Fear of Death

by Bubbinster Bladebender

Cast of Characters:


The Narrator says:

We open to a room, dimly lit by a lone lamp on a small table. The air is stuffy and a sense of dread hangs about. A lone man sits in a stuffed chair, he looks quite pale and sickly. As you watch, a sudden coughing spasm overtakes the man, and it is several minutes before he regains his composure. The man wears a old, but exquisite robe, and a book is on his lap. A pair of spectacles rest upon his nose. On his left hand, you notice a ring bearing the crest of the Moon Mages guild.

The Mage says:


The Mage hacks and coughs.

The Mage says:

A nasty cold I have.

The Mage goes back to reading the book on his lap, only to be interrupted by a sharp rapping on his door.

​The Mage says:

Come in, come in, I hope ye have my tea, Gertrude!

​The Narrator says:

The door slowly creaks open, but no one enters.

​The Mage says:

I say, come in, Gertie, you don’t need a special invitation!

​The Mage mutters:

You just cant find good help these days.

​The Narrator chants:

A foul blast of dank wind swirls into the room…

​The Mage says:

Blast it, Gertie, have ye left a window open again?! No wonder I have such a cold! Now close that window and bring me my tea!

​The Narrator chants:

The door stays open, but no one enters the room…

​The Mage speaks softly:


​The Narrator chants:

Suddenly, the room darkens even more, as the lights flicker…

​The Mage, in an attempt to sound stern, says:

Okay, enough is enough! Gertie, if you value your job you will quit playing games and come in here with my tea!

​The Narrator says:

Suddenly, as if out of thin air, an imposing figure appears by the door. The figure wears a deep black heavy robe, complete with a dark cowl concealing its face completely. Leaned against one shoulder is a mighty Scythe, it’s wickedly sharp looking blade gleaming in the flickering light. A smell of evil decay fills the room.

​The Narrator says:

The mage, a bit taken aback, shudders, then speaks in a croaking voice.

The Mage croaks:

Hey now, you’re not Gertie! Who goes there?

​The Narrator says:

The Robed figure shifts the great scythe a bit, and you notice its hands protruding from the robes are skeletal bones, devoid of flesh!

​The Narrator says:

The robed figure speaks, its voice raspy and haunting.

​The Reaper says:

It is I, Death, and I have come for you, mage!

​The Mage gasps in disbelief and horror!

​The Mage exclaims:

Nay, it can not be so! For I have much left to live for!

​The Reaper says:

It is so, Mage. The time has come for me to claim your soul, your earthly time has ended!

​The Mage begs:

Please, no, please, do not take me to your underworld, I have not seen my death in the cards, my fortune cannot end now!

​The Reaper says:

It is too late to argue, Mage, for once I arrive, I must have a soul!

​The robed figure prepares to strike the mage with his Scythe, raising it high above the mage, grasped in two horrible, skeletal arms.

​The Mage asks:

Wait! A soul? Not specifically my soul, just a soul? Perhaps we can strike a bargain?

​The Narrator says:

You notice the mage is sweating profusely as he bargains for his life.

​The Reaper asks:

What kind of bargain, Mage? Speak quickly, for I don’t have time to dally!

​The Mage offers:

Look, I have a Ranger acquaintance who is coming to call on me this very day. I have saved this Ranger’s life on numerous occasions, and she has offered to defend me with her life. She is prepared to die, ye shall take her in my place!

​The Reaper ponders:

A Ranger ye say? I could use a fine Ranger soul.

​The Robed figure lowers his wicked scythe of doom, and pauses as he contemplates the exchange.

​The Mage exclaims:

Yes, yes, she will be here momentarily, I think I hear her on the stair now!

​The Reaper says:

Ye have escaped me for now, Mage, I will take the Ranger instead.

​The mage breathes a great sigh of relief, then quickly summons a moongate and leaps through it.

​The Narrator chants:

There is a loud knock on the door, then a stalwart and robust lady strides in through the open door.

​The Ranger exclaims:

Mage, I have come to see what I can do to save yer life!

​The Reaper says:

Welcome to your doom, Ranger!

​The Ranger says:

Ey now, yer not the Mage!

​The Reaper intones:

That I am not. I am Death.

​The Reaper moans with the sound of a thousand lost souls!

​The Ranger asks:

Death, ye say? Maybe I have the wrong house…

​The Reaper says:

You do not, dear Ranger, for this is the home of the Mage.

​The reaper once again hefts his mighty Scythe.

​The Ranger moans:

Oh no, do not tell me I am too late to save the Mage’s life?

​The Reaper says:

Quite the contrary. The Mage has avoided me for now, offering up you to take his place! Prepare to die!

​The Robed Figure once again hefts his fearsome Scythe high in the air, preparing to strike down the Ranger.

​The Ranger asks:

What?! Wait, Grim fellow, lemme get this straight, the Mage offered my life in exchange for his?

​The Reaper confirms:

Aye. Now prepare yourself, Ranger.

The Ranger asks:

Wait, Wait! I cannot die yet. I have much yet to explore, and who would feed my Raccoon? Perhaps we can make a deal as well?

​The Reaper declares:

Speak quickly, Ranger, for I hunger for a soul!

​The Robed Figure pauses once again, lowering the wicked Scythe somewhat.

​The Ranger speaks quickly:

It would be an injustice for me to die now, ahead of time. On my way in, I noticed a thief lurking amongst the shadows, attempting to purloin some of the Mages treasures. It will only be a matter of time before he works his way up here, where I would be obliged to protect the Mages valuables by slaying him. Perhaps you could take him instead of me? As his death is imminent indeed?

​The robed figure lowers his Scythe, and seems to be contemplating its blade.

​The Reaper says:

Your reasoning is sound, Ranger. A thief, you say? I would do well with a thieves dark soul.

​The Ranger says:

It is a deal then, and I pray to the gods I won’t be seeing you any time soon, no offense!

​The Ranger makes a quick move toward the window, thrusts it open, and leaps out! You hear crashing noises coming from outside the window.

​The Narrator chants:

All is quiet for a few moments, then silent, barely perceptible sounds of a sneaking thief can be heard in the doorway, though only the robed figure of death can be seen, poised behind the door.

​The Narrator says:

You hear the sound of a muttering voice of the Thief.

​The Thief mutters:

Now, where does that old coot keep his loot?

The Reaper exclaims:

Your soul is mine, Thief! Prepare to die!

​The robed figure raises his mighty scythe above a shadowy area from which suddenly the dark figure of a thief appears!

​The Thief asks:

Wot? Who’s there? Who speaks to me?

​The Reaper says:

It is I, Death, and the Ranger has promised me your soul!

​The Thief says:

The Ranger? Ye mean dat brazen hussy tromping about downstairs? I knew I shoulda lifted her coins whilst I had the chance! But wait, kind sir, perhaps we could strike a deal? For, like ye, I have many more victims yet to visit in me life, and am not ready to leave jes yet.

The Reaper says:

Speak quickly, Thief, for I tire of this task, and need a soul fast.

​The Thief, panicking for a moment, then dons a sly grin.

The Thief says:

Yes, Mr. Death, I have a substitute for my miserable life, there is another I spotted outside, about to enter this Mages home, a thief even greater than me, who steals great sums from all the people, and is hated by all! You would be pleased with his soul, yes you would, and I hear him on the stairs now!

​The Reaper ponders:

A greater thief than ye…..yes, Thief, I would indeed be satisfied with this great thief’s soul, it is a deal!

​The Thief exclaims:

I am outta here!

​The Thief makes a mighty leap out the window, and you hear him land with a thud, and curses coming from what must be the Ranger whom he landed upon.

​The Narrator says:

The sound of heavy footsteps is heard on the stairs.

​The Reaper draws himself up to a mighty height, and unfurls his cowl, revealing a horrible skull visage, with two gleaming eyes of fire, glaring in the darkness. Rot and decay ooze from the robes, and terror fills you as you gaze. Two vile skeletal arms heft his mighty scythe high above his head, poised to strike down upon the next to enter…..there will be no more bargaining this time, for Death incarnate has revealed itself in all its evil power!

​The Narrator says:

Suddenly, in through the door comes a fat man, dressed in the garb of a realm official, and toting a ledger and a kit bag.

​The Tax Agent whistles and licks his chops greedily, glancing at items in the room and calculating tax values. He seems to ignore the robed figure, but glances up the scythe the Reaper holds with an appraising eye.

​The Narrator says:

There is a moments pause, as the wicked Scythe hangs in the air, then suddenly, a tortured scream escapes from the Robed figure, as he spins about, clutching the Scythe protectively, running in terror for the window, and leaps out, skeletal limbs flailing as he goes!

​The Reaper flails about and leaps out the window, Scythe, robes, rot, and all!

​The Tax Agent pauses, then shrugs, and begins making notations on every object in the room in his ledger, and as he moves, you notice he wears an official sash that reads Agent of the Realms Internal Revenue Service.

​The Tax Agent efficiently itemizes every object in sight, then turns to wink at you.

The Tax Agent says with a smirk:

Whaddya expect? It’s a well known fact, even DEATH fears TAXES!