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Transcript - Season 3, Chapter 13


We hear driving rain for a moment - and then, as cars roars past, the voice of FAULKNER.


He’s exhausted, and grieving, and bitter - and beginning to lose his grip. 



Now that I have nothing and nobody left in this world...


...what else can they do but take me home?


Shivering beneath my towel, I instruct Sibling Rane very firmly that my father’s cabin must be left intact, in case he someday returns. A note left for my brother, explaining everything.


I’m quite certain I hear Sibling Rane telling one of the other disciples very quietly that the cabin is to be burnt, once we’re safely out of sight.


Then it’s a two-week drive upriver to the Grand Aquifer in an unmarked car, hesitating at every turning, flinching at every set of headlights that comes roaring up the road to meet us.


Sleepless nights in abandoned churches of the faith and in the basements of a few fervent and bedraggled worshippers who beg me for my forgiveness for the mildewed mattresses and bad food - and beg me, in turn, for my reassurance that we will triumph over the false southern council led by the False High Katabasian Greve and her allies; the villains who mean to turn us over to the lawful authorities.


Of course we’ll prevail, I tell them. The pure water shall cleanse the polluted. The river rises.


And they repeat it back to me, the river rises, the river rises, like I’ve just handed them their first full meal in months.


Sibling Rane keeps firmly insisting to our hosts that we are in fact winning our civil war up and down the length of the White Gull, boasting of great victories where a dozen of the enemy were slain all at once.


That all must come and join us in the Grand Aquifer, the historic temple reclaimed by High Prophet Faulkner in the north, where the Trawler-man’s power is strongest, where we shall unleash the river’s wrath against an unsuspecting world.


In private, Sibling Rane whispers to me that these may be exaggerations or outright lies, but they are noble fables in pursuit of a higher truth, and it is true enough that we will be winning soon enough, when Brother Philly and his task force in Glottage assassinate Adjudicator Shrue before the eyes of the world, after which our truth and our victory will be apparent for all to see.


I agree, because agreeing is easier than anything else.


There’s a lingering hunger in our hosts’ eyes and a hollowness in the set of their shoulders - and yet they turn their food over to me, and they apologise for its quality.


These people cannot be saved. Not from our god. Not from me.


The tighter the noose, the emptier their bellies and their pantries, the more fervent their belief in me. Because if they lose their faith now, what will they have left to cling onto?


Where will they have left to go?


I pity them, of course. But I can see now that there is a kind of humour, a savage hilarity, in the sight of someone being devoured alive by their own zealotry.


It’s eating me too, sir. Ma’am. But I’m awake to hear the bones crunch.


I also find it quietly amusing - at first, at least - that Sibling Rane is watching me so closely from morning to night. Monitoring my bathroom breaks upon the northwards road, still awake when I go to sleep and already sipping coffee when I open my eyes.


And then I realise that all of my other retinue members are behaving exactly the same way.


I’m under observation. On suicide watch.


Rane must have told them everything; that I have lost my nerve, grown unreliable. 


Beneath their boastful stories about the war against our fellow faithful, there’s another hidden story circulating just out of my hearing.


A story about a wilful child, a fracturing and grieving mind, a mad king who cannot be trusted to keep it together.


Did I scream aloud, late last night, when I saw Carpenter’s face gazing up at me yet again from the currents of the water? Or did I only dream that I screamed?


Did I cry aloud, in  the early hours, when I saw my father turn his back on me yet again and walk out into the darkness?


If I am distressing them, if I am keeping them awake - they don’t tell me. 


I suppose this is what happens when the lead actor starts getting drop-dead drunk every night before he goes onstage.


Everyone else mucks in together, everyone makes an extra effort, to keep the performance going. Because no one person matters more than the performance.

(With growing gleeful fury)

I want to make a mockery out of them, these loyal and loving disciples, for their silence and severity around me. I want to pretend to slit my wrists with every blunt kitchen knife, I want to roll my eyes up into their sockets and pretend that the Trawler-man has sent me word that they must to wear their underwear on their heads or carve gonads into their scalps, something obscene and ridiculous that will finally make them break.


But my father was wrong about my courage, and I can see the reflection of my vast and shameful failure in the eyes of every worshipper I speak to.


A dark body, rising from the river’s depths - and so I continue to play my part, exactly as they want me to.

We hear a car door open - and FAULKNER steps out into the dirt, and begins to walk.

The polluted winds are howling.


Then the highway becomes a dirt road which becomes a long climb on foot through the hills with stolen or scavenged gas masks that smell rotten, and by the time we’re halfway up to the Grand Aquifer, two of the armed guards are beginning to wheeze and one is declaring that the polluted winds are whispering to him - and I’m beginning to feel my own noose constricting around my neck.


There are renegades in the hills nearby, Sibling Rane warns me. A gathering of false-faith acolytes to the south-east, in the god-haunted ruins of Bellwethers. We’ve exchanged shots with them, and if they knew that such a holy site as the Grand Aquifer had been reclaimed, they’d no doubt try and take it for themselves.


It’s harder to see out here. The winds howl. Dead dust scatters across dead rock.


At last we come to a cleft in the cliffside, an anonymous crevice. 


Nobody is out here to greet me, and although Sibling Rane points out the ancient, wind-weathered prayer-marks in hidden places along the cliff’s edge, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nobody living has come out this way in centuries.


My mind drifts back to the followers of a rain-god, who died alone and forgotten, outlived by their own echoes, in a place very much like this.


They died trapped, not knowing they were trapped.


-and then we descend into the Grand Aquifer. We can hear the faint coughing and muttering of FAULKNER's disciples.


Beneath in the darkness and the cool, there’s a low stone entrance-hall, a few collapsed tunnels, and a banqueting chamber that’s been converted into an all-purpose sleeping space.


Hundreds of hopeful, hungering eyes stare up at me from the darkness, and my name is spoken aloud in spontaneous rapture from a hundred throats.

We hear the DISCIPLES rushing to their feet, calling out to FAULKNER, repeating his name, over and over, a noise which almost swallows up his narration entirely-



It sounds dreadful; it sounds like a cacophony. It doesn’t sound like my name at all.


Sibling Rane leads me on through the dark and sodden corridors of the Grand Aquifer, to a kind of throne-room - a dreaming-pool chamber with a small stone bridge over a great, and stinking, motionless pit of water which I’m assured comes direct from the wellspring far below our feet, the source and origin of the sacred White Gull-

(Laughing out loud)

-and before it, a dilapidated stone chair, facing the reflecting water, so that I may commune at my leisure, with the god that’s led us to this glorious new temple.


It reeks of rotten eggs, this room where I’m to be kept. A blanket, pillow, and mattress have been laid out for me in a darkened alcove behind the throne, out of sight from the chamber entrance. As if it’s shameful that I have to sleep.


Sibling Rane promises that there will be a great welcoming feast in honour of my arrival. A historic moment, they tell me. 


The rest of my life will be made up of only historic moments.


And they leave, with a bow.


I take my place upon the chair, and I gaze down.


There’s nothing looking back at me from the depths of the sulfurous water. 


Nothing but my own face, and I can’t stand to look at it.


The Grand Aquifer is not grand at all. There’s nothing here to be reclaimed. There’s no more potential to be found in this ruin than there ever was in me.


I’ve led these people to a meaningless end.


My father is dead. My cause is dead. I’ve hollowed out a corpse, crawled inside, and made it my final prison.


If there’s any hope, it’s that my one last friend might still live on to hate me.


And that night the sounds of my endless curses upon the name of the Trawler-man, they must echo up through the walls of the chamber, they must be heard by the guards who are standing watch at all times outside the door in case High Prophet Faulkner loses his nerve again-


-but tomorrow morning, I know - they will not say a word.


Perhaps they can tell that I’m only screaming at myself. 


Cursing myself, finding new ways to hate myself, circling the unacceptable truth, marinating myself in its waters-

-and we hear FAULKNER's footsteps on the stone as he mutters to himself, self-loathing and furious-


(Only semi-coherent, vacillating between cursing the Trawler-man and himself)

You’ve failed them all. You will fail them again. 


The river doesn’t rise, it was never capable of rising; it ebbs, it was ALWAYS ebbing, down to a stagnant sea, where the bodies bob and knock and accumulate, and this stinking wellspring, this is the origin, this is the fault, if there’s blame to be meted out it will be meted out here, you fucking waste of two mouths-

A stone hits the water. FAULKNER runs up to his own reflection.


-what will you become now? Now that you’ve lost everything? Now there’s nowhere left to go? Hm?

(Yelling down at the water, at his own reflection)

What’s left to become? What will you be? Fucking - tell me!


What will you be? WHAT WILL YOU BE? WHAT WILL-


-and then the door creaks open.

SIBLING RANE cautiously steps inside. Their patience is fraying...but they're still trying their best to stage-manage FAULKNER through this.




…High Prophet?


FAULKNER stops and turns away.




I’m busy.



The disciples were asking if you’d had a chance to try on your new cassock.


They spent a great many hours last week sewing it in preparation for your arrival, using materials salvaged from the Gulch.


They’d be honoured if you’ll wear it tomorrow to the feast.




It’s much too big. It won’t fit me.



We’ll pad your shoulders.

(A little curtly)

…I’ll tell them you appreciated the offering. 

(More cheerily)

The river has been in fine flow these past few days. Clearly the Trawler-man favours our plans.




Either that or it’s all the rain.



We may have to evacuate some of the lower levels if there’s intense flooding, but no cause for alarm, of course.


There’s no place in the world more loved by the Trawler-man than this - and no people.


Um, I also wanted to seek your counsel.


Sister Cull is manning the radio tonight. We’ve had a lot of trouble picking up the signal, but we’re through to Glottage, and, uh…


I was wondering whether you wanted to consider how best to address the faithful tomorrow. On the subject of what’s been happening with the war.


This is enough to wake FAULKNER up.




What.…what do you mean? 


What’s happening with the war?




A blast of newsy music. And then we can hear the voice of CARSON, coming through on the radio. SAM KINCANNON is interviewing him.



(On the radio)

Tonight, the Linger Straits find themselves in unexpected disarray, their plans for a ground invasion entirely stymied. Tomorrow morning, the children of Glottage will wake to a miracle.


A great blow, as we understand it, dealt to the CLS - and a surprising victory for the Peninsula.


All thanks, we understand from sources close to the government, to a clandestine operation behind enemy lines, carried out by the sworn agents of homegrown Peninsulan faiths.


Press Secretary Carson is with me now to discuss this very welcome - but very unanticipated - development.



(On the radio, cocky as hell)

Unanticipated for some, perhaps. But certainly not for us. 



(On the radio)

Well, you had us all fooled. Can you shed any light on exactly how this victory was achieved?



(On the radio, jokingly chiding)

Sam, Sam, Sam. Obviously there’s a great deal I can’t say just yet, since our military operations in the CLS are still underway.


I’m sure we can expect a lot of wild stories about exactly how it all went down - but the truth will out, and in time we’ll be able to share the full story of exactly how it happened and who we have to thank.


But I can tell you this. The High Adjudicator is extremely pleased with the success of our mission at Mal-Retour. For all of the haphazard and reckless mass devastation wreaked by the enemy upon our northern coast - in the end it came down to courage, heroics, and good old-fashioned military strategy.


And now we’re hopeful - we’re extremely hopeful and extremely confident - that the Conclave’s full and unconditional surrender will be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.

Reality hasn’t caught up to them yet, it seems.


The High Adjudicator is also pleased to announce a national holiday and a full day of celebrations tomorrow, in Glottage and across the country, to celebrate our victory at the battle of Mal-Retour.


More details to follow, but - uh, come to the city, bring the kids. Show your support for the troops. We have a great deal to thank them for.


And - and! We’ll of course be honouring some of our homegrown gods whose agents played a vital role in the battle.


Like my dear friend Adjudicator Shrue likes to say, the river rises.

SISTER CULL turns off the radio and swivels in her chair.



(Baffled and a little angry)

High Prophet, I don’t understand what they're up to. Why did he say the river rises?


Has the Trawler-man lent his blessing to the lawful authorities? 

(Growing nervous)

Did he help them win the war?



They’re lying, Sister Cull. It’s as simple as that.

(Appealing to FAULKNER)

High Prophet, my thought is that we need to address this in our next broadcast. Our people will leap to the wrong conclusions. 


When Brother Philly and his team make their move, there must be no confusion about how it happened and for which purpose. We cannot risk being associated with the CLS-



(Angrily disagreeing, overlapping)

Our people are forbidden from listening to external broadcasts, Sibling Rane-



(Snapping back)

And yet they listen all the same!



(Snapping back)

With respect, Sibling Rane, we cannot be seen to give credence to the enemy’s propaganda! Not even to denounce it! If our people believe they can flout the rules-




High Prophet, I really think we need to address this publicly. Our actions against the state must not be misinterpreted, our purpose must be understood. We must express ourselves with absolute clarity, with handpicked words-



(Hoarsely, hollowly)

The words won’t save you, Rane. They never could. 


I’m very tired.


He turns and leaves, staggering away back into the AQUIFER's corridors.




What does he mean by that? Sibling Rane, what…what did he mean?



(Snapping at her)

Forget you heard that, Sister.

(Hurrying after FAULKNER)

High Prophet! High Prophet! Please wait!


Left alone, SISTER CULL turns the radio back on.


(On the radio)

-look forward to seeing all of that.


Meanwhile, news of the victory has seen an immediate uptick across the international stock market in anticipation of trade opening back up across the country. Do you have any words of encouragement for the folks in commerce?



(On the radio)

Uh, well - where do we go from here? The sky’s the limit.


I think it’s fair to say that the Peninsula is open for business, and we will of course ensure that any concessions negotiated by the CLS in exchange for peace will include sufficient monetary and sacrificial compensation to cover the costs of the war and the tragic losses suffered by our proud nation-


-and the sound of CARSON's voice fades in to a bustling marketplace. We can hear traders yelling, seagulls, and boats drifting in the water.


(Calling out)

Gifts for all occasions! Toys and gewgaws! My First Ritual kits! Dreamweaver lollipops!


Your wee ones will love Gloam, the Gently Glowing Caterpillar with the Soothing Voice!


Celebrate war’s end with a special gift for the child who matters most! A friend to comfort you in dark times! Proven trauma aid! Doctors agree!

(A little frantic)

I got a…a box full of Gloams! A truckload of Gloams! Who’s buying? Anyone buying a Gloam? Going cheap!


(Through a megaphone)

Silt Verses! We got Silt Verses!


Discounts on B. Narr and H.R. Owen!


Market-fresh Meabh de Brun, Sarah Griffin, and Jimmie Yamaguchi!


Lucille Valentine, Ishani Kanetkar and Sarah Golding, we’ve got it all!


Marta da Silva and William Wellman, ripe and ready!

CARPENTER and HAYWARD move through the market alongside SHRUE.


All three are pretending to examine the wares - talking casually and idly, while browsing.



(Examining a stall)

Lot of war trophies out here. Bayonets, grenades, relics.


Oh, ‘Linger fingers’. Charming.


Suppose this is where all of our missing equipment ended up.




We won the war. We still got plundered.



So what the hell happened, anyway?



The official story is - it was a new task force, operating in secret on the other side of the channel.

(Drily and tiredly)

A team of soldiers from diverse Peninsulan faiths, working together to capture the Conclave.

(Chuckling mockingly)

It’s subtle stuff, real subtle.


There’s this false-faith I’ve been bringing back into the fold, this old cult from out west. We’d lined up the legalisation ceremony weeks ago, and now the news is out, everyone’s talking like they must have been working for us all along.


The papers are briefing that they’re being legitimised as a reward for their role in the victory.


It’s all bullshit.


They’re hoping everyone’s going to be too relieved about the outcome to look too closely at how it really went down.


So how did it go down?



(Thinking of Val)

I have one guess, and it frightens me.


Carson and the Adjudicators are not in control of the situation. Everyone is in danger.


It’s more than possible that Nesh is no longer standing - or no longer in a form we’d recognise.


Whatever we’ve done here, whatever we’ve paid to win - there’ll be a reckoning for it.


CARPENTER accepts this.



All the more reason to get you out of the city quickly, then.

Our trio keep walking to another stall.


(Through a megaphone, in the background)

God-bothered? Haunted? Tormented by unnatural voices? Beset by unnatural bodily transformation?


Visit Guttle and Croke, Incorporated. Licenced Pox Monks, dedicated faith healers. Spiritual afflictions abolised, auras cleansed, unwanted hallowings expunged, skin tags removed, suspicious-looking moles burnt and scourged! Miraculous cures for sacrificially-transmitted diseases!



So where are you taking me?



We’d love to say someplace comfortable, someplace safe.


But it’s not that. Not yet. We’re working on it.



I’ve had decades of comfort. None of it’s made me safe.


I’ll go where you lead me.



We’ll head north-west. The roadblocks are lifting already, so we should make faster progress coming out than going in.



I can take my turn at driving.



We’ll hole you up at our refuge, and then you can start broadcasting.


You’ve got a lot to say, I hope?



Too much. I don’t know who’s going to listen to any of it-



(Curtly reassuring)

We’ll find you a congregation, Adjudicator, don’t you worry.


You got family who need to come with you?


SHRUE stops and thinks.




If I do…all things considered, I think they’re probably safer away from me. 


That makes things easier.



(Thinking to themselves, ‘not for me’)

I’m sure it does.



I’ve got a contact in town. One of the Scrivener’s people. 


She can get you some identification in case we’re stopped on the road.


Get your things together tonight - any papers, any records, anything that might be of use - and then we hit the road tomorrow, good and early.


Something occurs to SHRUE.



Hold on. Uh - hold on.


I do have someone I want to bring. A…a friend. 


SHRUE is thinking of CROSS.



Just the one?



Yeah. Yeah, I think so. 


I’d like to offer him a place, if he’ll come.



OK. And you trust this man?


Could he be useful to the cause?




Yes, to my great surprise. And yes, I think he could.


Adjudicator Cross.



Your drinking pal. Isn’t he that jackass on the radio who-






Would you…would you understand me, if I said I feel like life owes him the chance to become someone better?



(Gently, thinking of himself)

Yeah, we would.



All right. We’ll head there now - put your case to him, see if he wants to join us.

SHRUE keeps thinking.



There’s something else.


I’m due to give a sermon on the radio tomorrow, as part of the legalisation ceremony. 


I’ve done some pre-records already, but they’re giving me a live slot at lunchtime to formally introduce the faith.



Uh, Adjudicator, I think perhaps we’re no longer in a position to worry about your speaking arrangements-



No, no, no, just…listen to me. Please.


Winning the war could mean losing our chance. You understand that, don’t you?


The riots, the blackouts, the deaths - all of it’s been driven by desperation. Victory changes the public mood. The momentum’s on their side now.


There’ll be a patriotic swell of celebration. Headlines about an economic upswing and new sacrifices bussed in from the CLS as part of their surrender, so our brave citizens don’t have to take the strain.


Parades and medals. That’s what comes next. Comfort, self-satisfaction, complacency.


Folks will start telling themselves maybe we don’t have it so bad here after all, and the radicals are kicking up a fuss about nothing.


Your leader, she’s done a great job of stirring up anger across the country. I hope she knows that.



(Quietly, proudly)

So do I.



But the anger won’t outlast this. 


We need to act before the victory sinks in - before our moment passes.


We head to GGR tomorrow morning, just as promised. The parade will be marching through the city centre at noon.


I get on the radio and I tell the country a few hard truths about our ruling bodies. I tell them not to forget their fury, not to forget their loss.


I tell them the HA’s been gone for months, and the parasites lingering on in the Moridame have been selling their parents, siblings and children over to their friends in industry. 


I tell them this isn’t a victory, because the real enemy didn’t need to conquer us.


And I give them the marks of your god. We give them the tools they need to help themselves.


Maybe I can start another riot. Maybe they cut me off before I get three words out.


Either way, we get out of Glottage and we drive west.


CARPENTER considers.



You think they’ll listen to you?




If they won’t listen today, they sure as hell won’t listen tomorrow.


We’ll never have another chance to reach this many people.



It’s a risk, Adjudicator.



Yes, it is. 


About time I took one.



(Taking a breath)

OK. OK, we can make this work. We’ll just need to plan our exit strategy.


We’ll get up to GGR early, scout out our escape routes.



What’s the god, out of interest? The one you’re meant to be legalising?



The Trawler-man. Parish of Tide and Flesh.


CARPENTER halts in her tracks.








Uh, kind of a savage old god out of the west, lot of bad blood with the government, but six more weeks in Carson’s hands and he’ll have it hawking energy drinks.

(Taken aback by CARPENTER’s smirk)

Did I…did I say something funny?

CARPENTER turns and begins to stride away across the market docks.



(Happily imagining FAULKNER’s plight)

No. No, I’m just picturing somebody’s face.


-and the sound of CARPENTER's footsteps becomes the sound of distant fireworks.

CARSON stands at the office of his window, sipping a drink as he watches them.

After a moment, he turns and walks to the radio, which is currently replaying his interview-


(On the radio)
Speaking of which. Some seven hundred miles of the northern coast are currently designated as god-haunted after months of bombardment, and the haunt is continuing to be spread. 

Do we have a clean-up strategy for the quarantine zone?


(On the radio)
There’s a lot to be done, and I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers. But if today proves anything, it’s there’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together-

CARSON switches the radio off.

He takes a seat, and then adjusts it, trying to get in touch with VAL.

All we can hear is static - and perhaps faint screaming.


Val, uh...

h, when you get into Nesh - the Conclave, the citizen population, we need all of them taken alive. Please.


No more mothers. No more fire. Just a nice, proportionate, merciful military victory.

No answer.

CARSON reaches out and adjusts the radio again-


-and then we're in hell.

We can hear muffled, distorted screaming, sirens, the sound of buildings toppling, rapid gunfire-

-and VAL's ragged breathing, as she staggers on. Footsteps that begin to sound very much like her broken heart beating.

Like FAULKNER, she's wounded, bitter, close to stream-of-consciousness rambling, and perhaps on the verge of losing her control entirely.



Lot of screaming. Lot of sirens. Not a great deal, really, of resistance.


It all washes away in a word.


Lot of frightened faces looking down at me through the glass, as we walk through the heart of Nesh


I slip up just once - only once - and it isn’t malicious, do you understand me? - it isn’t intentional.


So many eyes on me, so many whispers. Someone very courageous on a rooftop, waving the CLS flag, shouting something like defiance down at me. Screaming insults.


It feels like being back in the observation room, watched and judged and a strange horror to the world - and so I tell Charles there are no faces in the windows looking down at me. There is no flag, and nobody to wave it, and nobody to hurt me.


The faces vanish, right away. Flag and flagbearer disappear. I stagger, and shake.


Now Charles is the one who looks at me afraid, before he’s wise enough to turn away.


Then I get a handle on myself; I take back control. 


I must find the calm of a god. Do you understand me? 


And it doesn’t matter that the faces are gone, because I will bring them back. I will rewrite their sadness and their terror, I will undo everything they’ve undergone, and they will be grateful once they understand.


I will take my seat in the Conclave of Nesh, and the camera and the world will bear witness to my first loving miracle as I bring those staring faces back to the windows, and oh, how those faces will come alive with smiles and wonder.


They’re only afraid because they don’t understand me.


Climbing the steps to the palace, now; lot of police there, lot of jeeps and tanks and angry gunfire, and I can’t think when there’s so much noise so I tell Charles, I tell Charles there’s only silence, not a word, not a breath.


And I stagger harder this time, and it hurts more, but it’s worth it to hear that silence descend.

We very faintly hear gunfire and screaming - which falls silent as she speaks it into the world.



All of this will be worth it, in the end, because I will bring these people back, too. A new way of doing things, a new way of being-


Climbing the steps, slow and halting now, Carson still yammering in my ear, because fool that he is, he still wants to believe he can control me if he just says the right words. He thinks I’m still under his thumb and I won’t blot him out of existence, but I tell Charles, I can destroy him.


I can destroy anyone; there’s no limit to what I can do.


Should’ve killed Carson already, really. There’d be satisfaction in stamping him out right now.


But if I kill him before he delivers my mother to me there’s no way of knowing if I can bring him back, and if I can’t bring him back I don’t know if I can find her, the real her.


He needs to bring her to me, do you understand?


I could summon up a version of her, of course, a falsity, could do it in a heartbeat, could turn Charles here into her, but it wouldn’t be real.

Do you understand me?


Yes, this is the place. Nearly the place, almost there, through the doors. Politicians running and hiding, barricading themselves in their offices.


Charles keeps on filming, but this isn’t a miracle, it’s only clean-up, regrettable, really, what I’m forced to do, it’s for Carson’s ears, so he knows what I’m capable of, so he can understand he needs to leave me be. Once he’s handed over my mother, he needs to leave me to rule over my territory unmolested-

-do you understand me?

VAL stops walking.




My first real miracle is yet to come, before the eyes of the world here in the palace, sitting upon a throne in the heart of the Conclave, and if there is no throne we will make one, before the eyes of my mother and the eyes of the world, it will be written about forever, it will roll back the harm like lapping water, it will make me what I should have been from the beginning, not a liar, not a vessel for lies, no, no, a truth-teller, a creator.

Do you understand me?

(Correcting herself)

I will achieve wonders for these people, I will transform the CLS into a paradise on their behalf, even if they don’t thank me.


I will be better than they are, do you understand me? 

(With rising, delirious anger)

And when the dead have been brought back to life and the rubble of Nesh has turned back to glass and concrete, and the soil has become rich and fertile once more, and the marks of the false gods have been wiped from every surface and their names have been forgotten...


...even then I won’t make a decision yet. Even then there may be mercy in my heart, I will look upon the face of my mother and show her the wonders I have wrought and if I see love and regret in her eyes as she begs for my forgiveness, real regret, not made by me, not invented, but true and real, then I may yet forgive her, do you understand me?


Even then, even at the end, I may hold her skin to my skin and cry and laugh in her ear as she cries and laughs with me and I will demonstrate that I am better than she was.


Do you understand me?


I am a font of humanity and grace, I am more than the atrocities that I have committed because I can undo them, I can undo them all and make this world a better place and she CANNOT-

-and we're interrupted by the voice of CHUCK HARM.





Alarms are wailing. 


VAL blinks herself awake.

CHUCK is standing beside her. 



I, uh...

(Pulling herself together)

Who’s that one?



(Reading a plaque on a door)

Uh, this is the office of Emissary Stern of the Seven Peaks.



OK, open it.


CHUCK HARM struggles to open the door - then puts his shoulder to it.

Inside, someone screams, but the door stays shut.



He’s barricaded himself in-



(Rolling her eyes - this is easy mode for her at this point)

No, he hasn’t.


CHUCK HARM hesitates - then tries the door again. It's unlocked. He opens it, pleased.

Inside, EMISSARY STERN and his aides plead and beg. We can hear soothing music playing (much like the anti-hallowing tape SHRUE played in Season 2) and an automated voice.



(Feebly, almost carelessly)

Emissary Stern, your insides were always on the outsides, and that’s the truth of the matter.


-from within the office, we hear a horrible scream and some writhing noises as EMISSARY STERN turns inside out.

VAL closes the door on him.



Great. On to the next one.


CHUCK, shuddering faintly, helps her walk on.

And then VAL stumbles. She spits, retches blood, and regains control of herself.


Let’s keep moving.


They keep walking.



You sure you don’t need a rest, Miss Val?

VAL attempts to draw herself up.




I no longer need to sleep. So how could I be tired?


The Last-

(Correcting herself)

I have the last word on the matter.


The lie continues to make no difference at all. She's exhausted.



Well, if you say so.


Next we have Emissary Clutch’s office. And, again, it’s locked-


From within the next office door, we hear a scream - and a crying baby.


VAL takes a long, hard breath - and then she stalls.



(Giving up)

I can’t think of anything.



I’m sorry?



I’m too tired, I can’t think.


Give me a lie, Charles. Kill her for me.


(Muffled through the door, pleading)

Please don’t come in here! Please stay out! I haven’t done anything, I don’t deserve this! Please, just move on and let me go!



(Taken aback)

Oh. Uh.


Does it need to be…terrible?




We are surrounded by awful powers on all sides, and I need to prove myself more terrifying than them if I’m to be left to rule in peace.


So yes, terrible is precisely what we’re looking for here.



(Trying hard, but not coming up with anything good)

She shot herself.







(Muffled through the door, pleading)

I’ve got my baby with me! He’s only eight weeks old! 




Her eight-week-old developed an insatiable taste for flesh.



Much better! Yes. 


Emissary Clutch, your eight-week-old has developed an insatiable taste for flesh.

We hear a sudden, unearthly growl on the other side of the door - and then a crash of furniture as EMISSARY CLUTCH's baby launches itself at her.


Let’s move on.


VAL is now audibly struggling. She comes to a halt.



Is it…is it still far to the Conclave chamber?



Just need to make it to the central staircase, and from there it’s five floors up. 


Elevators are down, but we can take it slow-




No. No, I don’t have it in me.


We already…we already made it up there, Charles. That’s the truth of the matter.


You…you saw it happen.


I already…I already killed them all. Guards and politicians. It was a massacre. 


It was easy. It was-

She staggers forward, crying out in pain-

-and as she staggers, we hear the screams of a great many people - the entirety of the Conclave, guards and politicians, as their heads explode all around VAL.


It's a cacophony, it's horrible, and in its own way it sounds a little like FAULKNER's disciples calling out his name.



-and VAL topples forward onto the floor of the Conclave chamber.


We can hear the walls dripping with gore.

And slowly, we begin to hear the same soothing music and the automated voice that was playing in each of the emissaries' offices.


(Soothingly and calm)

The Conclave is under assault. Please remain in place. Focus on the relaxing sound of the music, and drown out all other voices. Do not be distracted by the propaganda of the enemy. 


All will be well in the end. All will be well in the end.

As VAL struggles and fails to get to her feet, we hear the sound of CHUCK HARM's running footsteps as he approaches her.



(With concern)

Val? Uh...take it easy. Just take it easy.



(Feebly coming to)

What happened?


Where’s the Conclave?



(A little reluctantly)

I think that’s them, across the walls of the chamber.



VAL painfully pushes herself up to a seated position.


She’s still breathing hard.



Bring the camera up.




He begins to adjust the camera. VAL watches him.


(A little curiously as she regains her breath)

Are you filming this live?



(Taken aback, hastening to explain)

Uh, no. No, not exactly - it goes to the studio, and then we make a few edits, air it tomorrow-

VAL grabs him by the shoulder.




No. No, it’s going to air today.

I want to address the citizens of the CLS.


This is going out live on every channel, Charles. 


Everyone’s going to hear it. My declaration of victory.



OK. OK, you’ve got it.

VAL painfully adjusts her position. She can't get comfortable.



(Trying to be reassuring)

I’m not going to hurt them, Charles.



(Entirely unconcerned if she did)

All right.

As VAL struggles to sit upright, she loses her nerve a little.




Let me...practice it first.

CHUCK HARM waits patiently, not yet filming

As VAL gives her speech to the empty chamber filled with dripping bodies, the soothing music obediently begins to rise and swell.


(Struggling with the pain of it)

People of the CLS.


Your government…has fallen.


And a new…a new god has risen.


A god of…possibility. Infinite possibility.


You do not need to be afraid of me. I will take care of you.


I mean you no harm. I am not what they intended me to be.


Nor am I loyal to the Peninsula which birthed me.


I can keep you safe. I can make you better.


I can tell you that your hearts are filled with…filled with love and kindness for one another, and-


-and it will come true-


I can roll back…I can roll back the polluted lands, I can clear the air, I can burn the poison from the soil, I can undo the harm-


-centuries of harm-


I can build you a paradise, the paradise you deserve-


-like every god has promised and no god has…




She winces, gasps out in agony - and struggles to control her breathing. The music has faded. She's talking into the silence.



(Weakly, shameful)

No. No, put it down.


I don’t want them to see me like this.



OK, of course. We can try again in a moment.


You’ll feel better in a moment.




I only seem to feel worse…and worse.


I tell myself I am beyond pain, I am beyond exhaustion.


…but it still hurts. The words aren't working any more.

If...if I am a god, then why has the pain not ended? 




I don’t know if it ever does.


VAL stares at CHUCK. Something has occurred to her.



(Swallowing in pain)



I’ve murdered your people. I’ve assassinated your leaders. You’re certainly a fool if you’re not fearing for your own life at this point.


You could have shot me while I slept. You could have fled.


You could have tried, at least. Why didn’t you?


CHUCK suddenly feels like a deer in headlights.


He begins to chuckle nervously, taking several steps back from VAL.


How...I mean, could I try?


You’re the one in control here. You’re the one in charge.


VAL stares into his eyes. She pities him, and she detests him.



(With pity and anger)

Is there any power you would not bow down to, Charles? 


Is there nothing too monstrous for you to accept? 


Will you truly keep on nodding and apologising and agreeing with me as I twist you, change you, defile you?


Are you really going to let me get away with this? 


Will you not stop me?




I’m so, so, so sorry, but I don’t know how to answer that.


VAL accepts this. She watches him, thinking, breathing hard.





Do you have a family, Charles?



(Suddenly very fearful)




(Weakly amused)

Is that a lie?







Would you like one?

(More firmly)

Answer the question, Charles.


Do you want a family?


CHUCK hesitates - and then he confesses the truth.



(A little hysterically)

I was…I was honestly never too fond of families. You wonder about what kind of a world we’re bringing children into, you know?


I just wanted dogs. A pack of big, lolloping, excitable dogs. 


Good and kind, in the way that dogs are kind.


Too many dogs, and I’d take them out on walks into the hills.


But my show starts early, you know, and it’s a tiring job, and long hours-

And VAL delivers her first real miracle.



(Lying, gently and mercifully)

You have a great many dogs.


You have…too many dogs. That’s what I’ve been told.


And you’re not in this chamber, talking to me, Charles. You witnessed none of this. You don’t have arterial spray all down your face.


You’re safe and sound, deep in the hills. You’re out walking with too many dogs, and they’re exactly as kind as you always imagined them.

And briefly, we can hear birdsong - and the panting play of too many dogs.



(Awed, as the lie takes hold)

Yes. Yes, I can see them-


And then he’s gone. His camera clatters down on the floor.


VAL chokes in pain for a moment, alone in the empty chamber. 


Then she recovers herself.



(Into her earpiece, exhaustedly)

Press Secretary?

Nobody answers.



Carson, you’ve…you’ve won.


Nesh is occupied. The Conclave’s fallen.


Send your soldiers over the channel and they can take the city.


It belongs to you now.

Silence. And then we hear CARSON, gloating and relieved in equal measure.



(With quiet relief, in her ear)

Val, Val, Val - I knew you’d come through for us. Patriot at heart, aren’t you? Loyal daughter of the nation. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


All right, uh, just get yourself to a radio and wait for further instructions, please. We’ll be sending troops over the channel to take the coastal defences.

(Having an idea)

Oh! Uh, and I’m thrilled to report that after a lot of detective work - I thank you - we’ve actually tracked down someone very special to you.

(A little gleeful)

Ol’ Mum is alive and well, and she’s in our hands. And we’re prepared to hand her over to you, just as soon as Nesh is secure.

(Like dangling a treat)

I could even - Val, if you promise to behave, I could even put her on the line with you right now.


Nice little warmup chat. What do you say?


VAL thinks for a moment. Then she makes up her mind.





No, I don’t want to speak to her.


She takes the earpiece out - and then stamps on it.


Then she lies there, in the empty room, breathing hard.


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