A rich history, an unknown past, a broken spirit...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In this, Episode 25, Arthur and the Entity within find themselves in an unexpected place between the Larson estate and the mountain beneath. Questions abound and the relationship once again begins to fracture but this time from within as the past is well and truly catching up with the terrible truths that Arthur must come to admit to not only the Entity but himself as well...
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PART TWENTY-FIVE: THE CRACKS
Original transcript by Croik and Jack! Reviewed by Jack and Tony.
(BEGIN Part 25.)
(Inside the mines. The sound of someone walking up wooden stairs. Arthur grunts in exertion. From a distance, water trickles.)
ARTHUR: That must be, what, five flights of stairs now? How far up is the surface? Or rather, how deep are we? (A pause.) John.
JOHN (distracted): What?
(Thoughtful piano melody starts to play.)
ARTHUR: How far up is the surface? Are we making any headway?
JOHN (distracted): Yes. Just keep following the railing.
ARTHUR: What is wrong?
ARTHUR (exhale): I told you, we’re going to go back. I… why are you so despondent?
JOHN: I’m not.
JOHN (firm): No, Arthur, I’m disappointed.
ARTHUR (chuckling): Disappointed?
ARTHUR: You sound like a parent.
JOHN: Do I?
ARTHUR: Yes, I remember saying… I remember being disappointed, too.
JOHN: I thought you said you don’t remember what it felt like before this.
ARTHUR: I don’t, not really.
JOHN: But you remember being disappointed.
ARTHUR: I remember using that tactic on Faroe.
ARTHUR: Knowingly or not, you’re trying to tell me you disapprove of my actions. Well, I’m sorry to say, John, that in times of survival, we can’t afford to be as naïve as you.
ARTHUR (passionate): You want to help these people, as if they’re innocent. You have no idea. You have no way to understand their plight. Y – They could’ve given themselves to this creature willingly, at first, they could’ve –
JOHN: And if so, they deserve their fate?
ARTHUR (scathing): Not necessarily. But who knows what they’ve been through, what rites they performed themselves. You… I appreciate, and love, that you found so much humanity, but a bleeding heart is only going to get us killed. You understand that, right? (He continues to walk.)
JOHN: You may be right, Arthur.
ARTHUR: I’m not saying we lose our sense of self. I’m saying that… (He sighs.) we need to stay mindful of this. Of us.
ARTHUR: Don’t be disappointed that we didn’t help them.
JOHN: I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to care.
ARTHUR (pfft): Whatever. Look, I do. And whether you see that or not, whether you remember that or not, I-I don’t care. Now tell me how far the fucking surface is.
JOHN: Still a ways up. I don’t know what kind of exit this will even be, Arthur. It’s not entirely clear where this goes.
ARTHUR: What do you mean? Y-You said that –
JOHN: I said I think the cavern opens up to the night sky. There’s water dripping, and the thunder is louder. It was an educated guess.
ARTHUR (displeased): Fine.
JOHN: I just don’t know where this leads. We seem to be climbing higher, but the darkness above seems to be getting closer.
ARTHUR: So not the night sky.
JOHN: I don’t know. There are still a few flights up.
ARTHUR (exhale): These stairs… what are they?
JOHN: They’re wood.
ARTHUR: Old? Same age as the mine, you think?
JOHN: Hard to tell. It’s possible. There’s no light, Arthur, just what’s reflected from the bonfire below us.
ARTHUR: Are they still there?
JOHN: Wait. (Arthur stops.)
JOHN (surprised): There’s a… a passageway. Off the landing above us! It leads into the rock.
ARTHUR: A tunnel!
JOHN: Yes! No tracks or anything. It’s too far up for mining, I suppose. (A thoughtful piano melody starts to play.)
ARTHUR: A tunnel, up here. How deep is this mountain?
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR: Is there anything within? A-A light, or –?
JOHN: No light, for sure. I can only see the darkened outline of the tunnel. Large enough for a person and then some, but… nowhere near the size of the mines below.
ARTHUR (sighing): Well, I suppose we could take our chances. Maybe it’s a way out.
JOHN: Maybe. (Arthur starts to grunt as he moves towards the tunnel.) Well. Seems like this is more or less the top, anyway?
ARTHUR: Is it?
JOHN: The ceiling here is stone, but slick with condensation. It’s catching the light of the fire far below.
ARTHUR: A trick?
JOHN: You said the caves were tricky.
ARTHUR: Yes, well. Who knew how much.
JOHN: So it’s back down, or…?
ARTHUR: Happily try our chances here. (He grunts, going forward. In surprise, brushing his hand along a surface.) Oh.
JOHN: A door!
ARTHUR: A doorway! Strange.
JOHN: It’s heavy, wood, but… with a metal latch, I think. (Arthur brushes it.)
ARTHUR: You think? Well.
JOHN: Could this be part of the Larson Estate?
ARTHUR: Entirely possible. (Frustrated.) Fuck.
JOHN: Do we have other options?
ARTHUR: None. (He tries the door.)
ARTHUR (sighing): Yeah. Okay, let me… give me a good description of the handle area, okay?
(Arthur grunts and crouches.)
JOHN: Sure. The light is dim as it’s ever been, Arthur, but… I think it’s a large metal pull handle with a keyhole. The top is rounded, and it widens near the bottom. The whole thing is about three inches along.
ARTHUR (touching it): Yes, okay. I can feel it.
JOHN: Have you ever picked a lock like this?
ARTHUR: I may have. Yes.
JOHN: Well? (A melancholy piano tune begins to play.)
ARTHUR: Yes, well, I-I need… I would need someone to pick it with.
JOHN: Such as?
ARTHUR: Something thin, flat, preferably. About the size of a matchstick.
JOHN (stumped): Hm.
ARTHUR: I have nothing on me.
JOHN: God damn.
JOHN: We’ll need to head back.
ARTHUR (sighing): Huh. Hm. (He brushes his hand along the wood.) This door… it feels chipped?
JOHN: It does.
ARTHUR: It’s wood, right?
ARTHUR: Seems like we’re not the first to come this way.
JOHN: Why do you say that?
ARTHUR: Someone’s tried to break this door down. There are deep gouges in the wood. (He starts to pick apart at the wood.)
JOHN: So other people have made it this far. You said Larson wouldn’t have thrown us down here if he had any doubts that we’d escape?
ARTHUR: Well… we’re not like other people, are we? Is this piece here, it’s… it’s splintering?
JOHN: You want to try to break down the door?
ARTHUR: No, no, no, no, no. (He brushes the wood, and pulls a piece off. It comes off with a snap.) But I… we could… Here! Here.
ARTHUR: How sturdy is –? (He breaks it.) Damn.
JOHN: Why does it –?
ARTHUR: Okay, okay, hold on, yeah, yeah… Here! This, this is. (He picks up another piece of wood.) Yes, this piece of wood, it’s-it’s. It’s thin. (He tries to bend it.)
ARTHUR: It’s stiff, John.
ARTHUR: Just small enough to fit in the lock.
JOHN: You can use it to pick the lock?
ARTHUR (eager): I can fucking try!
JOHN (triumphant): Yes, Arthur!
ARTHUR: I’ll need a second piece: smaller, even.
ARTHUR: Do you see any?
JOHN: The whole door is splintered. Someone must have spent hours trying to break this down, no doubt alerting the creature.
ARTHUR: Well, we’ll be quieter than that.
JOHN: There! Your hand just grazed by –
ARTHUR: Yes, yes, I-I feel it. (He picks it up.) Here.
JOHN: Slowly! It’s bending. Don’t break it. (Arthur snaps a piece off.) There!
ARTHUR: Brilliant! Brittle, but… it could work.
ARTHUR: Let me… (Arthur re-adjusts himself.) Okay. We may only have one shot at this.
JOHN: Why? Couldn’t we just pull off more?
ARTHUR: Yeah, well, not if I jam it up with broken wood.
JOHN: Fuck. Right.
ARTHUR: Yes, let me just. Focus and I-I-I don’t know. Stay quiet. (He grunts and begins to fiddle with the lock.)
JOHN (serious, amidst a tender piano melody): I am glad you’re surviving for us. I just. I want you to know I’m not… unaware of how much you’ve kept us alive. My time away just –
ARTHUR: Away? I thought you didn’t know you were gone.
JOHN: I didn’t. I mean to say… coming back. It’s just. I don’t know. Maybe it felt like longer.
ARTHUR: You don’t remember anything, right?
JOHN: No. I don’t.
ARTHUR: Okay. Okay. Stay quiet, please.
JOHN: Right. (Arthur grunts. The lock clicks.)
JOHN: Arthur, you fucking did it!
ARTHUR (laughing in triumph): We are out of here! (He opens the door and walks through.)
JOHN: Amazing! Okay, quietly now.
ARTHUR: Right, right. (Exerting himself, Arthur enters.)
JOHN: The way forward is dark, almost pitch-black, but the stone floor is carved. Not natural stone.
(He shuts the door.)
ARTHUR: Well, it’s a way out, at least.
JOHN: Let’s hope. (Arthur begins to walk along stone.) Arthur, I can’t see a thing. It’s utter darkness. Pull out the lighter. Let’s see where we are.
ARTHUR: Right, right. (He flicks the lighter on. Quietly.) Well?
JOHN: We’re in a tunnel, for sure, but. The stone here isn’t the same as in the mine.
JOHN: Well, it’s… slab stone. Blue-ish. Gray, almost.
JOHN: Nothing. It’s. It’s just… this is built. This isn’t part of the mine.
ARTHUR: So we are in the Larson Estate?
JOHN: Perhaps. The hallway goes forward. The walls, ceiling, and floor are-are all this gray-blue stone, cut in large bricks. A few feet wide.
ARTHUR: It just… goes on?
JOHN: The light is very dim, Arthur. The hallway turns a bit to the right. Up ahead, I-I think, but. There isn’t any indication it-it leads any other way, not yet.
ARTHUR: Alright, alright. Let’s tread carefully. (He walks forward. His footsteps echo. A thoughtful melody begins to play.)
JOHN: Use your… (His words falter and he sighs.)
JOHN: Here. If I cover the flame from our eyes, I can see better.
ARTHUR: O-Oh. (A pause. Arthur shivers.) It feels cold in here.
JOHN: Colder than the mines?
ARTHUR: I-I don’t know. I-I couldn’t tell. Yes, maybe. I wonder if this is a-a cellar, or-or… I don’t know. For wine, and things.
JOHN: Why stone? Why built into the mountain?
ARTHUR: I-I don’t know. O-Obviously, if-if… Larson was overseer of the mines, he wanted access to them, right? It’s an easier way of heading down the outside of the mountain? Just-Just head through the basement. I-I don’t know.
JOHN: Perhaps. (A long pause.) There’s an archway of sorts just ahead.
JOHN: Just. Letting you know.
ARTHUR: No, no. Of course, thanks.
JOHN: Ah! There are sconces on the walls that hold torches.
ARTHUR: Oh! Where?
JOHN: To your right. There.
ARTHUR: Let’s, uh… (He lights the torch. It burns audibly. He flicks the lighter off.) There.
JOHN: That’s better.
ARTHUR: I can feel the heat from that, now.
JOHN (in shock): Oh. The archway led us to a hallway. This one is straight. Same stone walls and ceiling, but there are multiple passages leading to the left and the right in this long hallway.
JOHN: Yes. Maybe… six? Though the hallway leads on, flat and narrow. Beyond where the light can reach.
ARTHUR: Can you… can you see what lies in them?
JOHN: Not until we approach. They look only like darkened arched passageways. Abyssal black beyond where the light touches.
ARTHUR: Right, right.
JOHN: This… Larson. (A thoughtful piano melody starts.) What was he capable of?
ARTHUR: Anything. Everything.
JOHN: Okay. (Arthur moves forward.) Statues. (Arthur sighs in relief.) There are alcoves with statues in them.
JOHN: Oh. At least… some are.
JOHN: The ones on the right wall are, but to the left… at least, this first alcove, it’s-it’s… barred.
ARTHUR: Barred? How?
JOHN: There’s a black iron grille covering, preventing any path forward. But I can see a larger room beyond.
ARTHUR: Preventing? I-Is there a gate, or-or a door, or –?
JOHN: No. This alcove only looks into the other room.
ARTHUR: What about the next one to it? (He moves.)
JOHN: Yes! There’s a gate here.
ARTHUR: Ah. A-And still, behind us, to the right alcove…?
JOHN: Another statue.
ARTHUR: Right, right.
JOHN: The hallway continues on, as well.
ARTHUR: Right, well, this room… is it-is it open? (The door creaks open.)
ARTHUR: Yes, okay. Can you see what’s inside?
JOHN: Looks like a table. A-A long table. With more statues. Various wall furnishings, including the coat of arms… and-and paintings, I think. Everything looks covered in dust.
ARTHUR: Hm. Let’s leave it, for now. Keep moving. (He shuts the door with a creak. A thoughtful piano melody starts.)
JOHN: Another statue to the right. And again, iron bars looking into that last room.
ARTHUR: Right. (Arthur continues to walk.) What possessed this being built? The mansion above has plenty of rooms for space, and tables, and statues, and…
JOHN: I don’t know. But all this feels… old.
ARTHUR: Yeah, but how old could it be, even? This is New England, it’s-it’s only been a few hundred years.
JOHN: Has it?
ARTHUR: Well, yes, it’s… (He chuckles, as if it’s obvious.) It’s impossible that anyone would have any longer… any older buildings, here. Especially ones of this make.
ARTHUR: Well, well, ‘cause they didn’t sail across the sea, un-until… well-well, hold on. (Baffled.) What are you saying? Look, look, even if these are a few hundred years old, the work and expense that would’ve been put into making something like this, it. It seems… well, I don’t know!
JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur. The city below the hotel was… old. Very, very old.
ARTHUR: Yes, and… well.
JOHN: Clearly there are things we don’t know about this part of the world.
ARTHUR: I know much about this part of the world. Trust me.
JOHN: Then maybe there are things you don’t know about the world itself. Perhaps you’ve been told a lie.
ARTHUR: A lie? About when this country was founded? (Chuckling.) John.
JOHN: You’d be surprised at how little you truly know.
ARTHUR (disbelieving): Fine.
JOHN: The hallway splits up ahead. A-A T-Junction that runs left and right.
JOHN: There’s another statue here, in between the crossroads, set into the wall.
ARTHUR: Oh, yeah? What does it look like?
JOHN: It looks like a knight, with a plume of feathers from its top. It wields a shield and mace. On the shield is a depiction of an octopus, maybe.
JOHN: Yes, and a light… perhaps a sun?
ARTHUR: Well. Left or right? Or we could head back. I wouldn’t mind looking around that room a little more, for –
(Suspenseful music rises.)
JOHN (in realization): Oh.
JOHN: Arthur, the floor. There are footprints. Bloody footprints on the stone beneath our feet.
ARTHUR: Fuck. Fuck.
JOHN: They seem to be coming from the right and heading to the left.
ARTHUR: Okay, okay.
JOHN: Well? We could head to the right, to where the footprints came from… or to the left.
ARTHUR: Right, right, right. O-Or the room we just passed.
JOHN: That’s right. If any part of you is curious about that room, it could have something to do with the cult.
ARTHUR: The. The cult?
JOHN: Of the Fallen Star, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Right, right. Does that… matter?
JOHN: Of course. Doesn’t it?
ARTHUR: I guess?
JOHN: Look. I don’t think we intend on returning, so if you are interested…
ARTHUR: You’re right. Let’s… head back. I want to see what – I guess, what that room was about.
(Arthur starts to walk. A melancholy piano melody starts to play.)
ARTHUR: It’s awfully quiet.
JOHN: Less so when you talk.
ARTHUR: You don’t think anyone is… pursuing us, do you?
JOHN: Those footprints were in blood, Arthur. Whatever’s down here isn’t playing nice.
ARTHUR (thoughtful): You know. There was a time where that would chill me to my bone.
JOHN: Nothing upsetting about that now?
ARTHUR: No, it’s just… so much has happened. So much has changed. I… I feel… numb to it all. Like the cold has taken me.
JOHN: The cold?
ARTHUR: Yes, like it’s washed over me, I. I can’t… feel as much. I-It’s nothing that doesn’t come with experience, I suppose.
JOHN: Is that so?
ARTHUR: Yes. (He breathes a small laugh.) You sound so… surprised.
JOHN: I don’t know. I never thought you to be cold.
ARTHUR: Don’t start this again.
JOHN: I’m just saying –
ARTHUR: Look, you’re right, okay? I-I hear you. You’re right. I’m losing the plot, a little bit, and I-I-I need to take hold of the reins again, okay?
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: I hear you. (A more optimistic piano melody.) I’m not a callous man, John. I-I recognize that you’re telling me I’m losing my soft… edges, and I’m sorry I snapped. I am saying that your words are taken to heart. I’ll be more patient.
ARTHUR: Yes, of course! (He chuckles.) I’m not a machine. I-I can think and reason and even… despite my resilience and maybe frustrations at being called callous, which I’ve only done in order to survive. (He mumbles unintelligibly.) Maybe I’ve thought about it, and I’m realizing you have a point. Okay?
ARTHUR: Good. Now, where is this door?
JOHN: A little ahead. (Arthur walks forward, and the door creaks open.) Alright. As I said, this is a larger room. There’s a long table with seven high-backed chairs surrounding it. Each has deep red leather seats and back, with arms on either side. They’re quite ornate. The dark wood table isn’t set.
ARTHUR: Hm. Any scuff-marks or-or scratches?
JOHN: None that I can see.
ARTHUR: A table for show, more than anything.
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: It doesn’t – it doesn’t seem like a dining table, but-but maybe a meeting room.
JOHN: Fair. There are statues on the back wall of this room, like the ones in the hall. However… they seem important. There-There are three of them.
ARTHUR: Are there markings, or…?
JOHN: Yes. There are names beneath each. ‘Erwin Kipling’. ‘Neitsh Walder’ and… ‘Entie Walder’. They’re dressed as soldiers, with… they look… familiar.
(Suspenseful music starts to rise.)
ARTHUR: How so?
JOHN: I don’t know. Like… (He sighs in frustration, unable to find the words.) I-I-I don’t know.
ARTHUR: Alright. Well-Well, put a pin in that. What else is here?
JOHN: Some furnishings on the wall, a coat of arms…?
ARTHUR: You mentioned everything was dust-covered.
JOHN: Quite. This room hasn’t been used in a while.
ARTHUR: I guess, as the needs grew…
JOHN: I don’t know. (Arthur walks forward.)
ARTHUR: You mentioned paintings.
JOHN: Yes. A-And some books, here.
JOHN: To the left. (Arthur moves, making noises of exertion.) There.
ARTHUR: Anything jump out?
JOHN: A number of Latin texts.
JOHN: Wait. Bend down for a moment. (Arthur does so.) ‘De Tribus Militibus’.
ARTHUR: What does that mean?
JOHN (sighing): I’m not sure? But it seems familiar.
ARTHUR: Déjà vu.
JOHN: Yes. A-Also, one of the paintings is missing.
ARTHUR: How do you mean?
JOHN: I – it’s barely noticeable, but there’s an outline on the wall above the hearth. Not exactly discolored, but something clearly hung here. I guess it could’ve been anything.
ARTHUR: Something seems off.
JOHN: In no small way.
ARTHUR: No, no, I mean, i-i-is this room for the Order of the Fallen Star? Or… why hasn’t it been used in so long? It seems a simple meeting room, but. But. Almost, not part of the estate?
JOHN: Why did Larson build here, exactly?
ARTHUR: The mine was rich with coal, I-I think, and –
JOHN: Was that why, though?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. I mean, I assumed…
JOHN: What exactly did he tell you?
ARTHUR: Well, he told me… not very much. (He sighs.) I-I don’t know. I can’t seem to make sense of this.
ARTHUR: Let’s just. Push on. Back to the crossroads.
JOHN: Okay. (Arthur turns and starts to walk, opening and closing the door behind him.) So.
JOHN: I’m hesitant to ask about everything.
ARTHUR: Everything? W-What do you mean?
JOHN: You’ve told me next to nothing about our time apart, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Such as?
JOHN (frustrated): How long has it been? Where are we? What the fuck is Larson? Why does he look like that?
ARTHUR: Okay, okay…
JOHN: The ram’s horns and the dead eyes, and –
ARTHUR: No, no. That was Uncle.
JOHN (livid): Who the fuck is Uncle!?
ARTHUR: Right. Look –
JOHN: I’ve been patient.
ARTHUR: I told you about Yellow, a-and why we’re here, and I –
JOHN: And the Order of the Fallen Star, yes. Just. Just tell me everything.
ARTHUR (sighing): Larson. Wallace Larson, he’s-he’s hundreds of years old. He-He founded this town. Addison. A-As a mining town. He… He had children, who-who died in an accident. All but one. His daughter, whom shared a name with the town.
JOHN: Did he explain that it was founded here for the purposes of mining?
ARTHUR: I don’t – No, no. I-It didn’t come up. W-What are you saying?
JOHN: I’m not sure, other than… these passages looking old. Very old.
ARTHUR: You think he built on top of this?
JOHN: I think there’s not enough information to know.
JOHN: So why did he throw you in the mines, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Because I caught him on something odd. Well, Yellow and I… heard… (In realization.) Oh!
ARTHUR: We heard something in the vents! (A squeak of suspenseful music.) Beneath!
JOHN: Such as?
ARTHUR: Someone being hurt, John. By Uncle.
JOHN: And who is Uncle?
ARTHUR: One of Larson’s grandchildren, I-I think. Or-Or son, I-I’m not sure, but I think, maybe we’re not as far below the Larson Estate as I thought. Those bloody prints?
JOHN: Yes. They’re coming up on the right.
ARTHUR: They may be Uncle’s, coming back from whatever it was he did to that poor woman.
JOHN: And what was it that he did?
ARTHUR: Sounded like a woman was trapped, she was… crying, whimpering, I. After I pointed out that I heard her, it sounded like Uncle entered the room and… and killed her.
JOHN (in horror): Jesus. And you have no idea who she was?
ARTHUR: None. And I don’t know if Larson did, either.
JOHN: So. Do we head towards or away from?
ARTHUR: The footprints? Away. They would probably lead us back to the estate, or at least a way to access it.
JOHN: But you said the woman sounded trapped!
(The main theme starts to play.)
JOHN: And what if there are more?
ARTHUR: What if there are more?
JOHN (disapproving): Arthur.
ARTHUR: John. Stopping Larson will stop this! Once we kill him, anyone under his thumb –
JOHN: You’re still convinced you need to kill him –
ARTHUR (frustrated): Or-Or whatever! Stop him. W-Whenever we stop him, all of this will cease.
ARTHUR: Will you just listen to me? We are going to stop him, and that will help these people, okay? I am-I am telling you.
JOHN (grim): So which way do you want to go? The way the footprints came from, or the way they’re heading?
ARTHUR: Right. Right, obviously. We’ll-We’ll see what there is, and, uh. And-And-And who knows.
JOHN: Who knows?
ARTHUR (forced optimistic): Who knows! Maybe someone to help. Y-You know?
JOHN: Sure. (Arthur sighs.) The hallway continues in much the same way the other did. However, it seems… narrower… tighter… more oppressive.
JOHN: You did say she sounded trapped, and that Uncle entered a room.
ARTHUR: You’re saying this looks like a-a prison?
JOHN: It’s beginning to, yes.
ARTHUR: Of course. The footprints?
ARTHUR: Mustn’t be too far.
JOHN: No. In fact… I see an archway ahead, where it opens up.
ARTHUR: Opens up?
JOHN: A wider room, beyond.
ARTHUR: Alright. (Arthur walks forward.)
JOHN: This… is a wide, rectangular room with two pillars in the center. Each pillar has a torch, but neither is lit. On the left wall, there are three wooden doors, each down a set of steps, leading off to what I imagine could be cells. To the right, there are only two doors, they’re also down a set of short steps.
ARTHUR: You don’t think any of these doors continue on? There are no exits, or –
JOHN: I can’t tell. I don’t think so.
ARTHUR: Which one are the footprints heading from?
JOHN: The first door to the left. (Arthur grunts, moving.) There’s a slot on the door, a sliding piece of wood at eye-level that you can look through.
ARTHUR: Oh. Alright, alright. (He slides the slot open.)
JOHN: I can’t see much. Raise the torch a little bit.
ARTHUR: Like this? (The flame grows more audibly. A sad tune begins to play.)
JOHN (disappointed): Oh. Jesus Christ.
ARTHUR: Shut it?
JOHN: Shut it. (Arthur slides the slot closed.)
JOHN: Yes. She was killed. There’s a small cot on the floor, and a bucket. Her… jaw was pulled off.
ARTHUR: Her jaw? Jesus. Alright, o-okay.
JOHN (quiet): Yeah.
ARTHUR: Are you okay?
JOHN (distracted): Yeah.
ARTHUR: Should we… check the others?
ARTHUR: It’s okay to be a little put off, John.
JOHN: I know. (Arthur starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: You know – you’ve mentioned a few times, how I’ve grown more callous –
JOHN: Not callous.
ARTHUR: Sure, sure. But you seem more… fragile.
JOHN: Do I?
ARTHUR: Yes, I –
JOHN (cutting him off): Just open the slot. (ARTHUR: Oh.) (Arthur slides the slot open.) Empty.
ARTHUR: Thank god. (He slides the slot closed.) I just mean to say that you seem very sensitive to some of the horrors that we’ve experienced, especially because we’ve experienced some of them already, in a way. I-It’s not our first dead body, or –
JOHN: I didn’t say it was our first dead body, Arthur. I had hoped we’d seen our last, admittedly, yes.
ARTHUR: Alright, alright, alright.
JOHN: Slot. (Arthur slides it open.) Nothing. (Arthur sighs in disappointment.) The other side of the room.
ARTHUR: Right. (He slides it shut and begins to walk.)
ARTHUR: Anyway, chances are good that the other way leads to the estate. To Larson.
JOHN: Yes, I’d say so.
ARTHUR: And look, once Larson is done, then we’re out of here, John. (He chuckles.)
JOHN: Are we?
ARTHUR (excited): Yes! Out of the mountain, out of Addison, out of the cold! We can go home, John. Back to Arkham.
(A soft piano song begins.)
JOHN: How do you picture that?
ARTHUR: We-We’ll take a car of his, hit the road, fuck the thaw, drive straight back to the coast. (He sighs.) I can feel it now. (Audibly thrilled.) The pavement beneath my feet, the office. My own bed!
JOHN: The slot.
JOHN: The slot. Open it. We’re on the other side of the room.
ARTHUR: Right, right, right, right. (Arthur slides it open.) You’re listening to me, though, right? We get to go home, John! A place that we have –
MAN (sudden, muffled): Who are you talking to?
ARTHUR: Fuck! What?
MAN: Who are you talking to?
ARTHUR: No one!
MAN: Do you –
JOHN: There’s someone in the cell!
ARTHUR: Are you okay? Who –?
MAN: I’m okay. Are you okay?
ARTHUR: Yes, yes. I-I-I’m okay. You’re okay?
MAN: I’m okay.
ARTHUR (breathing hard): How… w-why are you in there? W-Would you like out?
MAN: Yes! Yes! Why are you… you-you’ll let me out?
JOHN: Of course!
ARTHUR: I… it’s – who are you?
MATTHEW: M-Matthew. Look, let me out.
JOHN: Let him out. The latch is –
ARTHUR: N-Now, hold on. Why are you –
MATTHEW: Who are you talking to?
ARTHUR: No one. Why are you in there?
MATTHEW: I’m… I’m trapped. A prisoner.
ARTHUR (whispering, to John): Can you see in the slot?
JOHN: Barely. I can only see the light reflecting in the blacks of his eyes.
MATTHEW: You’re talking to someone?
JOHN: His eyes are manic, wild –
ARTHUR: No, I’m not.
JOHN: Darting back and forth.
ARTHUR: Why are you in here?
MATTHEW: Let me, let me out, and-and I’ll… I’ll tell you.
ARTHUR (negotiating): Tell me, and I’ll let you out.
JOHN: Arthur, he’s a prisoner, let him out.
ARTHUR: No, no, no, not until we know who or what he is.
JOHN: What he is?
MATTHEW: Talk to me!
ARTHUR: You’re in there for a reason. Tell us what it is. Tell me what it is.
JOHN: There’s no reason to try to –
ARTHUR: What is this place?
MATTHEW: This place, it’s not for you or me or-or him.
ARTHUR: Him? Larson?
MATTHEW: Mm? Mmhm.
ARTHUR: Well, what is it for?
MATTHEW (closer to the slot, whispering): Something else. Something old.
(A snap of suspenseful music.)
ARTHUR: The Order of the Fallen Star.
MATTHEW: The O-Order of the Fallen-Fallen Star, no, no, the-the Order of the Fallen Star is in New York.
ARTHUR: New York?
JOHN: Where in New York?
MATTHEW: It hides in plain sight. Most, most don’t even know what it is, let alone where.
ARTHUR: But you do?
MATTHEW: Let me out. Let me out.
JOHN: Ask him where it is!
ARTHUR: What? Why?
MATTHEW: What why what why – (A slam against the door.)
JOHN: Ask him!
ARTHUR: Where is it? W-Where is it? Tell us – tell me!
MATTHEW: And you’ll let me out?
MATTHEW: It hides in plain sight, the-the-the Order of the Fallen Star has a name in some circles, like the Freemasons, in-invite-invite only.
JOHN: How can we be invited?
MATTHEW: Now, now let me out.
ARTHUR: No, this place, you said… not for him, not for us. Who built this place?
MATTHEW: Oooh, you-you’re breaking your promise.
ARTHUR: No, no, what is this place for? What the –
MATTHEW (shushing): I’m not, I’m not supposed to tell you, yet. (Brief suspenseful music.)
ARTHUR: What? Why?
MATTHEW: Because if you know, you won’t do it!
JOHN: Won’t do what?
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
MATTHEW: If you know, if I tell you too much, you-you-you won’t do it. You have to go there for yourself.
ARTHUR: You’re not making any sense.
MATTHEW: Now let me out!
ARTHUR: Tell me!
MATTHEW: God damn it.
ARTHUR: Tell me!
MATTHEW (tearfully): He’ll-He’ll kill me.
ARTHUR: Who? Larson?
MATTHEW: No! No, no.
ARTHUR: Who? Did Larson not put you in there?
MATTHEW: Larson put me in, yes, yes –
ARTHUR (banging against the wall): Tell me! God damn it! Tell me what this place is for. Tell me –
MATTHEW: Mm. Mm. (Closer to the slot.) Let me out… and I’ll tell you.
JOHN: Arthur, let him out.
ARTHUR: Right. O-Okay, okay. Look, you said Larson put you in here – (MATTHEW: Please.)
And the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so.
ARTHUR: Where’s the… (He starts to rummage around. The main theme starts to play.)
MATTHEW: Oh. When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend. Hm. Hmm.
ARTHUR: Yes, yes. A-And you’ll tell me?
MATTHEW: Anything. Anything.
JOHN: The Order of the Fallen Star?
ARTHUR (snapping): No! No. I-I need to know about this place. What was it built for?
ARTHUR: Quiet! I’ll let you out and you’ll tell me, okay?
MATTHEW: Yes! Yes, yes.
ARTHUR: How does the –
JOHN (barking): Arthur!
ARTHUR: Where’s the fucking –
JOHN: If you decide to –
(The door swings open, finally. Matthew steps out, breathing heavily.)
MATTHEW (emotional): There! Thank you, thank you.
JOHN: The man is wiry and ragged. (Matthew gasps for breath.) His skin is thin, nearly translucent. His teeth are black as the night. He has no hair on his head or face. (Suspenseful music starts.)
ARTHUR: Yes. Yes, well, well. No one deserves to be… trapped in there, now-now tell me!
MATTHEW: Oh, okay, okay…
ARTHUR: Why was this place built?
MATTHEW: It was built for a purpose. A place to seek, to find something, something powerful and, uh. A-Ancient.
ARTHUR: What? Something Larson wanted?
MATTHEW: Larson? He’s gone, he’s already left, he’s…
JOHN: Ask him about New York! We need to know –
MATTHEW: No, no, not Larson, no. Some seek a power they never had, and some seek a power they once did. This place… was to seek what they never had. The three soldiers were tasked in –
ARTHUR (to John): Shut up! (To Matthew, who has started to whimper.) The three soldiers, w-were tasked with what? N-No! K-Keep going. Tell me about the three soldiers, what were they seeking –
MATTHEW: An object…
JOHN (in horror): Arthur! His eyes are –!
MATTHEW: That is without equal –
ARTHUR: What is it? Spit it out!
JOHN: His eyes are bleeding, Arthur!
ARTHUR: What was it called!?
MATTHEW (breathing hard, then suddenly calm): The Black Stone.
ARTHUR: The Black Stone?
(A distortion of audio, and then a wet explosive noise. Matthew screams. His body falls to the floor to the sound of falling blood. Arthur starts to hyperventilate.)
JOHN (in alarm): Jesus fucking Christ! Arthur! Fuck. (Arthur gags and throws up. He spits, after.) His head, Arthur, it. It split in two. Jesus Christ. (A long pause as Arthur gathers himself. John continues in a tone near tears.) He said… he said he would be killed.
ARTHUR (in shock): Yes. Fucking hell.
JOHN: I told you.
ARTHUR: You told me to let him out, you fucking –
JOHN: I told you to ask him about the Order of the Fallen Star.
ARTHUR: What the fuck do you care? What is wrong with you?
JOHN: What is wrong with me?
ARTHUR: Yes! You! (He grunts and sighs. He breathes shakily a few times. In a dispairing tone.) What the fuck is going on?
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR (almost tearfully): What killed him?
ARTHUR: I know. You don’t know.
JOHN: We need to move. Pick yourself up.
ARTHUR: I just. I don’t understand. Every time –
JOHN (interrupting): Nothing you can do here, laying in a growing pool of this man’s blood, is going to change that. He couldn’t –
ARTHUR: What a waste. Fuck.
JOHN (offended): A waste?
ARTHUR: Yes. I-I mean: w-w-what a way to go. (Mumbles unintelligably. Distracted.) Maybe. I don’t know.
JOHN: What the fuck are you talking about?
ARTHUR: Nothing! Just. He-He w-would’ve died anyway, if-if we had left him in there, he... A-And he could have told us through the door, instead of… (Mumbles unintelligibly.)
JOHN: A man is dead, Arthur.
ARTHUR: I’m aware. (Scathing.) I can feel his blood on my face, John, thank you.
JOHN: You pushed him to tell us. Don’t you feel any remorse?
ARTHUR: Fuck you. (He grunts and stands.)
JOHN: There’s nothing for us here.
ARTHUR: You’re right. (John sighs. Arthur begins to walk.) Black Stone. Who exactly was seeking it, and why?
JOHN: The three soldiers, obviously.
ARTHUR: The three soldiers.
ARTHUR: The three soldiers. Wait, wait, wait –
JOHN: Yes, Arthur. Statues in the other room. The ones that –
ARTHUR (emphatically): The three soldiers.
ARTHUR: In the Dreamlands, i-in the desert. You said there were three spirits that followed us. Armor-clad, and-and…
(Faroe’s Lullaby begins to play.)
JOHN: And dressed as soldiers.
JOHN: You’re right.
ARTHUR: What does that mean, though? They-They sought us out, and they… and they gave us –
JOHN: The coin.
ARTHUR: The coin. The one-The one I flipped!
ARTHUR: We need our stuff back. Which way is –
JOHN: Keep going straight. It’s the only way we haven’t gone. (Arthur starts to move.) Arthur, I feel like we’re a piece of something much bigger.
ARTHUR: Yes! Yes. I feel that, too. Have for a long time, b-b-but these-these soldiers, they were… they were looking for this black stone, and-and-and... I think I’ve seen a picture of it. Well-Well, Yellow had.
JOHN: Of the black stone.
ARTHUR: Yes! It was in the estate, above. I-I-In a room. I-In fact… in fact, i-i-it may have been the picture missing from the wall.
JOHN: What does this have to do with Larson, though?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Perhaps it’s part of the Order of the Fallen Star.
JOHN: Matthew said he wasn’t part of it.
ARTHUR: Who? (In realization.) Oh, right, right, right. Look, whatever the case, we’ll get some answers, finally.
ARTHUR: Out of Larson.
JOHN (disbelieving): Out of Larson.
ARTHUR (darkly): Yes. One way or another.
JOHN: Have you considered for one second that Larson might not be so easily killed?
ARTHUR: I have no qualms about it.
JOHN: He has people imprisoned beneath this mountain. I doubt you’re much of a threat.
ARTHUR: I’m not worried about that.
JOHN: You should be. (Arthur scoffs.) Arthur, Matthew’s head fucking explod –
ARTHUR: We’re not coming back for those fucking people.
ARTHUR: We’re not deviating anymore. We’re leaving this place.
JOHN: They needed help.
ARTHUR: So do we. (A more hopeful piano melody starts to play.) So did Matthew, and look how that turned out.
JOHN (growling): Matthew died because you asked him to tell you! You threatened him with staying in that prison! If he didn’t –
ARTHUR (angry): He died because he was a fucking cultist, and all those people down there deserve the same fate.
JOHN: I – oh.
ARTHUR: You don’t get it, do you? This is how we stop them.
JOHN (flat): Is it.
ARTHUR (emphatic): Yes. And I’m not letting you drag me down anymore.
JOHN: Drag you down?
JOHN (a long pause): How exactly was Yellow the monster between you two?
ARTHUR (stopping his footsteps): What?
JOHN: You heard me.
(A long pause.)
ARTHUR: Because he was just like you. A manipulative, naïve parasite who was too inconsequential to exist on his own. (He starts to walk again.)
JOHN (quietly): The stone hallway comes to a set of steps that lead up.
ARTHUR (terse): Good.
JOHN: I’m glad I’m not like you.
ARTHUR: The feeling’s mutual.
(END Part 25.)