• Prospect Theater Company

GERYON'S RIDDLE, a story by Andi Lee Carter


It’s just after twilight. You are standing out in your mountain ash grove waiting for the Northern lights to appear like they do nearly every equinox. You can hear the leaves of the trees flutter in the crisp breeze as you watch the bohemian waxwings come to get drunk off the fermented berries and stumble as they bounce and burp as they chirp. Oh look! In the soft moonlight, you see a VERY drunk Waxxy sitting happily on the branch of one of your favorite trees. He is chirping happily but there’s something different about his song tonight. It almost sounds like voices singing with him. You quietly inch closer you notice something odd. He’s not actually ON the branch of the tree and he doesn’t seem to be flapping his little wings or doing much or anything to support his drunk little trunk. He just seems to be...floating? You’ve never seen a floating bird before. You hope it was just your own head playing games, but when you look again inebriated waxwing, you see he is no longer floating, but now he’s bouncing around in the tree with no concern for gravity or physics--and it’s as if he's being tossed or carried by some unknown force. You want to use your phone or something to shine a light and see if there is some kind of waxwing predator hiding in the leaves, but you just got your eyes adjusted and ready for star spotting and besides, you’re far away and it’s dark. You were probably just seeing weird shadows. That drunk little bird might just have crazy drunk bird strength, who knows. You shake it off and walk further out into the mountain ashes. Waxxy chirps pleasantly as he enjoys his berry addled bacchanal. The singing voices continue softly in the breeze.

The borealis begins. You take a deep relaxing breath of the crisp night air. The electromagnetic particles dance through the atmosphere in shades of green, blue, pink, and colors you can’t even name. The sky began to glow brighter and brighter and in an unexpected flash a brilliant brightness filled the sky with the intensity of the floodlights of a thousand Yankee Stadiums. Waxxy’s chirps turn from pleasant to panicked. He’s sobered up and sitting right in front of you! Just staring into your eyes with a silent scream as you both watch a huuuuuuuuge unidentified object cloak the stratosphere. Waxxy flees the scene before you can say “take me with you!” The singing you heard earlier becomes almost deafening, but you cannot understand the song. It’s a cacophony of sounds that cannot be described. And you are left alone to stare up at this massive charybdis. The surface of the unnatural encounter was a black frozen lake--smooth and without any seams with the texture of millions of polarized laser beams. And strangest of all...this cosmic phenomenon seemed to create a vacuum of soundlessness. All the sounds of the grove, the birds, the strange voices singing, even the wind--gone. Then just as suddenly as it appeared, the chimerical vision melts away.


The sonic life of the grove resumes. The Aurora dances colorfully across the horizon. Waxxy and his cohorts return to the thicket to imbibe on fermenting red-orange rowanberries as if they never left. You happen to notice something new...a tall metal communications tower right next to the old town pub. Was that there before tonight? You were at the pub just the other night, but you left because of those creepy strangers who kept looking at you funny. You consider going to look at the strange new tower, but just then you hear poor Waxxy chirps becoming strained and scared. This time you see a gaze of unusually large grey raccoons tossing your feathered friend like a beachball. You head over to chase them off, but on your way you trip and fall directly into a circle of small rocks and you feel the air shift. The singing from earlier is now clear and nearly intelligible. You press your ear to the ground. It’s warm--but moments ago, it was winter. “Is this some kind of dimensional portal?” you think to yourself the singing voices respond in your mind “Yessss...” What the heck is going on???


You have three options:


CHOICE A: Stay in the circle and explore this new dimension. CHOICE B: Step out of the circle and investigate the communications tower. CHOICE C: Figure out what is in the trees with Waxxy.


Make your choice!

CHOICE A: Chaskolta You stand up and brush yourself off. You look around to see that the rocks you tripped upon were in fact a fairy circle. It’s like another version of your mountain ash grove but slightly warmer and more ashy. You hear the singing again this time with words and a hauntingly beautiful melody.


“Along the shore the cloud waves break,

Strange is the night where black stars rise,

The twin suns sink behind the lake,

And strange moons circle through the skies,

Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed

Shall dry and die in lost Chaskolta.”


Chaskolta? You’ve heard that name before. OH!! That’s right. It’s from a play you read in 10th grade called The Cinereous King. Chaskolta is a mysterious, ancient, and possibly cursed place. Are you in a cursed place? The fairy circle suddenly fills with beautiful fairy like beings. They explain that they are not fairies, but an alien race called Baenides from the Aldebaran Alpha Tauri planetary system within the spiral galaxy of the Pleiades. They have been sent by Ermini, the Triple Goddess, to cross the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge to seek a protector for this realm from Rijic and his cult.


“Rijic? The Cinereous King?” You wonder to yourself.


“He is no King,” they scoff. “Rijic is the enemy of all life. Where he passes, only death follows. He has caused this rancid “kingdom” of Chaskolta to spread like a disease as he seeks for Serantilda, the most beautiful being in every dimension of the multiverse. But Serantilda is as cunning as she is beautiful and she has vowed that she will never be his. She jumps from dimension to dimension to escape his evil grasp. Therefore he endeavors to destroy each universe that denies his deleterious desires. He feeds off of the Astral Energy that sustains the universe and turns it to putrid Ashy Grey. You must help us defeat Rijic and restore the Astral Energy.”


You wonder how this is even possible as the Baenides describe a great beast named the Geryon who has the power to defeat Rijic. Geryon will only agree to leave his perch if a human can answer his paradoxical riddle. These pretty alien fairies believe YOU are that human! You’ve never been great at riddles, but they are asking you to save the entire universe so....


The Baenides give a warning to beware of the Little Greys, creatures who belong to the Gilded Sign, an evil cult devoted to the monstrous powers and whims of Rijic. They say you will recognize their grey little humanoid bodies and giant heads. Sounds to you like those raccoons that were messing with Waxxy earlier tonight! Little Greys are dangerous, your new fairy friends advise, “Do not look them in the eye!” You feel a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility and you kinda wish this was all just a dream. Saving the universe was NOT on your to do list tonight. You wonder why they chose you.


“You heard the call and followed the signs. You chose your path as much as you were chosen. Now, you must choose again.”


You have two options:


CHOICE 1: You can go with the Baenides to fetch the Geryon and defeat Rijic.

CHOICE: 2: You can leave this dimension and try to forget about all this strange occurrence.


Make your choice!


CHOICE B: The Towers


You walk towards a pub keeping your eye on that strange tower. As you get closer you notice its abnormal geometry is perplexing with beams forming right and acute angles into a shape you’ve never seen--you want to say it’s like a sphere, but it reflects light in a sort of diagonal distortion that is really messing with your entire sense of the rules of matter and perception. As you enter the pub you feel the air shift and you have a sense slightly stronger than déjà vu. You see the same creepy old men you saw last week. They see you and wave you over.


“Ah you’re back!” says Creep One. You are still trying to find your bearings. Are you time traveling? Did you cross through another portal? What’s going on?


Creep Two answers your thoughts and explains that you are not time traveling, but you have entered into another universe that was opened by the earlier phenomena. Another universe? You need to know more. Creep One smile as creep two gets down to the business at hand.


He begins, “You see, time, space, gravity—it’s all an illusion. Einstein got it totally wrong!”

You don’t really get it. So Creep One and Two give you the lesson in quantum physics you definitely did not ask for. Finally they explain that the concept of a “multiverse” is scientifically unavoidable and everything in the known and unknown worlds is held together by one universal resource--Astral Energy. They tell you that powerful godlike aliens known as The Great Ones have been the protectors of Astral Energy since the Beginning of the Beginning. But now Rijic, a primordial and evil alien beast is threatening to destroy all realities in every universe. You wonder why.


Rijic seeks Serantilda, the most beautiful being in every dimension of the multiverse. He once held her captive and planned to marry her, but Serantilda is as cunning as she is beautiful and she has vowed that she will never be his. She jumps from dimension to dimension to escape his evil grasp. Therefore he endeavors to destroy each universe that denies his deleterious desires. He feeds off of the Astral Energy that sustains the universe and turns it to putrid Ashy Grey. The Great Ones? Multiverse? An evil monster and a beautiful damsel in distress? How do you fit in??


“There is a bridge between worlds called the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon. You’ve seen it before when you were watching the Aurora Borealis” says Two.


The Creeps go on to describe a great beast named the Geryon who has the power to defeat Rijic. He is the guardian of the gate and keeper of all Universal Energy. They explain that you must cross the bridge to a world known as Baenides and bring Geryon back so that he may defeat Rijic. Geryon will only agree to leave his perch if a human-YOU-can answer his paradoxical riddle.


The Creeps give a warning to beware of the Little Greys, creatures who belong to a secret evil cult devoted to the monstrous powers and whims of Rijic. They say you will recognize their grey little humanoid bodies and giant heads. Sounds like those raccoons you saw messing with Waxxy earlier tonight! You will know them when you see the Gilded Sign. but the Little Greys are dangerous, your new creepy friends advise, “Do not look them in the eye!” You feel a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility and you kinda wish this was all just a dream. Saving the universe was NOT on your to do list tonight. You wonder why they chose you.


“You heard the call and followed the signs. You chose your path as much as you were chosen. Now, you must choose again.”


Your two options are:


CHOICE 1: Cross the Shimmering Gate of the Horizon to fetch Geryon and defeat Rijic.

CHOICE 2: Forget it. You will just head back home and go to bed. It was all a dream.


Make your choice!


CHOICE C: Little Greys


You stand up and brush yourself off. You head back over to the tree where you last saw Waxxy getting tossed around like a bean bag. And at first you think it’s just a shadow from the branches, but then you see it again. It’s not a raccoon. It’s a little bitty man hopping from branch to branch and tree to tree. He has a little humanoid body and a giant head. And on the branch of every tree he touched, he left behind some kind of cryptic ashy golden seal.


Were his feet shaped like that? You attempt to closely inspect the symbol. You touch one on a lower branch and it’s both hot and sharp. You pull back and when you look up at the trees again, they are full of hundreds of those little grey hoppers. The Gilded Signs on the trees start to glow. Now they number almost as many as the stars in the skies. Waxxy and his drunk little buddies are long gone. In fact the silence in the grove is deafening. Even the quickening leaves are not making any sound. Yet, through the void of silence a voice so pleasant and sweet pierces the silence. As she sings, the person to whom the voice belongs materializes like a ghost or a hologram before you.


“Along the shore the cloud waves break,

Strange is the night where black stars rise,

The twin suns sink behind the lake,

And strange moons circle through the skies,

Like Serantilda in lost Chaskolta.”


Chaskolta? You’ve heard that name before. OH!! That’s right. It’s from a play you read in 10th grade called The Cinereous King about a King named Rijic and his stolen bride Serantilda.


“He is no King,” Serantilda warns you through your thoughts, “Rijic is an enemy of all life. Where he passes, only death follows. Yes, he once held me captive with the intent to marry me and bear his vile spawn, but I escaped and I will jump from dimension to dimension for all eternity to avoid his evil grasp. He feeds off of the Astral Energy that sustains the universe and turns it to putrid Ashen Grey. You must stop him before he consumes enough energy to collapse the universe.” You can’t speak. You are captivated by her beauty, but she goes on explaining that you must follow the Shimmering Gate of the Horizon to the Aldebaran Alpha Tauri planetary system and find the Geryon who has the power to defeat Rijic. Geryon will only agree to leave his perch if a human can answer his paradoxical riddle. This stunning being believes YOU are that human! You’ve never been great at riddles, but she is asking you to save the entire universe so….


Serantilda explains that the tree gremlins I saw picking on Waxxy are the Little Greys, members of an evil cult devoted to Rijic. They are dangerous and your stunning new holographic friend advises, “Do not look them in the eye!” You feel a bit overwhelmed and you kinda wish this was all just a dream. Saving the universe was NOT on your to do list tonight. You wonder why she chose you.


“You heard the call and followed the signs. You chose your path as much as you were chosen. Now, you must choose again.” You have two options:


CHOICE 1: You will cross the Shimmering Gate of the Horizon to the Aldebaran Alpha Tauri and answer Geryon's riddle and help defeat Rijic.

CHOICE 2: You can go home and back to your bed where you can only reach this dimension in your dreams and you will forget all that has passed tonight. The universe (all universes) will soon be destroyed, but you will be at peace.


Make your choice!


CHOICE 1: The Geryon


Just as you were told, the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge returned above the Aurora Borealis. This time you allow yourself to be transported onto what feels like a giant moving walking way like the ones at the airport. Except this one is shaped and colored like a rainbow. The Triple Goddess Ermini is there to guide you to the correct planetary system. As you approach the Pleiades galaxy you take in the sheer beauty of it all. You arrive at the Baenides’ home planet and Serantilda is there to greet you warmly. She’s even more gorgeous in person than you could have imagined. We are talking about Helen of Troy level beauty here You understand why Rijic is so obsessed.


You finally meet Geryon who is a monster with the general shape of a wyvern dragon but with the tail of a scorpion, hairy arms, a heavy tattooed reptilian body, and the face of a just and honest man--like your favorite uncle, or a kind neighbor. The pleasant human face on such a grotesque body is pretty unsettling, but you do what you gotta do. You approach, make your request, and Geryon presents his riddle:


I am the beginning of eternity

I am the end of time and space

I am the beginning of every end,

And the end of every place.

What am I?


You can’t solve it right away, but you somehow have charmed Geryon enough that he agrees to accompany you down the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge and if you can solve his riddle before the end of the journey, he will still agree to help. So you all set out back to Earth. Dealing with such a duplicitous creature is not easy, but you have grown quite fond of your traveling companions (Serantilda, the Baenides, Ermini, and even Geryon when he’s not grumbling about sore toes). You share many joys and adventures along the way back to save all of existence. You are just about to the end of the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge and you are getting nervous because you still haven’t solved the riddle, when suddenly a terrible darkness sweeps over your traveling party.


From this shadow of nothingness and pure black, comes the ashen robed form of the Ancient One, Rijic. He takes one look at Serantilda and wails the most devastating sound you feel your ears will burst. She looks at you as if to say, “goodbye forever” and she jumps to some unknown dimension. You are sad for losing her in your life, but your job is to keep her safe and to stop this monster from eradicating literally everything. You look at Geryon. He has chosen this untimely moment to take a nap! Rijic disrobes and begins to consume the Astral Energy from all around you. And then you feel him pulling your own life force out. You try to resist, but you feel so weak. It takes everything within you to stay awake. He has a strange effect on artists and playwrights. You start to feel woozy and sort of intoxicated by his presence. Is he the rowanberry to your Waxwing? No! You realize the answer to the riddle: The letter E!


And as nothingness is about to consume you entirely, Geryon FINALLY gets to work and Rijic is pushed back. The Little Greys show up along with more Baenides in an epic Lord of the Rings style battle that if you were Tolkein, you would totally describe to the max, but you only watched the movie like once in theatres so your best memories are from the memes.


Please proceed.


CHOICE 2: Revenge of the Greys


It was all just a dream. You are safe in your bed and there’s no more aliens and fairies and Geryons and Goddesses. Thank goodness!!! But when you open your eyes you realize that you are not in fact in your bed. You are still in the grove, under the tree where this all started and you’re surrounded by little grey men!! OH NO!! There were exactly as had been described and all around you on the trees and branches are tiny little golden symbols burned into the wood.


The Gilded Sign!!


“Ok, what was I not supposed to do?” you thought as you stare into their huge black soulless eyes. Then you remember: DON’T LOOK THEM IN THE EYES!! You slam your eyes shut just as hundreds of tiny little grey hands attack you. You curl up into a fetal position and try not to die. Then in the distance you hear the sound of what can only be described as the music of a rainbow.


The Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge returned! And with it, Geryon, a monster with the general shape of a wyvern dragon but with the tail of a scorpion, hairy arms, a heavy tattooed reptilian body, and the face of a just and honest man--like your favorite uncle, or a kind neighbor.


The Triple Goddess Ermini arrives accompanied by the beautiful Serantilda. They have convinced Geryon to accompany them down the Shimmering Gates of the Horizon Bridge to meet you and allow you once chance to solve his riddle in exchange for his help defeating Rijic. Serantilda is even more gorgeous in person than you could have imagined. We are talking about Helen of Troy level beauty here You understand why Rijic is so obsessed.


Geryon is a monster with the general shape of a wyvern dragon but with the tail of a scorpion, hairy arms, a heavy tattooed reptilian body, and the face of a just and honest man--like your favorite uncle, or a kind neighbor. The pleasant human face on such a grotesque body is pretty unsettling, but you do what you gotta do. You approach, make your request, and Geryon presents his riddle:


I am the beginning of eternity

I am the end of time and space

I am the beginning of every end,

And the end of every place.

What am I?


You want to solve it right away, but just then a terrible darkness sweeps over the grove and from this shadow of nothingness and pure black, comes the ashen robed form of the Ancient One, Rijic. He takes one look at Serantilda and wails the most devastating sound you feel your ears will burst. She looks at you as if to say, “goodbye forever” and she jumps to some unknown dimension. You are sad for losing her in your life, but you must stop this monster from eradicating literally everything. Rijic begins to consume the Astral Energy within you. You try to resist, but you feel so weak. It takes everything within you to stay awake. He has a strange effect on artists and playwrights. You start to feel woozy and sort of intoxicated by his presence. Is he the rowanberry to your Waxwing? No! You realize the answer to the riddle: The letter E!


And as nothingness is about to consume you entirely, Geryon FINALLY gets to work and Rijic is pushed back. The Little Greys show up along with more Baenides in an epic Lord of the Rings style battle that if you were Tolkein, you would totally describe to the max, but you only watched the movie like once in theatres so your best memories are from the memes.


Please proceed.


FINALE New Beginnings


The end of the battle is near. Serantilda has returned with reinforcements from several other dimensions. You can’t express how relieved you are to see her. The forces of the Great Ones have pushed Rijic’s cult back just off Earth to avoid mass casualties and damages. Rijic is down to one small battalion of Little Greys against hundreds of millions of beings from across the multiverse rising up in opposition to his evil and treachery. Though he has a seemingly limitless supply of Little Greys, it’s clear that they are in retreat back to whatever home planet they spawned from. Rijic roars and makes one final attempt to reason with Serantilda for her love. He offers her all the riches in every universe. She refuses and insists she would rather be with you here on Earth. (for romantic reasons? Only if you wish it so!)


This final spurn infuriates the monster as he reveals his true form. Rijic, the chthonic, rises over the night sky like a grotesque octopus. To describe his shape precisely would be impossible. Existing biology would have to be wholly revised to specifically explain what is going on at the cellular level. The closest you could come is to say he is like a black, shriveled, flying monstrosity with tentacles tipped with razor-sharp talons that can pierce a victim's skull and siphon out the brain.


Rijic unleashes every siphon talon at his disposal and attempts to suck all the Astral Energy from the space, but he’s coming up short because the Geryon is just feeding off Rijic’s vibes. Geryon is vibin’ like the cat in the vibe meme. You know the one. This is when you have just enough time to hit him in his weak squishy underbelly kill spot (all villains have one) and as you plunge your medieval space weapon into alien flesh, his disgusting squishy blurry bloody body comes crashing to the ground. The Little Greys see the defeat of their master and agree that it’s time to relocate (and maybe plot revenge). And the two pub creeps emerge because as it turns out they are the MIB (of course!) They quickly jump on clean up duty and remind you that none of this ever happened. You nod compliantly.


You realize it’s almost morning and you better get in a few winks before work. Serantilda has already made her way back to your home and you can see her warmth filling every room. As you wander back through the grove and kick away some Rijic bits from your path, you hear a familiar burp chirping. It’s Waxxy! He’s back and drunk as ever! A new life is beginning for you, for the universe. Will you choose adventure and exploration in the multiverse, or will you stay in your mountain ash grove with the most beautiful being in all of known existence? Serantilda is calling you in from the cold.


As you enter your house in the little mountain ash grove, you feel the air shift.

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