Holes/Session 7

From Zaori


INT. Hughenden inn - morning
The party congregates back in the main room of the inn downstairs. Four bowls of slightly less congealed porridge than the last time have been left out for them.
Rhu is ever so slightly hungover, the way a delivery truck is ever so slightly heavy. In fact he looks a bit like death. Whereas Radek and the Gravedigger look perfectly normal.
Greibel stumbles groggily down the stairs and joins the others.
GREIBEL
Hero time...
RADEK
Oh, you're awake.
Greibel stares incredulously at Radek while taking a bong hit.
Amadi just randomly appeared behind Greibel.
AMADI
That'll make you live, you know.
GREIBEL
Hmmm. Oh hey, it's the time lady.
RHU
Time wha?
AMADI
(looking around)
What? Where?
Greibel points playfully at Amadi
AMADI
Do you see that?
GREIBEL
You, silly!
RHU
Ow. Hi. Sandwich Lady, right? Ow.
Greibel offers Amadi the bong. She reaches out to touch it and then suddenly vanishes as soon as she does.
Greibel turns bemusedly to Radek.
GREIBEL
She's been smoking some good stuff, man.
RHU
Where did she go?
RADEK
I'm almost surprised that you haven't had enough of people disappearing in front of us.
...Almost.
Amadi walks out of a wall and then sits down next to Rhu.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Oh, hello small lady.
AMADI
Hi! Are you the mystery?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Doubt it.
RADEK
His mind's no grand puzzle, that's for sure. The answer is shovels.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Shovels solve many things. Also spades.
AMADI
(to Radek)
And you? You don't look anything like a shovel. Unless you do.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
No. He isn't a shovel.
AMADI
Shovels take many forms. Like spiders.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I have seen many shovels. And I can say with certainty that Radek is not a shovel. Or a trowel.
Amadi steals an unattended porridge and digs in.
GREIBEL
He's more like the Silver Surfer.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
The what? Are you on drugs again? Still? Nevermind.
Greibel smiles.
AMADI
Not hardly. Silver Surfer's silver, for one.
GREIBEL
Fair enough.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
So what are our plans for today?
RHU
Why do you keep vanishing and reappearing, Sandwich Lady? It hurts my head.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
MAGIC.
Radek inspects his new eyebot curiously.
RADEK
I don't remember as much about how I made this as I'd like.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Can't you... take it apart to see how you did it?
GREIBEL
Does it shoot lasers?
RADEK
Of course it shoots lasers, and of course I could take it apart.
AMADI
Oh, Kerrin, I'm not your head.
Amadi pats Rhu's head.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hey! The eyebot is the mystery! It's the robot floating eye that fires lasers. That's the mystery.
GREIBEL
Sounds like a mystery.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I solved the mystery about what the mystery is! Is there a prize?
Radek sighs heavily.
The Gravedigger pats Radek.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
You can solve the next one.
RHU
(to Amadi)
I don't think we've been introduced. I am Rhu, an Avenger in the service of Hazz'ridan, the creator of dead ends.
AMADI
Creator? Dead ends aren't created.
This ham tastes like soap.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
What ham?
GREIBEL
That's porridge, silly lady. That's porridge.
AMADI
Looks like ham to me.
RHU
Dead ends come from Hazz'ridan and in the end return to him. I read that on the internet.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
You got your religion from the Internet? Online Avenger degree? Cool.
RHU
The Maze of Hazz'ridan where I was given my implement and training didn't talk about the beginnings of ends. I had to figure that out for myself.
AMADI
Wear it. Wear it like you mean it. It's not a maze unless you WEAR IT!
Amadi suddenly stands on her chair and towers over Rhu.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
You sound even crazier than Rhu. He says a lot of rubbish.
RHU
WOAH!
(indicating his holy symbol, which he is indeed wearing)
Do you mean this?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
No offense, Rhu.
Amadi sits gracefully.
AMADI
No.
RHU
None taken, Gravy. Hazz'ridan the Great showed us great mercy yesterday, and he is with us in our quest. I shall have a chance to learn many, many truths at his feet before I return home, of this I am certain. Where's the salt?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Check behind the bar.
AMADI
Try the gravy.
Amadi leans forward and grabs Rhu's implement.
Rhu tries to grab it back
RHU
Hey! I need that!
GREIBEL
Two enter. Only ONE shall leave!
AMADI
No you don't. Your faith is your own. Your items are mine. Always mine. Forever mine. You enter my dreams and you are mine, and aren't you here now? Yes, yes, I think you are. So you're mine. Mine, mine, mine.
Rhu lets go of his implement.
RHU
(awestruck)
Who are you?
Amadi stares at it and turns it over in her hands.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Yeah, that's crazy and creepy.
GREIBEL
I'm with you, brother.
Greibel casually eats the porridge anyway, and tries feeding some to Rasputin.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Isn't that cannibalism?
The porridge declines.
GREIBEL
Hmmph. Worth a shot. What does porridge eat, anyway?
Rasputin jiggles a bit in an attempt to answer.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Booze?
RADEK
Fanged peas.
GREIBEL
Oh, right!
Greibel gives Rasputin a suspiciously still intact fanged pea. The porridge tries to grab it, but the pea jitters away across the floor.
Rasputin gives chase, hitting the floor with a splat before bouncing after it.
GREIBEL
Good boy!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Ew.
AMADI
That looks painful.
RHU
(to Amadi)
What did you mean by all that "My items are yours" stuff?
AMADI
(leaning toward Rhu)
Oh, Kerrin, you're here. You need to ask?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
You're not a thief, are you? Because Rhu kind of needs his stuff.
AMADI
Thief? THIEF?! Why, yes, actually, I am. But not of things. Never of things. Things are cheap. Things die. Fade. Change. Disappear. Not things.
(she holds up the implement)
This is wrong. I've never seen it like this before.
RHU
Who is Kerrin? And what is your name?
AMADI
You're Kerrin, of course! And I'm... oh, I dunno. Dira?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Rhu is Kerrin? Like... a play?
AMADI
No, that's not right. She was Dira.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
People acting parts?
RHU
I'm Rhu.
AMADI
I'm someone else.
RADEK
What do you know?
AMADI
Besides the atomic weight of tofu?
RADEK
Specifically, about the rift?
AMADI
What rift? Was there a rift? Not Riften, I hope. Or do you men The Rift? Isn't that a county near Wyzima? Saleus Neloth.
RHU
I'm not Kerrin. Who is Kerrin? Why did you call me that?
Amadi doesn't answer and just stares off into space, fiddling with the implement.
RADEK
Nothing, then. Another victim of its influence, most likely.
RHU
(to the others)
What's going on here? I'm Rhu.
RADEK
Yes, you are.
Radek begins to tinker with his new eyebot.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Well, the little lady is crazy.
The porridge on the floor slowly draws itself back together and then squelch-bounces its way back to Greibel's shoulder.
Greibel pets it.
The porridge purrs.
RHU
(to Amadi)
So... you're not Dira?
AMADI
Who's Dira?
RHU
You just said you weren't Dira. "She was Dira", you said.
AMADI
Who was?
RHU
You weren't clear on that point. It sounds like you're not entirely sure what your name is. I... It feels rude to refer to you as Sandwich Lady all the time. Do you not have any other name I could use?
AMADI
Of course I have other names. Don't be ridiculous. Who goes around with only one name? Even waking, it'd be crazy!
RHU
What may we call you, then?
AMADI
Call me Teatime. Or Dave. Or Amadi. Or whatever!
GREIBEL
Hi Dave!
AMADI
Hi!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Sure, Crazy lady.
Greibel waves.
Amadi waves back.
RHU
Teatime? Like... a time for a drink with jam and bread?
AMADI
Not at all. Like the time between liver and spleen. The time between notes when you wonder if you are alive or dead, dreaming or waking.
The time between the light, when you do not know whether this is daydream or nightmare, waking or dreaming.
RHU
Right. Miss... Missus? Teatime, then. Would you like to come with us and see a rift?
AMADI
Is it pretty?
RADEK
No, it's quite horrible.
RHU
It's got a dead tree on it.
AMADI
Is it HER dead tree?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
And some water.
AMADI
The dead tree behind the statue, perhaps?
RHU
But that tree has a light tree growing on it, which we were hoping Greibel could have a poke at, since it might be druid magic.
The water's quite pretty, actually.
RADEK
I have some of it.
RHU
We should head out to the rift. Who knows when Mrs. Teatime will vanish again, and she might know something about it that eludes us.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
If she does, how would we know?
RADEK
Asking her seems out of the question.
Greibel stands up abruptly and screams for a few seconds.
Then he sits back down and acts as if it didn't happen.
Amadi taps her nose and points at Greibel, then likewise acts as though nothing had happened.
AMADI
The question is the question. Ask, or you will never know. Porridge knows, but nobody ever asks...
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Yeah, that. I don't think she's gonna be any use.
Just spouting endless Zens at us.
RHU
She's the only thing on this planet that appears and disappears mysteriously on this planet, if you don't count the falling anvils.
She's a link to the weirdness of Sarathi. Possibly. Unless she's just weird of her own accord, which seems... likely.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
But we can't get anything useful out of her.
GREIBEL
Dave, will I ever find true love?
Amadi stops and looks at Greibel.
AMADI
No. I'm sorry, but no.
Greibel sulks.
AMADI
It's for the best, really. The lovers hurt more than the rest.
GREIBEL
Are the lovers armed?
AMADI
They can be armed.
RHU
Hang on.
(to Amadi)
What do you mean, Porridge knows? And it's not "Porridge", it's "Rasputin". It has a name.
(to Gravy)
The rift might interact with her in interesting ways. Or vice versa. Anywho, we have a seat spare.
AMADI
The Gravedigger won't be.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
What?
AMADI
With your love. He wanted love.
(indicating Greibel)
Blame him. Asking answers. He should be asking questions!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Nooo, I think i'll blame the crazy person that never makes sense.
GREIBEL
Hummm...
AMADI
Which one? Sense can be made out of anything. You just need a knife. Or a shovel.
GREIBEL
(whispering to Amadi)
He's really a nice guy when you get to know him.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
So, Radek. What are we doing today? Other than spectating.
RADEK
We need to gather information.
RHU
We could poke around the village and look for someone who knows more about the trees and the rift and the pool. We thought yesterday that druid magic might be involved; someone might know the druid what done it.
RADEK
If you think Greibel can be of use, it's only a short drive to the tree.
GREIBEL
(continuing)
But Radek isn't. He really is that bad.
AMADI
(to Greibel)
And will you say that about me someday too?
GREIBEL
That depends. Do you like lava lamps?
AMADI
(counting off on her fingers)
Six lava lamps, four screens, two potted trees, and a big old yucca.
RADEK
Nobody asked for your opinion, Greibel.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Might as well poke about here while we can, then. Though these willagers don't seem to be very useful.
RHU
Well, we can talk to them now. And they're probably all superimpressed by Radek after his intravenous drinking last night.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I'm not sure they understand the perils of intravenous drinking. They probably don't understand what livers do.
The innkeeper walks in and sees the group.
INNKEEPER
Oh, good morning.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hello Miss Innkeep.
The Gravedigger waves.
RHU
They seemed impressed, especially the inn... oh, hello!
RADEK
You would think my technical skills would be more impressive, but no. All it takes to make this lot cheer is the capacity to endure alcohol.
The innkeeper waves vaguely and heads into another room.
RADEK
Hmph.
RHU
Wait! Do you know any druids around here?
The innkeeper looks back.
INNKEEPER
Druids? If you mean the Guardians, we've only Ekka.
(indicating the direction)
She lives down the way if you need a consult.
The innkeeper ducks out of the common room.
RHU
To Ekka's!
(to Amadi)
Are you coming?
AMADI
Are you going?
RHU
I am.
AMADI
Well, go on then.
RHU
(nodding)
We'll see you later.
RADEK
Much later, I should hope.
GREIBEL
Have fun, Dave!
Greibel waves.
Amadi follows anyway, still fiddling with Rhu's implement, holding it up to the light, turning it over, trying to figure it out.

EXT. Hughenden Guardian's house - morning
It's a house.
Rhu knocks on the door, but gets no response.
Greibel sings "You keep-a knockin' but you caaaaan't come in!"
Rhu knocks again.
The Gravedigger knocks too.
RHU
...something tells me that before we just walk into a house belonging to somebody called a Guardian, it might be wise to check for boobytraps.
GREIBEL
Hey now. I'm a Guardian and I've never trapped anyone's boobies.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
HEEELOOOOOO? GUARDIAN PERSON?
Amadi pushes past, taps the implement to the door, and then opens it and goes in.
There's a clunk from somewhere inside.
Then a startled yell.

Amadi (from inside)

Hello, Guardian person, good morning, good day, good morrow, can we borrow your wisdom please?
Greibel pats the Gravedigger on the arm.
GREIBEL
It was a good try
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Thanks, Greibel.
The others head in after.

INT. Hughenden Guardian's house - morning
They find Amadi standing over a woman who appears to have half-fallen out of bed, apparently Ekka. She also turns out to be the same villager woman they had initially encountered and failed to talk to upon their arrival due to language issues.
RHU
We apologize for Mrs. Teatime there, Guardian Ekka. She's... enthusiastic.
EKKA
What... Teatime?
Ekka picks herself up and glares down at Amadi.
EKKA
What are you doing in my house?
AMADI
Asking answers. Do you have them? They think you have them. I don't think they do.
RHU
No, it's morning. Breakfast time. But that is Mrs. Teatime.
He indicates Amadi.
EKKA
Right. What do you need?
(she glances down at herself)
Well, no. First, let me get dressed. Out, all of you.
Ekka shoos everyone out.

EXT. Hughenden Guardian's porch - morning
RHU
...did any of us bother to take a photograph of the rift? Maybe Radek has something from the camera on his eye-robot thing?
RADEK
No.
After a bit, Ekka comes out onto the porch as well, followed by Amadi, who apparently didn't actually leave before.
EKKA
Okay, what?
RHU
Guardian Ekka, we come from Sarathi through paths unclear. We have been investigating the rift that lurks under the large dead tree near here. On the tree, we spied a small tree alight with light which appeared to be guarding the rift. Or against it.
Do any of these things make sense to you? Because we are fair flummoxed.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Very flummoxed.
RHU
We also sent a robot through the rift. It saw a beach and Sarathi and what looks like a huge rift 'twixt universes. I don't know what we can do about that, but my lord Hazz'ridan the Wonderful demands that we close it, on this planet at least, so that is what we aim to do.
AMADI
Wonderful!
EKKA
You mean the hole? With the really big tree over it.
RHU
That's the one.
AMADI
(muttering)
Oh, he is wonderful. Wonderful like you wouldn't believe. Really, I do want to see if you believe it. See it with eyes. Never seen it with eyes.
RHU
He gave us our sanity yesterday right before we were destroyed by the forces of darkness that lurked in the pool of water that the rift is immersed in.
He is truly wonderful.
EKKA
What do you want me to do, explain the world to you?
RHU
Yes.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
That would be great.
RADEK
Yes, I would appreciate that.
Ekka sighs tiredly.
EKKA
I don't know where you lot are from, but around these parts things don't exactly work that way. I'll spell this out for you.
We... don't... know.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Well that's no fun.
EKKA
The hole appeared. The land died.
Well, died more than usual. Summers always kill it. But it didn't come back this time.
RHU
When was that?
EKKA
Three years past.
Salt's kept the town going since, but the water's toxic. Nothing grows, except what grows wrong.
And strangers come through from time to time. Mostly harmless, some mad, some confused, but they don't hunger for the land here, at least.
RADEK
We found safe water far to the southwest. Or, apparently safe. These three seem healthy enough.
EKKA
Aye, the effect is fortunately relatively localised. For now, at least.
If Sanessee is any indication, this may not remain the case.
RHU
Sanessee?
EKKA
Sanessee has another such hole, though different. Opened up some 200 years ago, and slowly grew ever since. Broke the land. And spread.
RADEK
Would it happen to have opened up near a beach?
EKKA
Sanessee is a valley in the Darian highlands.
So no.
RHU
Why are there no children in this town?
EKKA
The children... are gone.
They were the most susceptible, and before we realised what was happening...
RADEK
We're looking for a way to close these holes... or vacate the planet, if you know of one.
EKKA
Close them? You might as well look for a way to move an ocean.
AMADI
You can move oceans. Hide mountains. Close black holes. These holes don't seem black. Unless they are.
RADEK
Consider yourself fortunate that they are not.
AMADI
Anything's possible.
RADEK
We would all be obliterated.
RHU
I think they're kind of... shimmery.
EKKA
Well, if you find a way, that'd be something. Don't expect anyone to hold their breath.
AMADI
I made a shimmery once. It looked a little like this.
(she holds up Rhu's implement)
Wrong.
RHU
Thank you for this information, Guardian Ekka. Alas, our departure seems indefinitely postponed due to my God's insistence that we find a way to close this hole. With his help, we shall surely move an ocean.
Was the tree dead before the hole appeared? When did the litte tree start growing on the big one?
EKKA
The Ancient? Which tree?
RHU
Tell us about both trees.
EKKA
What trees?
The Ancient is a legend, said to die with the passing of the world. But you're asking about a real tree, aren't you?
RHU
The large tree growing on the rift, and the little tree growing on the large tree.
EKKA
The silly graft Hodgesons put there is still alive?
RHU
Ah! That sounds like it, yeah. What's that all about?
EKKA
Shalott. What else?
RHU
Shalott?
EKKA
You haven't tried it? Our gal makes... well, I wouldn't say it's the best, but it's certainly strong. She came back from the big city and really made a place for herself, that one.
Probably half the reason most of the folks are still here. Too drunk to leave.
RHU
Ah. I know that feeling. So why did Hodgesons put a graft on the big tree? And who is he? Or she?
EKKA
Genri Hodgeson's boys. They were drunk, thought it'd be funny. Nobody expected it to survive, of course, but they had a bit of magic what made it work at the time.
Tree itself'd been dead as long as anyone remembers. Rest were fine before this, but now they all look the same.
RHU
Hmm, I wonder if the rift chose it, then. And why...
RADEK
What is it supposed to do?
EKKA
Do? It was a prank! At least I think it was a prank. Probably a prank.
RHU
It seems to be... interacting with the rift somehow. Do you know where the pool of water that the rift is immersed in comes from?
EKKA
You mean besides groundwater? Rain was sparse even before, but the land has its own water.
Which, conveniently, all got poisoned.
RHU
It... vanished of its own accord yesterday. And then reappeared. And the rift seemed to be scared of it. If rifts can know fear.
EKKA
Vanished, eh? Did you magic it somehow?
RHU
Nope. Well. The paladin fell in. He was maybe a bit magical.
EKKA
Fell in? That's dangerous magic. Dark.
AMADI
He's not dead, you know. Not here, but not dead.
RHU
Yay!
AMADI
Or does dead just mean 'not here'? Are you dead? Are you here?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
In my experience dead is lying at the bottom of the hole. And not getting out. Ever.
AMADI
How strange for you.
Ekka snorts with laughter.
RADEK
Looks like we're going back to investigate.
Would you like us to simply take you there? It would hardly require much time. We have a vehicle capable of flight.
EKKA
Argh, really?
You barge into my house, you interrogate me, and now you want to kidnap me too? Is there no end?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Who talked about kidnapping? Is everyone in this place insane?
Come on, guys. I don't see us finding anything useful here. Everyone is just mental.
EKKA
I'm kidding.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Let's throw random things at it and see what happens.
RHU
That is a most excellent plan.
AMADI
It's a different Hazz. That's what's wrong. This one's a different one. I mean, it's all Hazz, but there's different heads. Like a spider. But what's wrong about it? The oranges?
RHU
Oranges?
AMADI
Purple ones.
The Gravedigger sighs.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Let's just go fire lasers at the rift or something. Standing here talking to the mad midget isn't gonna help us solve this.
RADEK
Agreed.
RHU
Completely agree with heading to the rift. I think we should bring these two along, though I'm willing to be overruled.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
What for? Drop the midget in and see what happens? She has some form of teleportation or space-bending power.
RADEK
I've heard worse ideas.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Come on, little lady. Let's go do some hole science.
AMADI
I've done hole science. Wound up sinking the city.
RHU
Thank you for your help, Guardian Ekka and Mrs. Teatime. We shall head to the rift ourselves, see what we can learn, and report back to you when we can. Thank you for your help!
Rhu shakes their hands and heads off.
EKKA
Uh-huh.
The Gravedigger just clomps after Rhu. Radek does similar, no farewells, just grumbling, and Amadi follows.