(The following transcript of footage was captured real time on camcorder with plans never to be released, until now.)
(Dave knocks on a decrepit, satanic door made of the fallen hairs of Donald Trump's toupee. This is the realm of Rantyland. Sense is a luxury here. Dave nervously oscillates his gaze between the nipple-shaped ornament for the doorbell and the unseen cameraman.)
Dave: Alright, be cool, be cool; I hear him coming.
Cameraman (reaching his hand out): This doorbell is really cool—
Dave: Yeah, shut the f*ck up, dude.
(The door opens, and peeking from the crack is the white-haired, bearded, summer shade-wearing Madman97. He is in a purple/gold bathrobe, shirtless, in boxers and sandals. A cigarette dangles lightly from his open bottom lip. Clearly, he wasn't expecting visitors, which really annoyed him since he was the literal Lord of Surprises. The second he glances at them, he slams the door.)
Madman97 (from inside): Go away!
Dave: You've skipped all of July! Your last episode was in June! We got people to interview!
Madman97: Oh come on, you can't get any other wannabe journalist to hack it?
Cameraman (whispering to Dave): I thought you said he was the biggest hack?
Madman97: I heard that! Forget it. The time of blogging has been done for a long time. I have responsibilities in...you know, that other place. I'm sorry, Dave...Madman97 is NO MORE!
(The utterance of these unthinkable words seems to pervade the very atmosphere of Rantyland. The twisting, gnarled trees in the gardens begin to shrivel and straighten until they resemble something of normal flora. The grass turns from purple to green, the nebulae gracing the sky is punctured by the dull light of modern constellation, the dream fabric of an entire kingdom is slowly made cold reality. Madness is disappearing, and Dave feels it in his heart. The path to Madman97's residence is fading into the real world and with it, any hope of his lovable craziness. Dave's mission was clear: To save Rantyland, he would need to save his friend. Clutching his pounding chest with an almost ethereal hand, he kicks open the door.)
Dave (to the cameraman): Come on!
(They both dive inside as the path fades away, and the door shuts behind them. Complete darkness, with little that can be felt but solid foundation between their feet.)
Dave: That camera have a night vision setting?
Cameraman: Oh! Yeah!
(The image goes from pitch black to a fluorescent green, though from a viewer's perspective, a description of what was shown may not be possible. What best can be taken from this almost incomprehensible picture was the barely lit fringes of a Pink Floyd album cover splattered across one eldritch hallway. The carpets leading up the hallway was all the spears of grass in a plain shifting with a quiet wind, drifting listlessly across kaleidoscopic tiles. The sentries that guarded this hallowed corridor clad in star armor seemed to stretch the length of space, holding up a vaulted ceiling of galaxies and universes. The art that was framed between them on the right were distinctly quaint, depicting forests and gardens only dreams could conjure—Likewise on the left side was Hell itself captured on canvas, brush marks committing genocide, and sickly grins championing their gruesome pieces. Most marvelous of all was the simple wooden door at the end of the hall.)
Cameraman: Whoa...This is where he lives?
Dave: This is where we all live. It's just a bit smaller than it used to be.
(Even as he says this the room trembles, and the stars of the sentries seem to go out.)
Cameraman: So what do we do?
Dave (pulling out his phone): What I do best.
(In an instant, all the wonders of Madman97's hallway becomes pale in comparison to the excellent producer skills of Dave, who negotiates, locks a deal, and summons a screen within a span of an eternity/one second. The white noise that appears curiously brightens the room, and beneath Dave appears a large red chair.)
Dave (brushing the dust off his coat): He cannot resist stopping me from doing his job.
(On his watch is a single button. Upon being pressed, the screen is laced with matrix-esque text scrawl until suddenly splitting in half. Appearing onscreen are two people: An astronaut, and a red-headed warrior woman.)
Dave (tapping his earpiece): Testing, testing, can you hear me?
(Both nod, and Dave takes a deep breath.)
Dave: Can't believe I'm about to do this...Ahem...Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's go crazy! Let's go nuts! Let's go look for a purple banana until they put us on a truck! Please welcome CarloV3r and AgentOfMara tonight on...Madman Tonight!
Dave (grabbing the monitor): Ugh, let's get this over with. Ok guys, we need to show Madman97 how fun this was for him, and all of it requires is you to answer my questions with as much sincerity and detail as you are capable! Understand?
(The interviewees both nod.)
(Wiping a sheen of sweat of his shaking forehead, Dave nervously extracts some index cards from his inside suit pocket.)
Dave: You've seen him do it a million times...Ahem...First question: I've procured some information of the both of you and I would like to personally congratulate CarloV3r for making the Forum Mod position—
Dave: Ahem, thank you...Uh...And I have chosen both of you because of your impressive contributions to the Wiki. In fact, you've both done more editing in such a short time than most do in a year! Could you tell me how you got so...uh...
Dave: Yeah! Involved! Tell me about yourself!
(The monitor crackles for a moment under stressed connection but it appears as if the interviewees registered the request.)
CarloV3r: Well, I'm Carlo and I live in the Netherlands. I'm currently studying Graphic Design. I'm interested in art, history and the Elder Scrolls. I enjoy drawing, video editing and working in Adobe Photoshop/Adobe Illustrator. I also quite enjoy listening to music. My first 'real' project was getting images for Morrowind articles without images. I can't exactly recall who asked me to do it, or if I asked them. But I believe it was Atvelonis.
Thanks to AgentOfMara I found a way to get the images of items without their backgrounds. It was a lot of work, but it wasn't hard and I enjoyed it. The support and compliments of people such as Atvelonis and The Cat Master were very encouraging. It's nice to see that what you're doing is appreciated; that it actually matters. So I decided to keep going. The images you see on the Merchandise page and the Imperial Legion Soldier [Skyrim] page were added by me. I'm working on getting audio quotes for Oblivion NPC articles now, as well as getting any images necessary. As I said earlier, it's the support you receive that keeps me going. It's nice to know that what you're doing is appreciated.
Dave: Hmm, you hear that Madman? It's the support you receive...that keeps you going! You hear me? I don't think he hears me...Mara?
AgentOfMara: I guess I'm really fortunate to have loads of time free lately. It probably won't last forever... About me: I'm a graphic designer, I've studied history (especially ancient civilizations), I work in special needs homes, worked as a musician, a sound engineer, video editor, producer, and my hobbies are watching movies, listening to reggae, playing games and chilling in the sun with friends.
Dave: A fellow producer! Oh dear me! It's very excellent to make your acquaintance! Do go on!
AgentOfMara: I found out the TESwiki back in 2012 while playing Skyrim. I was stuck on some quest. I kept coming back, because, you know, getting stuck in some glitch or in some illogical quest objective is part of the package with TES. After years of using the wiki, it got me thinking of what an amazing thing it was, all these people working together to share this incredible universe.
Dave: Oof...Lord knows you came at a good time...
AgentOfMara: Not too long ago, I got Morrowind for the PC (I usually prefer to play on the console), and oh my god! It's so good. Which 2002 game can boast to still be played by so many people in 2016?
(The room trembles again and the screen briefly noises. Dave is not disheartened; he is grinning, because the trembling is laughter.)
Dave: It's working...
(The screen pops back.)
Dave: Ahem, sorry about that. Minor connection issues. Anyway...I don't think Morrowind is that popular, but I don't deny the quality of the game.
AgentOfMara: This goes for Oblivion [too]! And Skyrim is so good, they're re-releasing it! Anyway, I saw there was a few things I could help out with here, just to try and give back to something that was really helpful to me and it's been really fun visiting all these places to take pics, maps, and stories for the articles while playing the game. Learning how to use the wiki wasn't that easy for me—The whole code side is quite mysterious to me, but it's a fun challenge.
Dave (switching cards): Well, I suppose that covers this question. Onto the next...All this editing, all this process, you couldn't have learnt it all right when you began. Am I right in saying so?
CarloV3r: [I didn't]. I already knew a fair bit of HTML and CSS before coming to the Wiki, but it turns out most of my knowledge didn't apply here. Most of the things I know now, I learned from people such as RenzXVI, Flightmare and Atvelonis.
AgentOfMara: I literally learned here. Got to say thank you to the whole team on this wiki, and their patience (especially Atvelonis) for cleaning the mess after me and explaining. I just observed what they did and that's how I learned. Which reminds me, got to read those guide lines some day... Just kidding.
(Another tremble, though the effects on the screen are less apparent. Dave's sweat is also less noticeable. Some of the sentry's stars are reappearing.)
Dave: We're making good progress! We might be able to pull this off! Next question! You guys are obviously big fans of the Elder Scrolls! How did you get into them?
AgentOfMara: Absolutely, I think Bethesda's TES and Fallout series (and Rockstar's series Red Dead and GTA) are light-years ahead of "the game" (sorry for the others), technically speaking: graphics, physics, sounds, music, plot lines the free roaming worlds is the best gaming ever offered (in my opinion). What really got me into TES is the character creation and the historical feel (you know, after studying ancient history for years like I did, you start thinking that there isn't that much difference between the earth and Nirn, despite what seems logically to be just fantasy. To some extent, I believe people love TES because our history teachers are so crap at telling the truth about who the humans really are and what we really did, a long, long time ago, that we naturally go looking for what we're missing, and we find it in these stories).
Dave: Well, if we really fought dragons and learned how to transcend reality from a Rocky Horror Picture Show tranny, I guess I missed that through college.
Dave: Oh right, no laugh track...Go on!
AgentOfMara: Every time I started Skyrim again with a new character, I would play a different way, make different choices, use different gameplay mechanics, and follow different stories. The diversity just blew my mind! I have only played Morrowind and Skyrim and I can't choose between them. They're obviously similar, but I find them really different and excellent in their own ways. The depth of the dialogues, the exploring and questioning to find your way is better in Morrowind; meeting Vivec, Almalexia, and Dagoth Ur was amazing after hearing and reading about them in legends in Skyrim. Then you have the dragons, the 'shouting people off cliffs' and the scope of Skyrim, and it's DLC stories are just wow! A special mention for Parthunax: Best character ever. When I killed Alduin the first time, it was like a really good movie. I was thinking about it the next day at work.
Dave: It always warms my heart to see such an enthusiastic fan, and I'm excited to hear what you have to say, Carlo!
CarloV3r: I'm a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls. I first got introduced to the series by seeing my sister play Skyrim. I played it a fair bit after that. I already knew it was part of a series of games, so I decided to check them out. I bought Oblivion when it was on sale, and fell in love with it. After that I bought Morrowind, and I also decided to check out Arena. The vast universe of the Elder Scrolls got me interested in the lore, so I decided to read up on everything there is to know. Turns out that was a lot harder than I thought. My favorite Elder Scrolls game is Oblivion, I know not many people will agree with me on that. But I just feel that in comparison to Skyrim and Morrowind it has a lot more atmosphere and feeling. I also prefer the leveling system (compared to Skyrim) and overall setting.
Dave: Wonderful, wonderful, now we are...
(His eyes widen, as does his mouth in an audible gasp.)
Dave: Wait! We're on our last question! Madman still hasn't come out yet!
Cameraman: Well, what does that mean?
(In a comedic, if not morbid sense of timing, the tiles of the floor begin to fall away. Rantyland is crumbling along with its ruler's home around Dave and his underpaid employee. The stars flare and spiral their all-encompassing flames over their galaxies and are swallowed again by the black holes forming in the stone of the walls. The sentries are falling. The art is bursting forth from their pictures, screaming in agony, wanting to be free. Dave grabs the shirt of the Cameraman.)
Dave: We need to go through that door!
Cameraman: What's on the other side!
Dave: The only place he could've gone: Reality!
Cameraman: Wait, noooo-aaaaahh!!
(The last bit of footage before the camera is lost to an infinite chaos of swirling pink, blue, and a chorus of voices screaming their last as....as...
Where has the Madness gone?
The Stelazine only helped the worst of the fit. That was apparent even before he set the glass of water down. A numbness still washed over the back of his head. Things in his room moved when they shouldn't. He didn't know what he expected; his room was an imagination workshop. A mural of Joker playing cards stuck in a frame of a self portrait defaced with green hair and the classic blood red smile hung on the wall with a number of assorted African tribal masks. Below them was his television playing a Nostalgia Critic Steven Universe V-log, and set on its mantle was the little knick-knacks he'd picked up from this year's SDCC.
Pencils and open notebooks shared the desk the television rested, and piles of flannel shirts and jeans were strewn over the floor. It was night, but the head was still up 70, which didn't help him relax. He had already had to leave work early to go to the bank, but the freeways were closed so he didn't make it, or make the deadline for his college loan payments. Further work on an article that was due had been put off, and it sat at the back of his head like his visiting nagging family.
That might have been the point the fit began, continuing until he forced himself to take the medication. Even still, he could still occasionally hear on the tv, "You're so stupid. You never finish anything." He shut it off, but he could still hear laughter somewhere. An attempt to read over a draft of his article came back like this: Whatever surprise joins another racist inverse. The unseen receives the dead. Will the newcomer undergo a tropical handler? He threw the paper away and slumped his head against the table. His phone vibrated. He checked the caller I.D. Dave.
He ignored it. When it rang again, he threw the phone out the window. He grabbed another paper to try again.
"When No Man's Sky was first announced in 2013 as an indie title for the PS4, hype exploded and people were fried and you can't ignore me forever."
He screamed again and ripped the paper up and stood to get more medication, coming face to face with his Joker mural. Hello, it grinned.
You can't run from yourself.
He shook his pill bottle in front of its face. "Yes I can, and yes I will...I can't go back. It's too much to handle right now. I need to get things together. There's no point in being the clown anymore."
Of course there's a point. You're looking at it! If one person still finds the time, isn't it worth it all to make them smile?
"...I can't keep failing."
Then don't fail them...
He needed another pill, and he was reaching for one when he heard clapping. There's no one there, he told himself. He tried again, and the audience only applauded louder, louder, until soon is grew to fill the whole room! A bird flew over a pink sky. He shook his head. A circle of children and their molesters danced in ash. Just take the pill. A fox took him by the wrist and led him through a ruin of pillars. Forget this nonsense. Those pillars turned into crashing bells. The Joker mural was laughing. He heard babies. He was laughing.
They're waiting for you.
He swelled up his chest, threw on the shades sitting in the pencil cup holder, and walked out his bedroom door. "Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready for a show?"
(The stage is set, lights flicker on, and a dazzled audience erupts in applause as a purple-gold regalia-clad man is sitting in his big red chair with his producer at his side, grinning eerily at the two very confused guests sitting across from him.)
Dave: It's good to have you back.
Madman97: It's good to be back, dear Davey, and nothing is going to keep me from this again. May I have the honor of asking our guests their final question for tonight? Oh what am I saying? Of course I do.
Madman97: When all said and done, the reason I put in the effort for these is because I love entertaining my community! It's because of you I stuck around so long, through thick and thin, and I want to know what you two young bloods think of it!
CarlosV3r: It's a very friendly and welcoming community. If you need help with anything, they'll help you. Sure, there are people who aren't as nice as others, but that's the world I suppose.
AgentOfMara: It's great being here, hats off to everyone here and all the work they do. Everyone is awesome. The discussion pages (on the mobile app) are really fun, so many people it's crazy. On a side note I wish, sometimes people would remember, it's just a game.
Madman97 (shrugging): True, but...Reality blows.
AgentOfMara: By the way, hats off to the mods too! Kids can be a handful sometimes (I know, got one). So, to sum up, best wiki ever!
Madman97: It is indeed. We are one of the finest in the internet. We have history, we have mileage, we have a strong community! And best of all, dear viewers...
(There is a puff of smoke, the stage is darkened, and the shadow of a madman appears holding a guitar.)
Madman97 (from beyond the veil of darkness as lights begin flashing): You have me.
Madman97: Thank you all for joining us tonight on...