It’s time, all-important listeners, for episode six, and the showdown with the Puppet Master! When last we left off, the king was seeking Frank’s advice concerning the fate of his queen! What will poor Frank and the rest of our heroes do when almost everyone turns on them because of the Puppet Master?!?
“Vanishing” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
“Scheming Weasel (faster version)” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
All other music is from https://www.tabletopaudio.com/
Episode Six Script
NARRATOR:Welcome back to “Let’s Be Frank”, a storytelling podcast about an ordinary man that finds himself in extraordinary circumstances. It’s also a story where you, yes you, the all important listener, get the opportunity to be one of the fates that directs Frank’s actions and decisions. When last we left, Frank was asked by the king to consider the fate of his queen! What will poor Frank do? An all-important listener named Balrog Hunter Z whispered the very thing that Frank needed to hear. So, Frank opened his mouth and said…
FRANK:Your grace, I’m sorry.
KING JERRIMAN:What do you feel need to apologize for, my new friend?
FRANK:Your grace, remember what your wife said to Lord Grantham there at the end? She said, “Why would I bring a plant into my own home knowing its flames would consume the man I love”.
NARRATOR:The king’s eyes widened for a moment before a dark sadness crept over him.
KING JERRIMAN:Guards, escort Lord Grantham to the dungeons.
QUEEN AURINEY:I am so sorry, my love.
KING JERRIMAN:And escort my wife to our room. She is to remain there under strict guard until I can decide what to do with them.
QUEEN AURINEY:But, my love, I didn’t know-
ALRIC:That the flower would burst into flames? You did know. You said as much, and that’s how he knows.
NARRATOR:The guards led the two from the throne room. Without raising his face, the king gently asked for some time to contemplate what had to be done. Quietly, the group made their way out.
YAWANA:Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting.
MOG:Getting dark. Mog needs a drink.
NARRATOR:With everyone in agreement, they headed back to The Leaky Stein. After their meals and drinks were delivered, almost everyone noticed that Frank hadn’t ordered anything.
TALANA:Are you all right, Frank?
ALRIC:Probably just nerves. Men like me, I am used to eating after stressful situations.
NARRATOR:Frank just nodded, staring at the table.
YAWANA:You’re broke again, huh?
NARRATOR:Frank looked up quickly surprised at her comment.
FRANK:How did you guess?
YAWANA:Your bulge got smaller.
YAWANA:Your coin pouch. After getting your suit there, it was considerably larger. Were you robbed?
MOG:Who Mog need to break?
FRANK:No, no, no, it was supposed to be a robbery, but instead I got the seven… no, six of them to help me look for unusual things happening in the city.
ALRIC:So you discovered like us it was Lord Grantham?
FRANK:Well, his name came up, but nothing solid came from it. I saw you guys had him when I got back and just assumed the rest.
TALANA:You paid those men a lot to only come up with a name.
FRANK:I gave them the opportunity to be honest men. Maybe it sticks, maybe it doesn’t. Time will tell. However…
NARRATOR:Frank’s voice trailed off as he looked out of the window of the inn to the park nearby where the marionette show had once been.
FRANK:I feel like we’re missing something important. I also think I may have found it.
MOG:What Frank find?
FRANK:While searching the city, I came across a couple of men preparing to put on a marionette show for the children in the area.
ALRIC:They have people that wander through that do that sort of thing all the time in cities. Fire-eaters, jugglers, bards-
YAWANA:Minstrels. Not bards. A minstrel can play an instrument and sing songs others wrote. A bard puts tune to history and creates heroes and monsters.
TALANA:So what happened, Frank?
NARRATOR:Frank reached over and, taking a long draw from Alric’s mug, began his story.
FRANK:I was almost compelled to watch the show. I knew I needed to be looking, but something told me to stay and watch. So I did. The story being told was about a king going senile as he gets older. They mocked the poor king with joke after joke until someone came along and took over the kingdom. They placed him in a room with a fake crown letting him rule over the kingdom of his broken mind.
ALRIC:That’s a bit dark for a children’s story.
FRANK:I don’t believe it was primarily aimed at the kids. I feel it was for the adults listening, planting ideas in their heads.
YAWANA:So they would associate their own aging king for the one in the story, especially with the troops marching out and coming back with no war fought.
TALANA:That makes a lot of sense.
MOG:Maybe we find this puppet person and-
FRANK:Hold on, guys. There’s more.
NARRATOR:Alric slid Frank the rest of his drink, noticing Frank’s unease. Taking another drink, Frank took a deep breath and continued.
FRANK:After it was over, I started to get up and walk away. Only, I couldn’t. The color of the world tinted blue and everything around me ground to a halt as if he stopped the passing of time.
NARRATOR:The others looked concerned from one to the other as Frank continued.
FRANK:You see, he knew what we were doing. He knew but, to be honest, he didn’t seem too concerned. Like he wasn’t afraid of us.
ALRIC:Well, he’d better be afraid. I mean, we just helped the king discover a pair of traitors in his midst, and I thing that maybe he wasn’t counting on that happening.
NARRATOR:The group looked around realizing everyone in the inn had stopped what they were doing and were staring at the group.
ALRIC:I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
NARRATOR:The group watched as the bartender walked from behind the bar and over to the table. His movements were stiff and jerky, not fluid as they normally were. He placed his hands on the table and began speaking.
PUPPET MASTER:You have proven to be an exceptional group to assist me with the overthrow of this kingdom. But, alas, your part in this story is over.
NARRATOR:Everyone in the inn with weapons drew them as the group sprang from their seats.
PUPPET MASTER:And now I bid you farewell. I have much to do, and as I told you before, Frank, this is me personally seeing to it I never have to see you again.
NARRATOR:Alric and Mog immediately drew their weapons.
FRANK:No, no, no guys! He’s controlling them! They’re innocent! We can’t kill them.
NARRATOR:Nodding, the two put their weapons away as Mog made a mad dash for the back door, bowling over multiple patrons in his way.
YAWANA:Now’s our chance! GO!
NARRATOR:The group fled through the freshly made path provided by Mog and exited out the back door. Mog held the door while Talana sealed the door with her magic.
TALANA:This will hold until they break the door.
FRANK:It looks like he’s making his move!
ALRIC:True, and if he can control everyone in the inn, I’m certain he can control many in the castle.
YAWANA:Let’s split up, and split the attackers as well. Mog, you and Frank are with me.
ALRIC:Talana and I will make our way to the east servant’s entrance to the castle, try to get in that way.
MOG:We go to front door. Go through it if we must.
NARRATOR:And so the group split up in two groups each taking a different path to the castle, both hoping to get there in time to save the king. Meanwhile, in the throne room, the king sat silently contemplating everything when General Hovahn entered the room and took a knee before his king.
GENERAL HOVAHN:Your grace, the soldiers are all squared away now, the livestock are taken care of and my men have taken over the search for the traitors among our people.
NARRATOR:The king sat quiet and unmoving for a minute before raising his tired eyes to his general.
KING JERRIMAN:Byrne Hovahn, I have known you since you were barely old enough to carry your father’s shield. You always wanted to be a soldier and here you are, commanding all of my armies before the celebration of your 30th year.
GENERAL HOVAHN:It was through my father’s relentless teaching and your patient hand that made me the man I am today.
KING JERRIMAN:You’re out there, general. You mingle through the people. You hear their words where I cannot. Tell me, honestly, what do you hear?
NARRATOR:The general looked troubled, and stared at the floor for a moment.
KING JERRIMAN:Do not spare me my pride, general. My skin is thick, and my beliefs are not formed by the opinions of others alone. I need you to be honest.
GENERAL HOVAHN:There… there are many, your grace, that feel that your lack of an heir and, by their words, your indifference towards it publicly, worries them at your… advanced age.
NARRATOR:The king’s expression did not change, so he continued.
GENERAL HOVAHN:They feel that you are not preparing the kingdom for your mortality.
KING JERRIMAN:A legitimate concern, general. However, they need not worry, for I have arrangements should such a circumstance arise.
GENERAL HOVAHN:You do? That would be a relief to many in the kingdom. If I may be so bold, may I ask who it would be?
NARRATOR:The king smiled.
KING JERRIMAN:It would be you, Byrne Hovahn.
GENERAL HOVAHN:Your grace! I am… I’m not… I don’t know what to say!
KING JERRIMAN:Your father was one of my best men, my most trusted friends. Now, you are my best. If I die with heir, I would want you to be my son’s or daughter’s champion. If I die without heir, I would ask that you take care of my people.
GENERAL HOVAHN:Then I guess it’s a good thing this happened when it did.
NARRATOR:Meanwhile, Alric and Talana were making their way towards the east side of the castle.
ALRIC:Luckily, we can hide in the late market crowds and possibly lose the people hunting us.
TALANA:I think this was a bad idea.
NARRATOR:Slowly, everyone in the market turned their attentions to the two of them.
ALRIC:Run for the iron garden gates!
NARRATOR:Running as fast as they could, they got to the gates to the gardens only to discover them locked.
TALANA:Hold on! I don’t know if this will work or not.
NARRATOR:Talana began chanting and suddenly the world melted away, only for it to reappear as the inside of the great hall leading to the throne room. Alric was immediately ill.
ALRIC:What in the seven hells was that?
TALANA:It was teleport, thankfully.
TALANA:I forgot to label the spell. I knew it was either that or a spell to skip to a random plane of existence.
ALRIC:What in the hell was he teaching you?
NARRATOR:A short distance away, in a nearby construction area, Frank, Yawana and Mog were heading stealthily to the castle and upon arriving at the main gate, saw it was locked and guarded on the outside by six soldiers, not the two guards they normally see there.
YAWANA:Yeah, he’s definitely making his move. Those guys aren’t moving like trained soldiers.
MOG:Mog agree. But gate is locked, how we get inside?
FRANK:We could try to climb over a wall.
YAWANA:Yeah, about that…
MOG:Mog no able to climb.
FRANK:We can go first and send you down some rope and-
MOG:No, Frank. Mog can not climb.
YAWANA:Yep. Last time, we tied ropes to him and it took all of us to pull him up.
NARRATOR:Frank looked around and seeing everything he needed in the construction area, turned to Mog once more.
FRANK:So, Mog, have you ever wanted to know what it was like to fly?
MOG:Mog too big to pretend to be butterfly.
FRANK:No, seriously, if I told you that I knew a trick that would help you fly, would you try it?
NARRATOR:Mog nodded his head, as Frank sprang into action, moving a very long, sturdy board across a waist-high block wall. Frank instructed Mog to stand on the end closest to the palace. As Mog moved into position, Frank turned to Yawana.
FRANK:Are you afraid of heights?
FRANK:Do you think you can climb that tree there all the way to the top and jump down onto the other end of this board?
NARRATOR:An evil grin crept across Yawana’s lips as she nodded and turned to Mog.
YAWANA:Keep your legs stiff, Mog. Makes it easier to fly.
NARRATOR:Climbing the tree, Yawana signaled to Frank she was ready.
FRANK:Are you ready to fly, Mog?
NARRATOR:Without warning, Yawana leapt from the top of the tree.
MOG:Mog no see how this board make-
NARRATOR:As Yawana’s feet struck the board, Mog was instantly launched up and over the wall.
NARRATOR:Waaay over the wall.
FRANK:Can you climb up and send me a rope?
YAWANA:On it already.
NARRATOR:Within minutes, Frank and Yawana were over the wall to join Mog, who was still sitting where he landed, leaves and twigs tangled in his fur.
YAWANA:Are you all right, Mog?
NARRATOR:Mog pointed at what appeared to be a bush shaped like a headless animal.
NARRATOR:Getting up, they moved quickly towards the main doors as they could hear the people of the city converging on the castle. Moving through the doors, they spotted Talana and Alric standing in the main hall.
YAWANA:We made it!
MOG:Mog can fly now.
FRANK:You okay, Alric? You look a little green…
ALRIC:I’m… okay. Jarring magical experiment, that’s all.
TALANA:It was a spell, not an experiment.
ALRIC:Were you certain what you were casting? Then it was an experiment.
FRANK:We’ll figure that out later. We have to get to the king before anything bad happens.
NARRATOR:Charging down the corridor, the group push aside the two large doors gaining entrance to the main throne room. The king sat limp and seemingly lifeless upon the throne, his crown upon the head of the general. His second in command stood behind him. A large, brooding creature moved forward from the corner, it’s claws gleaming in the light of the room.
GENERAL HOVAHN:It is our honor to have you as our guests. To be honest, he had hoped that you would meet your fate at the hands of the commoners outside the walls, but since you are here…
ARCHMAGUS TANNIN:Then the Puppet Master will be entertained before his coronation!
ALRIC:And who are you supposed to be?
TALANA:Careful, Alric. It’s the court mage. You worry about the general and his men. This one is mine.
YAWANA:I’ll take the general’s replacement, Alric. You take the general.
MOG:I will take care of the big piggie thing in the corner.
ALRIC:Frank! Protect the king.
NARRATOR:The group rushed in at once and the battle started. Talana and the arch magus fought setting spell against spell, while Mog hacked and slashed against the creature. Alric had his hands full with the general as Yawana fought against his next in command.
TALANA:This is not how I had planned on spending my evening after dinner!
MOG:Mog not planned to fly, but here we are.
NARRATOR:As Frank moved towards the king, his progress was halted by a sudden swirling of power. The room took on a hue of blue as the action around Frank ground to a halt once more.
PUPPET MASTER:Oh, Frank, I had so hoped that you would run so that I might chase you through the ages, with you living your life with one eye over your shoulder.
NARRATOR:The puppet master moved closer to Frank.
PUPPET MASTER:Alas, you have decided to end everything early. Oh, well.
FRANK:You know, you’re talking awfully big for a guy that’s too afraid to be around me without restraining me.
PUPPET MASTER:My boy, I do not fear you.
NARRATOR:As suddenly as he was frozen, he was able to move once more. He looked to his friends, in the midst of combat, each stuck in an eternal struggle to complete their next movement. Frank pulled his sword from his back.
PUPPET MASTER:Go ahead, boy. Give me everything you have. Those eyes tell me they have never killed, and I do not think you can now.
NARRATOR:Frank hesitated. He was right about that. He had never killed anyone, and normally the thought of hurting someone pained him deeply.
FRANK:You’re right, Puppet Master. I don’t think I could stand the thought of killing another human being.
NARRATOR:With a wide, arcing swing, Frank attacked the Puppet Master, his sword shattering against the body of the foe before him.
PUPPET MASTER:Do you see the inevitability of your situation? I am too powerful for your measly attacks. I cannot even be harmed by a blade not forged in magic.
NARRATOR:Suddenly, from across the room, Alric turned his head.
ALRIC:Really? Frank, catch!
NARRATOR:With a focused arm, Alric hurled his blade to Frank, immediately freezing in that pose once the blade left his hand.
FRANK:WHY ARE YOU THROWING SHARP POINTY OBJECTS?!?
NARRATOR:Catching the hilt, Frank thrust the sword into the body of the Puppet Master. An explosion of power erupted from the wound, sending magical fire up Frank’s arm. The blast sent an unconscious Frank and the sword sliding across the marble floors. The Puppet Master twisted and winced in agony as the power continued to gush from the wound he could not close.
PUPPET MASTER:You were supposed to die! He said you would be easy to destroy!
NARRATOR:As the puppet master’s explosion began to fade, everyone was able to move once more, though the fight immediately stopped.
GENERAL HOVAHN:What… what has happened?
NARRATOR:The general then looked to his king.
GENERAL HOVAHN:Your grace!
NARRATOR:The general ran to him and after checking him, turned to his second in command.
GENERAL HOVAHN:Fetch the healer. He is still breathing.
NARRATOR:In the meantime, everyone else ran to Frank.
MOG:Frank, speak to us.
NARRATOR:Mog shook him a few times.
ALRIC:He’s breathing, so that’s a good sign.
YAWANA:Look at his hand, though.
NARRATOR:Where Frank’s hand once held Alric’s sword, his hand now bore burn patterns not unlike lightning coming from the knuckles moving toward his wrist.
TALANA:We need to get him to a healer as well.
GENERAL HOVAHN:We will take them both. Ork, carry your friend and follow me.
NARRATOR:Mog lifted the unconscious Frank as they all headed to the healer. The next day, Alric made his way into the inn with Frank in tow.
YAWANA:Hey! You’re finally awake.
FRANK:Yeah, I had some really weird dreams, though.
MOG:Mog happy Frank not dead.
FRANK:Me too, guy. Me, too.
YAWANA:So, we stopped a war, found spies that weren’t really spies because they were being controlled by a greater entity, stopped the assassination of the king and managed to stop the plans of the greater entity and wipe him from existence.
TALANA:That’s a mouthful.
YAWANA:It’s the beginning of a great ballad.
ALRIC:So, I guess the only question now is, where do we go from here?
TALANA:Well, I’ve heard that there’s a kingdom nearby that everything indicated the entire lands were cursed.
YAWANA:We could go to the beach.
ALRIC:What sort of nefarious activities are happening on a beach?
YAWANA:Not sure. I’ll tell you my plans when we get there.
MOG:Where Frank Punyman want to go?
NARRATOR: Everyone turned to look at Frank. This was a unique moment, no immediate threats on the horizon and only directions like on a compass to choose from. Frank smiled and said… Well, what did Frank say? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself. Remember when I told you that you, the all-important listener, would be the steward of poor Frank’s fate? Well, you really are! What will Frank do next? You tell us. Please visit “LetsBeFrankThePodcast.Com” and click on the “What Would Frank Do?” button and, in five hundred characters or less, tell us what you think Frank should do next? Remember, you are the fates controlling Frank’s fate. Let’s try not to let him down. Some of the music and sound effects in this podcast come from Tabletop Audio. If you running a game, the perfect background music and sound effects can be difficult to assemble. But, with Tabletop audio, you can play songs fitting your campaign and use sword clangs and magical bursts to set the mood for the adventure and take your game to the next level! For your next RPG game, visit tabletopaudio.com. The rest of the music comes from Kevin MacLeod’s brilliant web site incompetech.com. If you’re looking for music for your podcast, Kevin has composed more than 2,000 royalty-free songs released under the creative commons license.So, when you need music, think incompetech.com, and tell him that Frank sent you.