Unwanted Reunions | Critical Role | Campaign 2, Episode 88

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Unwanted Reunions | Critical Role | Campaign 2, Episode 88

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons ALL: We play Dungeons & Dragons! MATT: Everyone’s already got senioritis for the holidays, man (laughter) TRAVIS: Senioritis! LIAM: You’re right though, you’re so goddamn right (laughter) TALIESIN: Time for a shopping trip MATT: Yeah, I’m used to having to like, close my ears But yeah, welcome, guys Before we get into tonight’s session, that’s the one I was going to say Tonight’s game, we’re going to go ahead and go through a few announcements here, beginning with our first of two sponsors for the night, beginning with our friends, returning from Idle Champions Sam SAM: Hey there, ladies and elves It’s me, your ho ho host for the night, stand-up Santa What, you don’t believe I exist? Can’t you feel my presence? TRAVIS: Oh ASHLEY: Oh SAM: No, you don’t have sugar plums dancing in your head, it’s really me, the St. Nick of shtick, doing a little advertising warm-up routine to get into the holiday spirit TRAVIS: Oh boy SAM: Yeah, it’s all like this TRAVIS: Is that plugged in? SAM: Tonight– No (laughter) Tonight’s episode of Critical Role is brought to you by Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, a strategy game that unites iconic Dungeons & Dragons characters from novels, campaigns, and popular shows into one epic adventure And speaking of epic adventures, you should try Mrs. Claus’ meatloaf My wife’s dinners are so bad, we pray after we eat Actually (laughter) Me and Mrs. Claus split up recently I go out with the reindeer one night a year Turns out, she goes with the elves every night of the year Ho! ASHLEY: Oh boy (groaning) TALIESIN: Ho ho? SAM: But back to the ad LIAM: Layers SAM: The latest addition to Idle Champions is the legendary Hand of Vecna Players can get a brand-new Hand of Vecna Arkhan skin and feat pack, that’s F-E-A-T, not feet, for Joe Manganiello’s infamous character Arkhan the Cruel, through the in-game shop Speaking of the Hand of Vecna TALIESIN: Weird to hear with that accent SAM: Speaking of the Hand of Vecna, I found out my wife enjoys the hand of Vic the elf while Santa’s out hauling presents Now I got to keep three lists: nice, naughty, and divorce attorneys ASHLEY: Oh boy LIAM: Ho! SAM: Ho! TRAVIS: Can you go “baa?” MATT: Can’t all be winners TRAVIS: Kind of look like a holiday goat SAM: But back to the ad! The game’s also available for PC and Mac on Steam and web, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iPad, iPhone, and all Android devices Hey, speaking of computers TALIESIN: Oh god! ASHLEY: Oh no SAM: I’m all over those dating sites I’m on Single Kringle (laughter) ASHLEY: That’s a good joke TALIESIN: You got one, well done SAM: I’m on Ski Harmony And my favorites on those cold North Pole nights, Match and Tinder. (chuckles) (groaning) Hey, I’ve gone out with lots of women, but no one wants a second date I guess they’re Claustrophobic ASHLEY: Oh wow SAM: I’m telling you, those reindeer are starting to look more attractive every day Why do you think I call that one Vixen? What can I say, I’ve got low elf-esteem (groaning and laughter) Okay, back to the ad For more information, check out idlechampions.com/criticalrole, and thanks to Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms for supporting my set tonight Thank you, you been a great crowd, back to you, Matt (Ashley clapping) TRAVIS: Wow MATT: Thank you, Sam Thank you, Idle Champions TALIESIN: Any theory that we actually have writers on this show is now officially dead SAM: I bombed for my own friends, I bombed! ASHLEY: Hey MATT: We still love you, Sam ASHLEY: I enjoyed it (laughter) TALIESIN: I enjoyed the green screen ASHLEY: I really liked the Single Kringle TALIESIN: Single Kringle was good MARISHA: Yeah, that was the standout ASHLEY: And the Vixen, that was, reindeer SAM: Hey, I’ll keep that one in the set (laughter) MATT: He’s workshopping here SAM: Yeah, these are all new jokes ASHLEY: You ended strong SAM: Thank you TRAVIS: Do you teach any defensive comedy driving classes? (laughter) MATT: Okay Thank you, Sam, and thank you, Idle Champions, for your patience (laughter) And our second sponsor for tonight, our returning friends from D&D Beyond TRAVIS: ♪ D&D Beyond ♪ MATT: D&D Beyond, of course, if you don’t know at this point, is a fantastic online tool for maintaining your D&D characters, your D&D campaigns, for creating homebrew content, all kinds of cool shit, definitely check it out if you haven’t yet They’re good folks that do good work, and it’s been super useful for us So thank you guys for your continued support And you won the wonderful gift tonight of not having that be your advertisement

(Sam and Matt laughing) TRAVIS: It is a gift SAM: Idle Champions (laughter) LIAM: I’ll say this about it, though It was long (laughter) TALIESIN: You did slay (groaning) SAM: Oh, that’s a quality joke TRAVIS: You did slay! MATT: Okay MARISHA: Yeah, is your special going to be on HB Snow? (groaning) SAM: I should really have pitched these jokes to you guys first (laughter) TRAVIS: It’s contagious MATT: This is problematic, is what it is All right, so, our fantastic two sponsors Marisha, you have some announcements to make, don’t you? MARISHA: (goofy) Yes! (laughter) Woo Next week will be our final week of live programming for the year, for 2019 We will return from our winter break on Thursday, January 9th for Critical Role Don’t worry, we’ll still have our normal broadcast next week, and you should definitely check out the finale for this season of Travis Willingham’s Yee-Haw Game Ranch next week. It’s going to be good, yeah SAM: Are there secrets revealed? MARISHA: Matt, Brian, and I, and Travis will be playing some Super Smash Brothers– TRAVIS: Oh! MATT: Oh, you’re all are going down MARISHA: Yeah, at 4:00pm, December 17th, and yeah, we’ll be taking a– MATT: I’m going to destroy all of you MARISHA: It’s bad MATT: I cannot wait MARISHA: You just, like– MATT: I didn’t know it was going to be Smash Brothers TRAVIS: That’s the one where you jump around? LIAM: Madness in his eyes MATT: Fighting games is my thing TALIESIN: This is a thing that happens MARISHA: There’s no rhyme or reason to like, balance or any type of fairness TRAVIS: Can we do three on one? Can we like, all three of us fight Matt? MARISHA: It’s full-on brawl MATT: We can probably do that TALIESIN: If you want to feel that bad about yourself LIAM: Can we hold for a second? Sam has one Santa hair on his face and it looks like a Santa pube, and I don’t want to look at it anymore MARISHA: There we go SAM: Thank you, thank you very much MARISHA: Yeah, but then after that we’ll be taking a short break from Travis Willingham’s Yee-Haw Game Ranch, and then we will return probably in the spring MATT: Hell yeah MARISHA: Yeah ASHLEY: I love it so much TRAVIS: It is some dopey fun MARISHA: It is some dopey-ass fun MATT: Wash the Mario Party out of my system TRAVIS: You won No, Marisha won MATT: It’s a Mario Party win TRAVIS: Marisha won. You didn’t win TALIESIN: Mario Party, I mean– MARISHA: Go Daisy! MATT: Yeah, I won the final round ASHLEY: Wait, can I say a thank you real quick? MATT: Yeah, sure ASHLEY: Thank you to Christina for making these most lovely bags for all of us MARISHA: Yes, they’re amazing ASHLEY: They’re so beautiful Holy cow, yeah TALIESIN: It’s got secrets ASHLEY: Look at this, the Stormlord And on the inside, ah MARISHA: Super cute ASHLEY: The inside has flowers in it MATT: Aww, that’s amazing ASHLEY: Yeah, that was so nice of you, thank you so much TALIESIN: It’s very nice, thank you ASHLEY: I love it TALIESIN: I keep sorting my dice MATT: Cool That’s amazing We have a few quick announcements to make after that We did announce two of our convention dates for 2020 If those haven’t seen yet, we will be at C2E2 in Chicago, coming up at the end of February Super excited to be returning and see folks out there, and we are going back to London for MCM London come May in 2020, super stoked to get over to Europe again to see a bunch of you folks Pre-sale autographs and photo op tickets will be on sale soon, check out critrole.com/events for all the information regarding both events as it progresses TRAVIS: I’m fucking stoked, because Laura and I were with child last time, so this is our first time going to London with you guys MARISHA: Yeah TRAVIS: (weird accent) Going to London (laughter) ALL: “London.” ASHLEY: That’s the proper way to say it MATT: That’s RP British, yeah TRAVIS: It’s the Queen’s English MATT: (giggling) TRAVIS: Your majesty. London MATT: Awesome Second announcement, for those who haven’t seen, our next issue of the comic book series Vox Machina Origins comes out next Wednesday, December 18th This is a beautiful cover, and the interior is equally beautiful, fantastic work All the artists in this team are amazing The fantastic cover by Sam Hogg, one of our wonderful critter artists, did a phenomenal job SAM: Can I ask a question about this issue? Because I genuinely don’t know Do we finally get to know what happened with Grog? MATT: You’ll have to read it TALIESIN: Oh god, we actually get to find out? SAM: But is there an answer in the book? LIAM: You will have to find out on the 18th SAM: Ugh! ASHLEY: Can I look at it? MATT: Sure ASHLEY: Just up close LIAM: It is a beautiful book TALIESIN: This may be the one piece of lore that none of us know except for Travis and Matt MATT: Yeah, yeah LIAM: Oh man TRAVIS: What? MATT: And maybe we keep it that way You don’t know TALIESIN: I hate you MATT: (cackles) So yeah, definitely look for that next week, and join me and possibly a few other people that might show up next Wednesday as well on December 18th at 5:00pm Pacific here on our Twitch channel for an end of the year fireside chat hangout MARISHA: Yay MATT: We’re going to be coming comfy in pajamas

and whatever else you decide to wear Preferably come clothed, TOS and all SAM: Not Single Kringle, no MATT: Oh boy (laughter) We’re going to be hanging out, answering questions, and just chatting with the community, wrapping up 2019 together So see you guys next Wednesday at 5:00pm right here Those are all of our announcements We’re hoping Laura might pop in at some point tonight She has absconded to the Video Game Awards, which happened to be simultaneous LIAM: Because she’s the best! MATT: Because she is the best ASHLEY: Yeah! MATT: But if for whatever reason, she manages to– MARISHA: She should win! MATT: I know But hopefully she’ll show up at some point, if not, no worries, she has better things to do TRAVIS: She looks so pretty MATT: I know ASHLEY: She does look so pretty MATT: That’s it and that’s all, so I think it’s time for us to dive in to tonight’s episode of Critical Role (water bubbling) (thunder) (explosion) ♪ Role, Critical Critical♪ ♪ Role, Critical Critical ♪ ♪ Role, Critical Critical ♪ ♪ Role, Critical Critical Role ♪ ♪ Mighty Nein, Mighty Nein ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, roll the dice ♪ ♪ The adventure begins ♪ ♪ They were always beside you ♪ ♪ Your nerdy best friends ♪ ♪ And the DM to guide you ♪ ♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪ ♪ Villains beware ’cause you’re ’bout to be dead ♪ (dramatic music) ♪ They got magic and flair ♪ ♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪ ♪ They don’t see over there ♪ ♪ There’s a monster incoming ♪ ♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don’t think twice ♪ ♪ Put your fate in your hands, take a chance, ♪ roll the dice ♪ ♪ Roll the dice ♪ ♪ Roll the dice ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical ♪ ♪ Can you answer the call? ♪ ♪ Dig in deep in your soul ♪ ♪ As the legend unfolds ♪ ♪ Now it’s your turn ♪ ♪ Your turn, your turn ♪ ♪ To roll ♪ (flames crackling) (dragon roaring) MATT: Welcome back That got intense Now everyone’s awake So, last we left off, the Mighty Nein had found their way to the capital of the Empire, Rexxentrum, to discover both a Kryn Dynasty assault on the city, overlapping simultaneously with the arrival of Obann and his found family of seemingly unkillable figures he had collected as part of a ritual to unleash the Angel of Irons, which had been found to actually be Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion, catfishing the fuck out of Obann, as well as the rest of the cult, it seems You managed to destroy the Laughing Hand, free Yasha from the mind control that Obann had inflicted upon her, destroy Obann’s physical form In the moment before he could return back to the Hells to reform, he was punished for his inability to fulfill his promise, realizing Tharizdun, in the final moment, was corrupted into what was Obann the Punished, a horribly malformed, inky, tentacled creation, an abomination in the image of the Chained Oblivion You did battle with this creature, barely managing to scrape by because you have two clerics in your group, one of which is a grave cleric I’m learning lessons on how much harder I have to come at you guys TRAVIS: No, no, no, don’t, no lessons MATT: And some lucky rolls, some really lucky rolls LIAM: Don’t forget to love each other? MATT: Yeah, love each other, guys In doing so, you found your ally, Pumat, heavily hurt, but survived You garnished the attention of the Righteous Brand, and it seemed that this incursion by the Kryn had, almost simultaneously with your battle, ended in retreat, seemingly for no reason You were then brought by a captain of the Righteous Brand to Castle Ungebroch, to meet with King Dwendal himself of the Dwendalian Empire, along with a number of other figures currently in his council at the moment, including Allura Vysoren, the head of Rexxentrum’s Archive, and Sydnoc Truscan, the Prime Arbiter of the Empire, and you saw to be Trent Ikithon alongside the Martinet Ludinus Da’leth

During this period of time, it was revealed that Ludinus’ associate, his assistant, if you will, Vence, seemed to be the figure heavily tied into this cult business, much to his surprise at seeing, and those of the council You were also discussing your interactions with Xhorhas and the Bright Queen, and it was revealed as part of this conversation, your interactions there, and the alliance that you had made on that side of the conflict As part of that, you were charged with using this relationship, possibly helping bring about some sort of a meeting, a parley, a negotiation, to possibly bring elements of this conflict to an end, as it seems that a large portion of this conflict stemming from the theft or disappearance of these beacons, supposedly by the Empire, the members of the Cerberus Assembly say they’ve recovered the relic in question and are eager to return it if it means the bloodshed will come to an end So, given this missive by the King of the Empire, you were assigned to meet in the coming morning with the Martinet himself to discuss how to go about this plan of action So, Mighty Nein, as you exit, assisted by a number of members of the Righteous Brand, you are giving your weapons back that you had left within the waiting chamber, and you are pushed back out into the Shimmer Ward, at this point now in the later afternoon, the clouded skies starting to take the color of a coming sunset, and the afternoon is yours You know supposedly rooms are going to be situated or prepared for you at a place referred to as the Camarouth Cottage here in the Shimmer Ward, and in the morning you will be meeting with Ludinus LIAM: Point of clarification MATT: Yes? LIAM: These motherfuckers right here, from the Assembly, said they just found– like recently found– the beacon MATT: Correct LIAM: Okay Lying motherfuckers MATT: Maybe it’s a misunderstanding So, escorted out of the castle terrace You are let within the Shimmer Ward, and the guards go back into the castle You are no longer under watch, and the Shimmer Ward is yours SAM: There’s no escort with us? MATT: At the moment, no TALIESIN: Are we being shadowed? MATT: Make a perception check TRAVIS: Come on, first roll of the night Let’s go, Taliesin, hey, hey, hey TALIESIN: No, sadly it’s only a 15 MATT: You’re looking around in the vicinity You do not see yourselves being immediately shadowed or followed TALIESIN: Okay I think we might be in the clear TRAVIS: The sun is setting; should we perhaps find a place to lodge for the night, and discuss what just happened? LIAM: They are putting us up SAM: The cottage, is that right? MARISHA: Camarouth Cottage LIAM: Camarouth? MARISHA: Camarouth MATT: Camarouth TRAVIS: I’m on the wrong page of notes, one second TALIESIN: I don’t know about the rest of you, but the less time we spend in this place, the happier I’ll be Do we want to try and stock up on anything before we–? SAM: This is Caleb’s hometown Don’t disparage it in front of him TALIESIN: I’m not disparaging it I’m just saying, this place gives me the creeps MARISHA: I have a feeling he’s not offended by that TALIESIN: Are you offended by that? LIAM: I’m not offended by that TALIESIN: Yeah, see, it’s fine SAM: I retract my chiding TALIESIN: Fair LIAM: I need to pick up a few things What do you need? I can probably get us there TALIESIN: Health potions SAM: Oh, yes TALIESIN: Diamonds, anything Stocking up for every inevitability TRAVIS: Our normal fare SAM: Yeah, normal things that people buy: diamonds and health potions LIAM: Do I have any insight as to– this is New York City I know fairly well, except I’ve never been here, because this is my first time MATT: The places that you– you didn’t commonly frequent these locations. You were still a student LIAM: Yeah MATT: And on a student’s income, which was nothing at all LIAM: Right, so I saw a small percentage MATT: A very small percentage And most of the interactions you had with healing potions and such were those that were given out as part of your training at the Soltryce Academy, and then otherwise were places that were specifically being organized by the Cerberus Assembly A lot of those places you gather are probably connected to the war effort, but you go ahead and make a history check for me LIAM: I was going to say, do I know anything about the different wards, at least? Knowing the different areas? MATT: Yeah, yeah, if you have any questions, you have the map there, but the–

LIAM: I rolled a one MATT: Rolled a one? Well Well TALIESIN: Shook up, huh? MATT: You may have to ask around, then (laughs) There’s the Mosaic Ward, which is the northern, impoverished neighborhood, which is largely a very muddy district The streets– it’s the one part of the city where it isn’t really cobblestone The streets just become dirt, and because of the fairly common moisture and rainfall that happens here, it leads to an extremely brown, muddy district So it’s what’s referred to as the Mosaic Ward It’s really just one color and it’s– TALIESIN: Nice name MATT: I’m sorry, that’s the Mudtop Ward The Mosaic Ward– TALIESIN: Mudtop MATT: Mudtop makes a lot more sense It’s my brain TRAVIS: That’s amazing MATT: That’s pretty great The Mosaic Ward is a lot more colorful Colorful banners, small fences It’s a housing district That’s mostly on the Southern portion of the city MARISHA: Oh, it’s like the arts district? MATT: In some ways The Tangles is what you’re most familiar with, and that’s what you guys have traveled through mostly, which is the central, it’s a semicircle region to the center and southwestern side of the village That’s where a lot of the working class resides in the city A lot of the general commerce happens there There are many, many smaller streets, and the overall look of where everything meets and gathers in the way that the streets weave through the city looks like a large tangle from an overhead view It’s where the city was first built, and as it expanded, the structure seemed to, you know, find a better means of being planned out and built So the center, towards the city outside of the Shimmer Ward, it’s a little messier and it’s the older parts of the town LIAM: And the academy is in the Shimmer Ward, ja? MATT: Correct TALIESIN: Ooh We haven’t taken a short rest either We are all just beat to fuck right now, aren’t we? TRAVIS: Yep LIAM: I’m on death’s door SAM: And what time of day is it? MATT: It’s late afternoon, probably starting to get closer to sunset in the next hour or so TALIESIN: Do maybe– SAM: Go night night? TALIESIN: Maybe we just turn in, then, and save going out into the world for tomorrow TRAVIS: Love that LIAM: Excuse me, Grandfather MATT: “Yes?” This really well-dressed, older human gentleman, lots of jewelry on his fingers and jangling bands around his wrists turns, liver spotted head where the hair is receded back into this advanced widow’s peak that comes very far forward, and the back of it reaches the very top of the head, turns “Can I help you?” LIAM: We are not from these parts, and I am looking to do some shopping. I need some jewels, specifically, and then also maybe you know of shops that cater to arcane nature? MATT: Make a persuasion check TRAVIS: How much money you got? MATT: That’s cocked LIAM: Okay, cool That was almost the same thing Persuasion? MATT: Yes LIAM: 11 MATT: He goes, “Sorry, I don’t have anything to give you.” And quickly turns away and ignores you SAM: No, no, he’s not a beggar, he just looks– MATT: “Ah!” SAM: Oh, sorry MATT: And he just quickly shuffles– ASHLEY: No, it’s okay MATT: “Gah!” (laughter) MATT: “I don’t want to new trouble.” Looks around at the whole crew now circling TRAVIS: I use Mask of Many Faces to look like a piranha and I’m like: (growling) Tell us where it is! (laughter) MATT: Where are the diamonds? (laughs) LIAM: All right, well, Caduceus, maybe we should wipe all this blood off of ourselves TALIESIN: Perhaps we should It occurs to me I’m a little worse for wear right now MARISHA: Oh yeah Oh god ASHLEY: I forgot about that TALIESIN: (chuckles) SAM: Do you know where this place is? TRAVIS: Camarouth Cottage SAM: Yes, but where in town? You know where it is, Cay-Cay? LIAM: Where did they tell us it was? TRAVIS: The Shimmer Ward MATT: They didn’t tell you where it was But it wouldn’t take you too long to find it The Shimmer Ward isn’t extensively massive And looking around, I’d say it’d take you about 10 minutes or so to locate it It’s on the southwestern side of the Shimmer Ward, not too far from the main gates where you entered LIAM: Okay MATT: Probably placed there because it’s closest to where most of the foot traffic enters and exits the area LIAM: All right, we limp our way there MATT: Okay You guys eventually come upon a beautiful, expansive, two-story inn of pale yellow stone and braided thatch for roofing The windowsill gardens are lush, and the rooms each hold their own separate balconies that overlook the entirety of the ward, visible from that second floor As you approach, the front doors are actually partially ajar, and you can see there’s wooden wedges jammed underneath to keep them somewhat open There are some puddles of water that you maneuver around before you get to the front entryway But as you step inside, you can already see the nice dark cherry wood interior

and the tall ceilings that make up the main entryway There’s magically lit chandeliers of dark iron, large circular rings that two of them overall light to the inside of the building You can see a staircase immediately to the left of a front desk region that leads to the secondary floor Ultimately, you know, two stories, and you’ve seen a lot of, especially in the central cities, inns that will stack up multiple floors to try and best use the space they have for the plot Because this is in the more affluent area and this may have been here for quite some time, it’s a little more expansive It’s a much larger inn as far as the breadth of the portion of land that it takes up SAM: Is there one of those classy guys playing a piano in the lobby, or? MATT: No, there isn’t somebody in the inn playing a little– TRAVIS: It’s not a saloon, you dork (laughter) ASHLEY: Just some muzak TRAVIS: Some muzak MATT: Yeah, exactly ASHLEY and MATT: (hum muzak) MATT: Like a small saxophone version of Your Turn to Roll comes in (laughter) You do see an attached doorway on the right that opens up into what you think is a tavern or dining hall of some kind You smell food cooking, but it doesn’t sound like it’s busy yet, like they’re preparing probably for an evening rush At that front counter, you do see an elderly female dwarf, stark white hair that is braided thick and then wrapped around itself into this large bun that’s about the size of the rest of her head It almost gives like a halo behind the back of it, the way it frames the top With every single wrinkle, you can see they’re all placed by the wide smile that immediately comes across her face as she looks up to the rest of you and goes, “Yeah, can I help you?” (Sam laughing) LIAM: I believe so, yeah MATT: “I’m Kela Camarouth, this is my cottage.” TRAVIS: Keller? LIAM: Kela? MATT: “Kela.” LIAM: Kela MARISHA: Keller SAM: Keller Kela LIAM: Kela Camarouth Excellent, so this is your place, it’s a family business MATT: “It is, my grandkids help out.” LIAM: Wonderful TRAVIS: (giggles) LIAM: We are to be guests here, of the king and the Cerberus Assembly, I believe arrangements were made We are The Mighty Nein MATT: “Right, right,” she pulls up a small piece of paper with like a hastily scribbled note on it and goes, “Ah, yes, yes, this is already paid for, “under the intent of the Assembly, “so rooms have been arranged individually “Seven such chambers, keys to be, here you are,” puts down like, seven really nice iron keys on the table They’re all intricately carved, and beautifully done, as opposed to rougher keys you find across most portions of your travels MARISHA: Wow. We’re at that point in our career SAM: Wow TRAVIS: Yeah, we be come ups. Started at the bottom Look where we is LIAM: I know I smell something delicious Is food available to be served at the moment? MATT: “Not at the moment, but it should be within “about the next hour or so, if you hang around “You should see the crowds gathering around that time, “so just keep a keen eye.” SAM: The rooms are taken care of, but what of, like, the incidentals? Are those taken care of also, or? TALIESIN: Is there a wifi password, is what she’s asking? MATT: “No. If you would like to partake “in the various food items provided, “you would have to pay separately, but–” SAM: I won’t go crazy TALIESIN: Where do we clean up? I just learned a new word: ichor. Is that what this is? SAM: Yes TALIESIN: I’ve had to learn new words for what happens to me now MATT: “You look like you’ve had quite a day.” TALIESIN: It’s been quite a day Let’s clean up and have a meal, maybe TRAVIS: Yeah, that sounds lovely MARISHA: I guess we’ll all meet down here in the lobby in what, 30 minutes or so? SAM: Yeah, realistically more like 45 MARISHA: Yeah, probably like 45, all right Let’s go MATT: “All right, I’ll have the boys show up to your rooms here “Yeeza, Poma!” TRAVIS: Whoa MATT: She just screams out suddenly out amongst the tavern and you hear (quick footsteps), foots coming down the stairs, and you hear these two, can’t be older than probably 16, dwarf boys come rushing down, pushing each other out of the way “Yes, ma’am?” “Yes, Grandma? “Oh, hello, we’re supposed to show you to your rooms, “I think, right, right?” (Kela) “Take the keys and show them to their various chambers “Now! (clapping)” They’re like, “Right!” “Right.” And they grab, “This this way,” and they’re not making eye contact with you, they’re (grumbling) TRAVIS: Lead the way MATT: They lead you up– MARISHA: Do we each need our own escort? This seems excessive TRAVIS: Armed what, armed escort, did you say? Or our rooms? MARISHA: Keep going TRAVIS: Yeah, let them lead on, they’re excited MATT: The two of them, once they leave the eye and the sight line and ear shot of the grandma, their shoulders slump a bit and they just go, “All right, here’s your room, here’s your room, “here’s your room,” and they just show you around, getting the job done, baseline what’s required TRAVIS: Well, hold on. Where did all your enthusiasm go? Tell us what your names were again

MATT: They look at each other “I’m Yeeza,” he’s like, I’m Poma.” TRAVIS: Pom MATT: “Poma.” TRAVIS: Poma, yes, of course My apologies SAM: You’re her grandkids, then? MATT: “Yeah.” SAM: Are you compelled to work here? MATT: “No, does it look like I’m compelled to work here?” (Marisha laughing) SAM: Are you just a teenager? Is that what’s going on? MATT: “No! “I got a full beard.” SAM: Oh! MATT: It’s like scraggly and barely coming through SAM: I understand MATT: Like the early peach fuzz that just looks a bit too thin TRAVIS: It’s quite majestic. Your grandmother’s a wonderful person Is there a lot of vacancy here this evening, or is it fairly full up? MATT: “Oh, a few folks left after everything “that went down earlier today “But you know, it’s been pretty crowded, “but we got you rooms, though.” TRAVIS: Oh, no– MATT: “Is there a problem with the room, sir?” TRAVIS: I was just curious how loud it is at night I’m a fairly light sleeper MARISHA: I like him MATT: “I’ll get you an extra pillow.” TRAVIS: An extra pillow would be great Tuck it between my knees, helps align my spine at night MATT: “Sure, whatever floats your boat.” TRAVIS: Okay MATT: Runs off to grab you another pillow The other dwarf’s just standing there like, kicking the ground “Need anything else?” MARISHA: Yeah, do you have, like, little complimentary soaps? Some coffee, anything like that? MATT: “Washroom’s at the end of the hall.” MARISHA: Can you give me, like, a handful of free stuff? MATT: Make a persuasion check (laughter) TALIESIN: Can I give the opposite of, like– Can I subtract a d4 from this? TRAVIS: Anti-Bless? MARISHA: Natural 20 MATT: You cast Bane on–? What’d you roll? MARISHA: Natural 20 MATT: Natural 20! MARISHA: Look, I speak punk-ass kid MATT: I know you do The way you insinuate it, like he can tell in your vocal timbre, like– MARISHA: Give me the good shit, man MATT: This is probably a fun girl to hang out with LIAM: He immediately hands her drugs MATT: “I mean, I can probably steal something, right? “I mean, like you want soap, you said?” MARISHA: Yeah, maybe those little bottles of booze, you know, that they give you sometimes? LIAM: Do they do that, though? MARISHA: I don’t know In canon. (laughing) MATT: “I’ll have to ask my grandma.” MARISHA: No, you don’t, right? Why do you have to ask her? MATT: “I’d have to ask my grandma.” MARISHA: Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah TRAVIS: You’re going to get these guys killed TALIESIN: Don’t understand what’s happening MATT: And he rushes off LIAM: Want to join The Mighty Nein? (laughter) SAM: Wow! That was cool MARISHA: This free shit, you know They got that overhead built in, you know? TALIESIN: Genuinely don’t understand what’s happening SAM: I mean, teenagers don’t think anything’s cool That one thought you were pretty cool MARISHA: Yeah, fucking look at me I’m covered in fucking blood TRAVIS: Speaking of which, who is the most disgusting amongst us? Who’s up first? TALIESIN: I got swallowed ASHLEY: I haven’t had a shower in so many months TRAVIS: Oh, shit, really? ASHLEY: I mean– TALIESIN: I think you’ve won first SAM: Yeah ASHLEY: Oh, I mean, I didn’t mean– I figured– TALIESIN: (tsking) Nope, nope TRAVIS: Wow, go, please, for the love of the gods, get in there ASHLEY: Couldn’t you tell? (laughing) MATT: While you’re having this conversation, you hear from behind you, “I’m going first!” and Jester just runs to the washroom (laughter) TRAVIS: That’s fair TALIESIN: I’m just going to leave her bag of taffy in her room, for the next however many hours it takes MATT: So four of you guys are facing the front, in which case as you go into your chambers, they’re very nice chambers They’re on size pretty similar to like the Pillow Trove in Zadash, it reminds you of that locale The Pillow Trove is lighter as far as the decor and the sheets, and everything that was placed around here This place has more of a earth tones to it It feels like it’s trying to aim for rustic, but it’s a little too nice for rustic, so it can’t quite find its, you know, its theming TALIESIN: Lord Hilton MATT: Kind of, yeah! But aside from a window, there is a double door, glass door that opens out onto a balcony LIAM: On each room, you said? MATT: On each room, and the three that are facing the other direction face out into a garden that sits in the exterior on the back end of the actual cottage LIAM: Caleb takes a front-facing MATT: Okay MARISHA: You sure? LIAM: Yes MARISHA: Feels a little exposed, don’t you think? TRAVIS: I’ll do it as well Take the room next to his TALIESIN: Nott, will you take the third room on that side? SAM: Yes, please MARISHA: I’ll take the fourth, then TALIESIN: Fifth SAM: Well, there’s only four TALIESIN: Oh, only four, I’ll be on the other side, then (laughter) SAM: Good decision TALIESIN: Yeah What’s happening? MATT: You guys choose your individual chambers, and you can take some time to make the space your own But the rest of the evening is yours LIAM: For that hour of time, or 45 minutes, which is really going to be an hour SAM: Realistically LIAM: Caleb will spend a minute wiping blood off of his face and then bring up Frumpkin and sit in a chair and just stare out at the city, and just scritch Frumpkin, and remember

MATT: All right TALIESIN: Is there a time for short rest in this, or is this not short rest material? MATT: If you guys are taking about an hour (laughs) TALIESIN: It’s going to be an hour, there will be a shower involved, or whatever MATT: Then yeah, you can take a short rest LIAM: When you say an hour, it’s probably more like an hour 15 TALIESIN: Hour and a half MATT: There you go MARISHA: Know what, I’ll just see you guys at dinner TALIESIN: I’ll see you at the bar after MARISHA: See you at the bar MATT: Say 10 and make it our beeswax to be there TRAVIS: Oh, beeswax TALIESIN: No faffing MATT: So The hour goes by, those of you that wish to take a short rest to heal up, hit dice wise, a bit TALIESIN: I will also do the same thing for– MARISHA: Wait, what am I doing? LIAM: Jeez TALIESIN: Just assume she’s rolling the same way I am LIAM: Worst TALIESIN: My own fault TRAVIS: Ooh, I get 10 ♪ Hallelujah ♪ (Matt laughs) SAM: This short rest brought to you by, I don’t know MATT: Idle Champions SAM: Idle Champions MATT: There you go SAM: So we meet down for dinner, I assume MATT: Mm-hmm The meals here are pretty nice We’ll say, for standard across the board for the evening’s meal and drink, unless you’re providing or asking for any specific upper shelf alcohol of any kind, it’ll probably put you at about, we’ll say, about six silver a person to eat for the night TALIESIN: I’ll take that SAM: You’re going to pay for all of us? Thank you TALIESIN: Yeah, how much does that total, then? Six per person? SAM: Six times seven TALIESIN: Times seven LIAM: 42 TALIESIN: 42 silver SAM: That’s nothing TALIESIN: I’ll just put in a gold in for tip I’ll just do that LIAM: We used to con people for silvers MATT: All righty SAM: It’s true MARISHA: Are we alone? Is there anyone else in the restaurant? MATT: It’s not terribly busy You see, maybe, eight other patrons that have come through You guys definitely stand out amongst a lot of them Many of them appear to be very well dressed They could be traveling merchants, they could be, you know, family of nobles that there was no space to stay in You’re uncertain, but they all look to be definitely at least a middle or upper class type presentation, whether or not they actually, you know, exist and live that lifestyle, they’re definitely presenting as such But you don’t have quite the spread of dynamic outfits and figures that your group does And so no matter where you sit, you stick out a little bit, and every time you look up and look around, there’s a few eyes on you But as is the nature of this type of upper crust social experience, as soon as that eye connection happens, (clearing throat) TALIESIN: Is anybody giving us a funny funny look, or is it just– LIAM: Yeah, by a check of the room, is anybody– SAM: See Invisibility LIAM: Paying too much attention? MATT: Make an insight check TALIESIN: 19 LIAM: Hmm 16 MATT: All right You do see one person that is dressed in nice traveling attire with a bit of an under set of basic leather armor But the kind you see people who are willing, or taking long trips along trade routes and main roads to where, and they’ve pretty much been eating alone and just keeping an eye on you TALIESIN: All right SAM: So TRAVIS: It’s so hard to feel like you belong in places like this I always feel like I’m pretending MARISHA: What, fancy places? TRAVIS: Yeah MARISHA: Yeah, agreed SAM: Yasha ASHLEY: Yeah? SAM: Did you take your bath? ASHLEY: Yes SAM: Because this thing’s still there Is that, it’s always there? ASHLEY: This is a tattoo SAM: Oh, I just thought that– I don’t know what I thought, I just– TRAVIS: She was a messy eater? SAM: Yeah, maybe TRAVIS: Oh SAM: Like a coffee stain or something? ASHLEY: No, that’s just a part of my face (laughter) I made it a part of my face SAM: Oh, okay ASHLEY: I wasn’t born that way SAM: Hey, welcome back to Yasha, I guess, right? ASHLEY: Yeah It feels weird to, just this morning I was not fully myself, and now I am SAM: And you got revenge for the one who did this to you, which was pretty badass

ASHLEY: I don’t know if that’s the word I would use, but, yes MARISHA: Wait, revenge or badass? ASHLEY: Badass, I guess, and revenge All of it MARISHA: Oh TRAVIS: Doesn’t feel that way? ASHLEY: It feels weird It feels like it’s not finished, and part of it feels like it wasn’t enough (Ashley sighs) LIAM: Well, I don’t think 12 hours are going to roll back months of pain ASHLEY: I think you might be right, Caleb SAM: Do you think he’s gone? Obann, for real? ASHLEY: It seemed like it I mean, I think if someone is goopy, maybe they’re gone TRAVIS: Seems like that he might be MARISHA: (gasps) Ooh! TALIESIN: Finally Jester comes down LIAM: Wow, you really took a shower MATT: Talk about making an appearance LAURA: Yeah! SAM: Oh my god LIAM: Wow LAURA: Hi, buddies MATT: Hey, Laura LIAM: Why didn’t we all bathe upstairs? ASHLEY: Only one of us bathed LAURA: Hi SAM: I’m married to that! Oh wait, no, I’m not LAURA: Oh wait (laughter) TRAVIS: Hi LAURA: Hi, baby TRAVIS: You look beautiful LAURA: Thank you LIAM: Aww LAURA: Hi SAM: Did you win? LAURA: They haven’t announced my category SAM: You just left?! You just left before your category? LAURA: Well, I saw on Twitter that you were using my dice SAM: I wasn’t using your dice! LAURA: Somebody said my dice was in front of you– SAM: That’s a joke, I would never touch your dice without you here LAURA: Well, I had to come TRAVIS: How did you get here so fast? LAURA: Dude, there was no traffic It was so weird MATT: Priorities SAM: If, for your your category– MATT: I love it LIAM and MATT: Respect SAM: For your category, will you just go back real quick? LAURA: Yeah, I’m just going to go Like, so let me know, chat room, if I win (laughter) SAM: The music will just be playing MARISHA: Yeah, if you win, you have to give it– LAURA: I went to the bathroom I did, though, and then I– MATT: It’s okay, as long as nobody knows and there’s no proof that you– LAURA: There’s no way that you’ll know LIAM: We could just film an acceptance speech on an iPhone We’ll just send it over SAM: iPhone? We’re broadcasting live; she could do an acceptance speech live LAURA: If I win, I’ll give an acceptance speech here For sure MATT: With a slight delay LAURA: Yeah (laughter) SAM: I think we all admire your priorities TALIESIN: Seriously, not even kidding LAURA: I love you guys MATT: We love you, too TRAVIS: We were just talking to Yasha about how it’s to be free in the last few months MARISHA: We basically showered and now we’re having dinner LAURA: Oh I’m so glad I’m clean now (laughter) LIAM: We are the Camarouth Cottage LAURA: Yes, obviously LIAM: Squaring things away SAM: And Yasha was explaining that she has some mild sort of PTSD MARISHA: Talking to Jester like she just came out of a coma LAURA: I don’t remember anything that just happened TRAVIS: Yasha, I meant to ask, since it has been months, is there anything that you need to do? Anyone you need to notify or follow up on? ASHLEY: No TRAVIS: Oh ASHLEY: I think the only people that I would’ve need to have notified are you guys and Molly, so, that’s just you guys SAM: Well, even before all this began, you know, sometimes you would stare out into the night and yearn to be somewhere else Is that still part of your MO? Like, are you going to disappear tomorrow morning? TRAVIS: Is it raining right now? MATT: It is, yeah. Faintly It’s not as strong as it was earlier today ASHLEY: I don’t know. I mean, I feel like I just, we’ll see if I can feel a little more– I don’t know, I feel like nowhere feels like home, so, at least not yet, maybe that will change MARISHA: We have a great keep in Xhorhouse– Xhorhas We call it the Xhorhaus TRAVIS: ♪ Xhorhaus, in the middle of the ♪ ASHLEY: I haven’t seen the mural in a while, and– LAURA: Yeah ASHLEY: I haven’t slept in a bed in a while, so that’s going to be weird LAURA: Where did you sleep when you were with? Did you even sleep? You had camp, we spied on you ASHLEY: Yeah, just a lot of, you know, sleeping on the ground, which I guess I’m used to anyway, more so than sleeping in a bed MARISHA: What was sleeping like when you were under his control? LAURA: Did you dream as yourself? MARISHA: Yeah ASHLEY: I did I feel like sometimes when I was sleeping, that was the only time where I felt like myself,

which is weird, because, you know, my dreams would come through, or it just felt like, I felt like I was me for a while Anyway TRAVIS: It’s good to have you back ASHLEY: It’s good to be back Oh! I forgot I’m going to take out 500 gold You let me borrow this one time, and I said I was going to pay you back, but I didn’t get a chance to So– TRAVIS: But that was for your bracers, wasn’t it? ASHLEY: Yeah, but we’ll see what– still, you let me borrow a $500 500 gold, I mean I don’t know what dollars are TALIESIN: About one gold TRAVIS: Keep it We’ve been earning a fair amount of money in your absence ASHLEY: I would feel uncomfortable if you didn’t take it TRAVIS: I will take the money Thank you SAM: Dinner’s on Fjord LAURA: Yay! TRAVIS: I tell you what, because I feel strange taking 500 gold from someone that’s been mind controlled for several months How about I’ll give you a gift in exchange? And I will take out the book that Caleb gave me and I will hand it to Yasha MATT: Ah SAM: What’s that? What’s that book? LAURA: Oh shit ASHLEY: What is this book? LAURA: It’s a really good book, Yasha SAM: Is that Tusk Love? ASHLEY: What is it? TRAVIS: Just give it a look before you go to sleep ASHLEY: It’s a good book. Is it like a– is there sexy times in it? LAURA: I don’t know LIAM: No, but it is right up your alley ASHLEY: Okay LIAM: It’s a good choice MARISHA: We do have a good sexy time book LAURA: We could make sexy times in it We could put whatever we want to ASHLEY: Maybe like add something on the side of the lines TRAVIS: Hmm, I don’t know if you want to do that SAM: Add the words “in bed” to the end of the sentence LAURA: Yeah, that’s really good ASHLEY: That is very kind of you, Fjord I really, I mean, I do like to read, so But it’s such a short book It’s so small MARISHA: It’s a flip book SAM: Well, should we start discussing what we’re going to do with the whole getting the realms to talk to each other and everything? LAURA: World peace and– TALIESIN: I don’t know if this is the time or place to do that right now LAURA: What, do you have something in your eyeball? TALIESIN: I have a thing in my eyeball, yeah LIAM: I recommend we take a bottle of something up to one of our rooms and discuss it MARISHA: Those punk-ass kids should be bringing me something SAM: Oh MARISHA: It better be fucking good LAURA: What, what? SAM: Oh, while you were bathing, we met some teens, some sullen teens, and Beau hit it off with them really great MARISHA: Yeah, they’re pretty cool They were very refreshing, actually SAM: They said that they would steal something from the hotel for her MARISHA: Yeah LAURA: Anything in particular? SAM: They didn’t specify, but she asked for booze MARISHA: I asked for good shit LAURA: Oh, nice MARISHA: Yeah Kind of to challenge them a little bit You know, it was like, “How cool are you, “you know, man?” It’s really good tactic for manipulating young people LAURA: If they succeed and they’re really good are you going to get them into the the– SAM: The cool party? LAURA: No, like, you can make them a monk or something TALIESIN: I’m conflicted on how proud I’m supposed to be about this Having a very difficult time gauging ASHLEY: It was almost as if you were, like, speaking a different language to each other, and I couldn’t understand It was like, lots of words were missing in sentences TRAVIS: Yeah, I just wanted to chase you off of my front yard or something MARISHA: Basically, just, like, kind of get rid of all consonants and just, like, blur a lot of shit together (laughter) ASHLEY, MARISHA, and LAURA: Yeah TRAVIS: Fluent LAURA: I’m uncomfortable SAM: Did you bring some sweatpants? LAURA: I wish (Matt chuckling) TALIESIN: May have some– oh, well MATT: At the break, just run to Target LAURA: Yeah, maybe I’ll just run to Target TRAVIS: Caleb Haven’t really had a moment to gauge your feelings about how all of that went He called you by your real name LIAM: Why don’t we go up to my room? All of us TRAVIS: Sure I will cast See Invisi– nope, I don’t have that We haven’t rested Oh, I took a short rest, See Invisibility! MATT: Does that come back on a short rest? TRAVIS: It does not MATT: So you do not cast it TRAVIS: So I do this stupid hand gesture and pretend like something happens MATT: Okay (Travis gasping) (Matt laughing) TRAVIS: Okay MATT: You guys are following Caleb to his room?

SAM: Yes Oh no TRAVIS: Fucking damn LAURA: What? SAM: Jester was just robbed of something LAURA: No, I wasn’t, stop SAM: She was robbed! LAURA: No, I wasn’t SAM: Someone else got the thing that she should have gotten LAURA: No. (laughing) ASHLEY: No LAURA: That’s good, that’s real good, you guys It would have been real bad TRAVIS: What’s the name of this thief? SAM: Some sort of mad person TRAVIS: A mad person? (laughter) LIAM: It would have been real bad LAURA: It would’ve been real bad Yeah. So it’s probably for the best TALIESIN: Oh my god, I can’t believe you LIAM: A calculated risk you took (laughter) TRAVIS and ASHLEY: Yeah TRAVIS: There would’ve been much pooping in that chair LAURA: Yeah. Ooh! Oh no! LIAM: Not that dress. (strains) SAM: It’s like the end of The Sound of Music, where “The family Von Trapp! “The family Von Trapp!” (laughter) “The Von Trapp family! “No?” MATT: It does fuck up Mads coming for the second half as Trent. That was my plan (groaning and laughter) Plans are fucked up now on that TRAVIS: You said it out loud, Matt MATT: I know TRAVIS: You said it out loud. You know what happens when you say things out loud MATT: I know, stop making wishes They have a tendency to come true these days in a very Monkey Paw way TALIESIN: Curse you, Monkey Paw MATT: You guys go ahead and follow Caleb up to his chambers, and spacious room Each room is slightly different and has its own personality, though it is generally similar You all go into the chamber, close the door behind you, and you’re fairly certain you have some element of privacy LIAM: We have a lot to talk about LAURA: Should we search the room for like, you know, people spying on us and stuff? TRAVIS: I’ll use Divine Sense and see if there’s anything around MATT: Okay TRAVIS: Boop MATT: You concentrate for a moment and extend your senses You know, as you focus, you can smell The normally perfumed interior of the room fades to the smell of a fresh breeze and an earthy scent as you feel the Wildmother expanding your consciousness into the space You don’t pick up anything fiendish or anything undead LIAM: I’ll also just– go ahead TALIESIN: No, you go first LIAM: Just eyeball the room, make sure that I don’t see anything MATT: Perception check please TALISEIN: I’ll use a Detect Magic once the doors are closed, just to keep an eye on everything to go look around, see if anything’s giving me an itch MATT: Okay What’d you roll? LIAM: Just an eight MATT: An eight Glancing on the chamber, it looks like a standard chamber You cast Detect Magic Aside from all of you guys that just glow like Christmas trees TALIESIN: Yeah MATT: There is the oil lantern, the oil lamp that’s over by the bed that is the central source of light in the room, does have its own glow As you approach and look over at it, you can see that it is not an actual flame, it is a small glowing orb, it is a magical lamp LIAM: Actually, just a quick look around is not good enough for me I’m going to take 10 minutes to methodically search this room for anything MATT: Okay, make an investigation check SAM: Seeing him do that, I will also assist in that TALIESIN: If I turn off the light, does it continue to have a Detect Magic– yeah, no, that wouldn’t change anything, never mind TRAVIS: Is he always like this when he prepares to sleep? SAM: Yeah, we haven’t been in a lot of hotels, so, you know, he just wants to make sure that he knows where to fold the clothes and where the extra robe is MATT: What’d you roll? LIAM: 25 TRAVIS: He likes to unpack? LAURA: I’m going to jump on the bed while they’re doing it LIAM: Caleb is like– Oh, Caleb’s arm just got caught under the mattress as he was searching it LAURA: Sorry SAM: Oh! LAURA: Hold on, let me jump up There you go (laughter) MATT: Going around the chambers, they seem fairly devoid of any specific traps or dangerous implements TRAVIS: Is there a chair in the room? (laughter) MATT: There is LAURA: Oh no! TRAVIS: Kill it with fire MARISHA: (slamming) TRAVIS: Okay! That’ll come out of our– MARISHA: No, I don’t do that LIAM: (fireball explosion) TRAVIS: Fireball (laughter) LIAM: The roof erupts out on the street MATT: That would turn the campaign in a very weird direction Yeah, the room seems relatively safe It is the wonderful Caleb experience of everyone rushing into the room going, “Okay, so Caleb, what’s going on?” 10 minutes of him circling the room as you all just like– TRAVIS: (whistling) LAURA: (humming) TALIESIN: Welcome back LIAM: Very on brand LAURA and MATT: Yeah SAM: Well, now that that’s settled, what’s our play here? Do we do we go across, do we go– Where can we teleport? We can’t teleport to Xhorhas, can we? LAURA: Yeah MARISHA: Yeah, we can LIAM: We could go to the Dynasty SAM: We can? Yes, we can MARISHA: We can SAM: But to what end? We just walk in and say, “Hey, King Dwendal wants to talk to you.” LIAM: Well, we’re getting ahead of– I don’t even know where to begin We have a meeting with the Martinet tomorrow, yeah, correct They have some idea of what they want to do I don’t know if they’re going to be open to a counter idea MARISHA: Are we going to get access to this beacon? What if the whole thing is, like, a red herring or Trojan horse or a fake?

LAURA: What if the beacon is, like, trapped or something, and they’re waiting, they’ve like done something to it so the minute that goes back to the Dynasty, it explodes in the Bright Queen’s– MARISHA: Absolutely SAM: We’re not taking it back to the Dynasty This is a upon successful meeting, right? TRAVIS: Yeah, sure, we’re supposed to broker some sort of meeting between the two Did not establish on this ground or theirs, neutral or otherwise This is entirely rigged to be a trap TALIESIN: Hmm MARISHA: We have to get– huh? LAURA: Hmm? LIAM: I was agreeing with Fjord SAM: You said we were meeting with the Martinet I thought we were supposed to be meeting with Trent Ikithon, no? LIAM: No, Martinet TRAVIS: Da’leth SAM: Oh, sorry LIAM: Da’leth, yes SAM: Oh, okay LIAM: The head of the Assembly TRAVIS: Speaking of Trent, he did see Caleb He called him by his real name He seemed very calm about that How do you feel? What do you want to do? Are we going through with this? LIAM: You know, I have spent a long time imagining how seeing him again would go, and I did not imagine that (nervous laugh) I spent years avoiding… that, and we just walked in I-I-I have imagined choking the life from that man a lot, and I think we need to work with him? SAM: Will you be able to? ASHLEY: I am not comfortable with that idea, knowing how that feels But– LIAM: Well, there is a lot at stake right now, and we are surrounded by an entire city of armed guards and the king’s will But I don’t know what to believe They said that they just found this beacon We know that that is almost certainly horse shit They did not just find a beacon It’s hard to know who knows what It’s hard to know if the King knows what the Assembly knows It’s hard to know what the Assembly knows MARISHA: Absolutely LIAM: I don’t know what Ikithon’s intentions are I don’t know if they are in unison within the Assembly MARISHA: Hmm LIAM: It’s hard to feel safe here TALIESIN: It is hard to feel safe here MARISHA: Well, we’re not safe here TRAVIS: There is something to be said for playing the game, taking this a few pieces down the road LIAM: I honestly don’t think we have much other choice MARISHA: We’ve done it successfully before We did it in Xhorhas Now we have to do it again LIAM: And what other option is there? We will end up in a prison cell, or dead TALIESIN: Considering how the last 24 hours went, I feel pretty comfortable saying if he looks at you sideways, we will not leave enough of him to be found MARISHA: We have to work– LAURA: We could just do that, we could just kill him, chop him up into little tiny pieces, and then we escape to Xhorhas and we never come back! TALIESIN: I suppose what I meant is– LAURA: Here TALIESIN: We’re going to try and keep you safe, and I think we can, is what I meant LAURA: Oh TALIESIN: I mean, but we could do, you know TRAVIS: Wow TALIESIN: I’m not against that, either LIAM: Caleb is flashing back to the boat when Jester just sunk an axe into a dude’s head MATT: Yep. And he just screamed MARISHA: Hmm We do have Jester’s option, worst case scenario SAM: Sounds pretty dangerous LIAM: I appreciate both sentiments, honestly, but we don’t know what circumstances we’re dealing with yet, and he is certainly not alone Just the one man is very powerful, and he has a network of people TALIESIN: Our goal is going to be getting you out of this city no matter what, though As long as you know that, that that’s really beyond anything, at least for me, is to make sure that you’re not ending here, under any circumstances SAM: I guess one question I had, Lebby, is, aside from rendezvousing with the Martinet and figuring out how we’re going to get out of here and what we’re going to do in the grand scheme of things Is there anything else in Rexxentrum that you want to know, you want to see, you want to visit while we’re here? We have safe passage through the city, something that we’ve never had before Even a check-in, a pass by, a drive-by?

We could go for you LIAM: I’ll think about it tonight MARISHA: Depending on what we hear from the Martinet, we might be on a tight timetable, though TALIESIN: We’re going to need to know a lot Even if it’s not the truth, we’re at least going to need to know what lie they want to tell Where it came from, how they found it, what it would take to make this end on their end, what would be the things they would want to stop this LIAM: What I fear is we go to this meeting tomorrow and hear them out and hear what their intention is Cannot take it at face value TALIESIN: No LIAM: We also probably cannot turn it down TALIESIN: And I doubt that the Bright Queen will be so foolish as to take it at face value either, and she’ll understand that we’re telling her what we heard LAURA: Will she? TALIESIN: Yes, of course SAM: Yes, and she won’t be foolish enough to just meet with someone face to face She might astral project herself into the meeting or something LAURA: She can do that? SAM: I don’t know, she can live a million years TRAVIS: I would remind us all that the last time we were in Xhorhas, we were being watched I would assume that was by someone in the Dynasty, not here So if they were watching while we were in that room LAURA: They already know everything TRAVIS: Could be LIAM: It might not be a bad idea to, Jester, to contact one of our friends there LAURA: The Bright Queen? LIAM: Yes, or Essek LAURA: That’s what I said. Oh boy LIAM: And they are not going to trust the Empire at face value either But at least for our own standing with them, to appear to be on the up and up with them LAURA: So what would I say, like, what would I say? TRAVIS: To Essek? LAURA: Yeah. Like: Hey, we met with King Dwendal, they say they have a beacon and they want to make peace Do you guys want to meet up with them maybe? Coffee? TALIESIN: I think that that might be too much I even would just say we are, through circumstances, meeting with the Empire, we’ll let you know in person MARISHA: I don’t know if we want to put any of this through a Sending spell This seems like a thing that can be misconstrued with– TALIESIN: We need to do this in person MARISHA: 25 words LAURA: I could send multiple Sending messages TRAVIS: Wouldn’t it be great if we could meet Essek somewhere that’s not all the way in the Dynasty? He’s quite powerful Perhaps if we said we have a lead on that item that you asked us to track down, could we meet somewhere? LAURA: Somewhere neutral, like Traveler Con TRAVIS: We are not in the Dynasty anymore TALIESIN: Or on the way MARISHA: Well, why don’t we go back to ♪ The cold mountain town where the elves were ♪ ♪ Where we met Reani ♪ MATT: Uthodurn? MARISHA: Uthodurn LAURA: Oh, we do have a way to transport there TALIESIN: Uthodurn or– MATT: You do LIAM: Yeah, however, if we show up tomorrow, there is no guarantee that they’re not just going to march us off to whatever their means of transportation is We have no idea what is going to happen once we walk through that door and begin that conversation MARISHA: We’re just meeting with the Martinet, right? It’s just him? LIAM: The most powerful mage in the Empire TALIESIN: If their plan had been to imprison us and kill us– SAM: They would’ve done it already TALIESIN: Two hours ago would have been an amazing time to do it TRAVIS: We need to be emphatic LIAM: I’m not saying they’re going to drop us on the spot, but we are going to start moving on a path that we might not fully approve of TRAVIS: I think we’re all of the same mind, though, that we should try and fight that Implore them, educate them on why that is not the best way to reach their goal, yes? MARISHA: I think Fjord’s right here Like, beyond what King Dwendal said of us standing on the boundaries of being traitors I think we have to steer this TRAVIS: And certainly, it might not be our choice I know what Caleb is getting at, but I think we should try every resource we have LIAM: I just don’t think that we should show up with the Empire, with no advanced warning to them MARISHA: No, not at all TALIESIN: No, we need to go by ourselves MARISHA: We would go by ourselves and confer with Essek LIAM: If that’s what they approve MARISHA: Well, that’s what we were talking about, though We’re going to have to have some ultimatums, or else this isn’t going to work

LAURA: What if we give them the ultimatum and they’re like, “No,” and then they’re like, “Do it right now the way we say, “or you all die?” TRAVIS: You go with these two people and they will take you TALIESIN: Then we– LAURA: Yeah, what do we do? SAM: Do we have any bargaining chips? LAURA: Ooh, what if they try to do that, and instead of taking them to Xhorhas, we can just, you just make a circle to go somewhere else that we know, and then the minute we get there, we ditch them SAM: We kill them LAURA: Or we cut them up into tiny pieces TALIESIN: Or we just leave SAM: Just a couple guards, in our hypothetical TALIESIN: I can totally see how I am partly responsible for this current mode of thinking MARISHA: Look, it’s going to be a negotiation, it’s a discussion, right? I just think we just, we don’t go over as pushovers, right? TRAVIS: Agreed MARISHA: So, okay Maybe we need to have some hard lines LAURA: Okay MARISHA: Things we won’t budge on You know? LAURA: One! SAM: We’re not going anywhere today LAURA: Two! TRAVIS: We’re not going supervised LAURA: Three! MARISHA: We are not going until we see the beacon ourselves in person LAURA: Oh, that’s a big one, that’s a really big one SAM: That’s a big ask MARISHA: We have no proof that they actually fucking have it! LAURA: That’s true TRAVIS: I like it, I like it LAURA: Four! TALIESIN: We’re also going to want to know what they actually want What kind of demands, even if we’re not going to be representing them, we need to know that they actually want something If they don’t want something, what’s the point of doing this? They want an end to the war, what does that mean? What do they want out of it? What kind of guarantee? LAURA: I feel like that one’s a squiggly line That’s less of a hard line. It’s like an up and down kind of, but it’s definitely– TRAVIS: Jester, how about 1000 platinum LAURA: Five: 1000 platinum TRAVIS: Yep! SAM and LAURA: Six! SAM: They should cover incidentals at our hotel I’m just saying LAURA: Totally Seven, also like, do the have– SAM: Yasha, do you want anything? I mean, we’re just asking for stuff now ASHLEY: Wait, but I– SAM: Chocolate? ASHLEY: Because it’s– Well, yeah, I like chocolate, so that should definitely be high on the list LAURA: Okay, seven is chocolate Eight is– TRAVIS: What about– SAM: These are lower priority MARISHA: I feel like I need to write this down TRAVIS: What about some armaments? What if they have some– ASHLEY and LAURA: Almond mints? TRAVIS: (stammering) Armaments TALIESIN: Almond mints? SAM: But we’re not going into battle ASHLEY: Like Andes mints? TRAVIS: Are we not? Are we not engaging on dangerous business for the Empire? Perhaps they have some items and things that might help us in our quest LAURA: I’m losing track of the numbers MATT: (knocking) TALIESIN: We may, oh ASHLEY: I have a question, because it is– MARISHA: Wait, was that a knock at the door? MATT: Caduceus and Beauregard, you hear a knock, but it’s not at this door, it’s at two doors down MARISHA: Oh shit, it’s my kids, it’s my delivery I’ll be right back, I’ll be right back TRAVIS: No, it’s not, is it? (laughter) MARISHA: No wait, I just, I peek out the door MATT: You peek out, and you see the dwarf kid you spoke to earlier is like down at your room going like– TRAVIS: Sup, sup bro MARISHA: Hey, psst, psst MATT: Comes over MARISHA: Wait! Shh shh, stop right there Go, just– MATT: He drops this little bag on the ground (Sam laughing) MARISHA: Yeah MATT: And then just heads off downstairs MARISHA: (quick footsteps) TRAVIS: It’s full of poop MARISHA: Yeah, what is it? Before I– Is it full of poop? LAURA: Oh, it’s another poop bag! MATT: A tiny square glass vial with a cork in it It’s like a dark brown glass LAURA: What the shit is that? TRAVIS: He poured out his dad’s bourbon stash MATT: It’s his grandma’s special personal liquor TRAVIS and LAURA: Oh! TRAVIS: In a perfume bottle MATT: It’s some strong dwarven shit TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah. (laughing) MARISHA: Oh yeah, it’s the good shit Oh yeah SAM: Give me some of that! MARISHA: Just a sip, do not– you’re going to go last LAURA: I don’t want, thank you TRAVIS: Yeah, of course, yeah (coughs) MATT: (knocking) There’s a knock on the door SAM: Uh-oh LAURA: Which one, ours? TRAVIS: Tell the fucking kids to go away We’re trying to collaborate here MARISHA: Does it sound like the– SAM: Oh, I ordered room service MARISHA: Did it sound like the same knock? MATT: It did LAURA: Who is it? MATT: No response MARISHA: I peek it open MATT: “Hey “Sorry to bother you “I noticed you work for the Cobalt Soul.” MARISHA: Yeah, man Yeah, I do, what’s up? MATT: “That’s pretty cool.” MARISHA: Yeah Yeah, it is TRAVIS: Do you want to go to prom? (laughter) MATT: “Anyway, I did you a favor.” MARISHA: All right MATT: “Bye.” Leaves MARISHA: Hey, man MATT: “What?” (laughter) MARISHA: For your trouble, this is– This is official Cobalt Soul sanctioned shit I could get in trouble if any of these are caught outside of the hands of any of the members of the Cobalt Soul, all right? So don’t fucking get in trouble with this, all right? MATT: “All right.” MARISHA: And I just give him a couple of my ninja stars (laughter) MATT: You watch his face go MARISHA: Don’t fucking, don’t, dude, be fucking cool, man MATT: Like hides them, and is like (winces) you notice like accidentally stab himself with one already,

and is like (whimpers) MARISHA: Also, don’t fucking hurt yourself, man, I can’t be responsible MATT: “No, I didn’t hurt myself, it’s fine, it’s cool “It’s cool.” MARISHA: All right TRAVIS: You’re going to get them killed TALIESIN: A year from now, we’re going to come back, the other kid’s going to have an eye patch (laughter) MATT: And he scrambles off LIAM: Was that a reenactment of the first time Matt and Marisha met? (laughter) MATT: Practically Practically (laughter) TRAVIS: Hey, be cool, be cool LIAM: She gave you some ninja stars MATT: That’s when I knew That’s when I knew TRAVIS: (as Matt) Were you just carrying those? (as Marisha) Be cool, man MATT: Look, man, she grew up on the streets She knows how to keep herself safe MARISHA: Those Kentucky streets Those dirt and gravel streets MATT: Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t know kids in your Kentucky high school who carried ninja stars MARISHA: Oh man, are you kidding? TRAVIS: Butterfly knives MATT: Yeah MARISHA: That’s a lot of boredom MATT: Yeah, oh, I know Anyway, the kid rushes off, excited, slightly in pain MARISHA: Fucking piece of shit kids, all right (Laura laughing) Okay, hang on, I was writing– LAURA: We were on nine ASHLEY: It’s been a little bit of time, but whose side are you on? SAM: Oh MARISHA: That’s a good point TRAVIS: You mean us, collectively? SAM: We’ve been playing both sides in order to achieve peace, actually LAURA: That’s said really well TRAVIS: The Dynasty has quite a war they’re waging against the Empire, and the same is true for the other side This is actually the first instance of the Empire at least pretending like they want to find some way to a truce LAURA: Because the Dynasty is like, fuck them It’s going to be real hard TRAVIS: We have been given these little medallions that allow us to move amongst the Dynasty, similarly to how we are here SAM: And in all fairness, this gentleman we’re meeting with, the Martinet, seems to be on the more trustworthy side of the spectrum, right? Ludinus? TALIESIN: We’ll see LAURA: Maybe SAM: I mean, his own assistant was betraying him, he seemed genuinely surprised TALIESIN: That is true MARISHA: Well, Caduceus, what was your point? Like goals, we need goals, was more or less the one liner? TALIESIN: Yeah, we need to know, I mean– LAURA: We need to know what they want TALIESIN: Know what they actually want, beyond like– LAURA: They’re not going to tell us that TRAVIS: No, they won’t TALIESIN: Or at least a general idea, if they even know what they want If they don’t tell us what they want, then we at least need to know that they have some, that there is a world, that– I’ve been thinking about when you’re planting vegetables TRAVIS: Oh god TALIESIN: Hear me out MARISHA: Okay TALIESIN: And if you have two, you have two plants that need different things in the soil, and if they’re going to not both grow at the same time and how you deal with that And honestly, usually just one dies, and I have been trying to figure out what the answer to this is, it’s very frustrating ASHLEY: But sometimes they compliment each other, if you have two different vegetables together TALIESIN: Sometimes if you plant the right things, but if two plants are fighting over a chunk of land, though, I’ve never known it to just stop being a problem LAURA: Sometimes they stop growing, fighting, and you can make them intertwine, and it turns into a really beautiful tree sculpture ASHLEY: Yeah LIAM: Well, I’m not– LAURA: They do that sometimes in Nicodranas TALIESIN: At the very least, you could put some stones down sometimes and keep, you know, make some flower beds or something LAURA: Yeah, sometimes– TRAVIS: What the fuck are you all talking about?! (laughter) MARISHA: Okay, hang on, hang on I see what he’s getting at, though But– TALIESIN: You do? Wow MARISHA: People have been cultivating and making plants work for us for thousands of years, man But to your point– TRAVIS: Are you stoned right now? MARISHA: That dwarven shit is fucking strong So you got to make the ground work for you, right? Like you said, the stones, the beds, sometimes you got to to make barriers TALIESIN: What does the kale need to grow, what do the potatoes need to grow? They got to each have what they need No, this is good LIAM: I would like, for a moment, to move us away from a botany metaphor, and suggest that perhaps the one angle we could use is try to convince them that there is a greater threat than either of these nations That’s what we have been dealing with It’s the only thing that could pull them out of their own asses, perhaps LAURA: I feel like we, did we stop it though, for a while, at least, that part? TRAVIS: Perhaps I agree with Caleb, but only to the ends of seeing who might react to that sort of revelation I feel like, I think we’re in agreement here These people we’re going to meet with are part of this, yes? That the war is a distraction that someone in these meetings on the Empire side is hoping that no one knows that this is happening MARISHA: Also, it’s incredibly strange that the Empire

is now 100% in charge of cleaning up the mess from where the Chained Oblivion is being held under that temple, and are we just supposed to trust that? Like, now no– TRAVIS: That’s a good point TALIESIN: No, that’s been worrying me MARISHA: You know LAURA: Number nine, the Empire is not solely in charge of cleaning up where the Unchained Oblivion was We also get to be in charge of that TRAVIS: Hmm. No LAURA: Number 10: pastries? MARISHA: Well, we already have– LAURA: All of them at future meetings Just to make sure that the meetings that we have with them are, like, catered MARISHA: Right, you want to have, right TALIESIN: We’re going to have to find some neutral ground for this meeting, too LAURA: Maybe some cheese plates MARISHA: I will say, we already have chocolate as an incidental, so– LAURA: Maybe peanut butter and jelly? Just surprise me? MARISHA: Maybe they put it together? Can we have chocolate and pastries– SAM: Well, here’s a thing that we should strive for, maybe We get to choose the meeting location Maybe that could be a thing that we strive for? LAURA: Number 11 MARISHA: Wait, is that number, hang on, you skipped 10 LAURA: No, I didn’t, 10 was pastries ASHLEY: That was chocolate and pastries and cheese LAURA: Well, technically, seven was chocolate ASHLEY: Seven was chocolate, I’m sorry MARISHA: So wait, you want, we’re confirming that chocolate and pastries are two different breakout incidentals All right, okay, 10 is pastries SAM: Maybe we should just suss this out when we meet them tomorrow TALIESIN: We’re going to hear a lot SAM: I think we’ve got a good plan here, guys TRAVIS: We’ve got a core set of deal terms Can we please go to sleep? LAURA: 11, we get to choose where we meet Where it happens MARISHA: Okay, well hang on, I was changing nine, because the Empire is not in charge of cleaning up– SAM: Nine was sort of a big ask I don’t think we’re going to– MARISHA: Okay, so we’ll replace nine and do we choose meeting location, and then that gives us an even 10 incidentals, which is good TRAVIS: That’s a shitload of asks Just saying MARISHA: But you know how contract negotiation goes, Fjord You always stack it, that way you can lose some TRAVIS: That’s actually a myth Okay (laughter) SAM: All right Good night, everyone Oh wait, we’re still talking? LAURA: Are we all sleeping in this room? SAM: No, we have our individual rooms ASHLEY: Yeah TALIESIN: Are you all right on maybe– LAURA: I don’t like that we’re separated I feel like somebody’s going to come while we’re sleeping and try to steal Caleb away TALIESIN: Actually, it might be a good idea to have pairs and in the rooms, and not do the single rooms SAM: I volunteer to sleep next to Caleb MARISHA: I’m going to go to sleep in my own room I’m right next door to those two, just, like, pound on the wall if you need me TALIESIN: Fjord? TRAVIS: Yeah, sure I’ll room up LAURA: You don’t want to Yasha, do you want to be my roommate? ASHLEY: Yeah, I will be your roommate LAURA: Okay ASHLEY: Yeah Did you get, you have one of the garden rooms, right? LAURA: Sure ASHLEY: I think– SAM: You did ASHLEY: You did LAURA: Sweet Yeah, yeah, yeah ASHLEY: Yeah, I will come in there LAURA: Okay MARISHA: Caduceus, you’re flying solo? TALIESIN: No, we’re– MARISHA: Oh TRAVIS: Just you MARISHA: Oh, I’m flying– okay LAURA: I thought that’s what you said you were doing, Beau! MARISHA: Well, I just didn’t want to sleep with them LAURA: Well then, sleep with me and Yasha! MARISHA: All right, I’ll sleep with you and Yasha LAURA: Okay ASHLEY: Yeah (laughter) TRAVIS: As we were leaving, can I lean over to Caleb and say: If you want to finish this on a personal level, let me know And I’ll leave MATT: Okay You all adjourn to your chosen bunk chambers, and bed down for the night, unless there’s no other business to attend to LIAM: Silver wire around the room, across the window MATT: I assume at this point TALIESIN: ♪ Rest the long rest ♪ LAURA: I’m just going to take some ribbon and tie it across the doorway in case somebody opens it– MATT: Good call LAURA: They can trip over the bottom MATT: There you go LAURA: Yeah ASHLEY: Should we put– Do you have like– Does Sprinkle have, like, a bell or something, or your thing? Your little animal, does it have to like dink-a-dink-a-dink? TRAVIS: (as Sprinkle) No! LAURA: No, but he can have one of my bells I’m going to take a bell off of my– SAM: [Inaudible] LAURA: Should we connect the bell to the ribbon, in case you– LAURA: Oh, you didn’t want Sprinkle to have it on him, you want– MATT: I just envision like– ASHLEY: Well no, in case someone– we would hear it LAURA: Okay, okay, okay, I’ll tie the little bell onto the ribbon so that if anybody opens the door, it makes a jingling noise MATT: There you go TALIESIN: Before we go to sleep, yeah, no, go ahead Oh yeah, before we go to sleep, I just want to, as we’re setting up, because I’m going to probably sleep on the floor, because I like that Did really well today TRAVIS: Thank you TALIESIN: Tomorrow’s going to be hard TRAVIS: What do you mean?

TALIESIN: Well, I feel like you’re going to be tempted into some old bad habits, and you’ve been doing really, really well, and we’re going to be– I feel like we’re going to be tested, with our convictions and our truth And I know we’re going to have to lie, and I know we’re going to have to be complicated in what truths we reveal, and I know that it’s all in the end going to be to try and build a peace, but I just want to make sure that you remember where you are and how you became this person, and what it’s worth TRAVIS: Thank you for saying that Is it important to the Wildmother to be honest at all times? TALIESIN: (sighs) You know, I don’t know I would say Well, do you feel that nature is honest, or do you feel that nature can lie? And does nature lie? TRAVIS: I think it can certainly be deceiving Natural camouflage and colors and poisons and deterrents and all sorts of things But it’s also unyielding, it doesn’t change for anyone TALIESIN: I never really thought of it that way Well, I’ve been waiting on this I’m going to reach into my pocket and I’m going to pull out this beautiful, ornate seal of the Wildmother that’s done up in, where normally there’s the wheat chaff, there’s this seaweed ring that’s been made out of copper that’s gone blue and green to look like– TRAVIS: Ooh! Sorry LAURA: (laughs) TALIESIN: With with an iron spike through it, like an anchored spike, and then a blue in the center is like a blue wave crystal that gleams LAURA: That’s really fucking cool TALIESIN: I mean, it’s nice of you to ask me every now and then, but I don’t really know if you need to that often anymore You seem to have a handle on things TRAVIS: Where did this even come from? TALIESIN: It was made at the forge LAURA: (gasps) TALIESIN: I’ve been waiting for the right moment TRAVIS: Thank you TALIESIN: Thank you You’re on your way You’re already well on the path, and I think that the more that you look to yourself for some of these answers– and I’m always happy to hear them– I think you’ll be finding that they’re in there TRAVIS: Thank you for helping me I’m really, really glad that we– that our paths crossed TALIESIN: To divine intervention TRAVIS: To divine intervention TALIESIN: All right TRAVIS: I’ve got to find a dope-ass place for this thing I weigh it carefully. Sword or chest? MATT: (laughs) That’s awesome All right Yeah, he’s been planning that since the forge TALIESIN: Mm-hmm Thank you for letting me do that way back when MATT: Of course, man You all bed down for a long night’s sleep, well earned after a very strenuous, emotionally and physically, day As sleep comes to you, Yasha The gentle sound of the rain fall against the window of the chamber lulls you into familiar slumber, and that place that had been your escape from your all-too-familiar imprisonment these past months comes to you once more In this dream you’re pushing through a dark, tight ravine surrounded by craggy rocks that are slick with rainfall Your boots slip and sink into mud and rock, and you reach out and grab and pull yourself along, your muscles aching You can hear behind you, in the distance, the rolling of thunder, flash of light above, and echoing through the cavern above you, your ears ringing from the impact again Again, (thunder booming), again You push forward up over an edge, breathing heavy, looking up, the rain spills against your face, causing you to wince over your eyes, and still ahead of you, all you see are clouds It’s too dark to make out The path, it seems, is blocked by fog and darkness, but you push on through the pain You continue to climb in distress, not knowing where it leads, but all you know

is you have to climb, you have to climb, and you pull, and you stumble, and you fall back, and you hit the rock, and you feel the pain, the sharp, jabbing pain of one of the large spiked boulders in the side of this ravine stick into you, and you pick yourself back up and you keep pushing and keep pushing, and eventually, the rhythmic steps of your feet begin to match the beat of your heart The rain begins to go from an intense typhoon to a gentle drizzle The fog begins to pull away The pain begins to subside, and the strength begins to return to you As you watch the path begin to recede in its incline, you finally see yourself crest the top of this mountain As you step to the edge of this cliff, you can see the storm ahead of you Not a terrible torrent, but a welcoming rain And it looks to be the light of a coming a sunrise just cresting over the horizon You look down at the sides of your arms, your wet hand, and you can see the shackles, the metal, and there, dangling from them, are the broken chains that you failed to break once before You look back up in the sky, you can see the roiling clouds themselves, the glowing, electric eyes of the entity that found you on the ship all those weeks before No words, but a sense of pride and welcoming, and you sleep the best sleep you’ve had in a very, very long time You all wake up in the morning SAM: Long rest! MATT: Sore as fuck But comfortably enjoying your morning here in this very, very nice establishment LAURA: While Yasha was sleeping, I wrote up some sexy pages of writing, and I put them in the back of the book that she’s learning from, just so she has some good– MATT: There you go (laughter) MATT: All righty TRAVIS: We now know what Jester’s career path is going to be SAM: Will you describe them, please? (laughter) LAURA: In vivid detail ASHLEY: I’m writing that on the back of this MATT: I do love the idea that there’s a very select number of these arcane tomes that are all relics of the Age of Arcanum, that are one of the few artifacts that can physically alter a person’s physiology and mental prowess permanently It is a forgotten art form, and over time, there’s just going to be many versions of them defaced permanently LAURA: (laughs) with perverse sketches and passages, I love it TRAVIS: Kama Sutra positions (laughter) MATT: It’s like all the old, you know, monk tomes with all the perverse shit in the margins just grew bored of copying MARISHA: Trumpets in the asshole MATT: Yep MARISHA: They had things with putting trumpets in their butts MATT: Yeah, farts are funny Even even back in the horrible middle ages Farts were still funny LIAM: Butt jokes are eternal MARISHA: Yeah, man MATT: It’s human nature LAURA: Yeah MATT: So you guys gather yourselves, head downstairs to be greeted by the smell of morning meal that is prepared As you one by one begin to step down into the main chamber, you can see there is a figure sitting in a chair facing towards the stairway by the front door It looks to be a man, human, in his late twenties, long, shoulder length black hair that’s tucked behind his ears, a mustache that’s thin As soon as he sees you, he gets up and then leaves SAM: Oh Should we trail him? LAURA: Did he make eye contact with us at all, or he just saw us and left? TRAVIS: He saw us MATT: He saw you Stood up, not in a rush, but like stood up SAM: He’s probably just reporting that we’re up and about MARISHA: I want to, not follow him-follow him, but peek out the door after a moment and see which direction he went MATT: Okay He went into the northeastern direction You guys are on the southwest area of the Shimmer Ward, he’s heading to the northeast TRAVIS: The Mud Top Ward? LIAM: That’s towards the center MATT: This is the Shimmer Ward TRAVIS: Yeah, I know MARISHA: Towards the center of the city MATT: And in the direction of where the castle terrace is LIAM: I think he said we were here, and that’s north TRAVIS: Oh, there’s a fucking map? Awesome, man LAURA: Who the fuck are you? Where you going? That’s a Sending message MATT: Okay. To who? MARISHA: Hey dick! TRAVIS: I see you! LAURA: Hey dick, come back here! MARISHA: Piece of shit! LIAM: Get your mullet back here, you asshole SAM: Were we supposed to go to a specific place to meet this gentleman? Or–? MATT: You don’t know SAM: They’re coming to us. probably Well MATT: You have breakfast The meals are not included

LAURA: (grumbling) MATT: But in a similar route, it is five silver pieces per person for the breakfast, which is expensive, but not unheard of LAURA: This is going to add up TRAVIS: Five silver for breakfast? MATT: Yeah So all of you guys, it’s about three and a half gold TRAVIS: Three gold and five silver MATT: Go for it SAM: We’re going to go halfsies? No one’s going to– LAURA: No one’s going to step up SAM: No one’s going to take care of good old Nott over here? ASHLEY: I’ll get breakfast SAM: Thank you (laughter) ASHLEY: You got it MATT: As you guys finish your meal, and probably Beauregard, anybody else who’s keeping an eye on the vicinity, you can hear the heavy footfalls of a figure enter the central chamber of the cottage, which is on the other room, the entrance room, you guys are currently in the tavern chamber, which is separated by a wall, other than an open archway door You see the shadow come in from the entryway, and a voice go, “Ahem.” MARISHA: Carry on MATT: You have to get up and go over to look through, but as you step and peek around the open archway, you can see there standing Martinet Ludinus Da’leth TRAVIS: Oh shit MATT: He’s wearing his walking cloak over the rest of his clothes, this sleek, dark black, capelet with a long cloak behind it, and he has a cane, and is just there Looks over and you hide, and his eyes immediately look over and find you “Whenever you’re ready.” MARISHA: Oh, hey man, what’s up? We’re just finishing breakfast You want any coffee? MATT: “I’ve already eaten, I appreciate it “But whenever you’re ready, follow me, “and we will begin our discussion.” MARISHA: All right, we’re paying our bill, give us like five minutes MATT: He goes and sits down in the chair where the previous individual was sitting and waiting (chuckles) All right You guys finish your meal? SAM: Yeah, yeah LAURA: Did you want to come sit at a table with us? SAM: He said he already ate MATT: He’s actually sitting in the main entryway of the cottage LAURA: Oh (louder) Did you want to come sit over–? MATT: “I’m all right.” TALIESIN: Herbal tea to go or anything? MATT: “I’m fine, thank you.” MARISHA: I tried TALIESIN: Did you set your spells, by the way? SAM: Take some bacon for the road MATT: All right, pocket bacon, good man SAM: Mm-hmm MATT: All righty. As you guys enter the next chamber, he stands. “Very well. Now, please follow “We will go to a place where we can have a conversation “without prying ears or eyes.” He turns and walks out into the fine cobblestone of the Shimmer Ward SAM: Is he alone? No guards? MATT: No guards SAM: Wow Bold LIAM: He’s not sweating it MATT: You guys follow, and carry through the Shimmer Ward towards the castle, and you’re like, oh, we’re going to meet at the castle You begin to hear the town criers have now begun to come to their daily travel and expression of the news as it is meant to be disseminated amongst the populace You hear a female voice, young and very loud, crying out, “Dynasty incursion repelled by Imperial forces! “King Dwendal claims his victory “over failed attack on the capital!” You guys continue walking a bit further, and another bit of information creeps out, saying, “Freak lightning storm accident “damages the Chantry Cathedral, repairs are underway!” LAURA: (laughs) SAM: Starting to think the news is not accurate (laughter) MATT: You pass the castle terrace entrance You bypass the gates on the southern side of it and head along the eastern side of the terrace outer wall, until eventually, you are northeast of the castle terrace, and you approach the dizzying sight of the Candles: eight scattered, un-uniform, and in some cases almost gravity-defying towers that dominate the sky above within this proximity Some are crooked and holding at impossible angles while others seem to focus on sleek design and imposing height You are led by Ludinus to a silver spire that sits taller than the rest A monolith of shimmering stone with numerous balconies and external staircases that emerge and climb, then vanish into closed doors The peak itself holds no roof From what you can tell, however, it ends in a platform that is framed by four angled obelisks that almost meet in the center You see no main door on the bottom floor, but as you approach the basin, Ludinus walks towards the front A light that emits off of him seems to reflect off of the stone itself, and it gets extremely bright for a second, where you wince and squint your eyes,

and you instinctually blink, and as soon as your eyes close and reopen, there’s a door where previously there wasn’t one As Ludinus approaches, he puts his hand up, and it just (creaking) opens the inside of a dark interior LAURA: That was so cool! TALIESIN: It was all right SAM: Don’t be too forward We’re supposed to be, you know, negotiating position. Hard LAURA: Yeah, but I mean, that was a really cool spell SAM: Okay, but don’t tell him that MATT: You guys follow suit? LIAM: Yeah, I lead the way MATT: Okay You step into the dark interior, where you see a number of leather chairs MARISHA: As we walk in, anybody, like, prying? Any neighbors? Any neighbors watching this happen? MATT: Make a perception check MARISHA: Sorry, not to interrupt (bitter laugh) TRAVIS: That fucking dice MARISHA: Every fucking time Just straight perception? MATT: Yep MARISHA: Seven Eight, eight, eight MATT: It’s early enough where there are a handful of people walking in the streets going about their own business in the Shimmer Ward There isn’t a lot of, you know, it’s too early for folks to be just out on a stroll necessarily, but you do see people that are like, you know, carrying small carts or satchels, probably just doing small deliveries of goods throughout the ward itself No one seems to be paying much attention, from what you can tell So you enter the inside, and you can see, there is a set of leather chairs that are arranged in a circle within a spacious den of some kind The air immediately catches you as the smell of a combination of incense and vanilla It’s very pleasant You look behind you from where you entered, and you see, beyond the door, not the rest of the cobblestone in the street where you have stepped in, but instead of balcony nearly 100 feet off the ground– (gasping) overlooking the entirety of the ward, and much of the city of Rexxentrum It is a gorgeous view of this little portal that you have, that you can only imagine, few have been able to really enjoy, or maybe will ever see from within this tower Ludinus turns around as you all enter “Please, have a seat.” SAM: I’m going to try to not look impressed LAURA: I’m looking so impressed MATT: Make a deception check SAM: Deception check Yes, minus two, nine MATT: Nine LAURA: Nein! MATT: All right (laughter) LIAM: Can we see the school from this viewpoint? MATT: From this viewpoint? Not unless you stand out on the balcony This entryway is actually facing more of the terrace and the western side– I’m sorry, the eastern side of the terrace, so you would not be able to see the school from here You all take your seats? SAM: As we do, I just quickly just give Caleb a little squeeze on his hand, just and a nod MATT: Okay You see he casts a Mage Hand You’re familiar with this, this quick maneuver, and a small end table (creaking) scoots in the middle of the chairs, and– LAURA: Eh, that one wasn’t as impressive MATT: As you’re all sitting down, a small tea set lifts over and sets onto it It begins to heat up before you, and then begins to pour each of you a really nice tea It’s like a sweet citrus taste to it TALIESIN: This is pretty good, got to admit MATT: “All right, so, welcome, Mighty Nein.” LAURA: (laughs) Accidentally fell forward SAM: This is not– LAURA: Shut up MATT: “So to get you up to speed with the information “as I currently have it “Vence, my previous assistant, “has not yet been recovered, “but leads are promising, and our operatives “expect to close on him within the day.” LAURA: He’s naked? TRAVIS: What? LAURA: I thought you said, your operatives plan to find clothes on him by the– SAM: To close in on him, close in on him LAURA: Oh TRAVIS and SAM: (chuckling) MATT: “He is intended to be part of this negotiation offering “If he is indeed, as it seems to be, “the individual responsible for this, “at least partially responsible for this cult, as you say, “then I think the Dynasty may be of interest “as to his fate as well “Also, the relic of the Kryn “has been confirmed recovered, “and is being readied for transport under heavy guard “whenever, if, that is arranged “Now, I’m sure you have many questions, “and we can continue a discussion as we go from here, “but I’m curious to hear your–” TRAVIS: Could you tell us where your man has been tracked to or where they think he’s gone? What area of the world? MATT: “Well, he was not so ill-informed “as to attempt any sort of teleportation

“We think he’s traveling on foot, which is “in some ways more challenging to find, “based on some of the wards we have placed on our members.” MARISHA: Hmm MATT: “Individuals of such import are generally “marked in a way where we can keep tabs TRAVIS: Hmm LIAM: It sounds like you are prepared to hand him over Do you not have questions of your own? MATT: “Oh, we will definitely make our “interrogation practices before we hand anyone over, “but we are prepared, should it be requested, “as part of this negotiation, “to perhaps use him as part of the bargaining.” TALIESIN: Are you prepared for the notion that he might just be a small part of a larger corruption? MATT: “Oh, we’re not stopping with just him “I mean, we understand this cult itself exists “far beyond just him, this individual with which “you had done battle with beneath the Chantry “These investigations have been now opened quite heavily, “and are being handled by both the Augen Trust “and members of our Assembly.” TALIESIN: Would you be interested in a possible collaboration with the other side of this war, if it meant rooting out those people within their society as well, since they seem to be communicating? MATT: “If you think you can find common ground there “that they would agree to, I’m not against it “It would have to be a very “carefully outlined alliance, “and I am uncertain they would be willing, but.” LIAM: What is the Empire and the Assembly’s current position on the Dynasty and the war? MATT: “Well, we have little interest in winning “a war with them “The spoils of such a conflict are a wasteland “of Calamity-scarred marshes and “deadly beasts, primarily “If anything, the people of the Dynasty themselves “existing is a delightful buffer to the Empire “from such terrible things and useless landscapes.” LIAM: And you personally, would you like to see this conflict come to a close? MATT: “Aye, it is very messy “Many lives are lost “It is a distraction from much more important matters, “and being able to maintain the peace and prosperity “of our own people “It is very challenging to do good “and to rightfully guide a society “when it’s constantly living in fear “or driven towards anger.” TRAVIS: May I ask, have you seen this beacon yourself? MATT: “I have been given confirmation of its a retrieval, “and was planning to see it myself.” MARISHA: And who give you confirmation of its retrieval? MATT: “Master Ikithon.” MARISHA: Hmm SAM: Would the idea be that we bring it with us to forge a peace? Or this is something that’s delivered after? MATT: “This would be something discussed “as part of the negotiation “We could have it at the ready, should its procurement “be required as part of this, as I assume “it would need to be, but for the first stage “in which you yourselves would be handling “the status of setting this negotiation, “I do not think it should.” TRAVIS: Martinet, I’m sure you can appreciate the convenience of the offer of giving up the one thing that the Dynasty has been so anxious to get their hands on It would aid this negotiation if we were able to confirm that the beacon, in fact, exists, and that the Empire has it I’m sure you can appreciate the questions that we would receive as to the validity of its actual ownership MATT: “Would you wish to accompany me in confirming it?” TRAVIS: I think it would benefit us greatly if we could say that we had seen it with our own eyes MATT: “Done.” LAURA: All of us get to go see it? MATT: “As many of you as could be present.” LAURA: Okay, good, good, good, good MARISHA: Where is it being held currently? MATT: “I have not confirmed that yet with Master Ikithon, “but that’ll be the next order of business.” LIAM: Has Master Ikithon told you where it was found? MATT: “No “I’ve not pried too much, it has only been of recent import.” MARISHA: Hmm TALIESIN: Hmm SAM: Giving that up seems very generous on the part of the Empire What in exchange exactly would you be hoping to get back, besides assurances? MATT: “This is a part of the continued conversation “to have with you “This war is not because of this relic

“There are many things that led to this conflict “There are many reasons why we have a hard time “striking any sort of peace with the Dynasty “as long as we’ve been beside each other “I mean, open political unity is challenging “because of their religion “The Empire does not recognize this Luxon entity, “and the fervor in which they practice “this promised escape from the cycle of death “through a dubious, silent entity “It is both a cause for alarm and cautiousness “The King, along with the Assembly, “believe that they are welcome to practice “whatever faith they wish, so long as it remains “beyond our borders and does not affect “the lives of our people “But there has been a history of skirmishes with the Dynasty “the stretches over 30 years at this point, “which has been escalating in that time period “There have been misrepresented information gathering troops “that were captured and tortured by the Kryn “that was merely gathering intel to help maintain “the security and safety of our people “There have been small encounters between soldiers “on both sides growing into conflict and localized incidents “There was a discovered sect of Kryn missionaries “found hiding within Nogvurot over a decade ago “that led to a skirmish where many lives were lost “on both sides “And this drastically began to raise tensions “between both the Empire and the Dynasty “And there had been a high rate of Xhorhasian creatures “wandering into our land, which gives reason to believe “that there may be intent in pushing them in our direction “There are growing suspicions that the Dynasty “covets our comparably “resource-plentiful lands “over their rather desolate landscapes, “let alone a general mistrust here within the Empire “of goblin kin, my apologies–” SAM: Hmm MATT: “– due to the smattering “of violent clans, that still claim areas “of the Marrow Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges “The history of such strife is hard to erase, “regardless of how disciplined and benevolent “the waste folk of Xhorhas can sometimes appear to be “So this culmination of the tension “only merely erupted when this relic went missing.” MARISHA: What do you think led to this relic going missing in the first place? MATT: “Honestly, I’m thinking it might have “a very direct correlation as to these individuals “that you’ve been recently touting your aggressions against, “this Angel of Irons or Tharizdun followers, if you will.” MARISHA: You think so? MATT: “That’s one possibility.” MARISHA: Because we have found absolutely no cooperation or evidence between those two MATT: “Hmm. What are you thinking, then?” MARISHA: I think that there are individuals on this side that might have more interest in what the Luxon has to offer, and its heebie-jeebie life-extending magic, than maybe you anticipated MATT: “That’s very possible “But regardless of whatever reasons “it may have found its way here, “we are willing and eager to return it to them, “if it means bringing this conflict and bloodshed to an end.” LIAM: This artifact came into your possession recently MATT: “Yes.” LIAM: Yes But you’ve learned a great deal about them, it sounds like There’s been no previous encounters with the Dynasty’s knowledge? MATT: “In what way?” LIAM: This is the first time you’ve encountered this thing you’re describing, that Ikithon has told you about MATT: “This beacon? Well, we’ve heard of them “They carry them like a religious symbols into battle.” LIAM: And this is the first? MATT: “This is the first that we’ve encountered, yes.” LIAM: Hmm MARISHA: Have you ever spent any time in Xhorhas? TALIESIN: Insight motherfucking check on this MATT: Make an insight check, go for it TALIESIN: Almost want to like, give myself a spell for this LAURA: Didn’t we see– TALIESIN: That’s 22 MATT: 22, all right SAM: Oh boy LAURA: Wait, we saw him in Zadash SM: Yeah, yes we did The location of all these things LAURA: Yeah, exactly, he fucking knows They’ve had other ones He’s lying LIAM: Hey, DM SAM: This whisper brought to you by Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms MARISHA: You’re talking about when the tower was attacked in Zadash LIAM: I rolled a natural 20 LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah

MATT: Total of? LIAM: Oh, for insight? MATT: Mm-hmm LIAM: 28 MATT: 28 LAURA: Ooh SAM: Repeated whisper to remind you that the game’s also available on PC, Mac, and Steam TRAVIS: Idle Champions? SAM: Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms Which I think you can abbreviate as ICOTFR LAURA: Mm-hmm SAM: That’s how I say it TRAVIS: Now with Arkhan the Cruel, I believe SAM: That’s right, and the Vecna skin and feat pack TRAVIS: Ooh LAURA: Ooh! TRAVIS: Ludinus This may be quite forward of us I’m sure you can appreciate the danger of us sort of traversing lines and putting ourselves as the middle man of all this, which we are excited to do MATT: “And I do have my questions on that as well, but continue.” TRAVIS: We’re sure SAM: Are you about to lay down the 10 demands right now? TALIESIN: I was going to say, do we want to have this conversation now, or do we want to find out what your questions are before– LAURA: Oh, let’s let Fjord say what he’s going to say TRAVIS: No, please TALIESIN: I mean TRAVIS: We’ve been doing enough of the talking We should really open it up to more of a discussion, please MATT: “Well, I was going to inquire as to how integrated “you are with the Bright Queen, personally “From what we heard and was discussed “within the chambers of the King, “you seem to have traveled to Xhorhas and made “some sort of arrangement, or at least “ingratiated yourselves in some way “that she trusted the invoking of your name “enough to withdraw her troops from a direct attack “on the capital. That is quite an arrangement.” LIAM: I think perhaps she saw– it shines through me to, as small as it is, to make amends I’m not aware if you know this already, although I suspect you do I was once one of Master Ikithon’s students MATT: “I was not aware.” MARISHA: Insight check MATT: Make an insight check MARISHA: You’re lying SAM: All these MARISHA: No way SAM: We’re so trustworthy MARISHA: Fuck Why? Oh, it’s not good LAURA: (laughs) 11 MATT: He’s hard to read Like a stone wall LIAM: I believe he would see me as a bit of a failed experiment I left his tutelage, years ago MATT: “Hmm “Well, you seem to have done well for yourself since then “Trent can be a prickly individual, “and his tutelage is not right for everyone.” LIAM: He’s a very clever man, and has much to teach Anyway, to today SAM: To answer your question, we’ve ingratiated ourselves with the Bright Queen quite closely LAURA: Yeah, she has a huge crush on Fjord TALIESIN: Trust might be a very generous word I wouldn’t use it SAM: Don’t you see it? LIAM: We traveled there because our large friend is from there, and we meant to win her back from this cult, and while we were there, we found ourselves captured, and questioned, and it became known, my connection to Master Ikithon and this city, and I am a child of the Empire So is my friend here And I wish to see an end to the war And I think in that moment, fearing for my friends’ lives, I saw a chance to make amends between these two nations And I know that the chance is slim, but I would like to see the Assembly and the crown to weave their way towards an end to this conflict We tried to convince the Bright Queen of the same, and while she was wary and rightly skeptical, she did take a small chance on us MATT: “How confident are you that you would be able to “reach further this time, to bridge this gap “that you seem so interested in doing?” LIAM: Well, you know, she keeps us at arm’s length

She’s the ruler of a large and powerful place, but we have made connections They trust us up to a point MARISHA: We’ve already asked her questions on if we got this item back, if it would end the war We heard all the things you just listed from her perspective Seems she’s also pretty pissed at the years and years and years of conflict between borders, and those Empire agents that you mentioned trying to keep the peace over in Xhorhas, she didn’t really take kindly to, or see from your perspective, I think MATT: “Well, we didn’t take kindly to them “infiltrating some of our populace “and spreading their religious drivel.” LIAM: Martinet, both sides are peopled with very intelligent, crafty individuals MATT: “Of course, “and those individuals can exist together “in a very delicately arranged balance “of mutually assured “benevolence.” LIAM: I beseech you What happened in that temple is a sign of worse things to come, and they are far worse than any grabs for an inch more of power I hope you hear me MATT: Make a persuasion check LIAM: 16 MATT: Okay “What are your thoughts on the approach “to the Bright Queen? “How do you plan to take this to her?” TALIESIN: She knows we serve peace She’s always been comfortable with the fact that we were not really hers She knows what we want SAM: We can certainly make our way back there, but if you have means of travel to and from that are quicker, we wouldn’t– MATT: “I highly doubt we do, and the travel in doing so “would probably put somebody not as trusted as yourselves “in the line of fire “I think if you’ve been there as many times “as you appear to have, you may have “a much better chance at arriving without issue.” LIAM: Are you trusting us to handle this issue ourselves? The nine of us? MATT: “For the initial discussion, yes.” TRAVIS: Martinet, forgive this question, the entrance into this chamber was quite dramatic I’m assuming our conversation here is protected from outside eyes? MATT: “All of it.” TRAVIS: Wonderful I think it’ll be a very slow process I think the offering of a chance of this beacon will provoke some interest, with caution I would then think we would need to secure a neutral location where they don’t feel exposed and neither does the King But I don’t promise any sort of a timeline, or a deliverable, in any sort of way MATT: “I do not believe it needs to be immediate, but time is of the essence “This current tenuous ceasefire “only lasts as long as the good will “of your friend Allura’s recent warning, “and perhaps this meeting you’re having, might allow “That could be days, weeks at most “So whatever you do, and decide to do, keep that in mind.” TALIESIN: Something we could bring, before we get into other discussions I’m sure they might be grateful to have whatever intel we’ve currently collected on this cult and some of its dealings over here so that they could see that this problem is on both sides of the border. That was a– MATT: “So you know this cult has had its own influences “on the Xhorhasian side as well?” TALIESIN: Very much so LAURA: They were opening up portals over there as well MATT: “Then that is very much a good direction “to take this conversation “Mutual enemies can make for fast and strange allies, “at certain times.” TRAVIS: Do you have perhaps a seal that we could take with us? Something that shows that we have made contact with the powers that be of Empire and shows that they are– MATT: “That can be provided.” TRAVIS: Wonderful LAURA: Do you think in future meetings, with you or anyone else, that we could have pastries and/or chocolate available?

MATT: Make a persuasion check TRAVIS: I will assist her MATT: Okay LAURA: Natural one (laughter) MATT: Fjord said– before you rolled, before you rolled– he did say he was going to assist you, so you get advantage on the roll LAURA: I’m just going to roll the same one SAM: Come on, come on, come on 20, come on 20 LAURA: Oh, that’s pretty good (laughs) 19 TALIESIN: She’s very serious MATT: “Truly?” You see him taken aback, like– MATT: “Very well.” TRAVIS: (laughs) TALIESIN: Good ask, good ask LAURA: (whispering) Thank you, hard line That’s like two of the lines TALIESIN: We are definitely going to have to have a discussion about how this beacon thing got into– TRAVIS: I think if perhaps we see it, that’ll be the time TALIESIN: That’ll be the conversation to have, if it really is it MATT: “Then we’ll have it at the time “Perhaps after this meeting.” SAM: I don’t think there’s anything else to discuss right now MATT: “Well, I’m mildly curious, have you put any thought “to such a location of neutrality–” LAURA: Well– MATT: “– that might be recommended for this gathering? TALIESIN: I had an idea, but that’s– TRAVIS: Go ahead, what’s your idea? TALIESIN: I mean, I don’t even know if I want to TRAVIS: You definitely want to say it TALIESIN: I want to run it by you first, because it’s kind of crazy MATT: “Speak up, please.” TRAVIS: I think I know what you’re thinking LIAM: I do too SAM: I don’t at all TALIESIN: Am I crazy for thinking it? SAM: I don’t know, what are you guys thinking? LAURA: What are you thinking?! SAM: On the deck of a ship? LAURA: Come on, we’ll say it at the same time TALIESIN: We do have a pocket dimension LAURA: Oh TALIESIN: We could do it in the Happy Fun Ball MARISHA: No SAM: Seems unnecessary TALIESIN: Now hear me out MATT: “What is the ‘happy fun ball’?” TALIESIN: One second MARISHA: No TALIESIN: Hear me out, hear me out It’s territory we control, it’s impossible to– LAURA: Do we, though? TALIESIN: As long as we stick to just one room– MATT: “What is the happy fun ball?” TRAVIS: Apologies– TALIESIN: And there’s no outside influence, I’m just saying I’ve been thinking about it TRAVIS: An arcane item that carries some inter-planar space within it, it’s– MATT: “Where is this?” MARISHA: It’s no big deal, don’t worry about it I think there are easier ways TALIESIN: I’m still putting it out there SAM: The item is far, far away, and we can’t, it’s not the greatest idea because it’s dangerous TALIESIN: Of course it’s dangerous MARISHA: It’s complicated LAURA: What about if we had it on a volcano? SAM: She’s not, this is actually a better plan than she’s selling it MATT: Every expression, whenever Jester speaks up, is a look and bewilderment and confusion, and generally the only time in this meeting you’ve seen him thrown off. Every reaction is– SAM: There’s an island, there’s a volcano island, that’s neutral territory, not controlled by either Dynasty or Empire We wouldn’t be on a volcano like in the middle of the hot part of it, right? We would be down– LAURA: I honestly don’t know TALIESIN: Seems like a weird idea MARISHA: Why don’t we just go on our boat? LAURA: What about on a boat?! LIAM: The Menagerie Coast is neutral SAM and MARISHA: International waters LAURA: We’d have to stay away from the pirate island, because they don’t like us TRAVIS: Come on, let’s go to Darktow, let them host it! It’ll be amazing! LAURA: I could send a message MARISHA: We were told not to come back to Darktow, or else we would be decapitated LAURA: What if I send a message to the Plank King? MATT: “You’ve recommended “a volcano, and Darktow.” TRAVIS: Or the Savalirwood ASHLEY: And the fun ball TALIESIN: It’s a very fun ball MATT: “Savalirwood “These are three extremely dangerous locations “you’ve offered already.” TRAVIS: Yes, you’d both have to come very well prepared to defend yourselves, neither having an advantage in any of the three spaces LAURA: Maybe we should go to Allura Maybe she had a good idea SAM: Do you know anyone on the Tal’Dorei Council? Besides Allura, because we could have it there TALIESIN: Do you know what the Tal’Dorei Council is? Because people keep saying that to me and I have got no idea what it is MATT: “I know of it, but I have not had any “specific dealings with them besides this Allura Vysoren.” TRAVIS: If you want to have a little bit more of an advantage, of course the Rockguard Garrison sort of borders between both spaces, yes? MATT: “It does, but it is entirely– “both garrisons as of recently “are now back under our control “I wouldn’t consider that neutral territory.” LIAM: How would you feel about traveling to the Menagerie Coast? MATT: “I’m all right with that.” SAM: Oh, all right LAURA: We could host everyone at the Lavish Chateau TRAVIS: Oh boy TALIESIN: Huh LAURA: And then my mom could sing to them TALIESIN: That feels dangerous MARISHA: I don’t think we want anything personal TRAVIS: I don’t think you want to bring them near your mother SAM: But think of the business you could bring to the Chateau LAURA: Yes TALIESIN: Think of all the random people MARISHA: I’m kind of into the boat idea We own a nice boat. It’s a nice boat. It’s a pirate boat

that we inherited. That we stole MATT: “What’s it called?” MARISHA: That we got. Mm-hmm SAM: It’s called the Balleater (laughing) It’s a long story It used to be called the Squalleater– SAM and LAURA: — but we changed it MATT: He immediately looks to Jester SAM: Yeah, Jester changed it MARISHA: Yeah MATT: “I see “I’m beginning to understand quite clearly “who I’m working with.” LAURA: Oh, but don’t get the wrong impression, we’re super capable MATT: “Oh, I in no way, shape, or form had assumed otherwise LIAM: Perhaps a few miles outside the city of Nicodranas on the Menagerie Coast, away from prying eyes MATT: “That seems viable.” MARISHA: On the ocean, on a boat MATT: “There are a few options I was also considering.” LAURA: Oh, yes, tell us yours MATT: “Outside of Nicodranas may work well “The Menagerie Coast is more neutral territory, “and away from any of the current places “of existing conflict “A boat or ship would also bring us to neutral territory, “though depending on the size of the forces “that would be coming to the negotiation, “I do not know if it would be able to keep it, “as I assume both the King and the Bright Queen would be “keen on bringing some form of sizable defense, “in case things were to go awry.” LAURA: Ooh, it sounds like something could– What if they both leave their territories and then the Chained Oblivion attacks at the same time?! MARISHA: Yeah SAM: They’re not going to leave ev– They’re going to leave some people behind, right? MARISHA: But the point of doing this on neutral territory was to not have a display of military force MATT: “Of course “But you do realize that they’re not going to go “completely unprotected either.” MARISHA: They don’t have to go completely unprotected, but I think a very select number of people is wise when having a peace treaty conversation MARISHA: “Mm-hmm.” LIAM: You’re not talking about having King Dwendal and the Bright Queen meet somewhere, are you? LAURA: Are we? SAM: Yes, yeah, I think that’s what we are saying TALIESIN: Or are we just talking about representatives? LIAM: Why would the king wish to expose himself like that, instead of staying here in the seat of power? MATT: “No, I’m just saying, whatever situation of negotiation “you present, there’s going to be some sort of a force “that’s going to want to protect “whoever’s making this negotiation “Whoever shows up to this negotiation, “well, that depends on how well it goes “and what seems to be best for the arrangements “you’ve arranged.” LIAM: But if you’re thinking it, I don’t think we’re going to have an easy time to coax the Bright Queen herself to visit anywhere You are going to be dealing with intermediaries SAM: You can also do the Ashguard Garrison, you know, if you don’t want to go to the boat thing TALIESIN: I like the boat MATT: “The Ashguard Garrison has recently been the location “of quite a bit of a battle, and perhaps would be “a sore spot, based on the bloodshed lost on both sides “I think these recommendations are fine “Whichever ones you feel strongly about “and they seem to be receptive to, follow through with them “Eiselcross maybe a bit too cold, “so I think that will take us where we need to be.” TRAVIS: It’ll also, of course, depend on feedback from the Dynasty, but we will certainly float those at the top of the list MATT: “All right.” TRAVIS: No TRAVIS: Oh, I see. You said float, nevermind. I don’t care SAM: Should we go see this beacony thing, then? MATT: “Yes “I just wanted to say also, is, as part of this “arrangement that we are crafting together “Know, as I can tell and sense there is “quite a bit of tension and mistrust here, “especially with some of the histories “that may have come along with you into my chambers “As a token to show “my interest in seeing this done properly, “and with a mutual respect “You are aware that your friend here “has been responsible for quite a “unfortunate incidence in Zadash.” TALIESIN: That’s a perspective TRAVIS: Yeah, we totally fucking skipped that part of the trap MATT: “Well.” LAURA: She wasn’t under her own control, you know MATT: “I trust that may be the case “However, the investigation “by the Archive of Zadash “has come to Rexxentrum in the night,

“and they have not yet made the connection “I have taken the liberty of obfuscating “this individual’s involvement “So for the time being, and perhaps “for the foreseeable future, you should be fine.” LAURA: Wow ASHLEY: Thank you for doing that You didn’t need to do that, but thank you MARISHA: Okay TALIESIN: The site of the battle What’s become of it? MATT: “Of the city itself?” TALIESIN: Of the temple beneath LIAM: The temple underneath it MARISHA: The Chantry MATT: “The Chantry “There has been a heavy amount of investigation “over the evening, acquiring what remnants “of the individual that you slew, known as Obann, I believe it was.” LAURA: The Punished! MATT: “Unbeknownst to really any of us, “the shackle beneath the Chantry is intact “So “And some of the research that has come up “regarding this, from the Cobalt Soul, “and, I believe, some of which was spoken upon your arrival, “the other shackles still remain a mystery and unfound, “which is safe.” MARISHA: And refresh me one more time, who did you say was leading the investigation? You mentioned her earlier MATT: “I don’t know who specifically it was, “but it’s just the Archive of Zadash was.” MARISHA: And the Cerberus Assembly, is that what you said earlier? MATT: “No, they’ve just arrived through the night MARISHA: Who did you say, you said research was happening? Marisha to DM question MATT: Yes MARISHA: Did you say Ogden? Was Ogden something you said? MATT: May have been a miscommunication MARISHA: Okay TRAVIS: Insight check (Laura and Matt laughing) MATT: “But the threat and the extent of it is being researched “Nobody wants a cult of Tharizdun “to be given free reign.” TRAVIS: I hope not MATT: “That does not bode well for anyone “And we are looking into it “We are seeking out the “details of who has been involved, “and rounding them up to be judged “and punished appropriately.” LAURA: We found a lot of people involved MATT: “Well, it seems that the ones locally “were largely handled by you lot “and a number of our Righteous Brand “and the Cobalt Soul, upon arrival “But if what they’ve done spans the globe, “this is information that needs to be pursued “So we are also reaching out and sending missives “to other countries and other governments “to at least follow these same signs, “and thankfully it looks like their involvement “is relatively small, and that’s how they were able “to work unnoticed for so long “Any larger, you probably would’ve seen signs a lot sooner.” TRAVIS: I know your investigation is into this particular shackle Would it be too much to ask that, perhaps whoever’s involved, try and put some thought into where the other shackles might be, based upon what you find in there? MATT: “Certainly.” TRAVIS: Defending those positions or preventing them from discovery would, I think, go a long way MATT: “I’ve reached out to Vasselheim “They would probably be the individuals “having the most information “But it hasn’t been but a day since the occurrences, “and responses can be delayed.” LAURA: If you Send a message, you can get an immediate response Short, but– MATT: “That is what I generally do.” LAURA: Oh MATT: “But there’s a bit of a bureaucracy, “and, to be honest, a historical lack of “generosity and exuberance from the line of kings “So Vasselheim needs to warm up to these “revelations from the Empire before they’ll be forthcoming.” LAURA: Right MATT: “And, of course, “the less anyone knows “about the whereabouts of these shackles, “probably the safer they are.” TRAVIS: Certainly LIAM: Insight check! MATT: Make an insight check LAURA: Ooh, I wonder if he knows TRAVIS: Do I believe him? LIAM: 23! SAM: More whispers? LAURA: Oh, I bet he knows the location of them and he just doesn’t want to tell us right now SAM: Idlechampions.com/criticalrole is where he can get more information LAURA: Mm-hmm SAM: Don’t forget, if you were a fan of Standup Santa,

just ask for him back, and he’ll come LAURA: Is that something that I missed and I’m glad? SAM: Yes, you should be happy that you did MATT: Yeah. (laughs) Your expression would’ve been like the one on Sam’s shirt LAURA: Yeah SAM: Which one? TRAVIS: That one TALIESIN: All of them, oh LIAM: That’s the happiest I ever was (laughter) MATT: “Well, I guess we would make our way “to confirm the beacon, if you are ready.” LAURA: Are we going to go see it and we’re going to go see Trent Ikithon? MATT: “Well, he’s the one who’s currently “preparing it for transport “I imagine so. If that is challenging, “you may stay behind if you wish, Mr. Widogast.” LIAM: DM MATT: Mm-hmm LIAM: I was thinking about a family matter Can you repeat what you just said? (laughter) MATT: Noted He’s basically saying, if you aren’t currently tied up at the moment, we’ll go and see the beacon now She inquired if Trent will be there, and he said most likely, as he’s preparing the beacon LIAM: That is important information LAURA: Yeah MATT: But then asked you if you’re comfortable or not, and if not, you may stay behind LIAM: Okay No LAURA: You’ll come? LIAM: Yeah, yeah MATT: “All right “Well then.” He stands up, sets his tea down, which is finished LAURA: We just follow you, then? Do we just follow you? MATT: “Well, I’ll take you in there, “I just need to inform him of our arrival “It’s polite to let them know when you’re coming first.” LAURA: Oh We need to be better about that SAM: It is TALIESIN: Boy, if we’ve learned anything, actually MATT: Makes a familiar hand gesture, but that’s more subtle and more, it’s like a quickened version of the Sending spell It’s second nature To which he speaks, “‘Arriving to inspect the relic “‘and confirm for our negotiating team “‘that it is indeed ready “‘to be presented to the Dynasty.’ “Shall we? SAM: Yes TRAVIS: Lead on LAURA: Oh, okay, okay, okay MATT: Begins to take his hands and encircle them, leaving this faint trail of light blue-white As it begins to encircle it and draw lines, and the center points begins to slowly expand, almost like a rippling ring of water, until it encompasses your entire circled group of chairs LAURA: Are you going to transport the chairs, too? MATT: “No, you might wish to stand.” TALIESIN: Oh, I’ll stand MATT: And he continues and finishes the incantation LAURA: I grab my tail to make sure it’s in the circle MATT: All right, and that familiar rush hits you as suddenly you are transported out of the tower, pulled away into darkness, into light that stretches and smears, and then thrusts you back into reality You all come to your feet It is midday, though it is still shaded You find yourself under a bunch of trees in a small clearing, a dense forest You look before you and you can see a mountain range that climbs up in the sky It’s still clouded, overcast day, trees climb up the side of the mountains Before you, you see a unique-looking number of buildings There are these tall, pieces of gothic architecture Some three or four stories, some towers, a very tall wrought iron fence that surrounds the entire locale, and there are guards posted You recognize this place He goes, “Welcome to the Vergessen Sanatorium “Follow me, please.” MARISHA: Oh fuck TRAVIS: (surprised laughter) Holy shit! MATT: And that’s where we’re going to take a break (groaning and shouting) (Matt laughing) TRAVIS: Oh, that’s where they sent him when he was crazy! LAURA: Oh TRAVIS: Oh no! This is better than Halloween! MATT: (laughs) We have our Wyrmwood giveaway We’re giving away here, we have our black poisonwood dice vault, which is all sorts of pretty, for one lucky winner in the chat Tonight’s codename is diplomacy TALIESIN: Hey LIAM: Pow, pow, pow TALIESIN: That’s a throwback MATT: Indeed So go ahead and put the word diplomacy once into the chat room to enter More than once, you’ll be disqualified, and once again, only for people in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec, because stupid laws But we’ll return here shortly to continue the story See you in a minute (upbeat music) ♪ You got the perfect warlock ♪ ♪ Her weapons and supplies ♪ ♪ But you need a place to track your stuff ♪

♪ Because you’re so disorganized ♪ ♪ You click open the web page ♪ ♪ You heard about on Critical Role ♪ ♪ And now you’re ready to kick some butt ♪ ♪ In that mineshaft full of gnolls ♪ ♪ It’s D&D, D&D ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D Beyond ♪ ♪ Yeah D&D, D&D ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D Beyond ♪ ♪ You got your stats, you’ve got your swords ♪ ♪ And you got your invisible wand ♪ ♪ It’s D&D, D&D ♪ ♪ D&D ♪ ♪ D&D Beyond ♪ JOE (V.O.): Working with Idle Champions has been so much fun, because it’s a different version of Arkhan It’s like a cartoon coloring book version of Arkhan, which is really, really fun So seeing the artwork originally for little Arkhan in the game, the way that he walks across the screen with his shield and he breathes fire, and then even the way that Chungo the manticore comes down at different points (sword clashes and explosions) It’s so much fun I mean, you can only dream to have a character of yours that immortalized in that way, and playable and unlockable in a video game The Arkhan in Idle Champions currently is an earlier version of Arkhan So a pre-Hand of Vecna Arkhan How did Arkhan get the Hand of Vecna? Arkhan was sent out by Tiamat over the course of, you know, a decade to go and retrieve artifacts for her So a Tiamat would appear to Arkhan in dreams, and she would reveal to him the location of a great weapon that could help him, or a great suit of armor, like the axe that he carries, belonged to a general of Asmodeus and was buried inside of his tomb, so Arkhan went on this adventure to find that axe of Asmodeus And so Tiamat would appear to him in dreams, and she did the same to him in terms of this extinction event that was potentially about to happen, where Vecna had teleported huge pieces of land from the Shadowfell, and armies, and animated this giant long-dead Titan and was inside of this mile-high structure, juggernaut, going to destroy everything its path And so Arkhan was sent there in order to stop Vecna from destroying the realm Arkhan’s entire party was killed, except for him, and he wound up using his charisma to become assimilated into another group that shared the same primary objective, which was to kill Vecna, and destroy Vecna and stop Vecna from taking over the Prime Material Plane Now, what this party didn’t know was that Arkhan had a secondary objective, which was to find out what was allowing Vecna to teleport cities and armies from other planes, and bring that back So during that battle, Arkhan survived, and towards the end realized that the power was coming from Vecna’s hand So when the battle was won, one of the members of this party that Arkhan joined was going to die And so in this very vulnerable moment, this, you know, the friends were gathered around as he was about to pass, and Arkhan pulled off this move In this very vulnerable moment, he used their vulnerability against them, and in a quiet moment, led them to believe that he was sent to destroy the hand And he had the power to do so in this axe And when he raised his hand up and whispered a prayer to Tiamat, and everyone looked on, he swung the axe down, chopped his own arm off, replaced it with Vecna’s hand, and teleported away He teleported to Krull, who was waiting for him, who healed him from the battle and opened a door to Avernus, to where Arkhan went and then had an audience with Tiamat Tiamat rose this giant tower of obsidian and volcanic rock out of hell, and this nine layers tower with dragon heads around the top Arkhan and Krull then sent for Toragar, and he met them there, and this army formed, this dragon army formed around Arkhan, who was this champion who had returned with what the dragon called, and the dragon armies believed was the actual cure for Tiamat’s imprisonment, that finally someone was going to come along

with the power to free her But Arkhan needed time to figure out how to use the hand, and how to unlock its power And so he began this series of mental battles with Vecna, where they would meet on this ethereal plane, and have these mental face-offs, and these mental battles, in which Arkhan would try to understand Vecna’s secrets while Vecna would try to gain control over Arkhan’s mind That’s how our Arkhan got the hand, and that’s what he’s doing with it now, and that’s what he’s up to when you as a player character run into him, he is in the middle of this process trying to free Tiamat (dramatic music) BRIAN (V.O.): Last time, on Talks Machina MARISHA: (high-pitched) The socials BRIAN: That’s kind of your cuttlefish, except it’s not as good MARISHA: No. I can’t do that voice I can’t do it BRIAN: The speak ‘n spell, that man has a lot of talent TALIESIN: Nope BRIAN: Man has a lot of talent Yeah, that’s pretty good, Dani TALIESIN: Pretty good DANI: That was good BRIAN: Well, it’s not as good, of course MARISHA: It’s like the Stitch voice It’s like Macaroni Samsonite, it’s all in that same like (babbling) And I can’t do it I can’t do it BRIAN: Would you mind doing that again, but looking at that camera right there? MARISHA: Thanks Thanks, Zach, for cutting to my single DANI: I’m trying to save you from yourself, man TALIESIN: That’s just going to become an internet thing Why would you do that to yourself? MARISHA: Beau’s not stupid BRIAN: Mm-hmm MARISHA: Beau will only challenge authority when she feels like it is yeah, a challenge that she can make with limited repercussions, hopefully, one that she can successfully win, or at least get out of if challenged There’s like, oh, I’m going to fuck with authority figures And then there’s like, talking to the King of the nation that you probably don’t want to fuck with, or else be locked in an Empire prison for the rest of your life and never seen again BRIAN: Beau’s been more actively leaning into her role in the Cobalt Soul, now that she’s become an expositor Does she feel more connected to the organization as a whole now, in addition to individuals like Dairon and Zeenoth? MARISHA: For sure. I mean it’s like anybody when they get a promotion in their workplace You feel a little bit more ownership, and now you’re, like, more peer level with the people who were your authority figures So, there you go There’s your authority figure question TALIESIN: Nothing worse punk that becomes a cop, man MARISHA: (laughs) TALIESIN: Changed, changed MARISHA: It’s true BRIAN: Boy, that’s true MARISHA: That’s true, isn’t it, Hanukah moose? Yeah BRIAN: Boy, that’s true Would you mind putting that just right next to your face and looking at Greg here for a second? Zach, you got it handy? Let’s see what we– MARISHA: (laughs) BRIAN: Yeah, let’s see what we can come up with TALIESIN: I know what’s coming BRIAN: You know what’s coming? TALIESIN: I have a hint BRIAN: No, you don’t MARISHA: Yep, yep TALIESIN: (Caduceus voice) Yeah, I mean DANI: Oh god BRIAN: Now, when I think about the greatest episodes of Talks Machina TALIESIN: (Caduceus voice) What are you going to think about, really? BRIAN: Caduceus admitted to The Gentleman that there is a part of him that is lonely How much of that was truth and how much was an attempt to persuade him to tell Jester the truth? TALIESIN: Oh, of course it was the truth That’s Caduceus’s whole– whole trick, is just tell the truth Yeah, he misses his family And like, they left him in kind of a shitty way, when you think about it, just like, he just sat in the same place while people left, and then six months later, someone else left, and then six months later, someone, people just kept not coming back, until he was sitting alone in a forest by himself for quite awhile MARISHA: Why haven’t you ever tried to scry on any of them? TALIESIN: (sputtering exhale) That’s a question, isn’t it? DANI: (laughs) BRIAN: Boy, that got a reaction TALIESIN: Wow MARISHA: You’ve never asked BRIAN: That got a bit of a reaction, didn’t it? MARISHA: You’ve never been like, can I scry on my brothers? TALIESIN: Do you want the simple answer to that or the complex answer to that? BRIAN: I don’t want an answer to that, actually DANI: I mean, I do BRIAN: No, I don’t, because I want to save it, I feel like that might– I feel like that could come out in-game TALIESIN: It could come out in-game BRIAN: So I’m like, I’m on team save it, I’m not into instant gratification TALIESIN: There’s the answer he would give and then there’s the truth. (laughing) MARISHA: You just said Caduceus was all about the truth TALIESIN: Yes, but you found a hole in that MARISHA and DANI: (gasping) TALIESIN: You found a hole BRIAN: Oh, that took forever Boy TALIESIN: Yeah, that’s a deep, dark place MARISHA: Fucking expositor!

Yeah! DANI: (laughs) TALIESIN: All they can see is your sweater Ah, god, did you just moose me? MARISHA: Yeah, just moose dropped you, bitch TALIESIN: Fuck, dude! BRIAN: You got moose dropped, biatch TALIESIN: Right in the nose MARISHA: Sorry (Pumat grunting) MATT: Oh. Well! (chuckling) Would you look at that? I think it worked You were right, Pumat number three All we had to do was invoke that subscription cantrip Pumat number three? Oh boy Well, hello there I’m Pumat Prime It’s good to finally join you here in the prime dimension I see this is the Twitch Prime realm, I think, and oh, we’re on the Critical Role channel, aren’t we? Well, would you look at that, you got chat and everything (chuckles) Respectfully, I was looking for the prime rib realm, but this isn’t too bad You see, if you already have access to the Amazon Prime realm, you can get a free subscription to the channel of your choice in the Twitch Prime realm The two realms have a pretty good working relationship after that peace treaty the prime minister signed a few years back You just have to remember to renew your Twitch Prime subscription at the top of each month, respectfully And hey, if you’re already a subscriber, you can spread the joy by gifting a subscription using the Gift a Sub button That is, assuming the Empire hasn’t sent a tax man to your shop here recently. (chuckling) All right, well, off to find that darn elusive prime rib realm Who knew the prime dimension had so many pockets? Good luck. (chuckles) (echoing) Pumat three? TALIESIN (V.O.): Subscribe Re-subscribe Brian Foster is not a cabbage (dramatic music) MATT: Welcome back

So, before we get back into the game,

we do have our winner for this evening The winner of our Wyrmwood giveaway is Forsakenpoet541

LIAM: Oh no! MATT: Forsakenpoet541, congratulations, we’ll get that sent to you ASAP TRAVIS: Yay LIAM: Somebody help that poet MATT: I know. We’re going to help them with a dice box Little dice carrying case All righty, so, last we left off, as the troop of you begin to walk towards the somewhat serene, but still imposing sight of the Vergessen Sanatorium, you approach behind Martinet Ludinus towards the main gate, which in itself is about a 10-foot high, about eight-foot wide iron gate that rises up in a curve at the top where it breaks open There are two guards placed there, both wearing Crownsguard uniforms, though darker, meant for more, guess you would say, not stealth, but to blend in better with the forest arrangement around here, carrying spears, and as they see Ludinus, they nod, and one of them opens the gate, which (imitates creaking), opens into the courtyard And the courtyard around here, beautiful grass You can see there are two fountains that are readily visible, there are trees, small gardens, and there are, total within the space here, five main structures that you can see, two of which are connected by hallways, the others are separate with little stone paths that lead between them They’re large buildings The towers themselves stand up at the corners of the entire interior while this main central building itself is a very, very, like wide, three-story mansion-like structure that the roof comes into these large peaks that have, you know, iron symbols that are carved at the top that rise up It has in some ways like a European church type architecture to it, but does not have any sort of religious symbolism or connotation to it It’s very beautiful, if dark You approach and come towards the center of the courtyard, two of the other guards approach and flank to the sides to just be an escort, and wordlessly, the Martinet leads you towards the distant right tower You may– LAURA: Mr. Martinet, you’re not just going to like, bring us here and then leave us here, right? MATT: “I don’t think it would do any good, in our situation “The sanatorium has many uses “It is a place of recovery, “it is a place of care taking “to individuals who cannot take care of themselves, “particularly those of skillsets that make them “challenging to treat, “in more public regions “It’s also a place of learning for those with learning challenges “And it is a place where we, the Assembly, “can maintain “some of our research, “without worrying about, how you say, “political challenges.” ASHLEY: Can people come and go as they wish, or are some people here, can they leave? MATT: “Those that are not admitted can leave “Those that are here by choice for the period “in which they signed themselves to be here “are to be maintained, but they themselves give consent “to the sanatorium to keep them, and those that are kept “because they are a danger to themselves or others, “they should be kept until they are well LIAM: During this whole walk and talk, Caleb wordlessly stares, very pointedly, at Nott and at Beau, listening to this conversation ahead of him TRAVIS: Lead on MATT: “Indeed.” The far tower is– it’s a wide tower, and it looks to be about, at its full height, about 80 or so feet from the ground It pincers towards the top of the– it’s thicker at the base Not crenelated on the edges As opposed to just a thick stronghold, this has a little more design flair to it It mimics a lot of the architecture of the central mansion building You enter through a side doorway, and into one of two chambers that the bottom floor is separated into This is more of a lounge or a waiting space, in which case Ludinus goes, “If you would give me but a moment, I’m going to inquire as to the readiness of our arrival.”

And he exits down the nearby stairway, out of sight MARISHA: I’m assuming the escorts stay? MATT: The escorts stay SAM: How you feeling, Caleb? You okay? ASHLEY: Have you been here before? LAURA: How long were you here for? LIAM: (quietly) 11 years ASHLEY: What did you say? LIAM: (clears throat) (louder) 11 years ASHLEY: That is what I thought you said SAM: In this area, where we are, or the other side? Or you don’t know LIAM: This is a public waiting room SAM: I mean this building, this structure? MATT: You see two uniformed figures enter through one of the doorways They’re wearing a light gray general piece of work attire, it’s form-fitting but comfortable looking, plain, and they both just walk past and just take notice and continue on their business, going up to an upper floor MARISHA: You busted out of this place Yeah? SAM: Well, we’re here for you, so don’t worry LIAM: I don’t remember much of it anyway Which is funny MARISHA: Have we been by any other admittants? SAM: Oh, like patients? MARISHA: Patients? MATT: Mm-mm TALIESIN: Are we inside or are we outside? MATT: You are inside the tower TALIESIN: We are inside the tower LIAM: It’s for visitors, where we are MATT: Correct LIAM: We’re not in– MATT: Or this chamber in particular, it’s a holding room for people to then be brought to other portions of the tower LIAM: Yeah, we’re not in it TALIESIN: Try and quietly listen very carefully for any conversations happening LIAM: Would I have on the walk– I’m sorry TALIESIN: Go ahead LIAM: On the walk up, have recognized the layout to know where I was kept compared to where we are? MATT: Yeah LIAM: Is it this building, or–? MATT: No, no, you were kept in the main manor LIAM: Main manor MATT: Which is where most of the most of the patients are kept LIAM: Yeah MATT: The general towers on the outside are for the people that work the sanatorium, it’s also where equipment is kept, it’s also where research is conducted, and it’s also where certain events and classes and things are occasionally held there TRAVIS: The outside towers? MATT: Yeah TRAVIS: There’s five, so tower, tower, building, building, building? MATT: Mm-hmm MARISHA: And we’re just more or less in like a lobby or hall? MATT: Kind of, for the time being MARISHA: Okay TALIESIN: Listening closely to the conversations that are happening around, just trying to like listen to the building Natural 20 for 29 MATT: Oh shit TRAVIS: Ooh MATT: Shit You hear the two assigned guards that are watching you guys are having a conversation about how they’re both frustrated that the Harvest Festival was missed, and they were stuck here, and now that they’re hearing about like, all this, yeah, they’re complaining about the fact that they’ve been here for now, one of them at least, a four-month stint, and is just wanting to be desperately reassigned General work banter TALIESIN: This is not a happy place MATT: You do hear some voices muffled from down the staircase, but, I would say even at this distance, you’re not able– even with– like you can hear them talking through the stone, but you can’t make out any words I know you rolled super high, but like, they’re a floor below you and you’re not Superman TALIESIN: Is it heated or is it just– can I discern the general nature of the– like, is it happy? Just a conversation MATT: Just a conversation And it’s short, because then you immediately begin to hear a number of sets of footsteps– TALIESIN: They’re coming MATT: –coming up the stairs You see rise back up the Martinet, and behind you see the now twice familiar face of Master Trent Ikithon approach (as Trent) “Well, so glad you all were able to join us “I’ve been notified of your arrival “and we have prepared the demonstration, “if you would please follow.” TRAVIS: How old is this dude again? MATT: He looks to be in his sixties or seventies, somewhere in that range He’s thin, older, human, skin is a bit jaundiced You know, some visible liver spots across the forehead You know, long, gray thinning hair, and dressed in very, very nice robes with like almost like a velvet mantle over top of it that has trim put into it

It’s very– it’s a little ostentatious for him being on a business day, but you know, he likes to dress up TRAVIS: Sure Okay MATT: You guys follow suit? TRAVIS: Yep SAM: Sure MATT: All right You are led down beneath the ground floor into a spiral staircase that comes to a locked and closed door Ludinus approaches and just raises his hand, and with a loud knocking sound the door (imitates creaking) opens Immediately, the smell that catches you is familiar It’s like a strange, cold ozone type smell It reminds you of the sensory awareness that would happen when you would reach your consciousness into the beacon As you step into the chamber, this is a laboratory This is a specifically an arcane laboratory You can see all manner of bookshelves around There are numerous tables with glass vials and alchemical supplies that are affixed to each other with, you know, copper coils and a long, you know, liquid carrying tubes that release into heavy vials and liquid containers You can see materials that are locked away and kept under glass along a number of distant shelves on the far wall There is a single chandelier in the center of the room, from the 15-foot tall ceiling, that dangles down and gives off just a bright white light, that gives a fairly consistent, true color look to the interior of the chamber In the center, you see a familiar-looking platinum-colored tripod that sits loosely near from underneath it, not perfectly under, but near underneath where the chandelier hangs And two sides, you see two individuals that are currently flanking it from side to side One of them you see is a female halfling, with shorter cut hair, a tense stare, arms crossed, wearing sleeveless leather armor with these like intricate tattoos across each arm that have a very maze-like geometric pattern to them The other you see as a tall man, short black hair, built, thick, in a dark piece of clothing that covers most of his upper body, leather gauntlets, looks to be a satchel overwind shoulder, and is also equally looking stern at you as you enter LIAM: Is it him? MATT: Make a perception check SAM: “Him.” LAURA: His friend, is he his friend? LIAM: 22 MATT: 22? It’s been awhile, but yeah LAURA: It’s the guy, it’s the guy that he described MARISHA: His best friend SAM: Oh, oh, oh, that guy MATT: As you all step inside, both of them acknowledge your entrance and take a step back as Trent takes the center stage, if you will, of the chamber “So you have inquired as to this beacon, this relic, “to confirm its existence “So as Ludinus has told me, you all can approach “and confirm for yourself.” SAM: May we touch it? MATT: “If you wish, yes.” MARISHA: Yep, I go up there Also, as we walk up, I just want to start casing the place a little bit. Any research papers, any notebooks– MATT: Make a perception check MARISHA: Any signs of anything nearby Perception? MATT: Hmm? LAURA: The beacon is on top of the tripod? MATT: It’s on the tripod, yeah SAM: I guess MARISHA: 16 MATT: You would imagine a chamber like this, especially as outfitted with so many materials for research, would have books and journals and notes everywhere Completely absent of any of it, almost like it was recently cleared TRAVIS: How many doors and entry and exits are there? MATT: There’s the room you entered and there is a door on the opposite wall, but you do not know where it goes LAURA: Mr. Icky-thong MATT: “Yes.” LAURA: How long have you had this relic? MATT: “But a few weeks “We uncovered it, and we’ve been researching “the extent of what it’s capable of “With the rising conflict, we came to understand “that this was one of the beacons that was so important “to the Dynasty, and as this was something that could be used “as a weapon against us, it was necessary for us “to ascertain information about how dangerous it would be, “or if it could be used in our stead “Thankfully, that does not appear to be the case

“It seems to be more important for them “on a faith-based level, and as such, “does not serve much of a continued purpose for us “Hence the lack of interest in maintaining it “under our banner.” ASHLEY: Where did you– LIAM: So it is not– ASHLEY: Where did you uncover it? MATT: “What do you mean?” ASHLEY: Well, where did you, you said you uncovered it, you found it? MATT: “From what we understand, the relics “that the Dynasty themselves “have acquired are not the only beacons in his world “So this was uncovered as part of a archeological dig “outside of Pride’s Call.” LAURA: Mm, mm, mm, mm-hmm MATT: “But we are interested in returning it “to those that have more use of it than we would.” LAURA: That’s very kind of you TALIESIN: So this was uncovered there a few weeks ago? MATT: “It was, yes “You are welcome to go and confirm that “with the archeologists of Pride’s Call as well.” TALIESIN: Excellent LAURA: I bet they totally would cooperate– TALIESIN: Insight check for every fucking thing this guy says MATT: Yeah, make an insight check MARISHA: Can I assist? LAURA: I feel like we don’t even need to insight check this, he’s so full of shit! TALIESIN: It’s okay. 23 MATT: 23? Okay TRAVIS: Did you roll with advantage? MARISHA: Can I assist? TALIESIN: Oh, I did not roll with advantage MATT: If you’d like to assist, sure MARISHA: Uh-huh, uh-huh TALIESIN: 24 MATT: All right, one point MARISHA: Ooh, yeah SAM: So many whispers tonight, guys MARISHA: Fucking liar! Okay, wait There was news about Pride’s Call back a long time ago TRAVIS: Had to do with Obann SAM: Guys, this isn’t combat, but Dwarven Forge exists, just so you know LIAM: At all times SAM: At all times, they currently are a company that exists at dwarvenforge.com MARISHA: To Pride’s Call ASHLEY: Pride’s Call SAM: Pride’s Call, where’s that? TRAVIS: Right here MARISHA: On the ocean, right? Oh, it’s in the mountains LAURA: That’s over by where your family lives, right? MATT: It’s on the other side of the mountain range of the Cyrios Mountains from Kamordah It’s a largely dwarven city MARISHA: Right, right, right, right LIAM: So you have found this object not to be dangerous– and I let my eyes rest on Eodwulf’s for a moment Is it of any use? Surely you have learned something MATT: “It would be of use, yes “But what we’ve gleaned research-wise, “what use it would have would not be as important “as stemming the tide of blood that continues to flow “because of this conflict.” LIAM: Agreed TALIESIN: Did you find the tripod with it? This thing that it’s sitting in? MATT: “No, this was a means of keeping it safe “and easy to research within our chamber.” MARISHA: Oh, really? TALIESIN: Safe? No, I’m curious how, like what is it, how does it work? Is it– we know about the thingy, what’s this tripod thingy like do? MATT: “Well, when you are,” and goes and reaches up I think you’ve touched it, right? SAM: Yeah, is that okay? MATT: Yeah, you touch it It very much resembles, feels like, and– SAM: I was going to try to like let it zonk me in MATT: Okay You go ahead and focus in MARISHA: It takes like a minute MATT: It does. So you begin this process Ikithon goes, “Well, you see, when you are taking something “that is, you are uncertain necessarily “of how caustic or how volatile it may be.” TALIESIN: Okay, I know that one MATT: “How bad it might possibly end up.” TALIESIN: I’m with you MARISHA: So you made that? MATT: “Yes,” and he turns and sees. He was going to reach for it, but then sees Nott instead currently in the process, and goes, “(chuckles) “You’ve seen this before, then.” LAURA: What, no, what? MARISHA: Heard rumors ASHLEY: I have not seen it before MATT: “Well, I’m finding it curious that you have “come here to confirm that something exists “that you have not known it exists until you heard of it, “not but the other day, and then arrive and immediately “know exactly how to extend “towards this device.” LIAM: By the act of touching? She’s a curious girl MATT: “I think you should know me better than to assume “that I do not see intent “where it’s supposed to be, Bren “But I’m just curious “If you have encountered such a device before, “your curiosity matches my own.” TALIESIN: How did you invent this tripod thingy? It’s kind of cool MATT: “We had it made

“It’s three broads of metal.” TALIESIN: No, I mean, but it’s– I mean, so you just had it made in the last couple weeks MATT: “Yes, we have that capability.” MARISHA: Is it one of a kind? MATT: “Tripods? No, they’re used for many different devices.” MARISHA: Yeah, but that’s like a very specific tripod for a very specific shape MATT: “Okay.” (laughter) TRAVIS: I too am curious where you– MATT: “Are you offended by its shape? “I could alter it for you, if you’d like.” LAURA: Whoa! MATT: And he takes his hand and begins to manipulate with his fingers, and while you’re concentrating on it, the tripod begins to bow and twist a bit, almost forming into a triple helix-type formation, and Nott, you actually are pulled away from connecting with it You do not finish the process SAM: Did it feel like it was going the right way? MATT: It did SAM: Okay MATT: It did. And then it warps back, and he says, “You understand at a certain point “of arcane capability, “such creations are relatively paltry tricks.” MARISHA: Oh, of course I also recognize a certain artist’s touch to these things, you know, and it’s just very unique, what you made there MATT: “Hmm “Have you seen them elsewhere before?” MARISHA: Something reminiscent in Zadash, yeah MATT: “Interesting.” MARISHA: You get to Zadash much, Trent? MATT: “Not terribly often “I am very busy up here.” SAM: Wasn’t in Zadash. (pigeon cooing) MARISHA: Hmm? SAM: It wasn’t in Zadash TRAVIS: Where was it? SAM: Felderwin. (pigeon cooing) TRAVIS: Felderwin? MARISHA: But they had the beacon in Zadash ASHLEY: So there was a dig going on already? I’m just getting clarification MATT: “There was a sinkhole that was discovered “decades ago on the outskirts of Pride’s Call “that was found to lead to deep beneath the earth, “an Arcanum ruin that has been “a slow-going excavation “that has been purposely and intently supervised “by the Assembly since its discovery “And it was in this ruin such a beacon was discovered “We do not know if it was already part of the ruin, “or it was through some sort of chance “that the two had overlapped, but–” ASHLEY: Oh TALIESIN: Have you figured out at all how it works? MATT: “It has some strange arcane properties “that are unlike things that we’ve encountered “in some of our research.” TALIESIN: Have you ever seen an object like this before? Anything like this before? MATT: “No, this is beyond our purview “At least in my years on Exandria.” ASHLEY: You are so very excited that you found it MATT: “How would I not be? “Is it not curious? “Please, understand, I would love very much “to continue to research such an artifact, “but once again, it’s about being the bigger man.” LIAM: Tell us a little bit more Knowledge is power, you know that MATT: “It is.” LIAM: These properties, what are they? MATT: Make a deception check for me LIAM: 14 MATT: His gaze seems to almost to reach into you in that cold and intrusive way, reading between the words and the intent, and you see a smile creep across his face “I don’t think it’s anything you wouldn’t already know “But I trust, for all of those present, “it seems to have some roots in familiar “magics that twist with the nature of matter and gravity, “entropy, time, to a certain extent Probability, possibility “It is very intriguing, though the nature “of this magic itself is “challenging to harness.” (Laura sneezes) MARISHA and TALIESIN: Bless you LAURA: Excuse me TRAVIS: I’m surprised to hear a man of your intellect and intrigue is ready to part with such a device that the Dynasty seems to hold so much stock in Curious, have you been able to take anything from it, or imbue any objects with its twisting of matter and reality? MATT: “Unfortunately it has not been enough time “But should this go well, should this,

“your endeavor with the Dynasty be successful, “one would hope that this could be the beginning “of a partnership, even “Perhaps if us and the Dynasty “can cross these gaps “of mistrust and misinformation, “instead we can learn so much from each other.” TALIESIN: Are there books in this room? MATT: There are many books in this room SAM: Oh. I thought you said everything was cleared MATT: No, there are books on the walls There are no notes, journals, or anything that looks like research, but there are bookshelves TALIESIN: Do you have any of your research in this room right now that we could perhaps just take a quick look at, see where you’ve gotten with it? MATT: “No, and I, respectfully, was under the impression “you were here to inspect this device “I’ve just met you, and our research is our own.” TRAVIS: Of course We’ve inspected the item, seems to be as you claim, which will help, we can say we’ve seen it with our own eyes MATT: “Good.” TRAVIS: This will be a dangerous, dangerous task Perhaps if, I don’t know, one of your more trusted were to accompany us, I don’t know Is there anyone you might want to have come with us? SAM: What do you think, Caleb? LIAM: (sighs) I have not been a part of this for a very long time I wouldn’t presume to know Who would I trust now? MATT: “Hmm “Well, I think based on what we know “of your dealings in Xhorhas, you would have a better chance “of doing this without the presence “of any of my trusted operatives.” LAURA: But you’re so charming Wouldn’t you want to come yourself and charm the pants off of everyone there? MATT: “I doubt the Assembly would be as welcomed.” TALIESIN: I would say if there’s any other information you feel that we should know, just so that all cards are on the table, now would be the time to put forward anything that might be missing from this story, anything that when we’re asked questions, that we’ll be able to fill in the answers for it MATT: “Certainly.” LIAM: I think he’s right, though His previous poking about in the Dynasty did not end well MATT: “You misunderstand “I have not myself traveled to the Dynasty.” LIAM: No, you don’t do that, you don’t need to You have help for that Always help for that MATT: “Not everyone is as helpful “Anyway.” TRAVIS: Yes MATT: “I believe everything is situated, Ludinus?” “Very much so “Thank you, Master Ikithon “Once again, ensure that this is well-protected “I’m sure there would be outside forces “very interested in such research and such a device, “and that would be a terrible house of cards “to befall these tense negotiations.” TRAVIS: Can I ask, is your dude that’s across the room, your friend, is he wearing the same thing around his neck that you are? MATT: Make a perception check LIAM: I mean, mine was always hidden under clothes TRAVIS: 17 MATT: 17? You don’t see anything TRAVIS: I’d love to have one of those MARISHA: Yeah, they’re pretty cool MATT: “Mighty Nein, are you sufficiently happy?” TRAVIS: We are satisfied TALIESIN: For the moment MATT: “Good “Thank you, Master Trent.” “Of course, and good luck.” TRAVIS: So terribly sorry Your two associates, I forgot to ask their names MATT: “My apologies, I’m usually much more cordial than this “You caught me in the middle of my work mode “This is Uwaria, pointing to the halfling SAM: Uwellia? MATT: “Uwaria. She is one of my more recent students, “recently graduated, and this is Eodwulf, “who is a longtime associate, “and one of my favorite associates “I believe you two already know each other.” Eodwulf across the way is just–

LAURA: What do his arms look like? MATT: They’re covered currently There’s a black, cotton cloth shirt with leather gauntlets that are over it The arms are covered. Pretty wide shoulders For an individual that came to the Soltryce Academy and what your usual standard expectation of a mage is, he’s a bigger guy TRAVIS: We’re going to kill them all right now, right? We’re going to kick this thing off right now? TALIESIN: Roll initiative (laughter) MATT: Ludinus steps into this tension and goes, “Well, I think we should find our way to the next endeavor “Let us be off.” MARISHA: Hey Trent MATT: “Yes?” MARISHA: Might want to talk to Caduceus about getting some tea that might help stimulate your memory Keep a little bit sharper, because we actually have met before MATT: “Oh, don’t think I don’t remember.” MARISHA: Oh So now I know you were lying MATT: “I not believe there was a lie “I congratulated on your victory in the pit.” MARISHA: Yeah, you seem to have just misplaced that we had all met previously, like a moment ago MATT: “I’d only met a handful of you.” TRAVIS: (laughs) ASHLEY: I put my hand on my blade, on the handle of my blade MATT: “You, apparently, have been following “an intriguing pass on your own as well “I knew there was something special about you “Anyway, we must continue preparations for the delivery, “should this go well “Have a good day.” LAURA: Can you read minds? MATT: “Can I read minds?” LAURA: Yeah MATT: “Can you?” LAURA: Can you? MATT: “You’re a strange one “Are you reading my mind right now?” LAURA: I’m trying to give you some thoughts Tell me the first thing I think MATT: “I think it’s time we said goodbye.” LAURA: He didn’t want to say it out loud MATT: Ludinus is like, “Ahem “Shall we?” SAM: Yes LAURA: Mm-hmm TALIESIN: Please LIAM: Wulf It’s good to see you again MATT: “It’s good to see you too “It’s been some time “You look good.” LIAM: Let’s go MATT: You head back up the stairs, and you hear the door (creaking) behind you, and as you reach the landing above where the guards are, the Martinet turns and goes, “My apologies for the tension “I was afraid, given the history, “things would be a bit emotional “Trent is a challenging individual “He has much utility, and has been a longstanding, “important member of the Assembly, “but he is challenging.” LIAM: Have you ever– LAURA: He does bad things LIAM: Have you ever sat in on any of his lessons? MATT: “I have not sat in on them specifically “But he does what he deems necessary “Not all things necessary are easy.” TALIESIN: Do you have an opinion on any of the conversation you just heard? MATT: “In regards to?” TALIESIN: Feelings, thoughts, a candid emotion MATT: “I think he’s not being entirely forthright “with his knowledge or information about this, “but I think we have more pressing matters “To press this individual right now “would be a rabbit hole that would distract “from something that is far more reaching “I can always deal with Trent after the fact.” ASHLEY: Let us know when you do that because I would like to help If you need to get rid of him in any way MATT: “(chuckling) “There are far more useful ways of dealing “with useful individuals than just getting rid of them.” LAURA: Are you a lot more powerful than him? MATT: “It’s challenging to compare power in the Assembly “We all have our unique talents.” LAURA: Are you being humble?

MATT: “I’m being honest.” TALIESIN: Where do you think we should go next? MATT: “Well, if you have any preparations to make, “anything you need to do, the timeline is yours “I am not stringently impressing upon you “the necessity of any “due date for this arrival, “but do know time is of the essence.” TALIESIN: We– I feel like I would like a moment to talk amongst ourselves really quickly, but I don’t know if I feel comfortable having that conversation here SAM: Can you teleport us back to the city center? MATT: “I can.” SAM: Yes TALIESIN: Or somewhere else, maybe? LAURA: Can teleport anywhere? MATT: “I can teleport many places.” LAURA: Because, like, you did it like really, like, fast and, like, it looked really cool when you did it and stuff TALIESIN: Where’s safe? LAURA: Like, you must be really powerful MATT: “Do you have a particular request where to be taken?” LAURA: No, I’m just saying that, like, I’ve seen other people try to do it, but they’ve almost, like, bamfed us into trees or rocks or something, and you were just like, whoosh and we’re in the like the grass MATT: “It’s easier the more familiar you are with the location.” LAURA: Oh TRAVIS: Essek is scrying us going, “Fucking–” MARISHA: I know MATT: (laughs) TRAVIS: “One time!” SAM: I think we still have business in Rexxentrum, no? MATT: “Then we can return.” LIAM: We are on our own timeline, you’re saying Obviously, speed is of the essence, but– LAURA: What is the date? MATT: If you’re requesting about the immediacy of Traveler Con, you have about a month LAURA: Still, we got about a month still? MATT: You got a month It’s around the corner LAURA: Let’s go, we got to get the ship, we got to get– SAM: Did you get your advent calendar for Traveler Con? MATT: (laughs) TALIESIN: It’s just dicks in boxes SAM: Every box is a box of dicks (Matt and Laura laughing) TRAVIS: I do admit, I’m not entirely familiar with Rexxentrum Are there any shops of arcane nature, or perhaps somewhere where we might be able to peruse items that will help us? MATT: “If you’re inquiring about “potions and things “that might be of aid, there are, “I can think of a place that might be of help to you “Most places are currently facilitating “the war efforts, “the front lines, and many of the artifacts “in which we’ve had commissioned “are in transit to their destination.” TRAVIS: Perhaps there is a stock set aside for the Empire’s more clandestine efforts? MATT: “What are you planning to do at a negotiation?” TRAVIS: I don’t know I like options MATT: “I’m curious, having not known “what your particular skill set is “beyond apparently a honeyed tongue “You carry no weapon on you, but you do seem to have “a curious symbol of Melora on your person, “I’ve noticed as I’m walking.” TRAVIS: I am new to Melora’s light and guidance She’s served me well, and I hope to return the favor MATT: “Well, you seem to have endured and survived “many a great challenge “What would you consider to be your “most dangerous strength?” TRAVIS: Goodness SAM: His heart TRAVIS: Well, I am good with a sword And I’ll summon the Star Razor MATT: As it appears in his hand, he takes a step back and looks down, eyes wide and nodding with a very genuine look of being impressed and goes, “Well, based on the arms you carry, “I don’t see if we would have anything to offer “You seem pretty well outfitted.” TRAVIS: We are Some of my friends like to shop MATT: “Well, perhaps head to the Cryptic Collection “in Rexxentrum “Tell Keona that Ludinus sends his regards.” LAURA: Tell Keona that Ludinus sends his regards Write that down SAM: What’s her name? LAURA: Keana, Keana SAM: Keani TALIESIN: (sighs) MATT: “Shall we?” SAM: Yes, yes, away MATT: Bends the same similar circle inscription in the air, and as it expands and pulls all of you into its center, (whooshing) and thrusts you through again, landing at the exterior base of his tower in the Shimmer Ward of Rexxentrum once more TRAVIS: Very impressive, very impressive That’s very impressive MATT: “You generally do not have to clap “It’s all right, you’ve–” TALIESIN: It feels appropriate MATT: “Anyway.” LAURA: I mean, how often do you get to, like, really show off your power? You know, like most people are probably used to seeing it, so it’s not as impressive anymore

But like, we’ve never seen anything like it, so, you know TRAVIS: (laughs) MATT: “It’s entirely off-putting how disarmingly charming you are “I genuinely do not know how to react “Take that as a compliment “So.” TALIESIN: Well, I suppose we’ll reconvene SAM: We’ll call you when things are progressing TALIESIN: Well, we’ll get ourselves together and we’ll let you know when it’s time, if that’s all right MATT: “Very well, you know where to find me.” LAURA: Thank you for your help MARISHA: Do we want to come knock on your candle or something? LAURA: I’ll send you a message MARISHA: We’ll send you a message MATT: “Much easier means to communicate.” TRAVIS: ♪ You could light my candle ♪ SAM: Thank you so much for the trip MATT: “Of course,” and he walks around the edge of his tower out of sight LAURA: Are you okay, Caleb? LIAM: Um I don’t know ASHLEY: I don’t like him at all TALIESIN: No TRAVIS: Which one, Trent or this one? LAURA: Well, the Martinet’s really actually pretty cool, I like him SAM: Uh-uh TALIESIN: I will say– SAM: You remember he held my husband prisoner LAURA: That was him? SAM: Yeah LIAM: Yes LAURA: That was him? SAM: Yep LIAM: Likely MARISHA: He’s also totally like a religious bigoted asshole who fucking, like, they– TRAVIS: We’ve walked away at this point MARISHA: Yeah, we’re out, by the way, yeah ASHLEY: Martinet held your husband? SAM: Uh-huh LAURA: I thought that was Trent SAM: Nope He was in Felderwin MATT: Note of interest: Wildmother: not legal in the Empire, but did not call you on it LAURA: He’s just better at lying TRAVIS: Really? TALIESIN: Well MATT: He seemed unfazed TRAVIS: That’s right. There’s only a few deities MATT: There’s only a handful that are legal within the Empire TALIESIN: Trent didn’t– I’ve never– I’ve never seen another person walk so daintily around the truth LAURA: Ugh TALIESIN: I wouldn’t even know what he looked like when he was lying MARISHA: I mean, he lied so many times, like openly TALIESIN: He didn’t lie LAURA: That’s what you do Did you see? I just asked him one stupid little question and he went on this long-ass story Like, that’s how you know someone’s lying, they give you all these details you didn’t ask for MARISHA: We’ve seen him in Zadash multiple times, and he’s like, “Meh, I don’t go to Zadash,” and then you’re just like, “I’ve never met you before,” and then I called him on it, and he’s like, “What are you talking about?” He sucks TALIESIN: I was following him, he technically didn’t really, (sighs) LAURA: Lie? TALIESIN: Nope LAURA: He just spoke around the truth TALIESIN: Yep MARISHA: He’s like me, but better at it Fucking asshole TRAVIS: He’s not focused on this stage I think can all agree on that, yes? LIAM: Ikithon is more obvious, but Da’leth was not entirely truthful with us, either MARISHA: Mm-mm TALIESIN: Are we, yeah ASHLEY: I don’t mean to pry, Caleb, but he was a teacher for you? LIAM: I am from here, near here ASHLEY: I gathered that much LIAM: I studied here Ikithon was a one of many teachers, and then he became my main teacher Private lessons You’ve missed so much ASHLEY: Yeah, I know LAURA: Did he ever seem, like, nice to you, or was he always weird? LIAM: Sometimes Sometimes, after being particularly harsh, he would apologize after ASHLEY: That can be very confusing MARISHA: It’s fucked up Especially if you have no one else to go to LIAM: We should not take anything they said at face value, obviously It’s pretty clear that we are being used as a pawn LAURA: Yeah LIAM: We have to be very careful LAURA: I feel like they’ve done something to the beacon I feel like they had to have done something TRAVIS: Of course they have MARISHA: Yeah, did you get your thing? Did you get it? SAM: No, no, I was interrupted, but it certainly felt real It’s not a decoy or anything It’s the real deal At least from what I felt MARISHA: From when we witnessed the Zauber Spire get attacked, and we saw those flying wizard battles and the Kryn and shit LIAM and MATT: One of them was Ikithon You didn’t recognize the other TRAVIS: (nervous laugh) Cool MARISHA: But like, now that we’ve met other people in the Assembly, can we think back? Did, like– the Martinet has a cane, you mentioned one of them had a staff or something Has there been any identifying things that we can remember?

LIAM: They all look different One of them is an earth genasi, and– MARISHA: Right, that’s what I’m saying Is there something we didn’t recognize at the time, but now looking back, where it feels like this person? MATT: Make an intelligence check TRAVIS: Don’t you roll that blue one, don’t you touch that damn thing LAURA: Can I Guidance you? MATT: You wouldn’t know about this LAURA: But you’re thinking so hard! MATT: (laughs) This is just recalling information TRAVIS: Trying to decide whether to gamble on a fart or not MARISHA: All right, all right, all right 19 MATT: The other figure, best that you can recall and what little bit you saw– MARISHA: 18 MATT: Seemed to resemble or Oremid Hass LAURA: Who? Oremid Hass? MARISHA: Oremid Hass MATT: Who, of which that school is– he’s the headmaster of the Hall of Erudition, which is the school that was attacked MARISHA: I mean, we dealt with him a decent amount, too TALIESIN: They didn’t mention that they were experimenting with this thing earlier, they didn’t mention that they used to have another one LAURA: No, they were lying LIAM: Of course TALIESIN: So here’s the question Are we going to put our chips on this Ludinus? And if we are going to put our chips, are we really going to do it? SAM: I mean, in fairness to them, they told us the truth They know we’re going to go talk to the Bright Queen They don’t want us to say, “hey, Bright Queen, “these fuckers stole the last one from you, “and they stole another one from you.” They don’t want us to have that information and give it to the Bright Queen TALIESIN: That’s what she already thinks, though SAM: Thinks, but may not be able to prove LIAM: Also, how do we use this situation? TALIESIN: I don’t know if it matters LIAM: To reach what we want? SAM: Well, ultimately we do want both sides to talk TRAVIS: We do LIAM: Yes, but they are being disingenuous here They are not being forthright They want to use this for something that we are not seeing yet And we can be honest– I’m sorry, Fjord TRAVIS: No, no, that’s okay Do we think the Empire is aware of where the Bright Queen is? Are they using us as a– MARISHA: Way to find her? MARISHA: Yes Something to flush them out, to follow us MARISHA: Rosohna is famously the capital of Xhorhas MATT: Yeah there isn’t a mystery of where Rosohna is, you know., LIAM: It’s the Kremlin MATT: Yeah It’s just far and well guarded MARISHA: I mean, there were assassins trying to invade Rosohna while we were there MATT: Yeah, Scourgers already attacked it It’s not like it’s a mystery LIAM: We’re in the middle, we could certainly try to take this beacon to them and inspect it and try to make sure that we are not being used, but it’s not going to lead to peace MARISHA: They mentioned us corroborating their story with the architects of Pride’s Call I mean, of course they could have given those dwarves any amount of money to pay them off, I’m sure LAURA: Or they just changed their memory MARISHA: Or just changed their memory, but we could try and beat them at the only hint that they’ve potentially given us and go investigate that TALIESIN: There is another hand to play We could sit and cast a truth spell with Ludinus and just try and have a frank conversation with the understanding that we both get to ask questions, and sometimes that answer’s going to be “I’m not comfortable answering that.” TRAVIS: I don’t know if he would agree to that TALIESIN: He might LAURA: I don’t think he would TALIESIN: As long as we’re okay with him occasionally saying, “I’m not going to answer that,” for whatever that’s worth SAM: I can’t see him agreeing to that LIAM: Or if he did, he would just pass on the questions that he doesn’t want to answer TALIESIN: But we would know that when he is being forthright, he’s being forthright TRAVIS: It’s worth a shot, I think we should go to the Cryptic Collection, see what we can find in this town, perhaps try our luck with Ludinus And I’d actually like Beau’s idea Might as well see what we can find in Pride’s Call before we just jump into another continent Sorry, Empire, Dynasty MARISHA: I mean, if they did alter memories or pay them off or do something, maybe someone saw something and can tell us something, I dunno TRAVIS: Anyone up for shopping? MARISHA: Yeah SAM: Sure SAM: You always ask that MARISHA: Therapy shop, therapy shop! (Matt chuckling) TALIESIN: That is the first time I’ve ever heard Travis say “anyone up for shopping,” by the way Just marking the occasion MATT: Yeah I think everyone has to drink TALIESIN: Yeah MATT: All right. So I would say, while you do not know where this place is, asking around,

the right people, you eventually get sent towards the Court of Colors, which is in the Tangles section of the city You find, nestled in the shaded gap between two large warehouses, that the alleyway ends not in a cul-de-sac or come to an abrupt stop at another building Instead it ends in a humble if somewhat creepy single-story building of rustic, weathered wood, and a tiled roof decorated with numerous brass and iron chimes, wind instruments, and charms dangling from the edges TALIESIN: That’s pretty nice MATT: Within this long back, shotgun-style structure, you walk in to find a warm, strangely humid apothecary, and minor magical relic store The interior itself is– I’m trying to find the proper– LAURA: What is the name? The Cultivated–? MATT and SAM: The Cryptic Collection LAURA: The Cryptic Collection MATT: You see a number of cages hanging from the top of the entryway and small corner elements that are all moss-covered, and just glancing over the side, you can see rats kept in one, you can see ravens in another, an owl in the back General familiar-type creatures being kept MARISHA: What’s the owl look like? Does it look like fucking Thaddeus? MATT: Make a perception check SAM: It’s definitely Thaddeus TALIESIN: I like that you give a side-eye to every owl we ever meet MARISHA: Fuck, it’s just perception? MATT: Yeah MARISHA: Seven MATT: It’s fine, it’s an owl, it’s not Thaddeus MARISHA: Well (Matt and Marisha laughing) MARISHA: If it was, though MATT: If it was, that’d be hilarious LIAM: It’s the Crawling King TRAVIS: (snarling) MATT: (laughs) TRAVIS: It’s gnawing at the bars TALIESIN: We’re not ready to fight that. Yeah, yeah Four more levels minimum MATT: As you’ve move through the entryway, some of the ravens start cawing for a moment The rats start squeaking, just, you know, acknowledging the arrival of something strange and new LAURA: Hold on to Sprinkle Don’t worry SAM: Leave me in one of the cages, please (laughter) MATT: You see across some of the nearby tables, chiseled and polished bones are on display, marked with runes and decorative carvings You can see a femur that has been made into some sort of a flute-like instrument TRAVIS: Ooh LAURA: Whoa MATT: The entire room smells of musky earth and mildewed leather, yet with every few steps, the smells seem to change into something else entirely This is a very surreal corner to find lost in the middle of the Court of Colors region of Rexxentrum As the birds and creatures start getting louder and louder, You can see, on the opposite end, a curtain that pulls to the side, and a figure comes out, and as it does, they all get quiet TRAVIS: Ooh, dope MATT: You see what looks to be a half-elven woman in probably her 50s or so, heavy-set with tangled, dirty blonde hair, and this wide smile of teeth that are too white for the somewhat dirty and disheveled exterior that she holds She steps forward, arms behind her back “Hello “Welcome to the Cryptic Collection “My name is Keona the Keen “Can I help you?” SAM: I love her MARISHA: Me too She’s my favorite already LIAM: Keona the King? SAM: Keana MATT: Keona the Keen LIAM: Keona the Keen TRAVIS: Well, Keona, we are first-time purveyors of your establishment MATT: “Apparently.” LAURA: Martinet Lu– he sent us. He sends his regards TRAVIS: Martinet Ludinus Da’leth MATT: “The Martinet sent you here?” SAM: He said you might have some potions and fancy magicky things for us MATT: “We just might.” She puts her arms out LAURA: What do her hands look like? MATT: Her fingers are longer than they should be for a standard half-elf Probably about an inch to an inch and a half longer They’re thin, and the nails themselves extend– SAM: Are they press-on nails? TALIESIN: Press-on fingers MATT: Yes. (laughing) TRAVIS: Are there little paintings on each of them? LIAM: Let me just call the Martinet (laughter) TRAVIS: I love that MATT: It’s a little unsettling It’s not hag level She’s not, but it’s just different and strange TRAVIS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm MATT: “So, what are you looking for? “We have a few curiosities “Times have been busy, so we’re a bit plucked clean, but…” TRAVIS: Perhaps the more rare, the better items of defense or offense MATT: “Oh.” She starts putting away a small satchel TALIESIN: I was going to talk about potions and diamonds, but what is this?

I’m going to pick up the femur and show it LAURA: I’m just drawing her in my book, like– (laughter) SAM: A hand study? MATT: “I call that a cruzela “It’s an original instrument “Let me show you.” LAURA: Ooh! MATT: She reaches out and takes it, the fingers (slurping) wrap around SAM: Ooh! MATT: Bring it back (Laura laughing) As she holds it, like, her hands don’t touch it, because her fingers have to go out far to touch, and there are number of flute holes all alongside it, and she blows in You’re expecting music, and instead this like high pitched (light screeching), this weird wail sound comes out, and as she transitions her fingers, it glides unnaturally from sound to sound You know the death whistle sound? TALIESIN: Bless you MATT: It’s not as aggressive as that, but it is not music in a classic sense It’s very unsettling TRAVIS: How much audible damage to we take? MATT: Let’s see here (laughter) And hands it back to you TALIESIN: That’s fascinating LAURA: What does it do? MATT: “It makes music.” LAURA: Oh “50 gold, if you’re interested.” TALIESIN: I’m very interested MATT: “Good, good.” (Marisha laughing) TALIESIN: What else do you got? This is exciting MATT: “Well,” she takes the satchel back up and opens it up, and there are four potions in there There’s a potion of healing, two potions of greater healing, and a potion of superior healing TRAVIS: One, two, and one MATT: Yes TALIESIN: And no diamonds, I assume, either TRAVIS: We have to ask MATT: No diamonds in that one TALIESIN: That’s fair We’re all right, just not great LAURA: Oh, oh, oh! Do you have a fancy bowl? SAM: A what? MATT: “A fancy bow?” LAURA: A fancy bowl MATT: “Bowl!” SAM: You need that? For what? MATT: “I think I can provide that “What kind of bowl are you looking for? “And diamonds I can also acquire, “though I may have to remove them from their setting, “depending on how expensive you’re looking?” TALIESIN: Well, it depends on what you got, and I, honestly, I’m still just sort of captivated with this thing What other– you seem to have taste MATT: “Thank you.” TALIESIN: I’m just curious if you got anything else so impressive just hanging around MATT: “Oh, have you got some time, then?” TALIESIN: Now I do MATT: “(laughs excitedly)” TRAVIS: Ha! Most aroused Caduceus has ever been MARISHA: Yeah, I know, yeah MATT: “The standard potion of healing is 50 gold pieces, “the greater 150, and the superiors 450 “These are prices as a friend of Ludinus’.” TRAVIS: Understood. Thank you for that LAURA: A gem-encrusted bowl A bowl with gem crusting SAM: Crusty gems MATT: “Crusty gems on a bowl? “To what worth are you looking for?” LAURA: 1000 gold MATT: “1000 “I do not have that at the moment, “but if you give me a couple days, “I can probably procure something similar.” LAURA: I think I have that much money Yeah, yeah, yeah No, I know, but I– I have a similar amount Yeah, yeah, yeah TRAVIS: Certainly take all of those healing potions It’s 114 gold each MARISHA: Done SAM: We’re all chipping in? LAURA: We’re all chipping in TALIESIN: 114? TRAVIS: Gold TALIESIN: And I’m just throw down the 50 for the flute Because I need that MATT: Go for it TALIESIN: I need that 114, that’s 164 gold But I want to see what else you got MATT: “This,” as she pulls up this small black marble about that big Sets it out, it’s a black-gray color “There was a larger set, but, “I’ve had a couple of break-ins “and had to use a few of them, but these are referred to “as beads of force “You’re unhappy with something, you throw it at it, “and it becomes not a problem for a short time.” MARISHA: How much? TRAVIS: Beads of force? SAM: Beads of force MATT: “250, but I only have one.” MARISHA: And that’s with, like, the friend deal? MATT: “Yes.” LAURA: That’s a good deal MARISHA: Yeah, I’ll take it MATT: “All right.” MARISHA: 250, is that what you said? MATT: 250 LIAM: Do you have any gemstones? Do you have any amber? MATT: “There is amber, yes, I can provide amber “How much are you looking?” LIAM: I would like five individual pieces, A minimum of 200 gold’s worth MATT: “All right.” LIAM: Roughly MATT: “That can be provided.”

She goes behind the curtain for a bit and comes back, and has in her hand, her arm and her fingers unfurl slowly, and in the palm, you can see these– they’re different sizes, but they’re all very large and polished pieces of amber Lets them cascade onto the table in front LIAM: I slide 200 gold over MATT: She scoops them in TALIESIN: If you have a 350 gold piece diamond, or a 500 gold piece diamond, or one of each, we would happily take it MATT: “I have a 350 gold piece.” TALIESIN: We’ll take it MATT: “That I can handle.” TALIESIN: You want that one? MATT: Goes and retrieves such a diamond for you It’s not cut It’s a larger diamond, but it’s uncut, which is why the price isn’t full It’s a little rough, but it’ll work for any sort of, you know, material component elements you require TALIESIN: I know you’ve got platinum, nevermind MATT: “And this is the– “this is the interesting one.” SAM: Oh MATT: “This is hard to find.” “It requires some creativity “(excited exhale),” And sets this small vial down Now this here in particular, you see in this jar, it’s a larger vial or a small jar There is this viscous, milky fluid in it that has a mercury-type movement to it, but it is a milky-white color “This is an adhesive “When it’s placed between two objects, “they bond “Forever.” LAURA: Like, if we put it, like, some on me and some on Nott, and then we stood next to each other, we went to permanently be together forever? MATT: “If you wait the minute for it to set, yes.” TRAVIS: A minute for it to set TALIESIN: Is there any way that– to– MATT: “There is “There are some other magical solvents, “like a universal solvent could perhaps remove it, “or an oil of etherealness to lose the physicality “of one such object, and there’s always a wish.” TALIESIN: That’s too mean, nevermind SAM: How much is that? TRAVIS: It takes a minute to set LAURA: But any strength and it won’t be able to pull it apart? MATT: “Impossible outside of those scenarios.” SAM: How much? LAURA: How much? MATT: “It’s only two ounces, so it’s two uses, “but it’ll run you, for the entire jar, 600 gold SAM: I’ll go halfsies with you LAURA: All my money’s going to be gone, but– SAM: I’ll just pay for the whole thing myself LAURA: That’s really good I can put in 200 for it SAM: I’ll put down four TRAVIS: Do it Pour it between your butt cheeks and never poop again (laughter) SAM: Oh, get those fingers away from me! (laughter) LAURA: You want to keep it? SAM: Sure LAURA: Okay SAM: Don’t know what we’ll use it for, but it’ll be fun LAURA: It’s going to be amazing MARISHA: It’ll present itself. It’ll be great MATT: “You have cleared me of my current “magical implements, “but I do have many other trinkets and fun things “You in particular were interested “in some of my other personal creations?” TALIESIN: Oh, this is– I’m very excited to learn how to play this This is going to be great ASHLEY: Do you have– you like making musical instruments, yes? MATT: “Oh, well that is one thing I pass my time with, yes.” ASHLEY: Do you have a Do you have a harp? (Marisha laughing) MATT: “I can make one.” ASHLEY: What can you make it out of? MATT: She looks over across the table at all the intricately carved bones that she has laid out and goes, “Out of with that.” She points to– there’s a large oxen skull with a big set of curved horns that loop around the back of it, and she points to one of the large horns coming out of the side of the skull ASHLEY: That’s actually exactly what I was hoping you could make it out of SAM: A skull harp? MATT: “It may take a couple days, but I can do it.” ASHLEY: Well, I guess you’re making– you’re coming back for the bowl, or? LAURA: Oh, well, yeah ASHLEY: But we’re probably going– TALIESIN: I would say put the order in, because there’s some back and forth and we should take a couple days to– MATT: “A commission for a creation like that would run about, “friends price, of course, as friends of Ludinus, “I’d say “100 gold pieces.” LAURA: But if we’re buying the gem-crusted bowl, though ASHLEY: What if I were to give– MATT: Make a persuasion check (chuckling) LIAM: She lives (Matt and Taliesin laughing) TALIESIN: Oh wow LAURA: No, she doesn’t MATT: Natural one? LAURA: Yep That’s, like, all I’m rolling lately MATT: I know, I’m so sorry LAURA: Like, what is happening with my dice, y’all?

TRAVIS: Maybe you just need to go down to one set Go back to basics LAURA: I’m trying to limit it TRAVIS: No, you’re not LAURA: Okay, okay, tell you what– TRAVIS: You’ve got whole generations of the families of dice over there, for fuck’s sake LAURA: Should I keep this one here, or should I just switch– TRAVIS: There’s gerrymandering going on in your portion of the table TALIESIN: I’m going to take you to the oldest church in Los Angeles LAURA: Tonight is a full moon. Maybe after the game– ASHLEY: You need to bathe them in the– LAURA: I will perform a ritual TRAVIS: The house of representatives building under the desk ASHLEY: What do you charge for adding runes or anything like that? MATT: “Oh, that’s part of the process.” ASHLEY: That’s part of the process MATT: “I don’t make creations without adorning them with art.” ASHLEY: Do you know what I’m going to do, then? I’m going to give you a little bit extra I’m going to give you 125 gold, and if there’s anything very special that you want to add to it, I’d be fine with that Any flair that you think of MATT: She takes a very long look over you entirely, between your armor, the outfit you’re wearing, the force of personality you hold and the imposing figure that you are, and looks back over to the table “I think I can improvise.” ASHLEY: Okay MATT: She accepts the gold “And you would like to commission this bowl as well?” LAURA: Uh-huh Anybody want to help me, it would help all of us for sure TALIESIN: I’ll throw in a little bit for this MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah TALIESIN: This is my favorite person I’ve met in the city so far MARISHA: We’re just bowl enthusiasts MATT: “Thank you!” TALIESIN: Thank you ASHLEY: Oh shit LAURA: You don’t have to help, because– TALIESIN: How much do you need? MARISHA: Oh, is this like an upfront thing? Or like pay when– MATT: “I will take half of the payment now “and half upon retrieval, just to ensure “that you’re not pulling my leg “Though you have proven yourselves “fair patrons.” LAURA: I’ll give her 50 platinum right now MARISHA: I’ll give her, oh, that’s half MATT: “All right.” TALIESIN: So we’ll cover the other half when it’s done MARISHA: I’ll get the other half LIAM: Hi cow man, thanks, you’re my favorite customer (laughter) ASHLEY: Hi doggie MATT: “Two days, two days, I should have “all of this ready for you.” LAURA: Okay SAM: Thank you MATT: “Thank you.” TRAVIS: Just going to have orders waiting in all these cities (laughter) Got a harp here, got some bracers over here ASHLEY: I’m just going to keep spending money and never pick up my items (laughter) TALIESIN: Standing orders across the globe MATT: Still waiting for you in Rosohna to pick up MARISHA: It’s a cross-campaign pro (laughs) MATT: It’s been about 10 weeks, which is how long the commission was going to take ASHLEY: For the? MATT: For the bracers ASHLEY: Oh, I thought you were talking about the stealthy– I was like, “I think it’s been a little bit more time.” MATT: Oh, the stealth armor? It’s almost ready Pike’ll pick that up eventually (laughter) TALIESIN: Show up, he’s like, “I haven’t even started.” (laughter) MATT: “Is that all you need from me?” SAM: I think so TALIESIN: For the moment, yeah We’ll be back MATT: “Thank you for coming to my collection “I look forward to seeing you in a few days “Good luck.” (laughter) MARISHA: Bye TRAVIS: She did that, but her arms reached around, touched her ear MATT: Well, a hand was out here TRAVIS: Oh, right MATT: All right And you guys exit back into the alleyway MARISHA: Were we supposed to be– jade, jade, jade? SAM and LAURA: What about jade? MARISHA: Are we supposed to be looking for jade? LAURA: For what? SAM: What’s jade? Whose jade? MARISHA: Right? LAURA: Why would we need jade? MARISHA: Keep going, keep going Let me remember something LAURA: (gasps) Just one, one MARISHA: Someone wanted us to find something TALIESIN: I’m here to provide SAM: All right, if we’re going to stick around Rexxentrum for two days (dice rattling) What do we need to accomplish? TALIESIN: We could go check the archive site LAURA: Or we could go to that place if it’s– oh no, it’s far away, isn’t it? LIAM: What place? LAURA: The Pride’s Call SAM: Pride Rock? LAURA: Mm-hmm TRAVIS: It is a ways away LAURA: Oh, this is a minty one No, it’s not MATT: From Rexxentrum, Pride’s Call is roughly 200 miles away MARISHA: Mm-hmm SAM: If only we could get there faster TALIESIN: I still having that conversation underneath magical duress is not the craziest idea All the cards on, some cards on the table SAM: I just don’t know why he would agree to that We know that he’s concealing stuff from us already TALIESIN: We just don’t know what he’s concealing SAM: I know, so why would he ever agree to that? TALIESIN: We would also be under it TRAVIS: Right, but it does convey a certain sense of understood distrust, and I don’t know if that’s entirely what we want to do in this position SAM: Why don’t we go back to him and say, “We don’t believe you.” TRAVIS: Thank you for yesterday Thank you for taking us to your asylum

We don’t trust you for shit TALIESIN: Well, if they had been a little bit more honest, maybe we would’ve LAURA: Yeah, but they don’t know we know that they were not TALIESIN: I think they know LAURA: Do they? TALIESIN: I don’t know, that’s why I want to ask! (laughter) LIAM: We are very certain they are using us It is obvious I agree with Fjord, I’m not sure what going back to these people who are trying to use us, and asking them how they’re using us, is going to help TALIESIN: I have a unquenchable hope that we can find one ally in this mess TRAVIS: That’s fair TALIESIN: And I don’t know any other way to do it TRAVIS: Sure, we have time to kill We could certainly ask in the morning, before we had out to Pride’s Call SAM: Wasn’t there another mission that we were also– MARISHA: That’s what I’m trying to remember And there was something– MATT: You were offered a job from Pumat SAM: Oh, that’s right MARISHA: What did he want us to find? MATT: He wanted you to find– MARISHA: Oh, basilisk oil TRAVIS: Oh, we should’ve asked Crazy Creepy Fingers if she needed anything MARISHA: Basilisk LAURA: Go back in and ask her! TRAVIS: I walk back in and knock on the– LAURA: Tell her where we’re going TRAVIS: Hello? Keona? MARISHA: I knew there was something MATT: “Back so soon?” TRAVIS: Yes, so sorry You said you had been wiped clean I know the war effort is placing a high demand on your stores Is there anything that you need procured or found or sussed out? We happen to be very handy MATT: “Hmm “Are you heading anywhere in particular?” TRAVIS: We might be heading in a southwestern direction Southwestern, southwestern MATT: “That’s extremely vague and not helpful.” TRAVIS: Yes, towards Pride’s Call Out of Rexxentrum MATT: “Could you procure me some Pride silk?” TRAVIS: Pride silk, I love Pride silk What is it? LAURA: (laughs) “What is it?” MATT: “You see, “due to the nature of the strange “geothermal nature of the mountain range “that protrudes on that side of the Valley, “some of the plant life and creatures within “are a bit different “The silkworms that have come to grow around Pride’s Call “produce a very strong silk, “specific to the region “It’s one of their greatest exports.” TRAVIS: Huh Would you be needing the silkworms, or would you need us to extract their silk? MATT: “Whichever is easiest for you.” TRAVIS: I think probably just the worms I never milked a silkworm before ASHLEY: That’s actually kind of fun MARISHA: (laughs) TALIESIN: That won’t work MATT: “Mind you, it’s a very, very controlled process “It is very important to Pride’s Call “This would not be an easy task.” TRAVIS: How much would you need? MATT: “I mean, if you can procure a worm for me, “I’ll take three.” TRAVIS: Three worms? MATT: “500 gold a worm.” MARISHA: Whoa! Let’s get some worms! TRAVIS: Sure We will do our best MATT: “All right.” TRAVIS: Anything else? MATT: “No.” TRAVIS: How long have you been in Rexxentrum? MATT: “Me?” TRAVIS: Yes MATT: “Oh, maybe 40 years.” TRAVIS: Family business, is it? MATT: “No, just my own “I’m what you would call the odd duck in the family.” TRAVIS: Can’t imagine why TALIESIN: Just for fun, I’m going to let Eyes of the Grave roll for a second in this room, just to give a little peek around MATT: (laughs) Nothing registers TALIESIN: I’m relieved and disappointed at the same time MATT: (laughs) TRAVIS: Well, I hope when we see you next, we come bearing gifts MATT: “I hope so, too.” TRAVIS: Toodle-oo! It is just as creepy the second time MATT: (laughs) ASHLEY: She reminds me of home TRAVIS: She what? ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, right? TALIESIN: That’s weird TRAVIS: What do you mean? In what way? SAM: What home? What? ASHLEY: I don’t know TALIESIN: She’s so crafty ASHLEY: She seemed crafty TALIESIN: I’m always impressed by someone who’s like, scrapbooking LAURA: Did you know somebody with long fingers? ASHLEY: No, just like how she is, and making things, and arts and crafts with bones You know? TALIESIN: You can do a lot ASHLEY: It’s cool LAURA: I wonder if she’s from Xhorhas ASHLEY: Maybe I’ll ask her when we come back TRAVIS: If we can acquire three silkworms from near Pride’s Call, she’ll give us 500 gold per worm

LAURA: Oh, they must be really hard to kill, then MATT: History check for both of you guys TALIESIN: Or they’re the size of horses LAURA: Yeah TRAVIS: (laughs) LAURA: No, yeah ASHLEY: I was going to say, they’re probably huge TRAVIS: Like a bus LIAM: Natural 20 for a total of 30 TRAVIS: (drawn out) Ooh! Tell me everything MARISHA: 26 TALIESIN: Nothing like the shopping episode to run natural 20s right there Burn them all now MATT: Pride’s silk is the most prominent, expensive, and controlled export of Pride’s Call Only a handful of families procure it, and they guard those silkworms, which, by the way, are about the size of a fist, like they are the goose that laid the golden egg, because in a lot of ways, they are, and a lot of people outside that try and take them disappear LIAM: So a few families from that region got it on lock MATT: Yeah LIAM: Okay MATT: And the theft of taking these is very much against the law They are legally owned by these families, and there’s agreed upon, part of the whole Pride’s Call coming into the Empire was an agreement that they would also give a certain amount of this silk to the Empire for its own uses, taking a tithe of what they’re creating, but it is very much, you know, like, the banner of the town So if there is an intent to take them, it’s not going to be easy And definitely not legal TALIESIN: This is stealing horses MATT: Yeah TALIESIN: This is like horse theft, okay TRAVIS: Is it the law, or is it more of a suggestion? MATT: Very much the law TRAVIS: Meh! LAURA: (laughs) TALIESIN: All right, horse wrangling SAM: I’m not sure why we would need to go to Pride’s Call I mean, what are we trying to find there? TRAVIS: Well, they said that there was an archeological dig MARISHA: That’s where they found the beacon SAM: That’s fake TRAVIS: Potentially MARISHA: I mean, we don’t know TALIESIN: Seems like an awful lot of work to prove that we already know that they’re lying SAM: I want to find your friend Astrid MARISHA: Why? SAM: Weren’t you curious about her? LIAM: Maybe LAURA: She did say to meet her SAM: She gave us her address We could at least swing by and see if she’s home MARISHA: I mean, that also feels like a trap though, right? SAM: No, she doesn’t know who we are LAURA: Now Trent already knows we’re here, it’s not like he’s going to like, suddenly surprise us when we get to her house or something TRAVIS: That’s true LAURA: Do you want to see her? LIAM: I don’t want to go over there a big group of us SAM: Well, just a couple, then? Just to spy a little bit? TRAVIS: Just stay outside, if you wanted to check in LAURA: Just to make sure you’re safe SAM: You and I could turn invisible LIAM: No SAM: Just look through the window LIAM: I would rather not LAURA: Okay SAM: You want to send me? LIAM: No, I don’t want to poke that nest TRAVIS: All right Well, if we’re not going to Pride’s Call, and we need to kill a few days Should we enter a fighting tournament? (laughter) MATT: Yes! (laughter) Fuck yes TRAVIS: Does such a thing exist in this town? MATT: I can make one TRAVIS: Because I feel like, suddenly overnight, I feel a bit more me I don’t know, and perhaps we need to just, you know, mix it up Punch me Oh, fuck, no, ah! MATT: (laughs) MARISHA: I will take any opportunity, any I don’t know why TALIESIN: A couple days to maybe burn some spells, prepare, see what I can– MATT: You guys can take downtime. You don’t have to like– TALIESIN: Couple days of just downtime might just be a good thing to do TRAVIS: I want a fighting tournament LAURA: (laughs) MATT: There isn’t a public one here TRAVIS: Fuck MATT: If you wanted to take some downtime to inquire about like any underground fight rings, you can definitely take that as part of your downtime activity MARISHA: Fight club! ASHLEY: Yeah TRAVIS: Yeah MARISHA: I’m into that MATT: Okay MARISHA: I don’t know, okay, totally into fight club, but also if we’re taking a few days, whether we know they’re lying out their fucking asses or not, right, it still seems like we should try to find more information, right? Like something? SAM: Yeah! MARISHA: I don’t know how or what or why TRAVIS: You could check in on the temple and see how the investigation is going? MARISHA: I could check back in. I haven’t really spent any amount of real time with the Cobalt Soul here in Rexxentrum, so I could check in with them LAURA: Mm-hmm MARISHA: The Soul is supposed to act as a checks and balance system between the Cerberus Assembly

They’re supposed to make sure that all of the information that they’re holding doesn’t belong as public knowledge But TRAVIS: What do you mean? They don’t want what the Cerberus Assembly knows to be public knowledge? MARISHA: No, they, you know, the Cobalt Soul, they believe in keeping knowledge and having like a public access to knowledge, and often that the hoarding of knowledge can be deemed as dangerous So, right? MATT: Mm-hmm TRAVIS: Do you know if the Cobalt Soul has ever interfered at a high level with the Cerberus Assembly? MARISHA: Do I know if the (mumbling)? I feel like– MATT: Roll a history check MARISHA: Dairon has mentioned something like this to me MATT: Dairon has, just roll a history check SAM: Also, just a side note If we’re honestly just wasting two days, why don’t we just go to the Bright Queen now, and then come back in two days? MARISHA: Natural 20 TALIESIN: We may not be able to come back in two days SAM: Why not? We can teleport whenever we want TALIESIN: Because things may happen there MARISHA: I’m assuming that, right The little moon? The moon is a symbol? MATT: Often The Cobalt Soul and the Cerberus Assembly have worked in an antagonistic lockstep for the better part of a century, or really since the inception of the Cerberus Assembly They do not outwardly show aggression towards each other, but it’s very much a political chess game, and as such, very much have maintained a checks and balances in each point They have done, on both sides, what they can to curb the influence the other has when it’s inconvenient, and prevented one or the other from achieving internal goals that went against the needs and wants of their own faction They do work together out of necessity, publicly, and behind the scenes It’s very much a relationship of frustrated convenience at times, and other times very much a subversive antagonism MARISHA: I relay all of that TRAVIS: Some complicated shit MARISHA: Yeah, I mean, the thing that first started getting me on board with the Cobalt Soul was when they were like, “Yeah, we root out corruption “in places like the government and Cerberus Assembly,” and then I was like, “Whoa, but aren’t you, “like, an organization, and aren’t all organizations “prone to, like, corruption?” And they were like– MATT: You rolled a natural 20, correct? MARISHA: Yes MATT: You do know, a recent historical event in which the Cobalt Soul was responsible for rooting out illegal, magical experimentations that a member of the Cerberus Assembly was accomplishing about 25, 26 years ago, by the name of Dr. Anna Ripley, who was then ousted from the Assembly and escaped punishment SAM: Ooh TRAVIS: I’m sorry Okay LAURA: Anna Ripley was in the Assembly? SAM: Whoa MATT: My apologies Delilah Briarwood LAURA: (gasps) SAM: Oh LAURA: Delilah Briarwood! TRAVIS and MARISHA: Was in the Assembly? LIAM: Yeah, that’s been mentioned at this table before MATT: Yeah Working on the animated series right now My brain crossed paths on that one Delilah Briarwood was a member of the Assembly And it was the Cobalt Soul that uncovered her necromantic experimentation MARISHA: Right Yeah, this like weird fucking vampirey woman, I don’t know TRAVIS: Cool MARISHA: Yeah TRAVIS: All right You were saying about a two day wait? SAM: No, I’m fine to just wait two days, but if we’re not going to do anything, why don’t we just go to talk to the Bright Queen now, and come back? LIAM: Well, I’ll tell you why Because we need to be here for two days so that I can split off on my own and go to, without telling any of you, 31st Wodestone Manor SAM: Got it TALIESIN: I also want to cast Commune every day for– I have a few questions, so MATT: Okay Well, hold onto those thoughts LAURA: Oh MATT: Because it is 11:00 MARISHA: Yeah MATT: And we’ll take a week to gather your thoughts on the things you want to achieve when we come back next Thursday MARISHA: Fuck! TRAVIS: Please train me to be a badass fighter in underground basement clubs MATT: Sorry about the mix-up there about the Ripley-Delilah thing MARISHA: No, no, no, that’s fine That’s awesome MATT: But, go ahead and make notes there

We’ll pick up next week, and see how you guys spend your preparation downtime, or however you’d want to spend it, next Thursday, before we head off to the holidays (chuckles) Well, Anna Ripley was part of, did work with the government Which is where my confusion came from She worked with the Dwendalian Empire and was ousted for illegal experimentation SAM: Whoa MATT: They met in Port Damali after both escaping their own, like, at separate times– TRAVIS: Delilah and Anna Ripley did? MATT: Yeah TALIESIN: Anna had her own knock off list, too MATT: Yep LAURA: Oh, that’s right MATT: King Dwendal was on her list LAURA: That’s right, that’s right, I remember that TRAVIS: 11:00 things MATT: Mm-hmm So yeah, so, yeah That’s how they met in Port Damali and aligned themselves, they were like, “Fuck the Empire, fuck these people, “we got skills, let’s work together.” TALIESIN: Suddenly, I like the Empire a little bit more, but only a little (laughter) Only a little MATT: Well, cool Thank you guys so much, good game We’ll pick up from there next week Thank you guys for coming along with us on this leg of the adventure We’ll see you next week Don’t forget, we love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night (cheering) (dramatic music)