Balance – Episode 47: The Eleventh Hour: Chapter Seven

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I hope these boys never find my journal... my LIVEjournal, that is! Unless you want to hear all about My Chemical Romance! It's The Adventure Zone!

—The Announcer

"The Eleventh Hour: Chapter Seven," as it appears on the MaximumFun website, is the 47th episode of The Adventure Zone: Balance.

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Full transcript available here.

With a fairly rowdy loop behind them, our heroes come face-to-face with divinity, and try their darndest not to make complete asses of themselves. With the Big Clock winding down and their prize in sight, can Tres Horny Boys save the day -- or, at least, one of the days? Merle goes deity shopping. Magnus takes a Chance. Taako lends a hand.

The Tres Horny Boys have just successfully broken into Refuge's bank vault, where they found Sheriff Isaak's journal. Inside this journal, they learned that Isaak killed Jack after falling under the Temporal Chalice's thrall, that June has it currently and is somewhere in the mines, and that Roswell was created by Jack. Most importantly, they've learned that Roswell's command word is "Junebug", which Magnus plans on putting to good use.

MAGNUS: Roswell. Junebug.
ROSWELL: Ok- yeah, what do you need?
MAGNUS: Go get the chalice for us.
ROSWELL: I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Nevermind. Anyways, it's 11:53 and the boys' and Roswell are still in the bank. Redmond and one of his minions walk in holding a lockbox containing the bomb they were originally going to use to open the vault, and he asks them what the vault contained.

TAAKO: Gems.
MERLE: Food. There was some sandwiches.
MAGNUS: [stage whispering] Taako, Merle, they’re not gonna remember this anyways, fuck it.

Redmond sends the minion to investigate the vault and Magnus tells him that they're low on time and need to get him to his brother, Luca, so they can enter the Temple of Istus. Redmond asks for them to wait fifteen minutes, but Magnus isn't having it and commands Roswell to fireman-carry him out of the bank.

MAGNUS: And just remember, this bank was robbed by The Wet Bandits!

It is now 11:55, meaning the boys' have only five minutes to get to Istus's temple. Magnus and Redmond take Roswell's horse, Horsey, while Taako casts Phantom Steed and summons forth Garyl for him and Merle to ride on.

MERLE: Hi-oh Garyl! Away!!
GARYL: Don’t talk to me, little man.
MERLE: Okay, sorry.

The gang manages to get to Luca's cave by 11:57, and the two brothers are reunited. Redmond explains to Luca, who has forgotten the conversation from the last loop, that the boys need their help getting to Istus, and the group sprints the short distance to Istus's temple. The time is now 11:59. Redmond lays out a mat in front of the temple for them to kneel on and the two brothers begin a prayer.

REDMOND & LUCA: Lady of Fate, Mother Istus, author of the story of life, and the nurturer of passing time, we beseech these things in your name. Raise this temple so that--

As soon as "raise the temple" is said, the temple begins to de-age and repair itself. Just as it soon as it finishes fixing itself, the clock tower chimes and from their vantage point the boys' see Refuge begin to buckle and collapse. The double doors of the temple swing open and the group rushes in just as everything in Refuge starts to explode. Once inside, the boys' look behind to see that everything outside the temple is frozen in place. Inside the temple are rows of pews lining an aisle leading up to a fairly humble pulpit. Behind that is a tapestry showing a city of happy, busy people all nestled in the embrace of a beautiful woman with long, flowing, white hair.

GRIFFIN: And that woman is in front of you, in the flesh.
MAGNUS: Hail and well met!

The goddess looks up from the scarf she is knitting on the steps to the pulpit and says,

ISTUS: Well, the three of you are just in time.
GRIFFIN: And she puts her knitting down. And the three of you are standing before an actual, literal goddess. What do you do?

Being the one with the most experience when it comes to communicating with divine beings, Merle offers to talk to Istus first. Magnus and Taako immediately regret this decision.

MERLE: [seductively] How you doin’?
MAGNUS: Oh, god. No, no, nope, nope.
TAAKO: Cool, okay. Not as bad as it could have gone.
MERLE: Love the hair.

Istus giggles at Merle's compliment and explains that she doesn't blame the boys' for not recognizing her right, as she is one of the older but lesser worshipped gods, as it's hard to get behind a goddess who’s all about enforcing the whims of fate when the whims of fate deliver nothing but mass destruction upon them. Istus beckons the three of them to sit down in the front row of pews and she explains to them that the town of Refuge is sick because the whims of fate are not being obeyed and the constant time loops. She also reveals that the boys' will die permanently if they don't escape the loop soon and that the reason they can remember other time loops is that either the holder of the Temporal Chalice or the Chalice itself is allowing them to.

MAGNUS: So when this is all done, are we gonna be dead?
ISTUS: Not if you get out after a loop that you survive. And that’s maybe something I can help you out with.
TAAKO: Although, if we got out after a loop that we died during, that

would be a hell of a thing, huh. I don’t wanna get into semantics here -

ISTUS: Okay, you really razzed me there.
TAAKO: [laughing] That’s me! That’s Taako. Uncut!
ISTUS: Uncut. Huh. That’s funny.

Istus reaches into her white tunic and pulls out a small pair of scissors which she uses to cut a loose string out of the scarf that she’s knitting, which does in a vaguely intimidating way.

GRIFFIN: And that string falls to the floor. And she tucks the scissors back.
JUSTIN: Alright, Taako’s appropriately intimidated.

Istus explains to the boys' that they are special as they are the only three people that constantly stop the attempts of those would defy fate in all the countless timelines and universes that Istus has observed.

ISTUS: Almost your entire lives, the three of you have been preventing things that go against the designs of fate from happening; stopping powers that would reshape reality used by people who shouldn’t be using them! And that’s my whole jam.
MAGNUS: But, Istus—I’m sorry but there is some really shitty stuff that’s happened in all of our lives! Like—do you like, just uh, like, I dunno, Phandalin? That kinda sh—that’s what supposed to happen?
ISTUS: No, it wasn’t. That was one that you kinda goofed up on. But you tried to stop it! That’s what I’m saying!

Istus asks the boy to be her emissaries in this world, which entails them to keep doing what they have been currently doing, which is standing in the way of forces that want to reshape creation in their image, following their will and not the will of fate. All of the boys' agree to this alliance, but Merle only under the condition that he still be allowed to worship Pan, who, luckily, Istus is best pals with. With everyone on board, Istus pulls out a new color thread from her tunic and knits it into a never-ending scarf that stretches all way into another plane. Istus knits three new threads into the scarf and three pendants bearing the sigil of Istus - "a circular symbol with a needle in its centre, with sort of strings represented by these little brass lines that wrap around the needle and the symbol as a whole" - appear in front of the group. The boys grab a pendant for each one of them. Istus then informs the boys that she has more blessings to bestow upon them.

ISTUS: Merle, I have something for you. Since you're sort of a nurturer of both plants and people, I’m going to grant you something sort of unique among my followers, a bit of fateful leeway.

Istus knits something into the scarf and a small, tennis ball sized orb appears with a sandstorm made up of light-colored sand swirling with these golden flecks brewing inside it appears. Istus explains that once smashed, this orb can send the smashee's consciousness back nine seconds, enough time to fix a mistake or save a loved one.

MAGNUS: I wonder how long before Merle forgets he has that?
MERLE: Has what?

For Taako, a brown paper bag cinched with a golden thread bound together with a knot which is threaded into a golden glowing lock appears in front of him. Istus describes this bag as a bag of necessity. No one knows what is inside, not even Istus, until the appointed time that the item, or items, inside are exactly the item, or items, that Taako most needs.

TAAKO: Okay, I see what you're saying. You're saying that I had courage within me the entire time, I just needed this bag to bring it out, right?
GRIFFIN: As you sort of grab the bag, you actually do feel a weight inside of it. So something is in there that’s not just fucking courage.

Istus tells the boys that they will need a tool in order to destroy the time barriers in Refuge, and suddenly the clock tower outside the temple collapses and crashes right by the temple's front door. The pile that was once the clock tower starts to rattle for a bit and the minute hand of the clock shoots out into the air and Magnus reaches out and grabs it mid-air. Istus requests Magnus to chuck his new weapon at the pulpit, which he does.

ISTUS: Okay, now recall it.
TRAVIS: [gasps]
MAGNUS: To me, spear friend!

The spear reverses its path in time, reversing the path it just flew, and back in Magnus's hand. However, the damage that it did to the pulpit is still there. Istus explains that she has enchanted the minute hand so that it will pierce the barriers blocking their progress in Refuge whenever Magnus wants and, realizing that the boys would lose their items after the current loop is over, edits time a bit so that the boys' had these items before they came into Refuge. With the temple starting to collapse and their time together almost over, Magnus asks Istus if there is anything else she could edit in their pasts, but she explains that, unfortunately, editing anything bigger would cause her to cease to exist. Magnus also asks the location of Isaak and June, and Istus says the room that was blocked by a barrier in the quarry.

ISTUS: Okay, we're seriously almost out of time. I have one last blessing for you, my emissaries. Your fate is guiding you, not today, not tomorrow, but to a moment that will challenge you in a new and horrible way and I cannot make the difficult decision that lies at the end of your quest for you, but I can grant you the time that you need to make that decision.

Istus disappears for a few seconds and when she reappears she is wiping a tear from her eye and she says,

ISTUS: You're going to be amazing.
GRIFFIN: And then the building comes down.

[Money Zone]

OOC, Travis decides to call the spear Istus gave to Magnus the Chance Lance. Meanwhile, in the game, the boys' find themselves back in the white void, and the old lady still lying on the ground, still breathing but slowly starting to wither away. In the half-second in the void, Magnus hears some music.

The group wakes up in front of Roswell and Refuge, still armed with Istus's gifts, in what is now Loop 12. Magnus starts the loop off right by uttering Roswell's command word, 'Junebug', thus making them subservient to the boys. Magnus makes his way down into the well using some rope tied off to a fencepost in order to pop the bubble blocking the way down into Shaft A of the quarry, which he does using the Chance Lance. Now inside the quarry, Magnus calls down the others. Roswell goes down first using the rope tied to the fencepost, which Taako has to transmute into stone so it can support Roswell's weight, and joins Magnus down in Shaft A.

MAGNUS: Check out this shaft.

Merle follows after while Taako floats down with his Umbra Staff Mary Poppins-style. In front of the boys' is a door with a bubble surrounding, which Magnus also pops with the Chance Lance. The group enters through and after going through another airlock like the one that led into Shaft A, this time without any of the deadly puzzles, find themselves in Shaft B, which is another huge room with a fenced off circular section in the middle hundreds of feet wide with the same circular cart track going around this shaft. However, this room has a large wooden observation deck built off just to the side of the track. Standing on this observation deck is the woman from the white space, revealed to be June, and another figure wearing a big black Stetson hat, smoking a long black cigarette, and holding the handle of a mattock, which he is twirling lazily on the ground at his side. June is floating in her own time-locked barrier, her withered hands wrapped around the Temporal Chalice and her eyes closed and her face looking down, almost in prayer, while the other figure sits next to her with his back up against a few barrels.

GRIFFIN: As you enter the room he doesn’t move an inch. He just says,
ISAAK: Merle, Magnus, Taako? May as well come on in. You boys wanna smoke? I’ve only got two but if you wait an hour or so I’ll be back to having three again.
MAGNUS: Isaak?
ISAAK: Yeah, of course. What can I do for you fellas? I think I know but let’s hear it.

The group tells Isaak that they need the cup, but he refuses under the belief that they only want it for its power, mainly because he's been keeping on eye on the boys' and their past actions - which included bank robbery[1], thievery[2], and swindling[3] - during the last few loops.

ISAAK: Folks like us can’t be trusted with power like this. Y'can’t have it and if you make a move on this girl I will draw on you, and maybe I’ll win, maybe I’ll lose, but I can guarantee you one thing, and that is that I'll see you tomorrow.
MAGNUS: So you’ll kill us just like you killed Jack.
ISAAK: The reason why I killed Jack is exactly why I can’t let y'all have this cup.

Magnus tells Isaak that they have dealt with items like the Chalice before, which gives Isaak pause. However, Isaak still is not convinced and continues to call out the boys for their actions. Taako shows Isaak his Plastic Sheriff Badge and tells him that they are also law enforcement, which almost manages to fool Isaak. While he is distracted, Magnus takes the chance to throw his Chance Lance at June's bubble, only to be stopped by Isaak, who quickdraws his wand from the holster on his side and zaps Magnus for 31 damage. Magnus is launched backward,s losing his Chance Lance in the process.Taako begins to cast a spell and tells Merle to:

TAAKO: Handle the sheriff!
MERLE: Got it.

Merle attempts to handle the sheriff but is instead struck for 25 damage by a bolt of lightning from Isaak's wand. Fortunately, this still gives Taako enough to cast Bigby's Hand and pick up the Chance Lance. Unfortunately, Isaak sees pushing the Lance towards the bubble and attempts to levy a bolt at the hand. It's at this moment that Magnus gives Roswell another command:

MAGNUS: Roswell, clobber him!

Roswell runs at Isaak in an attempt to tackle him. Taako takes this time before impact to get in a great quip.

TAAKO: Sheriff Isaak, guess what time it is!
ISAAK: What?
GRIFFIN: And then Roswell tackles him.
TAAKO: Fuck if I know!

The lance pops the bubble which opens a hole, and as soon as it does, time starts to slow down until everything just stops. A wave of white light with these bright sorts of rainbow streaks in it comes pouring out of the cup like a tidal wave and washes over everybody in this room. Suddenly, the boys' --minus Roswell and Isaak-- find themselves in the white space. Unlike the white space that the boys stood in before, however, it is not an undefined empty room but is in fact almost identical to the Davy Lamp. In the "Davy Lamp" are shadows of patrons, each one going about their business in slow motion that the boys can’t really hear or interact with and a pianist at the piano playing a soft sad jazz song. One of the people among these patrons is June, who is holding the chalice and who invites the group to sit at a table that she has reserved for them.

CLINT: Is this the Matrix?
JUSTIN: I think this is the Matrix.
CLINT: It’s the Matrix.
JUSTIN: Finally in the Matrix.
TRAVIS: Is it the red pill or the blue pill? I can’t remember which one do we do.

"June" sets the record straight and explains that she's not actually June but is actually the Temporal Chalice speaking through her body.

"JUNE": The fact that the three of you aren’t sort of freaking out right now tells me you’ve encountered other relics like me already and I’m guessing the fact you’re sitting here right now means that you didn’t use them?
MAGNUS: You’re a cup?!
"JUNE": Yeah. Well... yeah.
MAGNUS: Like, people could drink out of you!
"JUNE": I guess if they wanted to, although it doesn’t seem advisable, um--
MAGNUS: But like they could! That’s weird!
"JUNE": Yeah, I mean I wasn’t always a cup, but--
MAGNUS: Wait, hold up, is that true of all of the artifacts? Are all of the artifacts former people?

"June" explains that, while they don't remember being made, they do remember that they were made to want to be used, and to make other people want to use their power. More importantly, they remember that, before they were a cup, and before they were torn into seven parts and turned into every one of the Grand Relics, that they could breathe life into entire realities, and shape existence at their master’s will. The Chalice tells the boys that, in their current form, they no longer have that sort of freedom anymore, but with a user who is determined enough to change the world, they could regain the power to change the past and reshape the world for the better.

"JUNE": I promise I’m not gonna do anything to you that you don’t want me to do. I swear it, I’m not gonna cast some thrall over you or whatever. But I truly believe that together we can fix the wrongs in the past, and we can make this world better in the process. So I’m not gonna hypnotise you or anything like that; I’m just asking for the opportunity to make a pitch for you, I just want you to hear me out and then I'll release the girl and then I’ll go with you in peace.
MERLE: [beat] So you’re the cup.
TAAKO: Uhhhh. Yeah, we’ll listen, sure.
MERLE: Sure, we’ll always listen.
TAAKO: But listen, I don’t want you to think we’re not on equal footing, here. You may be able to shift worlds and breathe life into realities but I recently come across some information of my own. I know kung fu.

[Theme Tune Plays]

The Money Zoneedit | hide | edit source

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