MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.
ALL: We play Dungeons & Dragons!
MARISHA: In 2020!
MATT: We are back! We've missed you guys. Hope you've had a decent break. We have mostly rejuvenated with what time we had. Hopefully we'll catch up the rest before the end of the world. But we've missed you, we're happy to be back, and before we get into tonight's session, we have some announcements to go through, so we'll go ahead and jump in with our first of two sponsors tonight: Skillshare. Sam?
SAM: Goo goo gaga. It's me, the cutest green guy in the galaxy, Baby Fucking Yoda! And speaking of stars, I'm the fucking number one celebrity in Hollywood. Who woulda thought a 50 year old man-baby would be the toast of this town? A couple of months ago, I couldn't even get an audition for NCIS: New Orleans, but now my phone's ringing off the fucking hook! My agents, Joel and Barry, at the Death Star, sorry, CAA, got all kinds of meetings lined up. They're like, "Oh, Yoda baby, NBC wants to reboot ALF, Kevin Hart is asking you to play his brother in Jumanji 3, and we're trying to get Scarlett Johansson to co-star in a sexy remake of Look Who's Talking." But I'm like, come on, fellas. Do or do not, there is no try. Meetings don't pay the rent, you know? We need to put the green in green lit. So I told my agents to book me some commercial work to tide me over, which is why they booked me on this dumb show to read your fucking ads, so here we go. Our brand new sponsor this week is Skillshare, an online learning community with thousands of classes covering dozens of creative and entrepreneurial skills for the curious mind. A premium membership gives you unlimited access to all of Skillshare's classes in everything from personal productivity to in-depth courses on art, animation, photography, and more. Classes, huh? Hold up. Note: Pitch remake of Legally Blonde about a baby Yoda who gets into Harvard called Legally Green. Skillshare... (laughing) (groaning) Skillshare is also incredibly affordable, with annual subscriptions starting as low as 10 bucks a month! And for youse Critters, Skillshare is offering a special two month free trial when you check out their classes at skl.sh/criticalrole. Don't forget that URL. Don't forget... hold up. Note: Reach out to Keanu to do a remake of A Walk to Remember called Ewok to Remember.
ASHLEY: Oh, wow.
TRAVIS: Oh god.
SAM: Hey, Baby Yoda says thanks to Skillshare for joining the show. Now get my agent on the phone! Oh, hey, I'm a child.
TRAVIS: Why does it look like you shoved your face in an airplane toilet?
SAM: I was told this was green.
SAM: I may have been misinformed.
MARISHA: Yeah, they were colorblind. Yeah, yeah.
SAM: Baby Yoda out! Back to you, Matt!
MATT: Welcome back, Sam. Happy to have you back in all of this.
LAURA: That was my least favorite ad you've ever done.
LIAM: Really? I felt like a few have been worse.
TALIESIN: Oh no, I can definitely think of worse.
SAM: It's Baby Fucking Yoda, guys!
SAM: Who doesn't love Baby Fucking Yoda?
TRAVIS: You need a stogie.
SAM: I do need a stogie. Next time, next time.
LAURA: This is straight out of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." MATT: No, don't say there's a next time.
ASHLEY: I mean, "Ewok to Remember" might be your best joke. (groaning laughter) I'm a fan, and I want that movie. Can we make it?
MATT: Don't say it too loud.
MATT: We get enough new Star Wars content, it'll show up on Disney Plus. Thank you, Sam, and thank you Skillshare for your fantastic sponsorship. Our second sponsor tonight are our returning friends for the entirety of campaign two, D&D Beyond.
ALL: ♪ D&D Beyond ♪
MATT: Like that. No, it's great, no, fanfare's good. Those of you who haven't had a chance to check it out, D&D Beyond is a fantastic online digital tool set for creating player characters, NPCs, you can check out monsters, spells, campaign notes, the whole shebang, it's great. They have bundles for D&D books out there, and just a great community for homebrew content as well. Go ahead and check them out at dndbeyond.link/criticalrole, and thank you guys for supporting our show, really appreciate it.
MATT: So as a heads up, too, a couple quick announcements beyond that. Critical Recap, our episode-by-episode breakdown of our campaign, has moved to written form now, so easier for you guys to watch at work, actually. So check out Dani Carr's incredible summaries every Wednesday on critrole.com. (cheering) We also wanted to take a moment to bring awareness to two major emergencies that have happened recently, and encourage all of you guys who have the opportunity and the capability to do so, to support reputable organizations that are doing work to help people in Puerto Rico who are suffering from the recent earthquake, people who are in Australia that are currently dealing with the terrible fires there that are still ravaging it. It's been a massive effort for people, both helping communities in both places, and if you are able to, please go ahead and make a donation to one of the many nonprofit organizations that are helming a lot of the positive aspects of recovery in these places. We've done a little post on the Crit Role Twitter outlining one article that has a good example of those there, so check it out if you don't have a source yet, and if you have, thank you very much for your support in helping these people. I think that's it as far as our announcements go. So, with that, let's ring in 2020.
MARISHA: Bring it back.
MATT: With tonight's episode of Critical Role.
SAM: (like Baby Fucking Yoda) Oh! Oh!
(water bubbling) (explosion booming) ♪ Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Mighty Nein, Mighty Nein ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, roll the dice ♪ ♪ The adventure begins ♪ ♪ They were always beside you ♪ ♪ Your nerdy best friends ♪ ♪ And the DM to guide you ♪ ♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪ ♪ Villains beware 'cause you're 'bout to be dead ♪ ♪ They got magic and flair ♪ ♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪ ♪ They don't see over there ♪ ♪ There's a monster incoming ♪ ♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don't think twice ♪ ♪ Put your fate in your hands, ♪ ♪ take a chance, roll the dice ♪ ♪ Roll the dice ♪ ♪ Roll the dice ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Can you answer the call ♪ ♪ Diggin' deep in your soul ♪ ♪ As the legend unfolds ♪ ♪ Now it's your turn ♪ ♪ Your turn, your turn ♪ ♪ To roll ♪ (flames whooshing)
MATT: And welcome back.
MATT: The year has begun.
TALIESIN: First point of 2020.
MATT: First point of 2020 goes to Liam. Goddamn it. It was more the volume I think that got me, more than the content.
LAURA: It was aggressive.
MATT: It was very aggressive.
LIAM: It's about quantity, guys, not quality.
MATT: That's very not true. So, last we left off, The Mighty Nein, after foiling the plot of the cult of the Angel of Irons and its unknown following of Tharizdun, had found themselves uneasily drawn into the throne room of King Dwendal himself. During this time, your involvement with the Kryn Dynasty during this war between the two nations came to light, and you were asked as part of essentially proving this supposed loyalty that you claimed to have to the Empire to reach out on their behalf to negotiate, or to convince them to come to some sort of a parley, a negotiation to possibly bring this war to lesser terms or to an end. You are at your own pace on this, after being assigned under Martinet Ludinus Da'leth, the head of the Cerberus Assembly, and said whenever you need to, but the longer you wait, the more tension lies behind this temporary ceasefire between the two nations. You had a run-in with Trent Ikithon, confirmed that it seemed that they had an additional beacon that from your research you found seemed to have actually been uncovered out near Pride's Call, and were planning to return this beacon to the Dynasty as part of this negotiation, while seemingly keeping one for themselves, possibly. You decided in your break time to make some purchases, make some orders, get a bone flute, (laughter) order a bone harp, order a jeweled chalice, and get involved in some underground fighting, in which you put some money down, Beauregard beat up an older gentleman--
MATT: Two paladins went head-to-head, and it did not end in Fjord's favor.
MATT: And Yasha worked through some physical therapy.
ASHLEY: I forgot about that.
MATT: Bloodied and sore, your friends picked you up, and we left off as you made your way out of the butchery that hides this underground fight pit, made your way back to the inn to wrap up the evening and get some rest to recover, and lead to the following day, to whatever your endeavors may be. Is there any business you want to deal with when you return to the Camarouth Cottage, or do you want to move on to the morning?
TRAVIS: I'm going to fall asleep, and just lick my wounds.
MATT: All right. You guys all head to your respective rooms.
LAURA: As a healer, I think you really shouldn't lick them, though.
TRAVIS: I thought saliva was, like, quite clean.
MARISHA: Yeah, isn't it, like, sterile? Isn't that what they say?
ASHLEY: Isn't that like a dog?
LIAM: You're thinking of urine.
LAURA: Oh yes, definitely pee on your wounds. But don't lick them.
LAURA: Yeah, if you can pee on them, I don't know, it might be difficult, but.
MARISHA: Unless you have a dog to pee on them? Or wait, no, a dog to lick them.
LAURA: Dog pee is not sanitary, no.
MARISHA: But a dog saliva? Nevermind, we're over-complicating.
SAM: Good night, everybody.
ASHLEY: But you can use urine of a dog for a jellyfish... bite.
LAURA: You can use people pee, too, for that.
ASHLEY: People pee as well, yeah.
MARISHA: Wait, a bite?
ASHLEY: Yeah, they have teeth.
MARISHA: Holy shit.
ASHLEY: It's a whole jaw system that's underneath.
MARISHA: I haven't studied much marine life.
SAM: Wait, I'm back. What is this? What's going on? I've missed something.
ASHLEY: It's the anatomy of a jellyfish.
TRAVIS: Uh-huh, yeah. Terrifying mouths.
TRAVIS: Parroted, clawed, fanged teeth.
ASHLEY: It's a whole face underneath. You know, they lift it up and--
MARISHA: It's kind of cute.
ASHLEY: I'm going to go to bed.
MATT: You guys, those who are messes clean yourselves up a bit and head to your-- (disappointed sigh) head to your rooms for the night to rest.
LIAM: Stretch that out for us? That's the existential dread I'm here for.
SAM: It was in the rotation, Matt. I can't--
MATT: You're still doing this! You're still doing this!
LAURA: He's still doing it.
SAM: I'm still doing this. It's in the rotation, I can't change the history.
TRAVIS: Where is that picture from?
MATT: That was from the old studio. Yeah. That was, like, two years ago. Wow.
SAM: I don't even know anymore.
TRAVIS: Do you just have a box, a closet, of Mercer shirts?
SAM: I have four drawers of t-shirts.
ASHLEY: Four drawers of Matt?
LAURA: Four drawers?!
SAM: No, not all Matt, some are me.
MATT: How's Q feel about that?
SAM: She doesn't need to know about those.
MATT: Have, like, a hidden trap drawer? All right. As you guys make your way to your rooms to rest for the night, you find yourselves resting carefully, and you awaken the next morning, recovered and ready for the day. Breakfast is prepared and purchasable, should you wish, as that was not part of your terms of staying here, under the Assembly. But for the majority of you to eat for the morning, it's not too bad, I'd say, I'd put you at about four or five silver for everyone.
LAURA: I've got it.
MARISHA: Jester's got it.
MATT: Jester's jumping up.
TRAVIS: Do you do fasted cardio in the morning? Or is it, like, eat and then work out?
MARISHA: No, no, no, fasted cardio, absolutely.
TRAVIS: We just ate.
TRAVIS: You were working out before this? You skipped a day.
TRAVIS: Got it, okay. Just make sure you let me know, because--
TRAVIS: All right.
MARISHA: Sometimes I'll just do some light pushups in the room, that's what I did today.
TRAVIS: While you still have dragon breath?
MARISHA: Yeah. God, I never thought about that. Maybe I should ask the girls if that's a problem.
TRAVIS: I mean, it's--
MARISHA: Is it a problem?
TRAVIS: Right now, yeah, I'm just letting you know. Maybe, like, brush your teeth, then work out, then eat.
MARISHA: Thank you for telling me. Not a lot of people would. I'm just very honored.
MARISHA: Okay, sorry.
SAM: Do we own toothbrushes?
SAM: It doesn't say in my equipment on D&D Beyond.
SAM: I don't brush these!
TALIESIN: Can we go to a blacksmith to get some toothbrushes, possibly? I don't know.
TRAVIS: Charcoal paste?
LIAM: Can you hear all this dragging of heels to get to the actual story?
MATT: Meal is had, day is yours, what would you like to do?
LAURA: How long was it going to take for the chalice to be made?
MATT: I think she said a day or two.
LAURA: Two days? Okay.
MARISHA: So we should go talk to what's-his-butt? Shit, I've forgotten everything!
TRAVIS: Who, Ludinus?
MARISHA: Yes. Is it time to liaise with Ludinus?
TRAVIS: I don't think so.
LAURA: About what? What would we say to him?
SAM: We should go to the Bright Queen, right?
TRAVIS: Yeah, on our time, we make our way to the Dynasty.
MATT: Yeah, I think he had sent you to the Dynasty to check into this, and then return to him once you had informed him of what the decision was.
ASHLEY: Dude, add a couple months to that.
ASHLEY: Why I never know what the fuck is going on.
TRAVIS: You get hit in the head a lot.
TALIESIN: It's almost like a normal D&D game.
SAM: We were wasting two days of time here in Rexxentrum.
SAM: For reasons?
TRAVIS: We're making a chalice for--
LAURA: Making a chalice.
SAM: That's it.
ASHLEY: I have something that I'm going to pick up at the store as well.
SAM: Oh. Well, should we go? Is it day three now? Should we go pick up these items?
TRAVIS: No, it's day two.
SAM: I mean, like, are they ready?
MARISHA: This is day two?
MATT: Since the order was put in, it's been a day.
SAM: Oh, fucking shit.
LAURA: We got one more day.
MARISHA: Should we go check in? Maybe they finish early and they just give that leeway time?
TALIESIN: Do you need more arrows made or anything? Are you all right on your bolts?
SAM: I'm good, I'm good.
TALIESIN: All right.
MARISHA: What are we going to tell the Bright Queen?
LAURA: That's a good question.
MARISHA: Because that is not the stolen beacon that we saw. Oh!
SAM: I mean, they're all stolen, aren't they?
MARISHA: Not necessarily. I haven't told you guys this, because I rushed back from the library because we were going to go kick some ass. Okay, so, I did some crazy amount of research at the Cobalt Soul, and I looked into that Pride's Call thing, with the archeological dig where Trent was saying, yeah, that he dug up the thing.
MARISHA: That's actually legit.
MARISHA: That's true, because the Cobalt Soul has tapped into a lot of the archeological digs in order to try and keep them as neutral-- or as Cobalt Soul-involved, realistically-- as possible. So, they actually did uncover another beacon at Pride's Call.
LAURA: Oh, so they're not telling the truth.
MARISHA: No, they're definitely not. And that makes sense, because, yeah, Nott, you went up to the beacon and you took a look at it.
SAM: It seemed legit.
MARISHA: But did it look different?
TRAVIS: There's no way it is. It can't be.
SAM: Did it look different, did it look different?
LAURA: No, he said it looked the same. He said.
MATT: It looked fairly similar to the one that you had previously had. You weren't-- You didn't have a basis of comparison side to side to see if they're the same. The handle work, I believe, on it looked different than the one that you were carrying.
LAURA: Yeah, you said it was slightly smaller.
MATT: Slightly smaller, but, like, overall, it had the same power, the same general shape.
MARISHA: I mean, come on, the Bright Queen is going to be able to tell the difference between her stolen beacon and the not-stolen beacon. She can probably tap into its energy and some shit, and sense from afar, and read it, and be like, "That's not it!"
TRAVIS: Yeah, or as soon as she tries to tap into it, it explodes and kills all of them and us included.
MARISHA: I mean, that too.
LIAM: That's all our fear, yeah? We'll have to xamine it quite carefully.
MARISHA: Well, from what I researched, the sinkhole at Pride's Call, it's from these old ruins from a pre-Calamity city called Shattengrad.
MARISHA: Oh, fuck yes! Thank god.
TRAVIS: It's, like, a book over here.
MATT: Wow, you went full Ted S. Preston, Esquire there.
MATT: Bill S. Preston, I think, Ted Theodore Logan.
LIAM: I can't remember what we said. This is Dynasty side or over here? Over there?
MARISHA: This is is near Kamordah.
LIAM: So one of these things--
MARISHA: Pride's Call is a dwarven city.
LIAM: -- was dug up in an archeological dig?
MATT: Supposedly there had been two that were taken from the Dynasty.
MATT: One of them you returned, the other they're saying they're willing to return, and she's uncovered that there is a new one that has been recovered by a dig here on the Empire side.
MARISHA: Yeah, so Shattengrad, they were, like, super into arcane weaponry, and that's a lot of the stuff that they've uncovered in this archeological dig, and this was uncovered a couple weeks ago or something, isn't that what you said?
SAM: The one that we were shown?
TRAVIS and MARISHA: Yeah.
LAURA: So there's two!
SAM: Where's the other one?
MARISHA: There's now a third one: the one we recovered, the one that's missing, and now this one.
SAM: But we don't know where the third one is.
TRAVIS, TALIESIN, and MARISHA: No.
SAM: It could be in Pride Rock, whatever it's called. Pride's Call.
LAURA: No, because they got the one from Pride's Call.
TALIESIN: I will say, I was paying attention to that guy, and he was telling the truth.
TRAVIS: Trent Ikithon was telling the truth?
TALIESIN: Very carefully. That was someone who was really thinking about everything that they were putting forward. There was nothing idle about that guy.
MARISHA: So far, all of my research has told us that what Caduceus is saying is correct.
ASHLEY: And there are three that we know of.
LAURA: There's probably more.
MARISHA: There's probably more, based on what I could recover that far.
LIAM: Also, the fact that one of them was recovered here, in the Empire, says something about the nature of these things, if they predate the Calamity, is what we have uncovered?
MATT: From what you've researched in the religion and the Luxon's presence, they predate the pantheon.
LIAM: So they are not something that are, you know, it's the Dynasty's bag, but these things are not exclusive, right. It's not something that they, you know, forged or created, it's something that they--
MARISHA and LIAM: Found.
MARISHA: And more are still being found.
LIAM: And embraced.
LAURA: It's like, maybe the earth grows them.
TRAVIS: Look, I don't think we try and knock it all out in one trip, I mean, I think we need to go and obviously share the information, because she has a bunch of powerful fucking mages who will make sure we're telling the truth, right? We got that impression the last time. But I think we share, she probably looks at us like we're crazy, we tell her to believe us, and we go from there.
MARISHA: We tell her about the one that was uncovered?
TRAVIS: Yeah, and then we probably get locked up, and then they let us out and are like, "Are you sure you're telling the truth?" We're like yes, and they lock us up again, and then they let us back out, and she's like, "Are you sure, have you had time to think about this?" And we're like, no, yeah, we're telling the truth.
LIAM: Many things, I mean, we are all worried about the idea that this is, you know, an ambush of some sort and we've tried to mitigate that by putting it in a neutral location, but we obviously need to be on guard about this. A question I have, I don't know the answer to yet, is whether we are going to be completely honest about that fact.
MARISHA: Well, I think that's my ultimate question. Fjord is saying, yeah, you mean to the Bright Queen?
MARISHA: Yeah, Fjord's saying-- you're talking about which part?
LIAM: Well, I would like to ease tensions, and part of me feels like the best thing to do is to be completely forthright with her, but that hardly seems like it would broker a peace.
TRAVIS: No, you're right. I don't even know if--
LIAM: It might ingratiate us to her, but that does nothing for the conflict.
TRAVIS: I mean, I suppose it furthers the conversation, which I think is the part I'm most interested in. It doesn't seem like they are speaking at all, yes? Dynasty doesn't trust Empire, Empire doesn't trust Dynasty, and they're not talking, they're just fighting. So maybe at least the conversation, if we can bring them to the same place, bomb in tow or not, maybe at least a dialogue could happen? I mean, they kind of work together, especially with evidence of larger things afoot. I mean, if they knew that Tharizdun was out there, the Chained Oblivion had, you know, shackles in the Empire, I'm sure there's one in the Dynasty and all these other places. I mean, we need to find a way to put petty shit, you know, continental shit, but petty shit aside.
MATT: Make a history check, Beauregard?
MARISHA: All right, all right, it's fine. 18.
MATT: 18. It doesn't come up often, but from more of just your passing knowledge and study that you recall on terms of warfare and such, even through conflict, it's not uncommon for there to be emissaries that do meet at times to attempt to weirdly work out aspects after battles, or see if there are points that can be discussed or tension can be loosened. That's not always the case, especially if tensions are very high. You don't know if that's the case here. You do know that how this was presented to you is not because there hasn't been communication, but because of the relationship you have with the Bright Queen, the king believes that you might have a better chance of bringing it to a serious parley as opposed to just a conversation between emissaries.
TRAVIS: Send in your seconds, see if they can set the record straight.
MARISHA: Kind of. I relay all that.
LIAM: But Da'leth was sweating in that room. He was on edge. Nothing should be taken at face value.
TALIESIN: Does it seem reasonable to, at the very least, air our-- I don't want to say concerns, necessarily-- but our just say what we know, say that we don't know if there's more that we don't know, but it's worth a cautious optimism?
LIAM: I think so.
MARISHA: I think so, too.
LIAM: It's a low, low possibility of success, but I think we go into this and be honest with her, even about our doubts and suspicions of the people that we are representing. And forthright with our hope that, despite possible subterfuge, that there could be positive benefit gained here and it could be a start. We also need to get our hands on the delivery, and do our best to inspect it.
MARISHA: I think that's one of our-- I mean, they already showed it to us once. Do you think Trent would let us see it again?
SAM: Should we go steal it? We're going to go steal it?
LAURA: I mean, we can go steal it. Me and Nott can do that.
TRAVIS: Oh my god. That's what you're pulling out of all this? The most chaotic possible thing?
SAM: Well, that's what we do best.
LAURA: Steal things.
SAM: Steal things and solve mysteries.
TRAVIS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
LIAM: Get in and out of the house without a trace. No lives taken.
LAURA: No lives taken, no holes in the floors, no things on fire, nothing.
SAM: Yeah, no, we're fine, we're good.
TRAVIS: We have time. We'll pick up the items here, we can also pick up your bracers in Xhorhas, we can talk to the Bright Queen, and then figure out next steps before your event is coming up, is it not?
LAURA: Traveler Con 3000.
TRAVIS: It has a number?
MARISHA: When did 3000 get involved? That's new, right?
SAM: We're not even in the one thousands here.
LAURA: It's extra special.
SAM: Oh, 836.
ASHLEY: Is it the 3000th one?
LAURA: 3000 is just so you guys know how cool it is.
TRAVIS: Oh, it's, like, a hype number.
SAM: It's like Andre 3000.
SAM: Got it.
ASHLEY: That does make it sound so much more cool.
TRAVIS: Is it the third Traveler Con, or like the 10th?
MARISHA: Yeah, do you guys have Roman numerals?
LAURA: As far as I know, I mean, this is the first time we've ever done this.
TRAVIS: The inaugural?
LAURA: Yeah, I mean, you know, I didn't even know that a lot of other people really knew about him, outside of me until we were traveling around and stuff.
TRAVIS: Oh right, your pamphlets, yeah.
MARISHA: Who's going to do the keynote speech?
LAURA: Me! I mean, yeah, I'm the most special follower they have.
SAM: Do you know how many roughly you can expect at Traveler Con? Is it like, 50, 100, 200?
LAURA: Well, how big is the volcano? Because we have to fit inside of it.
TRAVIS: Pretty big.
SAM: No, I know the maximum, but what if we show up and there's only, like, eight people there?
LAURA: Well, there's definitely going to be at least eight.
TRAVIS: It's not an active volcano that you have to be inside of, right? A dormant volcano is still all right?
LAURA: I don't know much about this volcano, specifically.
LIAM: But your patron has not given you a sense of--
LAURA: My god, you mean?
MARISHA: Patron means god.
LAURA: Oh, I thought it was just a person that gave you money.
SAM: You thought he was patronizing you.
MARISHA: I mean, that could also, you know.
TALIESIN: I thought I was confused, now I'm really confused.
MARISHA: Get context.
LAURA: What about him?
LIAM: Has not given you a sense of how many more? You know so many things through him, he gives you such fantastical abilities.
LIAM: Has he imparted what to expect, or?
LAURA: He said that-- no, he hasn't told me much about it.
SAM: But gods are mysterious.
LAURA: But he said he-- like, I helped him choose where it's going to be, you guys.
SAM: That's a very important position.
LAURA: I mean, I'm basically his right-hand man.
SAM: Yeah, yeah. We have to show up, I mean, you're essentially the--
LAURA: Obviously, which reminds me, I think I need to talk to Orly or something, because we need a boat there, a ship.
TRAVIS: Like a normal ship, like the Balleater, or a larger ship?
LAURA: Well, it's got to fit us.
SAM: Just for us.
TRAVIS: Oh yeah.
LAURA: I don't know how the other people are going to get-- oh god, should I be organizing transportation for other people?
SAM: If he didn't tell you to do that, then no.
LAURA: I'm going to pull out my notebook and make a note to ask the Traveler later.
MARISHA: Has he given you a per diem? Or some sort of petty cash system? I feel like that would be useful as well.
LAURA: To, like, decorate and stuff?
MARISHA: Yeah, absolutely.
SAM: Well, if you don't know your duties, I mean, you might be responsible for decor, flowers.
LAURA: I'm definitely going to write a speech, just to be sure! Because I'm probably going to have to make--
TRAVIS: Lanyards, you know, like, special badges?
LAURA: There's so many things that I have to do.
TRAVIS: Sunday only, nobody wants those, but I mean.
ASHLEY: What happens at a Con 3000? Do people come and speak or do special things?
LAURA: People come, and they'll probably, they'll be like, "Oh my god, Jester, we've heard so much about you, because Traveler talks about you all the time and stuff," so they'll probably be really excited.
ASHLEY: Is it like, food and events?
LAURA: I don't know for sure. I think we all will get together, and then we'll be like, "Oh my god, let's all talk about how great the Traveler is!" And outside of that, I don't really know what to expect.
TRAVIS: What if they bring weapons? Do they get the little orange markers on them to show that, you know, they're not dangerous, or--
ASHLEY: Peace tie?
TRAVIS: Yeah, zip tie them to the people's belts?
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe. Maybe I should get some zip ties.
LIAM: So many questions.
LAURA: So many, I should really talk to the Traveler about all of this.
LIAM: Maybe it's a leap of faith he's expecting you to take.
ASHLEY: Maybe you should make a performance with your bone flute.
LAURA: That'd be so good.
TALIESIN: I mean, I could do that. I was saving that for something else, but we could--
LAURA: Maybe we should practice together and then we could do it together!
TALIESIN: There's going to be a harp, so that'll be okay.
LAURA: -- then just plays the flute.
ASHLEY: I think we should practice a song together, maybe.
LAURA: I could play piano. I have to get a piano there.
ASHLEY: We could provide the music.
MARISHA: You're going to get a piano into a volcano?
LAURA: Maybe I can paint a piano as soon as we get to the volcano!
SAM: Oh, like, paint it and it will appear.
TALIESIN: Save a lot in shipping.
LIAM: Able to conjure up a lollipop; can you make a piano?
LAURA: That's a really good question. I've never tried.
SAM: This'll be the first performance of Yasha and the Orphan Makers.
LAURA: Should I try?
MARISHA: Yeah. Maybe you guys could play Jester out as she comes out to do her keynote speech.
ASHLEY: Yes, we could, you know, give you, what do they call those? Barking?
TALIESIN: A patron.
ASHLEY: No, like when someone is coming into a room and you say--
SAM: Oh, like--
ASHLEY: Barking, a barking. A barker.
ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We can play a song for you to come into the room to meet the Traveler and everyone.
ASHLEY: A barking.
MARISHA: We got really distracted from our plans of saving the world.
LAURA: I'm going to cast Spiritual Weapon, and I'm going to conjure a piano.
MATT: All right. As you focus, what level you cast it as?
MATT: Second level. This pinkish energy swirls and sparkles into this little toy piano, that (plinking) in the air.
LAURA: Like, this much?
MATT: It's about that big.
TALIESIN: Casio SJ1 style.
ASHLEY: What color?
LIAM: Pink, pink.
LAURA: Pink. Pinkish-purple.
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
LAURA: Okay, I play it.
MATT: It's kind of weird, immaterial.
LAURA: ♪ (slightly off-key "Chopsticks") ♪
MATT: It's not the best sound, it's not tuned well.
LAURA: ♪ (slightly off-key "Chopsticks") ♪
MATT: Make a performance check.
LIAM: Dungeons & Dragons.
TRAVIS: That and the skull whistle's going to be a fucking thing.
LAURA: Oh, it's going to sound so good with this. Ooh! 18.
MATT: You know, as opposed to being a nightmarish discordant toy piano being tussled with by a kid in the back of the antique store, it's more like your cute pixie manic girl on YouTube who decided, "Eh, not an uke today, toy piano."
TALIESIN: It's got a charm.
ASHLEY: It looks like there are buttons, too, for, like, drum beats or something.
SAM: (vocalizing generic synth beat)
TRAVIS: I know we got sidetracked, but do you have like--
SAM: No, did we?
TRAVIS: Like, do you have a goal, or a hope, a wish, coming out of this, that you'll--
LAURA: I've got nothing. All I know is that he told me to be there, so I got to be there.
SAM: You're a holy man now, Fjord, you understand that when your god asks you to go somewhere and do something for them--
LAURA: You just do it.
SAM: You just do it.
LAURA: As long as they're not a giant sea snake that's asking you to--
SAM and LAURA: (whispering) Uk'otoa.
TRAVIS: I mean, we don't even know if it was a snea snake, all right?
LAURA: Snea snake?
ASHLEY: What's a snea snake?
LIAM: Snea sake, 2020.
TRAVIS: It is a creature known--
ASHLEY: Is a snea sake different from a sea snake?
TRAVIS: It is, yeah. One is venomous, one is not.
MARISHA: It's a sneature.
LIAM: Little bit like a snea stack.
TRAVIS: And the other one has a sneeze on his face.
SAM: Well, good night, everybody!
TRAVIS: Day two!
SAM: Is it morning still?
MARISHA: Was this morning, or are we still talking in the hall?
TALIESIN: It is now late evening.
MARISHA: This was breakfast.
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MATT: Imagine all that, but like, half-chewed food in half of the words.
TRAVIS: We're waiting for a chalice, we're waiting for a harp before we leave.
SAM: We got to waste a fucking day again, so what are we doing?
MARISHA: Go talk to the Bright Queen.
SAM: We can't. We have to wait a day.
TRAVIS: We can say the day goes by.
SAM: A day passes.
TRAVIS: Unless we want to do anything.
SAM: The only place that we could possibly go is to visit Astrid.
LIAM: Why would we do that?
LAURA: We haven't done it yet. We should do it.
SAM: Or go to Pride's Rock and see what's--
TRAVIS: Pride's Call.
MARISHA, TALIESIN, and LIAM: That's far.
SAM: Yeah, but we--
MARISHA: We'd have to bamf there.
SAM: We have teleport.
LAURA: I think that's why we were taking the time.
MARISHA: I don't know if he's got a circle to go to Pride's Call.
SAM: He can do all sorts of things.
TRAVIS: Yeah, let's go to Pride's Call.
MARISHA: Wait, what? No, wait, how?
SAM: Can't you teleport us there?
LAURA: No, he can't teleport us to a random place.
TRAVIS: Can't Ludinus Da'leth or somebody--?
TALIESIN: That feels possibly overcooked.
SAM: Well then, a day will go by.
MARISHA: Hang on, I could go back to the library, I guess.
TRAVIS: Oh, yeah.
TRAVIS: The big one? Just the Empire?
TRAVIS: Give that over to Yasha.
TALIESIN: Yeah, yeah.
LIAM: We can only return here. And Da'leth is not, I don't think, going to send us to go sniffing about where they found one of these things.
LAURA: Yeah, probably not.
LIAM: And what are these things?
LAURA: Yeah, what are they? Me and Caduceus were talking about it. They're either A, homegrown from the land, B, fell from the sky, C, made by somebody a long, long time ago, D, I think this is the best answer, they're poop of some kind. (laughter) Yes, but like, god poop, you know? Like sometimes, I'm sure the gods have to poop. What if that's why they all look different?
LIAM: I would not want to pass one of those stones.
LAURA: No, but gods are really big.
TRAVIS: One day they had, like, a lot of meat, the other day, lots of veggies.
LAURA: Or, like, one is from, you know, like--
TRAVIS: One day there were on a protein kick.
LAURA: One is from Kord, and the little one is from Ioun.
SAM: DM, when I went up to the last one, were there little bits of corn in it?
SAM: Great. I don't think it's poop.
LAURA: Well, it's an option.
TRAVIS: What do you mean fell from the sky?
LAURA: I don't know, like, they fell like meteors or something.
LIAM: Well, bodies of material do, on occasion, fall from the heavens.
LAURA: I don't know how they would get the handles, though.
LIAM: Well no, that's something that the Dynasty has provided, I think. I've thought the very same thing, that perhaps they're--
LAURA: Oh, maybe they just come as the stone and then people have to make the handles so that when they touch them, the don't instantly get like, in, because when you touch it, you go in, right?
TRAVIS: So do you think we'd learn something if we figure out like, how deep into the earth they had to go to retrieve this thing, or if it was only like, just underneath the surface?
TALIESIN: I have a weird thought.
TRAVIS: That sounds normal.
TALIESIN: This is a little more serious. So if they found this thing underground, and it's been there for a while, and the Bright Queen said that they use this as sort of a... like, I don't know, like, a place for souls to reside, I guess, or some such--
TRAVIS: Oh, yeah.
TALIESIN: So what's in this one?
LAURA: Are there people in there?
MARISHA: What's in the uncovered beacon?
ASHLEY: I actually--
LIAM: Oh, I see your point.
SAM: Oh, it's like fresh.
TALIESIN: It's like old.
ASHLEY: Do they all do the same thing?
LAURA: I think so?
TALIESIN: Pretty sure.
LAURA: I mean, I don't know.
SAM: There's one way to find out.
LAURA: What if, you guys--
SAM: We have a day, we could just sneak in and do some experiments on it, and then sneak out.
TRAVIS: Without getting killed.
MARISHA: Did you see that place?
LAURA: What if Trent Ikithon was like, what if he stole souls from them? What if that's one of the bad things he was doing?
TALIESIN: I'm not even sure he knows that they're in there, really.
TRAVIS: I don't think he does.
LAURA: We should be talking quieter, then.
LIAM: I think it's safe to assume that the Assembly, or at least Trent and Vess DeRogna, that's antiquities, correct?
LIAM: They would have done as much research and homework as possible. I think we should assume they know.
MARISHA: Yeah. (Ashley sneezes)
LAURA: Bless you. The Traveler blesses you.
TRAVIS: What do the two of you need to break in? I'm about this plan.
SAM: I-- either-- I want to either break in tomorrow, and just magically make it tomorrow, or go somewhere and break into something, and--
SAM: Well, I mean, thought we needed to do some research--
LAURA: I mean, you already got some hats for us. They're really nice, by the way.
SAM: Dinky dinky dinky.
TALIESIN: That was very weird, considering that she wasn't wearing a hat.
TRAVIS: Just tugged on a horn.
SAM: Eh. But we could go check out that place, if you wanted to.
MARISHA: They teleported us to that prison.
SAM: Oh, that's right. But he knows where it is. No, you don't know where it is, do you?
LAURA: Do you know where it is?
SAM: No, no, no, the place where they're holding the beacon.
LIAM: I mean, I could--
TRAVIS: The terrible, creepy-ass place surrounded by iron gates.
LIAM: I would think that I could walk everybody there, but--
MATT: Vergesson Sanatorium? You could. You know where it is based on your training with Trent before you were placed there, and then when you escaped it, you had to, on foot, head through the woods southwards.
MARISHA: How far is it?
LIAM: How far?
MARISHA: I mean, you've walked it.
MATT: Flip the map and I'll show you.
SAM: It's map length, it's not just like, in Rexxentrum.
LAURA: No, it's outside.
MATT: So, we have over here, we have...
LAURA: Oh, it's really far away from Rexxentrum?
MATT: Where's Rexxentrum?
LAURA: Rexxentrum's right there.
MATT: It's like right up the mountains here.
LAURA: Oh, shit.
MATT: It's in the Pearlbow Wilderness. So it's through the woods, about a day and a half travel, two days' travel.
LAURA: ♪ Into the woods ♪
LIAM: I do not think we should try to break into there, I had to kill a man to get out of it. It will mess with our timeline for what we are planning to do with the Bright Queen. Doesn't seem like an opportune time, and that place is as hard a nut as you'll find to crack.
SAM: Well then, let's take a mental health day, and then tomorrow, we do stuff.
MARISHA: Yeah, Caleb, if you want to go with me, I don't know what you're up to today or if you're going to be aloof again, but I was halfway through some research, but I was running out of time and didn't find much, maybe you could help me.
LIAM: Yeah, of course, I went to the library one time, I will go with you twice.
TRAVIS: I'm going to work on this beard, I'm going to grow a beard today. I'm going to grow a beard in. Yep.
SAM: All right.
TRAVIS: It's a choice.
SAM: Sure. Go for it.
ASHLEY: I'm going to go sit outside again somewhere and try to continue reading my book, which I have 17 hours left.
MARISHA: How's it going, by the way? How's that reading?
ASHLEY: It's pretty good.
MARISHA: It's a page turner?
ASHLEY: Yeah, it's a little bit dense, but I got to some parts that... seemed kind of weird? Like it was a little sexy.
LAURA: Sounds interesting, I wonder--
ASHLEY: It was like, you know, talking about exercise, and then it was like, other forms of exercise, and then there were these drawings. It was a little strange, it was like--
TRAVIS: Were they, like, spotting each other? Making sure their form was correct, or?
LAURA: Yeah, tell us all about it.
ASHLEY: Yeah, it was like, it was talking about, you know, two people working out, and then how they were getting very sweaty.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
ASHLEY: And then spotting each other, and then--
LAURA: Tell them the best part, though.
ASHLEY: I still have a lot more to read. I stopped right at the part where the guy was pulling off, like, very tight pants.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They were getting in the way when he was squatting.
ASHLEY: When he was squatting, and they kind of, they burst open.
LIAM: Are you talking about pereninum sunning?
ASHLEY: Say again?
ASHLEY: Puh- perenium sunning?
LIAM: Ja. I have read about this, they do this in Nicodranas, on the coast, I've read about it.
MARISHA: Yeah, I've read about this, yeah.
TRAVIS: What's a perenium?
SAM: Is it perineum?
MARISHA: I read about it in this, yeah.
MARISHA: You can read about it in this, there's this elven woman named Gwyneth Paltrow, you can read it about it on her blog.
SAM: It's your asshole.
TRAVIS: No, it's not.
LIAM: That is what that word means. And then you put the sun on it, apparently.
SAM: It's supposed to make you feel really good.
LAURA: It's a thing they do in Nicodranas, for sure.
TRAVIS: They put sun on their buttholes?
SAM: They don't put it on, they just expose their buttholes to the sun. You can't put sun on your butthole.
TRAVIS: That makes sense. But that's such a strange position to achieve. You get your butthole as high as possible, and then expose it.
MARISHA: Have you asked a cleric that question? Just saying.
MATT: I mean, Pelor clerics have their own unique ways of praying to the Dawnfather.
MARISHA: I object. You absolutely can put sun on your butthole in Dungeons & Dragons.
MATT: Let me show my piety.
LIAM: It's yoga, that sounds like monk shit to me.
ASHLEY: Yeah, it is interesting how the drawings are so different, though, you know?
LAURA: Mm. Mm-hmm.
LIAM: Yeah, that's what that sunburst is right there.
TRAVIS: Oh, it's not a sun.
MARISHA: Wait. And that book helps with your intellect?
ASHLEY: Well no, it's for fitness, exercises and things. But he has, like, a little bit of a tent in his pants here.
LAURA: I didn't think about, I mean, I'm sure whoever was writing those steamy sections didn't think about the fact that it would add to your time of reading.
ASHLEY: Well, I do think that, you know--
LAURA: But at least it gives a little--
ASHLEY: It is a form of exercise, to have sexual relations as well.
LAURA: Oh, yeah, yeah, it's a good exercise.
LIAM: Yeah, that is true.
LAURA and ASHLEY: Yeah.
MATT: How many more hours do you want to spend reading?
ASHLEY: Okay, 17 hours left.
MATT: You do get a night's rest, so you did manage to rest off your point of exhaustion.
ASHLEY: I did, okay. Boy, I guess... I want to get this finished, so how much can I read? If I have 17 hours left.
MATT: A full 17 hours will put you at 5:00am the next day.
MATT: You could do it, but you'll be--
ASHLEY: A point of exhaustion.
MATT: Yeah, a point of exhaustion if you go straight through.
LAURA: Give it some time, Yasha.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I think I'll just, I'll read maybe half.
MATT: Okay. Eight, nine hours.
ASHLEY: What time is it now?
TALIESIN: Go for nine.
ASHLEY: I'll go for nine.
TALIESIN: Yeah, just so you have eight left for the next day.
MATT: So that'll be your thing for the day. You're going to research, the two of you?
MARISHA: Yeah, anyone else want to go? Library? Caduceus?
TALIESIN: You know what?
LAURA: Ooh, ah, ooh--
MARISHA: No pressure.
TALIESIN: I'm going to come to the library.
LAURA: Yeah, I'll go to the library, too, okay.
MARISHA: Are you feeling pressure because Caduceus said yes?
LAURA: Well, I'm just wondering if there's books on, like, tarot reading or anything.
SAM: Mm, smart.
MARISHA: There probably is, yeah.
LAURA: Yeah, I want to go, just-- you know, I don't need it, but I just thought that maybe it would be good to... learn from somebody else, maybe.
MARISHA: Nott, what are you up to?
SAM: I'm going to just do some shopping. Go to a stationary store.
MARISHA: Cool. Hey, if I give you some money, will you see if you can buy me some, like, darts or ninja stars, or darts?
SAM: Yes, of course, yes.
MARISHA: Or just something that's cool to throw at people.
SAM: I will take your money, and I will return with weapons.
MARISHA: Thank you. I give Nott... Ff--
TRAVIS: Come on.
MARISHA: Wait, let me see. I give Nott 40 gold.
MATT: All right.
MARISHA: That should be enough.
TRAVIS: Uh, yeah.
MATT: So reading, researching, researching, shopping, researching, researching, bearding.
TRAVIS: Yeah, but, like, I'm going to go and get like, maybe, like, a facial, you know. Like something--
MARISHA: Like a spa day.
TRAVIS: Yeah, take a little self-care.
MATT: Fjord spa day.
TRAVIS: No, too late, you're doing your shit, spa for Fjord.
LAURA: No, but-- no no no. (laughter) I wanted to go to the spa, but I have hair-- I have hair oil.
TRAVIS: Wait, from that creepy place?
LAURA: Hey, man, it's been doing some good things. Look how long my hair has gotten.
TALIESIN: I figured we'd do the spa tomorrow, right before we left would be the way to just--
TRAVIS: Let me try the spa first, and then we'll--
SAM: (as Sprinkle) "Kill me."
LAURA: Shut up, Sprinkle! You want it?
TRAVIS: No, no, I'm fine, thank you. Tonight, perhaps.
MARISHA: I missed Sprinkle.
TRAVIS: I'll double up on the treatment.
LAURA: Okay, okay, okay.
MATT: You do find yourself in the Shimmer Ward there is the Silver--
TRAVIS: I find myself?
MATT: The Silvered Sunset Oasis, which is an actual bathhouse where you can pamper yourself. Depending how long you want to stay there. How long do you intend to be pampered?
TRAVIS: I mean, what sort of packages do they have? I mean, I--
TALIESIN: Scout, scout.
TRAVIS: I didn't get a tattoo, I'm fucking loaded.
LIAM: Silvered Sunset is slang for sunning your butt.
TRAVIS: Let's call it four hours. I'm going to get a full-- yeah, that's right. Four hours worth of treatments.
MATT: Okay, here in the Shimmer Ward--
TRAVIS: Maybe a message, I might get my feet trimmed up, my toenails are scary.
(Laura and Marisha laughing)
TALIESIN: You're being better to yourself on graph paper than I was over the entire Christmas break.
LAURA: Do something with your teeth? Like help them grow more.
TRAVIS: Oh. God, sure.
MARISHA: That was an entirely weird way to phrase it. (laughing)
TRAVIS: And I look for a facial, and a haircut.
MATT: 15 gold.
LAURA: That's it?
MARISHA: I just gave Nott 40 gold.
TRAVIS: I'll tip them five to make sure they take extra special care.
LIAM: Oh, he's going to be handsome.
MATT: Oh, debonair motherfucker coming out of here in a few hours.
LAURA: And he's all buff now, you guys.
LAURA: Hottie Fjord.
MATT: All right, you're going shopping?
SAM: I'm going to just stop by a couple places. In halfling form, I will go shopping for-- first I'll start with some throwing weapons. Darts, throwing stars, any sort of--
SAM: Blow darts, whatever--
MATT: How much are you purchasing?
SAM: Well, I'm going to see what they have, and I've got 40 gold to spend.
MATT: I mean, pretty much any of the weapons that are basic or martial are available here in Rexxentrum, it's a huge capital. Most supplies of any kind can be found here through some searching. So if you're looking for... darts or a dagger, I mean, the darts are like five copper pieces a piece, they're super inexpensive. Daggers are two gold a piece. Anything else you're looking for?
SAM: Ninja stars.
MATT: Ninja stars? They don't really have ninja stars here so much. There aren't really ninjas in the Dwendalian Empire.
SAM: Can I go to a blacksmith and describe it?
MATT: Yes, you can.
SAM: All right, and is that something that would add more fucking days to our waiting in Rexxentrum?
MARISHA: Yeah, don't do it, if--
TRAVIS: Custom made.
MATT: It'll take about a day to custom make them, because he has to like--
SAM: I'll rush order--
MATT: Depends how many you want.
MATT: Two? You can get two done in, like, an hour.
LIAM: You hate this city like Trinket.
MATT: Five silver per custom "ninja" star.
SAM: I want them inscribed.
SAM: Or stamped or something, I want one to say "pop" and the other to say "pop."
LIAM: So both say "pop."
MATT: They both say "pop." You got it. That'll add an additional gold to it.
TALIESIN: Until you get really good at throwing them, you're going to hit people, and they're going to be like, "'Bob'?" "'Bob'?"
TALIESIN: Bob bob!
MATT: All right. So two custom ninja stars.
SAM: I will also go to a stationary type-store, a papier.
MATT: Yeah, parchment of all different qualities is available here, yeah.
SAM: I'd like a stack of hard card stock of some sort.
MATT: Sure, Ye Olde FedEx Office.
SAM: You know, the good shit.
MATT: Yeah, yeah.
SAM: Okay, and--
MATT: Thick parchment's easy enough to come across here.
SAM: Just smallish, and then I want two big poster boards.
LAURA: What is...
TALIESIN: Are we going to a science fair?
MATT: There are wooden slats that can be painted on that's usually used for signage.
MATT: Not so much normal poster board.
SAM: I'll take that.
MATT: All right. So, let me see, so six gold for the two custom ninja stars. Two of the sign posts would be about, eh, three silver each, along with the stack, I think I'll put an additional gold in that total, so that'd be seven gold.
SAM: Seven gold, I got 33 left over.
TALIESIN: If there's anything in, like, the off-season Harvest Festival section that looks really nice and might spruce up--
TRAVIS: Shut up. (laughter) 75% off.
SAM: That's it.
MATT: All righty.
ASHLEY: Metal harvest pumpkin?
TRAVIS: It's really nice.
MATT: All right, those who are researching, you make your way to the Rexxentrum archive of the Cobalt Soul. What is it you would like to research while you're there?
MARISHA: Okay, so, I was actually starting to research anything that might mention multiple beacons, or where these things actually came from. And of course, the furthest that I got was that they were pre-Calamity and no one really knows how many there might be. The other thing that I was wanting to research, and I ran out of time, was other shackles of the Chained Oblivion and where they're located.
LIAM: While she says all that, Caleb had been going into his bag to look at his notes and his research on Nott's problem.
LIAM: But as Beauregard's talking, he's looking, he's looking--
MARISHA: Can I kind of peek over?
LIAM: Well, he's not opening anything up, he's just preparing to do it, and the more you talked, the less he looked, and then he just started listening. So he veered over to what you're talking about.
MARISHA: Oh. Did you want to-- were you like-- did you want to-- you can do your own research.
LIAM: No, no, this is more interesting to me today. Perhaps we can find--
MARISHA: What was that? What are you doing?
LIAM: (stuttering) It is spell research, spell work.
LIAM: Always. But this is more pressing for today.
MARISHA: What'd you want to find?
LIAM: You know, it's complicated. I'm trying to help Nott with something.
MARISHA: All right. Yeah.
LIAM: Beacons. Task at hand. "Stay on task, Widogast." We should see if we can find any mention of objects or anything from the heavens falling in different parts of the world, outside of Xhorhas. To get an idea of how widespread they are as a phenomenon. Maybe we'll find nothing, but it's worth a try.
MARISHA: Cool. Maybe I can go back through all the archeological records that the Cobalt Soul is researching and see if anything pops up, and if you want to do like the find-- hit the books.
MARISHA: All right. Ready, break. Break! Wait, hang on, hang on. Put your hand in like this. Okay, ready, and then we're going to be like--
LIAM: What? We're going to be like what?
MARISHA: This is-- ah! Okay, okay.
LAURA: I know this thing!
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Did you find where the tarot cards were?
LAURA: Oh, right, nevermind.
MARISHA: No, no, wait, come here, come here!
LAURA: Okay, cool.
MARISHA: And then you can go find-- Ready, and-- (shouting) Caduceus! Caduceus, come here, we're going to do a thing!
TALIESIN: I have wandered off, I am gone.
LAURA: We're in a library, shut up.
MARISHA: It's my library!
LAURA: That's right!
MARISHA: It's not my library. It's not my library.
MATT: You look up and see Yudala Fon looking over the railing, and they go, "Shh."
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was just-- yeah, okay, ready, and--
LAURA and MARISHA: And break!
LIAM: (whispering) Break.
MATT: All right, so you're researching what?
MARISHA: I'm going to check the archeological dig records, maybe talk with Yudala, see if anything, as far back as I can go, might match a beacon.
MATT: All right, make an investigation check.
MARISHA: (sighs) Not that dice. Lucky jade. Does it count? It's out of the box.
LIAM: Yeah, I mean, I don't know.
MARISHA: But it's a roll.
MARISHA: All right, all right, all right.
LIAM: It's on a squishy surface, but flat on it.
MATT: 25, okay. Looking through the archeological records that currently reside under the scope of the Cobalt Soul dealing with any, you know, pre-Calamity, Arcanum digs, ruins, even some mentions of things off-site at like, you know, Issylra, and other excavations that have happened. Nothing catches your eye of any previously excavated beacons. Talk about many relics and, you know, something called the Vestiges of Divergence, and something referring to, you know, like relic tech almost like, the magical artifacts on a larger scale that were created by some of these older, mage-based mageocracies that ruled during the Age of Arcanum, that waged war against each other, and some of them against divinity itself. But, in those regards, none of the excavations, and any of the relics that have been categorized, that have been studied, that have been made record of, resemble what was recently found in Shattengrad.
MARISHA: And how many years back did I go? Was I able to go?
MATT: Well, the Empire's only been around for maybe three centuries total. So.
MATT: A little longer, I think, actually. But... you can go back as far as maybe two and a half centuries, 250 years.
MARISHA: So in 250 years, one has been found in the Empire.
MARISHA: And there are no records from the Cobalt Soul for other continents here of the archeological digs?
MATT: The things that you've read there don't mention anything of the objects you're seeking.
MARISHA: In, like, the other ones?
MARISHA: All right. Okay. Fucking nothing, in 250 years. Just the one. What about you?
LIAM: I don't know, I haven't rolled yet.
MATT: What are you researching?
LIAM: I want to look through the histories of the Age of Arcanum, specifically, for any unexplained things found, anything related to astronomy, meteorites, things falling from the sky, things that even then-- and this is long ago, so it's a long shot-- but things even they did not understand.
MATT: Certainly, go ahead and make an investigation check.
LIAM: Am I alone, or with lots of people around where I am?
MATT: The library is as busy as it normally is, which isn't a huge crowd, there's, you know, a handful of individuals that are here on their own research. I'd say a dozen people total in the library that aren't themselves of the Cobalt Soul. Then maybe, from what you can immediately look around, there are 15 or 16 members of the actual archive that are visible in this chamber.
LIAM: So, and I am in view of those people as well.
MATT: Yeah. It's open.
LIAM: All right, nevermind. 18.
MATT: 18, okay. There are records of things falling from the heavens, you know, referred to as meteors. Iron and metals that have been made and crafted into sets of armor of legend. Old generals of wars and forgotten ages that used the star metal as the basis of their weaponry. As brittle as it began, with enchantments it became extremely strong, and resilient, and in some cases, able to absorb enchantment quickly. There's talk of what was thought to be meteors, but instead happened to be residual elements from perhaps Arcanum weapons that were jettisoned into the sky and returning hundreds of years later, that then just impacted into the ocean and were lost. There's talk of a meteor that crashed not but 10 years before into the Cyrengreen Forest, just above Deastok, that vanished, though the impact destroyed a portion of the forest. There is talk of--
MATT: Most of it's a series of different impacts that all have led to recovery of just material. Most of it seems to be iron, some of them are various odd metals, and a handful of them have been very odd metals that have been since grabbed by whatever group or political faction was in charge of that recovery process, and then was, the records either vanished based on who they were sold to. There are some records of them supposedly, some of these recovered meteors going up on auction on different auction houses, as well as the auction house in Port Damali. Twice in the past century such rare odd metals that have been recovered from these impacts have. Many people believe-- there is a prominent belief, superstitious as it is largely considered, that most of these meteors that do come through in meteor showers themselves are parts of Ruidus, the distant moon, breaking apart and making their way towards the planet. Some believe because it's decaying and just showering, its decay upon the planet in clumps, others believe it's supposedly distant warriors' spirits that themselves are returning to the planet after being lost on the battlefield. There's all sorts of strange religious phenomenon based around this celestial activity, when it does occur.
LIAM: Lots of strange things, but not really what I'm digging for.
MATT: Not what you're looking for, yeah.
MARISHA: Fuck. Any other time to research where the Chained Oblivion and other shackles for it may be?
MATT: I believe the research has already been put into this.
MATT: It isn't like you just keep banging your head against the wall until more information comes out. You've expended your research in this topic here, and what you do know is that the shackles are a very largely guarded, and largely forgotten secret intentionally so people cannot research them in a library. Because that would make them very easy to find for people that don't have good intentions.
MARISHA: Yeah, that makes sense. Well, nothing. Boo.
LIAM: Well, you have to try.
LIAM: How much time did we just spend doing that, would you reckon?
MATT: Half the day.
LIAM: Half a day.
MARISHA: You want to go back?
MATT: I got another two people researching here.
MATT: Come to you guys in a moment.
LAURA: I've got-- I'm sitting at a table.
LAURA: I've got all of the cards pulled out and I'm looking at them. And I am looking for a book on tarot cards as well, so that I can study them at the same time I'm looking at my book.
LAURA: And see what I can learn.
MATT: Roll an investigation check.
TALIESIN: I'm prepared to talk a lot.
MATT: Seven. You get a little lost in your research as you come upon drawn studies on the human body, in which the musculature, and there's a lot of just nude drawings in there, and--
LAURA: I bring those to the table.
MATT: And so you get kind of distracted for a while. You do eventually find one book that is a very simple study on prominent and easily found use of tarot cards, largely based around the Moonweaver. And you sit down, you open the book, and with the cards sprawled out, and you start going from chapter to chapter, and none of the cards are the same as the ones you found in the book.
TALIESIN: Yeah. I can add to this, if you like.
MATT: Yeah, go for it.
TALIESIN: There is, specifically when dealing with oracle cards, do you mind if I add a little canon?
MATT: Go for it. Just keep in mind, she rolled a seven.
TALIESIN: Oracle cards vary from region to region and religion to religion. They tend to have unique properties depending on what culture and what god is being worshiped of how they're developed and how they're built. Moonweaver cards specifically, while there is a general build, the Moonweaver encourages creativity and deceit. So Moonweaver decks tend to be all over the fucking map. And this is definitely--
LAURA: And this is a Moonweaver--
TALIESIN: This is definitely a Moonweaver deck.
MATT: Yeah, and to that point, and correct me if I'm wrong, a number of the cards in the deck that you have are blank.
LAURA: How many?
TALIESIN: There's a collection of them that you've noticed, and then there's off, sort of on the edge, there's a bunch that look like they're old and fucked up and hard to even read anymore, and then there's another collection of them that have a couple little sketches that seemed like they were stopped, and then a whole bunch of blank ones, that are just ready to be filled. You get the sense that this was an ongoing art project, and that this was not a bought deck, but a made one.
LAURA: Oh my gosh!
LAURA: Oh. I-- oh. Jester just starts crying.
LAURA: Because she's realizing, I mean, that's amazing, she's looking at Molly's art.
TALIESIN: Yeah, there's, yeah. It's not as good as your art.
LAURA: No, but it's so good. And I can finish some of it.
TRAVIS: Yeah, those little blank cards could use happy beans.
LAURA: Well, obviously, somebody's going to get dealt the happy bean.
TALIESIN: Oh no. This just keeps getting worse.
LAURA: Okay, well then, okay.
TALIESIN: The only obvious cards, since you rolled a four, would be the moon card, which is--
LAURA: I rolled a seven, thank you.
TALIESIN: Okay, so inevitably there's always a moon card, there's also, each card is built so that there's a word at the bottom and a word at the top, so that when you flip it, there's word at the bottom and then it's a new word.
LAURA: Okay, so each card can be two.
TALIESIN: Each card can be two, and the moon is a beautiful, large moon in a night sky, over this crystal clear lake, and when you turn it over, it's called the mirror. And when you look in the reflection of the moon in the lake, there are two moons.
TRAVIS: Like balls.
TALIESIN: And one smaller, reddish-purplish moon sitting right behind the big, normal white moon, which is not actually in the sky in the moon card; it's just a single moon.
MATT: So for your half day of research into this, you spend half of it looking through naked pictures of people sketched in--
LAURA: It's a good day.
MATT: And the other half learn nothing about tarot cards beyond just, (Travis laughing) just looking through the cards that Molly had left incomplete, and yeah, that's about it.
TRAVIS: Well, it was time well spent.
MATT: Oh, very much so.
MARISHA: No, a lot was learned.
MATT: You may not always learn what you want, but you learn what you need.
LAURA: Now, I remember when Molly read my fortune a couple times.
LAURA: I pulled the card out myself, or did he pull the card out for me?
TALIESIN: Do you know what a force is?
LAURA: I don't, I'm asking for Jester's sake, do I?
MATT: Actually, with a seven, no.
TALIESIN: No, okay. You pulled the card.
LAURA: I pulled the cards.
LAURA: Okay. Okay.
TALIESIN: Bless you.
LAURA: I need to remember how to read other people's fortunes, so I'm just going to try to do it the way that Molly did it for me.
MATT: All right.
TALIESIN: Yeah, as we keep going. I'll describe cards as they pop up, so.
LAURA: Okay, okay.
TALIESIN: So yeah, I'm going to go find help, because I don't understand anything that's happening here. Is there a help desk?
MATT: There is a central clerical round table that sits, you know, hollow in the center, where two individuals will sit facing outward that are there for help. Since you are with an expositor initially, you are not immediately assigned some person to be your escort, however, once you break away from the expositor, you are under supervision. They don't want anyone stealing or running away with any of the books or tomes that are brought here, so any person who's here that isn't a part of the Cobalt Soul is constantly under supervision. So as you're wandering around, you eventually turn around towards that table, and there's already an individual, arms folded, just looking at you.
TALIESIN: Oh, this is great. I could actually use some help, if you don't mind.
MATT: They approach. Appears to be a male half-elf, indeterminate age, youngish, but hair is cut extremely short, the eyes are a dull amber color in the iris, and just leans forward. "So how can I help you?"
TALIESIN: Hi. I'm so sorry, what was your name?
MATT: "Oh, Desaund."
TALIESIN: Desaund, hi, Caduceus.
MATT: "What is your-- Caduceus, all right. What do you need help with?"
TALIESIN: I've never been in one of these before, really, and I've never actually had to look anything up before.
MATT: "Well, what is it you came here to seek?"
TALIESIN: I'm looking for information on a lesser-known deity, or I'm supposed to be going to a festival for this deity called the Traveler. I've got a date for the event. I don't know much about what should be expected, and I was curious if it would be possible to maybe get any information about what I'm walking into.
MATT: "I cannot say it comes strongly to mind, but I can help you in looking for this research."
TALIESIN: I've got, like, a basic description, I've got the date of the celebration, I don't know if it has significance.
MATT: Go ahead and make an investigation check for me.
TALIESIN: Oh boy, he's not going to help? Okay, that's okay.
MATT: All of these searches involve help at the library if you need it, but this is more of your ability to describe elements of this.
TALIESIN: Natural 19, which means 18.
MATT: All right. With help, you do find some books specifically about strange occultism.
TALIESIN: All right.
MATT: And what are referred to as-- what would be the phrase? It would be rural hearsay of neo religions and folklore.
TALIESIN: Okay. I'm a slow reader.
MATT: It does, it takes you four hours to get through, this is all you get. But you acquire information that the Traveler is essentially a rumored figure that has begun to show up in rural areas very selectively, all the notes, and you do notice, because you are an insightful individual, that the ink that is written about the Traveler is very fresh compared to the rest of it.
TALIESIN: -- to be fair, so I know for sure.
MATT: And most of it speaks of worry of it being either some sort of devil masquerading as an entity, discussion of it being a mass hallucination, of it being just a person who is convincing people of itself, and it's just a big illusion, and some people saying that it's just heresy, you know, and people are worshiping something much darker and are using this as a front when they explain what it is they worship. It's fresh enough, and most of these things are referred to only in like, recent decades.
TALIESIN: All right.
LAURA: And then Traveler Con is happening on the 26th of Unndilar.
MATT: Like, a decade maybe.
LAURA: So is there anything special, were you asking if there's anything special about that day?
TALIESIN: Yeah, if I was checking a farmer's almanac about the 26th of Unndilar, that's a--
MATT: No. Oh, the 26th of Unndilar? That is the Zenith.
TALIESIN: Oh, so we're having Traveler Con on the Zenith.
MATT: The Zenith, the highest point during the year of the sun's placement in the sky. It's considered to be the center point of summer. It is generally one of the hotter and central, brightest days, and it signifies that midpoint between the depth of winter and the other side of the calendar.
SAM: Our butts are going to be so tanned. Our anuses.
TRAVIS: I never thought you laid on your back with your legs up, I thought they ere doing like--
MARISHA: It's a real thing!
TRAVIS: I thought they were doing, like, upside down Vs.
TALIESIN: The whole squadron.
MATT: So that's your research, Caduceus.
TALIESIN: Thank you, that'll do. I'm good.
MATT: So. Anything else you'd like to accomplish today?
SAM: No! No, we go to sleep and wake up the next day!
MATT: All right.
TRAVIS: This is ridiculous.
MATT: The cat herding continues.
TRAVIS: I didn't want to learn.
MARISHA: First day back.
MATT: I know, that's how it is. Shake off the holiday. So it's been another evening of rest. The next day unfolds before you, you gather your stuff is probably available, given the scenario. Is there anything else that you wish to be done with the day?
LIAM: Well, if we're just going to go through that quick, which is fine--
MATT: I was asking if everyone was done with the day. But if there's something else you want to do, what is it?
LAURA: Sam fast-forwarded us.
LIAM: Caleb will, in the evening, in their room, will lay out all of what he's figured out so far, for Nott's problem, and: Come over here, look at this.
LIAM: I have started, I have not made much headway. I did a good bit of work yesterday. I have not forgotten, it is going to take time for me to understand this, if at all.
SAM: Is there anything I can do to speed up the process, or clarify things?
LIAM: Do you want to have a look at it?
SAM: Sure. Yes.
LIAM: I cannot solve this. I don't know what this means here. This symbol inside these two circles.
SAM: Oh, let me take a look. I've been around some books.
MATT: So do you guys spend, like, the remainder of the day together working through it?
LIAM: I would say like nighttime, stay up a couple hours. Not even a ton.
MATT: Okay. So either you can both make arcana checks, or one of you can make it with advantage. Your call.
LIAM: Both, yeah.
SAM: Use that luck. 14.
MATT: 17, okay. With Nott's help, you do break past that one barrier that's been keeping you from advancing on one of the broken elements of this extensive equation. Kind of with loose improvisation, you are such a structured-minded individual, that it's through Nott's haphazard barreling through it that it ends up teaching you a bit of going with the natural flow of this equation, and in doing so, you do advance quite a bit. I'd say by the end of the evening, both of you working together, you're making some good headway. You don't know how long, how much more time you would need, necessarily. Of course, if this was all done in, like, a research facility or a chamber that was designed specifically for the inscribing and creation of, you know, arcane scripture, if you will. Scripture's not the right word. Inscriptions and designs, this would be a lot quicker, but you're doing this in the midst of a room, so it's taking longer than anticipated. But you're making some decent headway. It's starting to take form and you're starting to see the patterns taking shape, and you're getting excited.
LIAM: Thank you, I was being a little too literal, a little too straight-on.
SAM: Well, I helped Yeza with his problems sometimes. Always good to have an extra set of eyes on things.
LIAM: Yeah, always.
LIAM: Lucky man. We'll get you back to him.
SAM: I hope so. You still feel okay being in this town? Near people you used to know?
LIAM: Not really. It is hard to be here. There's many things I'd like to see here, but all of it's tinged with a bit of hurt, so. I'm looking forward to leave.
SAM: You don't want to go talk to Eodwulf and, what was her name?
SAM: Oh, yeah. You don't want to go talk to her?
LIAM: I'm not exactly sure what I would say to either of them. I don't have a good sense of it. Some wounds heal, some don't.
SAM: Yeah. Well, if you wanted to go visit either, you know, I'll back you up.
LIAM: Why don't we, maybe we turn in and get a good night's rest, and try to do something useful tomorrow, and maybe when we return.
SAM: Good night.
LIAM: I pull her into sort of a slow, awkward hug.
SAM: I hug back.
LIAM: Thank you for coming with me so far.
SAM: Well, thank you for going this far. I know it's hard to be here, but I'm proud of you, you know? You won't ever get, you know, fully better unless you confront these things. So it's a step, and you should be proud of yourself, too.
LIAM: What about you, you still want this? This road?
SAM: Of course, of course.
LIAM: No, I know this.
LIAM: But everything else.
SAM: Yeah, I mean--
LIAM: All of this travel and danger.
SAM: The danger and the travel, it distracts me an awful lot, which is good. So it's either I find the distraction at the bottom of a bottle, or in adrenaline-fueled danger, or I have to go back and think about it more.
LIAM: And if all of this works? That will change things?
SAM: I guess it will. I'll be happy.
LIAM: Insight check.
LAURA: Can I just ask, while the insight check is happening, has this whole conversation been happening while you guys have been hugging?
SAM: Yeah, yeah. We're still in a hug.
LAURA: Okay, I'm just making sure that you're still really close.
LIAM: We're sunning our butts.
LAURA: I'm just trying to get the feel.
LIAM: So, you know.
SAM and LAURA: (laughing)
MATT: Catching moonlight, at this stage of the day.
TRAVIS: Is that real, too?
LIAM: Why couldn't I roll that high before? That is a 27.
SAM: Oh. (laughs) I mean, I think you get a sense from Nott that she is very scared of what the future may hold for her if we continue down this path.
LIAM: Well, pulling out the silver thread. Good night. I turn in.
SAM: Me too.
MATT: You guys all rest for the evening, take the fourth day, since you've left the throne room of the king.
LAURA: I thought it was the third day now. I thought it was just the third day.
MATT: No, you guys took one day to talk to Ludinus before that and everything. Second day was the day leading up to the fight, third day was yesterday, today's the fourth day. I believe I have that math right. I don't know, it's been since the holidays. So. You guys, if you want to, you can go ahead and retrieve, from the Cryptic Collection and Keona the Keen, the jeweled chalice of which you had ordered, as well as your bone harp, which looks delightfully intimidating for being a harp-like instrument. Its jagged edges, it has this natural curve that hooks around.
TRAVIS: Fuck yeah.
ASHLEY: And it's made out of a spine?
TRAVIS: Kill somebody with that shit.
MARISHA: I find a special case of scoliosis for that one.
ASHLEY: Oh yeah. I can relate.
MARISHA: Yeah. (laughter) Not that that means... I forgot what I was going to say.
TRAVIS: Nice fucking apology.
ASHLEY: Can I give it a little, tickle the--
TRAVIS: Yeah, what do you say about a harp? Tickle the strings?
ASHLEY: Tickle the strings? Pluck them?
MATT: It's not tuned, and you get the sense that this was built as a collaboration. There is the bone work and the craftwork to the actual harp itself. It is very much in line with a lot of the other sculpting and designs of the chamber that you're in, but the strings and a lot of the more instrumental part of it have a more delicate touch in their design, and Keona even, you know, mentions to you the fact that this was, the music element of it was an actual musician, but it's not tuned. It sounds beautiful. Haunting, almost. And there's an interesting element, because some of the bones themselves are hollow, some of the notes that you play, it gives this resonant vibration that completely bores through the entirety of the harp and gives this weird reverberation to the sound that normally wouldn't be there. It's almost ghostly.
ASHLEY: This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
MATT: "Well, I'm glad to hear that."
ASHLEY: You really just went above and beyond to make this just such a beautiful instrument.
MATT: "Well, make me proud."
TRAVIS: Creepy-ass hands. SAM: Oh, the hands.
ASHLEY: Do you want to try playing it? You probably already have.
MATT: "Oh, I have."
ASHLEY: Can I hear?
MATT: "I'm bashful about it."
ASHLEY: I understand.
MATT: "But your chalice."
LAURA: Thank you. (slurping) Mm, it's so fancy, thank you.
TRAVIS: Did you imaginary sip out of that cup?
LAURA: What else are you going to do with a fancy-ass chalice?
TALIESIN: Ice cubes and zinfandel.
MATT: It's essentially a pimp cup. Jester's got a pimp cup, it's pretty great.
LAURA: I'm going to eat ice cream out of it.
MATT: All right, so you go ahead and--
MARISHA: Perfect sundae size. Fuck, you're right.
MATT: You find an ice cream-esque Rexxentrum treat, which is challenging, given the current gray, cold weather that seems to have taken most of the environment, but it's available.
LAURA: Is it like in a little cart vendor, or is it like a store?
MATT: You're actually going to have to request it, it's more of just like a frozen cream, that someone has to repurpose for the specifics of what you're requesting.
LIAM: It's just cheese on ice.
MATT: Kind of, kind of.
TALIESIN: Ice cheese.
LAURA: Put it in here. But don't take it, I'm going to just--
There's another phrase that's never been said.
MATT: "More of it?"
TALIESIN: "Fill my chalice with ice cheese."
SAM: How many scoops?
LAURA: Six scoops.
LAURA: Thank you.
(Matt chuckles) (Laura laughing)
Well, it's a big chalice, it fills-- you know.
MATT: Best use of a jeweled chalice. Is there anything else anyone wants to accomplish in the morning, or--
MARISHA: Hey, how was that spa?
TRAVIS: I mean, I feel like a new half-orc.
MARISHA: Did you still want to do that before we like-- spa and then go?
TALIESIN: Do you want to go read in the spa?
ASHLEY: Yeah, I could go read at the spa. Your skin looks quite beautiful.
TALIESIN: You're glowing.
ASHLEY: Yeah, it has a glow.
LAURA: It looks like you've got a little bit of stubble coming in there.
TRAVIS: No, it's really nice, they have, like, hot towels and it was nice.
ASHLEY: Do they have, like, mud baths and things like that?
TRAVIS: I did not ask.
TRAVIS: But I bet they do. How hard could it be?
ASHLEY: I guess anywhere could be a mud bath.
TRAVIS: Is that a spa treatment?
ASHLEY: I mean, it was where I'm from.
TRAVIS: You pay for that?
ASHLEY: Yeah, we would just roll around in it and it's supposed to be really good for your skin.
TRAVIS: Weird. Let's try that.
LAURA: You're going to go back?
TRAVIS: Spa day number two. Look at my beard!
LAURA: I mean, it's-- I don't call it--
LIAM: Well, "beard" is a stretch.
TRAVIS: I mean, look, it's real-- (Marisha groans) It hurts, right? I mean, it's really there.
MARISHA: You actually, you got a dry patch, thank you. Yeah.
(Matt laughing) (Marisha laughing)
TALIESIN: With that, I think we all need a spa day.
LAURA: But before we go, I wanted to share my ice cream with the Traveler, and ask him about Traveler Con, if I could.
MATT: All right, and how, do you wish to like--
LAURA: I'm going to go find a nice quiet, you know, patch on the grass or something if we're out, and I'm going to sit down with my ice cream, and I'm going to--
MARISHA: Just wander off mid-walk.
LAURA: Yeah, while you're talking about the spa.
MARISHA: Jester-- Jes. Jes?
LAURA: I'm just going to, you know, concentrate on my symbol and say: Traveler, I got some ice cream for us, if you want to talk about Traveler Con, because you know, there are some interesting questions coming up, and I realize I don't have the answers, and so, you know.
MATT: So you guys all wait and stare at Jester?
TALIESIN: Just let this happen.
ASHLEY: I'm going to sit and tinker with the harp. Play some Hot Cross Buns.
MATT: Yeah. Make a performance check.
LAURA: Ooh, maybe it will inspire the Traveler.
ASHLEY: Oh, natural 20.
TRAVIS: Oh shit.
MATT: Plus your performance, which is...? LAURA: Fuck yeah!
ASHLEY: Performance probably is a minus two.
MATT: So 18.
LAURA: But natural 20.
MATT: For skills, natural 20s aren't really a thing.
MATT: No, handbook.
TALIESIN: Handbook is just a lie that's been written down.
ASHLEY: Never be above 18 in performance.
MATT: But I take it, for the cool factor of it, I take it into account. So even though you've never, and correct me if I'm wrong, really spent time with a harp previously, an instrument that maybe from afar you've, you know, appreciated, you, while not really finding a melody, the sound itself is clean, and you tune it as you go the best to your ear, and while doesn't produce a consistent melody, the sound itself is... still clear and beautiful. And even as you guys wait, you are taken off guard by the sight of Yasha, this powerful dark figure that has gone through and endured so much in recent time, sitting here amongst the edge of the grass in Rexxentrum, under a faintly cloud-covered sky, and just improvising this beautiful sound from this instrument, as Jester watches her ice cream slowly melt into a cup, as the rest of her friends stare impatiently, waiting for her to join them.
LAURA: He doesn't come?
TRAVIS: He's lactose intolerant.
LAURA: Oh no. Oh no! The Traveler--
SAM: You okay?
LAURA: I don't think he likes ice cream!
SAM: Who doesn't like ice cream?
LAURA: I don't-- I've never met anyone.
TALIESIN: Maybe he's busy making lanyards and--
SAM: Yeah, maybe he's getting ready.
LAURA: Oh my gosh, he's so busy. Maybe he's mad at me because it took me so long to ask him these questions.
MARISHA: It's also, like, a biggie-- a biggie-- it's a biggie park. It's a busy park.
TRAVIS: Whoa. Knock them bubbles loose.
LAURA: Okay, snea snake.
LIAM: Walked right into that one.
TRAVIS: Ooper Dooper!
SAM: I'm sure he likes ice cream, he just, you know, it's not hot where he is or something.
LAURA: He's normally here, he's normally here. It's wherever I am, it's the same where he is.
LIAM: Caduceus, correct me if I'm wrong, but sometimes... I don't know what I'm talking about, the gods reveal things, and sometimes they wish their flock to find the answer, or so I have read.
LIAM: Maybe he means for you to find this answer yourself.
SAM: Or you don't have any responsibilities at Traveler Con, he wants you to just be a guest.
MATT: And enjoy yourself.
SAM: Yeah, because you're so special.
LIAM: And be surprised.
MARISHA: Or maybe the answer will reveal itself in a hot tub at the spa!
LAURA: Maybe he wants to go to the spa.
MARISHA: Spas are dope.
TRAVIS: He doesn't want cold.
ASHLEY: Maybe he's trying to watch his figure before the Con.
LAURA: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
TALIESIN: That's a lot of dairy.
LAURA: That is a lot of dairy.
SAM: That's coming from a cow.
LAURA: Okay, well-- Now it's six scoops of melted cream. I'm just going to sip it as we go to the spa.
SAM: You should definitely eat it, I mean, you bought it. I bought you a present.
LAURA: You did?
SAM: Yes, I bought you these cards that you can turn into tarot cards.
LAURA: Thank you, Nott.
SAM: Well, you know, I don't know how many you need, so I got, like, 60.
LAURA: Wow, I don't know how many you're supposed to-- you know what, I bet I can cut them down, because look, these are the ones that Molly had.
SAM: Those are smaller, yeah.
LAURA: They're a little smaller, but you know there's some blank ones in here? I think Molly was making his own deck.
SAM: Well, maybe you can make your own deck.
LAURA: Well, maybe I can add on, and maybe we can have like a joint deck. I wonder how many cards there's supposed to be.
SAM: I think it's the more, the merrier with tarot.
LAURA: Probably, right?
SAM: I think you should have like, as many as you can.
LAURA: Like, just keep adding to it over time, and then--
SAM: As many as the human condition.
LAURA: That's so smart. Maybe you should read, that sounds like-- you know, you have a natural inclination to being able to read people.
SAM: I could help you with it, if you'd like.
LAURA: I would love that, Nott.
SAM: I can at least come up with some imagery to put on them.
LAURA: I love that, thank you.
SAM: All right.
MATT: All right.
TALIESIN: I regret everything.
MATT: (laughs) You guys make your way towards the Silvered Sunset Oasis. Along the way, a voice calls out from amongst the decent bustle of the streets here in Rexxentrum, goes, "Hey! Hey. Fjord, was it, huh?"
TRAVIS: Oh shit.
MATT: Looking around and see Darrow Allocke running up to you.
MATT: He goes, (chuckling) "Hey there, friend. I am so happy to see you. I just have to tell you, like, that was a good fight. I feel kind of bad. That was a stroke of luck. I mean, I'm not going to lie, I've done quite a few battles in my day, and that was, whew, strike true, right?"
TRAVIS: Quite the blow.
MATT: "Indeed. You took it like a champ, didn't you?"
TRAVIS: Yes. No, not so much. I mean, I stayed up.
MATT: "A champion stands up, am I right?"
TRAVIS: Which was important, yes.
MATT: "That was great."
TRAVIS: You really let me have it. I mean, that sucked, a lot.
MATT: "I understood, and I am just, could I like, I don't know, buy you, like, a corndog or something to make it up to you? I've been thinking about it for a few days. Because, like, you're nice people and everything, and you're strong, and it was a lucky shot."
MARISHA: You could buy him a massage. We're going to the spa.
LAURA: Do you want to join us?
MATT: "Oh, to the spa?" Checks through his coin purse.
LAURA: (whispering) Is that bad? He could go buy you a big--
MATT: "Yeah, you know what, I've earned it too, why not?"
MATT: "I appreciate the invitation."
TALIESIN: What a good idea.
SAM: Hey Fjord, is this a new friend of yours? I didn't see the--
TRAVIS: This is Darrow, this is the gentleman who--
MARISHA: He kicked his ass at the--
MATT: "-- sparred with him the other night."
SAM: I didn't see the fight, I heard it was a rousing fight between two equally matched combatants.
MATT: "Yes, precisely. He has some tricks up his sleeve."
SAM: And now you guys are friends?
TRAVIS: We've been friends since before. Great admirers of each other's skill, at the very least.
MATT: "Yes, indeed."
SAM: Sounds great. Maybe we should like, let them go by themselves or something.
MARISHA: No, fuck that, I want a massage. Let's go.
TRAVIS: Yes, please join us, it would be an honor. It was a fantastic fight, I learned quite a lot from you, I have to say.
MATT: "Well, if you insist."
TRAVIS: I can only hope to mimic that same sort of skill in encounters ahead. Please, join us. I was there yest-- I heard someone went there yesterday, and the services are supposed to be next level.
MATT: "I'm not going to lie, it's been probably about two years since I've had a good proper pampering."
TRAVIS: I couldn't tell you the last time I've been. Please, shall we all?
MARISHA: Yeah, let's.
MATT: "Yes, let's do it, come on. Show the way." (chuckling)
MARISHA: To the spa. So, Darrow.
MARISHA: How's time been, you know, with the Stubborn Stock since we've seen you last? As we're walking.
MATT: Yeah, as you're walking. It's been all right. Mercenary work has been paying, you know, fairly well as the conflicts rise. You know, doing a bit of bodyguard work here and there. Found ourselves in Rexxentrum, got a new client, and been trying to, you know, keep ourselves busy."
SAM: Client? Who's that?
MARISHA: Who's that?
MATT: "Not really allowed to tell, it's part of the--"
SAM: Oh, come on, but we're friends, though.
TRAVIS: Trent Ikithon?
MATT: "No, I don't know what that is."
MATT: "But no, it's been good. Just keeping the time, keeping people safe, earning coin, and occasionally getting a little bout down there, you know, and that's where I saw you guys again."
TRAVIS: Anything weird? I mean, you know, our line of work, we can see quite a few weird things, but anything out of the ordinary, something that you would call remarkable or a good story you could share?
MATT: "How long have you been here?"
MARISHA: Four days.
LAURA and MARISHA: Five days.
SAM: Like, three too many. We're trying to leave.
TALIESIN: Since the crazy.
LAURA: We had to wait for this chalice.
SAM: And now we're just waiting.
LAURA: Do want some cream?
MARISHA: Hey, where's my ninja stars?
LAURA: So good.
SAM: You mean these ninja stars? Pop, pop!
SAM: I throw them at her.
MATT: "That's a lot going on there."
LAURA: It's a lot of cream. It's good.
MATT: "Yeah." (halfhearted laughing) "Thank you."
LAURA: You're welcome.
TRAVIS: His face goes--
MATT: Conjure EpiPen.
MATT: "So, strange things? There was this crazy moment in a storm, a few days ago, I think, you may have been here. Suddenly the clouds opened up and this beam of sun came through and I felt the presence of the Dawnfather, there with us in the city, in his light and his glory, I knew it was a sign. It was a sign that we were to gather ourselves for battle. When we got there, we missed it, it was already over and they were cleaning it up, it was very disappointing. Somebody defaced the Chantry."
MATT: "All of the stained glass, broken, everywhere. It was beautiful."
LAURA: I mean, yes, I heard it was so beautiful, we were going to go look at it, we were going to go check it out.
TRAVIS: Yeah, we heard there were all sorts of creatures.
MATT: "Yeah, there was a Dynasty attack as well, same time. Man, stuff's been crazy since we got here. It's been wild. I mean--"
TRAVIS: No other Dynasty attacks.
MATT: "Not specifically here, but now we know they can burrow, I mean, they can come any time."
LAURA: That's true.
MATT: "Kind of brings you to a point of appreciating and you know, carpe diem, as the old Zemnians used to say."
SAM: That tracks.
MARISHA: Wait, what?
MATT: "I don't read up, look. I was a street kid, I was not--" (laughing)
TALIESIN: God of carpets?
MATT: "Yes, yes, probably. I like you. What's your name?"
TALIESIN: Oh, Caduceus, hey.
TALIESIN: We met last night? Last night, just very briefly. You did very well.
MATT: "Right, right."
LAURA: Two nights ago.
TALIESIN: Two nights ago, wow, time flies.
MATT: "It's all crazy. Anyway, is this the place?"
MATT: You do get a group rate.
LAURA: Oh, hey!
MATT: So that's, I'd say 12 gold a person for the same four-hour spa experience.
LAURA: Whoa, four hours.
MARISHA: Are we going to do four hours? Maybe we should only do two.
SAM: Yeah, so we can fucking get out of here.
LAURA: This is like when Dorothy gets remade, you know?
MARISHA: Oh, yeah, yeah.
LAURA: When like, all of a sudden has curls and stuff.
MARISHA and LAURA: Can you dye my eyes to match my gown?
TRAVIS: (muttering) What is this?
MARISHA: Wizard of fucking Oz.
TRAVIS: I don't think that happened in the movie.
MATT: Don't google that film.
SAM: Dorothy goes to the spa in Wizard of Oz? Meanwhile, I threw two throwing stars at Beauregard.
LAURA: Oh, fuck.
MARISHA: Oh, yeah.
TRAVIS: They just been sticking out of her cheeks. Trying to pull them.
MARISHA: Ah! Ah!
TALIESIN: Looks like someone named Bob really doesn't like you.
MARISHA: Jester, can you get them? Can you get them out?
LAURA: Oh, but I got to pull it out in order to heal. One, two, three. (Marisha gasping) (Laura groaning)
SAM: I thought you would catch them, you have, like, you catch missiles.
TRAVIS: Yeah, she did, with her face.
MARISHA: I didn't say "deflect missiles," so it didn't happen.
SAM: I thought you'd catch them, I'm sorry.
MARISHA: Why do they say "bob" on them?
SAM: Hold it upside down.
MARISHA: Oh, oh, that's good. Yeah, that's good.
TRAVIS: You're bleeding out of your face.
MARISHA: The spa will fix it.
MATT: Hilariously, though they say "bob" when you look at it that way, because when you turn it right up, the Ps are backwards.
TALIESIN: Thank you, thank you, I was really hoping, that's all I wanted.
TRAVIS: Oh shit. That's right.
TALIESIN: That's all I wanted.
MARISHA: Like a bad tattoo.
SAM: You have to hold them up in a mirror.
MATT: You find yourselves-- are you paying for the two hours or four hours?
LAURA: Four hours!
TALIESIN: Four hours!
LAURA: 12 gold!
MATT: True, true D&D choices to make.
(Liam groans) (Matt chuckling)
SAM: I'm not going in.
MARISHA: What, why?
SAM: There's water in there, fuckers!
LAURA: You don't have to, there's mud baths.
SAM: I'll do that.
MATT: Okay, that's a viable option.
MATT: All right, so that's 12 gold each for those who take it, and you spend four hours conversing with, loudly, the boisterous, charismatic, and, in spite of his forceful personality, just likable guy, Darrow.
LAURA: I really do like him a lot.
MATT: He's fun fella.
TALIESIN: Nice guy all around.
SAM: During the thing, I'm going to just try to ask him one more time who his client is, maybe in a moment of bliss when he's just relaxing.
MATT: Make a persuasion check.
SAM: I'm good at this, guys. Five.
MATT: He's like, "(sighs). Nice try."
(laughter) (Laura humming)
SAM: Big arms you got there.
MATT: "Oh, I know." (Darrow chuckles)
SAM: All right. I'm going to go back to my mud pit.
MARISHA: On the way out, is this the type of spa that has the little complimentary tooth brushes?
TALIESIN: Now we're going to be thinking about it, aren't we?
MARISHA: I'm really self-conscious now.
LAURA: They probably have them for sale, though. They're not complimentary.
MARISHA: Do they have them for sale?
TRAVIS: They have mouthwash, though.
TRAVIS: They got mouthwash.
SAM: Guys, guys!
SAM: I was just contacted telepathically by the Bright Queen. She wants us to go to Xhorhas right away!
MARISHA: I'm handing out toothbrushes to everybody.
LAURA: You're not saying that out loud, right?
SAM: No, no no, just to you guys. Darrow is gone.
MATT: (as Darrow) "Wait, what's going on?"
SAM: Nothing. Fuck off.
TRAVIS: (laughing) Fuck off!
LAURA: No, Darrow.
TRAVIS: By the way, Darrow, before you leave, are you staying in Rexxentrum, or do your adventures take you elsewhere, do you plan to leave?
MATT: "I have to check in. We've only been here for about a month, I think. We've, all along he Menagerie Coast. We only recently come here, and I think we're probably heading back."
TRAVIS: Nice. Well, safe travels, if we don't see you again. It's been a pleasure.
MATT: "You as well. Keep it up."
LAURA: I'll be in touch with you. We can be friends.
MATT: "Sure, yeah. Feel free to write a letter. We move around a lot, so it might take a while."
LAURA: Don't worry, I'll find you.
MATT: "That sounds ominous."
(Travis and Taliesin laugh)
MATT: "Stay safe, friends." And he gets his equipment and weapons, and makes his exit.
LAURA: That was so nice.
LIAM: Do you want him turned into a chimpanzee or something?
TRAVIS: No, I don't. He taught me a good lesson. I mean, if I can do that to someone else, it'll have served its purpose.
ASHLEY: What, kick their ass, or?
TRAVIS: No, no, no, he's very nice.
LAURA: Did we get a feel for him, being around him, if he actually was genuinely nice, or if he was trying to like--
MATT: Make an insight check.
TALIESIN: I like to think I have a passive insight check.
MATT: What'd you get?
LAURA: I got eight.
SAM: Guys, Skillshare offers a bevy of classes you don't have to be a baby Yoda to enjoy.
TRAVIS: It's not called Baby Yoda.
SAM: Sorry. Baby Yoda. Yoda Junior?
LIAM: Planet Earth has voted.
MARISHA: Yeah, planet Earth says--
SAM: The child, the asset, whatever you want to call it. You can find out what it's called when you take a class at Skillshare.
LAURA: I like him.
(Matt and Laura laughing)
TALIESIN: Seems like an all right guy.
ASHLEY: In those four hours, I'm going to read.
TALIESIN: Spa read.
ASHLEY: So I have four hours left.
MATT: There you go. Spa read, easy enough to do.
TRAVIS: Nott, you said you got a very important message.
SAM: Yes I did, that we should move along.
TALIESIN: Insight check.
SAM: Away from this-- I'm lying.
TALIESIN: That's good to know because I rolled a one.
SAM: We should leave.
LAURA: We should go.
TRAVIS: Are we going to travel, or are we going to foop?
LAURA: We can foop.
SAM: We have to foomf.
TRAVIS: I said "foop," you said "foomf."
LIAM: The correct term is foomp. Do we want to go right from here, or--
SAM: I think so.
TALIESIN: Let's go--
TRAVIS: From the spa.
SAM: Yeah, we're alone here.
MARISHA: In our robes.
TALIESIN: We should go get our things, and--
LAURA: Yeah, let's put our clothes on.
SAM: All right.
TALIESIN: We can keep our robes, because it's that kind of spa.
TALIESIN: Because it's that kind of spa.
LAURA: 12 gold, man. Yeah, that's true, they didn't--
MARISHA: How much were the toothbrushes?
LAURA: Oh, did you get toothbrushes for everyone?
MARISHA: I did.
MATT: Five silver for the batch.
MARISHA: Five silver.
MATT: Which is pricey.
LAURA: That's a lot for a toothbrush.
MATT: But that happens when you buy them out of the spa.
MATT: (laughs) That exit gift shop, man. That's where they get ya.
LIAM: Where else are you going to go?
LAURA: You're all relaxed.
TRAVIS: Those damn candles. $65?!
Does smell nice, though. And it's wrapped in bark.
TALIESIN: This is D&D, everything's wrapped in bark.
TRAVIS: I've seen those fucking things.
TALIESIN: I'd be more impressed if it were wrapped in plastic.
TRAVIS: What else does this do? (laughter) Does it sparkle or something?
MATT: This is the quintessential experience of a person that has been to a spa once in their adult life and is like: What is this place?! (laughter) I don't belong here.
LIAM: Can I get some ice cheese, please? Do you want it in a bowl or a cone of bark?
MATT: All righty. So. Are you teleporting from the spa?
LIAM: Did anyone leave anything behind?
LAURA: No, we got all our stuff.
TALIESIN: Do we have all of our stuff?
MATT: I'll allow it.
MARISHA: We get all our stuff.
LIAM: I begin to draw a circle here on the floor of the spa. Some amount of time later.
TALIESIN: Bath salts.
LAURA: No, okay, can I just point out--
LAURA: We're in the spa, so if we took the robes with us, they wouldn't know. They would just think that we disappeared.
MARISHA: I didn't change. I said I grabbed my stuff, I did not specify that I changed. I am bamfing in this robe.
MATT: All right.
SAM: We're going to steal the robes.
MATT: You guys are about nine minutes into the ritual preparation, which I believe is 10 minutes for it, right?
MATT: And you hear (knocking).
SAM: One second! Not decent.
LAURA: Very, very naked.
MATT: "Your time is about up."
LAURA: Yeah, we got, like, a minute left or something?
MATT: "Would you like some towel service?"
LAURA: No, we're okay right now, we're still-- all of us, we're naked together.
MATT: "All right."
MARISHA: Just throw the towels through the door, don't look though.
SAM: Make some steam, make some steam.
MATT: "It's all right, there you are, all right. Would you like some tea--" (door slam) (laughter)
MARISHA: How are they? Are they nice towels?
LAURA: They're pretty fluffy.
SAM: Take them, take them.
MARISHA: Yeah, they're coming with us. We need them for the Xhorhaus.
MATT: As you finish the circle, the arcane energy erupts from the circle as all of you, in your various freshly laundered spa robes and cluster of stolen towels, rush into the central teleportation circle. (whooshing)
ASHLEY: And the towel slipper things?
MATT: Yep, those too. Yep, nice terry cloth.
LIAM: One giant aasimar hand goes (whooshing).
MATT: As you all emerged on the other side, beneath the Lucid Bastion.
TRAVIS: Oh, shit.
MATT: The basement beneath the central cathedral of Rosohna.
TALIESIN: Oh, yeah.
LAURA: We should probably change.
MARISHA: No, this feels good, this feels like success.
MATT: The guards turn immediately, in their, you know, Kryn royal guard attire and armor, spinning, spears at the ready, looking upon you, recognizing, and then heads turn curiously. (Travis laughs)
ASHLEY: I'm holding slippers. (Marisha laughs)
LIAM: Bathrobe and book holsters.
SAM: Covered in mud.
TRAVIS: Nott, you're supposed to wash it off.
SAM: I don't like the water part.
MATT: As you're dragging your armor over a shoulder.
LIAM: I love the guards just witnessing this bickering spa group as they show up.
MATT: They rotate back into their position, but keep a curious eye on all of you as you pass by. So, yep, you are leaving a slight wet foot trail through and up the stairs into the central region of the Lucid Bastion. Do you wish to head to the Xhorhaus, or do you wish to go straight to the Bright Queen?
SAM: What time is it here in--
LAURA: Let's go to the Xhorhaus.
MARISHA: Yeah, we should check in.
TALIESIN: We should go change.
MARISHA: We'll get into our formals.
TRAVIS: My feet never fit in these slippers, so I'm putting my clothes back on before we walk through the city. I'm always cramming my feet into the slippers, they end right before my heel.
TALIESIN: Yeah, I feel like even my robe would only come up to here.
TRAVIS: Yeah, yours is just below the dangle, like--
ASHLEY: Mushroom tip.
MATT: You're Peter Panning it pretty hard right now.
TRAVIS: Mushroom tip is so appropriate!
MARISHA: It is.
LIAM: It's the tiniest little kimono.
ASHLEY: I'm sorry.
ASHLEY: In a sexy little bathrobe.
MATT: Fjord gets dressed while the rest of you, not following his lead, make your way through the massive stone and marble archways of the echoing interior of the Lucid Bastion.
TRAVIS: All you idiots.
MATT: Going past various guards and figures, stately members of various dens of the Kryn Dynasty, all walking by and curiously turning their head as they watch you pass.
LIAM: I cast Seeming on Fjord so he looks like he's in a robe.
TALIESIN: That's the best [inaudible]. Very well done! Capital, capital!
LIAM: But everybody else looks dressed in their regular--
MATT: Just as you step outside of the Bastion, (whooshes). But the thing is, he doesn't notice at first.
TRAVIS: Good day. How are you, yes, well?
MATT: Partway through the stares and glares that now seem to be averting your friends and more focusing on you, you look down upon yourself and notice the bright terrycloth presentation you're currently putting before.
TRAVIS: Which one of you fuckers did this?
SAM: It wasn't me, I don't know that kind of magic.
ASHLEY: It definitely wasn't me either.
SAM: Caleb wouldn't do that either, he's a good person.
ASHLEY: Are you sure that you changed?
TRAVIS: Yes, it's not real. (laughter) I can't get it off. But it's not real.
LIAM: Caleb is watching, in his fine Kryn garb, and enjoying his naughty bits just free in the wind.
MATT: As you all slowly walk towards the prominent obelisk that is the massive lit tree that now still looms over the surrounding neighborhood here in the Gallimaufry district, towards the Xhorhaus, returned in proper attire. And we'll take a break there. (laughter and groaning) Pick up from there here in a short time. (laughter) I missed you guys.
ASHLEY: Well done, sir.
MARISHA: We never returned to our conversation about the Bright Queen and what we're going to tell her.
MATT: You can continue that in your home. All right, so, before we go to break, we do have our Wyrmwood giveaway, first of 2020. Oh, the classic purpleheart tabletop dice tray. The Scanlan special. It goes to one lucky winner in our chat. Tonight's keyword is recovery. Recovery. Once and only once in the chatroom, more than once, you'll be disqualified. Once again, only US and Canada, excluding Quebec, because of stupid giveaway laws, and we'll be back here from the break with one lucky winner. We'll see you guys here in a few minutes.
(upbeat music) ♪ You got the perfect warlock ♪ ♪ Her weapons and supplies ♪ ♪ But you need a place to track your stuff ♪ ♪ 'cause you're so disorganized ♪ ♪ You click open the web page ♪ ♪ You heard about on Critical Role ♪ ♪ And now you're ready to kick some butt ♪ ♪ In that mineshaft full of gnolls ♪ ♪ It's D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ Yeah D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ Yeah, D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ You got your stats, you've got your swords ♪ ♪ And you got your invisible wand ♪ ♪ It's D&D;, D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; Beyond ♪ MARISHA: Welcome to our end of the year Critmas fireside chat. We're going to answer some questions, do some reflecting. TRAVIS: We don't even have a fire, though. MARISHA: Enjoy-- LIAM: It's right there. MATT: The fire was the friends we made along the way. LIAM: The warmth of the community. ASHLEY: Everybody's asking where Sam is. LAURA: Yeah. TRAVIS: Sam could not make it, because he's stupid. MATT: His stupid face. TRAVIS: No, that's not the real reason. Sam could not make it because he's too sexy. MARISHA: That's a pretty good reason, yeah. TRAVIS: Sam could not make it because his teeth overtook the rest of his body. MATT: Also, true, it's viable. LIAM: (reading) Besides everything that has happened to you guys with Critical Role, what is something you were happy to have happen this year? TALIESIN: Whoa. MATT: Finally getting Ashley back. (cheering) For good. ASHLEY: Yay. TALIESIN and MATT: That's a big one. TRAVIS: Having you guys fund an amazing Kickstarter for our animated series. ASHLEY: Heck yeah. TRAVIS: I don't think we'll be forgetting that anytime soon. LIAM: I enjoyed going to Burning Man after hearing about it for eight years. (cheering) MARISHA: Taking you out to Burning Man was pretty great. LIAM: It was nice. LAURA: I had a really, really good doughnut. MATT: Yeah! ASHLEY: Yes. LAURA: So good. TRAVIS: You mean, this year, one doughnut stands out? LAURA: Yeah. ASHLEY: Oh gosh, I think just coming home. That's a big thing. MARISHA: That's a huge thing. ASHLEY: So yeah. It's getting started. Getting started being back home. TRAVIS: You didn't have, like, a favorite cup of hot cocoa or something? ASHLEY: (sighs) Let's see. I've had some pretty good cups of hot cocoa. MATT: I enjoy seeing all of you guys without Sam. That's a great moment right there. MARISHA: Sam's calling you. LIAM: Here's a question from Sam Riegel. Oh, he's calling. He's probably mad that I'm not asking his questions. MATT: I was joking, Sam. (laughter) No. We love you, I was joking. SAM: How dare you. (laughter) MATT: Why aren't you here? LAURA: Ask him if he wants to answer a question. SAM: I went to a party for my kids, but the party never started, so I'm just sitting here watching the stream. (laughter) LIAM: You sound like you're in a dentist's chair. SAM: Just sitting here on a bench. TRAVIS: I really hope somebody comes up to you and goes like, "Oh, you watch Critical Role?" (laughter) TALIESIN: Yep, if you get a significant chunk of the audience, you get a bonus. MARISHA: Interesting. MATT: Subway. (laughter) LAURA: Damn, they're both good. GAME V.O.: Next up. LIAM: Okay, this got dark. GAME V.O.: The name of a cereal for serial killers. MATT: Oh, well, we're on topic. TALIESIN: Hey. (groaning) MATT: Oh yeah, yeah. MARISHA: I mean, that's great. TALIESIN: I don't understand, okay. (laughter) (laughter) LAURA: Oh my god. TALIESIN: Oh. MATT: Oh man. MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, okay. ASHLEY: That's tough. ASHLEY: Whoa, that's good. (laughter) MATT: I would actually buy that. Like, I would wear the shit out of "It's five o'clock somewhere," three-humped camel. GAME V.O.: Versus. (laughter) LIAM: Yes, yes! TRAVIS: Oh my god. MARISHA: Oh no! MATT: Have a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year. LAURA: Merry Critmas. LIAM: Remember, labia love ya, labia don't. TRAVIS: Fucking asshole. ASHLEY: Drop a deuce for Detroit. MATT: Bye guys! (mysterious music) TALIESIN: Like a symphony playing to an empty theater, Critical Role dines alone without its audience. Yes, that validating and most enthusiastic congregation on the other side of the fourth wall. And what is this fourth wall separating the viewer from the creator? A portal to an often-sought point of connection? Or the Twitch Subscription Zone? On the rare occasion that you miss the live bacchanal boasted by the ragtag group of thespians on Thursday night, you may always view the show on demand, in the shadowland known as the Twitch Subscription Zone. Picture, if you will, the necessary pieces to complete a jigsaw puzzle, but it's up to you to choose how it will be solved. You could, of course, subscribe with your debt rectangle, but many more divergent paths lie before you. Perhaps you found yourself in possession of an Amazon Prime account. You would then wake up to discover a free Twitch subscription each month for a channel of your choosing. But this artifact demands renewal, for you must resubscribe each month to quench its unyielding thirst. One need not walk alone. Those who have already found their way can illuminate the path for others via the Gift a Sub button on Twitch. Critical Role is humbled by your subscription, and wishes to thank you from behind the thin veil of this fourth wall. We hope you enjoy our content as much as we enjoy making it. And so ends another meandering digression, a complicated parody promo down an indistinct highway, to the region we call the Twitch Subscription Zone. (eerie music) You will subscribe. Twitch Prime subscribe. Gift Subscribe. Subscribe. (dramatic music)
MATT: And welcome back. So we have our winner of our break's giveaway of the Wyrmwood purpleheart tabletop dice tray is NobleKuahara. NobleKuahara, congratulations, we'll contact you and get that sent off ASAP, well won.
TRAVIS: Mother of noble Kuamar.
MATT: Indeed. All right.
MARISHA: They sound sexy.
MATT: Look at that. Congratulations. On two points.
TALIESIN: Power of a dice tray.
MATT: Indeed. So. Arriving at the Xhorhaus, entering through the front, ding ding ding ding. You return to a home that is as you left it. Housekeeper now missing. (chuckling)
TRAVIS: Oh yeah.
MATT: But does not appear to have been entered or altered since you were last here.
SAM: I'm going to check for traps.
MARISHA: Yeah, doesn't appear to be? I'm going to check for signs.
MATT: All right. Investigation check for you, you're looking for what?
MARISHA: Signs of foot traffic or people.
MATT: 30, damn!
MARISHA: Dusting for prints.
MATT: All right.
MARISHA: What, investigation?
MATT: Hmm? It would be investigation, yeah.
TRAVIS: Dusting for prints.
MATT: All right. Nothing out of the ordinary and no traps are found. It is as you left it.
SAM: We're good to go.
LAURA: Hey, Yasha. You're back.
ASHLEY: Wow, I have been here-- I'm back.
SAM: Have you been here before? Yes, yes, yes, yes, you were here. It's just hard to remember.
LAURA: Yeah, she hasn't been here since, you know.
SAM: I know, I know, I'm sorry.
ASHLEY: I'm going to go up and see the mural again.
MATT: Okay. As you guys enter, all of a sudden Yasha pushes past and (quick footsteps). You rush back into your old room, the mural is as beautiful as you remember.
ASHLEY: (gasps) I still can't find the dick. (laughter) I go back and yell over the stairs. It's still beautiful, Jester!
LAURA: Oh good, I'm glad you still like it!
TALIESIN: I'm going to go upstairs and change into something less comfortable, I'll be right back.
MARISHA: Less comfortable?
SAM: Well yeah, because we're in robes.
TRAVIS: Could somebody please drop this, for fuck's sake?
LIAM: Sure, just a moment longer.
SAM: It takes a while to undo magic, Fjord.
MARISHA: I guess I get dressed, too.
LAURA: You could make him look like he's wearing anything, huh?
LIAM: Next time.
MATT: Well, as you guys all get changed, you're still, you visually are appearing your attire, and it feels strange to get dressed into an outfit that you already look like.
TRAVIS: Just sinking in.
MATT: Yeah, it takes a little bit of coordination to get it right. But nevertheless, you all manage to achieve it.
LAURA: That's true, you couldn't tell if it's actually buckled, or if it's not. It feels loose, but it looks right.
MARISHA: Video game graphics.
MATT: Kind of, yeah. Doesn't quite fit the model.
SAM: What time of day is it?
MATT: It's challenging to make female models in games, you know.
MARISHA: You know, just pick one.
TALIESIN: Well, it's nighttime, no matter what.
SAM: Oh yeah.
MATT: Yeah. And with the time difference, I'd say it's a little later in the day. So it would be the equivalent, you would surmise at this point after your spa day experience, probably late afternoon.
LAURA: Oh, shit.
SAM: Good time to drop in.
LAURA: We should send her a message. Should I send a message to her, or Essek, like, maybe he should tell her that we want to talk to her?
TALIESIN: That would be the way to go.
LAURA: That's probably proper protocol, yeah?
TALIESIN: That would be what I would do.
LAURA: Okay, I'm going to send a message to Essek.
MATT: All righty.
LAURA: Guess who's back! We're back at the Xhorhaus. We miss you so much. We need to talk to the Bright Queen, are you around? Oh my gosh, you have to hear about everything, that's one word, that, there.
MATT: "Well, welcome back, it is good to have you returned. Give me just a moment, please." And as you guys can gather yourselves a bit, it's a patient 45 minutes or so before Essek makes his way to your door, you--
LAURA: Four to five minutes or 45 minutes?
SAM: It's a power move.
LIAM: Seven hours left on the Seeming spell.
MATT: You haven't dropped it?
LIAM: Not yet.
SAM: Who is it?
MATT: "It's the Shadowhand."
MARISHA: Still a cool title.
SAM: I'll use my Mage Hand to open the door.
MATT: (creaking) Opens, and he drifts in, yep.
TALIESIN: (tinking) Thank you.
MATT: "Well, you all look well. Sorry if it is the wrong time, I can come back."
TRAVIS: No, it's not real. I-- (sputtering)
LIAM: Well, now I feel bad.
MATT: "(laughs) Well played."
LAURA: Are you okay, Essek?
MATT: "Ah, yes." He looks a little sleep deprived. Like he looks a little weary.
SAM: Everything okay here in Rosohna?
MATT: "Well, everything is all right, I suppose. The assault on Rexxentrum that was orchestrated over the past few weeks was set upon the city until the arrival of a Tal'Doreian dignitary came and invoked your name within the Bastion. I take it you know this individual?"
MATT: "Right. And she corroborated your concerns regarding the Angel of Irons cult, and based on that, and based on my backing up your word as well, the Bright Queen recalled the attack on Rexxentrum."
SAM: Why had the attack been launched in the first place?
MATT: "Well, it was believed that perhaps this missing beacon of which I'd sent you to seek itself was somewhere within the city, and the attack was sent to draw attention away from the district in where it was initially placed. This was all orchestrated by Taskhand Adeen Tasithar, of Den Tasithar."
MARISHA: Adeem Dazel.
MATT: Adeen Tasithar. "Who was pushing for this timing to coincide with the lull following this harvest festival. Since then, we've investigated Adeen, found him already halfway across the Ghostlands on his own, shrouded and seeming to attempt escape."
SAM: Wait, what?
LAURA: He was part of the Angel of Irons cult, he was part of it!
MATT: "We ambushed and retrieved him, and have spent the better part of the past day interrogating him."
SAM: Oh, wait, wait.
LAURA: Is that why you look so sleepy?
MATT: "There's been a lot of work to be done, yes."
SAM: So was he the source of the intelligence that the beacon was in Rexxentrum to begin with?
MATT: (chuckles) "Well, it appears, as you say, that Adeen was part of this cult, the Angel of Irons, and was working directly with someone within the Empire. In his chambers we found traces of these pink crystals, part of these devices, the one that you had first brought before the Bright Queen, and we managed to push him to confess that he had a correspondence with this Vence figure that you had spoke of, and this Obann that you are chasing."
MARISHA: Oh, he's Obann the Punished now. He had a change in position and title.
LAURA: And then a nice good squelching.
MARISHA: Yeah, he's kind of, like, dead now. Or I guess eternally fucked? Eternally fucked.
MATT: "So you've managed to exact your vengeance, then."
TRAVIS: We have.
MATT: "That's great news."
SAM: Took a while, sorry about that.
MATT: "It's all right, big things like this do take time."
LAURA: I mean, we didn't, you know, end everything with the cult, I'm sure, but a big huge part of it.
TALIESIN: And Vence is also on the run now, on the other side of the conflict.
TRAVIS: I think you should also know we uncovered a shackle, one of the things keeping the Chained Oblivion at bay.
MATT: "This is what this Allura had said to the Bright Queen, and had made the request for this temporary ceasefire. Also, as you inferred to me, this other individual that may have been working within our midst to provide the beacons to the Empire, Adeen also... confessed to secretly trading away these beacons."
SAM: They must have been very high up in the hierarchy to have access to these things.
MARISHA: And why haven't we heard of him before, if that's the case? How did we miss this guy?
MATT: "There are many dens; you've only encountered but a few."
LIAM: How long have you had him in custody for questioning?
MATT: "Two days."
LIAM: Any idea of-- hello. Any idea of accomplices?
MATT: "We are working on that at the moment. He's currently imprisoned and is being held awaiting judgment from the Bright Queen. Once we've exhausted our interrogations and find no more purpose, that is where he will go.
TRAVIS: Traded away beacons?
LAURA: What did he get in return?
MATT: "That is something we are currently seeking. It would seem perhaps access to this Empire figure, perhaps something to do with the cult itself. We are not sure."
MARISHA: Which Empire figure? Vence?
TRAVIS: Do you know how many beacons, or just one?
MATT: "The two that we were originally missing."
TALIESIN: That's going to be a conversation.
MATT: "I have not yet informed the queen of these findings, as this was a recent acquisition."
LAURA: You've had him for two days, though?
MATT: "We've had him for two days, but we've only recently been able to get this information out of him."
MARISHA: So she doesn't even--
MATT: "She's about to."
SAM: We have some information for her as well. Maybe we should lay it all on her at once?
MATT: "Very well. When are you ready to speak to her?"
LAURA: I mean--
TRAVIS: Is there any reason why you haven't told her yet? Are you trying to confirm or gather, or?
MATT: "I was-- If you're going to, in a point of extreme tensions in warfare in which the queen is impatiently waiting for any sort of concrete proof as to why the ceasefire was necessary, we wanted to make sure that we presented it as an entire package, as opposed to piecemeal. It is better, and also we need to cross our Ts as well, in the instance that perhaps any of this information is incorrect."
TRAVIS: You've done very, very well by us. Would you care to hear what we would have to say now, so it doesn't catch you by surprise?
TRAVIS: We can confirm that the Empire does indeed have one of these beacons. We've seen it.
MATT: "Whereabouts is it located?"
MARISHA: North of Rexxentrum.
LIAM: Outside of the city.
LAURA: We don't know the exact location, they teleported us there.
MATT: "Right. Is it a place that can be accessed, perhaps? Maybe via purple worm?"
SAM: Yes, but you may not need to. They've agreed to give it back.
MATT: "In exchange for what?"
LAURA: Peace talks.
SAM: A meeting.
LIAM: Supposedly to perhaps ease tensions between the two nations. And we are as skeptical as you seem to be now, but it still seemed like an opportunity.
MATT: "Indeed. Curious what it is they want, or what it is we're not seeing here, but if it stems the spilling of blood for the time being, it should at least be entertained. Hopefully."
LIAM: We have suggested to them a neutral location, neither here nor there. Just so that no one would unduly have the upper hand. We are cautious, though, and are loathe to bring any danger here. It seems like a difficult path still, but we would like you and the queen to entertain the idea of easing tensions here. I know how hard line she seems to be, and it is not unfounded, we understand.
MATT: "She has seen a lot of bloodshed in her years, and I understand where she's coming from. But I think it's worth a conversation. Mind you, for such a negotiation, there would be no personal appearance by her. It would have to be proxies and emissaries, and probably speak via mirror of some sort of distance conversation or point at the place. At least these negotiations, if agreed upon, these transferences could take place."
LAURA: Like a FaceTime talking to another FaceTime?
SAM: Hold it up.
LAURA: Like that?
MATT: "I assume that is something of a similar thing as the mirrors, but probably."
SAM: We just were holding up two porn books, by the way.
MATT: "I'm not judging."
MARISHA: FaceTime is a great series.
SAM: It's a lot of mouth stuff.
MATT: It's in the YA section.
TRAVIS: You mentioned crossing your Ts. I wonder if perhaps, would it be foolish of us to think that an audience might be had with your prisoner? We were firsthand with more of these Angel of Iron cultists. I wonder how they might react to knowing that prominent figures have been dealt with, done, squandered.
MATT: "That could probably be done. I have to pull some strings, but it could-- It would need to be just a--"
LAURA: (gasps) Oh my god, you know what else we could do?
LAURA: Oh my god, okay, okay, okay. What if--
TRAVIS: There's a 50/50 chance this is ridiculous.
LAURA: What if one of us can make ourselves look like Vence.
SAM: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
LAURA: Like we've been caught, and you could throw him in the cell next to your guy, and like, leave them alone a little bit, so that they could talk to each other. Maybe get some more information.
SAM: Do we know how Vence talks?
MARISHA: We saw him in that vision once, and he was talking to a FaceTime.
LIAM: Did he have a Zemnian accent?
SAM: Someone was sitting on his face.
MATT: I believe he did, yes. "You can certainly try, but we have to do it soon. He's supposed to be given over for--"
LAURA: If your guy has talked to Obann, maybe one of us could make ourselves look like Obann. We know what he talks like.
MATT: "That is also possible."
TRAVIS: How would Obann go down in the cell?
LAURA: That's true, that's stupid.
SAM: He wouldn't be thrown in jail, but Vence, Vence is a good idea.
LIAM: The first idea is sound.
LAURA: Okay, okay.
TALIESIN: That's pretty good.
SAM: Make it so that it looks like his throat has been slashed and he's raspy.
LAURA: Oh, that's true.
MATT: "It would be much easier to bring one person into the prison than seven."
MATT: "So who would be the one to make this attempt?"
SAM: I mean, I can change how I appear.
LAURA: Probably Fjord is really good at sounding like other people.
SAM: I mean, that would've been my second choice, yes.
MATT: "It has been your specialty in the past."
TRAVIS: Yes, yeah. Oh, I don't want to do it. (laughing)
SAM: You might have to shave your beard, though.
TRAVIS: I can make myself look like other people.
MARISHA: I could always come in and punch him in the face, too--
MATT: "Trust me, there's been plenty of punching for two days, I do not think that you would maybe--"
MARISHA: But do they have magical punches that make people talk?
MATT: "We have magical means of forcing the truth, if that's what you're talking about."
MARISHA: Fuck, whatever, yeah, let's do this plan.
TRAVIS: Yeah. (Matt laughing)
SAM: That was a good plan.
TRAVIS: I need to know everything about Vence. How tall is he, what did he look like, what did he sound like?
LAURA: I tell you exactly, I draw him in my most photorealistic way of drawing.
SAM: Ooh, we know what he wore.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
MARISHA: Here's that swath of fabric that we had.
SAM: I will give you my-- well, you'd have to change. I could give you my armor that can change into any-- oh wait, we're going to change your appearance, we're fine.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
TRAVIS: Mask of Many Faces.
LIAM: Could you make yourself look like him for a moment?
LAURA: Could I make my--?
LAURA: Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. Yeah, I'm going to go Disguise Self as him. To make height, everything, absolutely perfect. This is what I look like, my name is Vence, I'm an idiot, am a cultist and stuff.
TRAVIS: That's nice.
LAURA: I don't actually sound like this.
TRAVIS: Did he have a Zemnian accent?
TRAVIS: He did.
MARISHA: And his boss is Ludinus.
TRAVIS: You have "nachos" written in your notes.
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.
TRAVIS: It was the shard sticking out of the--
MATT: Oh yeah, the Barbed Fields, yeah.
LIAM: What was the word, I'm blanking on it, for what Vence was? He's not in succession to be part of the Assembly, but he's like one of their right-hand people. There's a word.
MATT: Correct, correct. I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, it's been a while.
LAURA: ♪ Been a while ♪
MATT: ♪ Been a while ♪
MARISHA: I also wrote down the entire conversation somewhere in here. Fuck, I don't--
LIAM: It's one of those.
MARISHA: God dammit, so much.
TRAVIS: Because I take such brilliant notes, your prisoner's name again is?
MATT: "Ah, the prisoner's name was Taskhand Adeen Tasithar."
TRAVIS: Tasithar. Did you say Cask Hand?
TRAVIS: With a T?
TRAVIS: Taskhand Adeen Tasithar.
SAM: Taskhand Ass Pants.
TRAVIS: I was hearing Gas Can, all sorts of shit.
MATT: "If you're to attempt this, I would recommend doing it soon. The longer this information stays unspoken to the Bright Queen, as well as your own concerns--"
LAURA: We should do it right away.
MATT: "-- the more tenuous this ceasefire becomes. The forces that were withdrawn from Rexxentrum are still beneath it. They did not return."
TRAVIS: Oh, shit.
MATT: "They are just awaiting word to continue."
TRAVIS: Yeah, they're still in place.
LAURA: They're still there.
TRAVIS: Yeah, they're waiting to strike.
LAURA: The purple worms are still under the city!
TRAVIS: The Taskhand, when he was ambushed and taken, was he given reason for his capture? Does he know that an operation was thwarted, they were onto him, or--
MATT: "All of this has been given, elements of it, to attempt to force them to fill in the blanks, to prove our... curiosity and let them prove that they were involved."
TRAVIS: Has he done the normal thing of holding his tongue, or has he been forthcoming, do you know?
MATT: "Long threatening to not know what we're talking about, and demanding to be released. But upon magical inquiries, forcing of one's will, and through physical... persuasion, we managed to excise the truth, and the Taskhand has given his hand, if you will."
TRAVIS: I have Friends as a cantrip and I've never used it. How the fuck does that work?
SAM: You could cast it.
LAURA: You can't cast it when you're in there, probably. Oh, I have it, wait, hold on, hold on.
TALIESIN: Yeah, you have it, I don't.
TRAVIS: Is it on a person?
SAM: You cast it on the person, and it gives you advantage on charisma checks.
TRAVIS: It says "self," I cast it on myself.
LIAM: Yeah, it just gives you advantage for--
TRAVIS: Charisma checks?
SAM: Caleb could use Seeming on you, and then you would be free to cast spells.
LIAM: For hours, yeah. If that's what we should do.
TALIESIN: For a different type of interrogation.
TRAVIS: I can do Mask of Many Faces without knocking out a concentration spell.
SAM: Oh, okay. What's that?
LIAM: Friends is-- you have it?
LIAM: It's one minute.
MATT: And I believe at the end of the minute, they know--
LIAM: They know.
MATT: They've had a spell affect their mind.
TRAVIS: So I have Command--
LAURA: I'm going to give you Enhance Ability when you're about to go in, that gives you advantage on charisma checks for an hour.
MATT: That is nice.
SAM: And maybe, Caleb, you could give him an extra stroke of luck.
LIAM: Planning to do that.
MARISHA: Okay, I found my notes on that conversation that Jester was relaying when she was scrying on Vence. They mentioned-- He mentioned that he had the emblem, that he wanted to meet at the Overcrow, mentions a female's paranoia, I'm assuming it was that old woman at the-- actually, I don't know, maybe? Maybe, I actually don't know. And he was reading a book entitled The King that Crawls. Oh, and then he signed off with "angel's eye."
TRAVIS: Ooh, that could help.
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.
MATT: At which point, you see Essek is in the process of drawing a quick glyph in the air, and you recognize as a Sending spell. He says-- and do any of you speak Undercommon?
MARISHA: Yes, I learned it as my most recent--
MATT: There you go. Speaks through the Sending spell, basically saying, "Please move the prisoner to one of the binary paired cells."
MARISHA: That's what Essek says?
MATT: Yeah. "The interrogation is to continue."
MARISHA: One of the primary prepared cells?
MARISHA: Binary paired cells. Oh, oh, oh, got it, got it, got it.
TRAVIS: Is it the temple of the Dawnfather that the shackle was under?
LIAM: They call it the Chantry-- what was it, the Chantry?
MATT: The Chantry of the Dawn.
LIAM: The Chantry of the Dawnfather.
MATT: Of the Dawn.
TRAVIS: What was the bishop's name? The guy, the fucking dude that was up at the altar?
MARISHA: That was doing the stuff with the--
MATT: Cardinal Respa.
TRAVIS: Cardinal Respa?
MATT: Yeah, and it was a she.
MARISHA: I'm assuming that's who he might've been referring to.
MATT: He might've been.
SAM: Also got Obann you can throw into the conversation.
LAURA: You could talk about the Laughing Hand, you could talk about the Orphan Maker.
SAM: Yeah, and what-- did they call Tharizdun anything? No, they didn't know who they were following.
LAURA: They didn't know it was Tharizdun. I don't think anybody--
MARISHA: Angel of Irons.
LAURA: It was just the angel.
MATT: "So, are you ready?"
SAM: Do you want anyone to go with you invisible or anything?
MATT: "I would not recommend that, there are wards against invisibility within the Dungeon of Penance. You would be revealed upon entry and it would not aid you in that instance."
LAURA: Will it show that he's disguising himself?
MATT: "It shouldn't. I can provide a buffer as we pass through."
LIAM: We should travel with him to the prison's entrance.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Up until where he won't see us, and then he'll go on alone.
MATT: "Very well. So you are coming with to the exterior of the dungeon."
SAM: This is exciting.
LAURA: How long-- once you get to the dungeon, how long to get into the cell?
MATT: "Five minutes."
LAURA: Okay, okay, good.
MATT: "Then come quickly, let's do this now." You are led back through the Gallimaufry, to the tunnels and staircases that go below into the fields of subterranean farmland that provide much of the food and growth that feeds the people of Rosohna, until eventually you come to the familiar exterior of the Dungeon of Penance, where you had previously found Yeza, as well as interrogated a captured member of the... my brain is not working, the Vollstrecker. As you reach the exterior, Essek turns to the rest of you and raises a hand, and looks to you, and is currently like, reaches over and grabs just the back of your shoulders a bit, looks down. "Can you provide perhaps any sort of visual of irons or chains?"
TRAVIS: Sure. Yes, I'll make myself look like Vence and then I'll use--
ASHLEY: You could borrow some, if you'd like.
TRAVIS: Yeah, we actually have some.
MATT: You can do that, if you want.
TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll take out some of the manacles. We have two, three pairs?
MATT: Okay. So put on the manacles, you wanted to cast a spell, you said?
LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to go up and put my hands on either side of Fjord's face and cast Enhance Ability. Eagle's Splendor. Yeah, so you get advantage on any kind of charisma, I mean-- you'll be a smooth talker. You already are. But you'll be an even smoother talker, okay?
LAURA: You should be able to trick him better.
LAURA: You can do this, Fjord. TRAVIS: Yeah.
SAM: And some injury to your throat, maybe, so that your voice--
LAURA: Yeah, make it look like you were, like, cut or punched, like, bruised or something, like you were strangled, so it makes sense that--
TRAVIS: Yeah, okay, yeah.
LAURA: You don't sound exactly like yourself.
TRAVIS: I'll think about giving myself like a rope burn, like a terrible terrible rope burn that started to scab up a little bit across my throat. At an angle.
LIAM: Fjord, come. I hold the pearl up to his forehead and you see some geometric halos of white for a moment, and I've cast Fortune's Favor. So you have a luck roll, essentially.
TRAVIS: Ooh. So any shit roll I can reroll?
SAM: And Fjord, if you do well in there... I'll give you a button.
TRAVIS: A button?
SAM: A button, but it's not just any button. It was discovered on Buttonbeard's ship. (Laura gasps)
TRAVIS: That's all the inspiration I need. (laughter) Truly a grand gesture, Nott. Thank you.
TRAVIS: I'm ready.
LAURA: Why didn't you ever offer me a button?
MATT: "Very well."
SAM: There's no such thing as Buttonbeard.
MATT: Essek grabs the front of the chains. As part of the shackles there is a lead to the front, and pulls you in alongside, and you guys watch as Essek takes Fjord, in illusory form, into the Dungeon of Penance proper.
LAURA: You can do it!
ASHLEY: Be careful, Fjord.
MATT: Immediately as you step into it, that disorienting affect hits you, and as you step deeper and deeper into it, you know, it's either, like, gravity pulls at different spaces or there's something about it that just makes you a little dizzy, your eyes have a hard time focusing, and you recall, as the times you've been here, there's some sort of enchantment within here that's designed to ensure that you and possibly other people who step through these halls have a hard time really remembering where they're walking or keeping tabs on the layout of the interior.
TRAVIS: As we're moving, I'll whisper to Essek, how long will I have?
MATT: "Well, I don't know. It has been a very thorough investigation, and whatever information you might get could be full of lies, it could be they are confused. Just... don't make it too forceful as to gather attention that would make this a curiosity. This is off the books, as you would say."
TRAVIS: Black bag, like it.
MATT: Leads you down a few more corridors, a long staircase that goes to a floor that you've not been on, and eventually you come upon-- there are two cells that are next to each other, separated by a wall, and in the center of the wall there is a small window of bars, intentionally placed for prisoners that have some means of interfacing. And you are thrown into the chamber, and Essek floats into the shadows. One of the guards at their post stands there and waits, but off to the side. As you're tossed in, you get a quick glance in the corner, and you can see there's a figure curled up across the stone bed platform I guess you would call it. It's not made for comfort by any means, but in tattered, ragged, Rosohna-style clothing, very affluent at one point probably, but now torn and dirtied, you see a drow male curled up on the edge, and as you impact and land, the figure stirs slightly. And then you're inside the chamber now.
TRAVIS: And is this square between the walls small or is it large?
MATT: It's small, it's about, like, that big.
TRAVIS: I'll stand up and head towards the doors and shout out after the one that threw me in, in a better Zemnian accent than I can do: You can't keep me in here! No response. I'll go and I'll walk by the square. Is he looking or going back to sleep? Are his eyes open?
MATT: The figure is glancing up and looking in your direction, but hasn't got up yet.
TRAVIS: I'll clear my throat. (coughs)
MATT: A few moments pass.
TRAVIS: Eye contact at all?
MATT: You're looking up through it now?
MATT: About a minute later, the head shifts again, and from what little bit of light there is from the dull torch sconce across the way, you can see a little bit of a flash of wet eyeballs that look in your direction.
TRAVIS: I'll look away and move away from the square.
MATT: You very faintly hear the shuffling.
TRAVIS: I'll wait for a minute. Does it sound like he's moving any closer?
MATT: You've heard movement.
TRAVIS: I'll wait another minute. I'll get up and walk to the doors, look around, shuffle back towards the square, and just do one eye to look through.
TRAVIS: What do I see?
MATT: You see a male drow face. (laughter) Bloodied, one eye is swollen nearly shut. Hair tattered and matted, and is breathing a little heavy. (breathing heavily)
TRAVIS: He looking in my direction?
TRAVIS: Angel's eyes.
MATT: "Why do I know you?"
TRAVIS: Shh. I'll move away from the window. Sit back down. I'll wait two minutes.
TRAVIS: And without making myself visible to the window, I'll say, what do they know?
MATT: "They've pulled me from my station, and accused me of things, but I did them, but I don't know how. I know you, but I don't know how. I feel like I'm going crazy."
TRAVIS: Our time here will be rewarded. Stand fast.
MATT: "What are you talking about?"
TRAVIS: We succeeded in Rexxentrum. The Angel of Irons is one step closer to being free.
MATT: "I don't know this angel. No, I do, how? Who are you? You're Vence. Why do I know this?"
TRAVIS: Cardinal Respa sends his regards, her regards.
MATT: The head comes back up and looks at you, and the eyes are wide, the one that isn't partially swollen, and tense, and there's sweat currently mingling with the blood that was partially dried and caked on that side, the forehead that you can see. "I don't know what you're talking about."
TRAVIS: Very good. Very good.
TRAVIS: Were your deliveries successful?
MATT: "I don't know why I did what I did. It doesn't make any sense." He pulls away from the hole, and you hear the body scrape and slide against this other side of the stone wall. (Adeen softly sobs) And you hear crying.
LAURA: (whisper) He traded for the beacons. Find out what he traded for the beacons. (pigeon cooing)
LAURA: He traded the beacons for something. (pigeon cooing) That's what we've got to find out. (coos)
TRAVIS: I don't remember that part. (Travis sighs heavily)
LAURA: That's what we're trying to find out. (pigeon cooing)
TRAVIS: Is it?
LIAM: It's fine, we talk this shit out at home. We can talk it out. Talk it out.
TRAVIS: What did you, really?
LIAM: It's a D&D game, talk it out.
TRAVIS: (stilted) What were you given in exchange for the beacons?
MATT: There's a long silence, and the sobbing continues a bit, and then through the sobbing, you hear, "It doesn't-- I would never, I would never give away the heart of our city. But I did, for money, why? Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes sense."
TRAVIS: Yeah, we're going to do this. (Travis sighs)
MATT: "Nothing. Makes. Sense."
TRAVIS: And he's smashing his face. Stop, hold, hold.
MATT: At which point, (exhales), exhales, and you hear nothing for a moment. And then (snoring).
TRAVIS: He's fucking knocked himself out. Hey, hey. (laughter) Hey, Taskhand. You with us? Hey. Hello? Ey! (Marisha laughing) Shit.
TALIESIN: That accent. (Laura laughing)
TRAVIS: I'll, like, walk over to the bars and be like: Hey, guard, come here. Come here!
MATT: The guard looks over.
TRAVIS: I can't, I can't see him. Is he passed out? (laughter)
MATT: The guard just stays at the station. Essek is still in the shadows about 15 feet back, kind of against the wall, and turns and looks in your direction.
TRAVIS: I just, I'm worried about prisoner welfare, it sounded like he was hurting himself. I'm just making sure he's alive.
MATT: Essek slowly drifts to the edge and looks over. "He's asleep."
TRAVIS: Ah. That's good. Thank you for quieting my concerns. You know, I think I would like to confess-- (laughter) --some of my crimes. Perhaps I can do that to someone of a high station, I'm ready to leave.
MATT: "Very well." (Sam laughing)
MATT: Opens the door with the guard's help, takes the chain and leads you out, closes behind.
TRAVIS: Oh, you bastard! You're so strong!
MATT: "Shh. You're overselling it."
TRAVIS: You'll never take me alive!
MATT: "You're overselling it."
TRAVIS: You floating fuck.
MATT: "What was that?"
TRAVIS: No, I take it back, I'm sorry.
MATT: "Don't oversell it." (Marisha laughing) And drags you along slowly through the interior of the Dungeon of Penance once more.
TRAVIS: It's so weird in here.
MATT: "By design, friend, by design." Pulls you outside. You guys watch as Essek emerges, holding the chain, pulling behind the rugged-looking Vence.
LAURA: We all cheer. Yeah, he's back, you did it! What'd you find out, all the stuff?!
TRAVIS: I totally didn't forget to ask what he traded for the beacon delivery, thank god.
TALIESIN: That's good, that would've been an important question to ask.
MATT: (as Essek) "He seemed to be quite disoriented, and--"
SAM: Fjord or the other guy?
MATT: "The other guy. I was worried about that."
TRAVIS: I don't think he chose to do what he did. It sounds like he was under some sort of control, mind control. Is that a real thing?
SAM: Yasha was mind controlled, we think.
ASHLEY: (exasperated) Yes, Nott!
TRAVIS: But you knew that it was not you doing those things, right? Or was it confusing at times?
ASHLEY: Yeah, it was very confusing at times, but I mean, I knew that I was-- I-I was a puppet. I mean, I didn't have control over the things that I was doing, but I knew I was doing them.
MATT: "It could very well be a similar type effect."
MARISHA: I wonder if Vence was also a puppet.
LIAM: But you knew the source. Yeah?
TALIESIN: Imagine if you didn't know the source.
TRAVIS: He acted as if he didn't know why he did these things, or why he seemed to have taken money for the delivery of the beacons. He didn't know why he did that, and then he smashed his face against a wall several times. He's dead now.
TRAVIS: Yeah, just a horrible tragedy.
MARISHA: Oh, fuck.
TRAVIS: No, he's alive. He seemed genuinely confused. He seemed to recognize Vence's face, and also the greeting, angel's eyes.
LAURA: Angel's eye?
TRAVIS: Yep. (laughter) I might have made it plural in the room, which might have been what the look was for. Why add an S? I don't know.
ASHLEY: It was, you know, your first time playing that character.
TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I did get a rehearsal or anything. (Sam laughing) Just actor's nightmare, straight out on, yep. (Laura laughing)
LIAM: You have to make strong choices.
TRAVIS: Yep, yep.
TALIESIN: Imagine if you were told not to think about what you did.
TRAVIS: I mean, is memory modification a thing that happens?
TRAVIS: It is?
LAURA: Yeah, I mean, I can do it.
TALIESIN: I can-- well.
LAURA: Can you?
TRAVIS: What do you mean?
TALIESIN: I can do stuff like that.
LAURA: Like, I could make you think that something different happened than happened.
MARISHA: Sounds very similar to what Yasha went through.
TRAVIS: All the time, or just once?
MATT: "That is a very dangerous magic for someone to be playing with."
LAURA: I haven't ever played with it. I know that it's, you know, important.
TRAVIS: Speaking of which, your abilities are very strange compared to the Empire, I mean, just being in here is sort of nauseating. Does the beacon or your practices allow anyone to control the mind of someone else in that way?
MATT: "Dunamancy does not work in that way. There are many sorts of magic and arcane spells that can alter one's experience of memory, from what I've heard, but that does not fall within the purview of dunamancy, by any means."
TRAVIS: I mean, it's no short spell. He would've had to have been under control for a while. Gain access to the beacons, make these exchanges, deliver them.
TALIESIN: To be fair--
MATT: "This is true."
TALIESIN: --he would've been the fourth person that we knew that was under a constant long-standing control within this cult.
TRAVIS: Yasha, the Taskhand.
TALIESIN: The Laughing Hand.
TRAVIS: The Laughing Hand, and Unbreakable, or the--
SAM: Inevitable End.
TALIESIN: Inevitable End.
LIAM: Bruce Willis.
MARISHA: Who knows with people like Vence or Cardinal Respa, or maybe anyone.
LAURA: Oh my god, what if they were all under a spell?
MARISHA: We've already learned from what we've researched with the Chained Oblivion that he was guised under this cult of the Angel of Irons. It seems more righteous than what it is. It's all manipulative to get him to rise under some other form of a deity that's false, so his entire--
LIAM: To bring about absolute destruction of everything, so I would imagine yeah.
MATT: "It is solid logic."
TRAVIS: Do you have a mark on the back of your neck? Did it leave a scar or--
LAURA: Oh yeah, the thing? Can I look, can I look and see?
ASHLEY: Yeah, give it a look.
LAURA: Is it still there?
MATT: There is a brief mark there that's reminiscent of what was there, though it has begun to heal.
LAURA: Essek, Essek, Essek, come here, look at this, look at this mark. I show exactly what it looks like. You should see, and see if that guy has the same mark, and then you know that he was mind controlled, maybe.
MATT: "I will inspect. Give me a moment."
LAURA: If it was not his choice, you know, I know it's hard, but maybe he shouldn't be punished quite as harshly, because you know--
MATT: "That is not for my judgment to make."
ASHLEY: Well, if, I don't know, if there's an emergency, I could also speak to him in a different way, from someone who has had a similar experience to him.
SAM: Oh, yes.
ASHLEY: If violence is not working to get the answers that you need, maybe I could try relating to him.
MATT: "Well, we have the answers we need, but what answers are you looking for with this?"
ASHLEY: Maybe, I don't know, who was doing this? I don't know.
TRAVIS: Yeah, sure. Just in case it's somebody besides Obann.
LAURA: That's true, or if he had any more connections here.
MARISHA: Maybe Obann was one of several generals for the Chained Oblivion, you know?
TRAVIS: Oh shit.
MARISHA: In, like, a pyramid scheme. So if it wasn't Obann that mind controlled him, then who was it?
TALIESIN: It was probably Obann that mind controlled him, I think.
MARISHA: It was probably Obann that mind controlled him.
TALIESIN: I think the question really is if he knows that he was mind controlled, maybe he can--
ASHLEY: I think that's the thing to me.
TALIESIN: Start saying if you talk to anybody else.
MARISHA: Well, let's have Essek look at the back of his neck, that'll be first thing, and then we'll get more answers from that.
TRAVIS: Jester, you should know, he said he hated weasels.
TRAVIS: I don't know.
LAURA: Did he say when he was controlled he hated weasels, or was it normally--
TRAVIS: Outright, they they wither and die if not left out into the wild. They are not pets or-- oh.
LAURA: Sprinkle? Is that true?
LAURA: Sprinkle says he's real happy exactly where he is. (Matt and Sam laughing)
TRAVIS: (squeaky voice) She's squeezing me.
LIAM: Let Essek check, and then perhaps, if it turns up what we fear it does, then a new line of questions is in order, not why have you betrayed your people, but how long have you been experiencing this, do you remember meeting anyone, do you remember a trigger?
ASHLEY: Yeah, I don't know, if there's any other--
SAM: He's been dead for weeks.
ASHLEY: -- answers you guys need.
LIAM: Stiff as a board.
LIAM: Like a cat scratcher.
TRAVIS: Oh my god!
LAURA: He's not dead! He's not dead; he's alive! Stop it.
MARISHA: He's bloated; he's just an airplane pillow now.
TRAVIS: (as Jester) Eat it! Eat it!
LIAM: Wait, wait, one second.
MATT: You're terrible.
LAURA: He's alive! Move, show them. Move!
TRAVIS: Show them you're fine!
ASHLEY: Did he move?
LAURA: He did, he bit my finger, okay? He's fine.
TRAVIS: Rigor mortis is a bitch.
MARISHA: "Show them you're fine."
MATT: I'm fighting every urge to make it canon. (laughter) But I'm not going to do that.
LAURA: He's not dead. Just think of it like any time he seems like he's a little bit hmm, I give him a little healing spell. (laughter) He's okay.
LIAM: She's just Weekend at Bernie-ing him at this point. "Oh, he bit me, ow, that's very naughty, Sprinkle."
MARISHA: I've been to the other side 12 times!
LAURA: Stop it, he's alive, stop it, stop it. It's not canon, he's alive, stop it.
TALIESIN: He's alive.
TRAVIS: Set me free.
MARISHA: Better for CPS.
LIAM: Welcome to the Bates Motel, Sprinkle.
ASHLEY: Maybe we could, you know, if we find a very beautiful place, we could let him go into a forest.
SAM: Are you talking about the prisoner, or Sprinkle?
ASHLEY: No, I'm talking about Sprinkle.
LAURA: You know, I asked Sprinkle if he wanted to go hang out with what's-his-name, the guy, the guy that likes the animals, what's his name?
SAM: Oh, yeah, the wizard man.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MATT: Ah, we broke Taliesin.
MARISHA: Oremid Hass?
LAURA: Oremid Hass. And Sprinkle came back to me, okay? He didn't want to go with Oremid Hass, he wants to stay with me. You all-- (laughter)
MARISHA: ♪ Mother can you hear me? ♪
TALIESIN: I'm staying the fuck outta this, man.
MARISHA: Essek, go check on the guy's neck.
MATT: He's already gone.
TALIESIN: Oh, I can't see straight. Oh man.
ASHLEY: That's amazing.
TALIESIN: Wow. Oh, wow.
MATT: Essek returns, a few moments later, and says--
MARISHA: What does the light mean?
MATT: "I did not see any mark on the back of his neck, but--"
SAM: Insight check.
MATT: Make an insight check.
LAURA: He's telling the truth.
SAM: 18 plus five! Ooh, I'm so insightful.
MATT: 18 plus five.
LIAM: Whispers for Nott!
LAURA: Oh dude, I just realized what your shirt is, it's awesome.
SAM: Skillshare is a wonderful app.
LIAM: Don't talk through your whisper.
TRAVIS: That's the funniest shit. "Eat it, eat it!" Oh my god, Jester, Sprinkle's dead.
TALIESIN: Started getting tunnel vision.
TRAVIS: Been dead for weeks.
TALIESIN: I could see down the hall.
MARISHA: Yeah, just completely mouth agape.
TRAVIS: Expression of terror.
LIAM: Oh look, he's eating.
TRAVIS: He's very picky.
TALIESIN: Nope, not--
MARISHA: He's been dead since the Underdark.
MATT: "So, it is curious, if this is the assumption that perhaps this Obann figure had him under his control, there would be this mark, you say? Since it's not there, it's a possibility that either it was removed, or perhaps there was other magic involved in erasing a trace."
ASHLEY: Could've been something else.
MATT: "Was the mark forcefully removed from you or anything?"
LAURA: Oh, it was, actually.
MATT: "That could be the difference."
MATT: "But. (sighs)"
TALIESIN: Certainly explains a few things though, doesn't it?
MATT: "Does not seem to be in a physical state for future interrogation, necessarily, and time draws short with the Bright Queen, so if we are to make our cause there, we should definitely get on our way to the Bastion."
LAURA: Okay, okay, okay, okay. We're going to talk to her.
MARISHA: While we would walk to the Bright Queen, because I want to keep this going, have we scryed on Vence here lately?
LAURA: Well, he's got a thing.
SAM: He's got protection.
MARISHA: Oh, that's right.
LAURA: But I can try it, but it would be really, really hard to scry.
SAM: No, he's got something to block it.
MARISHA: He's got a thing, like, he's got.
LIAM: The only way he would not have it is if the Empire has caught up to him. Ja. So he is either off the grid, or--
LAURA: Like, it's impossible to scry on you. It doesn't like, sometimes work and sometimes doesn't?
LIAM: For him, I think it is impossible, because he is most likely traveling alone. I am a bit compromised because you are all not protected like I am, so.
LAURA: Should we always stay a little bit away from you?
LIAM: I hope not.
(Matt and Laura chuckling)
SAM: Could scry on Darrow to see who his client is.
LAURA: I was thinking about that, actually.
SAM: But that's not urgent.
LAURA: You know, because he's like, not going to tell us, we could just find out on our own.
SAM: Yeah, fuck that guy.
LAURA: No, don't fuck that guy, I mean, fuck him if Fjord doesn't like him, but he's pretty nice, I thought he was funny.
TRAVIS: He hates weasels.
ASHLEY: How long was he down there? In the prison?
MATT: From what you hear, roughly two days.
ASHLEY: No, Fjord.
MATT: Oh, Fjord. (laughs) Fjord was gone from you guys, I'd say for about, altogether, 15, 20 minutes. Probably a little longer than that, because of travel and everything.
SAM: Quickest prison stint ever.
TRAVIS: Hard time.
SAM: How do you feel, being locked up for so long?
TRAVIS: Changed man. Forgot what the sky looked like.
LIAM: Scared straight.
MATT: All right, so are you stopping to scry on anybody, or?
TRAVIS: You want to try it?
LAURA: You want to do it, like, now?
SAM: That's low priority. Let's get the queen.
LAURA: Let's just get to the Bright Queen.
MATT: Okay. You make your way back up to the surface of Rosohna. At this point it is evening, though the light has not changed throughout the sky. You make your way to the Lucid Bastion and along the escort of the Shadowhand Essek. Led within, some of the guards give some odd looks, recognizing (chuckling) your arrival not long ago in very different attire.
LAURA: Well, we look the same, just Fjord, really.
MATT: Well, not all of you got Seeming immediately.
LAURA: That's true.
MATT: You made it a little ways through the Lucid Bastion before the Seeming was applied.
TRAVIS: And then changed, for some reason.
MATT: Yeah. But there is no wait period, actually. You are brought to the antechamber where you had previously had to wait, but there is immediately, as Essek pushes forward escorting you, the doors open into the interior of the Bright Queen's chamber, the glowing white orb of light above, the chains still holding affixed, arcing at an angle to all the far corners of the climbing, crystalline interior. You can see the climbing stairs that lead to the various members of the dens that comprise the the council around the Bright Queen, and the conversation is all about, let's see. Two of you make a perception check.
SAM: Not me.
TALIESIN: I'll take one.
LIAM: I'll do it.
TALIESIN: That's not my best, but that's okay, 18.
LIAM: Oh, I got a one.
MATT: Okay. Unable to make out the details of any of the hushed conversation, some arguments that are happening, you hear the din around you, but the the wide expanse that is the interior of this chamber causes a little bit of an echo and reverb effect, and you're unable to make out the specifics. But it seems to be heated, and as you approach, dying down a bit as attention begins to come to you and Essek as you approach. There you can see, atop the throne, the Bright Queen herself stands as you approach, and Essek raises a hand and then kneels before the Bright Queen. You all kneel as well?
MATT: All right. The Bright Queen looks, places her staff to the side. The echo of the impact--
MARISHA: What is she wearing?
LAURA: I know, I was going to ask the same thing. What is she wearing?
MATT: She looks fabulous as always. Given the recent events, you can see beyond the the dress when you first made an appearance, this one falls more in line with the more armored attire. The dress portion of it is shorter, just going, you know, just past the floor and ankles, the armor itself similar the one you saw her last adorned with. You can see the the same crest of horns, but as supposed to a crown, it's a little more of a helmet with sides that curl out a bit, and she looks like she is a little more stepping towards a battle-ready persona.
LIAM: Oh shit.
MATT: As she looks out amongst all of you and goes, "Mighty Nein, welcome back. You have been quite the topic of conversation recently." Gives a motion for you all to rise and approach. "A friend of yours recently stormed our own doors, claiming manipulation in the name of an unseen enemy. A name we recognize, though seldom more than a fairy tale. To her credit, she holds no benefit I can see in meddling in the affairs of our continent, and staked your names on this warning, which was a persuasive appeal. Enough to stem the tide of blood where it might have been earned. So. Our distant ears tell a tale of a battle of another kind beneath the city, one that you all seem to have survived in Rexxentrum. Well done. These same ears have also heard of your arrival at the imperial castle, a strange destination for such self-proclaimed expatriates. Explain yourselves."
SAM: We should take care of this.
LAURA: Yeah, probably. Do you want us to talk about--
TALIESIN: Oh. I'm not even from-- well, all right.
LAURA: Well, neither are we.
TALIESIN: That's fair.
MARISHA: Maybe that clarification is warranted?
TRAVIS: We can understand the way this may have looked. I'm sure it's certainly quite confusing. We have been on the trail, as we said before, of these cultists of the Angel of Irons. Our search led us to Rexxentrum, back into the Empire, where we thwarted our foes in an effort, in their efforts to break one of the shackles that was holding a far greater foe: the Chained Oblivion. We toppled some of our quarry, and have uncovered a bit more about your previous inquiries, beacons, the Empire's involvement, their knowledge of your Luxon.
MATT: "We had reason to believe that this beacon is being held by the Cerberus Assembly within the capital of Rexxentrum. Have you confirmed this with your eyes, then?"
TRAVIS: We've confirmed that it is not within the city of Rexxentrum.
MATT: Essek immediately takes her gaze, and Essek goes, "My queen, we have, as you know, arrested one of our higher dens." He makes a gesture towards one of the empty chairs within the chamber.
TRAVIS: Oh, fuck.
MATT: "And the interrogation has been fruitful. As much as it hurts us to admit, our very own Taskhand Adeen has admitted to the deed of both giving aid and progressing the interests of this cult of the Chained Oblivion, and was responsible, it seems, for giving our beacons to the Empire in the first place." The room immediately goes into whispers and pearl-clutching gasps, and the Bright Queen immediately slams her staff twice in the ground to silence the room.
MATT: "Indeed. Well then. That reckoning will be something to deal with."
LAURA: Essek, tell-- may I speak, your majesty?
LAURA: The Angel of Irons cult is well known for mind control. It's one of the tools that they use the most within their ranks, and we have reason to believe that some of the people that were doing deeds for them didn't even do it by their own fruition.
MATT: "Then, pray tell, who is this individual who might have been responsible for influencing the mind of one of our great leaders here?"
LAURA: Well, there was a man working named Obann, who was a very high up-- I think he was a devil?
MATT: "You had mentioned this figure before."
LAURA: Yes, yes, he could disguise himself as other people, he was controlling people that we know to do terrible things, and some of his followers were not by choice. If it's possible, he may have come across your Taskhand and done the same to him.
SAM: We have reason to believe that your ally was at least under some sort of mind influence.
MATT: "And you had been seeking this Obann, yes?"
TRAVIS: Yeah, for quite a while.
LAURA: He's a really bad, bad guy.
MATT: "And how close are you to bringing him to justice?"
LAURA: That guy's smooshed.
TRAVIS: We are happy to report that Obann has been dealt with, quite handily. He has failed at his task and has not only been punished by us, but also the god that he serves.
TALIESIN: Including some of those that he had control over breaking free, turning on him, and helping us to destroy him.
MATT: "And these individuals that have been broken free, they renounce the things they've done?"
TALIESIN: I don't know anyone who didn't.
ASHLEY: I'll step forward. I was one of those people. And I should hope that if I was ever in the position of judgment, that... I didn't choose to do the things that he had me do. But we took care of him, and he is now a... a blob.
MATT: "Come closer, please."
ASHLEY: I step closer.
MATT: "And you believe you are redeemable?"
ASHLEY: I should hope so.
MATT: "Well, my judgment... will stand as it will be, based on what arises. I thank you for your counsel. As we have no Obann to... punish within Rosohna, punishment must still be dealt, with a terrible deed that has been done against us and our people." The woman sitting in the chair next to the Bright Queen, who you've seen before, quiet, armored, very much a, what you would assume to be a military figure of very high station steps forward, another female drow, goes, "My queen." Everyone gets quiet, and the people turn. "I implore you to listen and keep your temperament outside the judgment of law. Please." This is an insolent-- in the chain of royal command, this would be easily punished in the other court, and the Bright Queen turns and softens and goes, "Of course, it will. (small sigh) So, Essek. The prisoner will be ready for judgment tomorrow, I hope? If not sooner." He goes, "Yes, my queen. The prisoner is in a difficult physical state. Tomorrow would be best. We can continue our interrogation, but the confession stands. But hopefully mercy can be considered." She looks about. "Very well.
TRAVIS: If we may.
TALIESIN: There is a another issue to be reported.
LIAM: Yes, we have a further development you will be interested to know.
MATT: (as the Bright Queen) "Then please, share it with us."
LIAM: Well, as you know, the Empire is in possession of another one of your cherished artifacts. They would like to return it to you.
MATT: That gasp and hush sound is replaced with an absolute still silence that hangs, and hangs, and hangs. (Bright Queen laughs) "Surely you're jesting."
LIAM: We have had an audience with Dwendal, as you know. We are not operatives for the Empire. We stand between two nations, and still desire the very same thing we told you before. Dwendal and the Assembly are offering to return a beacon to you. And I must confess, we have our suspicions about their intentions, but I would beg you to delineate between those running the Empire and its people. We are here to represent the people of the Empire, and we would like to seize this opportunity to make amends, not for everything, not for all the wrongs done to you and yours, but a start. And we must tread carefully, your highness. Because those at the top, the Assembly especially, I fear are trying to bend this situation to their will, and gain the upper hand against you. And we do not want that to happen. We want to use this to end the violence, against their will. I do not serve you. We do not serve you. And we do not serve King Dwendal or the Assembly. There is something far worse, something far greater than a nation coming for either of your peoples. Tharizdun is coming. And Caleb puts his hands down and his head down and gets as a supplicant as possible. I beg of you to see the greater threat to this world.
MATT: Make a persuasion check.
LIAM: I want to say it's cocked, but it's mostly that, so it's low.
SAM: It's a low cock?
LIAM: It's a low cock, it's nine.
MATT: It's a nine.
TRAVIS: How perfect.
MATT: As you're prostrate, she slams the staff on the ground. "Please, no need to... lie there before me."
LIAM: I beg to differ. And he stands.
MATT: "I cannot lie, I'm very curious as to the circumstances surrounding this... sudden offering. But I'm also not interested in discarding an opportunity in retrieving it. I don't know if I necessarily fear this... shadowed name you invoke more than I fear the violence of man. But we want what is ours. Do you have any idea what they wish in return for this beacon?"
MARISHA: Talks of peace.
LAURA: That's what they say.
TALIESIN: They were also coming to terms with treachery within their midst. I think both of you have that in common at the moment, of how this cult has manipulated events.
MARISHA: Adeen has his own counterpart on the Empire side by the name of Vence. I believe we've mentioned him to you in the past.
MATT: Essek raises a hand and goes, "This Vence they speak of is, I believe, closely tied with the Martinet of the Assembly. So, while we are uncertain how deep that hole goes, the treachery runs to the top within the Empire as well."
TALIESIN: They suddenly find themselves not knowing how much they don't know. They're afraid. I think now's the time to talk.
MATT: You make a persuasion check.
SAM: Come on, Caddy.
SAM: Woo! Woo! (Laura squeals)
MATT: "Fear is a powerful motivator."
TALIESIN: Always interesting when it's something that two peoples have in common.
MATT: "Hm." She looks back again at the captain, who's standing behind her, and the captain puts her hand on the shoulder and gives her a stern look. (sighs) "And where would you like this mediation to take place?"
SAM: We were thinking at sea, actually.
LAURA: Neutral ground?
SAM: A neutral place, away from both the Empire and the Dynasty.
MATT: "Such as?"
SAM: Well, there's a lovely cove that we could launch some ships from in Nicodranas. It's wonderful this time of year.
LAURA: Beautiful city.
MATT: "We would look to probably bring our ships through the Lucidian Ocean, maybe by ways Whitedawn Lagoon. We could meet somewhere in between."
SAM: In between?
LAURA: The lagoon and Nicodranas, you mean?
SAM: Just somewhere on the Menagerie Coast?
LAURA: Oh wait, this isn't the Menagerie Coast map.
TALIESIN: Wrong map.
LAURA: All right, there we go.
LIAM: Down, move down.
LAURA: Where's Rumblecusp?
SAM: We assume that you would not go in person, your highness?
MATT: "No, of course not, that would be sheer folly. But we have--"
SAM: You may need to report.
LAURA: You've got fancy mirrors.
SAM: Who would go?
MATT: "We have means of communicating, and I am certain the higher royalty in the king's court have such artifacts also at their availability."
SAM: So we'd be bringing a few artifacts out onto a boat, and the artifacts would sort of talk to each other?
TALIESIN: Along with--
LAURA: Some dignitaries, I'm assuming. Some people? Or would it just be the the artifacts?
MATT: "We will meet here, along the southern edge of the Menagerie Coast. Neutral land, non war-bearing ships, them to bring their mirror, we shall bring ours. Representatives at the ready to begin negotiations. The beacon is to be brought as well to be transferred upon agreement only."
TALIESIN: We can have the meeting aboard our ship, if we have to.
LAURA: Yeah, we have a really nice one.
SAM: It's called the Ball Eater.
TALIESIN: That was not necessary.
LAURA: It's not a war ship, though.
MATT: "We will bring our prisoner, this traitor, and should they catch this Vence, they bring theirs."
LAURA: (whispers) Oh, shit.
MATT: "Maybe somewhere in between, we could learn something."
MARISHA: And what if they do not find Vence? Or is that a non-negotiable?
MATT: "Then the negotiation becomes strained, but not impossible. No arms at the immediate table. Any signs of challenge, strangeness, dubiousness from the king and his people, if we feel this talk is unsafe for my men and women, it is off. And while I appreciate what you've brought here, and the information you've provided, you will not be necessary at this negotiation."
LAURA: Aww, man.
SAM: It's sort of our thing that we--
MARISHA: That was a request at the behest of King Dwendal. We are your liaisons that Allura mentioned would be reporting to you. I'm afraid we are tasked to see this to the end.
LIAM: And we are unsure of the Assembly's intentions. You should not be unsure about ours.
MARISHA: I think you want us there. I really do.
TRAVIS: We have skin in this game, so to speak. We would not put your men or women in a treacherous position if we are right alongside them.
MATT: Make a persuasion check, Beau.
LIAM: Does she get an assist?
MATT: I'll say you get an assist from Fjord on that, so you have advantage.
TRAVIS: I give you assist.
MARISHA: Thank god for that assist. 18.
MARISHA: That was a natural one on the other one.
MATT: "I'll consider it. It is a strange request. I did not see you sellswords and adventuring types interested in the details of political negotiation, but if that is your prerogative."
MARISHA: It's not.
TRAVIS: We mean to lend an air of accountability.
MARISHA: Our objective is our own, and always has been, as Mr. Widogast has just previously stated.
LIAM: The soul of the Empire is at stake.
MARISHA: As is the soul of the Dynasty, and perhaps the world at large. We mentioned this when we spoke in the past. Nothing has changed. If anything, all of the information that has gleamed in the past several weeks has proved what we tried to warn months ago, that this war was staged by greater forces.
MATT: "Well, you certainly surprise me, Mighty Nein. Very well. Take this word back to this king, see if they find this scenario... accommodating."
SAM: One more-- just one more detail. Would you prefer a specific date, or should we leave it vague for security reasons for now?
MATT: "We have means of communicating, once you've made this contact. But I believe it is the personal touch that ties the threads of this at the beginning. Essek, you have means--" Essek goes, "I can communicate with them while they're on the road, and they have one who is eager to communicate regardless of the circumstances."
SAM: Unlimited calling card.
MATT: (as the Bright Queen) "Good. Notify us of the response from the Empire. From there, we'll handle the details. We'll let you know when a date is struck, and... (chuckles) thank you and good luck."
ASHLEY: I do have a question. When do you plan on... When is your prisoner planned to be put on trial?
MATT: "None of this changes things. This individual that we have, this traitor, might be a useful tool in this negotiation. So for now, judgment is stayed."
MARISHA: And can you promise to maintain the ceasefire until these talks?
MATT: "As long as the Empire does, of course. But if I hear word of any Kryn lives lost, any waste folks slain until this date, we commence."
MARISHA: Yeah, that's fair.
TRAVIS: Of course.
LIAM: You have our endless gratitude. We thank you for your patience.
MATT: She sits upon the throne, and that powerful, hard, driven persona that you saw when you first arrived, and have seen since these escalations, drops once more into a softer smile, one reminiscent of when you first delivered the beacon. She sets the staff aside and places the hands crossed at the front of her knees. "You are unique. Now go."
SAM: Yep, yep.
TRAVIS: Do you know how to reanimate a dead weasel?
LAURA: Stop it!
SAM: Transfer its soul into another weasel.
TRAVIS: Give it life from your beacon.
MATT: Essek gives a kneel, turns.
SAM: We bow, we leave.
MATT: You guys make your exit from the chamber back into the center of the Lucid Bastion. Once you pass by the antechamber doors, closing behind, even Essek's like (exhales).
LAURA: Oh my gosh.
TALIESIN: That went really well.
LAURA: That actually went really well.
TALIESIN: Like, even by the standard-- I mean like, I know that we set the bar, like, a very-- I don't like saying it that often, but like, wow.
LAURA: We normally fuck things up pretty good.
TALIESIN: For, like, a normal bar, that was pretty good.
MARISHA: Thank you, Caduceus.
MARISHA: I had a good feeling about you in this one. I didn't want to say it ahead of time in case I was wrong. But I had a feeling that you would be the one to push us over the edge.
MATT: Essek just says, "But let us all take a moment to appreciate the contributions of everyone brave enough in that room to step up before that council and speak. I myself am still impressed at what you managed to push forward. (exhales) Well."
LIAM: Thank you as well.
TALIESIN: I say we--
LIAM: We would not have had as much sway here without your assistance.
MATT: "Of course not. And strangely, neither would I. So. Do you need a lift back to your home?"
SAM: A lift?
MATT: "To the Empire. You've--"
SAM: Oh, oh, oh, no, no, we can do that, we're actually okay.
MATT: "Oh, all right. Sorry, I just assumed, It's been a--"
SAM: You've done so much for us.
TRAVIS: What were you saying, Caduceus?
TALIESIN: Well, Yasha's got some shopping we should pick up before we go.
LAURA: The bracers.
ASHLEY: Yeah, but what time is it?
SAM: We probably have to get it tomorrow morning.
ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
LAURA: Yeah, yeah, we'll go sleep at the house, and then we'll head back, is that okay? I can send a message along that we've had talks, and that, you know, we will be arriving tomorrow.
MARISHA: We should do that and reassure the ceasefire and make sure that no one attacks anybody.
LAURA: Yeah. Who should I send a message to?
MARISHA: Probably Ludinus.
SAM: But not tonight.
LAURA: No no no, I should send them a message tonight.
LIAM: Yeah, as soon as possible.
MARISHA: Yeah. If anyone kills a Kryn soldier, we're fucked.
SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, all right, all right, all right.
MATT: "That is a good idea. Let him know--"
LAURA: Okay, while we're walking, I'm going to send him a message.
LAURA: Oh my gosh.
TRAVIS: Wow. (laughter)
LAURA: We just talked to the Bright Queen. Things are looking good. Maintain the ceasefire, super important. Will be arriving tomorrow... to talk.
MARISHA: Matt's impressed. (laughs)
LIAM: We all are.
MATT: That was informative and concise.
TALIESIN: That was good, I don't care if everything goes to heck tomorrow, today was good.
SAM: Because we rested yesterday, because we went to the spa.
MATT: Response: "Ah, well done."
LAURA: Thank you.
MATT: "I assume we expect your arrival soon."
LAURA: Oh, I was just talking out loud to him talking to me. What'd he say?
TALIESIN: Well done, expect your arrival soon.
LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. That's good, he said "well done!"
SAM: Great. Good, yes.
TRAVIS: No fighting, right?
LAURA: I was, like, responding to a voicemail. Oh thanks, shit, what'd he say? (Matt chuckling)
MARISHA: Keep the ceasefire, super important. Yeah.
TRAVIS: I was counting for it so I wasn't listening.
MARISHA: Yeah. (laughs)
MATT: Essek breaks rank with you to head towards his business. You make your way back towards the Xhorhaus.
LAURA: Bye, Essek! You can come by tonight and get some dinner or something, if you want to. We miss you.
SAM: We haven't done any shopping or anything.
TALIESIN: It's pretty empty in there, I'm going to--
MATT: "I appreciate the offer, I have my own work and research to continue, but well done. Impressive work. Just hope it sticks." And he drifts off.
LAURA: I like him.
MARISHA: Yeah. Wonder what work he has to do so late.
LAURA: I don't know, I don't know, I mean, maybe he's got to go torture that guy some more.
MARISHA: That's true, yeah.
TALIESIN: Could have a second job, I mean, you know. People have two jobs.
LAURA: Who knows what the Shadowhand really does, I mean, that's probably--
MATT: You guys have arrived at the Xhorhaus by now, if you want to. So you're in your private space.
MARISHA: Do you think he's a family man? Think he has kids?
SAM: Have we ever asked him about himself?
LAURA: We don't know anything about Essek. Have we been to his house?
LIAM: What's his mother's name?
LAURA: What's his mother's name?!
SAM: That's a stupid question, nobody knows that.
ASHLEY: Does he have a significant other or anything like that?
LAURA: I don't know.
MARISHA: I feel like we've tried.
SAM: I think we asked if he was single.
MARISHA: Yeah, and he was like ooh, I'm aloof, I'm Essek.
LAURA: Should I call him and ask him?
TRAVIS: Yes, you should send him a message right now, he hasn't even gotten that far.
ASHLEY: See if he was lying about working. If he just actually had to--
TRAVIS: Jester, you know you have to do it.
LAURA: Okay, I'm going to send him a message.
MARISHA: Just say--
LAURA: Essek. We don't know anything about you, we just realized. We should really hang out more.
LAURA: Are you single? Do you have kids?
TALIESIN: Swipe right.
LAURA: Swipe right? Also, mom's name?
SAM: Social security number?
MATT: "That was quick. I'm not particularly interesting. Don't like to talk about myself. Don't worry. Just happy to be around."
TALIESIN: Cat person.
LAURA: He's shy. He says he's not very interesting, but we know that's a lie.
ASHLEY: Yeah, anybody who says that is--
LAURA: Is super interesting. Hmm. Didn't answer my questions at all.
MARISHA: So what are we supposed to do tonight? Night in Xhorhas, Xhorhaus, Xhorhas.
MARISHA: Xhorhaus is your house.
LAURA: Hey, Yasha?
LAURA: You're definitely redeemable.
ASHLEY: Thank you, Jester. I think so. But I don't know, you just never know for sure.
LAURA: Anybody who plays harp as good as you. (clicks tongue)
ASHLEY: Well, that was just one time. We'll see. I'm going to try to get better, though.
MARISHA: That's a good point, we haven't heard the bone harp and the bone flute together.
TRAVIS: Oh god.
ASHLEY: Should we give it a go?
TALIESIN: I mean, we can.
MARISHA: Maybe, you know, we can make a cocktail, do a little like, you guys do a little jam sesh for us.
LAURA: I'm going to keep Spiritual Weapon up.
ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah. We could practice, you know, for your entrance.
ASHLEY: I'm going to put a fire on.
MARISHA: I'm going to go get the booze!
LIAM: Summoning Frumpkin.
SAM: I'll go over to Caleb. Caleb, before we hear this delightful music, which I'm sure is going to be amazing. Essek seemed okay with you today, right?
LIAM: I don't know.
LAURA: Are you guys hugging as you're having this conversation?
SAM: We're in private and we're spooning.
LIAM: Our legs are in the air.
MATT: God dammit.
SAM: Yeah, our anuses are focused on the sun.
LIAM: There's no sun here. We can't do it.
MARISHA: That's true.
SAM: So this SPF is useless.
LAURA: Moon charge.
TRAVIS: It's all UVB.
TALIESIN: I'm going to use Create Undead on the weasel.
LIAM: We're moon mooning.
SAM: It's been a while since we've seen Essek, and so I don't know.
SAM: Just seemed a little funky back there.
LIAM: Yeah, maybe I caught a whiff of that as well, but I don't know what is bringing it about. We owe him favors.
SAM: We owe him everything.
LIAM: And he has not asked. Worth it, though.
SAM: What do you think-- I have-- I'm a little bit worried.
LIAM: Tell me.
SAM: Something in the way he was behaving when we were at that prison was funny to me. Do you think it would be a terrible idea, because many of my ideas are, if I asked Jester to scry on that prisoner?
LIAM: Well, the prison is pretty well guarded from that sort of thing, and if it weren't, I would agree with you. I want to be wrong so badly, I think I'm just still paranoid, but I have not let my guard down entirely for him. But maybe we are assholes, so.
SAM: That is true. Tanned assholes.
LIAM: Not in these climes.
SAM: You were amazing back there, by the way. It occurs to me that you've walked into that palace, that throne room twice now and offered them a beacon or the promise of a beacon. They must think you are fucking god.
LIAM: She did not look that impressed with me, to be honest.
SAM: She looked pretty impressed. I was impressed.
LIAM: I hope we are doing the right thing. I hope this-- this is our biggest con ever. I hope it pans out.
SAM: Oh yeah.
LIAM: A lot of risk.
SAM: Well, do you have any cotton?
LIAM: I do.
SAM: Can you shove some in my ears?
MARISHA: Shots, shots, shots, get ready for this. (Matt laughing) Shots. Shots, shots.
TRAVIS: What even is this?
MARISHA: It's-- I found it under the sink.
LAURA: This is cleaner.
SAM: All right, let's hear it.
LAURA: Spiritual Weapon!
(crappy beatboxing) (laughter) (Sam vocalizing) (Travis vocalizing) (Laura vocalizing) (Taliesin shouting) (laughter) (Liam cat yowling)
TALIESIN: Is this all, by the way, that it can do?
MATT: Well no, it is a flute in the sense that it has-- there are means you're learning as you're finding it, there are certain places where you can change the key, but the sound is pretty consistent.
TALIESIN: Always going to be a scream.
MATT: Yeah. It's screams of different tonalities. (Taliesin shouting) (laughter) I'd like you all to make performance checks, please.
LIAM: Poor Frumpkin is meowing really loud.
LIAM: Cat howling.
LAURA: Oh, no. (laughing) What'd you roll?
MATT: What'd you get?
LIAM: Frumpkin got a 13.
MATT: This is, um... (sighs) Back when we were young.
TALIESIN: Oh, no.
MATT: They don't do this anymore, I don't think, but every now and then, there would be, like, a day of school in elementary school where they would pass out recorders.
TALIESIN: Yep. (laughter)
MATT: And that first moment any kid in that class got a recorder, it was about 30 seconds of (shrieking) before the teacher had to shut everyone up. This is a grand orchestra of that.
TRAVIS: Yep, yep.
MATT: Echoing throughout the Xhorhaus, peacefully quiet, dark and empty in this little nestled neighborhood in the Gallimaufry district of Rosohna, as we pull back through the windows of the interior soft glow, the lit tree that looms over the house above the entirety of the neighborhood, the epic, muffled, but ever-grating sound of cacophonous, can't even really call it music, emanating through the streets as neighbors walk through the night road, going--
LIAM: It's like "The Burbs."
MATT: And that's where we're going to end tonight's episode.
LIAM: That's when the music teacher brings out his special thermos.
MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.
TRAVIS: His special thermos, yeah.
MATT: We're back. Happy 2020. We missed you guys, missed you guys. We're going to pick this up next Thursday.
TRAVIS: I think I burned about 400 calories when Sam said that Sprinkle was dead. (laughter) Been dead for four weeks. (as Jester) Eat it, eat it! (laughter)
MARISHA: Just stiff.
LIAM: We're going to meet the Tal'Dorei Council and Jester's going to step forward and say, "I have brought you a most special arrow."
TRAVIS: A boomerang. Holy shit. Something in my brain cracked.
MATT: Yep. Yours and Taliesin's.
TALIESIN: I was not okay.
MATT: I haven't seen you break on camera like that in a long time.
TALIESIN: I can't remember the last time I broke on camera like that.
MATT: Yeah, aw.
TALIESIN: Oh. That was rough.
TRAVIS: I couldn't shake it for a while.
MATT: Oh my god. Well, we love you guys very much, have a wonderful week, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.
TRAVIS: Yay, happy 2020!
MATT: Happy 2020!