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Pre-Show[]

AABRIA: Hello, and welcome to episode three of Exandria Unlimited. I am your GM Aabria Iyengar, and with me are the coolest kids ever. I will let them introduce themselves. Let's start with Robbie.

ROBBIE: Cool. That's a lot of pressure.

AABRIA: Look at that hat, though!

ROBBIE: I know-- M'lady. (laughter)

LIAM: Oh, you ruined it.

ROBBIE: I did it.

AABRIA: I quit.

ROBBIE: I did it.

ASHLEY: Yes!

ROBBIE: My name is Robbie Daymond and I am playing the air genasi bard, Dorian Storm.

LIAM: Hi, I am Liam O'Brien, and I am playing the halfling I was always meant to be, Orym of the Air Ashari. Commence with pitch shifting. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I am Ashley Johnson, and I am playing a faun druid named Fearne Calloway.

AIMEE: Yeah, you are.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: Hi, I'm Matthew Mercer. I am playing the dwarf sorcerer named Dariax.

AIMEE: Hi! I'm Aimee Carrero and I'm playing Opal, the one-named hexblade warlock. No last name. Get into it. (laughter)

AABRIA: Amazing. And because these episodes are pre-taped, we're going to throw it to our good, good friend, Comfy Matt in the future for any relevant announcements. Take it away, Cozy Matt!

MATT: Thank you, Aabria. Now this episode is sponsored by our friends at Ravensburger and the new Taco Bell Party Pack card game. This fast, easy-to-learn game is perfect for a casual game night with family, friends, and puppers, and comes in a fun party-pack style box with an easy carrying handle. Make a Taco Bell run and gather crunchy tacos, bean burritos, and more to feed your crew. Supreme super fans, happier hour heroes, drive-through divas, and more. Check out this fun game now at bitly/tacobellgame and thanks to Ravensburger for supporting the show. And, as always, you can visit Ravensburger's Twitter page @ravensburgerna for a chance to win a copy of the game and a Taco Bell gift card. (laughs) Isn't that right, Omar? This episode is also sponsored by Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, the strategy management video game uniting iconic characters from novels, campaigns, and popular shows into one epic adventure. You start with characters like Bruenor Battlehammer from R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels, and unlock additional champions through adventures and events like Drizzt Do'Urden, your favorite character, Omar. Idle Champions is available now for PC and Mac on Steam, Epic Games Store, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and all Android devices. Find out more and download the game right now for free at idlechampions.com/criticalrole, I love you, buddy. And enter the code deek-inco-bold in the in-game shop to unlock Deekin Scalesinger, the famous kobold bard of the Neverwinter Nights games. He's so excited, he's jumping out of his outfit. Thank you so much for joining us live on Twitch and YouTube. (laughing) To join in our live and moderated community chat, please head over to our Twitch channel. Also, our latest episode of Crit Recap Animated, covering the Mighty Nine's adventures between Campaign 2, episodes 26 to 35, is available now on YouTube, narrated by our very own Lore Keeper. If you missed it, be sure to check it out right here during the break tonight. I think Omar's done and that's it. Back to you, Aabria.

AABRIA: Wow, Matt, you sure do look comfy, and those braids look amazing on you. You should keep it around. I like it. Anyway, with all that said, I think we're ready to dive into the next part of our story. So let's begin tonight's episode of Exandria Unlimited.

(dramatic music)

Part I[]

AABRIA: So, we begin again, pockets full to bursting with loot first pilfered at the behest of, and then from an organization known only as the Nameless Ones. You all managed through violence and a frankly upsetting amount of sexual charisma from Opal to make it out of the southern gates of the city and make your way to the southeast, to the Scar of the Cinder King and the Flamereach Outpost. There, you met with Lorkathar, a Fire Ashari, known to you, Orym. You were able to reconnect, ask some questions, get literally zero answers, and before anything else could happen, a massive earthquake hit, and a ash-blown mesa rose up out of the ground, dominated the skyline, and you, along with some of the other firetamers went to explore what new landscape there was. At the center of it all, you found a massive, burning sigil that I just remembered exactly right now that you all named an ash hole. (laughter) Got real sad about it.

AIMEE: I forgot that.

AABRIA: I forgot. And I didn't see it coming. So that's on me.

ROBBIE: I failed to see-- (laughter)

AABRIA: Found it, had a little bit of a scuffle with ya boy, Mister. But he's okay now, and you made your way back to the Flamereach Outpost where you're able to sleep off your sundry levels of exhaustion. Lorkathar has asked you to find out the meaning of that sigil, to the person that she knows would have the best chance of knowing what that rune could possibly mean. And she has asked you to return to the dangers of the city in order to find her good friend and Runechild, Shaun Gilmore. So! It's a new day and getting colder. What do you all want to do?

LIAM: So we're on the edge of where we met the Ashari.

AABRIA: Yep.

LIAM: Okay. Well, we don't need to burn any daylight, do we?

AIMEE: So we're going back, back, back into the city. After, after I last left someone tied up, we're just going to do that?

MATT: I mean, good news is, it's a pretty big city. So we just enter from a different gate.

LIAM: Different gate?

AIMEE: Should we change our hair?

ASHLEY: Ooh.

AIMEE: Do you know what I mean? Like--

ASHLEY: Just have a little, different type of a look.

AIMEE: Yeah. Throw 'em off.

ROBBIE: I'm down for an updo. Yeah.

AIMEE: Oh yeah. That would look great on you.

ROBBIE: It'd be a little-- thank you.

ASHLEY: You look very different.

ROBBIE: Thank you.

MATT: Just slick it back, a little more business oriented. All right, yeah. I can pull that off. Respectful.

ROBBIE: First order of the day: everyone changed their hair. (laughter)

AABRIA: This is my perfect game, thank you.

AIMEE: Opal does a nice French braid.

ASHLEY: Ooh.

ROBBIE: I'll do a nice-- (laughs) I'll do a nice, sloppy man bun right on top.

AABRIA: Yes, good.

ROBBIE: Real messy, real messy.

AIMEE: This bun.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm. Oh yeah, pretty close!

ASHLEY: Oh.

LIAM: I don't know, guys.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: I mean, I can wet it, push it down to one side. It's less than an inch long, so--

ASHLEY: I could cut some of mine off and we could put it on top of your head.

AIMEE: Nice wig.

MATT: That's true.

LIAM: What would that look like?

MATT: Let's find out.

ASHLEY: Probably look beautiful.

LIAM: Do you think that would be more conspicuous or less?

ASHLEY: Oh.

AIMEE: Less.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: All right. I trust you.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh boy, I don't know if I have any scissors.

AABRIA: Don't worry, I'll make you roll in a second for--

ASHLEY: I'll try to just trim--

AIMEE: Oh, you can use one of my daggers.

ASHLEY: (gasp) There we go. Here, can you trim some off?

AABRIA: You can have scissors. I will give you scissors.

AIMEE: Wait, because I'm going to ask for something in a second, so just hold that.

AABRIA: Okay, tight, tight, tight. That's on me, baby bird, go ahead. (laughter)

AIMEE: May Opal have some hair glue? Or glue of any--

AABRIA: Wait, what?

AIMEE: I don't know! She might have some. She's got to lay this hair down.

AABRIA: Hold on. Now we have to get into this. What is Opal's haircare regimen? Does she have some gel for her, like, edges?

AIMEE: Yeah, her little baby hairs.

AABRIA: Yeah, okay! You know what?

AIMEE: But it's very sticky, so it could act as a hair glue situation.

AABRIA: I'll allow it. She knows a baby hairs are.

AIMEE: Great.

MATT: 15 minutes.

AIMEE: Great.

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: Just don't sweat.

AIMEE: Opal pulls out, you know, a very stinky hair product. Smells, like anybody who's ever smelled hair glue knows.

AABRIA: It's called sovereign glue, but it's spelled differently, so it's not the actual like--

AIMEE: Smells like ash hole.

ASHLEY: Yes.

AIMEE: And just maybe, like, I don't know, just like--

ASHLEY: Pepper it on?

AIMEE: Peppers it on. So there's long hair and your hair.

AABRIA: How much of your hair did you cut off?

ASHLEY: Just like an inch. I mean, it's so long.

AIMEE: Yeah, it's just a trim

ASHLEY: Just extra, a trim.

AIMEE: A little trim.

ASHLEY: And now it's like, you have a sea-foam green, minty sort of-- Opal did a wonderful job.

AABRIA: I have got to get a performance check.

ASHLEY: Can I assist?

AABRIA: Yeah, roll with advantage!

AIMEE: Okay. Oh. ♪ Eee ♪ 17. I'm okay if it doesn't look great, though. I'm okay with that.

LIAM: Oh good. (laughter)

AIMEE: Because I'm picturing like a--

AABRIA: No, okay, you just paint me a word picture of what it looks like, and I will change one detail.

AIMEE: Have you ever seen anyone who has a fresh hair transplant? (laughter)

ROBBIE: Like plugs or the good stuff?

AIMEE: Pl-- I don't know the difference. (laughter)

LIAM: Well, if it's the good stuff, you don't know you're seeing it.

ROBBIE: That's true.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that's true.

ROBBIE: Okay, plugs. Bad plugs.

AIMEE: Bad plugs, but Opal thinks it looks great. So some of it's longer than the-- you know. She's not-- She can do her own hair, but it's something else doing someone else's hair.

AABRIA: Okay. It's pretty good. Like, unless someone gets in, like-- If you keep moving a little bit, you're all right.

AIMEE: Yeah.

LIAM: So my less than an inch long hair--

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: -- my almost a crew cut, now has sea-foam colored hair.

AABRIA: I think it's a sea-foam, like, it's a minty wave situation.

LIAM: How long is it now?

AIMEE: An inch. Right?

LIAM: An extra inch?

AIMEE and ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: Okay. So you frosted my tips.

AIMEE: Yes, correct.

AABRIA: (dry heaves)

AIMEE: Correct. Think like, think like--

LIAM: ♪ Every morning! ♪

AIMEE: -- 1998.

AIMEE: Oh yeah. Sugar Ray. Sugar Ray.

AABRIA: Oh no!

LIAM: Am I the halfling Sugar Ray?!

AIMEE and AABRIA: Yes!

ROBBIE: Oh, that's great.

AIMEE: Mark, Mark McGrath?

MATT: It looks great. I don't think any of us brought any mirrors, but trust us. It's fantastic.

ASHLEY: It looks really good.

AABRIA: But it's not quite right, so it's more like Narc McGrath. Like, you're just not quite--

AIMEE: Don't do drugs around Narc McGrath! He will tell!

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

AABRIA: Okay. So you're looking funky fresh. Are the rest of you, just-- You have a braid. Do you think that's enough to pass unnoticed?

AIMEE: I mean, she thinks so.

AABRIA: Tight. I love it. Okay. Lorkathar comes into the room in this encampment that's been designated for your group, gives you all--

AIMEE: It's us!

AABRIA: "Yeah."

AIMEE: Betcha couldn't tell!

AABRIA: "Yeah."

ASHLEY: He looks very different.

LIAM: I don't know. I'm just with them.

AABRIA: Please make an insight check.

LIAM: That is a 10.

AABRIA: You, having grown up around druids, know that their intense commands of their, like, their emotions. She's just holding it. She's holding in the biggest, meanest bark of a laugh, but you can see it in her eyes, and you can just see this, like, I'm doing it for you. And I'm not-- (grunts)

LIAM: I, uh-- (laughter) I just gingerly feel the connection point, and I use my single, single druid cantrip, Druidcraft, to create a thin, little, ivy wreath. like you would see in an ancient Roman piece of art to mask the subpar joining area.

AIMEE: That's great.

AABRIA: We love hiding a hairline. That's good.

AIMEE: Like the LeBron, like-- (laughter)

AABRIA: Inspiration. (laughter) And she gives you a little nod. "Okay, if there's nothing else you need from me, good luck getting back into the city, and give Shaun my regards." And she just stops making eye contact with you at that point.

MATT: Thank you very much for your help and good luck with your ash hole. (laughter)

AABRIA: And as she coughs and tries to bury her laughter, she walks out.

ROBBIE: To clarify, just remind me, I'm sorry.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: We didn't fix anything up there, right?

AABRIA: Nothing's fixed, no.

ROBBIE: Like we, for as far as we know, the sigil's still up there. There's still raining ash. There's still this bizarre plateau on the horizon.

AABRIA: Hundo P.

ROBBIE: Okay.

MATT: Heroes.

ROBBIE: Okay.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Heroes, got it.

AABRIA: She-- So basically, Lorkathar is the highest ranked druid in the group and is like, "I have no idea what that is. Please go find someone that's smarter than me and let them know what's up."

ROBBIE: Yeah. I was just trying to remember if our interactions up there actually did anything.

AABRIA: Yeah. (laughs)

ROBBIE: Okay. Got it.

LIAM: We tinkered with it. Things happened. We gained no understanding.

ROBBIE: Right. Yeah.

AABRIA: I'm a good GM. Keep going.

MATT: All right. Anything else we need?

ASHLEY: Um-- I don't think so. Oh, Dorian, thank you so much for talking Mister off of the edge. I was really nervous to lose him.

ROBBIE: I know. It was more of a Mister whisper, but I did my best. I'm glad he's back with you. I know you care about him deeply.

ASHLEY: I do. And it means a lot that you did that.

ROBBIE: Well, thank you for saying thank you.

ASHLEY: You're welcome. (deep sigh)

ROBBIE: We do know we're probably going to be murdered as soon as we walk into the city, right?

MATT: Yeah, no, I mean, like, I'm very upfront with all of you about that variable fact. So let's just, you know, stick to open streets.

LIAM: Maybe we'll luck out at another gate, like you said. I think that's a good idea.

ASHLEY: Open streets is the way to go.

LIAM: Broad daylight.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Broad daylight.

MATT: Broad daylight. Try not to get too lost in a crowd. Maybe. Kind of easy to, you know--

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: Shiv you in the side.

ROBBIE: Dariax, do you still have the cloak?

MATT: Oh yeah, no, I got this.

ROBBIE: What if, just assuming that your beautiful wig and my bun and your braid and your fur aren't enough, what if we created a distraction?

AIMEE: (gasp) Ooh.

ROBBIE: What if you dressed as something that distracted them and draw their attention away from us

MATT: I, got-- Yeah, yeah, yeah! I know just the thing.

ROBBIE: I knew you would! What have you got in mind?

MATT: I'll show you when we get there.

LIAM: Oh, it'd be so helpful to know in advance. (laughter)

MATT: But where's the fun in that? Trust me, she's very distracting. I dated her for a while. It'll work out great.

AIMEE: Oh wow.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: And on that amazing note. Yeah. You guys take off and head back, and we're just going to elide that trip. Nothing bad happens and you are standing outside. Okay. So let me just break down Emon a little bit for you. You left out of the southern gate and you know that Abdar's Promenade is like, on the eastern side of the city. So the eastern gate will lead you right into the southern tip of it. Do you want to head for the shortest possible path to get to Gilmore's Glorious Goods, or do you want to try to enter some other part of the city?

LIAM: Well, my knowledge of the city, isn't great, so I wouldn't know-- what would be saving us from more trouble or not, other than repeating going through the same place we left from.

MATT: Yeah, to that degree, I guess, from what little bit I've dabbled in some of the seedier elements of the city, would I have an idea of which areas were probably the most hit or patrolled at the very least, outside of where we exited?

AABRIA: Yeah. So Abdar's Pro-- you know what? We'll make you roll for it. Give me a history check.

MATT: Oh, perfect. Yeah! First roll of the night. That's a zero.

ASHLEY: Oh, what?

AIMEE: Wait, what?

MATT: Natural one minus one!

ASHLEY: Oh wow.

MATT: Forget I said anything.

AABRIA: I love this game so much. (laughter) I don't even know what to do with this. It's such a gift.

LIAM: This game, you can drop the most grandiloquent speech and then just have, hear the whomp whomp.

AIMEE: (sad trombone noises)

AABRIA: You go back and think about everything you know about the city. And you know, like, you know, that going through the eastern gate has got to be the safest way because you don't go through the Slums, and the Slums is usually where, like, thieves would hang out. So--

AIMEE: Hmm.

MATT: No, it's valid point, folks. Trust me. (laughs) As your local specialist on all things sort of, you know, under the belt, if you know what I mean.

ASHLEY: Of course.

MATT: That came out wrong, but you know what I mean.

ASHLEY: I understand.

MATT: We'll just go ahead, east gate. East gate. We'll be good. We'll be good. Distraction now? Distraction later? What're we doing?

LIAM: I think maybe, yeah, not when we're in the city, but we go in separate and whatever you're going to do, I assume is going to make a big stink, and draw in all the attention that eyes would have there, and we go in quick and nondescript while that's going on.

MATT: Does it got to stink, too?

AABRIA: Heh.

AIMEE: Hmm?

MATT: Does it have to stink as well?

AIMEE: Well, I have more glue.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: You see Mister is reaching behind him, ready to help.

ASHLEY: Mister can help with the stink.

ROBBIE: It can smell however you want, Dariax.

ASHLEY and AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Hmm.

AABRIA: Mister's giving you a look, like--

MATT: Not today, Mister. Not today.

AABRIA: Hands up. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: I'm just going to slow nod.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Re-holsters his poo?

ASHLEY: He holsters his poo.

AABRIA: He's ready.

AIMEE: No!

AABRIA: A tumbleweed just rolls by you.

ASHLEY: Yes!

MATT: All right, so--

ASHLEY: My boy!

MATT: Before we go into this, I know we haven't been, you know, all up in the planning thing so much, but we're getting into some weeds now. So I think it's important we come in there with some semblance of a close plan together. That's how we stay alive when dealing with people that are really good at planning.

ASHLEY: (sigh) Okay.

AIMEE: Okay.

ROBBIE: You're the streetwise one. We'll follow your lead.

MATT: Exactly. So what are we planning?

ASHLEY: Okay.

AIMEE: Well we're supposed to meet Shaun Gilmore?

MATT: Right, we're going to Gilmore.

AIMEE: Okay. That's first.

MATT: Correct. So on the way to get to Gilmore's place, I'm creating a distraction. What are you doing?

AIMEE: Uh--

ASHLEY: Maybe we just walk right in behind you.

MATT: Like a posse?

ASHLEY: You create the distraction, and then we'll just walk right in and I'm sure your distraction will be glorious. And we will just waltz right past.

ROBBIE: Yeah. It's all on you.

AIMEE: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: I don't know. Is that a bad plan?

AIMEE: No, I like it.

LIAM: No, that sounds good. I think we wait for sort of medium traffic going into the city. If there were a cart going in, maybe we could walk alongside and you angle off on your own a little bit, and then just go big or go home, you know?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: The old cart-hide.

MATT: All righty. All righty. Let's see what else I probably need for this. Anybody have any, like, streamers? Ribbons?

ASHLEY: I have all of the ribbons. I start untying some ribbons from my ankles, from my everywhere, ribbons in here--

AABRIA: Roll 2d10 for me.

ASHLEY: Okay. What does the 10 look like? Oh yeah. Okay. Seven total.

AABRIA: She's got, like, a good seven meters of ribbon. You don't know how, just-- coming off, just everywhere.

MATT: All right, all right. Perfect, perfect. No, this'll work great. It's not quite a shiny as the original, but it'll work for what we need. All right. Perfect. Thank you. You still got those scissors?

AIMEE: Yes. Oh, we used the daggers. Did we use daggers? Scissors?

AABRIA: Yeah, you told me not to give you some scissors.

MATT: Sorry!

AIMEE: Well, I've got my daggers.

ASHLEY: It's very sharp. It'll work.

MATT: Mind if I borrow it? All righty. You mind if I trim a little?

ASHLEY: No, go for it. I have much more where that came from.

MATT: I'm just going to and cut the ribbon into two.

AABRIA: The moment you touched the dagger, can you give me a quick arcana check?

MATT: Sure.

AABRIA: Cool.

MATT: That would be five.

AABRIA: They're so sparkly. Continue. (laughter)

MATT: This is gorgeous. Like, fine make. It's got some decent balance to it. I love the pearlescent handle to it.

AIMEE: Thanks.

MATT: Where'd you get this done?

AIMEE: Well, I had it made special, and, you know, I used a little bit of my, like, inheritance for it. My sister was kind of mad at me, but anyway, it's so cute. Worth it.

AABRIA: Dariax, you hear a little (throat clear)-- And it sounds as though it's over your shoulder.

MATT: (grunts)

AIMEE: Ooh, should really clean your ears.

MATT: I really have never, so I should. Here, I go ahead and cut the ribbon.

AIMEE: Thank you.

MATT: Thank you very much. All right. Let me know when we're ready to go.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Guess we'll chill by a tree for a bit, and wait for a, I don't know, a caravan to go in, and just sort of walk along.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: The outside of it?

AABRIA: You probably don't wait more than 10 minutes before a big group of covered wagons come in, and you can fall into step with a solid dozen people crossing into the city. The gates open immediately. There's no guard interaction, other than the fact that you see four guards up on the towers, and then two that are standing by the doors, ushering people in.

ASHLEY: Okay. Is it time?

LIAM: Yeah. Let's move. As we go in, keeping one eye on Dariax, I'm also going to just look around the city streets and see if there's anybody eyeballing us.

AABRIA: Perfect. Give me a perception check.

LIAM: Mm. Nine.

AABRIA: With a nine. The moment you look into the city square past the gates, it's just a miasma of humanity, and you're not able to see anything in particular that would give you pause, but there are plenty of cloaked figures, and people that are bundled up. It's chilly and getting chillier, so--

LIAM: Big city.

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

AIMEE: Okay. Just pretend I said something funny. (fake laughter)

AIMEE: Do the thing.

MATT: Oh now? I quickly tie the ribbons to my wrists while they're laughing a lot longer than they intended to probably, to try and cover for it (fake laughter)

MATT: I go ahead and take the cloak and whisk it around me and where once you saw Dariax, as the cloak shimmers around and dissipates, you see, a-- voluptuous, half-elf girl, about five, five and a half feet tall, blonde hair that is pulled up and drifts off the top in an "I Dream of Jeannie" type style, a jacket of just glittering, silver sparkles to a bell sleeve out at where the ribbons now hang off of. You see these very pointed shoulder pads off to the side. They're very late 80's, Delta Burke style,

AABRIA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: Delta Burke.

MATT: With all of these very glittering silks that drift off, midriff showing, has a belly dancer or burlesque visual vibe to it. But just this extremely loud outfit with makeup that is just done up to the nines. We're talking it is hard not to be drawn to it out of beauty or confusion. And as that transition happens, he looks over-- (sultry voice with vocal fry) Hi.

AABRIA: And the first person to meet your eyes is the caravan you've fallen in step with as a salted meat trader just looks at you.

MATT: Do you mind if we, like, stay here?

AABRIA: And literally stops in his tracks.

MATT: Oh my god. You're so nice. Thank you so much. All right, everyone, let's go.

LIAM: Just so I can fully appreciate the wonder of this moment, are we hearing Dariax's voice doing this?

AABRIA: Yes.

AIMEE: Oh!

LIAM: Yeah, yeah. That's what I was hoping for. I just want to be sure.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. He's not a great impressionist.

AABRIA: Yeah! Hold on! Performance check.

MATT: Or, we'll find out. (laughs) Seven.

LIAM: I just wanted to be sure there was no magical masking which there isn't.

AABRIA: Yeah. There is no magical masking. Having said that, you do see a leaf, the trees that you were hovering behind before you fell in with the caravan, like a single, tiny green leaf drifts across and lands on her shoulder, that's much higher than Dariax's shoulder. That's the trick of this cloak that the object interaction is there though the vocal masking isn't. So you can still hear Dariax, but there's a lot happening, and you're getting into it and get lost in it.

AIMEE: Okay. This is crazy, but like, I feel like I've seen you perform before. Were you in Byroden at any point in the last 10 years?

MATT: I mean, she probably was, at some point. She moved all around the place.

AIMEE: I feel like I've seen her.

MATT: Tharla Starr. We were a thing for a hot minute.

ASHLEY: Thyla Starr?

MATT: Yeah, incredible burlesque dancer. She toured mostly through western Tal'Dorei, got a couple months that were kind of wild, but then just didn't work out.

ASHLEY: She's lovely.

MATT: She's a lot.

AIMEE: Starstruck.

ROBBIE: Dariax!

MATT: What?

LIAM: So the distraction is happening when?

ROBBIE: Go through-- Yes, thank you, Orym! Thank you!

ASHLEY: Oh yes, we should go.

AIMEE: Sorry.

MATT: Start walking with the ribbons like this, and just doing twirls and making this just a whole display. (laughter and clapping)

AABRIA: The guards are gobsmacked as you just walk in, and eyes are on you. Give me a-- What do I want this check to be? Persuasion? I just want to see how much attention you can command from this part.

MATT: I can technically use my Thaumaturgy to make my voice boom three times, so if you've ever heard a vocal fry at three times volume--

AIMEE: No!

ASHLEY: Oh my god. (laughter)

MATT: Pass by the guards like: (as Tharla) Oh my god, hi. (laughter)

AABRIA: That "Hi," rumbles pebbles on the ground.

AIMEE: Oh god.

MATT: Persuasion, you said?

AABRIA: Yeah. Oh my god.

MATT: There we go!

AABRIA: I'll give you advantage because you used your Thaumaturgy. I don't even know what happening anymore.

MATT: 20! (laughs) (laughter)

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: And that like, "(vocal fry) Hi," echoes through, and you see a solid two-thirds of the square just turns and snaps in your direction. There are easily 150 people just staring at you right now. Riveted.

ROBBIE: Too much distraction. Too much distraction!

ASHLEY: Ribbons. (laughter) The streamers.

MATT: Just going, the streamers.

ASHLEY: A figure eight.

MATT: (as Tharla) Oh my god, your city is so cute. All of you. Thank you for having me.

LIAM: I see Opal just transfixed on the road, and I just tug her at the knee of her pants, I'm like: Come on, come on, come on, come on. We're splitting off.

AIMEE: Wait, no, but I want to see her perform.

LIAM: We can have him do it later.

AIMEE: Okay. Fuh--

AABRIA: Okay. So with that, I want everyone to give me, not you, give me a stealth check with advantage to try to peel off in the opposite direction--

LIAM: Yes.

AABRIA: -- of Dariax. Dariax, please take inspiration. That's--

MATT: (laughs) I don't know where this came from.

AABRIA: This wild, just high Lady Gaga just rolled into the game and I'm here for it.

ASHLEY: I rolled once because I have disadvantage on stealth.

AABRIA: Yep.

ASHLEY: So yeah, one time.

LIAM: Always?

ASHLEY: Five total.

LIAM: Always?

ASHLEY: I have disadvantage on stealth.

AABRIA: Yeah. Oop.

LIAM: Okay. Oh because-- (clicks tongue)

ASHLEY: Yeah, I think so.

AABRIA: That's so many cobblestones!

ASHLEY: I mean, I'm like a large horse.

AABRIA: Okay, five.

LIAM: 22.

ROBBIE: Eight.

AABRIA: Ooh!

AIMEE: 19.

AABRIA: All right.

ASHLEY: I'll make sure to be real quiet.

AIMEE: (thudding footsteps) (laughter)

LIAM: (whinnying)

ROBBIE: (tongue clicking)

AABRIA: Orym, you grab Opal and you guys disappear into the crowd opposite of Dariax's distraction, and then you turn around and look and see that unfortunately Dorian and Fearne are just sort of caught in the eye ray of everyone staring at Dariax's distraction right now. They don't really have a--

LIAM: I'm too short. Do you see 'em?

AIMEE: Yeah. They're just kind of stuck there. Uh-- What if I-- What if I-- Dance?

LIAM: That seems like two distractions.

AIMEE: Oh, you're right. Uh-- What, what if? (yelling) Dorian!

AABRIA: What?

ASHLEY: (yelling) Food! (laughter)

AIMEE: We-- Uh. I mean, We left, we're leaving!

AABRIA: Who are you yelling--?

ASHLEY: Should we try to-- Oh, we're stuck. We're stuck.

ROBBIE: Here! And I am going to unclip my flute from my axe, toss it to Fearne, pull out my lute. And say: Come on! And we're going to go over to our dancing friend and back them up.

ASHLEY: Back her up.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah. We're going to back her up.

ASHLEY: Which I-- wait.

AIMEE: My thing didn't work. (laughter)

AABRIA: I don't know what your thing was!

AIMEE: Nancy! We're leaving! (laughter)

ROBBIE: You will scream your way out of a scenario eventually.

AABRIA: Eyes are now turning to both you and Orym, in the corner.

AIMEE: I lost my toddler. Nancy. (laughter)

AIMEE: Have you seen her?

AABRIA: An older woman that's bundled up against the cold and has a massive wrapped pack on her shoulder goes, "Oh my god, oh my god!"

AIMEE: I know. Her name is Nancy.

AABRIA: "Nancy."

AIMEE: She's four.

AABRIA: "Excuse me, this woman is looking for her child, Nancy!" And every-- now in a rippling wave, eyes are turning on to you two.

ASHLEY: Oh, we need to help her find Nancy.

AIMEE: Oh, there she is!

AABRIA: Okay, let me get a performance check for-- Oh god. Fearne and Dorian backing up Dariax.

ROBBIE: Does Fearne play the flute?

AABRIA: Are you asking me?

ROBBIE: I don't know?

AABRIA: I guess we're going to find out. Hey Fearne, do you play the flute?

ASHLEY: I've never played.

AABRIA: Tight. Feels like some weird faun stereotype.

ASHLEY: I do play the dulcimer.

ROBBIE: That's not where I was going.

MATT: The dulcimer.

ASHLEY: I do play the dulcimer, but this is not a dulcimer.

ROBBIE: Okay.

ASHLEY: Let's give it a go.

AABRIA: All right, give me a performance check with disadvantage. And you can have your normal check. This is beautiful.

LIAM: I'm imagining a high school band Tiktok.

ASHLEY: Oh wow, okay.

AABRIA: Yes! (laughs)

AIMEE: A capella.

ASHLEY: 21.

ROBBIE: Whoa!

AABRIA: That's with disadvantage?

ASHLEY: I rolled an 18 and a 20.

AABRIA: Oh my god, I was going to say you played Hot Cross Buns, but nah, you get it!

ROBBIE: 14.

AABRIA: Yeah!

ROBBIE: So I'm strumming along--

AABRIA: You're golden.

ROBBIE: -- and I'm feeling it, and I'm playing this song out of nowhere.

ASHLEY: I'm stomping my hooves. I'm just going to town on this flute.

ROBBIE: I'm astounded. I'm like: Fearne, you are killing it!

ASHLEY: Thank you. I'm just feeling it, you know?

ROBBIE: This is great!

ASHLEY: I love music.

AABRIA: Mister has managed to get over to some young boy wearing a hat and steals it, and starts running around trying to--

ASHLEY and AIMEE: Oh my god!

ASHLEY: I love it.

AABRIA: Mister knows what's up. He's like, "Okay, okay, okay." (laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh, it's perfect.

AABRIA: All right, so how do you want to deal with what you have wrought?

AIMEE: Nancy! She looks at Orym. Where have you been?!

LIAM: Mother. (laughter)

AABRIA: No. No, absolutely not. (laughter)

AIMEE: Why did she do this?

AABRIA: Oh god.

AIMEE: Why did I do this?

AABRIA: Deception. Disadvantage. Because that's a grown man.

AIMEE: Damn it, that's a natural 20.

AABRIA: Yeah, absolutely not.

AIMEE: Two natural 20s!

MATT: What?!

ROBBIE: Let's go!

ASHLEY: Yes!

AIMEE: Look, look, look!

MATT: No I see, I see.

AIMEE: You see it.

AABRIA: I believe you with my whole, whole heart.

LIAM: Orym quickly throws a rag over the sword hilt jutting up over his shoulder. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Nothing to see here.

AIMEE: Come here.

ASHLEY: A little four year old named Nancy.

LIAM: Are we going to do that shopping we talked about?

AIMEE: Yes! Does anyone know where Shaun Gilmore's shop is? Nancy really needs to go there.

LIAM: Boy, this day did not go the way I imagined it.

AABRIA: And the woman who's been the ringleader in trying to ask the crowd, like, "Looking for Na-- Oh, you found--"

AIMEE: Found Nancy.

AABRIA: "Oh, sweetie!" And she runs over without looking at you too much. She pulls you into her ample bosom, and brings you over, like, "You can't run away like that!" And she's got you mushed into her meat while she's talking to Opal. "Now, what did you say you were looking for?"

AIMEE: How can we get to Shaun Gilmore's shop?

AABRIA: "Oh, Gilmore's Glorious Goods. You're going to want to go down this street."

AIMEE: Oh great.

AABRIA: "Third down, you're going to see a big red-- and don't you run away."

AIMEE: Don't run away.

AABRIA: "There's a little goat area, and I know how much kids love-- When you see the goat pen, make a left, then you're going to go down three more avenues. One more left. Can't miss it. Covered with streamers, it's beautiful, it's a whole thing."

AIMEE: Oh, great. She'll love it. You get all that?

AABRIA: "She's--" And she finally looks down at you. "She's so darling," and ushers you over to your mother Opal.

AIMEE: Come here, baby. Opal is the least maternal person you've ever seen. (laughter)

AABRIA: But a natural 20, this woman does--

LIAM: Just do the little toddler hug of the leg, to hide my face from as many people as possible.

AIMEE: Come on, Nancy.

AABRIA: The incredible musculature of your back.

LIAM: Yeah, the shield, the sword--

AABRIA: The sword is lost on this group.

AIMEE: She's still on the bottle.

AABRIA: As their eyes glaze over a grown, armed man.

LIAM: No, no, there's a cloth over it.

AIMEE: Oh, oh.

LIAM: It's totally hidden.

AIMEE: Great.

AABRIA: And I cannot believe that worked. My god. Okay, so the two of you now know where to head, and the three of you are performing in the town square. Can I get-- Yeah, give me perception checks from the three of you. Dance gang.

MATT: Let's start up our own band, guys. Oh.

ASHLEY: Oh. Natural one.

AABRIA: You are lost in the sauce making music right now.

ASHLEY: I am just feeling it, eyes closed.

LIAM: Vibing.

ASHLEY: I'm just vibing, hips going.

MATT: Zero. Another natural one.

AIMEE: No! (laughter)

AIMEE: Man, this--

AABRIA: This is the best day of my life. (laughter)

MATT: Honestly? I may have unlocked something in myself today. Dariax is feeling it with the music behind him. I'm sure he's not looking like he's dancing great, but he is feeling it.

ASHLEY: We are just in the zone.

MATT: I get it now.

ASHLEY: Wow.

AABRIA: Amazing.

ROBBIE: I hope an 11 saves this scenario. (laughter)

AABRIA: You don't see-- eyes are on you, but even as you're playing and looking around, you don't see anyone. There's no one popping out of the crowd to accost you. You don't see any weapons leveled at you.

ROBBIE: Okay. And can we see-- Can we see Opal and baby? (laughter)

AABRIA: I'll give you that, Opal and Nancy. With that 11, you can see--

AIMEE: If that's not a spinoff, I don't know what is. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Opal and Nancy.

AIMEE: ♪ They're going to make it ♪

AABRIA: You see Opal and Nancy beginning to move to the right. I don't think they've left, but they're circumnavigating this opening that you've created.

ROBBIE: And these two are totally lost in the sauce?

AABRIA: Absolutely. It's going to take effort to get them back on track, because y'all are killing it right now. People are laughing and clapping along, Mister is just body rolls.

ASHLEY: Yes, Mister! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Let's go!

AABRIA: Mister stays ready.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

ROBBIE: All right, I'm going to-- I'm playing the guitar and I'm looking around, feeling very uncomfortable, because I know we could be in trouble, and as I'm playing I'm going to sneak over, smiling to these two and go: When the song ends, make a break for Ormand-- (laughs) Ormand. Y'all, dang it! Caught! Caught! Now I understand!

AABRIA: Yeah, it hurts. And I heard what you renamed yourself, I was like, (gritted teeth) "Another O name?"

ROBBIE: I'm going to say: Make your way over to Orym and Opal. Okay?

ASHLEY: Okay. I believe it's Opal and Nancy, but yes.

ROBBIE: Okay. (laughs) And I'm going to follow in the last eight bars of the song as they're just going for it, going to town, and on the very last strum, as I break my way away from them a little bit, on the last strum I'm going to cast, just for a little extra flare, cast Thunderclap and make a big monstrous noise--

AIMEE: Nice.

ROBBIE: -- to finish the number.

AABRIA: Amazing. Everyone just freezes. And then you just hear (cheering) as the crowd loses their minds.

MATT: Oh my god. You're so gorg, all of you. Thank you for coming.

ASHLEY: (whispering) Should we go?

ROBBIE: Go!

AABRIA: Mister waddles back over to you with a heavy hat. Roll a d12 for me.

ASHLEY: Four.

AABRIA: You've made four gold's worth of tips, but in coppers and silvers. So you've got two pounds of coins and Mister is-- He's still vibing a little bit. You can see him bopping.

ASHLEY: Good job, little Mister. We need to do this more often. What should we call our band? Let's workshop it. We need to go find the rest of our team. Yeah?

ROBBIE: Yeah.

MATT: Oh, right.

ASHLEY: Or should we perform some more?

MATT: I mean, I'm always down, but we should probably find them.

ASHLEY: We should probably find them. Okay, okay, okay.

AABRIA: The moment you break from this empty circle that you've created and get back to the crowd, Dariax, you feel your arm is grabbed very strongly.

MATT: Hi. What do I see?

AABRIA: You see a tall, extremely dark, almost black-skinned tiefling man, with a white goatee and white close-cropped hair. Gives you a little nod, just says, "I'm sorry, what was your name again?"

MATT: Oh my god, my name is Tharla Starr. It's so nice to meet you. What's your name?

AABRIA: He pulls a little card out of his jacket and passes to you. It's jet black with gold embossing on it. He says, "My name is Eduard, and if you are looking for somewhere to perform, come and see me."

MATT: Oh my god, Eduard, look at your card! It's so cute.

AABRIA: "More than my card is cute."

MATT: (laughs) Okay. Maybe I'll think about it. Well-- Does the card have any information on it?

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: Just his name. (laughter)

AIMEE: We're just lost and transfixed.

AABRIA: You see that it's The Black Swan in the Erudite Quarter.

MATT: Okay. So, like, do I just come by and ask for you, or--?

AABRIA: "Oh, I'll make sure people are keeping an eye out for you." And he does that really creepy guy thing of pushing some of your hair behind your ear.

ASHLEY: How much do you charge for performances? How much do you pay your talent?

AABRIA: "Oh. Are you her manager?"

ASHLEY: No. (laughter)

AABRIA: "Are you looking for work also? Are you a group?"

ASHLEY: No, I just want to make sure that my friend, who is extremely talented, gets properly paid for what they do.

AABRIA: "Well, we begin at five gold a performance per night, but that's always up for negotiation. I'm a very good negotiator."

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, that's a great place to start.

MATT: I'm going to begin negotiations by first asking you to not touch me anymore, please.

AABRIA: "Apologies."

MATT: Just out of respect.

AABRIA: "Of course."

ASHLEY: Is there also a fee that you get from the door as well? A percentage?

AABRIA: "We can--" and he gets a little stiffer, like: Uh-oh, we're talking about actual business. "That can of course be negotiated, based on--"

ASHLEY: Excellent.

AABRIA: "-- what I saw here today. Cut of the door, cut of the bar, not off the table."

ASHLEY: Great.

LIAM: Over his shoulder in the distance, you see Orym climbing up onto an apple box or a crate, and you see him go--

ASHLEY: What are you doing here? (laughter)

LIAM: And then hop back down behind it.

AABRIA: Perception check. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Oops. Ugh, that's a one.

AIMEE: Oh my god!

MATT: 13.

AABRIA: You notice Orym. You are busy in negotiations, and you're winning right now.

ASHLEY: Yes.

AABRIA: You can see a little bead of sweat, just a little trickle of black on jet-black skin goes down the side of his forehead.

MATT: Eduardie, I'm really thankful that you took notice, and maybe we'll come by and maybe talk some business later, but for the time being, Tharla's just arrived in Emon, and we have other people to also hear offers from, so just, like, relax a bit and maybe we'll swing by.

AABRIA: "I'm looking forward to it," and he pulls a little handkerchief out, dabs himself, fans himself, and then fades back into the crowd.

MATT: I lean over and be like: Number one, thanks. Number two, he's kind of creepy, huh?

ASHLEY: He's very creepy, but listen, we have a job if we want it. (laughter)

AIMEE: Plan B.

ASHLEY: I mean, sometimes people see me and think I'm creepy. I'm not going to judge a book by its cover.

AABRIA: Dorian, what are you doing during this?

ROBBIE: I am gobsmacked, waiting for a moment to get my friends out of here. And I cannot see them because they're negotiating a music contract?!

AABRIA: Yo!

ASHLEY: We should go, we should go. (laughter)

AABRIA: I'm going to offer you freely that you saw Orym pop up.

ROBBIE: Yeah, I rolled a 12, I guess, if that's good enough.

AABRIA: Yeah, we'll count it.

ROBBIE: So I'm going to insert myself into this, looking for a moment. And I'm going to say: Thank you very much. Eduard? Eduard, was it? Yeah, thank you, my--

AABRIA: "Are you a part of this, too?"

ROBBIE: Yes.

AABRIA: Are you her manager?

ROBBIE: No, we're all-- we're like a trio. (laughs)

AABRIA: "Okay, okay."

ROBBIE: Anyway--

MATT: It's like a co-op.

ROBBIE: Yes.

AABRIA: "Hmm. That's-- Okay."

ROBBIE: But as my friend said, we have other offers to field and other people to see. Very important people that we've been discussing going to see for quite a while, so maybe we should go see them!

ASHLEY: Yes, we should. We should go. We should go. Yeah.

MATT: But thanks.

AABRIA: And he gives them--

ROBBIE: I'm going to usher them, I'm just going to try to usher them away.

AABRIA: As you usher them away, he gives a little formal bow, and heads off in the other direction.

MATT: I'm going, towards Dorian: What other offers?

AABRIA: (laughs)

AIMEE: Oh my god.

ASHLEY: I think it was a ruse.

MATT: Ah, I like that.

AABRIA: Actually, Mister's holding up little sheets of paper, with addresses from people that dropped in.

ASHLEY: Oh, okay. I'll keep these, actually. We'll revisit this.

AABRIA: He takes one, looks at it. Gives a little frown and puts it in his mouth, and it immediately gets immolated.

ASHLEY: You didn't like that one.

AABRIA: Didn't like the guy.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: Tharla was a bad idea. But you can see also I thought it was a good idea for a short time. Let's go find the rest of our friends and figure out this Gilmore guy's deal.

ROBBIE: As they walk ahead, I'm going to just mutter to myself: Two months of playing gigs in this city, and not a single invite to The Black Swan. (laughter)

AIMEE: Yes!

AABRIA: Amazing.

ASHLEY: Did you say her name was Tharla or Thyla?

MATT: Tharla.

AABRIA: I thought it was Farla. I wrote that wrong.

ROBBIE: Tharla Starr?

MATT: Tharla Starr.

ROBBIE: One R or two?

AIMEE: Like Carla but with a TH?

MATT: No, two Rs in the Starr.

ROBBIE: Two Rs, okay.

AABRIA: Tharla Starr.

ASHLEY: I wrote down two Rs in the Starr.

AIMEE: Oh yeah?

AABRIA: Yeah, you have to!

ASHLEY: You have to.

AABRIA: I heard the two Rs.

ROBBIE: I like it.

AIMEE: It needs it.

MATT: (as Tharla) It writes itself. (laughter)

LIAM: As they're-- oh you go ahead.

AIMEE: No nothing. I was just going to-- I'm still in character holding your hand, like: Nancy! (laughter) Stop climbing things.

LIAM: So I didn't jump down, Mom tugged me down.

ASHLEY: The mom yank.

LIAM: We have to get them out of here. We have to go.

AIMEE: Shh. Don't mouth your mother. (laughter) Mouth?

LIAM: My mother is a very long way away from here. She's alive and well.

AIMEE: Where are they? Where are they?

ASHLEY: Hi, sorry, sorry, we had to perform. I realize that was not stealthy and we made definitely-- instead of not bringing attention to ourselves, we, we, we, or wait. Yes. We brought attention to ourselves. That was what we wanted to not do.

LIAM: As they roll up, Orym shoots Dorian the kind of look that a spouse gives to a spouse.

ROBBIE: Sorry. I gave them the lead, and this is what happened.

ASHLEY: Don't be mad at him.

LIAM: Look.

ASHLEY: It was--

LIAM: Your disguise is man bun, and your disguise is flute player, I think we go under the assumption that we have been clocked by multiple people, so just stay quiet, but be ready.

ROBBIE: I've got to admit, though man bun and flute player's pretty good.

LIAM: Another spinoff.

ASHLEY: Great disguises. (laughter)

ROBBIE: That's what I was thinking.

MATT: Did I mess up?

LIAM: It was a great idea. I think that it just suffered from too many additional layers. I think the core idea was strong.

MATT: Okay.

AABRIA: Dorian, give me a perception check.

ROBBIE: Oh shit.

ASHLEY: Well.

MATT: I take off the streamers.

ROBBIE: One plus--

MATT: I give them back.

ASHLEY: That's one less layer.

AABRIA: No, you don't have to say plus.

ROBBIE: Yeah, I know.

LIAM: Much more subtle.

AABRIA: You 100%-- how many is that?

MATT: That's a lot of ones in one game.

AABRIA: That's so many!

LIAM: Get them out now, get them out now.

AIMEE: Switch them out, switch them out.

AABRIA: So good.

AIMEE: Switch it out.

AABRIA: And the rest of you have proved that he rolled so bad that none of you heard it. But you feel it, Fearne, as a tiny little dart sticks in the back of your tricep.

AIMEE: Shit.

ASHLEY: Ow. Oh, uh-oh. (laughter)

AABRIA: Please make a constitution saving throw for me.

ASHLEY: I feel like darts are never good.

LIAM: Uh-oh what-oh?

ASHLEY: Uh-oh. Is this is a spell or a magical effect?

AABRIA: Nope!

ASHLEY: Okay. That would be a 10 total.

AABRIA: You feel your heartbeat quicken, as you are poked by this tiny thing. You only take one point of damage, but as your heartbeat quickens, you feel different. And you have that vertigo pan. You are now suffering from the poisoned condition.

ASHLEY: Whoa. Okay.

LIAM: Where did it hit your body?

ASHLEY: We also-- Question. Side note. Do we-- we still have not--

AABRIA: You've rested off all of your exhaustion.

ASHLEY: We did?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Are we up to max hit points again?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

MATT: We've had a few days travel back--

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: That's right, that's right.

AABRIA: You had some days' travel, and you were allowed to rest as long as you needed to, to not be sick and hacking on the road.

ASHLEY: I forgot to ask that point.

AABRIA: Sorry, I meant to say that.

ASHLEY: No, I forgot.

AABRIA: It's been an amount of time.

ASHLEY: It's been a little time. It happens. Okay.

AABRIA: But it's okay, now you're poisoned all over again, which is so exciting. Hooray!

ASHLEY: I feel a little bit funny.

MATT: Immediately case the space around us for where that may have come from.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: I'm squatting a little lower, even than I normally am.

AABRIA: Sweet. Give me perception checks, or investigation, whichever one you're better at.

AIMEE: All of us, or just them?

AABRIA: Yeah, no all of you are on high alert now.

LIAM: Terriblé.

ROBBIE: Ooh.

AIMEE: Oh, for fuck's sake.

MATT: Use my inspiration.

AABRIA: Yeah. Good call.

AIMEE: Oh, I have inspiration, too.

MATT: 14.

AABRIA: Oh, yeah.

AIMEE: Shit. Goddamn it. (laughter) That's a 10.

ROBBIE: 20.

AABRIA: Damn. Okay. Both Dariax and Dorian, you see a hand dropping, and a cloak closing, and you make eye contact with a person wearing a deep black hood and robes, as they look at you, and then look over at Fearne, and then slink back into the shadows.

ROBBIE: How far away is this person?

AABRIA: Probably 40 feet.

ROBBIE: Ooh, 40 feet. Are we intermingled with the crowd at this point?

AABRIA: Yeah, you are back in the crowd. And I'm sorry, I'm going to give you some extra info. With that 20, with the dirty 20, you see that they looked off, and made eye contact with someone else in the crowd, as they slunk back to go away. They are not alone.

ROBBIE: No more fun and games. We have to move. And I'm going to go straight to Fearne, since she's the biggest draw of all of us, besides our pop star friend here. And I-- did I see her get poked?

AABRIA: Yeah. You're all aware of it. She-- I think you turned and said something, yeah?

ASHLEY: I did, yeah.

ROBBIE: I want to put my arm around her and bring her down into me, and make her duck down into the crowd, and also help her at the same time.

AABRIA: Okay. How do you want to help her?

ROBBIE: Just by giving her support. I see that she's feeling woozy, so I want to support her, but also duck her away from possibly getting poked again.

AABRIA: Okay.

ASHLEY: Thank you.

ROBBIE: Yeah, come on.

ASHLEY: What do we do?

LIAM: I think we just-- Jeez, I don't know.

ASHLEY: Should we go for the shop, or should we go--

AIMEE: We should go to Gilmore's.

LIAM: Let's just be beeline it.

ROBBIE: Yeah, we have to move.

AIMEE: Okay. Let's go.

AABRIA: Okay. Making a break for it, are you trying to-- I want you to roll for this. So I want you to tell me what you're trying to do. Are you just trying to get there as fast as possible? Are you trying to get there as sneakily as possible? What do you want to accomplish?

LIAM: I think we're going to-- I recommend we stick to crowds, and Orym is going to try to wield-- wield-- Weave us through groups that are there. No, no empty open holes of the crowd.

AABRIA: Smart. Okay. Then give me stealth checks, everyone.

LIAM: Come on, man.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AIMEE: 16.

LIAM: Rolling balls.

AABRIA: Sweet. And you already have an disadvantage on stealth, so that doesn't really affect you very much.

MATT: Should I get disadvantage for my illusion? Or, I may, I may, actually, given the circumstances, if we're following your lead, I'm going to go ahead and drop the illusion, and just--

AABRIA: Yeah. Perfect, then you're good.

ASHLEY: 18.

AABRIA: Nice.

LIAM: Nice. 11.

ROBBIE: I'll use my inspiration.

AABRIA: Yeah, use it. I can't give it to you again until you use it.

ROBBIE: Stealth?

AABRIA: Yep.

ROBBIE: Seven.

AIMEE: 16.

MATT: 12.

AABRIA: Okay. You are struggling a little bit, being as sneaky as you want to be, because you are trying to bring someone that's a little bit taller, I think than you are, down and seeing it there. I'm sorry, I don't know.

ASHLEY: Thanks.

AABRIA: Relative height.

ASHLEY: How tall are you?

ROBBIE: I think I'm 6'1", but you've got horns and--

ASHLEY: I'm just about that, yeah, probably.

ROBBIE: Okay.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Thank you.

AABRIA: Sweet. So you're weaving in through the crowds. Very good call. As you're going through, you can hear in the distance behind you, there is-- you're staying to crowds and these are busy streets on a busy day, and you can still hear, even above the din of just normal doing business, that jostling of people, probably 20 feet behind you, as people are trying to stay with you. They don't have a clear shot, so there's nothing coming for you, but yes. You haven't lost your tail at all, but they're not openly attacking. I need-- It's got to be Opal. Mom, go ahead and give me a survival check to get those directions right.

AIMEE: That's a 12.

AABRIA: You heard, too.

AIMEE: Yeah. Nancy, did you remember what they said?

AABRIA: Go ahead and roll with advantage, if Nancy assists in navigation.

LIAM: Sure.

AIMEE: Oh, for fuck's sake. That's still, what did I say?

LIAM: 12.

AIMEE: That was, it's still a 12. I mean, this was worse, so a 12.

AABRIA: You're going-- The problem here is you remember the exact right streets, but you know that occasionally turning left would give you an empty alley. She was trying to give you shortcuts. And because you are staying to busy crowds, you get a little turned around, and it's going to take you probably 20, 25 minutes to make your way through the crowds. But eventually you spot it, the fluttering of blue and purple banners in the noonday sun, and you have a very good idea that you've made it.

AIMEE: I think we've made it.

LIAM: Why don't we overshoot it and turn into an alley and turn around and deal with whatever's following us? I don't think we should drag this into the shop. It's not on his head.

ASHLEY: I like that idea.

MATT: All right, all right.

AIMEE: Okay.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: After 20 minutes, how fucked up is Fearne, at this point?

AABRIA: The poisoned condition remains, but she's not worsening.

ROBBIE: She's not worse. Okay.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Okay. So I'm going to push two city blocks past this place and keep an eye for any thin little alley and hook in.

AABRIA: Yeah. You're able to find just between two tall tenement buildings, a very deep, super shadowy alley that you guys can duck into. Probably three or four people wide. It's pretty narrow.

LIAM: Find a spot, get down.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Either they pass us or we're doing something here.

ROBBIE: I'm going to let them go a little deeper in, and I'm going to take up position behind a little box at the entrance of the alley. So if there's an entrance, I'm going to be on point, but hidden.

LIAM: I'll stay up there with you, other side of the alley.

ROBBIE: Okay.

AABRIA: Beautiful. Okay. Give me one more round of stealth checks to see if you can shake your tail when you duck into the alley.

LIAM: Oh, you mother-- Good, bad.

AABRIA: Opal.

LIAM: Bounce bounce.

AIMEE: Eight.

MATT: Dirty 20.

LIAM: Oh nice.

ASHLEY: 11.

LIAM: Eight.

ROBBIE: 15.

LIAM: I'm so little. (laughter)

ASHLEY: You're so little.

AABRIA: Nancy!

ROBBIE: It's the frosted tips.

LIAM: The hair is poking out.

AABRIA: It's the tips. (laughter) Just the little--

ASHLEY: It's the box, and then just floating.

AABRIA: Just a little wheat grass shot.

MATT: Yep, yep.

AIMEE: Yes! That's what it is.

MATT: Like the tennis ball poking out of the middle of the grass.

ASHLEY: Yes, yes.

LIAM: Teal wheat grass. (laughter)

AABRIA: You duck in around the corner, and as you all just wait, holding your breath to hear, you hear three sets of footsteps come up, and they slow down, and stop just before the alley. They're going to turn in your direction. If you are--

MATT: As--

AABRIA: Oh, go ahead.

MATT: As this is happening-- because the cloak, it's at-will.

AABRIA: Yeah.

MATT: I'm going to go ahead and transform myself into an extremely grody-looking, just an older dwarf individual. Like a man probably in his later years, you know, big scraggly beard, wearing just completely soiled robes in a hood, like he's just been really down on his luck for a long time.

ROBBIE: He belongs in this alley.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: I'm going to step out of my very high stealth roll, and just start coughing. (hacking cough)

AABRIA: They stop and they turn and they all look at you.

MATT: (hacking cough)

AABRIA: And one hooded figure comes up to you, and gives you a little push.

MATT: (startled noise) Hey! Keep your hands off me, unless you going to pay for it. (laughs)

AABRIA: "Old timer. You know what? I can offer you some coin. Have you seen an interesting group of five people come down this way?"

MATT: Oh. There's been a lot of people coming through around these parts. You'll have to be a little more specific.

AABRIA: And you see, he turns and looks over his shoulder, and they exchange a quick look, and he turns and pulls three silver. Drops it into your hands. "Younger dwarf, human girl, some kind of big satyr, little guy, genasi."

MATT: Yeah. Yeah, they just ran through here, hit me in the shoulder, bunch of fucking ingrates, ran down and climbed up that roof that way. Saw them disappear over the ledge.

AABRIA: Make a deception check with dis-- or with advantage. Sorry.

LIAM: Come on, you slippery bastard.

MATT: Thank god for the advantage because I rolled a natural one that first time.

AABRIA and AIMEE: Oh my god!

MATT: But with that--

ASHLEY: I love that you have that cloak.

MATT: Dirty 20.

AIMEE: Love it.

AABRIA: With a dirty 20. The figure nods, and they look down the alley, and if they had walked in a little further, they would pass the boxes and see you all there hiding, but they look and then lean and start conferring with them-- between themselves like, "Okay, we can catch them on the other side of the building," and they all three turn, and back out of the alley.

MATT: Thanks for your patronage.

AABRIA: (grumbles) One of them just spits in your direction and then runs off and away. And they all leave.

ASHLEY: Rude.

LIAM: Outside the alley, right? They double back.

AABRIA: Yeah, they double back out of the alley and they're trying to catch where they think you're going by going around, like block and a block.

ROBBIE: Once they leave, I'm going to reveal myself and look at Dariax and go: Now that's a distraction.

MATT: See--

ASHLEY: That was amazing.

MATT: I'm not really all that great at, like, you know killing, stabbing, or stealing, but I'm real good at convincing people otherwise.

AIMEE: Maybe you should be an actor, like a traveling actor.

MATT: I don't know. I've hung out with a lot of actors and they're kind of terrible people. (laughter)

LIAM: Huh.

ASHLEY: I've heard that, too.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: The few that I've met, I just hate them.

LIAM: During that whole conversation, Orym crept to the edge and looked both ways to watch them go,

AABRIA: Yep.

LIAM: And then has looked the other way and is looking for anybody, backup or anything.

AABRIA: Smart. Perception check with advantage.

LIAM: Thank you. That is a 22.

AABRIA: You see a person on the roofs that was following this little trio. They're peeking out and away, a crossbow leveled. Then they drop it in order to try to go and catch up.

LIAM: They move, too?

AABRIA: Yeah. It takes them another minute or so to move, though.

LIAM: So I'll just throw up a-- they're still talking. It's fine.

AABRIA: Yeah, you've got time.

MATT: That was Old Jerry, one of my drinking bros back over in Stilben.

ASHLEY: I thought it must be somebody that you know, because it was just so--

AIMEE: It was so convincing.

ASHLEY: Yes.

ROBBIE: They say the best characters are bad impressions.

MATT: I'm bad at impressions, so it works out great.

AABRIA: The sniper leaves.

LIAM: Psst!

ASHLEY: Oh.

LIAM: Let's go, come on,

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: Back to the shop.

AIMEE: I can't wait to meet this Shaun.

ASHLEY: Me, too.

ROBBIE: Is this alley that we're in, is the adjoining wall the shop?

AABRIA: No, you guys went a couple blocks past it.

ROBBIE: We overshot it?

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: To not draw attention to the place.

ROBBIE: Cool.

LIAM: And then carefully tread back towards the store.

AABRIA: Yeah. You guys come back around. You're once again in crowds. So you're able to make your way and you get to it. You find yourself sort of in front of a-- a single-story building that's draped with these bright blue, unbleached by the sun, blue and purple banners that just flutter in the breeze. And at the center of this elaborately-carved marble and wood frontispiece, you actually see the words "Gilmore's Glorious Goods" carved into it. Most of you see it in Common, but if any of you have a different first language, you see it written there in that language. And all of that is above a beaded entrance.

LIAM: Halfling shop.

ASHLEY: It's a Sylvan shop.

LIAM: Wonder what the inside's like. (small ringing bell)

AABRIA: You move inside and you see not one, but three stories. It's much bigger on the inside. Of a just sort of lavish-- lavishly appointed storefront. There's velvet walls with murals of flowers and the walls themselves actually smell like lilac and jasmine and gardenia. And there's these plush satin settee benches that are flanking the outside. And you see that this place is three stories full to bursting of items that are both mundane and magical. You see rows of potions. You see racks of weapons and a lot of clothing. A lot of clothing.

AIMEE: Oh my god.

AABRIA: And in between all of these aisles, you see these little purple clad clerks bopping around and following and assisting the dozen or so patrons of this place. At the very front, you see a woman sitting behind this massive ornately carved teak desk to check out. She's a tawny little half-elf with oversized glasses. She's just reading a book and you are inside Gilmore's Glorious Goods. I saw that look, and it made my heart just, mmm, a little bit. (laughter) What do you want to do?

ASHLEY: I just start crying. (laughing)

ASHLEY: (fake sobbing)

AIMEE: Well, Opal's never-- she has no context, she's never been in this-- a store like this before. It's just sensory overload. She's rubbing herself on the wall. (laughing) They haven't had showers in a while, and just picking up an arm full of clothes, just.

AABRIA: As you hug the clothes, you just hear a little, (clears throat) and you look over and see this very ruddy gnomish woman with bright red-- she's bright red at the cheeks and elbows and at her hands. And she's got lavender, wavy hair. And she goes, "Um, please, don't hug the merchandise unless-- "Would you like to try any of it on?"

AIMEE: Yes! Yes, I would.

AABRIA: "Okay. Oh, okay." And she takes whatever you were grabbing and puts it in a little purple basket that she's holding. My name is Inanna. If there's anything I could get for you or--"

AIMEE: Nana?

AABRIA: "Inanna."

AIMEE: Oh, I love that. I'm Opal.

AABRIA: "So nice to meet you. If there's anything you need from me, I am here to assist you."

AIMEE: Yes! Maybe this in, um, do you have this in pink?

MATT: Ahem.

AABRIA: "I can go check the back."

MATT: Before we get too heavily into some shopping,

AIMEE: Oh.

MATT: We can get to that. I'm not trying--

AIMEE: No, no, no, no, it's fine.

MATT: We're here to talk to, um-- well, we have some business to discuss, based on the friend of our friend. It's a long story. Is Shaun Gilmore in?

AABRIA: "Oh, um, Mr. Gilmore is, unfortunately-- he's in Marquet, dealing with one of the other franchises--"

MATT: Shit.

AABRIA: "-- right now."

LIAM: Oh

MATT: Well. Worth a shot.

LIAM: Well, we should still-- is there anyone here who could be able to get in touch with him or speak on his behalf? It's rather urgent. It's beyond shopping.

AABRIA: "Hmm." Make a persuasion check for me.

LIAM: Okay. 17.

AABRIA: "Mr. Gilmore is a very popular man, and lots of people want to talk to him. I don't-- I'll let you speak to my manager." And she does a little bit of-- like she was going to grab, and she goes, "Oh, if you'll follow me."

MATT: Yeah.

AIMEE: Great. Don't forget the pink.

MATT: Do you guys have any spears, by the way?

AABRIA: "There's a whole section over-- I can take you back to-- I'll wait--"

MATT: After, after. We'll do all that, yeah.

AIMEE: Well, we can wait.

AABRIA: And she leads you back up to the front, where that tawny half-elf was sitting, and as she deposits you there, Inanna swings off to the side and just waits patiently, and you see her rearranging the cloaks that you had picked up, and making a little note to herself in a ledger about looking for pink ones in the back. And this half-elf out does not look up.

LIAM: I take a couple steps back so that she can see me over the large desk that she's at. Um, hi, sorry to, uh, intrude on your time. We had come here looking for the proprietor, but since he's not here, we were told we could talk to you, perhaps?

AABRIA: "Mr. Gilmore isn't in. My name is Sherri. How can I help you?"

LIAM: Well, uh, my friends and I have traveled from a little bit outside of the city. We've just come from the Fire Ashari encamped off in the distance. You guys are probably aware, I would guess.

AABRIA: And she actually sort of subtly closes the book, and readjusts her posture. You now have her attention.

LIAM: Um. The Ashari there, Lorkathar in particular, who heads up that particular group, were hoping that Mr. Gilmore would be able to help with an issue they're having there.

MATT: Something doesn't look right with their ash hole.

AABRIA: "I don't know what that could possibly mean."

LIAM: Technically true. They're having a bit of an elemental issue and trouble deciphering runes.

AIMEE: And they were thinking of starting a franchise there in the ash hole. It's a destination.

MATT: I didn't hear that part of the conversation.

LIAM: They-- they who-- what?

AIMEE: (pointedly) They want to start a franchise of the store and they need to talk to the big boss about it.

AABRIA: "Look, if you are just a bunch of would-be adventurers here to ogle at Mr. Gilmore, he is not available, but I'll let him know."

LIAM: Well, we are would-be adventurers. You've got us dead to rights, but the Ashari out there really are having a tough time of it and I know they've been helping out in the city and I have some idea of Mr. Gilmore's stature in the city, and I think he would care. That's probably presumptuous of me, but I do. So if you could just pass on the message.

MATT: Yeah, it's apparently a pretty dangerous looking, like, rune thing, and they said he'd be the one to know something about it if anybody did. It made a big mountain out of nowhere. It seems pretty dangerous.

AABRIA: And she sort of slides off of her chair and turns and consults one of the massive volumes behind her on these shelves, and pulls out a big green leather-bound tome, slaps it on the desk in front of her, and just opens it up to the center and you see a bunch of runes. "Describe what the rune looks like."

ASHLEY: I feel like Opal drew it out, right?

AIMEE: Yes.

ROBBIE: We can you do one better. And who had it?

AIMEE: I have it.

ROBBIE: You have it?

AIMEE: I drew it.

ROBBIE: Show her.

AIMEE: Pulls out a thing.

AABRIA: "Show me."

AIMEE: Oh, oh, sure.

LIAM: Mime work.

AABRIA: And she snatches it out of your hand and then starts flipping through massive sections of the book. And she takes a solid 10 minutes looking through. "None of this matches anything in my books. Maybe-- I will say this once, and only once. If you are wasting Mr. Gilmore's time, I'm worse than he is."

LIAM: What's he like?

AABRIA: (Sherri chuckles) And she slides off of the chair once more. And you see her crossing the room. As she begins to sort of cross the room, she looks over her shoulder at all of you, to see if you follow or not.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah. (clears throat)

ROBBIE: Follow.

AABRIA: You go up to the second floor, where you see a bunch of scattered, strange, magical artifacts. A lot of them are on fire or bubbling or stirring. Like it's lots of kinetic motion here. And she walks over to a burning red candle with a red flame. And she pulls out and produces a small sheet of paper and whips out this massive feather. It's this big, ostentatious, purple feather with a gold nib that is honestly kind of embarrassing in her hand. (laughter)

AIMEE: Opal loves it. (laughter)

AABRIA: She sees that you like it and just (grunts) writes out a little message and holds it over the candle where it immolates. And then she takes a step back, and looks up to the third floor. And after about 30 seconds, you all more-- less than hear, but more just feel a pulse, as something extremely magical happens over your head. And then you see, over the railing, a man with bronze skin, dark black hair pulled back into a ponytail, like a really cool, long, black beard that's braided with little gold beads in it that end at a small amethyst coin tied to the very end. Ample, he's kind of jolly, he's in his late sixties, but, like, fine as hell. And he leans over and goes, "You called for me? What do you need? Are these them?" And Sherri just gives a little, "(clears throat) "You can take it from here." She gives you all a very dirty look. And then looks at you.

AIMEE: He's hot.

ASHLEY: Right?

AABRIA: You have music instruments on your person, yes? Like visible?

ROBBIE: Yeah. My lute's on my back, and did you ever give me my flute back, or do you still have it? (laughter)

AIMEE: Oh no.

ROBBIE: I sort of feel around with it. Give her a look. Yeah, I've got my lute on my back.

ASHLEY: You never give Fearne something, because you're probably not going to get it back.

AABRIA: Ayy!

ROBBIE: It's deep in that fur somewhere right now.

ASHLEY: Yep.

AABRIA: And Sherri looks at you, clocks the lute on your back and takes a little jump back. "Are you a bard?"

ROBBIE: Yes. Newly acquired job, but yes.

AABRIA: And you see her go a little flushed red at the cheeks and the throat at the tip of her ears. (Sherri whimpers) "I'll leave you to it." And she just takes off, lost in her own memory of something long ago and scurries away. And Gilmore's booming voice comes back down again. "Well, come up here. You called me from Marquet. Come on."

AIMEE: (squeaks)

MATT: All right.

ROBBIE: Is that-- do we know him?

LIAM: None of us know him.

AABRIA: Do you want to make a history check to see if you've heard of him?

AIMEE: Yes, yes, yes.

AABRIA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: We just met, like, Jesus Santa Claus rockstar, I want to know if I know him.

AABRIA: Kind of, though!

AIMEE: You said history?

AABRIA: Yaas.

MATT: 14.

ASHLEY: Five. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Seven.

AIMEE: 16, baby.

LIAM: 23.

ROBBIE: Whoa!

ASHLEY: Of course you know Shaun.

AIMEE: I want to flirt with Mr. Gilmore! (laughter)

AABRIA: Everyone but Fearne and Dorian, you've heard of Gilmore. Shaun Gilmore is sort of heralded as one of the great heroes of the generation before you, in stories about dangers in Emon, the Chroma Conclave, the battles of Vox Machina, his name is inexorably there, tied to all of it. And then even when Vox Machina moved on and they split up, and some went to Whitestone and some went back to the Ashari, and as they all went their separate ways, Gilmore stayed in a Emon, he helped rebuild it, and he is a very important part of this city. Who got over a 20? You've heard, in your time here, rumors that not only is Gilmore a wildly successful merchant, but potentially, one of the secret council members of Emon.

LIAM: Ooh. So we trundle up to the third floor where he is.

ASHLEY: Wait, like on the Tal'Dorei Council?

LIAM: Correct.

ASHLEY: Do we already know this?

LIAM: No.

ROBBIE: We don't know anything. We're stupid.

LIAM: She just spilled the tea.

AIMEE: Oh, shit.

AABRIA: I'm the DM. I get to say things, and they're true!

ASHLEY: I just got goosebumps. I was like, wait.

AABRIA: Yeah!

AIMEE: Opal spritzes herself--

ASHLEY: Did we know this already? No!

AIMEE: -- with her perfume. She grabbed a fur from downstairs, puts it on.

ROBBIE: As we're walking up, I'm going to go over to Orym. Because I feel like he's got this sense of recognition.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Orym? Is that?

LIAM: He's kind of a BFD here.

ROBBIE: The guy?

LIAM: That's our man.

ROBBIE: The Gilmore guy?

LIAM: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Wow.

LIAM: He's legendary.

ASHLEY: He's legendary. He's beautiful.

AIMEE: He's so hot.

AABRIA: "Thank you, my dear. And you have excellent taste."

AIMEE: (squeals)

ASHLEY: (laughs)

AABRIA: And he, a hundred percent, does not drop a beat, kisses your hand.

AIMEE: (gushes, coughs)

AABRIA: "Your hair is lovely, as are all of you. What could have possibly pulled me from my business abroad? What is-- what is this? Lovely young people."

LIAM: Mr. Gilmore, he says as he starts pulling the tufts of green out of his own hair.

AABRIA: "Oh, oh, that's a nightmare." (laughter)

AABRIA: And you see, he waves his hand, and his eyes-- they're deep and brown and rich, but they seem to be reflecting, a bright violet glow that you don't see anywhere in the room. And it flares up a little bit, as he just sort of moves his fingers and prestidigitates, and the hair all disappears before it even hits the ground.

LIAM: Much appreciated. Nightmare, hour-long nightmare. Now over.

AABRIA: "The things we do for beauty."

LIAM: We try. It's an honor, quite frankly, to meet you, sir.

AABRIA: "Thank you. You have me at a disadvantage."

AIMEE: Why?

AABRIA: "You know my name and I have no idea who any of you are."

MATT: Right, right, yeah, no, we should totally do that.

LIAM: Well, I'm Orym. My name is Orym of the Air Ashari. Pleasure.

AIMEE: I'm Opal of Byroden. It's a small town. Far away.

AABRIA: "I've been, it's lovely."

AIMEE: (sputters) You've b--

AABRIA: "I've been everywhere."

AIMEE: (squeaks) He's been. (squeals even higher) He's been!

MATT: Hey, I'm Dariax. Just kind of lay about of Emon. Not much to talk about, but-- but happy to be in here, this place is beautiful. I'm happy we stepped in. It honestly looked a little out of my price range. So it's nice to actually see it from the inside. And you are, well, the words, words don't do you justice.

AABRIA: "Oh, flattery will get you literally everywhere. Thank you. And you."

ASHLEY: Hello, my name is Fearne Calloway. And I'm from the Feywild.

AABRIA: "Yes, you are. Interesting."

ROBBIE: Dorian's also swept up in his presence and stammers a little and he goes up: I'm, uh, Br-- Dorian. Dorian Storm. Nice to meet you.

ASHLEY: Insight check.

AABRIA: Yeah. That's on you, so. Hold up.

ASHLEY: Ooh, 18.

AABRIA: I'm going to say, oof. Let's call this-- I'm going to say this is an opposed insight check to see if-- just roll insight.

ROBBIE: Roll against it?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Okay. Oh ho, 18! Plus one, 19. (exclaiming)

ASHLEY: Just by one!

AIMEE: Oh man!

AABRIA: You caught-- you caught something there, but in the amount of time that it takes Gilmore to sort of, effusively say something nice in your direction, you regain yourself, and there's nothing to be caught. But you know, there was a little slip there. "Well, Sherri, my guard dog, would not have summoned me for nothing. Orym of the Air Ashari, yes?"

ASHLEY: We, um-- well, we found this really strange, uh-- Ash hole is what we've been calling it.

AABRIA: (Gilmore coughs) (Gilmore chuckles)

ASHLEY: And there was a large rune on it that none of us have been able to decipher.

LIAM: You know the Fire Ashari, who've been helping in town?

AABRIA: "Yes, I consider Lorkathar a good friend."

LIAM: She sent us.

AABRIA: "Oh."

ASHLEY: Oh, we should've led with that, actually.

ROBBIE: We should also have, maybe, lead with the fact that this rune was on the top of a giant plateau covered in an ash storm that wasn't there a couple of days ago.

LIAM: Yeah. Just erupted out of the earth and--

AABRIA: "Wait, the rune did?"

MATT: No, new mountain.

ROBBIE: Brand new mountain.

AIMEE: Mesa, to be exact.

LIAM: Rune on top.

AABRIA: And he sweeps past you to the edge of the railing and yells down, "Sherri, was there an earthquake?" And she looks up, pushes her glasses so slowly, just gives a little nod.

ASHLEY: I love Sherri.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

LIAM: It's been-- ♪ It's been a while. ♪

AABRIA: Goes back to her book. And he sweeps around and his robes sort of billow and move and then they settle and he goes, "Well, that confirms it. A new plateau with a massive runic ash hole on it is deserving of my attention."

LIAM: Oh!

AIMEE: Thank god.

AABRIA: "Oh! Oh. Are you-- do you--"

LIAM: It's been a day.

AABRIA: "Huh."

LIAM: And it's only 11 o'clock?

ASHLEY: Yeah, someone shot a poison dart at me.

MATT: Yeah, we should probably look at that.

AABRIA: "I'm sorry, what? You, once again, burying the lede here."

ASHLEY: I-- yeah. I don't know why, we were just outside. I think someone's-- I think someone's probably after us.

MATT: There's been a rowdy party recently. People going crazy in the streets, but we're probably been following.

AIMEE: I tied someone up.

ROBBIE: We should also mention, we've murdered many people and might have made mortal enemies with the thieves' guild.

AIMEE: Anyway, I have a picture of the ash hole. (laughter)

LIAM: Murder is a strong word.

ASHLEY: We've done so much. (laughter)

ASHLEY: When you break it down like that, holy moly.

MATT: Can't say we don't get stuff done, I guess, as a group.

ASHLEY: That's true.

LIAM: Does the name the Nameless Ones mean anything to you?

MATT: It's funny when you put it that way, because--

AABRIA: Make an insight check. He micro expresses and then regains himself.

LIAM: It's really low, um--

AABRIA: I'll give you advantage, if you give me a good reason.

LIAM: Uh, I know how connected he is to the history of this city.

AABRIA: And he micro expresses and catches you in watching him in that moment. And instead of fully regaining it, he lets the concern sit and stay, and sort of drops the facade of carelessness. What'd you get on the second roll?

LIAM: A total of 13.

AABRIA: With a 13, kind of nods. "First thing's first, may I do magic on you? Consent's a weird thing with spells, but I can have you taken care of."

ASHLEY: By all means, you have my full consent.

AABRIA: "Okay." And you see a little purple sigil begins to light up in his forehead and his eyes flare again with that violet light and his fingertips, especially right at the edge of the nail, begin to glow purple and he casts Lesser Restoration on you. So you are wiped of the poisoned condition. And as the glow sort of goes down, the sigil in his forehead remains. And the glow in his pupils remain.

ASHLEY: Wow.

AABRIA: "Okay. Rune or Nameless Ones first?"

LIAM: I think we should start at the beginning.

AABRIA: "This feels like it's going to be a long story."

LIAM: It's a short story with complex parts.

AABRIA: "I'm an old man and I'm not going to stand," and he turns and walks through-- (laughter)

AABRIA: -- a beaded curtain.

LIAM: I love him.

ASHLEY: I love him so much! (fake cries)

AABRIA: And when you follow him through this wide, red beaded curtain, he's--

LIAM: Through the beaded curtain, even?

AABRIA: Yeah! Ayy. There's a big tufted area and he's sitting behind this giant backed chair that's red, with mahogany and just the most. It's the most, it smells like incense in here and there's a beautiful silver tea service in the center. "Is there anything I can-- Sit, sit. Now, explain."

LIAM: In the interest of time, Orym, with the help of everyone, recounts the party, the crater--

AABRIA: At the party, he just says, "Oh, that ended a few days ago. Big fire in the area."

ASHLEY: Was-- There was a-- Do we know about the fire?

ROBBIE: We should mention--

ASHLEY: No.

ROBBIE: -- we've been companions for a few weeks now, but there are pieces that are missing.

MATT: Right.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: Well, the Nameless Ones were talking about taking care of the houses of lords and individuals that were maybe pushed into that district, maybe the fire is isn't-- Did we lose-- We should check on Lothar's home, just in case. We did renege pretty hard on that agreement.

AABRIA: "Agreement with?"

MATT: Oh! There was a lady named Poska, who's from the Nameless One folk. Seemed dangerous, we made a deal. That's how the people got killed, murdered, not really--

ROBBIE: It was less of an agreement and more of an opportunity that was presented to us that we took upon a different route.

MATT: A moral high ground.

ROBBIE: With murder.

MATT: (uncertain) Yeah.

LIAM: We just kept tripping into trouble for a couple of days. We've lost, collectively, some memories. Um, and--

MATT: We've made some.

ASHLEY: Yes.

LIAM: Today included. And forgot to even mention that we found something that I'm pretty confident we should talk to you about as well.

ASHLEY: I was going to ask everybody if we should.

MATT: We got offered a music deal.

AABRIA: "Congratulations."

MATT: To perform at the Black Swan.

AABRIA: "Oh."

MATT: Don't know how I feel about this Eduardie guy. He's a little--

AABRIA: "Big, dark tiefling?"

MATT: Yeah, he's very touchy feely.

AABRIA: "He is that way."

MATT: Didn't ask first. It was a little weird.

AABRIA: "He's very good. Good business head."

MATT: Right.

AABRIA: "Falls in love easy."

AIMEE: As the story progresses, Opal just gets closer and closer to Mr. Gilmore, just sitting at his feet, just total admiration.

AABRIA: "Not going to say I'm not enjoying this."

AIMEE: Have you really been there before, to my town?

AABRIA: "Oh, uh-- It's on-- It's well-named."

AIMEE: Yeah.

AABRIA: "It's by the road. So yes, we stopped through on our ways east. I've been all over Tal'Dorei. All over."

AIMEE: So Sherri-- is Sherri your wife or something?

AABRIA: "Oh, (laughs). No, she is not."

AIMEE: Oh.

AABRIA: "Bless her heart. I, unfortunately, am married."

AIMEE: Oh.

ASHLEY: Did you say-- wait, you said you are-- what did you just say, you're married?

AABRIA: "I'm married, yes. My husband is following, continuing my affairs in Marquet. Do you know Darius?"

ASHLEY: No.

AABRIA: "He's lovely. I hope if you don't die from whatever you're caught up in, you have the opportunity to meet him."

ROBBIE: Speaking of which.

LIAM: So, party, crater, accidentally got entangled with the Nameless Ones, unintentionally. Fights were had.

AABRIA: "Were you involved in the boat incident down at the harbor?"

AIMEE: Oh yeah.

ASHLEY: Yes. Oh, you heard about this?

ROBBIE: I look-- I look to Dariax. I look to Dariax for all things thievery considered, and I give him a look and I-- I want to express-- continue to express my reluctance at talking about this item that we possess.

MATT: Actually, this is a valid question. Has my entirely black eyes faded at this point?

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

AABRIA: No. They have not. (laughter)

AABRIA: They absolutely have not.

MATT: I was like, oh yeah.

AABRIA: He's trying not to be judgmental.

AIMEE: Opal cannot control herself around this man. She will tell him anything he wants to know.

ASHLEY: On his knee.

AIMEE: If you guys want to keep her away from him, if you want to keep anything secret--

LIAM: Well, it doesn't matter what any of you want, because Orym knows the character of this man, and says: Take the crown out.

ROBBIE: (sighs)

MATT: Oh.

LIAM: Take it out.

ROBBIE: Go on, Dariax, take it out.

AABRIA: "Oh my goodness."

MATT: Go ahead and unwrap and hold the crown out with my hand.

AIMEE: Oh, shit.

AABRIA: And you see his hands go out, and a purple, shadowy Mage Hand goes out and grabs the crown from you. And his eyes stay locked with yours. "So you were touching it."

ASHLEY: Oh my god, I forgot--

MATT: Well, yeah, I mean, that's how you move things.

ASHLEY: But what's weird is, when he-- when he touched it, his eyes just stayed that color.

AABRIA: "That would happen."

MATT: Wait, what happened?

ASHLEY: You just, I figured, I figured maybe that's just something that you do.

ROBBIE: Dariax, have you looked in a mirror in the last three days?

AIMEE: Your eyes are black.

LIAM: I turn him towards a mirror in the room.

AABRIA: You know he has several mirrors.

LIAM: A full-length mirror in the room.

AABRIA: Yep.

LIAM: Sorry.

AABRIA: And you look in the mirror, Dariax. Make a-- no, no, no. You don't have to roll for this. As you see yourself and you see your full black eyes, and you see the reflection of your friends, and you see a single spider skitters out across every person's face. You see it crawl out of Gilmore's slightly agape mouth, and crawls down into his beard and disappears behind the little amethyst at the bottom. You see it crawling out of Fearne's ear and across her nose. You see it coming out of Opal's nostril, getting lost in her hair. It comes out of everyone and only you are aware of it. They seem to not notice.

MATT: Looking in the mirror, which is the first time he's looked in the mirror in a while. I'd say, he doesn't like, he doesn't focus too much on the-- this. He's like: All right, so last I checked, they were a nice brown, like a nice, dreamy brown color, not just this. That's a little weird. It's a little strange, kind of cool in some ways, but yeah, I could see it being kind of a problem. Also, you got a lot of, you've got an infestation issue going around here. There's a lot of-- Lot of--

ASHLEY: Beards?

MATT: I don't want to make it weird, but--

AABRIA: He checks his beard. Gilmore looks the most concerned, immediately. Checks himself. "I'm fine. What? I'm perfectly put together. I don't know what he's talking about. Are you okay?"

MATT: (high-pitched uncertain noise)

ASHLEY: I was going to say something--

LIAM: He's been creeping us out for a couple of days.

AABRIA: "And you just let it happen?"

MATT: I'm seeing spiders everywhere.

ROBBIE: Yes, he said it, he said the thing, what are you saying?

MATT: Covered in spiders, everyone's covered in spiders There's just spiders all over the place, right?

AIMEE: Oh my god! Where?

MATT: Right there!

AIMEE: (screams)

MATT: I'll get it, I'll get it!

AIMEE: Get it!

MATT: (yell)

AABRIA: Make an attack roll.

MATT: That'll be eight.

AABRIA: He just smacks you on the shoulder. There was nothing there.

MATT: Did I get it?

AABRIA: There was nothing there!

AIMEE: This is not my fur.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Are there spiders all around?

LIAM: No.

MATT: There was, there was a second ago.

ASHLEY: I meant to tell you, but I forgot.

AABRIA: "Have you put the crown on?"

MATT: No, should I?

AABRIA: "No! No-oh-ho-ho, no! No!" And he takes the mage hand and puts it behind his back and just readjusts himself to try to keep it out of your eye line.

LIAM: I know this is going to sound like bullshit, but we really just kind of lucked, unlucked? It was an accident. We were trying to back out of a bad situation with these guys, ended up on that boat, found that, knew that it was better not to leave it for someone else to have. And then we've just been looking, I've been looking for somebody trustworthy to dump it on. And that person might be you.

ASHLEY: Opal had a vision about the crown.

AIMEE: You know, it was the first time I ever saw the ocean.

AABRIA: "Oh, that's nice."

AIMEE: Your eyes are kind of like that.

AABRIA: "Oh my god. I-- You are just the most." And he leans in and gets on your eye level and is just lost in you right now, everything that's happening here. This is great.

AIMEE: You want to hear about my vision?

AABRIA: "I would lo--," and he grabs your hand and takes it into his and his hands are soft and warm.

AIMEE: (high-pitched squeal) Opal just starts sweating profusely from her palms.

AABRIA: He clocks it and you see him just, that's fine. "I would love to hear anything you'd be willing to tell me."

AIMEE: Okay, well there's a Spider Queen and it was really scary but that's it. A Spider Queen. And she was like, had like one--

AABRIA: "Did she speak to you?"

AIMEE: No, she had like one leg really close to my face, and it was not cute, but that's it.

AABRIA: And he doesn't let go of your hand, he just opens it up to let air out a little bit. Favors. "No, you're fine."

AIMEE: I have a sweaty palm.

AABRIA: "You're fine, it's all natural. This is a Vestige of Divergence. One specifically attenuated to the Betrayer God known as the Spider Queen. This is a Circlet of Barbed Vision. Now, the Spider Queen herself is dark, is evil, but the vestige is simply power and it is whatever you make it into. Power simply is. So you all, I applaud your honesty in coming to me and trusting me with your truth."

AIMEE: Any time.

AABRIA: "I am happy to take the circlet off of your hands. It will be safe with me. But I do recognize that it is not mine to take from you. So what would you like to happen? I can pay--"

MATT: Trade?

AABRIA: "There we go. I will be happy to trade, let's call it 5,000 gold of store credit for the circlet. Does that feel fair?"

AIMEE: Yeah.

ROBBIE: I think we should keep it.

AIMEE: What?

ASHLEY: I kind of-- I kind of want to keep it.

ROBBIE: I appreciate your offer, my friends do too, and I'm not speaking for you, I just think we should keep it.

AIMEE: What are you going to do with it? It's turning everybody into black eyes.

LIAM: Makes you want to throw up.

ASHLEY: What if you try it on? Just in front of Shaun and if something goes awry you could probably help. I don't know why if you love it so much, might as well keep it.

ROBBIE: It's not for me. It's just we found it together.

MATT: We did, and now we can find a bunch of cool things in here that we could have together. And I mean, if I'm just going to be honest here, while it didn't make me feel sick, it's a little creepy, not going to lie. And if we're trying to keep it safe, right, like away from bad people?

LIAM: I mean, we thought we were going to get jumped in the street 20 minutes ago and we're carrying that thing around.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: "By the Nameless Ones?"

AIMEE: Yes.

LIAM: A couple blocks away.

MATT: Which, by the way, you heard about this boat thing you mentioned earlier, right?

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm."

MATT: So was it like, "Caper storms the front of the water as the ship is beset by master thieves leaving nothing but destruction and mystery in their wake"?

AABRIA: "Yes."

ASHLEY: Yeah, what did you hear?

AABRIA: "That exactly."

MATT: Heck yeah. Told you.

AABRIA: "There's nothing officially reported on the galleon from Issylra, but it is my job to know about these things. So I know. And the problem of Poska and her Nameless Ones has been on my radar for quite some time. She's very dangerous, but I know you know that."

LIAM: Oh wow, I think we assumed she was lower level.

ROBBIE: Was that Poska's ship?

AABRIA: "No, but the vestige was bound to make its way to Tal'Dorei, for research reasons, further inland."

ROBBIE: What could Poska want with it?

AABRIA: "It's a very powerful magical item."

ROBBIE: Which is why I would like to keep it.

ASHLEY: So-- sorry, the circlet was meant to go to where again?

AABRIA: "A friend of mine, a very powerful mage, for study and protection."

ASHLEY: Oh, so it will either go to your friend or we keep it?

MATT: Mm.

AABRIA: "Money hasn't changed hands, and the truth of the vestiges is that they go, in some small way, where they are meant to be. And I'm not here to pressure you either way. If you think that you are good stewards of this artifact, I will trust it with you."

MATT: I think I'm looking to Dorian and what Dorian's asking for, and while I want to trust to Gilmore, do I feel any sort of sinister undertones or anything that--

AABRIA: Ooh, give me an insight check. I'll give you advantage for just a very meta reason. (laughter)

LIAM: The universe is bending inward.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: That would be a 14.

AABRIA: There's nothing sinister to Gilmore, but he's seen a lot of things in his years.

ASHLEY: He's perfect.

AABRIA: And he knows better than to get in the way of fate. And he doesn't necessarily trust you all to protect something that people would easily kill for. That things bigger than groups of people would kill for. But you see something in his smile, a little upturn that almost feels like warm recognition of recognizing a pattern of something beginning again. And it's not malicious, but he's willing to see what happens.

MATT: Hmm. Look long and hard over at Dorian. Glance at the rest of the crew. You want to keep it?

ROBBIE: I want to keep it, but I can't carry it. Only you can.

MATT: But you can carry me.

ROBBIE: (laughs)

AABRIA: "(laughs)" He just laughs and he sips his tea.

LIAM and ASHLEY: Mr. Frodo!

ASHLEY: But I can carry you! That was not the accent. (laughter)

MATT: We'll not dwell on that.

ROBBIE: But if I'm the only one that wants to keep it, then--

MATT: Nah, if you want to keep it, I want to keep it.

AABRIA: "Okay."

ASHLEY: I mean, I also do want to keep it to because I'm just a little curious. Opal?

AABRIA: "I can offer you this," and he slowly gets up. He's a little thicker than we may have remembered him before, he's lived a good life.

AIMEE: I'm still holding his hand.

AABRIA: "Oh!" Yeah, he's going to let that go. (laughter)

ASHLEY: He's standing up.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: I love it.

LIAM: Sliding five inches away.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: He does his hair, gets up and leaves back through the beaded curtains and comes back two minutes later with essentially a wooden cigar box that looks like it's just enough for the circlet to fit in and it's carved all over with-- Does anyone here speak Celestial?

MATT: Nah.

AIMEE: Nah.

ROBBIE: Nay.

AABRIA: With writing you don't recognize. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I wonder what that says. (laughter)

AABRIA: "It's a spell." And he's just flipping it around. This intense magic artifact and offers it to you. "If at any point the circlet becomes too much to bear, put it in here, and it'll come back to me. One trip, one chance. So you can either return the circlet or, you know, times when you're available to grab a drink."

ROBBIE: May I ask you a question?

AABRIA: Mm, you just let that roll right off of you, and I'm kind of proud of it.

ROBBIE: Oh shit, I did!

AABRIA: No, it's totally fine.

ROBBIE: Am I that oblivious? Is Dorian that oblivious?

AABRIA: You see him look in the mirror like, "Am I old? No, it's not me. It's him."

AIMEE: Oh, damn it, Opal, always falling for unavailable guys.

ROBBIE: Oh man, business before sex, Dorian.

AABRIA: Yo, respect.

ASHLEY: Not for Gilmore. (laughter)

AABRIA: "Little bit of both."

ASHLEY: As we know.

AABRIA: "Keeps me young."

LIAM: Best ones are always taken.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Oh, now Dorian's embarrassed.

ASHLEY: Oh, you're blushing.

ROBBIE: Make a blue man blush.

MATT: Nice shade of--

MATT, ASHLEY, and AIMEE: -- purple!

AABRIA: "Actually-- so married." You seem him play with his ring. Like, "All right."

ROBBIE: Can I ask, does the box work both ways?

AABRIA: "Nope. I did say one way."

ROBBIE: So if we gave it to you and we wanted it back?

AABRIA: "You would have to come visit me at my one of my many fine establishments."

AIMEE: So the box only goes one way? It doesn't go-- (laughter)

AIMEE: -- both ways?

LIAM: You've got to find the right box, Aimee.

AABRIA: "Let me be completely clear: I am a powerful crafter of magical items and my items go any way. This box just goes the one way, though."

ROBBIE: We'll take the box. (laughter)

AIMEE: Opal's confused.

AABRIA: Yeah! (laughter)

ASHLEY: But nodding.

AIMEE: Really pretends like she's not, like she gets it.

AABRIA: "I like you all a lot. I'm just going to say that out loud."

MATT: Hey, mutual.

AABRIA: "Hey. Please spend money in my shop."

ASHLEY: I do have a question, though. Why is it that when some of us touch the circlet we get sick? is it just because it's--

AABRIA: "It's a vestige of an evil god."

ASHLEY: Oh.

AABRIA: "Those whose moral fortitudes lean more in the upstanding and good direction would find little use for it."

ASHLEY: Oh, so if you don't get sick, what does that mean?

AABRIA: "That you're a terrible person."

ASHLEY: Oh.

MATT: Nice.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: "Don't get too caught up over who can and can't use it."

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: "The gods are fickle, and don't worry too much about what they have decided any person can or should be. You are what you would like to be."

MATT: To bring it back, do we want to do the crown thing? The box? We're good? We got the box.

ROBBIE: Ah, yeah. I took the box from you.

MATT: All right.

ROBBIE: And did we take the crown as well?

AABRIA: "Oh, yes."

ROBBIE: You've been hiding it, yeah, I know it's been behind your back this whole conversation.

AABRIA: "Clever, clever." And he uses Mage Hand to offer it back out to you.

ROBBIE: Point it toward--

MATT: Toss me the box!

AABRIA: "If you put it in the box--"

MATT: Oh, it goes immediately?

AABRIA: "It goes back to me."

MATT: Oh, I misunderstood, you keep the box.

ROBBIE: I'll keep the box, you keep it in the purse.

MATT: I'll just grab it out of the air.

AABRIA: "S-- (groans). Please stop touching it with your hand."

MATT: I already did it. What, does it make it worse or something?

MATT: "No."

ROBBIE: If he promises not to touch it with his hands again for a while, can you fix his creepiness?

AABRIA: "Are you just going to touch it again?"

MATT: No.

AABRIA: And he just sighs and you see the-- No, don't worry about it. He didn't believe you, and he doesn't care.

MATT: Yeah, I figured. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Aabria's like, "Mm-mm--" (laughter)

ASHLEY: -- at my table. (laughter)

AABRIA: And he just sort of smirks and behind his teeth, you actually see a bit of that violet glow and he says "Fine." And the word "Fine" sort of resonates. You feel it hit your chest as something breaks away from you and your eyes return to normal and then you're holding it and you see him straining, like, "Please just-- oh, thank god."

AIMEE: God.

AABRIA: "(groans) Ooh!"

MATT: Much obliged.

AABRIA: "(sarcastic laugh)"

MATT: So the other thing.

AABRIA: "Oh my god, I forgot there's more. We're going to need some food in here."

MATT: Yes. (yelling) Food!

AIMEE: Oh, I do that. It works sometimes.

MATT: I learned it from watching you. (laughter)

ASHLEY: "I learned it from watching you."

AABRIA: You see Inanna scurries up and pokes her head in through the beads. "Can I help you?"

MATT: Mr. Gilmore said he was famished.

AABRIA: And she looks over at Gilmore and he shrugs and she's, "I guess I'll go see what's in the ba--ck." And she disappears again. Like, there's no protocol for this. She works in the store, but she will find some sort of food. And bring back whatever she can find.

AIMEE: Ye old vending machine.

AABRIA: Yeah! Vending machine feast.

LIAM: I loved that delayed K on the end of back.

AIMEE and ASHLEY: The ba--ck.

AABRIA: That was the, "Loading, I will figure out a solution for this problem."

MATT: So there's, like, a new mountain.

AABRIA: "Yes. Oh my god, the ash hole."

MATT: And there's, you got the thing.

AIMEE: I got the thing, and also, my sister took away my power.

AABRIA: "What? New thing, that's a new thing. We're going to put it in the queue. I-- (throat clear) Okay. What are we doing? Let's deal with the rune." And you see his hand was clear especially after holding yours for a little bit and he just flicks it and the piece of paper that you handed him just reappears.

AIMEE: (high-pitched impressed noise)

AABRIA: And he opens it up and looks down. "Oh, and you're sure this is what it looked like?"

AIMEE: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Do you recognize the language or the symbol?

AABRIA: "In a way." And he puts his hand over the sigil on his forehead and he begins to chant, and is just ritual casting a very-- You all, especially arcane casters in the group can feel the pressure and smell the ozone of extremely high-level casting happening. And he's summoning all these energies. You don't see it go off in any meaningful way. But in that time, the back of his hand, another sigil forms. And as it moves over the one on his forehead they mix together and make this incredibly detailed series of overlapping circles and vector lines. And though it is not the same as the rune that you saw on the mesa, it is of the same type. Foreign and unrecognizable. And he releases the spell. "I'm what they call a Runechild. This is the kind of magic that was, it's within me. But this magic is older than any tome that we have about it. And I hate to say that it's as foreign to me as it is to you. But I have a thought, if you are willing. There are some books downstairs, guarded by Sherri, so don't go get them, you will pull back a nub. That talk about a very old civilization in the south lost in the jungles of the Rifenmist Peninsula."

AIMEE: Oh, that's close to me.

AABRIA: "It is."

ASHLEY: Where again?

AABRIA: "South of Byroden."

LIAM: By Byroden.

ASHLEY: South of Byroden.

AIMEE: That's good, that's (stammering).

AABRIA: "On Tal'Dorei, but off the map, as it were. If you can find the ruins of the Qoniira, if you can find something that could act as a translator that old runic writing, the only thing I can imagine is that it's of that people, a culture that rose and fell years before the Calamity. They are ancient by the longest stretches of time that we understand. If you can find something within the ruins I can translate it."

LIAM: So the rune we saw outside of Emon is that old?

AABRIA: "Yes."

MATT: The people of the quinceañera.

AABRIA: "He's going to touch the crown again. I understand that."

ASHLEY: Probably.

MATT: No, I'm not.

AABRIA: "Don't you lie to me, you beautiful boy."

AIMEE and ASHLEY: (laugh)

MATT: I'll try not to--

ASHLEY: Shuffling his feet. (laughter)

AABRIA: "You let me know if and when that one attunes to it or other people."

LIAM: I'll be keeping track.

ROBBIE: This word Qoniira that you said, the runes, is that something that--

AABRIA: Make a history check! Anyone can make it if you want.

AIMEE: I'll make it, too, because maybe I know something since I'm from close to there.

LIAM: I'm thinking quinceañera, that's all I'm thinking.

AABRIA: I hate--

MATT: Sorry.

AABRIA: No, I hate that I didn't think of that in the list of ways that this will be turned into something stupid.

ASHLEY: If it's there, we'll find it.

MATT: It's me, after years of suffering under this to flex it back and I'm sorry.

AABRIA: My soul looks into yours and I see you.

MATT: My love language as well, right now.

AABRIA: It's all good, yep.

ASHLEY: Yes, it's our love language to you.

LIAM: Got to pay it forward, Matt.

ASHLEY: Pay it forward.

AABRIA: It's all good.

AIMEE: Opal's like: I had a quinceañera.

ROBBIE: For sure.

AIMEE: For sure.

AABRIA: 100%.

ASHLEY: Yes!

AABRIA: All right, did anyone get over a 15?

MATT and ROBBIE: Nope.

AIMEE: Yes. 16.

AABRIA: Anyone else? Just you?

ASHLEY: Mm-mm.

AABRIA: Wild. Opal. Now, it's not because you were in Byroden, but you know what? Maybe you didn't care that much about school, but despite your best efforts, some knowledge wiggled its way on into your brain. And when learning about ancient civilizations maybe it is because of the proximity of Byroden to the sort of vast, unknowable jungle of the Rifenmist Peninsula, that, yes, the Qoniira, much like the ancient Egyptians, if we want to give it a good analog, a culture that was ancient, even to other ancient civilizations that you heard of that were sort of wildly neutral about the sources of magic. They didn't care for the difference between good gods and Betrayer Gods and nature and humanoid wrought magic. They respected and honored it all. And were lost when the Calamity hit. That's all you know.

LIAM: That's a lot.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Wow.

AIMEE: Well, my dad did try to hike in there and then didn't make it, he came back. He was scared.

LIAM: But he made it back?

AIMEE: Yeah, he made it back naked and afraid.

ASHLEY: Wow. He was naked and very scared?

AIMEE: Yeah.

ROBBIE: What made him afraid and what made him naked?

AIMEE: I don't-- This was before I was--

AABRIA: "I also want to know the answer to this. Please keep going."

MATT: It's a dangerous and alluring jungle.

AABRIA: "You stay here, I'm going to go in the jungle."

LIAM: So many reveals today. (laughter)

AIMEE: That's how he met my mom.

ASHLEY: Does the jungle just rip off your clothes?

AIMEE: Um, yes, you know when people get really cold and they get hot because they're so cold?

LIAM: Um.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Sounds like science. (laughter)

AABRIA: The worst part is she's completely correct, but it's wild the way she's saying it.

AIMEE: Okay!

AABRIA: It's kind of the best part.

AIMEE: Some things trickled into Opal's pearlescent brain. So I guess I tell them, she tells them that--

LIAM: Yep.

AIMEE: And--

MATT: That's impressive.

AIMEE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Impressive.

ASHLEY: The Qoniira?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm. With a Q, just because (blows raspberry).

ASHLEY: Q because?

AABRIA: Because I hate you.

ASHLEY and AABRIA: (laugh)

ASHLEY: Qoniira.

AABRIA: "Find me a bit of their runic writing, hopefully with something a little more recognizable to help translate it."

MATT: All right.

AABRIA: "And I will pay you dearly for this. You are doing a service to all of Tal'Dorei, but I understand that fledgling adventurers, if you don't mind me saying, require a bit more support in their earlier years."

MATT: Oh yeah, we have no idea what we're doing.

AABRIA: "Oh god. Don't die."

MATT: Nah, we're fine.

LIAM: Orym just stares at the box hanging off of--

AIMEE: Oh god.

LIAM: -- Dariax's belt. I don't suppose you have any transport you could recommend here in town.

AABRIA: "I have some friends, think they can get you down at least as far as Byroden."

LIAM: That'd be excellent, and maybe if we could do that, heh, surreptitiously.

AABRIA: "That's right. You're trying to avoid Poska."

MATT: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Do you have maybe a cart we could hide in? Full of hay or something, you know?

MATT: If not hay, like, nice cushions, some memory foam.

AIMEE: Do you want to come?

AABRIA: "I appreciate that you think-- I am so old! I don't want to-- I had my adventures."

AIMEE: It's nothing but a number.

AABRIA: "You're damn right about that." Make a persuasion check with advantage. Shoot.

LIAM: Bring a level 20 character.

AIMEE: Oh.

MATT: Won't throw game balance off at all.

ROBBIE: Just murdering.

AABRIA: That's my problem, not yours.

AIMEE: 11.

AABRIA: "Look, my time, at least out there, I'm not saying that I'm about to die or anything, I have--"

AIMEE: No.

AABRIA: "-- decades of shenanigans left within me, but this level of roughing it is, it's for young folks."

ASHLEY: I don't feel like I'm that young.

AABRIA: "How old are you?"

ASHLEY: I'm 112.

AABRIA: "You don't look a day over 20."

ROBBIE: You're 112?

AIMEE: Wow!

AABRIA: "I need to know your skin care regimen right now. Sorry, I'm going to focus, but I will be getting that from you before I leave, I can set you up with a cart. Do my best to get you to the edge of town. They tend to not mess with me directly for reasons."

MATT: And maybe a young adventures that need support discount on your wares?

AABRIA: Make a persuasion check.

ASHLEY: Come on.

ROBBIE: Let's go.

MATT: Ah, all right, all right! 22! (celebratory yelling)

AIMEE: Shopping spree!

MATT: Bat my eyes at him.

AABRIA: Yeah, he's just like, "I could never resist a pretty face and I won't start today! Friends discount."

MATT: Yeah!

AABRIA: "I'm sure you looted some nice Issyldrian coin from that ship, and I would love to get it back from you."

AIMEE: Was that your ship?

AABRIA: "No. I just want you to spend money in my--"

AIMEE: Oh, yeah support local business.

ROBBIE: Let's go shopping!

AABRIA: "Yay, shopping!"

ASHLEY: Let's go shopping. How much money did we get there?

AIMEE: We had a bit.

ROBBIE: Platinum and split it.

AIMEE: Well, we had a lot I thought.

ROBBIE: Should we each have 125 or?

AIMEE: 500 platinum, wasn't it?

AABRIA: Yeah, you can treat that how you want. You can split it as 125 each. You can treat it as a group pot. That's on you.

AIMEE: I feel like 125 each.

ROBBIE: Oh wait, my math is horrible. Why did I say that? 500 split five ways is just 100.

LIAM: 100 platinum each.

ROBBIE: Yeah, sorry. I'm an idiot.

AABRIA: It's all good.

ROBBIE: Bad at math.

AABRIA: Good try, though!

ROBBIE: I know. I tried. I was so confident with it.

AABRIA: Yeah, respect.

ASHLEY: I'm eyeing this beautiful silver tea set that has been set in front of us.

AABRIA: "That's mine."

ASHLEY: Well no, I just--

AABRIA: "It's not for sale."

ASHLEY: I think this is the most beautiful teacup I've ever seen and I like to collect things. I was just going to steal it, but I thought I would be honest and tell you. May I have it?

AABRIA: "That's really very nice of you and-- Oh god, it's so adorable the way her ears lay down, you can take it."

ASHLEY: I can have it?

AABRIA: "Yes."

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: "But that means you have to come back and have tea with me."

ASHLEY: I will any time.

AABRIA: "I'm looking incredibly forward to it."

ASHLEY: Me too.

AABRIA: "Now go spend money outside of this room because this is just my shit."

ASHLEY: You got it.

AABRIA: "That way."

MATT: Noted, all right.

AABRIA: And as you are all unleashed on the store we'll take our little break,

MATT: Yeah!

AIMEE: I'm literally shopping right now.

AABRIA: Yeah, I see.

ASHLEY: We need to do a clothing montage with Opal to "What a Girl Wants."

MATT: Yep, yep.

AIMEE: I was thinking that.

AABRIA: So as we prepare for our Pretty Woman montage--

ASHLEY: Yes!

AABRIA: We'll take a little break, so we'll see you in a few minutes, stick around.

Break[]

LAURA: Hey critters, Laura Bailey here. (film reel humming) Let's see what's open. Hey, critters, Laura Bailey here, letting you know what's new in the Critical Role shops. (soft bright music) Okay, okay, okay, first of all, these are maybe one of my favorite things we've ever done. I use them every day, because I get the samples ha, ha, ha, deal with it. First of all, is this? Nicodranas mug! We've got three mugs, all from different locations in Exandria, first up is Nicodranas. You may recognize this beautiful logo (speaking with an accent) as seen on our joggers. Second mug, is a lovely orange Tal'Dorei Republic. These are all camping-style mugs. They're ceramic though, so you may not want to actually take them camping. It's up to you. And third, is this fabulous, Xhorhas mug, this one is my favorite, I think just because of the color. This logo is designed by Jordyn Torrence. She's phenomenal. Look at this lovely set. You can drink coffee from all three at the same time if you feel like it. I do one at a time. Second, this is what we have next, is, hold on, (gasping) is three new sets of bumper stickers. Do you want me to open them? We've got a Mighty Nein set. I'm gonna open them. Here we go! It's happening! "My other ride is," I'm not, should I read them all to you? You guys can read. Go to the shop, check them out! Look at all these things! There's an actual Critical Role set! I'm opening it! We're doing this in one take. ♪ Da da da da da da da! ♪ Look at these. Look at these, these are beautiful. A Traveler Con set! (speaking with an accent) The traveler is my copilot. Traveler Con. I went to Traveler Con, and all I got was this bumper sticker. They're all lovely. These are all designed by Jordyn Torrence. She's amazing. She's phenomenal. She's so talented. And last but not least, you may be familiar with our Tal'Dorei blanket that is so, so soft and cozy. Well, now we've got something else for you. It's a Wildemount one. The Deven Rue maps are so beautiful that we had to make them into, hold on, I think it's upside down. (gasping) Look at this beauty! It's so soft and cozy. This is the Wildemount Dwendalian Empire map. It's bigger than the Tal'Dorei Republic blanket. That means you can maybe snuggle with two people at once, maybe three, I don't know your size. Oh, and also you guys, if you want to, you know, keep up to date on all the latest merch, you can sign up for our newsletter at Critical Role, nope, at critrole/newsletter, nope, hold on, at critrole.com/newsletter. It's wonderful. I think that's all I have to say. You know, I'll see you later for more merch, bye.

(whooshing) (happy kazoo music) (Dani laughing)

DANI: Hi, Critters. Lorekeeper, Dani Carr here. Last we left off, the Mighty Nein were in a bit of a pickle.

KEG: Your friends were snatched by the Iron Shepherds. They're a group of slave traders led by this jerk, Lorenzo, but I can help you take them down. (iron clanging)

MOLLY: Great, let's go.

DANI: It goes poorly. Mollymauk Tealeaf lost his life to Lorenzo. The others buried him by the road. They took a moment to mourn. With a newfound purpose, they resolved to find Lorenzo and save their friends. Turns out Lorenzo was on a lot of people's shit list. (horse neighing)

NILA: My son has also been kidnapped, and I would very much like to eat Lorenzo's face off. (iron clanging)

DANI: In Shady Creek Run, they meet their contact, Ophelia Mardun. Continuing this vindictive serendipity, her job for the Mighty Nein is to destroy the Iron Shepherds, who work for a monstrous rival crime family.

OPHELIA: If you need more help, there's a weird hermit cleric in the cursed woods.

NOTT: That guy sounds great.

CALEB: Ooh, definitely.

BEAU: Yep, that's our vibe.

DANI: Caduceus Clay is a guardian of the Blooming Grove, which is slowly falling to magical corruption. While his family has gone off searching for answers, Caduceus has remained behind until now.

CADUCEUS: I think you're the sign I've been waiting for. Right, Wild Mother? (buzzing) That's great. (iron clanging) (tea pouring)

BEAU: Okay, let's go fuck up Lorenzo.

NOTT: But better this time. (iron clanging, people groaning)

DANI: The Nein tear through the Iron Shepherds until at last the final showdown.

CALEB: Shakäste?

BEAU: Did everyone get kidnapped? (Shakäste shushes) (demonic laughing) (grunting, battle sounds) (whooshing)

NOTT: Case closed. (kissing)

DANI: They depart from their friends, pick up Ophelia, and return to Molly's grave for a final goodbye. (Yasha screams)

FJORD: I know we're dealing with a lot right now, but I found this letter in Lorenzo's stuff. I think it's about the orb I absorbed.

DANI: Along the way, the Nein pay off Gustav's debt in Molly's memory and purchase some pets. In Nicodranas, Jester is reunited with her mother, Marion. As Jester regales her mother with tales of their adventures, Marion informs her that The Gentlemen is Jester's missing father.

JESTER: What? (exploding) (sizzling) (whooshing)

DANI: After a quick side quest to defend Marion's honor, the Nein turn their attention to locating Marius LePaul. Which should be easy.

JESTER: Whoa!

DANI: Right?

BEAU: Marius, you suck.

MARIUS: Help! (grunting and clanging)

NOTT: I hate the water!

FJORD: Whelp, that escalated quickly.

DANI: Yes, it did. Well, Critters, you're now caught up on episodes 26 through 35 of campaign two. See you soon.

BEAU: Are we the bad guys?

DANI: Oh, Mighty Nein.

(medieval flute music) Have you ever been kicked by a horse? I can say I haven't in a long time. No. Well, it's not great. (laughs) It's not. As somebody who has a lot of bruises on her right now, getting thrown off a horse isn't great either. (laughs pitifully) Nature, she's a fickle beast. (Matthew laughs) Truly, and horses, even fickler-er. (both laughing) They're even fickler-er. (snappy music)

Part II[]

AABRIA: Welcome back. Where we left off was deep in the sauce in Gilmore's Glorious Goods. You guys just had a wonderful conversation with Shaun Gilmore himself, where you revealed some, but not all of your secrets, and resolved to keep the incredibly powerful, incredibly evil Vestige of Divergence. So that's just in your pocket, or whatever, as you've been unlike unleashed into a store. It's a shopping episode, y'all! As you leave the beaded curtains, Inanna is standing there. She's holding, just, it's not charcuterie. It is a Lunchable of sundry meats and crackers. It was the best she could do.

ASHLEY: Hey man, I love Lunchables.

AABRIA: And she just offers you-

AIMEE: She brought it from home.

AABRIA: (laughing) Yeah, she's like this is my lunch, I'll get another one later and is offering you tiny little napkins of it as you leave the beaded curtains and enter into the store proper.

MATT: I'll take a handful of those dubious square "American cheese" slices.

AABRIA: "If they get hot, they don't-- (clears throat) What can-- What can I do for you? Are you done? Are you leaving? Are you-- Oh, I found it in-- I found it in pink."

AIMEE: Oh, I'll take it! I mean, I'll try it on.

AABRIA: "Sweet." She hands off a really pretty crushed velvet cloak in pink, but then she also found some matching little, an arm situation.

AIMEE: Stop!

AABRIA: Like a little dress. Like a little mini dress that goes with it. There's a whole outfit. She's like, "You were in there for a while. So I just kept pulling things."

AIMEE: Oh, it's so great!

AABRIA: "Okay, so is there anything I can do for any of you? Are you shopping?"

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: Do you have a music section by any chance?

AABRIA: "Music, like instruments?"

ROBBIE: Instruments.

AABRIA: "Oh yeah, that's on level two."

ROBBIE: Okay, and I'm going to walk up to level two and--

AABRIA: Down.

ROBBIE: Down? Oh.

AABRIA: "Yep, you're on the third level.

ROBBIE: Oh okay, I'll start creeping the music section.

LIAM: Gotta check the CDs.

ROBBIE, AABRIA, and ASHLEY: Yeah.

AABRIA: My brain was like, "I... don't... think... that."

AIMEE: A cassette tape.

LIAM: (cassette tape stuttering)

ASHLEY: Do you have any Jimmy Buffett?

MATT: Pour one out for an era now gone.

LIAM: Yeah, oh man.

AABRIA: Goody's got it.

MATT: (laughs)

AIMEE: How much for this pink fur coat? A

AABRIA: "That would be--" So the coat you're wearing, like, there's-- You describe what the coat looks like and I'll give you the price.

AIMEE: Well, it is getting chilly out.

AABRIA: It is.

AIMEE: And all I have is a sateen coat, it's not even satin. So I just fe-- I think it's like a cropped situation. Not too much fur, very warm. Sort of like a bolero, but long sleeve.

AABRIA: Yeah, "That would be 10 gold."

AIMEE: (gasps) Add it to the bag.

AABRIA: "Oh okay, perfect." And she writes in her little ledger and you see a little puff of pink magical effects as she writes it down.

AIMEE: Hmm.

AABRIA: "Okay."

AIMEE: Thank you.

AABRIA: "Anything else?"

MATT: You see Dariax is jumping down on the floor just from place to place the place.

AABRIA: "Oh god, um."

MATT: Figuring stuff out.

AABRIA: "I'll catch up with him in a minute. Is there anything I can do for either of you?"

LIAM: Orym-- Liam was laughing like fucking hell in the Gilmore section, but Orym kind of went quiet and just started listening and watching his friends and coming out here he is just, all of this stuff confuses him. This is way beyond his ken. So he gravitates to what weaponry he sees in here. And it's just looking at swords, which look way too expensive for him and armor and shields and stuff. And also looking at the group and just watching and watching Dariax go by and just looking at that thing hanging off his belt.

AABRIA: Inanna slides up next to you and she's a little bit shorter than you, being a gnome. And she just gives you a little shoulder check. "Do you want some, like, water?"

LIAM: Water?

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm!"

LIAM: Sure, yeah, always.

AABRIA: And she produces a little flask of it. "Here you go, you seem a little-- He has that effect on people."

LIAM: It's been a couple of-- Oh, he's exceeds, exceeds description.

AABRIA: "Is there anything I can do for you? It's okay if not, I'm not actually trying to-- We don't get paid off of a commission or anything."

LIAM: (laughs) Orym sizes up a small shield on the wall with an eye engraved on it. He dings it. Ding ding. What's this?

AABRIA: "This is a Sentinel Shield. It's very good. It was actually made a couple of years ago by Gilmore himself. Highly recommend. It's the last one of its kind in the store."

LIAM: Sure, sure.

AABRIA: "So, you know, it's going to-- It'll go fast. There's other people looking at it."

LIAM: Can I afford it is the question, it's gorgeous.

AABRIA: "Well, this shield normally goes for 1,000 gold, but Mr. Gilmore did say that you are given the friends and family discounts, so 800?"

LIAM: Deal.

AABRIA: "Okay."

LIAM: Thank you.

AABRIA: "Sweet." She reaches up, can't quite reach it. She goes, "Hold, please." And runs back and comes back with a big hook.

LIAM: Right. I reach and I can't get it either.

AABRIA: Yeah.

LIAM: Oh yeah. Actually, I'm wearing Boots of Striding and Springing, so I leap and pull it off and then land and feel the weight of it and put my hand in. It's a little heavier than my other one, but-- then I pull out other one (blows air forcefully) which has a lot of sentimental value. Can I ask you a favor?

AABRIA: "Okay."

LIAM: I guess this shop in general. This is such a weird request. Do you think you guys could hold onto this one for me?

AABRIA: "Oh, absolutely. You're a friend of Mr. Gilmore. Yeah, I'll take it for you."

LIAM: I want it back, I don't have a home. But you know, I mean to, but I don't have one. Anyway. I don't want to part with it and I don't think I could carry two.

AABRIA: "Would you like-- I don't know him super well myself, but if you are interested, I can ask Mr. Gilmore, if he-- Do you want your shield enchanted with something and then maybe it could be a trade thing? I don't know. I don't speak for, I just-- I'm hourly, but I just-- you look."

LIAM: Are you saying that you guys can make this do the same?

AABRIA: "Yeah, it's just like he made that shield into a magic thing. He could make your shield into a magic thing."

LIAM: I gently prop the new one, or the new to me one just against the wall gingerly. I mean, that's, I don't know magic. If you can do that, that would be amazing.

AABRIA: "Oh yeah. Actually, would you mind coming with me?"

LIAM: Sure, sure.

AABRIA: “I don't want to carry both, that's the only reason. Hold on."

LIAM: I pick it back up, okay.

AABRIA: Yeah. "Okay, follow me."

LIAM: I start walking with two shields after her.

AABRIA: She sprints at a Dariax-level speed back up to the third floor and then goes to beaded curtain and knocks on the wall next, "Mr. Gilmore, could you please-- We could use your help with some quick enchantment, and--" and while she's sort of stammering quietly into the curtain, the beaded curtains, he pops his head through two feet over her head and just looks down. "You're back, what do you need?"

LIAM: Hi. I was looking at your wares down below, and--

AABRIA: "Wonderful."

LIAM: This was recommended and I'm a little torn. I have this one, which is, you know, it's from home.

AABRIA: "I understand."

LIAM: But we were talking about...

AABRIA: "I'm also sentimental and I'm running out of time." And he just grabs both and doesn't wait for you to disengage your arm from either of them and drags your bodily through. And is going to take you over to a big long table that has lots of different vials filled with different levels of powdered green rock which I know you understand now is residuum and residuum is a catalyst for enchanting magical items and powerful, magical effects. And he looks at you and says, "So you want the-- this on your home shield, yes?"

LIAM: Basically.

AABRIA: "Okay, I'm going to ring you up for it."

LIAM: If I can afford it. I don't want to get in debt or anything.

AABRIA: "How much money do you have?"

LIAM: Around 1,100 gold.

AABRIA: "I can do it for 1,100. Or I could do it for a little cheaper. 800 gold."

LIAM: I'm at your discretion.

AABRIA: And he gives you a little look and quirks his eyebrow, and it just gives a little sigh. "You're a little green at this. Eventually you'll learn to negotiate. 800 it is." (chuckles) And then pushes you out and away and starts dumping out residuum on the table as he's getting to the work of enchanting your shield.

LIAM: All right. He just whistles away and goes to find some healing potions.

AABRIA: Perfect.

LIAM: Well, I'll step back for now.

AABRIA: All right. What are you up to, Dorian?

ROBBIE: (sighs dramatically) So I've worked my way, I've just perusing all the levels of-- I spent I got what I came for from the music area and I've been walking around and I come back down and I have an armful of just what looks like just random shit.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: And I want to just sort of flump it all out onto the table. And uh...

AABRIA: (as Inanna) "Do you want me to put it in a basket for you? You just putting it on the table?"

ROBBIE: If I can afford it all I'll just throw it in my pack after I've bought it.

AABRIA: "Okay, well what am I looking at?" And she starts sorting through your stuff. What did you grab?

ROBBIE: I grabbed a half a dozen potions of healing. And then the garbage stuff is, I grabbed a bag of caltrops, I grabbed a bag of ball bearings and I grabbed about half a dozen smoke grenades.

AABRIA: Okay.

ROBBIE: And they're all seem to be pretty cheap. (chuckles)

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: I was looking at them. I also grabbed a pan flute from the instrument section. But the thing that stands out the most on the table and the thing that I'm sort of eyeing if you'll notice it's in the thing is an immovable rod.

AABRIA: Ooh. And she begins to tally in her head. She says, "Okay, the, the normal items will come out to about 25 gold. Each one of the potions of healing that you grabbed are 250 gold for a total of 1,500 gold. And the immovable rod's another 1,000 gold for a total of, what is that? 2,525 gold."

ROBBIE: (clears throat) Friend discount? (laughter)

AABRIA: "2,200 gold."

ROBBIE: Friend discount.

AABRIA: "Oh, I-- Let me be super clear. I'm not your friend."

ROBBIE: All right. (chuckles) I sort of look at my thing and I--

AABRIA: Do you want to try to persuade her?

ROBBIE: (sighs)

AABRIA: You're going to have to try harder. The one that flirted with you has gone to work.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

LIAM: Come on, baby blue.

ROBBIE: All right.

AABRIA: Little boy blue.

ROBBIE: And it's, and I'm going to take my bun out a little bit.

AABRIA: (laughs) (laughter) Sort of shake my ombre locks and say: Is he nearby, by the way?

AABRIA: Do you say that out loud, or you're asking me?

ROBBIE: I'm asking you that.

AABRIA: Oh, he's back on the third floor and you don't know what he's doing but he's back in the room. You don't see him walking around.

ROBBIE: Shaun!

AABRIA: "Please don't yell for my boss."

ROBBIE: Shaun!

AABRIA: "What is happening? Please stop." (laughter)

ROBBIE: Shaun, can you peek down here for a second?

AABRIA: And you just see that Inanna begins to flop sweat and Sherri on the first floor is staring up at you with curiosity and eventually after about a minute, Shaun lightly sweaty peaks out over the railing. (as Gilmore) "Hello?"

ROBBIE: Hi Shaun. Do you remember when you--

AABRIA: "Gilmore."

ROBBIE: Okay, uh, sure. But Gilmore.

AABRIA: "Uh-hmm."

ROBBIE: I'm so sorry. (chuckles) I was just swept away by your magnetism. Do you remember when you said we could have a friend discount at the store?

AABRIA: "I have made everyone here abundantly clear what percentage of discount to give you?"

ROBBIE: What was it again?

AIMEE: (laughs)

ROBBIE: The exact percentage.

AABRIA: "Why do you need to know?"

ROBBIE: I'm broke. (laughter)

AABRIA: "Well, then maybe don't get six potions of healing. Do you get hurt that often?"

ROBBIE: Yes.

AABRIA: "You might as well hire a cleric."

ROBBIE: All right. Thanks, Shaun. (chuckles)

AABRIA: Make a persuasion check.

ROBBIE: Are you? I'm giving up though. (chuckles)

AABRIA: No, I know. There's the sad dog thing happening.

LIAM: He's pathetically adorable.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: That would be 19.

AABRIA: And as you are a little crestfallen, he like, you hear a slight tinkle as he adjusts himself and the little bells on his robes and in his hair sway. "Inanna, knock off at least one of the potions."

ROBBIE: Oh, thank you.

AABRIA: "I'm busy." And he goes back in, continues to work. And Inanna is just staring daggers at you.

ROBBIE: (clears throat) Friend discount. (chuckles)

AABRIA: (as Inanna) "2,000 gold."

ROBBIE: (clears throat)

ROBBIE: I guess I-- Do I have it? How much is platinum again?

AABRIA: It's ten to one.

ROBBIE: Ten to one.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: So I only have a thousand, I only have 1,100 bucks.

AABRIA: (chuckles)

ROBBIE: Damn it. I'm going to sheepishly-- (chuckles) I'm-- This is-- This is triggering for me. I've been poor before. (laughter) I've been in this scenario at the supermarket in college. I am going to embarrassingly scoot all but one of the potions of healing to the side. Because I think that's, I think if the math is right that's all I can afford. Yeah.

AABRIA: And as she goes to pick up the five that you left behind.

ROBBIE: Yeah. I, oh I'm sorry I could...

AABRIA: "No, I've got it." And she puts two back down. And then gets up and runs away.

ROBBIE: And I'll...

AABRIA: "Noted, it's noted in the book." And then she runs away from you.

LIAM: Orym quietly walks by and yoinks one of the discarded potions takes it to cash, ring it up.

MATT: Dariax grabs the other and adds it to his pile after watching what Dorian's doing. (racing around noises) Then he comes back over. (things falling on a desk)

AABRIA: "Hello, oh god, why?"

MATT: There's two dozen objects and he just pushes most of them away. All right, so there's this cool circlet thing here, what's it do?

AABRIA: "Okay. Hold on," and she grabs it and looks closely at it. "Circlet of Blasting. Okay. That's 1,000 gold. What else?"

MATT: All right, it's got these cool fingerless glove looking things here. (thudding) Got some cool shiny bits on them. What do they do?

AABRIA: "Those are gloves of thievery. Those would probably be another 500 gold."

MATT: 500, 500, all righty. And then there's-- I found this weird glass kind of vial thing, kind of reddish thing kind of resonated when I walked by. What's that one do?

AABRIA: "Bloodwell Vial?"

MATT: Sure!

AABRIA: "Okay, that would be another 250 gold."

MATT: 250, All right, all right. Okay.

AABRIA: "And you're holding the potion of healing that I was going to be putting away, yeah?"

MATT: Yeah, how much was this for me?

AABRIA: "So that would be 2,000 gold total."

MATT: 2,000 gold total. Oh, ah. How about if I, and he reaches over and grabs just a general spear (chuckles), puts it on the counter. How about if I take just this normal, pretty sure it's normal, right? Is this a magical spear?

AABRIA: "Um, well, that one's plus one spear, but there's normal ones behind it."

MATT: I'll take one of those. Eh?

AABRIA: "I mean."

MATT: And the gloves.

AABRIA: "Okay."

MATT: And the vial.

AABRIA: "Okay."

MATT: How much we got?

AABRIA: "For the normal spear, gloves and the vial."

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: "752 gold. (chuckles)"

MATT: With the discount, right?

AABRIA: "Um. For you, I could take off another, like, 150 gold."

MATT: All righty.

AIMEE: Damn!

MATT: 900 gold it is. You got it.

ROBBIE: (laughs)

MATT: He goes ahead and counts out the platinum and the gold and passes it over. It's a pleasure doing business.

AABRIA: Make a persuasion check for me. No, it's just a general charisma. No, let's make it persuasion.

MATT: Okay. 14.

AABRIA: She looks at you, just utterly bewildered. "Okay, first thing, you don't pay me directly. You have to go to Sherri at the front."

MATT: Oh, sorry.

AABRIA: "But also, hold on, hold on, hold on. Oh god." And she pushes, you paid her too much. She's like, "600."

MATT: You drive a hard bargain. Deal.

AABRIA: "What is happening? Do you require an adult? Can someone else with-- What's your name?"

MATT: Dariax.

AABRIA: "Can someone that's here with Dariax, please assist him?"

ASHLEY: Oh, I can come help.

MATT: I'll go talk to--

AABRIA: "Oh, okay, please help him."

ASHLEY: What'd you need?

AABRIA: "So sweet."

ASHLEY: He's very sweet.

AABRIA: "You're very tall and very pretty."

ASHLEY: Thank you.

AABRIA: "Did you? Can I help with anything? And then you help him."

ASHLEY: Oh, I'm still browsing.

AABRIA: "Okay."

ASHLEY: But I do have a question, actually.

AABRIA: "Mm."

ASHLEY: Do you have anything for pets?

AABRIA: "We carry collars, and barding, and food, and snacks. Are you looking for anything for your-- Oh, it's for your, your monkey, yes?"

ASHLEY: This is Little Mister.

AABRIA: "Well, hello, Mister!" And she's only a little bit taller than Mister, and Mister does a little bow. You've taken the money that you made out of the hat and he just kept the hat. So he has a too-floppy hat over his head and he takes it off. Does a full bow.

ASHLEY: Oh, sir!

AABRIA: She goes, "Oh my goodness. He's so cute!"

ASHLEY: He's very cute.

AABRIA: "What would you like for Mister? I'm assuming you don't want to mount and ride him. So I will say probably not barding."

ASHLEY: Maybe that's not what I want, actually. I forgot he already had a hat.

AABRIA: "It's a very nice hat."

ASHLEY: I was thinking of getting hat for him.

AABRIA: "Well, we have hats that would fit him."

ASHLEY: There's a ring that I'm looking at. There's a couple here. One of them, it's an unknown rarity. It's called Stonky's Ring?

AABRIA: Stonky?

ASHLEY: Yes. (laughter) Ya heard me.

ROBBIE: I was eyeballing Stonky's Ring, too.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I was like what is this?

ROBBIE: I was eyeballing Stonky's Ring.

ASHLEY: Because there's no-- it just looks interesting.

LIAM: That is such an Ashley Johnson sounding ring.

ASHLEY: Yeah. It's Stonky!

AABRIA: That's wild that it's just on there like that.

ASHLEY: I don't know what that is and I was...

AABRIA: You pull it out and hand it to her and she grabs it. "I have never seen this before in my life. Um!" And you see that her eyes go over and cloud over with a misty pinkness and she starts to identify it. She goes, "Oh okay, telekinesis... with an interesting set of circumstances, but-- God, those doe eyes are just very disarming. We didn't make this, but I'm very happy to sell it to you."

ASHLEY: How much is it?

AABRIA: "Oh boy. Uh. 600 gold?"

ASHLEY: 600 gold, okay. And then I'm looking at this one here.

AABRIA: "Uh-huh."

ASHLEY: It's the Ring of Truth Telling.

AABRIA: "Ring of Truth Telling."

ASHLEY: Did you just lick it?

AABRIA: "I did."

ASHLEY: Does it taste good?

AABRIA: "No, wouldn't recommend it."

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: "It's electroplated, so whatever's underneath tastes pretty terrible."

ASHLEY: Oh.

AABRIA: What was it, what was the second one?

ASHLEY: The Ring of Truth Telling.

AABRIA: All right. And then she holds it up. "Oh, okay. This is definitely one of ours. So this would be 500 gold."

ASHLEY: Okay. 500 gold.

AABRIA: "I feel like I should charge you more for Stonky's, but honestly, probably someone just left it. But, you know, if you walk out with it--"

ASHLEY: It's very interesting.

AABRIA: "-- you have a bill of sale. That's our problem, not yours."

MATT: Have you got any thieves' tools?

AABRIA: "Yeah. On the first floor, up by the cash register because everyone needs new ones."

MATT: How much?

AABRIA: "For you, one gold."

AIMEE: Damn.

MATT: Got it. You're the best.

AABRIA: And whoever is standing next to her right now, you smell a little poof of bubble gum around her and she just sort of turns bright pink.

ASHLEY: Aww!

AABRIA: "(squeaks) Mm!"

ASHLEY: Oh, I love her. Okay. Well, I'm definitely going to get the ring of truth telling.

AABRIA: "Okay."

ASHLEY: Stonky's Ring is interesting, but there's so much we don't know about it, but who cares?

AABRIA: "I mean, smoke 'em if you've got 'em, you know?"

ASHLEY: Okay, would anyone else like to go? Because I'm still browsing a bit.

AABRIA: "Excuse me, Miss? Is there anything else I can help you with?"

AIMEE: Oh yeah! And then Opal just dumps a bunch of stuff. (book thuds) Okay. (laughter)

AABRIA: Shopping. Amazing.

AIMEE: I'm not sure, I'm not sure if I can afford all this, but okay so got the pink fur for 10. A potion of healing.

AABRIA: "250."

AIMEE: Oh! 250. Is it reusable?

AABRIA: "No."

AIMEE: I mean.

AABRIA: "200 for friends."

AIMEE: 175?

AABRIA: Persuasion check.

ROBBIE: Is Dariax still standing by or not? Not Dariax. Oh my god, I did it to myself! (laughter)

MATT: Yes!

ROBBIE: Torture!

MATT: Yes!

LIAM: (yells)

ROBBIE: Torture.

AIMEE: 13.

AABRIA: Ya hate to see it.

ROBBIE: Am I still, am I close enough to hear her give her the discount on the potions?

AABRIA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Oh, fuck that.

ASHLEY: That's funny.

AABRIA: You snitched her boss right away instead of working with her.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

AIMEE: 13.

AABRIA: "190."

AIMEE: Okay. Only because I like you. Okay, and then how about (whispering) it's a whip.

AABRIA: "Mm! What kind of whip?"

AIMEE: A Vicious Whip? (laughter) I mean, I don't know.

AABRIA: That's so on-brand!

AIMEE: I would not know what to do with this, but you know, it just called for me.

MATT: (chuckles)

AABRIA: Shit, I can't find it. Give me a second.

AIMEE: Yeah, I pulled it up, too. Hold on. Vee-shahs whip. It might be too expensive for me.

ASHLEY: There's so many options.

AABRIA: All right. Of course this is the one that's like, "Do you mean a thousand different monsters and not this whip you're asking for?"

AIMEE: Oh. Oh, where did it go? Oh yeah, It's under, its blue.

MATT: Vicious weapon?

AIMEE: Under weapon.

AABRIA: Oh yeah, that's my problem. (tongue wagging) "That would be 1,000 gold."

AIMEE: Oh. (dramatically fake cries) No. Is there a cheaper whip?

MATT: I got an extra, if you need me to help out.

AIMEE: Oh, that's so sweet. Isn't he sweet? Isn't he just the sweetest guy? You know, we could share, we could share the whip. We could share it.

MATT: I've never used a whip.

AIMEE: I'm sure she could teach you how to use the whip.

MATT: You know how to use a whip?

AABRIA: (panicked squeaking) "600 gold, please leave me alone!"

AIMEE: Okay, 600 gold, perfect.

LIAM: You see this Cool Whip over here? Just holds up a little tub. (laughter)

MATT: (sad trombone) (laughter)

AIMEE: You know.

LIAM: I debated it for 30 seconds and I was like, "Fuck it, I'm saying it."

AABRIA: Yes!

MATT: That's what it's about!

AIMEE: That's a different kind of whip.

MATT: Sometimes you can use the two together. Anyway.

ROBBIE: Hey!

AABRIA: Ay-oh!

AIMEE: And then, you know, so I think I'm going to just put this right here. I think, at this point, I am at 890. So I'm just going to peruse your ring section and see what I can find. And I'll be right back.

AABRIA: She is no longer able to be perceived as she is just blushing and crying mildly in the corner with a little nose bleed.

AIMEE: Great. I'll be back!

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm!"

ROBBIE: I'm going to walk over to Dariax. Dariax, what did you say to her? How are you getting all these deals? I'm broke. I have no money.

MATT: Look, I'm not going to-- How do I say this lightly? I'm the handsome one of the group. (laughter) And sometimes you just got to, you know, some people just have a little bit of luck when it comes to interpersonal conversation, you know? I mean, if you want to hang around and watch, I can kind of give you some tips.

ROBBIE: You literally still have shit in your beard.

MATT: And yet, I still got a discount.

ROBBIE: Damn it. I'll walk away. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I have one more question.

LIAM: You have bank heist money in a bag. (laughter)

AABRIA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: There is a very cool weapon here, this moon sickle. What's the price on this piece?

AABRIA: "One second."

LIAM: I want ice cream now.

AABRIA: And she slowly gets up from her weeb melt down. Just move slowly towards you. Looks up at you. Nose begins to bleed a little bit more. She just grabs the weapon. What level of rarity did you grab?

ASHLEY: Come back here. The-- Let me type it back in. Buh buh buh. Uncommon.

AABRIA: As she sort of holds it, a single drop of blood hits it. And she blinks one eye at a time. "500 gold."

ASHLEY: 500 gold. Okay, thank you.

AABRIA: "Uh-huh. You're all a lot."

ASHLEY: Yes, we are.

AABRIA: "I got to go take a nap." And she just starts eating some of the leftover Lunchable meat. Just on the side and she sits down on one of the little settees in the corner and flags over a different clerk to finish you guys up. And just a human guy comes over like, "What? I don't-- Okay, I'm wrapping up what Inanna began."

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: "I'm Cuthbert."

ASHLEY: Hi, Cuthbert.

AABRIA: "Hi."

ASHLEY: I'm going to take a Moon Sickle.

AABRIA: "Okay."

ASHLEY: And--

LIAM: Two otter pops.

ASHLEY: Two, yeah. One chocolate.

MATT: "We do have those, made with real otter." (laughter) And you see a tiny little lollipop that just looks like a little otter on its back. It's enchanted to look like a little otter. Just kind of laying.

ASHLEY: What's the price on those?

AABRIA: "Those are like five silver each. They're just, their normal lollipops."

ASHLEY: I'll take--

AABRIA: "They're just shaped like an otter."

ASHLEY: I'll take five of those.

AABRIA: "Oh, okay okay."

ASHLEY: And one moon sickle and the Stonky's Ring.

AABRIA: "A Stonky ring?" And then you just hear sort of weakly, (as Inanna) "600 gold, I don't know what it is." And he goes, "Oh, okay. Sure. Yeah."

ASHLEY: Okay.

AABRIA: Here's the thing. I am not going to keep recalculating prices in my brain. Because, like--

ASHLEY: I got it.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I got it.

AABRIA: You're good. If y'all are coming in under where your numbers are, the numbers are set.

ASHLEY: We're good.

AABRIA: I trust you to finish these transactions because this is not the fun part of this game anymore. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Like, can we please leave?

AABRIA: Oh god, I was like, I can't keep doing four-digit math.

ROBBIE: More haggling, let's go.

AIMEE: Okay!

AABRIA: If you want to keep haggling, that's fine. But when you get a set price that you're good with, just deduct it.

ASHLEY: Done.

MATT: Channeled Travis Willingham for a minute.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I know.

AABRIA: I love shopping and then I felt myself reach the end of shopping.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

AABRIA: I was right there.

MATT: And scene.

AABRIA: Yeah. And, okay.

ASHLEY: And scene.

AIMEE: Okay.

ASHLEY: Okay. Hi!

AABRIA: "Hi!"

AIMEE: So I-- (laughter)

AABRIA: Deeply ignore my social cues, you're good. Go ahead.

AIMEE: So!

AABRIA: I love you.

AIMEE: I've got 110 gold left. What spell gem can I buy with that? (laughter)

LIAM: What's the most powerful thing that can be bought for 100 and-- mm, 16 gold?

AIMEE: Yes! (laughter)

AIMEE: I am not Rodney Carrero's daughter if I didn't try! (laughter)

AABRIA: My god.

LIAM: Woo!

ASHLEY: Yes!

AABRIA: Hold for Google.

AIMEE: And throw in a free Bluetooth. (laughter) The real thing my dad used to do.

AABRIA: What animal?

AIMEE: What animal?

AABRIA: Yeah.

AIMEE: Oh, I don't know. This is gems.

AABRIA: She said Bluetooth. I was responding to that part.

ALL: Oh!

ROBBIE: Wow! That's deep, that's deep.

AABRIA: Thank you. Take inspiration because you're the only one that understands me. (laughter)

AABRIA: Okay. He turns to you and says, "I can give you an amber gem for 200 gold."

AIMEE: Okay! That's great. I'll take it.

LIAM: (like Caleb) Ja. Amber is good.

ASHLEY: (to Liam) Your Caleb is showing.

LIAM: Ja.

AIMEE: Okay. Great. All right. I'm all set. Ready to check out, baby.

AABRIA: "Thank god. Have you considered saving any of your money?"

AIMEE: No!

AABRIA: "Cool! Okay. Well, that's me, I'm Cuthbert, I'm leaving now. Goodbye!" (laughter)

ASHLEY: Goodbye, Cuthbert.

AABRIA: And as you all go and check out at the front with Sherri, like right before you leave, Orym, you feel a little tap on your shoulder. Nope. At your height.

LIAM: Oh!

AABRIA: It's Inanna. She's got a tissue jammed up her nose. She looks real tired and a little peaked, and she's holding a big shield wrapped up in purple taffeta.

LIAM: Wow.

AABRIA: "Here you go."

LIAM: This is it?

AABRIA: "Yeah."

LIAM: I'm really sorry. But I unwrap it.

AABRIA: "Oh, that's fair."

LIAM: Give her the taffeta.

AABRIA: "Oh, okay. I--" She just huffs it over her shoulder.

LIAM: I slip a hand through and feel the weight and look at it. Two little raps of the knuckle. Look at that!

AABRIA: (sniffing)

LIAM: Thanks.

AABRIA: "It looks really good on you. I hope it protects you well."

LIAM: Yeah, they're a lot, huh?

AABRIA: "Yeah."

LIAM: Deep breaths.

ASHLEY: What is a Deck of Many Things?

AABRIA: And Sherri reaches out of the scene, and just grabs it and drags it back away from you. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I'll come back for that later. (laughter)

LIAM: I feel like this shouldn't be in the glass counter in the front. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah.

AABRIA: "My mistake," she just swallows the cards whole, and removes them from play. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Power move.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: Yeah. Yep. I've seen that mistake before.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah.

AABRIA: And as you guys are leaving, Orym, you hear just, "You're cute, too," as the beads close behind you.

LIAM: Just hold the shield a little tighter, walk out the door.

AIMEE: Aw, Nancy!

MATT: Dariax is already out in front of the store just Star Wars kidding with his new spear, just (whooshing).

LIAM: What does that do?

MATT: It stabs things from a distance.

LIAM: Oh, wow.

MATT: Yeah!

ROBBIE: Was it just me, or was Inanna horny for everyone else but me?

MATT: She was horny?

AIMEE: Uh, not me.

ROBBIE: None of you picked up on that?

LIAM: You were laying it on a little thick.

ROBBIE: I was-- Unfair. Unfair.

LIAM: No?

ROBBIE: Maybe.

ASHLEY: Why didn't you get the discount?

ROBBIE: I don't know. Maybe I'm not her type.

LIAM: Did you get no discount?

ROBBIE: No, I spent all of my money. I got a free potion.

AABRIA: You got two free potions.

ROBBIE: I got two free potions.

AIMEE: Hey, that's more free potions than I got.

ASHLEY: I got all of my stuff for free.

AIMEE: What?

ROBBIE: What? (laughter)

ASHLEY: I didn't, I'm kidding.

ROBBIE: Speaking of which. My flute, I know you liked it. I know you enjoyed playing it. And if it's all right, it's sort of a family heirloom. And I'm going to reach into my bag full of shit, and pull out the pan flute that I bought at the store and say: Tradesies?

AABRIA: Aw.

ASHLEY: I didn't realize I still had it on me.

ROBBIE: Yes, you did.

ASHLEY: I did. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Clip it back on.

ASHLEY: Is this a pan flute?

LIAM: Is that a special pan flute?

ROBBIE: No, just a $16 basic pan flute.

LIAM: Okay.

ASHLEY: This is, where I come from, satyrs or fauns are very good at the pan flute.

ROBBIE: Do you want to give it a try?

ASHLEY: Sure.

AIMEE: Ooh. I want to hear!

LIAM: You know, here they call those Canadian bacon, but there, they just call it a ham. (laughter)

AABRIA: That got her good. Go ahead and make a performance check for me, baby. I'll give you an advantage, because you are a satyr holding a pan flute, and, like, that's wild. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I know, that's why I was like, "Come on!"

AABRIA: We're just going to do it. If she skips, I riot.

ASHLEY: This is trope. Okay.

AIMEE: As I google pan flute.

ASHLEY: 21.

LIAM: Let's go, Jethro Tull.

ASHLEY: Let's go!

AABRIA: Yeah! You, like, go, and you're like, ah, this feels right and natural. You just go off. Just Aqualung.

ASHLEY: This is just a really well-made pan flute.

ROBBIE: Mm! We unlocked your hidden talent.

ASHLEY: Oh, there's lots more where that came from.

AIMEE: Wow, you're really musical. He's an actor. You can play a little girl. And you are talented. And-- what's my talent?

ROBBIE: Eh. You're our people person.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LIAM: It factor.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

AIMEE: Thanks.

MATT: Really good shopper.

AIMEE: (gasps) Thanks! Okay!

AABRIA: And it's right at that time, that a cart sort of, like, covered, that's got emblazoned on both sides, Gilmore's Glorious Goods in purple. There's a little unicorn that's frolicking on the side of it. And there's a little trail of glitter that follows it. It's just the most thing.

MATT: He gave us the company car.

AABRIA: Yeah. (laughter)

ALL: Yeah!

AABRIA: And Cuthbert looks really put out, as he's sitting in the front driving the two pristine white horses, like, "I'm supposed to be giving you a lift somewhere?"

ASHLEY: Oh yes.

MATT: South. Jungles of the--

AABRIA: Why don't we stop by Byroden, first?

MATT: Sure. Byroden.

ASHLEY: Yes.

LIAM: Sorry--

AABRIA: "Am I taking you--?"

LIAM: -- GM, wasn't it, this was to go somewhere in town, to then get transport?

AABRIA: Yeah, 100%.

LIAM: Yeah. I don't think this goes that far.

AIMEE: Oh.

LIAM: But we'll take it.

AABRIA: "I'm--"

ASHLEY: Unless you want to take us.

AIMEE: Yeah!

LIAM: This is just the start, guys.

AABRIA: "Well, I'm not going to leave the city. Byroden's very far."

MATT: Really?

LIAM: Yes.

AABRIA: "Yeah."

AIMEE: Pretty far.

AABRIA: "Yeah. He knows. I can take you to the gate, is that okay?"

AIMEE: I mean-- Okay.

ROBBIE: It'll get us out of the city safely.

LIAM: What about--

AIMEE: But honk the horn.

ASHLEY: Well, we do need transport.

LIAM: What about-- Yeah, we were hoping to pick up a ride that is going further.

AABRIA: "Yeah, at the southern gate, I can take you over to the-- You can hire horses."

LIAM: Okay. Yep. Don't want to be greedy. Absolutely.

AABRIA: "Okay. Hop in the back. Mr. Gilmore says to keep the-- shut? Am I going to die? Are you in trouble, and I'm about to die?"

MATT: No.

AIMEE and ROBBIE: No.

ASHLEY: Well.

LIAM: We kind of are in trouble--

AABRIA: "Get in."

LIAM: -- definitely not going to die.

AIMEE: I have a whip, it's great.

AABRIA: "I'm still on the clock, so I'm not going to interact with that."

LIAM: Orym springs in.

MATT: Yep. Wee!

AABRIA: "Thank you, sir." And he just hops or like pops the back again, like, "Please get in and just let me know when you're in."

AIMEE and ROBBIE: We're in.

AABRIA: "Okay." And takes off and is going across town.

ROBBIE: (hooves clicking)

AIMEE: Well, I've never been in a cart before.

AABRIA: Who feels lucky, rolling? Because we need to see if a thing happens.

MATT: If my game today has shown anything, it's me.

ALL: Yeah!

ASHLEY: Do it!

LIAM: You got all your ones--

AIMEE: It's a one!

LIAM: You got all your ones out of the way.

AIMEE: Yeah, it's true.

AABRIA: Would you just roll a d20 for me, and we'll see how we do.

MATT: Hell yeah! Three!

ALL: Oh no!

ROBBIE: No, you idiot!

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: You idiot!

AIMEE: Goddamn it!

MATT: You know what I did.

LIAM: You have all our goodwill.

MATT: I know. (laughter)

AIMEE: Put the crown on.

LIAM: (roaring) (laughter)

ROBBIE: No reason, just puts the crown on.

MATT: Hang on!

ASHLEY: Oh, all right.

AABRIA: Amazing.

MATT: It's like parents at the end of Time Bandits, "Don't touch it, it's evil!"

ASHLEY: All right!

LIAM: Uh-oh, it's raining!

AIMEE: Is it savory or sweet?

AABRIA: Sweet or savory.

AIMEE: Is it sweet or savory?

LIAM: Savory.

AABRIA: You guys ride for probably a good 25 minutes down through Abdar's Promenade. It's slower going over here, because a lot of it's foot traffic, and you know that it should probably take about 45 minutes to get to the gate. And maybe about half an hour in, you stop for a little bit. And probably two minutes pass. Can I get a perception check from everyone?

LIAM: I will make a perception check at advantage with my new enchanted shield.

AABRIA: Ooh, your shield has cool more stuff.

MATT: One.

AIMEE: Oh my god.

AABRIA: Buddy!

ROBBIE: Wow.

AABRIA: Sir! Sir!

MATT: It was going to happen eventually. The DM plays a character player, dice catch up with him.

AIMEE: His shit beard got infected or something.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Shit beard. Arr.

MATT: That's my pirate name.

ROBBIE: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Shitbeard.

AIMEE: Shitbeard!

MATT: Their knees be quaking in the presence of Shitbeard! (laughter)

LIAM: You got a little wheat in your beard.

AIMEE: Oh god.

ROBBIE: 10 for me.

AIMEE: That's a 10 for me, too.

LIAM: 20.

AABRIA: Ooh, you were waiting on that. I like that.

ASHLEY: 19.

AABRIA: 19? How'd you do, Opal?

AIMEE: 10.

AABRIA: Okay.

ROBBIE: Dummies!

AABRIA: Fearne and Orym. You hear voices, sort of raised arguing, but not from the front, like outside of the door. And then they go quiet. And then you feel someone stepping back up and driving the cart again.

LIAM: Are there windows in this thing? Yeah, there's a little front window and side, yeah. Front, sides, and back. And the front window would look basically at the butt of the driver.

ROBBIE: Is this like a passengers carriage?

AABRIA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ROBBIE: Okay.

LIAM: I'm going to catch hold of Fearne's staff and use it to hold myself as I lean out the window, and try to see back there.

AABRIA: You lean all the way out?

ASHLEY: I hold on tight.

AIMEE: Don't lean all the way out!

AABRIA: You lean all the way out of the window?

LIAM: My head pops out, yeah.

AABRIA: Of which window?

LIAM: Real small. The side.

AIMEE: Nancy, get back.

AABRIA: Left or right?

LIAM: Left.

ASHLEY: Choose wisely.

AABRIA: You stick your head out of the window, and you catch just a little flash of a red leather coat from the driver's seat. I need you to make a dexterity saving throw.

LIAM: From the driver's seat? That clo-- Oh, shit!

ASHLEY: She took over.

AIMEE: Fuck!

LIAM: Dex save, you say?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

AIMEE: Cool.

LIAM: 22.

ROBBIE: Woo!

AABRIA: And you're able to duck in just as-- You notice and see it, and a crossbow bolt, you hear the whistle of it, and you're able to duck back inside before it hits you.

LIAM: So she-- or whoever-- she fired from the driver--

AABRIA: That wasn't her.

ASHLEY: Someone was firing at her.

AABRIA: You have an escort.

LIAM: Okay.

AABRIA: So what do you want to do?

LIAM: The red coat was--

AABRIA: So yeah, I'll just give it to you. Poska is driving.

LIAM: Right, that's what I want to--

AABRIA: Yeah, Poska is driving, and you are flanked--

LIAM: Okay, so we're not going where we thought we were.

AABRIA: -- by other Nameless Ones.

LIAM: We have a problem? Problem.

AIMEE: What?

LIAM: I don't know where we're going, but it's not where we want. Poska is driving this carriage.

ROBBIE: Poska? Our Poska?

LIAM: Our Poska.

ASHLEY: Should we pop out?

MATT: What's going on?

LIAM: We're caught.

MATT: Where--?

LIAM: We're caught. This is a cage, we're caught.

MATT: I'm sorry.

LIAM: Get ready to rumble.

ASHLEY: Should we hop out?

MATT: How-- If it's a cage, we can't just hop out. We got to find a way to break the lock.

ASHLEY: Can I check to see if the back door's--

AIMEE: So wait, are we surrounded?

LIAM: At least on one side, probably both.

ASHLEY: Are we moving?

AABRIA: I mean, you all see the crossbow bolt that's poked in.

AIMEE: Oh, fuck.

ROBBIE: Not a literal cage, Dariax.

MATT: I was confused, because I thought we were in a carriage.

ROBBIE: It's okay, we are.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: And then you said a window left, right, and the rear?

AABRIA: Yeah, there's a little--

LIAM: But nothing at the front, right?

AABRIA: At the front, you would just be seeing the back of her jacket.

ASHLEY: Wait, wait, wait.

LIAM: There is a communication space there?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Okay. I know this is--

LIAM: I just point at her butt while Fearne talks.

ASHLEY: I see her butt.

MATT: That's rude.

ASHLEY: Okay. I know it's a little early and we wanted to keep it, but I think she wants the circlet. Should we send it to Gilmore in the box?

AIMEE: I mean, she's going to think we have it either way. Even if we send it, she's going think we have it.

ROBBIE: Plus I hate to say it, but we might need to use it.

AIMEE: What if-- what if-- Stab her in the butt.

ROBBIE: Butt stab?

AIMEE: Butt stab.

ASHLEY: Butt stab, okay.

ROBBIE: Butt stab.

ROBBIE: Orym, butt stab!

AIMEE: What does that get us?

LIAM: A head start. You be ready to get to him.

MATT: All right. All right.

AIMEE: Get to him to do what?

ROBBIE: I've got thoughts.

MATT: Butt stab.

LIAM: Send the-- no.

ROBBIE: No.

MATT: Oh, right.

LIAM: You're the butt stab.

ROBBIE: He's going to butt stab.

AIMEE: No butt stab?

ROBBIE: We're going to swap boxes.

AABRIA: "You know I can hear you?"

ROBBIE: If he butt stabs and it goes bad, we swap boxes.

AABRIA: "You know I can hear you, right? It's not, like, a magically concealed wooden box."

MATT: Who's talking?

AIMEE: Can I do something fucking crazy? Is there a hole? How big is the hole? (laughter)

AABRIA: You didn't wait for me to answer. So what?

AIMEE: How big is the hole?

AABRIA: Probably like a foot long and six inches tall.

AIMEE: Goddamn it. (whispering) So butt stab?

ASHLEY: Well, I guess this is--

LIAM: (whispering) We either talk or stab. Which is it?

AABRIA: "Are we going to have a conversation, or are you going to attempt to murder me?"

AIMEE: Uh!

LIAM: Where are we going?

ASHLEY: Good question.

AABRIA: "Home."

ASHLEY and AIMEE: Where's home?

LIAM: Got that ring working?

ASHLEY: Oh shit. I totally forgot. No, I didn't get the fucking--

LIAM: We're going home, she said?

AIMEE: She didn't get the shtinkies on!

AABRIA: Yeah, she has not.

ASHLEY: I knew I should have gotten the other one.

LIAM: Your home?

AABRIA: "Mm-hmm."

LIAM: (sighs) What you got in mind? Because this could get messy in the streets.

AABRIA: "Look, I think I speak for all of us when I say, we don't want to have any unfortunate civilians getting brought in on this, do we?"

MATT: Yeah--

AABRIA: "You have some things that belong to me. Do you not?"

AIMEE: No.

ASHLEY: What would we even have that's yours?

AABRIA: (laughs) "Are you really going to make me say it?"

AIMEE: Say it.

AABRIA: "You have my residuum and you have my circlet."

ASHLEY: Oh.

MATT: What circlet?

ROBBIE: We sold them.

AIMEE: (laughs) You want to make drugs? All of this for drugs.

AABRIA: "Hold on. You did what?"

ROBBIE: We sold them at Gilmore's.

AIMEE: Yep.

AABRIA: Make a deception check.

MATT: Can I hype man this by going: Yeah!

AABRIA: (laughs) That's awful!

ROBBIE: Do I get disadvantage for that?

AABRIA: No, obviously you get a plus two to your roll. It's not worth a full advantage. (laughter)

AABRIA: Just a little yee, get it! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh, plus two?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Oh my god. My dice, I can't see it.

LIAM: Come on--

ROBBIE: Is it a 13 or an 18?

AABRIA: Pick it up. You can touch your die.

ROBBIE: 15. Wait, wait, wait to what? Oh, persuasion?

AABRIA: Deception.

ROBBIE: Oh, deception. Okay. So plus three, 13, 16 plus two. 18.

LIAM: It's okay.

ROBBIE: 18.

AABRIA: The cart stops. "You sold it to Gilmore."

ROBBIE: All of it.

AABRIA: "The residuum, too?"

AIMEE: Oh yeah.

AABRIA: "But you know full well that that wasn't yours to sell. So why did you go back on our deal? Answer carefully."

AIMEE: Because it wasn't yours, either.

AABRIA: "Does she speak for you?"

MATT: Yeah!

ROBBIE: Yes.

ASHLEY: She's not wrong, actually. It wasn't yours, so.

AABRIA: "I don't think at any point in time I was anything other than very honest about how much we are a thieves' fucking guild."

ASHLEY: (whispered) That's a good point.

MATT: So you got to respect being thieved from.

AIMEE: Yeah.

MATT: Right? I mean if you steal, and then someone manages to steal from you, when you're professional stealing people, that's impressive. Right?

AIMEE: Thief recognize thief.

MATT: Ah.

AABRIA: "So that leaves me in a bit of an awkward position. So what do you think I should do, as the leader of another thieves guild, with the lot of you?"

MATT: Hire us.

AIMEE: Take the L and go!

AABRIA: "I don't have the L yet. I have all of you."

MATT: Well, we've proven that we're good thieves. So you could hire us to find the people that stole it for you.

AABRIA: "That hurt my brain so much." (laughter)

AABRIA: "I genuinely don't know what to do."

AIMEE: (whispering) We stole it.

AABRIA: "I'm going to need someone else inside of that cart to speak, because these two are going to get you killed."

LIAM: I don't think there's any getting around this.

AABRIA: "So it's a fight to the death then, is it?"

LIAM: You're not taking it. Not from Gilmore.

AABRIA: (Poska chuckles)

LIAM: Not from anyone.

AABRIA: "Look, Gilmore thinks he's un-fucking-touchable because he's on the council, but everybody sleeps. So don't you worry. I will get my items back one way or another."

MATT: (winces)

AABRIA: "You won't be around to see it, though."

MATT: (whispering) He was real nice to us. I don't want to get him killed because he helped us, right?

ROBBIE: He was very nice to us. I don't want to get us killed either.

AIMEE: He's also very powerful.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: How many people are surrounding? Because we're not moving, right?

AABRIA: No, you've stopped moving.

ASHLEY: We've stopped.

AABRIA: You only saw the one person that was shooting at you. You have no sense--

LIAM: I would've known the direction-- there's one other one other carriage, or?

AABRIA: No, that was just a person.

LIAM: Just a person on the street.

AABRIA: Yeah. But I don't think you have a strong-- like, you know you don't have a strong sense of--

LIAM: We have no idea how outnumbered or not we are.

ROBBIE: Yeah, so whatever's going on outside the cart, it could be anything.

AABRIA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I'm going to cast Charm Person.

ROBBIE: Oh.

MATT: (chuckles)

LIAM: That's the stuff.

AABRIA: Okay.

AIMEE: God, I wish I had--

AABRIA: What's the DC?

ASHLEY: 14 wisdom?

AABRIA: I rolled a 13.

LIAM: She beat you.

ASHLEY: She beat me?

LIAM: Yeah.

AABRIA: No.

LIAM: Isn't it matched?

AABRIA: No, you said 14.

ASHLEY: 14.

LIAM: Oh, I thought you said 13. I just misheard. Amazing.

AABRIA: You feel the spell take effect. She doesn't speak.

ASHLEY: Poska.

AABRIA: "Yes?"

ASHLEY: Here's the thing. We have something very important that we need to go do. And you're getting in the way right now. So I think you should step aside or else we'll kill you. But I think that's a pretty good deal.

AABRIA: It's really quiet for a very long moment, the front of the carriage. And then you feel that little familiar rock, as she stands up, and steps down from it. And it's just quiet. What do you do?

ASHLEY: Okay. Can I see if I can get out of the carriage?

AABRIA: It was never locked.

ASHLEY: Okay. I'm going to hop out. Thank you, Poska.

AABRIA: She stands. You see now that she's, like, gathered around and still looking around, at other members that have faded, that were flanking you, but some of them are old women, young boys that look like children, old men, guards. And she calls over to her 25 people that were flanking you, and walking along with your cart, and you see something in her eyes, that the charm that you have on her is a thin layer. And you see her eyes burning at you from it. But she has followed what you've asked, and has called them away. So what do you do next?

LIAM: I lean out really quick.

ASHLEY: I lean in. Say again?

LIAM: I lean out to you.

ASHLEY: Yes?

LIAM: Take the heat off Gilmore.

ASHLEY: I put my hand on her cheek. Poska. You have to leave Gilmore alone, okay?

AABRIA: "If he has what's mine, or what I would make mine, how could you ask me to do or be anything other than what I am?"

ASHLEY: If he does have what's yours, then you can do what you want with him. But we have to go. I'm going to give her a kiss on the cheek, and then I'm going to get on the cart and take us out of town.

AIMEE: Yes! (clapping)

ROBBIE: Let's get!

MATT: As we're just out of eye shot of the group-- I take it Poska's still looking over?

AABRIA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: I'm going to lean out the window over to you and be like: Count to five and then pick up the pace pretty significantly.

ASHLEY: Yeah?

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay.

AIMEE: You're doing great, sweetie!

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: And I look back to Poska.

AABRIA: You see a single tear rolling down her cheek, and her jaw is just set with frustration.

MATT: Poska! Gotcha.

AIMEE: Oh god.

MATT: I'm going to get back in the cart. Go, go, go, go, go, go, go!

MATT: And the scream you hear rip from her chest will follow you all the way across town as you get to the edge of the city. And by the time that that charm is up an hour later, you feel something in that connection between you and her, a tearing and a severing, and an anger that will burn Emon alive.

ROBBIE: Fuck.

AABRIA: But you made it to the gates.

LIAM: In that time, Orym scrubs some parchment from Dorian and scribble out a feverish note to Gilmore, letting them know that that guild was tilted in his direction. And we shove it in the box and send it.

ROBBIE: I was so hoping you were going to fucking say that, yes. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Do it!

ASHLEY: Smart!

ROBBIE: But my-- GM, question, I guess, remind me, was that a one-use box?

AABRIA: One-use box.

ROBBIE: Did we-- okay.

LIAM: Now we got the crown.

ROBBIE: And no choice.

LIAM: No choice.

AABRIA: Yep.

AIMEE: Nice.

ROBBIE: So I take the parchment and the box and I say: You know what this means, right?

LIAM: I hate it. Yes. Send it.

ROBBIE: (thunk, pop)

AABRIA: And it disappears. And as you all are still sort of hitting the exit, and now that you're at the outside of town and-- the cart's yours, you can just keep it, so you can ride it out of town.

LIAM: Nice nondescript low-key-- (cheering)

AABRIA: Leaves a glitter trail!

ROBBIE: Let's go!

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: That was dicey.

MATT: Yeah.

AABRIA: And the last thing as you guys break from the city and move back into the green expanse of the world below Emon as you head south, Orym, maybe five minutes after you send off the missive, you see a burst of red in front of your eyes. Like you've been hit really hard in the back of the head, but there's no attendant pain, and just a voice in your ear from Gilmore says, "Thank you, friends. Be safe."

LIAM: Sorry we couldn't do more.

AABRIA: Unfortunately, this version of Sending is a one use.

LIAM: Still says it.

AABRIA: Yeah.

AIMEE: He says it.

AABRIA: On those last words, you all head into the green, and head south. That is where we're going to end tonight's episode of Exandria Unlimited! (cheering)

LIAM: That was such a tense game of Uno in the last ten minutes!

ASHLEY: Ooh, it was, it was!

ROBBIE: Let's go.

AABRIA: Oh my goodness.

AIMEE: I'm not ready for it to be--

AABRIA: Just ignore this. This is for next time, and I'll make it worse.

AIMEE: Ugh.

AABRIA: Y'all, oh my god. That Charm Person.

LIAM: I was on the verge of butt stab for so long.

AIMEE: You know, I was thinking of Charm Person, but I don't have any magic! Because of my damn sister.

ASHLEY: I was like, maybe there's-- oh!

ROBBIE: You're still magic-less.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: Oh, don't make me cast, don't make me cast!

ASHLEY: Oh, don't make me cast! (laughter)

AIMEE: Don't make me cast! Don't make me cast!

AABRIA: Well, that's it, and the adventure officially begins from here.

LIAM: Woo!

AABRIA: So until next week, good night. And is it Thursday yet? (cheering)

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