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5.12: The Artifice

The Lowlifes hammer out some last details.

Transcript is below the cut!

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Transcript provided by Ria Couoh.
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(00:00) INTRO:
HANNAH
Hi everyone! Hannah here, on this penultimate episode of season five, to thank a patron!

TESSA
And I am also here!
We would like to thank Loulouapple for her support on Patreon! Thank you, dear. What an honor to have such a famous bard in our corner.

HANNAH
I have never heard of Loulouapple.

TESSA
Well, I can’t be responsible for your media consumption now, can I? That’s your job.

HANNAH
You know what, I really can’t argue with that.

TESSA
If you would like to support the show, go to patreon.com/thegoblinshead.

HANNAH
And now, let’s go to the inn.

(00:32): PREVIOUSLY ON…

TESSA
Previously on Inn Between…

Inn Between theme plays in the background.

RUKES
(grumbling, breathy)
Oh, mountain travel in the winter is the pits.

YAK
The cold…

PHOEBE
(miserable)
The snow…

LARKIN
Oh, if you think that’s bad—

Loud boom of thunder.

RUKES
(raspy)
Oh, come on, what?

Inn Between theme fades.

(01:35) THE ARTIFICE.

Background sounds of conversation within a tavern.
Constant rain in the background, distant thunder rumbling.

RUKES
(flatly)
The weather.

LARKIN
It means we’re getting close.

RUKES
You’re telling me that a dragon can affect the weather.

PHOEBE
Yak did say that! That… they’re a little more than people.

LARKIN
And, Max, you said that Dhoriget is centuries old.

MAX
I did. I didn’t know about this, though.

LARKIN
(sigh)
So, when a creature that magical lives for that long, the arcane power at its center collects like… like a snowball rolling downhill. And then, at a certain point, it’s impossible for the creature to even… exist without affecting the world around them.

YAK
I’m… starting to be dubious about our chances fighting this thing.

LARKIN
(incredulous amusement)
Oh, gods! No, we can’t fight them! There’s no way!

YAK
What?

MAX
Are you serious, Larkin? It’s a dragon! There was always going to be blood!

LARKIN
No, it’s not about the—
(frustrated sigh)
(increasingly frantic)
Look, this is an ancient dragon! Their size alone is beyond anything we can handle! I mean, think of the fact that they can fly! Think of the breath weapon! Think of what they could do to something or someone just by stepping on them—!

RUKES
Don’t get yourself worked up about it.

LARKIN
(fumbling)
I’m—I’m not. I just…
You understand, right?

MAX
Then what exactly is your plan for getting the Staff and taking the hoard?

LARKIN
I figured we’d just sneak in and steal what we could carry.

RUKES
I like that plan. Let’s do that.

YAK
Just what we can carry? That’s… barely anything when compared to an entire hoard.

PHOEBE
(slowly)
I had an idea about that.

MAX
Do tell.

PHOEBE
I’ve been working on it anyways, but… I could make us a Bag of Holding.

LARKIN
Really?

YAK
Oh, perfect!

MAX
Now, that’s handy. Phoebe, I think you just saved the day.

PHOEBE
(pleased)
Oh! Good.

MAX
Then, it’s settled! We will sneak in.

YAK
Then what am I even here for if I don’t get to fight a dragon?

MAX
Backup, Yak, backup. You’re our last resort.

LARKIN
(nervously)
Ah—You really shouldn’t try to fight a dragon—

MAX
Don’t let him shake your confidence. We all know how good you are!

YAK
I am very good.

MAX
Perfect for a worst-case scenario.

YAK
(proudly)
I am a worst-case scenario.

LARKIN
(clears his throat)
(rushed)
Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that! We would almost certainly die.

YAK
Well, sure, but what a way to go out, right?

PHOEBE
Do we know anything about, uhm, the traps?
(a little excited)
Since the dragon is Dhoriget the Trapper?

MAX
Yes, right. What I’ve heard is that Dhoriget doesn’t spend a lot of time mobile unless they’re looking for food. They sleep a lot, but if they’re not sleeping, they’re fiddling with things and shoring up their defenses.

RUKES
So, we’re breaking into a fortress?

MAX
(annoyed)
Is that a problem?

RUKES
(unaffected)
Not for millennium’s worth of treasure.

PHOEBE
It would help to know what kind of traps we can expect.

MAX
It all sounded like fairly standard dungeon fare to me. Spike pits, darts, trick floors… The typical…
(dramatically, in a lower pitch than usual)
“No one ever comes back alive” sort of thing.

LARKIN
Uhm…!
(clears his throat)
(anxiously)
Uh, beg your pardon?

MAX
They always say that, Larkin. The question you should be asking is, “Then why do they know so much about the traps?”

LARKIN
(softly)
Oh. Uhm…

RUKES
Just in case we do end up fighting this thing, aren’t dragons almost impossible to hit?

YAK
It helps to know where there’s a chink in their scales. We’ll scout for that.

LARKIN
Th—They are hard to hit with magic, but… it’s not impossible. Actually, god-given magic works pretty well.

RUKES
(dubiously)
Like… magic projectiles?

LARKIN
Yes.

RUKES
Huh.

MAX
Can you deign to do some magic for us, Rukes?

RUKES
If it’s my skin on the line? Of course. I just haven’t… done it, in a while. I would need to… practice.

LARKIN
We can do that, no problem!

YAK

(pointedly)
A bit short on practice time, folks.

Chair drags against wooden floor.

RUKES
(slightly nervous)
I have… I have time now!

LARKIN
O—oh!

Chair drags against wooden floor.

LARKIN
Uh, sure!

RUKES
I ought to practice buffs, anyhow.

LARKIN
I… I’d rather you not practice on me, uhm…

RUKES
Well, someone has to be my victim.

YAK
(sighs)
Why not?

Chair drags against wooden floor.

LARKIN
Oh! A—are you… are you sure?

YAK
Well, better now than when we’re fighting a dragon.
(loud exhale)
You two coming?

PHOEBE
I’ll stay. I want to rest my legs.

MAX
I’ll stay, too.

LARKIN
Alright, I guess we’re practicing!

Several sets of footsteps fading away.

LARKIN
So, you already know the basic theory of projectile magic, right?

RUKES
Remind me.

The storm grows louder as the door creaks open. Door falls shut, and the rain quiets down again.

MAX
(warmly)
So, you’ve been working on a Bag of Holding? On top of everything else?

PHOEBE
Oh, yes!

MAX
Can I see?

PHOEBE
You… want to?

MAX
Yes, of course! Why would I ask otherwise?

PHOEBE
It’s just, uhm, Miles always used to say that no one wants to hear all my ramblings.

MAX
(coldly)
Did he really.

PHOEBE
He said, as long as my artifices were functional, it didn’t matter how they were made.

MAX
(scoffs)
I see why you killed him.
(beat)
(awkwardly)
Is… that still too sore a subject? I was just trying to make a joke.

PHOEBE
A little sore, yes.

MAX
(chipper)
If it’s ever alright to joke about, let me know!

Sturdy, thick fabric shuffling.

PHOEBE
Here’s the bag! Just a bag, so far. I haven’t started the enchanting process yet.

MAX
This is gorgeous! Can I see?

PHOEBE
Yes!

MAX
I like this clasp!

More shifting, a small thud.

MAX
Oh, but it goes all the way around the opening. Isn’t that going to limit the size of what we can put in there?

PHOEBE
That’s on purpose. Creating a Bag of Holding means… basically cordoning off a small demi-plane? A pocket dimension. It needs to be confined very carefully.

MAX
Or else, what?

PHOEBE
(nervously)
It’ll blow a hole in this plane? Explode, basically.

MAX
Well, we don’t want that!

PHOEBE
(small chuckle)
No.
It needs to have firm boundaries, and any damage that breaks those boundaries needs to be avoided.

MAX
Can you break the boundaries from inside the bag?

PHOEBE
Eh, in theory, but it’s hard. I’m more worried about external damage.

MAX
So, it can’t be any old bag if you want it to last. It’s got to be sturdy.

PHOEBE
Yes.

MAX
Hm! I like the way the leather’s tanned, that’s nice and robust. Did you dye it yourself?

PHOEBE
It’s more stained than dyed, but yes.

MAX
Good color choices! I like it!

PHOEBE
Oh! Well… good!

MAX
How is the leather attached to the clasp?

PHOEBE
It’s got sort of… teeth on the inside? You clip it down to the edge of the leather and it stays.

MAX
Clever!

PHOEBE
If I line the clasp with something, it should even be airtight!

MAX
Something like what?

PHOEBE
I don’t know, but I have some ideas!

MAX
You really are the best artificer around!

PHOEBE
I don’t know about that.

MAX
(warmly)
I do.

PHOEBE
You’re not just saying that because…

MAX
Because what?

PHOEBE
(small dubious sound)
Because you’re flattering me, or you want something from me, or you feel sorry for me and think I need to feel better, or…

MAX
No. I…
(quieter)
Of course not.

PHOEBE
Really?

MAX
I hope I don’t come off insincere.

PHOEBE
No! You…
(seriously)
I don’t think you ever say anything you don’t mean.

MAX
(a little surprised)
That… sounds about right.
And I mean this, too.

PHOEBE
Well, then…
(warmly)
Thank you.
Can I ask you a question?

MAX
Sure.

PHOEBE
(concerned)
Do you think we’ll do it? Get the Staff of Storms and the treasure and get out alive?

MAX
Of course, I wouldn’t try for the staff if I thought we didn’t have a chance.

PHOEBE
That makes sense, but… What about the treasure and getting out alive?

MAX
Well… You know the staff is my priority.

PHOEBE
(faintly)
Oh.

MAX
I’m not just going to ditch you, Phoebe. I wouldn’t do that.

PHOEBE
(a little scared)
Are you sure?

MAX
Listen, if it looks like things are going wrong, you find me. I’ll make sure we get out of there safely.

PHOEBE
But what about the others?

MAX
What about them?

PHOEBE
(hesitant)
What if… what if they need help, too?

MAX
Come on, now. Rukes will probably get out at the first sign of real danger. Larkin definitely will, he’s already halfway there as it is. And Yak can take care of themself! She always has!

PHOEBE
But… me?

MAX
You seem like you try to stick out problems… and you might need help with running. Accommodations, right?

PHOEBE
I guess.

MAX
You’re not satisfied.
(small pause)
Are you scared?

PHOEBE
No, not really.

MAX
Then, what’s the problem?

PHOEBE
(weakly)
Nothing! No problem.

MAX
Good. This will work. I’m sure of it.

PHOEBE
How are you so sure?

MAX
I have a mantra! It’s foolproof.

PHOEBE
A mantra?

MAX
(in a grand, dramatic tone)
No walls can hold the two of us.

PHOEBE
Us two?

MAX
Yes. At the moment.
No challenge too great. No prize too elusive.

PHOEBE
(uncertain)
Okay…

MAX
No troubles, no fear.

PHOEBE
But what about—

MAX
No, no. If you have troubles, you must eject them. You don’t need those weighing you down!

PHOEBE
No troubles, no fear.

MAX
(cheerfully)
That’s the spirit!

Door creaks open in the distance. Rain grows louder. Footsteps approaching.

YAK
(mumbling)
Why did I think that was a good idea?

MAX
Back so soon?

YAK
You know, it’s not as if I thought they were bad at magic. I’ve seen them do magic!

Chair drags against wooden floor.

YAK
That, and they have enough spite to fill more than a few buckets.

PHOEBE
You look a little…

MAX
(confused)
Sunburnt?

PHOEBE
Yes.

MAX
Not sure how that’s possible with scales, and it’s still raining.

YAK
Yeah, it’s possible ‘cause Rukes blasted me. And, to be fair, they also healed me, but they were laughing the whole time.

MAX
Insidious.

YAK
Anyway, I think we’ll be fine.

MAX
Now, that’s what I like to hear.

Background sounds of tavern and rain fade away.

(12:28) OUTRO:
(12:29) NEXT TIME ON…

Inn Between theme plays in the background.

TESSA
Next time, on Inn Between…
The season finale.

(12:34) CREDITS:

HANNAH
This episode, “The Artifice”, 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, start making connections between plot points with red yarn. 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.

(14:00) POST-CREDITS:

Background sounds of tavern and very loud rain.
The door creaks shut. Rain decreases in volume.

TESSA
I swear, if we spend one more season in these mountains, I’m going to have some serious words with the adventurers.
Really, is it so much to ask for something subtropical? Or at least some place with less precipitation! Good grief.

Background sounds fade away.

EPISODE ENDS.

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