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5.6: The Cleric

The Lowlifes clarify some things.

Transcript is below the cut!

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(00:00) INTRO:
HANNAH
Hi, everyone! Hannah here.
Stick around after the show for a promo from a podcast I adore.
Travelling Light follows an unnamed traveler from a far-off world who is sending their research home to their community’s archives as they explore the galaxy, meet new people, and try new things!
Every episode of the show comes with some of the warmest and coziest art I’ve ever seen. And supporters even get to participate in sending the traveler to the next destination!
This show is like a warm hug, do check it out.
If you’re ready for a rest stop right now, you’re in the right place! Let’s go to the Inn.

(00:30): PREVIOUSLY ON…
TESSA
Previously on Inn Between…

Inn Between theme plays in the background.

LARKIN
(scandalized)
Why are you lying about being able to do magic?

RUKES
How about you mind your own business?

YAK
(tiredly)
Rukes, just lift the curse on Max.

RUKES
I guess the jig is up…

LARKIN
Uh, cast it any way. Trust me.

RUKES
What?

Inn Between theme fades out.

(01:30) THE CLERIC.
Background sounds of a tavern.
Footsteps growing closer.
Footsteps stop.
Chair scoots against wooden floor.

LARKIN
Good morning!
(beat)
(nervously)
Did you… sleep okay? You look pretty wretched.

RUKES
(in a rough, slightly hoarse voice)
(tiredly)
Well, aren’t you charming? Thank you so much.

LARKIN
(awkwardly)
O… okay. Okay.

RUKES
(tsks)
Did I sleep okay?

LARKIN
(dryly)
I’m going to assume no, based on that?

RUKES
I didn’t sleep.

LARKIN
Do you want some tea or something? It might help mitigate the drink.

RUKES
Haven’t had a drop.

LARKIN
Really? You seem— Sorry, but you seem pretty unwell.

RUKES
(snorts without humor)

Silence.

RUKES
How did you know?

LARKIN
That you could cast the spell?

RUKES
No, I’m talking about something else.
(angrily)
What else could I mean?

LARKIN
(fumbles)
I—W—well…
I keep my senses open for magic pretty much all the time? Seeing as I’m supposed to be the magic expert, it felt like part of the job.

RUKES
(dubiously)
And you… sensed that I could cast that.

LARKIN
Yes. And you… you still can.

RUKES
Right now?

LARKIN
If you wanted. I don’t know that it would do anything on me or you.
(stuttering)
But I— you could.

RUKES
(disbelieving)
And I couldn’t before. Less than a month ago.

LARKIN
That’s right.

RUKES
Why?

LARKIN
Ah. I couldn’t say.

RUKES
You—you can’t tell me anything?

LARKIN
I—I can tell you that…
The magic definitely feels divine. You haven’t been warlocked or anything. It’s a god for sure.

RUKES
That doesn’t make any sense.

LARKIN
Why not?

RUKES
(raising their voice)
Because I’m not a priest, Mallon!

LARKIN
(curious)
Oh. Really?

RUKES
(angrily)
What about the way I carry myself makes you think I follow a goddess of love and beauty?

LARKIN
I don’t know! I’m…!
(losing steam and growing quieter)
I’m a tiefling. Clergy aren’t… often very… kind… to me.

RUKES
Wow, well. That’s just sad.

LARKIN
Yeah, this isn’t about me.

RUKES
(laughs meanly)
(mockingly)
Look who suddenly has a spine!

LARKIN
Rukes.
(pause)
If you’re not a priest…?

RUKES
… I’m a knife for hire.

LARKIN
(loudly)
You’re an assassin?

RUKES
Go on, louder now, I don’t think Tessa heard you.

LARKIN
(quietly)
Sorry. Sorry.
(quieter)
Gods, really?

A sharp shink as a knife is pulled out.
Soft thud of knife being set against wood.
Smaller, higher-pitched shink followed by a thud.
Lower-pitched swish of a short knife followed by small thud.
Short, sharp shink followed by a thud.

LARKIN
(fumbling)
Wh—wa—

Twin shink followed by a firm thud.

LARKIN
(terrified)
Eh—huh? Okay, where were you even hiding those?

RUKES
As if I’d tell you.

LARKIN
Then… Then why did you answer Max’s call for a healer?

RUKES
I needed a quick exit.

LARKIN
(with dawning realization)
From a job!

RUKES
(sarcastic)
Mm! You’re a sharp one.

LARKIN
Who did you take out?

Beat.
Soft thuds and fabric shifting, metal clinking as knives are put back. Hard material dragging against wood.

LARKIN
(thoughtfully)
It must have been someone in Aglomeraccion, right?
Was it…?
(horrified)
Oh gods. The explosion.

RUKES
Even if it was, why would I confirm that for you?

LARKIN
You caused the explosion that killed two people? I thought assassinations were supposed to be subtle!

RUKES
And that’s how I can tell you’d make a rotten assassin.

Soft clink of knife being sheathed.

LARKIN
You blew up a whole mine?!

RUKES
It was just the largest cavern, and there are two ways to be subtle, Larkin.

LARKIN
What are you saying? It was the only thing people could talk about!

RUKES
And absolutely no one suspected it wasn’t accidental! Subtle.

LARKIN
Were you supposed to kill both of the people who died?

RUKES
(losing their edge)
Okay, I admit it was not my finest work. The bystander wasn’t supposed to have… something wrong with his safety equipment.

LARKIN
(breathless)
Oh, my gods.

RUKES
Dwarves are usually so safety conscious.

LARKIN
I can’t believe you’re being this glib about it!

RUKES
It’s my job.

LARKIN
Well…
(with nervous cheer)
Well, not anymore.
(beat)
(uneasily)
I—I just mean you don’t have to be a knife for hire anymore. You can really be a healer.

RUKES
Oh, thanks, I did pick up on that.

LARKIN
You’re new to it, but you could learn. I could help! If you wanted.

RUKES
(laughs without humor)
(disbelieving)
Good gods!

LARKIN
What?

RUKES
I have been nothing but cruel to you and, not only did you stick out your neck out for me yesterday, you’re offering to withstand more abuse! For what?

LARKIN
It… It’s the right thing to do?

RUKES
(derisive scoff)
Utter rubbish.

LARKIN
I’m trying to be helpful!

RUKES
Have a little self-respect, would you?
(irritated whisper)
Gods.

Silence.

LARKIN
How did you know what to say?

RUKES
What are you talking about now?

LARKIN
The prayer that undid the curse. It wasn’t what I would have said if I was faking.

RUKES
(deliberately, emotionless)
This isn’t the first time I’ve pretended to be a priest.

LARKIN
You have the robes and everything.

RUKES
(quickly)
Stolen.

LARKIN
(pointedly)
You stole a holy symbol?

RUKES
I…

LARKIN
Oh, come on. You said… What was it? “May the Goddess return you to yourself?” If it was me, I’d have said something like… I don’t know. “Give you your true beauty back,” or something.

RUKES
(scoffs)
(amused)
Shows how much you know.

LARKIN
Yeah, exactly. How do you know something I don’t?

RUKES
(sighs)
(slowly)
Ages ago, when I was young, younger than… those kids, David and Jenny, I committed my life to Sune. I was going to be a priest.

LARKIN
Really?

RUKES
Yeah, really.

LARKIN
So, so, then, is that holy symbol yours?

RUKES
It was.

LARKIN
You did just use it yesterday.

RUKES
(scoffs)

LARKIN
How did…? How did you become an assassin instead?

RUKES
(increasingly angry)
You want to know? The Goddess abandoned me.
(nearly a growl)
She took everything.

LARKIN
Wow—Wo—Wait a second.

RUKES
I gave her my life, and she accepted it, and decided it was garbage!

LARKIN
Rukes. Rukes! You have a real arcane relationship with a god now. You have to be careful.

RUKES
(furiously, hurt)
She already knows how I feel. She can take the magic! She can strike me down if she wants to! It isn’t as if she hasn’t already taken everything else!

LARKIN
(anxiously, voice trembling slightly)
Rukes! Rukes, Rukes, Rukes, Rukes.
(haltingly)
Don’t test the gods!

Beat.

RUKES
No smiting. I think I’m fine. Am I still magic?

LARKIN
Yes…? Huh.

RUKES
(sharply)
Huh, indeed.

LARKIN
(shaky)
I understand why you couldn’t sleep.

Beat.

RUKES
(without anger)
You think you can teach me?

LARKIN
I know what you can try to cast, at least, and I can help you figure out what your specialty is.

RUKES
So, nothing I couldn’t do by myself already.

Footsteps growing closer.

LARKIN
Do you really want to do this by yourself?

Footsteps stop.

YAK
Ah, we’ve got Larkin asking the real questions!

LARKIN
Oh. Uh, good morning, Yak.

YAK
Morning. Rukes, you look… worse than usual.

RUKES
Ha-ha. Hilarious.

LARKIN
What do you mean “the real questions?”

YAK
Ah, it’s a lesson we dragonborn learn young. Satisfaction of individual accomplishment is all well and good, but almost everything you do is better if you don’t do it alone.

RUKES
(jeering)
Oh. Is that why we never see you without Max?

YAK
(condescending)
Now, see, Max… is my friend. You should try having friends some time! It’s great.

LARKIN
They have at least one!

RUKES
I didn’t ask for your friendship.

LARKIN
I was talking about your god, but fine. I’ll make it two.

RUKES
(between gritted teeth)
Didn’t ask for her either.

YAK
Did you already order breakfast?

LARKIN
Uh, no! Ah, I completely forgot!

Footsteps with crutches.

YAK
Then allow me, I’m starved.

Footsteps stop.

YAK
(upbeat)
Good morning, Phoebe.

Chair scoots against wooden floor.

PHOEBE
Good morning!
(concerned)
Rukes, are you feeling alright?

RUKES
(softer)
Uh… No. I… didn’t sleep but thank you for asking.

PHOEBE
Oh.

RUKES
(awkwardly, exhausted)
I just hate losing bets, don’t you?

PHOEBE
I wouldn’t know, I don’t gamble. I wasn’t allowed.

Footsteps growing closer.

RUKES
(louder, taken aback)
Allowed? By who?

LARKIN
Her parents?

Footsteps stop.

MAX
Good morning to my whole team, each of whom are beautiful.
(venomous)
Except for Rukes.

RUKES
(sarcastic chuckle)
Wow!

MAX
I mean, really, did you sleep at all? You look like a mess.

RUKES
Aw. You’re still salty that I teased you yesterday? No need to get personal about it! Speak your mind.

MAX
Fine. If you pull something like that again, you’re out.
(lightly)
No treasure for Rukes, capisce?

RUKES
I understand.

MAX
Good.

Chair scoots against wooden floor.

RUKES
I understand that, among your… many other flaws, you can’t take a joke.

MAX
Not when my life’s in danger.

RUKES
Ohoho. Yeah, you would die if you couldn’t talk, wouldn’t you?

MAX
Why do I bother with you?

RUKE
Because I’m going to be keeping our skins intact until we get to the dragon.

MAX
You’d better.

PHOEBE
Max?

MAX
(losing their anger)
Yes, Phoebe?

PHOEBE
Where are we going next?

MAX
(upbeat)
I’m very glad you asked.

Footsteps growing closer.

MAX
Oh, Yak! Join us!

Footsteps stop. Chair scoots against wooden floor.

YAK
Don’t mind if I do.
(satisfied sigh)
Breakfast is on its way.

MAX
Lovely.
Now, lowlifes, how do you feel about goblins?

Background sounds of tavern fade away.

(11:42) OUTRO:
(11:42) NEXT TIME ON…
Inn Between theme plays in the background.

TESSA
Next time, on Inn Between…

YAK
Goblins don’t bother me.

MAX
No challenge too great!

PHOEBE
Then what bothers you?

(11:59) CREDITS:
HANNAH
This episode, “The Cleric”, was written and directed by Hannah Wright with assistant director William Wright. The show is produced and edited by Katherine Ayers.
The voice of Larkin is Mason Amadeus. The voice of Max is Malcolm Jay. The voice of Phoebe is Soulara Jane Joslin. The voice of Yak is Emma Laslett. The voice of Rukes is CJ Tanuan.
Our theme song is by Eli Hamada McIlveen, and our artwork is by Gabrielle Buxman. Our transcriber is Ria Couoh. Special thanks to Emma Wright for foley assistance.
Transcripts for this and every episode can be found on our website, thegoblinshead.com.
If you like the show, add a new multiclass to your resume. Or leave us a review.
Thanks for listening!

Music ends.

HANNAH
This story was created in the traditional territory of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples, and edited in the unceded territory of the Salish, Kootenai, and Kalispel peoples.

(13:15) POST-CREDITS:
Background sounds of tavern.

TESSA
You want a unicorn what? Gracious, I don’t serve those. If you want novelty carnival food like that, I suggest you find a different kind of fantasy adventure.

Background sounds of tavern fade away.

(13:33) PROMO: TRAVELLING LIGHT.
TRAVELLER
To the community at Emerraine, who carry the Light.
Hello, my friends. I realise it has not been so terribly long since last we were together, but I hope you will forgive my writing so soon.
It has been a long time since anyone ventured forth from Emerraine on our community’s behalf. I hope I can report back on the doings of the wide world in such a way that will bring you comfort and encouragement, and that my missives reveal the galaxy and its people to you, as the light reveals the holy substance at the centre of existence.
I am crossing a threshold, one which I will not pass through again. I trust you will not think it arrogant to want the moment witnessed, if only at a distance, and in retrospect. After all, by the time you receive this, I will be long gone, away among the stars, and beginning my journey to Kerrin in earnest.

Background music begins – rhythmic, electronic folk music.

H.R. Owen
Travelling Light is a science fantasy podcast from the creator of Monstrous Agonies.
Follow the Traveller on their journey through the stars, and help shape their world and the stories within it through audience submissions and choose-your-own-adventure decision making.
Travelling Light is a Monstrous Productions podcast. Find us on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter, or visit monstrousproductions.org to find out more.

Background music fades away.

EPISODE ENDS.

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