The Pope enters, unseen by First Cleric.
continuing, First Cleric wrote:Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
(though "moon" has never passed my lips
the orb appearing in the sky
this brew can only clarify)
Not too soon but not too late
lest the charm not dominate:
Spool of pasta, tightly wound
in the deepest dungeon found
Now to Time we must submit
let it boil, and wait for it.
When the phases are complete
add ingredients discreet
off the spool and in the pot
thus the cauldron's not for naught.
surprising First Cleric, The Pope wrote:Round about the cauldron go
dancing in adagio
Fire turning into smoke
First Cleric wrote:finishes the masterstroke.
What brings you here, your Popeness?
Entering further, The Pope wrote:Shoe tells me you have a most wowterful culinary concoction.
First Cleric wrote:Shoe travels fast.
The Pope wrote:Indeed. It is, I admit, hard to get used to.
First Cleric wrote:It is not quite done yet; it's missing its key ingredient. But even so, it is an intoxicating aroma, is it not?
The Pope approaches the cauldron and takes a deep whiff. It is not all that appealing.
The Pope wrote:Indeed, quite... unusual. I'd love to stay for lunch but I do have... some Pope business to attend to.
The Pope turns to leave, stops himself, and turns back.
The Pope wrote:But that does remind me - I do have some Pope Business right here.
The Pope reaches into his cloak and pulls out a loop of string of sorts... it is metallic and behaves oddly.
The Pope wrote:Do you recognize this?
First Cleric approaches and takes it. The string bends along one direction only, not the other, and is made of metallic pieces.
First Cleric wrote:It looks like... yes, I think it is... that's what drives Balthasar's contraption! But he's on Quest - how did you get it?
The Pope wrote:It's not from there. It's from the Crystal Organ. But it is oddly similar, isn't it? Loops, strings, belts, they all seem to be important to the things that mystify us so much. They are like scrolls with no writing on them, but that say something.
First Cleric wrote:But... that's a contradiction!
The Pope wrote:Indeed it is. This one is for you. If you would allow me?
The Pope makes a gesture as to put the loop around First Cleric's neck, and First Cleric nods. The Pope places the loop over First Cleric's head and brings it down his cloak a bit below his waist, like a belt, then thinks the better of it and brings it back up to his neck, draping it in front of him.
The Pope wrote:I think it's better if you wear it this way.
First Cleric wrote:Yes, it's certainly more comfortable. That was a little... tight.
The Pope wrote:You could stand to lose some weight then.
First Cleric wrote:Maybe. After lunch.
wrinkling his nose a bit, The Pope wrote:Yes... most certainly after lunch. But now, I have an audience with... well, some Pope business.
First Cleric wrote:You sure you can't stay for lunch? It will be ready in less than an Ong.
The Pope wrote:I'm sure.
The Pope exits through the door into the darkness. Lights go down on the dorm room and up on Stage left - it is the Pope's dorm room. The Pope is seated at his table doing his prayer tiles. There is a knock at the door, also stage left.
The Pope wrote:Come in; it's open.
Second Scribe, ggh, and GnomeAnne enter, all talking at once. The Pope holds up his hand to silence them.
The Pope wrote:One at a time; I have a feeling you're all saying the same thing.
ggh wrote:No, we're being redundant.
The Pope wrote:Fair enough. How is your research coming?
Overlapping each other, they respond.
Second Scribe wrote:Well, that's why we're here.
ggh wrote:We think we might have discovered something about the River Organ.
Second Scribe wrote:It has whirly things just like the Crystal Organ
ggh wrote:Not quite like it though - smaller and thinner. And different. But the same.
Second Scribe wrote:And we couldn't figure out how to get them out to study them.
GnomeAnne wrote:And then First Cleric came and figured it out in an instant.
The Pope wrote:Wait a minute.
The Pope just noticed that the third person was... well, not female.
The Pope wrote:Who is this? I thought you had the strict rule that no man was to come into the secret base in the Cathedral.
Second Scribe wrote:That's GnomeAnne.
The Pope wrote:But he is dressed as one. You dressed him up as one, didn't you?
Second Scribe wrote:Yes.
Second Scribe wrote:No.
GnomeAnne wrote:Actually, I dressed myself like this. But I'm GnomeAnne.
The Pope wrote:I see. Is that a false nose?
The Pope reaches out to pull GnomeAnne's nose.
GnomeAnne wrote:That's not a false nose, it's a real one.
The Pope looks around at them and waits.
The Pope wrote:Well?
Second Scribe wrote:There are ways of telling if he's GnomeAnne or not. But we don't have time to build a bridge out of him, so let's skip on a bit, brother.
GnomeAnne wrote:First, there's a secret base on the moon.
ggh wrote:And second, First Cleric has the whirly things. I think he's going to eat them.
The Pope wrote:What?
First: Second Cleric has the whirly things?
And second: What's a "moon"?
ggh wrote:It's a big round rock in the sky, but that's not important right now. What's important is that Second Cleric has the whirly things. That means that we don't.
The Pope wrote:Somehow, I think a big round rock in the sky might be a little bit of a concern.
GnomeAnne wrote:Not if it stays there.
The Pope wrote:But third... how did Second Cleric get -
Second Scribe wrote:First Cleric
The Pope wrote:How did Second Cleric get First Cleric?
ggh wrote:First, never mind the big rock in the sky.
Second, it's First Cleric.
Third, nothing. There is no third thing.
The Pope wrote:There are three things. You said them: First, Second, and Third.
Second Scribe wrote:There are two things. Actually, there's only one thing that's important right now. And we don't have it. So there are no things.
The Pope wrote:So... you came to tell me no things?
GnomeAnne wrote:I think what she's trying to say is that we came to tell you one thing, and that's that there's no things.
The Pope wrote:But that's one thing.
Second Scribe wrote:And it was the second thing.
The Pope wrote:Out of three. And I still don't know who this no-man man is.
ggh wrote:Well, neither do we actually. But he's GnomeAnne.
The Pope wrote:There's one thing that I got, and that's that Second Cleric got the thing that isn't there.
ggh wrote:First Cleric
The Pope wrote:First Cleric isn't there? That's the way it's supposed to be. No man allowed in.
Second Scribe wrote:And GnomeAnne was allowed in.
The Pope wrote:Ok, let me think. First, who is Second Cleric?
The Pope thinks.
Second Scribe wrote:According to the Holy Books, First Cleric (who was not the first cleric) became First Cleric in chapter 3. However, the second cleric (who was not the second cleric) first appeared in the second scene, whereupon he was revealed to be none other than you, your Pontiffness.
ggh wrote:But... it was First Cleric who snatched the whirly-thing slab, to eat it for lunch!
The Pope reaches into his cloak and pulls out a riverish slab.
The Pope wrote:This?
They all stare, agape, at the whirly-geegaw.
ggh wrote:That! Exactly!
Second Scribe wrote:How did you...
The Pope wrote:I'm the Pope.
Lights go down on the Pope's room, and back up on First Cleric's room, where First Cleric circles the cauldron, about to add the final ingredient.
First Cleric wrote:When the waiting's finally done,
and the ending has begun,
now the spool will get unspun!
He reaches into his cloak for the slab that he took from the secret base in the Cathedral. It is not there. A look of horror crosses his face.
First Cleric wrote:New commandment! Time to run!