S1E14 Transcript

  Content Warning: mentions of burn victims, mentions of death, reliving of trauma, choking


[SFX forest noises, footsteps]

They disappeared between the trees with Asha taking the lead. Rena tried to glance at the people who were supposedly arriving at the clearing, craning her neck to look behind the trees. She didn’t see much at first but then spotted a few shadows moving on the path leading to the clearing. She couldn’t recognise who it was from this far away, couldn’t even really tell how many they were, but the moonlight glinted off of something and that something must have been armour or at least weapons.

[Rena, whispering] “How do they already know we’re here?”

She turned to Logan and almost tripped over a root that was protruding out of the ground. His hand shot up to stabilise her, pulling her up to her feet again. 

[Logan, whispering] “Maybe they aren’t here for us.”

[Rena, whispering] “Why else would guards come here in the middle of the night?”

[Logan, whispering] “Not sure they actually looked like guards to me.”

[Rena, whispering] “What? You think so? Who else should they be? What do they look like to you?”

[Asha] “Shh!”

[Rena, whispering] “Sorry, Asha.”

[Rodrick, whispering] “I must agree, I’m not sure they looked like guards to me either.”

Rodrick came up to Rena’s other side, leaning in closer to them so they could hear him. Vincent was in front of them, only a few paces behind Asha and Finn.

[Rena, whispering, shocked] “You really think so? But who else could they be? You don’t think the people who did this came back here after all this time?”

[Logan, whispering] “Maybe they’re scouting out their old arson locations to get some new inspiration.”

[Rena, shocked] “Logan!”

[Logan, rueful] “Sorry.”

[Rodrick, whispering] “Well, the Tavuu’Moda triangles did look like they had been only recently carved into those gravestones. It might not be that outlandish to think those who perpetrated this atrocity came back here not long ago.”

Finn whipped around to stare at them, flinching aside for a second when the dog almost ran into him.

[Finn, hissing] “Will you shut up?! We are clearly sneaking away from a potentially dangerous situation, how do you folks not understand that silence is of the utmost importance? And yes, they looked like guards, why would anyone come back to the scene of a crime years later when there is nothing left of the town.”

[Asha, forceful] “Shh!”

[Rena, whispering] “Sorry.”

The forest in front of them was dark and they didn’t dare ignite Rodrick’s lamp, but by staying close to the path they had come from Asha managed to navigate them out. No one seemed to be following them, and no one seemed to wait outside of the forest either, so they walked back to the nearby town as if nothing had happened. Rena clung to Logan’s arm, hyper-aware of her surroundings, trying to see from the corners of her eyes if they might not be alone after all. She knew if she were to turn her head and look around it would look suspicious, but didn’t they look suspicious no matter what? A group of five people who didn’t look like they belonged together wandering in and out of a forest in the middle of the night, that surely must raise some alarms? 

But luck was on their side, and they didn’t meet another human soul until they woke the old farmer up to get Rodrick’s caravan back. Rena wished they could have stayed with the farmer for the rest of the night, ask him for a place to sleep and maybe a bath, but the others were keen to get away from this part of the province and from whoever was roaming around the ruins of Miller’s Knee. 

Rena laid down on the floor of the wagon and tried to rest, even if it was quite impossible with the noise and the rattling and the heat. They drove all the way back to Halvint, back to the inn Rodrick and her had stayed in that first night of the journey. The innkeeper wasn’t happy to see them arrive that late, but when he recognised them he shooed them into a room and told them to come talk to him in the morning.

It wasn’t a big room they had been dumped into, although it did hold eight beds, two of which were already occupied by other people. It was the middle of the night, almost morning again, which made it difficult to get out of their clothes and into their beds without waking the strangers up. The bed couldn’t exactly be considered comfortable, but after the long journey in the caravan anything that was even slightly soft was a blessing to Rena. The linens smelled familiar to her, almost like home, and a wave of melancholic sadness flooded her whole body as she buried her face into the blanket and tried to fall asleep.

            [SFX morning birds]

It was deep into the morning when Rena woke up, the sun shining into her eyes. She groaned and turned her back to the window, cracking her eyes open just the slightest. On the bed next to hers, Logan sat with his back against the headboard, Finn at the other end of the bed, Asha sitting on the next bed over, all looking at her. She pushed herself up, rubbing at her eyes with the palm of her hand.

[Rena, mumble] “Morning.”

[Logan, cheerful] “Good morning, sunshine.”

[Rena] “[sniff] Why are you all up already?”

[Logan] “Because it’s a beautiful day and the sun is shining.”

[Asha] “We’re not all sixteen anymore. Our bodies decide for us when it’s time to be awake.”

[Finn] “They woke me up.”

Rena pulled the blanket up to her chest, feeling cold in only her undergarments. She looked around the room, noticing that the other people had already left. She turned to her right and saw that Rodrick was still asleep, the dog curled up on the bed at his feet. She turned back around to face the others, wrapping her arms around her legs and letting her head drop onto her knees.

[Rena, sleepy] “What are you guys doing?”

[Logan, cheerful] “Scheming.”

[Finn, annoyed] “Trying to figure out what the best strategy is for the journey ahead.”

[Logan] “Same thing.”

[Asha] “What the idiots are trying to say is that we have decided that Rodrick and I will go to the city of Rancor to talk with Cas about this situation and the idiots will go to Oceansthrow to figure out what is going on there, and then we hope that they don’t get killed and come back with some actual, valuable information.”

[Logan] “So little trust.”

[Asha] “In you? Always.”

[Rena] “And what about me?”

[Logan] “That is for you to decide, sunshine. We can’t force you to go back to Oceansthrow, we definitely wouldn’t want you to relive all of that. So if you want to go visit the ominous Sovereign Outcast with Asha and Rodrick you can do that, or you just stay here and take a day off.”

[Rena] “What about the innkeeper? Didn’t he say he wanted to talk to us?”

[Logan] “You slept through all of that, my dear. Young people really have an incredibly deep sleep, it’s kinda unfair. And I don’t know what’s up with the old guy but he hasn’t moved since we woke up.”

[Rena] “What did he say?”

[Logan] “Like a bunch of stuff.”

[Asha] “[sigh] The authorities have already come down here to take a look at the town. Someone from town actually contacted them to get some help, because they still believe these people are here to help us. A flock of guards arrived two days ago and told everyone they weren’t allowed to go to Oceansthrow anymore because they’ve got it all in check. And yesterday some lady in a fancy blue dress arrived to tell them the fire was just a tragic accident because someone left the oven on overnight.”

[Rena] “Like, a dark blue dress? With some inscriptions on it?”

[Asha] “I don’t know, you’d have to ask the innkeeper about it.”

[Rena] “That might be the historical academy. We saw a woman with that kind of robe at the archives. Rodrick mentioned that it was the uniform for the academy.”

[Asha] “Would make sense.”

[Finn] “It is part of their job to assist in these sorts of investigations.”

[Logan, mock conspiratorial] “Also, apparently there are some weird and shady people roaming around town.”

[Rena] “Shady people?”

[Logan] “I don’t know, he mentioned something about a group of people arriving yesterday that constantly stay together and that no one in town has ever seen before. I’m not actually sure it really means anything, maybe the innkeeper’s just being paranoid. Could just be some creeps who like looking at tragedies, or the kinda guys who’re trying to solve weird mysteries on their own. There’s some weird people out there, but hey, life wouldn’t be fun without them.”

[Asha] “I don’t fault the innkeeper for being careful. Better to be paranoid about things like these.”

[Logan] “What? You think the guys who did this have come back to check out the situation right when the place is crawling with guards? Or are these the people tasked with the ‘complete elimination of the town’s memory’?”

[Finn] “No, like I already mentioned, that’s the historical academy’s job, and they don’t go around weirding out the townsfolk when an official representative of the academy already talked to them. And all that means is that they’re trying to not cause mass panic. You’re making it sound worse than it is.”

[Asha] “The arsonists might be working with the guards, that’s why they aren’t afraid of being caught.”

[Rena] “As in, the guards know who’s setting these fires and isn’t doing anything about it?”

[Asha] “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

[Rena, stern] “No, I won’t believe that.”

[Asha] “Then you’re naive.”

[Logan] “She’s sixteen, give her a break.”

[Rena] “I’m sorry but I won’t believe that the guards and the administrator and who else know the people who burned down Miller’s Knee and didn’t do anything about it for two years and now my entire family is dead and it could have been prevented, but instead they are just letting these people run free, and for what?”

[Asha] “Money, maybe power, like everywhere else where these people destroy a place and its inhabitants for their own gains.”

[Logan] “Asha, come on, play nice. Listen, Rena, we don’t know what’s going on. We can’t even be sure Miller’s Knee and Oceansthrow are connected. It’s highly likely but we don’t actually know. Maybe the guards and the Royal Council have nothing to do with this, maybe they really are just bad at investigating and handling this kind of situation, but from my experience, it might also be worse than that. These people aren’t exactly strangers to playing around with people’s lives to get what they want.”

[Rena] “But certainly not all of them?”

[Logan] “No, sure, some of them are probably upstanding citizen who are appalled by this situation.”

[Rena] “So surely those people would be doing something against this? They wouldn’t just stand by and do nothing as more people died, right?”

[Finn] “From my experience, ‘upstanding citizen’, as you called them, don’t stay in power for very long. They are too much of an inconvenience for the rest of them.”

[Rena, angry] “[clothes rustle, footsteps] You are all just a bunch of gloomy killjoys. Everything is bad and negative in your eyes. I don’t want to talk to you any further. There is good in this world and people care and not everything is a calamity. Goodbye, I will see you at lunch.”

            [SFX door open and close]

She grabbed her dress on the way out of the room and slipped into it when she was in the hallway. She had forgotten her shoes in the room but she was used to walking barefoot on a wooden floor and she didn’t mind the rough feeling of it on her bare skin. 

            [SFX door open and close]

[Logan] “Rena, wait.”

She turned around at the sound of Logan’s voice, crossing her arms as she waited for him to catch up to her.

[Logan] “I’m sorry we’ve upset you.”

[Rena] “I’m not naive, you know. I’m willing to believe that the administrator and the guards are trying to cover this up because they haven’t caught the perpetrators yet and that they don’t want that to tarnish their reputation, or cause mass panic like Finn said, but it’s a giant leap from this to ‘none of them care about us and will just let us die if it makes them money’.”

[Logan] “I know, I know. We got a bit carried away. Asha’s gone through some stuff with her family, you can’t blame her for having such a negative outlook on life. We just have to figure out what actually happened. I’m sure at least some of the nobles in power care about this. The administrator sounded upset about what happened in Miller’s Knee in the letters, right? At least a little bit. I’m sure she’s also upset about Oceansthrow. I don’t think anyone can look at this situation and not be upset one way or another. We just need to find the right people who’ll be willing to help us. Once we actually figure out what is going on and it turns out to be something that can actually be fought.”

[Rena] “Do you think Finn will know who the right people are? He’s probably well connected, right?”

[Logan, chuckle] “Honestly, who knows. He probably knows some of them, at least from around here, but if he’s just the third son of some old house that barely even owns land anymore and he only got his position because of some favour he’ll probably won’t have much bartering power. But otherwise we can also just bribe or blackmail someone if we don’t find anyone who would willingly help us.”

[Rena, annoyed] “Isn’t this what you were all complaining about? That the nobility is corrupt and isn’t playing fair? How is blackmailing them into helping out any better?”

[Logan] “Hey, they started it.”

      [SFX door opens and closes, footsteps]

Finn stepped out of the room fully clothed, his sword dangling from his side, his blond hair slicked back with water.

[Finn] “We should leave, we’re only wasting time standing around here. Are you coming with us Rena or are you going with Asha?”

[Logan] “You really don’t have to if you don’t feel up for it, sunshine. Don’t force yourself for our sake.”

[Rena] “No, I’m coming with you. I need to know what happened to the town. Just let me get my shoes.”

            [SFX forest, footsteps]

They left Halvint after lunch and approached Oceansthrow by foot. Asha and Rodrick took the caravan to the city of Rancor, and they made plans to meet up again in Halvint before nightfall. Finn kept complaining that they had waited for lunch before leaving, that they were wasting precious minutes where something that could help them would be destroyed. Rena wasn’t sure what could remain of the town if the guards had already been here for a few days, but she started to agree with him that eating might not have been the smartest plan. The closer they got to her hometown, the more her stomach twisted and turned in on itself. She started having trouble breathing again but she forced herself to take in deep breaths so that the other two wouldn’t notice anything. 

By the time they reached the end of the road her fingertips were ice cold, her back was drenched in sweat, her lips were numb and she desperately wished she could sit down and rest for a moment. 

[Logan] “Let’s just pretend we’re curious farmers from somewhere around here who heard about the tragedy and wanted to check out what actually happened.”

[Finn] “Do I look like a farmer to you?”

[Logan] “We can just pretend you’re our weird cousin who ran away to join the guards and now dresses in ridiculous clothes to pretend he’s made it in life.”

[Finn, offended] “My clothes aren’t ridiculous! Your plan just doesn’t make any sense.”

[Logan] “My plan is perfectly fine.”

[Rena, weak] “I think I’m going to be sick.”

[Logan] “Ok, ok, look at me, take a deep breath, [imitates breathing].”

[Rena] “[Shaky breathing]”

[Logan] “We’re here with you, ok? Do you want to sit down? Should we take a break?”

[Finn] “We don’t have time for a break.”

[Logan] “Do you even have a heart behind those ridiculous clothes of yours? Don’t you see she’s struggling. Even you have to recognise this is a difficult situation.”

[Rena, shaky] “He’s right, we don’t have time for a break. I didn’t come with you to hinder your investigation. We should keep going.”

[Logan] “Ok, but promise me that before you faint you tell me you want to take a break, yeah? No falling over without giving us a warning first.”

[Rena, weak chuckle] “Sure.”

They advanced slowly, emerging onto a wide plane of dirt and ashes. No buildings remained except for the burnt remains of the church in the middle of the clearing. A big pile of rubble indicated where the tower used to be, but astonishingly enough, the main building next to it had not completely collapsed in on itself, with the roof still intact on the rightmost side.  

Horse and wheel tracks ran from both roads towards the church, next to which piles of debris had been neatly sorted and stockpiled. Three people were currently next to the church, loading a horse-drawn carriage up with pieces of wood from one of the piles. 

[Rena, mutter] “They really took everything away.”

[Logan, whisper] “I’m sorry.”

[Rena] “I knew they’d take the remains away but I-I thought that at least some of it would still be here.”

[Logan] “Yeah, they really worked quickly on this.”

[Rena] “It’s just … gone. My whole life I lived here and now nothing remains except for the stupid school.”

[Finn] “Once those guards are gone, let’s get closer to the church and look at what remains.”

[Logan] “Come on, give her a second.”

[Finn] “I said once they’re gone, that’s multiple seconds.”

Rena pointed to the other end of the clearing where the second road led into the forest.

[Rena] “Over there, that used to be my father’s friend Jesper’s house. He had a few goats in his backyard and he used to make cheese out of their milk. It wasn’t the fancy kind of cheese you see in bigger towns or cities, just regular goat milk cheese, but he made it with love and he always gifted us some and that made it special to us. Next to his house there used to be two big poles with ribbons tied to them marking the entrance of the town. Each year, the kids in their last year of school would make a new ribbon and add it to the other ones. This year would have been my turn. Over there, there used to be a soap shop run by this old lady called Maggie. When she was young she travelled all over the kingdom, and even up to the Kano-Reki Federation and higher North. I’m not even sure which country is further north than the Kano-Reki Federation.”

[Finn] “It borders the nation of Yarrik and the duchy upon Elizar, although they might merge together soon.”

[Logan] “Shut up.”

[Rena] “A-and she brought all these recipes for soaps home with her and then settled down here, because her family was here, even though she could have very easily sold her soaps in the big cities, but I’m happy she remained here because I really liked her soaps. And my house used to be on that side, not too far from the forest. My uncle’s house was right down the street. Every week we used to all gather together and eat a big meal. Everyone got their turn to decide what should be cooked, even the little ones, but mom was really good at shaping their wishes into an actual, nutritional meal and making them believe they had wanted that version from the start, so no one was ever upset with what we ended up eating. It would have been Maya’s turn to choose this week. She would have probably asked for some cod again. She always asked for cod.”

[Logan] “I’m really sorry.”

[Rena] “[sigh] I thought I would start crying when I saw this, or faint or be sick, but I just feel empty. Like this place. Stripped of everything that used to be here.”

[Finn] “The guards are leaving.”

[Logan] “Did you never learn when to shut up.”

[Rena] “Looks like one of them stayed behind. I think he’s guarding the place.”

[Finn] “We’ll need to distract him somehow. I don’t see how we would be able to sneak up upon the church without him noticing us.”

[Logan] “Leave it to me.”

[Rena] “What? No wait!”

            [SFX footsteps]

Logan jogged up to the guard, waving and calling him over as he approached the church. Rena couldn’t hear what he was saying, but the guard didn’t look alarmed. Logan shook the guard’s hand when he reached him, not letting go of it for a good while.

[Rena, whispering] “What is he doing?”

[Finn, whispering] “I don’t know. It just looks like they’re talking. He’s probably actually pretending to be a curious farmer.”

[Rena] “How does this keep working on people?”

[Finn] “Him pretending to be a farmer?”

[Rena] “No, in general, him just walking up to people and talking them into stuff.”

[Finn] “It’s the smile probably.”

[Rena] “You really think that’s all it takes?”

Logan put a hand on the guard’s shoulder and they spun around to look at the piles of debris next to the church. Logan patted the guard on the back, staying a step behind him, before sliding his arm around the guard’s throat.

[Rena, alarmed] “What is he doing!?”

[Finn] “Choking him.”

[Rena] “He’s going to hurt him!”

            [SFX footsteps running]

[Rena] “Stop it! What are you doing!?”

Logan let the guard slip out of his grasp.

            [SFX metal thunk]

[Logan] “What?”

[Rena] “You could have hurt him! H-he’s not dead, is he?”

[Logan] “He’s fine, he’s just sleeping.”

            [SFX footsteps]

[Finn] “We should hide the body. We don’t know when a new troop will show up to pick up more supplies.”

[Rena] “Are you sure he’s fine?”

[Logan] “Yes, stop worrying so much. He’s going to wake up in a couple of hours. Let’s just put him in between the piles here.”

            [SFX dragging]

[Finn] “I wouldn’t exactly call that hidden.”

[Logan] “Oh yeah, do your beautiful blue eyes see another hiding spot in this great vastness of nothing or do you want to drag him all the way to the forest? Maybe we should dig him a hole and hide him underneath the earth.”

[Finn] “You are absolutely infuriating. If a new troop appears they will find him right away if you just put him between the piles and what kind of advantage does that give us?”

[Rena] “You guys deal with your mess, I’m going to go look at what remains of the church.”

            [SFX footsteps]

[Logan, fading] “Yes, great observation, do you also have a follow up plan?”

[Finn, fading] “We could put him inside the remains of the church. The right side of the building looks intact enough for someone to stay in.”

[Logan, fading] “As if that isn’t the second place these guys will be checking. How does that help us more than putting him down here?”

Rena circled around the ruins of the building. As her eyes swept over the scorched beams sticking out beneath the rubble the memories of the fire came back, of the collapsing church as she entered the town, of the hand sticking out from beneath the collapsing building. The smell of that evening clawed its way down her lungs again as if she was still surrounded by burning bodies. She stopped in front of the back side of the church, bile rising up her throat as her vision went blurry. She dug her nails into the palms of her hands until the pain was all she could feel. She forced her eyes shut and took in long, deep breaths, dragging her mind away from the fire and towards happier memories, towards her new life, towards the warm, soft fur of Vincent. 

            [SFX footsteps]

[Logan] “Anything interesting on this side? Couldn’t see much from the other side but the room looks stable enough for us to go in. I checked the guard’s pockets but there isn’t anything on him. Not even a letter with his orders or anything like that. He’s definitely from Mellahen though, except if these people all stole the official guards’ uniforms and are pretending to be from the capital, I guess.”

Rena opened her eyes and unclenched her fingers, the pain remaining a dull, pulsing ache in her hands.

[Logan, hesitant] “You alright?”

[Rena, weak] “Yeah, I’m fine. Let’s look inside.”

She approached the part of the old building that had collapsed. She could see into the building from where the collapsing roof had torn a hole in the wall. Spots of light covered the ground from the broken windows and roof, illuminating the piles of ashes and rubble inside the building. Footsteps lead to and from holes in the wall, towards the almost intact side of the room. She squeezed through the hole, making sure not to touch the walls or the beams too much, and stepped into the ruins of the church. She had to crouch until she reached the part where the roof hadn’t collapsed. The smell of fire filled her lungs again, but this time she was certain that it wasn’t just in her mind. She tried not to look at the ground too much, too scared to find a part of someone’s body again.

She remembered this part of the building. It was the smaller classroom, where they had kept the little kids that didn’t have the attention yet for a learning environment. Along the wall to her left stood a row of closets filled with blankets and toys, although most of them had collapsed and spread their contents on the ground. A few of the tables were still standing untouched, covered in ashes, although the ones at the very back had been pushed forward, forming a half-circle around the back wall.

Logan came up behind her, looking around the room.

[Logan] “Well, someone was definitely in here.”

[Rena] “They moved some of the tables. I don’t think the destruction from the fire could have piled them up like this.”

[Logan] “Yep, definitely looks deliberate. Nothing else was touched though.”

[Rena] “Hmm, no I don’t think so … Wait, what’s that?”

She stepped closer to the tables that had been pushed forward, towards the back wall that had fresh marks carved into it.

[Logan] “Weird. Looks like the symbol we found in Miller’s Knee.”

[Rena] “That definitely wasn’t here before.”

[Logan] “Welp, guess we finally found our connection between the two towns.”

[Rena, getting angry] “What is this? Who would do something like this? People died here not even a week ago, a-and some random people came in here to carve symbols into the walls to-, to what? Pray to some old God no one has thought about for hundreds of years? What kind of sense does that make?”

[Logan] “I honestly have no idea. I’m sure they must have some reason for it.”

[Rena] “Are these the same people who put the bird figurines everywhere when the town was burning?”

[Logan] “Who knows, but it kinda seems likely. Would be wild if there were two secret organisations roaming around the kingdom doing weird shit like this. Although, one might just be taking advantage of the whole situation, like vultures.”

[Rena, mutter] “I just don’t get it. All this destruction and pain for what? For some, old belief system that disappeared centuries ago?”

            [SFX footsteps]

[Finn] “Someone’s coming.”

[Logan] “Guards?”

[Finn] “Looks like it. Another wagon to pick up materials. We should leave.”

S1E13 The ruins of Miller’s Knee

With 60% of the votes, the story continues on the second path. The group meets up with Finn and then sets out to find what remains of Miller’s Knee.

By the end of the episode, four choices will be presented to you. Vote on twitter or on theheartpyre.com for whichever path you want the story to continue on.

Intro music: Lonely Dusty Trail by Jon Presstone

Logo Design: Mars Lauderbaugh

S1E13 Transcript

[SFX forest noises]

[Asha] “If he tries to betray us, you run into the forest and let me deal with him.”

[Rena] “He won’t betray us.”

As agreed upon, Rena and Asha were waiting near the road that led away from the plains, a few steps into the forest so that the trees hid them from any prying eyes. Logan and Rodrick had stayed with the caravan which they had stationed further down the road so that it wouldn’t be visible from far away.

Even though Rena really did believe that it was rather unlikely Finn would betray them, she still couldn’t keep herself from being nervous, and Asha’s attitude definitely wasn’t helping.

[Asha] “It still doesn’t make any sense to me why he would help us.”

[Rena] “It’s easier to work on such a big mystery together than to try to solve it on your own, especially since we might know different things than he does, so it’s interesting for the both of us to work together and exchange our knowledge.”

[Asha] “But why us? He doesn’t know us, he barely knows what we are looking for. I barely know what we are looking for. At least I can go back to Rancor and continue on with my life whenever I feel like it, but by coming here and deserting his post he’s giving up on that privilege, so why risk it? Why not look for allies in his own ranks instead of running away with some vagrants?”

            [SFX footsteps, brush against foliage]

[Finn] “Because none of them can be trusted.”

Finn appeared from behind them, emerging from deep inside the forest. Rena spun around in astonishment. She hadn’t noticed him at all before he approached them. How long had he been there? Had he been observing them? She looked around to see if anyone else was hiding behind some trees, but the sun was already setting and she couldn’t see very far into the forest anymore.

[Finn] “I see you got out without any problems. I hope the guards weren’t too much of a bother.”

[Rena] “None at all! I … was actually a bit shocked to see that they didn’t lock the town or even the building down.”

[Finn] “Yeah well, I convinced the guards that I knew who you were and that I was handling the situation on my own. Once they notice I’m gone though, they’ll come after us.”

[Rena] “Don’t you have to report breaches like that to the administrator? O-or someone else?”

[Finn] “Sure, but before they realise that I never reported anything to anyone we’re already long gone. How many people saw your faces? Ten? Less than that? Maybe two of those could point you out in a crowd? It will take them a while to figure out what exactly you were looking for and deduce through that who you might be and what your next steps will be. If we advance fast enough they won’t be able to catch up. That’s also why we should head to Miller’s Knee right away since we aren’t far away from it, before they figure out this is what we’re interested in.”

[Rena] “You think there’s something there for us to find.”

[Finn] “Who knows, but it’s best to go check it out before we can’t return later because they are guarding the region.”

[Asha] “So why should we agree to work with you if you’re about to put a target on our back?”

[Finn] “Because I know much more about the Royal Council and the rest of the nobility than any of you do. And the target is already on you, no matter what. You weren’t exactly subtle in the archives.”

[Asha] “But like you said, barely any of them know what we look like. I bet every single last one of them knows what you look like, however.”

[Finn] “Trust me, they’ll figure out who you are no matter what. At least with me by your side, you’ll know what to look out for.”

[Asha] “I know how to keep myself safe. What kind of information is so valuable anyways that we should risk our lives travelling with you for it?”

[Finn] “We shouldn’t discuss this here. The longer we stay here, the higher the chances are of being spotted.”

[Asha] “Convenient, isn’t it? To not tell us anything but have us take you to our hiding spot.”

[Rena] “Asha, please. I know you don’t trust him, but he’s right that we shouldn’t waste too much time. There’s no reason for him to try to lure us into a trap, he basically already had us captive in the archives. I think we can trust him, at least enough to see what he has to say, okay? We can just make a little detour to Miller’s Knee and then get back to the city of Rancor afterwards. If you don’t like what he has to say you can just stay with your uncle and we’ll continue on this journey on our own.”

[Asha] “I don’t think Cas will be happy to see us drag someone like him into the camp.”

[Rena] “We can also just drop you off and continue on without you. Or I’ll stay outside the camp with him while the rest of you gather information inside.”

[Finn] “I’m not a dog.”

[Asha] “Could have fooled me. Let’s go, if you’re so afraid of being spotted here.”

They walked back to the caravan and introduced Finn to Rodrick and Vincent, although Finn seemed to be much more delighted with meeting Rodrick than with meeting the dog. Finn explained his plan to go to Miller’s Knee first to the rest of the group and so, without any fail, Rena, Logan and Finn were loaded into the now cramped back of the caravan while Asha stayed in the front with Rodrick and Vincent. Rena and Logan sat with their backs against the door, their arms intertwined so their elbows wouldn’t hit against each other constantly, with Finn sitting on the opposite side of the wagon. He looked around suspiciously, as if he wasn’t sure whether some of the furniture was about to fall on him or not. 

            [SFX caravan]

[Rena] “The caravan is safe to travel in, you don’t need to worry about it. Just don’t touch the oven or the pipes, those are pretty hot.”

[Logan] “First time travelling like a commoner, hm?”

[Finn] “I’m not sure commoners usually travel in such a contraption. You don’t even get to see many of these self-drawn carriages around in Mellahen, let alone the rest of the province. I don’t know who your friend is, but he’s definitely not from around here.”

[Rena] “He’s a scribe of the land, and I think he mentioned he used to be a tinkerer, so I’m pretty sure he created it himself.”

[Finn] “Northerner, then. Even from its … design … it looks more like something from Menakala. I’d say, even almost from the Kano-Raeki federation.”

[Rena] “It just looks like an affluent merchant’s caravan to me.”

[Finn] “No, the darkened holly oak wood used in combination with the dark green panelling is specifically used in the North, which of course takes some inspiration from the countries bordering it. Granted, he could have also just bought it there, but it does look like something that has been … home-made.”

[Logan] “So you’re also an expert in furniture design now? We’ve really caught ourselves a big fish here.”

[Finn] “I just have an eye for detail.”

[Logan] “Like all the suspicious details you notice while snooping around in the administrator’s correspondence.”

[Finn] “I’m not the one who broke into the archives to snoop around.

[Logan] “No, but you had to find all of your super important information somewhere.”

[Rena] “What exactly is it that you found?”

[Finn] “How about you tell me what you know and then I’ll expand upon that.”

[Rena] “Ehm, yeah, sure. So, ehm, about a week ago, a bit less, I went out to gather some mushrooms in the forest and then I came back to find my entire village … burning. And, ehm, I tried to go in to see if I could still help anyone but I couldn’t, ehm, I wasn’t strong enough to stay there and do much. I had never seen a dead body before, especially not one that was burnt, so I-I just had to run away. But I did pick up one of the little bird figurines that were lying near the church. There’s something carved into its front, some lines that might be a word. I think Rodrick said that it was an old script but he couldn’t read it either. He might know someone who could read it, though. My hometown’s called Oceansthrow, by the way, it’s in the South near the cliffs, kind of between Hollowtooth and Mattak, next to Halvint, if you know where any of those are. A-and then I found Rodrick and Logan and Asha, and they’ve been helping me ever since, and we’ve been working together a bit to figure out what happened. We found out about Miller’s Knee only after arriving at the plains. So we were looking for more information about any of that in the archives, and so we went down a bit of a rabbit hole because all the documents we kept finding were cut up to remove some important stuff in it, and then we ended up in the room in the basement where I found some letters between the administrator and one of the High Lords talking about the incident.”

[Finn] “What did they say?”

[Rena] “Wait, I’ve got them here. [SFX paper rustling] So, it’s between the administrator and High Lord Armanic Harkid. It mentions a few things. Ehm, it mentions the town being destroyed and how they’ve been clearing up the place and then it says something about ‘the complete elimination of the town’s memory’, which I don’t really understand.”

[Finn] “With major incidents like this they want to avoid a mass panic so they minimise the risk of news spreading too far.”

[Rena] “O-ok, but shouldn’t people know that something is going on?”

[Finn] “It doesn’t help anyone if the rest of the province or even the kingdom starts freaking out. It’s easier and faster to deal with this sort of incident while it is still unknown.”

[Logan] “‘Complete elimination’ doesn’t sound like just making sure people don’t panic. Sounds like you’re trying to completely erase it from history.”

[Finn] “I can’t tell you more than what I’ve been told. These sorts of things are under the jurisdiction of the historical academy and I don’t know the intricate workings of that organisation.”

[Logan, mocking] “Hmm, then what are you even good for?”

[Rena] “Shouldn’t the job of a historical academy be to write down history the way it happened? Why would they want to eliminate some things?”

[Finn] “Writing down history isn’t the only thing they do. They also deal with the spread of information and public communication and similar things. What else do the letters say?”

[Rena] “Ehm, well, they mentioned ‘the Lynx’ and ‘the Crow’, and I don’t know what those are, but apparently the Royal Council had an agreement with the Lynx about the Crow and that the Crow is responsible for the fires and I think this has already happened a few times in the past?”

[Finn] “Hmm, yeah, I have heard of them.”

[Rena] “Do you know who they are?”

[Finn] “I know they’re old. If I remember correctly the Crow is an offshoot of the Lynx. They are religious organisations.”

[Rena] “Religious?”

[Logan] “Oh, so they’re old old.”

[Finn] “Yes, definitely a few hundred years. I don’t exactly know what their deal is, or why the Council has accords with them. They probably have power from back in the day.”

[Rena] “But … why are they burning down towns?”

[Finn] “I don’t know, that’s what we need to find out, I suppose.”

[Logan] “Probably aren’t very happy that no one prays to the Gods anymore.”

[Rena] “What does that have to do with burning down towns and killing hundreds of people.”

[Logan] “Who even knows. We’d probably have to ask them about that to find out.”

[Rena] “Where do they live?”

[Finn] “I don’t know.”

[Logan] “You can’t actually go there and just ask them.”

[Rena] “Why not? No one else is going to be able to tell me why they are doing this. They must live somewhere, right? So why not find out and go talk to them?”

[Finn] “Sounds dangerous.”

[Logan] “I have to agree with the traitor on this. Although, … I do like a dangerous plan.”

[Finn] “We don’t actually know where they are though.”

[Logan] “I’m sure we can find out. We’re five very smart and charming people, finding out where some murderous secret organisation sleeps can’t be that difficult for us, can it?”

[Rena] “I’m sure someone in Rancor can help us.”

[Logan] “Oh definitely. For a price.”

[Finn] “Even if we know where they are, that doesn’t mean we know how to approach them.”

[Logan] “Hey, one step at a time, buddy, ok?”

[Finn] “That’s how you get yourself killed.”

[Rena] “But he’s right. We can’t make a plan for how to approach them if we don’t even know where they are or who they really are or what they want. So we need to gather more information no matter what. I think going to Miller’s Knee is a good first step, since we’re so close by, but I would say we also need to go back to Oceansthrow, even if it’s going to be difficult for me.”

[Logan] “You sure you wanna go back? We could also just drop you off in Rancor and go to your town without you and report back what we found.”

[Rena] “[sigh] No, I wanna come with you. See what actually happened and what remains of the town.”

[Finn] “The town will probably be crawling with guards and people from the historical society. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to go back there.”

[Logan] “We can be sneaky.”

[Finn] “The way you were sneaky at the archives?”

[Rena] “So you don’t think we can go back to Oceansthrow?”

[Finn] “I’m just saying it might be dangerous. I don’t know if they’ve already started with cleaning up the place or if they have already finished it. We won’t know until we get closer to the town.”

[Rena] “But we first need to find Miller’s Knee, right?”

[Finn] “If we want to know how thorough they are with clearing the debris away.”

[Rena] “Right.”

            [SFX caravan sounds fade out; forest sounds fade in]

Rodrick had a knack for talking to people and making them tell their whole life story to him, which was extremely helpful when you were trying to find a town that didn’t exist anymore and that no signs or maps pointed towards. It took them longer than any of them were really comfortable with, considering that they were on the run and it was the middle of the night, but they had already spent so much time on the task that abandoning the search without having found any new information felt like a complete waste of their precious time. 

They abandoned the caravan in a small town near where they suspected Miller’s Knee used to be. Rodrick convinced an old farmer in town to look after his vehicle and then the companions set out to hike through the woods in hopes that they would stumble upon anything that could indicate that a town used to be there. 

They found a clearing between the trees, long lanes of grass and underbrush which could have been roads once. Rodrick had brought the lamp that was usually attached to the caravan with him and was illuminating their path with it, which only made the rest of the forest around them seem darker and more sinister. The moonlight, even though bright, barely managed to reach them through the treetops that had reclaimed the space above them.

At least the dog seemed to enjoy the walk in the forest after the long journeys in the caravan they’d been on over the past few days, unbothered by the darkness surrounding them. He ran ahead on the path before running back to them, circling each of them, and then # running off into the distance again. They all seemed to delight in this little game, even Asha had a small smile on her lips, except for Finn, who stepped away from the dog each time Vincent ran up to him. 

[SFX dog noises]

[Logan] “If we get eaten by a wolf, we know whose brilliant idea it was to come here first.”

[Rena] “There aren’t many wolves around here. It’s more boars and things like that.”

[Logan] “Well, maybe we’ll get eaten by one of those, do you know how dangerous they are?”

[Asha] “Shut up, Logan, I think I hear water.”

            [SFX river noises getting closer]

[Logan] “Shut up, yourself, Asha. Why should we care about water?”

[Asha] “You don’t think that a town called Miller’s Knee might have a mill in it? And what do mills need?”

[Rena, excited] “Wind or a river.”

[Asha] “Exactly. So if I can hear water it means there’s a river nearby which means the town might be somewhere nearby.”

[Rodrick] “What an astute observation, Asha. Very well done.”

Although the sound of flowing water got louder the further they got, they never quite reached it. Of course, with the darkness that surrounded them, they didn’t see very far into the forest, so it felt to Rena like the path they were on ran parallel to the river that must have been only a few metres away from them. And then, as predicted, they stumbled upon a wide clearing. Vincent ran ahead, darting across it, darting back, sniffing the ground wherever he went. 

It didn’t look to Rena like there used to be a town there. The ground was covered with grass and bushes and even some young saplings, but the shape of the clearing also looked too deliberate for it to have occurred naturally. Finally the moonlight was bright enough that they wouldn’t need Rodrick’s lamp anymore, and Rena thought she could even see the river to their left. 

[Logan] “So this is it? A bunch of nothing?”

[Finn] “Let’s split up and search for clues. We’ll cover more ground if we don’t stay together.”

[Logan] “Sure thing, captain.”

[Asha] “I’ll stay here and make sure no one’s approaching us from behind.”

[Rena] “Thank you, Asha.”

They fanned out onto the clearing, keeping their heads bowed towards the ground to catch any glimpses that could indicate anything other than vegetation used to be here. Rena couldn’t really believe it, couldn’t imagine shops and farms and homes standing all around her, couldn’t imagine that in a few years her own home town would look like this. Vincent came running up to her and she absent-mindedly ran her hand through the fur behind his bitten-off ear as she looked out over the clearing. As Rodrick got further away from her, her eyes got increasingly used to only seeing with the light of the moon. She tried to make out any patterns in the ground from far away, to see where the foundations of buildings could have been, but there was nothing there. Her eyes caught on to something at the edge of the clearing to her right, something that looked too regular to have occurred naturally. 

She walked up to it, Vincent following her, and saw what looked like six, flat stone slabs set into the dirt. She crouched down and noticed that names had been carved into the stones. Some slabs with only one name, some with two, and one even with three names. The cuts that formed the names looked older, worn, with moss growing over them, but underneath the names something else had been carved into the stone, something newer.

[Rena] “Hey, Rodrick?”

[Rodrick] “Yes, my dear?”

[Rena] “Do you know what that symbol means?”

She let her fingers run over the deep grooves of two triangles, one right side up, the other reversed, their tips intertwined with a dot in the space they formed, and a thick horizontal line running through the dot and the points where the triangles met.

[Rodrick] “Hmm, let me see. [SFX clothes rustle, groaning] Well, how odd. The intertwined triangles usually represent Tavuu’Moda, the god of Chance. Well, people say chance, but Tavuu’Moda is heavily connected with survival and with perseverance and those concepts. He actually has a twin sister called Kaepi’Pari who is the god of good fortune. Very interesting distinction, but that is a story for another time. You usually only find these symbols on old buildings, such as churches or monasteries or such. I’m not quite sure what it is doing here on gravestones. It doesn’t seem likely that the people around here were still praying to the old gods, but you never know, it might be possible. There sadly isn’t enough left of the village to indicate if that theory could be true. Although the symbol is a bit odd. I have seen this variation with the line through the triangles before, especially here in more southern and eastern regions, but this dot in the middle is new to me. Quite peculiar that they added this, I wonder if it could be a local variety. Logan! Come here, my child.”

            [SFX footsteps]

[Logan] “What’s up?”

[Rodrick] “You’ve wandered through these parts of the kingdom quite a bit, right?”

[Logan] “I’ve been here and there, sure. Why?”

[Rodrick] “Have you ever seen this symbol before?”

[Logan] “The triangles. Not sure. Hmm. Maybe. It does look a bit familiar but I’m not exactly sure where from.”

[Rodrick] “Maybe you’ve seen it on buildings? Are there any bigger churches in the area? Ruins of old monasteries maybe? Anything in that direction?”

[Logan] “Well, most buildings like that were either torn down or repurposed for something else around here. In the north they treat these buildings differently, right? More like historical artefacts? Don’t touch them and keep them how they are? Here you don’t see many of them anymore. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, there’s some old buildings on some hill formations above the border in Baedan if I remember it correctly. Might have been a monastery before but I’m not sure, I’ve only been to that region a handful of times, not much going on there. I only went up to those hills once like 5 years ago. If I remember correctly there were weird symbols on them, and I think they might have looked similarly angular, but I don’t remember if they were specifically like this one or different.”

[Rodrick] “I will write it down in my notebook and then we can ask around, see if any other people recognise it. [groaning]”

Rodrick stood up with some difficulty, faltering, and Rena shot up to stabilise him. He pulled a leather-bound notebook and what looked like a small, cylindrical piece of wood out of his breast pocket and flipped the notebook open to an empty page. Rena wasn’t sure what he needed the piece of wood for, but when he dragged it over the page it left a mark, almost like charcoal although lighter in colour, and with ease he drew the symbol onto the paper. She had never seen such a simple writing tool before, something that didn’t stain your hands when you held it and didn’t need to dry after you applied it. She realised how many things she had never even been aware of that had already been invented in the cities, even such small things as this, something she had never even heard about yet seemed so natural to Rodrick. 

[Rodrick] “We could ask some of your friends, Logan, I’m sure someone has seen it before.”

[Logan, hesitant] “Sure, we can  …”

            [SFX fast footsteps]

[Asha] “We need to leave.”

Asha jogged up to them, quickly followed by a tense Finn.

[Rena] “What?”

[Asha] “Someone’s coming. I’m not sure who, but we shouldn’t stay here to find out. Follow me, we’ll go the long way around to get back to the caravan.”

S1E12 Transcript

Logan turned towards Rena and gently cradled her face in his hands.

[Logan] “Listen, we are not abandoning anyone, okay? This is just a tactical retreat. Asha knows how this works. She knows we aren’t willfully abandoning her, okay?. She’ll try to get back to our previous meeting point just like we should be doing. I’m sure Rodrick knows to do this too. I bet no one’s even noticed that Rodrick is part of this. He’s fine,I promise. And you heard captain treason over there, Asha will be fine too.”

[Rena, small voice] “I don’t know, it doesn’t feel right.”

[Logan] “I know, but trust me, yeah? Your heart is in the right place, sweetheart, but you’ve never been in a situation like this. We’ll only endanger ourselves and the people we’re trying to rescue if we stay here for longer than necessary.”

He let go of her face and turned around to look at Finn.

[Logan] “Which is also why it would be a bad idea to wait for you to go get your fancy little notebook.”

[Finn] “Fine. In which inn are you staying?”

[Logan] “Don’t really feel like I should tell you that.”

[Rena] “Didn’t we decide to trust him?”

[Logan] “No. You decided to trust him, I still think he could backstab us at any moment.”

[Finn] “Whatever. Meet me at the edge of the forest outside the plains by nightfall. The road that leads out towards the east.”

[Logan] “You better not try to lure us into a trap, okay buddy? I’m really good at holding grudges for a very long time.”

[Finn] “Why would I try to lure you into a trap if I could just get you arrested right here?”

[Logan] “I don’t know, so you could catch us all at the same time? People have come up with stranger plans.”

[Finn] “Maybe if they’ve got your level of intelligence. I prefer my plans to be well-thought out and make some actual sense.”

[Rena] “Didn’t we determine that we’re running out of time?”

[Logan] “Yes, right, we need to leave. Finn, darling, would you be so kind as to escort us to a side entrance.”

[Finn] “I thought you didn’t trust me.”

[Logan] “Didn’t you hear, we don’t have any time left for quippy banter. The faster you get us safely to an entrance, the quicker you get rid of me.”

[Finn] “Right. There’s a hallway on the floor above us that leads through the cellar and the laundry room to the backside of the archives. It shouldn’t be too heavily guarded, and they won’t question my passage anyway. Once you’re outside these walls, however, you’re on your own. I trust you know how to blend into a crowd and not get caught right away.”

[Logan, smirk] “Of course.”

[Finn] “Good. Let’s go.”

It didn’t take them long to traverse through the cellar and the laundry room to reach the back door that led out of the archives.

[Finn] “You’ll have to continue on your own from here.”

[Rena] “Thank you. I really mean it. I truly hope we’ll manage to meet up this evening. I’m going to make sure we’re keeping our end of the bargain.”

[Finn] “It’s more your loss than mine if you don’t show up.”

[Logan] ”Yes, yes, you’re a big, independent traitor who doesn’t need anyone else to overthrow the government, we’ve got it.”

[Finn] “I definitely don’t need someone like you.”

[Rena] “We should leave. Before someone gets suspicious.”

[Logan] “Right. We’ll see you when the sun sets, sweetcheeks. Let’s go.”

Logan grabbed Rena’s wrist and headed out the door. They stepped out onto a stone pathway that was only wide enough for two carriages to pass before ending in the stone wall that surrounded the archives. To their right, a few workers were unloading wooden crates from a horse-drawn carriage and bringing them into the archives through tall, double doors.

[Logan] “Let’s go this way.”

Logan led her to the left, away from the people. 

[Logan] “We just need to get to the crowd and hurry outside. Blend in with the rest of the visitors. It would be too suspicious if we tried to sneak over the wall or something like that. Most of the guards don’t know what we look like, we should be fine. Just don’t look nervous.”

[Rena, mumble] “That’s easier said than done.”

[Logan] “As long as we don’t run we should be fine.”

[Rena, hissing] “Don’t you think we stick out just a little bit with our dirty clothes?”

[Logan] “Just pretend it’s meant to be like that. Haven’t you noticed how weird some of the people here look? No one cares. People are too self-involved to notice something like that. The worst thing that’ll happen is that someone will think your sense for fashion is horrible.”

[Rena] “Maybe all of this is easy for you after a lifetime of crime, but I’ve never even had to consider these things before this week. When I was back home, I didn’t have a habit of sneaking around and deceiving people, okay?”

[Logan] “You could have stayed home, you know. No one’s forcing you to be here.”

[Rena] “No, I couldn’t have stayed home because it’s gone!”

Rena stopped, her eyes fixed on the ground, her arms wrapped tight around her chest, trying her hardest not to start crying. She pressed her trembling lips together and took in deep, shaky breaths.

[Logan] “Shit, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I wasn’t thinking. Sometimes I-I just say stuff. I’m really, really sorry.”

[Rena] “I’m sorry that I haven’t managed to adjust to this massive shift in my life yet, but none of this is easy for me.”

[Logan] “Yeah, no, I know, I know. I’m really sorry.”

[Rena] “I’m trying my best to keep up with you and trust you but I’ve never done anything like it and I just don’t have the confidence yet that everything will turn out ok. I’m sorry that I’m nervous and I’m sorry that I don’t have the instincts and I’d also rather be back home with my family than sneaking around in some stupid castle looking for some stupid letters and ruining one of the only dresses I have just so that maybe I can find out why everyone I ever loved is suddenly dead.”

[Logan] “Fuck, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like th..”

[Rena, starting to cry] “And I’m really trying hard to keep it together and to just think about what we have to do to find out what happened but it’s hard and I feel like I’m crumbling and I don’t know what to do and how to keep myself together and I miss them so much and I’m never ever going to see them again even if we find out what happened.”

[Logan, softly] “Shhh, it’s ok, it’s ok, come here, it’s ok. I’m really sorry I said that. I know what you’ve been going through. It should never have happened. It isn’t fair. Sometimes life is way too cruel and there’s no easy way to deal with it.”

[Rena, crying] “ I don’t know what to do.”

[Logan] “I know, I know. It’s ok, you don’t have to have all the answers right now. We’ll figure it out together, yeah? I know there’s nothing we can do that will get your family back. I really wish there was. You know, if this is too much for you, you can just stop, right? You don’t have to go through with this. It isn’t your responsibility to fix it. If you want to take a break to deal with your loss first, that’s fine. You don’t have to force yourself through this if it’s too much. I can get you to Rancor and set you up there if you have nowhere else to go. Kalani and Cas would understand. They’d probably welcome you with open arms. That’s what the camp’s for, after all.”

[Rena, mumble, calmed down] “Thank you.”

[Logan] “Yeah, no problem. Genuinely, if at any moment, you want to stop, just let me know and I’ll drive you straight to the camp. Or somewhere else if you’ve got someone to stay with or if you want to go to a specific place. No judgement at all, yeah? And Rodrick and Asha and I will keep investigating this thing. Well, I can’t guarantee that the others will keep going, but I’m pretty sure they would if you asked them nicely. Rodrick definitely, Asha’s a bit more stubborn. But I promise you that I’ll keep looking into it, yeah? This should have never happened and someone needs to be held responsible for it. And we’ve got a pretty new face joining the team now, so I’m sure we’ll uncover this mystery in no time.”

[Rena, giggle] “Not if it’s just the two of you. If I’m not there to stop you, you’ll probably end up stabbing each other.”

[Logan] “Nah, well, maybe, but I’ll make sure to stab him only after we’ve found out the truth.”

[Rena, giggle, sob] “You’re the worst.”

[Logan] “Our new friend would probably agree with you on that one.”

[Rena] [Shaky breaths] “We should keep going. I don’t want someone to find us here like this.”

[Logan] “We’ll just tell them we’re jilted lovers who’ve just had a nasty fight and needed some privacy.”

[Rena, laughing] “Gross, no, you’re like ten years older than me.”

[Logan] “Great, that can be the reason for our fight. You’ve finally come to your senses that you want to date an attractive, younger person that can actually relate to you on an emotional level.”

[Rena, chuckle] “Stop it. I thought you didn’t want to waste any time.”

[Logan, startled] “Right, our escape! This way!”

Logan took her by the hand and led her around the corner of the building. There was still a crowd in front of the archives, although most people were now heading out instead of in. They walked over to where all of the caravans and carriages were standing, drifting through the crowd until they reached Rodrick’s caravan. No one seemed to be paying much attention to them, but Rena also forced herself to only look forward and keep her eyes from treacherously wandering around, so there was always the chance that someone, somewhere had seen them emerge from behind the castle and found it suspicious.

[Logan] “Ok, do you have a piece of paper?”

[Rena] “No? Except the letters we stole, I guess?”

[Logan] “Hmm, not ideal, but we could just rip a small corner off. Ehm, a pen?”

[Rena] “No. Why would I have a pen with me?”

[Logan] “I don’t know. We need something to write the note with.”

[Rena] “This was your plan, I thought you had it figured out.”

[Logan] “Ah, shit, ok, ok, it’s fine. I’ll figure something out. Wait here for a second.”

He jogged over to a group of three middle-aged women in big, colourful, fluffy dresses who were standing next to two giant, white draft horses. As Logan came up to them the women turned around, wary at first, but they seemed to warm to him quickly. Rena couldn’t hear what he was saying to them, but she could hear the raucous laughter of the rightmost woman well enough.

She rolled her eyes and turned around, letting her fingers run over the wood of the caravan as she walked to the back of the wagon. She leaned in close to the door, pressing her forehead against the wood.

[Rena, murmur] “Hey Vincent, how are you holding on?”

            [SFX muffled dog noises]

[Rena, murmur] “I’m sure Rodrick will come back soon enough to let you out. I’m sorry we locked you in here for so long. I’ll give you a million pets when we’re back at the inn, ok? [sigh] It’s been a bit of a rough day. We’re technically on the run, but don’t tell anyone, please. I have to confess something. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into here. Maybe all of this was a mistake. [long sigh] I don’t know. I guess we’re doing the right thing. Someone has to uncover this, might as well be us. But the way ahead seems a bit dangerous and I don’t know if I’m strong enough for it. I really wish I could just go home and hug my parents. I really, really miss them. …. I’ll just have to hug you real tight later.”

            [SFX footsteps approaching]

She pushed herself away from the caravan and turned to her left, expecting Logan to come up to her. As her eyes wandered across the other wagons and the crowd surrounding them, they landed on a spot of bright orange. Behind the wheel of a caravan, sitting in a beam of sunlight, sat a fox, looking at her. The white tip of its tail swayed lazily up and down, but otherwise it didn’t move, not even when people hurried past it. No one else seemed to be bothered by the animal, or they simply hadn’t seen it. Maybe foxes weren’t a rare sight in this city, maybe people had gotten used to seeing them a long time ago, but something felt different to Rena about this one. It might have just been the fact that the fox seemed to be staring at her, but on the other hand, it almost felt to her like she had seen it before, like it was the same one she had seen two nights ago when they had entered the plains. There surely were a hundred of these animals in this city and she knew she hadn’t gotten a good look at the fox two nights ago, so why did it feel so familiar? 

[Logan] “Alright, let’s go.”

Logan came to stand in front of her, blocking her view of the fox. 

[Rena] “Did you… see that?”

She stepped to the side so she could look past Logan but the spot of sunlight where the animal had stood before was now empty. She looked around, trying to glimpse its red fur in the crowd. She even bent down to look underneath the wagons, but it seemed to have vanished.

[Logan] “What?”

[Rena] “There was a fox.”

[Logan] “Yeah, they’re like plagues in bigger cities. I don’t think they fear humans anymore. And people keep throwing all their garbage onto the streets so it’s like a buffet for them.”

[Rena] “Hmm, I don’t know, something felt different about this one.”

[Logan] “Maybe city foxes look different than the forest foxes you’re used to.”

[Rena] “No, it wasn’t anything like that.”

[Logan] “Well, either way, let’s get out of here.”

[Rena] “Did you write the note?”

[Logan] “Yep, and put it near his seat so that he could find it but still hidden enough so that no one else will see it. Not like I put our entire plan on that note or anything, but you can never be too careful.”

[Rena] “Alright then. Bye Vincent.”

            [SFX muffled dog noises]

            [SFX footsteps]

[Rena] “I don’t like it that he’s been locked in there the whole day.”

[Logan] “Probably safer than leaving him at the inn all day. Someone could have just stolen him.”

[Rena] “Who steals someone else’s dog?”

[Logan] “You’d be surprised.”

They navigated their way through the crowd with no major incidents, but Rena only dared look away from the ground in front of her feet when they were already past the last lamp post leading up to the archives and the crowd was starting to disperse into the plains. She dared to glance back quickly, to make sure no one was following them, but they really had managed to escape, even if it didn’t feel right to her.

[Rena, whispering] “Shouldn’t they close the entire building down if they are looking for someone?”

[Logan] “Probably don’t want to inconvenience their esteemed guests.”

[Rena, whisper] “But none of the guards even looked alarmed.”

[Logan] “Yes, and usually the captain of the guard or whoever he is doesn’t help the thieves escape. They probably think they’ll be able to catch us inside the castle without anyone else noticing and I’m sure he told the guards to not mention the incident to anyone to save his reputation.”

[Rena] “It doesn’t seem very efficient.”

[Logan] “Yeah, well. With big institutions like that, appearance is often more important than efficiency.”

[Rena] “That’s just backwards.”

They arrived at the inn and Logan went to get the keys to their rooms from the innkeeper before they headed up to the room Rena and Asha had stayed in the night before.

            [SFX Footsteps & creaking door]

[Logan] “Ok, wait here, I’ll go get us some new clothes.”

[Rena] “Ok.”

            [SFX creaking door]

Rena stood in the room, alone for the first time in what felt like forever, her eyes slowly wandering over the pictures and statues of marbled ducks spread throughout the room. The silence was encroaching on her again even though she could hear the cacophony of human activity from the tavern. She shut her eyes and shook her head, trying to snap herself out of it. She looked around the room to find something she could do and noticed with relief that there was a wash basin with a fresh pitcher of water in the corner of the room. 

She went over to the basin, filled it with water, and washed her hands. She then tried to rub her face clean, but the grime and dust that had caked itself onto her skin refused to separate from her. She would need a bath to get everything off, especially out of her hair, but she wasn’t sure when she would actually be able to take one next. She went over to the bed and sat down on it with a sigh, closing her eyes and dreaming of letting her body sink into the warm water. Maybe the bath water had even been infused with some herbs, maybe she would even have access to a bar of the really fancy soap made with olive oil that she had seen in Maggie’s soap shop in her home town once. Either way, she knew that the steam coming from the bath would smell heavenly.

            [SFX door opens]

Her eyes flew open and she jumped up, dreading to see who would enter the room.

[Rena] “Asha!”

[Asha] “Good, you’re here.”

[Rena] “How are you? Y-your temple. You’re bleeding! Are you alright?”

[Asha] “It’s nothing.”

            [SFX water splash, face rubbing]

[Rena] “I’m so glad to see that you got out. I was so worried. I wanted to come look for you but Logan said it was best if we got out as quickly as possible.”

[Asha] “He was right.”

[Rena] “I’m really sorry we left you alone. Logan just started running and drag me with him and I tried to get back to you when I saw that you were fighting the guards but he wouldn’t let go of my hand and then we crawled through some shafts in the walls to a different room and, and there we ran into the captain guy who was waiting there all alone for us and he just wanted to talk and he said he was also looking into some stuff and wasn’t happy with the administrator and the Royal Council and he said he’d help us out to find out what happened to Oceansthrow and the other villages and then he helped us escape but honestly we just walked out of the building with absolutely no problems, which I think is a great oversight on their part, and I don’t really trust it, but of course I’m happy that we did get out, and now the captain is going to wait for us near the forest tonight and then he’ll accompany us and hopefully together we can figure out what is going on.”

[Asha] “Why would we work with someone who’s related to nobility?” 

[Rena] “What? How do you know that?”

[Asha] “His face, his clothes, his attitude. Besides, you don’t get a job like that without being related to someone in power.”

[Rena] “Well, I don’t think it really matters. I’ve trusted the rest of you so far, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t trust him.”

[Asha] “It’s your quest, you can do what you want. I’m going back to Rancor in the morning anyhow.”

[Rena] “Oh … ok. … No, of course, I mean, you got what you came for, of course you’re not obligated to stay with us. I’m sure you have other important things to do.”

[Asha] “Yes …. [SFX bed creak] … What exactly did the captain say?”

[Rena] “Ehm, he said he had noticed some weird things going on between the administrator and the Royal Council.”

[Asha] “What weird things?”

[Rena] “I’m not sure, he didn’t mention anything specific. I think he called them irregularities. But he’s got a ledger where he wrote them all down apparently. That’s why he didn’t come back with us right away, cause he wanted to go get that first.” 

[Asha] “Irregularities.”

[Rena] “Yes.”

            [SFX door opens]

[Logan] “Here, catch, brand new dress. Should fit you, probably. Asha! Good to see you got out alive.”

[Asha] “Tragedy that you got out alive.”

[Logan] “Can’t get rid of me that easily.”

[Rena] “I was just telling Asha about Finn.”

[Asha] “Finn?”

[Logan] “Yeah, the hot guy with the sword, that’s his name.”

[Asha] “Hot?”

            [SFX bed creak]

[Logan] “Our lovely leader here has decided that he’s part of the team now, apparently.”

[Rena] “Ehm, Asha just mentioned that she’s going to go back to the city of Rancor tomorrow.”

[Logan] “Oh come on, you’re abandoning us already? I thought we were building a bond here. Like brothers in arms, fighting together to overthrow the government. Isn’t that what we all want?”

[Rena] “That seems a bit extreme.”

[Logan] “Ok, ok, fighting together to find out what happened to the countless lives that were lost to tragedies that should have never happened and that the Royal Council and the rest of the nobility might be potentially trying to cover up.”

[Asha] “I’ll come to the meeting point with you. See what that guy is all about. I can’t guarantee anything beyond that.”

[Logan] “The curiosity is winning, isn’t it? You’ll stay with us, you’ll see.”

            [SFX door creaks]

[Rena] “Rodrick!” 

            [SFX quick footsteps, dog noises]

[Rena] “Hi, Vincent! Oh, I’m so glad to see you. What happened? How did you get out?”

[Rodrick] “Good, good, good. You’re all here. How wonderful. Well, I just walked out, didn’t I? I was just talking with the charming young woman and suddenly the door bursts open and some guards barged into the room and tell us to leave, so of course I complied with the order and followed the young woman outside, and then we heard shouting and banging from the other side of the door. I didn’t know what was going on and I have to say I was quite worried, especially since I didn’t know for certain that you were all in the room or if some of you were still wandering through the archives. Of course I had already glimpsed Asha enter earlier, and I was certain Logan had found his way in somehow, but I hadn’t seen him so I couldn’t be a hundred percent certain. But what a surprise it was when I saw the unconscious guards outside the room!”

[Logan] “Wait, Asha, did you just beat them up.”

[Asha] “Had to get into the room somehow, and I was tired of arguing with people to get what I wanted.”

[Rena] “Sounds a bit drastic, don’t you think?”

[Asha] “I’m sure the rest of you found noble and earnest ways to get access to the letters.”

[Rodrick] “Well, never mind that. We all had our tricks to enter that room. So I was standing outside the door with the young clerk and I was wondering if I should get back inside and try to help out, but I am not the youngest anymore and I didn’t have any of my equipment with me, so I had to accept the fact that I would not be of great help to anyone. I deeply apologise for that, I hope none of you are mad at me for it. The young clerk told me it was protocol for her to get back to her desk and escort any visitors to the entrance hall if something like this happened, but I managed to convince her to let me stay there so I could wait for Rena to come out of the room. Officially, she had never been assigned to our case anyway. And then after a while Asha burst out and we had our little adventure to find a way out of the archives for her, didn’t we?”

[Asha] “It sure was an adventure.”

[Logan] “Did you find the note? The one on the caravan?”

[Rodrick] “Yes, yes, I found the note, although whoever wrote it needs to learn how our lovely script actually works. It was barely legible.”

[Rena, under breath] “Logan wrote it.”

[Logan] “But you did manage to read it, that’s literally all that matters.”

[Rodrick] “Did you all manage to get what you were looking for?”

[Rena] “I think so.”

[Logan] “We even managed to get a new ally.”

[Rodrick] “Oh, how so?”

[Asha] “They are fraternising with the enemy now.”

[Rodrick] “The enemy?”

[Rena] “We don’t know if he’s an enemy to us or not. You shouldn’t be this quick to judge people.”

[Rodrick] “Who are we talking about?”

[Logan] “You probably saw him storm in with the guards. Blond, kinda short, blue coat blue eyes, perpetually looks like he wants to strangle you for how stupid you are.”

[Rodrick] “And who is he?”

[Rena] “His name’s Finn. I’m pretty sure he works with the guards at the archives and he mentioned that he found some irregularities in some information about the administrator and the Royal Council.”

[Rodrick] “But who is he exactly?”

[Rena] “Ehm, I don’t know. But I don’t exactly know who the rest of you are either.”

[Rodrick] “You’ve got a point there. And he wants to help us?”

[Rena] “Yes.”

[Rodrick] “Well, I say the more the merrier.”

[Asha] “The more, the higher the chance of being betrayed.”

[Logan] “You’re always so gloomy. Lighten up. Look at it this way, if he tries to betray us you are legally allowed to strangle him.”

[Rena] “Legally?”

[Asha] “Hmm, yeah, if I look at it that way, maybe this isn’t a complete clusterfuck.”

[Logan] “So it’s settled then! We’re all joining forces to uncover this mystery and kick the Royal Council’s ass!”

S1E12 Take courage, my friend

With 60% of the votes, the story continues on the second path. Rena and Logan escape the archives and regroup with Asha and Rodrick to tell them about their new ally. 

By the end of the episode, three choices will be presented to you. vote on twitter or down below for whichever path you want the story to continue on.

Intro music: Lonely Dusty Trail by Jon Presstone

Logo Design: Mars Lauderbaugh

S1E11 Transcript

Rena felt Logan shift behind her so that their backs were now flush against each other. She kept her eyes on the approaching guards. One was already halfway down the passageway while the other was just rounding the corner of the bookshelf near the back wall. Next to her, Asha pushed herself away from the bookshelf she had crashed into earlier and came to stand in front of her.

[Logan] “Listen, we don’t want any trouble. We’re simply here to read up on some documents. This is a public archive after all, right? Everyone’s allowed in here with the correct paperwork. You just spooked us, ok? No harm done, we can all go back to what we were doing beforehand. We won’t even complain to anyone about the way you’ve been treating us.”

[Captain] “Yeah, I don’t think so.”

The captain stepped closer, keeping his blade at Logan’s throat.

Logan’s hand came to grab Rena’s arm at their side, his finger wrapping tightly around her wrist. Asha shifted closer to Rena and blocked her view of the approaching guards. Her hand slipped underneath the fabric of her tunic at her waist and slid towards her back, clenching around something without taking it out.

[Captain] “You can drop this foolish act. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t think I actually really care to find out, but I don’t believe that you’re just some innocent researchers. Not if you’re in this room. Not if you’re in this section.”

He got closer to Logan until they were face to face, only the blade separating them.

[Logan] “As much as I am weirdly enjoying this, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

[Captain] “Sure you don’t. You know, you’re not as good at sneaking around as you think you are. Sure, the surveillance in this place is quite frankly abysmal, but I notice. I always notice.”

[Logan, chuckle] “Well, good for you. You seem to be a very valuable member of this establishment. Like a well-behaved, loyal guard dog.”

[Captain] “You think you’re so clever, but look at where you are now.”

[Logan] “Being threatened by a kinda attractive asshole with delusions of grandeur who thinks he’s just uncovered a great conspiracy in his basement?”

[Asha] “Logan, shut your mouth or I swear I will shut it for you once I’m done with the rest of these fools.”

The first guard was almost upon them and Asha finally pulled out what she had been holding on to behind her back. At first it looked like a thin, black handle until she flicked her wrist and it expanded into a rod the length of her forearm.

Rena didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what she could add to the conversation that would help them out. She knew she wouldn’t be able to fight them. Asha and Logan probably, but definitely not her. She would certainly just end up being an obstruction for the other two. But being the eldest daughter had taught her how to calm an argument down before it escalated into a full fight and maybe there was the sliver of a chance that the captain would listen to her instead of Logan.

She turned around and opened her mouth to say something but the second the captain’s eyes shifted to look at her, Logan lifted his free hand and pushed the captain’s blade up and away from his throat, making the man stumble back a few steps. Logan ran forward, his grip tightening on Rena’s wrist as he dragged her behind him.

            [SFX footsteps, running]

Rena almost fell, not expecting the sudden shift in movement, but managed to somehow keep her balance. Her dress wasn’t made for running. Her legs kept getting tangled in the fabric and even though she tried bunching the skirt up with her free hand she barely managed to hold on to it.

She looked back and realised Asha wasn’t behind them. She was still standing between the bookshelves, the captain at her feet while she was holding on to his jacket, his blade on the ground next to him. With her other hand she was swinging the rod towards the first guard, hitting him on the side of the head before he had finished lifting his sword. He slumped to the side and crashed into the bookcase. The captain tried pushing himself up to his feet again but before he could fully regain his footing she swung him around by his jacket and threw him towards the second guard.

[Rena] “Wait!”

[Logan] “There’s no time!”

[Rena] “But Asha!”

[Logan] “She can manage on her own!”

Rena tried to pull her wrist out of Logan’s grip, but his hand clamped shut, blocking the blood flow to her hand.

[Rena] “No. Wait!”

She almost lost her footing trying to get him to stop but he just kept going, kept running down the endless hallway between bookshelves. She turned around one more time, glancing back at Asha while Logan led them to the other end of the room. Asha had picked up the captain’s rapier and was swinging it with the same form and force like you would a regular sword.

Before Rena could see any more of the fight Logan was pulling them to the right down the passage between bookshelves that lounged the left-most wall of the room.

[Rena] “Wait! Where are we going?”

[Logan] “Out of here.”

[Rena] “But the door is the other way.”

He didn’t reply, just ran to the end of the passage. He stopped abruptly and turned towards her, dropping down to one knee in the same motion. He held his hands out to her, interlinking them palms up at knee height and looked up at her expectantly.

[Rena, confused] “What?”

[Logan, brash] “Climb up.”

[Rena] “Where?”

Rena looked up at the bookshelf in front of them and then looked around, trying to figure out what he wanted from her, but the shelves looked exactly the same like any other in this room.

[Logan] “On top of the bookshelf. There’s some tunnels in the wall that connect the rooms together. Now climb, we don’t have all day.”

[Rena] “Ventilation shafts?”

[Logan] “Yes! Maybe, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, just get up there already.”

[Rena] “Ok, ok.”

She grabbed onto the boards on the bookshelf with her left hand, testing whether they would hold in place or not, and placed her other hand on Logan’s shoulder. She stepped on his intertwined hands and he hoisted her up with such force that she almost hit her head on the ceiling. She somehow managed to hold on to the bookshelf and slide on top of it. She had to lie flat on her stomach since there was barely enough space between the bookshelf and the ceiling for her to turn around. Like Logan had mentioned, there was a rectangular opening in the wall that was covered with an ornate, cast-iron grate. While Logan was climbing up the bookshelf in front of her, Rena tugged at the grate with all of her force, which wasn’t exactly much of it considering the awkward position she was in.

[SFX Metalic Thud]

[Logan] “Go in first, I’ll close the gate behind us.”

Rena slid forward, contorting her body to fit into the opening. The cast-iron grate dug into her hip on one side while the ceiling dug into the other. Somehow, after a lot of back and forth and almost falling off the bookshelf, she managed to squeeze her body into the opening. She crawled forward, realising that the stone underneath her was covered in dust. She could smell it in the air, feel it tickle her nose as she breathed it in. She tried to cover her face with the back of her hand but it didn’t help much. The tunnel in front of her was dark, only slightly illuminated by the dim light from the room. It didn’t seem to go very far, there was maybe enough space for two people before there was a wall, but she supposed there had to be a bend to either side that she couldn’t see.

The space was thankfully big enough for her to move around and look back at the entrance but not big enough to really turn around in it. She crawled forward a bit to make enough space for Logan to get in. She reached the back wall where the tunnel bent to both sides, hoping it could tell her where to go next, but both tunnels were completely dark.

She looked back at Logan who was climbing in with his feet first. He pulled the grate over the opening again before fishing something out of his pocket and bringing it up in front of him.

[Rena] “What are you doing? We have to leave. What if they catch up to us?”

[Logan, groaning] “I’m just glueing it shut. Won’t keep them away forever but maybe long enough for us to lose them. Just keep going already and I’ll catch up.”

Rena turned around and looked down both tunnels again, hoping her eyes had gotten used to the dark enough to see something more, anything that could indicate to her where they were supposed to go, but the paths in front of her were still pitch black.

[Rena] “Where do I go?”

[Logan] “Doesn’t matter, both lead to other rooms, we just need to get out of this one.”

[Rena] “What if we get stuck? I can’t see anything, I won’t know whether we’re going in circles or not. What if this is the only grate that opens and we never find our way back?” 

[Logan] “Just go forward until you see some light and then head towards that light. Like I said, it doesn’t matter where we end up, and they didn’t consider that people would be crawling around inside these shafts, so the grates aren’t welded to the walls. Well, except the ones leading to the outer walls probably, but we’re not going there anyway, would probably take us a whole day to find the correct shafts that lead outside, and then who knows where we’ll land. Maybe if we had scouted the area beforehand so we’d know where these shafts lead but …”

[SFX clothes rustle]

[Rena] “Ok, I’m just going to go towards the left.”

[Logan] “Yeah, sure.”

Thankfully the tunnels were big enough for her to take the turn, even though she had to shuffle around and squeeze herself past the corner. She could feel the dust caking onto her dress and arms and hands, especially after she had taken the turn, but at least her disgust was strong enough to override the fear and anxiety that came with crawling through a dark, enclosed space with no end in sight. 

[SFX clothes rustle stops] 

[Rena] “Aaah!”

[Logan] “What?!”

[Rena] “I touched something.”

[Logan] “Something moving? There’s probably rats and cockroaches in here.”

[Rena, shocked, hesitant] “What?! No, no, it wasn’t moving, i-it was, I don’t know, kind of fuzzy I guess?”

[Logan] “Dead rat, then. Nothing to worry about, it can’t hurt you if it’s dead, let’s keep going.”

[SFX clothes rustle continues]

[Rena, mumbling] “Just a dead rat, because those don’t carry any diseases at all.”

[Logan] “Less mumbling, more shuffling forward.”

[Rena] “We should have just let the guards take us to the holding cells.”

[Logan] “You definitely wouldn’t say that if you’d ever been in one of those before. They don’t clean up the dead rats there either.”

Rena didn’t know how long it took them to navigate through the ventilation shafts before they found another grate that led them to a different dimly lit room. More than five minutes and less than half an hour, if she had to guess. As Logan had mentioned before, she had no problem pushing the grate forward and carefully lowering it onto the bookshelf underneath the exit. She poked her head out to see if any people were around who could see them climb out, but the room seemed empty enough. The layout was almost the same as the room they had just come from, with tall, wooden bookshelves that almost reached the ceiling, although it looked like the middle of the room had either shorter shelves or no shelves at all. She scooted forward and managed to shuffle to the side so that she lay on her belly on top of the bookshelf. She looked down at the ground, wondering how she was supposed to get down without falling or taking the whole bookshelf with her. 

            [SFX clothes rustle; thump]

Apparently Logan didn’t have the same concerns, because he managed to roll himself off the edge, turn in mid air, and land on his feet without any major problems.

[Logan, whisper] “Here, take my hand.”

            [SFX clothes rustle]

[Logan] “Careful.”

            [SFX clothes rustle, soft thump]

[Rena, whisper] “Thank you.”

[Logan] “No problem. [breath] Ok. Let’s figure out where we are. [pause] We might be alone in the room, that’s good.”

            [SFX box move, paper rustle]

[Logan] “Ok, no idea what any of this is. Just a bunch of numbers and words that don’t make sense.”

[Rena] “Receipts for the military spending on food.”

[Logan] “Damn, how do you know that?”

[Rena] “It’s written on the crate.”

[Logan] “Ah, yeah, that makes sense. What would I do without you.” 

[Rena] “That crate over there reads military carpentry receipts.”

            [SFX paper rustle, box move]

[Logan] “Ok, so, bookkeeping then. Fascinating. No wonder no one’s here. We’ll just need a good excuse to walk past the guards standing outside.”

[Rena, shocked] “You want to just walk out?”

[Logan] “Well, if we wait here for too long they’ll have enough time to raise the alarm and lock the entire place down and look through all the rooms on this floor. So our best bet is to get upstairs as fast as possible to blend in with the rest of the crowd.”

[Rena] “But what if we run into them in the hallway?”

[Logan] “We’ll hear them coming from far away, won’t we?”

[Rena] “I guess so. But what about Asha?”

[Logan] “She’s stubborn, she’ll find her own way out of here. Now come on.”

[SFX clothes rustle, steps]

[Rena] “And Rodrick?”

[Logan] He’s definitely smart enough to pretend he doesn’t belong with the rest of us.”

[Rena] “But some of the clerks saw us together. Especially the one who entered the room with us.”

[Logan] “Well, he’ll just have to charm her into lying for him. I’m sure he’ll figure something out.”

They walked up to the end of the passage. Logan held a hand up for Rena to stop and then leaned forward to peer into the room.

[Logan, whisper] “Ok, I think we’re good.”

[Rena] “Wait, what are we going to do about our clothes? We’re covered in grime and dust.”

[Logan] “It’s gonna be fine, we just have to walk out of that door like we’re supposed to be here and talk about the price of flour or whatever. The guards outside will only see our backs anyway, and with how badly lit this whole place is I’m sure they won’t notice anything anyway.”

            [SFX footsteps]

[Rena] “I don’t know. I’m sure they’ll remember whether we entered the room earlier or not.”

[Logan, dismissive] “We can just pretend like we’ve been here the whole day.”

[Rena] “Logan, I’m really not sure about …”

[Logan] “Shh.”

He held up another hand to silence Rena and slowed down his pace. They hadn’t yet run into anyone else on their way to the entrance but that didn’t mean they had to be careless, even if Rena hadn’t seen anyone in the branching passages between the bookshelves either. She hadn’t even heard any indications that someone might be at the other end of the room. 

She wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or not. On the one hand, no one was there to bother them and notice them sneak in through the shafts, but on the other hand, if this was a room where no one ever visits, the guards outside the door would definitely not just let them walk away. They would probably end up having to flee or fight the guards, so what had been the point of crawling through the ventilation shafts in the first place? At least in the other room they had had Asha with them who knew how to fight, and clean clothes. They did have the element of surprise in this room however, if she really tried to find a positive side to their situation. Maybe they could exploit that if they stopped long enough to come up with a decent plan.

They carefully stepped closer and Rena could finally see the area at the centre of the room that held long wooden desks instead of bookshelves, but even that area looked abandoned. The chairs were all placed neatly beneath the middle of the desks, as if no one had ever touched them since the day they had first been set there. 

Before they could reach the passage that led to the door, Logan turned around to face her and stopped her with a hand on her shoulder.

[Logan] “There’s probably gonna be a clerk sitting at the desk in front of the door. We’ll just walk past them as if we’ve been here the whole day, ok? Just nod to them but don’t say anything more. If they try to talk to us, just let me deal with it.”

Rena nodded and stood up straight, taking in a deep breath to centre herself.

[Rena] “Okay.”

Logan patted her face twice, smearing the grime from the shaft on her cheeks, and turned around, striding confidently around the corner.

He instantly stopped again, and Rena ran headfirst into his back.

[Logan] “What the fuck are you doing here?”

Rena stepped back and around Logan and immediately her body froze. On the desk, where the clerk should have been, lounged the captain that tried to arrest them earlier. Rena didn’t know if she should run away again, if they should get back into the shafts, but Logan wasn’t moving and the captain wasn’t moving either. He just sat on the table, leaning against the wall, one leg outstretched, the other angled up, and looked at them.

[Logan] “How the hell did you find us?”

[Captain] “Logic and deduction. I know the layout of this place and I know where the shafts lead to. A bit of chance and guessing to find the exact room you’d end up in, but it seems like fortune is smiling down upon me.”

            [SFX wood creek, footsteps]

[Captain] “So, tell me, what were you doing looking at the administrator’s letters?”

[Logan] “Why would we tell you anything? Just cause you found us a second time doesn’t mean we’re suddenly gonna give in to your requests.”

[Captain] “Don’t pretend you’ve got any power in this situation.”

[Logan] “Hmm, well, you didn’t exactly give me any incentives to tell you the truth. Is this how you city folks conduct your interrogations? Where’s the torture? Or maybe a bribe? Getting my way in gold is always nice. Or I could also come up with some other ideas.”

[Captain] “You know, you’re quickly becoming the most annoying person I’ve ever met.”

[Rena] “H-hi, I’m Rena, uhm, I’m really sorry we ran away from you earlier. It was just a bit of a frightening situation. We didn’t mean any harm by reading those letters, we’re just trying to figure some stuff out. We’re not colluding or rioting or planning a coup. I promise, we’re not going to cause any trouble for the archives, a-and I’m sorry we took some of the letters with us, we’ll give them back as soon as we’ve had an opportunity to read them. It’s really just because we’re trying to piece together what happened to my hometown, because we think something strange is going on.”

[Logan, hissing] “Stop talking, why are you telling him any of this?”

[Rena, hissing] “Maybe he can help.”

[Logan, hissing] “Why would someone like him ever help us?”

[Captain] “Because we might have the same concerns.”

[Logan, Rena, unison] “What?”

The captain crossed his arms and leaned back against the desk, eyeing them wearily, his jaw clenching and unclenching as if he was mulling something over in his head.

[Captain] “I don’t know what exactly you people are looking for or what you’re even talking about, really, but I’ve done some digging of my own and I’m not thrilled with the things I’ve found.”

[Rena, excited] “Do you know anything about Oceansthrow? O-or maybe Miller’s Knee? The town’s that burned down?”

[Captain, cautious] “I’ve heard of them.”

[Rena] “There’s something weird going on, right? That the fires weren’t just accidents? Something to do with those crow effigies, right? And that’s why the events had to be kept a secret?”

[Logan] “How do you want to survive as an adventurer if you just tell the enemy everything we know?”

[Rena] “He caught us twice. He can just take the letters off of us when he throws us into jail, what does it matter if I tell him now or not?”

[Logan] “We could have bargained.”

[Rena] “It didn’t look like your bargaining was working very well earlier.”

[Logan] “Well, you didn’t exactly let me finish the negotiations, did you?”

[Captain] “Maybe I should just have both of you thrown into jail if this is how you behave.”

[Rena] “I’m sorry, sir. O-or maybe my lord? Prince? … Duke?”

[Captain] [SIGH] “None of that. My name’s Finn.”

[Logan] “Hi, Logan, nice to meet you.”

Logan held a hand out towards the captain while smirking, waiting for him to shake it. Finn looked down at the hand in confusion, his eyes slowly knitting together before he finally took the hand and shook it once.

[Rena, mock whisper] “Didn’t you just call him the enemy?”

[Logan] “I still have manners.”

[Finn] “Can we finally get back to the initial subject? I don’t know much about these fires or what purpose those effigies have, but I’ve heard about the Crow before and I know that the Royal Council works with them somehow but doesn’t want it known.”

[Rena, eager] “So the figurines represent an organisation? What kind? What do they do?”

[Finn] “I don’t know, I haven’t figured that out yet. I’ve got some suspicions but nothing concrete.”

[Logan] “Anything you’d like to share with the rest of us.”

[Finn] “You see, I don’t know how much I can trust you yet, so I’m going to keep my hard earned information to myself until I’ve figured out who the fuck you guys are.”

[Logan] “Oh, come on.”

[Rena, same time] “I’m from Oceansthrow, m-my family died in the fire. I just want to figure out what happened to them.”

[Finn] “Hmmm. That might be true, but maybe it isn’t. And it also doesn’t tell me who he is or who your other companion is. But that doesn’t really matter right now. We need to get out of here before one of the guards decides to go behind my back and tell the administrator about you.”

[Logan] “We? Since when are we all working together? A second ago you were trying to get us arrested.”

[Finn] “I know I can’t investigate this thing on my own. I at least need someone to stand guard during the night when I’m asleep, and I don’t exactly trust anyone around here, not for this sort of mission. So I suppose you lot will do, no matter how irritating some of you are.”

[Logan] “You wait, I’ll grow on you in no time.”

[Finn] “I highly doubt that.”

[Logan] “But also, why should we trust you? Like I said, you tried to get us arrested. You might very well be a spy for the Royal Council.”

[Finn] “Don’t flatter yourself. You aren’t so important that the Royal Council would send a spy after you. If they didn’t like you, they’d just throw you in jail and let you rot there. You don’t have to trust me, we just need to come to an understanding that for the next few days or weeks, we’re going to work together. We are both looking into the same thing, and I doubt you know as much about the administrator and the Royal Council as I do.”

[Logan] “Well, still, somehow I don’t tend to work with people who just held a blade to my throat.”

[Rena] “I think it’s going to be fine.”

[Logan] “Why?”

[Rena] “A week ago I didn’t know you or any of the others, but you still grabbed my hand before running away and Asha still fought the guards off to help us escape and Rodrick drove us all the way here even though he has no personal stake in the whole matter. So I don’t see why I shouldn’t let him into this group too, especially if he already knows more than we do about this whole situation.”

[Logan] [SIGH] “Fine.” 

[Finn] “I’ll need to gather some of my things from my chamber before leaving. A ledger with all the irregularities I’ve noticed while at the archives. You can wait in here until I’m back, you should be safe hiding in this room if I tell them know I didn’t see you.”

[Logan] “I definitely don’t think we should linger here. I’m sure you can remember all that important information in that beautiful head of yours. Our best bet is to get out of here as fast as possible and get out of town before anyone else starts being suspicious.”

[Rena, appalled] “What about Asha and Rodrick? We can’t just leave them here? We don’t even know where they are!”

[Logan] “I’m sure they’ll find a way out on their own. We can just wait for them at the inn. Maybe put a little note on Rodrick’s caravan so that he knows not to wait for us.”

[Rena] “But we don’t know if they’ll be able to get out. Asha was fighting three people so that we could get away. She could be in the holding cells!”

[Finn] “She isn’t. She got away from us before we could catch her. I only sent one of the guards after her, she should be fine.”

[Rena] “It still feels like we are abandoning her.”

S1E11 Spaces In Between

With 50% of the votes, the story continues on the first path. After having found the clues they were looking for, the group now has to find a way out of the archives without being caught.

By the end of the episode, three choices will be presented to you. vote on twitter or down below for whichever path you want the story to continue on.

Intro music: Lonely Dusty Trail by Jon Presstone

Logo Design: Mars Lauderbaugh

S1 Mid-Season Bonus Episodes

Letters concerning the destruction of Miller’s Knee

Bonus episode which narrates the letters Rena found in the archives at the end of episode 10. 

Letters concerning the transfer of power in the Grey Isles

Bonus episode which narrates the letters Asha found in the archives at the end of episode 10.

Intro music: Lonely Dusty Trail by Jon Presstone

Logo Design: Mars Lauderbaugh

S1 Mid-Season Bonus Content Transcripts

Letters concerning the destruction of Miller’s Knee

To their Royal Eminence, High Lord Armanic Harkid, red Duke of Fae’Hosh, Admiral of the amaranth armada, Warden of the people.

I hope to find you in good health and fortune. Please extend my best well wishes to the High Lady Taluhid and the royal offspring.

I am writing this letter to you with my deepest and most revered respect to inform you of an incident that happened in Velashta a fortnight ago. I would not trouble you with this event if I did not deem it to be of great concern for the entire kingdom. 

About ten days ago, a small town named Miller’s Knee in the North of our province bordering Nappahrit was destroyed by fire. It was not a town of great importance as it only had thirty-seven residents, however, tragically each resident perished in the fire. I ordered an investigation into this incident to determine what the cause of the fire could have been, and my examiner informed me that an accident can be excluded as the fire’s origin. Furthermore, I have been informed that replicas of the crow effigy have been found on site. As per protocol, the complete elimination of the town’s memory has commenced and the clearing of the debris has already been completed. 

What concerns me in this affair is that I was informed by your honored cousin, High Lady Ciprianid Marnic, that the Royal Council had struck an agreement with the Lynx about the Crow’s activities over the last decade and that such incidents would not occur anymore. As it appears, however, this agreement seems not to have been honored by either the Crow or the Lynx. I do not wish to imply that the Royal Council’s esteemed allies would willingly break a royal accord, which leads me to believe that either the Crow itself might be working against its superior, or that a group has split off from the Crow and is now acting on its own.

As I know you are a great opponent of the Crow’s activities, I am addressing this letter to you to ensure that swift and strict measures will be enacted following this misadventure. I trust in your judgment to deal with this situation in the best interest of the kingdom and its people. I eagerly await your response and am prepared to enact any further measure you deem necessary to combat this plague on our lands.

With my deepest respect and admiration, 

Your loyal servant,

Lailad Parobac, administrator of records

To Lailad Parobac, administrator of records,

I am saddened by the events chronicled in your letter. What a tragedy.

The news you heard from my cousin was correct. A deal had been ratified between the Royal Council and the Lynx, who had assured us they would be able to reign the Crow back in after its previous misconduct. It is a great worry that this might not have been accomplished. I will send a group of my own examiners to your province to help you in your investigation. Please show them the artifacts that have been found and explain the results of your examination to them in great detail so that we can determine if this incident was perpetuated by an independently acting group of dissenters or if the Crow in itself has decided to disregard the Lynx’s authority and the accord with the Royal Council. 

In the meantime, I will convene with the rest of the Royal Council to discuss this incident and any further steps that could be taken. I will champion my cohorts to arrange a new audience with the Lynx to determine whether they are aware of this situation and what their plan of action will be. I am in good faith that this situation can swiftly be dealt with and that no further abhorrent actions such as this one will be taken by the Crow. I am of the opinion that we cannot let such a pest run rampant in our kingdom. Accords which have been agreed upon by both sides need to be upheld at all costs! Otherwise there is no sense in this entire system.

May fortune cast its eyes upon you.

Armanic Harkid, red Duke of Fae’Hosh, Admiral of the amaranth armada, Warden of the people

To their Royal Eminence, High Lord Armanic Harkid, red Duke of Fae’Hosh, Admiral of the amaranth armada, Warden of the people,

As always, I hope to find you in good health and fortune. 

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of your royal examiners. I have instructed my own investigative team to prepare all the information we have managed to gather for their visit.

I profoundly agree with you that accords, especially those agreed upon with the Royal Council, need to be upheld and respected. Such is the basis of our kingdom. I hope it does not step out of line if I say that the Crow needs to be held accountable for their role in breaking this agreement and that an investigation into the Lynx’ potential involvement in the affair should be opened. Of course, I am not implying that the Lynx knew about the Crow’s transgression, and I am certainly not implying that they had anything to do with it, however, if we wish to bring respect to our system of justice, every and all possibilities need to be explored.

With my deepest respect and admiration, 

Your loyal servant,

Lailad Parobac, administrator of records

To Lailad Parobac, administrator of records,

The other members of the Royal Council have been informed of the situation and a meeting with the Lynx has been arranged. My cohorts were displeased to hear that our accord might have been disrespected although they have pointed out that it is of utmost importance to find out who the perpetrators of these attacks on our kingdom are. It does not do us well to put the blame on the Crow without knowing for certain that they are involved in the situation. Furthermore, please refrain from throwing accusations towards the Lynx without being able to prove they even knew about these incidents. The Royal Council has worked with the Lynx for longer than any of us have been in power and they are one of the kingdom’s most trust-worthy and well-respected allies.

Please inform my examiners that they should primarily focus on finding out who is responsible for this tragedy when they arrive.

May fortune cast its eyes upon you.

Armanic Harkid, red Duke of Fae’Hosh, Admiral of the amaranth armada, Warden of the people

To their Royal Eminence, High Lord Armanic Harkid, red Duke of Fae’Hosh, Admiral of the amaranth armada, Warden of the people,

I must apologize for my commentary in my previous letter. I certainly did not mean to imply that the Lynx knew of the incidents or might have been involved.

The royal examiners departed from Velashta this afternoon. As they will be able to tell you in greater detail, we have determined that the circumstances revolving around the incident extensively point towards the Crow’s involvement in this tragedy. Of course, it is impossible to know the exact identity of the people who perpetrated these events, as it could very well have been a sub-fraction of the Crow who decided to act on their own. 

However, as I have not heard from you since your last letter and your royal examiners were not able to give me any further information about the Royal Council’s decision on how to proceed, I humbly ask of you to inform me of any further plans the Royal Council intends to enact to deal with this situation.

With my deepest respect and admiration, 

Your loyal servant,

Lailad Parobac, administrator of records

To Lailad Parobac, administrator of records,

The Royal Council has convened with the Lynx and the situation is being dealt with, you do not have to concern yourself with the further evolution of this matter.

I would advise you to keep news of the incident from spreading as best as possible. It would not do any good if the wider population were to hear about it. Your main responsibility in this situation is to assure the well-being and serenity of your subjects and all people living in our kingdom.

You do not need to contact his Royal Eminence, High Lord Armanic Harkid, about this incident any further. The royal examiners have been able to report any necessary details for the further continuation of this investigation to his Eminence. 

May fortune cast its eyes upon you.

Javac Barred, Magistrate to the Royal Councils

Letters concerning the transfer of power in the Grey Isles

Dear Mari,

I hope you’re doing alright and I hope that one of these days I will have some time to come visit you again. Life has been quite busy for me since I’ve been appointed to this position, but we all knew that was going to happen. How has your research been going? If I remember correctly you were working on the Grey Isles case last time we spoke. Are you still working on that? I hope Dardec isn’t causing you too much trouble, I know he can be pedantic over these kinds of things. 

I’ve got a favor to ask you. I wrote to your cousin last week about the destruction of one of our towns. I doubt he’s had time to tell you about it, but the gist of it is that a small town was burned to the ground and we think the Crow might be involved in it. Nothing is proven yet so please don’t discuss this with anyone until we have more information, but I’ll need your services to keep this from spreading through the kingdom. I wish I could come to the academy myself to talk with you about it, but, as I’ve mentioned, I simply don’t have the time for such a long visit. Especially since I’m awaiting further information from your cousin. I will send over one of my counselors with more information so that you can arrange the appropriate archival adjustments for this case. I’ll tell her exactly what needs to be done but of course I trust your judgment to adapt these directives as you best see fit.

I look forward to seeing you at Rishi’s wedding this summer, even if it is still a few months away.

In good health and fortune, now and always,

Your friend,


Dear Lai,

How wonderful to hear from you again. It has been too long since the last time we had the opportunity. I miss you dearly, the academy just isn’t the same without you. Yours surely isn’t the only life that has been busy lately. Since Levac (finally!) fully stepped down from his position, I’ve had the privilege of reorganizing the mess he left behind. You wouldn’t believe how much chaos one man can cause! When I took over as dean, I didn’t realize how much time I would spend working like a common clerk. Absolutely none of his documents are organized like they are supposed to. They aren’t even really organized by date or subject or any other logical system. I think he had his own strange way of organizing stuff and forgot to tell me about it. Or maybe he deliberately kept me in the dark to spite me. Wouldn’t put it past that old man.

All that to tell you that, yes, I am still working on the Grey Isles. Dardec hasn’t even been that difficult to work with. In the beginning of the transfer maybe a bit, but I think he’s been quite reasonable with his demands. Horec Oluvad, on the other hand, has been a pain to work with. I had always heard that he was such a friendly and polite man, so I didn’t expect this at all, but I think he didn’t take it very well that Dardec took over his position. He’s trying to demand more inclusion of his name in the official records and I’ve been trying to accommodate him on this, but I’ve got my instructions from the Council and I can’t just do whatever I want. He’s also been complaining that the transfer has been reported as something voluntary and desired on his part and he wants us to at least mention that he stepped down with a heavy heart. Can you believe that?! What kind of image would that send! And I don’t even understand what he’s so upset about. He’s gotten an equally sized province out of this deal. I think High-Foshe might even be bigger than the Grey Isles if you look at the usable land. And anyway, I don’t know why he’s being so difficult with me, I’m not even remotely responsible for the transfer. If he’s upset he should try complaining to the Council about it, see how far he’ll get with that.

About your second point, I haven’t seen or spoken to my cousin in quite a few weeks so I hadn’t heard about this yet. It would definitely be quite concerning if the Crow was back. I’m pretty sure the Council has struck some accord to avoid this situation, so it really shouldn’t be happening. Let’s hope it’s just a copycat or some overzealous dissenters. Do you remember how much work it was last time to deal with all of that? All the sleepless nights we spent at the academy figuring out how to spin this into something believable. My head hurts just remembering it, I don’t even want to imagine what it’ll be like now that I’m dean. But duty is duty, so I eagerly await the arrival of your counselor.

I’m so excited for Rishi’s wedding! Did you hear that they are building a new chapel just for the event? I still don’t understand why she wants to adhere to the old traditions, I haven’t heard of anyone getting married in a chapel in ages! But she’s always been fascinated by the old times, hasn’t she? I’m sure it’s going to be lovely no matter what!

May fortune guide your way my dear friend,

With love,


My dearest Mari,

And here we thought old man Levac had it all figured out. But I can imagine that in the last few years in which he’s held the position he’s gotten too old and forgetful to be well organized. Can’t you appoint someone else to do the work for you? I thought Nellad assisted you with this sort of thing? I don’t think it would be a risk to involve her in the planning.

Dardec might be pedantic and exigent in his demands but at least he knows how to communicate them well, I’ve always appreciated that about him. I can understand Horec Oluvad though. He’s been the warden of the Grey Isles for nearly thirty years, usually these appointments don’t last that long. If Dardec hadn’t gotten the province, one of Horec’s children or someone else from his family would have gotten it soon enough. I’ve heard more than once that he’s quite attached to the Isles and its inhabitants, and I think the affection was mutual. You only have to look at all the problems the transfer brought with it. It’s almost been a year and people are still fighting the new administration. They don’t seem to realize that they are doing more damage than good. Dardec was appointed by the Council itself, they aren’t going to get rid of him that easily. And honestly, it isn’t Dardec’s fault that Horec mismanaged the Isles this badly. The population has become too used to the freedom he gave them, they can’t expect it to continue. Every one of the provinces has to contribute to the well-being of the kingdom in its own way, the Grey Isles can’t be an exception to this. 

Don’t remind me of all that work we had to do because of the Crow last time. I almost went out to look for them myself so it would finally stop! It remains a mystery why the Council didn’t demand the Lynx take care of them more thoroughly. I wouldn’t have accepted for them to keep roaming the lands. You never know when they’ll decide to attack bigger cities. I don’t want to imagine the work you’ll have then. 

I think I’ve heard of someone else having a wedding in a chapel too. Looks like people are getting back to the old ways, at least aesthetically. Do you think Rishi will have a preacher officiate the wedding? I think that might go too far for my tastes. I’d be fine with some of the old chants though, I always liked the sound of those. 

In good health and fortune, now and always,

Your friend,


My dearest, dearest Lai

I’m truly sorry for how long it’s taken me to reply. I’d written the first version of this letter three weeks ago and then I just never got around to sending it. Everything is so busy right now, I’m absolutely exhausted. 

Nellad is already helping me plenty, I wouldn’t want to put even more work and responsibilities on her shoulders. I want at least her to have the illusion of a life outside of this academy, there’s truly no need for the both of us to never leave this building. 

Some good news, I’m done with my part in this whole Grey Isles mess. It’s not my problem anymore if the two lords decide to continue their petty feud. It’s honestly not any of my concern if Dardec can’t manage to get a grip on his new subjects and still hasn’t been able to quell the rebellions. I don’t understand why Horec Oluvad is trying to drag me into that debate.

And can you believe Horec even tried to argue with me that he should keep his old title?! That’s not how it works at all! The title is tied to the province and High-Foshe has a margrave, so of course he’s going to be a margrave from now on! Who does he think he is? He’s not above the rules of this kingdom just because he got attached to his previous province. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this man anymore. I told Nellad that I don’t want to read a single one of his letters anymore, I’m way too busy to deal with this whole spectacle. Anyways, I need to deal with the transfer of Red Hill next, hopefully that one will be less of a headache. At least that one’s staying in the same family, but you never know if a distant cousin isn’t gonna suddenly appear and try to claim the province for themselves.

Your counselor arrived about two weeks ago and we’ve come up with a plan and schedule of everything that has to be done. I’ve tried to find all of the documents from the last time they were active but I doubt I found all of it in the mess Levac left me. It’s going to take a while to get everything sorted out but I think the most critical parts aren’t going to take too much effort. At least not as much as that tiny coastal village in Nappahrit ten years ago. That was an absolute nightmare. Why did they have to strike so close to the military academy? Don’t they realize how many people live there? Of course they’ll notice when there’s a giant fire on the coast right across from them! At least barely anyone got hurt back then, now we’ll also have to track down the family of the deceased and make sure they aren’t spreading rumors across the land. I’ll let you know once I have decided who’ll deal with this case and how we’ll proceed. 

I really need to get back to work now. There’s so much more I want to talk to you about. I’m counting the days until we can see each other again.

With lots of love and my most fortunate wishes,

Your dearest friend, Marizad

S1E10 Transcript

Rena grabbed Rodrick’s upper arm and led him back to the stairs, away from the alcove with the guards until she felt confident enough that no one would be able to hear them talk.

[Rena] “I doubt that we could fight our way past the guards. Do you think there’s another entrance?”

[Rodrick] “It’s highly unlikely that they have a secondary entrance for these rooms, and even if there was one, they certainly wouldn’t let it be unguarded. There are no windows as we’ve already seen, well, also because we are underground. What they might have, if the building is structured in the same manner as the archives in Mak-Hemma and other archives and libraries I’ve been to, is ventilation shafts.”

[Rena] “Ventilation shafts?”

[Rodrick] “They are a kind of small tunnel between rooms and the outside that lets air circulate between them and helps regulate the temperature and humidity in a building.”

[Rena] “Okay, so are they big enough for a person to crawl through?”

[Rodrick] “Well, for someone of your stature probably, but not for me. Even if I would fit, I’m much too old for that kind of adventure.”

[Rena, sigh] “Alright, so that’s not an option either then. Hmmm, we could maybe try to get a clerk to give us one of these special decrees, or pretend we lost ours, but they would probably just tell us to come back tomorrow with a new one.”

[Rodrick] “We could steal someone else’s.”

[Rena, reluctant] “We could try, I suppose.”

Rena frowned down at the ground, crossing her arms tightly in front of her. They had lied and snuck around and gotten false documents to get to this point, but stealing? Taking something from a random, innocent person that they owned and might need? That felt completely different to her.

[Rena, hesitant whisper] “I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable stealing someone else’s decree.”

[Rodrick] “I think it is the safest option we have. You’re right that we won’t be able to battle the guards, and I don’t see how we could distract all of them at once, so sneaking past them isn’t an option. Our only options are convincing one of the clerks to accompany us without a decree, or stealing a decree, and out of those two options the fastest and surest option is stealing.”

[Rena] “But what if they need still it?”

[Rodrick, chuckle] “Don’t worry about that. They can just get a new decree from wherever they got the first one from. You don’t get those types of decrees without a good reason or good connections, so it will be easy for them to get the new one reissued. You would be astonished how often scholars lose important documents, or they don’t remember where they put it. Even I have managed to lose the occasional essential file here and there. It never turns out to be as much of a calamity as you think it will be.”

[Rena] “Still … You never know.”

[Rodrick] “You are right. Of course, of course. Stealing is certainly not an honourable response, and I don’t fault you for being opposed to it, I certainly have my qualms about it too, but I think it is imperative for us to access these communications, as I believe we could uncover some immensely important information about secrets the royal council and other noble families are trying to hide from us all.”

[Rena] “I know, I know.”

[Rodrick] “So I have a proposition for you. The scholar that just passed us was obviously done with her research, and she didn’t seem in any hurry, so even if she were to still need her decree at a later date, she certainly has enough time to get herself a new one. She might not have left the building yet, so if we hurry we could catch up with her.”

Rena still didn’t like the idea, didn’t like just taking something away from someone, but she supposed that if that woman had just been inside the room with the records then she probably had gotten the information she needed, so it did seem quite likely that she didn’t need her decree anymore. She pressed her lips together and hesitantly nodded.

[Rodrick] “Let’s go back to the entrance hall.”

When they reached their destination, the room was more packed than when they had first arrived, almost as if all the people who had been standing around in the hallways earlier had shifted to standing around in the hall instead. They stepped aside from the entryway and craned their necks to look over the crowd, hoping to recognise the scholar that had just passed them moments before. Rena hadn’t exactly gotten a good look at the woman, but as luck would have it, her dress was instantly recognisable even from across the room and the way she carried her hair convinced Rena that she had found the right person. 

[Rena] “Over there!”

She leaned closer to Rodrick so that he could hear her and nodded towards their target.

The scholar was still standing next to the clerk who had been talking to her earlier, or more accurately who had been talking at her, which he seemingly hadn’t stopped doing. The scholar, on the other hand, kept looking away, glancing around and behind herself, and scanning the room as if searching for someone or something.

 [Rena] “Do we approach her here? What do we say? What should we do? Or do we follow her outside?”

[Rodrick] “We don’t know where she’ll go next. I want to avoid her going somewhere where we can’t follow. I know her dress, that’s the uniform of the historical academy in Dam’Vala. I think I could distract her with some questions but you will need to figure out where she’s keeping her decree and get it off of her.”

[Rena, hesitant] “Ok, I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to do that.”

[Rodrick] “She doesn’t have a backpack or other bag with her, so she has to have the decree on her person. In a pocket or inside her shirt sleeve. You will have to circle around her and find out where it is.”

[Rena, nervous] “I don’t know if I can do that. I’ve never pickpocketed something. She will definitely notice something is up. I don’t even know how deep her pockets go, and if she’s got it in her shirt sleeve, how am I supposed to get it out of there? I certainly can´t just walk up to her and sneak my hand in there, she would notice instantly.”

[Rodrick] “You’re right. I suppose if I can get her to show me her decree you could try bumping into her and exchanging it for another document. Here, I’ll give you one of our decrees. Try to fold it the way she has so she won’t notice it isn’t the same.”

He rummaged around in the inside pockets of his coat until he pulled out a folded piece of paper and handed it to her. She took it with both hands, staring down at it with wide eyes. 

[Rodrick] “It’s going to be alright.”

Rodrick put a hand on her upper arm, slowly rubbing it up and down to comfort her, smiling at her softly. 

[Rodrick] “If it doesn’t work out we’ll figure out another way.”

[Rena] [BIG BREATH] “It’s gonna be alright. We need the information in those secret documents, so we need this decree. We can manage it.”

Rodrick’s smile grew wider as he nodded at her, once, to confirm her feigned confidence.

[Rodrick] “We can manage it.”

[Rena, murmur] “Ok.”

[Rodrick, murmur] “Ok.”

Before leaving, Rodrick patted her lightly on the shoulder and then turned around. He clasped his hands behind his back and leisurely strolled through the crowd, looking around as if he was admiring the architecture. 

Rena took in a big breath and then slid the decree into the front pocket of her dress before wiping the sweat off of her palms. She looked back up, determined to keep track of where Rodrick was going, and took a few careful steps forward. She slid from behind one group of people to the next, her eyes constantly darting between the floor, the people around her and Rodrick’s back. He had slowly approached the other side of the room but had somehow decided to walk past their target and go chat with one of the clerks behind the desks. Rena wished he had told her what his plan was, but she wasn’t even exactly sure he had a plan. At least not a carefully constructed one. She hid behind a group of older women all wearing almost the same kind of clothing as if it were a uniform they were allowed to personalise. The scholar and her companion stood only a few meters away from her. Rena tried to figure out where she could be hiding the decree, but every time the scholar turned her head to look around Rena instantly looked down to the ground, too afraid that their eyes might meet. Rodrick still wasn’t moving from his position, seemingly in deep conversation with the clerk. Rena’s stomach tightened at the thought that their target might turn around and leave before Rodrick decided to start his approach. She slowly became aware that just standing around behind a group of people and nervously looking up and down at someone only a few meters away looked extremely suspicious, evident by two of the older women glancing back at her and frowning, still too polite to say anything to her. She needed a new approach, an approach that didn’t consist of standing around in the middle of the room and looking like she was planning to rob someone. If only she knew what Rodrick’s plan was, where he would approach the scholar from, where Rena had to stand to get the best view of her robe without being seen by anyone. Considering where Rodrick stood, however, he would in all likelihood approach the scholar from behind, meaning that if Rena wanted to be in position behind her later, she would have to pass in front of her now. 

She took a few steps back and snuck past the group of women she was standing behind so she could put a greater distance between her and the scholar. She would have to approach the desks from behind other visitors and hope that wasn’t the moment Rodrick decided to walk towards their target. She approached the desks at a spot between two clerks, hoping neither of them would notice her, and turned her back to them, looking over the crowd as if she was simply searching for someone. Her eyes lingered a second longer on Rodrick and the scholar before wandering over the rest of the room. When she was sure no one was looking in her direction she slowly slid closer to her target. The scholar seemed to be looking away more and more frequently, barely regarding the man in front of her who was apparently still complaining about something or other. If Rodrick didn’t approach the woman soon they clearly ran the risk of her leaving out of boredom or annoyance.

But maybe that was his plan after all? To intercept her when she was about to flee her predicament? But how could he know that she would stop to talk to him then, that she wasn’t so annoyed by the clerk that she didn’t want to be roped into yet another conversation? Rena hated this waiting game, the uncertainty of not knowing how she was supposed to act when an error on her part could mean the plan failed, or worse. What would happen if the scholar noticed she was trying to steal her decree? Would she signal it to the guards? Would they be thrown out, or arrested? She didn’t even really know what happened to thieves in cities like this. In her village, they tended to deal with thieves simply by kicking them out, or by giving them a stern lecture if they were younglings, but she knew city folks were more serious about these things, that if the crime was severe enough, bad things could happen to the perpetrators. 

Her fingers started to feel cold and she wanted to rub them together to warm them back up but she didn’t know if that would look suspicious, if people could see the nervousness and fear on her if she moved too much. She tried to ground herself, to think about something else, about what her actual objective was at that moment. Figuring out where the scholar kept her decree. She let her eyes slowly creep over the floor until they landed on the woman’s shoes, as if she would be able to feel Rena’s eyes on her if they moved too quickly. Her gaze wandered up the woman’s body from the worn black boots to the hem of her dark-blue robe, drifting along the golden inscriptions of phrases in a language she did not speak, until her midsection where the inscriptions had faded into the midnight blue of the fabric. Rena kept her eyes unfocused, as if she was simply zoning out instead of investigating the scholar, trying to figure things out from the corners of her vision. She noticed that the robe did have deep pockets at hip-height and by the way the fabric bulged it looked like something was inside both pockets. She also noticed that although the sleeves of the robe were wide and billowy, that there was a tighter band around the wrists to keep them in place, so it was rather unlikely that the scholar kept the decree there. Rena kept looking around bit by bit until she noticed her eyes stinging too much and she had to shut them tightly and blink the pain away. 

Finally, in the corner of her eye, she caught Rodrick move away from the desk, turn around and walk towards their target. She tried to stay calm, to not look up at him in excitement. Her whole body was tense as she forced her gaze to look over at the entrance door to her left, keeping track of Rodrick’s movement in her peripheral vision. He looked down at a piece of paper in his hands, slowly drifting away from the desk and towards the scholar until he almost ran into her. His head whipped up as if he was shocked to see anyone in front of him but immediately his face lit up, hurrying to fold his document and sliding it into his jacket before shaking the woman’s hand enthusiastically with both of his. He didn’t let go of her hand as he talked to her, although Rena couldn’t hear what they were saying, just more murmuring that was drowned out by the general cacophony of the room. She could, however, see how the woman turned away from her previous companion and engaged fully in Rodrick’s conversation. The clerk, who stood perplexed and somewhat annoyed next to them, pressed his lips together tightly, waiting impatiently for the conversation to shift back to him. 

Rena pretended to look through the room and scooted closer to them, making sure no one was observing her when she took the steps to her left. After a few minutes she was close enough to hear their voices, and if she concentrated hard enough she could even vaguely understand what they were saying. 

She had positioned herself in such a manner that the scholar wouldn’t be able to see Rena in her peripheral vision and although Rena was now closer to the woman, she still couldn’t figure out in which of her pockets she kept her decree. She certainly wouldn’t be able to get closer and sneak around behind the scholar to get a better glance at her pockets, because even if the clerk would leave Rodrick and the scholar alone, there were still too many people around them for such a risky approach. But bumping into her without knowing where the decree was would either be futile or would reveal their plan, so that definitely wasn’t an option either. All that was left for her was hope that Rodrick managed to make the scholar take her decree out of wherever she was hiding it. Rena clasped her trembling hands in front of her, squeezing one hand with the other so tightly that the pain would force the rest of her body to not move, that it wouldn’t betray her nervousness. She wanted to scream, she wanted to run, she wanted to do something, anything, and not just stand around waiting for a moment she didn’t even know would come. 

They kept talking and talking, the woman’s face lighting up with interest, leaning in closer towards Rodrick while her previous companion grew visibly impatient, his arms crossed, his foot tapping up and down incessantly. 

But then, suddenly, out of the corner of her eyes, Rena saw how the woman reached down, fumbling around in her right pocket until she pulled a piece of paper out and handed it over to Rodrick. Rena’s body froze, her breath stopped, her eyes fixed on one of the swirls on the wall at the other end of the room, unable to move. Rodrick took the document and turned it around in one hand, inspecting the back of it before opening it up. 

Should she go now? Should she wait an instant longer? Should she try to take it from Rodrick or wait for him to give it back to the scholar? What if the clerk stopped her before she could reach them? She would have to run towards them, make it seem like she was in a hurry, like she couldn’t waste even a second to apologise to them. She suddenly remembered that she had to match the folding pattern of their own decree to the scholar’s decree first, but she couldn’t just take it out here in the open or they would notice. 

She turned around, her hands trembling, her fingers ice cold. She pulled their decree out of her pocket, almost dropping it. It was folded in four, once horizontally and once vertically, but the scholar’s decree looked to have been folded in three, with three equally long horizontal parts. She tried to smooth out the old folds on the desk with her palm but it was impossible to make them disappear. She refolded the document carefully, slowly, so that she wouldn’t have to redo it and add even more creases to the paper. She laid it down on the counter, stretching out her fingers and closing them up a few times to get the heat and blood back into them. She looked up, suddenly aware that what she was doing must look extremely suspicious. She didn’t dare turn her head too much, didn’t dare scan all the people around her, but from what she could tell no one was observing her. She took a few deep breaths, picked the decree up in both hands and slowly turned around. Rodrick was still reading the document the scholar had handed to him, nodding slightly with the tip of his tongue sticking out between his lips. The woman was leaning in close to him, pointing at the document and explaining something to Rodrick. Rena stared at the wall behind them, her whole body tense, waiting desperately for the right moment. She didn’t know if the clerk was still observing the other two, couldn’t tell if he was now observing her, if he had noticed her odd behaviour. She hoped not. She hoped no one was paying attention to her, but it started to feel like everyone in the room was looking at her, was acutely aware of her.

The scholar leaned back, interlocking her hands in front of her again. Rodrick nodded more enthusiastically and looked up at her with a wide smile, folding the decree back together. This was the moment. Without thinking Rena rushed forward, her eyes still focused on the back of the room, straight towards the empty space between Rodrick and the scholar. She didn’t plan her movement, didn’t plan how she would exchange the two documents, she simply dashed towards Rodrick and ran into him. 

            [CLOTHES RUSTLE]

[Rodrick] “Oh!”

[Rena] “I’m sorry! Oh no, I’m so sorry!”

[Rodrick]” Are you alright? Wait, wait!”

[Scholar] “Hey!”

[Rena] “I’m sorry! I have to … Sorry! I’m late, I have to go. I’m so sorry, sir!”

[Rodrick] “It’s fine, it’s fine. Nothing happened. Are you alright?”

[Rena] “I’m fine, I have to leave. I’m so sorry.”

[Scholar, fading] “Look where you’re going! This isn’t a playground. Can you believe that? The youth of today, no respect at all. Are you alright?”

[Rodrick, fading] “Yes, yes, I’m fine. Just a bit shaken up. She must have been in a real hurry. But I’m fine, don’t worry too much about me.”

She ran through them, clutching the new document tightly to her chest, not looking back, not waiting for them to say anything else, she simply weaved her way through the crowd, apologising to the people she bumped into, until she had reached the other end of the room. 

[Rena, in background] “Sorry. Excuse me. I’m sorry, just coming through, excuse me.”

She rushed towards the entrance that led inside the archives, slowing down but not stopping until she had reached the stairs to the basement and was already a floor down.

She turned around, looking up the staircase to make sure no one was following her, then looked back behind herself to see if anyone was observing her in the hallway. When she had made sure no one was following her she leaned back against the wall and looked down at the piece of paper she was clutching in her hands. It was crumpled from her tight grip so she tried to smooth it out on the stone wall behind her, too afraid to open it. It didn’t seem to have the crease marks from the other folding pattern, meaning that they had successfully managed to exchange documents, but what if this wasn’t what they were looking for? What if it couldn’t actually help them and all of this had been for nothing?

She had to reassure herself that Rodrick would have probably said something, or at least motioned to her, if this wasn’t the decree they were looking for. She closed her eyes, stood up straight and took in a few deep breaths. As she opened her eyes again she delicately unfolded the document, as if it would crumble in her hands if she wasn’t careful enough. She had to scoot closer to one of the lamps to be able to read the document, but there it was, their access to what they were looking for. Issued by the magistrate at the military academy near Lomen, full access to the rooms in the R4C6 category for the delegation of the historical academy of Dam’Vala without mentioning any exact names, dated only three days ago. She clutched the document to her chest and let her head rest against the cold stone wall. 

It was going to be fine. They would just have to sell the lie that they were from the historical academy to one of the clerks, even if they weren’t wearing the appropriate uniforms. Rodrick clearly knew enough about that place to make something up, so if they picked one of the younger clerks it would be fine. They just had to be quick about it, before the scholar realised that the decrees had been switched. Hopefully this was their last stop in the archives, that they would actually find out the truth in that room and wouldn’t be sent to yet another location. 

From far away she could hear footsteps coming closer, one pair, unhurried, heading down the stairs. Her body tensed and she leaned back, eyes fixed on the bottom of the stairs, waiting for whoever was coming down to emerge. She tried to evaluate whether she had to run away or not. She didn’t know where she should run away to, where she could hide, but if whoever was approaching was the scholar or a guard she didn’t have the luxury of just staying there.

The footsteps came closer, but they were slow, sluggish, not like a person who was looking for someone. She stepped away from the wall, sliding the decree into the front pocket of her dress without taking her eyes from the stairs.


[Rena, huff] “Oh thank the stars.”


[Rena] “I’m sorry I ran into you like that, I didn’t think before rushing forward.”

[Rodrick] “No, no, you did well. You did very well.”


[Rena] “Look, I got it!”

[Rodrick] “Good, good, very good. We shouldn’t dawdle here too long. I managed to distract her long enough that she just put the decree into her pocket without looking at it but I can’t guarantee that she won’t look at it soon. I don’t know how long we’ll have.”

[Rena] “Do we have to go back up? I don’t know if that would be a good idea, what if she’s still standing there?”

[Rodrick] “I saw her walk away, it should be fine. Don’t worry about it.”


[Rena] “Wait, someone’s coming.”

She pushed him away from the stairs and towards the wall, choosing the middle point between two lamps so they could stay in the shadows, at least as much as that was possible.

Two people came up the stairs, one man in tight black pants and a floor length brown coat, and a young woman in the same uniform the other clerks were wearing. She was plump with rosy cheeks and light brown hair braided into two long braids running down her chest and before Rena even realised what she was doing she was rushing forward towards the clerk.

[Rena] “Hi, excuse me, I hope I’m not interrupting you. We are searching for someone to accompany us to room R4C6E1, would you be free to come with us? I’m truly sorry, we’re in a bit of a hurry or we would have gone upstairs again.”

[Clerk] “Oh, ehm, I- I think I’m available? If that would be ok with you, sir?”

[Companion] “Yeah, I’m good, I know the way out of here.”

[Rena] “Thank you so much!”

[Companion, chuckle] “Sure.”


[Clerk] “G- Goodbye, sir.”

[Rena] “Thank you so much for your help. We’re with the delegation from the historical academy in Dam’Vala. I’ve got our decree right here.”


[Rodrick] “Hello, it’s very nice to meet you.”

[Clerk] “Oh, yes, I’m honoured to meet you too, sir.”

[Rena] “Here you go. It’s for any of the rooms in R4C6, but we only need to go to the E1 room.”

Rena handed the decree to the clerk but barely gave her enough time to open it and glance at it before she looped her arm around the clerk’s elbow and headed down the stairs.

[Rena] “I’m sorry to rush you like this but we really are in a bit of a hurry.”

[Clerk] “No problem at all, I understand that you are busy people, especially after coming from so far away.”

They walked down the stairs and down the hallway, Rodrick following both girls close behind. The clerk didn’t ask to see their decree again before opening the door to their room, nor did she acknowledge the guards. It all seemed too simple to Rena, like someone would come rushing down the stairs calling out to arrest them at any moment. 

They entered into another deep, dimly lit room filled from floor to ceiling with bookshelves that were packed with what looked like the same type of bound book over and over again. 

[Rodrick, whispering] “Go find the documents. Look for ARC.”

Rodrick had leaned in to whisper into Rena’s ear before turning to the clerk.

[Rodrick] “I have a question. A member of our delegation is currently looking into a rather confidential subject at the moment, and she has mentioned that she has already inspected all documents she has access to without finding exactly what she’s looking for. How would one go about getting access to the more restricted areas? I understand that not everyone is allowed in those rooms but can exceptions be made for reputable institutions?”

Rena stepped forward a few steps, feigning curiosity at the bookshelves until she was out of sight of the clerk. She slipped between two bookcases and hurried down the passage, making sure her feet barely left the ground so her footsteps wouldn’t resonate through the entire room. She only stopped shortly to look at the signs hanging on the side of the bookcases to figure out where the documents they were looking for could be, but since she wasn’t sure how to interpret the abbreviations it took her several minutes to find out where she was supposed to go. She had to find row A first, which happened to be the last three rows of the room. She then had to find the bookcases labelled RC, but since the letters related to abbreviations and were not simply just organised alphabetically she had to run from one sign to the next to figure out where the correct one stood. She was lucky enough that she didn’t run into anyone, or even hear anyone else in the room. She was far enough away now that she couldn’t hear Rodrick’s conversation anymore, which also meant that she didn’t know if he was still successfully distracting the clerk or if she was now looking for Rena.

[Rena, whisper] “There it is. Finally! What do I have to look for? Oh, why do they all have to look the same? Hmm, I should probably look for the year when the fire happened, am I even in the correct decade? Why is it organised like this? How do these people find anything in here?”

[Logan, whisper] “Hey!”

[Rena, hiss] “What are you doing here?”

She had reached the end of the bookshelf when Logan had slid out of the shadows between rows and was now standing next to her.

[Rena] “How did you even get in here?”

[Logan] “I have my ways. What are you looking for?”

[Rena] “Well, ehm, I need to find the books with the year of the fire on them, or anything more recent than that.”

[Logan] “Ok, ok, ok, so what? Two, three years ago? Yeah, we can find that. Over here!”

He ripped three books out of the bookshelf near the end of the row and spread them out on the ground, kneeling down in front of them.

[Logan] “What are we looking for?”

[Rena] “I don’t know. Any mentions of the fire I guess, or any mentions of the town name or even just orders to change the road signs, anything like that I suppose. I’m honestly not sure myself. We just found a mention of this place in another report that had been cut up to hide information, so I don’t even know what we’re looking for.” 


[Logan] “Yeah I had that too. It was like going down a spiral of clues. Not sure I got anything useful out of it either. Wait, here, I think this is what you’re looking for. Yeah, yeah, that looks relevant.”

[Rena] “Can I see it?”

Rena sat down on the ground next to Logan and took the thick book he handed her, placing it in her lap. The pages of the book were letters between the administrator and various members of the Royal Council that had been sewn together into a tome. Logan leaned over the book and pointed to a section in one of the letters that mentioned Miller’s Knee. Rena’s eyes grew wide, turning immediately into a frown as she skimmed the letter. 

[Rena] “How dare she say the town had no great importance and then mention right after that thirty-seven people died?”

[Logan] “Yeah, these people are assholes, don’t expect compassion from them.”

[Rena] “Wait, she mentions the crow effigy, I found one of those too! In my hometown, next to the church. They had been planted in the ground, like, like a ritual or something. I-I don’t know, it was kind of strange. But I picked one up and it had an inscription on it, in some old script. Rodrick didn’t know what it was either but I think he knows someone who could read it.”

[Logan] “Okay, weird. Like, someone placed them there? Never heard about that before. You think the people responsible for it left them there? As a threat?”

[Rena] “I-I don’t know. The-the letter doesn’t state much either. It, ehm, oh, wha- ‘as per protocol, the complete elimination of the town’s memory has commenced’? What does that mean? How can they eliminate a town’s memory?”

[Logan] “What? Show me! What the- They just admit to that? They genuinely keep evidence of the fact that they actively suppress the truth just lying around here? Where everyone can see it?”

[Rena] “But what does it mean?”

[Logan] “I don’t know, probably that they try to pretend the town never existed. You know, like, if they never talk about it then the town’s destruction never happened, and everyone who says otherwise is called a liar or silenced by them. But the fact that they just keep this lying aro-


[Logan, murmur] “Wait, wait, wait.”

He held out a hand in front of her as if he wanted to stop her from moving. He looked up, his eyes wandering around slowly as if he was scanning the room. Rena froze up, eyes wide, hearing nothing but the slowly approaching footsteps. She didn’t know if it was best to stay quiet and hope the person didn’t see them or if they were supposed to run away, but where could they run away to? The room only had one door and there were guards outside of that door, so if they were to run out the guards would know right away that they had to be arrested? Could they hide from the person by sneaking between rows? But Logan wasn’t moving and the footsteps were getting closer and panic was starting to rise in her.

[Logan, whisper] “I can’t be one of the guards. Must be just another visitor, just pretend we’re allowed to be here.”

[Rena] “How do you know?”

[Logan] “The guards wear heavier armour and a sword, you hear that immediately when they’re walking. It’s gonna be fine, let’s just keep reading.”


Rena stared down at the page in front of her, the letters melting together in front of her eyes. Her breathing slowed down until it stopped completely and she was only aware of the beating of her heart and the approaching footsteps.

[Logan] “Thank the stars, it’s only you.”

He got up, ripping Rena out of her trance. She looked back at the figure that was closing in and realised with relief that it was only Asha.

[Asha] “Where’s the old man?”

[Rena] “You didn’t see him near the entrance?”

[Asha] “No, there was no one there.”

[Rena] “Strange, he should have been there. Do you think he left?”

[Logan] “Nah, he doesn’t seem like someone who’d do that. He’s probably just looking around in another part of the room.”

[Rena] “I guess. Asha, how did you get in?”

Asha stood a few metres away from them, facing the same bookshelf Logan had taken the books out of. She didn’t respond and Rena wasn’t sure if she didn’t want to answer the question or if she was simply too engrossed in finding what she was seeking. She reached out and pulled one of the books out, leafed through it till the very end before stopping at a certain passage and ripping out the page.

[Rena] “What are you doing?”

Rena shot up, the book sliding off of her lap. She rushed over to where Asha was standing while Asha slid the book back into place and folded the ripped out pages in four before sliding them into the inside pocket of her tunic.

[Logan] “You know what, you’re right.”


[Rena] “No we can’t just steal these things, they’ll notice.”

[Logan] “I kinda already did it earlier with my stuff.”

[Rena] “But they’ll notice!”

[Asha] “They won’t notice anything, they’re too blind and stupid for that.”

[Logan] “Yep, definitely agree with that.”

[Rena] “It just, isn’t right to destroy someone’s property and then steal it.”


[Logan] “Look, we don’t have the time to read all of it here anyway, and we’ll probably need it as evidence later. Let’s just take everything we need and get out of here and then read it outside. I promise, they won’t notice it’s gone.”

[Rena] “How do you know?!”

[Logan] “Wait, shut up.”


[Rena] “Wha-”

[Logan] “Shit, we need to leave!”

[Rena] “What?”

[Asha] “Over here.”

Asha rushed past and before Rena had really grasped what was going on Logan had grabbed her by the wrist and was pulling her towards the back of the room until they had reached the wall. They turned left but just as they emerged from behind the bookshelf they almost ran into someone. Someone who suspiciously looked like one of the guards that had previously guarded the other side of the door. Immediately Logan swivelled around and pulled her back so they could run in the opposite direction. In front of them another guard emerged from between two bookcases, blocking their path and forcing them to turn right, back towards the centre of the room. As they reached the end of the row Logan stopped abruptly, letting go of Rena’s wrist as his arm shot up in front of her. Asha had to pivot to the left so she wouldn’t crash into him, her back instead hitting the bookshelf. Rena lost her balance and fell backwards, and only after she had hit the ground did she see the rapier blade held out in front of Logan’s throat and the man the sword belonged to. He didn’t look like one of the guards. He instead wore a long, blue coat with gold details that told Rena that in all likelihood he was the one giving orders, even if he barely looked to be Logan’s age. 

She scrambled backwards and got up, trying to run back to where they had come from, but one of the guards had caught up with them and was now coming down the passage. Rena stepped backwards until she hit Logan’s back, keeping her eyes fixed on the approaching guard.

[Captain] “Who are you?”

[Logan] “Hey man, I could ask you the same? This all seems a bit abrupt. Why all this aggression? Look, we weren’t doing anything wrong, just looking at some documents like we’re allowed to. You’re coming on a bit strong here.”

[Captain] “Then why did you run away, smartass?”