[Book IX, Act VIII, Scene I. A large and extremely comfortable tent. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT and DUR are here, lying around on massive cushions, nursing various hangovers, still wearing the clothes from the wedding. Thankfully, ALICE's dress no longer has the insane glare from before, so the only reason anyone would have for wearing goggles is to try and mitigate the hangover pain caused by even the dimmest of lights. ALICE retains her modified physical characteristics as created by JEROME, so still bears a fairly strong resemblance to CLEMENTINE, but not so close that it would stand up to much scrutiny.]

Alice: [Wearing goggles] What a party! That Sven sure can put away those pigs' heads!


Charlie: [Groans and rubs her temples] Indeed, though upon reflection, perhaps it was rather in bad taste to celebrate a man's death so gleefully!


Dur: [Groggily] So does this mean we won?


Alice: It sure does -- and we weren't celebrating his death so much, it was... well, I suppose we kind of were.


Charlie: [Sipping water primly. To Alice, reassuringly] Perhaps you will never meet a man you wish to marry, making the point moot.


Dur: [Consolingly] Don't worry dear, its not the dead husbands that will make men wary of marrying you.=20


[There are lots of bottles of all sorts of things lying around, as well as a healthy does of cheese.]

Alice: [Drinking some stale champagne] Do you guys think that having two husbands die on our wedding day might make some men wary of marrying me? I mean, it's really ironic. I'm always the bride, never the bridesmaid!


Alice: Thank you, Dur! [Glares at Charlie] Can you believe how insensitive she is?


Charlie: [Haughtily] No? Am I, or am I not the only happily married person in the party?!


Clint: I suppose that depends on how happy Dur is?


Austin : The last time we saw your husband he was trying to kill us all. [Blows some smoke rings from a cheesearette] I suppose that is marital bliss for most!


Charlie: [Sniffs] That was NOT Pestilence. He hasn't tried to kill all of you in ages.


Clint: I didn't say anything about Dur's wife being happily married, did I? But in fairness, I don't think that was ol' Pesty. I think he's over the killing people thing for a while longer.


Alice: Are you sure that really was Pestilence? If so, was it really Lucy? [Looks at Dur] I suppose he does seem reasonably happy, but, Clint, this is a guy who's happy when he finds a sandwich on the ground that only has a few footprints in it.


Clint: Don't mind Chuck there. Her love life isn't exactly a model and inspiration for us all or anything.


Austin : [Digging out an unopened bottle of champagne, pops the cork and pours him self a glass, and tops up Alice's] Well, I think most of them would probably take that into consideration, but it does not matter really, because if they truly love you, they wont care!


Austin : [Wearing goggles] On the contrary, I think it would be in bad taste not to! [Looks around for a glass of champagne, or some cheese]


Alice: Agreed! It'll probably be weeks before he tries to kill us again!


Dur: Well at least that gives us time to deal with our current situation.=20


Alice: Thank god -- this is THE worst hangover I've ever had!


Dur: [Looking skeptical] Really?


Charlie: [To Dur] I think we can all agree that Alice is just having a little joke, in an attempt to lighten the dreadful situation we find ourselves in!


Alice: Yeah, I've had WAY worse ones! But I've hardly ever had the opportunity to sit around in a really nice wedding dress while recovering!


Charlie: [Uneasily] I wonder how Mr. Goring intends to right the balance again?


Dur: [Scratching his head and picking at various piles of spilled and discarded food] Who?


Austin : [Finishing a glass of Champers] Sven, the new Phili. He's probably going to start by killing all of us. [Realises what he has just said] Oh dear! [Looks around for an escape route, furiously blowing smoke rings]


Alice: Oh please! Sven wouldn't do anything like that, would he? [Thinks] Although, I suppose, he did leave us to die when he stole the Fatebook, didn't he? I wonder what he wanted with that?


Clint: Who knows? He had his reasons, I'm sure. But just in case, we should see if we can get, I dunno, some kind of shelter where Sven can't find us!


Alice: Yeah, I'm sure we don't really need it. [Nervously] I mean, it's not like he's going to systematically work through the Fatebook killing the people in it, right?

;;; We have a new player joining! Please say hello to Toril, and make

sure that she's

;;; on the distribution list from now on.


Charlie: [Gasps] But Pestilence is in that book!

;;; Welcome, Toril!


Alice: What are the chances that WE'RE in the book? I mean, probably not Dur, but I'm like, a real hero!


Clint: Yeah, but Sven needs to increase the amount of evil, so Pesty is safe for now!

;;; Howdy!


Austin : I expect that we are all in the Fatebook. Whilst some of us probably have a chapter or two dedicated to their fantastic exploits [Checks his nails for a moment, sighs] , others probably just get the merest of foot notes [Glances at Dur] .


TGFzdCBmcm9tIERvbSAjMjgNCg0KPkF1c3RpbiA6IEkgZXhwZWN0IHRoYXQgd2UgYXJlIGFsbCBp biB0aGUgRmF0ZWJvb2suIFdoaWxzdCBzb21lIG9mIHVzIHByb2JhYmx5IGhhdmUgYSBjaGFwdGVy IG9yIHR3byBkZWRpY2F0ZWQgdG8gdGhlaXIgZmFudGFzdGljIGV4cGxvaXRzIFtDaGVja3MgaGlz IG5haWxzIGZvciBhID5tb21lbnQsIHNpZ2hzXSwgb3RoZXJzIHByb2JhYmx5IGp1c3QgZ2V0IHRo ZSBtZXJlc3Qgb2YgZm9vdCBub3RlcyBbR2xhbmNlcyBhdCBEdXJdLg0KDQpEdXI6IFdlbGwsIHNp bmNlIHRoZSBsYXN0IHN3YXAgb2YgZ29kaG9vZCBzdGF0dXMgZGlkbid0IHdvcmsgb3V0IHNvIGdy ZWF0LCBJIHN1Z2dlc3Qgd2UgdGFrZSBtYXR0ZXJzIGludG8gb3VyIG93biBoYW5kcyBhbmQgaHVu dCBkb3duIFN2ZW4hDQo


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;;;Thanks, everyone :) ;;;

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM, Day, Kevin R (Irving) USA < Kevin.Day@lehighhanson.com> wrote:



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;;; jk. Welcome to the group ;)

;;;Thanks, everyone :) ;;;

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM, Day, Kevin R (Irving) USA <Kevin.Day@lehighhanson.com<mailto:Kevin.Day@lehighhanson.com>> wrote:

nails for a >moment, sighs], others probably just get the merest of foot notes [Glances at Dur] .

Dur: Well, since the last swap of godhood status didn't work out so great, I suggest we take matters into our own hands and hunt down Sven!



Austin : Don't you mean 'find' Sven. I expect that if he wanted us dead, then we would be. [Glances around] Unless Trindle's sanctuary has outlasted it's creator?

;;; Hi Toril!


Alice: I don't think this is Jerome's sanctuary. Unless someone put a tent up in it! What was the name of that weird waiter?

[Someone digs their way out from beneath a massive pile of cushions. It is GERARD, the butler from the last act.]

Gerard: Gerard.

Alice: No, I don't think so.

Gerard: [Sigh] Was it "you there"?

Alice: That's it!


Austin : [Looks very relieved] Oh, we're in a sanctuary [Sits back down relaxed, and blows a large smoke ring, and offers the cheesearette to Alice] Of course there was Wil's fire trick. [Sits up and looks around nervously for any sign of fire]

;;; afk a lot today


Alice: [Takes the cheeseratte] If we are, Aus, how come we have hangovers?


Austin : Because we drank a case of champers between us, last night.


Alice: Surely a Sanctuary wouldn't let us get hangovers?


Charlie: [Wryly] It does not protect from self-inflicted harm! [Nods to Dur] You should have had those [finger quotes] virgin Jomitos we enjoyed, and you would not be in such pain today!


Alice: [Glares at Charlie] Plus, I would probably have the same sense of smug satisfaction as you virgins!


Dur: Perhaps we could ask the butler?


Charlie: [To Gerard] Why are you with us, incidentally? One assumes you work for Phili? [Excited] Did Pestilence hire you for me?!


Gerard: Yeeees. I do work for Phili. He asked that I urge you to obtain the Soul Succour, that it will be of use in the days to come.


Clint: What's a soul sucker?


Gerard: I don't know.


Clint: That's gonna make it hard to get it!


Charlie: Perhaps I can help? [To Gerard] What is a Soul Succour?


Gerard: A device for keeping one's soul safe when the mortal body is destroyed.


Charlie: [Delighted, to Clint] You see, I am more accustomed to dealing with inferiors. [To Gerard] Thank you, good man. And how can you help us?


Dur: That sounds less than pleasant. Can't we just not have our mortal bodies destroyed?


Gerard: That would be the ideal approach. [To Charlie] I already have.

Alice: But where is the Soul Succour?

Gerard: Nostalgia.


Austin : [Looks non pulsed] Oh, great. [To Gerard] And who has it at present?

;;; limited posting today


Charlie: Yes, do tell. [Hopefully] And has Nostalgia been released from its demon grip since the [delicately] change in management?


Gerard: I believe the grip is less firm.

;;; And a second new player will be joining, that's Maikel. Please make

;;; sure he's on the list as well too!


Dur: Sounds like a medical condition...

;;; Hello!


Alice: Dur, please! You can't operate on everyone!

[The tent flap opens. Enter LIL' MIKEY, a super cute looking toddler. He looks as though he has being crying, but is bravely fighting back the tears.]

Mikey: I did a boo boo on my elbow! [Holds up his left elbow, which has a nasty looking scratch on it]

<A href=http://www.queens-view.com/wiki/index.php/Lil%27_Mikey>Lil' Mikey</A>


Charlie: Oh dear! Aren't your parents, or perhaps governess nearby?

;;; Hi Maikel!


Mikey: [Sniffs] No, and I'm sad and lonely! My tummy sounds angry.

Alice: Aw! He's so cuuuute! Can we keep him?


Charlie: I don't think so, Alice. Remember what happened to your goldfish?


Alice: [Sulkily] No!

Mikey: I'm so hungry!


Austin : [Grimaces] They get very very messy and smelly, not to mention the noise!

;;; Hi Maikel


Austin : [To Mikey] Well eat some food then [Points at some food]


Mikey: My friend is here too. Can she have some?


Austin : [Taking a few steps back from the child] Your friend? Where? [Looks around]


Clint: Is this friend invisible, maybe?

;;; Hi Maikel.


Mikey: No! She's outside. She's just a baby.


Charlie: [Wisely] Babies should not be left unattended! [To Clint] They sometimes light fire to structures.

;;; Forget to say welcome to Maikel!


Dur: [Sourly] Or stored in vats only to be heaved to the deaths.=20


Clint: Even worse, they sometimes rearrange all the books in the library. Or so I here.


Mikey: Please don't store her in a vat!

[The flap opens. Enter LIL' JULIE, a crying baby.]

Alice: [Covering her ears] Is it going to make that noise all the time?


Clint: I dunno. Maybe if we feed her or something? [Looks expectantly at Charlie.]


Mikey: [Chomping on some of the food] It's not just her, either. There are a few more of us.


Charlie: [Studies the child and muses] Likely she finds her current course curriculum unchallenging. [Brightly] I recommend increasing the hours of Physics study per week and see if she's made happier by that.


[Understandably, JULIE bawls even more loudly.]

Alice: Make it stop! I'm going to wait outside. [Opens the flap] Oh. Hm. [Looks at the others] There's a whole bunch of them out here.


Charlie: Oh, dear! Is this that herd of wandering babies we saw before? [Goes to look out the flap]


[There are hundreds of toddlers out there.]

Alice: They're so cuuute!

[Several of the babies leap onto ALICE and attack her.]

Alice: Help! They're biting me! [Dramatic pause] And some of them have teeth!


Charlie: [To Dur, trying to shoo the babies off of Alice] What is your stance on violence against babies now?!


Austin : They're not babies, they are toddlers, and they're armed!


TGFzdCBmcm9tIERvbSAjNzANCg0KPkF1c3RpbiA6IFRoZXkncmUgbm90IGJhYmllcywgdGhleSBh cmUgdG9kZGxlcnMsIGFuZCB0aGV5J3JlIGFybWVkIQ0KDQpEdXI6IFtFeWVpbmcgQ2hhcmxpZV0g QXJlIHlvdSBzdWdnZXN0aW5nIHRoYXQgYmFieSBob21pY2lkZSBpcyBldmVyIGFuIGFjY2VwdGFi bGUgc29sdXRpb24gdG8gZXZlcnkgc2l0dWF0aW9uPyBQZXJoYXBzIHlvdSBzaG91bGQgc3BlbmQg bGVzcyB0aW1lIHdpdGggUGVzdGlsZW5jZS4gW1B1bGxzIG91dCBhIGNvbGxlY3Rpb24gb2YgaGF6 YXJkb3VzIGxvb2tpbmcgbWV0YWwgYml0cyBhbmQgamluZ2xlcyB0aGVtLl0gTG9vayBiYWJpZXMh IFNoaW55ISBbRHVyIHRyaWVzIHRvIGNhc3QgRU5USFJBTEwgb24gdGhlIGJhYnkgaG9yZGVdDQo


th Pestilence. [Pulls out a collection of hazardous looking metal bits and jingles them.] Look babies! Shiny! [Dur tries to cast ENTHRALL on the baby = horde]

Austin : Of course not! I am merely point out that babies and Armed toddlers are quite different issues!


[The babies attacking ALICE stop to look at the jingling, and she pulls herself up. However, there are many more, and they pour into the tent. Many of them are armed with particularly sharp looking rattles and teething rings.]

Alice: I think my stance on baby killing, or at least baby punching might be about to change!


Dur: Perhaps we can settle on a tactical retreat. Our try to distract them with food? [Dur starts casting bits of left overs into the hordes of babies= .]


[The babies are unmoved by the leftovers, and attack the various party members, punching, scratching and biting. There are so many, the party are quickly surrounded and will soon be hauled to the ground.]


Austin : [Disappearing in a deluge of toddlers] If we could befriend them, they would make a formidable army! [Muffled sounds]


[The biting and scratching intensifies, with blood being drawn.]

;;; Each party member loses 10hp

Alice: This is ridiculous! [Punches a baby in the face.]

[The baby goes flying and lands towards the back of the throng of babies, apparently undamaged.]


Charlie: [Pushing and/or punching babies away] Get free of them, and then run for it. They can only crawl, so we should be able to get away easily enough!


Dur: These aren't normal babies! [Tries to punt away the nearest murderous toddlers] =20


Alice: I'm not sure we can get free of them! [Waves her arm, which has two babies attached to it by the teeth] Oh man! I left my sword in my other wedding dress!

[Alas, the party can see their weapons are all on a large table across the room.]


Dur: I'll get them! [Dur tries to cast SANCTUARY on himself] =20


Charlie: I shall try to keep the babies from you! [Tries to knock babies off Dur]


[The babies fall off DUR, who wades through the sea of them towards the weapons.]

Alice: [Fending off one that is standing on the top of a baby pyramid] Quickly! They're starting to get organised! [Smack. Gets punched in the face with a tiny fist] Ow!


ith a tiny fist] Ow!

Dur: If only WE were as organized as they were! [Hurries to retrieve the weapons for his whole group and bring them back]


[The babies part ways as DUR heads back, but the party is still taking substantial damage.]

Alice: That's a whole lotta babies!


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Quickly! They're starting to get organised! [Smack. Gets punched in the face with a tiny fist] Ow!

Dur: If only WE were as organized as they were! [Hurries to retrieve the weapons for his whole group and bring them back]

-- [Enter KAY D'ARGENTAN, a young woman dresses in a hunter's outfit, carrying a bow.]

Kay: Whoa! They must be teething.... [Dives in and tries to toss the babies away from the others.]

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 4:37 PM, Day, Kevin R (Irving) USA < Kevin.Day@lehighhanson.com> wrote:



Alice: [Points at Kay] Look! Another baby hater! Let's head towards her!

[The babies seem weirdly unphazed by KAY, as they are clearly concentrating on the party. This facilitates her in establishing a path.]

Alice: Unless it's some sort of trap and she's with them? [To Kay] Hey! Is this a trap?


Dur: Well obviously they're teething, on our sensitive hides! Well except mine of course! I may be able to create a crude shelter to keep the babies o= ut but it will also keep us IN!

;;; is there a good quantity of stone around?


[Unfortunately it is mainly just earth on the floor.]

Alice: But the babies will still be there when we get out, they'll just be angrier because we kept them waiting!


Charlie: [To Alice] Do be serious! Babies have little sense of the passage of time. [Calls out to Kay, batting away babies] Hello! Have you some sort of baby shield or repellant keeping these wretched creatures away from you?


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Charlie: [To Alice] Do be serious! Babies have little sense of the passage of time. [Calls out to Kay, batting away babies] Hello! Have you some sort of baby shield or repellant keeping these wretched creatures away from you?

sprung it. [To Charlie] Only my natural charm. Oh, and my bow. [She whacks a toddler out of her way with her bow]

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 5:07 PM, Heather <heather.goggans@gmail.com> wrote:



[KAY sends a baby flying and the others realise that they are being attacked on another front.]

Alice: I'll take that as a no!

[The party wade through the sea of babies and make it to the flap, where KAY has established some space.]


Charlie: [To Kay] Thank you for your assistance! [To the party] Let us try to run for it!


Austin : [Starts singing a lullaby] "Sparkle sparkle little star ..."


Alice: [Screams and covers her ears] What's that awful noise?


Clint: That's the lawyer trying to incite the toddlers to kill us faster! [Punts the nearest toddler with his door-kicking foot, just to see how far it flies.]


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Clint: That's the lawyer trying to incite the toddlers to kill us faster! [Punts the nearest toddler with his door-kicking foot, just to see how far it flies.]

Kay: [To Charlie] You're welcome.

;;;afk for a while;;;

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 6:03 PM, Tom Henderson <Thomas.Henderson@rice.edu>wrote:



[A baby flies through the air, hitting the roof of the tent.]

Alice: Come on! Let's get the hell out of here!


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[enter RED MCDANIEL=2C a well dressed=2C yet unarmed man]
Red: You look like you can use a better distraction from these "small" problems. [moves hands and mumbles something] =3B=3B=3BRed Casts Dancing lights=20 Red_McDaniel 3B=3B=3Bhey all=2C thanks for the welcoming! --_0f3fab2f-f9fd-4f35-877c-364741bc044a_


[Four bright lights appear in the tent, flying around.]

Alice: Hey, look at that! Cool! [Falls over one of the babies] Ow!


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Red: [Disappointed] This might be a cue to retreat? --_478def9e-6f45-41b9-ba0f-0f54e1008427_


Austin : They are clearly too young to apprecite my wonderful singing. I also advise a hasty retreat!


Clint: That's our cue! [Flails around wildly kicking toddlers in an attempt to cover the party's rearward advance.]


[Aided by KAY and RED, the party flee, zipping up the tent behind them, trapping the babies inside.]

Alice: Hurrah! [To Kay and Red] Thanks you guys! Who are you?



[Aided by KAY and RED, the party flee, zipping up the tent behind them, trapping the babies inside.]

Alice: Hurrah! [To Kay and Red] Thanks you guys! Who are you?

Kay: [Looks at Alice, then the others] My name's Kay. Dr. Alistair Finley sent me. He told me you guys was in need of assistance. How he knew, I couldn't say.


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Red: [surprised] You... wait.... uhm. [composes] I am Red McDaniel=2C also send to find you guys by dr. Finley. [looks at Kay] =




Red: [surprised] You... wait.... uhm. [composes] I am Red McDaniel, also send to find you guys by dr. Finley. [looks at Kay]

Kay: [looks surprised back at Red, then towards the tent] Perhaps they need lots of help. We should talk elsewhere, I think.

;;;Welcome, Maikel! From the other newbie ;;;

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 9:09 PM, Maikel van Vliet


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Red: Indeed=2C this is no place for idle conversation [starts walking away from the tent] 3B=3B=3B newby-5 :D --_e9faf81a-1f0f-4940-8232-8f78c9f6cd81_


Alice: Huh! Finley must think we're some sort of losers! [Wipes some vomit off her wedding dress] Hey, it's not like it's my vomit. [Flicks a big chunk off] Not all of it, anyway.


Austin : So, we are not in the sanctuary any more, where the hell are we? [Looks around]


Alice: [Points to a nearby town] That looks like Nostalgia, doesn't it? At least, how it used to look.


Austin : [Looks at the town] Is it? Are you sure?


Alice: I think so. Look at that cheesy "Dalt Wisney" type castle that looms up from it? That's pure Nostalgia, isn't it?


Dur: Excellent! Now we can attain the soul sucker!


Charlie: [Nods] Yes, that does look right, I agree! [To the party] Let us return to Nostalgia! [Hesitates, to Kay and Red] I don't suppose you wish to join us? You seem impervious to angry babies, and it could be most helpful to us!


Austin : [Looks doubtful] I guess it's all a matter of perspective.


Alice: It's a Soul Succour. I think the Soul Sucker, whatever that is, sounds way more unpleasant! [To Kay and Red] Thanks for the help! So, what did Finley say about us? Did he ask about me? You know, back in my postgraduate days I had a brief romance with him when I was working on my thesis about something boring. [Thinks] Hey! That wasn't me at all! That was Charlie! [Dramatically] And then, he did the business with her grandmother! And she's REALLY old! Like, older than Clint!


Charlie: [Clears her throat primly] Yes, thanks for that, Alice. [To Kay and Red] Do join us, and tell us all about your connection to Alistair--er, Dr. Finley!


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Red: [can't find a good reaction to the revealed information] Well=2C I wassend by Dr. Finley to find you guys after I lost my mentor. He asked me to= help you find an ancient prophecy? --_a76b8ca4-ef1f-4417-966e-b0c262395cf8_


Kay: [to all, nodding] That's why I'm here as well. My mentor Gael told me to seek out Dr. Finley, right before he died. Dr. Finley didn't tell me all that much about you, [she looks apologetically to Austin] only that you needed help with a prophecy. I bring a letter from him. [she hands the letter to Alice]


Alice: If you were careless enough to lose your mentor, are you really going to be good at helping us find a prophecy?


Dur: Oh Alice, so cynical. Don't mind her my new friends and welcome to theQueens View Party! [Whispering aside to the rest] Who cares if they can he= lp find the prophecy. Worst case scenario they'll make excellent baby hordefodder that will give us a chance to escape!


Alice: [Starts to read the letter from Kay] Hm. I see. Right. It's very long. [Shows the letter to the others]

[The letter reads ""Dear Pukwudgie and others,

The bearer of this letter, Kay D'Argentan, was a trusted confidante of one of my most trust colleagues Gael Gaveston, who has sadly died. If Gael Gaveston trusted Kay, then I do too. Please work together to find the prophecy."]

;;; Heather is afk

Charlie: That certainly looks like his writing. [To Red] Do you have a similar letter?


Clint: Maybe the numbers will turn out to be important later? Say, the combination to a safe or something like that?


Clint: Like our ability to get along, for example! It's a miracle the world gets saved, really.


Charlie: Indeed, it is FAR more complex than that. [To Kay] I hardly know where to begin, so I shall start with the prophecy! [Assumes lecturing stance] We first learned about the prophecy some time ago, when we translated it and it turned out to foretell the coming--and defeat--of Clementine! But then we learned there was another section to prophecy, which we briefly possessed and lost!


[Book IX, Act VIII, Scene II. The Road to Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY and RED are here, about two miles from Nostalgia. The landscape is all quite barren now, with virtually no trees or grass left, and massive craters from Reveals throughout. The party have changed from their wedding clothes into normal outfits.]

Alice: The last time we were in Nostalgia it was taken over by a demon who made it look like he could bring people back to life. [Looks at Kay and Red] You both lost someone, right?


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Red: Well=2C at least we won't make that worse [smiles worriedly to Kay] . =



Austin : Well, it's quite simple. [Clears his throat delicately] But first, those were toddlers, not babies, we need to stay sharp everybody! [Claps his hands] Right, the world needs saving because otherwise it will be overrun with demon hordes which will likely as not destroy the surface, driving any survivors underground where they will quite literally need to kill or be killed, just to eat. [Looks surprised] Gosh! I think that might actually have been quintessentially the most simple explanation that I have ever proffered. [Looks dissapointed]


Alice: Plus, the Reveals keep appearing and chunks of the world disappear, and people think that the Mother is coming and will either save the world or destroy it. Charlie thinks she's the Mother, Dur thinks he's the Mother and I think I'm the Mother. Oh, there's the Baceks, which means something about the world ending. And then there are a bunch of crazies who keep talking about the Abyss, which is either the end of the world or Charlie's daughter, or both, because she has made all sorts of crazy things happen to us. The prophecy will tell us how to stop the world from ending.


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Red: [eyebrow twitch=2C raised and darker voice] Don't you talk about my mentor like=2C ugh [sighs] . My mentor died a horrible death without reason=2C= and I will not let you speak about him like that. [composes his self] =



Charlie: Careful, group! It could be a party with loud music! [tries to peek inside the tent discreetly]


Alice: Challenge accepted!

[The road leads past a large tent, which is pitched off to one side. The party can here a thumping noise from inside.]


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Red: It seems we have both lost our mentor=2C but is it a good idea to makea deal with a demon=2C let alone summon the dead? =



Alice: Oh, don't be so coy, you just love being pregnant! [To Red] Yes, Dur is about to become a proud mother. [Gestures to Charlie] As is Charlie!


Alice: Quickly, everyone! It could be a party with loud music! [Tries to peer past Charlie]

[The party can see that the tent is full of monks, each of whom is holding a large piece of timber. They are all reciting a set of numbers. One of them, ADRIAN SHALOUB, is nearest the party, but doesn't see them.]

Adrian: 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19. [Bonk. Hits himself on the forehead with the block of wood] 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19. [Repeats the hitting, as do the rest of the monks]


Charlie: Quite right! And the daughter is mine, and she's troubled but not an Abyss!


Dur: No it's a horrible idea! [Pokes at his baby bump again to illustrate the point] That's how you end up impregnated with demon babies!


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=3B=3B=3Bsorry=2C diner shopping Red: Now you know why we are here=2C [looks to each member of the party] but I don't know anything about you [keeps focused on Kay a bit longer] . =



Alice: Ew! Don't poke at it, Dur!


Kay: [raises an eyebrow] I see....I mean, not really, but I get the prophecy is important. So everyone's the Mother, and there's a Daughter, and some crazy people. Let's go, then. [she smiles]


Charlie: [Rubs her stomach proudly] Oh, indeed! [To Kay and Red] You will just love my darling husband, Pestilence. [Earnestly] And I am thrilled to finally have party members he has not yet tried to kill or torture!


Your >husband? It seems this party is quite...special. Makes me rather plain in comparison, I'm afraid. No demon babies, no torturing husband...

Dur: [Pats Kay's shoulder consolingly] Give it time dear. Now that you're with us, you'll likely have plenty of opportunities to experience new levels= of horror and disgust! Especially if you have to sit next to Clint in the carriage!


Kay: [to Alice] Yes, I've lost people to... [she looks a little disgusted to Dur's baby bump, shuddering, then looks at Charlie, aghast] Pestilence?! Your husband? It seems this party is quite...special. Makes me rather plain in comparison, I'm afraid. No demon babies, no torturing husband...




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Red: [raises eyebrow] You deal with packs of babies all the time? =



Alice: Maybe they can't count because they keep hitting themselves on the head?


;;; Maikel is away? I'll get things moving

Red: I've got almost the same letter! [Shows his]

[RED's letter is almost word for word the same as KAY's, except the name and mentor are different.]


Austin : Indeed, there are things in the Realms that are worse than demons [Briefly admires the cut of his jacket cuff]


Kay: [glances inside] I think they're hitting themselves in the head because they can't count...


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Red: That [slight pause] wood [pause again] be quite the problem. [Chuckles] =



Alice: Although, you don't have to join in with the snacking. [Shivers] Let's go!

[Exit ALL towards Nostalgia.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


Kay: So...could you tell us more about this prophecy? And why does the world need saving?


Charlie: Yes, Dr. Finley does appear to endorse each of you, and he has very high standards, of course! Do join us, then!


Kay: [looks at Red, then turns to Alice] Not normal babies, I'm sure. Posessed, maybe? I'm all for keeping the world from ending, by the way. I'm in. It's not like I have more important things to do.


Charlie: [Delighted] Splendid! [Muses] Yes, we are not yet sure why these babies behave so strangely. We encountered them before, but they did not attack us, rather just crawled in packs.


Alice: We're trying to find a prophecy that will help us stop the world from ending, and a bunch of vicious babies just tried to kill us.


Dur: Sometimes. Sometimes we just birth them. [Pokes at his demonic baby bump]


Austin : [To Adrian] Why are you doing that? It looks really stupid.

;;; out for rest of day


Alice: [To Red] I know, you'd think that they be really [stagily] board by now!

Adrian: [To Austin] To summon the Baceks, why else?


Kay: How does hitting yourselves in the head summon anything? Except for a headache, I mean.


Dur: And why would you want to summon them?


Adrian: Our pain is our sacrifice. When the world ends, we will be spared. 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19. [Bonk.] Would you like some sacred wood?


Dur: [Suppresses a giggle] None for me thanks, but the ladies might like some!


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Red: [Foot tapping to the rhythm.] Sure=2C but why these numbers=2C and whyaren't they in order? =



Charlie: [Giggles at Dur's comment] That's what Pestilence calls-- [grows serious] none of your business! [Nods and gestures to Red] Er, good question! What does the order mean?


Adrian: They are in order. This is the order to summon the Baceks. 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19. [Bonk.] They are the sacred numbers, handed down by Numerologists throughout the aeons.


sts >throughout the aeons.

Dur: That's a long time! How long have you been trying to summon them?


Adrian: Since the seventh of February.

Alice: [To the party] Isn't that when that sort of civil servant demon guy told us that the world would end?

;;; She's referring to this:


;;; The demon is Jean Majeur: http://queens-view.com/wiki/index.php/Jean_Majeur


Dur: The who said what now?=20

;;; Dur wasn't there!


Kay: [rolls her eyes at the wood-comment] No, thanks. I make it a rule not to summon anything that could potentially kill me or end the world.


Alice: He was the guy who gave us the llama and the hat when Charlie came back to life. [To Red and Kay] Charlie was dead for a while. It was all really scary -- we had to kill a housewife who had lots of zombies to get her back. [Surveys the monks] Are these guys just idiots? Or do they know something? It seems kind of strange that they'd start this on the very day we were told that the world would end.


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Red: [Look at Clint and chuckles.] I see what you did there. [Wispering] 1=2C 2=2C 3=2C 5=2C 11=2C 19. [Normal voice] But summoning something that wi= ll end the world goes against my mission. --_e44c76d9-d22d-4caf-8881-aa9b2d5adb32_


Clint: Stick with us for a while. Everyone should accidentally summon something that could potentially end the world at least once in their lives. It's good for the soul!


Alice: He's right, Stinky, it's bad enough that all these weirdoes are trying to hurry up the end of the world without you joining in! [To Red] We call Clint Stinky on account of him being so stinky.

;;; He *is* very stinky!

Adrian: [Turns and glares at Red] No! No! No! Do not taint the sacred numbers!


Clint: I think you mean something like "2, 4, 6, 8, get the sacred numbers straight!" But you know we can't let you finish up here, right?

;;; Very stinky indeed!


Charlie: [To Adrian] Who are the Baceks, and what is their aim? [Quickly] In case we want to help summon them, not because we intend them any harm, of course!


Adrian: The Baceks is the end of the world. The Devourer of Time. The Eater of Souls. The Consumer of Life. The Ingester of Innocents. 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19. [Bonk]

Alice: [Lowly to the party] Am I the only one who's getting hungry?


Kay: [eyes the tent plugs, then discreetly points them out to the rest of the party, smirking at Alice's comment] Perhaps we should wrap this up.


Dur: [Stomach growls like some great beast awoken] Nope! And I'm eating for2... err well for however many spawn I have in here! Do you suppose this t= hing is the reason we need to find the soul sucker?


Alice: It's not a soul sucker, it's a Soul Succour. I thought we needed it to protect ourselves, not to attack the Baceks, whatever the hell that is.


Clint: I can't believe I'm saying this, but Bimbo here is right. [Nods to Kay meaningfully, albeit unsubtly.]


Alice: What? What are you nodding about, Stinky?

;;; Don't worry Toril, your post did come through, that's what Clint is

;;; referring to. I'm not replying to it because that mail didn't have

;;; the log addresses on it (because I took them off for the announcement,

;;; not because you did anything wrong!)


Austin : [With his left sleeve rolled up, carefully massaging a lightly scented cream onto his left forearm] It is unlikely to be important.


Adrian: Certainly not as important as the Baceks! [Bonk]


Austin : [Laughs, while still intently massaging his left forearm] That's a good one! What was it? 11, 19, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 or somesuch?


Charlie: [To Adrian] Oh, do tell! How did you learn about the Baceks?


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Red: [Not really paying attention to the conversation anymore=2C mumbling 1=2C 2 where the monks say 2=2C 1] 3B=3B=3B Did I get the board I was offered btw? --_89d727cd-747a-4974-a38a-f469eb75baa8_


;;; Yes!

Adrian: It has been handed down from generation to generation by our society of chaste monks.

Alice: If they're chaste, how come there are new generations of you?

Adrian: There are a few loopholes.


Kay: [starts discreetly pulling up tent plugs.]


Charlie: [Primly] Monks who look for loopholes are pretty poor monks, I should think!


Austin : Perhaps they mated before taking their vows. 1, 2 buckle my shoe, 3, 5 open the door [pulls the tent door open] 7, 9, 11 pick up the plank [Picks up a board and tests it's quality, tapping it] A very simple religion, isn't it. Terribly boring though. [Pretends to use the plank like a cricket bat]


Adrian: All the best religions have loopholes, especially for the organisers! It's why we will lead the New World! Why the Baceks will spare us, why we, over all are the most --

[KAY and the others have pulled out enough tent pegs to caused the tent to collapse.]

Adrian: [Continues without a beat, albeit a little muffled] Dignified and beloved of all religions.


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Red: [Crawls out of the now collapsed tent] I hope your religion is stronger than your tent. [Smirks] =



Austin : [Standing outside the tent] I don't!


Alice: I don't know, Red, I thought their religion was plenty [dramatic pause] strong! [Big smile]


Alice: I mean... their religion was intense!


Austin : Their religion was "in tents", certainly [Smirks]


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Red: If you have some rope we can [smiles] wrap this up. 3B=3B=3B I will be away for the night in a few min=2C if I don't react in 10 minutes of a post Conor can take over. =



Charlie: Perhaps we should just depart. They do not seem to pose a thread as they seem [elaborate finger quotes] in-tent upon their chanting! [To Alice and Austin, excitedly] See what I there?


Clint: It was very subtle, Sarge. I say we should tie these guys up, just in case their goofy chanting works!


Charlie: [Nods] Good point, let us see if we can nip this ominous Baceks invasion in the bud! [Digs for a rope in her knapsack]


Clint: Maybe we should just hire some counterchanters? It could be like battle of the bands, the chanting numbers edition!


Alice: Yes, let's tie them up. Who knows what their intents are!=20

[Between them the party produce a shocking amount of ropes and cuffs, which they use to tie up the tent, sealing the still chanting and bonking monk= s inside.]


Kay: I don't know who the Baceks are, but we should probably find that prophecy fast . Sounds like we're in a hurry.


Austin : [Finishes massaging his arm and rolls his sleeve down and puts his jacket back on. To the party] Excellent work. Let's go and see about this Soul Succor.

;;;;; awa hame


Clint: Haw! Should be a piece of cake to find, too! We have such explicit directions.


Alice: It's not a Soul Succour, it's a -- oh, actually it is. [To Kay] No one other than these weirdoes seem to know who the Baceks are, but everyone seems to agree that they're not good. Not good at all.


Charlie: [To Kay] Indeed, the end of the world seems to be upon us--again! [Dramatically] To Nostalgia!


Alice: I hope it's as good as we remember!

[Exit ALL, towards Nostalgia.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book IX, Act VIII, Scene I. The Gates of Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY and RED are here, approaching cautiously. They can see that there are dozens of HARMA officers milling about outside, and that they have place a cordon all the way around the town.]

Alice: Gah! Maybe Austin's girlfriend heard about the prophecy too?


Charlie: [To Austin, accusingly] A bit of careless pillow talk, perhaps?


Alice: Oh, calm down! He hasn't even had a chance to have any pillow talk with her since we were there, certainly not with getting married to Lucy!


Charlie: Mm! [Scans the crowd anxiously] We had better stay out of sight. No doubt HARMA is seeking us for arrest for some ridiculous charge or another!


;;; Maikel is out today

Red: It looks like they're trying to arrest the whole town!


Kay: I could ask around, find out what's going on. I don't think I'm on any wanted list.


Alice: Everybody's on some wanted list of HARMA's! We'll stick close by you, just in case.


Charlie: [To Kay] Indeed, it is all to easy to fall afoul of HARMA. Let us see if we can find someone not affiliated with HARMA and ask what they have observed. [Scans the crowd for non-uniformed types]


Austin : [Checks his nails briefly] I did not get married to Lucy, and I have not shared any information with Amelia, we don't talk about work when we are together.


TGFzdCBmcm9tIERvbSAjOQ0KDQo+QXVzdGluIDogW0NoZWNrcyBoaXMgbmFpbHMgYnJpZWZseV0g SSBkaWQgbm90IGdldCBtYXJyaWVkIHRvIEx1Y3ksIGFuZCBJIGhhdmUgbm90IHNoYXJlZCBhbnkg aW5mb3JtYXRpb24gd2l0aCBBbWVsaWEsIHdlIGRvbid0IHRhbGsgYWJvdXQgd29yayB3aGVuIHdl IGFyZSB0b2dldGhlci4NCg0KRHVyOiBJcyB0aGF0IGJlY2F1c2Ugc2hlIGlzIHNvIGJvcmluZyB3 aGVuIHNoZSB0YWxrcyBhYm91dCB3b3JrPyBPciBiZWNhdXNlIHlvdSdyZSBqdXN0IHRvbyBidXN5 IHRvIHRhbGssIGVoPyBbRmluZ2VyIGd1bnMgYW5kIGEgd2lua10NCg


Charlie: [Snorts] Busy comparing tax tips, one suspects!


Alice: How about we ask this guy?

[She points to a moody looking teenager, ROBERT CULLEN, one of the few people outside Nostalgia who's not dressed in a HARMA uniform.]

Alice: He seems non-HARMA, and a little dreamy, too.


Charlie: [Looks at the teenager and shudders] Indeed, he looks very like the sort of non-threatening pre-pubescent boys my dear niece Cordelia once admired! [To Robert, in a low voice] Hello, there! What is happening here, young man?


Robert: It's HARMA! They say that Nostalgia is too [finger quotes] dangerous, and that it needs to be quarantined. I don't like their rules, and I only have one rule, which is that I don't play by anyone's rules, even my own!

Alice: [Fanning herself] What a rebel!


Kay: [to Robert] Too dangerous for whom? And does that mean noone gets in or out?


Robert: Except me. I don't stick by no one's rules. [Applies some hair mousse as he checks out his appearance in a hand mirror] Dangerous!


Charlie: [Dryly] Quite. [Urgently] Why is Nostalgia being quarantined? Is there a disease?


Robert: Hell yeah there's a disease! The disease of [finger quotes] oppression!

Alice: [To the party] I got that once. Really itchy.


Charlie: [To Robert] I see. Have you a parent or guardian with whom we might speak?


Kay: Well, do we know what we're after is in the city itself? Cause if that's the case, we need to get in there somehow. [she looks to Robert] Say....do you happen to know a discreet way to get into town? A rebel like you probably know your way around. [she smiles]


Robert: Oh, the Major? Yeah, he'd just love that! [To Kay] Uh, sure, of course I do. There hasn't been a prison built yet that I can't break into. Well, by prison I mean bedroom, and by into I mean out of. And by break I mean open the window and climb out, as long as it isn't up too high, you know, because I have this inner ear thing going on. [Makes a gang sign] Word.


Charlie: [Claps] Splendid! Could you gather the other members of your gang for a secret mission? You will really [finger quotes] stick it to the man!


Kay: The Major is your father? [raises an eyebrow at Robert, questioningly]

;;;Will be away for the rest of the day.


Robert: Adopted father! My real father was pirate -- the scourge of the seven seas! He impregnated my mother on a daring raid.

Alice: Really?

Robert: No. He's a major in the army, in charge of the division that puts up wallpaper. My mother is the curator at the wallpaper museum.


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Red: If all else fails=2C maybe we can deceive that HARMA personnel to arrest each other? =



Robert: Why would it fail? My gang of homies will get us through! Don't hate the homies, yo.

Alice: Yeah, Red, don't hate his homos.


Charlie: Quite so! [To Robert] And where are those homos of yours? The gang you were meant to assemble?


Robert: They're not homos! [Thinks] Well, maybe Brice is. And Colton is a little swishy, but Mary definitely isn't!


Charlie: [Cluelessly] Naturally, it is up to you to decide for yourself who should be in your gang.


Robert: That's right! I'm the decider, me! We've got a special secret call. You must all cover your ears.

Alice: [Covering her ears and speaking very loudly] I can't wait to hear the secret call!


Clint: [Covering his ears and manfully resisting the temptation to slap Robert upside the head.] That's why it's a secret, Bimbo!


Robert: Everybody!

;;; Toril is gone for the day

Kay: Oh for the love of... if it'll get this guy to stop... [covers her ears]


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Red: That is uncalled for! [Looks at Robert] Just as your friends=2C so whydon't you call them? [Waits a moment] O right. [Covers ears] =



Charlie: [Hurriedly covers her ears] I only hope I can adequately block the sound!!


Clint: [To Robert.] Trust me, kid, we're not gonna steal your gang signs. We're too mature for that sort of thing! [Looks over at Alice and Dur and down at himself but manages to keep a straight face anyway.]


;;; Kevin and Dom are out?

[Slowly AUSTIN and DUR follow suit.]

Robert: [Surveys the party to make sure everyone has their ears covered, before leaning to one side and roaring at the top of his lungs] HEY! YOU GUYS! WE GOT A SECRET MISSION! [Turns back to the party] Okay, you can uncover your ears now.

;;; And there we must take a break, until April 30th, as we've got a bunch

;;; of travel coming up. The good news is that it will all be very stable

;;; from then on the foreseeable future


[Time passes.]

Robert: [To the party] HEY! I said you can listen now!

Alice: [To the others] That's not what he said!


Charlie: [Excited] Oooh, I do enjoy secret missions! [To Robert] Do tell!


Kay: [lets her hands fall down along her sides and looks at Robert] You're quite new to this, aren't you? Secrecy, I mean.


Robert: Am not!

[Enter COLTON CRUMBLIE, a man in his mid twenties.]

Colton: 'sup, Bob? What ya doin' with these olds?


Charlie: [Looks at Clint and Dur] Well, they are not THAT old. [Sternly] And my name is Charlie, not Bob, though you will address me as Dr. Parker-Kensington.


Austin : He is trying to impress us, and failing miserably.

;;;out on Friday


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Red: [Insulted] You are not much younger than I am. So=2C what is the "secret" plan? =



Alice: Speak for yourself, Aus! [Fans herself]

Colton: A girl called Charles? Well, isn't this just [over the top feigned interest] fascinating! Tell me about your gender confusion. [Looks Red up and down] I'm not telling you, am I? If I did, it would hardly be a secret, would it?


Austin : [To Charlie, nodding at Colton] This one might even have a collection of nerve cells worthy of the title 'brain'.


Kay: [to Robert and Colton] Well, tell us the plan, then. The not-secret plan. You can do that, can't you?


Colton: Of course! [Looks around suspiciously to make sure that no one is listening in] We're going to get a bunch of dupes, see? And we're going to trick them into thinking we'll help them into the city, see? And then, just at the last minute, we'll turn 'em over to the cops! Don't tell Mary, whatever you do, he'll just blab.


Charlie: [Conspiratorially] Goodness, no! [Eagerly] Can we help? We so enjoy capers!


Colton: Mint! It'll be... hey!

[Enter BRICE THRICE, a man in his early twenties.]

Brice: Yo yo yo! What are you doing with these square square squares?

Colton: They tricked me! The mean girls and their Mom! [Points at Alice]


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM0NA0KDQo+Q29sdG9uOiBNaW50ISBJdCdsbCBiZS4uLiBoZXkhDQo+ DQo+ICAgICAgIFtFbnRlciBCUklDRSBUSFJJQ0UsIGEgbWFuIGluIGhpcyBlYXJseSB0d2VudGll cy5dDQo+DQo+QnJpY2U6IFlvIHlvIHlvISBXaGF0IGFyZSB5b3UgZG9pbmcgd2l0aCB0aGVzZSBz cXVhcmUgc3F1YXJlIHNxdWFyZXM/DQo+DQo+Q29sdG9uOiBUaGV5IHRyaWNrZWQgbWUhIFRoZSBt ZWFuIGdpcmxzIGFuZCB0aGVpciBNb20hIFtQb2ludHMgYXQgQWxpY2VdDQoNCkR1cjogSSBvYmpl Y3QhIERvIHdlIGhvbmVzdGx5IGxvb2sgc21hcnQgZW5vdWdoIHRvIHRyaWNrIGFueWJvZHk/IA0K DQo7Ozsgd2VsY29tZSBiYWNrIGV2ZXJ5b25lIQ0K


Colton: I... hm. [Examines the party] I declare them idiots!

Brice: Unchic chic chic! [Turns to Austin] Except you, you are darling! For an oldster.

Alice: [To the party] I'm sorry, but how old are these guys supposed to be?


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM0Ng0KDQo+Q29sdG9uOiBJLi4uIGhtLiBbRXhhbWluZXMgdGhlIHBh cnR5XSBJIGRlY2xhcmUgdGhlbSBpZGlvdHMhDQo+DQo+QnJpY2U6IFVuY2hpYyBjaGljIGNoaWMh IFtUdXJucyB0byBBdXN0aW5dIEV4Y2VwdCB5b3UsIHlvdSBhcmUgZGFybGluZyEgRm9yIGFuIG9s ZHN0ZXIuDQo+DQo+QWxpY2U6IFtUbyB0aGUgcGFydHldIEknbSBzb3JyeSwgYnV0IGhvdyBvbGQg YXJlIHRoZXNlIGd1eXMgc3VwcG9zZWQgdG8gYmU/DQoNCkR1cjogW1RvIHRoZSBwYXJ0eV0gV2hv IGNhcmVzIT8gSSBzYXkgd2UgcHJldGVuZCB0byBiZSB0aGUgZHVwZXMgdGhleSBhcmUgbG9va2lu ZyBmb3IgYW5kIHRoZW4gZG91YmxlIGR1cGUgdGhlbSBiZWZvcmUgdGhleSBjYW4gZHVwZSB1cyEg RHVwZXMhIA0K


Alice: Duplicate the dupes? I like it! [Sniggers, barely able to control her joy and fooling them] This is gonna be great! [To Colton] We'd like to get into the city. [Big stagey wink at the party]


Austin : [Sees Brice and puts on some dark shades. To Alice] And what is to be gained by duping the dupes?


Alice: Oh, Austin, please! That's so obvious, why, even Dur knows the answer! Dur, tell him!


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM1MA0KDQo+QWxpY2U6IE9oLCBBdXN0aW4sIHBsZWFzZSEgVGhhdCdz IHNvIG9idmlvdXMsIHdoeSwgZXZlbiBEdXIga25vd3MgdGhlIGFuc3dlciEgRHVyLCB0ZWxsIGhp bSENCg0KRHVyOiBbT2J2aW91c2x5IHN0cnVnZ2xpbmddIFVtbW1tLi4uIHdlIGdldCB0byBzbGlw IGludG8gdGhlIGNpdHkgd2hpbGUgdGhlIGF1dGhvcml0aWVzIGRlYWwgd2l0aCB0aGUgd291bGQg YmUgZHVwZXM/DQo


Clint: These fine upstanding young men get to feel better about themselves?


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Red: Of course=2C they will learn a valuable lesson about the legal system and [struggling to lie] feel as better men because of it? [Seriously] And i= f it helps us from not getting the world destroyed=2C it's even better right? =



Clint: Well, yeah, but you'd be amazed how often people think we're nuts when we tell them we need their help to save the world!


Austin : So, let me get this clear. Your plan is to deliberately get captured and killed by the enemy? [Looks disgusted at the notion] Ridiculous!


Alice: No, that's not our plan.


Charlie: [To Brice and Colton] So, are you going to let us help you trick your rubes, or are you going to squabble like old ladies [subtle nod at Alice] ?!


Brice: Oh no she did-did-didn't!

Colton: Suuure! You can help us. We just need Mary to help, he's bigger than us. Here he is now.

[Enter MARY BRIENNE, a woman well over six feet tall.]

Mary: [To the party] What are you doing with these idiots?


Charlie: Trying to get away from them, naturally! Could you lead us safely through the city and away from these horrid boys? They are cruel to adults and the elderly!


Austin : And the beautiful!


Alice: That's okay, Aus, I'm used to it!

Mary: Of course I could. And they're not boys, they're just a bunch of weirdoes who still live with their parents and pretend to be teenagers.

Brice: I'm only 13! 13! [To his cronies] 13!

Mary: No you're not. You're 32 years old.


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Red: So=2C I am now thoroughly confused. What is our plan? --_b7380e37-3ff4-40f1-96ca-5efcdd38a0c7_


Colton: Why is he so annoying? Why? Whhhhhy? It's really extremely simple. We trick some dupes into thinking we're going to help them, and then, just as we approach the gates, turn them over to the authorities, and, during the ensuing confusion, sashay into the town.

Robert: That's ridiculous. We're not going to sashay. We're going to strut.


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM2Mw0KDQo+Q29sdG9uOiBXaHkgaXMgaGUgc28gYW5ub3lpbmc/IFdo eT8gV2hoaGhoeT8gSXQncyByZWFsbHkgZXh0cmVtZWx5IHNpbXBsZS4gV2UgdHJpY2sgc29tZSBk dXBlcyBpbnRvIHRoaW5raW5nIHdlJ3JlIGdvaW5nIHRvIGhlbHAgdGhlbSwgYW5kIHRoZW4sIGp1 c3QgYXMgd2UgYXBwcm9hY2ggdGhlIGdhdGVzLCB0dXJuIHRoZW0gb3ZlciB0byA+dGhlIGF1dGhv cml0aWVzLCBhbmQsIGR1cmluZyB0aGUgZW5zdWluZyBjb25mdXNpb24sIHNhc2hheSBpbnRvIHRo ZSB0b3duLg0KPg0KPlJvYmVydDogVGhhdCdzIHJpZGljdWxvdXMuIFdlJ3JlIG5vdCBnb2luZyB0 byBzYXNoYXkuIFdlJ3JlIGdvaW5nIHRvIHN0cnV0Lg0KDQpEdXI6IENvdWxkbid0IHlvdSBkbyBi b3RoPw0K


Austin : Why don't you join the HARMA, you appear to be suitably qualified.


Colton: [To Dur] That might be okay for a gaybo like you, but not us, no way!

Robert: [Angrily to Austin] No way! We hate them!

Alice: Really? How much?

Robert: A LOT!

Alice: [To the party] I don't buy it. Let's turn them into HARMA for being spies.


Charlie: Agreed, if they lie about their ages and sexual orientation, who knows what other lies they might tell!


Colton: Oh, hush up, old woman! Now, you all must quietly follow us. [Sashays along the side of the town wall]


Clint: [Staying put, he looks to Mary.] . Must we quietly follow him?


Mary: Of course not! He and the others want to get in because they've heard that the dead can come back to life in there.

Alice: Wow! Are they dead?

Mary: Who? The dead?

Alice: No, the idiots.

Mary: Brain dead, but not actually dead.


Charlie: Indeed, they are! That said, we have witnessed what they describe, though it is but an illusion, I believe. [Casually] And what are YOUR views on HARMA, if you do not mind me asking?


Kay: [watches the whole exchange, then raises an eyebrow when they speak of the dead coming back to life] You've witnessed this, you say? [to Charlie]


Charlie: [Nods] Oh, yes! I saw my father, though he has been dead for some time. [Gently] Others in the group saw loved ones they knew to be dead, as well. It was dreadful.


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Alice: And some didn't even know they were dead!

Mary: [To Charlie] I have sworn a Holy and Sacred Vow to destroy them.


Clint: The key thing is to not marry them, apparently.


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Mary: HARMA!

Alice: So... the second one.

;;; The same!


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Mary: That is good to hear. There is only one person I hate more than HARMA.

Alice: Aw man!

Mary: What?

Alice: It's me, isn't it? I just know it! This always happens. It's the hair, isn't it? It makes me look too much like Clementine.

Mary: It's not you. I don't even know you. I mean, sure, you're a little annoying, but I don't hate you.

Alice: Aw! Thanks! Isn't she nice?

;;; The same bad, and this was actually worse! There's

;;; a bunch of extra junk with it.


Charlie: [Nods approvingly] Very tolerant! [To Mary] We should be quite eager to assist you in defying HARMA. Perhaps we could work together?


Clint: Good idea, Sarge, especially if it keeps us from having to work with those other guys to get inside!


Mary: Of course! If we had someone that we could turn in to them, they would be so ecstatic about catching anti-HARMists, we could slip in.


Charlie: [Shudders] I shouldn't like to hand anyone over to HARMA! Perhaps we had better just try to sneak in ourselves?


Alice: Yes, we would really want to hate someone to do that to them.

Colton: Shut up bitches! I'm in charge now! Be quiet and make some cakes for us.


Charlie: [Glaring at Colton. To Mary] How fortuitous! A volunteer has emerged for our special project!


;;; Toril is out today

Kay: It's never been a better day to help HARMA! [Points to some guards near a gate] These guys look likely to want to arrest a few dupes!


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;;; Dom is out today

Austin: [Gives Dur a withering look] One suspects that you have quite some experience in the matter.

[The party and the dupes approach the gate, where several HARMA officers stand around, trying to look mean. They are lead by GEORGE LA FORGE, an officer that the party have dealt with many times before.]

George: Hey! Where do you think you're going?


Clint: [Under his breath.] Ah hell. [Prods Red.] Maybe you should do the talking on this one...


Charlie: [To George, attempting to shield her face] That horrid boy over there [tries to point at Colton] slapped my face when I told him I quite enjoy rules and eagerly await new laws from the HARMA governing authority!


Alice: Yeah! And when I said that I thought that a simplistic and overly conservative bunch of rules that everyone was forced to live by was a great idea, he took out his penis and rubbed it against a picture of Joe Nunpar!

Colton: You liars!


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM5MQ0KDQo+QWxpY2U6IFllYWghIEFuZCB3aGVuIEkgc2FpZCB0aGF0 IEkgdGhvdWdodCB0aGF0IGEgc2ltcGxpc3RpYyBhbmQgb3Zlcmx5IGNvbnNlcnZhdGl2ZSBidW5j aCBvZiBydWxlcyB0aGF0IGV2ZXJ5b25lIHdhcyBmb3JjZWQgdG8gbGl2ZSBieSB3YXMgYSBncmVh dCBpZGVhLCBoZSB0b29rIG91dCBoaXMgcGVuaXMgYW5kIHJ1YmJlZCBpdCBhZ2FpbnN0IGEgPnBp Y3R1cmUgb2YgSm9lIE51bnBhciENCj4NCj5Db2x0b246IFlvdSBsaWFycyENCg0KRHVyOiBbR2Fz cHMgc2NhbmRhbG91c2x5XSBZb3Ugc2VlIHdoYXQgd2UgaGF2ZSBiZWVuIHB1dHRpbmcgdXAgd2l0 aD8hIFNheWluZyB0aGluZ3MgdG8gc3VjaCBnZW50bGUgd29tZW4hDQo


Austin: It's far worse than that -- I think you'll find that he was talking about HARMA!

George: [Screams like a girl] What?

Colton: No! No!


Charlie: [Nods vigorously] Oh my, yes! He made all kinds of dreadful puns, such as it [finger quotes] HARMs-A us to have such an oppressive government! [stifles a giggle, painfully]


Clint: Can you imagine the nerve? Can't you guys do something about this dangerous malcontent?


Colton: No! They're the malcontents! We were going to trick you into thinking that they were dupes, and then, when you were arresting them, we'd sneak in. We love HARMA!

Austin: [Examines his perfectly clean nails] If you so love HARMA, why are you trying to trick them?


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Clint: Anyway, hadn't you better take care of these freaks? [Shakes his head.] Don't thank us, we're just doing what any good loyal citizen would do!


;;; Forgot to mention, it's a bank holiday here -- and everywhere in

Europe, I think, so no posting today!


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3B=3B=3BWell=2C happy holiday :p. I got called in to assist on a looming deadline :<. See you all tomorrow!



[The HARMA officers grab COLTON and the others.]

Colton: Help! No! You've got it all wrong! Help!


Charlie: What a relief! Finally, we can enjoy the loving iron grip of HARMA again in peace!


Alice: [Nods] I for one would like to stand here, near this town gate, and watch them dole out their justice.

[The HARMA officers start to beat up COLTON and the others.]

Colton: No! This isn't fair! You should beat them up! Not us!


Charlie: [Gives a deep, satisfied sigh] HARMA justice at its finest! [In a low voice, to the party] Quickly, into the city, but do be [emphasis] casual!


Austin : [Looks doubtful] I will try my best.


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Red: You would think they have a rule to stop them to HARM-A person. But the harm is done=2C let's not waste this. =



Kay: [nods once, then strolls past the skirmish, and through the city gates]


Alice: [Whistles a casual tune tunelessly as she strolls past] Officers.

[Once within reach, the party dash madly though the gate and slam it shut, causing the officers to look up.]

George: What was that?

Colton: You were tricked, you idiot!

George: By you? I'll show you!

[The beating and screams continue.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up!


[Book IX, Act VIII, Scene IV. The Streets of Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY, RED and MARY are here. The town is still strangely untouched by all the destruction outside, and people are strolling around in an hurried fashion. Lots of "Olde Tyme" shops are scattered around.]

Alice: This place hasn't changed much.


Kay: I haven't been here before. [looks around for the undead] People seem alive and well, if a little rushed to me.


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Alice: And the zombies aren't the worst of it, it's got Penelope and Isobel!

;;; Alice is referring to the well known folk duet:

<P><A href=http://queens-view.com/wiki/index.php/Penny_and_Isobel>Penny

and Isobel</A>


Charlie: [Shudders] Dreadful! [Brightens] Though it could mean they are no longer with us, in the metaphysical sense!


Alice: Hurrah! That would be great! In fact, it would be-

[ALICE is interrupted by an irritatingly cheery voice. It is PENELOPE.]

Penelope: Cooeee!


Clint: Ah hell. Where's a zombie when you need one?


Austin : [Casually drops to the back of the party, and becomes interested in some touristy nicknacks in a ye olde tourist shoppe] hmm.


Penelope: It's me! Penelope!

Alice: [Looks at the trashy nicknacks] Aren't they just great, Aus?

Penelope: [Jumps up and down] Helloooo!

[A man, GAEL GAVESTON strides up to PENELOPE.]

Gael: For the love of God, woman, can you please calm down? Your perkiness is making me quite ill.


Kay: [turns pale, freezes for a moment, then runs over to Gael] Gael! I thought you were dead! How...How can this be?! It's me! I'm so glad to see you! [she smiles]


Clint: [To Gael, valiantly ignoring Penelope.] Chicks, huh? What you gonna do?


Gael: Kay! Is that really you? I thought YOU were dead!

Penelope: Oh, this is so happy! [To the party] Isn't this a wonderful moment?


Kay: [laughs and hugs Gael] I'm very much alive. [she turns serious] But seriously...how can you be here? I was there! I saw....I saw you die, Gael...


Clint: Back from the dead, huh? [Leans down to whisper to Kay.] Don't let him marry you. Long story. Zombies. We'll explain later. [Brightens and turns to Penelope.] Say, you're not a zombie, are you?


Austin : [To Gael] Indeed, you may have been dead for sometime. What date do you think it is today?


Penelope: [To Clint] Of course not, but I know a song about zombies. It's called We Like Stiffies.

Gael: [To Kay] No, lass, badly injured, but not dead. They told me that you had died, though. It broke my heart. [To Austin] Haven't a clue, lad. I've spent weeks trying to get somewhere safe, that hasn't been taken over by HARMA or hit by a Reveal.

;;;out this morning


Charlie: [To Gael, skeptically] Are you SURE you are not dead? And are you sure you don't want to kill us?


Gael: Of course I'm not dead! And why would I want to kill you? Unless Kay is a hostage? In which case, I very much want to kill you!


Kay: Nono, I'm not a hostage. They are working for that strange professor you sent me to, with the letter, remember? [takes a step back, but keeps hold of his hands] So neither of us are dead. This is good news. By the way...who told you I had died?


Gael: [Relaxes] Good, it would be a shame to have to kill so early in the morning. [To Toril] It was young Seneca Flickerman!


Kay: [surprised] Seneca? I don't know why she would say that...Perhaps she misunderstood.


Gael: She must have -- but happy day, Kay, happy day! What brings you and your friends to Nostalgia?


Kay: [looks at the others] We're not quite sure yet. A prophecy. Or a part of a prophecy.


Charlie: [Nods] Indeed, have you heard anything about The Mother? Or The Abyss?


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Alice: The Soul Succour!

Gael: Hah! The very thing that I came to Nostalgia for! Come, my friends, let us drink vast quantities of ale and make our plans! [To Penelope] You there, tavern wench, what is the strongest drink you have?

Penelope: Coke-A-Coal-A.

Gael: [Laughs] What a joker!


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Red: [Look at Penelope] I'm starting to like her. [Smiles] --_89025557-fbfd-49fe-a088-82249607de92_


Austin : [To Red] Ten out of ten for candidness, but we really don't have time for that sort of thing right now.


Penelope: Great! Let's head to the Come, Stay Inn! It's just great there!

[PENELOPE leads the party across to the inn, where, unsurprisingly there are no other customers. ISOBEL stands behind the bar.]

Penelope: Barkeep! A round of our famous Coke-A-Cole-As, please!

Isobel: Coming right up!


Charlie: [Dismayed] Mr. Sleaze is quite right. We really should be going!


Austin : [Takes a deep breath. To Isobel and Penelope] Do you know where the Soul Succour is, and have you heard anything about it?


Isobel: No, but I bet we could sing a jolly song about it!

Gael: [To Kay] The Soul Succour? If Finley really did direct you to be with this people, my girl, he has been tricked, tricked, I say!


Charlie: [Haughtily] Alistair Finley is one of the great minds of our time, and he has NOT been tricked. [Reluctantly] Unless there were some buttons or zippers involved. Those do confound him, I must admit!


Kay: [to Gael] What do you mean? Have you heard of it? I'm not even sure what it is. Finley told me these people needed my help, so I'm helping.


Gael: It's a weapon of terrible destruction -- which will almost certainly be used to speed along the coming of the Abyss! Come, Kay, we should return to Finley and warn him that he has been betrayed! It is worse than time he trusted an ant colony to mind his lunch!


Kay: [looks from Gael to the others] If that's the case, then let's go.


Austin : [Clearly suffering some pain and distress from the suggestion of a sing-song, but hiding it well] Yes, please, let's go!


Gael: Not you! Just me and Kay -- keep your filthy warmongering ways to yourself!


Charlie: [Uneasily] Oh, dear! [To Kay] He isn't who he says he is! We must leave at once!


Clint: And make it snappy, before those two start singing! [Keeps a watchful eye on Gael lest he try anything marriage-related.]


Clint: Well, it's pooossible, but not very likely. Keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn't start acting strangely. Or psychotically! My "I thought she was dead but she turned up alive" ex turned out to be a zombie who tried to kill us!


Gael: Nonsense! Don't listen to them, Kay! They are agents of de Ville!


Kay: [frowns] That's not the impression I've got. Quirky, yes, but they haven't mongered a single war since I joined them.


Charlie: [Nods vigorously] Indeed, wars are more likely to be thrust upon us!


Austin : We were told that the Soul Succour was for saving souls and protecting them, not destroying them!


Clint: [Nodding.] Yeah. Trust us, kid, we're the good guys!


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Alice: Some of us are, sometimes!


Charlie: [To Gael] We are terribly sorry, but you are likely dead and a threat to us. [To Kay, urgently] We really should move on now, before things get awkward!


Alice: Things already are awkward! [Takes a drink] There doesn't appear to be any alcohol in this... this... Coke-A-Coal-A, is it?


Kay: [looks from Charlie to Gael, not sure what to believe] I think maybe we should all go..


Gael: [Draws a sword and gets between Kay and the party] Easy, lass! They have brainwashed you! Don't trust them!


Kay: They haven't had the time to brainwash me! Please, just calm down! [raises her hands in a disarming manner] Gael....listen to me. When you woke up....who was there?


Gael: No one was there! [To the party] What have you done to her?


Charlie: [To Kay, urgently] This is precisely what happened to us! Loved ones who were once dead appeared and soon became increasingly agitated and violent. We really must leave, hurry! [Tries to usher the party outside the inn]


Gael: Maybe that's because you're just a bitch?

;;; Out for about 2 hours!


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Red: [Awakened from his daydream by the raised voices] Woah=2C hey! [Slowlythe words previously spoken come back to Red] I don't know who you are and= I am not sure if Kay can trust this bunch=2C but I [Emphasized] know [Normal voice] that attacking each other is not in her best interest. =



Austin : It is also only to the benefit of our enemies if we split up. I believe the old adage 'divide and conquer', is appropriate in this case.


Gael: [Looks at Red] Who's this idiot?


Kay: Gael! Put the sword away!There's really no need. They haven't done anything to me! Please, I want to believe you're not dead, or undead, or whatever, but then you have to calm down and prove to me you're still the same old Gael!


Clint: Trust us, kid, he's not. [Gets ready to clobber Gael if he makes a false move.] We've seen this too many times already in this freakshow of a town!


Charlie: Indeed, Mr. Scar is quite right. Do not let this man [nods at Gael, sword at the ready] fool you, or you will surely come to grave harm!


Clint: [Snorts.] Yeah, I'd say "grave" is about right!


Austin : Mr Scar, calm down please. Even if Gale is a zombie there is no need to attack him. He is clearly of low IQ and having difficulty in comprehending the situation.



Gael: [To Kay] Really, Kay? Is this the sort of trash you spend time with? [To Clint, nodding at Austin] Keep your woman under control.

[A woman, VALERIE PAGE, enters the bar.]

Valerie: Red? Red McDaniel? Is that really you?


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Red: [Utterly surprised] Valerie? What are you doing here. I haven't seen you in like [looks at fingers] almost a year. =



Valerie: And I haven't seen you in like... [counts on her fingers] ten months! [Hugs him] Uh, you're not one of those zombies, are you?


Kay: [to Gael] Nobody's trash, and I only just met them today. And on the professor's recommendation. Now, from what I've heard, they're trying to stop the world from ending, and that's a big plus in my book. [she looks at Valerie and Red, curious]


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Red: I just entered the town and am very alive. Maybe a bit hungry but not for brains! [Keeps an eye on Gael] How lang have you been here? =



Austin : [To Alice, looking at Gael] Sad, sad sad. He can't even tell the difference between a man and a woman. I wonder who's been feeding him. [Glances around]


Gael: [Picks up a mug from the bar and throws it at Austin] I can tell the difference. [Bonk. The mug hits Austin straight in the forehead]

Valerie: [Watching the exchange] Just a few days -- and I thought I saw my father, but, and this was creepy, he said he wanted to marry me! If it wasn't for Gael here, I think he might have tried to hurt me!


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Red: All I have learned is that it is not safe to marry anyone in the current situation! =



Charlie: [To Kay] Sorry, dear! [Attempts to punch Gael]


Austin : [To Red] In any situation!


Gael: [Laughs at Austin] Hah! A pregnant woman has to protect you!

[Bam! CHARLIE punches GAEL square in the nose, knocking him off his stool and onto the floor.]

Gael: Ow! Kay! Help!


Austin : She act purely out of her own volition, and I sincerely and comprehensively doubt the posutlate that she is doing this to protect me!

;;; out for a while


Kay: [gets between Gael and Charlie] Hey! Stop it! All of you! No throwing things, no punching, and certainly no stabbing!


Gael: [Gets up and dusts himself off] No problem, my dear. But really? Is this [looks at Austin with disgust] really the sort of person I trained you to work with? A coward who needs a pregnant woman to protect and who then denies it? Kay, [fixes her with a steely gaze] is it really you?

Valerie: [Draws a dagger and adopts a defensive stance near Gael] Gael, do you think they got to our friends?


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Red: [Looks shocked] Put the weapon away Valerie! This is now how you wouldact! =



Valerie: It is when I think one of my best friends might be a zombie!


Charlie: [To Red] Quite right, and that is why we must leave at once. [To the party, heading for the door] Chop chop!!


Kay: [crosses her arms and looks from Gael to Charlie] How do we know we're not the zombies? Do they have a heartbeat? Do they breathe? Do they have any visible wounds? We could all be right, and we could all be wrong!


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Red: [To Charlie] I just found Valerie again since a long time=2C I will not just leave her like this. [To Valerie] Pointing a weapon will solve nothi= ng=2C let's just grab a table together and figure out what is happening here. Maybe we ca fix it together=2C [face relaxes and a moment passes] like t= he old days? --_0f574b90-849c-4434-950a-966910d6d4ee_


Gael: Well said, Kay! Do you even know these people?

Mary: How about whoever is behaving differently to the way they normally do? [Points at Gael and Valerie] Both of them have surprised you, and [points to Austin] his reaction to being hit by [back to Gael] and defended by [points to Charlie] her, was to accuse her of being up to something else. [To the party] Am I wrong? Or are there three potential zombies here?

Valerie: [To Red] Hm, I like that. Maybe somewhere private? [Licks her lips salaciously]


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Red: [Doubt written on his face] [To Isobel] Is there a room here and can we have two drinks? =



Isobel: Only if you're married!

Valerie: Oh, what the hell! What do you say, Red? It's the end of the world! We might as well go out on a high!




[Both VALERIE and GAEL begin to glow. Strangely enough, so too does ALICE's Coke-A-Coal-A.]

Mary: So, these two definitely are zombies! [Points at Austin] What about him? [To Charlie] Or her? Why did he claim that her trying to protect him was something different?


Charlie: [Tosses Dur a copper piece] Well done, Dur! [To Red and Kay] Can you see now what we mean? Sadly, these are just imitations of the ones you cared for!


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM4Mw0KDQo+ICAgIFtCb3RoIFZBTEVSSUUgYW5kIEdBRUwgYmVnaW4g dG8gZ2xvdy4gU3RyYW5nZWx5IGVub3VnaCwgc28gdG9vIGRvZXMgQUxJQ0UncyBDb2tlLUEtQ29h bC1BLl0NCj4NCj5NYXJ5OiBTbywgdGhlc2UgdHdvIGRlZmluaXRlbHkgYXJlIHpvbWJpZXMhIFtQ b2ludHMgYXQgQXVzdGluXSBXaGF0IGFib3V0IGhpbT8gW1RvIENoYXJsaWVdIE9yIGhlcj8gV2h5 IGRpZCBoZSBjbGFpbSB0aGF0IGhlciB0cnlpbmcgdG8gcHJvdGVjdCBoaW0gd2FzIHNvbWV0aGlu ZyBkaWZmZXJlbnQ/DQoNCkR1cjogW1NocnVnc10gSGUncyBhIExBV1lFUi4gSGUgcHJvYmFibHkg anVzdCB3YW50ZWQgcGxhdXNpYmxlIGRlbmlhYmlsaXR5IGlmIGl0IGV2ZXIgY2FtZSB0byB0ZXN0 aW1vbnkgaW4gY291cnQgb3Igc29tZXRoaW5nLiANCg0KOzs7VGhlIGdyb3VwIGtub3dzIGFib3V0 IHRoZSBkZW1vbiBwbG90dGluZyB0byBnZXQgYSBob2xkIGluIHRoZSB3b3JsZCB0aHJvdWdoIG1h cnJpYWdlIHJpZ2h0PyBBbGwgYnV0IHRoZSBuZXdjb21lcnM/DQo


;;; Yes, only Red and Kay don't know about the marriage/demon thing,

;;; although Clint did warn about it in 09.05.014

Mary: Remind me not to be tempted to come to his aid if he gets attacked.

Valerie: [Snorts at Charlie's words] That means nothing! Smoke and mirrors, Red! You should know that we have no idea of what spell he cast. Come on, let's get that room. We can be hitched in a few minutes.


TGFzdCBmcm9tIENvbm9yICM4NQ0KDQo+TWFyeTogUmVtaW5kIG1lIG5vdCB0byBiZSB0ZW1wdGVk IHRvIGNvbWUgdG8gaGlzIGFpZCBpZiBoZSBnZXRzIGF0dGFja2VkLg0KPg0KPlZhbGVyaWU6IFtT bm9ydHMgYXQgQ2hhcmxpZSdzIHdvcmRzXSBUaGF0IG1lYW5zIG5vdGhpbmchIFNtb2tlIGFuZCBt aXJyb3JzLCBSZWQhIFlvdSBzaG91bGQga25vdyB0aGF0IHdlIGhhdmUgbm8gaWRlYSBvZiB3aGF0 IHNwZWxsIGhlIGNhc3QuIENvbWUgb24sIGxldCdzIGdldCB0aGF0IHJvb20uIFdlIGNhbiBiZSBo aXRjaGVkIGluIGEgZmV3IG1pbnV0ZXMuDQoNCkR1cjogSW5kZWVkIHlvdSBjb3VsZCBiZSBtYXJy aWVkIGluIG1vbWVudHMuIFlvdSBjb3VsZCBBTFNPIGJlIHJlc3BvbnNpYmxlIGZvciBvcGVuaW5n IHRoZSBkb29yIHRvIHVuc3BlYWthYmxlIGhvcnJvciBhbmQgY3JpbWVzIGFnYWluc3QgaHVtYW5p dHkuIEFuZCB0aGVuIHRoZXJlJ3MgdGhlIGRlbW9uIHRvIHdvcnJ5IGFib3V0IQ0K


Charlie: [Nods vigorously] Dur is quite right! [Urgently] We must leave immediately--and no weddings!


Valerie: [Grabs Red's arm] Come on, let's ignore them!

Gael: She's right, Kay! We need to go! Come on, girl!


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Red: [Tries to identify the spell] Uhm....=20 3B=3B=3B I forgot how to post if there are multiple outcomes :p=3B=3B=3B [If I know it is detect evil] Red: [Shakes arm loose] I'm sorry Valerie.=3B= 3B=3B [If I don't know it] This is no time to get married=2C that is all Iknow. =



[RED casts a spell.]

Red: [Shakes arm loose] I'm sorry Valerie.

Valerie: You idiot! [Swings at Red with a dagger and barely misses him]


Kay: [shakes her head at Gael, sadly] You're behaving strangely, and if you're friends with her [nods towards the now dagger wielding Valerie] I think maybe you're not who you should be... [steps away from Gael] I'm sorry...I really miss you.


Gael: You dumb bitch! First you get your parents killed and now your stupidity threatens me!

Alice: Hey! [Throws her Coke-A-Coal-A across the bar and hits Gael with it]


Clint: See there? Zombies! Let's get 'em! [Looks around for a chair or something he can theatrically break on Gael's face.]


Kay: [gasps] That's it! You're not Gael! Let's get out of here, people! [she storms off]


Penelope: No! Those chairs are new!

[Incredibly, CLINT doesn't seem to care, and smashes the chair across GAEL's face, knocking him down.]

Alice: Clint! Why would you do that? Clearly [waves her hands around vaguely] it's not to help Kay, because God knows you have to have some other, nefarious reason to want to protect a fellow party member! [Glares at Austin, before drawing her sword and looking around the bar] Who else is a zombie here?

Penelope: I don't know! I swear! We didn't even know that there were zombies until after we had the place open for a few weeks!


Clint: And what's with the zombie drink you served my clearly insane friend here?


Penelope: Which one? They all seem insane!

[VALERIE stabs RED.]

Valerie: You bastard!

;;; Lose 6hp Red

Alice: Sorry Red, but I think your girlfriend is a bit of a b - i - g - h - t. Yeah, that's right, a bitch. [Swings at Valerie and hits her]


Charlie: [Attacks Valerie] You dreadful woman!


[CHARLIE strikes VALERIE, who backs off.]

Gael: Come on! We can take them!

[GAEL suddenly splits in two, so there are now two of him, both the same size and with the same equipment.]


Charlie: [Gasps] Hurry, group! We'd better retreat before they create a clone army!


Alice: And they might have a clone car, with lots of them able to fit into it! Come on, let's get out of here!

;;; Gone for two hours!


Charlie: [Heads out the door. To Red and Kay] Do come with us! We must get away from these creatures!

;;; That's my three!


Austin : [Grabs Red and tries to help him out the door] Run!


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Red: [Gets pulled to the door and complies] She stabbed me... she STABBED me! [Tries to turn around and cast a spell] =



Kay: [had already stormed off because Gael hurt her feelings, but turns around in the doorway when she hears the commotion, and runs back in to help get Red out] Allright! I'm convinced. They are bad.


Alice: Bad and anxious to marry us -- how many times is this going to happen?

[GAEL splits in two again, as does VALERIE. The party get to the door of the bar.]

Alice: Where should we go?


Charlie: [Reaching to open the bar door] Let us try to find Mother again. [To Red and Kay] She hasn't been dead, so she is real and will not try to kill us, I can assure you!




Red: You need to cool down, Valerie! [A burst of ice fires from his hand and hits Valerie]

Alice: Who cares, Dur? As long as she isn't here!

[Exit the party, slamming the door behind them.]

;;; End of scene, next one coming up


[Book IX, Act IX, Scene VI. The Streets of Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY and RED are here, having just slammed the door behind them.]

Alice: How can we possibly find her? Maybe we should go somewhere that only confirmed single people go? You know, that way we know that none of them will be trying to marry us.


Austin : Of course! The morgue! Alice, you are a genius!


Alice: Well, thanks Aus, but I was thinking more along the lines of comic book shops or model railway clubs or Funyons and Dragoons clubs!


Kay: Or a monastery. [she shrugs]


Alice: Good idea! Maybe we could ask those monks back along the road? You know, the crazy ones that we trapped under a tent?


Charlie: Do let us avoid any [finger quotes] crazies just now. Mother certainly would not be in such a place. [Excited] Oh, I know! To the library!


Clint: I know that's your answer to every problem, Sarge, but is a library really going to help us find the Soul Succour?


Alice: [Nods at Clint's words] Well said, Stinky! I mean, I know they're zombies and all, but the library?


Austin : How about the hospital. If it saves souls, that would be a useful place to keep it.


Alice: Why would only single people be in the morgue or hospital?


Austin : [Does a double take at Alice. Slowly] Well, because when you die, your partner becomes single. You get single people in hospitals because no one wants to date a sick person, do they! [Laughs at the idea]


Clint: I dunno, lawyer, it seems pretty hard to avoid people who may or may not be dead in a morgue or a hospital.


Austin : Indeed, but right now it's hard to avoid them in the pub and in the Church too. [Sighs] .



Kay: Why don't we try the library first. No dead, no weddings, no life.


Clint: Well, if we really have to. [Quickly.] But only long enough to find out where the Soul Succour is. Then we're going somewhere less nerdy!


[The party start heading towards a large building at the end of the street, that looks like it is most probably a library.]

Alice: [To Clint] Like the comic book shop?


Charlie: [Excited] There it is! Hurry, group. Mother will surely be there!


[CHARLIE rushes to the door, but, alas, it is locked. However, this clearly is the library.]

Alice: Oh. no. It is locked. What a pity.


Kay: Who is this Mother, anyway? [tries to push the door open with her shoulder]


Charlie: [Laughs sheepishly] Oh, yes! That is a bit confusing. I in fact mean my own mother, Helena Parker-Kensington, who is at present researching the prophecy. We are not certain who or what THE Mother is meant to be, though we hope the prophecy might shed some light.


[The door opens a few inches, but is held by a chain. A stern looking woman, EVELYN HULL, glares out.]

Evelyn: Sh!


Austin : [Writes "Can we come in please, we want to read books", on a piece of paper and hands it to Evelyn]


Alice: Oh man! She'll never believe that!

[EVELYN studies the paper and looks overjoyed.]

Evelyn: [Opens the door] Come in! I have pairs of slippers for everyone!


Charlie: [Delighted] Oh, how WONDERFUL. Do tell me you have the latest issue of Science and Stuff?!


Kay: [slips inside, looking like she had just leaned on the door] Have you got anything on prophecies? [politely]


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Red: [Tries to hide that fact that he is stabbed nonchalantly] And some oldspell books or tomes? Got to love your old books! =



Alice: [Starting to look panicky at all this nerdiness] Maybe those zombies weren't so bad after all!

Evelyn: [Points the party to an array of fuzzy slippers, most of which are either in the shape of animal claws or heads] Oh, yes, yes! [Squirms with excitement] We have every issue of the National Journal of Science and Stuff, right up until it was banned! And [gives a groan of pleasure] Lots of tomes on prophecies and many, many [licks her lips] delicious tomes old books.


Charlie: [Eagerly snags cat's paw slippers, squealing] Oh, how whimsical! [To Evelyn, taken aback] Wait, did you say the National Journal of Science and Stuff has been BANNED?


Evelyn: Not just that, [hefts out a huge book and puts it down on a table in front of the slippers] This too!

Alice: [Putting on a pair of slippers that look like very hairy feet] In fairness, that's such a big book, no one would probably want to read it.

Evelyn: It's not a book. It's a list of books they've banned!


Kay: HARMA, huh? So, basically, they don't want people to know stuff? [she lips on a pair of fluffy bunny slippers]


TGFzdCBmcm9tIFRvcmlsICMzMA0KDQo+S2F5OiBIQVJNQSwgaHVoPyBTbywgYmFzaWNhbGx5LCB0 aGV5IGRvbid0IHdhbnQgcGVvcGxlIHRvIGtub3cgc3R1ZmY/IFtzaGUgbGlwcyBvbiBhIHBhaXIg b2YgZmx1ZmZ5IGJ1bm55IHNsaXBwZXJzXQ0KDQpEdXI6IFdlbGwgdGhhdCBpcyBoYXJkbHkgYSBz dXJwcmlzZSBnaXZlbiBob3cgSEFSTUEgb3BlcmF0ZXMuIFdoYXQgd2UgcmVhbGx5IHNob3VsZCBm b2N1cyBvbiBpcyBmaW5kaW5nIHdobyB3ZSBjYW1lIGxvb2tpbmcgZm9yLiANCg


Austin : [Takes a pair of deep scarlet silk evening slippers from his satchel, and puts them on] Yes, the Soul Succour, do you have anything that references that?


Charlie: [Eagerly] Indeed, that would be most helpful. And could you tell us if you have met a Helena Parker-Kensington?


Kay: [skims through the pages of the book of banned books]


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Red: [Picks a pair of bunny heads and puts them on and looks over the shoulder of Kay] 3B=3B=3BAway --_d8471b1c-b596-4937-9ac6-e4a43028d01d_


Evelyn: I'm afraid I'm not familiar with it, but if it is a magical item, you would need to check out the section in the basement.


Charlie: How thrilling! [Heads for the basement] Come along, group! [Encouragingly] Fear not, I shall help you navigate the stacks.


TGFzdCBmcm9tIEhlYXRoZXIgIzM0DQoNCj5DaGFybGllOiBIb3cgdGhyaWxsaW5nISAgW0hlYWRz IGZvciB0aGUgYmFzZW1lbnRdIENvbWUgYWxvbmcsIGdyb3VwISBbRW5jb3VyYWdpbmdseV0gRmVh ciBub3QsIEkgc2hhbGwgaGVscCB5b3UgbmF2aWdhdGUgdGhlIHN0YWNrcy4NCg0KRHVyOiBbUm9s bHMgaGlzIGV5ZXNdIE9oIHlheSENCg


Clint: [Changes into the rattiest pair of slippers he can find, much to the party's olfactory displeasure as he removes his shoes.] Y'know, sometimes HARMA has good ideas! [Eyes the list of banned books.]


Austin : It looks like they simply banned all books. [Follows after Charlie]

;;;awa hame


Clint: What fine civic-minded people! [Follows.]


Alice: [Struggling to stay with Charlie as she skillfully maneuvers through the stacks] I know! Isn't it confusing, Stinky? I thought we should hate HARMA!

Evelyn: [Easily staying with Charlie] Yes, I fear that they have simply banned all books. Fortunately they are too frightened to enter Nostalgia to confiscate ours. Now, you will need to be extra quiet in the basement, as there is already someone else there.


Kay: [curious and wary] Who's here?


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=3B=3B=3B Looks like I'm back :p Red: [A look of fright goes over his face] More zombies? --_65340c91-17ce-426c-91bd-7ce48d7d45b7_


Clint: Nah. Zombies probably have better things to do than to read books in a basement. It's probably Chuck's mom or maybe [with considerable distaste] the lawyer's girlfriend.


Charlie: [Shudders] Oh, dear GOD, I should hope not! [Brightly] Surely it is Mother, or perhaps Alistair!

;;; Alistair Finley, FYI Toril and Maikel!


Austin : Amelia is a sweet and lovely woman, although if you prefer zombies for company I am sure that can be arranged.

;;;out for the day!


Alice: Zombies probably would have nicer dispositions!

[The party enter the basement, which is huge, and covered with massive shelves.]

Evelyn: The other person is over in section 13.


Kay: Alistair Finley?! I hope so, maybe we can get some more information. [she stops and thinks] Or maybe not...


Charlie: [Scurries over to section 13] Helloooo? Mother?!


Alice: How are we supposed to know which is section 13? There must be dozens here?

Evelyn: There are a hundred.

[HELENA's voice sounds from behind some stacks.]

Helena: Charlie?


Last from me 47

Evelyn: Each section is denoted by a large a Roman Numeral on its floor.


Charlie: [Rushes to section 13, delighted] Mother, how wonderful!


Alice: [To Red and Kay] This is Charlie's mother. [Lowers her voice] She's way less fun than her gran!

Helena: Please, Charlie, control yourself! [Looks her over] I'm very pleased to see you. Have you found out anything about the prophecy?


Charlie: [Dismayed] No, we had hoped perhaps you had found something. [Hopefully] Have you?


Helena: Other than a librarian who seems to have a rather inappropriately strong desire to enjoy books [everyone glances at Evelyn who's squirming in delight as she reads a book about wallpaper] it's all very vague. I've found several volumes that suggest the prophecy is in this very library!


Charlie: [Eagerly reaches for a nearby book] How thrilling! Let me help you search. [To the party] Now, how many of you are literate? [To Dur, helpfully] That means [finger quotes] able to read.


Kay: [raises hand] I am. Literally. [grabs a book from a nearby shelf by walking along it with her eyes closed, then picking one at random]


Alice: [Helpfully] I can hold a book on my head while walking.

Helena: So far all I have found are references to "X marking the spot". I fear if we simply search the books at random in the hope finding the prophecy, it would take years.


Clint: Nah. All we have to do is look through every book that has an X in it. That can't be all of them, right?

;;; I think I've seen this one somewhere!


Austin : [Clears his throat] Ahem, perhaps that simply refers to the roman numberal X, and hence section ten would be the appropriate place to look. [Goes over to section ten]


;;; We'll see!

Alice: All my schoolbooks had loads of Xs! I think the teacher wanted to put little kisses on them.


Alice: Gosh, Aus! You're right! That's great! You're way cleverer than those nerdy Parker-Kensingtons!

[Everyone, including the nerdy Parker-Kensingtons, heads over to Section 10. The section seems identical to the others, and the topics seem to be almost entirely about using magical items to increase male penis size.]

Alice: Oh, well, that's disappointing. [Peeks at one book] Yikes! [Blushes] Er, you know, I might, um, hang onto this one.


Clint: Haw! What kind of loser believes this stuff actually works? It's just a trick to try to get more cash from you! [Pauses.] Or so I've heard.


Kay: [checks out the books] Wow....I didn't realise size mattered that much. Are we sure it's a prophecy we're looking for, and not a phallusy?


Alice: [Laughs] It's a phallusy that size doesn't matter!

Evelyn: Sh!


Austin : [Looking for the most valuable book that would fit in his satchel, checks to see if anyone is looking]


Charlie: [Surveying the books with disappointment] Perhaps it is buried under the section title? [Examines the X on the floor]


Austin : [Helps Charlie examining the X area for a trap door] Good idea!


[The tiles seem quite firm, and, even though everyone joins in with the search, there are no obvious places to lift.]

Alice: Maybe it's a different X?


Charlie: Perhaps alphabetical? [Frowns] Though we would need to check each section for the Xs. [To Helena] What books are you reading now? What drew you to them?


Helena: Random search!

Alice: [To Evelyn] How many sections are there?

Evelyn: 500.

Alice: That's a lot of Xs! Almost as many as Alice! [Laughs so hard that milk comes out her nose, but then stops abruptly] Hey! That's not funny!


Charlie: [Undeterred, to Helena] Have you tried to card catalog? Perhaps we could look there for promising titles in the Xs?


Helena: Of course I tried the card catalog. I believe that there is some other piece of information that points us towards what X is. Perhaps some sacred equation or some such?


Kay: How are the rows of shelves arranged? Do they form an X in any way?


Charlie: [Takes a looks at the rows] Good question! [Examines the shelves, asking Helena] A formula? Perhaps the Math section should be our next stop?!


Last from Toril 69

Helena: Unfortunately not. It's just a huge cavern of a place.


Alice: More reading? Surely there has to be a better way!


Charlie: [To Alice] Well, aren't you the math [finger quotes] genius? [To Helena] Could you show Alice the text in which you found the references to X?


Alice: I'm not a math [finger quotes] genius. I'm a math genius.

Helena: It's in very many, but only ever referred to as something we should already know. Is there any thing else you may have come across that might indicate where it could be? Some sort of suggestion as to a number we may be looking for?


Charlie: [Snaps her fingers] Of course! How could we forget those peculiar men chanting numbers and whacking themselves in the head! [Furiously flips through her notebook] What WERE those numbers?


Kay: Red wrote them down. I was busy with the tent.


Last from Toril 74

Alice: As a [finger quotes] math genius, I remember them. 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19


Charlie: [Not listening to Alice, triumphantly pulls out a notepad] Aha! [Flips furiously] Here it is! Aren't all of you lucky I pay attention?! 2, 1, 3, 5, 11, 19! What's missing?!


Clint: An explanation? They seem random to me!


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Austin : A bar with some good brandy!

;;; awa


Alice: Great idea, Dur! I bet that's it!

[The party rush to section 2 ("Woodwork").]

Alice: I bet it's the first book, I just know it! [Grabs the first book and reads the title] "Fancy Coffins to make yourself". Hm.


Austin : [To Alice] Is there a missing number? Why do they say 2 before 1?


Alice: I don't know -- they seemed pretty sure that these were the numbers, as they did say them over and over. Maybe the order means something?


Austin : They could reference a section in a book, chapter 2, page 1, section Or something like that?


Alice: They could, but if it's this book, then maybe it is chapter 3, page 5, section 11.19? [Skips to the page] The word is.... balls. Hm.


Charlie: Surely it is a missing number in the sequence, isn't it? You know, X! What is missing in that sequence [squints at the numbers] ? Does anyone see a pattern?


Alice: That's it! It's the next number in the sequence! [Thinks for a moment] Huh. It's weird. I know all sorts of math except sequences. I wonder what it could be.

;;; Nope, Alice can't solve this one!


Charlie: Well, they are prime numbers, aren't they? Not quite in order, though--and the one is in an odd spot. [Hopefully] Is there anything in that?


Kay: [shrugs] Math was never my strong suit. But the NeXT number in the sequence should be 35, I think. But I agree, the 1 is in an odd spot.


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Red: Maybe it is a book code? [Looks for a number in or on the books and shelves] =



[There are, alas, hundreds of thousands of books. The party head to section 35.]

Alice: So, section 35 because it is the sum of the last three numbers, right?

[Section 35 is about "Cement". However, there are no obvious trapdoors or loose tiles.]


Kay: How about turning the numbers into letters? That would spell B-A-C-E-K.S, I think...Does that mean anything to you?


Alice: Baceks? Holy crap! We were told that the Baceks would be the end of the world!


Charlie: [Gasps] Quite right! It would spell Baceks! [Puzzled] Then what does X marks the spot mean? The sound of [finger quotes] eks, perhaps? [Looks around] Are there books here on Baceks?


Evelyn: Alas not. I only very recently heard the word. [Looks at the numbers] I think you may have been on the right track trying to guess the next number, but the way you got 35 doesn't work for all the numbers, does it?

Alice: She's right. 11 is the sum of the four behind it, but 19 is the sum of the three behind it.


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Red: Than the next is the sum of 11 and 19=2C so 30? Or maybe eks does markthe spot=2C what do we have with 5=2C 11=2C 19? =



Kay: But 5 is not the sum of 3 and 1, but 3 and 2. And 3 is the sum of 2 and 1, but what about the 1?


Alice: Lots of sequences are like that -- that the first few numbers are special ones that the rest depend on.


Austin : A bit like you and I Alice. [Casually checks his perfect nails]


TGFzdCBmcm9tIERvbSAjOTQNCg0KPkF1c3RpbiA6IEEgYml0IGxpa2UgeW91IGFuZCBJIEFsaWNl LiBbQ2FzdWFsbHkgY2hlY2tzIGhpcyBwZXJmZWN0IG5haWxzXQ0KDQpEdXI6IFtDbGVhcmx5IGlu IHBhaW4gZnJvbSBhbGwgdGhlIG1hdGhdIFBlcmhhcHMgd2UganVzdCBuZWVkIHRvIGFkZCBtb3Jl IG51bWJlcnMgdG9nZXRoZXIgZm9yIHRoZSBuZXh0IG51bWJlcj8gUGVyaGFwcyBzZWN0aW9uIDM4 PyBPciBzZWN0aW9uIDM5IG9yIDQxPyBXaGF0IGFyZSB0aG9zZSBzZWN0aW9ucz8NCg


Charlie: [Scribbling furiously] Is the sequence missing an 8, perhaps? Between the 5 and 11?


Alice: [To Austin] They'd be lost without us, Aus!

Evelyn: Section 38 is about Fish, 39 about Plastic and 41 is part of several sections on sexual deviation. Shall we check out the first one?


Austin : I find it best to work from both ends at once. [Goes to section 41]


Charlie: [To Evelyn] Yes, shortly, but what is Section 8?


Evelyn: Self assembled furniture.

Alice: Let's stay with Aus, just in case he opens up a trapdoor that kills him. Why 41?

[The others follow AUSTIN and search around, but, alas, nothing is found.]


Clint: [Counting silently on his fingers.] What about section 24? If "X" marks the spot and we're turning letters into numbers, wouldn't X be 24?


Alice: Let's put that in the queue, Stinky.

[The party go to section 38. Within seconds, DUR discovers a loose tile.]

Alice: Hooray! Well done, Dur! You're a genius! [Looks at the numbers] Hm, it's an alternating sequence. 11 is the sum of the four numbers before it, while 19 is the sum of the three numbers before it. That's where he got 38 -- by adding 19, 11, 5 and 3! See? The next number would be 38 + 19 + 11 + 5. If we needed another number, that is.




Charlie: [Astonished] Well done, Dur! [Hands him an apple and pats him on the head]


Clint: [Equally astonished.] Hey, not bad, Doc. Now let's get that prophecy! [Tries to lift the loose tile.]


[CLINT easily prises it up, and the party can see that this loosens several more.]

Alice: Hurrah! We're going to save the world!

Evelyn: Sh!


Austin : Or destroy the floor. [Inspects the hole]


Kay: [helps lift the tiles] Anybody see anything?


Alice: [Also lifting a tile] It's like there's just earth there. That's kind of weird, isn't it?


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Red: Let's unearth this problem. Any chance there is a shovel around here? =



Austin : [Goes for a snoop around, to see what he can find] I'll haev a look.


Charlie: [Prods at the soil with her fingers] While you do, I'll see if I can feel anything solid!

;;; Does she?


[Rather surprisingly, AUSTIN returns with several shovels and other excavation tools.]

Alice: Why on earth is all that stuff in a book store?

Evelyn: It's not a book store, it's a library.

Alice: What's the difference?


[CHARLIE recklessly sticks her fingers into the soil. There is definitely something metal there.]

Alice: Right, Austin. Dig in!


Austin : Yes, let's put our backs into it! [Gives a shovel etc to Clint. Dur, Charlie and Alice, leaving himself empty handed, to supervise] If we take a side each it will be quicker. [Stands back to let the others dig]


Charlie: [Eagerly grabs the shovel] Do be careful, everyone! This could be a very delicate item. [Gingerly pokes at the dirt with her shovel]


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Red: [Grabs a minuscule brush and waits for the first item to be dug up] =



Austin : [Stands well beck from the dirt, and puts on some spotless overalls] Careful now!


Alice: [Shovelling dirt] Wow! This is great! Everyone digging in and working hard together! It's like we're a bunch of Oirish -- except with smaller heads and less alcohol!

[With everyone except RED and AUSTIN shovelling and scraping, soon a large area is uncovered. It is a large metal trapdoor.]

Alice: [Looks at the shape on the trapdoor] Oh dear. That can't be good!


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Charlie: [Studies the trapdoor] Hmm, haven't we seen this before? [Quickly sketches the image in her notebook]

;;; Wasn't this something called The Heart, Conor?


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Red: [Dusts of the symbol] This is a fractal thingy right? [Looks at Alice] What do you think math expert? =



Kay: [tilts her head, studying the door] I've never seen anything like that before. Not since that plumber that fixed our sink...


Alice: It's the symbol for The Heart -- we've seen it before. The Heart is what gives the world its life force. Why there'd be any sort of life in a place as dull as a library is anyone's guess.

Evelyn: Hey!

Alice: Sh!

;;; The Heart and discovering what it did dominated Book IV.

Basically, the heart

;;; is what powers life in a (for there are many) world, and it

requires a balance

;;; of good and evil to survive. Most people have not heard of it, even if they

;;; recognise the symbol (as Red does).


Charlie: [To Alice, aghast] What do you mean? The library is the most thrilling place in the world! [All business] Now, let's see how to open this. [Tentatively touches The Heart]


Austin : [Dabbing his brow with a handkerchief] Good work team! [Studies the Heart. Ah, it looks like things are gettng serious [Carefully puts on sonme rubber gloves and insepects the Heart/ container for a lock etc]



Clint: [Eyes the Heart with concern.] Man, getting that trapdoor back in place is going to be a real pain in the butt!


[The trapdoor seems to be a normal metal door. Once all the earth has been removed, the party can see that it is simply bolted from this side.]




Alice: Oh come on, Dur! How bad can it be? I mean, what's the worst that could happen?


Clint: It could be the end of the world as we know it?


Alice: True, but take a look around, Stinky. It's not a great world!


Clint: [Shrugs.] True enough! Do we really think a door made to keep something in is hiding the prophecy, though?


Austin : It may simply be to protect the contents. The person who left the clues obviously expected someone to find it. [Starts loosening the bolts if he can]


[It's a struggle, but the bolt is starting to come loose.]

Alice: Maybe it's to stop whatever has the prophecy from getting out?


Austin : There is only one way to find out!


Charlie: [Claps her hands in delight] Oh, I cannot wait! [Starry-eyed] Just think of the days and weeks of research and analysis that must be done once we relocate the prophecy!


Kay: [carefully takes a step back when they open the hatch]


Austin : [Pauses, leaving teh bolt on the lid] Wait a moment, where exactly did we entomb Balkline Groot?


Alice: In the Interior, but last we heard, he was beneath Nostalgia, and was the one responsible for all those weird zombie type things. Why do you as-- oh!


Austin : [Tightens the bolts for saftey] Would the be any reason why there would be a symbol of the Heart on his tomb?


Alice: Is it really his tomb? We didn't put him here, we just left him in the Interior.


Charlie: [Dismayed] But we must open this! The prophecy might be hidden here.


Kay: And what will happen if it's that guy you talked about? Instant zombification?


TGFzdCBmcm9tIEhlYXRoZXIgIzEzOQ0KDQo+Q2hhcmxpZTogW0Rpc21heWVkXSBCdXQgd2UgbXVz dCBvcGVuIHRoaXMhICBUaGUgcHJvcGhlY3kgbWlnaHQgYmUgaGlkZGVuIGhlcmUuDQoNCkR1cjog SSBkb24ndCBzZWUgdGhhdCB3ZSBoYXZlIG11Y2ggYSBjaG9pY2UuIEJlc2lkZXMsIHdlIGhhbmRs ZWQgaGltIG9uY2UgZGlkbid0IHdlPw0K


Austin : Let's do this! [Undoes the bolts]


Alice: [Reassuringly] He was able to make the zombies even from inside there, Kay. If he gets out it'll be much worse!

[The bolts are opened. So far, nothing has leapt out and attacked the party.]


Charlie: [Tries to look inside] Does anyone see anything?


[CHARLIE lifts the door a fraction of an inch, but it is very heavy.]

Alice: We probably all need to lift it up.


Austin : [Helps] Come on everyone!


Charlie: [Lifting with Austin] Oh, I cannot wait to see the prophecy, at last!


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Austin : [Excited] It might even be the Heart of this world, we havenot seen that for a while!



Evelyn: [To Alice] Did you just say creeeak?

Alice: I thought it would make it more atmospheric!

[It is pitch dark beneath the trapdoor, but the party can see steps leading down. It is extremely dusty and looks as though it hasn't been disturbed in years.]


Charlie: [Attempts to walk down the stairs. To the party] Follow me, group, and take care!


Austin : Looks like they forgot to pay the staff!


[The party light some torches and head down, leaving HELENA and EVELYN waiting.]

Helena: Goodness. That was very exciting.

Evelyn: Sh!

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up!


Kay: [looks around for a light source, lamp, candle or similar] We'll need some light going down there, cause something tells me that's something you're likely to do.


[Book IX, Act IX, Scene VII. The Very Dark Cave. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY and RED are here, holding a variety of candles and torches.]

Alice: The last time we met Balkline, he gave everyone all sorts of crazy visions, so let's be extra careful here!


Clint: Say, do we need to be extra careful not to marry someone, or does that not matter now?


Austin : Anyone who marries you should be more careful, Mr Scar!


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Alice: Anyone who stands near him should be careful, Aus!

[The party advance further down, and can see a flickering light ahead, down in the darkness.]


Charlie: [Whispers] Careful, group! Someone appears to have beaten us here! [Continues slowly toward the light]


Kay: [frowns] It's kind of ominoous when you enter a place that's bolted shut, and buried under a stone floor, and there's lit torches already...


Alice: Cheer up, Kay -- maybe it's just some demons who came in a different way!

[As the party get closer, they can see there doesn't appear to be any people around, just a flame. They are now about thirty feet away.]


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Red: Maybe it's a magic flame=2C lit a long long time ago? --_03d36780-5e23-4ed0-96ea-719401bbac30_


Kay: I hope so.

;;;out for a few hours


Charlie: [Readies her sword] But just in case. . . !


[As they approach, the party can see that it isn't just a flame, but a tiny monster engulfed in flames. This is BALKLINE GROOT.]

Alice: Hey! That's the guy we trapped down here. I remember him being bigger!


Charlie: [Coos] Oh, isn't he sweet? Like a little kitten! [Dismayed] But where is the prophecy? [Looks around for the prophecy]


Balkline: [Roars in anger, which sounds like a little mewl] Do not disrespect me! I have the prophecy!


Charlie: [Excited] Marvelous! Could we please have the prophecy? [Temptingly] I'll give you some string to play with and a bowl of milk as a treat!


Austin : Consider the fact that your initial approaches to any situation are deceit, illusion, and intimidation, before demanding respect. Shorty. [Readies his sling shot]

;;; I assume that we have our weapons - does Austin still have the

dagger he stabbed Jerome with?


Balkline: [Snorts out some flames] That's Dr. Shorty to you! I will help you find the prophecy, but first you must release me.

;;; Yes, and of course, Austin would never willingly lose that weapon!!!


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Balkline: Yes. Wow, you really are the ugliest woman I've ever seen! Release me and I will help you pass the next hurdle.


Austin : And how do we release you?


Balkline: The key to my release is in the library -- if you destroy the book that contains the spell that traps me here, I will be free, free to help you!

Alice: Yeesh, who would ever have guessed that a library would hold anything useful!


Charlie: [To Alice] Do be serious! [To Balkine] If we release you, how do we know you won't go back to being terribly naughty?


Austin : That is just the problem. Everything he says could be a lie, or a distortion of the truth, including everything he has just said. He may not have the prophecy at all, or be able to help us get it. I suggest that we leave this place and replace the door, bolt it back down and look of other potential paths to the prophecy.


Charlie: I agree we should not release him, but do let us look around a bit before we leave. Perhaps there is something of use here--or even the prophecy itself!


Balkline: Hey! I've turned over a new leaf! No more fibbing for Balkline, nope, not me! All the truth all the time! Try me!


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Balkline: It was to help me escape -- if I could get someone to love me, to truly love me, then the magic it would create would set me free.

Alice: Even if the love was a lie?

Balkline: All love is a lie.

Alice: Mine and Deucie's wasn't!

Balkline: Biggest lie since "my hair is naturally blonde".


Charlie: [To Balkine] How could YOU possibly know whether or not their love was true? [To Alice] Though, to be fair, it was a bit of a sham, wasn't it?


Alice: Yeah, I suppose... [thinks for a moment] Hey!


Charlie: [To Alice, reassuringly] Not everyone can be as perfectly matched as Pestilence and I! [To Balkine] As a show of good faith, why don't you prove your new, improved attitude by telling us how to obtain the prophecy?


Alice: Thank God for that!

Balkline: Sure thing, Charlie! It's just down these steps. Of course, thirty feet of them have been removed, so there's just a gaping hole, but once someone shows you how the mechanism to bring them back works, you'll be perf! See? I put the me in team!


Kay: One day when we're not busy saving the world and stuff, you have to tell me more about all these weird relationships of yours... [She looks at the others, then to Balkline, trying to see if he's lying or not]


Charlie: [To Balkine] Splendid! We shall investigate. [Goes to see if the steps are as described]

;;; Sorry, forget to say I would be out a couple of hours. Back now!


[It seems impossible to tell if BALKLINE is lying.]

Balkline: Come on, team! If you think you can find a different way in, or somehow leap across the chasm, then fine, but other than that, it's time to set me free!


Austin : [To the party] We should go back up and then divert a river down here, flood the place and wash out the undesirables.


Alice: [Horrified] Austin! Don't say the W word in front of Clint and Dur!

[The party move on a few steps and see that this does indeed appear to be the case. There are at least forty steps missing, and the drop is deeper than they can see. The walls are completely sheer and smooth, so it looks virtually impossible to climb along them.]


Austin : We could get ropes, but just to re-iterate, Balkline always lies, there is no good reason to expect the Prohecy to be down there, or that Balkline will help us. [Looks suspiciously down the hole]


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Balkline: [Laughs] Your magic won't work here, little man!


Charlie: [Looks down] How bad is the jump, really?


Alice: Forty steps? It's huge! We'd never make it -- and I'm not sure about your rope idea, Aus. What are we going to tie it to?


Charlie: [To Balkine] Surely you can give us a little hint as to how to operate the stairs? Don't you trust us to assist you if you assist us? We ARE the [finger quotes] good guys, after all.


Balkline: No I don't. These others could have released me years ago and didn't.

Alice: That's true. He made us see all sorts of crazy visions and illusions, but he was too annoying to help. [To Dur] How come your magic doesn't work here if his does?


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Clint: Well, my guess would be because one of them is an ancient demon and one of them is, y'know, Dur!

;;; Sorry all. It's been a hell of a week - we're on our *second*

visitor from Yurp this week today.


;;; Nope!

Balkline: That's right! The only way you'll be able to get across the huge chasm is by me helping you.

Alice: It's okay, Dur. It happens to all magic users at some stage.


Clint: I agree with the lawyer. I say we get ropes and make our own bridge! But also, this guy here can make us see stuff, so what's to say the steps aren't actually there and he's just hiding them from us?


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Austin : [Checks with a gloved hand to see if the stairs have really gone] Even if we do get down there, there is no guarantee that the prophecy is down there.

;;; out all day


Balkline: Hey! Be careful! That's a really steep drop!

[AUSTIN ignores BALKLINE's warning and feels around. The steps are most definitely there, just invisible.]

Alice: Yay! Well done, Aus! [Quietly to the others] Oh god, he'll be unbearable after this!


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Red: So=2C no marrying=2C no trusting demons. Any other wise lessons you guys learned the hard way? =



Charlie: [To Austin, delighted] Well done, Mr. Sleaze! [Carefully starts down the steps. To Red] Oh, we have learned ever so many lessons the hard way, I hardly know where to start!


Alice: [To Red] When a priest tells you that you need to take your shirt off to make god happy, you probably shouldn't.

[CHARLIE tentatively puts her foot onto the first step, and it holds her weight.]

;;; Dom is gone

Austin: [On a smug setting of 11] The word genius is often bandied about, but there are times when it is appropriate. [Looks at his perfectly manicured nails and gives a satisfied sigh]


Charlie: [Delighted] It seems solid! I shall go down first. Wait here, and I shall tell you whether or not it is safe to follow. [Heads down the stairs]


;;; Toril is also out!

Kay: Let's all go -- just in case!

Balkline: Hey! Stop that! Stop that or else!


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Red: [To Balkline] Or what? You just tried to trick us and we [looks at Austin] were to smart for you. This party has already bested you and now they = have reinforcements [looks at Kay and smiles] . I think it is best to take your loss and go sit in a corner. [Keeps an eye on Balkline] 3B=3B=3B Is Balkline that short/cute? Picture tell a different story than your reactions to him :p =



Charlie: All right, come along, group! [Heads for the stairs]

;;; He's horrible, just tiny and immobilized, so we're teasing him! : )


Balkline: STOP! [Starts to grow, very quickly] Stop or I will smith you!

Alice: I thought the word was smite?

Balkline: No, it's smith, like a blacksmith putting something into the fire.

Alice: I don't think that's right.

Balkline: Who cares!

Alice: Hey, everyone should care about correct word sandwich!

;;; Rather tackily, I might add!


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Alice: Uh, yeah! There's a sandwich at the bottom of the steps!


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Balkline: [Now huge] Roooooar!!

Alice: Let's go!

Kay: How come he doesn't feel hotter? He is made of flames, isn't he?

[She's right. He appears to be generating surprisingly little heat for a twelve foot monster made up mainly of flame.]


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Austin: Or perhaps it is a trick to chase us towards whatever death trap awaits us at the bottom? [Hurries down the stairs, taking care to stay in the middle of the pack]


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Clint: [Hustling down the stairs as best as one can under the circumstances.] Don't worry, doc. I don't think the poison's been invented that can take you out!


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Red: [Follows as last=2C eyeing the not-so-little demon] --_0f295465-a598-4136-835d-afc897b6efa4_


Balkline: [Charges after the party] Fear me!

[The stairs lead further down into the darkness, and the party can see that they eventually reach a corridor that stretches out into the distance.]


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Clint: Man, what I wouldn't give for a 10-foot pole right about now!


Alice: Why? To not touch Dur with it?

;;; Zing!




[The party reach the corridor, only to see BALKLINE appear in front of them again, now about six feet tall.]

Balkline: Halt! Halt or die!

;;; Sure!


Austin : [Carefully checking the floor around him to make sure it is not an illusion] What is it this time? [Sighs]


Charlie: [Warily] Indeed, why are you so unhappy?! You appear to now be free!


Balkline: Because I am still trapped beneath this awful place! Now, I've tried to be nice about this, but enough's enough!

Alice: Yeesh, he wasn't really all that nice, was he?


Kay: [nocks an arrow on her bow] I'm sorry, but you're in our way. Please move.


Balkline: Fool! Your little sticks and stones will not break my bones!

Alice: What if we call you mean names?

Balkline: [Sadly] That might actually hurt me. I'm very sensitive.


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Red: What if you helped us=2C no tricks but truly help us. Then maybe you would be loved and you get the attention you so desperately want? =



Austin : You need to be very careful when bargaining with demons, even a sniveling wretch like Balkline. Unfortunately the chances of him helping us for any other reason than helping himself are zero!


Charlie: [Nods emphatically] Mr. Sleaze is quite right. And if Balkine could hurt us, he surely would not have hesitated to do so already!


Balkline: Hey! I'm just misunderstood here -- all I'm asking is for a little help. Look, here's how good I am. I could have killed you ages ago and didn't. See?

[The floor in front of the party certainly seems real.]


Austin : [To the party] As I said before, he needs us for something, or he would not be here, or we would be dead. He probably wants to make us suffer horribly, it's the usual story with demons.


Alice: So what should we do, Aus? He is just standing there in the way.


Austin : [Walks up to Balkline, to see if he is really there, and his flames are hot] A good question!


Charlie: [Goes to help Austin] Do you intend to block our path, Balkine?

;;; Is the flame hot?


Balkline: [Steps back] Careful! You could burn yourselves!

[Neither AUSTIN nor CHARLIE feel any heat.]


Charlie: Indeed?! [Attempts to walk through Balkine]


[BALKLINE disappears, without even as much as a puff of smoke.]


Austin : [Smugly] Just as I suspected. [Smugly, checks to see if the floor in front is solid] Everyone should be aware that anything here could be an illusion. [Checks his perfect nails, smugly]


Alice: Maybe Maplin is an illusion?


Charlie: [Worried] I only hope the prophecy is real!


Clint: You mean, like, rather than trying to use dead loved ones to get free, he's using an imaginary prophecy to trick us more directly?

;;; It's a holiday here in the States so Kevin may be as asleep as I

should be.


Austin : [Laughs good-naturedly at Alice's joke] Maybe, maybe.


[The party soon come to a doorway, which blocks the only way forward. It, along with all of this corridor, is covered in very thick dust, and looks like it hasn't been disturbed in centuries.]

Alice: Wow -- even the spider webs have spider webs on them!


Charlie: [Pushing forward, wiping webs off her face] Isn't it exciting?! This is precisely how the most important ancient tomes should be discovered. [Muses] Though this one has already been discovered, hasn't it?


Kay: [uses her bow to clear the way through the webs before following Charlie] Be careful. We don't know what's lurking in there. Might be a not so see-through, og-through demon.


[A sudden, deafening crash startles everyone.]

Alice: 'scubes be. Allergic to dust. [Wipes her nose.]

[The party are at the door, which is also covered in dust.]


Charlie: [To Alice, urgently] Do wrap a hanky over your nose and mouth to limit your exposure, then! [Examines the door to see if it's locked] Mr. Sleaze, I may need your assistance!


[CHARLIE wipes some dust off to reveal that the door is made of a very heavy metal. There are a pair of symbols engraved into the door.]


Charlie: [Intrigued, jotting down the symbols] Oh, how interesting! What can it mean? [Tentatively touches the symbols with the eraser of her pencil to see if they do anything]


Kay: A circle and a half...a circle of half life?


[Touching them doesn't seem to have any impact, but the party can see that the indentations are very deep.]

Alice: Is it locked?


Charlie: [To the party] Stand back, group, and I'll try the door! [Carefully tries to open the door]


[CHARLIE manages to nudge it in a bit. It looks as though the whole door pushes back.]


Charlie: [Holding her sword at the ready] Right, be very careful, group! The prophecy is likely very fragile and must be handled carefully. [To Dur, quickly] And NOT eaten!!


[Everyone pushes into the door, and it slides back, making a deafening grinding sound as it does, but it is definitely moving. Light streams in from one side indicating that it is almost pushed all the way back in.]

Alice: Is there someone behind there?

;;; Quiet day in QV today!


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Alice: By being scary demons who'll kill us as soon as we go in?


Clint: By being *fake* scary demons who'll kill us as soon as we go in, more likely!


Alice: What the hell. Let's go for it!

[The party give one almighty push, sending the door flying back and over flat. Beyond is a luxurious room with a door on the other side, and a huge podium in the middle. The room is about 60' square.]

Alice: Er, is there something under the door?

[There is definitely something beneath the door. Something rather squishy.]

Something: [In an unnaturally deep voice] Ow! Hey! Help!


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Red: [Calls out to the voice] Who is there and what is wrong? 3B=3B=3BTrying to do stuff after the party yesterday=2C takes me a lot more time :p =



Clint: Haw! That'll teach you to stand behind doors when the Queen's View party is coming through!

;;; For clarification, "squishy" as in person squishy, or squishier,

or less squishy?

;;;;; sorry very busy day at work and baby is ill too. back tomorrow.dx


Voice: Look, I'm just trying to save the world here, get off that door!

;;; Definitely person squishy!


Charlie: Well, so are we! Who are you? Perhaps we could work together?


Kay: [moves past Charlie and Cliff, and tries to lift the door up] Be ready in case it's a demon, guys.


Austin : It's certainly a demon, a human would have been killed. I expect that it is Balkline, and we have just opened his prison. [Sighs] Foiled again!


[KAY starts to lift the door, but needs help. The VOICE continues.]

Voice: My name is Clint Scar.


Austin : [Looks around for the real Mr Scar] Surely not? Mr Scar, you must be a demon!


Clint: Hey! I don't know who this bozo is, but smell this! [Lifts up his arm]

Alice: Yikes! That smell can only come from our Clint!


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Red: [Helps Kay with the door=2C frowning at the bad odor that even old moldy tomes don't spread] =



Clint: Let's take a look!

[Everyone except AUSTIN heaves the door up, freeing the other CLINT.]

Clint2: [Looks at the party] Ew! What hell are you guys??

;;; End of scene, next one coming right up


[Book IX, Act IX, Scene VIII. The Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, KAY, RED and CLINT MONSTER are here. This CLINT smells even worse than our own, beloved CLINT.]

Clint2: And what the hell is that smell?


Charlie: [Gasps] Misters Scar! [To Clint2] What happened to your face?!


Kay: [jumps back upon seeing the Clintmonster, then covers her nose] Ew! I think something went wrong when he was cloned....


Austin : [Steps away in disgust] Perhaps we can drop the door back on it.


Clint2: What do you mean? [Wrinkles his nose at Austin] Yuck! *You're* that smell! [Takes out a mirror and looks at himself] Oh! Yuck! No wonder you're all so freaked out. [Flicks off a tiny crumb] There. Much better. Now, what are you freaks doing here and what did you do with my elephant?


Charlie: What elephant?! [To Clint2, doubtfully] I don't suppose you've seen a prophecy down here, have you? [Urgently] And please tell me if you did, you didn't touch it!!


Clint2: Of course I found I did. [Points to a raised platform about two feet in diameter] That's it there, and now, I didn't touch it. What do you think I am?

Alice: Uh, some sort of disgusting monster?


Kay: Yes, what are you really? And where did you come from? [looks around to see if there's another entrance or exit, before looking to the dais] Is that an illusion as well?


Charlie: [Thrilled] Oh, how wonderful! [Rushes to the platform to see the prophecy]


Clint2: Don't touch that! [To Kay] Okay, monster. Now it's your turn to answer some questions. What are you things and what are you doing here?

[There is actually a piece of paper on the dias, facing up. It is covered in strange symbols similar to those on the door.]


Kay: We're monsters to, we're here to relieve you. [she looks at the paper on the platform] Hmm...What's the angle?


Charlie: [Furiously jotting down the prophecy, whispering to the party] This looks nothing like the last prophecy! The language is different.


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Red: [To Clint2] Any chance you can translate this? --_126de025-bf16-4c2c-b924-8552183a7cdf_


Clint2: What do you mean, monsters too? Are there more monsters here? [To Red] Not for you, Monster!


Austin : Who might you translate if for?


Charlie: [To Clint2] How long have you been here?


Clint2: [Edges towards the prophecy] Look, monsters, I'm not telling you another thing. Who are you and what are you doing here? Are there many more like you on your world?


Clint: [Understandably perturbed.] I'll tell you one thing - there aren't more like you, you freak!


Clint2: So this is an invasion! Well, survival of the fittest, buddy. See ya! [Grabs the prophecy] Yoink!


Charlie: [Gasps] Stop him! Get the prophecy! [Tries to tackle Clint2]


[CHARLIE grabs his leg, but CLINT2 is very strong, and starts moving toward the door in the opposite wall.]

Alice: Get him! [Leaps onto him]

Clint2: Oh, god! The smell!


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Red: So talking is no longer an option? [Tries to tackle him at his neck sohe trips over Charlie=2C while holding his breath] =



Charlie: [Shoves her hand in Clint2's face] Yes, don't we smell horrid? [Hopefully] Doesn't it make you want to give up the prophecy and retreat?


Austin : [Tries to stab Clint2 in the neck. To Charlie] Did you finish your copy?


[CLINT MONSTER is wrestled to the ground, and AUSTIN quickly stabs him in the neck, causing a deafening high pitched scream.]

Clint2: You bastards!

Alice: [Covered in spurting blood from Clint Monster] Look! The dias is descending into the ground!

[CLINT MONSTER dies, clutching the prophecy.]


Charlie: [Tries to take the prophecy from Clint Monster's hand] Stand back from the dias! Who knows what could be coming.

;;; If he's grasping too tightly, she'll try to hack off his hand.

;;; Ew.


Kay: [tries to help Charlie take the prophecy from Clint2]


[CLINT MONSTER has a firm grip on the prophecy. CHARLIE produces her sword and slices his hand off.]

Alice: Ew! Come on! Let's go!


Charlie: [Puts Clint Monster's hand in her knapsack] Agreed, let us hurry! [Tries to exit the room]


[The party rush to the door they pushed over, only to see that the stairs have disappeared.]

Alice: Another illusion?


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[There's no step!]

Alice: Crap! What will we do?

[The whole structure starts to shake.]


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Alice: No! It's flush with the ground now! The only way out is through that other door in the opposite side.]

[CLINT MONSTER leaps to his feet, standing between the party and the other door.]

Clint2: You monsters! Where's my hand?

;;; Gone for the day!


Clint: I don't think this is the kind of zombie we're talking about! [Goes to beat Clint2 over the head with a bit of rubble or something suitably barbaric of that general nature.]


Clint2: I'm not a zombie! And I'll do everything I can to prevent you monsters from invading Aequilibra! [Pulls a sword and slashes the real Clint with it]

;;; Lose 8hp Clint

Alice: [Draws her sword] Look! His hand is growing back! And, hey, did he say Aequilibra?

;;; Aequilibra is the name given to the Realms by beings from other dimensions.


Kay: [draws her dagger to enter the fray, not wishing to shoot into melee. That could get ugly. Not that it wasn't already...] We're not monsters! We're trying to save the world, dammit!


Charlie: [To Clint2] We have not invaded this world. It has been invaded by demons! [Tries to lop off Clint2's head with her sword]


[ALICE, CHARLIE and KAY plunge into the battle as CLINT draws his sword and joins the attack. CLINT MONSTER, although clearly skilled with his sword, is quickly overwhelmed, and falls to the ground, although his head is still attached to his body.]


Austin : [To Clint2] Your story might have worked. [Smugly] If it was not for the fact that we are from Aequilibra and we are trying to stop monsters from invading Aequilibra!


Alice: I think he's dead, Aus. He probably isn't paying much attention to you!


Charlie: [To Alice] We thought he was dead once before, though! [Grimly] We had better try to cut off the head this time, just to be sure. [Tries to hack off Clint2's head]


[CHARLIE slices into CLINT MONSTER's neck, and he screams in pain, causing everyone to jump back in shock. She swings once more and slices his head off.]

Alice: Ew! He sure takes a lot of killing!


Kay: Perhaps we should set him on fire as well. Just to make sure.


[The structure gives another massive shudder, and small rocks start to fall from the ceiling.]

Alice: Whatever we do, we better do it fast if we're to get out of here. Otherwise we'll be trapped under falling rubble and on fire!


Austin : [Runs around panicking, looking for an exit] Hurry! Find a way out!


Kay: Ok, just let him be buried under the rubble, then! [looks around for an exit]


Alice: We can go out that other door, that he must have come in, and, for god's sake, calm down. There's no need to panic.

[A tiny pebble falls from the ceiling and hits ALICE on the head.]

Alice: Aiiieeee! We're all gonna die!


Charlie: [Heads for the door, shielding her head] Hurry, everyone!


[The party escape through the other door, into a very dark corridor. They quickly light up torches again to see that it leads to yet another door, about thirty feet away. As with the corridor on the opposite side, there is a thick film of dust here, but with one set of footprints leading up to this room. The other door looks like it is simply made wood, and has no special patterns on it.]

Alice: Do we have any choice?


Charlie: I suppose not. [Goes to open the door, sword at the ready] Take care, group!


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[Alas the door is locked!]

Alice: Come on! Get it open! Austin, do your magic!


Austin : It is not magic. It is skill. Exceptional skill. [Tries to open the door/pick the lock]


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Dur: [Stomach churning] The quicker the better! Not to add more problem onto a difficult situation but I think the demon baby horde is coming!

Alice: What was that, Dur? I can barely hear you over that weird sound -- what is it? A flood? [Looks at the crazy vibrations in Dur's stomach] Oh dear. [Looks at Austin] He'll be extra extra unbearable if he gets this open.

[The door lock pops open with an audible click.]


Charlie: [Tries to help Dur through the door] How wonderful! Dur, you will LOVE motherhood. It is SO rewarding.


;;; Maikel is out today

Red: That's great to hear -- we could all do with some good news right about now.

[The party stagger through the door, helping DUR through. Inside stands BALKLINE GROOT, twenty feet tall and generating a staggering heat. The flames coming from him are most definitely real.]

Balkline: Well, well. What can I do for you?


Clint: [Hopefully.] . You could get out of our way?


Balkline: I could.


Clint: [Still hopefully.] Well, no time like the present to get started. Chop chop!

;;; Forgot to say, I'll be at a conference all next week, so I suspect

limited posting ability.


Charlie: [Doubtfully] Indeed, would you please move? We should be ever so grateful.


Austin : [Shoots Balkline. Shouting] Can one of you magicians create lots of water?


Charlie: And we shall embarrass you by defeating you before you can do all of those dreadful things! [Attacks Balkine]


Balkline: I will burn the skin from your backs! I will boil your eyes! [Gives a deafening roar so hot that everyone gets a mild sunburn]


[CHARLIE clashes with BALKLINE, but he knocks her back. AUSTIN's bullet hits BALKLINE, but simply bounces off.]

Alice: Where's that ten foot pole Clint had?


;;; Bank Holiday here tomorrow (Monday). Back to normal on Tuesday!


Charlie: [Getting back on her feet. To Balkine] If you burn us, you will destroy the prophecy!


Kay: [fires an arrow at Balkline, after backing up a little]


Balkline: So what! Blah blah blah, the world will end, blah blah blah!

[KAY fires an arrow, which bounces off BALKLINE.]

Balkline: Let me introduce you to my little friend! [Leans behind him and pulls out what looks like a very elaborate dagger, but which is shaped weirdly like a pipe at one end]


Austin : [Squirms to the back of the party] I think he might have the Soul Succour!


Balkline: [Waves the implement in front of the party] Yes I do!

[DUR's stomach gives another rumble, and the party can see his entire body is starting to shudder.]


Kay: [shouts] Something's gonna blow! [she scrambles away from Dur, then scrambles back when she gets to close to Balkline]


Alice: I think they'll all come out his birthing tube!


Charlie: [To Dur] Breathe short, shallow breaths and try to think of something peaceful! [Tries to make a grab for the Soul Succor]


Austin : [Scrambling to get some overalls on] No, no no no, noooo! Wait! Hold on!


Kay: Birthing tube?!! What birthing tube?!! No, don't even tell me! I'll deal with the demon! [she turns to Balkline again, yelling at him] This is all very inconvenient! Go get some water or something, don't just stand there!


;;; out for the rest of the day!


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Alice: His poor birthing tube will never be the same again! I'll help you get the Soul Succour, Charlie!

[BALKLINE easily fends of ALICE, CHARLIE and KAY.]

;;; Lose 17, 14 and 15 hp, respecively

Balkline: It's not the Soul Succour, it's the Soul Sucker. It will drain the very soul out of you and fill me with its energy!


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Austin : Point your birthing tube away from me please! [Takes more shots at Balkline]

;;;out for rest of day


Charlie: [Tries to knock the Soul Sucker from Balkine's hand. To Dur, encouragingly] Hold on just a minute longer, and we'll get you a nice moldy sandwich from a dumpster!


Balkline: Fooools! You cannot hurt me! [To Dur] I shall kill you first, because you are the most annoying. [Plunges the Soul Sucker into Dur's stomach] And now, I shall feel your soul enter into me, and my strength shall grow!

[BALKLINE gives a shudder.]

Balkline: Wow. For such a pathetic specimen, he seemed to have an unusually powerful soul.

Alice: [Dismayed] You bastard! Did you kill Dur?

;;; Dur, to everyone's surprise, is still very much alive.


Charlie: [Rushes to Dur's side] Dur! [Checks out his stomach] And your poor horrid little baby!


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[BALKLINE gives another shudder.]

Balkline: What the hell? Another soul? What's going on?

[Yet another shudder.]

Balkline: A third soul? How... how is this possible?


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Balkline: Nooooo!

[As DUR's stomach dramatically reduces in size, BALKLINE shakes and shudders even more.]

Balkline: Help me! [Drops the Soul Sucker]

Alice: I think your unholy horde are about to save us, Dur!


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Charlie: [Tries to help Dur get the Soul Sucker] Careful, you are no doubt quite weak after that ordeal!


Alice: At the cost of not having your birthing tube explode?

[CHARLIE props up DUR, and he grabs the Soul Sucker. BALKLINE has fallen to the ground, screaming.]

Balkline: Please! Make it stop! They just keep coming!


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[Too late! Just as DUR leans in, BALKLINE explodes, knocking everyone to the ground, covering them in bits of charred BALKLINE.]

;;; End of Book IX, Act IX. Next one coming up on FRIDAY.

;;; I am on hols Wed- Thursday 12th - Italy, Gemona :)