Season One, Episode 3: Modern-Day Thacktivism

Updated: May 22


Our heroes learn changing hearts and minds isn’t easy business.


***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


EMO

The Ordinary Epic, season one, episode three: Modern-Day Thacktivism.


SFX: Outdoors, night. An owl hoots. Sounds of walking along a dirt road.


BENEDICT

You know what I would love?


CAELUS

A long, pious life that is principally defined by the pleasures you deny yourself?


BENEDICT

I would love to sleep.


MERRICK

I’d love not to be on the run from a man bent on revenge who seems to command an infinite number of able mercenaries, but sometimes what we love is just out of reach, know what I mean?


THACK

Eh, not to worry—kill them too.


SFX: Rustle of branches


CAELUS

There it is.


SFX: Walking ceases


MERRICK

Homnett.


SFX (cont.): Early-morning town sounds


BENEDICT

Great. And someone here will know what to do with the Godstaff piec—?


MERRICK

Shh! Tell the known world, why don’t we?


BENEDICT

...with the... “thing”?


CAELUS

I would like to submit again for the record that I was indisposed when the rest of you agreed to pursue this foolish errand—


THACK

Thought you dead.


CAELUS

—and, therefore, am not bound to the terms of this agreement by any written law.


MERRICK

Benedict gave up his priesthood to save your life.


CAELUS

Yes. And I have thanked him for that profusely.


BENEDICT

Have you...?


CAELUS

We’ve strayed off topic. My point is, while I am grateful for my life, and while we will assist you in your task when we are able, at this particular juncture, we are not able.


BENEDICT

I see.


MERRICK

We’re out of money, Benedict. We want to help—we’re going to help. But first we need to resupply. And to do that, well...


CAELUS

We’ll need to acquire less... savory work.


THACK

(grumbles)


BENEDICT

Less savory? What could possibly be less savory than your usual plan of acquiring clients and then cheating them?


CAELUS

Towns such as this are often in need of... inelegant solutions to their problems.


THACK

He mean killin’.


MERRICK

Not always! Sometimes it’s mere extortion, intimidation, bruising, vigorous maiming...


THACK

(disgusted sound)


BENEDICT

Thack, I thought you loved violence in all forms.


THACK

Job like this? People on other end of sword never human.


DOMINIC

No no no, oh please no!


SFX: Quick transition to real world


DOMINIC (cont.)

I am begging you—pleading with you... please do not do this to me again. To us again.


EMO

Do what, Dom?


DOMINIC

You know exactly what you did.


MARCUS

What did she do...?


DANIEL

Best not to draw attention to ourselves right now. Remain very, very still.


ATHENA

Emo can play her character however she likes, Dom.


DOMINIC

Thack is a shark with legs and a giant sword. She’s not a social activist. That’s Emo. Sometimes.


EMO

Emo is a social activist all the times—she only talks about it sometimes because you get all… you. And like Emo, Thack is a multifaceted gem of a woman.


DOMINIC

Maybe we could not shine a light on this particular facet?


MARCUS

Alright, I’ll bite. What’s the problem?


DANIEL

Marcus, you fool...


DOMINIC

Sometimes Thack, for no conceivable reason, becomes an advocate for the rights of the monsters we’re being paid to slay.


EMO

“No conceivable...”?? First of all, a “monster” has no conscience and enjoys inflicting pain and suffering. That sounds a lot like someone at this table. (I’ll give you a small hint: It’s Dominic.) Orcs, on the other hand, are maligned demihumans who are persecuted for no reason other than that—


DOMINIC

—they’re evil?!


EMO

Your worldview is terrifyingly binary, sweet Dom.


MARCUS

Okay. So this is going to be one of those nights.


DANIEL

Well, now it is...


ATHENA

(sighs)


DOMINIC

You see? No one wants this, Emo. Drop it.


EMO

Sure, I’ll drop it. Of course I will. I’ll turn a blind eye to the suffering of a unique and intelligent people because their way of life is not exactly mine. What’s more—sometimes I’ll kill them for profit! Why not? After all, they’re evil.


DOMINIC

(miserable) I’ll do anything. Just, please.


MUSIC CUE: Working up to main theme


EMO

(building to a peak) Just because our characters exist in a cruel world with a woefully misguided value system doesn’t mean we have to be its creepy puppets. Here and now, let us declare that we won’t stand for evil, especially when it is done in the name of good. We will defend the little guy! We will fight for what’s right! We will bathe this fantasy land in a long soak of justice for all creatures—yes, ALL creatures—even if you are “just a dirty—”


MUSIC CUE: Main theme


EMO

“—orc.” I could be imagining this, but sometimes I get the feeling that you guys just tune me out.


DOMINIC

I wouldn’t worry about that; it’s really not possible.


EMO

Oh good!


ATHENA

Um, well then. If everyone’s ready...?


MARCUS

Yup.


DANIEL

Mm hm.


EMO

Very! This is going to be a great game; you’ll see.


DOM

(world-weary sigh)


ATHENA

I wrote tonight’s adventure ahead of time, not realizing tonight would be… tonight… so... I don’t know about “great,” but this is certain to be interesting...?


MUSIC CUE: Transition music into game world


ATHENA (cont.)

The next morning, having rested, sort of, in a nearby horse stable and left before the owner found you there, you are granted audience with Homnett’s mayor to discuss an opportunity that just might be the answer to your financial woes...


SFX: We’re in a medium-sized room with a wooden floor. Occasional flies buzzing around our heroes.


MAYOR

By the gods, you lot smell ripe.


MERRICK

Our commitment to quality means that we sometimes forego nonessentials such as hygiene, good sir. Can our competitors say that?


MAYOR

I don’t believe they would, no.


THACK

Thack… always stink this good.


MAYOR

Your appearance and odor don’t concern me, though perhaps... you don’t mind if I...?


SFX: Quick footsteps. A window opening. Town sounds can be more clearly heard.


MAYOR (cont.)

Ah, much better. I accepted your bid because there is a fearsome nuisance just outside of town gathering strength every day, and we simply don’t have the manpower to safely deal with it.


THACK

Huh. Maybe need womanpower...


CAELUS

We are eminently pleased to help, of course. What malady plagues this town, Mayor?


MAYOR

We are a small community, and the people here are good, law-abiding folk. Some months ago—at the request of the Baron himself, no less!—we began digging out the entrance to some old ruins, and who moves in one night but a pack of savage orcs!


THACK

(a low growl that lingers)


MERRICK

Steady...


CAELUS

Oh, dear...!


MAYOR

“Oh dear” is right! Can you begin to imagine—their brutish animal teeth tearing into the flesh of stolen livestock, whooping and barking late into the night, making some ritual sacrifice to their dark god...? And but a stone’s throw from where we conduct business and raise our children!


THACK

(stronger growling)


MERRICK

Steady...!


CAELUS

A terrible thought, most certainly, Mayor. How can we be of aid?


MAYOR

You look to be a capable lot—I want them away from my town, and I don’t care how you do it. I can only pay you fifty coin for this work—


MUSIC CUE: Music promising mystery and adventure starting to build


MAYOR

—but the real reward lies beyond the orcs’ filthy lair, for these ruins are none other than the mythic city of—!


SFX: Thack angrily knocks something over


MUSIC CUE: Music cuts off abruptly


THACK

That it!! Thack hear enough!


CAELUS

(sound of despair)


THACK

“Brutish animal teeth”? “Filthy lair”??


MAYOR

Y—yes...?


THACK

Orc people, little man. Orc bigger, and stronger, and not play Mayor in little wooden home, but different than little man not make orc savage. It not make orc monster.


MAYOR

Oh, goodness, forgive me... I see now, you’re— you share some, ah— orcish...?


THACK

Thack half-orc.


MAYOR

I really cannot apologize enough, but you must understand that of course I wasn’t speaking of you. I’ve only just met you today, Thack?—am I pronouncing that correctly? “Thack?”—and it’s clear as day to me that you’re not at all like those other orcs!


THACK

(growls)


MAYOR

Ah, well, in some ways, surely—your pronounced brow, your, um, prominent lower canines...?


THACK

(snarls)


MAYOR

No? Are these bad things? I mean no offense at all and I just keep stepping right into it. You know what I’m trying to say, right?


BENEDICT

...You mean me?


MAYOR

Yes. Please! As the lone human amongst... ah...


CAELUS

Elf.


MERRICK

Filthy half-breed.


MAYOR

...surely you’ve said a thoughtless thing or two in mixed company?


BENEDICT

Well... there was one time I made a strong moral stand and lost everyone I cared about and everything I believed in, but as for racially charged comments...? No, I think I’ve kept those mostly in check.


CAELUS

Mayor, Mayor...! My companions speak in jest! They have such a peculiar sense of humor—so strange, in fact, that one almost cannot recognize it as humorous at all! Heh heh.


THACK

(growls)


CAELUS

And please forgive the good lady—we’ve been traveling for days and clearly something she’s eaten along the way is disagreeing with her. However she might feel, surely she can be relied upon to help you with your problem. Right?


THACK

Yeah, Thack help. Thack not like other orc.


CAELUS

There you have it...! A big, terrible misunderstanding that almost spelled disaster but then did not.


MAYOR

Right. Well, where was I?


MUSIC CUE: Transition music


MAYOR (cont.)

The ruins is where you will find your true reward—I’m prepared to offer you a small percentage of whatever we find there, provided of course...


SFX: Fade out on Mayor and into outdoor ambiance; several orcs sporadically speaking to one another in distance


MERRICK

(hushed) I count five outside... guessing by the size of the fire and number of animal bones, maybe seven more inside?


THACK

(less hushed) Merrick eat animal.


MERRICK

(hushed) Shhh! You’ll give us away. And yes, I eat animals—what of it?


THACK

(still less hushed) Orc not monster just because orc eat animal.


CAELUS

(hushed) Help us find a permanent solution to the Mayor’s problem that doesn’t end in bloodshed, Thack, and that is what we’ll do.


THACK

(less hushed) Then where orc go?


CAELUS

(hushed) Away! Elsewhere. That’s not our concern.


THACK

(less hushed) That no one’s concern! Why pointy ears think orc make “filthy lair” in cave? Someone else drive them here.


CAELUS

(hushed) Then what do you propose?


THACK

(normal voice) Thack not propose; Thack do.


SFX: Rustling as Thack rises out of bushes and strides to orc den; “mic” stays with others