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Pre-Show[]

MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.

(cheering)

MATT: Welcome. Thank you for joining us. Before we begin tonight's episode we're going to go ahead and do some quick announcements. First and foremost, our returning sponsor and long-time partner for this campaign's beginning, on into the foreseeable future, hopefully: D&D Beyond. They've been awesome. Sam, do you have a few words you want to say?

SAM: Guys, hi! Sam Riegel, here. It's award season, so tonight I'm going to announce the D&D Beyond Awards. The envelope, please!

TRAVIS: Paper cut.

SAM: Okay, nervous, really nervous. There's nothing in here. Best discount codes for books in the D&D Beyond store? The winner is: beginnings. “Beginnings” is the discount code! Best URL on the entire internet? The winner is: DNDBeyond.com! Best picture--

LAURA: This is so stupid.

SAM: La La Land. It's Moonlight.

(cheering)

MARISHA: Old jokes.

SAM: Best way to build a Blood Hunter? Activate Critical Role content on DNDBeyond.com! Best supporting actor? Sam Riegel. Best job opening at a D&D-related internet company? Front-End Developer. I guess they're looking for a front-end developer. Someone will put a URL somewhere on here.

MATT: At crit.com is where you can go to the Careers tab.

SAM: Thank you, D&D Beyond for being our official-- What are they calling it?

LAURA: Sponsor?

SAM: No, not sponsor. They're the official tool set of Critical Role.

LAURA: Oh, that's cool.

TRAVIS: Well done! Is that the first annual--

SAM: The first annual awards show. What should we call them? Not the Oscars. The Critters. No. The Sponsees.

LAURA: Ooh, The Sponsees. That's fancy.

LIAM: That was strangely manic and desperate.

MARISHA: Isn't every awards show, though?

LIAM: Did you literally write that in the bathroom six minutes ago?

SAM: For sure.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. Thank you, D&D Beyond. You can find them on DNDbeyond.com. That's DNDbeyond.com. Next up, based on tonight's episode, we'll have next Tuesday, at 7:00PM Pacific Time, here on Twitch and Alpha, Talks Machina. Our members of the cast will come, with our fantastic Brian W. Foster, to discuss what transpires tonight. You get to ask questions and submit them, so, do so. Asinine Wisdom, next week on Geek & Sundry Twitch, has a special guest. I believe our very own Sam Riegel will be there.

SAM: Oh, god.

LAURA: You're actually doing something else on the internet?

SAM: I always do shows on Geek & Sundry, and this is no change. What's the show called again?

MATT: Asinine Wisdom. It's at 9:00PM on Tuesday, Pacific Time, after Talks Machina. A double-dose of Sam Riegel, which is a lot. We have a new show coming up here, featuring the Weave RPG, from The Monocle Society, called Weave. That'll be showing next Wednesday night at 9:30 Pacific Standard Time, here on the Twitch Channel. Check it out, then. It has a great cast of Amy Dallen, Gina DeVivo, Whitney Moore, Becca Scott, and Stef Woodward, so check it out! I hope you like it. Weave is really awesome. I'm really excited to see that. The podcast of episode 3 from last week released today, so if you missed the last episode, our friends have been trying to keep up the podcast. Last week's episode is available for download. Once again, we have issue number 4 of Critical Role: Vox Machina, Origins. It's available for download digitally, on Comixology, the Dark Horse app, and all other places where fine digital comic books are sold.

TRAVIS: Go get it, rate it, love it. Show us that you're reading it.

LIAM: Not the book, Laura's dice.

SAM: Do not help her choose her dice.

MATT: No! Why would you do that? You know better!

SAM: I've already cursed two of them.

LAURA: They're out. All the ones that got selected tonight are shades of pinks, purples and blues and I think it's lovely.

MATT: It's like watching a video of guys putting their hands in alligator mouths. Like, why would you do that? It's entertaining for us, but why would you do that? Once again, our fantastic charity, 826LA. If you get the opportunity to either give and help out or donate your time to help teach any of their fantastic classes to help children learn creative writing in environments where it's hard to find that type of tutelage. It's a great program. Check it out at your local 826 chapter and see if you can help out.

MARISHA: Tell them you want to run a D&D game for them.

MATT: I think that's it.

LAURA: That was so fast, though!

MATT: I know.

SAM: The comic book is out.

LAURA: What about our appearances coming up?

LIAM: I'm going to be at BAK-Anime this weekend. Two days only in Bakersfield, California. I will talk and I will go out in public.

LAURA: Me and Travis--

TRAVIS: Travis and I--

LAURA: Travis and I are going to be at Emerald City Comic Con the first weekend in March.

MATT: I'll be at Lexington Comic and Toy Con in Lexington, Kentucky. That's March 9th to the 11th. I'll be at Otafest in Calgary, up north, May 18th to the 20th.

TRAVIS: Keep it within a few months, Mercer.

MATT: And A-Kon in Texas, June 7th to the 10th. If you are anywhere near those regions. I've said before, I'm going to take this off the sheet for the future. You've said that a lot now. Hey, it's not my job to update that sheet. Anyway guys, I'll remember this.

MARISHA: You should go check out Good Fortnight Kevin on Alpha because it's a morning show and it's funny. It's dumb and it's super meta.

MATT: Super meta funny dumb show. All right. It appears that the dice have been culled.

LAURA: We're on the last one, so we're solid.

MATT: Then, let's go ahead and dive into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[click, TV static] [groovy Critical Role theme]

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back. Last we left off, our group of adventurers had found their various individual fates come together here in the city of Trostenwald, where they had attended a carnival that had blown into town, had watched a horrible occurrence happen where one of the older attendees transformed into this terrifying zombie creature. Upon defeating it, you were all put under investigation as possible culprits for the reason that it occurred. In trying to wander the city to investigate and try and clear your name, you eventually found that there was a fiend hiding amongst these carnival workers. This large devil-like toad creature, which through some research you had found to actually be called a nergaliid, had killed two more of the guards, leaving you to fend with their transformed forms, and then fled deep into the center of the Ustaloch Lake.

(clattering off-camera)

MATT: Thank you for the punctuation. Upon gathering your supplies after a night's rest, you managed to, through trade of a bottle of wine, get passage across the lake onto the central island which at one time housed the abode of a witch that had long collapsed. Waiting for nightfall, you approached the grove that existed there in the island and found near this ruin this same fiendish nergaliid as well as Toya, the 12-year-old dwarf girl who had been affixed to him for the performances in the carnival. You did battle with this large fiendish entity who summoned a cluster of imps and managed to knock a few of you pretty heavily to the ground before you finished it off. We left off as you all were finishing licking your wounds, catching your breath, and now as the moonlit night gets its darkest in the sky you figure out what the next step is gathering means of absolving yourselves of suspicion. As you've all now taken a moment to yourselves, you can hear the sound of the nearby crickets getting more and more deafening as the silence crawls over the center of the lake. Toya, the young girl, still lies unconscious. The remains of the devil toad, still partially burnt from the final blow delivered by Fjord, are mostly intact above its shoulders, head, and its legs. What would you like to do?

TRAVIS: Ow. We're all fucked up.

LAURA: Does anybody need any healing?

SAM: Oh, are you alive right now?

TRAVIS: We're up. Just barely.

LAURA: You need some?

LIAM: I'm really shabby at the moment.

LAURA: Oh, that's too bad because I don't any spells left.

LIAM: That's good. Let's go back and talk to the cops.

LAURA: Should we do something with this body?

TALIESIN: I think we need to bring it. I think we going to need a trophy.

LIAM: What about just its head?

TALIESIN: That'll do.

TRAVIS: It's a big head. It might be all we can take.

LAURA: I don't know if it'll fit on the boat. Would it fit on the boat that we came out on?

MATT: How much of the body?

LAURA: The whole body.

MATT: The whole body with all of you could probably fit it. It doesn't have the usual-- you could probably fit it.

SAM: How about just the head?

MATT: The head it would probably do, but the whole body, I'd have to make a few rolls.

TALIESIN: I'm going to give the body a quick search to see if there's anything.

MATT: You already did.

LAURA: Yeah, I got a bunch of rings. See?

TALIESIN: Do I recognize any of these rings?

MATT: No, you do not.

TALIESIN: All right. That's disturbing.

SAM: I got one, too.

TRAVIS: Has the head been damaged at all, or is it mostly intact?

MATT: It's mostly intact. There are a few gashes on it from the general fray, but for the most part it's still a solid head.

TRAVIS: Molly, you've got them impressive swords. You want to do some hacking?

TALIESIN: Suppose I should.

MARISHA: I'd say you have a pretty impressive sword, too.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and carve off the head.

MATT: Okay. It's a tough form. Not only is the exterior of its flesh blubbery and a heavy rubber-like substance that is glistening with whatever mucus-like liquid it naturally produces, but then beneath it, the muscle sinew is extremely tough. It takes you the better part of 20 minutes to finally get the head entirely off the rest of the torso. It weighs enough to the point where you're going to need one or two other hands to get it anywhere.

TRAVIS: That's an artiste at work right there.

TALIESIN: This is as far as I go one this one. That's way too heavy for me.

LIAM: It's all you, blue.

MARISHA: I'll help you out.

TALIESIN: I'm going to grab Toya.

LAURA and MARISHA: (groaning)

LAURA: Is Toya waking up at all?

MATT: Toya is passed out. You'd have to try and rouse her.

LAURA: It's probably best not to wake her up while we're carrying this head around.

TALIESIN: I think that's a very good idea.

MARISHA: Yeah, this is frightening.

LIAM: The imps burned away?

MATT: Yes, they turned to ash.

LAURA: Does he have hair? What are we carrying him by?

MARISHA: Yeah, what are we carrying him by?

MATT: Along the brow line there are these small holes that could be breathing holes. You'd have to carry it from there, under the socket, or under the jaw.

LIAM: Because that's what you want to stick your finger in.

TRAVIS: Yeah, totally. The mucus hole.

MARISHA: I grab the jaw and I say: "Hey, Jester."

TALIESIN: I did share meals with this person for two straight years. Never mind. I'm walking away.

TRAVIS: We are fucking with his old co-worker.

TALIESIN: I'm already walking away. I took the kid and am walking to the boat.

LAURA, MARISHA and TRAVIS: Sorry!

LIAM: Caleb just retched into the grass from watching that.

LAURA: All right, let's carry him.

TALIESIN: You're the worst. You're all the worst.

LAURA: Fjord, I gave you the bag of skin. Don't forget you have that.

TRAVIS: I have it?

LAURA: You have the bag of slimy skin.

TRAVIS: I'm going to salt it and hang it out to dry.

LIAM: If it will help tomorrow or today-- what time is it? It's the middle of the night, isn't it?

MATT: You approached just after dusk, so between the slow moving in there, the combat, and the rest afterward it's probably close to 10:00PM.

LIAM: I know exactly what time it is, don't I? Yeah.

TRAVIS: You know exactly what time it is?

LIAM: It's something I've always been able to-- why is everybody looking at me like-- (vomiting sound)

LAURA: Where's Frumpkin?

LIAM: (fwoosh)

LAURA: Oh, good.

MATT: At this point, Molly, as you're ahead of the group and you're making your way through the trees, Toya begins to stir in your grasp. Her eyes open a bit as you're holding her and she looks up at you confused, eyes lulling around in the sockets for a moment before they see you and clarify. "Molly."

TALIESIN: I know, dear. You've been through a bit. There's been some bad business.

MATT: "What happened?"

TALIESIN: (sighs) A friend turned on us, but it's going to be all right. I'm going to get you home, all right?

MATT: "Wait, where's Kylre?" She starts trying to fight your grasp.

TALIESIN: I'll explain it later.

MATT: She's going to try and break free of your grasp. Are you going to attempt to hold onto her?

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah.

LIAM: How far away are they from the rest of us?

MATT: While you guys have been doing all this, he's gone on ahead. He's probably a good 40 to 50 feet ahead. Go ahead and roll an athletics check.

TALIESIN: You're a monster.

LAURA: Oh, no!

TRAVIS: Tell me you did it.

TALIESIN: No, it's not that bad.

LAURA: Oh, it looked like a one from this angle. Still pretty terrible.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: (chanting) Level two.

LAURA: You were rolling bad on this the last game. You need to stop rolling that one.

MATT: Yeah, that dice needs to go away.

TALIESIN: I've got some new stuff coming in.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: It's coming across the border. It's real good.

TALIESIN: Coming in from the Feywild.

MATT: You can choose athletics or acrobatics.

TALIESIN: Oh. Can I reroll?

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: Then that's nine.

MATT: That still beats her. She rolled a five. All right, wanted to double check. She's scrambling and as you hold her back she tries to fight for a second and then goes limp in your grasp and goes, "I'm scared."

TALIESIN: I know. It's going to be a bit rough, but it was for the best. I'm so sorry. Some people just turned, I'm so sorry.

MATT: "What happened?"

TALIESIN: He got sick. There was something inside him. There was something that made him do some bad things, but it had to be taken care of. You're going to be all right.

MATT: She gets really quiet for a second. You get to the boat and the gentleman you had earlier passed the wine off to is sitting there waiting. He has a small pouch that's opened with some dried meat that he's chewing on as he waits. As you guys walk up, he says: "Oh, I see you've finished."

LAURA and MARISHA: (groaning)

MATT: (shouting) "What in the hell is that?!"

MARISHA: Move!

LAURA: We told you we were having a party, man!

LIAM: I was just about to suggest covering that up, but you know, all cards on the table.

MATT: He grabs his bag of dried meat, pulls it up, and backs up. "I didn't know-- What is that? What did you do? What is that?"

MARISHA: I said we were going to be doing some frog digging.

TALIESIN: Biggest frog you've ever seen.

MATT: There's a pause before this tiny screeching sound begins to emit from Toya. This high pitched and barely audible squeak as Toya begins to *scream*.

LAURA: I take off my coat and I cover the head with it.

TALIESIN: I was trying to keep her away from that.

MATT: It's hard to keep her away from *that*.

TRAVIS: We literally cut the head off Barney and shoved it in her face. (singsong) I love you.

TALIESIN: The Barney that been raising her, yes. Really take that in. Off to a great start.

MATT: After Jester throws her cloak over Toya--

LAURA: No, not Toya. Over the head.

TALIESIN: I'm trying to keep her quiet.

MATT: She's sobbing into your arms at this point. You fell her body shaking against your grasp.

LAURA: I feel so bad.

TALIESIN: You should.

SAM: Poor girl.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take her to the front of the boat and keep her far away from all that.

LIAM: I pull Fjord away for a moment, about ten or 15 feet away. This man in the boat has seen all of you who are supposed to be under house arrest. We cannot have him talking to the authorities.

SAM: Should we kill him?

LIAM: Jeez! Come here.

TRAVIS: I have a good feeling that this guy is a man of upstanding nature. I'm sure he'll keep it to himself.

LIAM: Oh, that's very trusting.

TRAVIS: Yeah, of course.

SAM: We gave him one bottle of wine. That's not very much.

TRAVIS: We have another bottle. Don't we?

MARISHA: Yes?

LIAM: Oh, we owe her two now. Great, it's a party.

MARISHA: We could also toss him a bit of gold if we think it would make him forget the night.

TRAVIS: After all, we came to him, right? I would prefer not to use any violence.

LIAM: I'm not suggesting that, but it's either violence or giving him a little something.

MARISHA: What makes you think he's going to go talk to the authorities?

LIAM: You want to leave it to chance?

MARISHA: Who cares?

SAM: This is a small town, Beau. Everyone talks to everyone. You taught us that.

MARISHA: I did, but everyone also hated the circus.

LIAM: Molly, do you want to join this conversation?

TALIESIN: I've been listening. I pull out a gold coin. Give him this.

LAURA: Maybe one more. Or two more.

MARISHA: I pull two out as well.

LAURA: I'll pull three out.

MATT: He's recessed to the very back of his boat, wide-eyed as you approach.

TRAVIS: You're right. Coin is a good idea.

LAURA: Go charm him, Fjord. You're very charming.

MARISHA: You've got fisherman vibes.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit. Wait a minute. How long did that fight take?

MATT: You've returned to your normal half-orc form.

TRAVIS: Oh, cool. Okay. There was an old man who was with us before.

TALIESIN: And now there's a little girl. It's all coming full circle.

TRAVIS: Maybe we give him the extra bottle of wine and *you* go talk to him.

LIAM: Walking up the boat--

MARISHA: Here. (clink)

LIAM: Collecting coin as I go. The thing of it is we have done Trostenwald a great service. There was an unsavory element-- did you know the circus was in town? Doesn't matter. There was a bad fellow-- That's his head-- with them. It's no fault of theirs. You pick weird folk up on the road in the circus. Isn't that right, Mollymauk?

TALIESIN: I'll let that go.

MATT: He reaches over, grabs the oar from the side, and lifts the cloak off the face.

LIAM: That's going to rile you up. That's a bad idea.

MATT: "It doesn't look like a savory creature."

LAURA: It wasn't. Trust us.

TALIESIN: Took a lot out of us.

LIAM: But the situation in town is a little political. We're going to take this thing out of here and I'm going to report it to the authorities. We don't really want to create a stir and frighten people here. I hope you will take--

LAURA: We like to be unsung heroes. You know, like superheroes with secret identities.

MARISHA: Yeah, we're an underground anonymous activist group.

LAURA: Yeah, that helps people. But if everyone knows who we are, it'll be much harder to fight all the crime.

LIAM: Try to focus on the gold.

MATT: He slowly reaches out and takes it from your hand. "All right. I trust it was a bad thing. So I'm going to take you back, and then you promise I'll never see you again?"

LAURA: We'll try really hard to not let you see us.

TALIESIN: If you see us, we won't make eye contact.

LAURA: We'll pretend we don't know you.

MATT: "That includes the goblin."

SAM: I was never here. We never had this conversation.

LAURA: She's a halfling.

MATT: He glances over and takes a closer look.

SAM: I'm very ugly for a halfling.

MATT: "Let's just get back to shore." He grabs the oar, takes the bottle of wine that he had mostly drunk by himself before, and polishes it off in one series of gulps.

LAURA: Don't boat drunk.

MATT: As you all gather up onto the ship, he begins to paddle you back towards the western shore of the Ustaloch to the outskirts of Trostenwald.

MARISHA: When we get to the shore, we should probably split up.

LAURA: How are we going to get this giant head to the authorities?

MARISHA: That's a good question.

LAURA: Oh, I got an idea! Why don't you go get a wagon as soon as we get to shore, and we'll help you load it onto the wagon, and then you just take it on in yourself.

TALIESIN: It's a shame we didn't just get rid of a wagon not more than one night ago.

SAM: Why do we need to take it with us? Us traipsing through town with a giant head seems like it would draw focus. Why don't we just put it somewhere and send the authorities out here to find it later?

TALIESIN: Someone else may get to it, or something might happen.

SAM: What are they going to do with it? It's a big head!

MARISHA: We could leave someone with it, and we can just--

TRAVIS: I could stand guard as a crownsguard next to it.

TALIESIN: What could people do with the head of a creature like this?

MATT: What could people do with the head of a creature like this? Who knows.

TALIESIN: Would I know?

LAURA: They could make a lot of soup.

MATT: They could turn it in for-- there's a lot of poor folk here. If they had a large looking odd creature, that's worth some gold.

SAM: We can hide it. Maybe some of us have skills to hide things.

LIAM: I think Fjord had a good idea, which is if you can disguise yourself as a crownsguard again, you wait with it. You guys get back to the tavern, yeah?

MARISHA: You can go and alert the authorities.

LIAM: Now, here's the thing. I may be speaking out of turn-- I know I don't know you very well, but it feels like the thing that we all share in common here is that we don't wish to make-- maybe not you-- make a big splash here.

TRAVIS: Agreed. The less attention, the better.

LAURA: Well, you know, whatever.

TRAVIS: The less attention, the better.

TALIESIN: For the moment.

LIAM: Okay, so maybe I'm 70 to 80 percent correct, but we're all in this together.

MARISHA: And gold. I like getting paid.

TALIESIN: We need to get this one back to the circus, too. You might be helpful for that.

LIAM: I don't want to make a big thing. I'm going to go the authorities, to-- my keen mind tells me that woman's name was--?

MATT: Oh, the-- sorry.

LIAM: Yeah, the one who wanted to go eat.

MATT: Yes, you're talking about--

TRAVIS: Norda?

MATT: Yes, Lawmaster Norda.

LIAM: Norda? I want to go to her and citizen's arrest kind of thing. Keep it quiet, don't need big accolades, will take gold, and then I'll bring that back and we can divvy that up. That's no problem.

TRAVIS: I like it. As soon as other crownsguard arrive with Norda and the rest of whoever you bring to the scene, maybe I can go with you and help return Toya.

LAURA: You disappear quickly, because if you get drawn into that investigation, it would be bad.

LIAM: Right, and if nobody recognizes you-- Do you remember any of the guards that were in town that you could make yourself look like specifically?

LAURA: Oh!

MARISHA: What was that guy's name?

LAURA: What were the two guards that keep coming to the tavern?

MARISHA: Oh, wait!

LAURA: We wrote their names down.

MARISHA: Jonas and Lucas.

LAURA: That's right!

SAM and MARISHA: The Jonas Brothers.

MATT: They're not related at all.

LIAM: DM, question.The two zombified back at the circus tents, were they burnt to a crisp beyond recognition?

MATT: One of them was, and they have been discovered.

LIAM: Yeah, but was he recognizable? Did we leave him looking like that dude at the end of The Last Crusade after he drank from the wrong cup?

MATT: With some time, he could be identified.

LIAM: Okay. Well, the Jonas Brothers it is, friends.

SAM: Just to game this out. You, Caleb, someone who is not suspected of a crime, is going to bring the severed head of a member of the circus to the police--

LAURA: No, he's going to go to the police and bring them to the head.

SAM: Either way. You, Caleb, someone who is not suspected of a crime, is going to point the police to the severed head of a member of the circus with no evidence showing what that thing was or that it was evil, and that will somehow not implicate other people who were not with us at the time. How is this going to prove their innocence, just showing a head?

LIAM: They already believe that the circus is terrible. I think they were just going to confirm their own suspicions.

MARISHA: Also, Toya. If she would speak honestly, she would absolve all of us.

TRAVIS: I think Beau makes a very good point. Without Toya's testimony we're in trouble.

TALIESIN: I'm hoping Toya will--

LIAM: Well, that's a sticky situation. Because what if she talks about my friends who were there with me?

TALIESIN: She knows what to say when guards are asking questions.

LIAM: It looks like she knows how to go off like a siren.

TALIESIN: She's had a bad night.

LIAM: I'm at one hit point, I understand.

TALIESIN: We'll have a talk. We'll get her to some people who can calm her down and makes sure she remembers how we take care of each other.

MATT: "If there's something you want to ask me, I'm right here." You're all in this boat as it makes its way across the Ustaloch.

TALIESIN: Sorry, dear. I was hoping that we didn't have to have this conversation in front of strangers.

MATT: "Can someone please explain to me what's going on?"

LIAM: Can you explain to us maybe, your relationship with Kylre? If that was his name.

MATT: "I mean, that's the name I've ever known."

LIAM: Let's talk about the killing part, though.

MATT: "I don't know anything about that. When we did the show the other night, the horrible man--"

TALIESIN: It turns out that that was-- Kylre did that.

MATT: “Why?"

TALIESIN: I don't know why. Something snapped. He's hurt and killed a lot of people. We think that maybe he's been making you sick too.

LAURA: Have you ever heard him say nergaliid?

MATT: "No. Where's Gustav?"

TALIESIN: Gustav is having trouble with the authorities. We're going to need to all work together to save him.

TRAVIS: Unfortunately, the authorities think that Gustav and the circus are responsible for what happened. Actually, it's just Kylre. He wasn't what you thought he was, I'm afraid.

TALIESIN: The twins are being the twins, Ornna's being Ornna. But I think we can save everybody. We just need to take care of each other.

MATT: "He was my friend, though."

LIAM: Child, how did you grow so close to him?

MATT: "Gustav put us together for our act and he protected me. I felt safe around him. He didn't let anyone get too close I didn't want to."

LIAM: Did he communicate with you in some way?

MATT: "He talked."

LIAM: What did you talk about?

MATT: "Well, we talked about everybody else in the family. We talked about how I missed not having a family. He didn't talk about himself much, but it was mainly just little games."

LAURA: Did he teach you how to sing to affect people's minds?

MATT: "No. That was how I got by before I met these guys."

LIAM: I am sure this is painful for you. You are young. Sometimes people we feel we know can be someone else. Regrettably, this is one of those instances. He was a dangerous thing. It is very important that this is buried here. You want to travel on with the circus and with Mollymauk and your friends. That thing tried to kill us. It did kill things in Trostenwald. Who knows what it would have done to you, child.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: Oof.

SAM: It's good.

LIAM: No, it's not good.

TALIESIN: I felt it.

TRAVIS: It's Sam good.

LIAM: It is only a six. Rolled very low.

MATT: As you're talking to her, her eyes keep flickering off of your face and over towards Beau. You watch her curl back into herself and get quiet.

TRAVIS: It might do for you to apologize.

MARISHA: Sorry.

LAURA: Sorry for what, Beau?

MARISHA: Really, Jester?

LAURA: Really.

TALIESIN: No, I want to hear this too.

MARISHA: Sorry for choking you with my stick.

TALIESIN: Somehow that was better than what I was hoping for.

LIAM: Rated T for Teen.

SAM: And I'll never do it again?

(laughter)

MARISHA: And I'll never do it again. As long as you don't try that again, of course, I guess.

LAURA: It was only because Kylre was trying to kill us and she was afraid that you were helping him.

MARISHA: Yeah, I wasn't trying to hurt you. I was just trying to get you to stop singing. But it was so abrasive.

TALIESIN: You know how people outside can be. The mean girl was just afraid of you and we're going to let her go on this one.

MATT: "I'm tired."

TALIESIN: Yeah, I know. Let's get you home, okay?

MATT: She leans into you, Molly. After a few minutes, she falls asleep against you.

LAURA: That went well, I think.

TALIESIN: Choked you with my stick?!

MARISHA: I did.

LAURA: She apologized for exactly what she did.

TALIESIN: That was certainly memorable.

MATT: "All right, we're here." The boat hits the edge of the dock. He hops off and pulls the rope up. Slowly manages the boat over the side of the dock, ties it up.

LAURA: How many people are around the dock right now?

MATT: There's no boats at the dock that are being manned currently. There are a few boats out on the water that you saw in the distance. There are some night fishermen. There's nobody immediately in the vicinity.

TRAVIS: Okay, I'm going to hop off the boat and break eye contact with the captain of the boat so that I can Disguise Self into a crownsguard.

LIAM: I talk to him while you do that. You have your wine, you have your gold. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated. It was a lovely trip.

MATT: "Yes that's fine. Just, please, get out of my boat."

TRAVIS: (English accent) Who goes there? What is this, what have you brought?

LIAM: Oh, I have felled a beast.

MATT: "They got in my boat. I-- they--"

TRAVIS: Are you responsible for this?

MATT: "No. They took over my boat and forced me to take them over to the middle island there."

LIAM: You will not take credit for my kill. I have killed this thing and I want it to be watched. I am going to the authorities. We will bring them back and get this sorted.

TRAVIS: It's a horrifying looking creature. You are to be commended for your bravery. Lawmaster Norda will want to know about this immediately.

LAURA: You weren't here.

MATT: Make a deception check with advantage.

TALIESIN: This is so weird.

LAURA: I'm just holding a bowling ball.

TRAVIS: 21. No, 20.

MATT: He goes, "I want nothing to do with this. Good night." He helps each of you quickly get off the boat. Ties and locks it up and makes a beeline--

SAM: (shouting) We'll come to your house with your share of the reward.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: All right we can't waste any time.

LAURA: Can I lob the head up over the side of the boat?

MATT: Make a strength check.

LIAM: Monster calves.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: You're strong though.

TALIESIN: Are you?

LIAM: Yeah, but at level two you need to roll higher than a three.

LAURA: Eight!

MATT: You get it partway up and it begins sliding back into the boat and plops into the boat and goes (bouncing) and you have to catch yourself.

TRAVIS: Tongue and mouth just (lolling).

MATT: It's terrifying.

LAURA: All right I need help. It's still covered, don't worry. She can't see what we're doing, it's covered with my cloak.

SAM: I'll help you.

LAURA: By the way it's a little tiny cloak. It's like a half cape so it's like--

TALIESIN: It's like a napkin on a buffalo.

MATT: A doily on a couch.

SAM: I'll help you.

LAURA: It's going to squish you.

SAM: That's all right, I'm strong. One, two, three!

MATT: Eventually you guys get it up onto the dock.

LAURA: Oh, that's good.

TRAVIS: Molly, do you intend to keep Toya here or do you need to take her back?

TALIESIN: Take her right back. No one can know that she's been anywhere.

LIAM: That is correct. Take her and sequester her with the family so not a peep gets out.

TALIESIN: We'll explain to her what needs to be done.

MARISHA: How do we trust y'all won't skip town in the middle of the night?

TALIESIN: We still have people in the lockup.

LAURA: Gustav's in jail still.

MARISHA: So?

LAURA: Some people are loyal.

TALIESIN: I'll be back and I have to show back up with you people anyway. I'm going to get her as quickly as possible.

MATT: The rest of you guys are doing?

LAURA: Who is not very stealthy here?

TRAVIS: I'm keeping watch over the toad head.

MARISHA: I have a plus six to my stealth.

TALIESIN: I wouldn't say no to it before I take off.

LAURA: Oh that's true, you're sneaking back to the carnival. I give you a nice little blessing.

LIAM: You're going to stay with your new friend. You can't come to--

SAM: I'm not coming with you?

LIAM: Not this time. It's not-- you know why.

SAM: What if you're in trouble? You're very hurt. You've had a terrible night.

LIAM: If any problem should arise, I'll send Frumpkin straight away to you.

SAM: Unless you're dead. No one's going to be around to save you if you get into trouble.

LIAM: I'm almost dead already.

SAM: Yeah, that's not good.

LAURA: That's not comforting, Caleb.

LIAM: Nott, this is what I talked to you about the other night. These are our friends and we're going to sort this out and figure out what we do next. It has been you and me, now it is you and me and them. Okay? You're with your blue friend here.

LAURA: You can hold my hand.

LIAM: I'll be back. I'm just going to have a conversation. We have gotten out of prisons before, you and I. I'm not worried about that.

SAM: Her hands are very warm.

LAURA: I'm warm blooded.

LIAM: Well, she was just holding the frog head.

SAM: Oh god.

LAURA: Nott, you were too.

SAM: That's true. But I didn't have my fingers in the holes.

LAURA: Should I leave my cloak here over the head, sir, good sir, guard man?

TRAVIS: It's fucking me, right? We know it's still me. I'm right here.

MARISHA: We're not RPing still?

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: Sorry.

TRAVIS: You can do what you want.

LAURA: Should I leave my cloak here or should I take it with me?

TRAVIS: Sure, I'll make a dramatic flourish with it.

LAURA: Just make sure you bring it back home.

MARISHA: I feel like the cloak is identifying to you.

TRAVIS: Take it with you, scratch that. Good idea.

MARISHA: Like where did this really pretty pink and lavender cloak come from?

LAURA: It's green.

MARISHA: I'm sorry, green. I haven't looked at the art.

SAM: It's nighttime, the moonlight makes everything sort of look purple.

TALIESIN: That's canon.

TRAVIS: All right, go quickly.

LAURA: Okay, we stealth away.

TALIESIN: What is my stealth bonus now?

LAURA: You just get advantage.

MATT: We'll get to you in just a second. The rest of you guys make a stealth check, please.

LIAM: I don't need to cause I'm just taking a stroll.

MATT: Nope. For those of you who are--

MARISHA: Ten total.

MATT: That's ten.

LAURA: Seven.

SAM: 26.

LIAM: Yep, that's my girl.

MATT: Okay, before we get to you. As you guys make your way back to the Nestled Nook Inn, you come to the intersection where the alleyway leads you back to the rope where you originally let down, was placed. The rope is still there, in the darkness. As you make your way into the alley a voice goes, "Excuse me." The three of you glance over and you see a crownsguard at the end of the alley that's currently there with his arms crossed. "Can I help you?"

LAURA: Is my back to him still?

MATT: He's to the side. You guys are all looking up at the rope now and he's to the right of you.

LAURA: Is it still dark out?

MATT: Yes. It's close to midnight at this time.

LAURA: Oh my god. Has anybody seen my shoe that I dropped earlier around here?

MARISHA: I immediately drop to my knees and start looking for a shoe.

TRAVIS: What, what?

SAM: Did you say a shoe?

MATT: I would like for you to make a-- (laughs)

TRAVIS: You turned into Mr. Rogers?

SAM: A shoe!?

MATT: I would like for you to make a deception check, with disadvantage please.

SAM: My shoe!

LAURA: Eight.

MATT: As Beau's on the ground frantically searching for a shoe and Nott's there in the darkness, the guard with his arms crossed goes (whistles). He begins to walk and approach you as two more guards close off the other side of the alley and they begin to come up to you guys.

TRAVIS: How far away are they from me? Too far?

MATT: Too far.

MARISHA: Drop one of those rings, drop a ring!

LAURA: It's not a shoe! I drop a ring. Wait, did we take a short rest when we were on the boat? We did. It was a short rest on the boat.

MATT: To get across, I would say I'd allow a short rest.

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to cast Invoke Duplicity. Behind the guard.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check to see if they notice you suddenly casting a spell, or a spell-like effect.

LAURA: Please please please. Natural 20!

(cheering)

MATT: Okay, so you Invoke Duplicity. Another version of you appears behind one of three guards. What are you doing?

LAURA: Oh God. Oh, she doesn't make a sound, does she?

MATT: Let's double check this new ability that I'm getting used to.

LAURA: I don't think she makes any noise.

MARISHA: Can she tap?

LAURA: But if she can cast through her, then I can imagine she can make contact because she casts on touch.

MATT: You create an illusory duplicate of yourself. It is an illusion, it cannot make actually physical contact with anything.

LAURA: Well, if she's behind one of the guards then two of the other guards can see her.

MATT: Sure.

SAM: We took a short rest on the thing?

MATT: I'll say on the boat across the river, sure.

SAM: If you want to hit dice it up.

TRAVIS: You can roll one hit die. He's rolling commando. He don't want it.

MATT: Anyway, you Invoke Duplicity and you appear behind him.

LAURA: Yeah. My duplicate is going to jump up and down and start flailing her arms and then run down the alley around the building.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: We have to kill these fucking guards, don't we.

MARISHA: No.

MATT: The guard sees something quickly dart into the shadows and continues walking towards you.

LAURA: Oh, come on!

MARISHA: Just go with it, go with it.

LAURA: Did you see that behind you?

MATT: The guard approaches and goes, "It seems that you have been out and about when you were supposed to be within the inn."

MARISHA: Found it! The ring.

LAURA: That's my ring. I dropped it out the window.

SAM: She calls it a shoe, it's a shoe ring.

LAURA: I like to wear them on my toes.

MATT: Three more guards have now approached from the front of the building and they approach and begin pulling out manacles and chains and say, "We're going to have to take you to the stockade."

LAURA: Oh, please don't. Really, we just left the building because we wanted to go--

MATT: You're being locked up right now, as we speak.

LAURA: This is the stupidest thing!

MARISHA: So stupid!

TALIESIN: Level two!

SAM: Do I have to go, too?

MATT: Oh yeah.

SAM: But I was just a bystander! I was walking down here and I saw these, these two ruffians and I was going to go get help.

MATT: Make a deception check.

LAURA: It's actually true, she wasn't with us.

SAM: Zero.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: You rolled a zero?

LIAM: Look at him!

TRAVIS: What's your modifier, negative two?

SAM: Three minus three is zero.

MATT: That went into my nose.

TRAVIS: Brave new world.

MATT: As you're telling him this, your mask goes (creak). He goes, "Arrest that creature!"

TALIESIN: We're going to die from bad paperwork.

MARISHA: Yeah, we really are.

TALIESIN: Literally, we're going to die from bad paperwork.

MATT: You both are put in chains. You're put in chains both arms and legs.

LAURA: Oh, that's just mean.

SAM: Racism!

MATT: They bring you over to the stockade. Mollymauk. I need you to make a stealth check with advantage.

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: You guys slowly make your way through the low grass over towards where the outside of the carnival is. As you approach, you can see there is about five crownsguard that are making rounds around the outside. It looks like where previously they had been keeping watch over the people that were there, since the murder of two of their own, it has heightened the intensity of the watch. It looks like it's fairly well watched. You get the sense, at a distance, that you would have a hard time getting in there. You can try and sneak her in and sneak out, but it seems dangerous.

TALIESIN: Oh, shite. Not even a good push to get her underneath, just back into one of the tents, or no?

MATT: You can try.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I don't know they're caught, do I?

MATT: No, you have no idea.

MARISHA: Let's all get caught.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and wait for an advantageous moment.

MATT: Which I'm going to allow you to do. You stay outside of the outskirts of the torchlight at the very front of the tent and the back of the tent. The fire of the actual encampment has gone out because you don't see any other carnival members. The sisters ran. They fled. You don't see any sign of Desmond or Ornna. Make one more stealth check, the two of you, with advantage because you still have the ability. You're at the cusp end of it though.

TALIESIN: Ooh. 22.

MATT: You manage to pace yourself, just carefully wait for the right moment, dart out of the grass having her under your arm and she's like, "What? Why? What is going on?"

TALIESIN: You remember. Nothing happened. Find Ornna. You didn't see me. You just hid and waited and you didn't know that anything was wrong. If people ask, unless you hear from me, you don't know anything.

MATT: "Okay." You slip her into the tent and back out, none the wiser.

TALIESIN: I'm going to start heading back to the inn.

MATT: Okay. You go back to the inn. You two. You're just waiting?

LIAM: No, I'm not waiting. I'm going to see Norda, so I'll see you shortly. Be ready.

TRAVIS: You will.

MATT: Okay. You make your way to the stockade. As you approach and make your way into the interior, the two crownsguard at the front say "Hold. What's your business?"

LIAM: Excuse me, and I lurch and prop myself up against a wall and push back. Excuse me. I just had a very harrowing night.

MATT: "Have you been drinking?"

LIAM: You get me Norda this very minute and I will tell you what has happened with this circus and in this town and don't keep me waiting another minute. I'm bleeding out here. Arschloch.

MATT: Make an intimidation check.

TALIESIN: Nice.

LIAM: Oh, come on.

MATT: Just keep it in the--

LIAM: I wish I had gone with that because it was great there but it's not great here. That is a nine!

MATT: It is indeed. He sits there and glares down at you for a second. You're posturing, this filthy, scruffy man in a coat that wandered up out of nowhere covered in a little bit of his own blood. He just looks down at you for a second, "Sorry. She's done for the night."

SAM: They keep regular hours here.

LIAM: Excuse me. There are very good people being held under house arrest in a tavern right now. They are innocent. I have evidence that I can show her. This whole thing can be solved now.

MATT: "This whole thing can be solved first thing in the morning. I'll let you sleep it off. Have some water. Come back when you're feeling a little more yourself."

SAM: Kill them all.

TRAVIS: I draw back, and flames burst forth!

LIAM: Okay. I look him in the eye. I will go away. Get the message to her that the head of the circus frog is at the docks, waiting for her inspection.

MATT: At this point, you hear a voice on the inside, just like, "Good night, good night" and a cloaked figure exits the front doorway, roughly about four and a half foot tall.

LIAM: I remember the height.

MATT: Norda is off the clock and is currently leaving for the evening to return to her home.

LIAM: (shouting) There is a circus toad's remains at the docks! I would like to put this town's fears to rest. I am looking for-- What's her name? Yorda.

ALL: Norda.

LIAM: Norda. Yorda's at the inn. Right?

MATT: There's Norda and then Yorda because I like to make it as confusing as possible.

LIAM: Liam's memory is really spotty, but Caleb's is rock solid.

MATT: It's funny. When you spell things on paper, they seem so much different and when you say them out loud they're like, “Ah, they're very similar.” The figure stops and turns and you hear this audible (heavy sigh). The figure waddles over towards you and pulls the hood back and it's Norda. "All right, what's this about a frog head?"

LIAM: Thank goodness. Thank you, gentlemen. Forgive me, I can see that you're trying to get yourself home to bed.

MATT: "That would be preferable, aye." You see bags under her eyes. She's had a long day, her hair's a bit frazzled, and she looks like she's waiting for you to finish.

LIAM: You are aware that there are people at the Nestled Nook under house arrest by your order? They are innocent and I can prove it, and I would like to end things as quickly as possible. I have killed one of the circus folk this evening.

MATT: "Now this'll be real interesting." She looks past you, and you follow her eyeline, and there you hear the sound of chains as a handful of crownsguard with Jester, Beau, and Nott, in manacles, approach from behind. "These ones, you're talking about, right?

MARISHA: Help. Help. Help.

(laughter)

LIAM: Funny story. Yes, these are the people I was talking about. Nothing has changed, however, and I am only asking to take another ten minutes of your time to walk to the dock. One of the performers has been killed this evening, and I have done it. I staked out the circus because my friends were in trouble, and wrongly accused, and I knew this. So I staked out the circus this evening, and watched as this toad thing left the grounds there. It did this to me, and I, in a rage, followed it and destroyed it, and I will show you the remains of my work. We'll put it to bed. I'm either a clown or I'm a toad-killer. Let's see what it is.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: Come on, you fucker.

LAURA: Oh, goddamn.

LIAM: 11.

MATT: She goes, (sighs) "Hold onto them for just a moment." She walks back inside. A moment passes, and she returns with four other guard.

LAURA: I keep doing this so I can make a jingling sound with my chains.

LIAM: You know, that's probably agitating the issue. Let's go to the docks.

MATT: She comes up. "All right. Drag them along with us. Show us what this thing is, and if what you say is not true, you'll join them. How's that sound?"

LIAM: I'm good with these terms. Follow me please.

MATT: "All right."

LAURA: You know, the only reason we were out of the inn is because we were looking for you, Caleb. We didn't know where you went.

LIAM: I am not going to answer her. I'm just walking very firmly, with purpose, to the docks.

MATT: It has been close to an hour at this point.

TRAVIS: If I can clock that, I would like to leave the head, move off into the shadows, and assume my older man form.

MATT: Using your second slot.

TRAVIS: No, I can just drop--

MATT: Oh no, you can do this whenever, that's right.

TRAVIS: I'll drop the crownsguard, and make the old man and sit so I can keep an eye on it, but away from it.

MATT: Eventually, you guys are led up to the docks, where you guide them.

LIAM: Moment of confusion-- here it is, right here, where I left it. Nobody has tampered with it. I turn around and I pull back my clothing and show a huge slash across my body, and say: You see this? It was done by this thing. (whoosh)

MATT: As soon as you pull back and reveal the face, its jaw is relaxed now, its muscles have sat now that it's been left in the dock, and its pooled at its base. This old pumpkin look. Its tongue's lolling out and unraveled on the ground, with what remained within its salivary glands has soaked the remaining wood around its base. One of the eyes has rolled back, but it's a horrible display. The guards take a step back immediately at the reveal, and Norda immediately gets interested, gets close, takes a look at it, and begins prodding a bit with her finger.

LIAM: It is as bad as it looks, and if you have any holy people in this city, they will confirm that this thing is fiendish.

MATT: (sighs) "You say it's a fiend? Because what this looks like, is you just murdered one of our possible witnesses and/or other members of this investigation, so I'm hoping this is a fiend. I don't know fiends."

LIAM: I hope you don't believe that I slashed open my own body and then went to the police.

MATT: "Honey, I've been doing this for a long time. I've seen stranger. Hold on just a second." She calls one of the guards over, whispers to him for a second. He rushes off. "Just so happens we someone in town who might be able to confirm this for us, might help your case."

LAURA: Who is it?

MATT: "Oh, they will be here shortly."

LIAM: I sit down on a crate and I stop talking.

MATT: Okay, and this awkward period of time with the guards, all just standing there, holding you as you wait patiently. Some of them are tapping their fingers. You start rattling your chains and two guards pull the chains taut so you can't do it anymore. Mollymauk as you begin to make your way back into town, because you're making your way through the dock district along the lakeside and you look up ahead, and you can see there's a couple of torches being held by crownsguard right where the head was left, and you can see Caleb, and then three of your allies in chains.

TALIESIN: Hmm. (Sighs)

LAURA: Oh no! What are you going to do?

TALIESIN: I'm going to get a little closer.

MATT: All right, make a stealth check, please. You do not have advantage anymore, that has passed. It's been more than a hour.

TALIESIN: Just to take a look at what is actually going on.

LAURA: Not to get too close.

TALIESIN: Not too close.

MATT: Yeah, it's not a high DC.

TALIESIN: 19!

MATT: You get a little closer, you are still maybe a good 100 feet or so away from them, keeping to the shadows along a building, keeping low. Thankfully it's nighttime, it's pushing midnight at this point. Because you're ostentatiously dressed, but there isn't a lot of light in your colors. As far as you know right now, no one can see you, you're too far away to hear much, but you can keep an eye on them.

TALIESIN: Oh what's the play? Ah! I'm going to-- Yeah, fuck it. I'm going to walk up.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: With briskly. There I find you! You're not supposed to leave the bloody inn you-- Oh. (Sighs) They're already in trouble, apparently.

MATT: "I love when they do this! Chain him up." You are shackled as well.

TALIESIN: All right. Less questions to answer.

MATT: At this point, Norda is starting to smile a bit. She's like "Man, if we could have more criminals like you lot, my job would be far easier. I would get home a lot earlier."

SAM: We're not criminals! We're not! Me and Caleb were just travelling ever since we broke out of that-- Nothing!

TALIESIN: Dance number.

LIAM: No, it's good that you try so hard to protect the rights of giant frog creatures. I'm very impressed.

LAURA: Fiend creatures specifically.

MATT: At this point the guard that had left earlier, who has been gone for about 15 to 20 minutes or so, comes back with a brisk jog. There's another figure walking up behind him, also jogging. You can see light gray hood and cloak around and as the figure approaches into the torch light, pulls back the hood, and you see this long shoulder length curled blond hair. A very very delicate looking elven male, who approaches. "I believe I've been summoned, Norda?" "Yes sorry, this is Archivist Zeenoth. He's been in town for a few days and he comes from the library that knows a lot about a lot of things. I hope that he can help us in this. Zeenoth, they're calling this thing a fiend. What do you know about this?" He steps closer, kneels down next to the head

TALIESIN: Xhorhas.

MATT: Hmm?

TALIESIN: I just whisper Xhorhas.

MATT: "Yes, these creatures do frequent Xhorhas." He gives some look over, pulls a small book out of his side pouch. He has to thumb through it, compares a few things. "I'm not a specialist, unfortunately. This creature is very much a very dangerous entity from the far east. I'm surprised it made it this far into civilization before being destroyed. It's a good thing it has been." He now gets to look at everyone, over the crew and goes, “Are you the ones who slew it?”

LAURA: Oh well technically it was Caleb, technically.

LIAM: Just me.

MATT: As the figure looks over and stops on Beau and kind of smiles.

SAM: What's going on over there?

MARISHA: Oh sorry, I just have back issues. I'm just stretching.

LIAM: Yes it was difficult, but I prevailed in the end. The city is safe. What library was that that you mentioned?

MATT: "Oh I'm an archivist. I'm the archivist of the Cobalt Soul."

LIAM: Here in town?

MATT: "No, I'm from Zadash. I'm a bit out of my depth at the moment."

LAURA: What brings you this far?

MATT: "Well, I have business." At this point Norda goes, "All right you know what? This is some serious bullshit. We're all just chilling here at the docks, we have confirmed that's a fiend."

LAURA: The nergaliid!

MATT: "A negaliid! Bring them back to the stockade. Let's have a trial." They begin to pull you guys back to the stockade. Two of the guards grab the nergaliid head and they begin dragging it along, and you guys are all being pulled.

LIAM: Oh sorry, one last thing, Watchmaster. I pull out the book that I read about the nergaliid. Here this is a gift, for you. This is folklore. You will find I have marked a page in there. It will describe this thing.

MATT: As you guys are walking, she thumbs through and finds the page, begins to read, passes it to the archivist. He begins to read it. He passes it back. You guys all make your way into the stockade. You're not brought to her chambers, you're brought to a much larger room. This room has much more of a stark, barren, stone interior. There are benches built. There is a central kind of a pit. There's about four or five steps down into this pit. Then above that is a desk where Norda takes as the law master. As you step in you realize, oh this is a room of judgement. What are you doing?

TRAVIS: I would like to try, once they start making their way back to that facility, to quickly make my way to the inn, if I can as the old man, enter, make my way into the restroom, drop my disguise, come back out as Fjord. Oh the water closet, what have you.

MATT: There is a shared water closet.

LIAM: It's just a pot.

TRAVIS: Yeah, the room with the pot in it. Then make my way back to the front door, stick my head out where the guards are.

MATT: Yeah, there's two guards still posted there. Most of them have already left because they're carting off the rest of your friends.

TRAVIS: Please, I can't seem to find any of my comrades. Have you seen where they have gone?

MATT: They look at each other. "Yeah, they've been arrested."

TRAVIS: I was afraid as much. Could I make my way down to where they are being held? I would like to be present, if it would be prudent.

MATT: "You leave our watch, we cut you." They both flank you side to side and push you ahead a little bit. They are glued to your right and left.

TRAVIS: Very kind of you.

MATT: They lead you to the stockade. As you guys are brought into this chamber, Norda sets up.

SAM: Who is going to go get the little girl?

LIAM: You're the little girl here. You're confused. It's been a night.

MATT: Norda, up there at the top, takes her cloak off, puts on her ceremonial armor bits. There's a whole element to the presentation of this. You can see her tiredly putting them on. Sets her hands on the top, "I would like you to present what evidence you have to absolve you of these charges against you and then based on what you present, I'll decide whether or not you're innocent or guilty or require further investigation. Who would like to present evidence first? You! You brought the head of a creature! You're not in chains. We'll start with you." They drag the creature's head forward. She takes the book from the archivist. "And speaking with Zeenoth here, it appears what you said is true. This creature is a dangerous, terrible fiend. And looking at it's apparent ability to feast on the essence of creatures, this explains both the transformation of the old man. This also explains destruction of our two guards, who were recently discovered. Rest their soul. So, that explains that. Convince me as to why you were not working with this entity, especially those of the carnival." She snaps her finger again and you watch as Gustav and Bosun are brought into the chamber, as well as a third figure who you see step out of the shadows. Her hair dark and fading to white, last seen fleeing into the distant fields, you see, in chains as well, Yasha being pulled into the courtroom.

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Showing up just to get arrested!

MARISHA: Welcome to the club!

LIAM: (singing) Breaking the law, breaking the law!

TALIESIN: Lot of help you were!

MARISHA: Welcome to the chain gang.

ASHLEY: Hey. Yeah.

MATT: "That one was caught fleeing from the scene."

ASHLEY: No, that's completely a misunderstanding of things. That's not what happened.

MATT: "I'm certain. You have a trustworthy face. What's the next bit of evidence you want to present, please? Anyone?"

LIAM: Well, first a question. Are you familiar with Occam's Razor?

MATT: "What?"

LIAM: I figured. Okay. That one works for the circus. Do I look like I work for the circus?

MATT: "Strangely, not well dressed enough."

LIAM: No. I'm a dirty hobo and I reek like yesterday's garbage.

MATT: "I wasn't going to go that far, but I'll admiss it."

LIAM: Yeah. This one, does he look like a circus performer? Is he filthy like me?

LAURA: He's not here.

MATT: "Which one?" Fjord has not arrived yet.

LIAM: But he's right here! Look, I can touch him.

MATT: We'll say for the purposes of that, as you say that and reveal your hand, Fjord enters through the door like it was a planned arrival.

SAM: Weirdly, he's dripping wet.

TRAVIS: Baby oil.

LIAM: The sardonic one, right? With the shit-eating grin. Does she look like she works for the circus?

MATT: "I don't know what she works for, but I don't trust her."

MARISHA: That's smart.

LIAM: I am injured within a centimeter of my life. This one is a nincompoop.

LAURA: Wait, which one were you pointing at?

LIAM: That's you. I pull the mask away. This is my good friend. She's a goblin.

SAM: A little halfling girl!

MATT: At this point, you watch her pull back.

LIAM: I step in front of her. She is my friend and colleague and you will not lay a hand on her while I am standing here.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: Fucking right I will. That is an 11. (chanting) Level two!

MARISHA: (chanting) Shitty dice!

MATT: Her eyes are chained onto this goblin.

LIAM: She's looking into my chest because Nott is behind me. I'm sorry, I'm confused why you're going to such lengths to defend the rights of this large, oversized frog skull.

MATT: "I defend no rights of this creature! I've been in this office long enough to know that there aren't usually solo workers on something like this. I know these folk. They all protect each other. Who's to say this wasn't their whole reasoning for coming anyway, and something went wrong, and they're letting him take the fall?"

LIAM: There's a big conspiracy to make undead crownsguard here in the city?

MATT: "I don't fucking know! Don't tell me how I do my business! Sit the fuck down! Who's next?"

TALIESIN: You're right. We do protect our own. That's absolutely true.

MATT: "Let him up." They loosen the chains and you get to stand and approach a bit.

TALIESIN: It's a common tactic. It's a good way to make your way through this world. Normally it works. We assumed, the circus, anyway, that we were being framed. We were protecting our own. Is the head in here?

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: This one showed his true colors, and then we took care of it. I'm going to throw one of my swords down on the ground that is filthy with its blood.

MATT: "All right. Why did this one run?"

ASHLEY: Well--

SAM: (high-pitched) I mean--

ASHLEY: I feel like I didn't need to be in there anymore. You know. I don't-- ugh.

MATT: I would like you both to make persuasion checks.

ASHLEY: I feel like--

TALIESIN: Oh, shit. 12.

ASHLEY: 11.

TALIESIN: We needed someone on the outside. We knew we were innocent. We knew you didn't think so. We just assumed you were going to have us all executed and we didn't do anything. What would you have done?

MATT: "Is that goblin pissing in my court?"

(laughter)

SAM: I'm sorry! I'm really nervous!

TALIESIN: In his defense, it's a wonderful vintage. Her defense.

SAM: I'm very nervous. I'm sorry, it's just your guards shackled both my wrists and my ankles and I can't move to get into a good position.

LIAM: You know, when she's nervous she aerates her bladder, all right?

SAM: Look, I have some evidence to submit. Look at my hands and also the hands of Jester. We're covered in the thing's blood. We were there too. We helped the killing of the creature.

MATT: The dwarf woman, Norda, leans forward and looks you dead in the eyes. "I've known friends I grew up with who were carved down by your kin. Convince me why I shouldn't hang you tomorrow."

SAM: I'm sorry for your loss. Where are your people from?

MATT: "Grimgolir.”

SAM: That's not where my clan's from. I had nothing to do with it. My clan operates far, far away and--

MATT: "Where does your clan operate from?"

SAM: I'm looking on the map. Near the Felderwin Tillage.

MATT: "That's not too far. Maybe we'll send some folks to pay a visit to your clan."

SAM: You can. Feel free. I'll even tell you where they are. I'm no longer associated with them and I can help you hunt them down if you'd like.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Wow.

LAURA: What is it?

SAM: One.

LAURA: No, but you didn't roll a one. He rolled a four.

SAM: It's not a natural one.

LAURA and TALIESIN: Not a natural one.

LIAM: Still sucks.

MATT: (sigh)

LAURA: God, why are we rolling so bad?

MATT: She leans back. "I want to sleep. I think you're telling the truth. Most of you. Archivist, does this resonate with you as well? Does this check out, lore-wise? I don't know what the fuck you do." The Archivist is like, "I believe based on what they've stated, at least it's consistent though I'm a bit confused as to the demeanor of the goblin. It's not unheard of to have goblin kin turn against their own. There have been a number of historic individuals of various monstrous races who have been beneficial members of society."

LIAM: I invite Nott up to my piggy-back position on my shoulders.

LAURA: You can't, she's chained up.

LIAM: I scoop her up.

SAM: This is even more awkward. Just put me back down. Put me back down.

LIAM: Just let it happen.

SAM: No! The chains are pulling me one way and you're pulling me the other way. Just come down to my level! Come down here!

MATT: "Bring the two others forward." They bring forward Gustav and Bosun. "This your circus, right?" He goes, "It is my circus and I take full responsibility for what's happened. Sincerely. They have done nothing wrong. They are completely innocent. I brought this creature into our fold and that is on me. Whatever judgement you have, bring onto my head, not theirs. Please. I implore you." "Fine. I'll consider the investigation closed. You're all freed of charges against you. Including the goblin."

SAM: Oh! Thank you! I would kiss you if I could.

MATT: "I would not recommend trying. Okay. Gustav, what's-- I can't read your last name. You've been given quite a debt for Trostenwald so you shall remain here until you've worked off the debt to the city. To the number of 2,645 gold pieces. To make up for the deaths of our two crownsguard, of the two civilians who have died, and the general cost of this entire investigation We'll consider what your work is to the city tomorrow. However, the rest of you: you're free to go. I'm going to go get myself some sleep.”

LIAM: Can I have my book back, please?

MATT: Takes her armor off. "(sigh) All right. I'm going to get a drink." She puts her cloak on and then hops off. With the imposing sight of her on top of a large pedestal and desk, she hops down to her natural dwarven height and it's almost adorable to watch her just skitter the hell out of there. She's done.

LAURA: Where are you getting a drink at?

MATT: There's no response.

LAURA: Do you want company?

TRAVIS: I just turn to the nearest crownsguard and--

MATT: The chains are removed. They free everybody, including Gustav, but two guards are assigned to him to keep an eye over him.

MARISHA: As soon as Beau gets out of her chains, I grab my stuff and I leave.

MATT: Okay. As you are exiting the stockade, in the archway of the doors right outside, you see another figure standing hood up-- like a short hood with a mantle that stops about midway. Bare arms and dark skin, baggy gray pants and is there, waiting.

MARISHA: What's the mantle?

MATT: You don't recognize any details about it. You see a cloaked figure there, waiting, looking right at you.

MARISHA: Is he blocking the doorway?

MATT: Is just beyond the doorway. It's not blocked.

MARISHA: Is there another way out?

MATT: I mean, you can exit. They're just on the other side of the door. Every other way in, you don't know the stockade well and all of it just leads further into the stockade. There are other crownsguard inside.

MARISHA: Okay, I'm just going to try and just bolt through.

MATT: You're just going to bolt? Full run?

MARISHA: Not run, just you know, Irish goodbye.

MATT: Okay. All right. As you briskly exit and turn to the left, the figure intervenes and side steps right in front of you.

MARISHA: Do I recognize him?

MATT: No. You don't see much of the face. The hood is up and a little bit of the moonlight is coming, you can see the edge of features. The body is muscular, but thin. Looks not terribly masculine or feminine, but it looks able and it moved at a very quick speed to intercept your positioning.

MARISHA: I just go: Oh, fuck! Turn around and walk back in.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I'll join everyone else. I flick off the guy on my way back in.

MATT: Okay. As you guys are being escorted out of stockade, Beau comes back in and joins you.

LAURA: I thought you left.

MARISHA: Just had to pee.

LAURA: Oh.

TALIESIN: Shame.

LAURA: Hey, you guys, we're town heroes! What's it feel like?

MARISHA and LAURA: Yeah!

LAURA: Yasha, it's very good to see you again.

ASHLEY: It's good to see you guys, too.

SAM: Where did you go? Were you on a lam for a long time?

ASHLEY: I have a little bit of a problem with authority and I didn't want to be caught in a small and confined space and then that ended up happening.

LAURA: How long have you been in there?

ASHLEY: Immediately after I ran away. They sent out horses. I'm not that fast, but I did fuck up a few of the guards. “By accident. “

MATT: As you say that, you hear a couple (clears throat) and two of the crownsguard visibly bruised that are escorting you guys out into the night air before they eventually leave you to your own devices.

TRAVIS: Molly, what do you think this means for the carnival?

TALIESIN: I don't know. That is a question.

LAURA: I mean, if Gustav has to stay here then who's going to run it?

MARISHA: That's a lot of gold. That's like a life sentence worth of gold.

LAURA: Well, I mean--

TALIESIN: Gold comes, gold goes.

LIAM: How much do you think the circus has?

TALIESIN: I don't know how much the circus has and honestly, I think Ornna would lie about it if we asked.

MATT: The crownsguard have pulled away and now, it's just you guys and Bosun and Gustav now, out in the air and Gustav is rubbing his wrists. "Well, thank you everyone for helping. That could have been a lot worse. And, you know, it's fine. I know it's a lot of money, but shouldn't take me more than a few years. It's a nice town! Trostenwald is a nice town!"

TRAVIS: It's not that nice.

MATT: "No, it's not but you know, it's better than prison."

LAURA: There's a lot of beer here.

MATT: "That there is. I may have to start a small fund for that on its own."

LIAM: What happens to the circus because you know, you can't do the same show for the same people for a year?

MATT: "Where's Ornna? Where's the twins? Where's--"

TALIESIN: Well, the twins buggered. Ornna? God only knows.

ASHLEY: Where's Toya?

TALIESIN: Toya is back at the circus, bit shaken. Very shaken.

MATT: At which point, Gustav just begins making a beeline for the circus. Bosun goes, "Oh." (sigh)

TALIESIN: How hard can it be to make 2,000 gold?

MATT: "I don't know how much he saved. Nowhere near that much, probably."

TALIESIN: How hard can it be to steal 2,000 gold?

LAURA: I don't know how many people around here have that much. Although, the breweries might.

TALIESIN: Maybe be best to find that gold elsewhere.

ASHLEY: Wait, so, who killed him?

MATT: Gustav has spun around and is back and is like, "Sincerely. I appreciate the aid, but don't. This is on me. I'll take care of it. This is not your responsibility. It's not your responsibility. You guys have already done so much. It's fine. I'll take care of it."

TALIESIN: Suppose we should take a look at what's left at the circus.

MARISHA: Can I go take a look around? Do I see Zeenoth anywhere?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Oh, goddamn it, it was almost better. It was almost good. Ten.

MATT: Ten? You don't see anybody immediately around.

LAURA: Was that Archivist Zeenoth that outside?

MARISHA: Archivist.

LAURA: That's what I said. Was that who it was that was like--

MATT: No, Zeenoth was still inside the court when you were leaving.

MARISHA: Yeah. Different guy.

LAURA: Oh, who was it that was outside?

LIAM: We don't know, we didn't see him.

TRAVIS: It's very late, right?

MATT: Yeah, it's post-midnight now.

LAURA: I'm so tired.

TRAVIS: Don't suppose you want to retire for the evening. Share a drink together now that this is now somewhat behind us.

TALIESIN: I will definitely drink. I think we should probably drink at our camp then. We're fine inviting them.

MATT: "Tell you what. As a thanks, we'll grab Toya. We'll meet you guys-- where are you all staying?

MARISHA and SAM: The Nestled Nook.

MATT: "We'll come meet you at the Nestled Nook and I'll get a round for you all. As a thank you."

TALIESIN: Is this a human thing to-- never mind

LIAM: Yeah, we're just like tieflings, we're all alike.

TALIESIN: I know.

MATT: "All right. Bosun, come on." They make their way off to the carnival camp.

ASHLEY: It was him?

TALIESIN: Kylre went bad. Maybe he'd already always been bad, I don't know.

LAURA: I mean, he attacked us. A lot of guards, too.

SAM: He was an evil fiend. When he joined the circus, who brought him in?

TALIESIN: Let's not be throwing words around.

SAM: No, he was literally an evil fiend.

LAURA: He summoned imps.

TALIESIN: He did summon--

LAURA: He summoned imps, Yasha!

TALIESIN: Something set him off.

SAM: He controlled the girl!

TALIESIN: He was fine for years. Something set him off.

LIAM: Ah, he said it himself, you people in the circus are weird, right? So, every once in a while, a glitch.

MARISHA: A glitch? What?

TALIESIN: He was fine for so long. There was nothing for so long. Why? Things don't just...

MARISHA: I still think there's something creepy about this lake, man.

TALIESIN: Maybe?

MARISHA: It gives me the heebie jeebies.

TALIESIN: Everything gives me the heebie jeebies.

LIAM: Well, if it is this thing that we've read about in the book, then perhaps he needed to feed more or was impatient for some reason?

ASHLEY: What's happened with Toya?

TALIESIN: Shite.

ASHLEY: How is she?

TALIESIN: She is not good. She is taking it as you would expect.

SAM: Also Beau crushed her windpipe.

TALIESIN: That's true. With her stick.

LIAM: And, I'm sorry, are we also taking the bouncer into our little coven of weirdos. Is that a thing that's happening?

ASHLEY: Oh, well--

TALIESIN: Always.

ASHLEY: I mean, I kind of go on my own, but--

MARISHA: Yeah, she's one of us.

TALIESIN: She's the charm, she has to come!

LIAM: I'm too tired to argue. Let's get that drink.

TALIESIN: See, charm. Drink.

MATT: As you make your way back to the Nestled Nook Inn, within the tavern, and within the next hour or so, Gustav and Bosun, Toya and Ornna all come in and join you. You guys crowd a few tables together, and under what is generally a pretty empty tavern this night, you guys, for the most part, dominate the center space.

TRAVIS: I'm sorry, Yasha, for new patrons, you're going to have to surrender your sword.

ASHLEY: (laughs) You're very funny.

TALIESIN: He is very funny.

LIAM: That is a very sick burn.

MARISHA: Speaking of swords--

LAURA: Careful Fjord, we haven't been healed yet, you know. She could take you down.

ASHLEY: You could always try to take it.

TALIESIN: Arm wrestle.

TRAVIS: I could, couldn't I?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Arm wrestle!

ASHLEY: You do look pretty strong. I mean, you're just a little bit bigger than me, but I still think I could probably take you.

TRAVIS: Looks could be deceiving.

MARISHA: Arm wrestle! Bets on Yasha.

LAURA: Do it! Arm wrestle!

TRAVIS: I just thought it would be a nice gesture.

LAURA: To arm wrestle?

TRAVIS: No, to give up her sword.

ASHLEY: What about your sword?

TRAVIS: Oh, I'm a paying patron here. They know me *quite* well.

TALIESIN: So? You've got to be putting something on the table, though. Well, if you want to surrender the sword or not surrender the sword.

TRAVIS: Did you want to stay in that room any longer, Molly?

TALIESIN: (laughs) Never.

MARISHA: I don't know what we're talking about anymore.

LAURA: I don't either.

TRAVIS: Let's get a drink.

MARISHA: Are you guys going to arm wrestle?

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: Okay. How about “Boulder, Paper, Shears”? Wait, what is it? “Boulder, Parchment, Shears”!

TALIESIN: That's a stupid game.

SAM: I never heard of that game.

ASHLEY: I think it's something that kids play. I have a better version of that game. We can play it later.

MATT: The rest of the carnival in presence, Gustav goes and orders a round of drinks to all of you and then sits down. Toya still looks a bit shaken, but seems to be comforted with the rest of the family around her, that still remain at least. Desmond's come and joined as well. As you're all sitting together for a bit, there's a moment of quiet as you're all sipping, and just tiredly thinking over the events of the evening. Toya breaks the silence, “Is the family going away? Am I going to be alone again?” Ornna looks over at her and goes, “Not if I can help it. It's you and me, kid, against the world.” Bosun pats Ornna on the shoulder and says, “Well, if you'd have me, you can probably use a strong arm.” Ornna looks back at him and Ornna and him have had this rivalry tension for a while. She goes, “You know what? Sure. The trio makes for a strong pack of performers. Desmond, are you in?” And Desmond is just sitting there, staring into his cup and goes, “I see a new family before me. And one I fear that's a story I could only spoil. No, I thank you, but I'll find my own path.” And he just sits there kind of quietly in this somewhat sad space. He gives a brief pat and side hug to Bosun before standing up and leaving. Gustav stands up and looks around. “I'm sorry for everything. For all the pain this has caused you, for all the pain it's caused you.” Looks at Toya, “For all the pain it's caused you, little one.”

TRAVIS: We had quite the adventure, actually. I know people were hurt, but that was really something.

MARISHA: And apparently, nobody really cared about Enon, so that's, you know, good for your conscience.

MATT: “Everyone's conscience is heavy with its own reasoning.”

TALIESIN: Get no blame from me.

MATT: “I appreciate that. We are our own worst enemy, are we not?”

TALIESIN: Ah, cheers to that!

LIAM: I catch Nott's eye and silently mouth the word 'lunatics'.

SAM: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: “Well, I think that's the end of my carnival.” (laughs)

LAURA: It was such a good carnival.

MATT: “It was a good run! It was a really good run.”

MARISHA: Man, we caught the last show, you guys!

TALIESIN: Not our best show.

LAURA: I liked it.

SAM: The tickets are probably worth something!

MARISHA: They might!

TRAVIS: Closed it down.

TALIESIN: You have plans?

ASHLEY: No, I'm just going to float around like I usually do.

TALIESIN: I don't know, I'm thinking about it. I don't know where I'm going to end up now.

MATT: “You can go with Bosun and Ornna, if you like. You guys are still carrying on. I mean, I'm not going to keep the tent, I'm not going to keep the supplies. I might hock some of it to try and pay off my debt, but-- take what you want. Start anew. It's my gift to you.” They all kind of, “Thank you very much. We'll start small, I don't think we need too much of the ensemble. How we began, back up in Shady Creek.”

LAURA: I mean, I could use a really large tent. Like the biggest one? I would take that off your hands.

TALIESIN: The biggest one's a bit--

TRAVIS: What would you do with a really large tent?

LAURA: I don't know, I could open up a hotel? Or I could make a bunch of dresses. Or--

SAM: Out of the tent?

LAURA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: You could make a lot of dresses out of that tent. That's fair.

LAURA: Yeah, right? It's really pretty fabric.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LAURA: (gasps) A hot air balloon!

TALIESIN: I don't--

LIAM: A what?

SAM: Those aren't invented.

LAURA: Haven't you seen airships?

SAM: No!

LIAM: They generally run from crystals. I've seen that kind before.

LAURA: Yeah!

LIAM: Yeah, there's no balloons, though. What's a balloon?

MATT: They have simple dirigibles, but they're not very functional.

LAURA: Yeah, it just involves fire you guys. We can figure this shit out.

LIAM: Oh, a dirigible? Dirigible I've heard of, but a balloon? I don't know what that is.

MARISHA: Have the airships made it to this continent yet?

LIAM: You don't know.

SAM: I think, Jester--

LAURA: I've seen airships, okay? I've seen them.

SAM: Jester, I think it's safe to say that this first case is closed!

LAURA: (gasps)

SAM: So we could open some sort of private investigation service.

LAURA: That's what we should do!

SAM: Out of a tent.

LAURA: Let's not open it here, though. This town sucks!

TRAVIS: Yeah, we were still planning on moving on after this.

MATT: “Bosun and Ornna, you guys can use that tent, right?” “Yeah, I think we'll take the tent.” “All right.”

SAM: Aw, they took the tent.

LAURA: Aw. We waited too long!

SAM: You got to jump on the tent when it becomes available.

LIAM: You know, just out of curiosity, what's everybody plan to do now?

SAM: Well do we have to leave? I mean I'm not wanted anymore.

LIAM: You were never wanted. Back to my question--

LAURA: Fjord and I are going to try and get him into the Academy.

TRAVIS: Well, I wanted to find out more about the Soltrice Academy, yes. I didn't know what direction you were heading. I never even asked what you were doing here in the first place.

MARISHA: Oh, you know, I'm just doing a walking tour? Through the continent, just kind of--

TRAVIS: A walking tour?

MARISHA: Yeah, just like a backpack vacation, you know? Just stretch my legs a little bit. Meeting some fine people. Discovering myself.

TRAVIS: Are you on a vacation?

MARISHA: Yes.

TRAVIS: Bring a lot of money with you for that vacation, did you?

MARISHA: What's it matter to you?

TRAVIS: I don't believe you're on vacation. Where are you going?

MARISHA: (laughs) That's your problem. So, you guys going to take off or do you guys want company or-- ?

MATT: Gustav finishes the drink and goes, “Well, I'm going to go get some sleep and try and figure out how to put my life together. I bid you all a wonderful night--”

LAURA: Gustav, wait! Here. And I take off one of my rings. This is an old family heirloom, and I hope it can help you pay some of your debt.

TALIESIN: I want to spy the rings on her hand, by the way, really quickly.

MATT: “Looks just like the one I lost off my pinky.”

LAURA: Well, that's so weird that you and my family have the same looking ones.

MATT: “That's wonderful, thank you so much.”

LAURA: You're welcome.

MATT: “That's very sweet.”

TALIESIN: I want to look at the other rings she picked up, not that she's wearing right now.

LAURA: They're right here. You can get a look at them!

MATT: They're all over her fingers.

TALIESIN: They are obviously rings from random dead people, aren't they?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Okay. I'm just putting that together.

LAURA: I play dinosaur fights.

MATT: Gustav puts his hat on. “Yasha, be safe, and punch anyone who gets in your way.”

ASHLEY: I will.

MATT: “Mollymauk, I hope you find what you're looking for.”

TALIESIN: I think I will.

MATT: “To the new family, don't make the same mistakes your forefathers did. The rest of you, thank you.”

LAURA: (whispers) He said forefathers.

SAM: (whispers) That's progressive.

(laughter)

MATT: “I bid you all adieu,” and he exits.

LAURA: What are you looking for, Molly?

TALIESIN: Hmm, I'm not quite done with this one. We'll see.

ASHLEY: Toya.

MATT: Bosun and Ornna stood up and Toya is there, “Yeah?”

ASHLEY: What are your plans? What do you want to do?

MATT: “I figure I'll just move on with Bo and Ornna and make a new show. Something with a little less death. That's what I'd like.”

LAURA: You should make your way to the Menagerie Coast. I think you guys would have a lot of success in Nicodranas.

MATT: “I haven't been to Nicodranas.”

LAURA: It's *beautiful*.

MATT: She looks up and tugs on the side of Bosun's sleeve. “You know, I actually haven't been there either.”

LAURA: They're always looking for good performers. You would do well.

MATT: “Hmm. Let's go ahead and make our way. That sounds like a nice change of pace, and this empire is getting a little stuffy for me anyway.”

MARISHA: I've bend down to Toya, and I take off one of the little jade bangles around my wrist, and I say, “Here. This will keep you safe from assholes named Beau. Except for that asshole, named Bo. He's a good Bo, but all other assholes named Beau.”

MATT: You watch as Ornna elbows him and is like, “Oh, no, he's an asshole too. It's fine.”

TALIESIN: It's true.

MARISHA: Sorry. Sorry again about that.

MATT: She takes it and goes, “It's okay. I know you did what you had to. But when I'm older, I'm going to get you back.”

MARISHA: You better.

LAURA: Your first nemesis!

MARISHA: My first nemesis!

MATT: Is a twelve year old girl!

(laughter)

MARISHA: I give her a little chin (weak punch sound).

TRAVIS: She goes unconscious.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Aw, why? No!

MATT: The three of them stand up and give a nod, wordlessly look over the rest of you with a smile of thanks, and Bosun looks to you and makes eye contact and goes, “Take care, brother. It gets tougher for us up north.”

TRAVIS: I'll keep that in mind.

MATT: And they all leave the inn.

ASHLEY: I mean, I'll say it. I don't know if you will, but I think that little girl is creepy.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh no, she's had a thing the entire time. There was a little while I thought she was in on it completely.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LAURA: I mean, she might have been.

TALIESIN: I've known her for years. I just assumed that she was in on it.

LAURA: She could've been in on it, and just got right away with it.

TALIESIN: Yeah. That would be great.

LAURA: She's good.

MARISHA: For her, yeah, I mean I got to give it to her, yeah.

TALIESIN: You know, no matter what you pick, you're always welcome, right?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Wherever you end up.

ASHLEY: Maybe for a little bit, but I've got some things I need do, so.

LAURA: Do you guys want to travel with me and Fjord?

ASHLEY: Where are you going, again?

TRAVIS: Up north. Northeast to the Solstrice Academy.

LIAM: Straight there.

TALIESIN: Northeast. I've always wanted to go there.

ASHLEY: Where's... where northeast?

LAURA: Um...

(chuckles)

SAM: We're here.

(laughter)

MATT: Well technically, you don't have a map.

SAM: Oh, no.

LAURA: We should really get a map, you guys. I haven't spent a lot of time in this area and I don't really know where we're going.

TRAVIS: We're kind of going from town to town and asking as we go. Afraid we don't know too much.

LAURA: I wonder if there's a place-- maybe at the general store? They would have a map? Or do you have to go to a map maker?

TALIESIN: Traditionally, you have to go to a map maker.

MATT: Traditionally but it can depend.

TALIESIN: We might have a bit of something at the circus, I don't know.

ASHLEY: I would love a map.

LAURA: We'll go looking for things tomorrow. We can go shopping.

ASHLEY: Okay. We'll go shopping with you.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Where are you guys heading off to? Seems like people are making pretty big plans.

TRAVIS: There's safety in numbers, you know?

LIAM: Yeah. Took the words out of my mouth.

LAURA: Nott, don't you want to travel with us, too?

SAM: Um, is she coming?

LAURA: Yeah, she just said she was.

ASHLEY: Oh, are you scared of me?

SAM: A little bit. You're very big.

ASHLEY: Well, I thought you were Nott, the Brave?

SAM: Oh. No, there's no comma.

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: I'm just Nott the Brave.

(laughter)

LIAM: I don't know. You know, Nott and I have been travelling together for a while and two is better than one, although still very difficult.

MARISHA: How long ago was it that you guys broke out of prison?

LIAM: Uh... you know, it was six months ago, about. Five, six months ago.

MARISHA: Damn, you guys are doing good.

TALIESIN: Insight check.

MATT: Against--

TALIESIN: Five or six months ago.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, that was so close.

TALIESIN: 14.

SAM: You have to roll, don't you?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Roll either persuasion or deception. You can choose. Don't--

LIAM: I'll do persuasion.

MATT: I mean, you don't have to say but you did. That's fine.

LIAM: That's uh, I don't know where on my character sheet is. That's also a 14.

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: All right, so seems on the level.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Broke out of prison? That's very impressive.

SAM: Well, it was mainly Caleb. We had to get out. I mean, it was a bad place.

LAURA: Were they going to kill you?

SAM: We would have died, for sure.

ASHLEY: But you guys were there together? Because you knew each other before?

LIAM: Well, first of all, she's being modest. It was not just me at all, I could not have gotten out of there without you. I don't think you could have gotten out of there without me either but you know.

SAM: That's true, for sure.

LIAM: That's why I said two. Better than one. One is the loneliest number.

LAURA: That you'll ever see.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: There's nothing wrong with being alone.

LIAM: You know, normally I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about shit like this but you are all very shifty.

LAURA: I'm very trustworthy.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LIAM: No, no, no, you're shifty as well. Yeah.

TALIESIN: It's true.

TRAVIS: In the short time we've spent with you, you seem to be very upstanding folks. I'm sure it wasn't for anything too serious.

LIAM: No, nothing serious at all, really. I was too curious. She was maybe a little thirsty. You know, petty stuff.

SAM: But they treated us very badly and we needed to get out of there.

LIAM: We all know how this country works.

MARISHA: And where was 'there'?

TRAVIS: Yeah, is there anywhere we should stay away from on our travels?

LIAM: (clears throat)

SAM: Any place is-- I mean, we've been travelling around a bit but--

LIAM: You know, I wouldn't go west, maybe.

TALIESIN: Northwest.

SAM: I'm told east is bad too. There's monsters.

LIAM: Yeah and they're pretty terrible in the north. That's no secret.

LAURA: So we go south?

SAM: Oh no, not south.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: It just depends where in the south, actually.

TALIESIN: I'd be happy keeping a bit of a low-key existence.

LAURA: Well, I mean we are vigilantes so it's best if we, you know, have our secret.

TALIESIN: Some of us are a bit sketchy with the law.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LIAM: Mollymauk, you're comfortable leaving the circus? You are very-- you have a lot of flair.

TALIESIN: Well, I figured if you're going to live your life, you're going to live your life.

LAURA: (jingling)

TALIESIN: Does do that. There's nothing wrong with living your life. You only get one of them, or mostly. And your days are going to be the days that you're going to have and I'd like to keep living my life the way I'd like to and keep off of certain radars.

MARISHA: Cheers to that.

LAURA: Yeah. Life does need things to live.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Stupid phrase.

LIAM: That doesn't make any sense at all.

TALIESIN: Really stupid.

TRAVIS: Who said that?

LIAM: I mean, it does but it blatantly obvious and simplistic.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That's just ridiculous.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: That felt so good. That's catharsis.

TRAVIS: Yasha, anywhere that we should avoid for you?

ASHLEY: You know. I'm just-- I'll make my way wherever we go and maybe I'll not stay with you the whole time but I don't like, you know--

TRAVIS: Being confined.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I don't-- groups and things--

MARISHA: Are you claustrophobic?

ASHLEY: Uh, no.

MARISHA: You mentioned the smaller cramped space in the cell. Just curious.

LAURA: Clamp space?

MARISHA: Clamps-- clampy space.

TALIESIN: Clam space.

ASHLEY: I like to have my freedom.

LIAM: I mean, technically this is a group. You mean groups bigger than this group or is this group too claustrophobic for you or-- ?

ASHLEY: No. I don't mean it like that. I just want to make my own way sometimes.

MARISHA: Not tied down to anything but that cloak, am I right?

ASHLEY: (chuckles) Yeah, that's right.

LAURA: Speaking of cloaks, mine smells really bad.

SAM: It was on top of a head. Ugh, that's really gross.

LAURA: I'm going to go try to find somewhere to wash it.

MATT: Upstairs at the end of the hallway is a communal washroom. You can find space there.

LAURA: Hey Caleb!

LIAM: Yeah?

LAURA: You know what's upstairs?

(laughter)

LAURA: This place where I'm going to go wash some stuff. You could use it.

TALIESIN: You smell fine.

LAURA and MARISHA: (chuckles)

SAM: I like you just the way you are.

LAURA: You're bloody now, too, in addition to being stinky.

TALIESIN: You should probably get that patched up, actually, though. That is fair.

LIAM: (clears throat)

MARISHA: Yeah, I actually feel like you're starting to get a rash.

(laughter)

LIAM: Yeah, I'm good, thank you.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Damn right.

(laughter)

MATT: All right.

SAM: Well, I suppose we should all go to sleep and then if any of us are here in the morning, we'll set off together?

TRAVIS: That seems fair.

TALIESIN: I'm all right with that. Collect our things from-- my things, anyway, from the circus. There should be some spares.

LIAM: Do we have time to-- look at this, we're making plans with friends, that's amazing. Do we have for errands in the morning? I have a couple stops. Nothing major.

TALIESIN: Take me a while to pack.

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: You guys want me to tag along with you?

TRAVIS: If you weren't too anxious to run off anywhere.

MARISHA: (chuckles, clears throat) No. I'm free on my backpack tour. No plans.

TRAVIS: Right. Any sightseeing we should schedule along our way?

MARISHA: Maybe avoid Zadash just because I just came there, you know. Don't want to hit the same place twice.

TRAVIS: Zadash?

MARISHA: Yup.

TRAVIS: Keep that in mind.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Note, note, note.

MATT: As you guys are all finishing your drinks and standing up to leave the table, a familiar voice pipes in from the centre of the tavern. "Beauregard?"

MARISHA: (groans)

MATT: And the Archivist who was there earlier during the trial in the stockade. "It's been difficult to find you. Do you mind if we speak?"

MARISHA: Hey, Zeenoth! Hey. It's been all of about twenty minutes since I've seen you last.

MATT: "Yes, um, would you walk with me? I believe we have much to discuss."

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: "Don't worry. She'll be returned to you. Just--"

TRAVIS: You all right with this?

MARISHA: It's cool. I've got it.

TALIESIN: We don't care. We're not that attached yet.

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: "All right then. This way please, Beauregard."

MARISHA: (sighs)

MATT: The elvish man gives a bow and he seems jovial.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: More mine, more mine!

MATT: Beau leaves and you guys are able to go about the rest of your evening to rest however you see fit.

LIAM: Way up after Nott has gone, I go over to Norda. Is Norda down there?

SAM: Yorda.

LIAM: No, there's two people with rhyming names.

MARISHA: Yorda is the bartender.

MATT: Yorda is the bartender.

LIAM: This is revenge for Vex and Vax. I find the purveyor of the establishment.

MATT: Yorda.

LIAM: Mork from Ork, that's what I said.

MATT: "Right, what can I help you with?"

LIAM: Excuse me, is there-- I know you have a bath here, but is there a hot bath place like a bathhouse? I'm bruised over every inch of my body and I'm in a lot of pain.

MATT: "Right, that'll probably be in the Hillsward. It's a bit pricey, but I don't know if it's open this late."

LIAM: I know, but how much are we talking about?

MATT: "Oh, I'd put it maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of five silver for a bath."

LIAM: That's expensive.

MATT: "But you get bathed like proper, multiple people bathing you."

LIAM: Northward, you say?

MATT: "No, Hillsward."

LIAM: Okay, good.

MATT: "I mean, no offense to you. Their clientele is a bit, upper class."

LIAM: I'm not worried.

MATT: "Alright, fair enough."

LIAM: Danke. And I head up there.

MATT: Okay. Beau, as you exit with Zeenoth. As soon as you step into the night air, a second figure flanks your other side. The hooded figure from earlier that had caught you.

MARISHA: I just look at Zeenoth and go really? Is this really necessary?

MATT: "It is only because it's been so difficult to find you. I had to call in a favor. Please, come with us. We have a warehouse.”

MARISHA: Do we have to with this guy? He fucking-- look at him. He looks shifty.

MATT: The head turns to you in the hood and you see dark elvish features. A bald head as the hood comes back. What looks to be a female elf of very lithe form who turns to you and goes, "Actually, it is a woman, but I'll ignore that."

MARISHA: Sorry, you're super covered-- literally saw no features until right now.

MATT: "It is fine."

MARISHA: You're very attractive though.

(laughter)

MATT: And she walks ahead of you and the two of you begin to make your way there. They're guiding you towards the Northward and as you step into the dark following their lead, we're going to take a break.

(cheering)

MARISHA: I smell bad y'all.

TRAVIS: Do you?

MARISHA: Don't. You were like, oh my cape smells bad and I was like RPing and I like, ooh.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Everybody at home, grab your ticket you got in the mail. Scratch off number three.

(laughter)

MATT: We'll be back here in a few minutes. For those of you who want to enter the Wyrmwood giveaway, tonight it's a special Valentine's Day promotion from our friends at Wyrmwood. They have four types of dice vaults to choose from where they translate your Valentine Day's message in Elvish.

(gasping)

TRAVIS: Damn that shit glows!

MATT: So you have some golden Evish stuff there.

LAURA: It's pretty and you can choose the wood.

LIAM: The writing only shows up if you throw it in fire.

(laughter)

MATT: Don't listen to Liam. To whoever is the winner of this or any of these, they'll go ahead and get you the contact information for Wyrmwood so they can customize your phrase. If you want to be part of this giveaway over the break, make sure to use the keyword toad. T-O-A-D in the chatroom. There's also apparently an anti-Valentine's Day Drow vault they do as well. It's pretty cool. Check them out at wyrmwoodgaming.com but if you want to enter that, the codeword is toad. Only enter once please in the Twitch chat because if you do more than once, you'll be disqualified. Wait for them to notify you over the break and we'll come back with the winner when we return.

MARISHA: They gave us an amazing matching set with the Elvis-- Elvish for our wedding. It was super sweet. Thanks Wyrmwood. Elvis from Memphis.

MATT: (Elvis impression) "Oh that was a natural 20." We'll see you guys in a little bit.

(cheering)

Part II[]

MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Before we jump back in, we have our winner from the chat. The winner is Piamo_Feddie! If I am reading this correctly, Piamo_Feddie. Congratulations! Danoba will get your contact information, we'll get that sent out to you. Well done, and happy Valentine's Day. Now jumping back into the game, I would like to ask everyone but Marisha to leave the table, please.

MARISHA: See you, guys.

TRAVIS: Don't die!

MARISHA: This is so scary! So nerve wracking.

MATT: Beauregard.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: Quietly, they walk you through the night air, through the Northward, to a familiar place: the outskirts of the Baumbauch Family Brewery. There's a slight opening on the side warehouse doors where you had previously worked when you first arrived at Trostenwald, and Archivist Zeenoth gestures for you to enter. "Please. If you don't mind, my dear."

MARISHA: Really? Is this what got me caught, working for these fucking assholes? Ugh. I walk in.

MATT: There is a single glowing lantern that is currently hanging from a rope that is strewn across the ceiling of the warehouse that gives a central source of light to the room. It causes the shadows to stretch out very long across the sides.

MARISHA: What is this?

MATT: As you walk in and turn around, the door is closed. The two figures approach. The female elf goes and takes a chair and sets it in the center beneath the lantern. "Please, have a seat."

MARISHA: I'd prefer to stand.

MATT: She just sits back, about 20 or so feet, and leans against one of the large stacks of crates as Zeenoth approaches you. "Now, Beauregard. You have been what the Archive would call a problematic student."

MARISHA: (laughter)

MATT: "I've had to pull in quite a bit of a favor--"

MARISHA: Sorry. (laughter) Keep going. I'm listening.

MATT: "Since I have been assigned to your tutelage, overseeing your progress and training, you've shown great promise, in many ways. You're a seeker of truth, and you have a keen sense for manipulations and falsehoods. Correct?"

MARISHA: Thanks?

MATT: "When the Archive took you in at the behest of your family, you agreed to undergo our discipline. Our lifestyle."

MARISHA: No, I didn't agree to shit. You took me in because I'm assuming my father paid you a pretty nice sum of coin to make sure that you took me in. I'm assuming that coin is no longer coming to the Reserve, so, why do you care?

MATT: "Believe it or not, not everyone does what they do in this world for coin. We see possibility in you. We, wish to prevent you from blowing out your own flame. Your tendencies clash with our teachings, your dislike for authority."

MARISHA: Yeah, I thought you guys hated me. Thought I was doing you a favor by leaving.

MATT: At which point, the woman from behind says, "Your dislike for authority is not a bad thing. It can keep you alive. Authority should always be questioned. Those with more power than you should be held to a higher standard."

MARISHA: Thank you, authoritative figure who I am unaware of your name?

MATT: At which point, Zeenoth picks up, again, says, "But the way of the Knowing Mistress has an order of learning. Your patience is essential to adhering to this path. I know it may not be stimulating at times, but we must prepare your mind if we are ever to prepare your soul."

MARISHA: Yeah, I'd say that sorting books and punching brick walls repeatedly can definitely not be stimulating at all times.

MATT: "Look, I just wish to--" At which point, the elven woman goes, "Enough. I've heard enough, Zeenoth. You are removed of your responsibility to oversee Beauregard." Zeenoth's eyes go wide. "This is not a student you can help. Return to Zadash." Zeenoth goes, "Expositor, I do not think that I have been given a fair shot. Please--" "I know this girl, because I see much of myself in her. You cannot reach her. Go." Zeenoth looks hurt. "I apologize that I failed you." He turns around and heads back towards the warehouse doors, which shift open, and close.

MARISHA: The fuck was that?

MATT: The woman now steps forward.

MARISHA: I feel like he made me look like an asshole, feel like an asshole. Fuck, maybe I'm an asshole.

MATT: "Maybe you're an asshole. You probably are an asshole. That's all right, because so am I. Because sometimes you need someone to be an asshole to get shit done."

MARISHA: Being nice never did. What are we talking, stranger?

MATT: "I am Expositor Dairon, of the Cobalt Soul."

MARISHA: Dairon?

MATT: D-A-I-R-O-N. "I take it you have heard of our station through whispers."

MARISHA: Some people like to call you boogie men. I figured it was always real. In my opinion, the best way to hide in a secret organization is by having a boogie man.

MATT: "We are the hidden strength of the library, you are not wrong. We wade in the filth of society. We weed out the corrupt. We pursue the secret evils of the world, and expose them to the light.”

MARISHA: Wow.

MATT: “We twist the arm of the unjust, until they spill their mysteries. We are the spies. We are the hunters. We are the watchmen to those who rule. We are not kind. We are forthright. We are truth. Do you, Beauregard, want to see the truths of the world?”

MARISHA: Oh god, I'm sorry. I have this burn in my butt from all the smoke you just blew up my ass. It's just, oh god. Is that a magical talent?

MATT: What's your armor class?

MARISHA: 17.

MATT: You suffer ten points of bludgeoning damage as, out of nowhere, her fist hits you right across the side of your face.

MARISHA: It takes me to the ground. That takes me to the ground.

MATT: You're unconscious?

MARISHA: No, just takes me to the ground.

MATT: Okay. "Are you listening now?"

MARISHA: Do I have a choice?

MATT: "Let me be your teacher."

MARISHA: Oh, boy. Is that what I have to look forward to?

MATT: "No. What do you want to do now, that that's happened?"

MARISHA: I kind of want to fucking punch you back.

MATT: "Then do it. What's stopping you?"

MARISHA: Now you have my attention. And I fucking punch her in the face!

MATT: Go for it. Roll for an attack.

MARISHA: Just a straight unarmed, right?

MATT: Yep.

MARISHA: 12 total, not good.

MATT: She dodges out of the way, and as you move past, plucks you in the back of the head with a knuckle. That hits. You take one point of bludgeoning damage. It's a very light tap.

MARISHA: Ow! What the fuck, my dad used to do that type of shit.

MATT: With that, she rushes around with a rapid pace to the front of you, feints with an upper cut, and then goes to elbow you in the side of the head. That is a 16. What's your armor class?

MARISHA: That misses. 17.

MATT: Misses. You manage to duck out of the way of it. She goes, "Good. Good."

MARISHA: I got to add some points here.

MATT: Okay. She's going to go ahead and use her bonus action to go into a defensive stance. "Come on."

MARISHA: (yells) I'm going to spend a ki point, and go into Flurry of Blows, and do a blind haymaker, a second blind haymaker, and then try and backhand with the third. Wildly, recklessly. Okay, first one. Natural 20!

MATT: Oh, shit!

MARISHA: Second one. Natural 20!

MATT: Two natural 20s in a row!

MARISHA: I don't have anyone sitting next to me to confirm this, but I swear it's a natural 20!

MATT: No, I can see it!

MARISHA: I'll take a picture if I have to! A natural 17.

MATT: Roll damage on those first two!

MARISHA: Okay. You double the dice, right?

MATT: Yeah. Roll the dice, double it.

MARISHA: Okay. That was a three, a two, so five, ten plus eight. 18.

MATT: 18 points of damage. Then the third strike that hit?

MARISHA: One, so another five points. God fucking-- Thinking of my dad, after she just went "boop," something just popping the back of my head.

MATT: You watch as her defensive stance, she's prepared for it, and as you go to swing, she lets it down at the last second, and lets you get some hits in. Wham, wham! But much stronger than she expected. The first one clocks her across the chin. The other one hits her across the temple. The last one--

MARISHA: Just a wild backhand.

MATT: Just hits her in the back of the head. She stumbles for a second, then spins around. You can see a bit of blood trickling out of the corner of her mouth, and there's a little bit of a scrape of dirt on the side her head where you hit. She turns around. "Very good. You have learned some things in your time." She quickly advances on you. Hits. 18, hits. Okay. You take three points of bludgeoning damage, one per hit. Pop! Pop pop! She is basically going full in with the strike, and is just prodding you with these gentle little hits, showing control, showing that she's entirely able to overwhelm you, and she's hitting different places on your body, strategically. Because with each hit, you feel this burst of numbness in those vicinities. I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

MARISHA: Not great. That's a natural seven, so ten total.

MATT: Okay. After each hit, you gather yourself for a second, she stops and goes, "You are quick, and there is intelligence lying in there. You are also quite nimble at dodging blows. Do you see, with but a few simple strikes, I'm able to extract from you everything I need to know about you."

MARISHA: What the fuck, why can't I feel my hand? What did you do?

MATT: "You see, brute force has its place. But precision, and intent. That can take down the greatest of mountains, by poking the weakest point. Now, I know where your weak points are."

MARISHA: You don't know shit about me, bitch. I'm going to take another attack.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: That's a three. That's a nine.

MATT: Nope. With each miss, or, the first miss, she's going to use a reaction to attack you. That's going to be-- She can do that. Ducks out of the way, and immediately uses a reaction to smack you in the head for one point of damage, another bludgeoning point. She's going to spend another ki point to do another reaction. She can also do that.

MARISHA: Roll. I rolled a 15 to attack. Second attack. These are two attacks, right?

MATT: For your second one, yeah.

MARISHA: 15, so, 21.

MATT: Yeah, the second one does hit. She does not get the second attack. Roll damage on that second strike.

MARISHA: Okay. Attacking her with the first one, and then I'm just going to duck down a little and jab her right in the ribs.

MATT: All right. What was the damage on that?

MARISHA: Eight.

MATT: Eight damage, nice. You crack her in the ribs, and the impact actually does catch her off guard. She ends up tumbling five feet backward across the ground, catching herself in a three-point landing.

MARISHA: I back up. I'm going to spend another ki point to do my defensive stance. Patient defense.

MATT: Okay. Patient defense. You go into that stance that she was in earlier, but holding it for the entirety of this. Her eyes narrow for a second. You see her looking at all the different points that she struck on you earlier, like she's reading some sort of a docket on what your physicality is. With that, she doesn't run at you, she runs around you in a circle and begins to jump off the sides of the boxes, some of the crates that are stacked up nearby. You watch them wiggle as she puts her weight up against them, leaps off--

MARISHA: Instead of getting distracted by her, I just listen to her and look at her out of my periphery.

MATT: Okay. Eventually, she uses her momentum to climb to the top with her feet and leap off, then come downward with the knee towards you.

MARISHA: Right as she comes down and I'm going to use-- Oh, wait, dodge? Go first?

MATT: You're already in your defensive stance, so her attack's at disadvantage against you. The first strike. 19, 20 to hit?

MARISHA: Miss. It says patient defense, spend one ki point to take the dodge action as a bonus action on my turn.

MATT: Correct, what the dodge action does is it means any attacks against you have disadvantage.

MARISHA: Oh. Cool.

MATT: The first one did hit. Second one does not. The third one does. Two hits still get you. Both one point of bludgeoning damage. The knee comes down, and right as it cracks into your head, she shifts to the side and glides off, and as soon as her body glides off, her back is to yours, and her spinning elbow goes and cracks you in the side of the head, but it stops short, just barely hitting you. She's toying with you at this point.

MARISHA: You said two more points?

MATT: Yes, two more points of bludgeoning damage. Make another constitution saving throw, please.

MARISHA: 11. No, sorry, 12.

MATT: This time, opposed to the pressure points being hit, there is the one smack on the side of your head.

MARISHA: Yeah?

MATT: This pain surges through the side of your temple, and travels through your spine, to all the points she had hit earlier, and your whole body tenses and seizes for a second. Your vision blurs, and your mouth stammers, and you're stunned for the next round. As she lands behind you, and walks around to the front of you, you're unable to, you can't move, you can't speak. “I can start you on this path. You can return to your wanderlust, your allies. Our kind learns more in the world than in a library. Agree to my instruction, to use the skills I teach you, as you return throughout your journeys. One day, you too, can become an expositor." You begin to regain control of your senses, and your speech begins to slowly return to you.

MARISHA: Okay. I got to hand it to you, that was awesome, and I want to know how to do that. You beat me.

MATT: "Very well. Your first lesson begins now."

MARISHA: Okay. (groan)

MATT: She snaps her fingers, and you watch as Zeenoth steps back in, sheepishly. "Is it over, my dear? Is it done?" "I need you to stand here for a second, Zeenoth. I need a body. Let me show you the proper pressure points." Zeenoth's eyes go wide for a second. "I don't believe--" "You owe me a favor. I found her for you, did I not?" Zeenoth sighs, sags his head, and takes his cloak off.

MARISHA: I grab that stool, and I drag it over.

MATT: "Now, depending on what you wish to learn, there are different places where you can pull the information from the body." Over the next few hours, working with you, and over time--

MARISHA: Does she beat the shit out of Zeenoth?

MATT: You both do.

MARISHA: Sorry, Zeenoth. Sorry. God, we're such assholes.

MATT: "Assholes that the world needs, from time to time."

MARISHA: Yeah. The world does need an asshole. We'll work on that one together. We'll work on that. That's good, that's good.

MATT: "I'll return to Zadash in the morning. Take what I have taught you. "When you feel it's time for more tutelage, return to me. Do not worry. I have an eye on you."

MARISHA: What do I do until then, do I just continue--

MATT: "Do what you must. Travel the world. Use what I've taught you. Learn about injustice. Those you don't trust, follow them. Bend them. Make them tell the truth and admit their guilt. Find where ever corruption is. Root it out and let the system do its job. If the system isn't doing its job, destroy the system."

MARISHA: Why are you doing this? Why me?

MATT: "Because a long time ago, I was a wayward girl with no direction, was angry, and fighting at the world. And someone did this for me."

MARISHA: I don't really believe in systems or being a part of them, let alone a system that takes down other systems. Seems almost hypocritical.

MATT: "Perhaps. Who knows. Maybe one day you'll find the corruption inside our own."

MARISHA: Touche.

MATT: "Go. Get some rest. Clean up a bit, I think you could use it."

MARISHA: You might have broke my wrist.

MATT: “It'll heal. Zeenoth." She slaps him awake. His unconscious body on the ground.

MARISHA: Bye, Zeenoth! Zeenoth!

MATT: (coughing)

MARISHA: Zeenoth!

MATT: "Oh dear."

MARISHA: Bye.

MATT: "Goodbye. I have such great pleasure in saying goodbye, and good riddance."

MARISHA: I leave.

MATT: You make your way back to the tavern, go back into the room, and, exhaustedly, pass out. Let's bring everyone else back in.

MARISHA: Hi, friends. How's it going?

TRAVIS: Are you alive?

LIAM: I'm sure everything went according to plan.

TALIESIN: Quiet dignity and grace.

MATT: As you all come to consciousness in the morning, little sore, but recovered--mostly--from the battle that wrecked you the evening before. The fresh smells of cooked meats, and the sounds of various patrons below in the inn tavern floor, rouse you to the morning. What do you wish to do?

LIAM: Ah--

MARISHA: Hi, guys. Sorry I snuck in last night.

TRAVIS: How does she look?

MATT: She's beat to shit.

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck! Did you get horse kicked?

MARISHA: Several times.

TRAVIS: Damn. How's the horse look?

MARISHA: Horse is fucking dead. I ate it.

TRAVIS: That's a bit excessive.

MARISHA: Horse is fucking fine. Hey, Jester, do you have a bandage? Do you have a thing?

LAURA: Oh, yes! Of course I do. I have a lot of bandages because I am the cleric.

TRAVIS: I don't know if that bone's supposed to be sticking out of that part.

LAURA: Yes, I'm going to open the medical kit and rummage around. Pull out some stuff. Give me your wrist! I can definitely heal this.

TRAVIS: I bet Yasha can pop it back into place.

MARISHA: Yeah, *crack*.

MATT: Make a medicine check.

TRAVIS: You just made a bow.

TALIESIN: It was string and mime.

MARISHA: Oh, you made it worse!

LIAM: (blood gushing)

LAURA: 20.

MATT: Okay. It's actually fairly well made; it gives some nice support to it. I mean, it's more of a sprain than a break. But it helps offer some support to it. It'll heal.

MARISHA: I've had some sprains that feel like breaks.

MATT: Yeah, no, it hurts like a bitch, or it did last night. Or it feels a little better today, but that's definitely going to help give it some support. Good job.

MARISHA: Thank you.

ASHLEY: What happened to you?

LAURA: I've been practicing.

TRAVIS: Not you, her. What happened to *her*?

LAURA: Oh. Sorry.

MARISHA: Man, it was a great night. I had a great night! I haven't had a great night in a long time, you guys. That was a great night.

TRAVIS: With the guy you--

LAURA: You came in really late.

TALIESIN: I'd like to see the other guy.

MARISHA: I might have been accepted into, like, a secret society. It's kind of secret society business. It's hard to talk about.

LAURA: Are you allowed to talk about it? Tell us about it!

MARISHA: Okay! No, I can't. It's fine. There are these monks. I thought they hated me. It turns out they like me. Turns out they want me to become a part of their gang. But it's not really real, and they're like, "Just keep doing your thing! But you're against injustice and seek out truth and break systems!"

LAURA: You are a hero!

LIAM: Is this one of those dreams where nobody has their clothes on?

TALIESIN: You know, if the monks beat you up to make them join your gang, they're not really your friends.

MARISHA: You know, I said something like that to her. It wasn't as black and white as that.

TALIESIN: Is that why they did that to your face there? Oh, no, they didn't. Apparently they were pretty--

MARISHA: I wouldn't say this woman was my friend. I would say she's definitely a badass. I wouldn't say she's my friend.

TRAVIS: This woman, was she with the fellow that you left with last night?

MARISHA: She was. His name was Zeenoth. He's an archivist of the Cobalt Reserve. Lot of books there. Lot of books.

TRAVIS: Cobalt Reserve. He was in the court.

ASHLEY: Was this a test of some sort?

MARISHA: I think so.

LAURA: Did you pass? I mean, they made you a hero, so obviously you did.

MARISHA: I'm not a hero. That's not what they did. It's more like a vigilante! Like what we said! Yeah!

LAURA: This is so great. Can they let us into the secret society too?

MARISHA: No.

LIAM: Well, you know, this is very fascinating, but I have some errands to run. Nott, would you like to run errands with me? We are totally coming back and not leaving on our own undercover.

TRAVIS, LAURA, and TALIESIN: Insight check.

LIAM: Bring it on.

MARISHA: Do you need an insight check to know that that was shady as fuck?

TALIESIN: Fuck all.

LAURA: 15.

TRAVIS: 11.

LIAM: Persuasion?

TALIESIN: 11.

MATT: You don't have to tell me what you're rolling!

LIAM: I rolled a natural 20! Whatever. I'm being very honest! We're not going anywhere. But I do have errands to run. So, we're going to leave soon. Have some breakfast. I grab some bacon from Ford/Fjord's plate, and grab Nott and head out the door.

TALIESIN: Meet us at the circus.

LAURA: I'm going to draw in my sketchbook a drawing of the devil toad head rolling along the ground like a bowling ball.

SAM and TALIESIN: She really did.

LAURA: Well, kind of. I put the little bowling ball things on there. And he's going to run into all of us, in chains, being knocked down like pins.

MATT: Okay. Roll a dexterity check. Why not?

LAURA: Eight-- No, 15.

MATT: It's very well done. There's, like, hatch mark shading.

LAURA: Well, I did get really good training, so it's good that I know how to do shading.

MATT: All right, what are you guys doing? The rest of you, while they rush off to go about their errands.

TRAVIS: Apparently eating less of my bacon, motherfucker.

TALIESIN: I'm going to pack up and head back to the circus. Start getting things together.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I think I'll join you.

MATT: Molly and Yasha are heading back to the carnival grounds.

LAURA: I want to go try to buy a map.

MARISHA: That's a good idea.

LAURA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: Oh, I did actually want to see that map.

TALIESIN: I'll meet you there. Actually, you know what? I want to see you see that map.

ASHLEY: I think that's a great idea. Seeing me see a map is something pretty special.

TALIESIN: It's gorgeous. It's fabulous.

MATT: You guys, where are you heading off to?

LIAM: I have two places to go. The first, we're going to the Burnished Bibelots. The second is a surprise. But I know that I whisked you away in a hurry the other day and you weren't done browsing.

SAM: That sounds lovely and I would like to browse there again, but, honestly, Caleb, I am very worried about you. You have passed out twice in the last few days, and unless we get you a healing potion, there is no promise that you will still be alive tomorrow. I think we should go to Natural Remedies. You distract the owner while I go in the back and I steal a healing potion. It's the only way to guarantee your safety.

LIAM: Maybe that's the third place that we go. I will point out your point, which was that these crazy bastards are very distracting and strange, yeah?

SAM: Yes!

LIAM: So they could be my healing potion, you know? We'll talk about it. Third place. So, drag her off to the Burnished Bibelots. Boom, in the door.

MATT: You head inside. It looks as chaotic as you left it. You see what looks to be a small bowl of heated porridge that's gathered on the counter, and cross-legged on top is the fantastic gnomish purveyor of the interior, Oglen. "Hello?"

LIAM: Good day to you, sir!

MATT: "Good day to you as well."

LIAM: I give Nott a little shove over towards the shelves and walk up to him, right up to the counter. What are you eating there? That looks good.

MATT: "Breakfast."

LIAM: All right, yeah. That's what that is. You know, I wanted to thank you for the book. I don't know if you read it yourself, but I read it cover to cover quickly. It was fascinating and very useful. (I hope you're doing stuff over there.)

MATT: "All sales are final!"

LIAM: Well, here's the thing. I have read this book and loved it, and if you would like to purchase it for the low, low price of one gold, you can sell it again. You sold it to me for three. You have it back for one. You can turn a profit.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: Natural 20.

MATT: You watch as some of the porridge is spilling out the side of his mouth, and he rubs it off. "All right." And he pulls a gold coin out of his pouch.

LIAM: That is a good decision, and it was a good book. I am grateful for the knowledge you have imparted upon me.

MATT: "Might I have the book?"

LIAM: Oh, of course! It's right here on the table. Sorry, grandfather.

MATT: "All sales are final."

LIAM: Right. You will not sell that back to me, for sure.

MATT: "Do you want it? I can sell it to you for three gold."

LIAM: That's a good price. Nott, how are you doing?

SAM: (chewing) Bacon's really good!

LIAM: All done for the day?

SAM: I'm looking around for something to swipe.

MATT: Make an investigation check. You guys keep just shaking down this poor gnome guy.

SAM: Ten.

MATT: Looking around, I mean, a lot of this is knick-knacks and inane garbage, and things that just aren't quite worth what you'd be looking for. You do find one art piece that looks like it's a pretty good art piece with a decent frame, might be worth a little bit, but that's the best you can find. Everything else here looks like it's the dingy side of the Salvation Army.

SAM: Anything small? Ooh! Can I find my old flask that I left here?

MATT: Yes, I'll let you do that. It has not moved from where you placed it.

SAM: I'm going to steal back my old flask.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check, please.

LIAM: What is that little dancer toy? Between the three red mushrooms on the shelf behind you, is that a music box there?

MATT: "It is a music box." He takes it and cranks it.

SAM: 24.

MATT: "It was a music box."

LIAM: It's lost the magic.

MATT: "I can fix it."

LIAM: How long would that take?

MATT: He breaks it open, looks inside. "Three days."

LIAM: Okay. Well, I'll come back and see your work in three days. Work on that and your breakfast. Hey Nott, are you ready?

SAM: Mm-hmm!

LIAM: All right. Good day to you. Happy sales.

MATT: "Happy sales, as well."

LIAM: Sure. Out the door.

SAM: I rolled a 24.

MATT: Yeah, he did not notice at all.

LIAM: I'm going to head in the direction, dragging my goblin friend with me, to that fancy bathhouse that was described to me last night at the Nestled Nook.

MATT: You guys make your way southward. Go ahead and make a general charisma check.

LIAM: Charisma check? Well, something I wanted to do before we got there, was going to do it maybe in an alley, but you tell me, is I would like to cast Disguise Self on myself. Presumably gone into an alleyway so no one sees me doing this in the middle of the road. I take the form of a man in very fancy green robes, beautiful blond hair, very handsome man, with a vomit stain down the front of my clothes.

MATT: Okay. Specific and easily done.

LIAM: I drag my little friend along with me. You are going to like this, this is something very special.

SAM: I'm excited.

LIAM: Oh, charisma check. Straight charisma?

MATT: Straight charisma. Add your modifier.

LIAM: Yeah, it's 11.

MATT: 11, okay. With your Disguise Self form, it's easy enough for you to ask a few questions, and eventually you are given directions to what is called the Warm Dew Bathhouse. Warm Dew.

LAURA: Warm Doo, D-O-O.

MATT: D-E-W.

LIAM: Dew, dew. There's a liquid u in that.

TRAVIS: Warm doo. Thank you.

MATT: It'll be one before you bathe there and the other when you leave.

(laughter)

LIAM: All right, let's enter this establishment.

MATT: For as far south as this is, it's pretty decent compared to the other areas. Most of the Hillsward-- you get the sense that most of the rural farming community that fills out most of Trostenwald, a lot of the money that gets made goes directly to the central portion of this ward, where this bathhouse is. It's small, but it's really well put together. As you walk inside, you can see there marble busts set on the side of the entrance way, each side. You can see nice tapestries that are pulled back over the windows, and as both of you walk in, you see this young man, maybe his mid-twenties or so. Human, but he looks very thin and sickly, like he had a rough upbringing, and his general constitution has suffered for it. He has a warm smile, and he's wearing these long white robes with what looks to be a yellowish scarf that's wrapped around as he approaches. "Hello and good morning. Can I help you?"

LIAM: Yes, one moment. (quietly) Stay close to me and let me do the talking. (louder) Hello, please, don't focus-- my daughter is shy.

MATT: "I'm very sorry."

LIAM: I've had a terrible day. Some disgusting derelict has vomited all over me, I smell like filth, and I would like to spend a couple of hours in your finest bath. Maybe not your finest. A good bath, for a couple of hours. My daughter and I. I will need adjoining baths, if you have that. For modesty's sake, my daughter and I.

MATT: "That can be done. Of course." Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: (humming) There's a 12.

MATT: "For two hours, that will run-- for two baths adjoining, we'll put it at eight silver pieces."

LIAM: That's fine. I definitely have that. I take out the eight silver, I slap it down.

MATT: "Wonderful. We'll show you to your bathroom."

LIAM: Okay. Come along, dear.

SAM: Yes, Vater.

MATT: You guys are escorted to what-- It's really off-putting for the two of you. Not only is the smell clean inside here, but there's the scent of lavender in the hallway, and you hear soft music in the distance. As you walk past, you do see that there is a resident violinist that plays, and you guys are led to these two--

SAM: This is really nice!

LIAM: Yes, it is.

SAM: They got a violinist over there! I'm sorry, zey got a violinist over zere, Vater.

LIAM: That's meine Liebchen. I'm hoping for a hot bath for the both of us. It has been a long bit of travel.

MATT: "Right this way." Leads you into the chambers. There is a glass, fogged window, so the sunlight comes through, but no one can see through. There are some linens set out, a towel, and two basins that are freshly filled with steaming water. You are left into the chamber.

LIAM: Are they separate, though?

MATT: They're separated by a small wall that's eye length, but you can still talk to each other over it.

LIAM: Excellent. This is called a bath.

SAM: I've heard of them.

LIAM: A hot bath. We have been pretty dinged up for the past several months, and we might not get back into something like this for a while, so I want you to enjoy it. Go over to your side, and I will be here. Nott, I'm going to do a bit of reading.

SAM: While you bathe?

LIAM: Yes.

SAM: You'll still be the same Caleb when you're done, right?

LIAM: Yes, I will be the same Caleb.

SAM: I've gotten used to you, and now you're going to change a bit.

LIAM: Trust me, I will not.

SAM: All right.

LIAM: Once she is clear of the wall, I'm going to start actually disrobing, although I guess the illusion stays.

MATT: The illusion stays. Strangely, clothes start apparating out of you. (slurping)

MARISHA: It's like a bad video game glitch. Bad texture glitch.

LIAM: Nott, I'm probably going to go quiet for a little while.

SAM: No problem. I'll just be over here, you know, bathing.

LIAM: Enjoy it. I find the second book and examine it. Am I able to read this?

MATT: You are, actually. There is one incomplete arcane inscription in there. Unfortunately, it's been too burned, beyond recognition. You can see this was a spellbook. Mostly destroyed, but there are two complete spells in there that, if you wish to, you could transcribe over into your book. Those would be Arcane Lock and Unseen Servant.

ALL: Ooh!

LIAM: All my actual clothes are off. I'm going to take the book and set it on the edge of the basin.

MATT: Because you paid for it, there is a hinged, small desk piece where food can be eaten, or drinks could be served while people are taking a bath.

LIAM: I set it down. I sit with just my legs in the bath for a moment, and I look at the book.

SAM: I'm going to find the pitcher of cucumber water, dump it on the floor, and eat all the cucumbers.

(laughter)

MATT: As you hear over the wall (gobbling).

SAM: Look around for anything in the room that can be stolen?

MATT: Plenty of things, actually. No one's watching. There's a vase that's really nice. The doorknob itself is a brass, gold-like material.

SAM: I'll start working on that.

MATT: Using your thieves' tools, you can get that free, if you want.

SAM: After a while, I put a toe into the water, feel it, and I'm like: Nah. I'll use my empty flask and fill it up with water.

MATT: Okay. You get a water flask.

SAM: Then work on the doorknob.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make a thieves' tools check, adding your dexterity.

SAM: 12.

MATT: Add the dexterity and your proficiency.

SAM: Oh. 14.

MATT: There you go. With very little sound the doorknob comes off, and you have now a solid brass doorknob. There is the vase.

SAM: Is it a big vase?

MATT: It's like that big. It's more of a decorative flower holder over by the window.

SAM: Sure. I'll try to get that too.

MATT: Easy. You get it. There's nobody watching you!

SAM: I'll also save the flowers in a separate pouch.

MATT: Okay. There you go.

SAM: Any towels. Ooh, you know what?

MATT: Yeah, the linens can be taken.

SAM: I'm going to take one towel and tear it into shreds, and use it to replace any of my bandages that have worn or fallen off.

MATT: Easy enough. There's some nice clean bandages. Good.

SAM: I'm good.

LIAM: On my side, while all of that is happening, two things. One is that when I finally get into the tub I dip my whole body almost entirely in, but not my head or hair. Letting the bruises soak in the hot water, which feels wonderful. The second thing is, while flipping the pages of this book, very still, I can hear all of this, and it is extremely endearing, but I go completely still. Completely quiet. And read in peace.

MATT: While you guys are taking a bath, the rest of you are going off on a shopping trip. Except for you, you're going to--

TALIESIN: No, I'm going map hunting.

MATT: That's right. You're going. Who's all going together?

LAURA: All of us.

MATT: Where are you going?

LAURA: Okay, I'm going to ask Yorda if there's a map maker in town.

TALIESIN: Or if she can draw us a map of how to get there.

MATT: "There's not much of a specific cartographer in place. Most of the cartography guilds are up north in either Zadash or Rexxentrum. There might be one in Alfield? We're a bit small over here. You could ask the general store, or you could maybe go to the stockade. They have maps there but they use those. You might be able to pay enough for them."

LAURA: I don't want to go back to the stockade.

MATT: "Then maybe check the general store or any of the strange book places might have something old and lying in the back."

LAURA: Ooh, what strange book places?

MATT: "Well, let's see. There's the Hillsbrook Parchment and Binding. There's the Burnished Bibelots, that I think one of your friends has already been to. Those are the two strange book places. I'm not much of a reader myself, so I couldn't tell you."

LAURA: Can you draw me a map of how to get to those places?

MARISHA: We've already been to the general store.

LAURA: Yes, you're right. I guess we can try that place.

MARISHA: You can still make her draw a map. I don't want to rain on your parade. I'm sorry.

TRAVIS: You just shit all over her.

MARISHA: I totally did.

MATT: She gives you directions.

LAURA: Let's go on a trip!

MATT: Where are you guys going first?

MARISHA: (singing) General store!

LAURA: We've been there before.

MARISHA: (singing) I want to buy another health pack!

SAM: Health pack?

MARISHA: I meant a healer's kit.

LAURA: The general store doesn't like us very much. Oh wait. That healer's kit, is that the one you bought when we were together?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: You spent way too much money on it because I changed the tag?

MARISHA: Yeah. That one.

LAURA: That was great. Now I have it. Cool.

MARISHA: You won twice.

MATT: Everything's coming up Jester.

LAURA: All right, let's go back there. They don't like me, but let's go back there.

MARISHA: I can just pop in if you want to wait outside.

LAURA: They don't like you either.

MARISHA: Yeah, but they like money. Let's go.

MATT: All right, so you guys make your way to Lochward General in the Lochward District. As you enter, the older woman, Harper Mince, is there in the general store. It's the large, almost wooden barn exterior. The front door opens two ways, and the inside is wall-to-wall lined with tools for farming and farming equipment for building. There's lumber. There's all sorts of iron nails. It's by all accounts a rural general store.

MATT: You see on far end is Harper, the older woman there, standing and looking out at the rest of you. "Hi, can I help you? What are you looking for?"

LAURA: We are looking for pickles, did you get any yet?

MATT: "No, we don't sell pickles here, sorry."

LAURA: Most general stores have pickles, this is the only thing.

MARISHA: You're not wrong, generally, yeah.

MATT: "We can order some pickles, if you like."

LAURA: Yeah, you probably should. I think you would do well if you sold pickles. Do you have maps for sale of the area?

MATT: "The area? Let me check. I'll be right back."

LAURA: Does she leave the room?

MATT: Yeah, she does. She leaves the room.

TRAVIS: Don't-- put your hands in your pockets.

LAURA: Don't put my hands in my pockets, got it! I start running around and just moving everything on the shelves again the same way as before.

MATT: Make a sleight of hand check.

SAM: You're just moving things?

LAURA: Yeah, just like moving--

TRAVIS: Please be Laura when she was five and break shit.

LAURA: Oh yes! 18 plus five.

TALIESIN: This is beautiful.

MATT: With nary a squeak you completely rearrange in a period of about two and a half minutes most of the price cards that are dangling from a number of the tools, their placement. You guys all sit back and watch as this glorious display-- you can almost hear the William Tell Overture begin to play in the back of your head as she rummages back and forth throughout the interior of the chamber, turning things around and sticking them in the ground. It has been completely rearranged.

LIAM: Why is this crowbar seven gold?

MATT: Eventually you hear some rummaging from the back room and some footsteps coming nearby and you quickly stop and return to your original point there and Harper Mince returns from the back room. She has a few papers in her arms. She goes, "I'm sorry, we don't have any maps of the local area for detail. I have a map of the Dwendalian Empire as a whole, I hope that's enough."

LAURA: I mean, that could work, I suppose. It's not what we *need*, but if that's what you have that's what we can buy from you.

MATT: "All right, let me look at the date here. This will run about seven silver."

LAURA: Okay, that sounds like a good price, yeah.

MARISHA: Can I also get another healer's kit? If you have one.

MATT: "Right, yes, let me go ahead and get that for you here." The healer's kit. Looking up the pricing in the equipment section.That is five gold pieces for the healer's kit.

(groaning)

MARISHA: Five gold.

MATT: All right, mark it off. You get yourself a secondary healer's kit.

MARISHA: Well, one healer's kit. She's got the other one.

MATT: You hand over the seven silver?

LAURA: Yes, I do.

MATT: She takes it and put the ribbon back on it. *Finally* get to give that to you guys.

LIAM: Shut the front door!

LAURA: I have a pretty ribbon out of it.

TALIESIN: We're going to Goonies this really quickly here. Ready?

LAURA: What the fuck?!

SAM: That's beautiful! Who made this? Did you make this?

MATT: I designed the layout, but the map is made by a wonderful woman named Deven Rue, who does incredible handcrafted maps.

SAM: You got to get a camera on this shit.

TRAVIS: Hold it up!

MARISHA: Put it in the middle.

TALIESIN: Take a look, it's amazing!

TRAVIS: Oh my god!

MARISHA: Wait, where are we?

MATT: You guys are in Trostenwald, right there. This is north, this is south.

SAM: Angle it to that camera.

LAURA: What camera?

MATT: This is the Dwendalian Empire. This is not all of Wildemount, this is just a portion. Deven did an incredible job with this. You should follow her on Patreon or Twitter, she does amazing work. She does incredible work.

LAURA: Oh my god, you guys, let's go all of these places.

ASHLEY: Maybe not *all* of them.

LAURA: Okay, we are definitely going to visit this place called Hupperdook.

SAM: I think I had one of those this morning.

LAURA: Then we'll make our way up to Nogvuror. Oh man, this is awesome. Hey look, look over here! This is where I live!

SAM: There be dragons there.

TALIESIN: You live in a serpent?

LAURA: Uh-huh.

MATT: By the way, Deven, who did the map, it is her birthday today.

MARISHA: Happy birthday, Deven!

LAURA: Damn, this is amazing! Okay, I'll leave it up here.

TALIESIN: If you pull out a real medi-kit now I'm going to be really excited. 50 bandages come flying in...

ASHLEY: That is so beautiful.

MATT: She did an incredible job. The exchange is done, you have your map. Anything else you guys want to handle?

TALIESIN: Medi-kit?

MARISHA: I got it.

LAURA: Can I just look around and see if there's anything interesting to buy in here, like--

MATT: There's plenty of tools. There are various packs of supplies.

LAURA: I guess if I bought the painter's kit then it just stays and I don't run out of that.

MATT: Over time you would run out of it.

LAURA: But I'm good on paint?

MATT: Good for a while.

TRAVIS: Can I actually approach the storekeep and say: do you know of any stores that have arcane items, things with magical properties, healing potions?

MATT: "I'm sorry, we're a bit out of the center of the country for arcane items. You'd want to go further north for that."

TRAVIS: Further north? I appreciate your time, thank you.

MATT: "Of course."

MARISHA: This town blows.

TRAVIS: She's right fucking there.

MARISHA: I don't care.

TRAVIS: Shall we depart?

LAURA: Sure. Thank you so much for this beautiful map. You did a really good job drawing it.

MATT: Take your map.

ASHLEY: I also really like what you've done with the place.

MATT: "Thank you very much--"

MARISHA: Let's go, bye! Thank you!

MATT: As you guys all exit, she begins to come around the counter.

LAURA: Wherever we go, I'm going to bury my head in the map and walk behind everybody like a total tourist.

TALIESIN: Well, that's the question: are we going to be able to grab a cart or two from the circus?

MATT: You can probably get a cart.

TALIESIN: Like one of the little vardos? Can we snag a vardo?

MATT: Technically it's *a* vardo and the three of them took it. There's a vardo and then there's some carts. You weren't rolling with a pretty heavy-- honestly, most of the room in the carts was either for carrying you guys, whatever small bags you had with you, and the poles you would assemble to make the tent. Are you guys done with your business? Anything else you want to do while you're out and about?

TRAVIS: That's it for me.

LAURA: There's nowhere we can buy healing potions in this city?

MATT: There's Natural Remedies, which you've passed before, but not entered. It's an herbal healers establishment.

LAURA: Let's try that.

TALIESIN: I'm very wary of this, but fine.

TRAVIS: It's going to smell like “Sephoria,” I know it.

LAURA: Sephora.

TRAVIS: That's the fancy version.

MATT: Now you guys had left earlier, so as you guys head toward Natural Remedies, you guys finish your bath.

LIAM: I pack up. I assume we're staying for an hour, and I have to cast Disguise Self again to keep the illusion going. I'm done, you look--

SAM: I splashed some water on my face.

LIAM: --refreshed.

SAM: Oh, it was such a good bath. I'm ready to go now, I feel refreshed.

LIAM: Did you like it, though?

SAM: It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

LIAM: I wanted to repay you for all you've done for me for the past couple of days.

SAM: Consider it paid! You look the same. Does he look the same?

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: The brief moment that I was in my own guise nothing changed up here, so I look exactly the way I did this morning.

LAURA: What's the purpose of that?

LIAM: Who said that? You wanted to do something, right?

SAM: I wanted to go to Herbal Remedies and see if we could get you a healing potion.

LIAM: Let's do that then. You lead the way. Well wait, you lead the way outside. Let's keep our little schtick going here and then off we go.

MATT: All right. As you guys exit--

SAM: Auf Wiedersehen!

MATT: I trust you enjoyed your time in the bath, thank you.

LIAM: Yes, but we have to go. Sorry, I'm late for a very important appointment. I drag Nott right out of here because I saw no doorknob on the door.

MATT: Yeah, amongst other things. You guys make your way out and beeline it towards the Lochward to where you would find Natural Remedies. The rest of you guys as approach the exterior. Amongst the rest of the buildings in the central city, Natural Remedies is, for lack of a better term, humble. It's a small shack, but as soon as you approach it has very strong, pungent smells of funguses.

TRAVIS: Instant headache.

MATT: Yep. On the outside you can see, right where the doorway is open there are strings of herbs that are tied up and left to dry out. On the inside, you can already see that there are shelves of various flora and fauna that are being cultivated for various remedies and means of selling to anyone who wants to come by and procure, herbal medicines. Let's see who's handling this one, because you guys have not been here yet. As you enter the main chamber--

LIAM: Sorry, I will say that on the where there that I dropped the disguise, somewhere.

MATT: Okay, easily enough, so you guys haven't arrived yet. You guys have arrived. The interior it's a very musty smell on the inside, too. There's a lot of fungus being grown on the inside here, and you can see that elements of it may have expanded into the corner of the actual room and it's not necessarily the nicest space to be wandering in. It seems natural. Across the way, you see a gentleman of relatively tanned skin, with darker hair that's ratty and clustered. He's in his late twenties or so, looks to be upon closer inspection partial elven blood, partial human blood, and he's in the process of carefully carving a large stalk of what looks like a fungus off of a small put that he pulled off one of the shelves. As you enter, he doesn't even make eye contact he goes, "Hello, please, just wait a moment. There we are. Hi, can I help you?

LAURA: Hi, my friends keep dying. Do you have any health potions?

MATT: "We have a handful, that is correct. How many are you looking to purchase?"

LAURA: How many do you have?

MATT: "Four."

LAURA: Ooh. That will last us probably, like, a day.

MATT: "What do you do for a living?"

LAURA: We're superheroes.

TALIESIN: Sword jugglers.

MATT: "Why would-- Fine, who am I to ask?"

MARISHA: Look at this bruise.

MATT: "I cut fungus for a living."

MARISHA: Look, it's in the shape of a dick.

MATT: "I'm not going to ask. Four? Did you want them?”

LAURA: Sure, yes. How much for four healing potions?

MATT: "For four healing potions," and he pulls them out and plops them on the table, "240 gold pieces."

TALIESIN: Level two.

LAURA: Okay, hold on. I open up my pack and I pour out all my money. I start counting it.

ASHLEY: Do you have a deal, you know, if we got all of them. That seems pretty high. Right? That seems pretty high for a healing potion.

MATT: Make a persuasion check with disadvantage. Yasha: the wheeler and dealer.

ASHLEY: Three.

MATT: "No, actually, I think it's rather standard in these parts. But I can put them back."

TALIESIN: Healing potions aside, you are doing something really interesting and exciting here. You're not a healing potion dealer. What are you doing here? Like this is fascinating.

MATT: "Oh, I create all sorts of means of tending to wounds and loss of stamina. To be honest, a lot of people come around here for performance-enhancing drugs."

TALIESIN: I don't know, I feel like you can excite me. I feel like there's something that you have to show that's really exciting. I'm not entirely sure it's all about stamina, I think you've got something-- you did that on purpose. Talk to me like I'm a child, show me something I've never seen before.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TALIESIN: Not with advantage, because I don't have it, but I was so excited.

MATT: Nope.

TALIESIN: Persuasion check. 19. I'm fishing for drugs, I'm not going to lie. I've been on the road a long time, I don't remember how to do this.

MATT: He leans in close to you, "Mind closing the door?"

TALIESIN: I skip over to the door and gingerly close it.

MATT: "Keep curious company, that's true."

TALIESIN: Yes, I do. And we're leaving town, today.

MATT: "Those are magical words for a man of my business. Are you a fan of skein?"

TALIESIN: I don't actually know what that is.

MATT: "Well," and he goes back into the back chamber, comes back with a small satchel. There's a finely, dried, dusted material on the inside, it has a grayish-blue color to it. He goes, "This is a dried, and ground fungus called skein. It's called skein because when you eat it you can see the weave of time."

MARISHA: Is that what skein means?

MATT: "It's a woven skein, it's a joke on fate-- never mind."

TALIESIN: I thought it was very clever.

MATT: "Thank you very much. It's effective, it's popular on the outskirts where it's not so heavily controlled and carries a huge jail-time if caught. How much are you looking to purchase?"

TALIESIN: I've got to be honest I'm not made of money, but I'm always curious for a new experience.

MARISHA: Can I do an insight check on this guy?

MATT: Sure, go for it.

MARISHA: See if he's trying to scam us.

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Can I use my criminal background?

MATT: Sure.

LIAM: All right, Marisha said that, not Beauregard.

MARISHA: To know if he's actually giving what he's giving?

MATT: You know what? Make your insight check.

MARISHA: Just straight insight.

MATT: Straight insight.

MARISHA: It's not as good as I would've hoped. 18.

MATT: Not as good as I hoped: 18.

LIAM: That's a slam dunk at level two.

MATT: Seems on the level, seems excited that somebody's asking about it. You get that sense that maybe he makes a lot of this either for himself or in hopes that somebody asks about it and is seemingly excited that someone in the bumfuck town, in his opinion, would even have interest. You have once encountered this substance before, and it does seem legit.

MARISHA: Okay.

ASHLEY: How do we know that's good quality, though? Can I give it a sample?

TALIESIN: Well this might be complicated, I think that just-- What would--

TRAVIS: How about a few experiences?

TALIESIN: A few experiences worth. What would that run me?

MATT: Hey guys, we're dealing D&D drugs.

TALIESIN: I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry for dragging the entire audience into this. Hopefully, your children are already asleep, I do apologize.

SAM: D&D Beyond, everybody. Our sponsor for the evening.

TALIESIN: Thank you for really bringing that to earth for me. You started this.

MATT: "I'll put you in at a gold an experience, how about that?"

TALIESIN: All right. Yeah, put me in for one. I'll try anything once.

MATT: He takes a small little batch of this dried, powdered fungus, and puts it into a small glass vial, corks it, and hands it over.

ASHLEY: Well, you might as well make another one. I'm not going to let my friend experience it alone.

TALIESIN: What's it called? Skein?

MATT: Skein. S-K-E-I-N. I believe that's how it's spelled.

LAURA: Yasha, you should take it with them. Right now. It'll be fun.

TALIESIN: No, this is not how this works. This is not how this works. We bank our moments for those moments when life is disappointing.

TRAVIS: I know a unique substance when I see it, I'll take one as well.

TALIESIN: Oh my god.

MARISHA: One for me too.

TALIESIN: This can come in handy in all sorts of ways.

MATT: Goddamn it, guys.

TALIESIN: The fact that you had this ready means that there is no shame here. You were ready for this.

MATT: You're right, I am not making any of this up on the spot at all.

TALIESIN: I know I can tell!

LIAM: This guy went from the Simpson's Safeway clerk to the shadiest motherfucker in a snap of time, because of your question.

TALIESIN: A big, purple, pierced demon walked into the room and was like, hello.

LIAM: Yes, can I help you, good sir? Yes, I can help you.

TRAVIS: I'll tell you what, because you are such a purveyor of such interesting items, I will take one of those health potions, but for 50 gold. That's the running price I've seen in neighboring towns, and I don't mean to be swindled.

MARISHA: I assume you'd want to go ahead and give it to us for that so that we keep this a secret.

MATT: Make a persuasion check, with advantage.

TRAVIS: 21.

MATT: "50 gold," and he pulls his hair back a bit, "Seems fair." Takes a potion and hands it over. He scoops a little vial and says, "And for fun." He throws it over.

LIAM: You fucking badass.

SAM: Cut to an hour later, and someone's jamming an adrenaline needle.

MATT: TPK by misuse?

TALIESIN: Somewhere around level eight, this is going to be hilarious. Somewhere around level eight someone's going to go shopping and the rest of us are going to be like: this is now, this is happening now.

MATT: This has become the longest afterschool special I think we've ever experienced.

TALIESIN: Years in the making.

MATT: He immediately gets nervous at her mention of--

TALIESIN: She's fine, she's just awful, you're a gentleman, I hope to see you again. I'm looking forward to this.

MATT: "I'll be here."

TALIESIN: Of course, we never met you, you never met us.

MATT: "Of course not. I don't know who you are."

TALIESIN: I am already out the door, with a flourish.

MATT: At which point, you run outside just as Caleb and Nott are approaching.

MARISHA: Before I go out I say, nice to meet you, mister--?

MATT: "Davies."

TRAVIS: The decision was still happening by the time you got to the last letter.

MARISHA: I go: Okay, Davies.

LAURA: I guess I'll scoop all my money back into my pouch, and leave.

MARISHA: Do you want anything?

LAURA: No.

MATT: You bump into Caleb and Nott on the way out.

LIAM: What's the matter, do you have a cold?

LAURA: You don't smell bad, what did you do?

MATT: Actually, ironically, his clothes do still smell pretty bad, and he still looks awful.

LAURA: You don't smell as bad.

MATT: That's true, on a gradient scale he does smell a little better.

LIAM: I will take that as a compliment, thank you. What are you guys doing here, are you shopping? What do they have in there?

LAURA: They bought drugs.

TRAVIS: That is an over-exaggeration.

TALIESIN: That is an extreme over-exaggeration. We got a health potion.

SAM: All of you?

MARISHA: Well, it was kind of a ploy to get a cheaper health potion.

TALIESIN: It worked.

MARISHA: And we got drugs on top of it. It was a win-win am I right?

LAURA: If you guys go in there and you buy a health potion, don't spend as much as he says because apparently, he was lying.

LIAM: How much do they run for?

TRAVIS: Health potions were quoted at 70, but he was kind enough to understand that 50 was enough.

LIAM: 70?

TRAVIS: Gold pieces.

SAM: North we go.

TALIESIN: North, to the horses.

LIAM: We have a plan for the day.

LAURA: Yes, and I show them the map that we just got. We're heading that way. Can I take the ribbon that was wrapped around the map and tie it around one of my horns?

MATT: Easily enough.

MARISHA: That's cute.

LAURA: Thank you.

SAM: We could rob the store.

LIAM: Do you have a strategy for that?

SAM: I mean, we could use one of our pre-planned strategies.

LIAM: Which one would that be, because I was thinking about it on the walk here and I can't think which one applies.

TALIESIN: I was going to say, robbing shady people is usually a bad idea.

MARISHA: Do we hear them doing these plans? Do we hear you guys making this plan?

LIAM: No, I wouldn't be saying this out loud if you're close.

SAM: We could just the simplest: the prince and the pauper.

LIAM: Here's the thing, I have died almost twice in two days. We have our friends and I think that's a good way to start.

SAM: All right.

LIAM: I mean, you know, we almost all got pinched yesterday.

SAM: You're right, we should leave town with our wits about us, and full of health. Let's just go while we're ahead. Besides, I got plenty of stuff today.

LIAM: You and me?

SAM: Yeah, let's go.

LIAM: All right. Okay, where are we going first?

LAURA: We're heading north to--

LIAM: Is it this big?

MATT: That's the size of the map.

LAURA: I mean, we can stop through Alfield first and see if there's anything cool there, or-- what city was it that the academy was in?

MARISHA: "Solstrice?"

MATT and TRAVIS: Soltrice.

MARISHA: Is that the name of the town?

TALIESIN: No I don't think it's the name of the town.

LAURA: I mean the ultimate goal, you guys, is to get to Hupperdook, but-

TALIESIN: What about Yogurt?

LAURA: That's an after-thought.

TALIESIN: It usually is.

LIAM: How far off does Hupperdook look?

LAURA: Well we have to pass through Felderwin, and the Felderwin Village first.

SAM: Let's skip that one, please

LAURA: Oh, is that the one you don't like? Okay, then we'll go up through Alfield, and then Zadash, and then we'll cut across and go to Hupperdook.

MARISHA: Is that where your clan is from?

SAM: They roam about.

ASHLEY: You don't want to go to Zadash, is that right?

MARISHA: Nah, it's cool. We can go back.

TRAVIS: It's cool now?

MARISHA: Yeah, I mean there's a few places that I didn't get to see in my sight-seeing roundabout, didn't get to hit everything. Now that I've slept on it, I've had a change of heart. It's a nice town.

LAURA: How long of a travel would it be to get to Zadash from where we are now?

MATT: Following the road is longer, but it's safest. That'll probably be close to 200 miles to Zadash.

SAM: Jesus. We're on foot.

TALIESIN: No, we've got a cart.

SAM: A cart.

MATT: You do have a cart. A single cart.

LAURA: A horse? Let's go back to the inn and ask Yorda if she knows if Alfield is a big city.

LIAM: Do I have any knowledge of Alfield?

TALIESIN: I came though Alfield, didn't I?

MATT: No, you guys traveled around. You came from Felderwin, and curved around the Ustaloch.

TALIESIN: That's right.

MATT: Alfield is actually slightly smaller than Trostenwald, it's a stop on the way to Zadash. Zadash is the second-largest city in the kingdom.

MARISHA: What do I know about Zadash that I could tell them? Can I tell them anything?

MATT: It was the last conquered bastion of the previous government before the empire entirely took the valley.

MARISHA: That's right. Zadash is on the edge of the empire too, right?

MATT: It was, but now it's more central. It expanded past and took over Trostenwald, Alfield, it expanded all the way into the valley.

LIAM: Will you share your map with me for just for one minute?

LAURA: Of course.

SAM: This is a good trick he does. He can look at it once and it will stay with him forever.

LAURA: Really?

SAM: Yes, it's amazing, you can quiz on it later. While he's memorizing it, Yasha, is that your name again?

ASHLEY: Yasha.

SAM: It's like Ash, with an -ay.

ASHLEY: Not really, but close enough.

SAM: I got you these flowers.

ASHLEY: Oh.

SAM: Thought that they might gussy you up a bit. It's a lot of drab colors. Also, maybe, you won't kill me now.

ASHLEY: I'm not going to kill you.

SAM: I know, I gave you the flowers.

ASHLEY: All right, well.

SAM: Girls like flowers.

LAURA: I love flowers, did you get me any?

SAM: I didn't, because you're less of a threat.

LAURA: You don't know that.

ASHLEY: That was very nice of you, thank you.

SAM: Sure!

MARISHA: Didn't peg you for a flowers type of girl.

SAM: All girls like flowers

ASHLEY: I take out a book that I have and in between some of the pages is a four leaf clover. I'll take the flowers and I'll put them in between the other pages, and I'll put it away.

SAM: You see?

(laughter)

SAM: It doesn't hurt to be nice sometimes.

MARISHA: I mean, it can though.

SAM: Well it hurts *you*.

LIAM: It looks like someone was very nice to you the night before, over and over again.

MARISHA: Oh, she was.

LAURA: You guys, we are going to Zadash. Is that what we're saying, we're going to go to Zadash?

LIAM: Sure, let's do that. What's our goal in Zadash?

LAURA: I don't know, I just need to know where we're going, okay?

MARISHA: That's on the way to the "Solstrice" Academy?

MATT: The Soltryce. Solstice, I can see you mixing it up. The Soltryce is technically in Rexxentrum, which is the capital of the empire.

LAURA: Which is a lot farther.

MATT: Which is a lot farther. Zadash does have the only other subsidiary of the academy there, but the main Soltryce academy is in Rexxentrum, the capital. But Zadash has some connection to it.

TRAVIS: I'll take it.

LIAM: Unless you're a foreigner, everyone knows about Rexxentrum.

MATT: Yes, it's huge. For player comparison, it's twice the size of Emon. It's a massive city.

LAURA: Zadash?

MATT: No, not Zadash, Rexxentrum.

LIAM: Zadash is medium, or smaller.

LAURA: Okay. Yeah.

LIAM: How far up did that map say, when I looked at it? 200 miles you said to Zadash?

MATT: To Zadash, roughly 200 miles or so, if you're taking the road, quicker if you take a straight line, but you're not as safe.

LIAM: Well, I think it's good.

SAM: Are we going to walk there? Should we get horses?

TALIESIN: We have a horse.

LIAM: How many horses?

TALIESIN: We have a horse.

MARISHA: A horse and a carriage. I'm assuming it can't fit all of us.

TRAVIS: Yeah, like a wagon.

TALIESIN: We have a wagon.

MATT: It'll be about the same pace as on foot, at a fast pace on foot, you guys can traverse about 30 miles a day. That also means you're moving at a fast pace, so you're not being completely aware of your surroundings, you have a penalty to passively seeing things around you. But you get there quicker.

TRAVIS: I like it.

TALIESIN: Why be fast? What are we in a rush for?

LAURA: We can sightsee.

TALIESIN: I find careful is always best.

LIAM: A couple of weeks on the road to a city bigger than this one.

MARISHA: Are we all going to get along for a couple of weeks?

SAM: We'll find out, I suppose.

LAURA: I get along with everyone, Beau.

MARISHA: That's true, that's true.

TALIESIN: I don't get along with anybody.

MARISHA: That's also true.

LIAM: Two weeks is not a bad test run for companions. If we don't like it, we part ways in Zadash.

TRAVIS: Yeah, free to go at any time. As long as it serves everyone, we'll stay this way.

ASHLEY: I think I need to stay here just a little bit longer. But I will meet you guys there at some point?

SAM: Why?! What're you doing?

LIAM: You have something else to do?

ASHLEY: I just don't think I can leave here until, I'm told I can.

SAM: By the authorities?

ASHLEY: No, I just--

SAM: You're so mysterious

ASHLEY: I have things that I need to do--

SAM: Name one.

TALIESIN: You know where we're headed.

MATT: Blindspot.

MARISHA: Poor Ashley, we make her come up with excuses every time.

ASHLEY: I have reasons, I can stay, I just need to converse with someone to see where my next step leads.

MARISHA: You know you're not beholden to Gustav anymore, right?

ASHLEY: No, yes, no. It's not him.

MARISHA: Is it Bo? The other Bo? Is it Desmond?

ASHLEY: No.

MARISHA: Is it Ornna?

SAM: Please, Beau, let the detectives figure this out. Is it Desmond?

LAURA: Is it Ornna?

SAM: It's Ornna isn't it? It's Ornna, I knew it.

LAURA: Will you hold this?

SAM: Yes, of course. See? Another case cracked. It was Ornna.

LAURA: Before we leave, is there anywhere in town that there would be a courier service where I can send a message?

MATT: There are messenger services, yeah.

LAURA: Can I go find one?

MATT: Yeah, okay. For the purposes of brevity, we'll say that you find a courier service that runs fast horseback all along the roads from the Empire and then with approval, outside of it, south and west.

LAURA: I'm going to write a letter to my mother that says, "Dear Mom, all of the money's gone. I don't know what happened, but I am very broke and I need more. Please help me. I am going to Zadash. That's where you can send it. Just send it to the inn that is the biggest one and I'll find it there. Just address it to me. Your loving daughter, Jester. Please, thank you, I need help, thank you."

MATT: All right. For delivery to Nicodranas, the cost of the courier service will run you about five gold.

LAURA: This is really fucking-- She better send money, because this is eating into it.

MATT: That's hundreds and hundreds of miles on horseback.

LAURA: Okay, I'll give the five gold for that.

TALIESIN: It is such a different world.

MATT: Yeah. Welcome to level three, after tonight.

SAM: Oh! If we live.

MARISHA: While we're stopping by the post office, can I talk to the courier person?

MATT: Sure. It's a young girl with short-ish brushed hair, she's boy-ish and freckled, and a bit dirty in the edges of her chin, she's in the process of loading up the packs on the horse, and she's wearing simple leather armor, and looks back at you, "Can I help you?"

MARISHA: Yeah, I was just wondering if you had any incoming mail for the Baumbauch's? I said that I would pick it up on the way home, heading over there.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TALIESIN: Wow.

SAM: Mail fraud on the way out of town.

MARISHA: That's good! 20. No. Deception? 19 total.

MATT: "Let me check. Yeah, actually, we got three small parcels on the way to the Baumbauch's there."

MARISHA: Thank you so much. He's going to be so happy to not have to run this errand. Thank you, bye. Oh, sorry, here you go. I give her a gold.

MATT: "That's very kind, thank you."

MARISHA: Have a good day.

MATT: Hops onto the horse and takes off southward.

TALIESIN: Mail fraud.

MARISHA: Let's go.

TALIESIN: That is actually the worst crime we've committed today.

MARISHA: You said how many? Three parcels?

MATT: Three parcels.

ASHLEY: When you get to Zadash, maybe send me a note, or maybe I'll be there. I just have to do a couple things.

LAURA: We'll send you a note on the way to Zadash. Then maybe you can meet us there.

ASHLEY: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

TRAVIS: Do we have our fucking wagon ready?

TALIESIN: Wagon's ready. I even attempted to hide some of the contraband and otherwise. I packed well.

LIAM: While everyone is getting ready, I wait for a moment when Fjord is on his own and everyone is busy, walk over. This group seems rough around the edges, but you seem clever. Hopefully we can make this work.

TRAVIS: I think we should be able to, yeah. I mean, a little guidance goes a long way. You seem to be good at looking out for Nott.

LIAM: I mean, full disclosure, I'm a little rough around the edges, but you catch my drift.

TRAVIS: I do. You can trust us. You're safe here. I'm concerned with what happens with Jester and Beau. I think amongst all of us, we should be fine.

LIAM: Let's make it work.

TRAVIS: We'll make it work.

SAM: Fjord, something in me says that, for some reason, you should be the one who tells the horses and wagon to go.

(laughter)

SAM: It just seems, you're the biggest, maybe?

TRAVIS: That is mighty considerate of you, Nott. Are you sure you don't want to take a crack at it?

SAM: I could take a crack at it. The wagons be hitched, hee-haw.

TRAVIS: Use your diaphragm. Really get a yee-haw, get in there.

SAM: Saddle up your doggies, hee-haw.

TRAVIS: One more time, on the count of three. One, two, three. On three, I push his chest in.

SAM: Yee-haw!

MATT: All right. With that, her vocal expulsion is majestic and sudden. Make an animal handling check with advantage, please.

SAM: With advantage? Six. I'm still a scary goblin.

MATT: The sound that comes out is less of a "Yee-haw," and more of a screech sound. The horse immediately rises up and goes into a very heavy gallop, and the cart takes off ahead of you, and you all struggle to catch up for a bit. With that, you guys quickly try and saunter up heading northward along the road toward the direction of Alfield, and eventually Zadash, as you head further into the Dwendalian Empire, and whatever fate has in store for you the next leg of your journey. We'll top tonight's session there.

SAM: Ashley Johnson, ladies and gentlemen.

LIAM: Yee-haw.

ALL: Yee-haw.

TRAVIS: Well, we committed felonies and mail fraud. That's good.

TALIESIN: Quite a few. Got into a bar fight.

LAURA: We skipped town without paying our inn fees.

SAM: We bought drugs.

TRAVIS: We bought a little bit of mold.

MATT: You paid your inn fee.

LAURA: We did pay on the way in. I did pay for a few days when we got in. I guess that is probably enough.

LIAM: Oh my gosh, and Sneaky McSneakerson over here. Oh boy.

SAM: Oh, yeah. Who knows what Marisha did while we were out there.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we got to go back and not watch that later.

MARISHA: Like the three rules of Fight Club.

MATT: You guys are all level three when you come back next week.

Post-Show[]

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Oh god, we got to shop. We got to book shop.

LAURA: Oh man, this is fun.

MATT: Yeah, thank you guys for sticking around for a less intense, more character-driven episode, these early days of figuring each other out and forming a fellowship. This is fun, I love it.

LIAM: Bunch of assholes.

MATT: I know.

TALIESIN: Bunch of assholes!

LIAM: That's the game.

MATT: Thank you guys for watching. Thank you again, Deven, for being an incredible artist, and an incredible mapmaker for working with me on that. Her Twitter-- I should've had this prepared in advance! You can follow Deven on Twitter @devenrue, Mistress of Maps. Her work is incredible. She has a Patreon, which I'm a patron for, you should be too. It's her birthday, so say happy birthday to her.

ALL: Happy Birthday!

MATT: All right guys, have a wonderful week. Ashley, come back.

ASHLEY: Hopefully soon, I never know. I'll try.

LAURA: So glad you were here.

MATT: If anybody from Blindspot is watching right now, kill off her character. I mean, don't do that, but we want her back.

ASHLEY: I don't think any of them are watching.

MATT: It's fine. We just miss her a lot. I'll see you guys back next week. Much love to you, much love to you, and is it Thursday yet?

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