On the Fence – Episode 2 – Paths Asunder

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Below we present the complete text of ‘Paths Asunder’; episode 2 of On the Fence.

Fantasy Noir - FN004 - On the Fence
Fantasy Noir – FN004 – On the Fence
Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children
Parental Guidance Recommended: May contain content some parents may feel is inappropriate for younger children



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.

CC by-nc-nd 4.0
CC by-nc-nd 4.0

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 #4: On the Fence

Claire Templeton, crime reporter, often wonders what she sees in her boyfriend, Tully Bing.

Being bookish and timid, he just isn’t her type. But when the information Tully provides about the black market puts her in touch with a fence who is quickly murdered by means that can only be described as magical, she and Tully are drawn into a brand new faery plot to destroy the city, sever and isolate the mortal realm, and pave the way for a faery takeover.

With her sometime ally, Tony Wells, effectively neutralized by a clever faery plot, Claire finds herself working for and with the High Queen of the Realm of Darkness. Unfortunately, the Queen tops Claire’s list of suspects with regard to who’s behind all the mayhem. Can Claire solve the case and save the day before her hometown becomes a giant crater? Tune in to “On the Fence” and listen as the mystery unfolds.

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.



TONY WELLS: Private Detective


FRED: The Magical Sword

FINBARRA: The Covenant Guardian of Darkness

EBERON: The Covenant Guardian of Light

OBERON: High King of the Light Realm

TITANIA: High Queen of the Light Realm

SYLVAESTRON (STINK): A faery of the wee folk of darkness

PROFESSOR WARD: Tully’s boss

SFX: SFX operator (1 required)


  2. NARRATOR: Private Detective, Tony Wells, has been hired by the Queen of the fae Realm of Darkness to clear her name with regard to a crime she claims she didn’t commit.  Meanwhile, his occasional partner, Claire Temepleton – Crime Reporter,  was trying to get his assistance looking into the death of one of her contacts when he vanished in front of her eyes.
  5. TONY: Fred, what just happened?
  6. FRED: Oh, that’s right. You’ve never been summoned under the stipulations of the covenant before. In the past, you’ve been the one doing the summoning so you haven’t experienced it from this side. We’re in the courtroom of the palace of Oberon and Titania, High King and Queen of the fae Realm of Light.
  7. TONY: You mean this is how it works? I get zapped off somewhere without any say in it, the moment a summons comes in?
  8. FRED: That’s about the size of it, boss. If it’s any consolation, Eberon and Finbarra are bound by the same deal. See they’re here as well.
  9. TONY: No wonder they were cheesed off last time. You could be doing anything…
  10. OBERON: Welcome, honored guests, to the court of Oberon and Titania, High King and Queen of the fae Realm of Light. I have summoned you into our august presence to deal with a matter of some considerable import.
  11. FRED: (STAGE WHISPER) Aw hell!
  12. TONY: What?
  13. FRED: Oberon’s crown is missing!
  14. OBERON: This matter is one which threatens the dignity of our entire realm. As you can see, the crown, which acts as sign and warrant of our right to rule in this realm, has been taken. A nearly impossible task and an unforgivable insult. One which, if it is not rectified, can only result in war and a breaking of the covenant that has so long held the realms in balance.
  16. TONY: These guys would go to war over a hat?
  17. FRED: You betcha!
  18. OBERON: I have summoned the Covenant Protectors here to enlist their aid in recovering the crown and punishing the perpetrators of this crime!
  19. TITANIA: Oh, for goodness sake. It seems that the longer you live the more ridiculous this penchant of yours for speeches gets! We know who took the crown. Have them at it!
  20. OBERON: (WEARILY) Titania, must you always interrupt. There are formalities and protocols that must be observed.
  21. TITANIA: Nonsense! I’ll bet the mortal wants you to get to the point. After all, mortal lives are too short for your speechifying.
  22. OBERON: Titania…
  23. TITANIA: At least tell them who did it!
  24. OBERON: I apologize for Queen Titania, dear guests. The seriousness of this matter makes her more impatient by the hour. (BEAT) It is true that we have our suspicions…
  26. OBERON: …but, as the evidence all points to someone of singular importance, this revelation must be handled with delicacy.
  27. TITANIA: Oh, for goodness sake… it was Mab! Stop acting as though we need to tread lightly around that unpredictable cow. We’ve been treading softly for the last millennia and, if anything, she’s more insane than ever.
  28. OBERON: Whatever else can be said about your sister — and I’m the first to admit that her thought processes are murky at best —
  30. OBERON: she has never given the slightest indication of insanity. Extraordinary deviousness, yes. But insanity? No.
  31. FINBARRA: My Lord Oberon, Queen Mab is my mother. She has always been ambitious, and she enjoys mayhem, but I cannot believe she would risk breaking the covenant. After all, she convinced my father, against his better judgment, to sign the covenant in the first place.
  32. OBERON: We are aware of the history, Prince Finbarra, we were there after all. And, the hasty words of Titania notwithstanding, we do NOT make a formal accusation against your mother at this time. We do ask that the Covenant Protectors investigate this matter.
  33. TONY: Your Majesty, if I might…
  34. FRED: Boss, no! This isn’t the…
  35. OBERON: Speak, mortal. Our court recognizes you.
  36. TONY: Er, right! Um… Mab believes that she is being framed… er, set up to appear the villain… and…
  37. OBERON: And how would you know this?
  38. TONY: She came to my office this morning and…
  39. TITANIA: Your office? In the mortal realm?
  40. TONY: Er… that’s right. And she hired me to look…
  42. TONY: …into this for her.
  43. FRED: Here it comes…
  44. TITANIA: You imbecile. You allowed yourself to be bound to Mab’s cause?
  45. TONY: What? No, I merely agreed…
  46. OBERON: Your neutrality is now suspect. Instead of being able to bring the power of the three swords to bear on this matter, we are now down to two.
  47. TONY: Now hang on a minute…
  48. TITANIA: This changes everything. She has successfully neutralized one of her opponents. Why would she do this if she were not guilty?
  49. TONY: But…
  50. OBERON: Silence!
  52. TONY: (MUFFLED) Mmpf. Mmm. Mmmpf.
  53. OBERON: You have violated the pact of neutrality. Until this matter is resolved you will remain bound in this castle. (BEAT) Eberon?
  54. EBERON: Yes, father?
  55. OBERON: I expect you to pursue this matter with impartiality and thoroughness.
  56. EBERON: Yes, father.
  57. FINBARRA: (INTERRUPTING) The enmity between your house and my mother is well known, Your Majesty. How can I be sure this is not some scheme to discredit her for your own purposes.
  58. OBERON: You forget your place, Finbarra. As a guest in my house, you have no right to accuse…
  59. FINBARRA: I do not accuse, Your Majesty. I merely investigate. Much as I hate to admit it, the mortal would have proved useful as an impartial third party in this matter. As it is, you have arrested him. It does not take a genius to see what advantage might accrue to your side if this is, as circumstances suggest, some form of scheme on the part of the Realm of Light?
  60. EBERON: How dare you! If your mother had not sought to hire him, the mortal would still be in play.
  61. OBERON: Enough. It is clear that the two of you cannot work together under these circumstances. Investigate separately then… but the mortal will remain here.
    (TO TONY) By virtue of this breach of neutrality, mortal, you are hereby bound in silver chains until this matter is resolved. You are relieved of all warrants, benefits, and privileges that accrue to a duly appointed Protector of the Covenant.
    Now, tell us. Where can we find Mab?
  62. TONY: Mmff. mm. mmmmfff.
  63. OBERON: Oh, of course!
  65. OBERON: There. Let’s try again. Where’s Mab?
  66. TONY: Go to hell!
  67. OBERON: Tsk. Tsk. You are making a mistake by defying me, mortal. Without your role to protect you, you are just another insignificant human in my realm. I can do with you as I wish… but Titania has always been the more persuasive of us. I think I’ll leave it up to her to gain Mab’s location from you.
  68. TITANIA: Oh darling, a present? How delicious.
  69. TONY: Why you. I never asked for this. Both of you can go and …
  71. TITANIA: Enough of that! There’ll be plenty of time for talk… when you stop screaming.
  72. OBERON: And as for you, sword. I am sending you back to your secure place of refuge to await the outcome of these matters. Be gone!
  73. FRED: But…


  2. CLAIRE: Just in time. I was about to give up waiting for you and leave. (BEAT) Hey, where’s Wells?
  3. FRED: He’s been arrested.
  4. CLAIRE: He’s what?
  5. FRED: He’s been arrested. You know, he’s banged up, been sent up the river, locked in the hoosegow, dining on bread and water, doing stir…
  6. CLAIRE: Yeah, yeah. I get it. But what for?
  7. FRED: Well, you know how Mab just hired him to clear her name?
  8. CLAIRE: Yeah?
  9. FRED: Well, Tony and the other Covenant Protectors were summoned to Oberon’s court. You do know who Oberon is, right, kid?
  10. CLAIRE: Don’t get fresh.
  11. FRED: Anyway, Oberon wants Mab investigated for stealing his crown and your idiot friend, Wells, lets out that he’s just been hired by Mab to clear her. Bang. He’s locked up for violatin’ his neutrality quicker’n you can shout “cruel and unusual.”
  12. CLAIRE: (ALARMED) But we’ve got to get him back. The mortal realm is in danger.
  13. FRED: You think I don’t know that? They banished me back here before I could get a word in edgeways. It’s just as well Tony keeps me propped in the corner most times or I wouldn’t be here to even have this conversation.
  14. CLAIRE: But you can still communicate with the other Covenant Protectors, right? I mean, you can let them know what’s going on?
  15. FRED: Uh, uh, sister. I can only be wielded by a protector and Tony’s currently in another universe (or as good as).
  16. CLAIRE: What am I going to do?
  17. FRED: Well, that’s an interesting question. One I don’t think you’ll like the answer to.
  18. CLAIRE: Go on.
  19. FRED: Mab’s incredibly devious, even by fae standards. She left specific instructions that you be given that pendant on the table… which I see you have yet to pick up.
  20. CLAIRE: You don’t think I’ve had enough experience of faeries to NEVER take what they offer, ever again?
  21. FRED: Fair enough, but you’ll remember that Tony was given assurances by Mab that accepting this gift would not place you under any obligation to her and that it would aid you in sorting this mess out.
  22. CLAIRE: You think this is what she meant?
  23. FRED: Ahuh. And I’ll tell you this much for nothin’, too. From what I saw going on between the fae realms, and with Tony out of the way, you’re pretty much the only game in town. If you don’t figure this out, then no one will.
  24. CLAIRE: Just great! (BEAT) (TO HERSELF) Okay, here goes. I’m going to pick the pendant up. There’s nothing too scary about a pendant, right? So I’m going to pick it up and nothing’s going to happen. Yup, I’m going to pick it up… right…now!
  26. SYLVAESTRON: (IN A TINY PIPING VOICE) Behold, mortal, it is I, Sylvaestron. Kneel before me and cower!
  27. CLAIRE: (LONG BEAT) What the hell are you?
  28. SYLVAESTRON: (WRONG-FOOTED) Let me try that again…
  30. SYLVAESTRON: (BEAT) Behold, mortal, it is I, Sylvaestron. Look on me and writhe in terror! (BEAT) Are you quivering, mortal?
  31. CLAIRE: Afraid not. Slightly nauseated, perhaps, but hardly quivering.
  32. SYLVAESTRON: Nauseated, huh? I guess I can work with that. You’re feeling some fear deep in the pit of your stomach and it’s turning you…
  33. CLAIRE: No. I simply mean you smell… bad!
  34. FRED: Stink? Stink Sylvaestron? Is that you?
  35. SYLVAESTRON: Aw, damn. And it was going so well. (TO THE SWORD) Hiya, Sword. I didn’t expect to see you here. I heard you got a new owner. What are they calling you these days? Silverbright? Spirit Cleanser? Something like that?
  36. FRED: That was my last owner. This time I’m called Fred.
  37. SYLVAESTRON: Fred? You’re kidding?
  38. FRED: Mortals! What can I say? (TO CLAIRE) Uh, Claire, this is Stink, I mean Sylvaestron — she’s a pollution faery.
  39. CLAIRE: She’s a what?
  40. SYLVAESTRON: (WITH WOUNDED DIGNITY) A pollution faery. I used to be a nature sprite but a mining company got into my region of the mortal realm.
  41. FRED: Some sections of the fae community are more connected to the mortal realm than others. Nature sprites tend to reflect the way that their associated area of mortal land is being treated. Stink went toxic a few years back.
  42. CLAIRE: I’m sorry.
  43. SYLVAESTRON: Don’t be. I’ve been hoping that with time I’d stop looking so disgusting and start looking more… scary — you know, like those machines with their sharp digging teeth, etc. As it is I’m still more sludge than steel.
  44. CLAIRE: Uhuh. (BEAT) Why exactly are you here?
  45. SYLVAESTRON: Oh yeah. I owed Mab a favor. I have to give aid to whoever is carrying the pendant — up till now, that’s been Mab.
  46. CLAIRE: Some favor. Were you locked in that pendant?
  47. SYLVAESTRON: Do I look like something you’d find locked in a pendant?
  48. CLAIRE: Actually you look like something I’d find locked in an S-bend.
  49. SYLVAESTRON: (INSULTED) Very funny. Ha Ha! Pick on the pollution faery, why don’t you. Just ’cause you don’t smell of raw sewage, and instead, carry around the scent of disgusting flowers and stuff.
  50. CLAIRE: (TO FRED) Is she quite the full deck?
  51. FRED: Not remotely. She’s been bound to the pendant since she tried to turn Mab’s pet ice-wolves into stomach worms as a gift.
  52. SYLVAESTRON: The palace just didn’t seem to have enough slime, is all. I still don’t see what all the fuss was about.
  53. CLAIRE: And this is what Mab leaves to help me? Are you sure Mab’s the full deck?
  54. FRED: No comment!
  55. CLAIRE: Alright, better get this show on the road. I’m going to pick up Tully and we’re going to see what we can learn about this trade in magical do-dads. I have a feeling that all of this connects to the stolen crown somehow and the sooner I find the crown the better.
  56. FRED: What about me? You’re not going to just leave me here, are you?
  57. CLAIRE: Yeah, I am. At least for now. If Tony manages to come back I think it would be best if you were here to greet him. Besides I thought you can only be wielded by the “one and only” Protector of the Covenant.
  58. FRED: Yeah, but there is a way you could wield me.
  59. CLAIRE: What’s that?
  60. FRED: Become an Apprentice Protector.
  61. CLAIRE: This again?
  62. FRED: He offered you the job with his own lips — even if he did think he was joking — and the terms are pretty straightforward. You agree to take up the sword if anything happens to the boss and you become an Apprentice Protector. He trains you and…
  63. CLAIRE: Wait, Wells would become something like my boss?
  64. FRED: Yup! He could order you around. Make you fetch coffee etc. And in exchange he’d train you to do his job for him.
  65. CLAIRE: (BEAT)
  66. FRED: What? It’s not so bad. It’s what all the others did.
  67. CLAIRE: I’m taking a raincheck. Besides, doesn’t Wells have to be here or something?
  68. FRED: No one had to be there when he took up the sword, did they?
  69. CLAIRE: I’m assuming that was a special circumstance. But while you’re on the topic, why didn’t the other guy have an apprentice?
  70. FRED: Oh, he did. Three in fact.
  71. CLAIRE: What happened to them?
  72. FRED: All dead! Being an Apprentice Covenant Protector is pretty risky. There were none left when my old master finally bit the dust.
  73. CLAIRE: (BEAT) Right, I’m out of here. (TO SYLVAESTRON) And as for you, Stink, jump back in the pendant for now. I’ll call you if I need you.
  74. SYLVAESTRON: Sure thing, boss.


TONY WELLS: I used to work as a detective in the City Police Department. Now I’m a private 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.

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!

MAGIC SWORD (FRED): I’m a magical sword and I inherit my personality from the world around me. I’m a wise-talking smart alec who’s always laughing at the expense of my owner. Possibly because I can’t be destroyed — magical remember — I see myself as superior to ordinary mortals. Nothing bothers me particularly and I love giving advice. I will probably be advising my new master on the proper etiquette for being swallowed by a dragon while he is being munched upon.


OBERON: I am the ruler of the Realm of Light. I love order, protocol, and ceremony. After so many eons of existence, they bring me comfort in an otherwise constantly changing universe. I am the dusk to my wife’s dawn.

TITANIA: I am Titania, Queen of the Realm of Light. I am impatient and love new things. Change is my friend. The only thing I don’t like is my sister, Mab. She is a conniving cow and cannot be trusted. If the balance did not have to be maintained I would attempt to be rid of her once and for all, and consequences be damned.

SYLVAESTRON (STINK): I’m a helpful pollution faery. What? You thought all faeries were cute and stuff? Well, I suppose that can be forgiven because I was cute once… but then the land to which I am linked was poisoned by a mining company. None of those ugly flowers and bird-songs for me. Now it’s all stink and slag and slime. Cool, huh! Now, what would you like poisoned? Didn’t I mention that I’m helpful?

EBERON: I am Eberon, Protector of the Covenant, and son to 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. A new and inexperienced mortal protector has now taken up the mantle as well. What this means for us all is hard to say.

FINBARRA: I am Finbarra, Protector of the Covenant, and son to 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 that this places upon me. For thousands of years the covenant has kept the animosity between our various peoples in check, and now a new and inexperienced mortal protector has taken up the mantel. The moment is rife with opportunity but for now, I will wait and watch.


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.

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.

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On the Fence

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