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!”

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!”