an Irishman chairing a meeting the morning after having had too much beer and cheese!

Chastity : Alice, I've told you before about exaggerating. There is no way even Clint can be that...[a gust of wind briefly blows past Clint to Chastity, and the resulting sensory overload briefly causes Chastity to stagger to the edge of the cliff] Whoa, by Phili, your right! [Tries to regain her balance]

Austin : [Tired and exasperated sigh] Is the plan to simply wait up here and snipe at each other until it is too late, and the Morcs have fired the oil into the city? --- to be, well, glancing \ No newline at end of file

[FRANK and EDWARD start to haul one of the barrels towards the catapult.]

Alice : [Draws her sword] Whatever we're going to do, we'd better do it soon!

Rod : [Snaps back to reality and begins waving his broadsword around in the air again] Oh, has the time for violence finally come? Goody. Someone going to order a charge?

Alice : How about ordering a plan first? Do we just attack them? Or can we leap onto the catapult, and escape leaving nothing more than a bunch of burning Morcs behind us?

Rod : [Huffs] Look you guys, I'm not waiting for another resolution to be passed. We have to take out that weapon of mass destruction, but not before we have used it to our own ends. Afterwards, we'll discuss what to do about all that oil.

Chastity : From the top of this cliff it'll be difficult to attack them without damaging the catapult. I'm for jumping, releasing they mechanism and leaving them to burn in our wake. I'll just see what I can do from here. [Peeps over the edge of the cliff again, and starts to mumble an incantation]

Harvey : I'm with Rod on this one. It is crucial that we go in immediately and liberate the Morcs from the Morcs by killing as many Morcs as possible.

Austin : What if the Morcs don't want to be liberated from the Morcs?

Harvey : [Winces as though in pain] I never figured you for a traitor, Sleaze - of course they want to be liberated, they just don't know it yet.

[EDWARD and FRANK heave the barrel over to the catapult and, with the help of ADAM and BRIAN, heave it into the cup. Suddenly, the barrel begins to twist, and the sides split, covering all the MORCS in the vicinity in oil.]

Clint : Look! It is oil! Quickly, anyone got a match? Let's just set them on fire and use the catapult!

Alice : [Whips out a match book from "Jarl's Juicy Jugs"] Here! [A little downcast] Although, this is a really cool souvenir.

Harvey : Just a moment, there, Private! The catapult is covered in oil too!

Chastity : Yes. Lets use the catapult [emphasises] THEN set them on fire. [Goes to the edge of the cliff, mace in hand] Come on then?

Rod : [Rushing passed Chastity, dagger in teeth and a sword in either hand] Yeeeeha! [Leaps off the edge of the cliff towards the catapult]

Harvey : Yeeeeha? [Sighs] Don't tell me we've found another Faetan.

Alice : [Makes to say something] Oh. Okay.

[HARVEY leaps over the edge.]

Chastity : Good, some action. I hate these bickering delays. [Leaps off the cliff, shouting] For Phili!

Austin : Evidently. [Leaps off towards the catapult]

Clint : Did I say I like that guy? [Jumps over the edge towards the catapult]

Chastity : [Slightly muffled from beneath Clint] Alice, torch the Morc's, Clint, then cut the rope!

Austin : Allow me. [Takes a final puff from his cigarette, removes it from it's holder, blows a smoke ring and flicks the lit cigarette end through the middle of the ring into the face of the oil covered Brian]

Austin : [Watching the cigarette arc towards the oil. To Brian] Not you, in a moment.

Rod : What's happenning? What's happenning?

Alice : [Drags herself back in, also watching the cigarette head towards the catapult] Hey! How come it's falling so slowly?

[The cigarette continues its journey towards the catapult.]

Chastity : Prepare for launch!

Austin : [To Clint] Don't cut the rope until we know the fire has started.

Clint : [With a dreamy voice, while watching the cigarette fly] You're right, such a graceful movement, slowing drifting towards the oil-drenched catapult... Gah! [Cuts the rope with his sword]

Harvey : [Stomach growling loudly] Mmm, lunch!

[CLINT cuts the rope, sending the entire party shooting across the sky.]

Alice : [As the party approach the wall of Euphoria] Prepare to deploy paraskirts, Chastity!

Cyril : What the hell is going on with that cigarette?

Brian : [Grunts] Idunno.

Dave : Maybe someone should just catch it?

Edward : That's a really good idea.

Harry : Well, could one of you do it? Seeing as how we're so far away and all?

Gerard : I'm further than you!

Harry : Only because you just took a step back!

Gerard : Liar!

[The two fall to the ground fighting.]

Cyril : [Reaches out and catches the cigarette before it falls] Phew! We're saved! We're saved!

[The non-fighting Morcs jump up in down in celebration, but, almost immediately, CYRIL slips on the oil and falls, causing the cigarette to ignite the oil, and the catapult to explode with a deafening noise, followed by another, absolutely enormous explosion, that brings down much of the mountainside around, crushing the Morcs below.]

Chastity : Ah, I knew there was something left to do before we jumped. [Opens her bag and quickly hands out spare habits. As the wind starts to billow up her habit] This will give those elves something to talk about!

Alice : Yay! This is a great plan! [Takes the habit from Chastity, only for it to be whipped out of her hands by the wind] Gah!

[The party has now cleared the outer wall, and is heading towards the town.]

Rod : I hope we don't crash into that estate of glass houses.

Harvey : It's the sandpaper factory that I'm most worried about!

Austin : [Looking around the party, deadpan] Great plan everyone. Good work!

Chastity : [Looking into her bag] Just as well I tie the sleeves of the dirty ones together, that should give us a large enough parachute area. [A series of soiled habits covered in an assortment of adventuring stains, all tied together at the sleeves billow out of Chastity's bag, with Chastity holding onto the first one] Grab a corner everyone! [Looks at all the stained garments, shaking her head, horrified] The shame, the shame.

[The party doesn't slow appreciably, and continue to sail earthwards, until they crash through a thatched roof, with everyone sent sprawling to the ground.]

Alice : [Shaking her head, causing some straw to sprinkle around the floor] Ow.

[The party is in what appears to be a one room cottage, with little furniture and no other people.]

Alice : I wonder if anyone noticed us coming in.

Chastity : [Quickly gathering in her soiled and stains garments] I hope not.

Clint : [Handing over a pair of oversized panties back to Chastity] These are so dirty. You seem to use a lot of salad cream!

Alice : Mm-mm! I like this cardigan, Chastity! [Puts her arms through the frilly pink "cardigan", but can't find the buttons on the front] Hey! This isn't a cardigan at all!

Harvey : Keep it down, troop, I think we may have just managed to get in without attracting any attention.

[As if on cue, each of the walls of the cottage falls outwards, revealing that the party are surrounded by hundreds of what appear to be Euphoric Elves. Visible here are TRISTRAM, SIEGFRIED and HELEN, who the party met back at the entrance to the interior.]

Chastity : [Grabbing her undergarmants fronm Clint] And you seem to use alot of your imagination to no purpose. [Stuffs them in her bag, stands up, and dusts herself down. To the assembled crowd] Greetings, we have are here to help you in your fight against the Morcs.

Tristram : They are the humans we met!

[The crowd step back slightly, clearly uncomfortable about being so close to the party. The city is absolutely beautiful looking, and is full of wonderful wooden buildings. The cottage destroyed by the party seems to be the only one of its kind in the vicinity.]

Siegfried : [Calling out from a safe distance to Chastity] I do not believe you.

[The elves are clearly freaked out, as though many had never seen humans before, and comments such as "They're just so ugly" and "Why is one wearing really big knickers as a cardigan" can be heard.]

Chastity : If you do not trust the word of a human, will you believe the word of one of your own? [Looks round] Where's Peg?

Clint : [To the crowd] Take it easy, alright? If it weren't for us, the Morcs would be setting your city on fire right now. As for her [pointing at Alice], she's just... errr... very fat.

Siegfried : That is a lie.

[The crowd give a gasp in horror.]

Siegfried : It has already been established that she is pregnant. [To the other elves] They are clearly little more than an invading force. Let us kill them. [Book III, Act VII, Scene I. The Corridor. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, FAETAN, ARAMIS, VASCO, FENTON, RICKY, KENNY WHO?, KENNY WHY?, KENNY WHAT? and PEARSE PEARCE are here.]

Aramis : [Gives Alice and extravagent bow] My dear girl, were I not afraid that tears might tarnish the reputation I have so striven for, I would weep with emotion.

Alice : [Mindless giggle] Can we swap him for Faetan?

Clint : [To Aramis] Please don't! Last time we had a tears session it lasted forever. And I don't have enough drink to wait until it's over.

Aramis : Ah! A man in touch with his feelings, I like that! However, time is of the essence, and we must get to the gate.

Aramis : We were tipped off [pause] by, I believe, some friends of yours. Myself and these most upstanding [leans in confidentially Austin, Harvey and Clint] and virile, I believe, [loud again] were tracking Pearce and his odious family. We came expecting that you would have already had them defeated and incarcerated [bows slightly] but I apologise for interrupting your fight.

Clint : There was a handful of them, but we were doing fine. Thanks for giving us a hand anyway, that came in very handy. [Pause; then to Chastity] No offense, sister.

Alice : [Flutters her eyelids at Aramis and sighs to no one in particular] He's just so handsome.

Aramis : [Smiles modestly at Alice] This is the third outfit I have seen you in, my dear, and, incredibly, [exagerated shake of the head] you are even more fetching in this one.

Alice : [Self-consciously] This old thing? Well, it does fit like glo- I mean, like a pair of - I mean like a - [avoids Chastity's look] like a - like a really well fitting [tails off lamely] set of clothes.

Austin : [To Alice, stropily] It's nice that everyone is so careful not to talk about Chastity's bloody hand. Just like nobody talked about my arm when we were in hell. [With a snort of derision] NOT! [Turns his back on the party, then turns back to Chastity] Well never mind, I'm sure Phili will have it slapped back on in no time. What about those healing potions that that nice fellow Chief Slyfunk gave to us? I certainly could use one [Points at the numerous cuts on himself]

Alice : [Annoyed] Austin! Don't don't talk about her hand! [Rolls her eyes] Tut! And right in front of her and all!

Chastity : It pleases me to see that your experience in hell has served to increase your faith Austin. Using the healing potions is a good idea, perhaps you could get them out of my backpack? [Turns to give Austin access.]

Austin : [To Chastity, whilst rummaging in her backpack] Why thank you sister, it pleases me that you are [Thinks something and then thinks better of saying it] pleased. [Gets 4 healing potions and 6 extra healing potions from Chastity's pack]

[CHASTITY takes two of the extra healing potions and drinks them back, while each of CLINT, ALICE and AUSTIN take one also.]

Aramis : [Sympathetically] Ah, a most grevious wound, my dear lady. We will make sure that these brigands are suitably punished.

Clint : [Looking much better*] Ah, these came in very handy!

Austin : [Looking suprised as his wound heal in front of his eyes] Wow, this stuff certainly beats Louis XIV !

[FAETAN gives a huge sigh.]

Alice : [Doubtfully] I don't know Austin. Okay, it cures wounds in front of your eyes, reinvigorates flagging spirits and gives an all round whoosh, but, it just doesn't have that taste.

Harvey : [To Aramis] Good sir, why are you so keen for us to go to the gate?

Aramis : [Nods at Fenton and Vasco, who drag the prisoners away] We were contacted by the Hierophantic Knights, who have obtained some intelligence that there are a few groups trying to enter a mysterious gate that is hidden beneath this very house. The Pearces were hired by one to retrieve the gems, but our researcher has suggested that the other groups can probably get through the gate themselves.

[FAETAN clears her throat.]

Clint : [To Faetan] Not now. [To Aramis] How can they go in without the gems?

Aramis : How? [Laughs aloud] I haven't a clue, although we have a sciency type with us who might be able to tell you. I'm afraid I am too much of a barbarian to share your interest in such things, my friend.

[FAETAN narrows her eyes at CLINT, but says nothing, although there is a distinct low growl coming from her.]

Alice : [Looking around] We'd better hurry. That thunder makes it sound like there's going to be some rain.

Chastity : [To Faetan] Faetan, dear, have you something to say?

Austin : [Takes his hip flask and has a swig. To Alice] I see what you mean, Louis XIV should be supplied with the healing potions as a chaser. [To Faetan] Feeling a bit frisky there girl? All dressed up and no one to fight?

Faetan : Thank you, Chastity, I do. [Looks around, clearly nervous] I know that I promised to serve the party and protect you all, but I don't think it's working out. I feel like I need more training before I can really be a part of the group. [Glances at Aramis] Aramis, you said before you could help me out, does that offer still stand?

Aramis : But, of course, my dear, lady. I would be honoured, if not a little distracted by your overwhelming beauty.

Alice : [Mutters to the others] I wonder what kind of [does the finger quotes] "training" she has in mind.

Faetan : [To Austin] I'm ready to fight, alright, I just think it would be better all round if I take a break from the party, just temporarily, so that I can really fulfill my vow. [Takes a deep breath, and looks around at the rest of the party]

Austin : [Looks somewhat dissapointed. To Faetan] I thought you were doing rather well, adventuring with us. But go if you must. [Offers Faetan his hip flask, smiling] Don't be too long training, or you might miss all the [Deep meaningful stare] action.

Chastity : [To Faetan] Well if you feel you must, then you must. May Phili protect you and guide you well. [Aside to Aramis] You may want to work on her anger management and initial tactical appraisal skills.

Faetan : [Grimaces at Chastity for a moment, before taking the flask and knocking back a mouthful, smiling at Austin] Don't worry, Austin, I'll be back, you can count on that. [Turns to Clint] Well, Clint, this is it. Things have been strange between us since that whole Verminator* thing, and the trick you pulled on Kelly* but let's part on good terms. [Turns to Chastity] Sister, I don't know how to thank you, you're the one who kept me in the party when things got tough.

Aramis : [To Clint] Looks to me like we're dangerously close to tears, here! [To Chastity] Good sister, they will be uppermost in my mind when we begin our training.

Faetan : Heh! Take care of Alice, Harv. Heaven knows she needs it. Say hi to Jerome too, if he ever comes back around. [Picks up her things, and turns to Aramis with a nod] Ready.

Alice : [Dryly] Yes. I'll do my best to see that. It would be a thrill. [Turns to Harvey] I won't need so much looking after, not now that she's gone.

Clint : [To Faetan] Do come back when you feel you're ready. I'll miss your jokes, your cookies and someone to mud wreste with the bimbo.

Faetan : Heh, right, I'll bet! [Punches his arm] See ya 'round! We'll have to spar next time we meet.

Aramis : Right then, good luck, my friends. Kit is waiting for you at the gate with more information.

Alice : [Face lights up] Kit? Wow! We're going to get a talking carriage? Man, that's way better than Faetan!

Harvey : [Nods towards Faetan] She's still here, Alice.

Alice : Oh.

Harvey : [Gives a salute to Aramis] I hope we'll meet again sir! [Holds the door open for the party]

Chastity : Who's Kit?

Austin : [To Faetan] I going to miss you [Gives Faetan a big hug, and a kiss. Looks a bit teary].

Faetan : [Gives him a playful punch] You'll be okay, big guy. [Looks at Alice] This is it.

Alice : Yes.

Faetan : Hm.

Alice : Hm.

Aramis : [To Faetan] Perhaps you would be kind enough to help the others restrain the prisoners, while I discuss matters with the others, even though the mere suggestion of you tying someone up renders all my attempts at concentration useless.

[FAETAN goes to the others, while ARAMIS and the party step outside the door.]

Aramis : Kit is a scientest, who was doing some work for the Hierophantic Knights. By the way, I must admit, I am now even more impressed at your party, although not in the least surprised that such a heroic group would count you amongst their number. She is waiting at the gate for you.

Clint : Kit is a she? I'm starting to like this already.

Chastity : Don't get excited now, Clint, you'll start to perspire. I'm sure she is much to educated to be interested in your animal desires, in more ways than one.

Alice : Eauh, Chastity! [Gives a shiver] Come on, let's go to the gate, but let's not go through that field with the sheep in it. Just in case.

[The party take the long, but safe route to where the gate was. Standing at the top of the ladder* is a dark haired woman dressed in a red jumper and brown skirt, standing looking over the ledge.]

Chastity : [To dark haired woman] Kit, I presume? Aramis sent us to meet you.

Kit : [Turning around, notebook in hand, with a bright smile] Hi! You must be Chastity! Aramis told me so much about you, about all of you, it really is great to get this opportunity to work with all of you, although I will miss Aramis as he's such a devil, with the way he speaks and the kinds of things that he can get away with, and sorry, I didn't mean to go on too much about him, it's just that I'm a little nervous meeting you all, well, not so much nervous, but apprehensive, although I don't mean that in a bad way and my goodness, he never said that you only had one hand, but why would he, for I suppose you only need one hand to bless yourself with! [Gives a really nerdy and nervous laugh]

[KIT is about twenty six years old, and is definitely on the nervous side. She has a thick pair of glasses on, with huge black frames that she keeps adjusting as she speaks. She has a backpack with her, that is on the ground beside her.]

Harvey : [Clearly reeling from the pace and quantity of her speech] Gah! Slow down girl, this old soldier's ears often need adjusting when meeting someone new.

Chastity : No need to be apprehensive, dear. We're all friends in this group [Glances to Alice] now. I am indeed Sister Chastity Browne [Points to Harvey], this is Colonel Harvey Bassett-Short, [points to Alice] and his niece Alice. [Points to Austin] This is the Austin Sleaze, lawyer and finally [Points to Clint] this is hormonally charged Clint Scar.

Kit : [Nods excitedly at Chastity] Oh yes, I studied up the notes that Aramis and the Knights provided on each of you. [Face drops slightly as she glances at her notebook] Although, given the number of you who have more than two heads, I suspect that they are less than accurate.

Alice : Well, I'm delighted to meet you Kit, I just know we're going to be great friends.

Kit : [Shakes hands with her] Thanks Alice, Aramis said that you were unusually [glances at her notebook] uh, friendly.

[ALICE beams happily.]

Kit : [Glances at Clint] Zoinks!* [Blanches slightly] I had heard about it, but I never believed it could smell quite so bad. Incredible! Incredible! [Face sags] Er, please don't kill me. [Steps behind Chastity]

Chastity : [To Alice] Finally, another female who has her nasal senses intact. There seem to be an awful lot of women out there who seem unaware of Clint's, em, features.

Austin : [To Chastity and Kit] And his featurelesses [Smirks at his own joke. Shake Kit by the hand] Pleased to meet you Kit.

Alice : I know what you mean Chastity, and, in fairness, look at the size of his nose, who could miss that? Unless [becomes thoughtful] yes, size of the nose is related to [shocked] oh! [Gives Clint a curious look]

Kit : [Shakes hands with Austin] Y-yes. Pleased to meet you.

Chastity : [Innocently to Alice] I understand your shock realisation. With a nose like that how could he not be aware of his odour problem. [To Kit] Now, to business. I understand you have some information for us.

Clint : I'm glad you all enjoy my features. Shall we go down to this gate now?

Kit : Well, like Clint says, it would be best to go directly to the gate. I can talk on the way.

[Everyone starts climbing down the ladder.]

Kit : First off, you have to keep in mind how secretive, vague and, in my opinion, disorganised the Knights seem to be. All I know is that you are searching for an item, which is inside this gate. However, there is also at least one other group looking for it, I belive that they are the ones who hired those people to attack you.

Chastity : Huh, you'd think they'd find someone better than the Pearces! [Continues to awkwardly make here way down one-handed] Don't look up my habit this time, Clint!

Kit : [Now down by the cave] Well, [glances at her notebook again] judging by the skill the Knights believe your party has, the Pearces were a, um, [gets flustered] an - an insult! Anyway, they believe that these other people may have found [as though this is incredible] another way in. [Pauses, as though expecting gasps of amazement]

Austin : [To Kit] I miss Faetan, you know. Alot. [Gets his sling ready for action] Let's hope we're not too late.

Chastity : Then why send the Pearces et al to the vault? [Look of realisation] Unless to stop us getting in. Of course. [Goes to click her fingers, but realises her fingers are wrapped up in a teatowel in her bag] Damn these phantom digits!

Clint : Well, it'll take more than a handful of gangsters to stop us!

Alice : [To Kit] I don't miss Faetan, you know. At all.

Kit : [Looks from Alice to Austin] Er, okay. [Looks with a little distaste at Chastity's bloody stump] You know, you really should put a bandage on that, Sister. Would you like me to help?

Alice : They kind of stopped us the last time though, didn't they?

[CLINT doesn't reply, but just lets rip an enormous fart, causing the rest of the party to lean back.]

Kit: Wow. I mean, wow!! He farts on command! Truly a unique and remarkable talent to behold...besmell...whatever! [Turns toward Austin and Alice with a shrug and apologetic smile] I don't think I'll be much of a replacement for your Faetan. From what I understand she was a bit of a [checks notebook] bruiser? Gah! I mean, a fighter! Yes, heh! No, indeed, I can barely lift a sword, let alone swing it hard enough to wreak some real damage, so sorry!

Alice : [To the others] Well, I like her already! Right, let's check out this gate, shall we?

[The party go back to where they found the gate, and everything is as it was.]

Kit : [Eyes gleaming] Incredible! Behold the savage primitivity of the work, and yet...such exquisite detail and beauty...truly a wondrous find indeed...and to think what might lay beyond it! Why, the thought gives me the cold shivers, it does!

Austin : [To Kit, dryly] Perhaps some sort of coat would be in order.

Kit : [Beams happily, missing the joke] I believe it would! In all of my excitement to meet with your party, I'm afraid I left my beloved labcoat behind...I shall have to recover it later, I suppose!

Chastity : [Pointing to Kit's feet] You may also want to get some of those lab shoe covers as well, considering what you're standing in. As for what's behind the door, we know that there are at least a reasonable number of blood thirsty monsters waiting for our return.

Kit : [Glances down] Great poop in the sky! Why, these spoors are antiquated! What an interesting smell...fascinating consistency... [Glances back at Chastity] Blood thirsty monsters, you say? Fantastic! Ah, my zoology notes... [Pats herself down] Now where did I put those...

Chastity : [To Harvey] Hold on there, Colonel. I understand your enthusiasm to rid the area of these unPhili monsters, but we still have to figure out how to open this door with the gems.

Austin : [To Chastity] I believe that the Colonel was encompassing the opening of the door in his enthusiatic rousings. He is well aware that one cannot pass through a door without first opening it. Sister.

Chastity : If am sure he is. But apart from needing the gems we still have to establish how to open the door, which may take some time. As highly accomplished a soldier as Harvey is, he cannot stay at peak readiness indefinitely. I was only aiming to suggest that he prepare himself when the door is about to be opened.

Kit : Oh dear! I hope they were found again, yes?

Austin : [To Kit] I do believe that the colonel means lost, as in deceased. [Austin inspects his nails carefully, frowns slightly and then gentley buffs one on his right hand briefly, with a buffing stick]

Chastity : Although, given some of his stories, you can't be sure. [Looks over to Harvey for confirmation]

Austin : [To Chastity] Indeed, sister. [Smiles at his perfect nails, puts his buffing stick away and looks at Harvey for conformation. To Chastity] This is obviously more complex a situation than we first thought. 'Lost' could mean many things. [Looks ar Harvey to see if he has decided upon a reply yet. To Chastity] They could be 'lost' as in : dead or, unable to navigate to the correct loci or, they became dissinterested and went home or, got so bored waiting they slipped into a coma, or due to a prolonged mission away from home they became 'lost' and uncertain about their future paths and purpose in life. [Admires his reflection in his shoes]

Chastity : [Looks to Harvey. To Austin] Quite. [Looks To Harvey again. To Austin] Or maybe he had a wager, using some of his platoons as collateral, and when said wager was not won, the platoons were "lost". [Looks At Harvey. To Austin] Although I doubt it. [Looks back to Harvey]

Harvey : Gah! Did I say lost? I meant lowest! [Glares at Austin] Private Sleaze! Must you do that in public?

Kit : [To party in general] If you give me the gems, I can get the gate open.

Chastity : [Confused, to Harvey]Lowest? Does that make sense? Oh, nevermind that now.[To Kit]If we do give you some gems, if we indeed have any with us, how do you plan to use them, my girl? We've only just met you, after all.

Harvey : Of course it doesn't make sense sister, but that's what we get for being unprepared! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, what!

Kit : [To Chastity] Why, to open the gate, Sister! Didn't Aramis tell you that? I've actually made something of a hobby studying these gates, one of my favourite papers is the classic "A proposal for a notionally hierarchical architecture for the third, fifth and seventh tangental interfaces", by Dr. Melvin Umatsu. [Sighs, and claps her hand to her chest] What a paper! Would you like to see it? [Rummages through her back, but stops abruptly, and looks up embarassed] Er, but you're all probably familiar with Dr. Umastu's work, I guess.

Alice : [Swallows hard, before speaking dead seriously] Yes. Yes, we are. [An awkward silence passes.]

Kit : So then, the gems?

[ALICE doesn't reply, but looks enquiringly at the others.]

Chastity : [Returning Alices enquiring look] You do still have them, don't you? May as well pass them to the one who knows how to use them.

Alice : [Gives Chastity a doubtful look] Austin? He'll probably just sell them!

Harvey : I believe she means Kit, dear niece.

[The gems are handed over. KIT begins a thorough examination of the gems and gate, which takes about ten minutes. During this time she doesn't speak to the party, but "oohs" and "aahs" enough to be annoying. Eventually she places the gems on the gate. As soon as the last one is placed on, there is a grinding sound, and the door moves out slightly, before rolling to the side, as it was the first time the party saw it.]

Kit : [Beaming with pride] Ah! Physics, possibly the greatest of all the sciences.

Alice : I'm more of a chemistry kind of girl myself.

[There is a corridor here that extends about twenty feet in, before coming to a corner. Up ahead there are sounds of a fight.]

Austin : [To Clint] After you, stinky. [Gestures towards the corridor]

Chastity : [Holds her mace in her hand, and turns to the group] Before he go in, has anyone any good ideas that'll stop us from being gruesomely slaughtered by the savage hordes within? [To Kit] Do you have any special gadgets in that sack of yours?

Austin : [Brightens up a little as he readies his sling and then waits to see what Kit has in her sack] This should be interesting. [To Kit] Please show us your clockwork and battery operated devices first.

Chastity : [Glances disapprovingly at Austin. To Kit] Maybe something to help us in the fight we shall no doubt be embroiled in shortly.

Austin : [To Chastity] I was thining that she may have a club like yours [Points to Chastity's 'studded' club] or even a clockwork one. [Wiggles his eyebrows at Kit] How about it?

Kit : A - a clockwork club? No, but I do have a clockwork candle. I'm not sure if my equipment is particularly useful in an offensive way. All I've got are things like gyroscopes, kaleidoscopes and -

Alice : [Excitedly] That's it! We can use the kaleidoscope!

Harvey : Why dear sister, it is my experience that hordes only become savage when not given their full payment after the, ahem, deed is done! If we honour our promises, then no ill will come!

Kit : Er, what do we do with the Kaleidoscope?

Alice : We simply put in the corner, and let them get distracted by it, so we can just slip by!

Harvey : But what if we're trying to slip by the corner we've placed the Kaleidoscope? Surely they'll see us then? And what if we also become distracted? Remember the blue dragon, dear niece!

Clint : Look, forget about knobs, kaleidoscopes and all the rest. [Takes out his sword] Sounds like there's a fight going and we haven't been invited! Not that sounds damned impolite, to me!

Chastity : Maybe we should at least discreetly peek round the corner up ahead and seen what's going on first.

Alice : [Gets all distracted] Blue dragon, hmm.

Harvey : [Impressed] My goodness, absolute wisdom beyond your years, good sister! [Let's do that very thing, troop!

Austin : [To Harvey] Wisdom beyond her years? Are you calling her senile?

[As one, the group slowly creeps up to the corner. HARVEY peeps around the corner, as does CLINT, leaning on top of him. ALICE's head appears next, followed by AUSTIN, then CHASTITY and finally KIT.]

Kit : I wonder, if maybe only one of us had peeked, would we be more discreet?

[She needn't worry, as those in the fight are too preoccupied to notice them. There are four of the creatures previously met by the party at the gate, fighting with what appear to be three humans, two men and a woman. The humans are all quite tall, and of unusually slim build, and all three have long hair. They are clearly winning the fight, and one of the creatures bursts into dust in the same way as the ones that the party killed did.]

Alice : [Whispering] Should we get involved? [Face is wracked with thought for a moment] Who's hand is that? Are

Harvey : By the saints, I think the men of the party should definitely get involved! The ladies should stand back out of harms way, however!

Clint : [Draws his sword] I'm ready, Harvey!

Austin : Let's get stuck in then! [Shoots at one of the baddies]

Alice : Well, I'm ready too!

[There is no time for the party to get involved, as the last three creatures are quickly destroyed. One of the humans turns and faces the party. It is quickly apparant that he is not human, as he has pointed ears. This is SIEGFRIED, who looks to the party like he is an elf. Although everyone has heard of them in legends and such, no one in the party has ever actually seen one. In general, the legends say that they are the most beautiful and kind creatures to have ever lived.]

Austin : [Relaxes from his shooting stance. To Siegfried, casually] What were those things anyway? [Looks at the dust on the floor. To Siegfried] I am Austin Sleaze, please to make you aquaintance.

Siegfried : [Turns to the woman, Helen] I believe they are humans.

Helen : They certainly smell that way.

Tristram : [The third man] Should we kill them?

Siegfried : I don't believe that there is a need.

Harvey : [To Siegfried] By the saints, soldier, that was an impressive piece of combat! believe they are humans. need.

Harvey : [Smile drops more than a little] Well, a damned fine piece of action, at any rate!

Clint : [To Austin] I think the nice looking chick was talking about your aftershave, lawyer.

Siegfried : [To Harvey] Yes, yes it was. You are humans, yes? Why are you here?

Harvey : Why, we certainly are, dear sir! As human as human can be, what! And prime specimens too, I might add! And, though I'm loathe to say it, we'd best keep our reasons for being here to ourselves, for now. Until we are better aquainted, I'm sure you understand.

Helen : [Covering her mouth with her hand, and speaking quietly to Tristram] They're so ugly, so savage!

Siegfried : What if we do not wish to become better acquainted with you?

Harvey : [Laughs long and loud, slapping Siegfried good heartedly on the shoulder] By the saints, good sir! [Wipes tears from his eyes] What a wit you have! Please, warn me before cracking another gag like that, or my heart will never last our acquaintance!

[Both TRISTRAM and HELEN instinctively grab the hilts of their swords, but SIEGFRIED holds a hand up to calm them, before looking with distaste at his shoulder.]

Siegfried : Please do not touch me again.

Helen : [Whispering to Tristram] Maybe he's trying to have intercourse with Siegfried?

Kit : [Clasping her hands near her cheek, eyes shining with sheer delight] Ohhh, they're just like I hypothesized they would be! So beautiful and kind! [Zooms forward with a deep bow to Siegfried] Good, GOOD sir, it is SUCH a pleasure to finally meet someone like you! I'm Dr. Kit Walker, on a scientific research mission. Please, can I pester you with millions of questions? Kwah ha ha ha!

Siegfried : [Calmly, yet with a hint of impatience] You may ask me four questions, as long as none of them involve phrases such as "kwah ha ha ha".

Harvey : [To Kit] Indeed so, please refrain from using that most unplatoonlike gobbledegook! It is heretofore [whips out his notepad] going into my black troop book as an illegal utterance!

Siegfried : [With a flicker of warmth to Harvey] So you people do have some civilisation after all? We had been lead to believe that you were little more than savages, who kill anything that they cannot have sexual relations with.

Alice : [To Clint] You'd better keep back out the way, Stinky!

Kit : [Shocked] Goodness, no! All right, four questions...blast, and I have so many good ones, too! All right, then, let's see... [Thinks for a bit] Tell us about your history, how and why your people came to be here!

Austin : [To Siegfried] Well, some of us humans are savages, but many are not. We here {Gestures to the others have spent many years fighting evil, such as Pestillence Sotot, Iok Sotot, Contagion Sotot and such like, and strive to avoid killing the innocent, even if they have been lead astray. At this moment we are continuing our mission to save the world, part of a plan of action we started several thousand years ago. [Looks at Siegfried's head band momentarily, and raises one eyebrow momentarily] What, if I may ask, brings you fine warriors here?

Clint : As long as you just quietly stand there looking pretty, bimbo!

Harvey : [Aghast] My goodness no, sir! Perhaps thousands of years ago, when our descendants fought with the chimps for a sniff of a banana, but we have come a long way!

Alice : [To Clint] What do you mean, pretty bimbo?

Siegfried : [To Austin] You seem to have a rather unfortunate association with these Sotots you speak of. However, I am not aware of them.

[TRISTRAM and HELEN begin whispering between them.]

Siegfried : We came to investigate if the rumours that humans had come through the gate may be true. I see now that they are.

Tristram : [Steps forward, pointing at Alice] Is she fat? Or pregnant?

Harvey : [Pointedly ignoring the question, but darting a nervous glance every now and again towards Alice] Where is this place?

Kit : Oh, ah, let me check my notes... [Checks, glances up] Both. Hey... [Checks again] Well, that's what they said, but...perhaps some inaccuracies have been made... [Starts scribbling out something]

Alice : [Indignantly] I'm not fat!

[TRISTRAM and HELEN exchange a look that is somewhere between fascination and horror.]

Helen : [With distaste] You mean, you've actually had - had a penis inside of you?

Alice : [Embarassed and confused] Well, um, once or twice maybe but...

Siegfried : Helen, please. [Turns to Harvey] This is The Interior.

Kit : Are there more of you, then? Or are you three the only ones of your kind?

[TRISTRAM gives a little snigger, but stops abruptly upon being glared at by SIEGFRIED.]

Siegfried : Yes, there are more of us. However, we have not coverd the Interior in the same rash like manner as you people have covered your world. [Turns to Alice] Please forgive me companions. Few of us have ever met humans, and we have all heard childish and outlandish stories about your savagery, such as your fondness for eating the flesh of living things, your violence and your overwhelming desire for carnal and phsyical pleasures. [Is talking to the party, but clearly can't take his eyes off Alice's bump]

Kit : Ooooo...now that's a good question, pity I didn't think of it! [Jots down notes wildly]

Siegfried : Yes, the interior of the planet. We established a long time ago that living on the surface leaves one susceptible to all kinds of radiation and effects from the stars. Really, it is little wonder that your behaviour is so erratic.

Austin : [To Siegfried] And who exactly established that living on the surface leaves one susceptible to all kinds of radiation and effects from the stars? Sounds like a trick to me, to keep you lot out of the way whilst your enemies conquer the surface. [Gives Helen a brief look over]

Chastity : [Looking nervously at Tristram and Helen's hand hovering over their sword hilts. Quietly to Austin] All things considered, I don't think it's polite to refer to our new acquaintances as "you lot".

Austin : [To Chastity, calmly] And it's also rude to whisper [Looks at Tristram and Helen. To Siegfried] Are Helen and Tristram your offspring?

[TRISTRAM snickers at this question, but quickly stops.]

Siegfried : In answer to your earlier question, Mr. Sleaze, I doubt you would recognise the name if I were to tell you, and suspect you would not understand the reasons if they were explained to you. [Glances back at the other two] No, they are not my offspring.

Alice : [Getting annoyed at the sniggering] Look - [steps forward]

[Immediately, SIEGFRIED, TRISTRAM and HELEN step back, clearly uneasy with ALICE moving forward.]

these

Austin : [To Siegfried] If you don't tell me the name you will never know if I know of the name or not, and therfore you will remain in ingnorance as to that knowledge. In any event, what harm would it do to tell me the name of the one who discovered such enlightening information?

Siegfried : As it is in ours. However, you do not belong here, and you will find that the people of the Interior will consider you freakish and peculiar, if you insist on staying, that is. Here, on the outer rim, people tend to be more tolerant of such strangeness as yours.

Alice : [To Austin] Looks like Clint will be more accepted here than at home!

Siegfried : [To Austin] You make the mistake of believing that I care. We have dallied enough here, and must take our leave. I advise you to return to your own world, for you do not belong here.

Chastity : [To Siegfried] We have no fear of others prejudices. We have encountered many in our fight for good, and are hardened to such attitudes and obstacles. We would be honoured if you would show us around.

Siegfried : [To Chastity] Yes, I'm sure you would. [Turns to Harvey] I cannot prevent you from going to the Interior, but you will not be permitted to enter our city. [Casts a baleful eye over the party, paying particular attention to Alice]

Austin : [To Chastity] The elf implied he didn't care what we think, and I can see why. [To Harvey] We are waisting our time with these people Colonel, we have a world to save, a mission to complete. I doubt if this place can be worse than Hell, and we have survive that several times, so we should get moving.

Siegfried : Our city is Euphoria. [Turns to Austin and gives a slight nod] Correct. Good day to you.

[Exit SIEGFRIED, HELEN and TRISTRAM, further down the corridoor. It is the only way forward.]

Alice : Hey! They weren't nice at all! And what was their problem with me?

Austin : [To Alice] Their problem was that they hadn't had a shag in a very long time. [Chuclkes]

Alice : [Unhappy] I don't know, they seemed like a pack of wankers to me.

Chastity : [Shakes her head] It's so rare to meet such rude, smug, childish, arrogant, self important individuals. They didn't say they were lawyers, did they? boundary="Boundary_(ID_O0TtJ3mVMU6Rmvgbw1WnSw)" --Boundary_(ID_O0TtJ3mVMU6Rmvgbw1WnSw)

Harvey : [Laughs long and loud] Why dear sister, what a wag you are! Absolutely hilarious! Hilarious I tell you! But they couldn't have been lawyers, because they didn't charge us for answering their questions!

Alice : Lawyers, eh? I suppose they were really sexually frustrated, so that narrows it down to either lawyers or estate agents!

Kit : Well, I'm very much disappointed with them. I had been led to believe that they were a wonderful race, and that Euphoria is supposed to be the most beautiful of all Elven cities. [Looks down the corridoor] What happens now?

Austin : [Ignoring his ignorant peers. To Kit] It seems as though you heard the stories they wanted you to hear. Did you see what they were wearing? They looked like five year olds at a fancy dress party. No taste whatsoever.

Alice : [Buffing her (well bitten) nails in a pure Austin manner] Well, I guess that depends on what kind of fancy dress parties one went to as a five year old, Austin.

Austin : [Looking at Alice's clothing] I doubt that. [To Harvey] Well Colonel, shall we get moving [Gestures along the corridor]

Alice : [Smiles at Austin's remark, before turning to Kit] That's that sexual frustration we were talking about.

Kit : [Gets red of face] Er, is it?

[Exit ALL.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene II. In The Caves. CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, in that order, two abreast, walking down the corridoor. Up ahead, they can hear a man's voice calling out.]

Man : No! Confound it! A pox upon our luck, a pox, I say!

[As the party creep up, they see a man, PHILIPPE PHILLOPE, and a woman P'ERENDOS GALLOS.]

Chastity : Oh dear, more discontented souls in this supposed harmonious place.

Austin : [Looks at Philip] Oh, my, god. What in the [Pauses, aghast] What the hell is he wearing? I looks awful. If this is what a lack of star light does to you I'm going back to the surface.

Alice : What do you mean? I think it looks great - just like the one I had for that fancy dress party when I was five!

Philipe : [Looks at the party, with a big smile] Could it be? [Sniffs] It has to be, humans! Oh, happy day!

Austin : [To Alice, deadpan] Oh, happy day. Wooo.

Alice : At least he's better than the others - I hope he's not afraid of me. [Steps out so he can get a good view of her] Hello.

Philipe : [Gasp] Wonderful! [Starts walking around, looking at Alice from a safe distance] Such savagery! Do you know who the father is?

Alice : [Rolling her eyes, irritated] You know, there are only so many times I can hear that before I start getting annoyed.

Philipe : [Looks at Clint] I bet it's you!

[CLINT doesn't reply, but points at PHILIPE making that irritating "click click" sound.]

Austin : [To Philipe] Where did you get that jumper?

Chastity : [Looking at Philipe] Such fearless curiosity. Just like..[Looks at Kit and pauses. To Harvey] WE'd better not let this elf and Kit get talking, we'll be here all day.

Harvey : Harrumph! At least he is prepared to talk to us, and simply insult us, good Sister, what!

Peg : [Steps forward to Austin and speaks in almost a monotone] This is Philipe Phillope, the world famous shoe inventor and artist. The jumper is one of his own creations. I am P'Erendos Gollados, but you may call me Peg.

Kit : [To Chastity] You know, these ones are much more what I expected, maybe the others are fakes? Cheap facsimiles?

Chastity : [To Kit] Lets find out. [To Peg] We've just met three very rude and arrogant members of your race with headbands on. One seemed to be the leader, and one of the others was a female called Helen. They should have just passed you. Do you know who they were, and why they acted in such an odd manner?

Philipe : Pah! They are scum! Arrogant swine that should be wiped from the face of the earth. Oh yes, there was a time when they all knew my name, but now I am cast out like all the rest - I hate them, and I will have my revenge, [so loudly that small rocks fall from the ceiling] I will have my regenge!

[An awkward silence passes.]

Alice : So, er, you do know who they are?

Peg : Yes. They are Helen, Siegfried and Tristram. They are Euphoric Elves. [Shows a flicker of emotion for once] Once, Philipe was feted as one of the greatest geniuses of our time, now he is treated almost as low as a human. [Tiny pause] No offence.

Austin : [To Philipe] They were indeed the most arrogant scum I have ever met. Good with their swords though.

Kit : [Puzzled] Why on earth would they cast out the likes of you two? Were they jealous of your fashion sense, perhaps?

Peg : The Euphoric Elves are a particularly closed group - they rarely tolerate outsider. Such was the impact that Philipe had on them, though, he was granted the freedom of their city. However, they later saw fit to revoke the freedom.

Chastity : Scandelous! Did any particular event cause this change of thinking?

[PHILIPE adopts a pose off to one side, with the back of his hand theatrically placed against his forehead.]

Peg : [Showing some emotion at last] They claimed that he had dried up.

Alice : Not getting enough fluids, huh?

Peg : No. They claimed that his ideas had begun to dry up. Him, one of the greatest geniuses to ever live.

Chastity : Had they? What sort of ideas was Philipe coming up with? Or was this just a ruse to rid the city of free thinkers.

Peg : Philipe is probably the greatest shoe inventor to ever live. He is the man who invented the clog. [Pauses for gasps of amazement and/or applause.]

Alice : [Impressed] Very good. [To the party] I guess they were forerunners of clogs.

Peg : [Carries on] Unfortunately, the Euphoric Elves seemed to believe that another idea of that calibre would strike Philipe almost immediately, and so he was permitted to live in the city for a short while. When it wasn't forthcoming, he was told to leave.

Clint : How long is a short while?

Peg : [For once doesn't look someone directly in the eye, and mumbles slightly] About towunmeres.

Clint : What was that? How long?

Peg : [Sharp intake of breath] Two hundred years.

Alice : Two hundred years without an idea?

Austin : [Smirking, as he checks that his teeth are clean using a tiny mirror] Then I guess you don't have the record after all, Alice.

Alice : [Narrows her eyes at Austin] I'm starting to get one now.

Peg : Philipe was going to travel to the surface, to see if he could find inspiration from the savages that live there.

Peg : [Unimpressed at Harvey's ire] On foot. We were going to go through the gate up further, but were told by Siegfried and the others that the gate was sealed, to prevent further incursions by the sav - by humans.

Chastity : Further incursions? You mean to say that there have been humans down here before?

Peg : Yes. There still are humans in the Interior. They reproduce at such an enormous rate that much of the Interior was once taken over by them. [Gives a curious look at Alice]

Chastity : Do the remaining humans have any sort of social standing within the interior? What happened to their numbers? [Thinks for a moment] By Phili, there wasn't a war, was there? That would explain why the other three elves we met were so unfriendly.

Peg : Humans have little social standing, but they do not seem overly concerned at this, preferring instead to indulge in intoxication and reproduction. There was no war between the Elves and the Humans, they simply don't like you. Humans are the only creatures in the Interior that view procreation as entertainment, and such behaviour has created much suspicion. [Takes another look at Alice, and gives a little shiver]

Clint : [To Peg] I know what you mean. Procreation is so annoying. But there's ways to avoid it and just have fun. Want me to show you? [Click-click!]

Chastity : [Stands stiffly upright] Well I can tell you that not all humans behave in those ways. I follow the belief that procreation should be reserved for that very purpose, and that intoxicating drinks should be reserved for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately not all of our race hold these values [Looks at Clint] along with a couple of other value to boot.

Peg : [To Chastity] That's precisely the type of behaviour that I'm talking about. [To Alice] I presume he is responsible for that? [Points at her stomach]

Alice : Certainly not!

Peg : [Clearly doesn't believe her] But it is true that humans think about sex more often than elves?

Austin : [With a smirk] I suspect humans rarely think about elves.

Alice : How often do elves think about it?

Peg : Once every fifteen years. What about humans?

Alice : [Giving Clint a baleful look] About once every fifteen seconds!

[PHILIPE throws himself to his knees, and buries his head in his hands]

Philipe : [Wailing] Why? Why? Why?

Peg : That, unfortuntely, is part of the problem. It is not simply the quantity of times that they perform this horrific and debasing act, is it the fact that it often results in procreation. There was a time when humans were all over the Interior like rash. [Puts a hand limply on Philipe's shoulder] There there.

Clint : Hey!, I'm on your side, I wish it didn't result in procreation!

Chastity : Ironic then that quite often procreation leads to a rash all over the exterior of Humans.

Philipe : [Looks up and holds his hands out to the party] You've got to help me! I need your savagery! Your rawness!

Clint : Hey, if you're looking for a male partner talk to the lawyer, not me. [Looks at Peg] I can entertain your assistant in the mean time. [wink!]

Austin : [Raises his eyebrows. To Chastity] Really, sister? You seem to know a lot about this topic? Borne witness to many procreative rashes, have we?

Chastity : Only in my nursing of others!

Austin : Well, I suppose procreation does require more than one. [Inspects his immaculate nails with a smirk]

Austin : [Takes out his notebook. To Philipe] What we have here is clearly a case of unfair dismissal. Were you part of an Inventors Union, or was an idea per portional time period contract signed on behalf of all parties? [Jots down a note] Yes, yes and after two hundred years I'm sure some tenancy rights will also come into play, rendering your forced eviction null and void. [Looks up] How does the justice system work here?

Peg : [Dryly, to Clint] While you may find it easy to entertain [glances at Alice] human females simply by sticking an appendage into them, you will find Elven women require considerably more effort.

Alice : Actually, it's not really just sticking it in. It's more sticking it in, then taking it out, then sticking it in and - [notices Harvey watching her] er, that's not what you meant, is it?

Peg : No. [Turns to Austin] To question the decision, you would have to question the High Council in Euphoria.

Clint : [To Peg] A difficult woman, I like you already!

Peg : A typical human, I dislike you already. However, I am curious as to why you have come down here.

Austin : [Straighting his cuffs] Well it certainly wasn't for the fashion shopping. [Holds out Maplin, seeing how the colours reflected from Philipe's jumper dance on the walls]

Chastity : We are on a holy quest for good. We believe that a holy artifact, cultured from Phili's power and mercy, is down here.

Clint : I also came to see how the chicks look like down here. [Looking at Peg's chest] I must say I'm not disappointed!

Peg : I must say I'm not surprised. It seems that tales of human debauchery are not exagerrated after all. I had thought it unlikely that they would use inaminate objects, but now it doesn't seem quite so unreasonable.

Alice : [Nodding] Yeah, [quick glance at Austin] some even do it by themselves!

Peg : What is this holy artifact that you speak of? We may be able to assist you.

Philipe : [Stands up, staring seriously at the party] I want to see your shoes.

Kit : [Blushes] And we barely know each other! Well, all right... [Displays a pair of dirty well-worn sneakers] They don't look like much, but they're comfy!

Philipe : [Shouting] Comfy? Comfy! What good is comfy? I want daring! [Paces the room] I want originality! I -

Alice : Excuse me -

Philipe : [Dismissing her with a wave of his hand] No, I don't need sex right now. [Closes his eyes and sighs] I just need inspiration.

Alice : [Muttering to Kit] I wonder if having a stiletto [shows her own shoe] shoved up his ass will give him some.

Kit : [Stifles a 'kwah ha ha' with her hand] Oh dear...! Well, perhaps it just might! Why, I knew of a fellow who once had a shoe jammed up his rear so hard that shoelaces flew out of his mouth. And you know what he invented? French fries! Or rather...it's more of a folk tale than anything, but...um...yeah.

Peg : [Steps in front of Philipe] You said earlier that you were seeking some magical item. May I ask what it is?

Austin : You may.

Peg : What is it?

Chastity : For some of weak character the temptation to mis-use power is too much. We must stay strong, like the great profit, who, whilst fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, was tempted by dessert.

Peg : A wand? That is a little vague, but it is likely to be in Euphoria. They get all the cool things.

Clint : It's hard to believe anything in this place can be called Euphoria, given the reactions of the people we met so far.

Peg : The Euphoric Elves are very selective about who they let in, particularly when it comes to humans. I know of only one who may pass freely in and out of Euphoria.

Chastity : And who might that be?

Peg : [The barest hint of a smile crosses her lips] Cocan.

Alice : Hey! Didn't we meet someone called Cocan?

Chastity : [To Peg] He wouldn't happen to be a large warrior type, with a big booming voice by any chance?

Peg : [Smiles and goes all dreamy, before snapping back to her normal demeanour] I suppose that could be one way of describing him.

Harvey : By the saints! If it really is our old friend Sven, then we'll have no problem getting in. [Nudges Philipe] In fact, you could say we're a shoe in, what! [Roars with laughter]

Philipe : [Doesn't reply, but sneaks a quick look at Harvey's footwear] Sigh! Boots.

Chastity : Well, that would appear to be our [quotes] "man on the interior". [Smiles at her own little pun] Shall we depart for Euphoria?

Alice : Of course, Sven is actually dead, isn't he?

Philipe : [Scurries around the room, examining everyone's feet] My God! Where is the originality? Surely you people have some kind of different footwear to us?

[An awkward silence drags passed.]

Philipe : Well, don't you?

Chastity : [Irrated, To Philipe] A very short while ago we didn't even know [makes a point of ponting her stump at Philipe] you people existed! How do you expect us to make a comparative comment on shoe stylings between our races?

Philipe : I don't want a comparative comment - I just want to hear what types of footwear have appeared on the surface in the last few hundred years. It must have been almost a thousand years since the last human was welcomed into the Interior - surely you've come up with something since then? Surely you can give me, Philipe Filoppe, the spark of an idea?

Clint : [To Philipe, while pointing to his boots] These are my boots. They have a hole in the bottom, but they are very useful at kicking doors open. And they're very good at kicking annoying people's asses.

Chastity : [To Philipe] Well I don't really like raising my habit, but in the name of race relations... [Lifts her habit to review a pair of sandle shod feet] These are very airy and comfortable. [Notices that one of the sandles is undone at the back. Bends down to re-do the buckle] Tsk, that happens quite often. Fortunately the front thongs catch between my toes, preventing the sandle from coming off. [Stands back up, lowering the hem of her habit]

Philipe : [Testily to Chastity] Yes, yes, yes, whatever. [Peers at Clint] Hole in the bottom, you say? [Inspiration hits, and he clicks his fingers, turning to Chastity] Front thong between your toes? No back strap? [Gasps, and drops to his knees, lifting up her habit to get a proper look] Show me again!

Alice : [Covering her eyes] I don't like the way this is going.

Austin : [Moving to get a closer look] I like the way this is going.

Chastity : [Outraged] Unhand me this instant! [Makes a swing to slap Philipe, but in her rage forgets herself and swings with her left, in effect lightly brushing Philipes hair to the side with her bloody teatowel wrapped stump]

Chastity : [Frustratedly] Argh! [Tries to slap Philipe with her right hand, whilst twisting herself away out of his grasp]

Clint : Here's some action! Go, Chassers!

[CHASTITY's second swing connects with PHILIPE's jaw, and sends him staggering back. PEG immediately puts her hand on her sword.]

Philipe : [Looking like a madman] No! Give me my pad!

[A small easel is set up, and PHILIPE sets to work. Minutes later he steps back, revealing a fine picture of a flip flop.]

Philipe : [Stepping back] I present the [pauses, thinking of a name] the Frimmergergigger!

Clint : [Unimpressed] Looks like a flip-flop to me.

Philipe : [Turns to Clint] Flip-flop? Flip-flop? [Thinks hard to himself] Philipe Fillope presents the Flip Flop? Philipe Fillope's Flip-Flop? [Takes on a strange combination of open mouthed awe and big smile] That's brilliant!

Peg : Yes, I believe I could. However, it depends on whether or not he is in Euphoria - it is not an easy place to get into.

Chastity : [Just calming down] Do you know where he goes when not in Euphoria? [In the background, PHILIPE paces up and down, smiling and shaking his head, repeating the words "Flip flop" over and over.]

Peg : I believe he keeps a house in Dementia.

Chastity : [Turns to Harvey] Can that be correct? I thought that the Basset-Short Mansion and grounds were on top of what used to be Dementia. Unless.. [turns to Peg] Is there another town down here called Dementia?

Peg : Very clever, Sister. The town's name is [pauses, looks from side to side, before leaning in and speaking quietly] Paranoia. It is from habit that I gave you a false name. I apologise.

Philipe : [Stands in front of Clint] Flip flop! [Catches Clint by the shoulders, and kisses each cheek with an extravagent smacking sound]

Chastity : [To Philipe] I'd be careful who you do that too. You may well get more than you bargained for. [Looks round the group members] In so many different ways. [To Peg] Maybe we would be better going to meet Cocan in Paranoia then.

Clint : [Pushing Philipe away] Gah! [To Peg] Are you sure this guy isn't from Paranoia himself? [To Philipe] Do that again, and I'll kill you!

Alice : [Smiles at Clint's discomfort, and starts singing] Philip and Clint, sitting in a tree, K - I - S - S - [pause] er, S - E - uh, gah!

Philip : [Steps back from Clint, smiling from ear to ear with admiration] Such savagery! Such brutality! You're wonderful! I bet you're probably dying to have sex aswell. [Turns to Peg] I knew the ones on the surface would be like this, I just knew it!

Peg : [To Chastity] Currently two of our member are fighing some Morcs. I suggest we wait until they are finished, and then leave. Unless, of course Philipe's [strange accent] Bachtacht [normal accent] would like to kill something.

Chastity : [To Clint, Trying to copy Peg's strange accent, but drawing much to long on the vowels] BAchtAcht [normal voice] I believe that's you! [Closely To Peg] What's it mean?

Peg : [Completely neutral expression and voice] It means friend.

Chastity : [Looks at Clint disgustedly wiping the side of his face, and to Philipe, jumping from one foot to the other saying flip, flop, flip, flop in a singing tone. To Peg] OK then. [Looks down the passage] Who are the other two you speak of, the ones fighting those horrible monsters, Morcs.

Peg : Bud and Jefferson. They were guarding the entrance to the Interior while we went to check the outer gate. They were attacked shortly after we met you.

Clint : [Still wiping his cheeks] Attacked by who?

Chastity : [To Clint] The Morcs? Weren't you listening? Or were you distracted by something? [Glances at Peg's jumper, shaking her head]

Alice : [Mutters to Chastity] Are you sure it was that one?

Chastity : [Looking at the joyous Philipe and then the scowling Clint] I'm quite sure the attraction may only go one way there.

Alice : Oh, I don't know, maybe he's just playing hard to get. [Points at Clint and smiles] Click-click!

Clint : [To Alice] He's all yours, Bimbo. [Quick look at Austin] Unless the lawyer is faster, of course.

Alice : Why Clint! You've gone the most darling shade of crimson. In fact, I'd say it's almost [with relish] pink!

Austin : [Clicks his heels together and bows] I would have to be very quick indeed, Mr. Scar, to be faster than you.

Clint : No way, I've got my sights aimed and ready to fire! [Winks at Peg]

Peg : [Holds Clint's gaze for a few moments, before looking to his crotch and back up again] Whatever it is you wish to fire, I will thank you to keep it well away from me. Now, there are only two Morcs left, so we should really depart.

Chastity : [To Peg] How do you know there are only two Morcs left? Are you in some sort of special communication with your two friends?

Alice : [To Harvey] The one I'm surprised at is why more people don't confuse Clint with a fairy! [Glances at Austin for a second] Oh, now I see.

Peg : But of course. Are you not all in constant communication? Do you not feel each others' thoughts?

Alice : [Joins in with Harvey's laughing] Yeah, [points at Clint] he no speak proper!

Austin : [Bored sigh] While other members of the party seem hardly capable of thought.

Austin : While you, sir, have a propensity for pontification, an affectation for arrogance and an inclination for the imperious!

Peg : Yes.

[PEG leads the group down the corridor, where two other elves are waiting.]

Peg : This is B'Urandacus Dubatos, and this is Jefferson Jefferson.

Bud : [Holding his hands up] Greetings, Savages.

Jefferson : [Adjusting his jacket] Hello. [Eyes scan over the party] Hm. Yes. I'm sure we have some spare clothes.

Chastity : [To Austin] Isn't it Ironic the fact that we have to wear those jumpers in order to travel incognito.

Austin : I shall not wear one.

Jefferson : [Adjusts his jacket again] That does not surprise me.

[The entire group moves on, only for the ground to give away, sending everyone sprawling into a pit.]

Alice : [Somehow landing underneath everyone] Ow.

Clint : [Trying to get up] I hope that wasn't your hand, lawyer.

Austin : And I hope that wasn't your ass.

Alice : [Straining to turn around] Hey!

Chastity : [Looking under Clint] Oops, sorry. It's my hand. It must have fallen out of my bag! [Reaches down and gets hold of her severed hand]

Clint : [Jumping back] Gah! Must you keep it with one finger pointing up?

Alice : Yes, and look which finger it is!

[Book III, Act VII, Scene III. In The Pit. PEG, BUD, PHILIPE, JEFFERSON, CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, all in the pit. The pit is about twenty feet deep, and fifteen feet long. The edges are solid rock, but very smooth.]

Harvey : [Checking the rock] Gah! We're in a tight spot, right enough.

Chastity : [Closing her bag after putting her spare hand away. To Peg] Are the Morcs capable of doing this?

Peg : Yes.

Harvey : I say! Why weren't there any Morcs around when we met up with you chaps, eh? Eh? [Peers at Bud and Jefferson]

Bud : [Almost irritatingly calmly] Because they're dead.

Clint : Where are their bodies then? And who set up this trap then?

Jefferson : Bodies? Why would they have bodies if they're dead? [Turns to Bud, and the two roll their eyes at each other]

Peg : Perhaps the pit was constructed before they died. Perhaps it was another group of Morcs who are, at the very moment preparing to slaughter us.

Clint : [Grabbing his sword] Where? [Looks around, seeing nobody] [To Alice, pointing at Peg] I think she's even worse than you when it comes to having visions.

Peg : [To Alice] Do you have visions?

Alice : Sometimes. They're more premonitions though, where I get a flash of -

Peg : [Turns to Jefferson] Curious how the underdeveloped mind can sometimes have insights. I wonder if any of them have any other mental powers.

[A man appears at the top of the pit, looking down at the party. This is ALEC HAVENFORD. He is quite well dressed, but his clothes have clearly seen better days.]

Alec : Hello.

Clint : Hi. [To Austin] He looks just like you.

Austin : No he doesn't, he is quite different. However, I wouldn't expect you to be able to notice that, as it would probably require abstract thought.

Clint : Require what? [To Alice] Is he talking rubbish again?

Alice : [Shrugs] Idunno.

Alec : Why are you in a pit?

Chastity : We didn't know it was here and fell in. Will you help us out of it?

Alec : [Rubbing his hands together thoughtfully] Probably, but first, some information.

Alice : [To the others] Yay! [Looks up] How do we get into Euphoria?

Alec : [Momentarily confused] Er, no, I mean, I want information. What are you doing here?

Chastity : [Annoyed] Bah, never look for uncondition aid from a man in a suit, even disheveled one. [To Alec] We are trying to find a friend of ours called Cocan. Do you know of him?

Alec : [Excited] Cocan? [Calm] I mean, Cocan? What is your business with him?

Chastity : He is an friend of ours, and we seek to meet up with him again. Now will you please help us out of here?

Alec : Yes, yes, in a moment. [Pause] Do you know any of his other friends?

Chastity : I take it you are refering to his slightly less masculine companion, Milicent Fluff.

Alec : [Disappointed] No.

Chastity : Well who did you have in mind, then?

Alec : [Mumbling] Sven.

Alice : Ben? [To the rest of the party] Hey, I think I know who he's talking about - it was this guy I met once at a party, and when I tried to ask him his name, he just kept saying Ben Dover.

Alec : [Exasperated sigh, and speaking more loudly] Sven.

Clint : What? Cocan and Sven? I thought Cocan was Sven? Huh?

Chastity : [To Clint] Evidently not. [Suddenly looks up. To Alec] Is Peter with them?

Chastity : [Chuckles briefly to herself] Ah Peter, what a guy. [Looks up, a bit confused] Anything in particular, or a surprise mystery item. [To Alice] Do we have any of that blue dragon left?

Austin : [To Alec, deadpan] So how about helping us get out of here, then we can all sit around a nice cosy campfire, and chat about Sven and Cocan and have tea and biscuits?

Alice : I don't think so Chas.

Alec : After you've proved you know them. You should be able to offer me a drink.

Austin : [To Alec] Well, Sven and Cocan are these two great big strapping warriors, who are generally very heroic and disturbingly chirpy and optimistic about everything, the ladies adore them in a kind of silent fainting manner, and they both have a tendencey to greet their friends with slaps on the back and punches on the arm, which tend to leave one a little bruised, but most certain of who is the strongest. Is that enough to prove our relationship with Sven and Cocan?

Clint : Or are we going to have to describe the penis incident?

Alice : Oh come on, Clint! How is telling him about how you lost your testicle going to help?

Harvey : The fellow seems to think that Sven would have given us some type of drink - I didn't know him as well as the rest of you, was he fond of alcohol?

[ALICE thinks hard.]

Chastity : [To Alice] Take that day dreaming grin off your face, girl! When the Colonel said think hard he didn't mean for sinful thoughts.

Austin : [To Alec] Do you refer to the liquor known as Louis XIV?

Alice : [Distracted by Chastity] Tut! Now you've interrupted me! [Turns to Harvey] What was the question again?

Alec : [With a big smile to Austin] I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Chastity : [Looking at Alec, to Austin then Philipe. To Alice] There seems to be an awful lot of that attitude down here. No wonder reserving intercourse for procreation is such an issue!

Alice : [Outraged] You know something Chastity, I think we can safely say that a large proportion of the attitude [gestures around the pit] is yours, caused by your constant interruption of people's thinking, ranting about sex and - [stops short, and blinks several times, before continuing in a small voice] you probably meant down here as in underground, didn't you?

Austin : [Looks at Alice, then Chastity, then Alice] Who cares what she meant? [ To Alec] I have a little Louis XIV. Can you help us out of the pit please?

Alec : Throw it up.

Alice : [Turns quickly to Clint] He means the bottle. To him. From someone's backpack.

Austin : [Laughs, like it's obviously a joke] Sure, with the deeds to my stately home and the keys to my safe! [Sighs! Inspects Maplin's nails and smirks. Sigh!]

Alec : Okay.

[ALEC disappears from sight.]

Austin : [Quickly drinks the rest of his Louis XIV from his hip flask] Where the hell has he gone?

Alice : [Wide eyed and mouth hanging open] What the hell did you do that for?

Chastity : Come now, my dear, are you really surprised? All things considered. [Looks round the group] Do we have any tangible item that Sven may have given us? That fellow does not seem to value our knowledge of Sven.

Austin : [To Alice] I refuse to be held to ransom by a conman and an opportunist who preys on the unfortunate. We had no guarantee that he could help us out of this pit anyway. I suspect that he would have taken my flask and left us here. Had he been sincere in his intentions he would have helped us out of this pit without making us pay first. That much was obvious, and has now been confirmed by the his departure. Chastity : Come now, my dear, are you really surprised? All things

Alice : [Exasperated] What about the rest of us being held to ransom by [prods Austin in the chest] this opportunist?

Peg : [Calmly] I see that humans always revert to type. Each of you were so suspicious of the other that you have both lost out. Perhaps he really was sincere, but intimidated by you?

Chastity : [Nods her head] I agree. Oooh how I hate unscrupulous opportunists who prey on those less fortunate than themselves. [Raises her eyebrows to Alice] Austin is correct, though, that this man does seem to have his own agenda, and isn't too forthcoming in helping us out of this pickle.

Clint : That still doesn't explain why he finished the Louis XIV without even sharing it!

Alice : [Suddenly realising the enormity of Austin's crime] Hey! [Turns to Clint] And I bet he stole it from Daddy's house too!

Austin : [To Alice] I resent that! Freven filled my hip flask for me, thank you very much, and I have been sharing it out liberally. I recall giving all who wanted it, a swig, shortly after the battle with the Kennys and Pearces, and on several other occasions. However, if you have forgotten my generosity then maybe I will never again share *my* Louis XIV.

Alice : [Steps back, a little startled] Well, [turns to Clint] that sounds like a confession to me!

Peg : Is this where they kill each other? Or where they copulate?

Austin : [Calmly to Peg] Your sarcasm is not required thank you.

Chastity : [To Peg] You seem to be struggling to understand the complexities of Human group dynamics.

Peg : Not as much as the human group is. [To Austin] It is not sarcasm, merely curiosity. However, given the manner in which you and the stranger projected each other's fear onto the other, I am neither surprised nor insulted to be accused in this manner.

[Enter GALL, stepping into view at the top of the pit.]

Gall : [Calling back to someone else] We've got some! [Sniff sniff] They're humans alright, let's kill them.

Bud : Hey! I'm not a human!

Jefferson : I say, what human would wear such magnificent clothing? We are elves.

Gall : [Still calling back] It looks like they're elves, let's torture them!

Clint : [To the party] It looks like they're baddies, let's kick them!

Alice : Do we kick them before we get out of the pit? Or after they take us out and kill us?

Gall : [Points at Clint] Hey! I remember you! [Laughs] I told you not to come back!

Chastity : [To Clint] I thought you'd killed that monster? [To Bud] Are these Morcs re-incarnated after their bodies disappear?

Bud : It's not so much re-incarnation as rebirth. They return to their birth pool.

[There are now a good fifteen or twenty Morcs gathered around, looking in.]

Gall : Let's put them all to sleep. [Throws a small glass cannister into the pit, which, upon breaking open, causes the pit to fill with purple gas.]

Harvey : Gah! Poison!

Austin : [Attempts to hold his breath *before* the purple gas gets to him] mmmph!

Chastity : [Hurriedly looks round the group being swamped with gas, the sheer steep sides of the pit, the large group of Morcs encircling the pit, and finally down at the stump of her left arm] Bugger!

[The Morcs cheer as more of the gas is thrown in, so that, after a few minutes, the pit is dense with the smoke, and all that can be heard is the sound of people losing consciousness, and the voice of one of the Morcs, CLOY, laughing at the party.]

Cloy : Ha! Look at that! I've never seen such thick gas, how stupid they are to have been caught down .. [slows down] there. [Cough] I think I've inhaled some of the [sound of someone falling into a pit]

Austin : [Sighs] Here we go agai...[Slumps slowly to the ground cradling Maplin close to him]

Alice : Hey, everybody! Wake up! Wake up! I've got a great plan, all we need to do is ...umph. [Falls unconscious.] [Book III, Act VII, Scene IV. In the Morc Cave. PEG, BUD, PHILIPE, JEFFERSON, CLINT, HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY and KIT are here, all in a huge net suspended from the ceiling, and about twenty feet off the ground. The cave is huge, about 100' in diameter, and there are about a hundred Morcs here, shouting abuse at the party. Amongst them are COARSE and GALL, dressed up in some of AUSTIN's and some of ALICE's clothes respectively. Everyone's equipment is off to one side, and the entire group is suspended over a large vat of thick brown slime.]

Gall : [With a mini-skirt, high heels and lipstick on] Why fiddle de dee, it's been almost five minutes since I had sex, I think I may have to kill someone.

Coarse : Why Missy Gall, I know we've never met before, and that you've probably done it with most of the male population already, but let's go for it.

[COARSE and GALL pretend to have sex in front of the party.]

Alice : [Wrinkling up her nose in disgust] What is wrong with these people?

Peg : [Breaking her gaze from the slime] Unfortunately, that is how most people here see humans.

Austin : [To Peg] What vile imaginations most people here must have.

Peg : [Watching Gall and Coarse writhing on the floor] You mean this isn't an accurate representation of how humans behave? However, misrepresentation of human behaviour is the least of our worries at the moment.

Philipe : Oh, woe is me - the very day that I come up with my greatest invention ever, I die.

Chastity : [To Philipe] Not yet, my friend. Give not into thoughts of dispair. I shall raise our spirits with a hymn. [Starts to sing] They met with Phili, those beautiful martyrs, the heathens,they did boil their bones, the pain...[Stops] Oh, that may not be the best one for the moment.

Peg : This Phili you speak of had better act quickly. Once we are lowered into the Nascency Pool, it will truly be the end.

Clint : What is that nascency pool supposed to be?

Peg : [Looks directly at Clint, before giving an unnecessarily deep sigh and rolling her eyes] A Nascency Pool is the source of all life in the Interior.

Alice : So, what happens when we are lowered in?

Peg : [Dead calm] We die in extreme agony.

[The Morcs continue shouting at the party and throwing the odd rock at them, although some seem to be slightly distracted, and are looking off to one side.]

Austin : [To Peg] This would appear to be an appropriate moment to call for help, would it not? [Austin Screams] HELP!

[Suddenly a huge panic rips through the Morcs, and they begin screaming in panic, and heading towards an exit, although they are not so panicked that they forget to stop and scoop up some of the liquid beneath the party.]

Gall : [Falling to the ground] What the hell kind of sick and twisted people wear these shoes? [Throws a show at Alice]

Philipe : You should - [tuts, and raises his voice to be heard over the noise of Alice's head being hit by the shoe] You should consider getting a pair of flip flops!

[The panic continues, with at least half of the Morcs now gone, and most of the liquid removed. Enter ROY THE ARCH LICH, wielding a huge sword, and giving a blood curdling howl.]

Alice : [Rubbing her forehead] Hey, looks like we've been saved!

Peg : No, now it looks like we'll be turned into the undead.

Austin : [Sees Roy] Looks like someone forgot to moisturise!

Alice : [Indignantly] Hey! It was late when I got to bed last night, okay? [Spots the howling Roy for the first time, and gives a shiver] Oh.

[The Morcs continue their charge out of the cavern, with ROY slowly walking towards the centre, near the pool and the party.]

Clint : Is he after them or after us? If only I would have my sword with me now!

Roy: [Howling in a horrible way in the fashion only the long since dead can] All shall die! All shall suffer! All shall be...discombobulated! Eaten by woodchucks! Set aflame and used to roast marshmallows! Fear me! Fear the Arch-Liche! Boooga Booga Booga! [Lets out a huge roar, which even causes Clint to blanche from the smell of his breath]

Alice : He seems to be after everyone!

Clint : [Covering his nose] [To Austin] What's disbombobombolated? Last from Miguel #14

Alice : [Rolling her eyes at Clint's foolishness] It obviously means to have all your bombobombos taken away!

Kit : Well, actually, it means to become upset, or confused. Truly, what a frightening apparition...and yet, the way it speaks...I find myself both terrified and fascinated! What a fantastic emotion!

Roy: [hearing Kit's words, stops and stares at Kit with empty sockety things] I...terrify you? I'm frightening??? [bursts into tears and falls to his knees] I scare everybody! Everybody! I'm such a fecal stain on the toilet bowl that is humanity! Even when I try and make friends...WAAAAAAAAH! I...i...I... [remaining gibberish is drowned out by loud undead tearful sobbing]

Clint : Oh great, Kit, now you've gotten him in tears. I hate tears sessions. [Shouting down at Roy] Will you at least get us out of here before crying?

Clint : Oh great, Kit, now you've gotten him in tears. I hate tears sessions. [Shouting down at Roy] Will you at least get us out of here before crying? Roy [Still bawling like a child who fell off hius bike for the first time] Huh? Sniff...sniff. You know, ettiquette dictates that you're NICE to someone when you ask them for a favor. I mean just because I'm 'terrifying' and 'horrific' and 'smell like a pack of buffalo that simultaneously let out a bovine-eqsue batch of flatulence' doesn't mean I don't have feelings too. Do you know how long I slave over a hot oven just so you'd have fresh and crispy cranberry and Hazelnut muffins after I saved you? But does anyone think about the poor Lich's feeling or needs or want? Nope, it's just 'Hey ugly, how about you do something for us, then we'll go back to mocking you until your self-esteem has evaporated like morning dew?' it just so horrible...it makes me want to cry. [Cue the waterworks]

Clint : Oh great, here we go again. [Shouting down] Hey!, in case you haven't understood, I am being nice! Now will you take us out of here? And stop crying like a baby!

Austin : [To Roy] Can you let us down please. Then we may try your cakes. [To the party] They certainly can't be any worse than Faetan's cookies. [Idly inspects his nails. Sigh. Mutters] Out of the frying pan into the councilling session.

Alice : Yes! We weren't being nasty to you. When one of us says "smell like a pack of buffalo that simultaneously let out a bovine-eqsue batch of flatulence", we mean Clint!

Chastity : Especially at the range we're at now. You can almost taste it this close. [Optimistically] I hope there will be tea with your cakes? made Roy cry!!! Roy [Stops his whining] Really? You meant someone else? [claps his 'hands] Oh, this has all been a horrible misunderstanding. Let's see. How to let you down. [looks up at the group, looks at his sword, then looks at the party again.] I can't remember. Does falling hurt? Oh well... [and the rope gets cut...] made Roy cry!!! together...

Chastity : [Desperately tries to push her arm through the net and hold on. Shouting to Roy] Move the cauldron away!

Roy: [looking up] Why? Wouldn't it soften the blow? Or does liquid make it worse? I wish I remember what things felt like....

Austin : [To Roy] The liquid will kill us!

Roy: [looking up at Austin] Oh. Right. The death thing. I keep forgetting you still have that. My fault! [goes to move the cauldron but can't budge it] Sorry. my bones are too weak. All my msucle and sinew and the like seems to have decayed a bit too much. Are you sure it's not just soup?

Alice : Hey! I thought the Morcs took away the liquid with them?

Harvey : And I thought the fellow cut the rope?

[Everyone looks to the rope and sees that this is almost true, for there is just a single strand of rope now holding the net in place.]

Harvey : I suppose if it held this long, it'll hold for another whi-

[HARVEY doesn't get to finish, as the rope snaps, sending the entire group onto the cauldron. Fortunately, BUD and JEFFERSON take the brunt, landing at the bottom.]

Bud : Ow! It's burning, get off us!

Alice : [Landing on top] Hey, what do you know? For once I didn't land on the bottom, it's great to not get hurt.

[Bonk. A pulley falls from the roof and hits her square on the head.]

Alice : Ow.

Austin : [Looking fearfully at the goo, tries to get out of the cauldron. To Bud] Be careful not to splash any of that goo on me!

Chastity : [To Alice] I bet that's not the first time he's said that to another man! [Starts to struggle to get out of the cauldron] I know your unaccustomed to being on top, dear, but it would help if you got out the pot, please.

Alice : Yes, Chas, it's great to be on top for a change!

[Everyone piles out, and onto the floor.]

Jefferson : [Indignantly to Roy] Look at my jacket, it's ruined! Ruined I say! [Suddenly realises what he's talking to] But, er, I'm sure it was an accident.

Roy : [Quivering his top lip...if he had a lip] No, I'm a failure. A wretched abysmial failure! [begins bashing his head on the wall, and with each smack, a chipmunk frozen in a block of ice with a horrific expression of terror and fear on it's little cuddly rodent face appears ten feat in the air and falls to the ground] No good! I'm No good! No good at all!

Austin : [Ignoring Chastitys obsesive sexual comments. Looking at Roy] Curiouser and curiouser [Watches as another chipmunk hits the floor. To Chastity] It looks like someone needs a hug. [Points at Roy. Then turns away and check his hair and suit in his pocket mirror] [An awkward and embarrassed silence comes over the group.]

Alice : Er, there there, there there.

Peg : Curious, he obviously doesn't want to kill us.

Alice : [Sigh] Okay, but just this once. [Gives Austin a huge hug]

Clint : Tears and hugs. [Sigh!] And not even a bottle to drink while this goes on.

Austin : [Takes advantage of the huge hug to give Alice a huge kiss with tongues] Last by Dominic #38

Roy: He's eating her! Stop that! [lurches towards Austin with his skeletal arm reaching into his tattered and palid robes...]

Alice : [Pushes back from Austin and slaps him across the face] How dare you? [Turns to Harvey] You understand, I'd have pulled away faster if it wasn't for the taste of Louis XIV on his lips.

[The four elves say nothing, but exchange knowing glances to each other.]

Austin : [To the elves, smirking] See, no chance for procreation with her! She's as fridgid as [Looks at Peg's hair cut] err, a nun in an igloo.

Peg : [Eyes rest on Alice's pregnant bump] So I see.

Alice : Not frigid, just not desperate.

Harvey : [To Roy] You there, thanks for saving us, but what's all this about?

Roy : [stops pounding his head against the wall.] The chipmunks? I'm not quite sure. My...magic...acts up when I'm emotionally stressed. Or do you mean why did those creatures kidnap you? I'm not sure about that? or did you mean what's with my horrific appearance? That's too horrible and depressing a story to tell. And once I start I just get more depressed than I usually am, which makes me want to go into greater detail about the suffering that is my existence and so we have this downwars spiral affect that just ruins my day, even if I have a picnic planned. Or did you mean something else?

All : [Quickly and loudly] Something else!

Harvey : How about what you want from us?

Roy : Well, I did want you to eat my muffins. I figured if I saved you AND you saw that I was a good cook...I might finally have some sort of people who weren't terrified of my dessicated appearance. [lowers his head] You see...for centuries everyone's just run from me screaming things like, 'Undead horror,' or 'He ate my sister after turning her into a purple alligator.' Things like that. And it's been decades where I had a conversation without the scentence, 'Please don't vivisect me,' coming into the picture that... [starts crying for 2-3 mintues before starting again.] I just want people to know I'm not a bad guy. To have friends. To be with humans and elves and around people who know it's what's INSIDE that counts. Even if those insides rotted away and devoured by maggots centuries ago. [reaches into his robes and pulls out a sack] Are you sure you won't have a muffin? [holding back tears to come with expected rejection]

Roy : Well, I did want you to eat my muffins. I figured if I saved you AND you saw that I was a good cook...I might finally have some sort of people who weren't terrified of my dessicated appearance. [lowers his head] You see...for centuries everyone's just run from me screaming things like, 'Undead horror,' or 'He ate my sister after turning her into a purple alligator.' Things like that. And it's been decades where I had a conversation without the scentence, 'Please don't vivisect me,' coming into the picture that... [starts crying for 2-3 mintues before starting again.] I just want people to know I'm not a bad guy. To have friends. To be with humans and elves and around people who know it's what's INSIDE that counts. Even if those insides rotted away and devoured by maggots centuries ago. [reaches into his robes and pulls out a sack] Are you sure you won't have a muffin? [holding back tears to come with expected rejection]

Alice : Well, as long as it isn't made from a purple alligator, sure, Clint will try one.

Austin : [Looking slightly pail, but determined. To Roy] I will have a muffin [Takes a deep breath and reaches into the sack for a muffin] muffin

Roy : [squeals with delight] still be warm and toasty. They're Cranberry and Hazelnut. They're suprisingly good looking.

Austin : [Looks at the muffin, raises one eyebrow in suprise. Takes a bite, chews etc. To Roy] Well, I must congratulate you on your culinary skills. I am Austin Sleaze, lawyer, pleased to make your acquaintance [Smiles at Roy and eats some more muffin]. am eats tastes like boiled lard and those collections of hair that occur in your bath/shower drain every so often. See, Roy hasn't needed to eat for many, MANY years and although he loves to bake, he forgot the little importance of TASTE...

Roy : [Giddy as a schoolgirl] I'm so glad you like it. Have another!

Alice : [Whispering to the others] Do you think he's going to die?

Clint : That looks nice, lawyer, have some more!

Austin : [Turns away from Roy and spits the muffin on the ground. Then turns back to Roy] Hmm. Quite excellent. We have all been undead once too you know. [Looks at Kit] Well, most of us.

Kit : [Circling Roy eagerly with shining eyes] Wowza wowza wowza...you, sir, are amazing! How do you move? How old are you? Where did you learn to bake? May I try one too? AMAZING! So beautiful...

Roy : [Holding the bag out to Kit] But of course, everyone can have one!

Peg : Do we have to?

[ROY says nothing, but his lower lip begins to quiver.]

Clint : For Phili's sake!, even I will eat one, if it keeps him from crying! [Pause, looks at the muffins again] Then again, a little crying never hurt anyone.

[Tears well up in ROY's eyes.]

Harvey : [Quickly takes a muffin] Come on, Private! [Lowly] Just take a bite and spit it out, he'll never notice. [Bites into it, before surreptiously turning his head and spitting it out, covering the unfortunate Jefferson.]

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] That's not how you do it, Uncle! [Takes a bite of one, before pretending to cough, and turning back again, beaming] See?

[Everyone's attention is drawn the the mess of phlegm, saliva and muffin bits on her shirt.]

Clint : For Phili's sake!, even I will eat one, if it keeps him from crying! [Pause, looks at the muffins again] Then again, a little crying never hurt anyone.

[Tears well up in ROY's eyes.]

Harvey : [Quickly takes a muffin] Come on, Private! [Lowly] Just take a bite and spit it out, he'll never notice. [Bites into it, before surreptiously turning his head and spitting it out, covering the unfortunate Jefferson.]

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] That's not how you do it, Uncle! [Takes a bite of one, before pretending to cough, and turning back again, beaming] See?

[Everyone's attention is drawn the the mess of phlegm, saliva and muffin bits on her shirt.]

Kit : [Takes a muffin, and a bite...chews thoughtfully...face brightens] Wow... WOW! These are the most disgusting things I've ever had! Try one, Chastity! Roy, I must have the recipe! It's astounding!

Roy : [Face dropping] Oh no! I knew you would hate them, I just knew it! [Puts a hand to his head and starts wailing, making what has to be one of the most irritating sounds the party has ever heard]

Alice : [Glaring at Kit] Tut! What's wrong with you? That's the second most annoying sound I've ever heard!

Kit : [Somewhat flustered] I don't understand...I love them because they're so disgusting! Er...drat, I never was good with words... [Pats Roy on the back] There there, ducks...I didn't mean any harm, I truly didn't! this much, what! By the enjoyed your Dear niece,

Roy : [completely and utterly overwhelemed by the massive amount of commentary hitting him at once due to absolutely no human contact for god knows how long] I so terribly confused. My muffins are good because they are bad? Bad because they are good? [to Harvey] I am pulled together. I haven't had anything fall off my body in weeks... And then It was just my pancreas, which i thought I lost when I was only 386, but when you get my age, all shrivlled and mummified bits look alike. [Looks at Alice] See, I have the same problem. it's why I can't eat my own cooking anymore. Watch! [opens jaw wide enough to stick a muffin in, which causes a sickening snap and the party sees sinew holding Roy's jawbone peel off.] Mee? Mhis Mis Mhat malmays mappens! My man't meat my mown Muffims!

Alice : [With an expression that betrays how close she is to throwing up] Ye-es.

Harvey : Well, sir, thank you for your assistance. We must be on our way now - important mission and all that, what!

Roy: [pushing his jaw back together with a crack and a twitch] Yo-you're leaving? But we were just starting to become...dare I say it...friends? [flings himself to the ground around Harvey's legs] TAKE ME WITH! TAKE ME WITH! I'm so damned lonely! [suddenly the cauldron begins to overflow with farm gravy]

Chastity : By Phili, what's going on with the pot? [To Roy] Are you causing that?

Alice : But, where do you want to go? [Looks to the others and asks quietly] What do you think? Will we ever be allowed in anywhere ever again if he comes with us? [Thinks for a moment] Then again, we did manage okay with Faetan.

Roy : [looking up from now gore and drool covered shoes] Sorry about that. My powers tend to go haywire when I'm emotionally distressed.

Harvey : [Suddenly realising how warm the farm gravy is] Gah! [Jumps back from Roy] Just as well I'm wearing my regulation boots, they won't let anything leak in - or out. Why, I can remember having to drink soup from a soldier's boot back in the Midgegpytian campaign of '42, and it didn't spill a drop. [Thinks for a moment] Or was that out of a woman's shoe in Kairo?

Alice : [A trifle miffed at being ignored] But anyway! Where do you want to go?

Roy : [Standing up]I want to go where people can stand my undead visage and see the loveable Lich beneath. Where flowers bloom and where babies won't cry and be forced into decades of therapy from being around me. Where people will appreciate me, not as a vile mockery of Gods with strange and possibly demonic powers, but as a bake of great renown and the inventor of the scone. I did you know. But when ever I try an enter a city, people scream and run or come at me with pointed sticks. Especially this Elf city named Schizophrenia or Bullemia or something like that. They've chased me away 84 times already! And all because I accidentally turned one of their villagers into a two headed buffalo. I didn't mean to! he just kept calling me 'Scabies Face!' I figure if I come with you, people will realise through you that I'm really not all that bad. And then...perhaps...I can find the city of Euphoria, and cook for them! I bet a whole city of Elves would lvoe my food, seeing how sophisticated and genteel they are. [Looks at the 4 elves in the 'party] Hey! Are you from there?

Chastity : Hmmm. Considering the reputation humans seems to have down here,[loudly for the elves benefit] which is completely unfounded, [normal volume again] I doubt very much if we will convince any of the town dewellers to call us their friends, let alone someone with such a...erm, how shall I put it... such a visually challenging hurdle to overcome. [Face brightens up] Although I think I know of a couple of men who could help us, if only we can find them.

Alice : [To Roy] You don't know what kind of reputation we've got, things could get worse for you!

Peg : [Unimpressed at Roy's emotionalism] We are from neither Schizophrenia or Bullemia. We are from [pauses, and looks from side to side to ensure that no one is listening in] Paranoia.

Jefferson : [With a snort of derision] Tut! Typical, everyone wants Euphoria, and [with much irritation and frustration] no one wants Paranoia, Bullemia or Cholera.

[The other elves nod in agreement, muttering to themselves.]

Chastity : [To Jefferson] Well we want to go to Paranoia. We would like to meet up with our friends Cocan and Sven.

Jefferson : [With a snort of derision] Tut! Typical, everyone wants Paranoia, and [with much irritation and frustration] no one wants Euphoria, Bullemia or Cholera.

Peg : That is a good thing, Jefferson.

Jefferson : I didn't say it wasn't!

Roy : [Listening Intently] So I can come with? I won't envenerate anyone! And I'll cook breakfasts! And Paranoia sounds lovely! I'm quite familliar with with Paranoia...

Peg : Very well, we will bring you to Paranoia. However, it is up to yourselves to get into Euphoria.

Alice : No offence Roy but [to the others] is there any way we can make him a little less conspicuous?

Jefferson : If he wants to be inconspicuous, then travelling with humans is not the ideal strategy.

Austin : [To Alice] Let's just go. It's not as if anyone is going to attack us when Roy is with us, although 'self defense' is a bit of a grey area. [Ponders some legal implications being undead]

Chastity : What we need is a good story to explain Roy's appearance. Considering the reputation humans have down here, maybe we could say that what has happened to him is a result of him not having intercourse. That may also help alleviate some of the prejudices against us as well. [Looks at the doubtful expressions of the elves] although I may be being a bit optimistic there. Failing that a big hooded outfit should do the job.

Austin : [Looks at Chastity] What a reamarkably stupid idea.

Chastity : [Glares back at Austin] And your contribution to the group idea pool was? Oh, thats right, nothing! Thank you for your efforts.

Austin : [To Chastity] Just because you are too stupid to understand my contribution to the group idea pool, does not give you the right to get angry with me. My contribution was succinct, to the point and practical. [To Harvey] Colonel, standing around here listening to the ramblings of an insane nun will not progress our mission, may we get a move on? angry Harvey will

Roy : [puzzled] Why is everyone yelling?

Chastity : [To Austin] Your impatience and sweeping assumptions on peoples behaviours are far from practical. [To Roy] Do you you have a hooded robe that you could wear? That way people may get to know the real you before they make assumptions about you, just because you are one of the decaying undead.

Alice : I don't think it was such a stupid idea - I mean, look at what not having intercourse has done to Austin!

Harvey : By the saints, Private! We'll have none of that talk to the good Sister, I'll not have you insulting her! Now, does anyone have an unfeasibly large cloak? [Looks around] Sister?

Austin : [To Chastity] Stop yelling for heavens sakes. The cloak will not cover up the smell, and it will make the elves and others suspicious. They will want to know why we are hiding something, if they don't smell him first.

Peg : [Dead calm, to Roy] I am not shouting. Nor or any of the elves here.

Roy : Good. I get depressed when people yell, because it's usually my fault they're yelling. [to Chastity] I have this robe that I'm wearing. And I bet I could find a robe. Or Morc clothing. Should I wear that?

Alice : Here you'll find it's usually Austin's fault. I don't think the Morcish clothing will fit - Chastity, have you got anything?

Austin : [To Alice, sincerely] That is a fantastic idea Alice, Chastity, do you have a spare habit?

Chastity : [Sighs] I should have a spare used one hidden at the bottom of my bag. It's never good to see a nun with a dirty habit. [Rummages about in her bag, and pulls out a soiled habit and hands it too Roy] It may be a bit short in length, and a bit wide for you. [Quicky] Due to your body having wasted away over the years, of course.

Clint : So is this it? We're finally moving? [To Roy] Ran out of tears?

Roy : Not really, no. But at least I have a nifty Nun outfit. That's me Roy, the Eternal Optimist!

Alice : [Looking into the farm gravy] What was the stuff here that the Morcs took away?

Peg : Nascency Fluid. It is the cornerstone of life in the Interior.

Austin : [To Peg] Is it good to drink?

Peg : It depends on whether or not it is your own Nascency Fluid.

Austin : [To Peg, with a 'getting blood out of a stone' tone] So, let us pretend that it is my own Nascency Fluid. Is it good for me to drink? [Examines his nails ]

Peg : [With no change in her tone] It is neither good nor bad.

[In the background, ALICE rolls her eyes so violently that the others can actually hear them.]

Austin : [To Peg, still examining his nails] And If I were not the owner of the Nascency Fluid that I was consuming, what would happen?

Peg : [Blinks once, and turns to Harvey] Is it normal human behaviour to not look directly at the person to whom they speak?

Harvey : Gah! It's certainly normal Private Sleaze behaviour!

Peg : [Clearly not going to answer Austin, and pointing to what appears to be an exit] I believe that this is the general direction that we should take.

Austin : [Looking directly into Pegs eyes] Is it normal elven behaviour to answer questions with ignorantly short and inadequate answers.

Clint : [Heading towards the exit] [To Peg] This direction, you say?

Peg : No.

Clint : [Stopping] [To Peg] No it's not normal Elven behaviour, or no it's not this way?

Austin : [To Peg, looking into her eyes] That was a rhetorical question. Do elves know rhetoric?

Peg : No it's not normal Elven behaviour. My apologies if my answer confused you, but I was speaking to your associate. You are correct, that is indeed the way.

Peg : Yes.

Bud : [To the rest of the party] She can keep this up all day, despite the increasingly desperate efforts of your friend. Save him from further humiliating himself by stopping this.

Alice : [To Clint] Come on, Stinky, let's go!

Clint : [From the exit door] That's about time!

[Exit ALL, through the exit, most heaving sighs of relief.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene V. Outside Paranoia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, HARVEY, KIT, ROY, PEG, BUD, JEFFERSON and PHILIPPE are here, standing outside a huge walled town, with the wall stretching as far as the eye can see. Set into it is a massive wooden gate. The walk has taken several hours, and the party are all quite tired now, and visibly so. As the group advance towards the gate, a huge voice booms out when they are about five feet away.]

Voice : None shall pass!

Chastity : [Turns to Peg to say something, thinks better of it and turns to Jefferson] Would it be better if you spoke out here, being inhabitants of the town as you are?

Austin : [Shouts] Then why do you have a gate? Last by Dominic #2

Austin : [Shouts] Then why do you have a gate?

Roy : This is all my fault. They can probably tell I'm a loathsome beast from the Stugian depths of Hades even while dressed as a portly nun.

Alice : On the contrary, Roy, they can probably tell Austin's a loathsome beast from the Stugian depths of Hades because he's dressed as a lawyer!

Voice : Er, it's because of the gate that none shall pass.

[PEG narrows her eyes slightly at CHASTITY.]

Jefferson : [Deadpan] Yes. [Long pause] It would - [normal voice] Gah! I'm just not good enough yet! Ask me again, Chastity, I'll get it right this time.

Peg : [Stepping forward] It is I, P'Erendos Gallos.

[Sounds of hysterical laughter come from inside the gate.]

Clint : [Screaming to the gate] Mind telling us what the joke is? We want to laugh, too!

[A small shutter opens in the gate, revealing the face of KARES, an elf who looks similar to PEG and company.]

Kares : It really is you, Peg! [Laughs again, before stopping and sniffing] With a human now, eh? [Looks at Clint] She hasn't been seen for two years, you wouldn't believe who she left with.

Austin : [To Kares, looking at him] Try us, who did she leave with?

[PHILIPE steps forward, now wearing a laurel wreath on his head, and clasping a crudely fashioned pair of flip flops to his chest.]

Philipe : She left with me, to await my inspiration. Behold the [holds up the shoes] Philipe Fillope Flip Flops!

[KARES doesn't reply, but gives something of a shocked gasp.]

Chastity : [To Harvey] Don't forget the people who wash in communal showerinf facilities that don't want to contract horrendous flesh eating foot diseases. They're catered for too, now. the Roy [from beneath his nun's outfit] Oooh! Shoes! I want shoes. I've never had shoes! What are shoes?

Roy: [to Chastity] Does that include me? I'm pretty sure death counts as a horrendous flesh eating foot disease. I mean look, I've got nothing but bones on my toes. And even that's suspect...

Chastity : [Nervously glances towards Kares. To Roy] I don't think now is really a good time to be showing off parts of your time ravaged body. Although, I think Flip Flops may be a bit late for you. A pair of shoes to completely cover you feet would be better. But we'll address that later.

Roy : [puzzled] Shoes are feet? [Looks at the pair being held up by Philipe] I thought they were ear muffs...

Alice : [To Chastity] It's a pity we can't get him a pair of shoes that go up passed his head!

[KARES momentarily disappears from view, and then the gate opens.]

Kares : [In awe] Can it be true? May I - may I touch the ... flip flops?

Philipe : No. But you may admire them from a distance.

[KARES moves closer.]

Philipe : You may move closer.

[KARES moves closer.]

Philipe : You may move closer.

[KARES moves so close that their noses are literally touching.]

Philipe : That's close enough.

Austin : [Watching the farce] It's hard to believe that a place exists that has such an underdeveloped sense of haut couture.

Kares : [Irritated] You don't know what you're talking about - we Elves have a wonderful and keen appreciation for all things artistic, items that savages such as yourselves would know nothing about. Why, look at this!

[KARES holds out his watch, which is clearly a miniature cuckoo clock, that is so large, he can hardly hold his hand up.]

Kares : See? [Presses a button, and out pops a cuckoo.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Chastity : [To Harvey] I bet Jerome could have bettered that, had he been here!

Austin : [To Kares, looking him in the eyes, with a look of horror] All too clearly.

Kares : [Smugly] I thought so.

Harvey : [Struggling to get his bow out] Damned birds! [Looks around] Where's it gone?

Peg : We must hurry. The people are clad in uncomfortably tight shoes, the sock industry has us at its mercy and I'm sure the Veruca epidemic is still raging. [To the party] If you wish, I can tell you Cocan's address.

Austin : [To Kares] Twat. [To Alice] These guys are going to love mocasins and rollerblades.

Peg : [To Austin] You shouldn't have said that.

Kares : The elves may enter, but not the humans.

Chastity : [To Kares] Please excuse out associate. He was not referring to you, he was merely introducing himself. Please may we enter. It is essential that we see our fellow human Cocan, who lives within your walls.

Austin : [To Kares] Hey, why can't we come in? I think mocassins are very nice too, and, indeed I believe I own two pairs of them.

Kares : [To Peg] Is that true?

Peg : Yes. He is a twat.

Kares : Okay, but I'm afraid I have bad news - Cocan is dead.

Austin : [Laughs] Again! He's almost as careless as us. [To Kares] When will he be ressurected? I feel the makings of a party...

Harvey : [Outraged] What? Cocan is red?

Kares : No, I said "Cocan is dead".

Harvey : [Calm] Oh, okay.

[Time passes.]

Harvey : Hm. That's much worse.

Kares : Resurrected? [Shakes his head] He can't be resurrected - his Nascency Fluid was destroyed a few months back. Cocan is very much dead.

Clint : What about Sven? Have you heard of someone named Sven?

Kares : I have not.

Austin : [To Kares] How did he die? WHo killed him?

Kares : [Shakes his head sadly] In a terrible accident - he was knocked down by his own driver.

Alice : Huh? What the hell kind of driver would do that?

[Cut to a recording of ALICE driving the getaway carriage back in Book III, Act I, Scene IX, veering onto a footpath, sending pedestrians scattering in all directions, and smashing straight into MISTER PAPPODOPOLUS' fruit stall, covering the party in water melons, rotten apples and other, assorted fruits.]

Alice : Anyway, if he was in the carriage, how could the driver have knocked him down?

Kares : He was actually going to pick him up when it happened.

Clint : Who is his driver? And is he still around? Roy [Still confused] I'm dead. Very much dead. Like this Conan guy. Dead for ages. Maybe I can go see him if he's dead?

Kares : Jim Ignatwatski. He still lives in Paranoia.

Kares : [Realising Roy's appearance for the first time] What the hell is that?

Austin : [To Kares] Oh, Jim, yes we have met him briefly, several times in time. [Ponders] I wonder if he has met us yet. [To Kares, casualy] Do you have a time travel device in the city?

Peg : Time travel is about as probable as humans who can control their animal urges of violence and procreation.

[KARES draws a sword, and points it at ROY.]

Kares : What the hell is it?

Clint : Oh, him? He's just a monster who happened to save our lives. I wouldn't do that to him if I were you, by the way.

Chastity : [To Kares] He is a human who has learned to control his animal urges of violence and procreation. This is why humans make very little effort in these areas of social behavior. He is perfectly friendly, if not a tad emotionally unstable.

Roy : [Starting to blubber] I'm not a monster! Surew I may be undead and weild unholy powers of the damned, but I have aheart and soul and feelings just like you! [pauses] Well, not a heart, That withered up and got pecked at by crows centuries ago. Still, I have the feelings and soul. Although sme philosophers state the undead don't have souls. Okay...I at least have feelings. And they're been trod upon like a moth eaten dogskin rug.

Kares : [To Peg] Are either of them saying anything that's even remotely true?

Peg : He is a monster, he did save our lives and he is emotionally unstable. However, I do not believe he will cause any harm in Paranoia.

Peg : He is also intensely annoying.

Peg : He is also intensely annoying.

Roy : {letting the waterworks flow I am not! I'm just lonely. Why is everyone and everything so cruel to me? it's not like I use babies for tennis rackets or anything...

Alice : [Covering her ears] So what you use babies for?

Kares : [To the party] Can you keep him under control?

Roy : [still crying] You could try talking to me. I am able to converse, but no, just treat me like I'm a second rate nothing on the intellectual level of yarn. It's fine, I'm used to discrimination. [to Alice] I use them for baking. They make great muffins.

Kares : [Looks at Roy with barely concealed contempt, before turning back to the party] Like I said, can you keep him under control?

Roy : [To Kares] Would you like a muffin? They're baby free! [stage whisper to party members] It's called Bribery! Shhh!

Austin : [To Kares] Yes, we can keep him under control.

Kares : [Ignoring the offer of the muffin] Make sure you do, Mr. Twat.

Peg : [To the party] I am sorry to hear about Cocan. I can give you his address if you wish, perhaps you may be able to track down some other acquaintences that way.

Austin : [To Kares] My name is Mr. Sleaze, the others were having a joke at my expense in refering to me as Mr. Twat. [To Peg] Yes, we would like Cocans address, please, it is our only lead.

Kares : [To Austin] I don't care.

Peg : Number thirteen, Valhalla street. It is straight down that street [points out a street] and to the left.

Austin : [To Kares, beaming a big smile] Good! I am glad. [To Peg] Thank you. [To Colonel] Shall we go.

Chastity : [Picks up her bag and makes ready to go down the street. To Roy] Don't be so quick to declare yourself as undead. It can play right into the hands of peoples prejudices. I mean you don't see me shouting to out to all and sundry that I'm a nun. [Dusts down the front of her habit, checks her holy bible is safely in the pocket over her heart, and straightens the crucifix pendant round her neck] OK, lets go.

Harvey : Well said, Sister. I mean [big wink] Chastity!

[The party head down the street as directed, while PEG and the others go off on a different direction. The party don't attract too much attention, and several elves walk past them, with only a few muttering comments. Before long, they are outside the house. It is fairly large, with a small, well tended garden at the front. The street too, is well looked after, and generally very clean. The gate is clearly just on the latch, and can be opened by anyone.]

Alice : [Tries to open the gate, and fails] Hm. [Looks at it closely, before trying and failing again] Hey! [Shakes the gate hard, before giving up in disgust] Looks like a job for you, Austin.

Clint : [Pointing at his left boot] Can I?

Alice : The boots stay on, Stinky!

Austin : [To Clint] No, you cannot. [Austin opens the gate, walks up to the door and knocks]

Clint : [Yawning] Boring. [After a few seconds, the door opens. Standing there is NEFIRITIRI, who does a double take in surprise.]

Nefiritiri : What are you doing here?

Chastity : We could very well ask you the same thing? We're here to investigate Cocan's death. And you?

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Looking for the wand. [Pauses] Nice to see you again too. May we come in please?

Nefiritiri : [Looks from Austin to Chastity] I see nothing has changed. [Curtly to Chastity] I live in Paranoia, and I am here to sort through Cocan's things. And I think you're a liar. [Takes a drag of her cigarette, before stepping back from the door and speaking to Austin] Come on in.

Chastity : [Caught off guard. Blusters] Liar? Lair? I can assure you we want to find out how Cocan was killed. [Turning to Harvey, slightly unsure] Don't We?

Austin : [To Nefiritiri, sincerely] I'm sorry to hear about Cocan. I didn't know that you knew him. He saved our lives not long ago. [Lights a cigarette] It was even more disturbing to hear that he cannot be resurrected. The elves said his 'Nascencey' fluid was destroyed, and therefore he has gone for ever.

Nefiritiri : [Who clearly has been crying] That's true, Austin. The fluid was destroyed about a year ago - [shakes her head] and I still can't believe he died in such a stupid fashion. For a man who has killed all kinds of monsters, from dragons to hairdressers, to die in an accident like that, well, it just seems wrong.

Harvey : Er, yes, Sister, of course we do, of course we do!

Nefiritiri : [Giving Chastity a baleful look, but addressing the rest of the party] But that is not why you are here, yes?

Nefiritiri : [Steps back into the hall, which is decorated with all manner of Viking related paraphenalia] You're more than welcome to have a drink here, but I'm afraid I can't ask you to stay, Cocan left some very specific instructions about some items that are in the various rooms. However, there's a hotel a few streets over that usually has rooms, although I think they usually rent them by the hour.

Alice : What's the name of this hotel?

Nefiritiri : Tart.

[ALICE doesn't reply, and just looks confused.]

Chastity : [To Alice] My dear, I think Nefiritiri is refering the name of the hotel, Tart.

Alice : [Bewildered at this abuse] Look -

Nefiritiri : [Interrupting] That is correct - it is the Tidy And Relaxing Tavern. It was also Cocan's favourite bar.

[Shows the party to the drawing room, and starts pouring out some drinks.]

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Do you remeber the wand, that's what we came for. We had no idea cocan, yourself, or this entire realm come to think of it, were down here.

Nefiritiri : [Passing out the drinks] The wand to determine the shapeshifters? I didn't know it was here. [Takes a drink] Most people on the surface don't know about the Interior - frankly, I'm surprised that you found it. We heard about it a long time ago, and had some rather interesting times getting in.

Austin : [Accepting his drink] Thank you. Yes, the wand to determine shapeshifters. Believe it or not, there was an entrance to the interior in Alice's garden.

Nefiritiri : I find it all too easy to believe - I presume this garden brought into the family by Faern Short?

Alice : Yes!

Nefiritiri : Then the wand is almost certainly in Euphoria.

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Did Faern Short sell the wand to someone?

Chastity : Could you tell us Faern was, and how did this person come into possession of the wand? We had heard a couple of rumours mentioning the name, but nothing was very clear.

Nefiritiri : I can't be sure if he sold it - but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Faern came to the Interior a long time ago, and was one of the few humans to be permitted entrance to Euphoria. However, his behaviour set the human movement back hundreds of years, and, after his drinking, gambling and cavorting got too much for them, he was asked to leave.

Alice : [With a big smile, and two thumbs up to Harvey] He certainly sounds like one ours, Harv!

Harvey : Hm. Yes.

Clint : Yes, he definitely sounds like a cool guy. [Downs his drink] Can I have another, Nefi?

Nefiritiri : Help yourself.

Harvey : Did you meet Faern?

Nefiritiri : Yes. He spent several years in the Interior, moving in and out of Euphoria, but eventually returned to the surface.

Clint : [Picking up a bottle of brandy] So how old does that make you?

Nefiritiri : About two and a half thousand years.

Alice : Crikey! That's almost as old as one of Clint's socks! How did you manage that?

Nefiritiri : Genies age more slowly than most. I also spent some time in Euphoria [goes a little dreamy] that helps retard the aging process somewhat.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Really? [With a renewed air of interest, but trying to be casual] What is in Euphoria that does that?

Nefiritiri : I don't know - and the Euphoric Elves don't want anyone to know.

Austin :I expect it is the wand that reduces the effects of ageing. [Glances at the window] I think we are being watched by someone in the garden.

Chastity : [Eagerly] Well, looks like we'll have to be going to Euphoria, then. [Quickly] For the wand , of course. [Turns away from the group to cover her awkwardness. Stops and points out the window] Hey, who's that in the garden. [Everyone turns and looks out the window, which faces the back garden.]

Alice : Yeah, I see them too - there are a few of them, there's a blonde girl, a nun, a guy with a really big cloak, a -

Harvey : Actually, niece, I think you'll find that's out reflection you can see, however, Private Sleaze is correct, there is someone hiding behind that tree.

[This is true, there is someone just visible, wearing the traditional trenchcoat, hat and dark glasses of a spy.]

Clint : [Downing another glass] I don't see anyone.

Chastity : Maybe if you got you nose out of that glass for a moment! [To Nefiritiri] Is there a back door to this place?

Nefiritiri : Yes, just out the door you came in and to the right.

[The figure has clearly realised they have been spotted, and makes a bolt for it. At the same time, there is a knock on the front door.]

Chastity : [Rushes out the route Nefiritiri describes] Quickly after them!

[HARVEY joins with CHASTITY, but, by the time they get to the door, the figure is long gone. Meanwhile, there is another knock on the door.]

Nefiritiri : What's going on? Should I get it?

Clint : [Pouring yet another glass] Who is it? Come in!

Austin : I'll get it [Goes to the front door and opens it].

[AUSTIN opens the door to reveal MILICENT FLUFF, standing outside, looking her best.]

Milicent : Hello. Is Nefiritiri here?

Austin : [To Milicent, deadpan] Hello Milicent, how nice to see you again. Please come in, Nefiritiri is in the livingroom. Did you happen to notice someone running away from the garden a moment ago?

Milicent : No, I didn't see anyone.

[NEFIRITIRI comes out to the hall and hugs MILICENT, who is dressed pretty much as she is in her picture, but without the wand.]

Nefiritiri : Oh, Milicent, I'm just going through his things now, it's so difficult.

Milicent : I know, I know.

Nefiritiri : About two and a half thousand years.

Alice : Crikey! That's almost as old as one of Clint's socks! How did you manage that?

Nefiritiri : Genies age more slowly than most. I also spent some time in Euphoria [goes a little dreamy] that helps retard the aging process somewhat.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Really? [With a renewed air of interest, but trying to be casual] What is in Euphoria that does that?

Nefiritiri : I don't know - and the Euphoric Elves don't want anyone to know.

Austin :I expect it is the wand that reduces the effects of ageing. [Glances at the window] I think we are being watched by someone in the garden.

Chastity : [Eagerly] Well, looks like we'll have to be going to Euphoria, then. [Quickly] For the wand , of course. [Turns away from the group to cover her awkwardness. Stops and points out the window] Hey, who's that in the garden. Bah, badly timed boss Q&A visit!! [Everyone turns and looks out the window, which faces the back garden.]

Alice : Yeah, I see them too - there are a few of them, there's a blonde girl, a nun, a guy with a really big cloak, a -

Harvey : Actually, niece, I think you'll find that's out reflection you can see, however, Private Sleaze is correct, there is someone hiding behind that tree.

[This is true, there is someone just visible, wearing the traditional trenchcoat, hat and dark glasses of a spy.]

Clint : [Downing another glass] I don't see anyone.

Chastity : Maybe if you got you nose out of that glass for a moment! [To Nefiritiri] Is there a back door to this place?

Nefiritiri : Yes, just out the door you came in and to the right.

[The figure has clearly realised they have been spotted, and makes a bolt for it. At the same time, there is a knock on the front door.]

Chastity : [Rushes out the route Nefiritiri describes] Quickly after them!

[HARVEY joins with CHASTITY, but, by the time they get to the door, the figure is long gone. Meanwhile, there is another knock on the door.]

Nefiritiri : What's going on? Should I get it?

Clint : [Pouring yet another glass] Who is it? Come in!

Austin : I'll get it [Goes to the front door and opens it].

[AUSTIN opens the door to reveal MILICENT FLUFF, standing outside, looking her best.]

Milicent : Hello. Is Nefiritiri here?

Austin : [To Milicent, deadpan] Hello Milicent, how nice to see you again. Please come in, Nefiritiri is in the livingroom. Did you happen to notice someone running away from the garden a moment ago?

Milicent : No, I didn't see anyone.

[NEFIRITIRI comes out to the hall and hugs MILICENT, who is dressed pretty much as she is in her picture, but without the wand.]

Nefiritiri : Oh, Milicent, I'm just going through his things now, it's so difficult.

Milicent : I know, I know. Gah!

Austin : [To Milicent] Would you care for a drink? [Looks a little suprised as he realises that Milicent is, in fact, female, and not a tranny]

Milicent : Thank you, mine's a babycham.

Nefiriti : [To the others] Poor Milicent was there when Cocan died.

Chastity : [To Harvey] I sure we'll cross swords with them eventully, Colonel.

Austin : [Pours Milicent a Babycham and gives it to her. To all] I'm just going to have a quick squiz around the back garden, to check for foot prints etcetera. [Goes into the back garden, to check for foot prints etc.]

Milicent : I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. The elves in Paranoia are quite paranoid. quite paranoid.

Austin : [Returns from the back garden] There was nothing out of the ordinary. No footprints either, so I guess that it must have been an elf. [To Nefiriti] I assume that elves leave no footprints? no footprints.

Roy: I don't leave footprints. I leave a trail of oozing pus sometimes...

Chastity : [To Roy] Hmmm. Maybe we'd better re-think our shoe plan for you and find you some wellington boots. They won't ooze as you move around, you'll just have to remember to empty them out every now and again.

Nefiriti : Not true.

Milicent : I think than there are many people in the Interior who can leave no footprints.

Clint : But who would be interested in spying on us?

Austin : [To Clint] With hot fashion secrets like 'flip-flops', comming from us, I should think most of the Interior are interested in spying on us.

Alice : [To Chastity] They mighn't ooze, but they sure would squelch - that is, if the ooze he produces is anything like the baked beans that were in my boots that time.

Milicent : [To the party] So why are you here? Cocan would have loved to have met you.

[ALICE takes a sip of her drink, making an unfeasibly loud slurping sound.]

Alice : [Glares at Clint] Tut!

Austin : [Glances at Alice. To Milicent] We came to the interior seek the wand that we had several thousand years ago. It will enable us to identify shapeshifters. We were on our way to see Cocan, as he was our best lead, until we learned of his untimely demise. [Ponders, then looks at Milicent] We have actually met Cocan, and your goodself, though in a rather unconventional manner, hence you won't know who we are.

Clint : [Mutering to himself] Right. [Long and loud fart] Bimbo, please. Not in front of other people.

Kit : [Looks impressed] Truly? How do you manage to accomplish this, if I might ask? Dr. Umatsu released a few short texts about his theories of time travel, I'd like to compare notes.

Alice : [Red faced] Sorry, Stinky.

Milicent : [Daintily drinking some of her drink] I know who you are Austin, as well as Harvey, Alice, Chastity and Stinky. I suppose it was inevitable that Faetan would have left the group by now.

Alice : [Turns to Clint indignantly] Hey!

Kit : [Beams happily and takes out her notepad to add a few more scribbles] Thank you, sir!

Milicent : [To Harvey] That's correct, we haven't, but the others told me about you.

[MILICENT daintily sips on her babycham.]

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] Do you have any idea how we could get into Euphoria? We were told that we'd have trouble getting in, as we are humans. [Glances at ROy] Well, most of us are.

Roy: [indignant] I'm biologically human! if you scraped through the layers of decay and mildew you'd see my remains are the same as any other long dead and preserved human corpse. Dying doesn't make me any less human. Unless by human you define one as being alive... But then Elf's would be human too...

Alice : As would Clint.

Nefiritiri : [Shakes her head] I think you'll find it impossible. Even Cocan wasn't allowed enter for the last year - things have begun changing in the Interior, and Euphoric Elves have completely closed their borders.

Chastity : That is going to make our acquisition of the wand very difficult indeed. We really need to get into Euphoria. I doubt if we could disguise ourselves as elves.

Roy : Could I pose as a very sick elf? or do you think they'd just let the undead walk on in. I could carry a big sign that says 'Not plague ridden!'

Austin : [Smirking] We could introduce them to 'sock shoes', and they will be so in awe of our footwear design capabilities that they will invite us to stay. [Laughs]

Alice : No one's going to believe that, Roy.

Harvey : [To Milicent] So, er, Miss, how did Cocan die?

Milicent : He was knocked down.

Roy : Could I pretend to be Cocan. he's dead. I'm dead. I bet all undead look alike to mortals...

Clint : And who knocked him down? [Empties whatever liquor is left on the bottle he's now holding]

Nefiritiri : [To Roy] Unlikely.

Milicent : Jim Ignatwatski knocked him down - he was Cocan's driver. It was a terrible thing to behold.

Alice : He was a bad driver, then?

Milicent : No, I mean the accident was a terrible thing to behold.

Nefiritiri : Look, Milicent, they are stunned into silence.

Austin : [To Nefiritiri] Well, it is very sad. Jim must be remorseful. Is there anything we can do whilst we are here, to help you?

Milicent : Yes, Jim was inconsolable when it happened. When we carried the body to the house he was very upset.

Nefiritiri : [Shrugs] I'm afraid not.

[The Cuckoo clock springs to life.]

Clock : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Nefiritiri : It's getting late - would you like directions to the hotel?

Clint : Yes please. We would also like to talk to Jim if possible.

Austin : [Finishes his drink and stands] Well, thank you for your hospitality. It seems our visit to the interior is somewhat ill fated. A good nights sleep in a hotel is certainly in order [Muses] I wonder if they have a sauna.

Kit : [Scribbling down a few more notes before replacing the notepad in her coat] I wonder if any elves might be there...there's still so much to learn!

Nefiritiri : [To Clint] Jim will almost certainly be at the hotel. He has been in very strange form since it happened, so I'm not sure if he'll speak to you.

Milicent : [To Kit] There won't be too many Elves there, the Tart is a human hang out, but, rest assured, you'll encounter many of them in Paranoia, but be warned, they aren't very tolerant of humans.

Nefiriri : To get to the Tart, go to the end of this street, turn left onto Lonely Street and keep going until you get to the junction with Morose Road Turn right there, and it's on the corner with Bitter street.

Alice : [Taking down the directions] What comes after "to"?

Nefiritiri : There's a map.

Alice : [Taking the map] Hey! This isn't a map, it's a child's maze from the back of a DacMonalds tray cover!

Nefiritiri : Is that going to make any difference to you finding the hotel?

Alice : No. boundary="Boundary_(ID_OxN4CJkChWRfaC9dWjtAuQ)"

PMDF-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and truncated. --Boundary_(ID_OxN4CJkChWRfaC9dWjtAuQ)

Harvey : Well, thank you kindly, madam! Your hospitality has being most welcome, even in this time of grief. [Bows to Nifiritiri] Well troop, it's time to be away to a warm Tarts bed!

Clint : I hope they serve drink there. All this talk left me thirsty.

Harvey : [Getting up too] Who else was there when Cocan died?

Milicent : There were three of us. Myself, Jim and Boddy, but there was nothing we could do - he gave some last words for Nefiritiri, and then died.

Chastity : [COughs on the final sips of her tea. To Milicent] Boddy? It seems an age since we last met with him. I take it he's still in Paranoia, my dear.

Milicent : Oh, yes. He and Cocan became great friends, which was nice, especially after all that ugliness between Sven and Darius.

Austin : [To Harvey] Darius and Boddy are pretty ugly.

Austin : [To Harvey] Oh, come now colonel, you know as well as I do that it was probably Boddy the got Cocan killed, not Jim. We all know what a slippery character Boddy is.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] What were Cocan's last words, if I may ask?

Alice : I don't know, I always thought they were pretty cute - pretty horrible too, of course.

Milicent : Well, I really shouldn't say - but relations got a little strained between them. [Goes to the mantlepiece and picks up a picture of a group of people] Shortly after we found the Nascency Fluid, things began to break down. This was the last time that we were all together.

[MILICENT shows the picture, it appears to be BODDY, DARIUS, MARCUS WERNER, PETER DEADPAN, MILICENT, SVEN, COCAN, NEFIRITIRI, JIM IGNATWATSKI, LLOYD CHRISTOPHER and another man who looks like PETER. Everyone has their arms around each other, and all are smiling. It is clearly a posed picture.]

Milicent : [Still holding the picture, and rolls her eyes at Austin's words] You don't know what you're talking about. I was there when it happened. [To Harvey] I told you the full facts.

Nefiritiri : I'm not sure - I wasn't there when it happened, but maybe Milicent can tell you?

Milicent : I can't remember exactly, but they were a message to Nefiritiri, about some thing he left here for her.

Chastity : [COughs on the final sips of her tea. To Milicent] Boddy? It seems an age since we last met with him. I take it he's still in Paranoia, my dear.

Milicent : Oh, yes. He and Cocan became great friends, which was nice, especially after all that ugliness between Sven and Darius.

Austin : [To Harvey] Darius and Boddy are pretty ugly.

Austin : [To Harvey] Oh, come now colonel, you know as well as I do that it was probably Boddy the got Cocan killed, not Jim. We all know what a slippery character Boddy is.

Chastity : [To Nefiritiri] What were Cocan's last words, if I may ask?

Alice : I don't know, I always thought they were pretty cute - pretty horrible too, of course.

Milicent : Well, I really shouldn't say - but relations got a little strained between them. [Goes to the mantlepiece and picks up a picture of a group of people] Shortly after we found the Nascency Fluid, things began to break down. This was the last time that we were all together.

[MILICENT shows the picture, it appears to be BODDY, DARIUS, MARCUS WERNER, PETER DEADPAN, MILICENT, SVEN, COCAN, NEFIRITIRI, JIM IGNATWATSKI, LLOYD CHRISTOPHER and another man who looks like PETER. Everyone has their arms around each other, and all are smiling. It is clearly a posed picture.]

Milicent : [Still holding the picture, and rolls her eyes at Austin's words] You don't know what you're talking about. I was there when it happened. [To Harvey] I told you the full facts.

Nefiritiri : I'm not sure - I wasn't there when it happened, but maybe Milicent can tell you?

Milicent : I can't remember exactly, but they were a message to Nefiritiri, about some thing he left here for her.

Milicent : [Sigh] He said "I have a message for Nefiritiri, tell her I left something for her."

Nefiritiri : I think he was referring to an Orb. He had told me previously that the orb would keep me safe if anything ever happened to him. I don't know exactly what it looks like, but Boddy will be able to identify it.

Nefiritiri : Thank you, I'm sure. If Boddy can't identify it, I'll let you know. Feel free to call in while you're in Paranoia.

[Exit the party.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VI. Outside the Tidy And Relaxing Tavern. HARVEY, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHASTITY, CLINT, KIT and ROY are here, having just arrived. A MAN walks passed, and looks at ALICE.]

Man : Tart.

Alice : [Laughs] Oh, you mean the hotel!

Man : [Slightly confused] Hotel? [Walks off]

Austin : Let's go and find Jim. [Goes into the TART]

Roy : [excited] I can bake tarts! Anyone want some? My speciality is Guano and baked bean tarts!

Alice : [To Roy] Well, I'm quite hungry now, so I won't have any.

[The group heads into the bar. It is absolutely filthy, and has quite a number of humans sitting around eating and drinking. There are no non-humans in the place. Standing behind the bar is RAGGEDY ANDY, who's even dirtier than the bar. Also here is BODDY, sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and smoking what looks like a cheese cigarette.]

Andy : [Clearly perturbed at Roy's presence] Mwoah? What the hell is that? I hate damned freaks!

Boddy : [Turning around and looking] It's okay, I know them. They're not that freakish.

Chastity : Whoa, Deja vu. [Checks to see if Boddy looks armed]

Boddy : Well, well, well. Come on in and have a drink.

Austin : [To Boddy] Is the drink palatable in this tavern? [Looks at Boddy suspiciously] You look much to much like Darius for my liking. I don't know if I could tell you apart.

Boddy : The drink is okay, but the ware is even filthier than Andy here. The last time we met, you made the same claim, but I can assure you, we're quite different.

Austin : [Sits beside Darius] Well, you probably understand that our previous encounters with Darius have been somewhat traumatic. Death has that effect on me, and you do bear an uncanny resemblance.

Boddy : No doubt I do, but I haven't seen Darius for a while, certainly before he first met you lot.

[Some filthy looking drinks in some filthy looking glasses are served up by the filthy looking barman.]

Boddy : So, why are you in Paranoia?

Chastity : [Holds one of the glasses up to the light] Tut, filthy! [Puts the glass back on the bar. To the barman] Could I have a cup of tea, by any chance? [To Boddy] We were here to find Cocan, as we were told he could help us get into Euphoria.

Andy : Tea? Sure!

Boddy : Well, that's kind of unfortunate, on two counts. First, no one can get into Euphoria at the moment, and second, Cocan is dead.

Andy : Here's your tea!

[Places an impossibly delicate, yet filthy, tea cup on the counter, and pours the contents of a teapot into it. They land with an audible squelch, as the cup fills with a thick and slimy substance.]

Andy : Enjoy!

Chastity : [Looks at her "tea"] Hmmm, I think this has been left to stew a bit too long in the pot!. [To Boddy] Yes, so we have been hearing. What brings you here?

Boddy : [Taking a long drag on the cigarette] Hah! You haven't changed a bit Chastity. I've spent a lot of time in the Interior, I like to come back every so often. Euphoria's a pretty cool place, but unfortunately the border is now shut. [Looks at Roy] What's his story?

Roy : I'm the Arch Lich. IS everyone here dead as well. They sure SMELL dead. And kinda looks dead. A tavern of the Damned. This is pretty cool! I'm finally amongst those that can understand me! I'm so happy! [starts blubbering]

Boddy : I gotta admit, I prefer him to Faetan.

Clint : [To Chastity] Well, if you're not going to have it... [Downs his glass, and Chastity's glass immediately after]

Chastity : [Looks at Clint chewing down the last drops of her tea, and takes a tactical step back]

[CLINT's stomach makes a disgusting gurgling and lurching sound, but seems to settle down.]

Boddy : [To Andy] Let's have some food all round, at my usual table.

[BODDY escorts the party to a relatively quiet table.]

Boddy : So, why do you want to go to Euphoria?

Austin : [To Boddy, quietly] We are looking for the wand that we left here several thouand years ago, the one to identify shapeshifters. We have been told that our best bet is Euphoria.

Boddy : So, despite travelling 2000 years back in the past to get the wand, someone then brought it to Euphoria? Let me guess [looks over Alice, Clint and Harvey] there was a relative of yours involved, right? [Smiles] Man, Pestilence sure knew how to give out curses.

[The door of the bar opens, and in steps OHMLOSS HECKLER. As he does, the bar goes quiet. He walks to the bar, and is just about to speak, when BODDY calls out to ANDY.]

Boddy : Garcon! Some food here if you please.

[OHMLOSS turns and glares at BODDY, who merely tilts his glass to him.]

Chastity : [Looking at Ohmloss] My what a serious fellow. He must be an official of some sort.

Boddy : Oh, he's very serious, and he got through the maximum penis length permissable for cops with almost an inch to spare.

Ohmloss : [Walks over to the party] As you are strangers in town, I'll assume you haven't had time to be warned about the real lowlifes here. [Looks meaningfully at Boddy]

Boddy : [Takes a drink] Oh, they know who the real lowlifes are, that's why they're with me. But, and this is just between you and me, you understand, they're even worse than I am. Got any cheese?

Austin : [To Boddy, suprised] They have police men here, ha! Like it isn't a prison already. [Ponders. To Boddy] Do they give Police jobs to the insecure elves, to make up for their small penises? You know, give them a feeling of power, make them feel like they are worth something?

Boddy : [Nods in agreement] Possibly, possibly. [Thinks for a moment and then shakes his head in disagreement] I don't think so - I mean, it would take a lot more power than they actually have.

Ohmloss : [Hammers the table angrily with his fist] Enough! [Glares at Austin] I don't know who you and your friends are, but I'll be watching you, you can be sure of that. [Points angrily Boddy] And you! Two of your buddies are in jail, one is dead and one has disappeared, it's just a matter of time before we get you.

Boddy : [To Austin] You see, [nods at Ohmloss's finger] that's like his penis, only bigger.

[ANDY squeezes in with some filthy looking burgers, which are passed out.]

[Clint starts eating his burger happily]

Clint : [To Boddy, while showering the party and Ohmloss with burger crums] Who's in jail?

Austin : [To Boddy, looking at the finger] How sad. [Looks at the Burgers. To Boddy] What is it that you like about this place?

Ohmloss : [Dodging some of Clint's crumbs] Horbiger and Ponto. Two stupid elves.

Boddy : You mean, "too stupid elves". I don't Austin, I suppose it could be because most Paranoid Elves don't come in here. In fact -

[BODDY is interrupted by ALICE, who is leaning over her burger, roaring laughing, despite the copious amount of burger debris in her hair from CLINT.]

Clint : [To Alice] What'sh sho funny? [To Roy] Try one, they're delishioush!

Alice : [Looks up, beaming] I just made a funny face on my burger!

[This is true, there is a funny face on the burger.]

Ohmloss : Losers! [Storms back to the bar, where he starts speaking quietly to Andy]

Boddy : [Leaning over his own burger for a moment, before looking back up] Well, you know me, where ever people are in need, where ever there is oppression, where ever there is evil [smiles] I'm the one behind it! [Holds his burger up to the party] Look, I just made a sad face on my burger!

Alice : [Visibly saddened] Aw!

Boddy : The truth is Harvey, I've been in the Interior for a while now, and was trying to get back to Euphoria, but, with Cocan dead, our chances are slim.

Ohmloss : [Turning from the bar] God damned humans, it's your fault that Euphoria is closed.

[There are distinct grumblings from the rest of the bar, which is almost entirely human.]

Roy : Hey! Don't blame me! According to these guys I'm not human. [turns to party] What am I exactly besides a being to mock behind his moldy and decayed back?

Boddy : I have to admit, I'm kind of curious about that myself. What is your story? What are you looking for?

Austin : [To Ohmloss] If that were true, then why did they lock you out too? [Feigns surprise] Oh, silly me, it's because you have a tiny tadger, of course.

Roy : You actually want to hear my life story?? [Excited] Finally! Someone who wants to hear me and won't scream profanity and throw bricks, mud and rotten fruit at me! Well, I was born about many many years ago. I can't remember when. Everything feels like April to me now. Ive gotten to that point where time just doesn't have a meaning. I can't even remember what i looked like when I was alive. Isn't that sad? It would depress me, but I've learned there's so much more to be depressed about in life. Or in my case death. Although death really isn't that depressing. it's the combination of the two. which ir ironic because you're supposed to find a balance in life instead of extremes, and yet when I finally did, it made my existence all the worse. Is existence the right word? probably millenium's someone actually asked him about his thoughts and feelings. Assume for the moment it's massive frantic squeals of joy

Boddy : [Completely unmoved] That's not what I meant. The question was what are you looking for?

Ohmloss : [Storms back to the table, pointing angrily at Austin] So what? Unlike you savages, we don't use them for sticking into whatever orifice presents itself! In fact, if you were in an Elven bar, you'd be mocked for having such a large one!

Alice : [Rolls her eyes, muttering] Oh, God. Every man's dream. [To Chastity] Let's not go to one of those bars, or we'll never hear the end of it.

Austin : [To Boddy] Oops, opend up a whole can of worms there [Sniggers at his onw joke]

Roy : Love, respect, kindess, hugs. And the chance to set up my own bakery in Euphoria. I'm a great baker! I don't want to be known as the vile and feared arch lich anymore. I want to be known as the inventor of the scone!

Ohmloss : [Turns away from the party, but stops, and turns back again, pointing at Boddy] You're nothing but a criminal! Your friend Cocan was nothing but a criminal and I suspect this bunch of losers are the same, probably part of your smuggling activities.

Boddy : Hey! That offends me - I don't deal in contraband.

[OHMLOSS turns away, and BODDY takes out a cheese cigarette, which he takes a drag of, before offering it to the party.]

Boddy : First time's free!

Austin : [Whips out his note pad. To Ohmloss] Hey, that's slander, [Scribbles some notes] You had better watch your step, twinky boy, or I'll sue you until you're shining flip flops for a living!

[ALICE reaches out for the cigarette, but is intercepted by HARVEY.]

Harvey : I think you've had quite enough cheese for day, my girl! [Shakes his head] Funny face, indeed.

Ohmloss : It's not slander, it's a statement of fact.

[Startling everyone, KIT lets out a blood curdling scream, which is somewhere between being extremely annoying and somewhat frightening, and slams her glass down on the table.]

Kit : Can we all just stop talking about penises and anal sex for [shouts] just one second? [Stands up] I can't take this any more! I was told that you were a bunch of heroes, but it's not even remotely true. [Looks at her notebook] My briefing, it's worse than useless! I came expecting an heroic Colonel, a saintly nun, a handsome lawyer, a beautiful maiden and a grizzled but [reads from the notes] handsome in a George Clooney kind of way fighter, and what do I get? I get a deaf old coot, a bitchy hypocrite, a smarmy, sleazy penis obsessed swine, a mindless tart and an unwashed barbarian! [Turns to Roy] And as for you? [Holds her hands up and waggles her fingers] Freak! Your cakes taste even worse than Clint smells.

[Squeezes out from behind the table.]

Kit : I'll leave, and you can carry on with ill company all you like! Just be careful you don't end up like him. [Points at Roy]*

[Exit KIT, storming out of the bar. Silence descends for a good few seconds.]

Boddy : [Eventually breaking the silence, by looking to Roy] Hugs and kisses, eh? Well, good luck with that.

Austin : [To Ohmloss] Well I hope you have some proof. [Scribbles] Calling a nun a criminal! I never, you just don't get that high quality of policemanship any more. [ Watches Kit storm out the door] She really was a bit thick wasn't she. Didn't get it at all, I think she thought heroes wore flowing capes and did lot's of jumping through windows.

Roy : Bu...bu....WAAHHHHHHHHHH! [Complete and total emotional breakdown which causes a lavender Hippopatmus juggling 8 tree sloths to appear behind the bar counter. And it's snowing inside.] turns out there aren't any sloths in this world...

Andy : [Calls out angrily from behind the bar] Hey! Can't you read? [Points at a sign above the bar, which reads "No Magic".]

Alice : [Nods in agreement with Austin] Yes, I was wondering why she wore her underpants on the outside.

Harvey : [To Roy] Come on man, pull yourself together! [Squeezes Roy's shoulder reassuringly, and appears to be only slightly disconcerted at the chunk of flesh that comes off in his hand]

Roy : WAAAHAAAAHHAHAH! [notices the flesh of his in harvey's hand] Did I mention I'm a leper?

Clint : Here we go again... [To Andy] Another round for me and Chassers, please.

Harvey : Er, no. [Tries to push the flesh back onto Roy]

Boddy : Anyway, I think you'll find it difficult to get into Euphoria, now that Cocan is dead. He was the only human they truly liked.

[ANDY slops some tea out, and passes it over.]

Harvey : [To Boddy] So, you were there when he died?

Boddy : Indeed I was.

Roy : [Desperately Hopeful] Would they like me? [To Harvey] I'm not really a leper. I just wanted someone else to have a brief glimpse into the wallowing misery that encompasses my existence.

Boddy : The probability of their liking you would be inversely proportional to the amount of whining and blubbering they hear. Roy [crying again] Oh no! I'm doomed! The downward spiral of misery continues....downward. [Another fit of depression, fetal position wailing and such causes one of the table across the room to come to life and start belching the Alphabet]

Boddy : You know, even I'm starting to want him to fail to get in.

Roy : [stops crying] because you empathize with the plight that is my existence? Because you understand the sadness that I'm wallowing in like an Elephant in a tar pit, trapped, doomed to only sink farther the harder they try to escape?

Boddy : Sure. Why not?

Ohlmoss : [Starts to leave, but goes to the party again] I'm warning you, I've got my eye on you - I've heard you came looking for Cocan, and in my book, that means you're scum like him.

Clint : Oooo, we're sooo scared. [To Roy] I'm joking, you don't have to start crying again.

Roy : But I'm so good at it. [OHMLOSS doesn't reply, and just storms out of the bar.]

Boddy : I'm probably going to have to go soon too. [Looks at his watch, which is a cuckoo watch like the one Kares had] Damned Elven watches.

Chastity : [To Roy] That may be so, my....em....thing, but it sparks off your magic and, as much as this place is a filthy hole, we don't want to be thrown out. It seems to be the only place to rest. [Looks around] Unfortunately.

Roy : [whimpering] See? I can't even be horribly nigh-suicidally depressed right!

Chastity : Well, please don't feel the need to practice.[Picks up her newly slopped cup of tea, glances into the cup and then passes it to Clint] Sorry, Clint, this was yours, wasn't it.

Austin : [To Roy] why don't you pull off all of your dead flesh, and then polish up your bones. I'm sure you'll feel much better then. [Austin winks at Maplin. To Roy] I don't believe that you have seen my dear Maplin [Smiling, Austin shows Roy, Maplin (Austins left forearm)] Isn't that the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

Chastity : [Watching Austin's performance. To Boddy] It's probably just as well that Policemans not about now.

Austin : [Puts Maplin away (Pulls his sleve back and straighten it to perfection)] Enough! Must not have too much of a good thing! Crowds would start to gather.

Clint : For Phili's sake, pull yourself together, lawyer! [Downs his cup, only to realise after that it was solid tea and not liquor] Gah!

Chastity : That's just what I was thinking. [To Harvey] How are we to get at the wand, Colonel? I'm sure this silence from you is due to you hatching a master plan of cunning tactical genius. I'm all ears.

Austin : [Laughs at Clint drinking tea] You'll be a nun before the day is out!

Chastity : By Phili, what a thought! [Shudders] Although he does bare a spooky resemblance to Sister Densefolicalata. [To Alice, pointing vaguely to her top lip] She had a bit of a problem with facial hair. Poor girl.

Alice : [Haughtily] That's not going to work on me. [Almost immediately, sneaks a look into her compact]

Harvey : I don't know, Sister. I'm stumped, caught with a sticky wicket, bowled out. It seems like the only human with any chance of getting into Euphoria is dead, but I must say, I don't like the way that Policeman was talking about him, no! [Thunders out and hammers the table] Not one little bit!

[BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Boddy : Okay, I've got to go. I'm in here most nights, so if you get any leads, make sure to give me a call. Andy here will set you up with rooms. >[BODDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.] Roy [screams's] BUT I'M DEAD! DEAD! DEADDEADEAD! DEADSKI! CORPSE! ROTTING IN MY OWN GRAVE! [hits head against the fall, stuff that we all hope is dandruff falls onto the floor].

Chastity : [Looks at Roy, and rolls her eyes] By the Sisters of Mercy. If there is every a movement where people aspire to be dead looking, miserable, manic depressives with a persecution complexes, society will be in real trouble ! [To Andy] Could you show us to some rooms, please?

Alice : [Holding her hand up, covering her upper lip, with the result that her mouth is covered, but she is still audible] Look, Roy, why are you ranting at us about this? You're dead, get used to it!

Andy : I sure will.

[ANDY goes upstairs with the PARTY, while BODDY leaves.]

Andy : I knew Mr. Cocan, you know.

Chastity : Really? Why would that policeman think he was a criminal? The man we met was a hero.

Clint : [To Andy, while dusting some of Roy's "dandruff" from his coat] Did he tell you anything in particular about Euphoria?

Chastity : [Goes into her bag and pulls out a diary, opening it where a bookmark with "today" emblazoned on it is] Gosh, it must be Friday afternoon already!

Austin : [To Andy] Thank you Andy, that was most informative. [To Harvey] Well, colonel, the troop could do with some sleep I expect.

Andy : As a matter of fact, he did, one day in May.

Alice : Will you tell us?

Andy : [Whipping guitar from behind his back] I'll do better than that, I'll sing it for you.

[Enter BODDY, NEFIRITIRI and MILICENT.]

Andy : [Singing] One evening as the sun went down, And the jungle fire was burning, Down the track came Cocan hikin', And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning. I'm headed for a land that's far away, Beside the crystal fountains, So come with me, we'll go and see, That good old Euphoree Town.

[ANDY takes a breath, while MILICENT, NEFIRITIRI and BODDY give a single clap, before twirling around slowly.]

Andy : In that good old Euphoree Town, There's a land that's fair and bright, Where the handouts grow on bushes, And you sleep out every night, Where the boxcars all are empty, And the sun shines every day, On the birds and the bees, And the cigarette trees, The lemonade springs Where the bluebird sings, In that good old Euphoree Town.

[ANDY plays a short solo, while the other three do a small "Pulp Fiction" style dance that doesn't involve moving their feet.]

Andy : In that good old Euphoree Town, The jails are made of tin, And you can walk right out again, As soon as you are in. There's no short-handle shovels, No axes, saws, or picks, I'm a'goin' to stay, Where you sleep all day, Where they hung the jerk, Who invented work, In that good old Euphoree Town. [Exit BODDY, NEFIRITIRI and MILICENT.]

Alice : I thought it was called Euphoria.

Andy : [Putting away the guitar] Poetic licence.

Harvey : Indeed, Private, it is quite late.

Andy : [Looks to his left and right, as though checking that there is no one listening] I saw Cocan die.

Clint : [Unblocking his hears] [Loudly] Really? You saw him die?

Andy : Yes, I saw him die. [Pulls out the guitar and strums it, singing] With my little eye.

Alice : [Holds a hand up] Please don't sing.

Andy : Good idea, there may be people listening - we can meet early tomorrow morning, and I'll tell you then.

Austin : [Deadpan, To Andy] I can't wait. Which way to our rooms please?

[The long silence is only broken by Chastity chuckling as she flicks through earlier pages from her diary, stopping at the occasional entry]

Chastity : [Puts her diary away, still chuckling] Ah, Peter. What a guy! [To Andy] Sorry, I seem to have missed that. Where are our rooms?

Clint : The guy is probably as deaf from his singing as we are. [Stops for a moment, looking behind the bar] I wonder if I can help myself to a night cap. [To Roy] Do you drink?

Chastity : [To Clint] Don't encourage him. I get the feeling he'll be one of those emotional drunks. lads!

Andy : Faith 'n begorrah, I am, to be sure, sir. [Shakes his head] I mean, yes. Unfortunately, it is illegal to serve alcohol after eleven o'clock, for which I've my alarm clock set - and it'll go off any seco-

[ANDY's cuckoo watch springs to life.]

Cuckoo : Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Andy : There you go. [Opens a door to a tiny room with five beds. It is filthy, and a huge stench of mildew hits the party] Enjoy, but not a word to anyone about what I said.

Chastity : [Wrinkles her nose as she enters the room] What disgraceful state these beds are in. [Goes over to the nearest bed and quickly tucks in the sheets, with hospital corners. Happier, To Andy] That's better. You'd better have a word with your maid.

Clint : There's a maid?!? Send her in, I need someone to tuck in! I mean, tuck me in!

Andy : Maid? [Laughs]

Alice : Is there even a window in the room?

[There clearly isn't.]

Andy : Of course, look! [Goes at a loose brick in the wall, until it comes out] There!

[Exit ANDY.]

Austin : [With a look of horror on his face, staring at the 'room'] Oh my god [Pauses in stunned silence] It's more cramped than the prison cell in Adam's place in Insomnia.

Alice : [Looking out the "window"] Hey! There's an ugly naked guy here!

[Unfortunately, the window does not overlook any picturesque setting, only the next room.]

Harvey : [Looking through the window] Dear Niece! That man is not naked. [Takes a closer look] By the saints, that's the hairiest back I've ever seen! [Replaces the brick with a shudder]

[Everyone beds down for the night.]

[Book III, Act VII, Scene VII. The Bedroom. ALICE, AUSTIN, CLINT, CHASTITY, HARVEY and ROY are here. It is impossible to tell what time it is, as it is pitch dark, but the party are awoken by someone hammering on the door.]

Harvey : [Angrily] What is it?

Alice : [Looks around] I think it's someone hammering on the door.

Chastity : [Hurriedly gets up, but not before discreetly donning her habit, and moves to the door. Calling through the door] Who's that at the door? Stop that thumping!

Andy : It's me, Andy. I thought you'd like a wake up call. Some folk sleep a bit late in that room.

Chastity : Hardly surprising, it's like eternal night in here. [Lights a lamp] Watch your eyes everyone! [Opens the door slightly to check Andy is alone]

[It is, of course, blindingly bright outside. ANDY is alone here.]

Alice : What time is it?

Andy : Three in the afternoon.

Clint : Already? [Looks at the bed at his side, only to be nose to nose with Roy] Gah! There's a monster here!

Alice : [Sniff sniff] Gah! It sure smells like that there's a monster here! boundary="----_=_NextPart_001_01C2E232.65441CC0" This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.

Alice : [To Roy] Sure we can, in fact, we just went [looks up at the cuckoo clock on the wall, and begins counting the hours that everyone's been asleep]

Andy : [With a smile to Harvey] I'll do better than that, I'll [breaks off] Oh. Well, the truth is, I overheard you say that you were surprised that the police thought Cocan was a criminal - I also find it hard to believe. I also [deep sigh] I also saw him die.

Alice : [Gives up counting] Well, we've gone a long time without doing it!

Chastity : [To Andy] Did you see anything out of the ordinary when he died?

Austin : [To Roy] Get a grip, crusty boy, they are not talking about you, they are talking about their own farts and bad breath [Gets dressed with amazing speed and steps out of the room, inspecting himself in his pocket mirror, nods, puts the mirror away. To the party] You had all best get out of bed, lest you incur fees for an additional night stay.

Alice : Actually, Austin, we were talking about your farts and bad breath.

Andy : [To Chastity] As a matter of fact, I did. [Takes out his guitar and strums it, before starting to sing] One day -

[CLINT reaches out, grabs the guitar and smashes it to pieces against the wall.]

Clint : Sorry, but I couldn't take another one of those songs this early in the morning. [Opens some mouthwash and drinks it down] Ah! You gotta love that high alcohol content.

Andy : [A little downcast, but seems to get over it] It was a terrible thing. It was very dark, so I didn't see too much, just the carriage plunging into him, and then those four people carrying him off.

Austin : [Exclaming] The four who carried im off, who were they? [Spins round to the face the party] I bet you it was them who killed Cocan, probably Pestillence, Contagion and two others, or their cronies. [Notices a fleck of dust on his shoe and quickly flicks it off]

Alice : It was them who killed him! Milicent told us as much - remember? She said it was Jim, Cocan's driver who killed him.

Andy : I didn't see all of them, just Milicent, Boddy and Jim. The fourth man was turned away from me. You have to remember, it was very dark, and difficult to see anything.

Austin : Hey, Milicent lied to us, h ... she said there were only her, Boddy and Jim. I bet the fourth person was the killer! But why did Milicent try to protect the fourth person, unless, [Dawning realisation] Maybe they are shapshifters!

[The corridoor and room are lit up by a timely flash of lightening.]

Alice : That's it! I bet that's it! Gosh, you're so clever Austin!

Andy : What's a shapeshifter?

Roy : You know, conspiracy theories d nothing to relieve the constant paranoia running through my undead frame.

Alice : [Points at Roy] Maybe he's a shapeshifter!

Clint : I wouldn't call that a shape. [To Roy] No offense.

Roy : [with a mix of anger and distress] Offense taken!

Austin : [To Alice] That is extreemly unlikely, shapeshifters cannot even mimic acne, let alone five centuries of decay. That's why Adam was spreading scalies.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes at Roy, before turning to Clint] Phili on horse! It's like having Faetan back in the party!

Harvey : [To Andy] This is most rum and uncanny, sir! Your story is quite different to that which we heard from two of the very people you claim to have seen. Did you talk to the police about this?

Andy : No. The police in Paranoia are scum, little more than thugs who live to oppress and intimidate innocent people.

Alice : So what you're saying is that they're considerably nicer than cops elsewhere? [ANDY gives a big yawn.]

Andy : Excuse me! Yes, that's the case.

Austin : [Pondering, in an intellectual posing manner] Soooo ..., we need to find out who the fourth person was. We either must know them, or of them, otherwise Mili and the others whould have no need to conceal the identity of the fourth person from us.

Andy : Well, best of luck - I'll be back here later this evening if you want to talk again.

Clint : [With a shocked look on his face] But who will be taking care of drinks for breakfast?

Andy : My wife, Mandy.

Clint : So, there was a maid after all! I suggest we dress up, go get some breakfast, and try to solve the mistery of the 4th person. [Pause] Now, where did I leave my trousers last night? [Fart!]

Alice : [Wiping her face down with a towel] Look, Clint. First off all, everyone else is dressed, second, it's too late for breakfast, and third, [looks at the towel] this isn't a towel. [Shivers, and hands the trousers to Clint.]

[Exit ANDY. A few minutes later, the party go downstairs. The bar is fair empty, with just three or four customers. Behind the bar is RAGGEDY MANDY, talking to BODDY.]

Mandy : [Looking over Boddy's shoulder at the party, paying particular attention to Clint and Austin] How're you doin'? [Points] Click-click!

Clint : [To Roy, pointing at Mandy] See? You're not the only decaying human in here.

Boddy : [Turns around at the bar, and gives a sniff] Ah, I guess you were in the dark room, right?

Boddy : [Bemused] Sir, I have no interest in your breakfast or it's procurement, so I do not care.

Mandy : [Angrily, to Harvey] We finished serving breakfast at 7.30AM. You're too late. [Turns to Austin and Clint, giggling foolishly] Can I get you boys anything? Some breakfast maybe?

Clint : [Wink!] How about some fried eggs and sausages, and a glass of brandy. Make that a bottle.

Mandy : Why, sure, honey! [Winks back]

Boddy : [Drinks some of his own drink] You must be really hungry, Clint.

Austin : [To Clint] Perhaps you can flirt with her enough to get breakfast for all of us.

Chastity : If it's as good as the food yesterday I think I'd rather do without, thank you.

Clint : [To Austin] She seemed to go for you too, why don't you ask her. [To Chastity] Are you sure you don't want to munch a cup of tea?

Chastity : On the basis that any drink that you willingly order from a bar can't be good for one's constitution, again I'll defer. Thank you.

Austin : [To Clint] Because, while it may be flattering for her to [finger quotes] go for you, Clint, I would rather not encourage her. [Quietly, to the party] Should we discuss last night's conversation with Boddy?

Chastity : [Quietly] I don't think so. He was there, and obviously has something to hide.

Chastity : If it's as good as the food yesterday I think I'd rather do without, thank you.

Clint : [To Austin] She seemed to go for you too, why don't you ask her. [To Chastity] Are you sure you don't want to munch a cup of tea?

Chastity : On the basis that any drink that you willingly order from a bar can't be good for one's constitution, again I'll defer. Thank you.

Austin : [To Clint] Because, while it may be flattering for her to [finger quotes] go for you, Clint, I would rather not encourage her. [Quietly, to the party] Should we discuss last night's conversation with Boddy?

Chastity : [Quietly] I don't think so. He was there, and obviously has something to hide.

Boddy : [Finishes his drink] Good day, Mandy. [Walks passed the party] See you later, folks.

[Exit BODDY.]

Alice : So what do we do now? Talk to Nefiritiri?

Chastity : [Pulls a face] Lets not. The one person we haven't talked to is Jim. The others seem to be most keen to convince us not to, with the tales of his distraught mental state. [Quickly to Roy] Not a peep from you!

Harvey : Good idea Sister! Nefiritiri said that he spent a lot of time here. [Looks around, before calling to Mandy] I say! Do you know where Jim Ignawatski is?

Mandy : [With a plate full of a horrible looking breakfast] Oh. Didn't you hear? Jim died last night.

Mandy : I'm afraid he took his own life. [Comes over all wistful] And such a pretty boy he was, too.

Roy : Where did he take it? And why does death automatically mean you become ugly! Sure, I'm hideous, but I'm older than there are numbers. I think. And the Necrophilliac guild would be more than happy to show you pretty and dead boys.

Alice : [Rolls her eyes] So I guess it's true that wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age.

Chastity : [To Mandy] How exactly did he take his own life? Overdose? Hanging? Bizarre hair combing incident? [Looks down at the plate of food] Breakfast?

Mandy : I think it was a combination of hanging and hair combing. The poor man was having a terrible time since Cocan's death. The police accused him of being a criminal trying to muscle in on Cocan's turf, while civilians, and, in particular, women, turned against him because of what he did.

Alice : But didn't Jim kill Cocan?

Mandy : [Now sitting at the table] Yes, yes he did.

Austin : [To Mandy] This is a private conversation. Please leave.

[Exit MANDY, in a huff.]

Chastity : I find that unlikely, as he supposedly died last night, and we only decided upon visiting him a moment ago. I think there seems little else to do than return to Cocan's house and have a look for clues. Any of our contacts so far seem under suspicion of one sort or another.

Austin : That is correct. Someone is lying. Who was the fourth man? If, indeed, he exists. We can choose to believe Boddy and Milicent, or the heretofore unknown Raggedy Andy.

[Enter OHMLOSS, who spots the party and walks up to them.]

Ohmloss : I presume you've heard the news. Jim Ignawatski is dead.

Alice : Yeah, Harvey, but since when did we ever do the logical thing?

Austin : [Coldly to Ohmloss] We heard.

Ohmloss : I know you people probably believe that Cocan couldn't have done anything wrong, but this is just more proof that he was involved in foul play. It wouldn't surprise me if Jim was murdered, but I care so little, quite frankly it almost makes me vomit.

Chastity : [To Ohmloss] Yes, we have just heard the disturbing news. Can you tell us what happened?

Chastity : Interesting. [To Harvey] I think that must be the first case of gut-wrenching apathy I've ever heard of!

Ohmloss : [Leans over and hammers his fist on the table] I don't care! I'm telling you, I just [punctuates each word with a hammer on the table] care - one - little - bit! [Steps back, dead calm] He was found, hanged, down by the river.

Roy : So you do care then! And who is this guy anyway? [then looks at Ohmloss] And who are you?

Austin : [To Ohmloss] At least one of the residents of this town is well hung.

Ohmloss : [Ignores Roy] In the Interior, having large genitalia is a sign of stupidy. I've got my eye on you lot - I find your arrival most suspicious. First Tarsus disappears on the same night that Cocan dies, and then, just a few days later, Jim allegedly commits suicide on the same night that you arrive.

Alice : Hey! Maybe we did it?

[OHMLOSS stares at her.]

Alice : [Shakes her head] I mean - how, how dare you! [Quietly to the others] It is one big coincidence though, isn't it?

Austin : [Laughing at Ohmloss] On the surface we are intelligent enough to know that genticular dimensions have no relationship to intelligence. [Smirking] Unless, of course, male elves have their brains in their penises? [To Harvey] We should track down this Tarsus person, and see what they know.

Ohmloss : [Sneers at Austin] But clearly not intelligent enough to know that penis size is directly related to animal instint, which clearly drives you people. However, I am not angry with you, in the same way one cannot be angry at a wild animal that breaks the aerial off your carriage in a wildlife park. [Turns to Mandy] Where's Boddy?

Mandy : [Shrugs] Idunno.

Ohmloss : Tell him I'm looking for him.

Mandy : No.

[Exit OHMLOSS.]

Clint : [Pushing his sausages to the side] [To Mandy] Do you know who's Tarsus?

Mandy : He's a weasly little toad.

[ALICE turns and looks at AUSTIN, but says nothing.]

Mandy : He's a small time criminal, that did a bit of work with Cocan. Word had it that he was about to turn Cocan into the cops.

Alice : Wow! He's a magician?

Mandy : No.

Clint : Do you know where he lives? [To the group] I suppose that would be a good place to start.

Austin : [To Mandy] What work did he do with Cocan? Were they pimps, hustling prostitutes? [looks at Alice as he says 'Prostitutes']

Mandy : He has a room upstairs, he's been living here for a few months. Of course, the room isn't as nice as the one you had.

Alice : Is he there now?

Mandy : No, he hasn't been around for a few days - not since the day Cocan died, I think.

Alice : Aw come on, Cocan was hardly a [looks meaningfully at Austin] pimp [normal demeanour] was he?

Mandy : I don't know what they were doing, but I think it was something to do with Cocan not being allowed back into Euphoria. Of course, the ironic thing is that when they heard he was dead, they wanted him buried there.

Clint : I thought no-one was being allowed in Euphoria, not just Cocan. >Mandy : I don't know what they were doing, bu [As one, most of the elves draw weapons, including swords, bows and the strange looking crossbow similar to that which ALTHO had earlier.]

Siegfried : [One of the few not holding a weapon] Stop where you are, savage.

[Time passes]

Chastity : [To Siegfried] Oh, excuse me. Were you talking to him. [Carefully points at Rod] He's quite friendly really, he saved us from an evil monster, you know. [To Rod] I think you'd better slowly step back and put your weapons away. These people are quite jumpy about strangers and especially humans.

Rod : Mnh cn unnerstn that. [Takes the dagger out from his teeth] I can understand that - I'm quite suspicious of strangers myself.

Siegfried : Give us one good reason why we should execute you for being part of the Morcish attack.

Chastity : [Looks slightly confused] I don't think that is really in our interests , do you? But we can show you one reason [emphasises] NOT to execute us as part of a Morcish attack. [Turns to the party] Who's got the flask?

Siegfried : [To the other Elves] She appears to be more cunning than the others. However, it is clearly a delaying tactic.

Clint : [Looking confused] What fluid? What are you talking about? [Scratches his bum] Oh. You mean this. [Takes the flask out of his back pocket]

Siegfried : You are lying. That flask most likely contains the blood of one of your friends that your murdered, or possibly an overspill of semen from one of your disgusting sexual romps.

[ Enter OLIVE BRANCH, a regal looking Euphoric Elf.]

Olive : Patience, Siegfried. Let them explain. What is it that you claim to have?

Harvey : [Looks at Siegfried with distaste] I say sir, I'll ask you kindly not to use that S word in front of the ladies! Sailors are all well and good, but are not a topic for polite conversation, I say! [Turns to Olive and bows] My dear and most beautiful woman, we have in our possession a flask full of that nascency fluid you people seem to hold so dear, which we endeavoured to bring you, at great risk, through that tide of beastly Morcs!

Clint : [With a look of disgust at the bottle] Yuck!, semen you say? I was told it contained nascency fluid! Is that what you call semen in here then? Disgusting.

[The crowd gasp in horror at CLINT heretical claims.]

Siegfried : [Absolutely dead calm] I have never been so angry in all my life!

Olive : Perhaps you could open the flask? That we may be sure?

Siegfried : But Olive! They - they're savages! Harvey : [Roars with annoyance] Good grief, sir, we are not savages! We are a decent set of adventurers who risked life and limb to bring this fluid to you!

Austin : [Calmly] Have you ever seen a savage dress like [does a twirl] this, I ask rhetorically, for I already know the answer is in the negative!

Clint : Yeah, calling us savages! [Farts] Sorry. O-kay, here he go! [Opens the flask with extended arms, as if affraid of a sudden surge of semen coming from it]

Siegfried : Just listen to that one babble! He will probably need to have sex with one of the pregnant ones soon or he'll explode.

Olive : [Gently] Please open the flask.

[CLINT unscrews the cap, amidst absolute silence, so every turn can be heard. As soon as he lifts it off, there is a palpable change in the mood.]

Olive : [With a warm smile] See how the savages have saved us, Siegfried? See how the very ones who have terrified us with their proclivity for procreation and lust for life have brought life to us?

[OLIVE slowly moves closer to the party, as do most of the other elves, all smiling somewhat unnervingly at the party. SIEGFRIED does not close in.]

Harvey : [Smiles at Olive and bows] You see, my dear, we are here to help! [Stomach rumbles massively] And all this helping has driven us to the brink of starvation! I'm faint with the hunger!

Chastity : I too have need for food. What would be ideal would be a nice, salad. [Tentatively] and maybe a cup of tea? We can then tell our news of Cocan.

[Some of the elves lean back slightly upon hearing HARVEY's talk of hunger, but keep closing up nonetheless, all the while smiling at the party.]

Olive : We know about Cocan. But we were disappointed he wasn't with you.

[The party is now surrounded by e