• New Year's Special: Saved

    Credits and Transcript

  • New Year's Special "Saved" - Credits


    Written and Directed by Sarah Shachat.

    Script Editing by David K. Barnes.
    Performance by Beth Eyre as Addison LaValle.
    Also Featuring Felix Trench as Edmond LaValle.
    Original Music by Alan Rodi.

    Featuring "Magic" by Sam Long, performed by Sour Flour.

    Sound Recording by Andy Goddard.

    Sound Design by Zach Valenti.

    Produced by Sarah Shachat, Zach Valenti, and Gabriel Urbina,

    along with Angel Acevedo, Jenn Schneider, and Amy Tanguay.

    New Year's Special - "Saved" - Transcript



    Announcer: The following episode contains depictions of fantasy violence and drinking. Listener discretion is advised.


    [We hear pages of a journal turning, and then the sound of a pencil writing. Both belong to our narrator for this episode, who is writing even as we hear her speak:]


    NARRATOR: Journal entry. December thirty-first. Paris. This week has been... well, it’s been what it’s been. I’m not quite sure what to say about it. Which is of course why I’m writing about it all. I suspect this will not be the most articulate entry. No, that would require more... perspective. But in any case. Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with how I spent the last day of the year.


    [Music begins to fade in, and then the blaring of an alarm clock. We've flashed back to the beginning of the narrator's day, at her hotel room in Paris. We hear various clicks and creaks as she gets out of bed and turns on the lights, the faint sound of a news broadcast in the background under:]


    NARRATOR: Today was my last full day in Paris. I got here right after Christmas. Paris is best in the winter, I think. There’s something... Indescribable, but something... Some shift when the city is covered by a fresh blanket of snow.


    [We hear her open the curtains]


    NARRATOR: Of course... that would require there to be some sodding snow on the ground. Which... it appears we’re not getting any of this year.


    NARRATOR (sighing): Hoorah.


    [We jump forward to her walking on the streets of Paris in the morning. We hear the quiet sounds of traffic in the background]


    NARRATOR: I was up early. Very early. So, I wandered around the premier as the sun came up. Val had offered to arrange some activities for me to do while I was in the city. And I chose to interpret that as an ill- advised attempt at humor. It’s bad enough, being forced to go on “holiday” under duress. I’ll be hanged if I’m also going to end up trapped in some inane tour group’s slog through the Louvre.


    [A pause]


    NARRATOR: That was a little petulant of me, I suppose. It’s the thing about being in the Blackstar, though. You’re nervous when you first join the order - Can you measure up? Is your magic enough to protect the world from all the other, terrifying magic that’s out there? All you can do is throw yourself into the work. But at some point, you look up and realize it’s been one, two, four, five, fifteen years. And because you’ve thrown yourself into the work, and because the work is so secret, even from most other magicians... A Blackstar agent is all you know how to be. You’re slightly bewildered by anything else. After four days on holiday in Paris, I had absolutely no idea what you’re supposed to do with “time off.”


    [We hear a walk sign go off as the narrator crosses a street, the music fades out, and we hear footsteps under the following:]


    NARRATOR: I did all the tourist drags when I first moved here for university years ago. And now I’d done all the things you’re “supposed” to do when visiting your old home on holiday. I’d gotten coffee with my three professors who are still in the city. I’d spent hours browsing books at Shakespeare’s and didn’t buy a thing. I’d parked myself at Marriage Frérers for an afternoon, drinking a pot of Princeton Darjeeling and picking my way through a box of chocolates. I’d visited where grandmama and grandpapa are buried. Of course, I’d also spent the past four days writing up a summary on illegal exports of wonder-working materials across the Irish border, worrying constantly about the three fields teams we have out right now who are due for a check-in, and correcting the Prefect of the City’s brief on a smuggling ring suspected of operating out of the nineteenth arrondissement.


    NARRATOR (as if in answer to a question): Oh, come on. Just because I’ve been strong-armed into taking time off, that doesn’t mean I stopped having a brain.


    NARRATOR (lower): Doesn’t mean there still isn’t a mess waiting for me back in London...


    NARRATOR: It’s funny. Here I was, getting to spend four days in Paris at the turn of the year. No expectations. No agenda. Just me and the city. And I was coping with it about as well as you’d expect.


    [We jump again to the narrator seated outside at a cafe. We can hear noise from the street, and children playing in a park across the street.]


    NARRATOR: I stopped by a little cafe to have breakfast. It was warm enough for me to sit outside. It was warm enough for there to be a group of children playing football in the park across the street. I was starting to lose any hope that I’d get that snow on New Year’s Eve. But other than that... It was nice. There’s something about how slow Paris moves in the mornings. A reminder, I suppose, that every time we feel like we need a moment to catch our breath... we could just take it. There’s nothing stopping us.

    [A beat as we hear more sounds of street traffic and the kids playing in the park]
    NARRATOR: I was the only person at the cafe sitting by myself. I caught one or two of the waiters looking at me, wondering why I was sitting alone on New Year’s. Probably thinking: “Poor dear. Where are her people?” But I’ve never minded being alone, really. In its own way, it can be far less exhausting than the alternative. And I’ve always thought of myself as rather independent, which I suppose is a little ironic.
    [The sounds of the children playing with a soccer ball become more pronounced under the following:]
    NARRATOR: Still, sitting there and letting my tea get cold, a small part of me wondered what -
    [We hear running footsteps and then a car speeding up]
    NARRATOR (magically amplified): Bremalvo! Sintrila!
    [The car breaks, hard, skidding, and a ball bounces across the street.]
    NARRATOR: That was too close. One of the kids in the park had been chasing her ball - right into the street. The car didn’t notice until he was almost on top of her. I almost didn’t see it in time either. Almost didn’t have enough time to do something to stop it.
    [We hear a metallic whooshing, rewinding the scene as the narrator explains what she did. We hear faint rumbling under the following]
    NARRATOR: The car was tricky. Red Peugeot, going at least forty miles per hour. Fast enough to kill someone in a frontal collision. Not nearly enough time for them to maneuver out of the way. How do you stop that? Contrary to popular belief, I can’t just snap my fingers and make anything happen. I need something I can work with, something I know. Cars. How do cars work?
    [We hear a fuse light and the crackle of flame.]
    NARRATOR: Combustion. Burning fuels. Not my forte. If I was a fire magician, I’d be able to snuff out the spark keeping the car going. That’d be easy. But I’m not. I’m me.
    [More rumbling, like the slowed down churn of an engine.]
    NARRATOR: But then I remember. Car’s only use fire to go. When it comes to stopping... that’s hydraulics. And that... is something I know a thing or two about.
    [A metallic whooshing, followed by metallic groaning.]
    NARRATOR: I cast the first spell and instantly the car starts to move differently. Every ounce of brake fluid in that system just slammed down on the car’s rotors all at once. That’s one half of the problem.
    [We hear slow thrums at regular intervals, an approximation of the slowed-down footsteps of the girl running into the street. ]
    NARRATOR: There’s still the fact that the kid is running straight into the path of the car to deal with. A body in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an external force. I’ve bought us a bit of time, but what good does that do if the girl still ends up in the car’s path? I need to get her out of the way. Fortunately... about three fifths of her body are made up of something I understand very well.

    [Another whoosh of magical engery.]
    NARRATOR: You need to be careful. Making all the water in someone’s body move a certain way. Too little and you won’t stop whatever movement they’re already doing. Too much and you could tear the body in two. But just enough and...
    [One final impact, and with a whoosh we speed up back into regular time, hearing the car suddenly break again.]
    NARRATOR: The girl was fine. Scraped her elbow. I had intended for her to stay on her feet, but I pushed a little too hard and knocked her backwards. Not my best work. But I did only have one point seven seconds to get the job done. Nobody there could see past the Caul. None of them understood what really happened. They thought that they’d made a mistake. That the girl and the car hadn’t actually been as close to one another as it had looked for a second. That a sudden gust of wind had pushed her back. That they just... got very, very lucky. The way some people do.
    [We hear a faint vibrating magical thrum under the following:]
    NARRATOR: At least... that’s what I thought at first. But then I saw the girl. I saw the way she was lying on the ground, not getting up. The way she was looking at her hands. Not confused. Not afraid. But like she’d just seen something.
    [The magical noises speed up in rhythm]
    NARRATOR: Something that had been there for a long time, and now she was trying to understand how she’d never noticed it before. Had... had I done that? Had I just given her the push she needed to break through?
    [The magical thrums fade. The sounds of the street and the cafe fade back in.]
    NARRATOR: And then... It faded. This glassy look came over her and she shuddered, like she was shaking off an unpleasant thought. Someone threw her ball back to her, and it was like she’d never run into the street. A moment later... she was gone.
    NARRATOR (sighing): Well... never mind, then. I asked for the bill, and was on my way.

    [Sounds fade out, and after a moment we hear the narrator's footsteps and the sounds of street traffic again under the following:]
    NARRATOR: I started walking without any particular direction, just to get moving. And I’m not quite sure how it entered my head, but I decided to walk the old routes of the French Revolution. I picked my way through dozens of half-forgotten battles and invisible barricades, from the Tuileries to the Bastille. Just... Taking it in. Trying to appreciate just how many things have happened here that can no longer be seen or heard, but are still... echoing. Still reaching into our lives.
    [Some honking and traffic noises]
    NARRATOR: ... even if most of what you can see nowadays is just a bloody traffic circle.

    [The car sounds fade]


    NARRATOR: Paris was the same, more or less. Couple things had gone up. Couple things had gone away. To be expected. It’d been almost twenty years since I’d last lived here. Back when I was a student and I was still learning about magic. I...


    [Music begins under the following:]


    NARRATOR: I kept waiting for the moment when it would happen. When I’d turn a corner, and suddenly... Something would be there. I’d feel like I was twenty-two again, and bright, and energetic, and scared for the future in an excited way... instead of annoyed and tired and scared in a bad way for what’s coming.


    NARRATOR (lower): For what’s right around the corner...


    NARRATOR (normal): Maybe that’s too much to ask of a city, even Paris. Or maybe I’d just been away from it for too long. In either case, I do think I would enjoyed the walk more if I’d had a little bit of snow.I stopped on the Champ de Mars in the early afternoon. Sat on a bench and watched a few guys performing magic tricks for tourists. Not our magic, just... contact juggling, interlocking rings, sleight of hand tricks, that sort of thing.


    [We hear some clinking of the rings.]


    NARRATOR: They weren’t bad.


    [A small crowd applaudes]


    NARRATOR: In fact, they were so good, that I was the only one who saw how one of the jugglers was making the crowd’s wallets disappear.


    [We hear some footsteps and clinking of coins as the pickpocket moves]


    NARRATOR: He was patient. Subtle. Big friendly smile. Moved through the crowd like a shadow, and only lunged at just the right moment. Right when his little confreres did something to wow the crowd.


    [Another tinkling of coins under the cover of the crowd applauding]


    NARRATOR: Still, that sort of pickpocketing is a delicate dance. The slightest thing can make you stumble. It had rained last night and there were still a few puddles on the ground. My new friend was walking straight towards one. So focused on the crowd he didn’t notice.


    [We hear more of his footsteps as he hits the puddle]


    NARRATOR: I waited for just the right moment, and then...


    NARRATOR (magically amplified): GRICERRUS.


    [There's magical whoosh as the narrator casts the spell and then a splash that crackles and hardens into ice, the sound of the coins falling out of the thief's pockets, and then a gasp from the crowd. We hear some angry murmuring under the following:]


    NARRATOR: It wasn’t much, really. The moment he stepped into the puddle, I made the water freeze around his foot. When he tried to take his next step, well... like I said: it’s a delicate dance. The slightest thing can make you lose your balance and drop all the shiny things you’ve stolen in front of the people you’ve stolen them from.


    [The crowd gets angry]


    NARRATOR: I figured I could let them handle things from there.


    [We hear the narrator walking away]


    NARRATOR: I hate people who use wonder like that, just to take advantage of other people. Who show people something amazing just because they want to keep their eyes busy. I hate that. It’s just cruel.


    [The music fades and there's a pause of silence before more street noise comes back in.]


    NARRATOR: It was the late afternoon. I’d wandered up by the railway station when I heard it.


    [There's a metallic clatter from an alleyway. Then echoing footsteps, running down the alley.]


    NARRATOR: I poked my head into the alley and saw them. Two guys. Both fae. Both running. One of them was carrying this briefcase, clutching it to his chest. The way people do when their life depends on it... or when it’s something that isn’t strictly speaking theirs.


    [The footsteps stop and we hear the men's labored breathing as they take deliberate steps towards the narrator.]


    NARRATOR: The other was holding a bottle of lightning. Interesting bit of hermetics, that. All kinds of uses... although I imagine he was particularly interested in the way it can effectively function as a bomb that only explodes in one direction. They were both yelling at me. Telling me to bugger off. I stood my ground. Told them that was a very nice briefcase, and asked them where they’d gotten it from.


    [Their footsteps have stopped at this point.]


    NARRATOR: There followed more yelling, seasoned with generous helpings of the word conard. I politely repeated my question. And at this point, the gentlemen started to lose their cool. They came closer. The taller one said something about... well, I believe the general effect was that if my ass was so badly in need of a kicking, they would be more than happy to oblige. And I thought... Oh why not? I’ve got some time to kill. Let’s live a little.


    [We hear the whoosh and shimmering thrums of spells being cast back and forth, then glass shattering and echoing metallic slam as the fight's concluded. Then, after a moment, we hear someone taking a sip of coffee.]


    NARRATOR: I ducked into a cafe and got a cup of coffee. I need something to do while I waited for the authorities to arrive. Once they did, I made sure they found the two unconscious bodies in the alleyway, and pointed out the stolen briefcase. The on-duty agent had a lot of questions about who I was and what had happened in that alley. Once I’d told her, she had a different set of questions. Most of them were variations on,


    NARRATOR (mock quavering voice): “And is there anything else I can do to make your day better, ma’am?”


    NARRATOR (normal voice):There wasn’t, really. So I let her handle the rest of the clean up and went on my way.


    [We hear her footsteps as she walks away and a brief pause. We start to hear the faint murmur of conversations under the following:]


    NARRATOR: I wasn’t quite sure what to do next, after that bit of fun. Given the Seen World had been so full of magical interruptions? It might be time to walk into the Unseen.


    [Music begins under the following: ]


    NARRATOR: There are places all over the city that cater specifically to the Unveiled population of Paris. Restaurants, some clubs, one or two of the smaller, harder to find museums... Just places where you know you’ll be able to go and have no one look past you for what you do... or what you are.


    [We hear glasses clink as she settles into a corner at the bar]


    NARRATOR: It wasn’t a regular student haunt, but I’d always liked Le Luxour when I lived in Paris before. It’s a little rooftop bar, on the edge of Montmartre. Not the nicest place in Paris and the drinks are standard at best, but... it’s small enough to feel cozy. Old enough to feel charming, and... magical enough to feel... welcoming. It’s the rare place you can sit alone, and not feel alone for a moment. At least in theory. The plan was: find a spot by one of the Wonder-Worked heaters, nurse my glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and just... watch the sun disappear over the roofs of Paris. But... There was some - some restlessness I couldn’t shake. Even surrounded by magicians, I kept fidgeting with my glass.


    NARRATOR (lower): I don’t do that. Why was I doing that?


    [The narrator sighs]


    NARRATOR: So I tried to distract myself from... well, myself by people watching. I spotted these three kids, over in a corner. American, by their accent. Nineteen, if I had to guess - and human - which made the way they were all huddled around this silver bowl with runes carved into its side, filled with clear water, quietly muttering an incantation, very interesting. I know an augury kit when I see it. Not a lot of humans can make augury spells work - I’d learned that a long time ago. But here they were, using the last sunlight of the year to amplify whatever power they had on their own.


    [We hear the whoosh of a magic spell and slow the trickle of water. The music and bar noise fades out under the following:]


    NARRATOR: I watched them try to work the spell and felt a quirk of... not quite kinship. Not quite schadenfreude, either. I wondered at them, I think. They’d made it past the Caul. They were going to get a full crack at the world, as it really is. I don’t suppose they have any idea how lucky they are.


    [With a whoosh, the bar sounds and the music comes back.]


    NARRATOR: Although at that moment, I bet they weren’t feeling particularly lucky. They were having trouble with the spell. The same sort of trouble I’d had, I could tell. Two of them decided to give up and went to the bar, but one of them just... sat there, staring into the bowl, just willing it to work. And I thought... maybe I can shed some light on this process.


    [The song ends]


    NARRATOR: I waited until the kid had started casting the spell again -


    [There's the same magical shimmer and the drip drip of water]


    NARRATOR: And then...


    NARRATOR (magically amplified): Valtirinia.


    [Music comes in under the following and the drip of water becomes a flow as the water circulates, magically, within the bowl]


    NARRATOR: I didn’t do the whole thing for him. Obviously. I wasn’t gonna make it easy. But I did offer up a little bit of... clarity. I got the water moving in the right direction to make it receptive to the spell. The kid’s expression lit up and I could tell... now they’d seen what the spell was supposed to look like, they’d be able to do it on their own.


    [With another quick whoosh, the bar noise comes back in faintly under the music and the following]


    NARRATOR: But then they saw me. And they realized what I’d done. And... well. First they went bright red. Then, they gave me a rather sour look. And then, wordlessly, they grabbed their bowl and stormed off.


    [We hear the a shuffling and footsteps as the kid takes the bowl and leaves.]


    NARRATOR: I suppose that’s the thanks I get for trying to help.


    [The music and bar noise fades. After a moment, we hear the footsteps as she walks along the streets again. There's almost no traffic or crowd noise, but a light wind is blowing.]


    NARRATOR: The evening was quiet. I got a small dinner from a street vendor, and... I started walking again. All day, I’d been meaning to figure out where I should go for midnight. Where I should be to see in the new year. Never quite managed to decide on anything. So I just... walked. I picked a road. It led to a staircase.


    [We start to hear her walking up the stairs]


    NARRATOR: And I began to climb.


    [We hear her climb for a beat]


    NARRATOR: And then... I was there. Sacré-Cœur. The highest point in the city.


    [We hear her footsteps, now on grass in front of the basilica]


    NARRATOR: I found a spot of open grass. From there, all of Paris stretches out before you. All its beauty, and noise, and promise. As I took in this gorgeous view... all of a sudden, looking out of the city, with a whole new year stretching out before it... I just felt, so tired.


    [A pause. We hear the light breeze in the air.]


    NARRATOR: It was hard to pinpoint exactly why. I’d done a surprising amount of good today. I’d stopped robberies. In the plural. Not bad work for a girl on vacation. But then... I remembered the girl. From the park by the cafe. The way she’d almost made it past the Caul. How she had almost seen the magic. I couldn’t help feeling like I’d let her down. Like I could have done more to help her see the world as it is. As all it can be.


    NARRATOR (lower): There are so many things I would like the world to be, this year.


    [A pause. The narrator takes a deep breath.]


    NARRATOR: It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have or how powerful your magic is. A feeling like that, equal parts hope and dread, is very hard to shake. I’ve only heard one bit of advice that’s ever helped - annoyingly, it’s to not worry too much. Find the thing that you can do, right here, right now. And...


    [She exhales]


    NARRATOR: ...you know what? I realized there was something I could still do for that girl. For me, too.


    NARRATOR (magically amplified): Neliastrema.


    [We hear a rumble from the clouds above, and then music begins under the following:]


    NARRATOR: There we go. Much better. Happy New Year’s, Paris. I got us some snow.


    [We the musical piece for a moment, and then start to hear the sound of her writing in her journal again under the following:]


    NARRATOR: And well... that’s where we are. I’m still here. Watching the snow fall on the grass in front of Sacré Cœur. Waiting for the end of the year. Just a few minutes now. It’s weird, isn’t it? New Year’s Eve. Nothing’s really ending. And nothing beginning, either. Really, we’re all just... taking a moment. Maybe one night of mulling over the year that was and drinking to the year that might be... Maybe that’s all you need to feel like you have it in you to start all over again.


    [She stops writing and puts the book down.]


    NARRATOR: Maybe... that’s all.


    [The music plays to the end of the piece, and then there's a moment of silence]


    VOICE: Oh, there you are.


    [There's a whoosh, and then suddenly we're back on the grass in front of Sacre Coeur, and a figure stands in front of our narrator. A man holding a bottle and two glasses and wearing an incredibly smug smile.]


    VOICE: I've been looking all over for you.


    NARRATOR: Well I’ll be damned. What the hell are you doing here?


    VOICE: Oh, come now. Is that any way to greet your brother?


    NARRATOR: Oh. My apologies. Edmond, what the hell are you doing here?


    [Yep. The man who's just walked up is our protagonist from Episode 4, Edmond LaValle. Which makes our narrator Addison LaValle]


    EDMOND: What, isn’t it obvious? I’m here to watch the fireworks.


    [He holds up the bottle]


    EDMOND: And to bring my sister a bottle of middling champagne.


    ADDISON: Oh, very funny. Aren’t you supposed to be on assignment? Something about a... banshee in Romania?


    EDMOND: A barghest, actually. In Slovakia. Wrapped it up early. Thought it might be nice to spend New Year’s closer to home.


    ADDISON: And the paper-work is -


    EDMOND: Filed. In triplicate. You know, Addison, if I didn’t know better, I would say it’s almost like you aren’t happy to see me.


    ADDISON: No, I’m... thrilled. It’s just... I thought I’d be alone tonight.


    [We hear the bottle pop. Edmond pours them both a glass and clinks his with Addison]


    EDMOND: It’s New Year’s Eve! You shouldn’t be alone on New Year’s Eve. C’mon. Chin, chin. So... you’re on vacation. That’s unusual.


    ADDISON: Apparently there’s a rule somewhere that you can’t work three years in a row without taking some time off.


    EDMOND: Well, I’m glad someone put their foot down.


    [A pause]


    EDMOND: You want to tell me?


    ADDISON: What?


    EDMOND: The reason why you’re here? In Paris? By yourself? And didn’t tell any of the people you love?


    ADDISON: Mum and dad are on a cruise. They’re busy.


    EDMOND: You could have told me.


    ADDISON: You were supposed to be busy! There was a banshee!


    EDMOND: Barghest.


    ADDISON: Whatever.


    EDMOND: So... is that a “no, you don’t want to tell me,” or...?


    [Addison sighs]


    ADDISON: No. I do, but I can’t.


    EDMOND: Why not?


    ADDISON: Because it’s a Blackstar thing.


    EDMOND: You can talk to me about work.


    ADDISON: No, Edmond, I can’t. It’s part of the whole... being one of the heads of the magical secret society that tries to protect the world from the dangers of magic it can’t always control or understand... thing, remember?


    EDMOND: Oh, come on... surely you can make an exception for your best agent?


    ADDISON: Third best.


    EDMOND: What about your favorite brother?


    ADDISON: If I had more of those, you’d be third in that, too.


    EDMOND: Addison. Look at my face. My sister is acting out of character. Going off on her own, not telling her family where she is. Given that, out of the two of us, she is the responsible one?


    EDMOND (louder): That makes me concerned. So hang the rules. I don’t care if you have to oubliate the memory out of my head later. Tell me what’s wrong so I can help.


    [After a moment, Addison sighs]


    ADDISON: There’s... going to be a vote. The seven heads of the Blackstar. We’re getting together on January second.


    EDMOND: And what are you trying to decide? Rules for extradition to the fae kingdoms? New trial procedures for -


    ADDISON: We’re going to stop trying to figure out the Caul.


    [Music begins under the following]


    ADDISON: What it is. Where it came from. How to get rid of it. We’re... we’re stopping.


    EDMOND: Ah. Umm... a question?


    ADDISON: Yes?


    EDMOND: Isn’t... the whole reason why the Order of the Blackstar exists to... figure out why the Caul is even here to begin with?


    ADDISON: Yes.


    EDMOND: Why it stops most of the planet from being able to see magic?


    ADDISON: Yes.


    EDMOND: And didn’t we fall into the role of... peacekeepers and protecters as an... interim measure? Until we could unravel the mystery of the Caul?


    ADDISON: Beautifully put.


    EDMOND: Well... seems a little silly to -


    ADDISON: I agree.


    EDMOND: And the rest of the council?


    ADDISON: Does not.


    EDMOND: Ah. Well... it is a hell of a Why do most people in the forget that magic exists?


    ADDISON: It depends on who you ask. When the Caul first manifested itself eight- hundred years ago, it was a... force of nature. Inexplicable. But then we got on the case. Carried out investigations. Experiments. Sunk fortunes into researching it. Created a vast, secret organization solely dedicated to understanding the Caul and how to reverse it.


    EDMOND: And eight centuries later? What’s the latest theory?


    ADDISON: Well, we think that humans who know at least three languages might have an easier time getting through the Caul. Might.


    EDMOND: Time and money well spent, then.


    ADDISON: Edmond, who’s side are you on? Are you watching closely?


    EDMOND: I am, and I’m on yours. I don’t think that it’s a good excuse to give up on solving the biggest problem in the world because it’s hard. But... you can see why folks might be the slightest bit tired, can’t you?


    [A pause]


    EDMOND: You’ll make them come around. Remind them what we’re here to do. What the whole point of this is.


    ADDISON: I don’t think I will.


    EDMOND: What?


    ADDISON: They all seem rather... set.


    EDMOND: Well, unset them!


    ADDISON: And how do you propose I do that?


    EDMOND: Convince them!


    ADDISON: I can't.


    EDMOND: You can.


    ADDISON: No, Edmond, you could. You could do this. If you where on the council instead of me, then it’d be a different story. You would... I don’t know. Start with a joke, then follow it up with a non sequitur that flows into a riddle that last seven bloody minutes for no discernable reason. Round that out with a quick little obsequious joke, then retell the problem but from an arch perspective that makes you seem like such clever little fox. Left turn into a bitter realization about the transience of existence, never too late for another anecdote, and finally, finally bring it all in for a twisty-turney landing. And if everyone could please agree with me and tell me how clever I am, that would be fabulous.


    EDMOND: You’ve always been the clever one.


    ADDISON: Does it look like I’m in the mood for bloody jokes? The thing that I’ve given my life to; that I think, while far from perfect, is one of the few forces actively working to make this troubled world a better place, is about to make a terrible mistake. A mistake that may set it back for centuries. It’s my job to stop it from making that mistake and I can’t. I can’t fix it.


    [A quiet pause, the music fades out.]


    EDMOND: The Blackstar’s always its own worst enemy, isn’t it?


    ADDISON: It doesn’t have enemies. That might be the problem. We think we can do whatever we want, so we fight about anything. And everything.


    EDMOND: You’re wrong, you know.


    ADDISON: About what?


    EDMOND: Well, we’ll get there in a moment.


    ADDISON: Oh God, it begins.


    EDMOND: First, a question: why do you have the cushy job on the council while I’m out there doing all the dangerous field work?


    ADDISON: Easy. Because the wrong person died at the right time and I happened to be the next water mage in line.


    EDMOND: Well, yes, but besides that?


    ADDISON: Oh do tell. But if this doesn’t come in the form of a story about - oh, I don’t know, four men getting stranded in the Gobi desert or something, I’m going to be crushed.


    EDMOND: Well, then. There are these four men... And they get stranded. In the Gobi desert.


    ADDISON: Oh my God, Edmond.


    EDMOND: Shush. Now, two of them are Veiled. All they see is just sand and sun and impending doom. But the other two? They’re magicians. So they know that if they’re clever, they can make the desert work for them.


    ADDISON: I need more alcohol for this.


    EDMOND: Well, I brought you alcohol.


    ADDISON: Let me rephrase. I need better alcohol for this.


    EDMOND: We can address that later. Now our magicians: one of them is handy with fire. He can make fires to keep them warm at night. Use the heat of the sun to triangulate their position. Guide them towards safety. Impressive stuff.


    ADDISON: Very.


    EDMOND: The other one, he doesn’t have that kind of flash. But, he can coax what little water there is to be had out of the ground, keep them all alive. Ish.


    ADDISON: Well, it’s the Gobi desert. It’s gigantic, and dangerous. You can’t be sure of anything. Everything’s an “ish”.


    EDMOND: Got ya.


    ADDISON: Shut up and tell your stupid story.


    EDMOND: The other three men start to look up to the fire magician. He does his best to lead them, to keep morale up. But time passes and... they’re still lost in the desert. Because it’s the Gobi Desert. It goes on for ages.


    ADDISON: Of course.


    EDMOND: But the problem is, see, people don’t go on for ages. We’re a very limited time offer. The more time they spend out there, the more endless it seems... It’s only a matter of time before they begin to lose heart.


    [Music begins under the following]


    EDMOND: They start bickering. But then, one day, the fire magician, turns to the others and -


    ADDISON: Whatever he’s about to do to get them out of there is going to make me very angry, isn’t it?


    EDMOND: Oh, he doesn’t get them out.


    ADDISON: He doesn't?


    EDMOND: Of course not, don’t be silly. But... they do, eventually, get rescued. And do you know why that’s even possible? Because they survived long enough to be rescued. Because they had just enough water.


    ADDISON: Mmm, you actually have a point to make, don’t you?


    EDMOND: Yes, I do. Addison, you are one of the seven leaders of the world’s most powerful, most secretive magical organizations... because you’re a great magician who cares deeply about the Unseen World, and about both our worlds becoming a more just place. So out of the two of us, you are exactly who needs to be on the council. Who can remind them that this is a very big desert and we have absolutely no idea which direction we’re headed. So the key is find as much water as we can.


    ADDISON: Edmond... in your story, the group gets rescued. No one is coming to rescue us.


    EDMOND: No. I suppose not.


    ADDISON: ... and? How are we supposed get out this metaphorical dessert alive, then?


    EDMOND: Oh, no one gets out of this alive. We just... get saved for a little while. Saved-ish.


    ADDISON: Well, I feel massively reassured.


    EDMOND: Not sure what you expected.


    ADDISON: No, you’re still the same incorrigible pessimist.


    EDMOND: And even if you need to occasionally be reminded... you’re still an insufferable optimist.


    ADDISON: I almost helped a kid see past the Caul today, you know.


    EDMOND: Did you?


    ADDISON: Yeah. I cast a spell to push her out of the way of a car. And when she was getting up... She had it. And then... she lost it.


    EDMOND: Hmm. I'm sorry.


    ADDISON: It’s fine. I just - I thought I’d helped someone today. Helped to make their life better. And then... not so much.


    EDMOND: That's too bad. Of course, you did push them out of the way of a speeding car.


    ADDISON: Well, yes. But that's not -


    EDMOND: Don't "well yes" me. You know, sister dear, one day you might get to fix this broken world and help it remember everything it’s forgotten. But until then... using your magic to keep them alive doesn’t strike me as a bad way to spend your time. And in fact... if I were in the market for a twisty anecdote to sway a powerful council of mages... I could do much, much worse.


    ADDISON: Hmmph. I suppose you could.


    [They share a quiet moment]


    EDMOND: You know... I thought it wasn’t supposed to snow tonight? In fact, I’m sure it wasn’t.


    ADDISON: What are the odds? Sometimes these things just work out, I guess.


    EDMOND: Yes. And sometimes the right person is on hand. With the right vision. And that’s all it takes.


    ADDISON: Thank you. For coming. For being... helpful. In your own, annoying way.


    EDMOND: What else are big brothers for?


    ADDISON: You're only older by twenty-six minutes.


    EDMOND: Ah, still counts.


    [A pause]


    EDMOND: It's almost midnight.


    ADDISON: What are we drinking to?

    EDMOND: Hmm... to... another year...?


    ADDISON: Of being stranded in the desert?


    EDMOND: Of pulling water from the sand.


    [They clink glasses and drink]


    ADDISON: Cheers.


    [After a moment, we start to hear fireworks going off all over the city]


    EDMOND: There we go. Nothing like fireworks to start the year off right. There’s nothing in the world like fireworks on a snowy night.


    ADDISON: It's like magic.


    [After a moment, the fireworks and the music slowly fade into Unseen Credits music starts to fade in.]


    Announcer: This has been UNSEEN, by Long Story Short Productions, based on an original idea by Gabriel Urbina, with additional conceptual design work by Sarah Shachat. Today’s episode was written and directed by Sarah Shachat, with script editing by David K. Barnes. It starred Beth Eyre in the role of Addison LaValle. It also featured Felix Trench in the role of Edmond LaValle. Original Music by Alan Rodi. It also featured the song "Magic" by Sam Long of Honey and The Sting, performed by Sour Flour. Sound recording by Andy Goddard and sound design by Zach Valenti. UNSEEN is produced by Sarah Shachat, Zach Valenti, and Gabriel Urbina, along with Angel Acevedo, Jenn Schneider, and Amy Tanguay. For more information on the Unseen World, please visit Unseen.Show. Thank you for listening.


    [Music fades out.]


    End of Episode