Season One, Episode 2: The Dip

Updated: May 22


Our heroes must persevere through a time of unexpected difficulty.


***The Ordinary Epic contains depictions of fantasy violence, including combat, mortal harm, and bodily injury as well as some cursing and adult themes. Listener and reader discretion is advised.***



TRANSCRIPT


MUSIC: Foreboding cue.


MARCUS

The Ordinary Epic, season one, episode two: The Dip.


MARCUS

Alright! Game two! I have done my reading, I know what... some of these dice are called, and I am ready to eat some junk food. Let’s do this.


ATHENA

I’m flattered that you’re so excited to come back. Also that you came back.


DOMINIC

New guy seems... chipper.


EMO

New guy’s name is Marcus?


MARCUS

It’s not a problem, Imoge— Emo. Little bit of hazing, steep learning curve—it’s all part of the Dip. I got this.


DANIEL

The what?


MARCUS

The Dip.


DANIEL

We didn’t bring any...?


MARCUS

It’s a book by this dude Seth Godin—


EMO

—ohhhh—


MARCUS

—that all of us had to read for work. What’d you think?


EMO

Yeah, I definitely did not read that.


MARCUS

Well if you had, you’d know the Dip is that time between trying something new and before you’re good at it where everything’s difficult and, you know, you suck a little bit.


DOMINIC

(“no comment”) Mm hmm...


MARCUS

Most people just give up: it’s uncomfortable, it’s awkward, it’s not always fun. But! If you commit, and power through the Dip, you come out stronger.


EMO

That awkward place you describe is my domain, and I am its ruler.


MARCUS

I can see that.


DOMINIC

Sounds like a waste of time to me. Why don’t you just be smart and master whatever you’re trying to learn in a few days?


MARCUS

And how often are you able to—


DOMINIC

Most of the time.


MARCUS

That’s cool... Daniel, you’re premed—I bet you’re all kinds of familiar with the Dip.


DANIEL

Uh. It’s fine, I guess...?


ATHENA

It’s a neat idea, Marcus. Definitely something to think about.


MARCUS

It is. And I hope you all do.


ATHENA

If we’re ready to begin...?


DOMINIC

Yes. Please. I have so many plans for this session; I won’t spoil anything except to say that—if you all cooperate—every one of us stands to benefit greatly. Even you, new guy. No “dip” required.


MUSIC: Aftermath of the last episode.


ATHENA

The unexpected lash of flame from Benedict’s artifact worked to deadly effect: the Buyer, badly burnt, again fled the scene, and you were able to make short work of the remaining archers. Though your gambit was not without its cost...


SFX (cont.): Outdoors, day


MERRICK

They killed our horse! I can’t believe it. There’s bad people—sometimes, I will admit, that’s us—and then there are monsters, you know?


BENEDICT

I’m sorry, Merrick. Everyone else okay?


THACK

Thack GREAT.


BENEDICT

You have five arrows sticking out of you.


THACK

Pretty boy have two. Thack win.


BENEDICT

Caelus! ...Caelus?


THACK

Pointy-ears...?


MERRICK

Oh no.


SFX: Merrick running a short distance (dirt road). Checking over a body.


BENEDICT

Merrick? Is...?


MERRICK

...He’s dead.


MUSIC CUE: The Ordinary Epic opening theme.


DOMINIC

I’m dead?!


EMO

Caelus is dead—you are only dying a little bit each moment of every day, your biology a closed system of diminishing returns, until one day—and you won’t know which day until it happens—


DOMINIC

Not helping!


ATHENA

Caelus took four arrows in that first volley, Dom.


EMO

Thack’s still ahead!


ATHENA

And two more arrows in the second volley.


EMO

Damn it.


DOMINIC

This is wholly and utterly new guy’s fault.


MARCUS

If you’ll allow me, I’d like to introduce you to a concept called “The Dip.”


DOMINIC

No!


MARCUS

Here’s a period of difficulty you did not expect, right?


DOMINIC

You mean death?!


MARCUS

Yeah, and so now you have to create a new character, which will be... some amount of work, right...? And then you’ll have to build him back up to where Caelus was, which might be difficult. Right?


DOMINIC

I’m back to hating you again.


EMO

Maybe I was a little too grim before—death may not be the end of us.


DOMINIC

No...?


EMO

Well, for Caelus, probably. But fortunately for us, what with the inevitable human-machine singularity, you may not ever have to worry about your own death. The concept will cease to exist—we’ll just get upgrades.


DOMINIC

The inevitable human-machine singularity.


EMO

Yeah!


DOMINIC

Aren’t you in love with Marcus? What happened to that?


EMO

No I am not! And no I wasn’t! And no I never would, as you are implying, try to distract you from my schoolgirl crush on Marcus by talking at length about one of my many interests. And oh my god, that was forever ago!


MARCUS

Wasn’t that last week…?


EMO

Can it, muscles. Dom and I are having a serious conversation about serious things.


MARCUS

Right.


DANIEL

(quietly, to Marcus) It’s not you. Emo’s a bit... mercurial.


EMO

Daniel!


DANIEL

(scared sound)


ATHENA

If everyone’s ready...?


DOMINIC

Yes! Fix this, or Caelus will spend the rest of his unlife haunting you.


EMO

That might actually be kind of interesting...


DOMINIC

Not in a fun way. Fix. This.


SFX: Transition into game world ambiance with Athena narration. A few flies are starting to buzz around.


ATHENA

Your friend, the elven mage Caelus, lies dead before you, his body riddled with arrows and still warm.


THACK

(sad) Poor mouthy twerp...


MERRICK

Brother Benedict, is there anything you can do?


BENEDICT

When it pleases him, Godwin grants me the power to mend minor wounds and ailments. To raise the dead... that is far beyond my ability, Merrick.


MERRICK

And what of your superior, Father Oren?


BENEDICT

I am... not certain. Perhaps. But from what little I know of that ritual, it must occur very soon after death, and the abbey is an hour’s ride away.


MERRICK

Half a day’s walk. Remember the horse?


BENEDICT

...Right.


SFX: Thack hefts the body onto her shoulders.


THACK

Unf. More heavy than he look.


MERRICK

Let’s get moving.


BENEDICT

There is... another problem.


MERRICK

What?


BENEDICT

Father Oren gave explicit instructions that I was not to return to the abbey with this artifact. That merely having it there was too great a risk for—


MERRICK

(angry) Then you can wait with it outside!


(awkward beat)


MUSIC: Somber music that builds to a hopeful note.


MERRICK (cont.)

I’m sorry, it’s just—... this is our friend. We have to do whatever we can.


BENEDICT

I understand. (beat) Let’s go.


SFX: Two normal-sized people and one giant-sized person (carrying a normal-sized person) jogging on a dirt road begin and then fade out under Athena:


ATHENA

Slowly—too slowly, you fear—you begin to make your way back to Musquetan Abbey.

(beat)

And I will need a few minutes to prepare the next part. Please talk amongst yourselves.


MARCUS

You’re very good at this.


ATHENA

Thanks, Marcus...


MARCUS

Seriously, you should think about going pro.


ATHENA

I don’t think there’s a professional league for game masters, but truly, I appreciate the vote of confidence.


MARCUS

You said you work from home—are you a writer?


ATHENA

Ha ha! (beat) Oh, you were serious?


MARCUS

I mean... yeah!


ATHENA

I—... I don’t know. I dabble, a little.


MARCUS

But you find it challenging? Sometimes, perhaps, discouraging that you’re not yet where you want to be?


ATHENA

Well yes, sometimes—


DOMINIC

Stop! Right there.


MARCUS

What?


DOMINIC

He’s dipping you! Doing the... dip thing! No more dip for you, new guy. This is a dip-free zone. Are we ready yet or what?


ATHENA

Sorry to take so long—I’m only building an entire world on the fly here.


MARCUS

You’re making all of this up as you go...?! That’s incredible!


ATHENA

It’s equal parts planning and improvisation; sometimes more of the latter with this grou—


DOMINIC

Stop distracting her!!


MARCUS

(quietly, to Daniel) Why are we trying to save him, again?


DANIEL

Eh, he has his uses.


MARCUS

Hey, can I ask a personal question?


DANIEL

Um, I... don’t know. Yes?


MARCUS

You’re super talkative as Merrick but barely say “boo” outside of the game. What’s going on there?


DANIEL

I say boo...


MARCUS

You should say it more often. You’re a funny guy.


DANIEL

Oh... well, uh, that’s... it’s nice. So are you. Funny, I mean.


DOMINIC

You two better not be talking about dips over there!


EMO

Don’t interrupt them! They were being super cute!


DANIEL

(uncomfortable sound)


ATHENA

Okay, ready when you guys are.


DOMINIC

Very ready.


MUSIC CUE: Ominous, dark music underscores Athena narration.


ATHENA

Exhausted, wounded, you arrive back at Benedict’s former home as the sun is setting, its brilliant light casting in stark relief the unsettling sight before you—the abbey’s large wooden door is open, several of the stained glass windows are broken, and even from here you can see that something terrible has happened within.


SFX: Outdoors, early evening.


SFX: Merrick quickly draws twin daggers.


MERRICK

Wait here.


BENEDICT

Not a chance.