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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: Hello everyone and welcome to Critical Role: an online show on Twitch where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors roll dice and play Dungeons and Dragons. My name is Matthew Mercer. I'm the Dungeon Master. For returning fans, welcome, and for new folks, prepare. A couple of fun things to announce: first things first, unfortunately we are down a Percy this evening. Our buddy Taliesin picked up a con plague in Alaska this past weekend. He had a great time, but came back very ill and has been trying to get better, and is unable to make the game tonight. Which makes the current storyline a little interesting, but we'll work it out. It's fine. No Mercy Percy is going to have some business he's attending to. Thank the Critters for that. That's an awesome hashtag! So Taliesin, I hope you feel better. We miss you. Next week we continue that arc. Let's see, first and foremost, still every 100 subs we get on the channel we have a giveaway to someone who's active in the chatroom. The winner of that giveaway gets a signed picture of the cast of Critical Role, as well as a signed poster by our amazing artist Kit Buss, who was with us for our last session. Those are both given away to whoever wins that, so keep those subs going. Also, there is currently going around a hashtag: No Shave 'Til 10k. A number of people on the stream are a part of that. All sexes can compete and be a part of this, too. No Shave 'Til 10k. If you want to be a part of that, go ahead and tweet that out. Get that hashtag going and I'll see if I can convince Marisha to let me do that. We'll see. At the very least, for my Halloween costume. All right, so other cool things to talk about: all of tonight's donations are going towards the Extra Life charity. The Extra Life charity is a drive that's part of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. A lot of great people in the community have been supporting this and we're supporting that tonight. So any donations tonight will go to Extra Life. Also over the next two days, we will also be streaming here at Geek and Sundry doing a lot of other charity events for the Extra Life charity drive, including a small DND game– some of us– on Saturday evening with the Vox Moronica crew. So that should be fun. Come check that out! Oh, Dungeons and Dragons, the official Wizards of the Coast folks are also doing their Extra Life stream over the next 48 hours. They're just going to be doing live DND streams as well. So starting tomorrow at noon through Sunday at noon, just constant DND on the Wizards of the Coast stream as well. And all of that is going to be raising money for Extra Life. So you'll have a lot of things to keep you busy this weekend essentially. So there's that. Also, we have New York Comic Con coming up in just a couple of weeks. Excited about that, for all you guys. We have panels on Saturday. Do we have times for those yet?

LIAM: Between 1:00 and 4:00 is when we're doing stuff.

MATT: Yeah, between 1:00 and 4:00. We have about an hour panel in there somewhere and then probably two hours of signings at the event on Saturday. So 1:00 and 4:00! Leave that period of time open. Hang out.

MARISHA: We'll have prints!

MATT: Exactly! And then on Sunday, outside of the convention, because we know a lot of the badges were snatched up before this announcement even happened and a lot of the Critters aren't able to make it to the actual con. On Sunday, we're looking around midday. We don't have a time or location determined yet, but that will be up on Twitter soon. It's going to happen. We're going to have an offsite Critter meetup. Where we're going to all be able to be there, hang out with you guys and catch up, sign stuff, say hi, and have a good time. So watch Twitter. If you don't follow us on Twitter, do it, because we'll have those announcements coming up very soon. So excited about that. Liam, you wanted to announce–

LIAM: Yes! This is the final chance for y'all to jump on Joe Madureira's Kickstarter, Battle Chasers: Nightwar. They have absolutely killed their Kickstarter. They hit their goal, their initial goal about two or three days in, and they have been hitting every single stretch goal they've had. They've got one last mystery stretch goal left to hit. So it's a good time to get in and just get them to the very tippy, tippy top of their campaign, which is about to end. If you guys don't know, really quick, because I've been talking about it for two weeks: Joe Madureira, amazing comic book legend, has drawn everything. It looks like nobody else's and has a good history in game dev as well. Created Darksiders with his company, Vigil Games, that he helped found. And now he has founded Airship Syndicate, and they're making an RPG in the style of JRPGs that you've loved in your lives. But also with Joe's ridonkulous art style. So go get on it.

MATT: Yeah! Thank you, Liam. Orion, you wanted to say something real fast as well.

ORION: Yes. Greetings and salutations, everyone! Last week when Kit was here– Hi Kit, we miss you! We went to It's a Wrap over in Burbank, California. Me and Liam and Laura and Marisha and Kit and her hubby. We were there and saw this robe, and I think Marisha and Laura were like, try it on, and I was like, okay. And I tried it on and was like, oh my god, it was made for me.

MATT: The Tiberius robe you always knew– or didn't know you wanted.

ORION: Yeah, totally, I was like, oh my god, and Liam tweeted a picture about it, and then I was streaming on my stream on Twitch and somebody mentioned the robe. And Michael Bauman– thank you again, I'm going to thank you on Critical Role for– he donated $400, which was the cost of the robe, and then he just wrote in the chat, this is for the robe, so I'm wearing the robe.

LAURA: That's awesome!

ORION: Thank you very much. Thank you so much you guys and all you guys who pitched in and stuff. Thank you.

MATT: We'll find many cool excuses to have that robe be displayed and utilized in many ways. I'm pretty sure he hasn't taken it off since he got it.

LAURA: Yeah, it smells really bad, you guys.

MATT: Awesome! Anybody else have any other announcements before we get this party started?

TRAVIS: I like cheese.

MATT: Travis likes cheese, ladies and gentlemen.

LAURA: That's a good announcement.

MATT: I think so. It was very informative. Thank you, Travis. All right, then. Without further ado, let's go ahead and cut to the intro and then we'll jump right into the next episode of Critical Role.

[dramatic music]

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back! So picking up after the events of last week, to give you guys a little bit of a refresher. After the party had returned from their journey into Vasselheim for quite a few weeks, they discovered upon returning that the illustrious Briarwoods, current owners of Castle Whitestone and overseers of the entire city of Whitestone and sticking point in Percy's background, were coming to Emon to meet for essentially a political banquet with Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei to discuss construction of a bridge. It was a very political endeavor. And the council of Tal'Dorei was invited, including Vox Machina. There was a week of preparation in going into this event to see exactly what the Briarwoods were about. Information was gathered at this banquet. Vax went on his own little adventure into the Briarwoods' room, in which they nearly killed him. (chuckles)

LIAM: Hey, everybody!

MATT: I didn't notice the shirt until now. So yeah, the party rushed out to his aid. Much violence ensued. The Briarwoods eventually escaped through some sort of magical means that was not uncovered. However, they are no longer in the picture. The party was left with a destroyed carriage, a young carriage driver who had his hand shot off by Percy, and was then told to the guards to haul off and bring to their keep to throw into their cell for further questioning. Uriel was eventually drawn out and confused by the sudden chaos and vehemently requested that Vox Machina return the next morning to go over what has transpired. After which, the party during this event had encountered a tiefling by the name of Lillith, who was masquerading as one of the servants within the palace of Tal'Dorei. Aided them in the battle and revealed that she was being hunted by her sisters in a distant land and revealing herself here essentially opened up her physical presence to be pinpointed and then immediately sought and hunted by whoever was after her. The party then brought her back to the keep. They were on the way back before they were encountered by this bounty hunter and a small team of individuals that were coming with him to seek down, capture Lillith, and bring her back to her sisters. The party then defended her in this circumstance, brutally murdering one of them. Sorry, brutally murdering two of them. One of which was then raised and sent off as a present to the sisters by Lillith. One was salvaged, not given an honorable death, and sent to find his way somewhere northwest of Emon. Possibly towards Vasselheim or wherever else he may find his adventure. They then gave Lillith the opportunity to come stay the night to rest in the keep and they all made their way back to Greyskull Keep for the evening. And that was where we left off. So as the evening progresses you all manage to get your rest and gather your thoughts over the rather stressful experience you had the previous evening within the palace. The next morning comes around. You all come to consciousness. Breakfast is prepared by the servants of the keep. As you all wake up, start getting your meals and gathering what you want to do for the day, two individuals have not come down for their meal. Lillith and Percy.

ORION: Good morning, everyone!

SAM: Not everyone. We're missing two. A male and a female.

LAURA: Oh. No.

TRAVIS: You don't think?

LAURA: Percy was upset.

SAM: Maybe he needed some comforting.

ORION: Oh, I see. Are you saying they're having relations?

SAM: I'm not saying that.

LAURA: Perhaps we should check on them?

TRAVIS: We should totally check on them!

SAM: Okay, but if there's a sock or a gun on the doorknob, don't go in.

LAURA: Or a ribbon. She wore a ribbon.

ORION: Well, I was thinking last night, Grog, that we're probably going to be here for a little bit before going anywhere. Do we go anywhere?

LAURA: We have to go see Uriel.

ORION: Who? Oh. Right! Yes! Also, I really want to see Allura. For no particular– actually for very specific reasons. Yes.

TRAVIS: I think he's lying.

ORION: One of them is: I want to pick up one of the Earrings of Telecommunication. It has been finished for quite some time. We just have to go to where she resides to pick it up. Then one of us could have another one.

LIAM: That robe just takes it to a whole new level!

LAURA: Yeah, it really does.

ORION: I feel so good.

LIAM: I'm somewhat entranced.

ORION: I'm telling you, it's helping, too.

TRAVIS: Do I feel a little tingle from my belt? And can I roll for a beard check?

SAM: Oh, beard check?

TRAVIS: Six. Two.

MATT: You wake up, realizing that the morning has transpired. You reach up and grab. And what you guys notice as he comes up is there is a dark charcoal smear across one side of his face where facial hair would once be, to match the other side that is currently beautiful, coiffed and shining in the dapples of morning light that come through the keep window.

TRAVIS: You know the remedy for it, you just turn your face in the looking glass.

LAURA: Yeah, from this angle you look amazing Grog.

TRAVIS: My god, I'm so handsome. Right? And then just horror. Sheer horror.

ORION: (poof) A little dust and fix that for him.

LAURA: Oh, so it looks normal again? I like it! Yeah. Beautiful. Don't touch it.

MATT: The color's a little off, but it looks better than not having it.

MARISHA: In my head you're like those Mr. Wooly magnetic toys when you're a kid.

TRAVIS: I would shave it and get it even, but let's be honest, given history, it's going to take care of itself soon enough. These things don't live very long.

LAURA: I'm going to go upstairs and see if our guest, Lillith, is all right. I don't want to disturb Percy just yet.

MATT: All right. You head to the guest room. You have one guest room upstairs that was among the rest of the rooms that you guys had constructed.

TRAVIS: (singing) They're going to be getting it on!

MATT: You knock on the door. A moment passes. No response.

LAURA: Lillith? Are you with Percy? Lillith?

MATT: You knock a second time and the door (creaks) opens a little bit. It has not really been locked or closed.

LAURA: I peek my head in.

MATT: You peek in and look.

TRAVIS: Did you check for traps?

MATT: Roll a– no, I'm kidding.

(laughter)

LAURA: Damn it!

MATT: Already off! No. As you peek into the room, the lights are dimmed. What little bit of candles are in there are already down. Glancing in, the sheets are clean and set, the bed's been made, and there is a small piece of parchment that is folded on the edge of the bed.

LAURA: Go and read it.

MATT: Read it? It reads, “Vox Machina, thank you all for your hospitality and protection through this past evening. I would stay, but the longer I remain, the more danger I am in, and as such, put all of you in as well. I shall travel across the Ozmit Sea to seek the guidance of my cousin Zahra, in hopes of finally getting out from under my sisters' baneful gaze. Nevertheless, I wish you all the finest of journeys, and I hope we meet again soon. Lillith.”

LAURA: She's so cute.

MARISHA: I liked her bow. It was cute.

LAURA: I tell everyone that she's gone. Gone.

TRAVIS: No, she's in Percy's room! Scanlan, let's go see if he's banging!

SAM: All right, let's go!

(laughter)

MATT: You run up and Percy's room is– the door is already partially ajar.

TRAVIS: (boom)

MATT: It bursts open. (wham) Slams on the side of the door, looking in the room. He's not there, is the first thing you notice. However, what you do see are a series of different books of sketches and designs and half-concocted blueprints for different things are crumpled and torn across the room. The bedsheets are thrown off the bed. It looks like the room has been continuously tossed through some sort of frenzied action, either seeking something or just out of emotional frustration. This room is left in far more disarray than you're used to seeing true to Percy's character.

SAM: My god, Grog. Percy's a hoarder.

TRAVIS: Right.

SAM: Or he's in serious distress.

TRAVIS: I think it's the previous.

SAM: The hoarder?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Probably.

SAM: We must find him, don't you think? Our friend's in trouble. I proceed down to his tinkering lab. Doesn't he have some sort of lab downstairs?

TRAVIS: My room's like shit, and I'm not in trouble.

SAM: Well, that goes with your character.

MATT: Yeah. You head down to the basement area, and to the right is the cell, to the left is the workshop. The workshop door is currently closed. There is a small slider eye vent where you can peek through.

SAM: Can I reach the eye vent?

MATT: You can if you leap hard enough and catch it on the edge.

TRAVIS: I boost him up.

MATT: Okay. Looking inside, you can see, the forge is aglow. You hear the tangs of metal being hammered against the anvil, and you can see the form of Percy framed against the backlighting of the forge. He's feverishly working away on some sort of project.

TRAVIS: Is he naked?

SAM: No, he's working too hard. Maybe we should just leave him be. Seems focused, driven, like a madman.

TRAVIS: Oh. I get it. Like a madman?

SAM: I don't think you do.

MATT: At which point a voice rings out from across the room: Percy unmoving, still continuing his work, shouts over his shoulder, “Please, leave me be. I have a lot to think about right now.”

SAM: Would you like a meal brought down?

MATT: “I'm fine. Thank you. Really. I need some time.”

SAM: All right. If you're making things, a little ladder for the little perch here might be nice. Just in the future! But not now. That seems low priority.

MATT: He stops his banging, walks over and scribbles something on a paper, then goes back to banging. “Noted.” (clanging)

TRAVIS: I drop Scanlan and I lean in and I go, beware the water! It burns!

MATT: “Yes. Yes, it does, Grog. Good boy.”

SAM: All right. So we go back up. Tell the fellows, Percy's in a mood. He's creating right now. I think we should just leave him be.

LAURA: Understandable.

LIAM: Let him get it out of his system.

MARISHA: I'm really worried about him.

SAM: Yes.

ORION: Matthew? Rolling– 12. I'm just trying to teach my pet something but I rolled a 12.

MATT: For?

ORION: Oh, I want it to follow. To follow.

MATT: To follow. Okay. You gather, based on the recent intensity of trying to teach things to Lockheed over the past week. You succeed in a few. There is a bit of balking frustration that perhaps you've overstepped a little bit, and Lockheed feels maybe there's less of a friendship here more than a real master-servant relationship, at least in this moment, and does not seem to be receptive to your attempt.

ORION: He's in a mood, also. Why is everybody in a mood today?

SAM: I know. Percy's hate-smelting downstairs.

LAURA: Percy has good reason to hate-smelt. He seems rather disturbed that the Briarwoods got away.

SAM: Yes. I feel responsible.

MARISHA: Out of curiosity, did anyone else hear him– did anyone else just happen to hear what he said in that fight last night?

LAURA: I was a little bit preoccupied by watching him shoot a servant boy over and over and over again.

MARISHA: It was after that, actually.

LAURA: What did he say?

MARISHA: Never mind.

SAM: What? No, spit it out. What did he say? It seems important.

MARISHA: It's hard to say. You know Percy. I don't know where he gets these lines.

SAM: Is it fuck? Is it shit?

TRAVIS: Cock! Bulls! Dong! Wang!

LIAM: Steampunk!

MARISHA: Jeez. Okay.

TRAVIS: Donkey wang!

MARISHA: This is getting really off subject.

ORION: I'm going to go down to my laboratory.

LAURA: What did he say?

MARISHA: It was when he was screaming the cluster of things as he was shooting that mercenary in the face, and he said, “What are you doing? You have no reason to be here. Your soul is now forfeit.” Really, that last part is the most important one. The first stuff is fairly average. But yeah, “Your soul is now forfeit.”

TRAVIS: It's a good line.

LAURA: It's a really good line.

SAM: Thought he was just trash-talking. You think there's more to it?

MARISHA: I thought it was maybe a line and then it seemed really aggressive and strong and specific, so it made me think a lot. I don't know.

LAURA: Did you ask him about it at all?

MARISHA: We haven't seen him since that happened.

TRAVIS: What do you think?

LAURA: What, do you think his Pepperbox is– what?

MARISHA: I think he's not telling us everything, that's for sure.

SAM: Well, we all have some secrets.

MARISHA: Yeah. But screaming, “Your soul is now forfeit?” That's not a secret. That's saying you peed the bed when you were a kid.

LIAM: I worry, too, but he did lose his entire family.

LAURA: He did pee the bed when he was a kid.

MARISHA: Oh, really?

LIAM: I am assuming. But he lost his entire family to those people.

MARISHA: Sure. But he wasn't screaming this at the Briarwoods. He was screaming this at a random mercenary.

LAURA: Well?

MARISHA: What does that mean?

TRAVIS: Maybe his soul is forfeit.

MARISHA: To what?

TRAVIS: Death?

LAURA: Maybe we keep an eye on Percy.

SAM: That's a fair point, though. We'll keep an eye on him. He seems to be in a fragile state right now.

LAURA: Percy's not the one who killed a poor old woman, though.

SAM: Did we kill her? I thought we just made her sleep and then walked away.

TRAVIS: Nope. No. Total massacre.

LAURA: Tiberius destroyed her.

SAM: Tiberius, you killed an old woman?

ORION: I'm not there.

MARISHA: Yeah, that's actually another thing I wanted to talk about. That was also really intense. You know, I get it. It was a hard day. It was a hard day, and we tend to get a little aggressive sometimes after hard days. We've all been there. But he didn't just murder an old woman. He chainsawed her. A sleeping, unconscious woman.

TRAVIS: It was pretty great!

SAM: Are you saying that we should take it down a notch? Or maybe not brutally destroy the bad guys?

MARISHA: You also were the only other one who seemed to be confused as to what was going on.

LAURA: I shot her. I shot her in the back. Let's be honest. I didn't chainsaw her, but I did shoot her in the back as she was running away.

SAM: I made her go to sleep. That was peaceful.

MARISHA: That's what I'm saying. That was good. That was nice.

LAURA: I was aiming for her shoulder, if it makes any difference.

TRAVIS: She did have that sweet little run, which was so cute.

SAM: Are you taking moral exception to some of our behavior?

MARISHA: That might exactly be what I'm saying. Man, you see this is why I like you, Scanlan. You're so much better at the words than me. I don't think I even knew that's what I felt until you said it just now.

SAM: Well, this is something perhaps you should pray on and think on. If there's something you'd like us to change about our behavior, we can consider that. We're all friends. We're allies here. We should pay respect to you.

MARISHA: I just don't want us to–

LIAM: It's a fair point. We don't want to be corrupted by the very evil that we mean to stamp out in this world. She was trying to kill us. But your point is taken.

MARISHA: She was a really old woman.

LIAM: But she wasn't the secretary. She was trying to kill.

MARISHA: Sure. But she was unconscious.

TRAVIS: She actually didn't do anything, either.

MARISHA: Yeah, she didn't really do anything at all.

TRAVIS: She could have been taking notes.

LAURA: She had a wand!

MARISHA: I'm not saying she wasn't a threat and I'm not saying we shouldn't handle threats. I'm saying maybe we shouldn't dissect a woman with a spinning Krull blade who's sleeping on the ground. Defenseless, running away. She was fleeing.

SAM: All right. You know, this is constructive criticism, and we'll take it as such. And I, for one, will maybe not desecrate and denigrate bodies.

LAURA: Just beds! And temples. (laughs)

LIAM: I don't know! I mean, I see what Keyleth's saying, but I don't really want to cramp your style, Scanlan.

SAM: Oh, I'll shit on things. Maybe not people.

LIAM: We're like the A-Team, and that's your specialty. I don't really want to– See, you should just shit when you feel the urge.

LAURA: What time is it? Do we need to be getting to Uriel?

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, what time is it?

MATT: At this point, it's probably pushing on 11 am, close to noon.

LAURA: We should probably be getting to the palace.

MATT: Tiberius, what did you say you were doing down there? What did you say you were doing down in your laboratory?

ORION: Well, I was doing my research on that stuff last night and this morning.

MATT: Your which one?

ORION: It's just my ability because of my class. I do the backstory.

MATT: Your backstory is?

ORION: I am a noble sage.

MATT: Well, there's a noble and there's a sage.

ORION: Yeah, I know, and I spliced them because it made sense. No. The noble part is the RP. The sage is the perk.

MATT: Okay. Gotcha. That's good to know. All right.

ORION: And I was writing down the sigil to the keep. That's completed.

MATT: Okay. So the sigil is there for you. All right. And so as the sage– All right. Okay. So yeah. Not difficult to research. There are a number of books. They're older books and things that were installed as part of the construction of this laboratory for you, and information that you have gathered since. There are various bestiaries and gatherings of information about the dangerous denizens in the countryside around you, and it is a very dangerous place outside of the few points of civilized society that has built up its own defenses. Throughout the evening and the morning, you've managed to find eventually a piece that talks about various undead entities and the process of undeath, and necromantic magics that have been perverted throughout the generations to defy the natural cycle of life. You do come across an entry about vampirism. It is extremely rare and was largely thought abolished close to 200 years ago. There are very rare whispers of any sort of cases out there, and usually as soon as something comes to any sort of public knowledge, large mobs gather and whoever was infected with this horrible state was hunted down and killed. What you do learn from this is religious symbology, while classically thought to have an effect on people afflicted with vampirism, actually has no effect. It's more of a superstition, but does not actually have any negative impact on the individual. However, certain things that do render a vampire easier to destroy: the presence of sunlight. Anything that counts as sunlight can damage them progressively the longer they're in it, prevent them from restoring their health, and ultimately destroy them and turn them to ash, should they be brought to the brink of death in the presence of sunlight. Also, very quickly and consistently rushing water. Being held into a rushing stream or under a waterfall would have a similar effect to sunlight. You do also know the stake in the heart is also considered to be a way to destroy them. It does not actually destroy them, but it does render them paralyzed and has to be done when they're in their resting place, within their coffin and/or the dirt that is considered their resting location. Usually that is the beginning step: to find and locate where the vampire is resting, stake in the heart, and then carry the body to sunlight or rushing water. And that's how they're permanently destroyed. You also find out that if a vampire is thought to be killed under any other circumstances, the body turns to mist and is nigh invulnerable and eventually finds its way back to wherever they've hidden their resting place to recover within a very short period of time, making them extremely dangerous, unless you have the right situation, the right conditions, to bring them to that point. So that information is now at your disposal.

ORION: Wonderful.

TRAVIS: Do you want to tell us what you've learned?

ORION: I did it right this time! Knowing that, I take some files and– I want to check if I can– Nope. I can't do anything yet. That's it. I'm going to go upstairs.

MATT: Okay. So as you guys have gathered the time and what you might be, going forward, doing for the rest of the day, Tiberius comes upstairs with a bit of a smile and an air of confidence.

LAURA: Oh good, you're back.

LIAM: Tibs, we were just discussing the future of the group and the direction we've been taking. And a point was introduced that maybe perhaps, we started as a sort of a– mercenary group is a bit strong– but this alliance we have formed out of convenience. We all needed to eat. But now that we're at the stature we are, in a keep, in Emon. Friends to the emperor. We want to figure out what we're doing here. Do we want to be just powerful badasses who walk around getting what they want, or are we trying to enact some positive change in this world?

ORION: Yes, absolutely. That's what my items are for. I've only found one of them. There are still three or four, if they even exist out there. There are countless things to go and venture forth and explore.

TRAVIS: What? Your items?

ORION: The artifacts, the Ring of Boros, the old hag. That is the next step in my quest. She told us it would be in the Feywood. Right?

MATT: Feywild. Close. Researcher.

ORION: That is where we need to go. But that's why we ran into her in Vasselheim, and she wouldn't tell me anything more.

MARISHA: How do you plan to use your items? For better good in the world?

ORION: Well, you've seen how I've used my Mending Wheel. Countless ways.

TRAVIS: Yeah, thank you. You healed my cask. I'll always be grateful.

ORION: Moreover, it would prove to the council that all of the things that I went on this journey for to begin with, it was true. Or for naught. And really, to gain the respect of my father and everyone else. You don't know how hard it is to be a chromatic dragon in a metallic world! It's not easy.

LIAM: Well, there's no question that you are an invaluable member of Vox Machina, and our friend, and our family. And that is not in question.

ORION: Of course. Which is why I have pledged my loyalty to you all. And I need your strength, as well. There is no way I could accomplish in my mission alone. I mean, Grog, when I ran into you in that one bar. How many men were you beating up? I counted eight, if I recall.

TRAVIS: I think that sounds right.

SAM: He can't count.

TRAVIS: It's that many.

ORION: Here was this brute who I would have ran away from, but here you were, and I found you to be rather charming. I figured, well, that's some good company to keep, rather. And then I met the rest of you, and look where we are now!

LAURA: Yes. Tiberius, the point of this is you killed an old woman last night, very brutally. Please maybe don't do that again.

ORION: She felt nothing, but of course. And I was giving my new Krull blade a good old try.

LAURA: Yes, you were. Maybe not on sleeping people anymore. People who are actually attacking us.

ORION: She was– okay, fine.

LIAM: Well, I think the point is your abilities in arcane wonder are expanding daily. Exponentially. And perhaps be a little tentative. Do a little practice run in the woods on your own, once in a while, and see what the effects are before you go whipping it out.

ORION: Are there woods nearby?

SAM: This is an intervention. We love you very much, but you killed an old lady.

TRAVIS: I like the way you kill people.

ORION: Well, yes.

LAURA: We're all on the up and up now, right?

ORION: One raises a hand to me or Vox Machina, they are going to die.

TRAVIS: Yeah! Yeah, they are!

ORION: It is simple. I do not know why this is a discussion. I won't be as cruel–

MARISHA: You know, she didn't even really do anything. She was really old.

LAURA: She was attacking us.

LIAM: Keyleth.

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: Clearly, we all love you as family, and nobody blames you, but you once killed a child, and none of us blame you for that.

TRAVIS: Is it too early to start drinking? I pull out the cask of ale.

LIAM: And that happened in the heat of battle.

MARISHA: You know, I'm really sensitive about that, Vax. I'm really sensitive about that, Vax!

LIAM: I'm well aware.

MARISHA: And that was different.

LAURA: It was an accident!

MARISHA: That was pretty fucking deliberate, what he did.

ORION: Yes, to someone who was opposing us. That was a child who was innocent. Or was he opposing us, too? I don't remember, actually.

LIAM: And it all falls apart.

MARISHA: He was being puppeted by sorcerer Michael Jackson.

LIAM: No one agrees with you today more than I, and I think we can adjust our perspective slightly. Right, Grog?

TRAVIS: What's the word?

LIAM: See?

SAM: Kill softer.

ORION: I'll show you how. You just have to do it really slow.

LAURA: Uriel's waiting for us.

SAM: Let's table this. We'll stick a pin in this discussion. We'll all be thinking long and hard about this.

LAURA: Keyleth, it wasn't intentional and everybody knows that.

LIAM: Absolutely. Not intentional. No.

MARISHA: I turn into Minxie and start walking.

TRAVIS: Minxie! I go and give a little scratch behind the ears.

MATT: You guys gather and make your way into the city of Emon proper.

LAURA: Actually, before we head towards Uriel, we probably should– do we have any sort of proof that the Briarwoods actually did horrible things and it wasn't us attacking them?

LIAM: Well, I've got these little scars right here.

MATT: The scars are still there. They're still wounds that are healing.

LAURA: All right. Cool. Just making sure that we had something.

LIAM: And then there was what's-his-name, Awesome Pants, who was there.

LAURA: Seeker Asum.

ORION: Allura saw everything, as well.

SAM: Did she see the fight?

LAURA: Allura didn't see the fight.

LIAM: We know she knows what's up, but whether she can be used as a reliable witness is– we've got multiple witnesses.

SAM: There were those guards, too. There was guards outside the door.

LIAM: They were incinerated.

SAM: Oh yeah.

LAURA: Plus, they were the Briarwoods' guards, anyway.

ORION: One of them was still alive. I didn't kill both of them.

LAURA: He went away with the Briarwoods, I'm going to assume.

TRAVIS: What a dick! We go to see Uriel.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I made a choice for the team!

(laughter)

MATT: As you're having this discussion, all of you make your way into the city of Emon, across the districts to the Cloudtop. You're greeted and let within the gate into the central district there. You make your way to the palace of Tal'Dorei, through the front doors. The guards that are there lead you in and one of them says, “Uriel is waiting within the throne chamber.” You guys are led down the main hallway into the very center of the palace.

MARISHA: I come out of Minxie.

MATT: The nervous guard, thankfully, puts his weapon away and is like, “Oh! Lady Keyleth, my apologies.” And puts his spear to the side.

LAURA: Trinket's still here, though.

LIAM: I buzz over to that specific guard and say, do you have a lost and found here? I have this really badass serpent-style belt. Sometimes it crawls around on its own. Sometimes it's just a belt. And I lost it here the other night. And I'm really hoping– I mean, it ties everything together. Is there anyone I can check with?

MATT: “Check back after you've spoken with the Sovereign, please. Thank you.” Leads you guys on. As you head down the main hallway– and you recall this hallway. This was a long, dangerous trek the first time you came to the palace. This was where Uriel's family was possessed. This is where you had your battle with the glabrezu. This is where Pike was slain. This is where you had to pull the shadows from the bodies of his family. This is a very emotional place that you really haven't been to since that sequence of events. Walking in already has this tenuous state of low-simmering energy. As you're brought into the main chamber, you can see there is the dual thrones for Uriel and his wife. His wife is not present; his family is not present, just Uriel sitting on the throne. There are a few guards on the different entrances to the room. As you walk in, Uriel just sits there on the throne and gives you acknowledgment and ushers you into the room. You all step in. Trinket behind you keeping an eye out. Like a bear is wont to do. You guys make your way up towards the very edge of the central raised dais where the thrones are currently set up on. You now see on the opposite side of the room, Seeker Asum and Allura walk in, as well as Arbiter Brom, who is the cleric that is the Master of Law in the city. They walk up and flank the sides of the throne, stepping back a little bit to not gather all the attention, but definitely be there as a show of support. As they enter, the doors on the other side of the room and the door behind you open, and roughly 30 guards enter the chamber quietly. They all filter in, blocking all the exits. The doors close. No weapons are drawn, but there is a very strong showing of muscle in this room that you weren't expecting for this meeting. Once all the guards are settled and a really awkward silence hits the room, Uriel stands up from the throne and looks upon you. Pacing slightly, back and forth. “Thank you all for joining me. I must say, I am troubled by recent events, and I wish to speak to you regarding them before taking any action. I owe you that much for all you've done for me. Before you left for Vasselheim, you showed immediate interest in the Briarwoods. Percy in– Where is Percival?”

SAM: Well, he's not feeling well today after the events of last night, so he stayed behind.

MATT: “Well, then please relay this conversation to him as soon as you see him. You exhibited interest in the Briarwoods before leaving for Vasselheim. I, through trust, did not inquire as to why. But upon your return, eagerly told you they were coming to this feast and invited you as part of the Council of Tal'Dorei to join this feast, as it was your request. I graciously followed through. You showed up. A meal was had. Questions were asked, although curious ones; I did not pry. Now I have since been notified, and seen a bit of the aftermath, that you, Vox Machina, seemingly attacked our guests shortly– please. Listen. Attacked our guests shortly after the meal in their own guest quarters. Forcing them to flee, after you destroyed the hallway, ruined their carriage, murdered two of their guards, two more outside, and leaving Seeker Asum to witness this entire process.” Asum gives a nod. “You then tortured their carriage driver, requested he be sent to the dungeon beneath your keep. And upon my sentries returning from Greyskull to deliver him, they find a freshly murdered old woman not far behind the path you took. Not long after, Seeker Asum found me and corroborated most of this unexpected, violent behavior. I then asked Arbiter Brom here to divine the nature of this murder. And through his divine sight, through the goddess Ioun, comes to tell me it was none other than you, Tiberius, that slaughtered this elderly woman while she slept.”

ORION: Yes!

MATT: “Now, I am quite disturbed by the events of these past 14 hours, and I would like to hear an explanation. Arbiter, if you could please, prepare the space.” Arbiter Brom steps forward and pulls forth from underneath his robes a necklace that contains a holy symbol. The same symbol you saw across the temple beneath the Slayer's Take, an eye-like inscription of the god Ioun. Brom grasps it, looks about you all, and prepares this slight hand gesture, and you feel a slight tingle across the skin that lasts a few seconds.

MARISHA: Can I recognize the spell he's casting?

MATT: I'll say go ahead and make a– this would be a religion check.

MARISHA: He's doing a cleric thing, yeah? Seven.

MATT: All right. Unable to ascertain the nature. However, the incantation completes. No seeming noticeable effect. Brom nods and steps back in the line of the thrones. I want all of you guys to roll charisma saving throws.

MARISHA: Son of a bitch. Always a problem.

ORION: 19.

MARISHA: 11.

SAM: I get advantage, and I rolled a 27.

MATT: (laughs) Okay. Bards.

LIAM: 19.

LAURA: 13.

TRAVIS: 18.

MATT: All right. Good to know. Uriel then looks to the rest of you. “So. I've said my piece for the moment. Explain.”

LIAM: I step forward.

MARISHA: Can I do a quick insight check on Asum to see if I can still recognize if he's still affected by the mind-control thing?

MATT: Go ahead and make an insight check, sure.

MARISHA: Ooh yeah! 28.

MATT: Glancing at Asum, the way he's looking at you and the general tension and feeling of the room, you gather that Asum is not his normal self completely. You step forward.

LIAM: Uriel. With all respect, I needn't remind you what the group of people before you put themselves through on your behalf and your family's behalf. We almost lost one of our own. And if that counts for nothing here, then nothing makes sense. But if that is not enough, let us start here.

ORION: The Briarwoods are vampires. And that old lady, who was a butthole by the way, was with this demonoid person who we had to fight as well.

LIAM: One thing at a time. That's true, but one thing at a time. We had prior knowledge of the Briarwoods' intentions before this evening. And I myself went to spy on them.

LAURA: Here's the thing. Percy doesn't like them because they killed his family. They took over his home, after killing his family. He got away. He knows they're scary. We're trying to protect you.

ORION: So the point is, we all know how dangerous it is that the knowledge of vampire existence and the spreading of those vile creatures. And now we know they do exist. So however the means that that came about is neither here nor there. We know where they are.

TRAVIS: And if you're wondering how we know they're vampires– (whispering) Vax, this is your cue.

LIAM: I will subject myself to any test, to any wizard or mage in this city who you know can ascertain the truth. To look through my eyes, to see my memories. I don't know shit about magic, but there are people who do.

SAM: Cleric Tristan also treated him last night for his vampire-inflicted wound. I know this all looks really bad on the surface, and we did not want to cause any disturbance within these hallowed walls, but there was a danger, we acted. Perhaps too abruptly and without telling you.

LAURA: We tried to get your attention. I called for you immediately. As soon as we knew there was danger.

LIAM: And don't take our word for it. Anyone, have them look in here.

ORION: Actually, you take a Stormwind's word for–

MATT: “Silence! Silence. You're in my court now, Stormwind. You put so much weight upon this trust, and you have done a good service. But also I've heard whispers that you've thrown this trust around in many circles. Remember, we held a parade in your honor; we spread the word of the good deeds you've done. We, at our own costs of Emon, built you a keep, a home, at great expense, to show thanks. And also, I believed, upon allowing you to join the council, put us square. I owe you nothing. Just as you owe me nothing.”

LIAM: Do you not want the truth?

MATT: “I want the truth, but I also want you to understand the stakes that are here and why there is this question. As the leader of this– not this city, but this entire countryside, I have to be sure, and this is not the first time I have been lied to by very close, trusted people, so I have to be thorough.”

LIAM: This is why I offer myself completely into your control and put myself under your supervision and any user of the arcane arts you want to peer inside my mind, let them step up to the plate, because I have nothing to hide.

LAURA: Also, while you are inquiring about him, you might inquire about Seeker Asum.

SAM: If you're worried about lies within your own ranks, I think you should start with him.

MARISHA: In fact, I actually might be able to help Seeker Asum, if you will allow me to.

SAM: Help him?

MATT: You glance over at Asum, and Asum gives a look to Uriel and Uriel–

LAURA: He was mind-controlled last night.

MATT: “I have had Asum at my side for the better part of 15 years. He is responsible, far more than your merry band has ever attempted, for keeping and maintaining the good and lawful state of this country.”

LIAM: Uriel, your own family was not themselves! And you know that! Look into my mind! Now! Today! You don't need to guess anything.

MATT: “It would also do you well to show respect. We are speaking, half-elf. Now, I would assign Allura to such an endeavor. However, it has also been noticed that she has grown quite friendly and attached to your group, and in this circumstance, there is question. So you will be, in a few days, assigned an individual to this ritual of which you are presenting yourself.”

MARISHA: Uriel, please–

MATT: “Shh. The Briarwoods, regardless of what you may think they may be, or we do– that will show in time– have shown nothing over the past five years but graciousness, and gone through all proper channels to establish this relationship between our city and theirs. Far more than the previous family ever attempted.”

LIAM: Well, one may smile and smile and still be a villain.

MATT: “That goes both ways. Now, please.”

MARISHA: Just let me do a quick restoration spell on Asum. If nothing is wrong with him, nothing will happen. It's harmless. It's like taking medicine when you're not sick. It can't hurt. And if I am wrong, then we can continue on. We can have Vax tested. Please, it'll take ten minutes. What can it hurt?

LAURA: Up until last night, he was himself. Trust us that now he is not.

MARISHA: He came to us.

MATT: “There has been nothing about his behavior, at all, to insinuate any change of anything of the sort. And I have known the man for quite some time, before I even took this throne. However, I will, in the good graces and the relationship we forged, allow this. Asum, are you all right with this?” Asum gives a nod. "Well, if this is to be how it is. Certainly.” And he steps forward. The halfling approaches you, looking you in the face. All right. You would like to attempt your Greater Restoration spell?

MARISHA: First, I meditate for a second, and I cast Enhance Ability on myself.

MATT: As a note, as you begin casting, you notice the guards all go for their weapons and ready themselves, uncertain of what's about to transpire. There is a tension in the room based on what this is going to be.

MARISHA: Can I get some meditation music, Scanlan?

SAM: Oh! (chanting)

MATT: All right. So first you cast Enhance Ability on yourself.

MARISHA: Am I maybe inspired by that?

MATT: Sure. In the tension of the room, this slow droning hum of the gnome, which you can notice some of the guards look at each other, confused. And Asum puts his hand up like, hold off.

LIAM: It's Tuvan throat singing.

MATT: All right. So first you cast Enhance Ability on your–

MARISHA: Self.

SAM: What ability?

MARISHA: To enhance wisdom? Wisdom.

MATT: Okay. You reach out with Greater Restoration. You complete the ritual. You touch onto the arms of Asum. It fades, and you see in his eyes there's a moment of clarity and an inhale. A slight gasp, like some realization hits him and his expression changes and looks towards you and just goes– He puts his hands out like this for a moment, just trying to almost tell you something. Go ahead and make a wisdom check. Just a d20. Or no, make an insight. Make a straight insight. This is more of an insight roll here.

MARISHA: Okay. Oh! 29.

MATT: You get the sense through the subtlety of physical motion and expression, Asum is telling you, just go with me on this. He steps back into the place next to the throne. There's a brief moment of pause. Uriel says, “And, Asum?” Asum goes, “My stance has not changed. I know not what she is attempting or thought the situation was, but it appears to me that this was either misinformation or at least at the time being, hopefully, not a lie. But I believe Brom has taken care of that, yes?” And Brom gives a nod. “I certainly have hoped to.” Uriel goes, “Hm. All right. Here's the circumstance: as it stands, I fear I must revoke Vox Machina's membership in the council of Tal'Dorei until further notice, for the safety of our countryside and the current tension in our relationship.”

SAM: Objection! That's it. I just wanted to say that. Please continue. I just want it noted that we object strongly to this.

MATT: “I understand. And this will only continue until all of our investigations are complete.”

SAM: Are we still allowed free rein to roam about as we please? Are we under arrest for anything?

MATT: “You are not under arrest. You are revoked from the council, and you will be closely watched until our investigations are complete.”

LAURA: How long will your investigations take?

MATT: He looks back to Asum and Asum says, “Well, depends on how quickly we can acquire the information; it could be weeks. I'll do my best to make it thorough and quick.”

LAURA: Are we allowed to leave the city in that time?

MATT: Uriel looks back and says, “You may leave if you wish. Know that there have been precautions taken. Should you attempt to flee, we will find you.”

LIAM: And when are you to look into my mind?

LAURA: Weirdo!

(laughter)

LIAM: It freaking ends here. Right away.

TRAVIS: Can you read my mind?

LIAM: There is no spoon.

MATT: “We ought to speak to the Lyceum to find a proper individual of sufficient power and trust to do this, as Allura right now is being kept out of the scenario.”

SAM: Are we allowed to speak with Allura?

MATT: “If you wish. Outside of these chambers. Do what you must to clear your name. I would like very much for this all to be true, what you're saying. But do not flee. Do not give an inclination that you attempt to escape this judgment, for we will take that as a sign of guilt.”

LIAM: We've no intention of going anywhere.

MATT: “Should we conclude that your actions were beyond reason and the moral fiber of this council before your return, we will have no choice to put a bounty on your heads, should you not return. I really, really do not wish to do this. Do not make me do this.”

ORION: I stand up. “No need for threats, friend. Are we done here?”

MATT: “I want to believe you all. I ask you, show that my trust has not been misplaced all this time. Now, you may leave.”

SAM: I look forward to the second parade you'll throw for us after our names are cleared.

MATT: “Very well.”

TRAVIS: I turn to the guards that were grabbing at their weapons and I flex real fast at them and then I walk.

MATT: Four of them go, (yelps).

TRAVIS: Bitch!

(laughter)

MATT: As you guys go back out the doors that you entered, the guards now a little closely following as you exit, leading you out of the palace, down the front steps, and essentially stand at the front of the palace gates.

LIAM: I'm sorry. I was just talking to one of your friends. Have you seen a belt that is shaped like a snake? Sometimes it moves around on its own. And it answers to the name Simon, but usually it's just a belt and looks really cool. Have you seen it? Is there a lost and found I can check out? It's very dear to me.

MATT: The guard just looks for a second and goes, “I think you've got more important matters to deal with before you go looking for a belt, sir.”

LIAM: Where's that other guy? He was more receptive to this. Do I see that other guy?

LAURA: Darling. Seriously.

MATT: The guards all turn around and start ascending the stairs.

LIAM: It's on all the fan art. It really makes sense to have it on me.

MATT: They don't appear to be listening.

LIAM: Keep an eye out for it. 100 gold to any chap who finds it and holds onto it for me.

MATT: Two of them stop in their step for a second and then keep walking.

LIAM: I'm a nice guy!

(laughter)

MATT: Go ahead and make a persuasion roll.

TRAVIS: You're going to get six belts thrown at you.

LIAM: That's terrible. Six.

MATT: It was a brief pause. But also. A brief pause.

LAURA: You have a two in persuasion? Oh wow.

SAM: We'll break in tonight and find it.

TRAVIS: Could we wait outside for Allura?

LIAM: I'll risk it all.

MATT: All right. So you are now currently there in the cobblestone street of the Cloudtop District, removed from the Council of Tal'Dorei and left in this interesting circumstance.

SAM: Keyleth, what happened? Your magic didn't work?

MARISHA: No, it worked.

LAURA: What happened?

SAM: But Asum lied.

ORION: He gave her a magic winky face.

MARISHA: Yeah, essentially. Yeah. He gave me like a–

LAURA: What does that mean? Does that mean Uriel's under their control? I don't understand.

LIAM: Is he playing some sort of long game here?

SAM: It must mean that we have something to fear from Uriel. Or someone else close.

MARISHA: I don't know who to trust anymore, to be totally honest.

TRAVIS: Really?

MARISHA: It worked. I could feel it break. It worked, and he's got some sort of long game. I don't know if it's because he doesn't want Uriel to know, for whatever reason. I don't know if it's because he has some deeper, ulterior motive.

LAURA: Do you think he was faking that he was healed, and maybe he wasn't?

TRAVIS: Or maybe we have to bring proof of their vampirism back?

MARISHA: No.

TRAVIS: Oh.

MARISHA: Wait. No to Vex. What was your question?

TRAVIS: To bring back proof of them being vampires.

SAM: Proof would help. Hey! Don't we have a prisoner? Can't we question the prisoner?

LAURA: Is he bleeding out? What if he's dead? We're so screwed!

MARISHA: I made sure.

LAURA: Yeah, the guy that Percy shot the hand off of.

MARISHA: I cauterized his wounds, remember?

SAM: We should question him. He could have proof.

LAURA: Oh shit! I hope everything's okay.

ORION: Wait a minute! I really need to go to Allura. She's our best interest right now.

SAM: We get it! You want her body. Now's not the time.

ORION: It is beyond that. There are several reasons to go. We need to get the Earring of Telescription. I need her to enchant something for me, too. As well as the fact I fear that our keep may be in danger. I would like to ask her if she may be able to set up a warding spell for–

LAURA: Can you go get her and bring her to the keep? I need to find out if this boy is all right.

MARISHA: Well, we can split up. I can go with you.

MATT: As you guys are having this discussion, the palace doors open and you hear the quick footsteps of Allura, rushing from the palace now, running towards you guys.

LAURA: Saving the day. Again.

MARISHA: Wait, she's coming out of the palace?

MATT: She's coming out of the palace, behind you guys. Like after the council had just closed. The meeting had finished. She basically gave chase to you guys and is now catching up to you on the street.

SAM: What the shit happened in there?

MARISHA: We were just talking about you!

MATT: “Everyone– I don't fully know what happened last night, and–” She looks to you, Tiberius, and says, “You didn't, did you? Please tell me you did not kill that woman.”

ORION: Oh, I absolutely did!

LAURA: But she was attacking us.

SAM: It looks bad, but she was a threat.

ORION: Her and another one with this– what was he, a tiefling? Named the Broker attacked us. And that's why I killed her.

MATT: “Brom's divination is very clear. And he divined that the woman was currently filled with fear, attempting to flee, and unconscious when she was murdered.”

LIAM: How did she flee when she was unconscious?

TRAVIS: She fled, went unconscious, then we butchered her.

MARISHA: Just accept it for what it is, guys.

MATT: “I just worry. I know not what happened here, and I heard what you said, and I honestly do not trust the Briarwoods myself either. There was something about that meal and the conversation, and their presence that put me off entirely. It was strange. And what you say makes a lot of sense. Vampirism is a bit beyond what I was expecting. I did sense some powerful masqueraded arcane essence from Lady Briarwood. Look, I would recommend for this to do your best to be thorough in this. Bring back any and all information you can. From the words I hear, you probably have at best a few weeks before this comes to a close. And if you don't have enough evidence to support your argument– well, I don't know.”

LIAM: Allura, all I know how to do is break locks, but I've seen these people do things with magic that have defied expectations. Why can no one look into my memory? You have looked across miles. Cannot anyone look into my mind and see?

LAURA: They're going to do it!

SAM: Yes, but that might not be proof enough for them. Someone could have corrupted your mind.

MATT: “You have to understand. Not all arcane works that way. There are magics that can dabble in that realm, but none that specialize that here in Emon. Divination, yes there are elements of that. We can see the physical. We can see certain events. But to look into one's mind is a different magic entirely.”

LIAM: Are there no spells that can divine if someone's speaking true?

MATT: “That was attempted during that council, but after you left, Brom notified Uriel and the Council that many of you were resistant to the spell, and as such, it could not be verified.”

LAURA: (laughs) We should have rolled low! Just tell us you're doing it, we won't resist it! What the shit? Doesn't even trust us to tell the truth.

TRAVIS: If we came back with proof?

SAM: What sort of proof do you think they would accept? The head of Lady Briarwood?

LAURA: No, because it'll disappear the minute we kill her or something. They're vampires, I don't know what they do.

MATT: She gives a thought to that. She goes, “Interestingly enough, if an artifact or an item brought forth from them could be divined, that should tell all.”

MARISHA: Is there still the remaining wreckage of their carriage? Is that still there?

MATT: “The carriage has been disposed. It's been picked over, and there were remnants within the rubble of some sort of a 'siggle' of teleportation. But that is no– a sigil, if you will.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What sort of artifact? Like, a brooch? A handbag?

LIAM: Are we talking about that motherfucker's teeth?

ORION: I need to see that sigil.

MATT: “Sigil. We're all learning together. That, I believe, has all been investigated and kept under lock and key with Asum. You would have to speak with him. I would like to help. I cannot come with you. I'm working on something else at the moment. Ah!” And she reaches into her pocket and brings out your Earring of Transcription.

ORION: Thank you so much, Lady Allura!

MATT: As she hands it to you, she gives you a really, really concerned look. And just gives it to you and hands it back. And it's a look of– and it hits you: it's a look of disappointment with a hint of heartbreak.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's the worst! I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed. Ugh!

LIAM: I feel like I've failed you.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: She looks back to you as you take it and goes, “Do your best to clear your name.”

ORION: I shall.

MATT: “I know you come of noble blood, and many of you stand to inspire many others of noble blood. As celebrated heroes of this city, there is a lot more on the line here besides just your well-being. There's a lot of people in this town that look up to you. Nevertheless, I've already said more than I should. Good luck.”

LAURA: Thank you, Allura.

MATT: She looks behind and you can see she takes this small hood of the same material of her robe that she's wearing and puts it up over her head and rushes off towards her white tower towards the edge of the Cloudtop District.

LIAM: Fucking politics.

SAM: No one insight checked her.

TRAVIS: She's telling the truth. Let's go make sure the prisoner isn't dead.

SAM: All right. So wait. What are our avenues? We're going to have to Columbo this. What are our avenues of finding proof?

LAURA: We say as we're walking back to the keep.

SAM: We have a prisoner we can question. Who knows if that will yield anything. And then, we might have to go gather evidence, which means leaving town against his word.

LAURA: Well, we're allowed to leave town.

LIAM and SAM: No!

LAURA: Yeah! No! He said we're allowed to leave. We just can't look like we're fleeing, so we tell them where we're going. They can even fucking follow us. I don't care.

LIAM: So we tell them that we're going to their political– the people that they're trying to create a political relationship with? We're just going off to invade your political allies.

TRAVIS: Oh come on! You half-elves. I swear to god! Have you never heard of lying before? Yeah! We don't tell them where we're going. We're going on a field trip. We're going to pick berries. Fuck all, but we go there.

ORION: The only way we can go there is telling them.

TRAVIS: What? And we're going there, what for?

ORION: When I talk to Asum and get that sigil to that damn Briarwood keep. That's how we get there.

TRAVIS: Why don't we say we're taking a picnic– oh, we took a wrong turn. Hey, it's the Briarwoods!

ORION: We don't have to lie to them. We tell them where we're going, and we can just go there.

TRAVIS: We don't have to if we don't want to.

LIAM: You're pretty.

LAURA: Especially that beardy side, Grog.

TRAVIS: It's a full beard right now.

MATT: What you do know is the sigil that a teleportation circle is attached to is known when you cast or create the circle. The circle does not necessarily indicate or maintain the sigil it's attached to.

ORION: It's just a piece of it?

MATT: Meaning, there are two parts to it. There is the sigil that it sends to, and there is the actual ritual circle that is created. The circle that attaches to it is not the same as the destination. There are elements of it that connect it, but you would not be able to ascertain a sigil to Whitestone immediately from looking at the initial circle.

LIAM: Thanks for the cups, guys! The cup.

TRAVIS: I just noticed that!

LIAM: Well, let's go check on this poor little shit in the dungeon.

SAM: And then the next step will be to seek out Seeker Asum?

ORION: I'd like to stop by the temple real quick to pick up my decanter.

SAM: How many errands do you have to run?

LAURA: Endless errands.

SAM: All right. Go run your errands! We've got a mystery to solve.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I want to be there when we talk to the prisoner, too.

MATT: Okay. You guys make your way back to Greyskull Keep. Are you going with them or you're–

ORION: I'm doing all the shit.

MATT: What are you doing?

SAM: He's got a list.

MATT: I would like to know the list.

ORION: I'm going to stop at an armory because I want my crossbow reinforced. I don't know what that means. I want to learn a different sigil. The one that I researched for the waste fair, or for the way– the Feywild! There's this big city next to it that I researched, that is near it, and in that city might be a sigil. So I'm going to go see if I can learn it. And then I want to come back and start enchanting my blades.

SAM: It's a busy day.

MATT: Okay.

ORION: I can give it to you. I wrote it down.

SAM: Coming soon on Friday nights: The Adventures of Tiberius's Errands! 7:00 to 10:00 every Friday night on Twitch.

ORION: And then I have to go to the dry cleaners for my robe.

MATT: All right. So as you begin that process, the rest of you continue back to the Keep. As you approach Greyskull Keep, there are two individuals waiting for you at the gate that you do not recognize from a distance.


SAM: Wait, what? Say that again.

MATT: There's two individuals waiting for you at the gate. You can see at a distance, but you don't recognize.

SAM: They're our handlers, probably.

LIAM: Grog, come on. Let's go have a talk with someone.

LAURA: I walk with you.

SAM: We're all going!

LIAM: Let's go arm in arm in one big line!

LAURA: Well, they're right at our fucking keep. It's not like we're all headed in the same direction, anyway.

ORION: Who doesn't have a ring?

SAM: A ring of what?

ORION: An earring.

MARISHA: I have one right now.

SAM: I think I do?

LAURA: I have one.

LIAM: I have one.

LAURA: Grog doesn't have one.

TRAVIS: How far away from the keep are we?

MATT: You're probably a good 100 to 150 feet.

TRAVIS: I whistle really loud and say, who are these fucks in front of the keep? to the guard that we have employed.

MATT: Okay. So. Let me try and see who's on duty right now.

LAURA: He has notes on who is on duty.

MATT: This would still be Shayne and Cordell. Cordell shouts down from the top of the wall and says, “I don't think they're a threat.”

TRAVIS: Right. We'll be the judge of that. As you were.

SAM: Grog, keep in mind, these are our allies.

LAURA: Hello!

MATT: As you walk up and you get close, you get a better view. You're expecting ominous, armored guards. Somebody possibly assigned to escort you. Instead, you're greeted by what looks to be an older couple waiting at the gate. A man and a woman, dressed in simple clothes, weathered skin. And as you go out to them, they both smile.

SAM: We hate old people.

(laughter)

LAURA: Who are you?

TRAVIS: Favored enemy!

MATT: They begin walking up, and the man steps forward. You can see he's got small dirty glasses at the end of his nose and says, “Hello, hello! Good afternoon, everyone! I'm sorry to be a bother. But unless my eyes and tales do deceive me, might you all be the heroes known as Vox Machina?”

LAURA: Can I insight check to see if these guys are legit?

SAM: Legit what? Old people?

LAURA: It could be Lord and Lady Briarwood, for all I know!

LIAM: Me too. I did well. I rolled 18 on them.

MATT: Okay. From what you can tell, they are both happy, simple folk that are here with a tension of purpose, but nothing that seems to set off any alarms.

SAM: We are Vox Machina. I'm sure word of us has spread far and wide. We're a pretty big deal. Why have you made this journey to us?

MATT: The woman, who's holding his side, lets go of his arm and says, “We come to you humbly as representatives of the farming community just north of Emon's walls.”

MARISHA: Oh, I love farmers!

MATT: “I am Riley Klaus and this is my husband, Ben.” “Pleasure to meet y'all.”

LAURA: Hi.

MATT: “You see, many of us here, we make our living through livestock and small crops.” Ben takes over at this point and says, “Word is that the Sovereign will be calling down troops from Fort Daxio for a while, so the need for meats and fresh produce has been elevated.” The wife, Riley, then says, “Around this time, over the past two weeks, a number of our finest cows and sheep have gone missing. No struggle or mess or signs of dire wolves. Nothing! We suspected thieves, initially, but we sent up our neighbor's boy Kyle to watch over them until sunrise and he saw the culprit. From what he described, a giant bird, larger than anything he's ever seen or heard of.” Ben then takes over the conversation, “Wings at least ten carts long, tip to tip. Just swooped down, he said, without sound and in one motion snatched up one of our most virile bulls. Mr. Simms, just gone like that!”

MARISHA: Mr. Simms?

MATT: “That was the bull.” Riley says, “Kyle said he saw it fly northwest.”

MARISHA: Northwest? Can I do a nature check to see if I can recognize the creature he's describing?

LIAM: Are we certain he's not describing a dragon?

MARISHA: 26.

MATT: 26. You've seen some big birds in your time. This is, from what they're describing, a lot bigger than any birds you've encountered in your experience. You've heard whispers of larger birds in the wild, but you've never seen anything like that. You haven't had any personal experience hearing or seeing anything of this size.

MARISHA: But it is a bird?

MATT: That's what they described it as. At night.

LAURA: When did these birds start showing up?

MATT: “About two weeks ago when the whole thing started to happen.” And then Ben kicks in and says, “Should this keep up, most of us will lose everything before the year is out. Now, we've talked with the leaders of the farming community this side of Emon. We've scrounged up what we could.” And he brings up a couple of coin purses and she goes, “512 gold pieces, 37 silver, and 103 copper. That's all we can spare.”

LAURA: Keep your money.

MARISHA: Yes, keep your money.

MATT: “We can't possibly–”

LIAM: What about this? What if you supplied us with a small stream of produce for our servants here at the keep? For cooking, for feeding them, for feeding us when we're here? It'll be a sight less than 500; it wouldn't be nothing. You could still give us something.

MATT: “Yes! We could, we'd be more than happy to!”

SAM: However, despite what my companion is saying, we are not agreeing to go after this winged beast quite yet. We hear your plight, and we sympathize, and we will do what we can, but we have very pressing matters right now. Is there a deadline of some sort? When is your next harvesting season?

MATT: “I mean, there's no deadline, but the longer that goes by, the more and more we lose by the night. Two weeks in and we've lost half of our livestock. If the creature is this big, I imagine it eats quite a bit.”

LAURA: And how long of a ride is it? Is it walking distance?

MATT: “To… where?”

LAURA, LIAM, and SAM: To your farm.

MATT: “North side of Emon.”

LAURA: Oh, so real close!

MATT: “Yes.”

SAM: We are friends of the elderly, obviously, and also of the farming community, so we are very interested in helping you. May we talk about it a bit before we decide how and when we would tackle this problem?

MATT: They look at each other and nod and he taps her hand and says, “Yes. By all means– If you could, please help us stop this beast from ruining our livelihood.”

MARISHA: And can you please tell us how to get to your place. Do you normally stay there? Are you normally home?

MATT: “We wander about the community, but we do have a homestead. If you look, it's the large red wood and partially brick-based homestead closest to the city walls, on the north farm. Right outside of Emon. It's hard to miss, if you're headed that direction.”

LIAM: Quickly. Presently, we will find you. Guys, we were told to sit and spin basically. I mean, what's wrong with earning some brownie points in the eyes of Uriel?

TRAVIS: Mr. and Mrs. Kraut, as friends of the elderly–

MATT: “Klaus.”

TRAVIS: Right, Kraut. Do they normally come at night, or have they ever abducted any of your sweet bulls during the day?

MATT: “We've not seen it during the day. It'd be easier for us to identify if we had. Seems to only hunt at night.”

SAM: And have they ever messed with a human?

MATT: “Not that we've heard of. Not yet.” He gives you this sudden look of realization and fear. And pats and comforts his wife who suddenly realizes, oh my. Are they going to take us now?

MARISHA: We'll probably be by like tonight or tomorrow morning.

LIAM: Yes. Tomorrow morning at the latest. We have a little bit of business. Yeah.

MARISHA: So we're in the middle of doing something. We'll get to it.

MATT: “All right. Well, thank you.”

LIAM: I take him by the hand and say, we will see you presently.

SAM: Here. My business card.

LIAM: And you can take that to the bank.

LAURA: You can't actually; it's worth nothing.

MATT: “Well, thank you for listening to us ramble on, and we look forward to hearing from you in the next day.”

LAURA: You will.

MATT: “All right.” He pats her on the arm.

TRAVIS: Travel safe, Mr. Kraut!

LIAM: Hide your bull; hide your wife.

MATT: They both wander off.

LAURA: We are in danger of being ostracized. We should really be nice to everybody right now.

SAM: We were just having a conversation about how we should try to be nice from now on. But we do have very pressing matters.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's get fucking in there and talk to that little–

MARISHA: It's funny how that type of thing can come back to bite you in the ass.

SAM: I call up to Cordell. Oi, Cordell!

MATT: “Yeah!”

SAM: Remember when I told you not to let anyone linger outside the keep?

MATT: “To be fair, the Klauses are well-known in the community.”

TRAVIS: The Krauts?

LAURA: The Klauses.

MATT: “They came here for business. I figured it was probably something you'd want to hear. I apologize.”

SAM: By all means, use your judgment over the orders of your master. That's fine.

MARISHA: Scanlan!

MATT: Cordell bows his head sheepishly. “I apologize. I'm sorry.”

MARISHA: Ignore him!

LAURA: We are here to help people! We're here to help.

MATT: He does his finger like this and the gates open in towards the inside of the keep wall.

MARISHA: And what is wrong with you all today?!

SAM: We had a really bad dinner last night. That's all.

LAURA: I head straight to the jail.

MARISHA: I follow.

MATT: As you guys are doing that, Tiberius, what's the first thing you're trying to do?

ORION: Stop by and pick up the decanter from the temple.

MATT: Okay. He said it required two days. It's been less than a day since you dropped it off, just so you're aware.

ORION: Then the only thing I do is visit the keep with the sigils library or whatever.

MATT: Oh, the Lyceum? Okay.

LIAM: I'm not going. I'm just going to go hang out up on the wall outside the keep.

MATT: All right. As you head to the Lyceum, the clerk lets you in. What are you specifically looking to find or research?

ORION: The sigil that's closest to the Feywild.

MATT: Okay. In researching what they have at their disposal, you understand that the Feywild itself, because it is a separate plane, the magics to traverse it are a little more difficult to do. If you notice– and I'll confirm here just to be sure that we're on the same page– before I go full on this here. Pardon me, just a moment while I scan through the book. The mighty book. The book of might. Yes. Sigils of teleportation require the same plane of existence, meaning you can teleport anywhere within the Prime Material Plane that you exist in. To traverse into the Feywild, you have to actually find a door into the Feywild, and then you would be able to use a sigil from the Feywild.

ORION: Then I only pick up my decanter.

MATT: Which is not ready yet.

ORION: I don't do that! Damn, I forgot! My short-term memory is just jacked!

MATT: It's all good. It's all good.

TRAVIS: You know, somebody's been to the Feywild.

MATT: Yeah. The Feywild. What you do find is that the Feywild– the boundaries between this realm and the Feywild tend to grow weaker at full moons. It's tied to the moon cycle. And at certain places where nature is set to run wild. A lot of druidic tribes tend to mark these locations, and in some cases actually guard them.

LAURA: We know where a hole in one is. Grog went through it.

MATT: And if you recall– good memory– in the Frostweald, the partially frozen forest where you had that conversation with the nymph– that portal that she existed through was specifically a door into the Feywild, which you recognized.

ORION: What city was that near?

MATT: That was south of Westruun.

ORION: Then I'll go to the thing and I'll find the Westruun sigil.

MATT: Okay. Through your research, you do find a sigil to Westruun. This is allowing you to go into this portion for this sigil because you've already used the favor that you had to get the sigil of Kraghammer.

ORION: No, I didn't. I used the amulet and we got permission to come there. I saved that favor for this.

MATT: Right, the favor for Gilmore. All I'm saying is, you've used one of two favors to get that sigil. You have to invoke Gilmore's favor to get this one. Okay. And since you're a part of the circumstance, you acquire the secondary sigil. You now know, in your memory permanently, a sigil to Westruun. You don't know where in Westruun, but you are connected there. If you choose to teleport there, you know how to. That favor has now been used by Gilmore, so you can mark that. And on that note, we're going to go ahead and take a five minute rest break. So yeah, restroom, snacks, drinks and we'll be back here in about five or so minutes. We'll see you guys and continue this tense adventure.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back. We've had our break; we've returned to the table. A quick note, we are 50 subscribers away from our next giveaway.

TRAVIS: 50? Come on!

MATT: If we can get there, that'd be awesome! We'll have our giveaway– the signed cast Critical Role photo and the cast signed art poster by Kit Buss.

SAM: Kit Buss, ladies and gentlemen!

MATT: Yeah! So you have all returned to the keep. You have found yourselves down to the basement area. You hear the distant pinging of metal, an occasional squeaking metallic noise. Like something is being altered, turned, or quenched in a water trough. Like the process of blacksmithing.

MARISHA: I go to the edge of the door and knock.

MATT: As you knock on the metal door, it's like a (boom). The pinging stops. Just hangs for a second.

MARISHA: Percy? It's Keyleth.

MATT: “Not right now. Please. I'm sorry. I just need to clear my head.”

MARISHA: Okay. We'll be here.

MATT: A moment later, you see Percy's eyes appear at the edge of the door.

MARISHA: Hi!

MATT: Just looking at them, you can see they look a little sunken, a little weary.

MARISHA: Did you sleep?

MATT: “Not as much as I'd like.”

MARISHA: Do you need anything?

MATT: His eyes look away for a second, looks back at you. “I'm all right. Thank you.”

MARISHA: We went and saw Uriel. Everyone in the city hates us. They think we're all criminals.

MATT: “Great. I have to get back to my work.”

MARISHA: Okay, yeah.

MATT: The slit shuts.

MARISHA: Oh, we'll see you later, then.

MATT: You guys, however, walk down to the other side of the cell. The cell door's been closed. The keys are hanging on the nail by it. You have not used the cell until this point. It's technically pristine and unused since the construction of the keep, but the keys still hang on the key ring. On the inside of it, there is no thatch. Nothing has been put in to really make a comfortable floor. And hanging from manacles–

LAURA: He's hanging?!

SAM: We're the worst.

MATT: He was put in as a prisoner.

LAURA: I go and get the keys, and I take him down from the manacles.

MATT: As she rushes into the cell, begins unlocking the manacles. He's unconscious at this time. Dirt streaked on his face and spatters of dried blood from the blast of the gun.

MARISHA: I go ahead and I administer Cure Wounds.

MATT: The wound at this point has been cauterized. You cast Cure Wounds as he starts to come to consciousness, in a heap on the ground. (coughs) It appears he may be healed of any damage he may still be sustaining from that, but the fingers are gone. This is beyond the magic you're capable of. He comes to consciousness on the ground, dirtied, sore. Essentially broken before you.

LAURA: Does he look like he's been bitten at all?

MATT: You want to inspect?

LAURA: Can I look at his neck?

MATT: Go ahead and make an investigation check.

LAURA: 20.

MATT: Okay. You don't have a whole lot of medicinal experience, but you take a moment and inspect both sides of his neck, tilting his head side-to-side, as he's groaning and coming to. “What's going on?” Looking at the sides of his neck, there does not appear to be any sign of any puncture wounds, anything that would be reminiscent of what your brother currently is healing from.

MARISHA: Can I do an insight check to see if he is also under a mind-control spell?

MATT: At the moment, no. He is barely coming to consciousness. There isn't enough of a presence at the moment to really read past.

LAURA: Hey, there. Welcome back.

MATT: “Where am I?”

LAURA: You are being held, at the moment, for your own safety.

MATT: “For my own safety?”

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: “How?” He looks at his hand.

LAURA: Well, you were captured. We're pretty sure the Briarwoods are going to be pissed as hell that you let the carriage get hit. We're just trying to protect you, really.

MARISHA: Really?

SAM: I mean, his friends all died, so.

MARISHA: Do we not feel like terrible people enough already?

SAM: Let's not have this conversation in front of the prisoner. What's your name, boy!

MATT: “My name is Desmond. Desmond Otham. I am the son of a messenger, a courier of the de Rolo family.”

MARISHA: He's the son of a messenger! That's even more ironic!

LAURA: Keyleth, do you need to step outside?

MARISHA: No, I'm good. Continue. Son of a messenger.

LAURA: Right now, everyone is at risk. The Briarwoods are bad people, you can attest to this, yes?

MATT: “Yes.”

LAURA: Yes. Can you tell us everything you know about them?

MATT: “It's not going to matter. They're going to find me. No one's supposed to get away.”

LAURA: You did!

TRAVIS: There's always a first time.

MATT: “I don't even know where to begin.” He adjusts himself, sliding back, putting his back against the wall of the cell.

TRAVIS: I reach into the Bag of Holding. I pull out the little goblet, and I pour some ale into a cup, and I hand him a little bit of ale. No, it's fine. I take a little sip.

MATT: “Please don't take offense if I don't trust a drink from strangers who've, well, to be honest, put me in this position.”

TRAVIS: All right. I put it beside him.

MATT: “What do you want to know?”

LAURA: We want to know if the Briarwoods–

SAM: Are vampires.

LAURA: Pretty much. They're vampires, right? I mean, they're vampires.

MATT: “All I know from the stories I've heard. Mothers would tell their kids not to wander out at night because dark things crawl in the shadows. From what I know of vampires, they're not supposed to go out during the day, right? But I'm sure I've seen Lady Briarwood walk in the sun many a time.”

MARISHA: Only Lady Briarwood?

MATT: “As I recall, yes. Lord Briarwood doesn't make too many public appearances.”

SAM: Have there been any strange goings-on in their residence? Sounds you've heard? People disappearing? Boxes coming in or out?

LAURA: I cast Cure Wounds on him. I know Cure Wounds, bitches! Level up!

ORION: Have I reached the keep yet?

MATT: No, not yet. You're probably about an hour away, at this point. From the time you've taken to research, find this, learn the sigil to Westruun, and begin your trek back. Fortunately, you got what you wanted, but you're out of the picture for a little bit. He flinches as you put your hand up, and as you touch him, he exhales. You get to him just as he can react, briefly.

LAURA: 11. Do I add anything to that?

MATT: I believe you add your Wisdom modifier to that.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: He goes, “Look, my father worked for the de Rolo family before the Briarwoods came. My father vanished the night of their fall. My mother was taken in madness and lost to the night this past year. I was left alone. However, I knew the roads well between here and Whitestone and places between, growing up, traveling with my father. So I was made to be a coachman for the new nobles. I was paid, albeit little, and I was left alone. Now, when I say the new nobles, there were nobles that lived in Whitestone and worked along with the de Rolos, and they helped oversee parts of the town, the business, and the people. They had been there for many generations of their respective families, all under the de Rolos' guidance. But the night the castle fell, those nobles were dragged out. It's strange. I mean, after the brutality of that first night, it took days before the people of Whitestone knew what had happened. We saw the fires, we heard the battles, but no word of the victors until three days had passed. We were too scared to approach. By then, the Briarwoods called a town meeting. They explained their new rule over the town. A number objected, which is expected. Many strong-willed folk in Whitestone, those days. They were subsequently shot down at arrow-point. The rest were quiet. They then dragged out the noble families and executed them, gifting their property and titles to the various cut-throats and mercenaries they had hired, brought across the channel to help them take the town. They're not just two people; they've used a lot of money and influence from wherever they came from and brought a whole slew of very dastardly folk, who have since been given the titles once held by the other nobles of Whitestone, living in their homes, taking their tithes and most of the profits made from the businesses they've forced us to continue to run from within the city. A number of families fled into the woods the night after the executions, using the shadows of a moonless evening to keep safe. They were all found hanging from the Sun Tree the next morning. They kept things going as they were, mostly: farming, logging, manning the white marble mines. Business went as usual, all filling the pockets of the new nobles and the Briarwoods. We were given food, kept our immediate property. As long as we didn't attempt to leave, we were promised safety. That lasted for a few years, until the nobles grew bored. Twitchy. They began to abuse the people of Whitestone: scare us for fun, brand, cut, steal the children, leave them back, destroyed. They treat us like animals. Folks went missing. I was beaten so bad by my employer, Count Tylieri. But Lord Briarwood noticed, one night he was passing through the city. He saw wounds on my back when he was meeting with Count Tylieri. When he asked me in private how I got them, I couldn't lie. Couldn't resist him. He has a way of drawing the truth out of you. Now, he told me this unrefined violence was boorish to him and his wife. That was the last I ever saw of Lord Tylieri. Lord and Lady Briarwood took me in as their own driver and showed me Tylieri hanging from that same Sun Tree the next morning. I was thankful, then. In a strange way, life had been so terrible for so long, it was the first time I saw someone reach out and save me. They took me in as their driver after that. It was a better thing to be away from the anger and the fists of the thugs. But the more I got to know the Briarwoods, the more nightmarish I realized they were. Behind the walls of that castle was no longer a grand fortress that we heard it was. Seeing it, keeping watch and guard over our people. No, that was a domain of perverse magics and sacrilege, it was. The green fog drifting out from the ground where it stood. The same servants still run the halls, but they aren't living. They're walking vessels of undeath, their flesh slowly tearing away. The garden in back lies shriveled, a foul green mist forever pouring out. They're excavating something in the dungeon, plundering pieces. A lot of their attention seems to be down there; I don't know why. I dare not wander too far down. They bring up old things. Ancient things. Relics, books, bones. You live in that world long enough, you believe there is no way out. Death would be easy, though I've seen that death is no real end there. It's just the beginning of a whole new terrible existence. A far worse fate.”

LAURA: If we keep you here, protected, would you be willing to tell your story to someone else?

MATT: “Who would you want me to tell it to?”

LAURA: The emperor. The guards here. An army that could go and fight the Briarwoods.

MATT: “Maybe.”

MARISHA: This could be an option to save Whitestone, and you would have your freedom.

MATT: “I don't know. You don't know what it's like. You don't know what they've done. They're going to find me.”

SAM: We can protect you. We are safe here in this keep, and you're surrounded by very powerful allies now.

TRAVIS: We've stood before them, and we did not fall.

LAURA: It's true.

MATT: “I'll think about it.”

MARISHA: Would you like to stay in the guest room upstairs? You'd be more comfortable. You could get a good night's rest.

LAURA: Far more comfortable. A little less safe. I'm going to put it out there.

MATT: That resonates with him immediately, and his eyes flash open. “I mean no disrespect, but if this is safe, then I'd rather stay here.”

LAURA: I think it is. And we will bring a bed down to you, make sure you're comfortable. I don't want you sleeping on the floor. That's terrible.

MATT: “You're all being very accommodating.”

TRAVIS: You'll get every consideration for protection. We value your info very much.

MARISHA: You're also the key to our own freedom, so it's important.

SAM: You also caught us on a day where we're trying to be nicer to people.

(laughter)

SAM: Lucky for you.

LIAM: Just be glad you're not an old woman.

MATT: “I'll stay here for now.”

LAURA: All right.

MATT: “I need to think on it. I've been promised such protection before.”

SAM: From the Briarwoods?

MATT: “From a few. And they're dead. An enemy of an enemy doesn't necessarily make them a friend, I've discovered.”

MARISHA: No, but it can make them allies if they have mutual enemies. Of their enemies. It's a little complicated.

MATT: This whole conversation, the emotional recalling of everything, you can see has been very taxing on him and his still mostly conscious state. He looks exhausted, scared, and still trying to suss out all the information coming at him right now.

MARISHA: Grog, why don't you carry the bed down from upstairs?

TRAVIS: Not a problem. Keep the goblet nearby. It is very nice ale.

MARISHA: Would you like something to eat?

MATT: “Yes, please.”

MARISHA: We'll have our staff bring down some food.

MATT: He takes the goblet. He looks at it, smells it, but still holds it at bay as you walk off. You eventually go– easy enough for you– take the bed. You have to turn it to the side to take it out, which causes all of the cushions to fall out.

TRAVIS: Aw, shit.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I grab a little pillow with my toes, and I hobble down.

MATT: It takes about 20 minutes and three trips, but you manage to get the bed down there from the guest room.

TRAVIS: Not a problem.

MATT: When you fit it in the cell– and it's not a large cell; it's maybe ten by ten feet maximum. You place it there. As you guys walk back, you notice as you see Grog walking back down the stairway– right around the corner as you go down the steps, the hallway goes to the cell, and it turns to the right and to the left to the workshop. You see around the corner a shoulder, listening in. There's a person. And you recognize that it is Percy. Percy has stepped out of the workshop and apparently has been hearing everything this entire time.

LAURA: Are you all right?

MATT: “I'm fine.” And Percy immediately steps away and you hear the door close with a slam.

LAURA: Give him time.

SAM: So moody!

LAURA: So yeah, I'm going to lock it. I'm just going to lock your door. To make sure you're safe, make sure nobody can get in.

MATT: “Keep him away from me. Who is that?”

SAM: He's a friend. I know it doesn't seem like it from the condition of your paw, but he's a friend. He's in the same boat as you, trying to stay safe from danger.

LAURA: The Briarwoods destroyed his family, as well.

MATT: And you see now, there's like this look of tension on his face that's mixed with tired. And eventually finding the bed and takes the goblet– still filled, has not drunk from it– just slips it next to the side of the bed. Eventually food is brought down.

LAURA: And a chamber pot, because come on!

MATT: All the basic pleasantries are brought within the cell. He lies on the bed and takes the plate up with him and starts just scarfing some of the bread rolls down. And immediately starts going for the mashed potatoes. You can see a decent meal hasn't been had in quite a while. Especially the journey, what is essentially a seven to eight day journey from Whitestone, probably has not been very kind to him. Eats and then promptly passes out on the bed. Food still mashed on the side of the face. Just goes straight into a slumber.

TRAVIS: Is there any other entrance to the cell area besides the door? No barred windows or anything like that?

MATT: No. It's underground. It's all solid, solid stone walls. And there is the barred front door, and then just goes right into the hallway that goes up the stairs to your left and across the way and around the corner to the workshop.

TRAVIS: You can't cast any kind of alarm system? A trigger?

LAURA: So that Percy can't get anything through there?

MARISHA: Let me reference my spell tome. It's not a common one. It's situational. But let me check real quick. I haven't read that chapter from my book in a while.

ORION: Is Allura on the way back from the Lyceum?

MATT: No, the Lyceum is in the Erudite District. Allura's tower is in the Cloudtop, which is the central part of Emon.

LAURA: I do want to go check out that bird creature at the farmhouse tonight.

SAM: Yes. Well, have we stationed a guard down there?

TRAVIS: We should. We have five or six.

SAM: All right. I'll go talk to Cordell. That's his name, right?

TRAVIS: No, not Cordell. Let's get somebody else.

LAURA: Get the crossbow guy that we like so much. The guy that's the captain of the guards.

SAM: Is that Kendrick? Or Shayne? Oh, the girl?

LAURA: No, the guy. He's awesome and he's an archer, as well.

SAM: Jarett?

LAURA: Jarett. That's it!

SAM: All right, we'll get Jarett. Oh, Jarett?

MATT: You make your way to the back part of the wall, and there is a small tower that's constructed as part of the back wall. That's where Jarett usually keeps watch. Jarett has the in-between shift between the guards, so he can be present for both sides and keep a watch during the afternoon until the nighttime. Probably till about midnight or so. So as you make your way out of the keep, Tiberius, are you heading back to the keep or are you heading toward the Cloudtop District? This will dictate whether or not you show up around this time.

ORION: I'm going to Allura's.

LAURA: I'm staying down in the prison, just for the time being. I don't want to leave him alone with Percy.

MATT: You go to find Jarett, who's up at the top of the tower. And as you call to him, Jarett leans over. And you see him, you know, short jet-black hair, darker complexion. Very handsome, younger, early-twenties guy. Well-dressed over his studded leather armor that he wears underneath and has the crossbow on the side. He leans over. “Scanlan, it has been some time. It is so good to hear from you. What can I be of service for?”

SAM: We need you to watch a prisoner for us, downstairs in our jail cell, which we had built and are now using. You'll be guarding the prisoner to make sure he doesn't escape, but also making sure he stays safe. He possesses information that's very valuable to us. And one of the people who hires you might try to kill him, so if Percy tries to go in there, can you stop him without hurting either party?

MATT: “I imagine this would be very well-suited for my skill set. It will be strange to keep watch against one of my employers, but he's been a bit sheepish around me anyway.”

SAM: You think you could take Percy?

MATT: “Well, I think I can at least talk some sense into him!”

TRAVIS: I like him!

SAM: Wow! Jarett, you're ballsy! Just out of curiosity, if he was running at you, what would you do?

(laughter)

MATT: “Well, first and foremost, I would dive in the forward motion, leg out, to put him off balance. This would be from a frontal melee– you're messing with me, aren't you?”

SAM: A little bit!

MATT: “Ah, gnomes! Very well.”

SAM: Do you need anything to help?

MATT: “I have access to my own private armory, and I have utmost faith.”

SAM: All right. Well, keep him safe and there's an extra five gold in it for you?

LAURA: Oh! Pathetic!

SAM: I don't know! Ten! Ten gold!

MATT: “Gnomes.”

SAM: I don't know how money works. We'll talk to Vex about it.

MATT: “Certainly. All right. I will do this.” And he stands up, and goes and starts gathering his general setup supplies inside the guard tower. As you walk back to the keep, you hear him whistle and start calling out to Shayne to go ahead and take over, up in the tower.

LIAM: I wasn't there for any of that. I was upstairs on the roof, just thinking.

MATT: Tiberius, you make your way into the Cloudtop District. As you come to the front gates of the district, the guards that normally recognize you and welcome you in, recognize you and stand firm, weapons at the ready.

ORION: At Allura's tower?

MATT: At the Cloudtop District entirely. You guys had to get written permission to enter there when you first came to Emon, anyway, since that's where the nobility and many of the important figures of Emon reside. It appears that since you've been taken out of the Council and you're under investigation, your access to such a sensitive location within Emon has been temporarily revoked, and the guards are not letting you through.

ORION: Is that it? So I just turn around? Go back?

MATT: It's up to you. The guards are just there, standing.

ORION: Greeting and salutations. I'm Tiberius Stormwind from Draconia. Moreover, a member of Vox Machina, over at Greyskull Keep. It seems that you all are posturing and whatnot. (chuckles) It's adorable. But I'm here to see Lady Allura. Could you let her know that I would like to speak to her, or get out of my way so I can just go over there and tell her myself?

MATT: “We have direct orders to not let you or any other member of Vox Machina into the Cloudtop District until your investigation is complete. So no, and no.”

ORION: Well, do the second thing. If you don't do one thing, do one of the other things.

MATT: “Your information and wish has been processed, taken into consideration. Thank you very much. Please be on your way.”

ORION: Oh, it has been, it has been processed! Oh, that's good to know! I appreciate that. Very well. I cast Fly on myself and I go back to the keep.

MATT: Okay. (whoosh) They both did not expect that exit. You essentially Superman-ed. You're just like (thud). Little cloud of smoke in the shape of a dragonborn left behind. All right. So as you cruise over, you see in the distance, from where you're standing at the top of the keep, you see a distant bead of dark shadow that approaches and grows larger, and it is an air-cruising Tiberius making his way towards the keep.

LIAM: I hide behind– I don't want to get hit, so I'm going to crouch down a little bit, carefully behind one of the pieces of wall. Yeah. Rough landings, sometimes.

ORION: I fly in. Vox Machina!

LIAM: Easy. Be careful.

ORION: Sorry. Hi. What are you doing? Are you up here thinking?

LIAM: Why, I suppose I was. The others are downstairs interrogating that boy. Where have you been?

ORION: Off doing things that wasn't really that productive, overall, but they don't like me anywhere, especially now.

LIAM: Do you want to have a drink?

ORION: Yes, actually, I do.

LIAM: I've got a flask. You normally drink water. You want a shot, though?

ORION: Yes, I would love some alcohol. This calls for alcohol.

LIAM: I pull out my flask, and I'm amazed, because I've never seen this and I hand it over to him.

ORION: Oh yes. (whoosh)

SAM: Did you eat the flask?

ORION: No, fire breath.

LIAM: Do you want to pass that bad boy back? Is it hot?

MATT: It's empty.

LIAM: Oh, it's empty! Well, I guess that was worth it.

ORION: (slurred) What? What are you talking about? Don't you tell me how to drink. Oh, you!

TRAVIS: I come out from the castle into the courtyard, and I go, hey! I feel like chicken tonight! Can we go hunt this big bird?

LIAM: Tiberius– I just got him drunk!

TRAVIS: Really?

ORION: (slurred) He gave me a shot of his flask water, and it's so good.

TRAVIS: Are you sure you didn't hit him with the blunt side of your knife again?

LIAM: No, no, he took a shot of the old firewater, and I don't know. We might want to slap him a bit–

ORION: (slurred) Allura doesn't like me anymore because I killed that bitch who tried to kill us, and now she's fucking– nobody likes us!

LIAM: Let's find Keyleth.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Smart. Keyleth!

MARISHA: What? I was reading. What?

TRAVIS: Tibs got turnt up. Will you fix it?

MARISHA: How?

ORION: Vax gave me–

MARISHA: What did you do? Why are you touching me?

ORION: Oh, I love protecting you, it is– and Lockheed is, he loves you, too–

MARISHA: Don't touch me right now!

ORION: See, I'm telling you, nobody likes me.

LIAM: I gave him his first drinky. I'm sorry. Do you think you could pull him out of it?

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: I thought he was going to say no! He didn't leave me any.

ORION: It's good. Hi. How are you? I'm Tiberius– Draconia. You are princess pretty face. He likes you, too.

LIAM: Vax walks away, off the roof. Out of here. I'm gone!

TRAVIS: Grog is riveted.

ORION: Human kissy mouth, with you is– (vomits)

(laughter)

ORION: I'm good.

MARISHA: If you touch me one more time!

ORION: Oh! Sorry. Did you need to go somewhere?

MARISHA: I am doing something else, a request that was already made previously, before “can we fix drunk Tiberius,” so I'm a little busy! Why don't you go sleep it off, take a nap, and I will deal with you in a second.

ORION: Is it sleepy time?

MARISHA: For you.

ORION: Should I cast Fireball?

MARISHA: Oh my god. And I shove him into the cell and put him in bed–

TRAVIS: No, we're not in the prison. We're out in the courtyard.

MARISHA: Oh, I thought that you said– everyone was like, Keyleth!

LAURA: I'm still in the prison. Everybody else is out of the prison.

MATT: So where do you push him?

ORION: She pushed me off the roof.

MARISHA: No! I thought we were downstairs.

ORION: I fall off the roof. I still have Fly on myself, don't I?

MARISHA: You don't fall off the roof. I don't know what I do with him. I let him pass out.

ORION: I'm going to get a sandwich.

MARISHA: I let him go get a sandwich.

SAM: I encourage sandwich!

(laughter)

MATT: That's the quote of the night. Encouraged to get a sandwich, Tiberius wanders off. What are you doing to prepare what you were doing?

MARISHA: I don't know! I got distracted!

ORION: I'm not there.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Well, as the day progresses, what would you guys like to do?

MARISHA: Wait. My idea. Okay. We were wanting extra fortification? We were wanting extra protection. Okay? I can't necessarily cast a big spell. I could cast Hallucinatory Terrain. We have a few options; I'm giving them to you all. I can cast Hallucinatory Terrain to make this look like something else. I don't think– I don't know. I don't know if that's a good idea. I don't know. I could conjure a few woodland beings for, like, extra bears. We could have some bears guarding the palace. I could also throw up a Wall of Thorns, to barrier the cell with the wall of thorns. You're not here?

SAM: I think everyone left. I think it's just you and me up here, and drunk Tiberius.

MARISHA: I went downstairs, and I'm saying this to the group so I don't have to repeat myself!

ORION: Oh, so then I turn around with my sandwich and am like, we have to just make Allura talk to us. She can fix everything.

TRAVIS: I grab Tiberius's mouth and I cover it. Please continue.

SAM: Wall of Thorns could be good.

LAURA: I like Wall of Thorns.

MARISHA: The thing with Wall of Thorns is it's not super big. It's 60 feet.

SAM: That's pretty big!

LAURA: Oh. That's not the whole place, though.

SAM: Oh, 60 feet long. I thought you meant high.

MARISHA: No, it's 100 feet high. It's really high. Actually, I don't know how high it is. Don't quote me on that. But it's not that long, but we could fortify the doors more. Have bears. We could do multiple things, too.

LIAM: I think that the Hallucinatory Terrain wouldn't work. I felt like they could see right through me.

TRAVIS: I think so, too.

MARISHA: On the Briarwoods?

LAURA: Yeah, they can see through illusions pretty darn well.

SAM: Listen, Percy's here. He can defend for us.

ORION: No, you need a warding spell.

SAM: Why don't we just leave someone behind?

MARISHA: Percy's behind.

TRAVIS: Percy's here and so are five? Six? How many employees do we have?

LAURA: Our very capable guards.

TRAVIS: Why don't you make some extra bears that don't hate us?

MARISHA: Huh?

TRAVIS: Why don't you make some extra bears that don't hate us?

MARISHA: All right, I'll make some extra bears.

ORION: Put some little hats on them and make them cute.

LIAM: Do you think you could fix him? Because he's a lot of firepower if we're going to go–

MARISHA: What gets rid of drunkenness? (laughs)

LAURA: Maybe Restoration?

MATT: Restoration would probably take care of it.

MARISHA: I don't want to burn a Restoration spell on your drunkenness.

LAURA: Can you cast little Restoration?

MATT: You could also just give it a couple of hours. Drink a lot of water.

TRAVIS: What time is it?

MATT: At this point, it's probably close to 3:00 in the afternoon.

TRAVIS: So it's 3:00 in the afternoon. The bird doesn't even come until night. We could let him wear it off.

MARISHA: What time is it?

SAM: 3:00. We just established this. We're going to wait until night and go.

LAURA: She said she hated you. How did that feel?

LIAM: Fine. That was fine. That was the heat of the moment. She was angry. We're a team.

MATT: All right. What's the plan, guys?

SAM: The plan is we're going to let him sober up. We're going to give him some coffee. And then we're going to set off for the north farmlands at dusk.

ORION: Oh, we should get some corn and other harvestments at the farms.

MARISHA: I make an army of bears.

MATT: Okay. This concentration will last an hour.

LAURA: Oh! That's it.

MATT: The Conjure Woodland Beings?

MARISHA: Wait! No! Hang on. What if I conjure a bear, and then– let me make sure, while they figure their stuff out. See, we're all figuring stuff out?

LAURA: What if I leave Trinket in the prison with Jarett?

TRAVIS: Yeah! That won't freak him out at all.

SAM: Well, with Cordell. Jarett's down in the cell. This is defense against invading vampires.

MARISHA: Okay! I have a better idea!

TRAVIS: Yep?

SAM: Oh my god.

MARISHA: Why don't I conjure an elemental, and then I can cast Planar Binding on him and he'll hang out for 24 hours.

SAM: Great! Do it. Make it done. Let's go kill a bird.

TRAVIS: Lead with that next time.

MARISHA: I was figuring it out. It's new.

SAM: You've got to talk it through.

MARISHA: Figuring it out.

TRAVIS: That's awesome!

MATT: Yep! That'll do.

TRAVIS: Don't vampires hate fire? Can you do fire?

LAURA: Yeah, fire! Fire elemental!

LIAM: Running water.

LAURA: Ooh, water elemental! (gasps) Tiberius, remember that you–

TRAVIS: He's drunk!

LAURA: I know.

SAM: Don't talk to him.

TRAVIS: He won't remember anything.

ORION: (slurred) I love how you shoot arrows at things' eyeballs.

SAM: I use Minor Illusion to create Lockheed, and I have him scamper away.

ORION: Oh, that's you. But where are you going? You go play up there. Tell your brother to be good.

Anyway, you're so pretty.

MATT: So are you doing that, Marisha? Keyleth, are you summoning an elemental?

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: Okay. Which kind?

MARISHA: Water elemental.

MATT: Okay. And you cast Planar Binding. Part of the material component cost is a gem that's worth at least 1,000 gold pieces.

TRAVIS: I have one of those.

LAURA: You do?

TRAVIS: Yeah. It's a jewel that's red and palm-sized.

LAURA: I have a diamond of awesome. And a regular diamond, as well.

LIAM: If I create a trap here, can you bind some magic to it?

ORION: You can do anything with magic. You can make things go. You can make things stop.

TRAVIS: I cover Tiberius's mouth again.

LAURA: I give her a diamond.

MATT: All right. Is this the awesome diamond or the regular diamond?

LAURA: This is a regular diamond. The awesome diamond is special.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: No! Don't do that!

MARISHA: I know! Why do you do that?

LAURA: Diamonds are really expensive! Any diamonds!

MARISHA: I know! And an awesome diamond has got to be more than 1,000, so this time there's got to be at least 1,000. Grog, what kind of jewel do you have?

TRAVIS: It's a palm-sized ruby.

MARISHA: A palm-sized ruby?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I got a big palm!

MARISHA: Tiberius.

SAM: No, just don't.

MATT: Vex. Your keen eye is able to ascertain that the palm-sized ruby is worth roughly 1,200 gold pieces and would be suitable for this ritual.

LAURA: I think we should use the ruby. Because I have an eye for these things.

TRAVIS: Do we think they're going to come while we do this? Do we want to waste it? Because that's an awesome outside defense. Do we want to waste it for this? What if they're coming? Does it cost one jewel per–

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Maybe we should save that, because that's awesome!

LIAM: Is there a possibility, DM, that I could– if he's sobered up– if I set a trap, that a spell of his could be bound to it, somehow, and go off? I have no idea.

MATT: It's hard to say. There are certain spells that can enable that. That can take certain spells that trigger at a certain time. Nothing that's particularly in your guys' realm of experience or understanding though, unfortunately.

LIAM: All right. So I can look into it for the future, but not today.

TRAVIS: Keyleth, I like that. I think we should keep it in case there is an actual attack coming. Because it might just, 24 hours and then we waste it. Nobody came.

MARISHA: That's true. To be fair, the castle's being heavily watched by outsiders, as well.

SAM: Okay! Listen. Let's just go.

ORION: Grog is big. Scanlan's small. Everything is great. Hi.

LIAM: Can we leave Trinket? To watch.

LAURA: What? He's going to go down in the prison with Jarett.

MATT: Okay. You bring Trinket down. Trinket stands watch right in the center, plops down right up against the bars.

LAURA: I knock on Percy's door and say, Percy?

MATT: “Yes?”

LAURA: Trinket's out here. If you need anything, you just come out and you pet him.

MATT: “Thank you.”

LAURA: Welcome.

ORION: I also go up to the door and go, Trinket. (mumbling) Percy.

LAURA: Aren't you sober yet?

ORION: No, it's been like five minutes, hasn't it?

MATT: Yeah. Over time, over the next two to three hours or so, you guys have set up a place to go. They have given you some water, and you've managed to sober up a bit.

LIAM: I actually picked his pocket and took his bottle of endless water. Don't you have a bottle of water like that?

MATT: No. That is currently left to be blessed for holy water.

LIAM: Oh. Oh, well.

TRAVIS: And we take the scenic route to let him walk it off as we head up towards Big Bird's house.

SAM: Great!

MATT: All right. So. You guys make your way around the outskirts of Emon under moonlight. It's a three-quarter waxing moon. You make your way to the farm vicinity on the north side of the city. It doesn't take long for you to eventually suss out the house that matches the description that you were given by the Klauses. You knock on the door, and they eagerly greet your arrival and invite you in. “So glad you all could make it. Have you decided? Have you given our community's request some thought?”

SAM: We're here to help. We're the heroes that you asked for.

TRAVIS: We love old people.

MATT: “Thank you. That's really good of you. We will happily provide you with fresh produce, going forward. We've talked to a few of the members of the community and we're going to make sure that's taken care of.”

SAM: Where do you think we should stake out this bird? Where are your livestock kept?

MATT: “The livestock are kept on the eastern side of this community. If you look about, say about half a mile out to where the actual residences stop being clustered together, you'll see there are a number of large livestock containment areas. Hard to miss out there. We have pens for sheep; we have pens for cows; we have pens for horses, other beasts of burden. That whole vicinity is where most of these attacks seem to be coming. So that's probably your best bet there.”

LIAM: And the biggest you have are the bulls, you said?

MATT: “Bulls. We have a few big cows, as well. We've lost a few of them, unfortunately.”

TRAVIS: That'll be all we need.

LAURA: Can one of us polymorph into a giant cow?

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: I could also talk to cows again. Maybe these cows will know something.

TRAVIS: We head out to the pasture.

MARISHA: First can I ask her, you said your neighbor boy, Kyle?

SAM: Kyle. The neighbor boy. The neighbor boy's son. Yes.

MATT: “That's true. Kyle's the one who originally spotted it, yeah.”

MARISHA: Where does he live?

MATT: “He's actually the son of the man who runs most of the livestock areas over there. You can go and head over there. He's probably still up, keeping his eye out in case it comes back.”

MARISHA: Thank you. I go to Kyle.

MATT: Okay. You guys make your way over there. It's easy to find. There's large pens. You can see that for as big as the pens are built and their structure, they are noticeably dwindled. You can see why there's been some worry in the community here. The fact that it's only been two weeks and this many creatures are gone is a little disconcerting. As you get there, you can see the house has its light on. There are glowing windows. And sitting in a chair, holding a crossbow across his lap, you see a 19-year-old boy, rugged chin growth, dirty red hair that's disheveled. And he's sitting there looking around in the sky. Rocking back and forth in his chair as you approach. “Who goes there?”

SAM: Don't worry, we're friends. We're friends of the Klauses. Mr. and Mrs. Klaus.

MATT: “Okay. Okay. So you the ones they say was coming to help?”

MARISHA: Yes.

TRAVIS: Aye.

LAURA: We hear you have a keen eye, Kyle.

MATT: “I've seen some things, yeah.”

SAM: Where have they been attacking lately?

MATT: Points to the whole area in front of him and says, “Are you keeping watch now? Great. Thank you.”

MARISHA: No! Wait! Don't leave yet. We need you.

ORION: Yes, yes. Keyleth. We are Vox Machina. Over from Greyskull Keep. I'm Tiberius Stormwind.

MARISHA: That's irrelevant. The point is, I was wondering if you had any more information about the creature.

MATT: “I mean, other than the fact that it was just a really big bird. Really big. Huge.”

MARISHA: Do you remember any other details? Any other defining details other than “bird?”

MATT: “It's hard to see in the moonlight.”

SAM: When it picks up a cow or whatever it's been picking up, does it strike with the beak or the claws? The talons.

MATT: “Claws, and sometimes it takes two at a time, one in each claw, and just carries them away. ”

ORION: Have you seen any of its droppings anywhere?

MATT: “No. ”

TRAVIS: Have you managed to hit it with your crossbow?

MATT: “I've missed.”

LIAM: And you're certain this is a feathered beast, or no?

MATT: “Best I can see. It's dark out here at that time of night and it looks like a bird. It doesn't make any noise and swoops on down and takes them away and flies off in that direction.”

TRAVIS: I've heard that those giant birds are attracted to red-headed, 19-year-old, scruffy-chin folk with crossbows.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

TRAVIS: Awesome.

MATT: This would be with your charisma.

TRAVIS: 22.

MATT: Nice. He goes, “Well, I don't want to be here, then. You guys can keep an eye out. I've got to go.” And unloads the bolt in the crossbow, slings it up under his arm–

SAM: Wait! Before you leave. I'm sorry. I have an itch. And it can only be scratched with a cowbell. Do you have a cowbell anywhere around here? I just need a cowbell. Can I borrow a cowbell from you?

MATT: “Your kid's weird.” And he keeps walking.

MARISHA: Your kid is weird!

SAM: I'm not a child!

LAURA: Do I see any cowbells on the ground?

MATT: You can take a glance about. You eventually can see that there is set up on one of the fences that fences in the cows, there is a cowbell, yes.

LAURA: Hey, there's a cowbell, Scanlan.

SAM: Great. It will help the ruse. Here's my plan: we're all cows. Is that an okay plan?

LAURA: I like it!

MARISHA: I'm into this plan. But doesn't that essentially make us the bait?

SAM: Yes, we're our own bait. Are you cool with that?

LAURA: Should one of us maybe not be a cow?

MARISHA: Well, here's the thing, maybe a few of us should not be cows because only a few people are going to have the ability to turn out of being a cow once they are a cow, unless they take damage.

TRAVIS: We went from all cows to pretty much no one is a cow.

LAURA: No, Keyleth is definitely a cow. No, I mean– I didn't– we didn't mean like that. You're very lovely.

MARISHA: It's okay. What Vax said was way worse, earlier.

TRAVIS: How do you come out of being a cow, if you are one?

SAM: I can get rid of it.

TRAVIS: You would do it? Let's do it! When else are we all going to be cows? Come on! Unless it kills them instantly, we'll be fine.

ORION: I'm fine. I go invisible.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I'm going to lay in wait with an arrow. All the rest of you can be cows.

LIAM: I think I'm better served waiting to strike.

SAM: You and me, Grog. We're cows!

LIAM: If it grabs one of them, I'll deal more damage. If it grabs me, I'll deal no damage. But if it grabs Scanlan cow, I can–

MARISHA: Another thing is, I can turn into a cow. I can turn someone else into a cow. Well, Polymorph is a concentration spell.

SAM: I can turn us all into cows.

MARISHA: Oh. Because you got that thing.

TRAVIS: Cow or no, Keyleth? Give us your answer.

MARISHA: Oh, I'm a cow.

SAM: Seeming.

ORION: Oh, we are not actually cows?

SAM: We'll just seem like cows.

MARISHA: Except for me who is going to be an actual cow.

ORION: If it's Polymorph, I couldn't cast stuff. I redact my Invisibility and I'll be a cow. I'm also going to be a cow. I want to be a brown cow.

MARISHA: We're all cows! Just embrace it.

MATT: You can't change a target's body type.

SAM: What? No.

MATT: So the same form of your limbs– you're right.

SAM: You can't change size, but we can all be Grog-sized cows or Scanlan-sized cows.

MATT: It's going to be an array of very strangely sized cows.

MARISHA: Scanlan would be like a calf. Big calf.

SAM: What do you think?

MATT and SAM: I'll allow it!

(cheering and laughter)

SAM: Gather close to me!

TRAVIS: We want to get in the pen first, right?

SAM: Yes, let's go into the pen, and if I may, I'm going to wear the cow bell.

TRAVIS: Sure! You've earned it.

(laughter)

LAURA: How you going to put it? I'm just going to put it around your neck right now.

TRAVIS: Super loose.

MATT: You guys make your way into the cow pen. The little bit of moonlight that's coming down from the sky illuminates. You see the cows are clustered underneath this overhang that is used for temporary shelter. You hear this distant (mooing) as you approach and make noise. No one's not too upset yet. It's more low muttering.

TRAVIS: What if that was attraction?

MATT: Not yet.

MARISHA: If we use Seeming, we just appear to be cows, but we can still speak, right?

MATT: Yeah. Anything sees you as cows–

MARISHA: Would be like, holy shit, those are talking cows!

SAM: It's “cow-moo-flage.”

(groaning)

SAM: Thank you.

ORION: That's good.

MATT: I have to give you experience for that.

(laughter)

LIAM: Wait. What's going on? Are we turning into cows?

SAM: We just will seem like cows.

LIAM: I don't understand magic.

TRAVIS: Just go along. Go along.

LAURA: That way we can ambush the bird.

MARISHA: We are going to look like cows. Are we going to look like cows to each other, too?

MATT: You'll find out.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: As you all gather around the small gnome, currently adorned with the cowbell around his neck.

LIAM: Just like the brothels, eh?

MATT: You complete the spell and with a sudden (whoosh) of cold night air, your vision blurs and you blink for a second. You look around and Vox Machina is now, instead, an array of slightly smaller than average cows. (mooing)

SAM: (barks) Oh, wait. No.

MATT: You're, by the way, more of a calf.

LAURA: You are so cute, Scanlan.

MARISHA: Okay, shall we go interview some cows?

LAURA: Let's go talk to some cows. I want to walk over to the cows with you.

MATT: You guys step up, awkwardly, towards the cows, some of which are sleeping, some of which are noticing and sitting there just chewing.

MARISHA: Which one looks like the alpha male?

LAURA: The one that's got horns.

MATT: There are no males in this pen, because they are cows.

ORION: I try to speak to the cow.

MATT: Okay. What do you say?

ORION: Hello, I'm Tiberius Stormwind from Draconia.

MATT: You speak Common. You don't know Cow.

MARISHA: Tiberius, just because you look like a cow doesn't mean you can talk to the cows. The cows don't understand English. No matter if you look like a cow, they still don't understand Common.

LIAM: Boy, if Uriel could see us now.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We are “cow-nsel” worthy.

MARISHA: I cast Speak With Animals.

MATT: This is the best Vox Machina adventure ever! All right, you cast Speak With Animals.

MARISHA: Yes. Actually, how many animals can I hit with Speak with Animals? It is called Animals, right? Or is it just Speak with Animal?

MATT: I think it affects you. I think it gives you the ability to speak with.

MARISHA: Oh, just me the ability?

ORION: You're Dr. Doolittle.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah. I think you're right. Okay, so I cast Speak With Animals on myself.

MATT: All right. Yep! On self for ten minutes.

ORION: Make sure the cow– What? She may know a cow that is over there.

MARISHA: Okay, so I go up. Is there a cluster of nice-looking ladies, sitting around?

MATT: All the cows are clustered in this one corner, up against each other for body warmth. And there are few that are just like (moo).

MARISHA: Hello, ladies. Good evening.

MATT: (moo) Which is what you guys hear. You hear as a response: “What are you doing? We're trying to sleep.”

MARISHA: I do apologize to awaken you. I was just curious if you could tell me a little bit about some of the events that have been transpiring around here lately? Mainly, the results of your kind getting killed?

MATT: “My kind?”

ORION: Just ask about the bird!

MARISHA: Have you seen a giant bird flying around? Anyone?

MATT: At which point, all the cows start shuddering and say, “Yes. Haven't you? It keeps taking us. Why do you think we're hiding under this?”

MARISHA: Oh, sure.

MATT: “Be careful. If you stay out there, it'll see you.”

MARISHA: Right. Where, exactly? Where have they been– okay. Damn, cows! It's never–

SAM: Keyleth, what vital information have you learned?

MARISHA: I'll get back to you in one second. Can you tell me anything about what it looks like?

MATT: “It's big and has wings. It's fast, and it keeps taking us.”

ORION: Ask her where the moon is at night–

MARISHA: Does it seem to come at a certain time of the night?

MATT: “The dark time.”

ORION: It's a cow. This is the same as before.

TRAVIS: Because nothing is happening I am now trying to eat grass.

MATT: You bend down, and take clusters with your hand, and start eating grass.

ORION: Oh, we are ourselves, still?

MATT: Yeah, you are not actually physically cows. You are still yourselves. You just look like cows.

SAM: I, for once, and it's not weird, I just shit on the floor.

(laughter)

SAM: Seems totally normal.

TRAVIS: We are in it, baby!

LAURA: I'm just going to notch a bow to my bow, just to keep a lookout to the sky.

MATT: Okay.

ORION: Can I Prestidigitate smells?

MATT: You could.

ORION: Sweet. Go ahead.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, so we go out into the field.

MARISHA: They're cows. I forgot that talking to cows never goes well.

LAURA: Yeah, remember Dork?

MARISHA: Didn't seem to know a lot. They're simple-minded beasts.

LAURA: Dork the ox.

MARISHA: Yeah, poor Dork. Dork the ox.

MATT: Rest in peace, Dork.

TRAVIS: Pour a little out.

MATT: You guys make your way. You wait a while, a good two-hour period, as cows, before eventually you, keeping your eye to the sky with your arrow nocked, see a whisk of shadow across the moonlight.

LAURA: (whistles)

TRAVIS: What was that?

LAURA: I'm letting you guys fucking know there's a thing in the sky.

ORION: Is it Jumanji time?

SAM: Not quite.

MATT: At this point, you guys look up, and you see something circle once. It looks like a bird. It's just not as big as you were expecting. Looks like a bigger hawk.

ORION: I cast Stoneskin on myself.

MATT: Okay. Bigger and bigger

LIAM: My cow is going stealth.

MATT: Roll for cow stealth!

(laughter)

LIAM: 23.

MATT: Okay. You're still a cow.

MARISHA: I make myself look available. I step away from the rest of the herd a little bit.

TRAVIS: I go into a cow rage and start chewing faster.

MATT: You would like to chew! All right.

LAURA: I Hunter's Mark it.

MATT: Okay. Well, it has to come within range first.

LAURA: As soon as it is.

MATT: As it swoops down, you see this bird just gets larger and larger and you realize it was quite a distance away. And now that it's getting closer, the tales you've heard are true. This is at least a 100-foot wing span, if not more.

ORION: I'm going to fix my ring on it.

MARISHA: 100-foot wing span?

ORION: As it gets close I'm going to brace my ring as it's coming towards us.

MATT: Okay. It comes. It dives down with extreme speed and goes into a dive. It comes into range. You cast Hunter's Mark on it. You have your ring ready. What you doing?

ORION: Cast Slow on it!

MATT: Cast Slow? All righty. What is the DC on that?

ORION: 17.

MATT: And what is the save?

SAM: Is it wisdom or charisma or something?

ORION: It's concentration! No, wait, it is a concentration.

MATT: Yes it is. That's okay. I'm finding it. All right, it is wisdom. All right. Oh! What was the DC?

ORION: 17.

MATT: 17. That is an 18. Rolled a natural 18 on that one. As it swoops down, you release the spell, you are immediately attempting to be grasped in its talons. That is a 23 to hit.

MARISHA: That hits.

MATT: All right. So you then take 23 points of slashing damage to your cow form.

LAURA: I thought we were just–

MATT: Oh. Okay. Sorry. You're not in cow form, are you? You're illusioned. You're staying normal?

MARISHA: No, I'm normal.

MATT: You're normal. Right. Okay. I thought you were saying you were doing an actual cow form, but no. All right. You take 23 points of slashing damage, and you are currently grappled as it takes right back up into the air, clutching Keyleth within its talons.

LIAM: How fast can the rest of us do anything? It's gone?

MATT: Now you guys can react. It is currently 60 feet away from you.

LAURA: I immediately– oh god! I shoot it.

SAM: Do we have to roll for initiative?

MATT: You do.

LAURA: But I was notched already.

MATT: Right. I'll give you advantage on your initiative. Because you're notched but you used your last turn to cast Hunter's Mark on it. Everyone roll initiative. You have advantage on it because you were nocked, and because you were ready to react, you have advantage on your initiative check, but everyone else just roll normally. All right. So that is 25 to 20?

LAURA: 21.

MATT: 21.

MATT: 20 to 15?

LIAM: 17.

TRAVIS: 18.

MARISHA: 16.

MATT: Vax. Keyleth. Scanlan? Tiberius? What you guys got?

SAM: Six.

ORION: Five.

MATT: Okay. All right. So Vex, you're up first.

LAURA: I'm going to shoot it through the Blazing Bowstring.

MATT: Okay. Go for it. Roll for the attack.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16 hits.

LAURA: (counts quietly) 26.

MATT: 26 points of damage. All righty.

LAURA: And then I'm going to shoot it again.

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: That one definitely hits: 26.

MATT: Yeah! That hits.

LAURA: 26 again.

MATT: Nice! All right, that brings us to Grog.

TRAVIS: I take the Firebrand Warhammer, activate it, turn on the fire. And I put the Chain of Returning on it and throw it at the winged beast.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and roll with disadvantage because it's already roughly 40 to 60 feet away from you. It's tough to get there. But you can try.

TRAVIS: 15. Nope. 16.

MATT: Okay. Due to its distance and the dark cover of night, it's harder to hit and you actually swing and throw it and the hammer– The chain goes taut and it just drops to the ground and it's just out of range of the hammer, as it escapes the range it would have hit it with.

TRAVIS: Can I pull it back?

MATT: Yeah, go for it. That's easy enough, it's not wedged in anything. You don't have to roll for it. All right, so that's your turn. Vax.

LIAM: I'd like to use a bonus action to click Boots of Haste together, and I think if I do that, I have two actions at that point, right?

MATT: No. Well you do have an additional action that can be used only to attack.

LIAM: Just attack. So what I want to do is click the Boots of Haste together, use the original action to run as far as I can towards the bird, and then use my final action to sneak attack the thing since it's got Keyleth in its talons. That's up to you.

MATT: Okay. The sneak attack will not kick in because Keyleth is not threatening the creature. But you go for the attacks. You rush up, you dash, you get underneath it– for a moment, because of the Boots of Haste, you keep speed with this giant, darting creature. You, underneath, throw your daggers upward.

LIAM: All right. It would just be one– I mean if I use the dash to run as far as I can, that would leave me with one attack probably?

MATT: One attack and your bonus without the damage bonus.

LIAM: I'm trying to be a Boy Scout here. Wouldn't the Boots of Haste clicking be the bonus action? Yeah. That is 22 to hit.

MATT: That hits.

LIAM: All right. And that's not a whole lot.

MATT: What's the range increment on a dagger?

LIAM: That's ten. Ten.

MATT: Ten?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Dagger. Roll again for disadvantage because it's just within your secondary throwing range.

LIAM: Oh yeah. Then I missed.

MATT: Okay. It vanishes into the dark night ahead of you. So yeah. That is gone. You still have your Belt of Returning, you just don't have your snake belt. Yeah, don't worry guys. I saw the look on your face and I'm like, no, it's fine. It comes back. Okay. Keyleth, you're up. You're currently grappled and held within the talons of this giant bird. You see the entire ground below you.

MARISHA: Judging by the fairly close up appearance I have of him at this point, can I tell it is probably a “beast” nature?

MATT: At the sheer size, it's hard to tell. You've never encountered a beast of this size, but you do look up and you can see the talons that are currently holding you in place and piercing the sides of your armor are bird-like talons. And you do see a series of dark feathers coating the entire underbelly of this entity.

MARISHA: Okay. I'm going to attempt to cast Dominate Beast.

MATT: Okay. All right.

MARISHA: It has to make a wisdom saving throw.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Is your Enhance Ability still active? From before?

MATT: That's for ability checks. So you finish casting the spell. Apparently, this entity is not affected by the spell.

LIAM: Fuck-sticks.

SAM: It's not a beast?

MATT: It is not a beast. There's a fine line when certain creatures of nature are altered by some sort of magical essence or their nature perhaps is not natural at the get-go. Either they were created or over time they became something beyond beast. This seems to fall under that category.

MARISHA: That's my turn, right?

MATT: That's your turn. That brings us to its turn.

MARISHA: Can I try and break the grapple as a bonus action?

MATT: That would be your action to try and break the grapple. For this creature's turn, it does a full double dash of its full flight speed and is about 250 feet away from you and completely out of your guys' reach. You see it (whoosh) up into the sky, disappearing to the north, north-northwest area beyond Emon, carrying Keyleth in its claws.

LIAM: Keyleth, just get out of its fucking hands and fall. You can change. We'll catch you; we'll do something! Just fall.

MATT: You're close enough where you can still hear this, as the desperation kicks in and you realize– seeing your whole party not even visible at this point except a couple of dark dots in the low light of the night.

SAM: Is it our turn yet?

MATT: It now comes to Scanlan's turn.

SAM: Okay. I Dimension Door.

MATT: What's the range on Dimension Door?

SAM: 500 feet.

MATT: You– and appear where? Where do you want to appear?

SAM: On it. On its back.

MATT: Okay. You appear right on its back. You immediately land and start sliding back as the wind is pushing on you. The feathers themselves, due to the aerodynamic nature of its flight path; it's a lot of wind resistance against you.

LIAM: Oh, make an acrobatics check.

ORION: Shush! What the hell?!

MATT: No, I was going there. Don't worry. That's what it is. You need to go ahead and make an acrobatics check to see if you can maintain balance on the back of this beast.

LIAM: My intelligence is not six!

SAM: 20!

MATT: You manage to just, you tumble backward a little bit. You grab a couple of feathers and get yourself just on the side underneath where the wing meets part of the upper torso, where the wind resistance is the least amount, and you manage to hold on. You are now clutching the back of this giant bird. That's your turn.

SAM: Okay. As my bonus action, I will inspire Keyleth. Right? She's right next to me?

MARISHA: Scanlan? What the shit?

SAM: (singing) The way you kick so much ass like nobody else. The way you do animal things gets me overwhelmed. You don't know. You don't know you're powerful. Oh. That's what makes you powerful.

MATT: Due to the wind, you don't hear the last line. It's too loud around it. However, you can take a d10 inspiration dice.

LAURA and MARISHA: Yay!

LIAM: What a heroic move! Amazing!

MATT: Which for the record, this currently right now looks like– you see the cow clutched below, and currently there is a cow holding onto this giant bird.

SAM: It lasts eight hours.

MATT: This singing tiny cow. You artists out there, have fun with this scene.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. That ends your turn. Tiberius.

ORION: Good. I drop Stoneskin. At 5th-level, I go myself, one, two, three– I cast Fly on all of us. Fly, you fools! And go right after them.

MATT: All right. All of you guys, at that point you see Tiberius and you all take off after him.

LIAM: The cows take off into the night sky.

ORION: (shouting) Fly, Vox Machina! Moo!

MARISHA: Vox “Moo-china!”

(booing)

MATT: A squadron of weirdly-sized, flying cows lit by moonlight, chasing after a giant bird. I love Dungeons and Dragons.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What is this?

MATT: What's the flying speed on Fly?

ORION: 60 feet.

MATT: 60 feet. Cool.

ORION: I'm going to dash. On that.

MATT: Yep. You guys can go 120 feet every turn. It can go 240. Two rounds pass before you guys realize there is no way you're going to catch up with this thing or get even close to it.

LIAM: I've got Haste!

LAURA: I've got Hunter's Mark on it, so I can track it.

LIAM: Double me, yo! I got Haste.

MATT: Your Haste speed– your physical body doesn't affect the Fly spell, unfortunately. You're only at the speed that the arcane nature of the spell can take you. I'm just saying. Your metabolism's real fast. Your heartbeat's hummingbirding it. But you're still only going 120 feet. So as you guys follow behind, you can see now, after a while on the edge of the shoreline, not too far from Emon– maybe what would normally be from horseback or a brisk walk, a half day's travel– you eventually come upon the– There it is! You come upon the coastal mountains known as the Shoreline Summit. It's a series of unusually steep mountain bluffs that hug the coastline, northwest of Emon. As you get closer, and at this point you've lost sight of the bird. Scanlan, I want you to go ahead and roll an athletics check.

SAM: Athletics? Well, that doesn't count. That's not good. Athletics? 16.

MATT: 16? Okay. You still manage to keep hold for the portion of the length of the journey. As it moves and shifts and the wind itself is still blowing in your face, though minimized by your current positioning. It's a trial to hold onto this large creature as it makes its wings beat and just the sheer force of its movement. All right. So as you get closer to these mountaintops–

MARISHA: Do I have a turn yet?

MATT: You can go ahead and take your turn now too, yes.

MARISHA: Yeah? I cast Polymorph on it. You're on it.

SAM: Don't worry about me!

MARISHA: Really?

SAM: I'm fine! You never need to worry about me. Haven't you guys learned that by now? I'm fine!

MARISHA: Out of thematic reasons, I also turn him into a cow.

(laughter)

SAM: That's amazing!

LIAM: Is what she cries out heroically.

MATT: Okay. What's the DC on this?

MARISHA: My spell DC? 18.

MATT: Rolled a one.

(laughter)

SAM: I'm a cow on a cow with a cow!

MATT: So this giant flying bird– Moo! And just begins to plummet at an extremely fast speed. You both immediately are released from its grasp. Scanlan and Keyleth both are just falling. You guys don't see this. It's too far away from you now. At this point, you're probably close to about 500 feet in the air.

LIAM: Yo, I heard you liked cows, so I gave you some cows with your cow.

MATT: I hope this inspires the next Diablo Cow level, guys. You really need to look into this. All right. So you guys are now both plummeting and falling at a really, really rapid speed.

MARISHA: I go eagle form.

MATT: Flailing cows. You go eagle form. You're fine. So you go into eagle form. That's your action this turn. That's your bonus action, because you can do that as a–

MARISHA: As a bonus action!

MATT: Eagle form. Scanlan, you plummet full speed on this one. You probably have another two rounds before you impact with something very painful.

LIAM: But he's as heavy as a dust mote, so he just goes like this all the way down. Right?

MARISHA: I don't think that's how it works.

ORION: No, he's a little pebble.

MARISHA: I can catch him, if you need catched.

MATT: You guys still continue to give chase. Eventually, you see this giant thing just go and vanish from sight. It's just gone. It just disappeared.

ORION: I go full Gandalf.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: Never go full Gandalf.

MATT: You guys are pushing forward. So it's now the next round for you guys to react. What are you doing?

SAM: I will become a pterodactyl.

MATT: So you're casting?

SAM: Polymorph on myself?

MATT: Okay. Because you are falling and this is a lot of wind, I'm going to have to ask you to make a concentration check to complete the spell.

LAURA: Come on, Scanlan!

MATT: So go ahead and roll a d20.

SAM: This is a concentration not on holding a spell, but on casting it?

MATT: Correct. Because as part of the components of it and maintaining your attention to the spell–

MARISHA: What does he add? His spell attack bonus?

MATT: This? No, this is a d20 and– let me make sure, yeah– it's a d20 and then you add your plus five from your charisma.

SAM: Charisma? That's a natural 20.

(cheering)

MATT: With that– (screeches) pterodactyl.

LIAM: Tables have turned, motherfucker! Tables have turned!

ORION: You're both flying cows!

LAURA: Wait! Was Seeming a concentration?

ORION: I think it lasts for like eight hours.

LAURA: Did it drop? Are we no longer cows?

SAM: I think so. I'll check.

LIAM: Hey! You're not a cow anymore!

LAURA: Oh my god, you're not a cow anymore!

LIAM: Oh! Awesome!

MATT: You guys keep flying. You guys catch yourselves.

SAM: Nope, not concentration. It just lasts for eight hours.

MATT: You guys are all still flying cows. You're all still just a squadron of flying, illusory cows, which you guys are both now transformed into an eagle and a pterodactyl, but you still look like cows.

(laughter)

LIAM: As the twins are flying, I say, hey, did you notice we have the same pattern? Twins!

MATT: About this time, you hear a loud, impactful boom. And there's a cloud of dust partway into the side of this first bit of mountain range that you come upon, a little bit distant from you guys.

LAURA: Can I fly down towards it?

MATT: You start heading in that direction. Because of the speed it was traveling at and the way it was carrying at the speed it was going, it's still ahead of you guys. And you see the impact. You hear this loud screeching sound and you see now where there was a little poof of cloud, these wings unfold and (flapping) make its way back up.

ORION: How far away from it are we?

MATT: You guys right now at the close to six minutes you've been traveling–

MARISHA: Did it not drop the cow to zero hit points?

MATT: All the damage carries over.

LIAM: The remainder of that damage went into its hit points.

MATT: You don't know. It looks hurt. It looks like it wasn't happy about it. It continues back up. From you Tiberius, it's probably close to 700 to 800 feet away from you. It's because of the speed it was traveling and the speed you guys were following. It was gaining on you every single turn.

LAURA: Is it flying away from us now?

MATT: It's heading up into the mountain range.

LIAM: Fly after that motherfucker!

LAURA: Should we still track it? It's still nighttime, right?

MATT: It's still nighttime, yeah.

ORION: It's only 500 feet away from me right now?

MATT: 600 to 500 feet.

ORION: Okay, cool. Well I'm going for it, still.

MATT: What are you doing?

LAURA: We're all following it.

ORION: Where am I? It's taking off right now and I'm over here?

MATT: You're back here. It's now starting to take off and head up towards the top of this mountain range that you're just starting to come upon.

ORION: Okay. If it's doing that, then I'll fucking go higher and try to meet it where it's going.

MATT: Okay. Cool. The rest of you guys continue to give chase. Now that it's returned to its form, it travels an additional double dash: 240 feet. As this progresses, it's far beyond any of you guys in a matter of seconds.

LAURA: Is the mountain range really far away?

MATT: No, you've just hit the outskirts of the mountain range. It got there first. You guys just catch up to where it starts and you see it's like now it's dodging through the mountains and is currently no longer in sight. There is a little bit of low cloud cover in this area. A couple drift by and cover a couple of the mountains. But this little cluster of seaside cliffs and mountains, as you get closer, you can see it's dotted with high altitude trees. There's precariously perched goats that are sleeping on elements of the sides of this mountain.

LIAM: Can you track it?

LAURA: I can track it! Of course.

MATT: So you're keeping your attention on it?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: The winds also are pretty strong as you get close to the mountains. As you coast around each, you start actually diving into this middle valley area.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Pass Without a Trace on all of us.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Does that affect any spells?

LAURA: No, it just makes us stealth easier.

SAM: It doesn't drop Hunter's Mark?

MATT: Is it concentration?

LAURA: No, it's not concentration; it's an action. Oh wait. (laughs) I don't know if I can tell.

MATT: Is Pass Without a Trace concentration?

LAURA: Where does it say it?

SAM: There's a C next to it somewhere.

LAURA: Oh, never mind! It's a concentration. Forget it! I don't know how these things work yet.

SAM: Yeah, stick to the bows and arrows.

MATT: Traveling through this area, you can see the mountains. The way that they're constructed in this area, it's not a gradual crag. A lot of these are just punched up in the air, like whatever heavy seismic force that created these initially was very localized and very powerful. A lot of the mountains are spire-like. They come up with very sheer sides and you can see why this mountain range is largely not utilized or traversed or generally spoken of often because it's too dangerous for most average folk to even attempt to climb or use for any good reason. The winds are high and powerful here at the tops, as well. And as you're flying around, the winds blowing across, and you get pushed off your course a little bit here and there, but you still keep up, best as possible. You leading the charge. Over about five minutes of searching through this mountain range, you sense that its movement eventually comes to stop.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: There's a nest.

SAM: Wait, you sense that he came to a stop?

LAURA: He came to a stop a little bit ahead of us.

SAM: Let's go get him.

LAURA: Can we all try to stealth in?

SAM: I'm a pterodactyl, so–

MARISHA: Yeah, let's go for the element of surprise. Well, technically, we're all still cows.

MATT: Yes. And you guys cannot talk because you're actually in creature forms.

LAURA: All right. Well, I'm going to try to stealth. Mountains are my favored terrain!

MATT: They are! Do you want to go onto the mountain itself, or are you still flying amongst them?

LAURA: Oh, I'll still fly.

MATT: So you would not get the advantage because air is not your favored terrain. So everyone who wishes to, go ahead and roll stealth checks

MARISHA: All of us?

MATT: All of you who wish to try and come at it from a quiet–

SAM: (pterodactyl screech)

MATT: What did you roll?

LIAM: With advantage, I rolled a two.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I'm not used to being flying, really.

SAM: Five.

ORION: Are we flying anymore?

MATT: You guys are all still flying, yeah.

ORION: Oh, shit. Okay. Oh, no.

MARISHA: 21.

TRAVIS: 14.

LAURA: 28.

MATT: Yeah, so. You guys following behind Vex, many of you clumsily and some of you shouting out to each other, “I think she sees it this way.” And you're like, “oh my god.” You come around this one bend and you can see one of the larger mountainous spires that has a lot of trees and green growth towards the top at certain places where the rock juts out and gives a shelf for such greenery to grow, outside of its sheer outside surface. You do see a couple of wings fold in against the moonlight in what looks to be an outcropping. And there are multiple layers of rock shelves on the side of this mountain. And on one of these outcroppings, there appears to be some sort of a nest: a cluster of almost like actual trees and pieces of wood that are all jammed into this giant nest that's nestled against where the shadow and the moonlight are fighting for some sort of visual on it.

TRAVIS: Big-ass tree fortress.

LAURA: Did we just find like a mama bird and baby birds?

MARISHA: Yeah, we did.

LAURA: What are we going to do?

LIAM: We're going to take out the mom and train the babies.

SAM: What are we going to do?

LIAM: Yeah. We're going to capture those babies and we're going to train them.

ORION: That's a good idea. I like that idea.

SAM: Like Avatar?

ORION: Yes.

TRAVIS: You could go in.

LAURA: Me go in? There's a giant fucking nest here! I get close to it. As close as I feel safe getting to it.

MATT: You guys all stay back or do you go with her?

ORION: I'm going to cast Greater Invisibility on myself and then follow.

MATT: Okay. You guys have 12 seconds before you all plummet.

ORION: Oh wait! No! I don't do that. Damn it! I forget we're still flying.

TRAVIS: What part of the flying part did you forget?

ORION: I thought we'd landed already.

MATT: Are you guys all going with Vex, or are you all staying back and she's going on her own?

TRAVIS: Are we going to lose Fly, or do we keep it?

MATT: Are you casting Greater Invisibility?

ORION: No.

MATT: Then no, you're fine.

LIAM: Is it the same stealth roll or an additional stealth roll to go forward at this point?

MATT: No this was your stealth roll on approaching.

LIAM: Oh. Well, I mean, I knew I rolled shitty.

MATT: You don't know you rolled shitty.

TRAVIS: I'm going in.

MATT: All right. So Vex and Grog, you approach. Gliding cows, drifting through the night sky.

LAURA: This is so stupid.

TRAVIS: Hoof in hoof.

MATT: Okay, yeah. So you guys all realize you must keep close together to Tiberius as you come in. Keeping too much of a distance would be a bad thing. You come upon the underneath portion of this outcropping, and you can see within a quick glance– go ahead and make a perception check, all of you guys.

MARISHA: All of us?

MATT: All of you who are coming up in this cluster.

TRAVIS: Three.

LAURA: Do I get an advantage because we're in a mountain environment at all?

MATT: Nope. Actually no. Because you're seeing things on a mountain, I will give you advantage on this.

LAURA: Yes!

MARISHA: 12.

MATT: 12?

ORION: 16.

SAM: Nothing.

LIAM: 13.

LAURA: 12.

MATT: So the highest was?

ORION: 16.

MATT: 16. You got?

TRAVIS: Three.

MATT: As you guys all look up, it's very shadowy over here. It's hard to see. The moonlight's in your eye a little bit and the darkness is so pitch. The umbra of this particular shadow is very dark and crushed. You make out, in the nest, the large bird creature has folded its wings and is currently leaning down. And you see something in the nest that's much smaller moving up next to it.

MARISHA: I don't want to kill a mama.

LAURA: But she's killing the farmers' stuff.

MARISHA: Maybe we can transplant her.

SAM: To a wildlife preserve?

LAURA: Maybe. And her babies?

MARISHA: Capture her and move her away from town?

LIAM: That seems complicated.

SAM: Are they on the highest peak?

MATT: No. There's two other levels up above this. This one just is one of the largest outcroppings.

SAM: I'm going to swoop up over them. See if there's any boulders to drop.

MATT: Okay. Looking over it, there are no loose rocks or boulders. In fact, because of the construction of these mountains, they're solid spires that jut up and then abruptly end. All the erosion that happens here appears to be gradual enough– that's why the sides of the mountains are so smooth and unclimbable.

MARISHA: So there's a sheer peak and they're nested on the side of it?

MATT: Yeah. It's a sheer peak that rounds off at the very top and there are little outcroppings that jut out in places as it goes down. But those are more towards the top, and as you go down further– as most of the erosion hits the mountain lower and lower, it has carved off or destroyed most of what would have been previous outcroppings, or smoothed them over.

TRAVIS: How far away are we now?

MATT: You guys are probably a good 60 or 50 feet if you're trying to get up within range of your Fly. Right? What's the range of on that? Fly?

SAM: Fly? Oh, here.

MATT: I got it. No! There is no range on it. You just touch them. So you're fine. Yeah. As long as you're concentrating on it, you're fine.

TRAVIS: So we're within 60 feet?

MATT: Well, you guys have been keeping a little more of a distance down here. However, at this point, as you guys are all encroaching and Scanlan's gone overhead, a voice rings out against the darkness, “Flying cows? Really? I care not for this insolence. If you've come to mock me or fight me, do it now! Or leave this creature alone!”

LAURA: What? Where are you? Who are you? Who said that?

ORION: I rolled an arcana check of 17 of my surroundings– where it's coming from.

LAURA: Ditto. I try to perceive where it's coming from.

MATT: Okay. Arcana check– there's nothing arcane in nature. It's not omnipresent or coming from any certain place. There is a direction it's coming from, which is from the outcropping or nest area. There's nothing arcane in nature to it. It's in the shadow. You can't really see it from this distance.

LAURA: Is it in front of us? To the side of us? Is it coming from where the bird seems to be?

MATT: It's coming from where the bird is.

LIAM: He's controlling it.

MARISHA: I fly over as an eagle.

LAURA: You still look like a cow eagle.

MARISHA: Can we drop Seeming?

MATT: It's not under your control, and you can't talk, too.

TRAVIS: Okay. I yell out, you've been stealing the farmers' livestock. Give us a reason not to kill you.

SAM: That's good. That's good. Diplomacy.

ORION: Or, I mean, moo!

MATT: Okay. You guys are all keeping distance from it? The voice comes out again, “Your nature confuses me and your words seem ill-informed. If you're not going to come to speak of discourse, I'm going to assume that you're my enemy.”

ORION: Then, as he's saying that, I'll approach.

MATT: So Tiberius cow goes.

ORION: And as I approach the thing, I'm going to Dispel Magic on myself.

MATT: Okay. Cool. For Dispel Magic, I need you to go ahead, just for the sake of this– I won't consider it contested because you're allies in this thing. So you land. Tiberius' form shimmers and returns back to that of a dragonborn, and you're standing there on the precipice. Go ahead and roll a perception check.

ORION: What is that? 11.

MATT: Okay. It's hard to make out the details, but the voice is definitely coming from the nest. You see there is something vaguely humanoid, but it's hard to make out the shape at this distance with this low light, especially since you aren't a darkvision-gifted entity. However, it's close to this bird creature.

ORION: I'm going to say, is this big bird thing asleep?

MATT: “You will not harm this creature, poachers!”

ORION: I'm not trying to harm it at all. I'm just seeing if it's fine. If we could talk. I can't see anything, and I wanted to cast Light so I could see something, but I don't want to hurt your bird's eyes.

MATT: You can see the bird's moving and it's looking towards your direction. And it has this like (soft snarl).

ORION: So it's awake?

MATT: It's awake, and it looks hurt. The voice is like, “You come here masqueraded as whatever manner of beasts that you are–”

ORION: Cows. We were cows.

MATT: “After tormenting and severely wounding this beautiful creature.”

ORION: We didn't do anything to the creature. No, we were– This creature was stealing the farmer's cows, and the farmers were saying, “You've taken our livestock,” which is hurting the farm. We came to help them and we posed as cows, and then your bird took our–

LIAM: While he's blithering, can I make an additional cow stealth check?

MATT: To?

LIAM: To come up behind the guy. Near him. Not even near him. Just to get a better vantage point.

MATT: Go for it. Make it with a disadvantage.

LIAM: Does that cancel out with my advantage from my cloak?

LAURA: A cow in a cloak.

MATT: You are a flying cow in the moonlight against an individual that is very aware of your presence.

LIAM: Shut up, baby, I know it.

(laughter)

LIAM: That is good.

LAURA: That's 31.

LIAM: Yeah. 31.

MATT: (chuckles) You stealthily cow your way up to the side of this precipice. Seemingly unnoticed. Getting a view of this creature now, you can see this nest is a cluster of driftwood and chunks of shipwreck and carts and wagon wheels and whatever pieces of wood have been scavenged from different time periods. Some are weathered, some are more fresh. And trees, whole trees that are broken and shredded have all been cobbled together to make this nest. In the center of this– I'm going to take the intensity down on this a little bit– you see, there up against this bird– and the bird itself is twitching and looks like it's hurt. Not deeply hurt, but hurt. You see a small humanoid. Pretty small. Scanlan small. Hard to make out details, but it is currently in the process of doing a repeated hand motion and then touching. A hand motion and then touching. And you've seen this motion before.

LIAM: Touching what?

MATT: Touching the bird. There is a perpetual string of Cure Wounds being applied to this bird.

MARISHA: I also approach and come out of my eagle form.

ORION: Light.

SAM: Are you landing somewhere?

MARISHA: Next to Tiberius.

ORION: But I'm going to block it with my hand so it's not going to blind the bird.

MATT: Okay. As the light picks up, you can see the bird turns away for a second and starts to like flap its wings instinctually. And once again, seeing it up close, this bird is really big. The humanoid entity becomes immediately visible. And it is a gnome. You can see, he's dressed in hides and roughly crafted leather and furs. He has tousled, greasy black hair that hangs past his shoulders, covering a bedraggled and bearded face. Holding up his arm– and looks thin. It's covering the light and he's like, “You!”

ORION: Sorry. I tried to not blind you. It was very dark. I'm sorry. Hello. We mean you no harm.

MATT: The gnome slams this small wooden, for lack of a better term, a small staff or cane. Slams it into the ground with a foot stomp and you can see the gnome's entire body suddenly begin to shift and change into this dark, gnarled-looking, hard surface.

LIAM: I whack him in the back of the head.

LAURA: No! It's just Barkskin! It's just defense!

MATT: He doesn't know. All right. So you cow stealth up to the side of this guy.

LIAM: Let's get ready to rumble.

MATT: All right. Go ahead and make an attack.

LIAM: I pause.

MATT: You pause? You are currently now crouched right behind the edge of this nest, and you can't even actually see the guy anymore because in order to get up there, you've come underneath to stay hidden and you're just there behind.

MARISHA: Can I see Vax?

MATT: No. Well, actually go ahead and roll a perception check. Is it higher than a 31?

MARISHA: Is it higher than a 31? No.

MATT: You have no idea where Vax is.

SAM: I'm way up above them still, right? Do I see anything?

MATT: No, actually. You see, there's another section above there. It looks like there's nothing else of interest, other than some growth, a few bushes, and some vines that hang down the side.

TRAVIS: Somebody talk to him before I kill this fucking bird.

ORION: I am talking to him.

MARISHA: I land beside Tiberius and come out of eagle form. Tiberius, would you please Dispel this cow form from me. Please? Thank you.

MATT: Okay. And with that, you cast Dispel Magic and Keyleth's form reverts that to Keyleth. Normal Keyleth. Non-cow Keyleth. The gnome character now has the staff at the back and has a hand in front and is like, (panting).

MARISHA: Are you a druid? I'm also a druid. I think our goals might be aligned.

MATT: “Really?”

MARISHA: It's okay. What's her name?

MATT: “This creature has no name to it yet. I, myself, am a protector of the wild, as you claim to be, as well. I have no tribe but the trees around me. I hear the whisper of the wind, and it calls for justice.”

MARISHA: I can relate to that.

MATT: “Then why do you follow? Why do you insist on harming this creature?”

MARISHA: Because we were seeking justice for other people.

MATT: “Why? For the civilized folk of the city? You should know more than most. They sit there, taking beautiful creatures of nature, making them fat and formless and worth nothing. To slaughter them without life and purpose to their existence.”

ORION: The life and purpose of their existence is to keep those other people alive.

MATT: “And why is it not the same with this creature? If they cannot guard their livestock, why is it not food for this thing, as well? It is the natural life cycle that they've removed themselves from.”

ORION: When one has an establishment, when one grows its own crop, and one steals something, it is considered a crime.

MATT: “Well, when one is not part of that civilization, but the civilization of the world as a whole, which requires hunting for what keeps you alive, perhaps that does not sink or hang on my conscience.”

ORION: Fair point.

MARISHA: Let's not let this escalate. Okay? What is your name?

MATT: “I was once called Byron.”

MARISHA: Vyron?

MATT: “Byron.”

MARISHA: Byron.

MATT: “I have not heard my name nor spoken words for many years.”

ORION: Would you not like to be called Byron, or would you like something else, like B-roy or B-man? My name's Tiberius Stormwind from Draconia. And this is my friend Keyleth, who is also a druid. And we also have a friend who is a gnome who sings songs and whatnot.

MATT: The bird, now looking of much better health than it was when it arrived, now flutters its wings out in a stretching motion. And as it does, its head glides down and looks right towards you. This giant beak that looks like it could snap you in two with a single bite.

MARISHA: I reach up to it and reach out to pet its beak.

MATT: I'm going to ask you to make an animal handling check on this. Just to see where this goes.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: I gently start swooping down to check on my friends.

MARISHA: 19.

MATT: All right. The large bird-type creature retracts from your attempted touch and begins to rear back into the nest in a defensive position. Doesn't bite your hand off.

MARISHA: I kneel down a bit. Produce a few Goodberries. Reach out.

SAM: Bye, Keyleth. This is how we lose one of our members. Feeding a bird.

MATT: The creature leans forward and the giant bird, you can see its dark, black eyes staring at you. Each eye probably about the size of your torso. As the giant beak comes down, you can see the moonlight gliding off the smooth exterior of the dark black beak. It smells. And you take 27 points of piercing damage as the animal takes the Goodberries and almost your entire hand with it, as well. At that size, it's hard to be gentle.

MARISHA: It's okay. It's all right.

MATT: So you retract your hand, which is now essentially in many ways, bones are broken, feels like. There's blood streaming down the side of your hand, and (dripping).

MARISHA: That's a good girl.

SAM: Is it?

MATT: Swallows.

SAM: Is it a good girl?

ORION: I'm feeding a tiny snack to Lockheed.

MARISHA: I turn back to Byron–

SAM: And say, ow.

MARISHA: Yeah, and go, that hurt. Now. Please listen to me. Please, please listen to me. We did come here to kill the giant creature.

MATT: “I had assumed.”

MARISHA: But upon seeing the situation, upon approach, realized the situation and decided amongst all of us that we did not want to bring such a great creature to its death.

MATT: Scanlan, you've landed by now. A pterodactyl. A cow-looking pterodactyl.

ORION: As he swoops, I've never seen anything quite like it.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

ORION: I'm going to aid her, too.

SAM: All I've seen so far is Keyleth's bloody hand.

MARISHA: 20 total.

MATT: You have advantage on this because Tiberius is aiding you on this conversation.

MARISHA: I'll take that 20 total.

MATT: All right. He looks at you. “Well, shall you leave us, then?”

MARISHA: Under one condition.

MATT: “There's always a condition. You call yourself a druid, yet you speak like the civilized folk. I get the feeling that perhaps your connection to nature has not been tended to for some time.”

ORION: No, she really knows her stuff. I mean, we just fought this fire guy–

MARISHA: Just because one can appreciate nature, does not mean that one cannot also appreciate humanity.

MATT: “Well, this beautiful creature is the only surviving young of a clutch, bred by a majestic roc high in the Cliffkeep Mountains. Its mother now lies dead, slain by the brutal giants that wander those peaks. This young'un is all that remains of that clutch and the memory of that blessed entity.”

TRAVIS: That's a young'un?

MATT: This is a young one. “This new home serves us well. Abundance of feed. Lack of large, predatory creatures. I believe this is where we'll stay.”

MARISHA: Question. If this is a young, adolescent creature, what do you think of the destruction it could cause once it reaches full adulthood? Are you okay with having that on your conscience? This creature could result in the lives of many. If you relocate out of town, just a few miles. Say like 50 or 100 or so because this thing's really damn big. So I'm sure it's got a pretty big– you know what I mean.

ORION: Or just the other way.

MARISHA: I will help you. I will personally come with you and tend to their safety. And make sure that their location is proper and safe, and handled with respect. Then you will be out of the harms of poachers. You can live off the land, and you can be free and alone.

MATT: “Do you think we came straight to this mountain range? Do you think this is the first nest we've constructed? Me and this lone survivor have scoured the length of this side of Tal'Dorei. This, as far as I can see, is the safest. It's the most ignored by nearby civilization.”

MARISHA: Listen–

SAM: I'm going to drop Seeming and also drop my form of pterodactyl.

MATT: All of you now, your forms change. As this happens mid-sentence, it's noticed immediately by the gnome druid, who's like (gasps).

MARISHA: Yes! That is correct. Listen. We are being nice. Don't think that we will be the first. You will have more people come and hunt you and kill this, as this beast continues. How long do you think you can survive waves of mercenaries coming to try and kill this? We are the nice ones. I suggest you heed our warning, take our help, and save the life of you and your creature in the long run.

MATT: “You have yet to provide a suitable alternative.”

ORION: Oh! I might have an idea.

MARISHA: There is an alternative. Tiberius can tell you of that alternative.

ORION: Yes! See, your creature is rather large and powerful, yes? You have a rather strong bond with him, which is quite unique with such a unique looking creature.

MARISHA: I was setting you up for an awesome one-liner, man! You were supposed to be like, the other option is death.

LIAM: Ask him if he's considered Whitestone?

ORION: Whitestone? Yeah! Well, I guess there's a couple of options, really. There's this town Whitestone that's pretty great and has a lot of livestock that this creature can consume.

MARISHA: Yeah, I don't know about that.

MATT: Go ahead and make a deception check.

ORION: That is a 24.

MATT: “Whitestone. How far is this Whitestone?”

MARISHA: Wait! No! Hang on! No! This is getting out of control already. I will not let you all do this! No! Not today. You guys have caused enough problems. We are not going to push this creature on other people. I'm trying, all right? I'm working on it. I don't want to push this problem off on a town that's already being held hostage by vampires. That fucking sucks! That's double shitting on them.

ORION: Well, the other option was, like I was saying, perhaps you can form an agreement with Emon. I'm sure it would pay in livestock rather well for the protection of you, such a powerful druid, over at least a section of the land. In exchange for free food for your friend.

MATT: “You, dragon man, are adorably naive of the ways of men and those that lie and deceive. I have yet to have met any civilized people who have kept their word when it came to creatures like this.”

LAURA: Can I come forward? All right. What about Vasselheim? Not in the city, but outside of it. There's plentiful forests, tons of giant creatures it could feed on.

ORION: That's right! That's true!

MARISHA: That actually is fairly true.

LAURA: There's so many monsters out there, they don't hunt them all because there's too many.

ORION: That's a wonderful idea, Vex. Yes!

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

ORION: I'll aid her, as well.

MATT: I'll say you've aided one person recently. This'll just be her check on this. He really doesn't trust you, given the current circumstances.

LAURA: 21.

MATT: Natural 20.

LAURA: Then as a natural 20, you know that's good for you. That's the best place you can go. You can see the wisdom in my persuasion.

ORION: It is true, though. I mean, it's just feed walking all around for it.

MARISHA: Please, please listen to us. We're only trying to help.

SAM: Is there a young creature around here besides the–

MATT: No, looking about you, no.

SAM: There's no babies there?

MATT: No. This is the young. This bird is like the adolescent.

MARISHA: Please believe me. I let this thing almost take my hand off, and I'm still standing here fairly cogently talking to you, so please take that as a sign of honesty.

LAURA: I go and put my hand on her back and cast Cure Wounds, because I got that spell now, yo!

SAM: Where are we telling them to go?

TRAVIS: To Vasselheim.

SAM: Vasselheim?

MARISHA: Listen. She's right. We have friends in Vasselheim. We can contact the Slayer's Take. We're a part of their guild. We can tell them that you're coming. They'll not bother you. We can tell them they are not allowed to take out a contract on your creature. You will not be harmed.

LAURA: Don't bring up contracts, Keyleth. Maybe just don't even bring it up.

MARISHA: Because they don't have mercenaries out there. It has to be approved! So it's really good.

MATT: “And what's to stop them from hunting down a majestic creature as rare as this one?”

ORION: Us!

MATT: “You, who live here in Emon?”

ORION: Yes. No, us who are members of the guild.

MATT: “So you also are monster slayers, who come here under the guise to slay this monster?”

ORION: No! Not here. Other places that we're forced to do it. But still we're members.

MATT: “It's too much talk.”

TRAVIS: Can we kill this thing now? You guys are doing awesome.

MARISHA: I feel like I've done pretty damn good! Come on, man!

SAM: I start speaking in Gnome to him. Listen. Earlier, you said that this place was perfect. It was safe. There were no large predators. Well, you're looking at six large predators. We'll keep hunting you down and hunting your beast down until you get out of here. This is your one and only warning. You must leave, and you must leave now. We're giving you a good choice, a safe choice. We can help you get there and be safe there. But if you don't listen to us, we'll start killing.

MATT: Make a persuasion roll.

MARISHA: How many fucking persuasion rolls does this asshole need?

SAM: Persuasion?

MATT: This is essentially a conversational skill challenge. So every success and failure leads towards where the conversation's going to end.

SAM: 32.

MATT: He gives you a look. Very intense, looking into your very essence-type stare. His little beady gnomish eyes meeting yours. (sighs) “If we're going to make this journey to where you say this Vasselheim is, how far is it?”

SAM: Several days' journey.

LAURA: It's just across the water. You could fly no problem over it.

MATT: “Across the sea?”

TRAVIS: It's across the sea.

SAM: We can draw you a map. We can give you provisions. We'll even make sure the farmers provide you with a few pieces of livestock to chow down on before the journey. A parting gift to fuel up before the big ride. We can give you papers to hand to the Slayer's Take that will ensure that you'll be treated fairly.

ORION: I'll take out my Scroll of Telescription and start writing a note.

MATT: He looks back towards Keyleth, looks back at Scanlan, looks back at Keyleth, looks up at the bird.

MARISHA: Please. We really don't need another death on our conscience today.

MATT: “Then looks like we don't have much of a choice, do we? If you can assure us enough food to get across on this journey, we'll make our way towards this Vasselheim. I pray on the solidarity between our kin, and our kin, that you speak the truth that resonates this moment. Because if it does not, may the fall of this entity and myself weigh on your conscience.”

ORION: I flip over the note that I'm writing to him and then I trigger it (flying noise) as he's reading it.

MATT: All right. It (poof) vanishes. “As the sun rises, two sizable pieces of livestock to be placed at the boundaries of the usual hunting site. If those are there, and it is taken without any sort of aggression, we'll take that as a sign that you are being honest, and we shan't bother you or your people any further.”

SAM: I bow deeply and when I do, it goes (cowbell ringing).

MATT: For a moment, you think you hear a slight, uncontrollable chuckle from the gnome.

ORION: As that's going on, because we're going to head back right now to seal this up, right? Then I'll do my Teleportation Circle. Which is closer to the northeast: the Lyceum or the Keep?

MATT: To the north side of it? That would be the Lyceum.

LAURA: We could fly back pretty fast. Couldn't we?

MATT: If he has another Fly spell, you could take it right back.

LAURA: Yeah, we can just fly back.

MARISHA: Before he leaves. Well, wait! We've got to go to the farm.

SAM: We've got to go to the farmers. We've got to buy some cows off them.

MARISHA: And I tell him, if you're up that way, there's a druidic tribe, a little village called Pyrah. They're Fire Ashari. You can find their headmaster Cerkonos. He's a friend. You might find your people there. Who knows? Maybe friends will do you good.

MATT: “Ashari, you say? My dealings with them have been mixed. Perhaps I'll keep my distance.”

LAURA: Can I see if there's any feathers dropped from the giant bird creature?

MATT: There are ample around.

LAURA: Can I grab a few of them?

MATT: As you go and reach up, slaps you across the knuckles.

LAURA: Can I have a feather that he dropped?

MATT: “Why?”

LAURA: Because they're beautiful. You have to admit they're beautiful.

MATT: (sighs) “Elves. All right.”

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: You take three roc feathers.

TRAVIS: They're huge, right?

MATT: Yeah. They're almost boat size.

ORION: I put one in my Bag of Holding, too.

MATT: You guys manage to get one for you and three for you guys before he's like, “Now go! Now! My patience wears thin. I'm through with talking words.” (sighs)

SAM: Sorry.

LIAM: I walk out from behind him and just walk past.

MATT: (yelps)

SAM: (laughs) Sorry about that.

ORION: All right. I'll burn another 5th-level and then fly us all out.

MATT: Okay. You guys coast back to the north side of Emon. You go to the door where the Klaus family is, and you speak with them for a while. You manage to convince them of the situation and what seems to be a mutually positive circumstance. They agree it's better to lose two cows than continue this.

LAURA: I pay them for their two cows. Being nice, man!

MATT: How much do you give them?

LAURA: How much are cows usually worth?

MATT: You've never purchased a cow, so you don't know.

LAURA: Yes I have! I purchased Dork the ox.

MATT: An ox is not a cow.

LAURA: Shit! How much do your cows normally cost, darling?

MATT: This is a good question. Let me look in the book. I've not had to look up the cost of a cow before. I would put it at about maybe 40 gold each.

LAURA: That's way more than I expected.

MATT: Because they can be used for meat, they can be used for milk.

LAURA: 40 gold each to make up for the loss of your cows.

MATT: “Thank you so much. I greatly appreciate you helping with this. And you promise, this will–”

SAM: Yes, just put them out in the open field.

TRAVIS: We'll take them.

SAM: Oh, we'll take them?

TRAVIS: We'll put them out there. Stake them.

SAM: Okay, we'll take care of it.

MATT: You guys take two of the cows. You bring them to the outskirts. With rope tied around their neck, you essentially hitching-post them to the outside of this open area, about 20 to 30 feet from the actual holding pen. A few hours go by, and the sun slowly begins to rise.

LAURA: Along with some other food, right?

MATT: Place some of their feed and things around there. Eventually, the sun begins to rise across the eastern sky. As it crests, you can see some of the farmers come out, anxiously watching from their homes. You see different families gathering. The wings beating in the air, and it swoops down (swoosh) and grabs two of them. You can see some of the families gasp and rush inside, and some are amazed to see this even happen. It takes the two, carries them up, and heads out over the Ozmit Sea, passing to the northwest side, and over the next 30 or so minutes, slowly disappears over the horizon until it's no longer visible.

TRAVIS: The sun rose, right? Can I make a beard check?

(laughter)

MATT: You may.

TRAVIS: Two, zero.

MATT: With that, (creak) the beginnings of the other side of your beard slowly begins to set in.

TRAVIS: What happens to the existing side?

MATT: The existing side has rounded itself off to a nice beard. It's pretty much where it's going to be on that side. The other side is now starting to finally catch up. And that's where we'll end: on a successful beard check.

SAM: Wow. That was a crazy night.

TRAVIS: Perspiration was happening.

MARISHA: Yeah, it was.

SAM: I gave you my hand.

MATT: More battle maps that will never get used.

LAURA: Look at us not fighting things. That's really beautiful.

MATT: That would have been really bad, too.

LAURA: I'm glad we didn't fight it.

TRAVIS: Bad for us?

MATT: Well, just imagine a giant bird that grabs you and then drops you off the side of a mountain. Would have been an interesting fight. Cool. That concludes a unique Percy-less bottle episode of Critical Role.

TRAVIS: Squadron of cows.

MATT: Squadron of flying midnight cows. That is probably the weirdest thing that's ever– no, there's been weirder. That's in the top five of weird things that's happened in DND for me.

SAM: Fighting “formootion.”

(groaning)

[end of transcript]

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