The Crumbling Castle, part 17

A Capricious Drama by Thorin N. Tatge


PHILIP: The role that by this time needs no description.

MELVIN: The disgruntled former Wishmaster of the Crumbling Castle.

ANABELLE: The sister of the character whose role needs no description.

RECORDER/BUILDER: The Recorder is ceremonious; the Builder is silly.

CIUIN: A female servant with no self-awareness. Pronounced “kyoo-in”.

PHYSICIST: A tough guy scientist.

HEATHER SCHERZER: A flirtatious Chelsea elf. Small role, but posh.

Enter PHILIP, singing his line to a tune of his own devising…

PHILIP: All my friends have gone off…to a far better place…but what does ‘better’ mean, anyway?

It’s a nothing to me, where I can’t show my face…I’d be better off at home any day!

We are too young to die, and too young to move on…we cannot say goodbye, without proving—

ANABELLE enters and interrupts.

ANABELLE: Philip! The prisoners are loose! They pulled some silly trick on the Recorder like we did during the Wishmaster War.

PHILIP: How could they? You’re not joking with me, are you?

ANABELLE: Would I, at a time like this? Get yourself over to the cell block!

PHILIP: All right. I’m on my way.

Exit ANABELLE. PHILIP begins pacing around quickly on the lower stage and continues until further notice. On the upper stage, enter MELVIN, PHYSICIST and BUILDER.

BUILDER: Shameless, Melvin! That’s what you are—utterly shameless!

MELVIN: I? Shameless, you say? And what need does a man with great plans have for shame, I ask you? Does it not merely clutter his mental palette?

BUILDER: You roped me into joining your scheme because you said it was for everybody’s good! And not only was that a lie, but you also lied about that evil desire ray thing the Physicist here was building, you lied about the Closet, and you lied about your motivation for having me build all those restraining walls. You also lied about where you wanted me to build them and how big you wanted them to be! Why the hell did you do that?

MELVIN: Builder, if you don’t stop up your cavernous mouth with something bulky, I will be personally forced—

PHYSICIST: Please stop this bickering! We have a limited window of opportunity!

MELVIN (hurrying out): Yes, yes, you’re right, Physicist. Step it up, Builder!

BUILDER (following): Totally shameless! Both of you!

Exit MELVIN, BUILDER and PHYSICIST. Enter RECORDER, played by the same actor as the BUILDER. PHILIP stops in front of him/her.

RECORDER: Philip, it’s good that you came so quickly! They distracted me, Philip, they distracted me most dishonorably. It was horrible.

PHILIP: What happened?

RECORDER: Well, you know that since the Guard’s departure, the task of counting all the bricks that crumble from the castle’s walls has fallen to me.

PHILIP: Right.

RECORDER: Well, the Builder took the bricks scattered around her cell and made them into a wall!


RECORDER: So…then she knocked it down again, brick by brick! And of course I had to count them. It was so distracting that they were able to break the lock and get away, without my noticing! Oh Philip, I’m sorry.

PHILIP: This can’t be. It’s terrible news. They’re sure to have headed for the Closet!

RECORDER: The Closet? Oh dear…yes, I suppose they would have.

PHILIP: Well, why didn’t you run after them? You could have tried to stop them!

RECORDER: This is my post, Philip! I can’t leave my post! Besides, the bricks are crumbling!

PHILIP: Well, Recorder, you may have given those three a reward horribly greater than they deserve. If they get through the Closet door… oh, by the great gloom, it gives me an icky feeling!

RECORDER: Those scoundrels, in Heaven!

PHILIP: Indeed! It’s so wrong… Well, I guess it wouldn’t really hurt anything. I mean, they won’t do anyone else any harm there… maybe it’s wrong of me to want any differently. I mean, what does it matter if justice isn’t served? Getting them out of the world may be the best way to serve justice… but it still feels so wrong. I mean, I like to think of Heaven as a selective reward, a place that only takes those who deserve it. But what have these priests done, Recorder? What have your people done? They’ve made the afterlife into a craft, something to be taken for granted. A right! Everyone has a right to the greatest Heavenly joys, even if they murdered and schemed in life. Does that seem right to you, Recorder?

RECORDER: I dare not say, Philip…but now that it comes to me, and now that I think of it, I would not put it above Melvin and his cohorts to…to close the door behind them after they go through!

PHILIP (gasping): You’re right. They’ll close it, just to lock us out! They can’t! Once the door closes it’s sealed for good!

RECORDER: Go and stop them then, Philip! Go now!

PHILIP runs offstage. After a moment, enter CIUIN, looking around randomly.

RECORDER: Ah…Ciuin. I wonder what’s brought you here, when this is no longer where the action is. Still, I ought to record it. (Writes on notepad.) At the eleventh hour…the castle steward decides to pay a visit to the poor, lonely Recorder.

CIUIN: The Recorder need not feel lonely.

RECORDER: No? No, Ciuin? Look in the cells, my dear. You’ll notice my prisoners have flown the coop. They’re gone, all of them, and I’ve failed…and because I’ve failed, we may never get to Heaven.

CIUIN peers at the audience as if looking into the empty cells. Then she walks slowly over to the RECORDER and gives him/her a hug.

CIUIN: Sorrows run strong, but they are not lonely.

RECORDER: No…not while you’re here, I suppose. But then, Ciuin, they didn’t escape all that long ago. Chances are they haven’t gotten to the Closet yet, and there’s still a chance Philip and his sister will stop them. Ought you not to go and see if you can help?

CIUIN: There is no ‘you.’ The Recorder speaks in lovable riddles.

RECORDER: I speak in no riddle, Ciuin, and in your heart of hearts you know better. There is a ‘you’. Go and try to save our fates, Ciuin.

CIUIN: This castle’s energies will do their best.

RECORDER: Good then. All is being taken care of. Go with good speed, and if I never see you again…well, goodbye!


CIUIN paces quickly back and forth along the lower stage until further notice. Enter MELVIN, PHYSICIST and BUILDER on the upper stage.

PHYSICIST: We’re almost there! This is the bleak hallway!

MELVIN: Hurry well now, my cohorts in roundabout justice! Don’t let your Prisoner’s inhibitions drag you down! Only a minute more, and we’ll have everything we ever wanted!

PHYSICIST: I meant to ask about that. When I was a kid I wanted some pretty foolish stuff. Do I have to take that along with everything else?

MELVIN: No! If you were halfway versed in wishery you’d know that what I meant was—

BUILDER: Shameless! Both of you! Incredibly, utterly shameless!!

MELVIN: Hush, Builder! We’re on the very doorstep!

Enter ANABELLE from the opposite side of the upper stage.

ANABELLE: Halt where you are, prisoners!

MELVIN: Anabelle! Troublesome, foul Anabelle! You were a bump in my way ever since you came to our castle. You brought people together and gave them a place to feel safe! You led my Prisoners aside and taught them to seek freedom, and ever since then it’s been nothing but trouble and defeat! But now you stand before us alone, Anabelle! We are three and you are one; your strength lies in numbers while ours lies in muscles and mind games! What can you do to stop us?

CIUIN: A fatal challenge is issued! Something Must Be Done!


ANABELLE: I…I don’t know. What can I do to stop you?

BUILDER: Let’s see… you could maybe try to knock us over like dominoes. Or you could trick me into building a wall in the middle of the hallway… or, let’s see—

MELVIN: Silence, infernal Builder! The answer is that there is nothing—nothing you can do to stop us! If you bar the way, we will brush you aside! Cling to our waistcoats and we will pass through unclothed! Lure us into docility with sweet speech, and we will shout you down! Scatter caltrops on the floor and we will—

PHYSICIST: Melvin, there is one thing she can do. She can stall us. And it seems to be working.

MELVIN: Hm. Quite right, Physicist, quite right. Well then Anabelle, stall us and we shall ignore you! Thus it is that you have no recourse whatsoever, no way to stop us from passing through the Closet to our just reward, and moreover from closing it behind ourselves to prevent you or anyone else from following!

ANABELLE: Unless—unless I close it first.

MELVIN: Well—well—you can’t! You’d leave your dear brother behind! You’d leave your friends who still remain here! You aren’t the person to do that, if I know you at all!

ANABELLE: I don’t mean that I would go through myself. I mean that I might close the door from the outside. Then I would be leaving no one behind.

PHYSICIST: You wouldn’t dare!

ANABELLE: Watch me. (Starts to go.)

MELVIN (hurrying forward): Stop, varlet!

ANABELLE: I’ll do it if you come into this room! I swear I’ll close the door, because you’re leaving me no choice!


BUILDER (calling after): What a dirty, shameless trick! That’s unethical, that is! First you two are shameless as all get-out, and then she is—this must be some kind of oddball No-Shame-Night or something!

MELVIN: Don’t worry, Builder. I do believe the rascal is bluffing. She wouldn’t let herself be separated from her brother Philip. They share an unhealthy closeness that it sickens me to dwell upon.

PHYSICIST: Just the same, if we enter this room, the girl knows we will overpower her if she doesn’t close the door first. I think she just may be desperate enough to do it.

MELVIN: Desperation! If only I could know her true wishes! I’d outwit her inside and out! Blast these prisoner’s bonds on my psyche, and blast it that our ambitions are reduced to a judgment of one insignificant person’s whim!


BUILDER: I don’t know, couldn’t we do something tricky? Like tunnel in through the roof or something?

MELVIN: Rank nonsense, Builder. If she can react to our coming in the door she can react to our carving a hole in the ceiling much faster. No, our best hope lies in a quick attack and in the weapon of surprise. If we—

PHILIP: Pardon me—what seems to be the matter?

MELVIN: Philip! The dastardly boy himself! I’ll tell you what’s the matter, Philip! Your sister is toying with our eternal reward! Like a polyhedron of crystalline sugar in her careless little palm!

PHILIP: Move aside, Melvin.

MELVIN: I think not. Seize him!

PHYSICIST struggles with PHILIP. PHILIP fights back valiantly, but eventually he is grappled and held helpless.

MELVIN: Well done, Physicist! And now—oh, Anabelle! I’ll have you know this—your brother is our captive now! And as much as it may pain you to think that such as we might pass onward into Heaven, I’m sure the thought pains you even more that your brother Philip might die without even living a full life. And yet, unless you extract yourself from my office immediately, that is what will come to pass!

ANABELLE (offstage): No! You’re bluffing!

BUILDER: We’re not bluffing! I don’t think we’re bluffing. Philip, tell her we’re not bluffing!

PHILIP: I don’t know what they intend, Anabelle, but they do have me captive!

ANABELLE (offstage): Philip? You fool! How could you let them catch you?

PHILIP: I had to come and try to help, sister. I had to!


ANABELLE: Well, now you’ve given up everything. I can’t just stand here and let you be slaughtered. You shouldn’t have let them catch you, Philip! Now they’ll go through! What can I do?

MELVIN: Indeed, nothing. Come along, my conniving comrades! Heaven awaits!


PHILIP: I’m sorry, Anabelle. I guess I should… thank you. Not many sisters would give up—

ANABELLE: Oh, stop talking, Philip, just shut up! Well… well, do we go in after them? I blocked the Closet door as well as I could, with furniture and things. It should take them a minute to clear it away.

PHILIP: But they’ll just hurt us! We can’t do anything against the three of them now, can we?

Enter MELVIN, PHYSICIST and BUILDER again, this time on the lower stage.

MELVIN: What is this infernal furniture doing here?!

BUILDER: Blocking the way, I’d say!

MELVIN: Builder, you will yet live to learn the meaning of a rhetorical question! Out with it! Thrust it all aside; it matters not—all that matters is the Closet that lies beyond!

MELVIN, BUILDER and PHYSICIST face the audience and start pitching furniture away.

PHILIP: Then this is the end of our search for glories. I guess we slipped up at the end and failed, Anabelle. I screwed up. I should have gone through when I had a chance.

ANABELLE: Perhaps. We didn’t know.

PHILIP: We’ve not only lost our own future, but that of the Recorder, and of Ciuin… poor Ciuin.

ANABELLE: Yes. Four people’s futures, the price of one or two mistakes…how tragic.

PHILIP: Four people, yes…if you count Ciuin as a person, and I certainly do. Hmmm… you know something funny? In my first week here, I asked the Washer how many people lived in the Crumbling Castle. And she said, twenty-one. Depending on what you mean by ‘people’, ‘living’ and ‘castle’. But no matter how I figure it…I only count twenty. Me, you, the Washer, the Arranger, the Stainer, the Cook, the Builder, the Recorder, the Physicist, the Hypocrite, Piper, Ciuin, Melvin, Mr. and Mrs. Scrub, Emma, the two Guards, and even if you count little Hope who wasn’t born yet, and Mr. Postulate, that’s still only twenty.

ANABELLE: Hm. I wonder what the Washer was thinking.

MELVIN: Just another accursed sofa and the way will be clear! Give me a hand, Builder!

Enter HEATHER on the lower stage.

HEATHER: Hi there! Did someone say “give me a hand”? I can give you a hand, just tell me where you want it.

MELVIN: Who the devil are you??

HEATHER: Um, my name’s Heather—who the hell are you?

MELVIN: I am Melvin, the Wishmaster of the Crumbling Castle!

HEATHER: Oh yeah, I remember now. You’re one of those boring people I stay away from.

MELVIN: Boring?? Is it my job to entertain you, a random intruder?

HEATHER: Well, I hope not, because I’m not very entertained yet. Come on, let’s sit on this sofa and maybe between the two of us we can work up a little “entertainment.”

HEATHER sits on the sofa MELVIN is trying to move.

MELVIN: Get off of there, you ragged clandestine piece of filth!

HEATHER: Ooh, you’re kind of interesting when you call me names. Do it some more.

MELVIN: I… what? What are you talking about, you disgusting heatherous strip of wall squashing?

HEATHER: What the hell does that mean? Why are you always overacting?

MELVIN: Overacting? By what ridiculous, benighted standard do you measure me, corridor-scum? I act merely as much as is necessary, and not a trinket’s worth more!

HEATHER: Uh, yeah, sure. Are you going to sit down, or what?

MELVIN sits down angrily next to HEATHER, who snuggles up to him suggestively.

PHYSICIST: Don’t let her get to you, boss!

MELVIN: No one is getting to me.

HEATHER: No? Not even just a little tiny bit? Not even a smidgeon?

PHILIP: Hey, what’s going on in there? (Exits through the upper door.)

MELVIN: Get your hands off of me immediately! You are quite the rude one, to thrust your nose where it doesn’t belong?

HEATHER: My nose? Well, if that’s what does it for you…

HEATHER leans over to sniff MELVIN. He jumps away.

MELVIN: Enough! Whatever this foul creature is, she is no threat to us! Carry her off, sofa and all!

As PHYSICIST and BUILDER pick up HEATHER, PHILIP reenters through the lower door. ANABELLE waits on the upper stage.

PHILIP: What’s going on? Who is that?

HEATHER: I’m Heather, and you’re Philip, right? I’ve been watching you. You’re kind of cute, you know. Kind of Asian looking. I wish you didn’t have to act all philosophical all the time.

PHILIP: Have you been living in the Castle for all these years?

HEATHER: Well, what else is there for a Ole to do after graduating? Yeah, I’ve been hanging out. There’s this neat porn library on the fifth floor and I’ve been pretty much camping out there.

Enter CIUIN on the lower stage.

CIUIN: Evil is rampant here! It must be stopped!

PHYSICIST: What? Get out of here, you!

CIUIN: Never! Those who talk to shadows are no more than shadows themselves!

CIUIN goes and sits next to HEATHER.

MELVIN: This is ridiculous! Clear these miscreants off this sofa!

PHYSICIST: You heard the man! Out of the way!

PHYSICIST hurls first CIUIN and then HEATHER away. HEATHER stands up and heads for the audience.

HEATHER: Well, I think I’ll head off, then. Nothing much going on around here. Maybe something interesting’s going on in Heaven.

MELVIN: What are you doing? Wait!

HEATHER jumps off the stage and returns to the audience.

BUILDER: Okay, that was silly.

MELVIN: Indeed, my inane Builder, but at times it is the silliest abnormalities which pave the way for the grandest victories! The door to Heaven sits open, my friends! Onward! Onward!!

PHYSICIST: Now this is more like it!

BUILDER: No kidding!

PHYSICIST and BUILDER jump off the stage. PHYSICIST returns to the audience; BUILDER goes around backstage again. MELVIN prepares to jump.

MELVIN: And in undying spite, my eternal nemesis Philip, I shut this sacred door behind me—behind me, I say, so that neither you nor any of your forsaken ilk will ever follow in my triumphant footsteps! Fare poorly, Philip, for my time has come!

CIUIN: This is one door which shall not close!

CIUIN runs forward to grab the imaginary door at the brink of the stage. MELVIN seizes CIUIN’s hand and tries to shut the door. They roll on the floor, struggling. PHILIP walks over and calmly props open the door with his hand.

PHILIP: No, Melvin.

MELVIN (really angry): No? No?? NO??? You obstruct me yet again!? Very well!! Then I shall leave the damned door open, Philip, since you are entirely set on those malformed contents of your infernal, infantile will! You may pass through this doorway to Heaven, Philip, but in My Heaven—in MY HEAVEN, there will live another Philip of my own devising, and he—he will be a cowering speck incapable of action, and him I will defeat again and again and again and again! I will have my triumph over you, Philip, even if you are not there to see it! Wishmaster Melvin serves himself now, his own wishes, whatever they may be, and no one else’s! And so I go, all my wishes Granted!!

MELVIN topples off the stage and climbs back into the audience. CIUIN stands up and looks at PHILIP.

PHILIP: That’s it, then. He’s gone. No more of Wishmaster Melvin.

CIUIN: It is a disgusting truth that such an evil man is enjoying the perfection of Heaven.

PHILIP: I know, Ciuin…but don’t let it bother you.

CIUIN (putting her arm around PHILIP): Philip…Philip…don’t speak to shadows. It is not becoming.

PHILIP: You know what’s not becoming, Ciuin…it’s denying yourself.

CIUIN (kindly): Philip enjoys what he professes to despise.

PHILIP: Come on. Let’s get out of here. We’ve got to tell the Recorder the prisoners have gone… and they left the door open.

ANABELLE: They did? Well done, you two! Hurry, the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can forget all our troubles! By the way, who was that girl who showed up out of nowhere?

PHILIP: Beats me.

PHILIP, ANABELLE and CIUIN walk back and forth over the stage as they talk.

ANABELLE: I’m glad she showed up when she did. And you too. You’ve redeemed yourself, Philip.

PHILIP: Maybe for letting them capture me. But not for hurting little Hope the way I did yesterday. I don’t know I can ever redeem myself for that.

CIUIN: It was a necessary act, if rumor is to be believed.

PHILIP: I know, I know it was the only thing to do, but it still bothers me. I nearly killed a child. A good child, who was helping us all.

CIUIN: It bothers Philip because Philip does not wish to believe it can ever be right to inflict cruel pain. Such a possibility irks him. He has been in the Crumbling Castle for five and a half years now, and there are even yet things too strange for Philip to accept.

PHILIP: You think that’s all? It’s just too strange for me to accept I might have been in the right? Well, if that’s so, there must be something wrong with me.

CIUIN: Not at all. This trait of Philip’s is lovable.

ANABELLE: You think everything about my brother is lovable.

CIUIN: Indeed—if only there were one to love him.

PHILIP: I love you too, Ciuin.

ANABELLE: Enough, you lovebirds. Recorder!


RECORDER: You call? Ten minutes to midnight and you think to call me? Well, what’s the news, my friends? What shall I record?

PHILIP: Wishmaster Melvin, the Physicist and the Builder have all moved on through the Closet door into the realm of Heaven. Oh, and some freaky girl called Heather too.

RECORDER: That is dire news, Philip, especially the part about Heather. But does this mean that we are stranded in this world forever?

ANABELLE: No, Recorder. The door was left open.

RECORDER: Open! Oh, joy! Then let us not dawdle any longer! Let us close up shop and pass through! RECORDER starts going about the stage and turning off lights.




PHILIP: Anabelle, think very hard about what you’re about to do. It’s been five and a half years since we came in through the front gate looking for glory. For our family, Anabelle. The whole reason we’re here is for our family. I can’t forget that.

ANABELLE: But…we’ll be with them again, once we pass through the door. Just like Hope was with his mother again. Just like Melvin is with his own Philip to torture.

PHILIP: You think that we should emulate Wishmaster Melvin?

ANABELLE: Well, I just meant…we can have anything we want when we’re in Heaven. Why on earth would you stay behind?

PHILIP: Because…the family we find there won’t be our family, Anabelle. It will be a simulation of our family that we make up ourselves. But we’re still young, and we can’t provide everything a family gives us for ourselves. If we could, why would we even need them anymore? We need the real thing.

RECORDER (still turning things off): Philip, did you fail to attend to Mrs. Scrub’s speech? It takes six people to sustain one person’s Heaven. Six imaginations to fill one person’s world just as much as reality fills it. When we go through that door, we’ll be met with the power six strong priests poured into it centuries ago. It won’t be the hazy construction of a single young mind. It will be real. As real as reality.

PHILIP: But not reality. Really, what six people would I trust more with my experience of reality than… than my family? Not six dead priests from a long-gone order. No, Anabelle. I’m staying behind. I’ll go out through the tunnel Mr. Postulate dug in the dungeon and take my chances with the real world.

ANABELLE: I can’t believe this. After all that work, all that worry! You just want to go home? After five and a half years of waiting for this… you just want to go home??

PHILIP: We helped to open that door for our friends here. We made a new home, Anabelle, and now that home is empty and it’s time to go back to our first home. They must miss us terribly, Anabelle.

ANABELLE: But if we don’t go to Heaven, what purpose have the last five and a half years of our lives served? We’ve come into a dreary castle, learned to adapt, and given up so much, and now we have nothing to show for it??

CIUIN: Philip has got something to show for it. He has found love.

PHILIP: It’s…it’s true. I’m in love with Ciuin. And you’ll come with me, won’t you, Ciuin? Back to the home of my family?

CIUIN: The castle’s energies travel wherever activity is brightest. Even if that place is no longer in the castle.

ANABELLE: Very well, Philip. Then you have a lover to show for your time. But what about me? I’ve basically transformed myself almost beyond recognition to fit in here…and for what?

PHILIP: You’ve grown, sister. We’ve both grown. It’s what we would have done anyway, of course… but it’s not nothing. We haven’t wasted our time.

RECORDER: Well, I’m glad to hear it. (Turns off the last light.) Now, as you can see, all the lights are off. The castle is bare and dark, as any good ruin ought to be. I’ve fulfilled my promise to Mrs. Scrub. And now it’s time for me to go. I suppose Anabelle will be coming with me?

PHILIP: I suppose Ciuin can, in a sense, take Anabelle’s place at home. She’ll be a daughter to our parents, a worker in the orchard, a pleasant voice in the morning. This will work out for the best.

ANABELLE: Whoa. No way, brother. No basketcase is taking my place at home.

PHILIP: But what else can we—

ANABELLE: I’m coming back with you. Hey, like you say, we’re young… we could use the trials and tribulations of a good long life before we check out.


PHILIP: Really? You’ll come home with us? Well then, we really will have gained something. Our family is one larger now.

CIUIN: One larger? That is Philip’s silly opinion.

ANABELLE: And it’s a good one, you fruit loop. Oh, Ciuin, I really am happy for you and Philip. (To RECORDER): We’ll be on our way, then. But before you pass through the door to Heaven, do this for us. Prop open the door with something heavy, like a stone table. Make sure it won’t slam shut while the castle stands empty. And leave your tablets on the table, where any traveler can read the history of the Crumbling Castle, and if perhaps we come back someday—it could be as soon as four and a half years from now, when the castle opens its doors again—if we decide we’re ready and come back, we can take the tablets and bring them up to date. We’ll be the Recorders and add a line for each of us who goes through: and on this day, Anabelle, Philip and Ciuin returned to the Crumbling Castle and passed through the doorway to Heaven—which, with a bit of luck, with still be standing open for us. And even if we never come back, we’ll be able to live our lives knowing that there’s always a way out…always a chance the door is undisturbed, always a gleam of that place where anything can happen. You will do this for us, won’t you, Recorder?

RECORDER: I will do as you have said. Farewell, Anabelle, farewell Philip. You will be in my eternal dreams.

PHILIP: Farewell, Recorder. It’s been quite a visit.

Exit PHILIP, ANABELLE and CIUIN. RECORDER takes a tablet and writes on it, facing the audience:

RECORDER: Twelve, midnight. The end of all. There are no denizens left in this castle, save I, the faithful recorder of all things that occur. On this day, the goal greatest of all goals was refused—for the sake of what, I do not know. I only know that this refusal marks something…not merely an egregious lapse in judgment, but something grander. I do not know whether to condemn the retreat of Philip, Anabelle and the castle’s steward into the world outside as the folly of sentiment, or to admire it as nothing has been admired before. And because I do not know, I merely mark the occurrence of this event, for my talent is not to know the wisdom of things, but just to recognize when they are important. Having marked it thus, it is time for me to move on. I leave the stone table in front of the door, that it may not blow shut by capricious winds or be knocked tight by falling blocks as this castle crumbles, which it inevitably will. I leave my tablets on the table on the chance that it will be rediscovered before then, in which case those errant wayfarers who strayed from the gift they were offered will have the chance to accept it in the end after all. And having done so, I now conclude the chronicles of the Crumbling Castle. This castle’s stories are all told, and my reward is waiting.

RECORDER jumps off the stage and returns to the audience.

The End. For real.