Below we present the complete text of The Well of Sacrifice; episode 4 of City of the Gold Spider.
CITY OF THE GOLD SPIDER
EPISODE #4 – THE WELL OF SACRIFICE
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attritubution Non Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition .
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Serial #3: City of the Gold Spider
Trent Stone and Teresa Carter are saved from a deadly ambush by a man who begs them to come to South America to clear the name of Claire Mannix — who he believes committed her crimes while under the control of the Technomaster. Before he can tell them much he is murdered and the intrepid duo sets out to find the lost City of the Gold Spider. In Peru they are captured by their foe only to be given the tools they need to face him down in a magical duel. The Technomaster once more tries to escape through a portal only to be severely burned in the process. His ultimate fate remains unknown.
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
CITY OF THE GOLD SPIDER
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TRENT STONE: Our hero and adventurer
TERESA CARTER: Our heroine and reporter
ARTURO MAJALEL: Guide to Ayacucho
THE TECHNOMASTER: Villain and Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna
ROSA MAJALEL: Daughter of Arturo and hostage
CLAIRE MANNIX: Cult leader in Star City
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
SCENE 15: INT. THE PLACE OF TRIAL (TRENT, TERESA, TECHNOMASTER, MAJALEL, CLAIRE, ROSA)
447. MUSIC:  OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
448. NARRATOR: Trent Stone and Teresa Carter, have made their way to Peru in order to investigate the innocence or otherwise of convicted murderer Claire Mannix. In the ancient City of the Gold Spider they have, themselves, been captured by an old enemy and await their fate.
449. SOUND:  WALLA — LOW MURMURED CHANTING IN BACKGROUND —ESTABLISH AND UNDER
450. TRENT: Well, this isn’t the throne room.
451. TERESA: No, it’s some kind of auditorium, with a well in the middle… The floor is covered in human bones.
452. TRENT: Quite a crowd looking on too. Looks like the Ah Kin Mai likes to have an audience.
453. SOUND:  SLIGHT CLANKING NOISE
454. TERESA: He doesn’t like to take chances though. These chains are strong.
455. TRENT: It is a trial after all. Clearly we’re considered “highly dangerous” prisoners…
456. TECHNOMASTER: Or perhaps it is simply tradition and you are flattering yourselves out of arrogance.
457. SOUND:  MURMURS FROM THE CROWD AS THE TECHNOMASTER ENTERS
458. SOUND:  WHIR OF SERVOS AND CLANK OF ROBOTIC LEGS WALKING TO JUDGEMENT SEAT AND HALTING
459. TRENT: (MOCKING) Well, well, look at you. No longer in a wheelchair; walking around on stolen mechanical legs. It’s been some time, John, and you look none the worse for having been eaten by alligators.
460. TECHNOMASTER: Ah, so you discovered my old name, and you recognize the prosthetics Arturo Majalel stole for me from Star City. It will do you little good. John Whistler died of a bullet in the back in the Argonne Forrest. The Technomaster died when you forced him over the edge of the alligator pit in the sewers below Star City. Now all that remains is the Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna, and in this disguise I am more powerful than either of my predecessors.
461. TERESA: Save it, stilts. You’re still just a petty little criminal. It matters little to us that you change your name more often than your underwear.
462. TECHNOMASTER: Insolent as ever, I see.
Do not worry, Miss Carter, your trial won’t last long. I believe the evidence against you is quite conclusive. But I take a certain amount of pleasure in the knowledge that your death will not be nearly as quick.
No, I wouldn’t be so cocky and confident if I were you. No one can save you this time. I won’t underestimate you twice.
463. TERESA: You talk big, but you’re still a coward — who screamed like a little girl as you ran — or should I say rolled — away from us in the sewer…
464. SOUND:  SOUND OF FACE BEING SLAPPED
465. MAJALEL: Shut up! You have no right to address the Ah Kin Mai with such disrespect!
466. TECHNOMASTER: I see that your insolence offends even my followers. Contain yourself, Arturo. I know how much their presence causes you offence… and you have had to spend more time with them than most.
467. TRENT: (PROTECTIVELY FURIOUS) You’ll pay for that, John. I’ll see to it that you do.
468. TECHNOMASTER: (GRUNTS DISMISSIVELY) It’s time we got things under way, I think.
(ADDRESSING THE ENTIRE GATHERING) These outsiders stand accused of blasphemy against Itzamna, opposing his will and resisting his creatures. They stand accused of desecrating the ritual of sacrifice. And they stand accused of trespassing within the sacred City.
(RAISING HIS VOICE DRAMATICALY) In the mighty name of Itzamna reveal these images as I command. Reveal them so that they can be seen by everyone and show the truth of what I say.
469. SOUND:  SOUND OF MAGICAL ENERGY COALESCING (A BIT HEAVIER AND MORE DISTURBING THAN THE SOUND OF THE AMULETS)
470. TERESA: What’s happening? (BEAT) Reflected in the pool, is that us?
471. TRENT: Yes, Tess. That’s us back at the League dinner in Star City two months ago.
472. SOUND:  ECHOING AS IF FROM A GREAT DISTANCE — THE FOLLOWING DIALOG CAN BE DELIVERED VIA A RECORDING FROM THE FIRST EPISODE
473. SOUND:  THERE IS A GREAT CRASHING AND LOW ANIMAL ROARING, CRIES OF PANIC, SCREAMS ETC…
474. TERESA: Good grief! Trent look, coming through the doorways.
475. TRENT: I see them, Tess. Alligators, huge pale alligators. Dozens of them, and they’re attacking the guests. Quick, grab a knife, some of them are coming our way.
476. SOUND:  CRASHING NOISES, GRUNTS OF COMBAT, ALLIGATOR ROARS, ETC.
477. TERESA: Trent, they’re heading for Miriam Ribbensberg. We’ve got to stop them.
478. TRENT: Damn it, you’re right. Wait… on their backs. Can you see those strange machines? I think they might be controlling the beasts. If I use this chair…
479. SOUND:  SOUND OF CHAIR SMASHING
480. TRENT: That’s it! The animal is scuttling away. Quick, grab Miriam and get her out of the room.
481. TERESA: You got it!
482. SOUND:  SOUNDS OF FIGHTING CONTINUE AND FADE
483. SOUND: END OF ECHO EFFECT
484. TECHNOMASTER: (RAISING HIS VOICE DRAMATICALLY) Once more reveal the guilt of those who stand accused before us.
485. SOUND:  SOUND OF MAGICAL ENERGY COALESCING (A BIT HEAVIER AND MORE DISTURBING THAN THE SOUND OF THE AMULETS)
486. TERESA: What is it now? Isn’t that the warehouse where Claire tried to sacrifice Shelley Rossiter?
487. SOUND:  ECHOING AS IF FROM A GREAT DISTANCE — THE FOLLOWING DIALOG CAN BE DELIVERED VIA A RECORDING FROM THE SECOND EPISODE
488. SOUND:  WALLA – PULSING ENERGY – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
489. CLAIRE MANNIX: Yes. Yes! Feel the power of Itzamna. Know his strength, his majesty! Cower before him, all you who doubt his greatness…
490. TRENT: This must be the moment. I have to use the blow dart. It’s now or never, Tess.
491. SOUND:  SOUND LIKE A TELESCOPE BEING EXTENDED AND CLICKING INTO PLACE
492. TERESA: The obelisk is turning translucent… and something is coming towards us… as if down a long passage.
493. TRENT: Here goes.
494. SOUND:  PHUT THUNK OF DART BEING BLOWN AND SOUND LIKE GLASS OR A MIRROR CRACKING
495. SOUND:  THE RHYTHM OF THE PULSES INCREASES AND THE PITCH OF THE RINGING GOES UP ALARMINGLY
496. CLAIRE: What have you done?
497. TRENT: I think it’s going to explode. Tess, get down.
498. SOUND:  SOUND OF EXPLOSION
499. SOUND: END OF ECHO EFFECT
500. TECHNOMASTER: (STILL RAISING HIS VOICE DRAMATICALY BUT SHOWING SIGNS OF STRAIN) One last time, reveal the blasphemy of their entry to the sacred City. (PUFFS WITH EXERTION)
501. SOUND:  SOUND OF MAGICAL ENERGY COALESCING (A BIT HEAVIER AND MORE DISTURBING THAN THE SOUND OF THE AMULETS)
502. SOUND:  ECHOING AS IF FROM A GREAT DISTANCE — THE FOLLOWING DIALOG CAN BE DELIVERED VIA A RECORDING FROM THE CURRENT EPISODE
503. SOUND:  WALLA — RAIN AND ENGINE NOISE OF TRUCK — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
504. TRENT: What’s that up ahead?
505. TERESA: The jungle’s definitely thinning and… Oh my!
506. MAJALEL: It is the City, Senor, Senorita.
507. TERESA: It’s beautiful. Those walls must be fifty feet tall and the carvings… I’ve never seen anything like them.
508. TRENT: Warnings to the enemies of the people.
509. TERESA: What do they mean?
510. TRENT: They are supposed to signify death to any intruders who dare to enter the City.
511. SOUND: FADE OUT THE WALLA
512. SOUND: END OF ECHO EFFECT
513. TECHNOMASTER: (EXHAUSTED BUT RECOVERING, ADDRESSING THE ENTIRE ROOM) Need we see more?
514. SOUND:  ANGRY MURMURS FROM AUDIENCE
515. TECHNOMASTER: They have opposed Itzamna’s creatures. They have desecrated his ritual of sacrifice. And from the male’s own mouth you have heard how they ignored the warnings upon the city walls and entered where no outsider is permitted to go.
What say you, loyal followers of Itzamna? Is their guilt proven?
516. SOUND:  CROWD CRIES SI, SI, ETC.
517. TECHNOMASTER: I call upon the bones of this place. Do you uphold our verdict? Show us the guilty.
(RAISING HIS VOICE DRAMATICALY) Arise, bones of the long departed and condemn these who stand accused here.
518. SOUND:  SOUND OF MAGICAL ENERGY COALESCING (A BIT HEAVIER AND MORE DISTURBING THAN THE SOUND OF THE AMULETS)
519. TERESA: Trent, look. The bones on the floor. They’re rising up and pointing at us.
520. TRENT: It has to be those stone disks he’s reading from. They must be the source of his magic.
521. TECHNOMASTER: (WITH SATISFACTION TO TRENT AND TERESA) Your guilt has been established and confirmed. Now it is time for you to die.
522. TERESA: You won’t get away with this!
523. TECHNOMASTER: Oh, but I already have.
In a moment you will be thrown into the sacrificial pool. Do you know what awaits you in there?
(BEAT) No? Then I will tell you. A shoal of highly territorial scorpion-fish. At the moment, with the capstone off, they are sheltering near the bottom of the well, but once the capstone is returned to its place they will surface to feed.
A thousand thousand sacrifices performed in this chamber have trained them well in what to expect. Finding intruders in their well, they will attack with their poisonous spines. I don’t know from experience, but the screams we hear from within the well suggest that it is a very painful way to go.
(LAUGHS IN SINISTER FASHION) But don’t worry, you won’t be alone. We have a member of the true blood to keep you company in the pool. She will help to appease the spirit of the Scorpion-fish.
524. ROSA MAJALEL: Papa! Help me!
525. MAJALEL: Rosa! No!
(TO THE TECHNOMASTER) But you promised that she would be spared.
526. TECHNOMASTER: (AMUSED) Ah, but we cannot have a proper sacrifice without a member of the true blood now, can we?
527. MAJALEL: I’ve been a fool. I should have known you would never keep your word.
528. TECHNOMASTER: (WITH MOCK SINCERITY) Never let it be said that I am incapable of keeping my promise. (BEAT) But this does place me in a dilemma… someone must be sacrificed, and without a member of the true blood to take your daughter’s place… well, I mean, what can I do?
529. MAJALEL: You son of a dog! This is what you wanted all along. (BEAT) Alright. I am ready. I have betrayed my people for my daughter’s sake. I will die in her place.
530. ROSA: Papa, no. You cannot.
531. TECHNOMASTER: Ah, but he can, my dear. His blood is as true as yours. And you, my dear, will watch.
(TO THE GUARDS) Remove their chains and place them in the pool.
532. TRENT: You won’t get away with this.
533. SOUND:  CLANK OF CHAINS BEING UNLOCKED
534. TERESA: We’ll get you, you coward. We’ll get you!
535. MAJALEL: (WITH VENOM) Son of a dog! You filthy pig! Murderer!
536. ROSA: (WAILING) Papa! Papa!
537. SOUND:  THREE HEAVY SPLASHES IN SHORT SUCCESSION AS TRENT, TERESA, AND ARTURO ARE THROWN IN THE POOL
538. TECHNOMASTER: Goodbye. I’d suggest you pray to whatever gods you hold dear but, frankly, I don’t think anyone is listening. (LAUGHS EVILLY)
539. SOUND:  SOUND OF CHAINS BEING RUN OUT AS CAPSTONE IS LOWERED TO COVER THE POOL WITH A LOUD BOOM
540. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
541. SOUND:  WALLA — SOUND OF LAPPING WATER, DRIPS, ETC. — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
542. SOUND:  LIGHT SPLASHING OF CHARACTERS AS THEY TREAD WATER
543. SOUND:  DIALOG SHOULD HAVE A MILD ECHO TO INDICATE A CONFINED UNDERGROUND SPACE
544. TERESA: Trent, where are you? It’s pitch dark and the water’s so cold.
545. TRENT: I’m here, Tess. I doubt this water ever feels the heat of the sun.
546. MAJALEL: (SCARED) What are those lights?
547. TERESA: Where?
548. MAJALEL: (FULL OF PANIC) Below us in the water. Rising fast.
549. TRENT: Scorpion-fish. They must have some form of bio-luminescence.
550. TERESA: Great, you mean we get to watch our killers coming for us? I’m not sure what’s worse.
551. SOUND:  SOFT SOUND OF MAGICAL ENERGY COALESCING (A RINGING CHIME PERHAPS)
552. TERESA: Hey, what’s going on? My necklace, it’s starting to glow?
553. TRENT: Mine too. It must be the protection that Julio was talking about.
554. TERESA: Yes, look, the fish are turning away. They’re concentrating on…
Oh, no. Arturo? Arturo, where are you?
555. MAJALEL: (SCREAMS AND MAKES DROWNING SOUNDS, FINISHING IN A GURGLING TRAIL OF BUBBLES)
556. TRENT: It’s too late, Tess. Perhaps if we’d realized more quickly…
557. TERESA: Oh, Trent, how horrible.
558. TRENT: There’s nothing we can do for him now, Tess. The toxins from the scorpion-fish sting will already have stopped his heart. We’ll just have to figure a way out of this for ourselves.
559. TERESA: Well, it had better be fast. I can’t tread water forever you know, and the sides of this pool are slick with slime. I can’t find a purchase.
560. SOUND:  DISTANT RINGING, PULSING SOUND — MORE CHIMES MAYBE
561. TRENT: Help may be coming sooner than you think. Look, Tess, in the deeps, can you make out that light?
562. TERESA: Yes, it’s getting brighter, with the same light as our amulets. I don’t believe it. It looks like some kind of underwater tunnel down there?
563. TRENT: Well, Tess, do you think you can manage it? It looks like quite a swim.
564. TERESA: Stone, if that’s a way out of this darkness I’ll break Olympic records.
565. TRENT: Good gir… I mean, let’s go.
566. SOUND:  SPLASHES OF TWO PEOPLE SUBMERGING FOLLOWED BY SWIMMING SOUNDS
567. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) HOPEFUL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
568. SOUND:  WALLA — ECHOEY CAVERN WITH DRIPS
569. SOUND:  SOUND OF UNDERWATER SWIMMING STROKES FOLLOWED BY TWO BODIES BREAKING THE SURFACE AND DRAWING IN GASPING BREATHS
570. TERESA: [CUE] (COUGHING) Where are we? The light, it’s so much brighter in here.
571. TRENT: (TRYING TO CATCH HIS BREATH) Some kind of cave or cavern I think. At least there’s plenty of air.
572. TERESA: Where’s the light coming from?
573. SOUND:  SOUND OF TRENT GETTING OUT OF THE WATER
574. TRENT: I… (GRUNT OF EFFORT AS HE PULLS HIMSELF OUT OF THE WATER) …can’t tell. The walls maybe? Here, let me help you. (GRUNTS AGAIN)
575. SOUND:  SOUND OF TERESA GETTING OUT OF THE WATER
576. TERESA: Thanks. (SHIVERING) It’s freezing down here. What’s that in the center of the cave?
577. TRENT: Good grief. It’s a statue. Carved from the granite of the cave. It’s huge.
578. TERESA: And ugly. What’s it supposed to represent.
579. TRENT: If I don’t miss my guess, I think it’s a huge scorpion-fish.
580. TERESA: You think we’ve found the shrine Julio was talking about?
581. TRENT: Yes, I think we have.
582. TERESA: What did Julio say? “The shrine holds spells of power.” Something that could be used to challenge the Ah Kin Mai, perhaps?
583. TRENT: Perhaps. I’m not sure how far I want to buy into this hocus-pocus stuff, though.
584. TERESA: Well, the hocus-pocus just saved our collective hide in the pool. I think it couldn’t hurt to at least take a look around.
585. TRENT: (RESIGNED) Fair enough. Let’s see what’s here.
586. TERESA: Hey, Stone, look what’s hanging from this thing’s… er… fins?
587. TRENT: What’s that?
588. TERESA: You remember those disks that… (BEAT) …hey, what do you think we should be calling this guy? Technomaster? Ah Kin Mai?
589. TRENT: I’m going to keep calling him John. He really doesn’t seem to like that.
590. TERESA: (LAUGHS) Yeah. (BEAT) Anyways, those disks that (EMPHASIS) John was reading from. I think they were sort of like his spell books.
591. TRENT: So?
592. TERESA: So, I think these disks here are the same kind of thing. Here, take a look.
(AS IF DIZZY) Whoah!
593. TRENT: Are you alright?
594. TERESA: Yeah, sorry, Stone. It’s these amulets. They let the things written on the tablets bypass the eyes and go straight into the brain. It’s a bit disconcerting.
595. TRENT: Whoah! Indeed. I see what you mean.
(BEAT) These could be really useful.
596. TERESA: Mine seems to be some kind of incantation to drain the magical power of an enemy. What’s yours?
597. TRENT: It appears to be a protective spell. Something to shield us from harm, like the amulets, only more powerful.
598. TERESA: I’m not sure I see how they can help us much, even if they do work?
599. TRENT: If we can find our guns again, maybe we can use them to distract him while we get a shot off.
600. TERESA: (LAUGHING) Always the optimist.
(BEAT, SOBERING) You know we still need to find a way out of here. I can’t see any passages coming off this chamber… and I really don’t want to go back into the water again.
601. TRENT: I guess we better keep looking around.
602. TERESA: (MUTTERING) Yep. Always the optimist…
603. TRENT: It seems to be working so far. Take a look at this.
604. TERESA: You’re kidding. A lever? Do you get the feeling someone somewhere likes us?
605. TRENT: Maybe. (GRUNTS PULLING THE LEVER)
606. SOUND:  CLICKING OF LEVER
607. SOUND:  SOUND OF GRINDING STONE ON STONE AS HIDDEN DOOR OPENS REVEALING A PASSAGE
608. TRENT: Well, there’s our way out.
609. TERESA: I’ve gotta hand it to you, Stone.
610. TRENT: Oh yes?
611. TERESA: Yeah. (BEAT) You’ve got a gift for stating the obvious. Let’s see where this passage leads.
612. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) IRONIC SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
613. MUSIC:  CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TRENT STONE: Hello, I’m Trent Stone, Adventurer. I’m always in command of the situation — except perhaps, when it comes to Tess, who can easily throw me for a loop. I say things like “indeed,” “hmmm,” and “I see” a lot and speak in a way that friends of Clark Kent would find very familiar. I’m smart, observant, and quick to use my fists when required, but never impulsive. I sound like Joe College but I’m blue collar through and through. My lack of higher education is something of an embarrassment to me — but I’d never let on.
I’m aware of Tess’s flirting and occasionally I wonder if it’s more than just a way to keep entertained on the job — mostly I just ignore it and keep on working.
TERESA CARTER: Hiya. Everyone calls me Tess. I’m the take-no-prisoners sort who can hold her own in the man’s world that is the concrete jungle of Star City. I’m college educated and have a mean right hook. I’m a reporter by training and a stickybeak by inclination — this tends to get me in trouble. Curious, playful, and smart, that’s me! But I’m also painfully honest, easily moved by the troubles of others, and as protective as a tigress of my friends. I secretly have a thing for Trent — who’s a bit of a stuffed shirt and easily embarrassed by flirting. We both pretend it’s not there for the sake of the job, but I can’t help occasionally feeling a bit wistful.
ARTURO MAJALEL: In my village I am considered a wealthy man. I am a driver. I have my own truck.
I drive goods from the coastline inland and up the mountains to the various villages that have been established in the Andes. I move anything and everything: machine parts, goats, fruit, and vegetables. The most important thing in my life is my daughter Rosa. I would do anything for her. If she was in danger I would not hesitate to do whatever was necessary to make her safe.
CLAIRE MANNIX: I am fanatically devoted to Itzamna, the alligator god. I would do anything for him — all praise his mighty form. I will kill every blasphemer, I will make the altar run with the blood of sacrifice once more, and I will fulfill my mission in this city blessed with the presence of our god’s chosen pets.
I am powerful, none more so, except of course the Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna, the High Priest whom I serve. But what of you? You do not appear to be wearing the garments of the priesthood.
Guards! Have this insect bound and placed upon the altar. There will be blood tonight!
THE TECHNOMASTER: You think of me as a villain, but you know nothing of what I’ve sacrificed. I was on my way to greatness when the Great War came along — a research scientist and inventor par excellence. I did my part and signed up, but a bullet in the back put an end to my days on two legs. (BITTERLY) A bullet in the back, mind you! I was hit by a stray bullet from our own side. And when I returned? Well, I was an embarrassment. I received a letter of thanks for my service, a medal — in the mail — and a tiny pension. That was all the thanks I got from my country.
No one wanted to hire a maimed researcher. I lost my home, my lab, the respect that was rightly mine, everything.
But, I remain a genius! And compared to the brainless, worthless, peons roaming this pathetic little country, I am a god. I will have my revenge and everyone will be forced to grovel at my feet.
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
ROSA MAJALEL: I am a young girl, just sixteen years old. I do not understand what has happened to me. They say I am of the true blood but I do not know what this means. They threaten to sacrifice me to their god, Itzamna. Where is my papa? I am so afraid!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
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