Pan Post 160 continues Britt: The Legend but is the first part for the Christmas Special of 2017. Britticus Fay and Christopher Marlowe, or Kit, have been made spies of Queen Elizabeth I and are trying to get their friend, William Shakespeare, or Bill, to help them. Bill is able to create plot-holes with his writing, which allows him to travel from one place to another in an instant. He agrees to help his friends, though he doesn't believe they're really spies, and takes them to London Bridge where they see a magical purple light and another spy named Ingram Frizier. When Bill finally believes them about spying and magic he wants to leave as he always gets into trouble and almost dies on these schemes of Britt and Kit's. Suddenly they're chased by the man meeting with Ingram; Dr Faustus. Faustus was exceptional with magic and soaked aether like a sponge but he couldn't control it and sought the help of a demon. The demon, Mephistopheles, has taken possession of Faustus and chases the three men. They avoid demons and Bill takes them through a plot-hole back to Blackfriars theatre after a struggling to concentrate. They discuss what to do about the demon and Faustus but Mephistopheles himself, as a grey friar, appears. He asks them to back down but they refuse so he leaves them with a 'plaything', a hideous beast named Sandy Claws.
Britt: The Legend - Christmas 2017 Part I
Kit: "We are! Employed by her majesty Queen Elizabeth I no less."
Britt: "Good old Queen Lizzy. She owed me a favour or two."
Kit: "I bet she did!"
Britt: "Not like that! She's a virgin!"
Kit: "Suuuuuuuure she is."
Britt: "You know contraception barely works in this era, right? She'd be pregnant by now if she was getting any action."
Kit: "What're you talking, this era?"
Britt catches himself and then wiggles his fingers mysteriously at Kit.
Kit: "You're weird."
Bill: "You're both weird! Now get out. I'm trying to write."
Kit: "What work are you stealing today?"
Bill: "I'm not stealing. I'm improving!"
Britticus Fay sat heavily on the table where William Shakespeare is trying to write his latest magnum opus. Bill glares at the offended arse upon his table and points his quill at it.
Bill: "You have five seconds before this nib pierces your skin."
Britt: "C'mon Bill! We've spy business to attend to and we need your help!"
Bill rolls his eyes but seems to finally relent.
Bill: "Fine. Fine. I'm not going to get any work done with you two twats badgering me anyway."
Kit: "Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger--[Ext 1]"
Bill: "I already caved! You're a couple of reprobates. And people say I'm bad."
Kit: "You are. You just pretend to be nice."
Bill reluctantly pushes out his chair, which grinds loudly against the wood floor as though making his complaint for him. The backstage of the theatre is quiet at this time of the night and only candles light up the small dressing room. Wigs, hats, wooden props and a lot of silly dresses adorn the room and cast crazy shadows against the walls. The Blackfriars theatre is Bill's pride-and-joy and one of the greatest highlights of London in 1952. And yet he dreams of a better theatre, one of his very own, upon the bank of the River Thames... but that's another day.
Christopher Marlowe, usually called Kit, was Bill's closest friend despite him being a damn nuisance. While Bill can be silly and has a deep fondness for humour, especially of the toilet variety, Kit is a wild one that is prone to getting himself into trouble.
And where there's trouble, there's usually Britt. A mysterious guy that seemed to drop out of the sky and wouldn't bugger off. Bill actually liked having him around as he seemed to be a font of knowledge and a great mine for bastardised quotations. But there was always something odd about the Italian.
Bill: "Where exactly are we going?"
Britt: "England is in dire need of heroism, my friend, and we are the ones to answer the call!"
Bill: "And why is it us three and not the Queen's guard?"
Britt: "Because we have... special talents."
Kit: "And it'll be fun!"
Bill: "Special talents..."
He rolls his eyes again and sighs with resignation that he is about to find himself knee-deep in ****. Again.
Bill: "I better get paid this time."
Britt: "You got paid last time!"
Bill: "A cow is not payment in modern England."
Britt snorts with a hearty laugh.
Britt: "Modern England. Funny."
William Shakespeare is a talented writer, something acknowledged by both the upper and lower classes of London. But he has another, secret, talent. He can create holes in the world. Holes that people can step through. He first discovered this when he made a terrible mistake in his own play, placing a dead character in a scene after the guy's death. The moment he created the plot-hole on the page, a hole in real life opened up around him and he had transported himself to Belgium.
It was a difficult few months trying to get back home again.
Since then he realised he had to just think of a placement paradox and he can open a tunnel to the place he thinks she should be.
At Kit's request, he opens a plot-hole to London Bridge.
The sky is black and clouded over, allowing the moon to just peek out occasionally, and snow is gently falling down. Several inches had already piled up and their footprints leave deep impression into the snow. Bill batted and rubbed his arms. They were all wearing thick, winter garb and yet the chill always managed to penetrate down to his skin anyway. Britt appeared especially cold, never having gotten used to colder climates after his Italian upbringing.
Kit's hair, which is a big, shaggy mess on top of his scalp, had started to gather a layer of so much snow that he looked like a walking bush. He always wore clothes much too big for him, so his youthful face looked like a child's head attached to an adult's body. Bill could never insult Marlowe for his crazy hair because Bill himself was already going bald with a hairline retreating so fast it might be French.
Then there was a sudden flash of purple light that left a dim glow upon the underside of the bridge. The three men leaned over the edge to peer downwards. The purple glow was illuminating two suspicious-looking men.
Kit: "What did I tell you, Britt?"
Bill: "Who are they?"
Kit: "One of them is Ingram Frizer. He's a spy like us."
Bill: "This again..."
He looks at the two others and finally realises they they were both telling the truth. His jaw dropped.
Bill: "YOU'RE SPI--"
Britt and Kit both dove on Bill and shut him up quickly. Britt poked his head through a gap in the stone rail.
Britt: "We're good."
Bill: "Did you really have to jump on me like that?"
Kit: "You know you loved it."
Bill: "I have eyes only for my wife."
Kit: "And everyone else's wives."
Britt: "That's why we get along so well, right Bill?"
Britt grinned like an idiot and Bill just shoved him aside so he could look down too.
Bill: "Who's this Ingram bloke with?"
Kit: "There's the rub."
Bill: "I told you, I'm not gay."
Kit: "What? I didn't mean that! I mean that's the big trouble. See that light?"
Bill: "Yes. What the bloody heck is it?"
Bill fell silent for a long while as they watched.
Bill: "Spies... and now magic."
He got up.
Bill: "I'm out. See ya!"
Kit tackled Bill to the ground again. They rolled about in the snow and only stopped when two strangers walked past, giving them a weary glance. Kit gave them a wild grin.
Kit: "We're totally sodomites!"
Bill growled and the couple started to run off in horror. Bill shoved Kit off of him and scrambled angrily to his feet.
Bill: "I'm not doing this! Every time you two rope me into something, it goes wrong and I nearly die. I have a wife and kids and... well, my public needs me."
Kit: "It's okay. If you die, I'll write a play about you."
He was still lying in the snow and started to make a snow angel.
Bill: "Remind me later, if you don't die in this endeavour, I have to kill you myself. Okay?"
Kit: "You're just jealous my plays are more pop--"
Britt: "LEG IT!"
Britt ran by, much to the surprise of the two Englishmen. They turned to where he had been a moment later to see a man floating in the air above the bridge. He is surrounded by a wicked, green glow that seemed to ebb from his body like a mist.
Kit squirmed to his feet and they ran after Britt.
Kit: "OPEN YOUR HOLE!"
Bill: "I TOLD YOU I'M NOT GAY!"
Kit: "THE DOOR, MAN! THE DOOR!"
Bill: "I- I- I CAN'T CONCENTRATE!"
As they ran Bill tried to think of being somewhere else but all he could think of was the creepy, floating, magic spy whizzing after him. They followed Britt into an alley but came skidding to a halt as they saw three red circles upon the ground. From the circles climbed three grotesque demonic creatures with gangly limps and impish faces. Their eyes burned with flame and their skin was leathery and wet.
Britt whipped his hand out and hot tea slapped against the demons, throwing the three of them against the wall of the black-and-white Tudor house. They ran again, just as the stranger reached the alley.
Bill: "Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger--"
Kit: "Badger, badger, badger--[Ext 1]"
Bill: "STOP THAT!"
Britt: "BILL! THINK OF SOMEWHERE!"
Bill: "I CAN'T!"
Bill did his best.
A hole opened in front of Britt and he, without even seeing it, went in. Kit leapt through next, followed by Bill, who closed the hole.
They skidded to a halt again and stared.
Britt: "Seriously Bill?"
Kit: "You thought of the alley we were in!!?"
The stranger, still metres off the ground, is now in front of them. He turned slowly, quizzically.
Britt: "SOMEWHERE ELSE! SOMEWHERE ELSE!"
Bill turned and a new hole opened. He jumped in and they were now back at the Blackfriars theatre. When the other two were through, he closed it up and breathed a sigh of relief. They all panted before Kit started chuckling. Then Bill started. And then Britt joined in and soon they were cackling like a bunch of buffoons.
When they finally calmed down, Bill had to ask;
Bill: "Who was that creep?"
Bill: "I think I've heard of him. He was a magician. A con man. Made people think he controlled... demons..."
Bill thought about that.
Britt: "Not such a con man."
Kit: "He was supposed to be so powerful in magic that he couldn't control it. The magic dust, this--"
Kit looked to Britt for help.
Kit: "Yeah. That stuff. Faustus just soaked it up like a sponge. He could have studied to become a great mage but instead... well he decided to take the short-cut. A pact with a demon."
Britt: "But clearly Faustus isn't in complete control of his faculties. This demon he's attached to is influencing him. He can control the aether now, but he can't control himself."
Bill: "There's always a catch to any bargain with Satan."
Britt: "Not Satan. Mephistopheles."
Bill decided after the night he's had, a theological debate on the distinctions between the various demons and their names would be more trouble than it's worth.
Bill: "Either way, what is he doing here in London? Why's he talking to Ingram Frizer?"
Britt: "Maybe he wants to conquer the land and become king? Isn't that what these uber-idiots all want?"
Bill: "You can't just become king of England, you need a legitimate claim. A cassus belli. It doesn't matter how powerful he is, nobody would accept him as king."
Kit: "I think it's more insidious than that."
Kit: "Think about it. How does someone rule a country without ruling the country?"
Britt and Bill stare blankly.
Kit: "Become the grand vizier!"
Britt: "This is England, Kit. There's no grand vizier."
Kit: "Sure there is! What does our boss do, huh? Francis Walsingham is 'secretary of state'--"
He wiggles his fingers in the air.
Kit: "He's our spymaster. He governs the queen's council. He's the royal aide. He determines foreign and domestic policy. Hell what doesn't he do? Sounds like a grand vizier to me!"
Bill: "You mean Dr Faustus intends to replace Francis Walsingham!? Like the queen would allow that!"
Kit: "And that's what Ingram Frizer helps him to do. He introduces a powerful and learned man to the queen, Walsingham has an 'accident'--"
He wiggles his fingers again.
Kit: "-and, oh look, lucky we have this respected and wise man to take his place!"
Britt: "It's always the grand vizier!!"
Bill: "So what do we do about it? So far as I can tell, we're buggered."
Kit: "If we expose Faustus as the demon-dabbler he is, he'll be driven out!"
Bill: "I'm surprised you believe all this demon stuff. Aren't you an atheist, Kit?"
Kit: "I didn't say we should summon angels, did I?"
Bill: "Uh... you know Hell is from the Bible too, right?"
Bill: "So how does one reveal the demon inside someone? Coax it out with with a bit of cheese or what?"
Kit: "What souls do demons love most?"
Bill: "Corrupt ones?"
Kit: "No! They want to corrupt pure souls! Imagine if there was a renowned, pure ruler. All that power, influence and... 'purity'."
Finger wiggling ensues.
Bill: "You can't mean... THE QUEEN!?"
Britt: "You want to stop Mephistopheles from being grand vizier by making him the monarch...?"
Kit: "No! We just use her as... you know? Bait!"
Bill: "We have officially entered the realm of 'stupid-****ery'. Kit. This is a bad, bad, bad, bad, baaaaaaaaaaaad idea."
Bill: "BAD! Bad! Bad, bad, bad, BAD idea."
Bill: "BAD! BAD! BAD!"
Mephistopheles: "It wouldn't have worked anyway..."
The three men all squeal like little girls as they turn to see a grey-clas friar standing below the stage. He appears old, infirm and quite harmless. Except the three of them could feel the demon within him.
Mephistopheles: "I am not like most demons. I am not seeking to corrupt the innocent. I serve those already corrupted. Faustus is a fun one. The sloth is immense within in. He could have studied and learnt to control the power he holds but, instead, he simply... couldn't be bothered. And so here I am."
Britt: "Bugger me sideways. What're we going to do now?"
Mephistopheles: "Nothing you can do. Besides, why do you care? Christopher Marlowe. Atheist and anarchist. Wouldn't you like to see the Church of England brought down a peg or two? Britticus, the ageless time-traveller. An atheist that has met the gods of the world. You know they're just beings of a different nature, why bother getting involved in all this politics? William Shakespeare, a man of words not of action. You have a wife and children to consider, a legacy to create. Why risk your safety for a broken institution that doesn't value you?"
The three of them shift uneasily before they all glance at each other.
Kit is the first to break.
Kit: "Meh. We ain't got anything better to do."
Bill: "If it wasn't for Queen Elizabeth, I wouldn't have had the free education to help me write."
Britt: "Stopping idiots seems to kind of become a hobby of mine, so that puts you top of my list right now, Meff."
Mephistopheles: "Don't call me a meff."
The three of them grin wickedly.
Mephistopheles: "Let it never be said that I wasn't reasonable. I'll leave you with a plaything. The idiot doctor has an appointment with the spymaster of England..."
Britt: "Come back, meff!"
Kit: "Where are you going, you meff!?"
Bill: "What play thing is he talking about?"
Voice: "That would be me..."
They turn and the friar slips into the shadows from whence he came. Towering over the humans is a humanoid with elongated limbs like spider-legs and skinny, limp arms. The body is covered in a bright, red, velvet suit that is lined dirty, white fur. He stands double the height of the average man and his long neck cranes so that his face glares down at the Englishmen. His face is spilt open into a wide, toothy grin - except his teeth are bleeding as though from the strain of the permanently fixed grin. His blood-shot eyes are wide open and glaring. His beard is white, flecked with blonde of his youth, long and scraggly. Upon his head is a floppy, red head.
He raises his right hand. His fingers are several inches long and end with sharp, bird-like claws.
Bill: "I think I need to go to the bathroom..."
Britt: "What is this thing?"
As the humanoid speaks, his lips move exaggeratedly, like a cartoon;
Sandy Claws: "Why, I'm Sandy Claws!"