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1.11: The Runner

Our heroes face their gravest challenge yet.

Transcript is below the cut!

TESSA THE INNKEEPER
Previously on Inn Between…

 

Theme song.

 

KING
You’ve proven yourselves able adventurers. I have a new mission for you.

 

FINA
We’re not in the market for any new jobs right now, Your Majesty.

 

KING
You don’t have a choice.

 

MELTYRE
No one can fight the Bone King! No one who’s ever tried has survived!

 

OLD COOT
That wasteland out there is the end of the world!

 

BETTY
Tomorrow, that’s where we go.

 

Theme song ends, fade into tavern noises.

 

FINA
All right, all right, here we go, round of drinks. (glasses set down; chair scoot) Enjoy them while they last, adventurers.

 

BETTY
Thanks.

 

MELTYRE
(darkly)
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

 

FINA
Hey, kid, be reasonable. It might be the day after tomorrow.

 

VELUNE
(warning)
Fina…

 

STERLING
Personally, I look forward to our inevitable triumph.

 

FINA
Look who’s in all kinds of high spirits. I’m glad one of us is optimistic.

 

STERLING
You have so little faith in us! Just look what we’ve overcome! Monsters of the deep, a vampire, a cockatrice, a dragon—

 

FINA
Our own stupidity, on multiple occasions—

 

STERLING
Exactly! We’ve learned so much together. I can’t help but think that although this next challenge will not be easy, it is well within our power to accomplish.

 

MELTYRE
No you—you have no idea what we’re in for, do you? We’re fighting a lich! A lich, Sterling. Do you know what you have to do to become a lich?

 

VELUNE
Well, there’s the long process of finding the materials for the ceremony, some of which are very rare, and then there’s the business of choosing the right phylactery to store one’s soul in, which can be a tricky thing to get right, and then there’s the ceremony itself, which almost inevitably involves an element of human sacrifice… (pause) What are you all looking at me for?

 

MELTYRE
(a little scared)
How do you know all that?

 

VELUNE
I studied a wide variety of subjects in my youth.

 

FINA
Hey Velune, can you be honest with me about something?

 

VELUNE
Of course.

 

FINA
Are you a lich?

 

VELUNE
(amused)
No, no, don’t be silly. If I was a lich, the first time I cast Turn Undead, I would have to run screaming from myself.

 

FINA
Mmkay. All right. Cool. But are you a lich, though?

 

VELUNE
Come now, you don’t believe me?

 

FINA
You are old as dirt and you know stuff and you have your “ways” of seeing through people’s disguises. I’m not pulling this out of nowhere here.

 

BETTY
Leave them alone.

 

VELUNE
It’s all right, Betty. No, Fina, I am not a lich. And I’m a little younger than dirt, thank you very much.

 

FINA
Okay. If you say so.

 

VELUNE
Feel free to cast Zone of Truth if you doubt me.

 

MELTYRE
No, don’t. You don’t want to know how I’m feeling in detail right now.

 

STERLING
Take heart, Meltyre. The legions of the undead will scatter before us like chaff.

 

MELTYRE
Forgive me if I don’t leap for joy.

 

FINA
You’re just in a good mood because you can do magic now, Sterling.

 

STERLING
Well I won’t pretend that’s not somewhat true. Did you see, I cast Detect Magic yesterday?

 

BETTY
We saw.

 

STERLING
I stretched out my hand, and behold! The zombie’s sword glowed!

 

FINA
We saw, pretty boy.

 

STERLING
Too bad it was cursed.

 

VELUNE
That poor man likely died and was raised with it in hand.

 

FINA
Oh my gods, please don’t get me started thinking of zombies as people. This is hard enough as it is.

 

VELUNE
What is?

 

FINA
You know, fighting people-shaped things. Monsters are whatever, you know, they’re basically mean animals.

 

VELUNE
Ah, well you can rest assured that any sentience is long gone from the undead we’ve been fighting.

 

FINA
Again with this stuff. How do you know?

 

VELUNE
I have my—

 

FINA
You have your ways, yeah. Thought so.

 

STERLING
Ah, Velune, you know quite a bit about the undead!

 

VELUNE
A fair amount, I’d say.

 

STERLING
Surely you agree with me that our chances are good.

 

Long pause.

 

VELUNE
In an effort to be realistic—

 

MELTYRE
I knew it. We’re doomed.

 

STERLING
Oh, come now, surely things aren’t that dire.

 

VELUNE
Realistically, if the five of us had to fight a lich, and said lich was relatively young or unproven, I’d be with you completely, Sterling. But this lich is neither young nor unproven. He’s taken hold of quite a sizeable piece of the kingdom, and is, unfortunately, famously unbeatable.

 

STERLING
We may yet triumph.

 

VELUNE
We may. But in addition to the lich himself, there is the matter of his minions. We’ve already run into so many undead. I would be willing to bet that the lair of the Bone King is not unprotected.

 

BETTY
We’ve beat all his undead so far.

 

VELUNE
We have, in small groups, and with plenty of time between encounters. If we would find the lich a challenge at our top strength, I hesitate to think how we’ll find him after facing layers and layers of resistance.

 

MELTYRE
Oh gods. Oh my gods.

 

STERLING
But…even so, we mustn’t underestimate ourselves.

 

VELUNE
Of course not! And who knows, I could be giving the Bone King too much credit. It’s ultimately in the hands of the gods, and all we can do is face the challenge ahead of us in good spirits. But it pays to face things with a…realistic perspective.

 

Long pause, then a sudden chair scoot and footsteps running away.

 

STERLING
(bewildered)
Meltyre?

 

FINA
(urgently)
Betty, he’s making a break for it!

 

BETTY
I got him.

 

A chair scoot, and large stomping footsteps.

 

MELTYRE
(distant, but moving closer as the line goes on)
Betty no, please—put me down, please, I’m begging you, let me go. Betty. Please?

 

BETTY
No.

 

MELTYRE
C’mon! Please!

 

STERLING
(outraged)
Were you trying to run? Like a coward?

 

MELTYRE
I just want to live, okay? Betty, listen—

 

STERLING
(chair scoot) You would abandon us in our hour of greatest need?

 

BETTY
Hey. (smack) Don’t touch him.

 

STERLING
Ow! How dare—you’re not on his side

 

FINA
Woah, who said anything about sides? Kid seems pretty logical to me—

 

MELTYRE
Just put me down—

 

Crosstalk, arguing, all interrupted by the loud slam of a fist on a table.

 

VELUNE
Enough!

 

Silence.

 

VELUNE
(dangerously calm)
Sterling, sit down.

 

STERLING
I’m hardly the one at fault here—

 

VELUNE
That’s not important. Sit.

 

Chair scoot.

 

VELUNE
Very good. Now Meltyre, you can run, if you like, but I ask that you give me a few minutes first. Can you do that? Just a few minutes?

 

MELTYRE
(faintly)
…Yeah.

 

VELUNE
Good. Betty, please put him down.

 

BETTY
Are you sure—

 

VELUNE
I’m sure. Go on. Sit down, everyone.

 

Shuffling, chairs scoot.

 

STERLING
I can’t believe, after everything, you’d betray us like this.

 

MELTYRE
We’re all going to die, Sterling, don’t you see that?

 

FINA
Hey, we’re all scared, kid.

 

MELTYRE
So let’s all run! We don’t have to do this! No one is making us!

 

STERLING
And turn from our quest! Of all the dishonorable—

 

FINA
Gods, Top Gun, can you take maybe half a second and chill? Please? Meltyre, look, I am with you, okay? I would way rather get out of here.

 

MELTYRE
Then let’s go!

 

FINA
No, no, kid, listen, I will remind you that we are not here of our own free will. What do you think will happen to you if you run? You think the king’s going to be understanding?

 

MELTYRE
The king—he—

 

FINA
He’ll track down your sisters and use them as leverage to find you, and arrest you. And probably kill you. And then where will your sisters be, huh?

 

MELTYRE
He couldn’t do that.

 

FINA
You have altogether too high an opinion of your king, kid.

 

STERLING
Oh, good, so it’s treason now!

 

FINA
Halflings don’t have kings, your lordship, now shut up. Meltyre, we could run, okay, but we’d never stop. Ever. And I don’t fancy being a convict for the rest of my life.

 

MELTYRE
You’d rather die?

 

FINA
Frankly? Yeah. I can’t luxuriate in a lavish life of fame if I’m on the run, can I?

 

MELTYRE
Do you hear yourself? You’d rather be killed?

 

FINA
Go down in a blaze of glory? I mean…I mean, it’s not ideal, but if it makes a good story…

 

STERLING
I can’t believe I’m hearing this! I took you all for stalwart, courageous souls, and here I am finding out that you would abandon our mission if there were no consequences?

 

MELTYRE
Consequences? What about consequences to my sisters, Sterling? I’m not just living for me here!

 

STERLING
And what about consequences to the rest of the kingdom? The Bone King and his army have killed hundreds of people! They’ve ruined crops and water supplies. If someone doesn’t stop them, we’ll all be overtaken!

 

MELTYRE
Why does it have to be us? Why can’t it be someone else? Especially if there’s no chance we’ll win!

 

STERLING
There is a chance we’ll win! If you’d stop being such a spineless jellyfish and have a little faith in yourself—

 

FINA
Oh my gods, can you both just stop!

 

STERLING
(sarcastic)
Oh, I’m sorry, do feel free to weigh in. You’re just as craven as he is.

 

FINA
Yeah, I’ll cop to that! Fine! But none of this matters, all right? We have to do it, so let’s just do it already and get it over with! We’ll come through one way or another, right?

 

STERLING
I’m sorry, none of this matters? I’d say it matters a great deal!

 

MELTYRE
Maybe nobody’s going to miss you when you die—

 

FINA
Excuse me? Uh, excuse me? You don’t know anything about who’s going to miss me, magic man!

 

MELTYRE
I don’t see you running off to say goodbye to the people you love!

 

FINA
What do you think I’m doing right now?

 

A long pause, as the magnitude of this statement sinks in.

 

FINA
(backtracking)
I mean—you know, ‘cuz it’s—

 

VELUNE
Perhaps it is better to die with friends than to run away alone?

 

FINA
(sputtering)
Well I can’t just leave you idiots to your own devices, can I? What would you do without me?

 

STERLING
(gently)
Fina, I had no idea.

 

FINA
Whatever.

 

BETTY
I’m glad you’re staying.

 

FINA
Shut up. You’re all a bunch of saps. Look, Meltyre, I’m the last person who’s going to judge if you run, but we’re going to need your help if we want to even get close to the Bone King. So…I guess I’m asking you to come with us.

 

MELTYRE
I suppose you’ll all think pretty little of me if I leave.

 

BETTY
Nope.

 

MELTYRE
…Wait, really?

 

BETTY
You have to do what you think is right.

 

VELUNE
I’m inclined to agree with Betty. Although your help would be sorely missed.

 

MELTYRE
And you, Sterling?

 

Pause.

 

STERLING
I can’t pretend to understand why you would think this is right.

 

MELTYRE
(bitterly)
That’s what I thought.

 

STERLING
Oh, come now, I’m not…I’m trying to understand. I never took you for a coward.

 

MELTYRE
Gee, thanks.

 

STERLING
(barely keeping his temper)
I am doing my very best not to condemn some frankly inexcusable behavior from you Meltyre, and your sarcasm—

 

VELUNE
Sterling, that’s quite enough.
(pause; slowly)
This is far from a simple issue. Your sisters need you. We need you. And we cannot fault you for choosing them.

 

MELTYRE
Yeah. But—but if you need my help then how can I—can I just leave?

 

FINA
Kid, you’re just digging yourself in deeper.

 

MELTYRE
(groaning) I know.

 

BETTY
Take a drink. You can’t make decisions like this when you’re scared.

 

MELTYRE
Yeah, ‘cause you’re a big expert on that.

 

BETTY
On what?

 

MELTYRE
On being scared.

 

BETTY
Oh. Yeah, I am.

 

MELTYRE
…What?

 

BETTY
(insistent)
I am.

 

MELTYRE
You don’t have to make fun of me.

 

BETTY
I’m not. I’m scared.

 

STERLING
(disbelief)
Really?

 

BETTY
Yeah. I’m always scared.

 

MELTYRE
But—but-but you’re Betty! You’re a barbarian! You’re an unstoppable warrior!

 

BETTY
I’m still scared.

 

FINA
Orcs run towards their fears.

 

STERLING
Ah.

 

MELTYRE
How can you—how do you do it? How do you run straight for danger?

 

BETTY
Hmm.
(pause)
I figure…I figure if I have to do this, and if the Bone King’s gonna kill everyone if we don’t, (draws axe) then at least I can take some of his with me. (sheathes axe)

 

VELUNE
Well said.

 

STERLING
Here, Meltyre, what would your sisters want?

 

MELTYRE
Oh gods.

 

STERLING
Surely they would want you to be a hero.

 

MELTYRE
They’re children, Sterling, they don’t know. (groans) I can’t decide.

 

FINA
Well—here, before you leave, or don’t, or whatever, there’s something we need to do.

 

MELTYRE
What?

 

FINA
Everyone else is going for sure, right?

 

BETTY
Yeah.

 

STERLING
Of course.

 

VELUNE
Yes, I’m quite determined.

 

FINA
Good, me too. So this might be the last chance we get to settle all our unspoken business.

 

STERLING
What are you talking about?

 

FINA
You know, declarations of love, final speeches, stirring monologues, all that. Last goodbyes.

 

VELUNE
Do you think it’s a good idea to dwell on our incumbent mortality?

 

FINA
Trust me. I’m a bard. It’s better to get these things out now. Especially if Meltyre’s leaving.

 

VELUNE
All right, I suppose that’s sensible.

 

Silence.

 

FINA
Well don’t everyone jump up at once now.

 

VELUNE
Shall I go first?

 

FINA
Please, break the silence.

 

VELUNE
Very well.
(clears throat)
I don’t know that I’ve ever told you this, but I took a sabbatical from my order to seek higher purpose, to serve the world at large, on my Abbess’s recommendation. I was dead set on using my many years of study to do good. But instead…
(small laugh)
Instead I found you four. And much to my chagrin, rather than teaching and leading, I have been learning. Each one of you has done such amazing things. You have reminded me that highest good is not to seclude oneself for the purpose of gaining holiness, but to give your time, your efforts, and even your life for the sake of other people. For that, I thank you.

Meltyre, whatever you decide, you have my gratitude.

 

MELTYRE
Um. Thank you.

 

STERLING
I’d like to say something.

 

FINA
Be my guest, Paladon’t.

 

STERLING
You may not have noticed, but when we first met, I could be a little…pigheaded.

 

FINA
(with all the sincerity she can muster)
No. Not you.

 

STERLING
It’s true. And I must say, I don’t care much for the person I was when we were first hired to fight the dragon. I’m much more satisfied as I am now, and I believe it’s due in no small part to my time with you good people.

 

FINA
Aww, he called us good people, Betty. How sweet.

 

BETTY
(laughs)

 

STERLING
Must you mock me, even now?

 

FINA
It’s my job, pretty boy.

 

STERLING
I’m sorry, I thought this was a time for speaking from the heart.

 

FINA
Oh, it is.

 

STERLING
Then why don’t you go next? Say something genuine for once.

 

FINA
(scoffs)
Uh, I think everyone’s pretty well aware of what I think of them.

 

STERLING
(mock innocence, which he is bad at)
I’m not aware. Please! Tell me!

 

VELUNE
Go on, Fina. You can’t enforce the rules without playing the game.

 

FINA
Sure I can! That’s all a referee does!

 

BETTY
C’mon.

 

FINA
Ugh. Fine. Betty, my drink.

 

BETTY
Here. (glass clink)

 

FINA
Thank you. (chair scoot)

 

STERLING
Must you stand on the chair?

 

FINA
Absolutely. Now, are you ready?

 

BETTY
Talk.

 

FINA
Right. (gulp) You’re all a bunch of goody-two-shoes with some weird ideas and some weirder personal habits.

 

STERLING
What, like hygiene?

 

FINA
Who’s heckling who now, huh? Let me finish.

 

STERLING
Fine.

 

FINA
Anyway. Velune! I don’t understand you. But I respect you, and gods help me, despite ever-mounting evidence that you might be a lich or a ghost or something, I trust you.

 

VELUNE
(touched)
Thank you, Fina, that’s very meaningful.

 

FINA
You’re darn right it is. Lord Sterling Whitetower, listen up. Are you listening?

 

STERLING
I’m listening.

 

FINA
Good, because that’s a huge improvement from when we met. It’s been a lot of fun watching you become bearable as a person. These days, I like you a lot.

 

STERLING
Oh, I—

 

FINA
Don’t get sentimental on me. Betty, sweetheart?

 

BETTY
Yeah?

 

FINA
I love you. You’re my best friend and nothing will ever change that, no matter what happens tomorrow.

 

BETTY
I love you too.

 

FINA
And now, last but not least—Meltyre?

 

MELTYRE
Uhh…yes?

 

FINA
Listen, magic man. No matter what you think, you’re a stone cold badass. Wizards like you are hard to find. (chair scoot) There, I’ve spoken my piece. Happy now, Paladon’t?

 

STERLING
Yes. Thank you.

 

FINA
Good. Now say your thing, Betty, before this gets awkward.

 

BETTY
Hmm.

 

A long silence.

 

BETTY
Feels like I belong here, with you.

 

FINA
Aww.

 

STERLING
You know, strangely enough, I feel the same.

 

FINA
You got anything, kid?

 

MELTYRE
No. Not—no.

 

FINA
Really? Nothing to say before you leave or we all die, whatever comes first?

 

MELTYRE
I…I’m gonna miss you guys.

 

VELUNE
Oh, Meltyre.

 

FINA
I’ll miss you too, kid. It’s nice to have someone intellectual to talk to once in a while.

 

Pause.

 

STERLING
That’s it then? You’re leaving?

 

MELTYRE
Yes. I’m sorry.

 

VELUNE
We understand. It’s all right.

 

STERLING
(furious)
I don’t! What kind of a person—

 

FINA
Shut. Up. Sterling. You really want your possibly last words to be that?

 

Tense silence.

 

STERLING
Safe travels.

 

MELTYRE
Thanks. (chair scoot)

 

VELUNE
May the gods watch over you and your sisters, Meltyre.

 

MELTYRE
Thank you, Velune. You-I—I’ll miss you.

 

FINA
Bye, kid. Take care of yourself.

 

MELTYRE
You too. Betty, I—
(next line is muffled)
Oh, okay, hugging. Cool. Uh.

 

BETTY
Be safe. We won’t be there to look after you.

 

MELTYRE
I’ll try. (unmuffled) Good—uh—good luck. Don’t die.

 

FINA
Oh, we’ll do our best.

 

MELTYRE
Uh…Goodbye.

 

Footsteps walking away, and then silence.

 

FINA
Well, now what?

 

STERLING
We’ve got work to do.

 

Theme song.

 

TESSA
Next time, on Inn Between…

 

STERLING
Scouting requires absolute stealth. We must get close without drawing their attention.

 

FINA
Leave it to me.

 

Distant zombie noise.

 

FINA
(under her breath)
Sneak sneak sneak, sneaky sneakin’—

 

An unfortunate crunch. A few undead growls.

 

FINA
(normal volume)
Oh, no.

 

End.

Credits:

Episode eleven, “The Runner,” was written by Hannah Wright and directed by William Wright.

The show is produced and edited by Katherine Ayers.

The voice of Sterling is Marquis Dijon Archuleta; the voice of Betty is Kaleigh Christopher; the voice of Fina is Riley Jones; the voice of Velune is Kira Mills; and the voice of Meltyre is Austin Mowat, with additional voices by William Wright.

Our theme song is by Eli McIlveen.

Want to know more about the inn? Visit us at thegoblinshead.com, or find us on twitter, and don’t forget to rate and subscribe so you don’t miss what happens next. Thanks for listening.

 

Tavern noises.

OLD COOT
Those gol dern troglodites stole my wife and my kidney!

 

TESSA
Don’t you have a home to go to?

 

OLD COOT
Nope!

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