Fashionably Late to the Party

*rolls out of bed*

*checks Twitter*

*sees this post*

Muse Party Blogfest

Me: “Wait. What? Muse Party Blogfest?! Holy Moe, this has to happen!”

Will Scarlet: “YE-ESS! Party, party, party!”

Me: “Um, actually, I was thinking about this for Luc and Annabelle.”

Will: “What? I— Oh. …Yeah. Sure, I guess… whatever.”

Me: “Dude, we party all the time. Let the fictional author with her card-carrying muse have some fun.”

Will: Will they have fun?”

Me: “Only one sure way to find out.”

<<<>>>

Who is your muse (or character)? Tell us a little bit about him/her and why you brought them.

Inspired_Cover_Draft_Final_web

Hi! I’m Annabelle Iole Gray, author of… well, nothing famous yet, but I’m in my teens; there’s still time. This is Lucianíel. Luc, for short. He’s a light elemental who showed up in my dreams, one night, all suave and too beautiful by half, offering to take me on as his artist. I shoulda read the fine print, there, but it’s worked out all right. And— um, I’m sorry, who are you?

“Will Scarlet. Don’t mind me. My author and I are doubling with you ‘n’ Luc. That’s cool, right?”

…Suuure.

“This is not my fault. -_-”

What are you guys wearing? Dressing up or keeping it casual?

If I’m going to bother to leave the house, even if it’s just for a bookstore or library run, I’ve got to fancy up – even if it comes out a bit… random. For tonight, I pulled out my black hoodie waistcoat (technically just a vest, but calling it a waistcoat makes it sound classier), over a technicolor leopard print dress, over black leggings, with gold gogo boots borrowed from my sister. Also, my treble and bass clef earrings.

“Fab!”

Thanks… Will, was it? Anyway, Luc’s wearing what he always is: The well-pressed suit with the Mandarin-style jacket, the dark color in striking contrast with his white-blonde hair, gold eyes, and overall luminescent complexion. Did I not say “suave and too beautiful by half”? Zero hyperbole.

“I’m going in a ‘modern Merry Men’ direction,” Will inserts. “Close-fit jeans, casual tunic, jaunty hat and killer boots… all red, of course.” He jerks a thumb behind him. “And Danielle’s still in her PJs.”

“I didn’t know we were going out, okay?!”

It’s a potluck! Did you bring something yummy?

We were supposed to bring food? Um…

Luc’s bell-like voice rings out, “Leave it to me, my dear.” And at the speed of light (yes, literally), he’s gone and back bearing a tray of fresh fruit kabobs.

“Fruuuuuit! My favorite! Luc’s my hero!”

“Way to make me look bad, dude,” Will grumbles. “You couldn’t’ve grabbed a box of donuts with my name on it while you were out?”

Luc gives Will a flat look. “You. Are. Crashing.”

Open bar! What are you both drinking (booze or otherwise)?

I’ll have the lemonade iced tea, on the rocks – with a bottle of sparkling fruit-flavored water for my fellow author, here.

“Hey, thanks!”

“Ale or root beer. Surprise me. Luc, do you drink? Or eat? Or anything?”

He doesn’t require it, no. Brew up the right pot of tea, though, and he’ll take it with two sugars, no cream, scalding enough to kill a man.

Wallflowers or social butterflies?

Hahahaha, parties terrify me. Won’t stop me trying to strike up loud conversations with everyone who looks remotely friendly, though!

“Good call. If we instigate the interactions, no one can sneak up on us before we’re ready.”

Luc prefers to just hover and watch. And your Will Scarlet has already flirted that half of the room to its knees.

“Of cour— WILL! Stop making out with the couch!”

“Would you let me schmooze, please? I’m trying to network; maybe pick up someone interested in coming onto my talk show! Also, the couch is a good kisser.”

“Gimme strength…”

What song(s) will you and your muse sing for karaoke?

After Will and Danielle are done with their Disney medley, Luc, whadda you wanna do? You think they’ll have the backtrack to the Phantom’s solo in “Love Never Dies”? I know it speaks to you, having lost your first beloved author and all.

“I am no performer of art,” he demurs. “But by all means enjoy yourself, Annabelle. Something from that boy band you wanted to marry in your preteens, perhaps.”

I didn’t want to marry the whole band. Just my should’ve-been soulmate.

What’s your favorite party game?

Anybody here know how to play Guesstures? Or, ooh, what’s that other one…?

“Catch Phrase?”

YES! Oh, and Mad Gab!

“And Spin the Bottle!”

Luc’s brow drifts upward. “Hoping to score with the couch again?”

Party Games

Which one of you is more likely to end up dancing on a table top?

*everyone points to Will Scarlet*

*…dancing on a table top*

Has your muse been a good date and would you ever hang out with them again?

Luc’s been a class act, same as always. Anytime he inspires me to take him out again is fine by me!

“Scarlet’s been Scarlet. We’re inseparable anyway. Thanks for putting up with us, Annabelle.”

Hey, characters will be characters, right?

Will Scarlet winks. “Always.”

Any other author ‘n’ muse/character pairings want to join the party? Hop in with the host, The Faux Fountain Pen!

Jack and the Genre-nauts, Finale: I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you the long awaited/despaired-of-ever-happening ‘Jack and the Genre-nauts’ finale: ‘I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a forest of Christmas trees before an icy background, faux snow glittering on the floor. Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED stand over the dejectedly-kneeling Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki. Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body also stands by, while Hatter’s grinning Shadow dances over the backdrop.]

Sir Wilbur: Well, Annabelle? What do you propose we do with our vanquished Trickster?

Annabelle: That depends. Do we have a way to make sure the Shadow does as we wish instead of running mad?

Will [voiceover]/Shadow [turning somersaults, laughing like a loon ]: Madness-made is what I am! Control the likes of me? Why, you’d just as easy turn back time itself!

Will/Jack: Spoken like a Wonderland riddle. And this body I’m in has a Wonderland mind. A reflective surface, someone – quickly!

Annabelle: Something like this?

[From behind her back, she hefts the mirror taken from the Sheriff’s castle in Steampunk Nottingham.]

Lute/Loki [his crestfallen scowl gone baffled  ]: Where have you been carrying that thing, all this time?

Annabelle: In my back pocket. It’s important to dress comfortably when traveling between imaginary realms; my go-to is jeans made of stretch-credulity denim. But is a mirror really the best plan, Jack? If the Shadow catches sight of his reflection, he’ll return to his host, and there may not be room inside Hatter’s body for his spirit and yours.

Sundial

Will/Jack [straightening from having sketched a sundial in the snow beneath the Shadow ]: Aim not for the Shadow, but downward. What there do you see?

Sir Wilbur: The shadow of a shadow, circling clockwise.

Will/Jack [triumphant ]: And in the mirror, counterclockwise! A widdershins shadow is time turned backward. Shadow of Hatter, you’re now in our power.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Well, tweedle-dee-dee, you’re too clever for me. How would you command me, masters?

Annabelle: Gone genie on us, have you? Excellent. Wish one: Bind Loki to my mind, making me his author, and him my character.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow [giggling ]: Granted!

Lute/Loki [shooting to his feet ]: WHAT! How dare you?! I am a god!

Sir Wilbur: And as fictional gods go, you wouldn’t be her first. We’ll introduce you to the abishan, sometime.

Lute/Loki [teeth grinding ]: Why would you do this to me? After all else of which you’ve robbed me, why my freedom, too?

Annabelle: Oh, hush, it’s not as bad as all that. My characters get plenty long leashes, believe me. But keeping you tethered to a proper story, as opposed to this nonsense we’ve been living for twenty-some acts, will guard against your mischief taking down too many worlds. You want Ragnarok? Fine. But contained in a book. [smiling kindly ] I’ll even be sure to work in Fenrir. You’ll get your son, and he’ll get his story, just like I promised him.

Lute/Loki [anger cooling ]: Well. If I am to be your prisoner, I suppose it could be under worse conditions. Very well, author. I am yours. [smirking ] Good luck to your plots, having to keep pace with me.

Will/Jack [stage-muttering ]: If Danielle could handle Austeryn in “Surrogate Sea”, I’m sure Annabelle will get by. [“aloud” ] Now, Shadow, for a second wish: Return to us my rightful body, and set my spirit within it.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Granted!

[The Shadow spins in a cyclone of smoke, and when the obscuring darkness clears, Will Scarlet has fallen to the floor, but there stands Allyn-a-Dale.]

Sir Wilbur: Jack! You’re really back!

Allyn/Jack: That I am, and of it glad! A body’s a body, more or less, but how I’ve missed my mind. I don’t know how Hatter lives with himself.

Annabelle: That’s the wonder of a man of Wonderland. Speaking of, time for wish number three. [holds mirror higher ] Hey, Shadow! Look here!

[With a squeal of delight at the sight of its own self, the Shadow flies right into the glass. No sooner has it disappeared and Annabelle set it down, propped up against a tree, than Will Scarlet jumps up from the floor.]

Will/Hatter: End of the line!

Everyone else: Huh??

Will/Hatter [arms spread wide ]: We’re here, Jack: The Fairytale Forest’s North Pole. I told you I’d get you back home!

Allyn/Jack: Why… so you did. And so you have. Not the route I’d have taken, but nevertheless. Thank you, Artifice Cheshirecott.

Will/Hatter [bowing with a sweep of the hat ]: More than welcome, Jack Snow. Now, I’m bound for Wonderland, a big bowl of homemade ice cream, and a nice long nap. All very fun to play the travel guide, but real talk: Keeping you kids entertained on the road is exhausting. So long, everyone! Watch out for rabbit holes!

[With that and a wink, he steps through the looking glass and is gone.]

[The curtain falls.]

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘homemade ice cream’ and ‘widdershins’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End (Jack and the Genre-nauts Act 23)

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End’!”

<<<>>>

Best_Nature_www.laba.ws

[The curtain rises on a backdrop of fields of ice. A sign atop a candy-cane-striped post reads “North Pole, 0.5 miles”, pointing toward the copse of Christmas trees on the stage’s opposite side. Entering from the wings are Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki and Allyn-a-Dale as Fenrir, the Antichristmas Wolf in Jack Snow’s body.]

Lute/Loki [voice forbidding, smile stretched wide ]: Now’s the day, an’ now’s the hour;

See the Antichristmas lour,

And the Trickster’s rise to power:

Ragnarok unleashed!

Allyn/Fenrir: A stirring preamble, Father.

Lute/Loki: Like it? Modeled it after some poem or another by that Scot fellow, Burns.

Allyn/Fenrir [lips curled back in a wolfish grin ]: Fitting, that. For presently, this frozen world will blaze.

[Meanwhile, among the Christmas trees, out peek Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, along with Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body.]

Annabelle [stage whispering ]: This is it. The final boss battle. Sonic vs. Robotnik. Link vs. Demon Lord Ganon. Jack Snow vs. Antichristmas Beast/Wolf/son of Loki.

Will/Jack [turning to Annabelle in aggravation ]: What are you on about?

Annabelle [mumbling ]: Video game stuff. Sorry, I saw parallels.

Sir Wilbur: Never mind it, Jack. What’s the plan?

Will/Jack: Plan? I fear that’s a bit beyond me, at the moment. I’m Jack Snow in spirit, but Hatter in the head. What does his mad mind know of battle strategy?

Annabelle: Does this mean we’re screwed?

Sir Wilbur: It’s beginning to look like it. See there!

[The other side of the stage, Allyn has raised his arms high. Head thrown back, he speaks in a howling chant.]

Allyn/Fenrir: In the name of all evil things anti-Christmas,

I summon the fire of sky!

Flaming color, rain down ruin!

Raze and blaze, yon Northern Lights!

[A flickering green glow appears above, glowing redder the lower it descends. Lute’s cruel laugh has scarcely begun gaining momentum when Will plunges out of the trees, hand thrust up toward the lights.]

Will/Jack [rapidly, but with authority ]: Light of North’s nocturnal noon,

Ruin you shall not rain.

Heatless fire, arctic blaze,

In the sky remain.

[The reddening lights halt, then rise again, their harmless green hue returning.]

Allyn/Fenrir [with a snarling sneer ]: Counter rhymes, is it? That’s a game we could be at all day, Santa Claus. Unless you mean to sing my doom with carols as you did before?

Will/Jack: That depends. Would it work?

Lute/Loki [wagging a finger ]: Not so easy as that. Children of the Trickster were never fated to die the same way twice. It will take more than the power contained in a song to kill him. More than the power of Christmas itself!

Will/Jack [thoughtful, sober ]: Possibly so. But what of the power behind Christmas?

Allyn/Fenrir [eyes narrow ]: What do you mean?

Will/Jack [advancing ]: The first and greatest Christmas gift. A baby born to die. A saving sacrifice. This do I wield against you, Antichristmas: The sacrifice, made in the truest Christmas spirit, of Artifice Cheshirecott – a mad hatter who so loved his lost friend that he gave up his body to put an end to your wickedness one more time.

Allyn/Fenrir [ashen and wide-eyed ]: No… [clutches throat, choking and gagging ] Nooo…!

Lute/Loki: Fenrir! Son!

[But it’s too late. Allyn crumples to the ground, a thick haze of steam rising up around him. When the vapor clears, his body is gone. Dropping to his knees, Lute lets loose a shriek of anguish.]

Lute/Loki: A thousand curses upon you, Jack Snow! All I wanted for Christmas was vengeance! To destroy the legacy of the one who killed my son!

Will/Jack: Unfortunately, Loki, you’ve been a very naughty god this year. For that, you get the Shadow, black as coal. [arm raised skyward again, he calls out ]

Shadow of the hatter mad,

Fly to finish to Fenrir’s dad!

[A formless darkness with manic, cat-like eyes and a wide, crescent moon grin flits over the white backdrop.]

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Ah, looky – it’s Loki! My own match in mischief! Now, what’s to be done about you?

Annabelle [stepping out of the trees with a noisy “ahem” ]: If it’s all the same to everyone else, I may have a solution.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Kelton de la Cruz and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Demon Lord Ganon’ and lyrics from “Scots Wha Hae’ by Robert Burns.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

The Second Star to the Right (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 22)

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘The Second Star to the Right’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a backdrop of twilight over a jewel-bright lagoon, the vaguely macabre shadow of a rock formation depicted in the distance. Prop trees and ferns suggestive of a jungle frame the stage on both ends, with our players entering stage right – Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter, and Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED following, body-switched, right behind.]

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: This place is lovely! But where exactly is it?

Will/Hatter: No idea, and no clue. But if the Shortcut to Everywhere brought us here, then Jack’s spirit must be, too.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [peering around, then pointing ]: The only thing obviously suggestive of death is that rocky place, out there. Or am I the only one who thinks it looks basically like a skull?

Nope, not just you. It does.
Nope, not just you. It does.

Voice from Stage Right: Of course it does.

[From the jungle greenery steps a “Stone Kingdom”-era Princess Rosalba of Denebdeor. She wears a fringed dress of sand-colored suede and colorful beadwork, her long hair hanging in a pair of braids before either shoulder and decorated with swan feathers. She bears a scepter-like spear.]

Rosalba [cont. ]: Why else would it bear the name “Skull Rock”?

Will/Hatter: Jack! Is it you?

[Will bounds across the stage, arms flung open for a hug, but an imperious thrust of Rosalba’s empty hand halts him.]

Rosalba: Another move toward me, strange hatted man, and my spear will know your innermost parts. I am Tiger Lily, Princess of Neverland. No one must ever touch me, on pain of death.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [with a gallant bow ]: Your Highness.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Neverland! Sure, I’ll buy that. It’s got fairies and Lost Boys, so why not a lost fairytale soul?

Will/Hatter: Not to mention the whole Peter Pan connection.

Rosalba/Tiger Lily [hand placed reverently to heart ]: Ah, brave Peter. Valiant Pan. He is the sun and the moon and the stars. But he has not been seen here for many a moon.

Will/Hatter: That’s all right. It’s not him we’ve come to see. We’re looking for his son, Jack Snow. Or rather, what’s left of him after the Antichristmas Wolf made off in his body. Could you tell us where to find him? We – and the North Pole – would be much in your debt.

Rosalba/Tiger Lily: The sun never says to the moon, “You owe me.” It is nothing for me to show you what you seek. He is there. [points with the spear to a diamond-bright light high on the sky backdrop ] The second evening star to the right.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: A noble place for so noble a spirit, to be sure. But we cannot afford to let him so remain. Have we your permission to bear him away to his destiny, Your Highness?

Rosalba/Tiger Lily: I rule the land, not the sky. Do what you must, if you can.

Will/Hatter [with a smile-like grimace ]: I can. But it’ll hurt. Apologies, Princess.

[With that, he taps Rosalba on the shoulder. Without hesitation, she rams her spear in and out of his middle. Annabelle and Sir Wilbur cringe, expressions nauseated, while Rosalba stalks away into the jungle with a highly offended air.]

Will/Hatter [voice a raspy grunt and pained giggle ]: Here we go again. [slumps to the ground, smoke billowing from his mouth ]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: And here’s hoping this works. [turns to the sky, calling out ]

Star light, star bright, second star upon the right:

I wish you may, I wish you might take on the form left open wide.

[The star glows brighter by the moment, sending the smoke of the Shadow hastening away, lest it be by light destroyed. Annabelle and Sir Wilbur turn away from the glare, and just for a blink, the stage is too flooded with light to be seen. When it dims back to normal, the second star is gone, Will stirs on the ground, and Annabelle and Sir Wilbur startle back from one another.]

Annabelle: Hey! You’re you!

Sir Wilbur: As are you!

Will/Hatter [in as Jack Snow-like a voice as you can get without the speaker being actually Allyn-a-Dale ]: Consider that one a freebie for wishing me back to the land of the living. Tannenbaum, but my guts are sore.

Sir Wilbur [helping Will to his feet ]: Hatter’s body had to take a bit of punishment to make room for you.

Annabelle: And of course now his Shadow’s flown off who-knows-where.

Will/Jack: Worrying as that is, the matter will have to keep ‘til later. First things first: There’s Christmas to save.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience member Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘lovely’ and ‘the sun never says to the moon, “You owe me”’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

To Hel in a Handbasket (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 21)

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘To Hel in a Handbasket’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the TARDIS interior set. Will Scarlet as a grim, Doctor-guised Mad Hatter fiddles with the controls at the console, with Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED standing, body-switched, at his side.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: So Loki announces that he and Fenrir the Antichristmas Wolf are gonna kick off Ragnarok, and you tell us to retreat?

Will/Hatter Doctor [jaw tight ]: Nothing for it. Our past selves were due to reach the top of Mount Atlas at any moment. If we’d been caught loitering there when we did, it would have thrown all of time into a paradox that would make Ragnarok look like the end of the world as the ancient Norse know it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Um, yes. That’s what it is.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nope. It’s the end of Christmas. And that is far worse.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Okay, so what are doing to stop it? Still fishing around in the past for someone to stop you from getting shot in Steampunk Sherwood, or what?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [shaking Annabelle’s head ]: I fear that would do little good. Loki seemed to have all too clear a view of the big picture across time. He manipulated us all into doing as he wished before. He could do it again, rerouting any course we took to bring us right back around to where we started.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Too right, knight. There’s no going back, now – only forward. We’ve got to get to the North Pole ahead of father and wolf. And we’ve got to get its chosen Santa Claus back.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: That won’t be easy if Hel’s got him.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [surprised ]: I’d gotten the impression his immortal soul was in a holier state than that.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Mythology, Wilbur. Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [brightening ]: Oh.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: She’s also Loki’s daughter.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [moaning ]: Oh.

Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com - http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead
Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com – http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nobody freak out. I’ve got a plan.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [wincing ]: If you don’t want us freaking out, “I’ve got a plan” is really not the thing for you to say, Hatter.

Will/Hatter Doctor: No, really. Step one: I go to the land of the dead. Step two: I have a panic attack, because HELLO, land of the dead! Yikes! Step three: The crisis releases my Shadow, leaving my body wide open for possession. Step four: Jack Snow rides me out of the underworld and to the North Pole, where the wedding of his Christmas spirit and my good looks will beat back Ragnarok, and – callooh, callay! – Christmas will be merry as a Brandybuck.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What about Hel?

Will/Hatter Doctor: What about her? She only rules the Norse mythological underworld. Jack Snow’s life isn’t mythological – it’s a fairytale. That means his death will be, too.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: All right, then. Story expert – [turns to Annabelle in his body ] –where do dead fairytale characters go?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Oh, heck, they could end up anywhere, or hang around in any form. Plants. Animals. Just plain ghosts. If his body weren’t currently alive and in the Antichristmas’s possession, it would be par for the course for his decapitated head or bones to start talking to us in riddles. I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for him.

Will/Hatter Doctor: So we don’t look. We just find him.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [glaring ]: Does your madness provide a method for that?

Will/Hatter Doctor: OH, yes! [cranks a lever on the console ] Next stop: The Shortcut to Everywhere!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a wedding’ and ‘Brandybuck’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

From Bad to Norse (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 20)

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘From Bad to Norse’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the top of the mountain set, where stands Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki, masses of clouds heaped like haystacks around him, his shoulders casually bearing the weighted curtain of the sky.]

Lute/Loki: La-di-dum. Ten minutes more of waiting, and my replacement shall arrive.

[At that moment, with a noise like a straining mechanical elephant – or however the Doctor Who fans in the house would describe it – one of the cloud stacks spins around, revealing the blue police box shape of the time/space-traveling TARDIS. Out the door step Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter in his Doctor getup, author Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED in the body of her character, Sir Wilbur Lamb, and Sir Wilbur in the body of Annabelle.]

Lute/Loki [brows raised ]: You’re early.

Will/Hatter Doctor: A Time Lord is never early, Loki, nor is he late. He arrives precisely when he means to. More or less. Depends how well he input the coordinates, and the TARDIS’s level of cooperation, phases of the universe’s various moons…

Lute/Loki: “Loki”, is it? Not “Atlas”? So, you’re from the future. [unperturbed grin ] Just how far ahead have you seen?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: We stepped back in time about when we realized Jack Snow’s spirit is in some realm of the dead, with his body bearing the Antichristmas Beast toward the probable ruination of Christmas.

Lute/Loki [grin widening ]: My, oh, my. And what brings you back here?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: We need someone to go the point just before the Antichristmas Beast shoots Hatter and forestall its happening, thereby preventing the release of Hatter’s Shadow and the body-switching disaster it caused.

Lute/Loki: And you come in the hope that this needed someone is me? That I shall abandon all to play fairy godmother by setting right your wrongs? Why in the world would I do that?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Well, you helped us before. …or, erm, will help us later.

Lute/Loki [amused ]: Help you? By shooting down the Antichristmas’s airship before he can kill you? Or do you refer to when I release Hatter from his entrapment under the sky? Odd that you should call that help, when it all leads to the very event you wish me to counteract.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [frowning ]: Are we then to understand that you wished for this to happen?

Lute/Loki: Mortals understand the ways of a god? I’ve no expectation of that. But yes, this is all of my deliberate doing.

Will/Hatter Doctor [expression pained ]: But why? Why would you kill Jack?

Lute/Loki: You killed Jack, Wonderlander, because you are mad. And I wielded that madness because we had need of it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: “We”?

Lute/Loki [casting the sky from his shoulders ]: The revolutionaries! The ushers of the end times! The great Antichristmas Wolf and I!

Will/Hatter Doctor: Wait – Antichristmas Wolf? Look who’s talking madness now. What kind of wolf has horns?

Lute/Loki [smiling terribly ]: The kind that’s the child of a god.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [with a gasp ]: The wolf son of Loki. That would make the Antichristmas Beast—

Lute/Loki [exultant ]: The mighty Fenrir. And together, we shall bring Ragnarok to the North Pole.

Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART - http://hallowing.deviantart.com/art/Fenrir-Concept-3-205812474
Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART)

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘fairy godmother’ and ‘revolutionaries’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

Out of Body, Out of Mind (Jack and the Genre-Nauts, Act 18)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Out of Body, Out of Mind’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the woodland set of Steampunk Sherwood, dimly lit and fog-machined. Having been shot back in Act 15,Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter lies on the floor, while his shadow – one that looks like little more than cat-like eyes and a massively wide grin, bright as a crescent moon – dances around on the smokescreen. Also on the ground is a furry cloak crumpled over a puddle of goo – all that remains of the Antichristmas Beast – and Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED as Sir Wilbur Lamb in her body. Sir Wilbur as Annabelle arrives from offstage, hefting a fair-sized mirror.]

Will/Shadow: So, you’ve made it back! But no sign of Jack. Oh, where did dear little Snow go? The Shadow knows! [demented laughter ]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [to Sir Wilbur in Annabelle’s body ]: I expect he’s been this creepy the whole time?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Essentially, yes. As he mentions it, though, where is Jack?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: We parted ways at the castle. He was in a hurry to get back to the North Pole and recommence his duties as the chosen Santa Claus. Fortunately, he felt he could spare a minute to tell me how to get the Shadow back in Hatter’s body before he took off. Yoo-hoo, Shadow! [holds up the mirror ] You’re still Hatter enough to want to ogle your own face, right?

Will/Shadow: Oooh, mirror, mirror in your hand – who’s the shadiest in the land? Let me see, let me see!

[The Shadow zips closer to the mirror, then – whoopsie-daisy – disappears right into the glass. The stage’s fog clears, the lights brighten back to normal, and Will Scarlet sits up with a gasp.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Hooray, you’re alive! How’s the gunshot wound?

Will/Hatter [surprised ]: What, was I shot??

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: I’m afraid so. By him. [gestures to puddle of goo ]

Will/Hatter [rising to his feet ]: So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. [points to self ] I got shot. [points Sir Wilbur and Annabelle ] You two switched voices. [points to body on the ground ] And the guy who shot me just melted down dead?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Yes, yes, and yes, though as far as the third item goes, we don’t know why.

Will/Hatter: I should think it was obvious. It’s the Antichristmas we’re talking about. Nothing can take him down but a concentrated dose of Christmas spirit.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Christmas spirit? But how— Wait. [turns to Annabelle in Sir Wilbur’s body ] When you were last with Jack, did you notice anything at all amiss about his behavior?

This pic is only here to illustrate how crept out you need to be.
This pic is only here to illustrate how crept out you need to be.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: As a matter of fact… [face pales ] Oh, heck, tell me you’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting. That is not even Hatter’s-Shadow-level creepy. That is, like, Vashta-Nerada-level creepy!

Will/Hatter [offended ]: What’s so creepy about my shadow?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [voice going shrill ]: I’ll tell you what’s creepy about it! Your freaking Shadow switched everyone’s bodies! Now I’m Wilbur, Wilbur’s me, Jack Snow’s spirit melted the body around him, and the real Antichristmas Beast is riding Jack’s body all the way back to the North Pole where he will doubtless contrive to destroy Christmas forever!

Will/Hatter [face slack with shock ]: Jack’s… dead?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Yes, you jerk! Wilbur, rip off his arm or something!

Will/Hatter: Whoa, now! Violence is never the answer! Maiming me won’t bring Jack back any more than would flying by opening up your jacket, though at least the latter option would be more fun. Have you brought your jacket?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Believe it or not, Annabelle is making a lot more sense than you are right now. You don’t seem aware of what you become when your body goes into crisis mode. That gunshot brought out your Shadow, as did your entrapment beneath the sky. And your Shadow is powerful, Hatter. Powerful enough to have brought a body back to life once. That’s why the Beast in Jack’s body was so keen to lock your Shadow away again: On the loose, it could bring the real Jack back!

Will/Hatter: What point in bringing back Jack’s spirit in a body that can’t hold it without melting? What Jack needs – what all of you need – is a way to completely reverse whatever it is you say my Shadow’s done. …Or, simpler still, to prevent it from having ever happened to begin with.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: How is that simpler?

Will/Hatter [grinning ]: With a TARDIS.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Kelton de la Cruz and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Vashta Nerada’ and ‘flying by opening up your jacket’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

A Parting Glass (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 17)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘A Parting Glass’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED as his author Annabelle Gray, the pair entering a castle set all bedecked in medieval tapestries and steampunk swag.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: This is it – what would have been home sweet home for Sheriff Antichristmas Beast of Nottingham, rest his monstrous soul. I still don’t get why he just keeled over and melted!

Allyn/Jack: The work of Hatter’s Shadow, no doubt. It is clearly a spirit as powerful as it is raving mad. The sooner it’s back inside Hatter’s body, the better off we’ll be.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: And a method of achieving that end is somewhere in this castle?

Image via www.homeartblog.com
Image via http://www.homeartblog.com

Allyn/Jack [nodding]: There is but one sure way to send a Wonderland spirit back to its host. [crosses to one of the castle walls and removes from it a hanging mirror ] A looking glass.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Hatter told you that?

Allyn/Jack [corner of his mouth drawn up in a smirk ]: If the madman had, what sense in believing him? No, I’ve had some experience with mirror magic. The Antichristmas utilized it a great deal during his life in Fairytale Forest. [places mirror in Sir Wilbur’s hands ] All you need do is show the Shadow his reflection, and he’ll return to his rightful place. You know the way back to where we left him, your body, and your knight inside it, I trust?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Well, sure, but aren’t you coming?

Allyn/Jack [shakes his head ]: No, not I. It’s past time to put this nonsense behind me. [begins speaking in a subtle singsong, eyes agleam ] Under cloud, beneath the stars, over snow one winter’s morn, I turn at last to paths that lead home. My destiny awaits at the North Pole.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Wait, though. What happens when the Shadow’s back inside Hatter? Do Wilbur and I automatically switch back to our rightful bodies, or are we stuck as we are? ‘Cause, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love being Wilbur, but what about when our whole history together flashes before his eyes like a cheesy OTP video on YouTube and he realizes we’re meant to be? He’ll want to kiss me, which means I’d be essentially kissing myself, which would be whack, because I’m just not that into me.

Allyn/Jack [stares flatly for some moments before speaking ]: Not one part of that was any of my concern. You deal with your own mess. I have the small matter of Christmas to attend to.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [grumpy ]: You know, you’re a lot less jolly than the traditional depictions of Santa Claus would lead one to believe. Go on, then. Safe travels home. I’ll give Hatter your regards – assuming he hasn’t bled to death, yet. Sheesh, this story’s gone out of all control.

[Sir Wilbur exits the stage, Allyn smiling chillingly after him.]

Allyn/Jack: You have no idea.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘cheesy OTP videos on YouTube’ and lyrics from Billy Boyd’s ‘The Last Goodbye’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

Hatter’s Happy Place (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 16)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Hatter’s Happy Place’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the woodland set of Steampunk Sherwood. Having been shot in the last actWill Scarlet as the Mad Hatter lies on the floor. Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow, Little John as his archenemy (and Hatter’s shooter) the Antichristmas Beast, and Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED stare at him aghast. Or, more accurately, they’re staring at the black smoke appearing to billow from his mouth. As the stage lights go eerily dim, an image projects onto the smokescreen – one that looks like little more than cat-like eyes and a massively wide grin, bright as a crescent moon.]

Little John/Beast [with a gasp ]: That’s him. That’s the Shadow!

Sir Wilbur: You mean the mysterious entity that brought you back from death and into the Labyrinth… was Hatter??

Allyn/Jack: But how can that be? We’d left him trapped atop Mount Atlas!

Will/Shadow [giggling horrifically as the smile flies up, down, and around ]: Indeed you did, you did indeed! Poor body of mine, all alone, left behind, crushed beneath the weight of the sky. Criminy, what a crisis! Like a bullet from a Beast! What’s a body to do? How to cope but to crack? Crack a smile and drift away to my happy place!

Little John/Beast: That… is a less-than-normal response to physical trauma.

Allyn/Jack: But, Shadow of Hatter – why return the Antichristmas to life? Why unleash his evil upon the world yet again?

Will/Shadow: Why, oh, why? Why, that would be… MADNESS! [recommences laughing ]

Annabelle [jerking a thumb toward the maniacal smile ]: He is all kinds of crazy.

Sir Wilbur [grimly ]: And all too powerful. Perhaps we’d do best to contain him, before he causes more chaos than Loki.

Will/Shadow: Contain me? Return me to my human cage, before I’m good and ready? And how do you plan to do that, Mr. Lamb, when you’re trapped in a cage of your own?

[The smoke thickens and swirls, briefly obscuring everything onstage. When it clears… everything looks just like it did a moment ago.]

Will/Shadow: Hmm. That doesn’t appear to have done anything.

Annabelle [in Wilbur’s voice ]: It did something.

Sir Wilbur [in Annabelle’s voice ]: Holy snap, did we just switch places? That is so cool! Forget a Wilbur cosplay, I’m wearing his body!

Will/Shadow: Huh. I did not quite intend that. Oh, well – if at first you don’t succeed, blame it on your parents. Shall I try again?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Wait – what’s wrong with the Beast?

[For Little John has begun clutching at his chest in apparent distress, an unhealthy grunt wheezing from his grimacing mouth. The wheeze-grunt mounts into a scream as, in a display reminiscent of the previous serial skit’s finale, the Beast melts away into the floor. ]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Is he… Did he just die? Like, for zero reason??

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Hatter’s Shadow, what have you done?!

Allyn/Jack [calmly ]: It would seem he’s saved the day. My enemy is dead. Now I’m free to leave this place for the North Pole – just as soon as the Shadow is returned to its host.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: But we don’t know how!

Allyn/Jack [with a smile ]: I do.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Steven Bourelle,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘if at first you don’t succeed, blame it on your parents’ and the Wilbur cosplay photo pictured here.”

Wilbur Shoot 06
As seen during “INSPIRED Days”, many moons ago.

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”