An Ephemeral Deal – Episode 2 – Caught in Between


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Below we present the complete text of ‘Caught in Between’; episode 2 of An Ephemeral Deal.

Fantasy Noir - FN003 - An Ephemeral Deal

Fantasy Noir – FN003 – An Ephemeral Deal

Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children

Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children

AN EPHEMERAL DEAL

EPISODE #2 – CAUGHT IN BETWEEN

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 .

CC by-nc-nd 4.0

CC by-nc-nd 4.0

This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction is allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to http://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

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Serial #3: An Ephemeral Deal

Things are slow at the office of Tony Wells, Private Eye, when crime reporter, Claire Templeton, turns up with a business proposition. Someone is trying to kidnap her and she needs Tony’s help and protection. When the kidnappers turn out to be Rock Golems in the employ of a faery queen, Tony finds himself once more plunged into the intrigues of the fae courts. When the squabbles of the faery realm escalate the fallout in the mortal realm can be dire and, with Claire’s life on the line, Tony must sort through all the double dealings and attempt a dangerous deal of his own. Can he succeed in saving Claire from this new immortal threat? Tune in to “An Ephemeral Deal” and listen as the mystery unfolds.

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.

AN EPHEMERAL DEAL

CAST LIST

NARRATOR: Narrator

TONY WELLS: Private Detective

CLAIRE TEMPLETON: Crime Writer

FRED: The Magical Sword

FAE THUG#1: A Rock Golem

 

QUEEN OF WINTER: Fairy Queen of Winter within the realm of light and twin sister to the King of Summer

WEEPING CHILD: A Rock Golem in disguise

KING OF SUMMER: Fairy King of Summer within the realm of light and twin brother to the Queen of Winter.

SFX: SFX operator (1 required)

SCENE 6: INT. — A WAREHOUSE — EARLY EVENING (TONY, CLAIRE, FRED)

  1. MUSIC: [1] OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: Pursued by fae thugs intent on collecting a debt incurred in a bargain struck when Claire was just a child, our heroes head for a warehouse in the hope of protecting themselves with within the building’s sturdy iron construction.
  3. SOUND: [10] (WALLA) WIND AND CREAKING METAL.
  4. SOUND: [32] CANS BEING DUMPED ON A TABLE — LET IT FINISH.
  5. TONY: Well, that’s the last of the canned goods. I’ll lock us in and we’ll be good to go.
  6. CLAIRE: (DISTRACTED) Hmmm?
  7. TONY: (FROM A DISTANCE) I said, I’ll just lock the door.
  8. SOUND: [33] SCRAPE OF A RUSTY BOLT BEING THROWN — LET IT FINISH.
  9. TONY: (APPROACHING) That takes care of that. It’s gonna be uncomfortable in here, but we’ll be okay I think, and reasonably warm as there are heating tunnels running under the building… and more importantly, the immortals can’t get in here.
  10. CLAIRE: (SWOONING) Oh!
  11. SOUND: [34] THUMP OF CLAIRE COLLAPSING TO THE GROUND — LET IT FINISH.
  12. TONY: Claire! Are you alright? Claire?
  13. CLAIRE: (WEAKLY) I-I feel so strange.
  14. TONY: You’re burning up. Fred, what’s the matter with her?
  15. FRED: It’s what I feared. She’s undergoing the change, boss.
  16. TONY: What do you mean?
  17. FRED: Well, she’s a changeling and right now she’s between two worlds. Her body’s beginning to adapt in preparation for becoming an immortal.
  18. TONY: Sooo?
  19. FRED: So, she’s developing an aversion to cold iron and we’ve brought her into a giant iron warehouse. It’s making her sick.
  20. TONY: Oh, that’s just great! How bad is it going to get?
  21. FRED: No idea. But it’ll definitely get worse before it gets better.
  22. CLAIRE: (WEAKLY) I-I’ll be fine.
  23. TONY: (IGNORING CLAIRE) Could it kill her?
  24. FRED: Maybe. There’s a wooden table in the center of the room. Put Claire on it. That should at least break the contact she’s making with the iron floor.
  25. TONY: Alright. (BEAT) (TO CLAIRE) I’m going to carry you. Get ready. (BEAT) Ugh.
  26. CLAIRE: (WEAKLY) If you make any jokes about my weight right now, buster, you’re gonna regret it.
  27. TONY: Well, at least you haven’t lost your ability to banter. (BEAT) Oh, and Claire?
  28. CLAIRE: Yeah?
  29. TONY: Are those bowling balls you’ve got in your purse or what?
  30. CLAIRE: I hate you.
  31. MUSIC: [5] (BRIDGE) TIME PASSING SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 7: INT. — WAREHOUSE — LATER (TONY, FRED, CLAIRE)

  1. SOUND: [10] (WALLA) IRON CREAKING IN WIND — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. TONY: It’s really starting to blow out there. And Claire’s getting worse by the minute.
  3. FRED: I’m not sure how long she can last in here.
  4. TONY: Her teeth are chattering so hard it sounds like a dice game on a tin roof. (FRUSTRATED) How can she be shivering like this when her skin’s burning up?
  5. FRED: It’s the poisonous effect of the iron. If we don’t find a way to counteract it, the effect will find its way into her bloodstream and then it’ll be all over.
  6. SOUND: [21] MAGICAL RINGING CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  7. FAE THUG#1: (GRAVEL-LIKE RUMBLING) The sword speaks true, mortal. You will need to remove her from this place or she will die.
  8. TONY: What the… I thought those things would be kept out by the iron?
  9. FRED: Take it easy, boss. It’s a magical projection. The rock monster can’t get in here physically so he’s using magic to talk with us.
  10. TONY: Right. I knew that.
  11. FAE THUG#1: You have put up a good fight, mortal. If it weren’t for the change it might even have worked. But you must know you have lost. We have found you again. Bring the girl out to us. You have little time!
  12. SOUND: [21] MAGICAL RINGING CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  13. TONY: Aaand he’s gone! (BEAT) Just like that! (BEAT) Damn it, I hate losing. There must be another way!
  14. FRED: The fae can’t lie. If the creature says she is going to die if we don’t move her, then Claire is going to die.
  15. TONY: Wait, what about the tunnels? We might be able to get away down there.
  16. FRED: It’s a risk. Underground is a rock golem’s natural habitat. We’ll have to be in and out really fast if we stand any chance of keeping ahead of them.
  17. TONY: Alright. There’s a hatch over here in the corner…
  18. SOUND: [35] CREAK OF SQUEAKY METAL HATCHWAY BEING PRIED UP — LET IT FINISH.
  19. TONY: … I’ll lower Claire down and we’ll see if we can’t get out of here in one piece.
  20. MUSIC: [6] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 8: INT. — HEAT-EXCHANGE TUNNELS — A LITTLE LATER (CLAIRE, TONY, FRED, WEEPING CHILD)

  1. SOUND: [11] (WALLA) OCCASIONAL HISSES OF STEAM AND PIPE RUMBLES AND CREAKS — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. CLAIRE: It’s okay, tough guy, I think I can stand on my own now. The weakness is starting to wear off.
  3. TONY: Yeah? I can carry you a bit further if you need me to.
  4. CLAIRE: Stop being so nice to me. It’s just too weird!
  5. TONY: Uhuh? You’re definitely feeling better. (BEAT) We need to get back up to the surface… and fast!
  6. CLAIRE: Don’t tell me you’re lost?
  7. CHILD: (WHIMPERING — UNDER)
  8. TONY: Of course I’m lost. You think I make a habit of wandering the heat-exchange tunnels under the city? I was hoping we’d come across a ladder back to the surface fairly quickly, that’s all.
  9. CLAIRE: Great! I can barely see a thing.
  10. TONY: Just keep holding on to my hand. I don’t want to lose you in this murk.
  11. CHILD: (WHIMPERING — FADE UP)
  12. CLAIRE: Wait, what’s that?
  13. TONY: What’s what?
  14. CLAIRE: It sounds like… someone crying.
  15. TONY: Look, up ahead. I think there’s someone there.
  16. CLAIRE: Yes, a kid; a little girl, I think.
  17. CHILD: (SOBBING NEARBY) Mommy? Where’s my Mommy? I want to go home.
  18. TONY: Hey, kid! Are you lost?
  19. CHILD: (GASPS WITH FRIGHT) Who? Who are you?
  20. TONY: It’s okay, kid. We aren’t going to hurt you.
  21. FRED: Tony..?
  22. TONY: We can help you get out of here.
  23. FRED: Tony..?
  24. TONY: Just give me your hand.
  25. FRED: Tony, I don’t think you should…
  26. FAE THUG#1: (GRAVELLY VOICE) Sure, mister, here!
  27. SOUND: [21] MAGICAL RINGING CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  28. MUSIC: [7] (BRIDGE) TRAVELING BETWEEN REALMS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 9: INT. — THE PALACE OF THE WINTER QUEEN — MOMENTS LATER (QUEEN, TONY, FRED)

  1. SOUND: [12] (WALLA) ICY WIND BLOWING — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. WINTER QUEEN: Welcome, Covenant Protector. I grant you the protection of my court.
  3. TONY: (IN AN UNDERTONE) What the… Where am I?
  4. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) Take it easy, boss. You’re in the ice castle of the Winter Queen; her throne room to be precise. Our host is one of the fae nobility. Whatever you do, don’t go insulting her after she’s extended her hospitality to you.
  5. TONY: Why not?
  6. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) She’s got you snookered. She can’t hurt a duly appointed Protector of the Covenant, but as a guest in her house, if you insult her, she can have you skinned and boiled and fed to her animals.
  7. TONY: Great! And what if she cheats?
  8. FRED: She won’t cheat. But she may turn any minor slight into a major deal.
  9. TONY: Good times. (BEAT) Where’s Claire?
  10. QUEEN: (LOW AND PREDATORY) Do you not wish to make greeting, Sir Protector?
  11. TONY: I apologize…
  12. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) Your Majesty.
  13. TONY: …Your Majesty, but I am unfamiliar with the protocols of your court and I did not wish, through error, to cause offense.
  14. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) Ooh. Nice countermove. That should give your boorishness some wiggle room.
  15. QUEEN: I see, Sir Protector, in that case I forgive your silence. Please approach. I imagine you have some questions to ask?
  16. TONY: Yes… Your Majesty… I do. What has happened to the woman who was with me — Claire?
  17. QUEEN: Oh, you needn’t concern yourself with her. She is a changeling runaway and owes me payment on a deal she made as a child. It is a small disciplinary matter.
  18. TONY: I see. (BEAT) I am sorry, Your Majesty, but I have sworn an oath to protect her from harm.
  19. QUEEN: Oh dear. That does complicate things. (BEAT) Very well. You had best see her.
  20. SOUND: [36] SOUND OF CHIMES AS QUEEN WAVES WAND — LET IT FINISH.
  21. QUEEN: There you are.
  22. TONY: (NARRATING) Claire suddenly appeared in the center of the icy throne room. Her hands and feet were frozen into stocks of ice and a thousand wicked-looking shards of ice had grown up around her, holding her in place by dint of their diamond-sharp points. She was immobilized to the point where the slightest turn of her head caused the spikes to tear at her skin releasing small rivulets of blood. (BEAT) I stared for a moment and then returned my attention to the “Queen.”
  23. TONY: I take it that her attempt to avoid paying her debt has upset you?
  24. QUEEN: As I said, a disciplinary matter. I cannot allow subjects in my realm to defy my will.
  25. TONY: I see. And what payment do you require from Claire… aside from this… discipline?
  26. QUEEN: I require her… um… mortality.
  27. TONY: Her what now?
  28. QUEEN: Her mortality, human. Her life. It will give me pleasure to take it from her. Eternity is tedious, human. I’ve no doubt that from your vantage point it looks enticing, but after a few centuries one begins to suspect that there is nothing truly new under the sun. After a few more again, one becomes sure of it. What would we do without these little moments of diversion? You aren’t about to begrudge me my entertainments, are you?
  29. TONY: I see… That places us in a rather awkward position, Your Majesty, since I am sworn — or at the very least, contracted — to protect her.
  30. QUEEN: (COLDLY) I see! Perhaps, then, we can make a trade?
  31. FRED: Be careful, boss. The fae like nothing more than to snare a human with a deal.
  32. TONY: What do you have in mind?
  33. QUEEN: Things are not as they ought to be in my realm.
  34. TONY: Your realm? Are you queen of the entire realm of darkness, then?
  35. QUEEN: Idiot! Though, I suppose I should be flattered. (BEAT) Firstly, I belong to the realm of light, not darkness. And secondly, I rule a sub-realm; the entire realm’s rule and my own fealty are owed to Titania and Oberon.
  36. TONY: But I thought…
  37. QUEEN: Do not display your ignorance further by completing that sentence. (BEAT) You consider me cruel, do you not? And so you associate me with the realm of darkness in your mind’s eye. But light can be cruel as well or have you never seen the devastation of a drought. Light and dark should never be too quickly equated with good and evil, gentleness and cruelty. To do so would be to make a serious mistake.
  38. TONY: Then consider me appropriately chastened. (BEAT) What of this deal?
  39. QUEEN: Alright. Something has been taken from me. Something of greater worth than the changeling — Claire, did you say her name was? If you obtain it for me, I will return her mortality to her.
  40. TONY: Fred, is she on the level?
  41. FRED: I keep telling you the fae can’t lie.
  42. TONY: Yeah, and you also keep telling me they can’t be trusted.
  43. FRED: Damn straight. The fae always get the better of a deal.
  44. TONY: Well, I don’t see how I have much of a choice. (TO THE QUEEN) What do I have to do?
  45. QUEEN: (WITH CRUEL PLEASURE) Goood! My twin brother, the King of Summer, has taken the Sylvan Orb. I wish it returned to me. I cannot raise my hand against him directly, but I can make use of a convenient cat’s paw.
  46. TONY: Wonderful. And I take it this will require a little excursion into the heart of his realm?
  47. QUEEN: Quite. But don’t be too alarmed. I can get you there quite easily and bring you back as well via the use of one of my amulets.
  48. TONY: I’ve seen what happens to the people who receive one of your amulets.
  49. QUEEN: Ah, but the orb is worth so much more. I am offering you a very good deal, mortal. The orb is worth five hundred amulets. By recovering it for me your friend’s life will be ransomed and payment made for the amulet, and you will still hold me in your debt.
  50. TONY: And if I fail?
  51. QUEEN: (GLEEFULL) Well, in that case you would be in debt to me.
  52. TONY: This just gets better and better.
  53. QUEEN: Doesn’t it though? (BEAT) Are there any other questions you wish to ask before I send you on your way?
  54. TONY: Yeah, what’s this dingus look like?
  55. QUEEN: Oh, you can’t miss it. It’s a crystal sphere about a foot across. It is currently giving light to King Summer’s entire realm so you ought to be able to find it easily enough.
  56. TONY: Fantastic. And the moment I remove it, the whole realm will know that it’s gone, right?
  57. QUEEN: That’s right. But you need only squeeze this amulet and think of my throne room and you will be returned here instantaneously. How hard could it be?
  58. TONY: If it’s such an easy job, why haven’t you done it yourself?
  59. QUEEN: As I told you already, I am bound not to raise a hand against my brother.
  60. TONY: But he has taken the orb from you?
  61. QUEEN: (DEAD-PAN APOLOGETIC – AS IF THIS EXPLAINS EVERYTHING) It is only by a moment or two… but he is the youngest.
  62. TONY: I see. Is there anything else I should know? (BEAT) No. Alright, let me get underway.
  63. QUEEN: Very well.
  64. SOUND: [21] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  65. MUSIC: [6] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 10: INT. — THE CELLARS OF THE KING OF SUMMER — IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING (FRED, TONY, KING)

  1. SOUND: [13] (WALLA) OCCASIONAL DRIPS, ECHOING — UNDER.
  2. FRED: (GRUMPY) I thought she said this was the realm of light.
  3. TONY: Yeah, me too. I can’t see my hands in front of my face. Hang on a second. I’ll try to edge towards a wall.
  4. SOUND: [37] SPLASH OF TONY BLUNDERING INTO A SHALLOW POOL — LET IT FINISH.
  5. TONY: Damn it! I’m up to my knees in… well let’s just hope it’s only cold water.
  6. FRED: Just don’t drop me. The last thing I need is to catch a case of rust, you know?
  7. TONY: (IGNORING FRED) It feels like there’s a wall here. I’m going to follow it.
  8. SOUND: [38] SLOSHING ALONG FOLLOWING THE WALL — UNDER
  9. TONY: Yeah, here’s a corner…
  10. SOUND: [39] CLUNK, CLUNK OF TONY GETTING BACK ONTO DRY GROUND — LET IT FINISH.
  11. TONY: And dry ground again. Great. I think we’re in a cellar.
  12. FRED: What makes you say that?
  13. TONY: These feel like barrels.
  14. SOUND: [40] HOLLOW KNOCK, KNOCK ON WOODEN BARRELS — LET IT FINISH.
  15. FRED: Hang on, I’ll throw some light on things.
  16. SOUND: [50] LOW SWELLING HUM — LET IT FINISH.
  17. TONY: You’re glowing!
  18. FRED: Sure.
  19. TONY: But I’ve been stumbling around in the dark. How come you didn’t tell me you could do that?
  20. FRED: (WITH AFFRONTED DIGNITY) You never asked.
  21. TONY: That’s just great! I should send you my dry-cleaning bill.
  22. FRED: Maybe, I’d be more helpful — and less absent-minded — if I got taken out of the trunk more often.
  23. TONY: (WARNING) Fred, I’m gonna…
  24. FRED: (QUICKLY CHANGING THE SUBJECT) I think there’s a way out over there.
  25. TONY: (RESIGNED) Could you be a bit more specific? You can’t point, remember?
  26. FRED: To your left. About thirty yards. I think it’s the beginning of a stairway.
  27. TONY: Alright, let’s go. But don’t think we’ve exhausted the topic of my wet clothes. I’ll be coming back to that.
  28. FRED: (RESIGNED) Yes, boss.
  29. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 11: INT — THE UPPER REGIONS OF THE SUMMER KING’S CASTLE — MOMENTS LATER (TONY, FRED, KING)

  1. SOUND: [14] (WALLA) DISTANT SOUNDS OF MERRIMENT — FADE IN, ESTABLISH, AND UNDER.
  2. TONY: Do you hear that? It sounds like someone is throwing a party.
  3. FRED: That could work in our favor. If the fae are all feasting we may be able to approach the orb relatively unseen.
  4. TONY: I guess we’ll still have to contend with guards of some sort?
  5. FRED: Not necessarily. This is the heart of the fae realm of summer — within the realm of light. If there is anywhere that these creatures feel safe, it’s here. (BEAT) Just don’t hold your breath.
  6. TONY: Ahuh. (BEAT) Anyway, after all those stairs we took from the basement it looks like we’ll be climbing another set up that tall tower. That seems to be where the light is coming from.
  7. FRED: And it also seems a lot closer to the sound of the party.
  8. TONY: I’m glad you’re here, Fred. I was beginning to wonder who I’d rely on without you to point out the silver lining all the time.
  9. FRED: (OBLIVIOUS TO THE SARCASM) Thanks, boss.
  10. TONY: (RESIGNED) Oh, come on!
    (NARRATING) We ran out from the dubious safety of the cellar stairwell, Fred slung across my back, and crossed a brightly lit courtyard to the bottom of the tower. Somewhere beyond it the sound of the feast was alarmingly loud. With heart hammering I began the long arduous climb to the top.
  11. SOUND: [50] (WALLA) A LOW HUM — FADE IN, ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  12. TONY: (PUFFING AS HE CLIMBS) Can you hear that? Is that the orb?
  13. FRED: The orb gives off a huge amount of energy. The hum is just a warning.
  14. TONY: Warning? Warning against what?
  15. FRED: Too much exposure. An energy source like that gives off massive amounts of ambient energy. Anyone who enters unprepared is likely to feel some seriously harmful side-effects and (BEAT) oh!
  16. TONY: (OUTRAGED) Oh? Oh? Is there anything else I should know before I walk blindly into certain doom?
  17. FRED: Uh, no. No, I think that pretty much covers it.
  18. TONY: Great! So how do I protect myself against the energy when we get to the top.
  19. FRED: Beats me. Maybe we should look for a way to turn it off.
  20. TONY: Good suggestion. And how do you suppose we do that? No, wait, don’t answer. You have absolutely…
  21. FRED: No idea? Right!
  22. TONY: You know, I think the Queen of Winter is actually counting on us to fail.
  23. FRED: And people say you ain’t much of a detective.
  24. SOUND: [41] TRAMPING FEET — UNDER.
  25. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) Uh oh! Whatever you do don’t tell them who you are or why you’re here. I’m going to dummy up.
  26. KING OF SUMMER: (APPROACHING) Halt, human, you appear to be lost. Perhaps my guards and I may be of some assistance?
  27. SOUND: [42] SOUNDS OF MANY SWORDS BEING DRAWN — LET IT FINISH.
  28. TONY: Oh hell!
  29. KING: (LANGUOROUSLY) Yes, I rather suspect it does feel a bit that way. (BEAT) Now before I have my, frankly rather eager, guards run you through with their swords, would you mind telling me why you are here and what this has to do with my sister?
  30. TONY: Actually, do you mind if I don’t? Only I rather suspect that telling you is going to see me dead very quickly, and whetting your curiosity may give me a bit more time.
  31. KING: (LAUGHING) Ha! What fun! (BEAT AND TO HIS GUARDS) I do believe I rather like this one. (TO TONY) You are so very mortal. Only a mortal would be this foolhardy.
  32. TONY: (NARRATING) I reached for the amulet around my neck and started talking fast… (TO THE KING) I’m not afraid of you, Your Majesty. I can leave here at any point that I like and if I do, you’ll be no closer to the answers you are looking for.
  33. SOUND: [43] WHOOSH OF A STRONG WIND AS AMULET FLIES TO THE HAND OF THE KING — LET IT FINISH.
  34. KING: Really? With this I suppose. One of my sister’s trinkets? She didn’t tell you that they fly straight to my hand on my command, did she? The fact is, there is nothing of hers that I do not share dominion over. Such is the nature of our kinship.
  35. TONY: Oh hell!
  36. KING: Precisely. (BEAT) You will answer me, mortal. Now? Later? It matters little to me. But you are going to tell me why you are trespassing in my domain. It will simply be much easier on you if you tell me now!
  37. TONY: Go to hell.
  38. KING: My, but you do enjoy using that word. Guards, take him to the dungeon… and ensure the fires are hot. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be joining you shortly.
  39. MUSIC: [6] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.
  40. MUSIC: [2] CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS

TONY WELLS: I used to work as a detective in the City Police Department. Now I’m a private detective in a city full of liars, cheats, killers, and con-men. You’d think that would have made me a cynic. And I guess it has a little. But underneath the hard-boiled exterior I actually give a damn. I do this job because I want to keep people safe from the animals and predators who roam the dark side of the city. I believe in heroes, or at least I want to believe in them.

CLAIRE TEMPLETON: I’m the crime reporter for the Star City Tribune. I know everyone in this town from the mayor down to the guys who pick up your garbage at four in the morning. I’m good at my job too, which is why I get myself into so many scrapes and tight corners. I’m fearless, determined, and always get my story — even when there’s no one with the courage to print it!

MAGIC SWORD (FRED): I’m a magical sword and I inherit my personality from the world around me. I’m a wise-talking smart alec who’s always laughing at the expense of my owner. Possibly because I can’t be destroyed — magical remember — I see myself as superior to ordinary mortals. Nothing bothers me particularly and I love giving advice. I will probably be advising my new master on the proper etiquette for being swallowed by a dragon while he is being munched upon.

QUEEN OF WINTER: I am hard, cruel, and beautiful. But, aside from the turning of the seasons, there is little that changes in my world. What I wouldn’t give for an end to the eternal cycles and repetitions. Or even a nice thousand years of war!

I have learned to entertain myself at the expense of those foolish inhabitants of the mortal realms…and the mortals interest me so. They can lie and they can be so unpredictable. Maybe there is an opportunity to be seized here as well.

KING OF SUMMER: I am self-indulgent, decadent, corrupt even. What? I am fae. I cannot lie, even to myself. I live to indulge my senses and be entertained. My sister tells me I am wasting eternity. But what can I do? Should I rail against my lot as she does? No, I am a coward, true, but a comfortable coward and, while I am as sick of the monotony as she is, I would still rather dance, sing, and feast my way through the centuries.

CASTING SHEETS — MINOR 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.

FAE THUG#1: I am a Rock Golem. For my queen I do what I must, but disguising myself as a human? Ah, well. I will feel compensated if I can grind one or more of these humans into powder.

FAE THUG#2: I am a Rock Golem too. I think like rock. I feel like rock. And I am as patient as a rock.

MRS TEMPLETON: What are you looking at? My husband left me with the brat. So what? He was always a weakling. You think I care what you think? I’ve got enough trouble with this ungrateful parasite hanging at my apron strings. The things I could’ve done with my life… and instead I’m stuck here with her. You can just #!$$ off!

YOUNG CLAIRE: I’m afraid all the time. I’m afraid of Momma. I’m afraid of the other kids. I’m afraid of the dark. I wish everyone would just leave me alone. Sometimes I dream that Momma isn’t my real Momma. That somewhere out there is a real family that I belong to who will one day come and find me. Am I wicked for having those dreams?

WEEPING CHILD: I’m a small child, afraid and lost in the dark, and unable to do anything but cry.

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.

You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com.

Don’t forget to check out the free sample portions of our titles at http://weirdworldstudios.com/product-category/our-products/ .

This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.

An Ephemeral Deal