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Author Topic: PodCastle Bonus Episode: Prospero’s Last  (Read 3099 times)


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on: February 01, 2015, 06:47:56 AM

PodCastle Bonus Episode: Prospero’s Last

by Den Patrick

Read by John Meagher (of The Tales of the Left Hand podiobook)

A PodCastle Original!

‘Oh, it’s you,’ slurred Duke Prospero, holding the lantern higher. The corridor was a barely remembered passage in the winding sprawl of Demesne, a route for those who wished to pass unseen, or persons in no particular hurry. Infrequent candles lit wax spattered sconces, the flagstones were furred with compacted dust; rat droppings added to the miasma.

‘You nearly scared me half to death, hiding in the shadows like that.’ Stephanio Prospero peered into the darkness, unsteady on his feet, breath heavy with the scent of wine. His flushed complexion and red-rimmed eyes conspired to make him porcine in the candle light. Cheeks glistened, difficult to tell if it were tears or sweat that that lent their sheen to his ruddy features.

‘I’m afraid I have sampled one vintage too many tonight.’ The Duke grinned, his confession overloud in the corridor, words chasing each other, tumbling down the stone stairs at his feet, spiralling into blackness.

‘You’ve never really been one for La Festa, have you?’ Stephanio hiccuped. ‘I can’t say I blame you. La Festa is a time for lovers, for courting, for flirting.’ The Duke stared off into darkness, mouth set to a pained curve above the weak chin. ‘Those days are long past for one such I.’ A frown settled over the black beads of his eyes. ‘If I ever saw them at all.’

Rated R. Contains violence, including some gore.

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« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 06:19:15 AM by Talia »


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Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 02:51:10 PM
I enjoyed this well enough, but it didn't hit the ball out of the park for me--it was good but not great.  Admittedly I didn't remember who Prospero was, though I was pretty sure he was from Shakespeare's works.  I looked it up just now--he was in The Tempest, yes?  I don't know what bearing that had on the story--I'm guessing it probably lends something new to a lot of the elements.  I'd be interesting if someone wants to point out what importance that had.


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Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 03:06:49 PM
(Hey Unblinking, we're doing Feedback Blitz together!)

This story was a bit of a miss for me. It had some nice atmosphere, but it seemed to be just a regular old garden-variety gothic horror story. Maybe I missed something, though? Or maybe it's just not my thing? I'll admit to having something of a Grumpy Reader peeve about horror that feels formulaic to me, but I'm aware it's largely idiosyncratic. Maybe other people will like this kind of thing just fine. But for my tastes in fantasy, just not shiny enough to win my heart. I think it also suffered in comparison to the regular episode "Samuel Frobisher" (I listened to them back to back), which had CTHULHU PARADING AROUND WITH A PARASOL!! Sorta hard to top that. :)

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Reply #3 on: February 03, 2015, 09:36:11 PM
It was a fun enough piece, since I've hadn't heard a horror piece since October.  It was obvious where it was going from the start, but Poe-esque enough.

Now, Cthulu with a parasol... that I have to hear!  :D

Edit: I did hear that!  Totally did not get the Cthulu reference and now I have to hear it again with that in mind.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 09:38:20 PM by Dwango »


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Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 02:30:51 AM
I liked it. Also loved the voice of the Duke.


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Reply #5 on: February 14, 2015, 06:56:50 PM
I feel as though I may have missed some important references that would bring this from "creepy but seriously random" to "way cool." I think the lack of backstory/context for the Duke and why this guy has it in for him kept me from having any sort of stake in how the story turned out.


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Reply #6 on: February 26, 2015, 08:26:17 PM
This seemed to be the steampunk intersection of The Masque of the Red Death (Prince Prospero) and the Cask of Amontillado (with the Carnival and the wine and sarcophagi in the cellars).


"Be it so," I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior crypt or recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.

While y'all are mostly talking of another story, I saw no Cthulhu in this story. It only resembles Lovecraft insofar as he wrote several Poe pastiches early in his career, most notably The Outsider.

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Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 03:53:36 PM
A classic horror story.  I enjoyed the reading a lot.  It was pretty clear where this was going from the beginning.  But that's OK.  I am not going into gothic horror expecting to be surprised.