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Transcript - Season 3, Chapter 11


It’s a windy, wet day in Glottage. Rain blows down over the empty streets.


(Over the speakers)

This is a public service announcement. CLS airstrikes are now making ground one hundred and twenty miles from Glottage and are expected to reach the city limits by early next week. Imminent attempts at a ground invasion are anticipated, and will be repelled by any means necessary. Large stretches of the northern highway remain off-limit to motorists for the foreseeable future. 


Please memorise the location of your nearest air raid shelters and continue listening to public broadcasts in case of any sudden changes to the quarantine zones. Above all, remain calm - and pray for changing winds.


The Peninsula will prevail.

HAYWARD, slowly, climbs the metal steps. He stands there in the rain, looking up.


(Thoughtfully observing)

Count the floors, count the windows.


Fourteen - fifteen - sixteen up, four across, that’s our apartment. Hell of a view from the top.


I used to lean over the rail up there, dangling my head over the side, and just…yell back into the raging wind, and I thought I was the luckiest kid in the entire city, because I could see everything.


Whatever the priests tried to tell me, whatever the holy books said - that was rapture.


We didn’t have a radio, I didn’t own a second pair of trainers - but rapture was already within my grasp.



(Also observing)

Light’s on.



(Quietly and calmly)

Yeah. Mom’s still alive.


I sent someone to go see her a few months back. Posed as a census taker.


She’d got wind of my trouble in the Linger Straits and she’d worked it out so that I was a war hero. Spy behind enemy lines. She didn’t know where I was, she said, but she knew I was doing important work.


My picture was on every wall. She’d even found some medals and convinced herself they were for me.


Relief to find out she’d managed to make sense of me, if I’m honest with you.


A moment’s silence.



You want to go up and see her?




Nah. Let her have the lie of me. Not like she has a whole lot else.


CARPENTER pats him on the back



You’re wiser than most, Hayward.


All right, let’s go see Shrue.



A busy bar. We can hear a live performance in the background.


CHARITY’S DATE, sincere and earnest and very much in love, is sitting at a table, making a speech to her.



So listen. I’ve been thinking about everything you’ve been saying recently.

About how Glottage feels like it’s under siege right now. About the…the oppressiveness of the atmosphere here, the constant bad news about the war, and all this pressure around sacrifices.


We need a break from it all.


So I wanna take you away for the weekend. Just you and me.


And, and you know how you’ve always told me about the North-Western territory where you grew up? All those beautiful, deep birch woods?


I wanna see them. They sound like a dream.

(Revealing something delightful)

So I was thinking…Verity, I was thinking I book us a bed and breakfast. 


And then maybe you can take me hiking in the woods.


And we can forget all about our troubles.


On the other side of the table, ‘VERITY’ - or CHARITY - watches him with amusement.


She is, of course, planning to take him deep into the woods and sacrifice him. 




Babe, I’m touched. I can’t believe you came up with that all by yourself.


Well, maybe next weekend, we can-


We hear the door open in the background, and voices-


CHARITY looks up and breaks off. CARPENTER, along with HAYWARD, has just entered the bar.



It’s not even midday. You want to do some sightseeing?




No. I’ve had my fill of this fucking city.



(Her voice trembling with fear)

-oh, fuck.



(Chuckling uncertainly)

Verity? Uh, is everything OK?




Just gotta powder my nose real quick. Back in a sec.



Yeah, yeah, of course. 


Hurry back.


We hear CHARITY grabbing her stuff and very rapidly walking away across the bar floor.


HAYWARD and CARPENTER approach, moving to sit at a nearby table.



You mind if we take one of these chairs, pal?



Sure, go ahead.


They settle into their seats.



So according to my contact, Adjudicator Shrue comes in here most nights.


Before the war, they’d have a security detail with them everywhere they went. A driver, a couple of aides.


Shrue’s detail was never replaced. So they come in alone after work, and they stay here until closing time.



Every night?



(Gently joking)

I thought that, but then…who are we to judge?


I don’t think we’d gel with a well-adjusted defector. There’d be nothing to talk about.


CARPENTER chuckles. Silence as they wait.



When they do arrive, how do you want to play it?



That’s your area of expertise more than it’s mine. We were never hugely subtle diplomats in the force.


Half the time you’d just bang on the door, yell ‘Police’ and post someone by the back door in case they tried to sneak a giant slobbering saint out into the alleyway.




We had a lot of secrecy. 


Codes, passphrases. Secret identities.


My old handler, he’d insist on it. Always better to have a phone call than a meeting. Always allude, never state out loud.




We saw that with a lot of the illegal faiths, and you know, the funny thing was-


We were hardly ever listening in. We didn’t have the manpower, we didn’t have the budgets.


They made us pray to the Cloak for sacred visions of an incriminating conversation.


You people were always running from your own shadows.



(Thinking back to MASON)

Yeah, he knew. 


He liked to say that incompetence in our enemies was no excuse for ill-discipline in ourselves.


If we handled ourselves carefully, we’d be prepared for the day when we were up against something that wasn’t quite as careless as the Greater Glottage Municipal Police Force.


So if you asked him what we should be doing now, he’d say - scribble a note on a bar napkin. Slip it into Shrue’s bag.


Give them an address, somewhere public. Watch them from nearby to make sure they’re not being followed.


Call them at a nearby phone booth. Give them another address, tell them that’s the meeting point. Wait and see if they call the cops down upon us.


If they’re sound, redirect them to the real meeting point. Again, somewhere public. One of us talks, the other one keeps watch from a hidden vantage point in case the law shows up.




Think we’ve got six months to spare?



I didn’t say I agreed with him.





Did you trust him? Your old handler?



He was the least trustworthy man I ever met. 



Do you trust me?







Didn’t even sass me when you answered. Not sure I know what to do with that.





(Listing the moments)

When I woke up after Marcel’s Crossing, surprised to find I wasn’t dead.


When you took me in.


Those are the hopeful moments that linger on in my heart and head, and they come with their own kind of torment, because they make me think - in spite of everything, no matter how bad it all gets - that it still might be worth putting your trust in other people.




Yeah, that’s how we get you. 


My point was this - Shrue’s been speaking out against the government. 


Just like your Katabasian, they’ll be on edge. Even if they’re not being watched right now, they’ll think they’re being watched.


They get a mysterious napkin note, an anonymous phone-call, aren’t they going to assume it’s a trap? 



Fair point.


But then again - we go in directly, they call the cops on us, our faces are splashed all over Glottage, we both end up arrested, jailed, and stuffed into one of the last missiles that gets fired over the channel before the war ends.


That’s not exactly what I’d call a successful mission.


(Nervously approaching HAYWARD)

Uh, excuse me. You mind just watching my bag for a second? My girlfriend’s in the bathroom, and I just want to check she’s doing OK.



Oh, sure, pal! Sure.

(Amused, to CARPENTER in a singsong voice)

Heh. Someone’s done a runner.

CHARITY'S DATE scurries after his missing partner. In the background, the song ends. Applause rings out.

Meanwhile, SHRUE and CROSS are entering the bar.



(Pushing past)

‘Scuse us, Scuse us-

(to the barman)

Bottle of schnapps, please, barkeep. Two glasses.


The drinks arrive. They're poured. SHRUE and CROSS are both contemplative, melancholy - but they've also very much arrived at a mutual existential 'fuck it'.





What are you going to do, Cross?


CROSS considers.



Drink myself silly tonight. Tomorrow, sleep myself sober, drink myself silly again.


The day after that, I shall put a smile on my face and a colourful new necktie and pretend I found the entire thing extremely amusing.



Think I should apologise?




No. No point. You won’t be forgiven for it.



So what do I do?





(Observing his own necktie)

The neckties are good camouflage, you know? Bit silly. This one has bears on it.


Good thing, to be a little bit silly. Little bit pompous, a little pathetic. Best kind of camouflage - showing that you’ve no spine at all.


I’ve had three divorces, which is extremely pathetic.

Find your own camouflage, Shrue.


Find a way to live with Carson’s plans. Doesn’t matter how cockamamie or corrupt they are. 


When it’s announced, tell the press what a splendid idea his new tea-god is; how it’s the perfect marriage of pragmatism and idealism. Get back on the radio and brag about how the issue of sustainable sacrifice has now been solved for the first time in generations.


Become a vessel and a voice for him. 


Show him he’s won. Give him a reason to keep you alive.



I can’t go on living amongst these people, Cross. I just can’t keep up the facade any more. 

I can’t keep on compromising, I can’t keep handing myself over to them.


I can’t go on smiling as they tear it all to pieces just to keep themselves in place. 


I feel like my own face is going to rebel against me if I even try.



I agree with you.


I shall start drinking a little more on weekday mornings, going forwards. 


Help to keep the smile on my face.


Silence. CROSS repours.



This dilemma of ours is nothing new. Might be the oldest intellectual problem of all.

(Laying it out over the bar)

Reason bows to power, or else reason ceases to be. Power corrupts reason and itself. 


Reason becomes newly dedicated to coming up with some damn good reasons why power deserves to carry on standing. 


Reason…ceases to be. Power ceases to be.


Both come along again, in time.

The song ends, in the background behind them. Applause.


Y’know, before the unification, every other year you’d have some crackpot local monarch, or before that some tribal leader or lunatic high priest, proposing that we could solve all of our society’s ills if we only gave up our first-born children in their hundreds to some monstrous new hill-god or river-deity they’d just come up with.


And the advisors, the bishops, the sensible people, they’d just have to nod and smile, just as you and I have to nod and smile - and go along with it. 


Give up their own children, probably.

(Not entirely convinced by himself)

Things are much better than that now, I suppose.



A few more layers of comfort. 


Just enough to keep the cruelty and the stupidity largely out of eyeline.




Well, the comfort’s not nothing. I quite like the comfort.




Bright side of things. Four weeks’ time, maybe three - the Lingers will probably be marching through the streets of Glottage to claim the Palace.


If you survive that long, rank insubordination against the H.A.’s office might actually be an asset.


SHRUE wakes up a little.



Oh, that’s right, that’s right. 

(Chuckling to themselves)

Gods, I don’t even know what I’m so worried about, Cross - I’d completely forgotten we’re just about to lose the war.



CARSON is introducing another CenSec meeting.

We can hear the clock ticking in the background as he awkwardly shuffles papers. The writing's on the wall for the war.



(Reading from the agenda)

So, uh. Apologies from Adjudicator Shrue, and Adjudicator Cross, both of whom are off sick today.


And, uh - I usually do my best to put a happy little spin on things here at CenSec, but I know we’re all feeling a little worried, and some of the agenda items this morning might, uh, they might-

(Trailing off)

Item One. 


We’ve been talking to the board of the Church Electric about renewing our contracts with them, maybe even establishing a second dam on the White Gull to help us with the national energy shortage.


They have now confirmed with us that due to the current “political instability” and the continued impact of the war across the Peninsula, they’re going to wait it out and see.


So. We’re on notice.


They have, as I understand it, already been moving forward with renewal negotiations in Nesh.





Item Two. Private Lillibet, our newest god of war.


So we’ve heard some troubling reports that he might not have been a war hero so much as a war criminal, and his rotting carcass has begun to call for children to be tossed from helicopters as offerings to his eternal glory, which-


The phone rings. CARSON leans forward and picks it up.



(Eyebrows raised)



Fantastic, Hawthorne - absolutely great work, take the afternoon off. 


But bring the radio in first, please.

(To the room, a little wearily)

So, uh, folks, I know some of us have had a few more questions about Val in the past few meetings; “Can she be relied upon”, “Do we have her firmly under control.”


Well, I don’t know if we can control anything in this life, but I do know this.


She gets results. She’s been getting results, single-handedly. She’s putting our military to shame.


All of us can see that, all of us appreciate that, and - and, anything else that we don’t appreciate quite so much, I think, we need to accept as the foibles and peccadillos of a genuine talent. 


She’s earned a little licence from all of us, is what I’m saying.


This very institution was founded on the ideal that an extraordinarily useful power deserves a little extra leeway, after all. 


Let’s hear from her now.

(Into the radio)

Val, this is Press Secretary Carson, speaking on behalf of the High Adjudicator. How’s progress?


No response.



(Weakly and a little pleadingly)

Val, I’ve got CenSec in the room with me.


They - they’d really appreciate an update on the state of the war.


If you wouldn’t mind.


VAL is walking through the forest. Her breath is ragged and heavy.


(In VAL's earpiece)

Really feel like you're holding us hostage here, Val-

VAL stops walking. Softly, in the background, we can hear a bugle blowing.

She smirks.


Hello, Press Secretary.


(In VAL's earpiece, elated)

Yes! Oh, you beautiful soul-

(Getting a hold of himself)

Faintly, we can hear a helicopter. The CLS encampment is nearby.



Established gods have the privilege of making themselves invisible; at forcing us to guess at their intent in the flight of birds or the rapture of saints.



(In VAL's earpiece, taken aback)


So we were all really hoping to hear that you were making progress towards Nesh. To, to topple the seat of government. 


Like we agreed.

VAL ignores him.


As a god-in-waiting, I have no such privilege.


And so I must announce myself with brio.


(In VAL's earpiece, taken aback)

I, uh...I don't know what that means.


Bear witness. To my ascension - and my victory.

She begins striding forwards in the direction of the helicopters.




I, uh...

Lot of worried faces in the room, Val.

She doesn't answer.

Resigned, CARSON switches off the radio.


(To the room, tiredly, leaning back)

Yeah, OK - we’re going to need to kill her.

(Picking up the phone)

Uh, Hawthorne, could you see if we have any god-hunters on contract? Good ones, please.

Thank you. And, uh…see if you can find her mother.

He switches the radio back on and listens to see what's going to happen next.


On the parade ground, a CLS DRILL SERGEANT is inspecting his troops.


(Inspecting the troops)

Godsdamn it, what a dis-en-chanting stroll through the piss-filled shallows of the gene pool. Every one of their gurning faces a witness statement to the fact that I have failed in my life’s work as a drill sergeant. I asked for an army, they gave me roadkill.


Listen up, privates! 


You’re being shipped out across the channel! You’re taking the fight to the Pennies! You’re going to be heroes!


And whether you’re raising the CLS banner high in Glottage this time next week or you bleed out two miles from the border, the first and last thought on your part-time minds will be:


“Did I make Drill Sergeant Logan Christopher Smith proud of me? Because I know and believe that if I embarrass Drill Sergeant Logan Christopher Smith in any way during the final days of this war, Drill Sergeant Logan Christopher Smith will find my grave in Nesh, dig up my carcass and skull-fuck me dry with my own shin-bone.”


Do you and I have an understanding?


All right, this is roll-call! Because these are the Silt Verses, dammit! And I name each of you sorry limp-peckers thus:


Rhys Lawton! 

(Gets a response)

Marta da Silva!

(Gets a response)

Sarah Griffin!

(Gets a response)

Felix Trench!

(Gets a response)

Meabh de Brun!

(Gets a response)

Jimmie Yamaguchi!

(Gets a response)

Daisy Bilenkin!

(Gets a response)

Nathan Lunsford!

(Gets a response)

William A. Wellman!

Meanwhile, CHUCK HARM, the CLS TV host, strides past. He presents to camera.




Well, doubters forever come to nothing, as my dear old dad used to say. 


And so here I am, Chuck Harm, flak helmet in hand, accompanied by my loyal camera-saint, Derek.


And we’re bringing you news not from my usual studio, but live from Camp Mal-Retour 30 miles outside of Nesh, where our brave boys and girls have been preparing for what is rumoured to be the first major ground offensive by the CLS against the Peninsula since the war began.


The question on everyone’s lips - could this be the final push that brings the Pennies to their knees?


Behind CHUCK, a helicopter begins to land. He gives an annoyed sigh and begins to lead the camera off to one side.



The exact timings and details of our troop movements are, of course, strictly classified, and with good reason. 


The entire nation continues to mourn my co-anchor Charlotte Cate-Daley, who brought glory to Channel 12 by delivering a first-hand look of one of our rocket batteries last month and was immolated shortly afterwards.


As always, vigilance is our watchword. But our god must feed, just like anybody else’s, and dead airtime, we know, is a blasphemy to its eternal splendour.



(Wickedly, conspiratorially)

Let’s see if we can’t give you an inside scoop.

CHUCK pushes through a door.



We can hear the buzz of panels and controls. CHUCK leads the camera off to one side.


Oh, we’ve got a radio operator over here.


(Into the radio, softly)

But that can’t be right, your story keeps on changing. I got two perimeter breach warnings from the Iron Cormorants in the eastern woods, and then you told me you had a visual on an intruder inside the compound fence - and now you’re saying you didn’t see anybody? That’s what you’re telling me?


You did! You did tell me that! Not five minutes ago!


I heard gunshots! 


(Shoving a microphone in their face)

Private, this is Chuck Harm, and you’ve got the heart and whole of the Lingers cheering you on right now.


The Peninsula’s been battered, it’s been bruised, its savage attacks upon our shores have been beaten back time and time again. 


How long until you’ll be sipping psychotropic tea and eating finger buns in the cafes of Glottage?



(Overlapping, into the radio)

Look, if you shot a civvie, that’s not necessarily the end of the world, I’m sure the major will understand that it wasn’t - that you didn’t intend-


Just - just one second - 


Could you fuck off out of my face, please?



(A little thrown)

All right. 


CHUCK, annoyed, turns and continues walking on.



(Getting rapidly back on track)

Lot of…there’s a lot of seriousness here at the camp.


Lot of intense focus, heads bent towards their task, and of course we’ll try our hardest not to interfere with any of that.


Our soldiers can be rough, but they’re certainly ready. 

CHUCK HARM pushes through into the next room.

We can very faintly hear the voice of VAL, speaking to RADIO OPERATOR #2.


(Approaching RADIO OPERATOR #2)

News from headquarters about the big push across the channel, soldier? 


Or are you just chattering to your sweetheart back home?


The RADIO OPERATOR does not respond.




Private? Uh, what are you listening to?



(Stunned, still listening to the voice in his ear)

She says…


She says there was a great battle here today.


She says we lost.






(Still listening to VAL, quietly and dully hypnotised)

But I was never at the battle, she says. I never made it that far, I died before the fighting started.


She says it’d make no sense otherwise. 


How could I survive to be a grown man with such a colossal tumour growing inside my skull?


As big as a grapefruit, as large as a sea-buoy, bigger than me.


How could I possibly survive that?



(Entirely taken aback)

Well, you couldn’t.



(Nodding enthusiastically)



-and we hear a sudden horrible, fleshy explosion as the RADIO OPERATOR’s head bursts open.



(A mix of horrified and elated)

Derek. Derek. Did you…did you get that?

(To camera)

Channel 12 apologies for any, uh, any, any explicit content that might have fallen through our censors.


Let’s just step around the gunk.

Of course, we…we certainly shouldn’t panic. No Peninsulan force or known agent has made it across the channel thus far in this conflict.

(Utterly unconvincing)

It seems more than possible that this is a training exercise, some engineered crisis to keep our courageous corps on their toes.


Let’s, uh, let’s-

He pushes back into the first room - and freezes. 

We can hear VAL's voice faintly on every radio. Blood is dripping from the walls and CHUCK's feet squelch. Guess everyone in here had a tumour, too.

CHUCK walks quickly back out onto the parade ground-



(Calling out to the soldiers)

Excuse me! There’s a god loose out here. 


Uh, I think there’s a god loose out here!


Whistles begin to blow. We hear distant gunfire. Sirens sound.


(To the camera-saint)

Derek, keep rolling, for gods’ sake, keep rolling.

(To camera, breathless)

Chuck Harm, here in the heat of battle, as our forward camp finds itself apparently under assault.

A jeep skids past CHUCK, blowing his horn. He gasps.


Maybe, uh - maybe we should take cover.

As CHUCK scurries to a hiding spot and crouches there, he mutters a frantic prayer to himself. Helicopters roar by overhead.



(Frantically, stumbling over the lines)

Though I may stand in the hurricane’s heart,

Blimp, boom mic, and broadcast preserve me.

Though I may march into the depths of the low-income housing estate,

May terror and revulsion flee from my face.

Though I may - though I may - fuck! What’s the next line?

Overhead, we hear the whirring blades of a helicopter getting closer and closer - and a mayday signal getting louder and louder. (VAL has, we might imagine, told the pilot that his helicopter can't fly.)

CHUCK realises: it's out of control. He runs.


Cover, Derek! Cover-

WHAM. The helicopter hits the ground noisily with a crash, ploughing into CHUCK's camera-saint. CRASH, BANG, WALLOP. Metal goes flying.

Overhead, someone turns the air-raid sirens off.

Silence descends.

Then CHUCK, hauling himself uncertainly up, limps back towards the wreckage.


Derek. Uh, Derek. You OK?

The camera-saint doesnt reply. CHUCK stands there for a moment, bereft.


And suddenly the speakers come back on.


VAL is triumphant, malevolently playful, and deeply amused as she watches all of this play out.



(Over the speakers)

Soldiers of the CLS.


In the years to come, they referred to this as the Massacre of Mal-Retour.


Not one of you survived it.

CHUCK listens, horrified.



(Over the speakers)

Future historians could only speculate in vain as to why your generals made the crucial error of pointing your rockets directly upwards, aiming them so that they could only briefly soar up into the air before immediately descending once again onto your camp.



...oh, my gods.


Above and all around us, the rocket batteries turn, obediently whirring into place.


(Over the speakers)

But they made that error, in defiance of reason, and all of you suffered for it.


Because all at once, your rockets fired. Raining experimental saints down onto your own heads. Wiping you out in your thousands.

Saints of fire and mud. Saints of sky and earth and rain.


Every one of them hungering. Every one of them grasping for spirit and flesh.


Silence for a moment.

Then the rockets all fire, directly upwards. It's noisy for a moment - and then quiet as they vanish into the sky.

CHUCK, staring up, swallows hard.

Then he hurries back to the wreckage, finds a piece of sheet metal, and hides beneath it.

He breathes hard, ragged, and frightened.


WHAM. WHAM. WHAM. The rockets begin landing once more across the camp. CHUCK cries out in pain as one hits nearby, sending a tide of dust sweeping out overhead.


And then we hear the familiar sound (from Ep 5) of a god-rocket beeping.

It opens with a clunk. And something horrible and oozing - a SAINT OF THE PETROPATER - surges out.

Distantly, we can hear the screams of other saints as they emerge from the rockets. Gunfire and yelling.

VAL's voice rings out over the chaos.



(Over the speakers, horrible and triumphant)

The ear-defenders they’d given you to protect against hostile prayers - well, they did nothing at all.


Your rifles were nothing but wooden props. Your comrades were dummies stuffed full of straw.


How could you possibly doubt me?


You’ve always known in your heart of hearts - they never truly cared about you.


They were always willing to let you die-



Silence for a moment.


CARSON and the adjudicators have been listening to all of this.



(Stunned, disbelieving)

Well, that’s…that’s it. Isn’t it?


Three battalions wiped out in a heartbeat. Nesh lies undefended. 


We didn’t even need to cross the channel. 


We did it. We’ve won, and they don’t even know it yet.

(With rising jubilation and relief)

We…actually won. We won! 


We won!


Cheers and applause break out across the room-


-and we immediately cut to five or ten minutes later. A champagne cork pops out in the corridor. A rousing chorus of 'For he's a jolly good fellow' rings out.

CARSON scooches through the party and back into the meeting room.



(Good-humoured and elated)

Thank you, Stevens. Couldn’t have done it without you. 


Just give me one second - fantastic.


He closes the door behind himself, then goes to the phone and dials.




Uh, Hawthorne. Hawthorne. We need to put the news out there.


Get the nation’s morale back up. Stifle all the anti-sacrificial grumbling. 


Show the world we’ve won. 


I want to see little flags in the streets, I want to see floats with the wind-gods’ faces on them. 


“The Battle of Mal-Retour. Peninsulan agents triumph against three battalions deep in the heart of the Linger Straits.

Our people are marching on Nesh as we speak. We pulled together, as a nation, and we beat the bastards in the face of overwhelming odds.”

HAWTHORNE interrupts him to ask a question - presumably 'what do we tell the media?'.



Well, nothing specifically about Val just yet, because we’re almost certainly going to need to kill her still.

But you’re absolutely correct. We need to be able to sell this to the populace.

And we don’t want to give the Woundtree’s people any opportunity to start yelling about…about experimental gods run amok or anything like that.

CARSON thinks.



(Inspiration striking him, snapping his fingers)

Uhh, ummm. Shrue’s god, the Trawler-man.

We’re legalising them anyway, aren’t we? So maybe, maybe this was the reason why.


We don’t need to lie about it. Nothing explicit. 


Just put it out that the CLS were soundly defeated by a strike force of ours at the Battle of Mal-Retour, that we’re now marching on the capital to seize the Conclave - and by the way, as reward for the patriotism and unspecified heroics of the Parish of Tide and Flesh, they’re now being recognised as a licenced faith of the Peninsula.


Once Val is dealt with, we can iron out the details.


We put the river-god’s people at the very front of the parade, we give the elders a couple of shiny medals, and everyone can fill in the blanks themselves.


All right. See to it.

He slams down the phone.


Perhaps twenty minutes later. We can still hear the shriek of a SAINT in the distance. We can no longer hear any soldiers or gunfire.

We do hear the slow footsteps of VAL - again, breathing hard, as if she's exerted herself.

She comes to the tin sheet where CHUCK HARM is hiding and knocks on it.

CHUCK shrieks.





She turns over the sheet.


I, uh, I surrender. Please, um - please don’t do whatever you’re about to-




Chuck Harm, news from Nesh.


I’ve been enjoying your broadcasts. 


(Assuming the worst)

Oh, no, no, no-

-but then VAL tosses down the camera in front of him.


Can you work the camera?



(Instantly recalculating and becoming eager to please)


He picks up the camera and begins adjusting it.




We’re going into the heart of the city, and you’re going to document everything.

Follow me.



(Now entirely compliant)

Yes, ma’am!

She turns to go. CHUCK grabs the camera and hurries after her.

We can hear VAL starting to breathe harder now - the strain is catching up with her. She stops walking.


(To camera, beginning to editorialise)

Uh, just to the folks who are watching at home. A strange turn of events. 

A startling turn of events, and my duty, as I see it, is to find out as much as I can-

(Almost running into VAL)

I’m, uh, I’m actually an experienced and an award-winning interviewer, ma’am, so should you wish to, um-


And something unexpected happens.


VAL suddenly stumbles, and falls. She cries out in pain.



Uh - ma’am. Ma’am. 


Are you all right? Are you hurt?


VAL is breathing hard, as if winded. She recovers herself.



(Bemused and in pain)

That…hm. That’s…that’s new.


I…think all of that excitement…it…took the wind…right out of me.


I…might have…over-stretched myself back there. 




You did kill a lot of people.



That’s…never happened before.


I…this shouldn’t be happening…I…

(Telling a lie, drawing herself up)

…as a new and powerful god, it should be well-documented that…that I could accomplish great miracles such as these without…experiencing any pain…


I have…passed beyond pain. 


That’s the truth, and everyone knows it-


She doubles up, groaning, in renewed pain. 


None of the lies are working.




Yes, ma’am. I’m sure that’s all true.


VAL’s breathing raggedly regulates. She stares up at him as she recovers herself.



What was…



Charles, ma’am.



(A little weakly)

Help me up, Charles. Please.


And…and lead me on. Into the city.


CHUCK stares at her. And then he accepts his new role.



(With unexpected, genuine sympathy)

OK. Take my arm. 


Careful now, just step around the dummies-


As CHUCK helps her up and they stagger on, we faintly hear the moaning of the camp's unleashed saints.



HAYWARD and CARPENTER are observing SHRUE and CROSS from across the bar.



They’ve been drinking a while. Maybe we’d be better off coming back again tomorrow.




No, Shrue’s been nursing all night.


That the same standard of observational skill displayed by all the boys in bronze?




I made you the second I spotted you in Marcel’s Crossing.



(Retorting right back)

Yeah, and how did that work out for you?






Pretty good, ultimately. All things considered.





(Softly, sincerely)

Can I share something with you, Hayward? In confidence?



You trust me, don’t you?


CARPENTER hesitates - and then just says it.



There’s a god of death, a god of endings - and she’s been trailing us all the way to Glottage.


She wants to feed on me - she’s made that clear enough. But she’s patient. She wants it to happen at the proper time and the proper place.


She’s been…leading me on to that place since Marcel’s Crossing, and she keeps getting closer every day. 





(As if anticipating pushback)

I’m not imagining it.




No, I believe you.


A lot of officers in Religious Homicide used to say they were god-haunted. Trailed by death, wherever they went.


Like the deity latched onto them and wouldn’t let go. If a suspect slit their own wrists or there were bodies buried under a house, you’d know it - because there’d be something standing there on the roof, looking down at you.


There was the Carrion Craw, the Dancer-In-Wreaths, the Procession-In-Pallor…


And then of course they’d retire with a wristwatch and a bar-crawl, and then five years later they’d come back, hammering on the doors of the precinct, drunk and desperate, yelling that the god was after them now, it was following them, they couldn’t shake it off.


I never saw anything like that, which I was grateful for.


But those cops, I saw how they’d react when they were entering a room.


Eyes twitching to the corners. Shoulders tensed. Ready to run.


I can see them in you, Carpenter.


A long silence.



I should welcome it. That’s what tears me up.


If anyone’s lived through their fair share of shit, it’s me. I should be ready to go.




Why tell me this now, though?



Because right now, Hayward - I can’t see her anywhere.


She’s not standing over Shrue’s shoulder. She’s not lurking at the bar.


There’s no whisper in my head, there’s no hand at my throat.


My head’s clearer than it’s been in months, and believe me, I’ve looked for her everywhere.



What does that mean?


CARPENTER considers.



Well, from one point of view, I suppose it means we’re heading in the right direction.





Fuck it. Let’s take a leap of faith.


CROSS gets up off his stool with a grunt.



Time I was heading off. You coming?



Staying for one more, I think.

CROSS turns to go - and then hesitates.



Shrue, I’m…I’m sorry, old sport. 


If something happens to you, I- I won’t be able to say anything. 


I just can’t, you understand?



It’s fine, Cross. I understand.


Looking forward to seeing the necktie.

CROSS accepts this.



(Sorrowfully, simply - as if with a shrug)

Six thousand years of this. Millions of people. Thousands of gods. Countless possibilities.


And yet here we are, you and I, stood at a crossroads in the beating heart of the world, with nowhere left to go.


CROSS turns and staggers away.


SHRUE silently pours themselves another drink.

And then all of a sudden, CARPENTER is standing at their shoulder.







(Hostile and uncertain)



(Gesturing to HAYWARD)

My friend and I back there, we’ve been going back and forth, back and forth for hours on how best to approach you.



(Perhaps getting the wrong end of the stick)




(Pushing forward)

We were wondering if you’d be interested in converting to a fresh new faith. We’ve heard you on the radio, and we think it’s something you’d really go for.




Oh., thank you. I’m under contract already. Special dispensation.

(More firmly)

I, I don’t need a god. Thank you.




Give me just a minute, Adjudicator - and I think I can persuade you otherwise.




-and the bar door swings open as CARPENTER and HAYWARD exit. Both are a little breathless.



Walk quickly.



Well, that seemed to go OK.



I think it did. 


We’ll meet them downtown tomorrow, at the floating market.


They want to get out of Glottage as soon as possible, they said. Before the CLS comes marching south and the city gets blockaded. A matter of weeks, they reckon.


I told them we could be out of here tomorrow.


They keep walking.


And suddenly we hear the bells ringing out.



Someone having a wedding?



All over Glottage?


And suddenly, CARPENTER realises.



(Quietly, stunned)


They’re ringing out for a miracle. But that’s…that’s impossible.


We’ve…we’ve won the war. 


How the hell did we win the war?


They stand there, in the night, dumbfounded - listening to the sound of bells.

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