Below we present the complete text of In Coblynau’s Court; episode 3 of Predator’s Row.
EPISODE #3 – IN COBLYNAU’S COURT
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition.
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction are allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to https://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.
Serial #1: Predator’s Row
A reporter for the Star City Tribune, Claire Templeton, uncovers a pattern of grisly murders that look like the work of a strange new predator and presents her findings to Detective Tony Wells. When Tony finds a seven-year-old witness to one of the murders, her unbelievable story sets him on a path that will shake his hard-boiled certainty about the nature of reality to its core. Caught in a web of intrigue between faery courts, a nightmare world where Trolls fight for scraps beneath the bridges of the modern world, and a magical sword that has an agenda all its own, Wells must work to uncover a murderer in order to prevent a war among the immortals from spilling over into the mundane realm. Can he solve this mystery in time before the world of nightmares becomes a reality for all humanity? Tune in to “Predator’s Row” and marvel at a world of magic and intrigue that lies just beneath the surface of the world you know.
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TONY WELLS: Police Detective
TROLL: Troll (Monster)
CLAIRE TEMPLETON: Reporter
TULLY BING: Academic
JENNY SHELBY: Missing child
FINBARRA: Fae Prince of the Darkened Realm
EBERON: Fae Prince of the Realm of Light
COBLYNAU: Goblin King
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
SCENE 11: EXT. THE ICY HILLS OF THE DARK REALM OF FAERY (TONY, CLAIRE, TULLY, JENNY, TROLL)
307. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
308. NARRATOR: With the help of the mysterious Jack Frost, Detective Tony Wells has pursued the missing Tully Bing, Claire Templeton, and Jenny Shelby into a world of ice and darkness.
309. SOUND:  (WALLA) HOWLING WIND — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
310. TONY: (NARRATING) Numb with shock, I stood suddenly upon a frozen plain. Snow and ice extended as far as I could see and a biting wind howled around me. Off to my left, I could just make out a dark shadow. Instinctively I knew this was likely the entrance to the troll’s cave on this side of the veil and began trudging towards it.
311. SOUND:  (WALLA) CRUNCH OF ONE PAIR OF MALE FEET IN SNOW; LAYER UNDER THE WIND; CONTINUE FOR THREE BEATS; THEN FADE OUT ALL WALLA
312. SOUND:  (WALLA) FADE IN FLICKERING FIRE
313. TONY: (NARRATING) The cave was dry and relatively sheltered. It was neither as dark nor as large as I had expected. A fire burned in its center. The stench was horrifying and everywhere I looked lay a mat of human bones.
314. SOUND:  (WALLA) FADE IN HEAVY SNORING
315. TONY: (NARRATING) I almost didn’t see the troll until I stepped on it. You could easily have mistaken it for a large pile of furs — a really large pile of furs with tusk-like teeth and razor-sharp claws.
(BEAT) I’ve seen a lot of things in the big city: stone-cold killers who, if they’d ever had any humanity at all, had lost it in pursuit of their criminal empires; cowards and men too stupid to realize they were either committing a crime or likely to get caught. This “thing” was totally outside my experience. I stood quietly staring down at it hardly daring to breathe and then I reached into the bag from the hardware store, drew out a nail, and dropped it on the creature, hoping against hope that what I had read was true.
316. TROLL: (ROARING WITH PAIN) Pain! It hurts! What have you done? Mortal! You’ve used cold iron! I will kill you! I will grind your bones! I will tear your flesh! I will…
317. TONY: You will be silent, troll. Apparently cold iron is as unpleasant to your kind as the story books say. You can’t even get up, its touch has weakened you so much.
318. TROLL: (GROWLING) Poisoning me! Pitiful creature. Eat you! Yes, I will. Eat you and spit out your bones!
319. TONY: Not today you won’t. Where are my friends?
320. TROLL: (GROWING SUDDENLY CUNNING) If I tell you, you’ll let me go free? Take the poison away? Yes?
321. TONY: No!
322. TROLL: (ROARS IN FRUSTRATION ONCE MORE)
323. TONY: But, if you tell me where they are, and they are unharmed, and you grant us safe passage to the fortress of the goblin king, promising to do us no injury, then I will free you.
324. TROLL: Free me! Yes! Yes!
325. TONY: First, your promise!
326. TROLL: I promise.
327. TONY: What do you promise?
328. TROLL: (WHIMPERING NOW) I promise safe passage for you. Safe passage for those you have come to get. I promise you no injury. I promise to give them to you unharmed. Yes! Yes! I promise!
329. TONY: Alright.
(NARRATING) I reached down and removed the nail from the creature’s chest. It sprang up with a speed I could hardly credit.
330. TROLL: I will not forget mortal. You bring insult to all Faery. Cold Iron. Bah! All fae will hate you!
331. TONY: Yeah, well I’ve been told I don’t play well with others before. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night. But still I muddle through. Now, quit stalling. Where are my friends?
332. TROLL: (ROARS IN ANGER)
333. SOUND:  MAGICAL CHIME NOISE AND WHOOSH SOUND OF A PORTAL OPENING
334. TONY: (NARRATING) As I looked a wall of ice melted away revealing what must have been the creature’s pantry. Three scared and shivering figures huddled within.
335. CLAIRE: Tony, is that you? Where are we? What’s happening?
336. TONY: It’s okay Claire, I’m here to get you out. You and Tully and Jenny.
337. TROLL: (GROWLS LOW)
338. JENNY SHELBY: (SCREAMS IN FRIGHT)
339. TONY: No, no! Don’t be afraid. It’s going to let us go.
340. TROLL: (GRUNTS NONCOMITTALY)
341. TONY: It’ll be alright. (TO THE TROLL) Who set you to kill the Protector of the Covenant, troll?
342. TROLL: (LAUGHS) Didn’t ask when you had the chance. Won’t tell!
343. TONY: I still have more iron in my pocket…
344. TROLL: Yes! Break our bargain. Go on. See what will result.
345. CLAIRE: You made a deal with that thing?
346. TONY: I did. And I don’t think I can renege now.
347. TROLL: (LOW RUMBLING LAUGH).
348. TULLY BING: This “Protector of the Covenant”: he wasn’t some old man, was he?
349. TONY: Yeah, why?
350. TULLY: Just before I was seen and taken, I saw someone give this thing a… I don’t know, a scroll or some such. He was told to kill the old man.
351. TONY: Look around. See if you can find it. I need evidence if we’re ever to get out of here.
352. TROLL: Thieves as well? No honor!
353. CLAIRE: Over here, I’ve found it. It was tossed aside like everything else in this filthy cave.
354. TROLL: (GROWLS ANGRILY)
355. TONY: Can you make out what it says?
356. CLAIRE: What am I? Your stenographer?
357. TONY: Claire?
358. CLAIRE: Alright, alright. Hold your horses a minute…
(BEAT) It looks like it’s in some kind of strange language…
359. SOUND:  A RINGING CHIME — LET IT FINISH
360. CLAIRE: Wait, no. It’s changing.
“By order of the king of the darkened realm, you are freed to retrieve the covenant sword. Destroy the Protector of the Covenant and bring the sword to my emissary.”
361. TROLL: (WITH A SNEER) Coblynau! (LAUGHS EVILLY) What will you do now, little man?
362. TONY: Nothing’s changed. I’m still taking these folks home.
363. TROLL: (LAUGHS MENACINGLY)
364. SOUND:  (WALLA) FADE OUT FLICKERING FIRE AND FADE IN HOWLING WIND (UNDER)
365. TONY: (NARRATING) Slowly we all backed out of the cave into the frozen waste beyond and began making our way upslope in what I hoped was the direction of Coblynau’s fortress.
366. CLAIRE: I sure hope you know what you’re doing, Wells. That thing seemed a little too pleased with itself at the end there for my comfort.
367. TONY: Yeah, well. Truth is, I’m making this up as I go along. How’s the girl?
368. CLAIRE: Terrified. And freezing. She’s still in her night gear.
369. TONY: Give her to Tully to carry. At least it’ll keep her out of the snow. I think we’ve got a ways to go yet.
370. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
SCENE 12: EXT. IN A SHADOWY FROZEN FOREST (TONY, CLAIRE, TULLY, JENNY, EBERON, FINBARRA)
371. SOUND:  (WALLA) WIND MOANING IN THE DISTANCE — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
372. JENNY: I’m cold and I’m scared.
373. CLAIRE: Aw, honey, it’s going to be alright. You’ll see.
374. TULLY: At least we’re out of the wind now that we’ve reached these trees.
375. TONY: Yeah, but I don’t like how dark it’s getting. And I’ve got an itch in my scalp that just won’t quit.
376. CLAIRE: What do you mean?
377. TONY: Maybe it’s nothing, but I feel like we’re being watched.
378. JENNY: (TERRIFIED) Not more monsters?
379. CLAIRE: Now look what you’ve done.
380. TONY: (APOLOGETIC) Sorry, kid. I’m sure it’s just the trees. They’re making me jumpy.
381. JENNY: (WHIMPERS)
382. TULLY: How much further do you think we’ll have to go?
383. TONY: It’s getting steeper, and before the trees closed in above us I thought I caught the silhouette of a fortress high up in the distance.
384. FINBARRA: (CHALLENGING) Hold mortals. By whose authority do you trespass in the lands of the dark fae?
385. TULLY: What? Where?
386. TONY: Show yourself if you want to talk, stranger. We come in peace.
387. FINBARRA: Peace you say! What do mortals know of peace?
388. TONY: More than your trolls at any rate. Show yourself.
389. EBERON: (LAUGHING) The mortal has you there, Finbarra.
390. FINBARRA: Be quiet, Eberon, these may be the assassins we seek.
391. EBERON: They hardly look like assassins. Where are their weapons? And the little one? I doubt she could harm a fly.
392. FINBARRA: You always were too charitable when it came to humans. They are a violent species, barely more than savages.
393. EBERON: Not that far from the trolls of the dark realm really. But some few of them can create works of art and music to take the breath away.
394. FINBARRA: Hmpf. Few and far between.
395. TONY: If you’ve finished your bickering…
396. EBERON: Well, (BEAT) I concede that this one may be more barbarian than artist.
397. TONY: (NARRATING) As I watched, two slender figures stepped out of the trees, eyeing us warily — not between the trees mind you, but literally out of two sturdy oaks. One was as dark as midnight while the other almost shone like the noonday sun.
398. EBERON: Hail mortals, we are Eberon and Finbarra, knights of Faery, and Protectors of the Covenant. Now, who might you be?
399. TONY: I’m Tony Wells, Detective of Star City P. D., and I am trying to return my friends to the mortal realm having rescued them from a troll.
400. EBERON: (IMPRESSED) Indeed? There are not many who could best a troll of the dark fae on its home ground. Few enough in all of history, in fact.
401. TONY: I was lucky. The beast was sleeping.
402. FINBARRA: (INCREDULOUS) Sleeping? You don’t expect us to…
403. EBERON: (WARNINGLY) Finbarra! (TO TONY) And who else travels with you?
404. TONY: These are my friends, most recently taken by the troll: Claire, Tully, and the little one is Jenny. We seek safe passage to the mortal realm.
405. FINBARRA: So you say. But the favors of Coblynau are not purchased lightly. What do you have to offer him for this safe passage that you seek?
406. TONY: I’d prefer to keep my cards close to my
407. FINBARRA AND EBERON: (A BEAT OR TWO OF BLANK SILENCE)
408. TONY: I’d like to keep that between Coblynau and myself.
409. EBERON: Ah. Perhaps that is wise. (BEAT) I think it would be best if you accompanied us to the fortress.
410. TONY: Uhuh?
411. FINBARRA: It sounds so much more polite than hearing us say we are taking you prisoner.
412. TONY: Ah. I see.
413. FINBARRA: I warn you, however, when we stand before the king, let me do the speaking. If you address the king directly without being invited to do so, he will be insulted and will kill you out of hand.
414. TONY: But if we cannot speak?
415. FINBARRA: The world will be a sweeter place for it.
416. EBERON: (WARNING) Finbarra!
417. FINBARRA: Oh alright! I will see to it that you get your chance. Just do not speak until the king grants you permission directly.
418. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
SCENE 13: INT. THE COURT OF COBLYNAU (COBLYNAU, FINBARRA, TONY)
419. MUSIC:  (WALLA) WEIRD CARNIVAL MUSIC; ODD JEERING LAUGHTER; OCCASIONAL SHRIEKS ETC. — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
420. TONY: (NARRATING) A short uncomfortable march later and we found ourselves standing inside a fortress made of gleaming ice. The goblin king’s throne room was enormous, but the king himself was squat, sullen looking, and gazing at us with hungry eyes. He sat on one side of his throne only, leaning as far away as possible from the side against which a long silver sword rested.
421. FINBARRA: Welcome to the Court of Coblynau, king of the goblins and liege lord of this region of the dark realm of the fae.
422. COBLYNAU: Finbarra, my friend. What dainties have you brought to entertain my court this time?
423. FINBARRA: King Coblynau, may I present to you Eberon of the realm of light whom you know already.
424. COBLYNAU: (IMPATIENTLY) Yes, yes! It is rare for a member of the realm of light to enter these lands but I extend the protection of my court to you, Eberon, nonetheless.
425. FINBARRA: And these, Your Majesty, are Tony Wells, Claire, Tully, and Jenny of the mortal realm.
426. COBLYNAU: Delicious. (BEAT) I take it they were not invited?
427. FINBARRA: No, Your Majesty.
428. COBLYNAU: Better and better. Trespassers then? The punishment for such rudeness will, I think, be most inventive. (TO ONE OF HIS RETAINERS) Snell, when was the last time we skinned a mortal alive? Perhaps we could use their eyes for a game of marbles?
429. FINBARRA: Your Majesty is nothing if not inventive — but I would ask a moment to investigate a matter or two first.
430. COBLYNAU: You are not going to bore me with “Protector” business, are you, Finbarra?
431. FINBARRA: With regret, Your Majesty.
432. COBLYNAU: (ROARING LIKE A PETULANT CHILD) (BEAT) It’s something to do with that damned pig-sticker turning up, isn’t it?
433. FINBARRA: (CALMLY) Yes, Your Majesty, it is.
434. COBLYNAU: Oh alright. Get on with it then.
435. FINBARRA: As you know, Your Majesty, the arrival of the “pig sticker” at your throne was an indication that the mortal Protector of the Covenant had been killed. Assassinated, we assumed.
436. COBLYNAU: (IMPATIENTLY) Yes, yes!
437. FINBARRA: And, as you also know, we have been expecting the assassin to appear and try to claim the sword for some little time, believing that he or she missed the opportunity when its guardian died in the mortal realm.
438. COBLYNAU: (BORED) True…
439. FINBARRA: Well, Your Majesty, we — by whom I mean Eberon and myself — detected the opening of an unauthorized gate into your realm some short while ago and went to investigate. At the further edge of the petrified forest we found these interlopers.
440. COBLYNAU: Interlopers. I like that. It sounds like something I can punish. So?
441. FINBARRA: They have an interesting tale to tell, Your Majesty.
442. COBLYNAU: (ROARS WITH FRUSTRATION AGAIN) (BEAT) Oh very well. Which one speaks for the group?
443. FINBARRA: Tony Wells, Your Majesty.
444. COBLYNAU: Very well. Tony Wells of the mortal realm, I recognize your right to speak on behalf of those assembled here. Be warned, however, if your tale does not please us, we will be forced to split your tongue in two and nail it to a tree outside in the courtyard for the snackard beast to feast upon.
445. TONY: (BEAT)…
446. COBLYNAU: Well, human? Speak.
447. TONY: Your Majesty. I thank you for the welcome of your court. I have come into your realm in order to rescue these, my friends, from a troll who has been hunting in my city.
448. GOBLINS: (CRIES OF SURPRISE AND AWE)
449. COBLYNAU: (SCOFFING) How is it that a mere mortal, without sword or harness, could effect such a rescue? Are you a wizard? A changeling, perhaps?
450. TONY: I am a detective, and I came upon the beast in its lair while it slept.
451. GOBLINS: (LAUGHTER AND MOCKERY)
452. TONY: (PUZZLED SILENCE)
453. COBLYNAU: Trolls do not sleep, human. Do you consider me a fool? I will not be mocked in my own court by the likes of you. Guards, skin this one first!
454. MUSIC: (BRIDGE) SUSPENSEFUL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
455. MUSIC:  CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forward. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TONY WELLS: I’m a detective in a city full of liars, cheats, killers, and con-men. You’d think that would have made me a cynic. And I guess it has a little. But underneath the hard-boiled exterior, I actually give a damn. I do this job because I want to keep people safe from the animals and predators who roam the dark side of the city. I believe in heroes, or at least I want to believe in them. Right now I’m not the most popular detective on the force — the Commissioner’s got it in for me — but I would never have guessed how much more complicated my life is about to become.
CLAIRE TEMPLETON: I’m the crime reporter for the Star City Tribune. I know everyone in this town from the mayor down to the guys who pick up your garbage at four in the morning. I’m good at my job too, which is why I get myself into so many scrapes and tight corners. I’m fearless, determined, and always get my story — even when there’s no one with the courage to print it!
EBERON: I am Eberon, Protector of the Covenant, and son of Oberon, high king, and lord of all the light realms of the fae. Perhaps you have heard of me. Even in the mortal realm, my father’s name is still known — if only because of that English bard. My fate is bound to the protection of the covenant between the dark, light, and mortal realms. For thousands of years the covenant has kept the animosity between our various peoples in check, but now something unheard of has occurred. The mortal protector has been murdered and I have traveled to the dark realm of the fae to find out why.
FINBARRA: I am Finbarra, Protector of the Covenant, and son of Finyarra, high king, and lord of all the dark realms of the fae. I care not whether you have heard of me any more than I care what a mortal’s opinion is on any matter at all. Like Eberon, my fate is bound to the protection of the covenant between the dark, light, and mortal realms. Unlike Eberon, I chafe under the restrictions this places upon me. For thousands of years the covenant has kept the animosity between our various peoples in check, but now something unheard of has occurred. The mortal protector has been murdered and I have traveled to the kingdom of Coblynau, the goblin king, to find out why.
COBLYNAU: Of course I’m cranky. You’d be cranky too. Fools! Layabouts! Idiots! I am surrounded by witless worms and encounter stupidity at every turn. The damned “pig sticker” has turned up. Here! In my realm! That means those dratted Protectors are going to turn up as well… and who knows what else besides. I just want to get back to my flayings and other entertainments. It’s bad enough I have to rule a realm full of stinking trolls without being intruded upon by the politics of the high fae.
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
TULLY BING: My name’s Tully Bing but the sooner you forget that the better. Give me data to crunch, a puzzle to solve, and a map to draw and I’m happy as a pig in mud. I met Claire Templeton at the university recently. You don’t meet too many women in my line of work but she’d come to interview someone who wasn’t available and ended up sitting down with me instead! You know, I almost died of fright? She’s real nice and real pretty too. I don’t know what she sees in a guy like me but I’m willing to do anything to stay on her radar.
JENNY SHELBY: Mommy, Mommy. I just saw a troll and a knight fighting outside my window. No really, Mommy. It was big and blue and tore the little old man with the sword to pieces. No, Mommy, I’m not making it up. No! It’s the truth. Aw, Mommy, okay, I’m going back to bed.
TROLL: I troll. I eat mortals. I catch under bridge. I skin. I chew. I crunch. Miss the old days, I do. When a troll could fight and kill all he want. Today I must stay near bridge. No exceptions. Stupid covenant!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com.
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This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.