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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: Welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors battle traffic from E3 to get here in time to roll dice and play Dungeons & Dragons.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we do.

SAM: Video games!

MATT: It has all the stuff.

MARISHA: All the video games.

MATT: Thank you for being patient and waiting for us with a couple of tech issues and just generally battling living in Los Angeles and having a car. Anyway, before we kick the night off, real fast, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge - and I feel it's important to acknowledge there's been a lot of difficulty and a lot of terrible things happening in the world and in our country in particular this past week or so. And us at Critical Role and this community around, I'm sure many of you agree, we just wanted to take a moment to express that we stand with the families of those that are currently dealing with this difficulty, who have lost those, and stand with the community that this was aimed at. And everybody who has come together as part of this, we are in full support of this whole wonderful gathering of people in light of this darkness, and I think it's not just myself when I say that everything this community stands for is to perpetually spread love, community, positivity, acceptance, and everything in between. So we just wanted to bring that to you guys and let you know that we're thinking about you all out there. And we have a wonderful community of Critters out there as well. If anyone needs any help, assistance, or guidance, or even just a happy word to pick them up during this rough time, we're all there for you. So, anyway. (blows kiss, sighs) Then, to kick off this evening of announcements and such, we are kicking into the second day of our renewed Loot Crate sponsorship.

(all cheer)

MATT: We wanted to reinforce that their current theme is Dystopia, which is an awesome theme box that deals with all sorts of things of post-apocalypse and dystopian-type films, games, the whole thing. They have Fallout, RoboCop, BioShock, a whole bunch of really, really cool things, so if you guys want to go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole, you can go ahead and get $3 off your subscription and get a whole bunch of that cool stuff. We also have the Dystopia DX, which is their big collector's box -

TRAVIS: So awesome.

MATT: which we showed last week.

LAURA: Oh, is that what this one was from?

MARISHA: Yeah, your sweet shirt.

ASHLEY: I love that shirt.

LAURA: Yeah, Skeletor!

MATT: (laughs) That's pretty slick. If you guys have a chance to check it out, go see if it's something you'd be interested in, and make sure you put in the criticalrole - all one word - code to go ahead and get your subscription discount, which is fantastic.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: We're happy to present that (funny accent) and are happy that they like our show enough to come and sponsor, which is awesome. (normal voice) So check that out. You have until the 19th at 9pm Pacific to subscribe and receive the Dystopia theme, otherwise it switches over to the next theme, so if you're gonna get under the wire for that one, (funny accent) do it soon. It's like a - yeah! We have a -

TRAVIS: We're giving out crates in a chat room thing, don't we?

MATT: You think so?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Giving out crates?

LAURA: We are?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Are we?

MARISHA: Are we?

LAURA: (gasps) That's exciting!

ASHLEY: It's going to be one at the break? It's going to be a giveaway at the break?

MATT: Oh, snap.

ASHLEY: I'm just going to start making stuff up.

TRAVIS: Is that - did you just point and -

ASHLEY: Point, shoot.

SAM: Loot Crate ha donated two Loot Crate DX boxes to give away to you. We will be doing this at the break and at the end of the night, random in chat. You must be active! Stay tuned for that! Exclamation point!

MARISHA: I'm so glad someone wrote that down for us!

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm so glad they wrote out the exclamation point.

TRAVIS: I'm in the chat right now.

LAURA: (laughing) Yeah.

TRAVIS: Totally.

SAM: Remind you, gotta stay active.

MARISHA: You're active? Stay active.

MATT: Stay active, Travis. In the game! (snaps fingers) Eyes up here, Grog.

(all laugh)

MATT: All right, so the next couple of things we want to mention to you guys real fast: We have, it started up today, a Critical Role t-shirt contest that went up.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: We're doing this with Woobox. The link should be in the chat room for you guys to check out, but we have currently, until June 24th at midnight, the cut-off date, but if anyone wants to submit any designs, all the rules for the contest are there. When all those designs have been submitted, we ourselves, the cast of Critical Role, are going to pore through and pick our favorite.

LAURA: Top three.

MATT: Top three?

LAURA: Yes.

TRAVIS: Top three faves.

MATT: (funny accent) And we will have designs incoming forward for official Critical Role shirt stuffs, which is nice.

TRAVIS: (similar accent) Critter.

LAURA: (similar accent) Critter, it's a Critter shirt.

MARISHA: Critter shirt.

TRAVIS: (similar accent) Critter community t-shirt.

SAM: Are they all going to be like Boaty McBoatface or something?

(all laugh)

LAURA: What's Boaty McBoatface?

MATT: We will select -

SAM: Boaty McBoatface is like an online “name our boat.”

(all say Boaty McBoatface)

MATT: Say Boaty McBoatface so we can get into this, and I'll be happy.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Do your worst. Show us your best. Yes!

MARISHA: All right, who did we send to Alaska? Who was that? Was that Flo Rida?

MATT: No. Oh, Alaska? That was… Redman. Bulldog.

MARISHA: Bulldog!

TALIESIN: Pitbull.

MARISHA: Pitbull! Pitbull!

MATT: I mess up his name intentionally all the time.

TRAVIS: Bullman?

TALIESIN: (groans)

MARISHA: (laughing) Pitbull.

ASHLEY: Bulldog. Shih tzu.

MARISHA: He played in, like, a Wal-Mart in Anchorage.

LAURA: But it was like a joke for publicity, right?

MATT: He went ahead and did it! The online poll for his next performance, the internet trolled him and made it to this far Alaska performance.

MARISHA: A Wal-Mart in Anchorage, or something like that.

LAURA: And he did it

MATT: And he did it! I was like, “respect to you, man. Well done.”

MARISHA: Yeah, respect. Like 50 people showed up.

LAURA: That's awesome!

MARISHA: And got a private -

LAURA: Concert.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: You know what, I've done a con in Anchorage. It's nice. I like it.

TRAVIS: Yeah, man. Anchorage moose.

TALIESIN: They've got moose.

LAURA: Can we talk about our next thing because I'm so excited about it.

SAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: What's the next thing?

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Do we get to show it, or no?

LAURA: YES.

TALIESIN: Oh, yes, that!

LIAM: (frustrated noises)

LAURA: Wait, okay, so Liam gets to say it.

MATT: So, you are technically DM.

LIAM: So some of you might remember us talking about Joe Madureira and his Kickstarter game, Darksiders Night War, which he successfully Kickstarted. We talked about it a bunch on this show -

MATT: Battle War, you mean?

LIAM: Hm?

MATT: Darksiders was -

LIAM: Excuse me. Battle Chasers.

LAURA: Battle Chasers.

LIAM: Excuse me, I was going to be here for a half hour and settle down and go over my talking points. Battle Chasers.

SAM: You're wearing the shirt.

LIAM: Battle Chasers. I'm wearing the damn shirt.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Sorry. Hour and a half in L.A. traffic. Anyway. He successfully Kickstarted, they're working on it, I just saw him at E3, I saw him a couple of days ago. If you don't know Joe's work, he is a comic book artist rock star. He has worked on X-men, he's worked on Avenging Spider-Man, Inhumans, Ultimates 3, and his own comic, Battle Chasers, which I fell in love with when I was a teenager. He does gorgeous artwork. He's only gotten better with time.

SAM: Pitbull Chasers.

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: Pitbull Chasers, Flo Rida, and Joe collaborating together. Anyway, that game's coming out. You should check it out, this is it. But I bring that up because while Joe is a busy, busy guy, he somehow found the time - I'm so excited - to create an exclusive art piece for Critical Role.

ASHLEY: Can we bring it in?

MARISHA: So gorgeous.

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay.

(noises of awe)

LIAM: Look at that business. So right now -

LAURA: It's blocking my face, but I want to see it.

MARISHA: Well, we've seen it tiny.

LIAM: Guys, if you go over to the Geek & Sundry shop right now, this is on pre-order, so - I'm going over my script - signed versions of this will be available for pre-order for two weeks only.

TRAVIS: Yeah, limited two-week run, y'all. Get it.

LIAM: Two-week pre-order. And then unsigned for three weeks.

LAURA: Three weeks.

LIAM: So this is now or never.

ASHLEY: It's so badass!

MARISHA: Now or never and then it goes away forever.

LAURA: Forever!

LIAM: And it's too gorgeous, too. Oh my lord.

MARISHA: It's so gorgeous.

ASHLEY: I wonder if we should show a close-up or something.

LAURA: So yeah, keep in mind when you order it on pre-order that you have to wait for it to be fully pre-ordered before we can send it out. I don't know if that was on camera because I'm above the poster.

(all laugh)

ASHLEY: It's so sexy.

MARISHA: You're so sexy.

LIAM: It's all right. Vex is on the paper, so.

LAURA: That's right.

MARISHA: Pike in that three-point landing!

LAURA: Oh no, don't take it away.

ASHLEY: (singing) Goodbye, my love!

TRAVIS: There's an image on the website, right?

MARISHA: And they are movie-poster size. They are that size.

LAURA: Yeah, they're that full-on -

LIAM: They're 24 x 36. Gorgeous.

MARISHA: 24 x 36.

SAM: And there's a place to click on the page where you are right now watching this.

MATT: Those are my eyes. I'm on a poster!

MARISHA: If you scroll down, there'll be a button.

LIAM: Scroll down to the bottom of the page, there's a button for that.

MARISHA: Scroll down, there's a button.

LIAM: Thank you, Joe. Thank you. It's gorgeous.

LAURA AND MARISHA: Thank you, Joe!

MATT: Thank you, Joe. It's amazing.

ASHLEY: Thanks, Joe!

TALIESIN: That's amazing.

LAURA: It's beautiful.

ASHLEY: I love it so much.

MATT: It is getting framed and becoming a centerpiece of our home.

LIAM: And Battle Chasers Night War. You should check it out today.

(all laugh)

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Signed, by the way, signed by us, not by the artist.

LIAM: Us. By us.

MARISHA: Yeah, by us.

TALIESIN: You could find him. Hunt him down if you wanted to.

MARISHA: Yes. (laughs)

MATT: (in a funny accent) Taliesin, you are going to be somewhere this weekend, are you not?

TALIESIN: Oh, god, I am. As soon as we're done here, I go home and pack and get on an airplane. I will be at Amazing Comic Con in Vegas all weekend.

TRAVIS: You bastard.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Sleep is never gonna happen.

LAURA, ASHLEY, AND MARISHA: No.

TALIESIN: Never.

ASHLEY: What is that.

TRAVIS: Sleep.

TALIESIN: You can meet me, slightly deranged, all weekend at Amazing Comic Con with a bunch of other Street Fighter kids, and it's going to be a great time, and be right next to the Library Bards. Bonnie Gordon, yeah yeah.

MATT: Yes, yes.

TALIESIN: Yeah, be hanging with them.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah, Library Bards. Nice.

MATT: Glorious.

TALIESIN: Good times.

MATT: And if I recall, there was also a recent announcement of a cool Telltale game that went up this week.

LAURA: Oh, man! Batman the Telltale series!

TRAVIS: It's sweet. They announced the Batman cast and Laura is playing Catwoman Selina Kyle.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah, man.

TRAVIS: I play District Attorney

LAURA AND TRAVIS: Harvey Dent.

ASHLEY: Ohhh.

LAURA: It's pretty exciting.

TRAVIS: We're gonna turn Gotham around.

LAURA: And at E3 today, we went and checked out the demo and it's pretty frickin' cool.

ASHLEY: It's so good. I saw it yesterday and today because I just couldn't not watch it again.

TRAVIS: It's gonna be fun.

MATT: All righty, anyone else have anything they want to talk about? (southern drawl) Or shall we dive into the rest of tonight's story?

TRAVIS: Let's dive into the story.

MARISHA: Let's dive.

MATT: (southern drawl) All righty. Let's go ahead and bring it down as we all prepare ourselves to begin to kick off tonight's episode of Critical Role.

(spooky ethereal music)

(heavy breathing)

(roaring)

(dramatic music)

(gun firing)

(dramatic music)

(crackling flames)

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back. So, picking up where we last left off last week. Vox Machina, the growing troop of heroic misfits, having recently felled their first recent member of the Chroma Conclave, Umbrasyl the Hope Devourer, as well as destroying the current incursion of the Herd of Storms in the city of Westruun. You met with the remaining people of the town and began to decide a plan for its continued existence and the recovery of those that were displaced in these recent conflicts. Part of this process was meeting an individual named Kerrek, who was a blacksmith who had been in the town for a while, who unwittingly became part of this discussion -

MARISHA: My best friend.

MATT: (laughs) You - Grog had spoken with the remnants of the Herd of Storms that had essentially been disbanding from the name and moving west to join with the Rivermaw, which had stepped off from the herd not too long ago. You guys had a hot springs episode in the mansion.

SAM: (laughs)

MATT: Scanlan, you had made your way back to Kymal, in which you, along with the aid of a few of your friends, figured out a plan in which the people who had been displaced could eventually return to Westruun, and also found Kaylie and spoke with her, had your somewhat-tearful reunion there. You guys began to construct a subterranean portion of Westruun that would be protected from future dragon incursion, renovating and restructuring within the sewer system beneath the city. After this process was complete, you decided the next level of your trek, the next direction you would travel would be towards the far western, northwestern continent of Othanzia. Specifically, the city of Vasselheim that you know all so well. All of you guys stepping through a tree portal presented by Keyleth, you immediately step out into the snowy exterior of what seems like the outside of the Quad Roads in Vasselheim. And now, we see what your next plan of action is. What do you guys want to do?

SAM: (sighs) Light a fire.

LAURA: What time is it? (laughs)

MARISHA: Yeah, what time is it?

MATT: It's hard to tell right now with the cloud cover so thick in the sky, but you envision at this point in time, it's probably mid-afternoon or so. The general omniscient glow through the clouds, kind of diffused light, but based on the time that you - where you were and how far you traveled, you gather it's probably early to mid-afternoon.

SAM: Well, you're the one who brought us here, Vax. Where would you like to go?

LIAM: I need to go to the temple of the Raven Queen.

SAM: We'll come with you.

LAURA: Let's go.

TALIESIN: I know where that is.

LIAM: I know that you all have a lot of errands to do. I don't need everyone to come.

TRAVIS: We have a lot of errands to do?

LIAM: I thought so. You mentioned…

LAURA: My only errand is to keep my eyes on you.

TALIESIN: I have some errands, if that makes anybody feel better. I have some errands to run.

TRAVIS: Do you need any help with your errands?

TALIESIN: Sure. Actually, yes. I would love some help with my errands.

LAURA: Don't let him shop, Percy. Do not let him shop.

TALIESIN: That shouldn't be a problem.

TRAVIS: I don't know what that means, but I'm sure I take great offense.

LAURA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: That's - you're getting smarter.

TRAVIS: How effin' dare you.

LAURA: That eagle form really made a difference.

LIAM: It rubbed off, yeah.

TRAVIS: I spit out a feather. (pthh) No, I don't. Yeah, a loogie.

MATT: So. Who's off to where?

LAURA: Where is this Raven Queen's temple?

LIAM: (sighs) I - we've not been here many times. Are we surrounded by people? Are there people walking about?

MATT: There actually - it is quite a busy time in the afternoon. There is actually a bit of hustle and bustle. Looking around, just a quick glance at your vicinity in Vasselheim, you can see a lot of the bastions are out in force. Many of them are in process of helping construct what looks like green forest dragon-headed ballista. Some of the ones you had seen towards the outside wall of the city; there are more being installed upon the inner walls, and the ones in the distance appear to be under some form of construction.

TALIESIN: We have rooms. Why don't we go claim our rooms and I'm sure they can lead us to everywhere we need to go.

LIAM: That makes sense.

MARISHA: Want to go check in at the Slayer's Take?

TALIESIN: And we can meet back there when everything is done.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Do you need to check in at your temple, or should we pretend you're not here so they don't try to make you stay?

MARISHA: Yes.

ASHLEY: Let's just pretend for a little bit.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Okay.

ASHLEY: And then I'll check in later. There's no rush to get there. At least, that I know of right now.

SAM: God will wait for a long time.

TRAVIS: All right. To the Slayer's Take, then?

LAURA: Let's do it.

TALIESIN: To the Slayer's Take.

MATT: All right. You guys continue further south into the Quad Roads until eventually you find yourselves at the Slayer's Take guildhall. The door is partially ajar already. It appears that somebody had left it open, but it is warm on the inside. You can see a fireplace hearth on the far back and to the right is already kind of filling the area with this subtle musty smoke smell, and the crackling of wood in the distance is a very welcoming sensation from the cold exterior of the city streets. As you enter, you do not see anybody at the front desk at the moment, but you do see a few other random individuals of the guild that have taken certain tables. Some are eating, and some are in the process of playing cards or passing the time. It seems to be a relatively casual day here at the Slayer's Take. But your rooms are still available, best as you need. Anything you specifically require in this place?

LAURA: Can I just grab one of the people that are here and ask him, "What's all the hustle about outside? I see them installing more."

MATT: Okay. You go ahead and - one of the guys closest to you, you've met him briefly in passing, his name is Loran. He has a completely bald head with a single stripe tattoo down the center. He has a very, very pointed long chin. Human, but he's probably been busted in the face a few times. You can see there's just scars and what appears to be bone structure that may have been reformed at times due to blunt trauma. But he's just sitting there, sharpening his weapons, just kind of doing good upon his own self, being prepared for anything. But as you come over to ask him the question, he looks up to you and goes, "Word's gone around the town recently that there's some wandering dragon horde tearing through Tal'Dorei, so they're just upping security around these places, just in case.

LAURA: Smart.

MATT: "I hope so. Hope they make their way here."

LAURA: Nobody's sighted the dragons, though, over here?

MATT: "Not to my knowledge, but (chuckles) I'd love to get my hands on some of them scales, eh? (blade scrapes)"

MARISHA: What's your name? What's your name?

MATT: "Loran."

MARISHA: What?

SAM: What?

MARISHA: Oran? What?

LAURA: Loran?

MATT: "Loran."

MARISHA: Loran.

MATT: Because… that's what I remember.

LAURA AND SAM: (laugh)

LIAM: Thought so.

(all laugh)

LIAM: It took over fifty episodes for that to happen.

LAURA: I'm sorry, what was the question?

MATT: Well, when you don't take notes when I give you a character's name originally, and they come back around and it's weird when you suddenly take damage and your character starts hemorrhaging.

LAURA: Oh no. Loran. Loran. Loran was his name.

LIAM: I was just eating an apple. Why am I dying?

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Veiled threat.

ASHLEY: I'm just sitting by the fire, so.

LAURA: Slayer's Take.

TALIESIN: (laughs)

MARISHA: So this is - we have seen this guy before?

MATT: Some of you may have seen him in passing. You haven't really had a conversation with him. He just exists within the guild. There's many members that you've come across in the past.

MARISHA: Sure, that exist.

TRAVIS: Probably a dragon.

LAURA: Pointy chin. Got it.

ASHLEY: Stripe on his head.

TRAVIS: Nothing wrong with those.

LIAM: How are the people doing? Is there a sense of worry, or do you guys feel pretty secure?

MATT: "As far as this town is concerned, it takes a lot more than a couple dragons to drop these walls. It's the reason it's been around for a long time, and I'd like to see them try."

MARISHA: Have you ever encountered a dragon personally, Loran?

MATT: "I mean, I've come across a few small ilk in my days, but -"

MARISHA: Uh-huh. Sure. Yeah. Yep.

SAM: (laughs) Are you hazing Loran?

MARISHA: Nope. Nope.

LAURA: Keyleth is proud of herself because we've just killed our third, actually.

MATT: "Oh, that's fantastic. I love to hear it. You half-elves are a humble bunch."

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Fire! Fire! Put the flames out!

MARISHA: Yeah, Team Half-Elf. Yeah!

TRAVIS: Such a good burn.

LAURA: Liam, I don't want to ask Matt this, but the chick that runs the Slayer's Take, her name's Vanessa?

LIAM: Vanessa.

ALL: Vanessa.

SAM: Cyndrian.

LIAM: And her husband Merkin.

SAM: Mertin.

TRAVIS: Most amazing name.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Are Vanessa and Merkin around?

SAM: Mertin.

LAURA: Mertin.

LIAM: Mertin. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Nope, Merkin from now on.

SAM: Merkin is a different thing.

MATT: (laughs) Yeah, a very different thing. I guess it depends on if he shaved recently. He looks toward the back room, where her main office is, and he goes, "You're welcome to go ahead and knock on the door if you're feeling frisky."

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Should we try to sell Vanessa some of our dragon bits?

TRAVIS: We should sell to, like, a merchant?

LAURA: Well, Vanessa - they tend to be in the -

TALIESIN: They may have a buyer.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Love that you asked me that question.

LAURA: Let's go see - I know, right? What was I thinking?

TRAVIS: I don't know. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Keep a few of the scales, obviously.

TRAVIS: We can tell what my place in the party is.

LAURA: Of course. Grog, come with me.

MARISHA: Oh, wait, keep the teeth. Keep enough teeth for us.

TALIESIN: We'll talk about the cold bag for now and see if there's anything else they want to talk about.

MARISHA: I have an idea for teeth.

LAURA: Can I go find Vanessa?

MATT: You go and knock on the door. (knocks) There's a brief pause. Knock again. (knocks)

LAURA: (sing-song) Vanessa? Vox Machina here - oh, hi.

MATT: The door (fwoosh) swings open. You have to duck backwards. It (thump) slams onto the other side of the wall there, knocking a few knick-knacks that were on a nearby shelf over. And Vanessa swings out. "What? Who's calling - ah. It has been some time. How nice of you to come and visit. May I… be of service to you, or is this a business call?

LAURA: Oh, well, we were wondering if we could be of service to you. We happen to have acquired a great many dragon bits and we thought you might be in need of buying them for your sellers - buyers. Your people.

SAM: Fencing them.

LAURA: Fence - you know.

TALIESIN: I really thought you'd be better at this.

MATT: "There is no fencing."

LAURA: No fencing, no. No no no, you're -

MATT: "We run a legitimate business."

LAURA: Legal buyers.

MATT: "Good. As was I hoping to hear this. Let me check my ledger." She turns around and goes back to her desk. Her tail flicks behind her as she steps over to her table, leans over. "(muttering) Ah!" Pulls one of the books. (blows) Starts thumbing through it. "(more muttering) (louder) What color dragon?"

LAURA: Black.

MATT: "Hmm. Chromatic."

SAM: (quietly) Ancient.

LAURA: Ancient black dragon.

LIAM: Weathered.

MARISHA: Yeah, you might have heard about him. Umbrasyl… (chuckles)

SAM: You're super salty today.

TRAVIS: Tone it down like two notches.

LAURA: Gaining confidence, our druid.

MATT: "There is currently no contract for a black dragon. I do have one up for a bronze or perhaps a white, but…"

LAURA: Oh, white! Do we have any white bits left?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: We should have white from back in the day.

LAURA: What, do you want scales or…

MATT: "Specifically hide. If there is white dragonhide…"

TRAVIS: We have 60 pounds of -

LAURA: Didn't we - that was the dragon we killed for you before, because we didn't bring the -

TALIESIN: No, it was before that one.

LAURA: No, but we killed one with Zahra. We killed a white dragon.

MARISHA: Yeah, they killed a white dragon.

MATT: "That was for a different contract. This is for a newer one I came by."

LAURA: We've killed four dragons?! Four fucking dragons. Go us.

MARISHA: Yes, we have. Yes. Four dragons.

TRAVIS: Excuse us while we reminisce, apparently.

MATT: "(deadpan) Yes, it is amazing. The things you've accomplished. I am blown away. But in light of your capabilities, I do not require anything black dragon. However, if a contract comes in, I know who to call. Hold onto that, because that would save you a trip."

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: We do have some white scales left over, don't we?

LAURA: Yes, I think so.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we do. We have like 60 pounds of scales.

MATT: "Is that hide or scales?"

TRAVIS: Just scales. No hide, unfortunately.

MATT: "Hm. Well, I could definitely do a bit of business for you there. The hide would fetch more, but - 60 pounds, you said?"

TRAVIS: Yeah. 64, to be exact.

LAURA: Of white dragon scales.

MATT: "64 of white dragon scales, okay. I would be willing to continue at least part of this contract for this applicant for… let's say… 4,500 gold pieces."

LAURA: 5,000 gold pieces, I think is a fair price.

MATT: "This is not about bartering. This is what the contract says, my dear. This is beyond a situation of conversation. The paperwork is already signed."

LAURA: What if we gave you less dragon scales? Would you have said less money?

SAM: That's typically how it works.

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: (laugh)

MATT: "Vex'ahlia. My dear. My delightful little dragon-hating half-elf. We've been good to you. We've done many great things for you. You've done great things for us. This is a fantastic arrangement." (boof) She slams the book shut and sets it down. "But you have signed on with us, and the deal is to fulfill contracts as they are signed, as they are written, as they are agreed upon by the person. If you wish not to accept this contract, we can just wait until somebody else picks it up and goes out and fulfills this need at the price at which they are requesting for this. You're welcome to keep the scales."

LAURA: I think we'll keep them and we'll sell them to other vendors, then.

SAM: Haven't we had them for years?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I have a thing I'm thinking about.

MATT: "See? Then it's easy for you to get rid of them. If they've been a problem for you, then I'm sure this would be easy.

SAM: Where are we going to sell these? The world's on fire!

MARISHA: Okay, hang on, we know it's here. We know it's here. There aren't that many white dragons walking around -

TALIESIN: Certainly not anymore.

MARISHA: Certainly not anymore. We know it's here.

LIAM: It's time to sell them.

MARISHA: Why don't we sleep on it. Think about it. If we're ever in a pinch for money, we can come back.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Sounds good.

ASHLEY: Mm-hm.

MATT: "Very well."

LAURA: Vanessa, you're so kind.

TRAVIS: Besides, I've been working on that dragon immunity potion.

MATT: "As ever."

LAURA: I'm so sorry.

MATT: "That is all right. Goodbye." And she shoos you out.

MARISHA: Oh, wait, Vanessa. Wait wait wait wait.

MATT: "Yes, other female half-elf?"

MARISHA: That's me. Where's the temple of the Raven Queen?

MATT: "Oh, you're looking for the Duskmeadow. Raven's Crest. It is -" And she points loosely outward, kind of southeast of the direction of the Slayer's Take guildhall. "It's kind of hard to miss. It's giant, black, ominous. (chuckles) You'll see it." And she kind of bops your nose a little bit with her finger. "Now, please. Out of my office. I have work to get done."

LAURA: Thank you, Vanessa.

MARISHA: Okay, bye.

SAM: Thank you. Kord's strength to you.

MATT: "That does nothing for me." (boof) Slams the door shut.

LAURA: They were worth a lot more than what she was offering, just for the record. They are worth so much more.

SAM: To whom? We haven't ever sold them or come across anyone who wanted them before.

TALIESIN: This is no reason to get rid of something for wholesale.

LAURA: Well, we've not really tried. That doesn't mean we should just give them away.

SAM: We also are almost full in our Bag of Holding, might I remind you, and 64 pounds would free up quite some -

LAURA: It's not 64 pounds.

SAM: It's 64 pounds.

TRAVIS: It's 64.

LAURA: Oh, it was 64 pounds. (groans)

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Like I just told you.

ASHLEY: 64 pounds of scales.

TRAVIS: But I could get rid of some other stuff.

LAURA: Well, they're worth like 20,000 gold.

SAM: To whom?

LAURA: You don't care.

TRAVIS: We also have fifteen cases of expensive-ass bottles of wine.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to point out, since -

LIAM, LAURA, AND MARISHA: We should drink those.

TALIESIN: We should drink those, first of all. That is the only thing that makes sense. And I feel - and I apologize if it seems like I say this a lot, but I do have a castle that we can drop things at -

LAURA: Oh!

TALIESIN: And we can leave them there, perhaps get back to them at a later date.

MARISHA: To be fair, Percy, you do a lot to remind us to try not to forget that you're titled.

SAM: To be fair, have we ever gone back for something before, ever, in our entire travels?

TALIESIN: Yes. We -

SAM: What?

LIAM: We needn't stay here long. I don't think what I'm here for is going to take too long. I hope. We could go to Whitestone next.

TALIESIN: Yes, that would be -

SAM: All right. All right.

TALIESIN: - and just drop everything off, create a little nest of what we need.

LAURA: All right. Let's go find your queen.

TRAVIS: (quietly) There is some gross shit in this bag.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: You found the troll dick, didn't you?

LAURA: What do you have in there?

TRAVIS: There are six basilisk eggs.

LAURA: Are they still good?

MARISHA: Those are probably bad.

TALIESIN: Oh, I bet those have gone really bad.

TRAVIS: I reach into the Bag of Holding and think about one basilisk egg.

LIAM: I'm sure they smell like Grog.

MATT: You pull out a basilisk egg.

TALIESIN: Do they just turn to stone?

LAURA: Does it smell like a fart?

MATT: It's roughly that size. It's a dull grayish-blue hint.

LIAM: Sulfuric?

TRAVIS: Can I get the smell?

MATT: It has a somewhat, very vague sulfurous scent on the outside of the egg.

TRAVIS: I'll put it back in the bag.

ASHLEY: Oh, Vanessa!

LAURA: We could make stink-bombs with it.

MARISHA and TALIESIN: Ooh.

LIAM: Yeah, we could.

MARISHA: Good idea. I like that.

TRAVIS: All right. So what's next?

LAURA: We go see the Raven Queen. You go see the Raven Queen and we wait outside.

LIAM: I didn't say anything.

LAURA: Uselessly.

LIAM: I didn't say anything!

TALIESIN: Is it in the direction where I have to go?

MATT: Where are you heading?

TALIESIN: I need to resupply everything.

MATT: That's the opposite direction.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: You're heading to the Braving Grounds. They're heading to the Duskmeadow.

TRAVIS: Oh! I like the sound of that. I'll go with you.

TALIESIN: Yes, you will.

SAM: I'll come with you, as well.

TRAVIS: Yeah, three! Who else? Any other takers while Vax goes and gets a tattoo?

MATT: (laughs)

LIAM: Another tattoo?

TRAVIS: Well, I thought that - is that not what you're doing?

LAURA: That's what he's doing, Grog.

LIAM: It is. I'm getting a tattoo.

ASHLEY: Close. Something like that.

LIAM: It will say “Phillip the Brave”.

TRAVIS: (gasps)

LIAM: Across the small of my back.

TRAVIS: Phillip. Full name, Phillip.

TALIESIN: Just a - this is out of - I don't know if this is going to be any help or anything, by the way, Vax, but just in case. I'm going to reach in and pull out the mask and hand it to Vax. Just in case.

LIAM: (slowly) I don't know. Thank you.

MARISHA: Percy?

TALIESIN: Yes?

MARISHA: Do you still have that raven's skull I gave you?

TALIESIN: I do. We'll talk about that.

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: But that - I've found in moments when I was feeling less than brave that pretending to be somebody else on occasion, even afterwards, can be helpful.

LIAM: Is there anything left inside of this?

TALIESIN: Just some spit.

LIAM: That's wonderful.

LAURA: (laughs)

TALIESIN: And something that smells nice in the front that will help. It helps cleanse the air.

LIAM: All right, Percival.

TALIESIN: I don't know why. I'm feeling… what would be the word? Superstitious.

MARISHA: Oh, I was going to say “giving.”

LAURA: She's ornery today.

MARISHA: Sorry. Angry.

TALIESIN: You know, I kind of like it.

LIAM: You know. Enough chit-chat. Let's get this shit done.

MATT AND TRAVIS: All right.

MATT: So you three are going to the Braving Grounds. You four are going to the Duskmeadow.

LAURA: We are.

MATT: Okay. All right, so. You three are making your way towards the Braving Grounds. Following suit after Percival, you make your way up not quite to the Trial Forge, which is where you had your last discussion and brief showdown with Earthbreaker Groon. Still seeing the large statue of Kord looming over the entirety of the realm. You can still see the large columns of dark smoke and soot coming out of the various forges, the various mining encampments, and a lot of the folks there that are working on different pieces of iron and metal. You, I assume, make your way to a very familiar abode. (laughs)

TALIESIN: Of all the options of the world that you've given me…

MATT: All right. You, uh -

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: This is really your fault as much as it's mine.

MATT: You come up to the outside of a familiar hovel. Previously damaged, missing part of its roof. The roof is mostly repaired. You actually see two individuals are over the top of it, hammering pieces of wood into it. Not a very fine job, but definitely enough patchwork to keep the rain and snow from pouring in. The door is partially open as you approach.

TALIESIN: (sighs heavily)

SAM: You might be blown up if you go in there.

TALIESIN: I know.

TRAVIS: Should we wait outside?

TALIESIN: Let's just all be ginger. (louder) Hello? Victor, are you home? It's Percy.

MATT: Silence.

SAM: Want me to go in and investigate?

TALIESIN: Hold on. (louder) Hello, you up there? Hello?

MATT: (hammering noises) "What?"

TALIESIN: Where is the owner of this domicile?

MATT: "I don't know. I haven't seen him."

TALIESIN: How long has he been gone for?

MATT: "(mutters) (louder) Couple of hours."

SAM: Oh, good. Not dead, then.

TRAVIS: He's dead.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Do you have any idea where he's been off to?

MATT: "I haven't seen him leave." (hammering noises)

TALIESIN: Well, I'm going to pop in and check really quickly, just letting you know.

MATT: "Your funeral." (hammering noises)

TALIESIN: I gingerly open the door. Can I check for traps?

TRAVIS: Attaboy.

MATT: You may. Make an investigation check.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're standing right here.

TALIESIN: Oh, yay, that's not that bad. Investigation? I never use that. 11. No, 12. 12.

MATT: 12, okay. (creak) You move the door open and kind of search the ground and the area before it and the actual frame of the door itself. No traps.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: Glancing inside, though, you can see a little bit of light. It looks like there's a hooded lantern across the way and just a little bit of light is flickering and it's kind of going against the wall nearest to you, to your right, as you enter. The same familiar smell of fresh earth, really, really, really dry dust and a very familiar smell of explosive black powder material.

TALIESIN: Oh, dear.

SAM: Is Victor in there?

TALIESIN: No, I don't see anybody in here.

SAM: Well, should we just purchase what you need via the honor system and leave some coin behind?

TALIESIN: He's not necessarily always a believer in coin. Sometimes he just wants some trade. Also, I need to talk to him about some personal issues.

MATT: (boof) You see off to the side, what you didn't initially notice as you entered, what appears to be a wooden trapdoor in the far corner that (boof).

TALIESIN: Oh, sweet gods of Pelor!

MATT: (boof) (boof boof) And you notice that apparently something - a large sack of some heavy material has rolled off a nearby table and is now currently holding the door down.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: You hear a muffled, "I'm inside!"

TALIESIN: I'm going to go try and lift it. (grunts)

MATT: You lift it up, set it off to the side. (boosh) "(coughing) What's going on? You trying to kill me?"

TALIESIN: (laughs) No! No - hello, Victor. I was just to give you money. You were stuck - you had gotten stuck down - what is down there?

MATT: "This is my mining building."

SAM: Your mine?

MATT: (scoffs)

TALIESIN: His Mayan building. Can you not -

SAM: I can't.

TALIESIN: - understand simple English?

MATT: "Don't put things on top of the door. It makes it hard to get out!"

SAM: (whispering) Something's happened to him.

TALIESIN: Are you all right?

MATT: "I'm okay!"

TALIESIN: Are you sure?

MATT: "No, I've been locked down here for hours!"

ASHLEY: Oh no.

TALIESIN: Um. Grog, Scanlan? (stutters) Come on in, he's fine.

MATT: "Help me out!" He raises his hands up. You can see now, where once was two, now is none.

EVERYONE: Oh no!

ASHLEY and LAURA: Victor!

MATT: (grunts)

LIAM: You have to build him a hand.

TALIESIN: I know.

MATT: "(grunts) I can't wait all day, here!"

SAM: Grog, can you get him out, can you lift him up?

TALIESIN: Grog, can you lift the poor -

TRAVIS: All right, all right, yeah. I grab the stump and I pick him up into the air.

MATT: "(screams)"

TRAVIS: I shake him a little bit.

MATT: "(yelps)"

TALIESIN: I need him mostly intact.

TRAVIS: Oh. So, like, on the ground?

TALIESIN: Treat him slightly better than you would treat a member of your own family.

MATT: "Don't shake me too hard."

TALIESIN: More than slightly better. Much better.

LAURA: Oh, don't shake him too hard - I'm not there.

TRAVIS: Oh. Gas.

MATT: "Sure."

TRAVIS: I put him gently back on the ground.

MATT: "Thank you." He pats you on the head with his nub.

SAM: Ugh.

MATT: Goes over. You can see he's kind of bandaged. He goes over and then pulls the ladder up that he didn't use, closes the -

TRAVIS: (laughing) The ladder he didn't use?

MATT: "Okay. So. What do you want?"

TALIESIN: Well, I was hoping to buy a little bit more black powder from you, if possible, and I'm curious if you had anything else for sale, and I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, just about other customers again.

MATT: "That's a lot."

TALIESIN: I know.

MATT: "Eh! I can - I have powder."

TALIESIN: You do.

MATT: "I can sell you more powder. Question one: yes. How much?"

TALIESIN: One question?

LIAM: First question.

TALIESIN: First question. Has a one-armed lady, a one-handed lady, a doctor come by to purchase -

MATT: "Not a lady. I am an honorable man!"

TRAVIS: Don't insult him.

TALIESIN: I know. And I would never insult your honor or preferences of any kind, but -

MATT: "Are you saying I'm pretty?"

TALIESIN: Victor, I think you know how I feel about that, but you're a very attractive man, and -

MATT: "Your friend's hitting on me."

TRAVIS: I know it.

MATT: "I'm taken."

TRAVIS: He's taken.

TALIESIN: Are you dating right now?

MATT: "No, I'm just taken."

TALIESIN: Okay. (laughs) I can't. I'm sorry. I'm good.

MATT: "(shouting) How much?"

TALIESIN: Well, I was going to offer, I was originally going to offer some gold if you like, but if you'd like, I could make you a tool you could use with your current predicament. Some sort of simple clawing mechanism for grasping, lifting, not getting caught in your mine.

MATT: "Maybe. Maybe. Maybe a trade? Maybe a claw?"

TALIESIN: I love trade. Trade is brilliant.

MATT: "Build and bring. Build and bring, and we trade."

TALIESIN: I would ask one other thing, if I am to do this for you.

MATT: "Oh, so many questions! Does he have questions, too? Does he have questions, too?!"

SAM: I do have a question, actually.

TALIESIN: You have a question?

SAM: Yes, I do.

TRAVIS: I don't, no. I don't have any questions. None.

MATT: "(sighs) I like him. What's your question?"

SAM: I'm just looking for a hat shop. Is there a hat shop around here?

MATT: "Ehm." And he starts pulling around from a pile of oiled rags and shit and he pulls up what looks like a small burlap sack that's torn somewhat at the opening. "Hat."

SAM: Oh, god. Ugh. All right, thank you. Thank you.

MATT: "My pleasure. Happy to help. (chuckles)"

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: That was everything I could have hoped for, and more.

MATT: "Don't get near the fire."

TALIESIN: Really, don't.

SAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: Has Dr. Ripley - has a woman come by to buy black powder, one hand, one mechanical hand, one normal hand? Mechanical hand?

MATT: "Is that the one you're saying you can make?"

TALIESIN: I'm going to make you something, nice and useful claw piece, yes.

MATT: "So you're saying that this woman made a better hand than you can make?"

TALIESIN: No, I can make a better hand.

MATT: "Then make me a better hand! Why would you give me a lesser hand?!"

TALIESIN: You're going to need to give me quite a bit of black powder for that. And more questions.

TRAVIS: Ooh.

MATT: "Really?"

(all laugh)

MATT: "I've had a bad day."

TALIESIN: Is that recent?

SAM: That happened today?

TALIESIN: It doesn't look that recent.

MATT: (ripping sounds) He starts unwrapping the wound.

TALIESIN: Oh, that's recent. That's wet. That's very wet.

MATT: It's pretty recent.

TALIESIN: Oh. Okay. I can work with that. I can work with that. I'm going to go construct you something that will be perfect for your needs. I have a great idea. I will need another hogshead and a half of black powder and a little information about another customer and then I will leave you to your work. Is that fair?

MATT: "Fair!" He turns around, rushes over, and grabs the same phantom hogshead that he has lying around his place.

TALIESIN: He eats a lot of pork.

MATT: Before he fills it with powder, he goes over to Scanlan and goes, "(hums) Too big."

TRAVIS: Good hat.

MATT: Fills it with black powder, carefully brings it over, holding it under his arm. "(grunts)"

TALIESIN: Thank you. (grunts) I will put this in something reasonable. I'll be back in just a little bit with - actually, do you have a glove that you used to wear, or anything like that? Do you have something?

MATT: "Yes!" He pulls out the glove that was on the hand, (laughing) and you can see that it's blown apart, half burned to cinders, fingers gone.

TALIESIN: I can take measurements from that.

MATT: It's more of a sleeve with a charcoaled edge.

TALIESIN: I'm going to be busy. Can you cast the -

SAM: No, but Keyleth can, and I think that would save you a lot of time.

MARISHA: I'm not here.

TALIESIN: She's not here.

SAM: No, but we can go get her and come back.

TALIESIN: To?

SAM: To just fix his hand.

TALIESIN: I don't think she can just fix his hand.

SAM: Someone can restore something. Maybe Pike can.

MARISHA: I can. Not today, but I can over time.

TRAVIS: Want me to give it a try?

TALIESIN: While I'm tempted - would you just - I feel like I made a deal. I'm just going to have to see to it.

SAM: I think he would prefer a real hand than a claw hand.

TALIESIN: Would you prefer a real hand or a claw hand?

MATT: "Depends. How cool is the claw hand?"

TRAVIS and SAM: (laugh)

TALIESIN: That's what I thought.

SAM: I would much rather you spend time on projects for us than projects for him.

TALIESIN: This is projects for us.

TRAVIS: I vote for the claw. It's pretty cool.

TALIESIN: And believe me, I would like -

MATT: "Cooler than that lady's hand?"

TALIESIN: Keeping him happy is pertinent because I'm - I can make this myself, it's just very difficult.

SAM: We have party members who can regrow his hand.

TRAVIS: Hey, Percy.

TALIESIN: Yes?

TRAVIS: He wants the claw to be cooler than that lady's claw hand.

TALIESIN: That's very easy to do. She has no aesthetics whatsoever.

TRAVIS: All right. Then eff the old original hand. Let's give him a reasonable claw, yeah?

TALIESIN: Don't worry about it.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: It'll be fine. And if you can't do the mansion, I know where I can go get some work done.

SAM: Oh, you want me to make - we have the Slayer's Take. They have a workshop, don't they?

TALIESIN: If not, I know where I can work on something. I will be back. I will not leave town before I've delivered to you something -

MATT: "(squawks)" He takes the hogshead.

TALIESIN: Oh! Absolutely fair.

MATT: "Trade when you bring hand."

TALIESIN: Yes, of course.

MATT: "Then I deliver with new hand. Then all is well."

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: "No more questions!"

TALIESIN: Aah - no. That's fine. We'll be back! It'll be good.

MATT: "You're small."

SAM: I need a big hat.

MATT: "Can't help you, sorry."

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: Are we going to go find a hat shop, then?

SAM: Maybe, if we pass one.

TALIESIN: All right. We will be back. Stay safe.

MATT: "Okay. Don't touch the door, please!"

TALIESIN: Yes. No. Just. We'll be back. Bye! I'm going to go find a workshop to work on something.

TRAVIS: I like you. We'll see you later.

MATT: "(chuckles) He's big."

TRAVIS: (chuckles)

TALIESIN: And I'm just right. It's… a thing.

MATT: I'm undecided about you."

TALIESIN: You're not alone. I'm going to go see if the Slayer's Take has a -

SAM: We're going to leave.

TALIESIN: I cannot handle any more of that. That was brutal.

SAM: Too good.

TRAVIS: I feel like you're just on a higher level.

ASHLEY: Right?

LAURA: So much. I just thought you were going to make him not there so you didn't have to do it.

MATT: No no no.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah yeah. He's just not home. Sorry, guys.

ASHLEY: Oh, I love him.

MARISHA: Victor's on vacation.

TALIESIN: So, I'm going to go see if there's - if there's not a blacksmithing, if there's not somewhere I can do a bit of basic smithing work and technical work, then I'm going to go find that blacksmith from last time.

MATT: There's basic materials to do essentially weapon repairs, armor repairs, minor armor construction within the Slayer's Take. If you want something that's going to be a little more to the level of what you're doing, you may have to actually rent out a facility.

TALIESIN: Well, I'm going to go find that young chap from before.

MATT: Okay. Yeah, easy enough to do. If you want to rent the forge for the day to craft whatever it is you're looking to craft, he's charging you 50 gold for the day.

TALIESIN: 50 gold for the day? Can I use all of his tools and just my own materials?

MATT: You have to supply your own material, but he'll let you rent.

TALIESIN: I'm going to run and find Vex, get my stuff, and go to work.

MATT: Okay. You guys. You four make your way over towards the Duskmeadow. Now -

LAURA: Trinket's out.

MATT: Trinket's out? (fwoosh)(Trinket groan)

LAURA: Come on, Trinket.

MATT: (Trinket grunt) He rolls his head against you, licks the side of your face, happy to be out of that stuffy little necklace. You make your way towards the Duskmeadow, which you've seen before. It's a very comparatively glum-looking area of the town, hence the name that accompanies it, but this is the area of the city that contains the Raven's Crest, the Amaranthine Oubliette. It also contains the entire town's catacombs. This is where, since this town's existence, all of the dead are interred perpetually deeper and deeper and deeper beneath this part of the city. This is - also one of the oldest libraries of the city is kept here as well. As you approach the outskirts of - and you can see a very fine line between this area and the Birth Heart, which is the Melora section of the city. There is a very, very wide river divide between the two of them and it's like night and day, back and back. Very, very, very directly between the two of them. You can see on Melora's side there's just stalks and stalks of corn and other vegetation that's being grown for food. There's almost like a lush forest that curls around the outside of it that doesn't match the rest of the indigenous trees you've seen in this area of Othanzia. The entire Birth Heart area, where this temple to Melora is, is just this plucked-out-of-nowhere section placed into it. And then you move over to the Duskmeadow and it's just… like the color has left the vicinity. And there you see in the center of this part of the town, this large, looming, ominous obsidian and gold structure. It's like a giant black stone aerie. It has no intricacies from this distance that you can see. It's almost like a giant square building that is just devoid of light, with little glimmers of gold when the light catches it at moments. It's hard to miss and definitely stands as a centerpiece to this section of Vasselheim.

LIAM: The whole walk over, I've been talking a lot, mostly to Trinket. You know, scratching him behind the ears, saying, Buddy, you've been trapped in there a while. It's good to see you out.

MATT: (Trnket moans, snuffles)

LIAM: Come hug your uncle. Come.

LAURA: He doesn't mind it.

LIAM: I'm sure he doesn't. I'm just happy to see him.

MATT: He presses his nose under yours and lifts your chin up and you bite your lip a little from the sudden impact from this very large bear, but it's all with love.

LIAM: Yeah. It's cold. You're sure you don't want to go back in? Nah, you don't want to go back in. I know.

MARISHA: (whispering) Hey, Pike.

LIAM: Just nervous talking the whole way there.

MARISHA: (whispering) I think Vax is talking to himself.

ASHLEY: (whispering) He's very nervous right now. This is a big deal.

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: This temple is very… it's lovely.

MARISHA: It's gorgeous. It's very intimidating. Do you know anything about this? You've lived here for a while, Pike.

ASHLEY: I've never been by.

MARISHA: Never been in?

ASHLEY: I've never been in, no.

MATT: You do know from your time here and what little you've heard that part of the purpose of this vicinity is not just to inter the dead within part of these catacombs. The library here is kind of a loose partnership between the people worshipers of her and those who follow Ioun. It is a center for knowledge and history kept within the city. But you'll see throughout the town and the landscaped outer wall that surrounds this entire portion of Vasselheim, there are repetitive glyphs that line this entire area. And from what you've heard, at the very least, most of these glyphs, which you see across the corners of roadways, and many of which surround the entrance to the catacombs, it is a perpetual enchantment that is to seal any sort of possible undead. There once was a terrible scourge of undeath in this part of the landscape, long ago, that corresponded with a battle hundreds of years ago, and since then, the reinforcement has been put in place to prevent that from happening again. So the downside is that the power of these glyphs that prevent undeath also prevent any actual vegetation from existing in this area as well. So all the ground that you've come across: no grass, no natural vegetation. It's just dirt and ash and dust.

MARISHA: Can we recognize the language in which the runes come from? Or is it just runes?

MATT: The magic itself is divine in nature, but it's based in the same very, very base draconic glyphs that a lot of arcane magic is based on. It's very - it's OLD magic.

MARISHA: Oh.

ASHLEY: (laughs) It's old.

MATT: But, yeah. It's based in some sort of divine ritual.

MARISHA: What did you say the name was of the Raven Queen's temple, again?

MATT: The temple itself is referred to as Raven's Crest.

MARISHA: Raven - Raven's Crest?

LIAM: Raven's.

MATT: Raven's Crest, yes.

MARISHA: Okay.

ASHLEY: How are you feeling, Vax?

LIAM: I'm all right. I'm just going to talk to my sister for a minute.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LIAM: You know, I know you want to - I know you. I know you want to be here.

LAURA: I know you don't want me to come.

LIAM: I don't. I really don't.

LAURA: I know. And I won't, if you're sure. I put you in this place and I feel terrible about it and I know you're extremely nervous. Trinket can sense it, too. He's very in tune with those emotions, and I just -

LIAM: Listen to me.

LAURA: (sighs)

LIAM: You did not put me in this place. No one put me in this place. And everything's going to be fine.

LAURA: Everything will be fine!

LIAM: And I tug her sleeves and make them a little more orderly and I move a bit of hair out of her face and I do a button that's not done.

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: Everything's going to be fine.

LAURA: I wanted it unbuttoned, actually.

LIAM: That's all right. Just wait here. I'll be out in a bit, all right?

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: Everything's fine.

LAURA: I know. Everything's fine.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: You don't need to be nervous, either.

LIAM: I'm not.

LAURA: I will be here waiting for you when you come out.

LIAM: I know. I'll see you -

LAURA: I love you.

LIAM: You know I love you, too.

LAURA: I'm proud of you, you know. She's just going to love you so much. And who knows, you might have a new girlfriend when you come out. (laughs nervously, sighs) I've heard other people have dated gods before. I've heard it's done. That Cashew guy. Anyway.

LIAM: You're going to wait here for me, right?

LAURA: I'll be right here.

LIAM: And then I drop the smile as I walk off towards the other two.

MATT: Okay. Which, as you turn and look, when you originally approached the stairs that lead up to the entrance of this large structure, it was just empty, doors closed. There was no guard post on the outside. It was just these two looming, almost dark glass-type doors about 12 feet tall and about eight feet wide on each side that are just locked shut. As soon as you turn to walk towards them, the doors open and you see a figure standing there at the door, just looking directly at you. Or at least you assume is looking right at you. It's hard to see. This individual, somewhat lithe in physicality, is wearing long, dark robes and their face is shrouded in opaque black cloth, like a death shroud that just blocks the entire face. You can see the hint of a jawline, a nose. It looks to be a person of some background in there, but they're just standing there, watching you. And as soon as you react to their appearance, the hand just beckons quietly.

LIAM: Were you expecting me? All right. I've brought a couple of friends. Is that permissible here? They'll keep quiet.

MARISHA: I turn to Vex.

LAURA: Keep him safe.

MARISHA: I swear to you. We're all coming out of here alive.

LAURA: I know.

MARISHA: But if like an hour passes and we don't, maybe come in? But we're all coming out of here alive, so don't worry about it. It's fine.

ASHLEY: And I squeeze her hand. I'll make sure he gets out okay. I promise.

LAURA: All right.

ASHLEY: Okay. Please be safe.

LAURA: It'll be fine.

ASHLEY: It'll be fine. Yes.

LAURA: I'll just be right here. Waiting here with Trinket.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Just calmly leaning against a wall. No big deal.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MARISHA: We've faced way more terrifying things than a few albeit creepy men in robes.

LAURA: I don't even think she's that bad. She's not going to be bad.

LIAM: Guys.

LAURA: Just go.

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

MATT: All right. As you step up to the stairs, the figure leads you all inside, and as you step into the main center of this initial walkway chamber, the figure doesn't enter with you. It just closes the door behind you. (echoing thud) You can feel the hint of vibration of impact as the doors close shut.

MARISHA: It's dark?

MATT: It's lowly lit on the inside, and it's interesting. From the outside, it looks like a black, solid, impossible-to-see-through building. From the inside, you can actually look out and the entire building is made of this glass, this somewhat-warped, dark glass. And you can see almost the entirety of the outside from your position. The doors are held aloft into it. It's like a one-way type enchantment, or the construct, the material itself, is somewhat translucent from this side.

MARISHA: Like an interrogation room? Like one-way mirror type of thing?

MATT: Kind of. Or like a very, very dark pair of sunglasses, but made of naturally-formed rock, almost.

LIAM: Noticing that, I turn and just sort of look at my sister for five or 10 more seconds.

MATT: She doesn't see you and she just stands there quietly, looking around, inspecting the vicinity. Pets Trinket a little.

LIAM: (hesitantly) Let's do this.

SAM: (chuckles)

ASHLEY: Do I feel anything, being in here?

MATT: You just feel a natural tremble stepping into a place of powerful divine influence that is not the warm comfort of Sarenrae, which has protected you before. Now, you understand the way many deities work in these lands, and your place in it, and Sarenrae's place in it, and you know enough about the Raven Queen to know that this is not an unwelcome place, per se. Go ahead and roll a religion check.

ASHLEY: 23.

MATT: 23. You understand the Raven Queen has also not always been the one who holds sway over the domain of death, the domain of winter, the domain of fate. Once mortal, the Raven Queen ascended as, essentially, a follower and a partner to the previous god of death, which his name has been erased from the books. This mortal ascended many, many years ago, pre-Second Spark, and has since taken what was once a tyrannical position of death and afterlife and souls and took it instead as the natural transition that it is. However, due to a lack of respect, or at least, a lack of, for lack of a better term, belief or trust from the other gods, she only gained dominion over the actual moment of transition, not of the actual souls of the afterlife. That influence was given to others. But the Raven Queen represents one of the most feared elements of life, which is the end of it, but you also know that that is a natural thing. Your personal belief is up to you. The sense you get here is that being an individual that worships life, that worships redemption, that worships second chances, you can't help but swallow a little hard at the idea of a god that's purpose is to make sure that if you're destined to have one chance, it stays one chance.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: As you begin to walk down this hall, ever so slow as it is, each footfall deafening in the clack. (clicking footsteps) The hallway leads on for another hundred feet or so before the glass, somewhat translucent material shifts into the next chamber, into an almost deep gray and ivory ice-like interior. The dark, coal-black exterior you've seen now transitions into what feels like a very finely-carved piece of architecture from ice and bone.

MARISHA: Do I get the sense as a druid, as an Ashari, that we've switched into another plane?

MATT: Go ahead and roll a… just roll an arcana check -

MARISHA: (sighs)

MATT: - as this is not so much a nature-based thing, yeah.

MARISHA: Oh! I rolled a 19.

(laughs) 21.

LIAM: Oh dear, oh my.

LAURA: Oh gosh, oh jeez.

MARISHA: Oh gosh, oh gracious.

MATT: From your understanding of transitional magic between planes, there has been no actual shift between planes, it's just the material itself is different upon the interior of this building. As soon as you enter this place, you do see another figure walking towards you. Similar long, dark robes. However, the veil has been pulled back, and you see before you what looks to be an older elven woman with very, very bright silver hair that just kind of falls long, past her shoulders, down to her back about mid-waist, or down to the bottom of her waist. With a smile. You can see as she walks towards you, a very welcoming grin. As she approaches, she pays very little mind to you three, but directly to you, says--

LAURA: (whispers) I'm not there.

MATT: "You walk with Her sight on you. You are ever welcome here."

LIAM: I've come to understand my place in Her sight.

MATT: "Then I think, perhaps, you are here for communion. Come. Our most sacred chamber. The communion pool awaits. Only you may have entry, unfortunately.

LIAM: Right. I plant a kiss on the cheek of each of the women.

MARISHA: Do you need anything before you go in? Any enhancement of any kind?

LIAM: Just cross your fingers for me, okay?

MARISHA: Okay. I just kind of squeeze his hand.

ASHLEY: Same. Be careful.

MARISHA: We're right out here on the other side of this door. If anything terrible happens, you have the earpiece. No one will stop Pike and I from getting through there if something terrible goes wrong. Rules be damned.

LIAM: I made my bed. Now I gotta lie in it. I'll see you soon. I follow.

MATT: "Come, champion. The Lady of Fates awaits." And she turns around and leads you 30 more feet to what looks to be an ascending staircase that just enters up and out of the sight of you two.

ASHLEY: We'll just hang out, yeah?

MARISHA: I guess we'll wait, yeah.

MATT: You ascend a few feet behind her, about 40 or so feet, until it comes to a single large doorway of deep, deep dark oak wood with what looks to be a dark iron ring in the center. As she steps up to it, she takes it and knocks on it twice. (deep creak) It just shifts open and leads into a central chamber now that looks about a hundred feet high, and it is a large steepled dome of what looks to be nothing but stained glass. It's awe-inspiring. It's beautiful: the colors, the light as it peeks through. The source of light, diffused as it is by the clouds, is sourceless in here. It seems like there are beams of light coming from all directions and all the colors are just strewn across the floor in what looks like this perpetually-shifting kaleidoscope of dots of reds and blues and purples and yellows and pinks and whites. You can see, across the room, there are three other figures that are all dressed in the same dark robes, the veils over their heads, of varying size. You can't make out what their racial background is, per se, but they are all stationed around the center of the room, in which lies, from what you can see, a very, very large round pool of some sort of deep crimson liquid.

LIAM: I have come to pay a debt, and I do so gladly and without question. What would you have of me?

MATT: "You came to speak with the Lady. Well, the way is before you." She gestures to the pool.

LIAM: I walk slow and straight in.

MATT: You step into it. (squelch) It comes up to your ankles, to your knees. And what catches you first is that the liquid is very thick. It is viscous in a familiar way. This is most definitively a pool of blood. And it is cold. It is ice-cold. As you step in, you can feel that as it begins to seep into your boots and begins to find its way into the crevices of your outfit as you get down into your waist, it's just chilling. You can't help but to stand up straight as you step further in, not quite sure of how deep it gets. And it gets deeper. And deeper. Up past your chest, up past your shoulders, and you're not even halfway into the center of the pool before it's going past your nose.

LIAM: I keep going.

MATT: You take your last breath, hold it, and submerge yourself in the pool. Darkness around you, the cold sensation. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

LIAM: I open my mouth and inhale.

MATT: As you do, you feel the blood fill your lungs and you immediately - your lungs begin to seize with the lack of oxygen. You instinctually begin to reach up for the water and pull, but you can't rise. You can't get up. And at that point, the cold, piercing pain of the liquid in your lungs becomes warm. All the liquid around you becomes warm. And in the darkness, where you cannot see, you calm, as suddenly your breathing is no longer difficult. It's natural. It's like air. And it's reminiscent of being in the womb, of the moment of birth you'd forgotten so long ago, that you're just surrounded in darkness and comfort. And piercing the center of this darkness before you, you see a very faint bead of white light just begin to spark and grow, and grow, and as that light widens out, it becomes a face. A porcelain face. A nose, lips, a chin, empty dark sockets, long dark hair that goes to crimson and surrounds you. You see a small hand reach up behind and lift you from your legs. And for what you thought was only a few feet of liquid, you look around you and it is an endless space, a space you've been before, a space that you once visited in your sleep, in your dreams. You look down below and you can see the infinite skein of threads that you were once given inspection to. As you look down, you see the very palm of the Raven Queen holding you aloft in this space as the mask pulls in close to you with a smile. The lips don't move, but you hear a voice from all directions in your head. A comforting voice. A welcoming voice. "My champion. Vax'ildan. You've come to me at last."

LIAM: This was always supposed to happen, wasn't it?

MATT: "There is destiny, but you still guide your path where it must come. Especially you, fate-touched. You're one of the few that bends threads near and around you. That's why you're so interesting to me."

LIAM: (haltingly) I give myself willingly to you for the bargain that was struck, although I question if the bargain was just the surface reason for this to happen.

MATT: "When one such as your… unique essence walks these realms, do not think I am the only one to take interest. And do not think you are the only one, either. But I was there to seize the opportunity when it arose, and as such, you are now mine. And I know that you hate me. I know that you fear me. Most do. But only because they are without understanding. Without death, life has no meaning. Finality drives change. Innovation, greatness. It is the end that I bring that drives all of your gracious creations of this land to make the world better than we did, than those before me did."

LIAM: I would learn your ways. I will learn your purpose. And I will serve.

MATT: "Then understand the wholeness of what it is you serve and what you represent, champion. Even after death, the soul is carried to another purpose, but it is that transition where it is at its most vulnerable. It is my charge, my gift - your gift, now - to safeguard that beautiful moment. There are those who find the immortal soul one of the most pure and powerful means of energy, of sourced power, in this world. That is an abomination. There are those that wish to halt the process and live eternally in some form of undeath or the other. That is an abomination. There is also a difference between bending your thread around destiny, fate-touched, and perverting the thread entirely, for death is sacred. But not all deaths are destined, in that moment. Some destinies require one to endure beyond the moment. To meet that moment many times before the final death is to come. We must guide these moments across this web." And as she sweeps her hand out. Where she holds you in one palm, another hand reaches out, and the entire web of threads just glows below you in this curling wave out into infinity, into the horizons, endless, to each side of you and beyond. "So, to bend destiny, to bend these fates, is within our sphere of influence. It's those that find a way to cheat this destiny, halt the progression, corrupt their thread to the point it sickens those around them. Undeath, wayward necromancy. Perversion of the sanctity of the cycle, of our very domain, is an atrocity and must be stopped and stamped out. That is our cause. Your cause, now. Do you still accept this gift?"

LIAM: (whispering) I do.

MATT: "You, Vax'ildan. I've had my eye on you for some time." And the smile curls into this much wider smile. To the point it seems somewhat perturbing. "Your dual nature: rushing prematurely towards your end, wantonly throwing your life before the flames, only to pull away in those last moments. Instinct. You test your path constantly, without knowing you've been preparing for this mantle your entire life. My beautiful champion." The smile subsides. The face goes stone. Lack of expression. Blank. The hand pulls back and you now can see the full immensity of her size. Her body infinitely long, looking down before it disappears into darkness. And as you look up, suddenly the mask is there before you, but normal, human-sized. You're no longer in her hand. You're standing on a floor, a floor of the same white, ice-bone type substance that the interior of Raven's Crest seems to be built from. And for a brief moment, you see before you the woman before the god, the ascended mortal, no larger than you. From the hair that topples down the sides, the hand reaches up and grabs the mask and pulls it away. Beneath the mask you see a very beautiful, very sad-looking woman. But her eyes are cold and red in the iris. Her skin flawless and smooth. White, pale, sunless. Her brows thinned and furrowed. She steps forward and touches the side of your face. "There are those who will be frightened of you. But know what we do is one of the most important gifts of all." And she grabs your head, pulls you down, and kisses you on the forehead. At which point, suddenly your lungs fill once again with searing white pain. You find yourself scrambling about, instinctually spilling out liquid all around you, and you finally (coughs) come out on top of the communion pool. Your eyes open and you can see just red crimson pouring in your vision. You rub it out and you're in the chamber alone. Eyes wide, swimming around, you can see the figures on the side come to the edges. They all bow. The figure that led you in stands at the mouth of this pool where you entered. She's smiling. She has her hand extended.

LIAM: I take it.

MATT: She lifts you out of the pool. One of the other figures runs up and takes one of the dark robes that they have and pulls it off around them, revealing just a simple dark blue and black outfit beneath. Still wearing the veil, but wraps the dark robe around you as the liquid is now back to its freezing cold sensation. Your teeth are chattering. They lead you back to the door you entered, down the stairs, and into the central chamber where both Keyleth and Pike await. You guys turn and see, descending the stairs, being flanked, essentially, by two of the members of the Raven's Crest, both of the shoulders with the dark robe wrapped around a very cold and somewhat freaked-out looking Vax'ildan, who has smeared red across his face. His hair is thick with viscous crimson liquid.

ASHLEY: I run over. You okay?

MARISHA: I stand at the bottom of the stairs and I watch.

LIAM: (hoarsely) I got answers in there, but they led to more questions. What am I to do with those questions?

MATT: The woman who had led you in there smiles and says, "That is the nature of death. We can't have all the answers, my friend. It is the pursuit of those answers that drives us. Do you trust her?"

LIAM: I do.

MATT: "Then perhaps you'll find those answers one day."

LIAM: Thank you.

MATT: "Thank you." They pull the robe off and they all head back up into the chamber, leaving you all there in the room alone.

MARISHA: I walk over.

ASHLEY: (whispering) I'm just going to stay where he is.

LIAM: I'm shell-shocked.

MARISHA: You look well.

LIAM: It's going to be good.

MARISHA: What did she say to you? Did she speak to you at all?

LIAM: (whispering) Yeah.

MARISHA: (shocked laugh)

LIAM: Do you speak?

ASHLEY: Yes?

LIAM: To her?

ASHLEY: Sometimes.

LIAM: Do you understand?

ASHLEY: I don't think you ever - any of us can fully understand. I think, if we did, then we would be gods.

MARISHA: Do you believe?

LIAM: Yeah. Yeah. I do. I don't know what… I don't know why, but… this was fate.

MARISHA: Is that what she told you, that this was fate?

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: You just -

LIAM: I know it here.

MARISHA: Why?

LIAM: Everything has led to it. You and I wouldn't be standing here if my sister hadn't stolen a broom. Where's the sense in that? What else is it? I teleported into the stomach of a dragon with a gnome and I am still standing here. If it is not fate, what is it?

MARISHA: I don't know. As someone who is constantly questioning mine, I don't think I'm the right person to ask. But I do know one thing. And I grab his hands. You were amazing and talented and special way before she found you. If anything, we can call her a god. We can also call her a great opportunist. She didn't give you anything special. The Vax that I see before me right now is no different than the Vax that I saw before me ten minutes ago. I'm not saying that what you experienced wasn't real and true. I believe you whole-heartedly.

LIAM: This is real. This was meant to be. And I am on board.

MARISHA: Is it what was meant to be or what you just really wanted? And it found you?

LIAM: (disbelieving laughter) It is not what I wanted. Thank you. Thank you. I need to see my sister. And I head off towards the exit.

MATT: You guys make your way to the outside of Raven's Crest. The doors open once again. The figure that let you in is waiting for you, opens the door. As you see the doors open -

LAURA: I jump up immediately. I've bitten off all my fingernails.

MATT: (laughs) Rushing down the stairs, you see Pike, Keyleth, and your brother in a little better spirits than when he first entered, if a little damper and redder.

LAURA: Is that blood? Is that blood all over you? Did she hurt you?

LIAM: It was really - It was really weird, but it's fine. I told you I'd be fine, and I'm fine.

LAURA: I get out a rag and I start just wiping everything off. (laughs) You're alive, though.

LIAM: (laughs) Yeah, doesn't make any sense, does it.

LAURA: (still laughing) Oh my god, are you stronger now? Are you, like, so strong?

LIAM: I think I might be a bit weaker, actually.

LAURA: Oh, I don't believe it.

LIAM: I have the jelly-legs.

LAURA: (laughs) Do you want to ride Trinket for a while?

LIAM: Could I?

LAURA: Yes!

LIAM: He's going to get sticky.

LAURA: No, he loves the taste of blood.

MATT: (Trinket sad moaning)

LAURA: (laughs) Oh, Trinket.

MATT: Trinket comes over and begrudgingly lowers himself so you can climb on.

LIAM: Don't - no, don't lick. Don't lick.

LAURA: He's very light. Scrawny, scrawny, scrawny.

LIAM: But don't lick, Trink, please.

MATT: (grunts)

LIAM: Not good.

ASHLEY: Just one kiss? One little lick?

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: Later, buddy. Later. Later. I climb on top.

MATT: (grunts)

LAURA: Aren't you glad you got out of the Pokeball for this?

LIAM: I give a quick look back at my friends, and then I kind of take a nap on Trinket.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: So everything's good, then. He's good? Everything's fine?

ASHLEY: I think so… I mean, it's - it was very different, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

LAURA: He talked to her?

MARISHA: He talked to her.

LAURA: Were you there?

ASHLEY: No.

MARISHA: They didn't let us in the room.

LAURA: Oh. Well, I'll find out.

MARISHA: We stood outside. All it - he didn't talk much about it. Maybe you can find out more. All he said was that he knows that this was fate.

LAURA: Well, good. He has a purpose.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Oh. Yeah. Well, that's one way of looking at it.

LIAM: (snores)

LAURA: I keep him steady and I walk next to him.

MATT: Okay. You guys eventually make your way back to the Slayer's Take. The three of you guys… what are you doing while this is transpiring?

TRAVIS: Eating my mechanical pencil.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: I've sent him with a shopping list.

MATT: Okay. What have they been sent to acquire?

TALIESIN: I'm going to need a cheap gauntlet, some saddling straps, three tankards, a pick-axe, and two clocks.

MATT: All right. How much gold do you give him?

LAURA: You've got -

TALIESIN: I've got - that's right, I've got.

SAM: Four gold.

TALIESIN: (snorts) I give -

LAURA: You've also got a five-pound bag of gems, don't forget.

TALIESIN: I do. I give him -

MARISHA: (giggles)

TRAVIS: Does he want wine?

TALIESIN: This is what happens.

MARISHA: Is that Riegel?

TALIESIN: That was Riegel.

MARISHA: (giggles)

TALIESIN: Don't read that. That's not necessary. I don't -

SAM: (singing) I drew a dick on his picture.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: And I need that man's dick to finish the arm.

MATT: That'll go over well.

TALIESIN: Despite the dick on my page, I'm going to give Scanlan 100 gold to take with Grog to find some junk items that they can put together.

SAM: I'm going with Grog to shop? All right, sure.

TALIESIN: If you're down.

SAM: Yeah. I'll do it. Yeah, we'll go for all that stuff. Do we find success?

MATT: I want you guys to go ahead and roll - actually, for you, just roll a general charisma check to ask around and get people to give you the proper information.

TALIESIN: I love you.

SAM: What is this, just charisma?

MATT: You just add your charisma modifier.

SAM: 18.

MATT: 18?

MATT: Yeah, within a very brief period of talking to the right people and smiling and getting folks to listen back to you, eventually you're given information on where each piece of that list is able to be found. They're not too crazy items. There's a lot in general stores, general armor -

TALIESIN: I don't even need an articulated gauntlet. It just needs to be clamp.

MATT: Yeah, just a basic clamp gauntlet.

SAM: Do we also find a hat store?

TRAVIS: Yeah, we'd better.

LAURA: You want another beret?

MATT: Not in the Braving Grounds -

SAM: Damn it.

MATT: - but you can definitely find one on your journey in the Quad Roads.

SAM: If I can take an extra side journey to find a hat shop, that would be great.

MATT: Certainly, certainly. Do you go with him?

TRAVIS: Fuck yeah.

MATT: (laughs)

SAM: It's just hats, Grog. We're just getting hats.

MATT: You guys make your way to the busy streets of the Quad Roads. Eventually, asking around, you find yourself across from what is called the Sore Socket Haberdashery.

SAM: The Sore Socket?

MATT: Sore Socket Haberdashery.

TRAVIS: I love it.

SAM: I love it.

MATT: And the picture outside has a caricature of a guy, smiling, with a giant black eye.

SAM: (laughs)

MATT: You walk inside and it's like a small, localized bar - not a tavern by any means, but it has like one small set-up in there for just general beer, and just loads and loads of hats. Leathers, cloth, all kinds of silly circumstances. You see some nice fancy hats with big feather plumes. You see joking hats that have multiple colors and what looks to be bells hanging from them. As you step into the room, you see two other random individuals that are looking around, shopping, and at the far end, you see coming through a big thing of curtains what looks to be a rather rotund woman in her late 40s or so. Big curls in her dark brown hair and maybe a little too much makeup on her face, who goes, "Darlings, what are you looking for? What can I get you? Are you looking for hats?

SAM: Oh, man.

MATT: "I assume you're looking for hats."

SAM: Wow. Yeah, we've come to the right place.

TRAVIS: The guys are missing out on this one.

(all laugh)

SAM: Hi, ma'am. My name's Scanlan. This is Grog. We're just - I needed one hat, but you have such a fantastic selection, maybe we'll pick up a few. How much money do I have left over from his hundo?

MATT: After all those materials, I'd say probably, asking around and your high charisma, you probably have about 60.

TRAVIS: Bro, we got money.

SAM: Let's get some hats!

MATT: "My name is Deidre, dear, so nice to meet you."

SAM: It's lovely to meet you.

MATT: "You're so adorable."

SAM: We've heard so much about this store.

MATT: "Really?"

SAM: Yes, far and wide.

MATT: "Oh ho, I can guarantee you, it's all true. And you, you're so big, you're so strapping.

TRAVIS: I am.

MATT: "And that beard!" She kind of tousles the beard with her fingers. "(giggles)"

TRAVIS: (giggles) Oh, stop it.

LAURA: Little food bits fall out.

SAM: I'm here to buy just one quick thing in particular, then we'll be on our way. I just want a very tall hat. Just very tall black hat with a point.

MATT: "Tall. Proportionally tall or regular?"

SAM: Like a big triangle hat.

MATT: "Hmm."

SAM: With a wide brim. Like a wide black hat just like this.

MARISHA AND TRAVIS: (laugh)

MATT: She thinks for a second. "I don't carry anything like that - "

SAM: All right, well, it was worth a -

MATT: " - but I can make you something - "

SAM: What?!

MATT: "- if you don't mind waiting a bit."

SAM: I could come back for it another day, perhaps.

MATT: "Oh, but at least let me measure your head, sweetie."

SAM: It's not for me.

MATT: "Do you know the size of who it's intended for?"

SAM: Well, her head's about - a little bigger than mine.

MATT: "I'll make it adjustable!"

SAM: All right, great.

MATT: "You have to pay half in advance, a custom order."

SAM: Sure, how much?

MATT: "That will be 10 gold now, and an additional 10 upon retrieval."

SAM: More than worth it. I'll take it.

MATT: "All right."

SAM: Boink. And also, can you get something for him that would really just accentuate his features?

TRAVIS: Me? What?

SAM: Yes, you need a hat.

TRAVIS: Oh, this streamlined. This is how the look goes.

SAM: But if it rains, Grog.

TRAVIS: But that's part of it. My muscles ripple in the moisture.

MATT: "Nothing to block the muscles, no, not at all, but I have to say, with a fine, smooth head, it does need a little decoration, if you don't mind me saying."

TRAVIS: Oh. You think so?

MATT: "(chuckles) You!"

SAM: Something in a yarmulke, perhaps?

MATT: "I was thinking - "

TRAVIS: A yarmulke?

MATT: And she whips out what looks like this fancy engraved leather cap with two straps on the side and just (shoomf) right over your head. It kind of folds everything in, the straps just go very long and dangle there.

LAURA AND ASHLEY: (laugh)

MARISHA: Yes! Yes!

MATT: She takes them and snaps them underneath - To where these two little danglies are dangling from under the chin. And it just has these really intricate flower patterns punched into the leather all around.

SAM: I love it, Grog. I think you look great.

TRAVIS: (stutters)

SAM: We don't have a mirror here?

MATT: "I think it speaks of the seasons."

TRAVIS: Is it over my ears?

MARISHA: Is it like one of those old-school leather helmets?

MATT: It looks almost like the old football helmets.

MARISHA: Oh, football! Yeah. Okay! Cool.

TRAVIS: I mean, I don't know, does it do anything?

MATT: "It looks masculine. You wouldn't believe. Here, let me show you!" And she brings up a small mirror.

TRAVIS: (screams)

(everyone else laughs)

MATT: "Exactly. Men will fear you walking down the road, my - "

TRAVIS: No, please, more like - a bit more like war, death, battlefield. More aggressive. This is a bit more like sheep-herder. Here you go.

MATT: "Well, all right. Death. Battle. Aggressive."

SAM: Maybe something with spikes?

MATT: "Spikes. Spikes… let me see what I can do."

MARISHA, LAURA, AND ASHLEY: (laugh)

MATT: And she runs off down the way, gets into a bag and you start hearing things going (tink, thud) something rolls over - "Ah, shit!"

ASHLEY: (laughs)

MATT: Eventually she comes out. "This is less of a hat and more of a half-helmet, but maybe it'll do." And she pulls forth what looks like this very wide metal brim, almost in a swish shape to a point in the front.

TRAVIS: (laughing) Conquistador's helmet?

MATT: Yeah, it kind of looks like a conquistador's helmet. But it's only the front, so it's almost like a rhinoceros horn -

TRAVIS: Oh!

MATT: - that sticks up to a point.

MARISHA: Yes.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MATT: And the rest are just buckles to the back of the head, so it's just a giant metallic groove for the front.

TRAVIS: I'll take it. I don't even care if it fits.

LIAM AND MARISHA: (laugh)

MATT: "Oh, that's what I like to hear."

TRAVIS: How much is it?

MATT: "This will be 50 gold."

LAURA: (gasps)

TRAVIS: Is the point very sharp?

MATT: "Try it yourself."

TRAVIS: And I reach up and I… hit it with my finger.

MATT: It's all right. It can be sharpened. It's more for decor. It's not meant to slice somebody in half.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it could be sharpened?

MATT: "Well, I mean, what are you intending to do with this hat? (titters)"

TRAVIS: Uh, nothing, just look sharp.

(all groan)

MATT: "I can do that for you, my big muscley man."

LIAM: That is the very ceiling of intelligence of his.

MARISHA: Yeah. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Oh, see that sweet jam I just dropped there.

SAM: I did, that was a good line.

TRAVIS: Write that in a notebook somewhere.

TALIESIN: We'll be cleaning that off the floor for ages.

MATT: So after about five minutes or so, she grinds down with what materials she has to a little more - it does mess with some of the polish on the very tip of the metal, but it does come to a more solid point. "Be careful with that."

TRAVIS: So is it one piece or is there a strap on the back or it just goes (foonk)?

MATT: It goes on and then straps tight in the back to fit your head.

TRAVIS: Beautiful.

LAURA: It's basically like a unicorn?

MATT: Kind of.

TRAVIS: Rhino.

MATT: It's like a big old rhino horn that curls upward to a point there.

LIAM: Wow. Wow.

MATT: It looks a little ridiculous.

MARISHA: I'm so excited for the art!

TRAVIS: What do you think? Hold on. What do you think?

SAM: Wow. I mean, your silhouette is magnificent. Imposing.

LIAM: Is this your variant fighting costume?

ASHLEY: Oh, boy.

TRAVIS: Am I fearsome?

SAM: You are. You are. We should go to a silhouette artist after this and get something drawn for this.

TRAVIS: They have those?

SAM: They do, they cut it out.

TRAVIS: Milady, you are a master of your trade.

ASHLEY: Oh, boy.

MATT: "Well. So they tell me."

SAM: Our mom only gave us 60 gold to spend. Could you give us both hats for 60? We're brothers.

(all laugh)

SAM: He - something went wrong with him at birth.

MATT: Make a deception check with disadvantage.

SAM: With disadvantage?!

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: Doesn't matter.

SAM: Well, would a one be bad?

(all laugh)

MATT: Deidre goes, "(laughs) You silly, silly tiny man - No, seriously. We have a price agreed upon. Pay it."

TRAVIS: Yeah, no, I got it. I got 50 gold of my own.

SAM: All right. 20 from me, 50 from him. We'll take them both.

MATT: "Ooh, all up front? All right. It'll be ready for you shortly." She takes the coin. "Thank you for the patronage. Return here in about… ooh, an hour, and the hat shall be prepared for you, sir - what's your name?"

SAM: Thank you, Deidre. My name's Scanlan Shorthalt.

MATT: "Scanlan Shorthalt. All right, come soon."

SAM: See you soon.

TRAVIS: Can I hit my head on the doorway on the way out?

MATT: (shoomp)

LAURA AND MARISHA: (laugh)

MATT: (creak) You have to kind of pull it out. Yeah. You leave a nice big groove.

TRAVIS: It is nice, right?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay, good.

MATT: (laughs) All right, eventually you all gather again back at the hall of the Slayer's Take. You guys have just settled in and are free to continue any discussion you like as you see Scanlan and Grog come in. Say, you've since retrieved your hat with your various wonderfully-crafted accoutrements.

TRAVIS: 'Sup, bitches.

SAM: Look at that.

LAURA: Wow.

ASHLEY: Whoa.

TRAVIS: What happened?

SAM: Look at that.

ASHLEY: (gasps) Ohh…

TRAVIS: I know, right? Wait for it.

LIAM: (laughs)

LAURA: Whoa. Grog, you're so monstrous.

ASHLEY: What? Grog, that is so scary.

MARISHA: That's like another 12 inches to you.

TRAVIS: I know.

MARISHA: You look so tall.

TRAVIS: It, like, changes my whole battle strategy. I'm now literally the point of the spear.

ASHLEY: (gasps) You're so scary.

TALIESIN: How have we lived with this idiot?

TRAVIS: (laughs) I'm a sea monster!

ASHLEY: (roars)

TRAVIS: I'm like the most wicked narwhal of all time!

MARISHA: (giggles) Yes.

TRAVIS: Give me a pool! (laughs)

ASHLEY: Can I try it on?

TRAVIS: Yeah, you want to?

TRAVIS: (laughing) I put it on Pike's head.

ASHLEY: Whoa, it's so heavy.

(all but Taliesin laugh)

TALIESIN: What is the world coming to?

TRAVIS: Is it as tall as she is?

MATT: You can see the bottom of her mouth.

ASHLEY: Oh, Grog.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah, look. Wait, turn around 180 degrees and then run as fast as you can.

MARISHA: Oh, yeah, go! Go! Go! Go, Pike! Go, go!

LAURA: (clapping) Go, Pike! Go, Pike! Go, Pike!

MATT: Okay, make a perception check.

TALIESIN: (groans)

EVERYONE ELSE: (laughs)

ASHLEY: Nine.

MATT: Nine. You go running straight out of the door -

LAURA: No!

MATT: You guys are like, “Oh, no no no, Pike!” She's already out the door, over the stairs (boof boof boof boof), outside of the hall.

(all make sounds of dismay)

MARISHA: Oh no, Pike!

TRAVIS: Oh no.

LAURA: Oh no!

ASHLEY: I'm okay!

(all laugh)

MATT: You guys rush out to go catch her and the helmet is actually embedded partway into the ground and she's kind of -

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: And she's just laughing.

ASHLEY: (laughing) Grog, get me out of this helmet.

TRAVIS: I pick her up by the feet. That was excellent. (giggles)

ASHLEY: As he's holding me up like that I try to stab him with it.

TRAVIS: I yank it off of her head and put her back on the ground.

LIAM: Vax has been laughing hysterically, giggle fits, clutching his ribs the entire time. And then is there any of the staff here? Anyone that's here? Anyone else?

MATT: You haven't seen Mertin. Vanessa doesn't seem to have left.

LIAM: What about underlings?

MATT: I mean, there are a few individuals here that are part of the guildhall. It's - the hierarchy here is more like the few that run it, and then everyone else comes and goes as they please.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah, come here, you. Do you have a tub? Do you have a bath? Look at me. Do you have a bath? I need a bath.

MATT: "You look pretty rough."

LIAM: Yeah?

MATT: "Yeah. We could - we got a washroom in the back, if you need it."

LIAM: Is it hot? I feel like I need it to be hot.

MATT: "You get what you get. It's water, buddy."

LIAM: Okay. That's perfect, thank you. Grog, put that hat on again.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah, hold on. (foomp)

LIAM: (laughs hysterically) All the way down the hall to take a bath.

SAM: It's crazy - did you guys get him drunk or something?

TALIESIN: I don't know what you people did, but…

ASHLEY: Well, he just…

TRAVIS: People respond to fear differently.

SAM: I guess so.

LAURA: He's gone insane.

MARISHA: He might have saw the face of a god.

SAM: Whatever.

TRAVIS: He did?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: Crazy.

ASHLEY: Yeah. The head of -

TRAVIS: By the way, why is he covered in bloodbath?

ASHLEY: I think that was part of the -

MARISHA: Ritual? Communion?

ASHLEY: Ritual.

MARISHA: Talking?

ASHLEY: Getting to know his new god.

TRAVIS: Did he kill a lot of people?

LAURA: Obviously.

ASHLEY: Maybe he had to. I don't know.

TRAVIS: He did?

LAURA: So many, Grog.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

LAURA: Yeah. It was a giant battle.

TRAVIS: Like, how many on two hands?

LAURA: Like at least this many. That's more than six.

TRAVIS: That's a legendary amount.

LAURA: I know.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Pike.

LIAM: Somewhere deep in the building, far away:

LIAM: This is not hot!

MATT: The gruff individual chuckles. "Heh. It never is." I need you to make a tinkering check.

TALIESIN: Okay. I'm sitting with my tea and my tools, trying to ignore these people.

LAURA: Can I heat water up in the fireplace?

MATT: Yeah, yeah, it'll take you a little while.

TALIESIN: Please don't explode.

LIAM: Tink tink tink.

SAM: When I delivered the materials to him -

TALIESIN: Oh, Jesus H. Fucking Christ.

MARISHA: Oh no, Taliesin…

SAM: Could I have inspired him at all, when I delivered the materials?

TALIESIN: Please.

MATT: Sure.

SAM: All right.

MARISHA: Please inspire.

SAM: I will inspire - oh my god, it's not even worth it.

TALIESIN: (muffled) Please inspire. Do it. Do it, you bloody gnome!

SAM: Okay. So when I delivered everything, I just sang him a little song to inspire him. And I sang, "Percy's gun, won't you come and kill up all the dragons?"

(others join in) Percy's gun, won't you come, won't you come?

ASHLEY AND LIAM: Percy's gun!

(all laugh)

MATT: Oh my god. All right, take your d10.

LAURA: Ten! Ten! Ten!

LIAM: Do it! Do it!

TALIESIN: Better!

MARISHA: Oh my god, it's a 10!

SAM: That was a 10.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MARISHA: I get excited. Sorry.

LIAM: Pretty good song.

TALIESIN: Proficiency, tinkering, plus the -

MATT: Well, your proficiency is what you get with the roll and then it's your dex bonus.

TALIESIN: Okay, so proficiency, dex, okay, thank you, god. (muttering) That's 11…

LIAM: (hums Black Hole Sun)

TALIESIN: 23.

MATT: 23. What did you roll naturally?

SAM: A two.

TALIESIN: Two.

LIAM: (laughs)

LAURA: Whoa.

SAM: Plus 10.

MATT: Ah.

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: Plus 10.

TALIESIN: Made it 12.

MATT: Wow. All righty.

TALIESIN: It's not complicated, but I've got a good design, and it has two nifty things.

MATT: What are the nifty things?

SAM: Fingers.

TALIESIN: It doesn't actually have fingers. It's a mitt - it's a mitt piece, strap-on, it can lock the thumb and lock the hand so you can open it, lock, close it, lock. It's got little flip-locks.

MATT: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: You can detach the hand -

SAM: Ooh.

TALIESIN: - and put a pick spike on for mining. Like a mining punch.

LIAM: Is it like Young Frankenstein?

(mechanical sound effects)

TALIESIN: It's more Dustin Hoffman “Hook”, but, you know.

MARISHA: Oh, sure.

LAURA: Oh, that's nice.

MARISHA: I was thinking Go-Go-Gadget Finger.

TALIESIN: Because it's got the click, pull, click.

MATT: Right.

TALIESIN: I can do it with all these things. I can graph it. So.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Reasonable. It's not pretty.

MATT: It takes you a few hours and gets you into the early parts of the evening, but you do manage to go ahead and complete it. You manage to get it finished up and you're pretty proud of your work, actually, and you feel - the whistle you're still doing as you do the final bits, you realize is the song that Scanlan sang for you, just looping in your head. It happened to push you through your work and get your final piece completed.

TALIESIN: I also carved a little message inside that will not matter unless it actually becomes pertinent.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: You don't get to know until you ask offscreen.

SAM: You don't know.

LAURA: (laughs) Ohhh.

MATT: Okay. I'm excited. Okay.

MARISHA: That's right, DM.

TRAVIS: That never happens.

MATT: (laughs) Try me. Okay. Do you go and deliver it?

TALIESIN: I do go and deliver it.

MATT: Okay. As the sun begins to set in Vasselheim, you make your way back over to the Braving Grounds, which as you look across, too, this dark - as the night goes dark, the Braving Grounds itself has a whole different life to it. There are so many forges and smelters going that there's - most buildings have this bright orange glow through the ceiling and these various openings where fumes and smoke and exhaust are sent up from the various production constructs and such. It has this very luminescent look in comparison to a lot of the city. It's very interesting. It reminds you of the deep, deep portions of Kraghammer, where most of the actual fire and melted rock was being smelted and gathered and heated. So you make your way to the hovel. The roof workers are no longer there, and the door is closed.

TALIESIN: (knocks) Victor? I've got your hand.

MATT: "(muffled) I'm sleeping."

TALIESIN: Do you want your hand?

MATT: "(muffled) You want me to sleep?"

TALIESIN: I don't see why they're mutually exclusive.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: You hear (scraping sound) a bunch of different locks fiddling. (series of clicks) (fwoosh) And the door opens and you see Victor, clean-faced for the first time you've really seen him before, and he has a nightcap which sort of (foomf) in front of his face, with a little puffball at the end. He's like, "I told you. I was trying - oh! Hey. (hesitantly) Percival?"

TALIESIN: Yes, that's quite good. I love your hat.

MATT: "Thank you. It's comfy to sleep in."

TALIESIN: It looks it.

MATT: "Did you bring my hand?"

TALIESIN: I did. I grabbed your hand and I will show you. It is very special.

MATT: "Come in! Come in! (grunts)" And opens the door. You see he's wearing this long nightgown that is covered in patches and tears in it. Most of it has been turned black through soot, but the cap is perfect. Perfect condition.

TALIESIN: I have a special set of pajamas myself, so I understand.

MATT: "They are comfortable." As he walks in, still bandaged on the arm, you can see there's a small kettle of tea set by the small fireplace right there. It's a tiny little table and a tiny little stool that he's just kind of sitting on right there. And he goes and he reaches over for the kettle. "(groans)" Tries to pick up the cup and just pours the tea into it.

TALIESIN: (alarmed stuttering) I'm going to stop and attach and begin strapping this.

MATT: "(confused stuttering)"

TALIESIN: Let me show you how this - it attaches like this.

MATT: "Ooh."

TALIESIN: Here are the two switches. (clicking) And -

MATT: "(giggles)"

TALIESIN: - for your mine.

MATT: "Eh? Oh."

TALIESIN: I grab, hit the button, twist, pull.

MATT: "Oh? Eh? I just got that!"

TALIESIN: And I get the spike and attach it.

MATT: "Ohhh."

TALIESIN: Remove it, put the hand back on. Tea?

MATT: "(chuckles) (click) (excited laughter) Tea?"

TALIESIN: Sure. Why not? Always say yes.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: "Need another cup. (grunts)" He stands up and goes over, still holding the kettle and splashing everywhere, and he's flipping through cabinets and knocking pieces of glass out. "Ah! Found it." Pulls out another little ceramic cup and pours the tea in, sets it down. (chink, click) "(cackles) To new hands!"

TALIESIN: To new hands.

SAM: That's a great toast.

MATT: It is pungent. It is bitter. It has been steeped way too long.

ASHLEY: Gunpowder tea.

MATT: But it definitely cleans out the sinuses. And there is a hint of gunpowder to the flavoring. You get the sense that pretty much everything in this room is marinated in some way, shape, or form to be flammable.

TALIESIN: (hoarsely) Victor.

(all laugh)

MATT: "It can put hair on your balls."

TALIESIN: Ohhh, probably. Has a woman been by to buy black powder? (coughs) Has a woman been by?

MATT: "Not in, uh, weeks, maybe."

TALIESIN: Weeks?

MATT: "Did you make her hand, too?"

TALIESIN: I did not. Do you know where she goes?

MATT: "No. She paid well, though."

TALIESIN: Did she? What did she pay?

MATT: "Are you guys in a club now? How many people want black powder? Tell me! Tell them! Bring them more. I could use money."

(others laugh)

TALIESIN: How much black powder did she buy, Victor?

MATT: "Uh… (mutters to himself) (click, click)"

TALIESIN: Only counts to two. I'm so sorry.

(all laugh)

MATT: "Maybe… 12 hogsheads worth?"

ASHLEY: Whoa.

TRAVIS AND MARISHA: Oh, shit.

TALIESIN: Really? And how often does she come by?

MATT: "She only come by once.

TALIESIN: Okay. (sighs) Thank you. I'm so pleased. I may stop by one last time before I leave town, just to say goodbye. Thank you.

MATT: "Please do! I have more tea. Many different flavors. This is, I call, dark roast."

TALIESIN: It… certainly scalded something. Thank you. That was very lovely and that was very charming and I unfortunately have business in the -

MATT: "I want to try the other one before you go."

TALIESIN: One more and then I must go, thank you.

MATT: "(click, creak) Come on, need this, too."

TALIESIN: Yes, of course.

MATT: "(creak, click) (cackles)"

TALIESIN: (uncertain laughter)

MATT: (thunk) He sticks it into the wooden stool and the table. Kind of breaks the wood and snaps it. "Oh. (cackles)"

TALIESIN: Remember that it's attached to bone. You can still break your arm, so be gentle.

MATT: "Yes. Thank you!"

TALIESIN: Thank you. Good night! Have a lovely evening.

MATT: "Good night!"

SAM: Aah.

TALIESIN: Good night. Aah. Pleasure, as always. Thank you.

MATT: "(slurps)"

TALIESIN: I leave in a little bit of a panic.

MATT: You leave and he's just sitting there staring at this long chisel point, going, "(quiet cackling)"

SAM: His ring.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: The door slowly closes behind you.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: A fighter is born.

MARISHA: Yes, yeah, just give him an anime weapon.

TALIESIN: There's a - yeah, okay. We're sticking around for a day?

SAM: I assume so. I don't know. We're going to spend the night, at least.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take a long walk before I come back and I'm going to walk by the Raven Queen temple and just… peek inside.

MATT: Okay. You make your way past the Quad Roads. At this point at night the whole clientele has shifted. Most people coming here - you hear laughter, you hear music. The Quad Roads is the New Orleans of the town, comparatively. It's still nowhere near as rambunctious as many places you've been, but for what seems during the day to be a rather dour and serious business type city, the Quad Roads is where the celebration of humanity hits when the evening hours hit. So you come by and there's some taverns that are open. You see, to a certain extent, what even appears to be an adult entertainment district.

LAURA: (laughs sarcastically)

MATT: You make your way beyond -

LIAM: (clears throat) Ring-a-ding-ding.

MATT: It's the oldest profession. You make your way all the way to the outskirts of the Duskmeadow, and there, amongst the just barely peeking through the cloudline starlight, the looming dark structure that is Raven's Crest.

TALIESIN: I'm just going to gently open the door and peek inside and see if anybody's inside.

MATT: Okay. You go ahead and push the door open. (creak) Doesn't appear to be anybody there.

TALIESIN: I walk in just for a moment and take a look around.

MATT: Okay. You walk in. (clicking footsteps) At this dark hour, looking around, the obsidian-type walls are translucent glass on the other side, though you can barely make out through the material the details of the outside world, due to the lack of light across the cityscape. Especially here in Duskmeadow, in which the magical lantern light that illuminates the city streets are relatively sparse on this side of Vasselheim. You take a few more steps in, (clicking footsteps) footsteps echoing across the long, thin, dark material of the floors. (creak, thud)

LAURA: (gasps)

MATT: Door closes behind you.

TRAVIS: (quietly) What would - why would you do this?

LIAM: Said the T. rex.

TALIESIN: I'm going to gently look around and slowly back up and see if I can see anyone.

TALIESIN: Hello? Hello?

MATT: (echoing) Hello… hello… hello.

TALIESIN: What do I have to pay to fix this?

MATT: (echoing) This… this… this… this.

TALIESIN: I leave.

MATT: (thump-crash) You hear the sound of some sort of low, distant hit and a rumble, and you see a distant light appear in a chamber just beyond the walkway, just faint enough to illuminate and give the presence of some sort of life or movement about a hundred or so feet ahead of you.

TALIESIN: I walk briskly towards it.

MATT: You enter the next chamber, where you see the interior of this structure is ivory-white bone and glass, with a blue hint, very much resembling the interior of a very naturally, beautifully-carved ice cavern. There is a stairway that ascends, as well as other hallways that lead out from the central nerve center of the lower floor of the main structure. As you walk into this central chamber, you see, ever so faintly, at the very top of the stairs, a pair of feet (footsteps) walk and disappear up the stairs.

TALIESIN: I'm going to charge after them.

MATT: Okay. You go running up the stairway. (thud thud) You get to the top, and you can see at the very top of the stairs a dark wooden door with a dark iron rim and what appears to be a large hanger or handle or knocker bolted to it and it (boof) just closes as you come underneath the top of the archway and up the stairs.

TALIESIN: I knock.

MATT: (doosh) Once?

TALIESIN: Three times.

MATT: (doosh doosh) With each hit, you can hear the reverberation of the echo of the knock through a much larger chamber beyond. As soon as you release the actual door knocker, the door (thump-crash, creak) just creaks open ever so slightly into a very, very dark chamber. You can see very, very little in here, other than the basic outline of what looks to be a little bit of floor, some sort of a smooth, glassy surface that refracts just a little bit of light that makes it through what looks to be some sort of broken-up glass dome-type structure above you. You can't make out much beyond that. It's very dark in here.

TALIESIN: Hello? Please. (sighs) Something terrible has happened. I don't understand how these games work. I need help to fix something. Something terrible has happened! You obviously care little for this world. I start to back out.

MATT: As you step out of the room, you hear a whisper come from beyond the chamber, within the darkness. It says, "Is it yourself you wish to fix or something more?"

TALIESIN: I don't think I can be fixed. There is something broken in the world.

MATT: "Then come. Let us talk."

TALIESIN: …I don't understand how these things work. I'm so sorry. I - where do you wish me to go?

MATT: "Have faith."

TALIESIN: (disbelieving laugh)

MATT: "Step in. Join me."

TALIESIN: (sighs) …I strip.

TRAVIS: (gasps)

TALIESIN: And put it aside.

SAM: Put “it” aside?

TALIESIN: Put my clothes in the corner.

SAM: Oh. You're gonna jump her, eh?

TALIESIN: You're filthy. And I go into the pool.

MATT: All right. As you step into the chamber, freezing cold as your toes -

TALIESIN: We're cold people.

MATT: - your legs, your whole body eventually finds itself stepping into this thick, freezing liquid. You hear the whisper in your ears just as your head reaches the level of the blood, that says, "Come. Come to me with your questions." Just as your head goes beneath the surface.

TALIESIN: (sighs) We're doing this.

MATT: You're underneath and in darkness, feeling around the thick material, kind of just swishing your fingers around, but amongst the liquid, you still hear the whisper again in your ear: "Come. Bring your questions."

TALIESIN: And I swim down until it's uncomfortable.

MATT: You swim downward and you touch the bottom of the pool. You reach a somewhat concave, smooth floor to the pool.

TALIESIN: I'm going to head to the surface. I don't know what's…

MATT: You head to the surface. There's no surface. It just keeps going.

TALIESIN: (sighs) I do not do well with this.

MATT: You do not. You begin to panic.

TALIESIN: Yes, I do.

MATT: You begin to reach around and try to swim up and find the surface, but it just keeps going. The liquid's thick and it's hard to pull through, and you can't open your eyes, and you can't see anything, and the iron-like flavor is starting to find its way to the inside of your mouth as it's seeping through your nose and your ears. You begin to panic even further as the cold is starting to take and you feel your muscles beginning to shake and seize from the onset of hypothermia. You begin to head to the bottom of the pool again, and this time, you crack your head on the bottom in the middle of your stupor, and you reach up and scream in pain. As you do, the blood fills your lungs and you begin to feel yourself drown. You begin to shake and convulse as you begin to try to find a way to force it out of your body and you can't. And at that moment, where all of a sudden you realize that this is it. This is the end. This is how the tale of Percival comes to an end. The sensation goes warm again. And it's like all that cold energy goes away, and you're now swimming in water, then air, and the pain subsides, and you're breathing normally. But you still stand in darkness, and you hear these distant footsteps. (clicking footsteps) Sourceless. No light, just shadow. And you look around over your shoulder and then right behind you, you see immediately a white porcelain face, the head is just standing there amongst the shadow.

TALIESIN: (takes deep breaths) Do you know what I've done?

MATT: "I've watched."

TALIESIN: I have questions.

MATT: "Then ask them."

TALIESIN: First, is - can we stop it? Can we stop what's been released? Is there something I can do?

MATT: "Many things are released in this world. Many terrible, many wonderful. Many things. Ask the right questions."

TALIESIN: Did it choose me because I was broken, or did it break me?

MATT: The mask, which has not shown any expression at this point, pulls back a little bit from you and almost seems to grow in size. It's strange; the proportion seems to stay the same, but suddenly your vision shifts and you realize, no, it's farther away from you and is just suddenly immense, like your visual focus just changes and your whole perspective suddenly causes you to lose sense of scale and balance. The voice comes in, this time louder: "You were always broken, Percival. And you were preyed upon, just as it preys upon others, and will continue to do so until finally destroyed."

TALIESIN: Can it be fixed?

MATT: "Perhaps. Your deeds will guide your path to salvation or damnation. The choice is yours. You skirt that line still."

TALIESIN: But the first deed is so… there's so much, and I don't think any of them see it. I don't - I want it to die before anybody sees it. Can you help?

MATT: "I've already helped, Percival. Do not think the path that you and your allies walk goes unseen. There are many of those in this world that represent the will of us, just as there are those who represent the will of those that combat us and always have. There are a great many deeds ahead of you. It's your choice to take them. Just know: should you not watch yourself, you may not find yourself on our side."

TALIESIN: I know. There is nowhere I can look for healing? Other than deeds? I like to fix things.

MATT: "All life is inherently broken from the start, Percival. Take solace in that. There is no perfection in life. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of death? It's to try to find ways to better yourself before the end that gives us purpose. You are all broken, but also understand - " At this point, her voice gets very deep and very resonant. "Mortals can achieve great things. I did." And the mask pulls back into the shadows and suddenly (gasp, cough) you begin coughing, finding your way to the surface, pouring blood out of your mouth and coughing and eventually you find your way over, breathing heavily, to the side of the pool and (grunt) pull yourself onto the side. (cough) Cough the rest of it up. A little bit of moonlight peeks through, and you can see the beams refracting through the purples and reds and blues and just hints of specks of light that just shimmer across the surface of this dark, glass-like floor.

TALIESIN: I'm going to take my sword and I'm going to very carefully scrape my body clean of the blood, as much as I can, and I'm going to take the back of my shirt and clean my hair off as much as I can. I'm going to take a vial of the blood in the pool. One tiny bit.

MATT: You do so.

TALIESIN: I'm going to put my clothes back on… and I'm going to cast Hex on myself for my walk home and banish it before I come in the door.

MATT: Okay. All righty. So, as Percival finally wanders in, is there anything else anyone wants to achieve before the evening's done?

SAM: I'd like to go to the Raven Queen.

(all laugh)

SAM: No.

LIAM: Are we next morning, or we're still evening, at this point?

MATT: We're still evening at the moment, if there's anything else you wish to achieve. Otherwise -

LAURA: I've been slowly heating water and giving it to Vax to put in his bath.

MATT: You do manage to draw a comfortable bath for your brother and wash him clean.

LAURA: I don't wash him! I just give him the fucking water.

MATT: You aid him in washing himself clean. So you specify.

LIAM: Thanks, man. Thanks, man.

TRAVIS: Do we see Percy when he comes in?

MATT: It's going to be late.

TALIESIN: I'm going to walk quiet and late and go tinker on a little thing for a minute until I pass out.

MATT: Okay. You do notice Percy enter. Looks a little frazzled, but doesn't seem to -

LAURA: Do I see any of the blood? Passive perception?

LIAM: You're in the tubby town, though.

MATT: Make a perception check. I want you to make a dexterity check.

MARISHA AND TALIESIN: (groan)

LIAM: Sorry, Taliesin.

SAM: You've got him.

LIAM: Rolled high.

LAURA: 32.

SAM: You've got it.

TALIESIN: 32?!

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Oh my god, what the - I couldn't have rolled that. Like, that would've been a natural 20, would have been the only way around that.

MATT: You see, just faintly behind one of his ears and at the edge of his collar on his coat, just a bit of familiar crimson, and a look of… a distant stare that is familiar. All right. Do you all wish to rest for the evening?

SAM: No, I would like to take 12 hours to read my book.

MATT: Okay, so the first 12 hours are completed, but you do not sleep?

SAM: No.

LIAM: It's a page-turner.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Lots of centerfolds.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Pretty pictures.

TRAVIS: Don't be stingy, share those with me.

MATT: Written by John Cleese. It's a wonderful piece.

LAURA: I also spend a lot of time that night reading, but I'm reading the book about the Raven Queen.

MATT: Okay. Doing Raven Queen research.

LAURA: Pretty much have it memorized at this point, with the amount that I've read that fucking book.

MATT: Yeah, fair enough. All right. You guys all find yourself to rest, except for Scanlan, who takes a point of Exhaustion for going through the night without sleep.

SAM: I don't know what that is, but someone will tell me.

TRAVIS: You'll find out.

MATT: Yeah. Basically, it means any ability checks, any skill checks until you get a full night's rest are at disadvantage, yeah. All right, as you find yourselves to rest, most of you the morning light comes, greeting you to a new day, and we're going to go ahead and take a break. We'll be back here in a few minutes, guys. Reminder, once again: Loot Crate, our awesome sponsor, check them out at lootcrate.com/criticalrole, enter criticalrole - one word - to get $3 off a subscription. We'll be back here in a minute, guys.

MARISHA: And get your Joe Mad poster!

MATT: Joe Mad poster!

MARISHA: Right now, pre-order.

SAM: Wait, there's a giveaway at the break, I think.

LAURA: Oh, there's a Loot Crate giveaway.

MARISHA: Oh, and giveaway!

MATT: For the DX boxes, so be active in the chat.

LIAM: And please go check out the Joe Mad poster.

LAURA: It's so sick.

LIAM: Also check out Battle Chasers Night War. It's a beautiful-looking game. I played it today.

LAURA: Also, give your friend a hug. Love each other.

MARISHA: (laughs) Yeah, and a high-five.

SAM: Bathe in blood. We'll see you soon.

Break[]

[Critical Role resumes at 2:22:43]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back, guys. So, as we return to the game, the morning comes to you all in Vasselheim as you awake in the Slayer's Take guildhall. A brisk morning, but not too cold. The clouds are actually a little more separate this morning. You get brief moments of blue; it looks like the weather is a little clearer than you're used to seeing in this vicinity. But the day is yours. What do you guys wish to do?

LIAM: What do we need to accomplish here in town? Is there anything we need to finish, or do we want to pick our next destination?

SAM: Do they sell potions and things here in town - No, they don't.

TALIESIN: No, very specifically they don't.

MARISHA: They hate magic.

SAM: Then let's get the hell out of here.

LAURA: Yeah, let's get out.

SAM: There's nothing for us here.

TRAVIS: What about the Feywild?

SAM: Oh, yeah.

MARISHA: We did talk about the Feywild.

TALIESIN: Let's drop off our -

LAURA: Don't tease me about the Feywild.

TRAVIS: Wait, don't you have to pick up something?

TALIESIN: Oh, I already picked it up.

TRAVIS: Not you, you.

SAM: Me?

TALIESIN: Oh, you have a hat.

SAM: I thought we waited for the hat.

MATT: Yeah, he picked up the hat.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit, balls, ass. All right.

SAM: There's the Feywild. There's dropping stuff off at Whitestone. There's Marquet, which something is there in Marquet?

LAURA: Is one of the Vestiges there?

SAM: I don't know, everyone just keeps talking about it.

TRAVIS: Really?

SAM: There's also - Wait, weren't we going to go to -

MARISHA: One of the Vestiges is in Marquet.

LAURA: Which one?

MARISHA: Hang on. Cabal's Ruin, which is a magic-devouring cloak -

TRAVIS: Hold on, hold on, hold on. Are we alone in this room?

MATT: You guys are right now having breakfast in the guildhall. There's maybe two other individuals in the room. One of them is drunkenly asleep and snoring. The other appears to be going about their business.

TRAVIS: I'm just saying.

MARISHA: (whispering) Okay, I'll speak quietly. There's apparently a magic-devouring cloak who is being worn by the - it's in Ank'Harel. It's being worn by -

LAURA: It's a cloak that devours magic?

MARISHA: - a merchant warrior with a missing eye.

SAM: And there's one in the bottom of the sea somewhere.

LAURA: And there's a really beautiful strong bow in the Feywild.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's go to the Feywild! We at least know that place.

TALIESIN: I say we drop everything - we take a pit stop in Whitestone and head towards the Feywild.

MARISHA: So, technically -

TALIESIN: Empty our bags.

MARISHA: - we don't even have to head towards the Feywild. Do you guys remember how I kind of did that thing with Grog's evil sword and kind of banished it away for forever?

TRAVIS: Are we bringing it back?

MARISHA: No.

LAURA: Yeah, to the Dread Emperor's.

MARISHA: Right.

LIAM: Not a good idea, Grog.

MARISHA: No, we're not bringing it back. I can do that with the rest of us.

LAURA: You can banish us to the Dread Emperor's island?

MARISHA: No, it's not like a banishment. I can Plane Shift us wherever we want to go, to an alternate plane.

LAURA: To the Feywild? So we don't even have to find an entrance?

MARISHA: Yeah, we just hold hands and think about it really hard.

TRAVIS: No way.

MARISHA: Yeah. It's druid magic. It's great.

LIAM: And you put us in a safe spot somewhere in there, somehow?

MARISHA: I can take us to where we've been before, to where it's familiar.

LIAM: Have we been there before? I don't know.

MARISHA: Very briefly.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: Is it somewhere that you have to have been, or can it be somewhere that we have been.

MARISHA: It is somewhere I am familiar with, I believe, through means - through means that I am familiar…

LAURA: Syngorn is in the Feywild.

SAM: Normally?

LIAM: No, not normally.

LAURA: They transferred the entire city there, so technically, it's a place -

LIAM: I know, but you're saying we've been there, but they just did that recently.

SAM: Grog's been to the Feywild.

MATT: You can specify a target

MARISHA: In general terms.

MATT: In general terms.

MARISHA: Such as “City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire.”

SAM: Oh, is that where we're going?

MARISHA: No.

SAM: Oh. Sounds like fun.

TALIESIN: It does, actually.

MARISHA: If you guys want to go to the Plane of Fire, that's like, a hike and a jump through a hole.

TALIESIN: Ah.

TRAVIS: No, no, not the Plane of Fire. Just the Feywild.

MARISHA: All right. Yeah, I can get us there.

SAM: To the Feywild. How big is the Feywild? Is it like a football field?

MARISHA: It's very big.

LAURA: It's a whole other plane.

SAM: Well, how do - do we know where we're going in the Feywild?

MARISHA: I imagine we'll figure it out once we get there.

TALIESIN: Do I know anything about the Feywild?

MATT: You have no knowledge of the Feywild.

ASHLEY: Would I know anything else?

MARISHA: What about me?

LAURA: Would we have learned something about it in Syngorn?

MATT: You have a general idea of it, somewhat -

MARISHA: Team Half-Elf, yeah.

MATT: Somewhat, just through your learning. You never actually visited there. The Feywild is a near plane, a plane that overlaps this Prime Material Plane. It's a version of the world you live in right now that is shifted and changed in a place where time, distance is relative and shifts. Nature grows rampant and in cases is hard to really expect its direction. Things and entities exist there that prefer to trick and lose wanderers. It's a very strange place where some believe elves initially come from or craft from there, at least.

LIAM: Do the two of us know enough that were you to jump from the same place here, would you necessarily end up in the same spot in the Feywild?

MATT: You have no idea.

LIAM: We don't know. All right.

MATT: You don't know anything about the transition to the Feywild. You just know that certain doors open at certain times, especially with full moons in certain locations, the classic toadstool rings, areas where the moonlight in the realms can be a little thinner and the barrier doors do open, and those are where creatures can transition out or through. You do know it's a place of fey magic, it's tricky, it's difficult to follow.

SAM: Terrible.

LAURA: It sounds awful.

MATT: Very, like, Oberon and Titania. Weird. Interesting.

MARISHA: Question.

MATT: Yes?

MARISHA: Hmm, okay.

SAM: Good question.

MARISHA: It says the Wrath of the Fey Warden is what we're looking for, the bow, and that it now acts as the heart of a cancerous tree, corrupting the verdant land. Is there something I can do, maybe try and…

TRAVIS: Hold on, is our stream up? Are we offline right now?

LUCAS: (muffled, from offscreen) I'm checking. Just wait.

ASHLEY: Hold, please.

LUCAS: It says we're still online. Hang on.

LIAM: Loot Crate. Check out Loot Crate.

SAM: No one can see it.

LAURA: No, it says it's offline.

LIAM: Refresh it.

MARISHA: It says offline?

LIAM: Quit the program and go back in.

TRAVIS: The chat is saying it's off.

LUCAS: No, we're still online.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Tell them to quit and re-login.

SAM: It's back. It's back.

LUCAS: I'm not sure what happened. I'm not sure it even dropped frames on my end.

LIAM: Whoa, we were in the Feywild for a second there.

ASHLEY: Oh, it was crazy.

MATT: You guys missed six episodes. (all make exaggerated sounds of relief) Everything turned out okay.

LAURA: Yay! And we got the warden thing.

LIAM: Dragons are dead.

MARISHA: Guys, I'm so glad we won D&D. We beat it.

LAURA: Yeah, that was the best.

TALIESIN: Roll the credits scroll.

MARISHA: Can I maybe sense a sick tree? You know what? Let's go to Whitestone. Let's go to Whitestone and drop some stuff off.

LAURA: You know, because the more I think about it, I mean, we almost just died many times and the last time we tried to get a Vestige it almost killed us, and maybe we just need a little bit more preparation, maybe?

TALIESIN: Let's empty our bags, let's prepare ourselves, let's - there are certainly stories in the woods of Whitestone of strange happenings, so I'm sure there's probably some connection to the Feywild, and we'll see what happens.

LAURA: Make sure Whitestone is actually preparing something underground just like Westruun.

TALIESIN: Well, we have something.

MARISHA: Yes, they have something underground already.

LAURA: Exactly, but there's a spinning orb of death there.

TALIESIN: Which, to be fair, is probably going to keep a dragon away.

LIAM: But I also think we've earned more than a single day of rest.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: Let's go to Whitestone.

TALIESIN: Let's go to Whitestone.

MARISHA: All right.

ASHLEY: Where's the sea?

SAM: The Ozmit Sea?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: The Ozmit Sea is to the east of you, east-southeast, and that is a wide gulf that separates - from your perspective, looking at me, there's Othanzia, Ozmit Sea, and there's Tal'Dorei right here.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

LIAM: (sneezes)

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: Bless you.

LAURA: Bless you.

MARISHA: The Water Ashari live in the Ozmit Sea.

LAURA: Are they like mermaids?

MARISHA: No, I think they've got an island.

ASHLEY: It's also the sea that I sailed.

MARISHA: Really?

LAURA: (gasps)

SAM: Ohhh.

TALIESIN: Really?

LAURA: In your roving pirate days.

ASHLEY: I know it well.

MARISHA: How familiar are you with the sea?

ASHLEY: I'm pretty familiar with it.

TRAVIS: What if we go there?

SAM: We could.

LAURA: Wait, could I see the list of Vestiges?

SAM: The one in the bottom of the sea is called Whisper, right?

LAURA: Whisper?

MARISHA: A blade forged from metal pulled from the Far Realm, it was the center of many dark rituals.

SAM: It now lies at the bottom of the Ozmit Sea, sunken with the lost ship, The Shrew.

LAURA: (sing-song) The Shrew?

ASHLEY: (deep voice) The Shrew.

SAM: A storm three hundred years ago near an island of glass. Anyone know about the island of glass?

LAURA: Have you heard about an island of glass?

MARISHA: Have I heard about an island of glass? Have Pike or I heard of an island of glass?

MATT: I'll have both of you guys make history checks.

MARISHA: All right. I rolled a natural one.

MATT: You barely know what glass is right now.

MARISHA: Guys, water isn't glass, that's stupid.

TALIESIN: I would have a theory as to what it was.

TRAVIS: She rolled a 20.

MARISHA: You rolled a 20? Oh, go Pike!

ASHLEY: Not a natural 20. Total.

MATT: Explain.

TALIESIN: Should I roll to figure out that this is probably an active volcano?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

TALIESIN: I'm down.

LIAM: Come on, man.

TALIESIN: No! Wow.

SAM: Onesies.

MARISHA: Team ones. Whoo.

MATT: Natural one?

TALIESIN: Natural one.

MATT: Whoo.

LIAM: Snitch.

MATT: Doesn't quite come to you, but what it could be. The idea of a volcano possibly comes to mind, but -

TALIESIN: I'm distracted.

MATT: Yeah. You have not been there, you haven't seen it, but some of your crewmates while you were traveling aboard your ship for that five, six-month period, a couple of them did mention something about on the sea, a mirage-like island that glistens in the distance, but they said to avoid it, said it was dangerous.

SAM: Did they say where it was?

MATT: No.

SAM: Damn it.

ASHLEY: Heard many tales of The Shrew.

LAURA: Yeah?

ASHLEY: Yeah, the ship lost at sea.

MATT: You know of The Shrew, you definitely know of The Shrew.

ASHLEY: All sailors know of The Shrew.

MARISHA: What's the story of The Shrew?

SAM: Come on, sailor.

ASHLEY: It's just - there was a storm three hundred years ago.

LAURA: Near an island of glass?

ASHLEY: Near an island of glass.

MARISHA: It was really bad.

ASHLEY: And The Shrew just didn't sail on.

SAM: It was tamed.

ASHLEY: It was tamed.

LAURA: (laughs) I was waiting for it to -

MATT: Come around again? Yeah, it was good.

LAURA: Come around, yep.

TALIESIN: Taming of the Shrew fits, yeah.

ASHLEY: Good tale, but we'll get there one day.

MATT: What's the plan?

LIAM: Whitestone.

SAM: Yes, Whitestone.

TRAVIS: Can I make one other suggestion? Emon… go take Thordak right now.

SAM: Good call…

TRAVIS: Yeah, one taker?

MARISHA: You know what, Grog?

LAURA: It's a good plan, Grog.

LIAM: It's cheeky.

MARISHA: We will put that in our back pocket and we will think about it.

LIAM: That helmet is really something else.

LAURA: You could really do something terrible to him with that thing.

TRAVIS: I'm just saying, I think we have an edge now.

LAURA: I think you're probably right -

SAM: (chuckle) Attaboy.

LIAM: That's technically true, yes.

TALIESIN: You do… have a point.

LAURA: But let's make sure that Whitestone is safe before we do such a thing.

SAM: Percy, we are in a place that has an airship dock.

TALIESIN: That is true.

SAM: We could go steal an airship.

TALIESIN: We could go steal an airship!

LAURA: We don't need an airship.

MARISHA: We don't need an airship.

LAURA: We have an instant ability to transport anywhere.

SAM: It would be so cool, though.

TALIESIN: Then we wouldn't have to go to Whitestone. It would hold all of our things.

LAURA AND MARISHA: When we kill all the dragons…

TALIESIN: We could hold all of our things on the airship - and I could have cannonades, and it would fire -

LAURA: That will be the first thing we do when Thordak dies -

LIAM: Party on an airship.

LAURA: - is we jump on an airship.

ASHLEY: Party on the airship.

MARISHA: We'll buy it with all of the gold that we've stolen from all the dragons. It'll be great.

TALIESIN: We won't need the airship if the dragons are dead.

LAURA: All the fun has gone out of it.

TRAVIS: What are we doing?

LAURA: We're going to Whitestone.

MARISHA: We're going to Whitestone. (piercing spell noise)

SAM: Before we leave, do you want to sell these stupid white dragon scales?

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: All right, let's go.

LIAM: Let's go to Whitestone.

MARISHA: (repeats piercing spell noise) Through a tree!

MATT: All right, as you guys walk outside of the Slayer's Take guildhall, you find the nearest tree, which you've used before to traverse. As you all step through the portal, Percy and Scanlan look over their shoulder at the distant skyport and see the one airship docked there and think, “One day…”

LIAM: So handsome.

SAM: Someday, it will be ours.

TALIESIN: You'll make a fine sailor.

SAM: Passenger.

LIAM: Swabby.

MATT: You jump through and emerge out the other side. As you step out of the portal, you find yourself jumping out of the center of the Sun Tree.

MARISHA: Can I do something?

SAM: Nope.

MATT: What do you want to do?

MARISHA: While I'm in the tree, can I do something? Like -

TRAVIS: Like kill us all?

MARISHA: No no no. Say they go first. “Go, go, go, go.” And I kind of start teleporting through the tree and while I'm in the Sun Tree I just want to be like, "Hey, boo."

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: I missed you. Have you heard of this whole cancerous tree situation in the Feywild?

SAM: (whispering) You're talking to a tree?

MARISHA: Shh, no. I'm in the middle of the tree. I'm in the tree.

LAURA: You're stuck in the tree?

MATT: As you finish this thought, you hear this sound emerge (vacuum sealing sound) and realize it's the sound of the whole portal you've made closing behind you because it only lasts for six seconds and you should probably get the hell out of the tree.

MARISHA: Aww. I step out of the tree.

ASHLEY: Good try.

MATT: As you step out, a voice goes, "Hey, boo, sorry. (kiss noise)"

(all laugh)

MATT: And it closes behind you.

MARISHA: I'll talk to him later.

MATT: You guys emerge. Due to the time differences, you land here in Whitestone, looking at where the sun is in the sky, it's early afternoon, as opposed to the morning where you guys just stepped away from. There are people in the streets, and you see a few, a little bit of life has returned to this town square, though still, by comparison - there are folks now that are bringing in actual, healthy, looks to be fruits from nearby trees. There's a little bit of trade going on. This is the first real chance you've had to see a little bit of Whitestone coming to life again. As you emerge from the tree, a few individuals nearby stop and look and smile and wave, recognizing you as you approach.

LAURA: Are there any leaves on the Sun Tree yet?

MATT: Actually, no, there are not. There are no leaves on the Sun Tree.

SAM: (quietly) Because it's winter.

LAURA: Whatever.

TRAVIS: We should check with the border patrol.

SAM: There's a border patrol?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: A wolf.

SAM: Oh, the wolf.

TRAVIS: (whistles) I whistle as loud as I can.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: What's his name?

MARISHA: I don't know. Let me find it.

SAM: Oh, boy. Harold?

LAURA: I just want to go find Zahra and give her a hug and say hello and see how she's doing while he's talking.

MATT: You whistle as loud as you can for a little bit. Nothing.

TRAVIS: Must be off doing something (belches) important.

TALIESIN: Quite.

MATT: You head off and, asking around, you find Zahra is actually up in Castle Whitestone right now, just poring through one of the studies of books, and is just currently reading and reading on her own. As you eventually ask around and find your way there, entering the room, you see her with a small set of spectacles at the end of her nose. She takes them off and, "My darling Vex'ahlia!" And comes up and just gives you a big hug and picks you up and sets you down. "I'm so glad to see you're all right."

LAURA: Dear, the dragon arrow you gave me? Killed him. Well, I didn't kill him, actually, with it, but I did a lot of damage.

MATT: "You killed a dragon?"

LAURA: Umbrasyl. Dead. One down.

MATT: "I knew you would."

LAURA: Where's Cashew?

MATT: "I don't know. He's testy these days. I'm sure he's around."

LAURA: I know his name is fucking Kashaw. So he's not there.

MATT: "Probably down in the city somewhere. He's helping where he can. You know broody types."

LAURA: I do know broody types.

MATT: Yes, you do.

LAURA: What are you reading?

MATT: "Oh, I'm just learning about the history of Whitestone and I'm very intrigued as to the actual properties of this stone the entire town is built on. There's a lot of really, really interesting things that can be done with the materials in these mountains."

LAURA: I'm sure you have ideas.

MATT: "I do."

LAURA: I sit down next to her and ask, just catching up, and see if they've spotted any dragons.

MATT: You guys continue your conversation, catching up, letting her know how things happened, and vice versa. You don't get any info that any dragons have come. Apparently, there have been a few other arcane practitioners that have been helping set up some sort of barrier to help, essentially, dissuade attention towards the city. The idea of keeping this place as far off the map as possible, should any prying eyes find their way there. It's in the process of being set up right now.

LAURA: Zahra, how long did it take you to make that arrow?

MATT: "A few weeks."

LAURA: If I were to give you some more money, do you think you could do it again?

MATT: "Probably, based on what - (sighs) if I'm able to use some of the resources here within the castle, maybe."

LAURA: I'll talk to Percy, but I'm sure, if it's for a good cause…

MATT: All right, perhaps I can."

LAURA: All right.

I'll come find you, dear.

MATT: "Wondrous." What else are you guys trying to achieve here?

LIAM: I am trying to find Shaun Gilmore.

LAURA: That's his first name?

SAM: Shaun Gilmore?

MATT AND MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah, Shaun.

LAURA: Shaun? How did you know that?

MARISHA: He told us.

MATT: He told you guys that a long time ago.

LAURA: I fucking know, I remember.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Tattooed at the small of his back.

MARISHA: Yeah, he's got a tramp stamp.

ASHLEY: Tramp stamp.

SAM: Can I accompany Vax on this trip?

LIAM: Sure, come on.

SAM: I want to see Gilmore.

LIAM: Let's start asking around town for him.

MATT: You start asking around. You come across a few folks you recognize, you find a few of the guards who helped you with the initial reconstruction of this city and such and asking around. One of the nearby guards takes his helmet off and is like, "First off, I am so excited that you guys are back. I'm so glad you're all safe. I heard that you were off to do some dangerous things."

LIAM: You heard right.

MATT: "Well, great, I'm glad that you've survived. Looking for Mr. Gilmore, he's actually down with the Realmseer. They're inspecting the ziggurat underneath the city, so you could head down there if you wanted to find him."

LIAM: Thank you. I'm not terribly familiar with Whitestone, could you point us in the right direction?

MATT: "It's under the castle."

LIAM: The castle.

MATT: "Yes."

LIAM: Can't miss that.

SAM: Yeah, we've been there before. Yeah, let's go.

LIAM: Let's go.

MATT: He puts his helmet back on. "Thank you again for all that you do." He clicks his heels together and continues walking through the city.

LIAM: All right, yeah.

SAM: I guess we'll head down to the ziggurat.

LIAM: Let's do it.

MATT: Everyone else going with?

TRAVIS: Fuck yeah, let's go.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah.

LAURA: We taking a trip?

TALIESIN: Sure.

MARISHA: Oh, are we all going down to the ziggurat?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Nothing else to do.

MARISHA: Sure.

MATT: All right. You make your way down to the basement area of Whitestone Castle, into the family catacombs, which have been cleaned up and you can see that Cassandra has put a little bit of care into restoring it to what it was before. The tunnel that was carved in has been given a little more support, and as you're making your way down a familiar tunnel, the same tunnel where you had the showdown with Orthax, you hear a few voices from up ahead. Two familiar voices. You hear the echo of some older, gruff, elderly gentleman and a little more rambunctious familiar voice. As they turn the corner, you see them deep in conversation. It's the Realmseer himself hunched forward with his white hair and balding top, turns around, "And it's a great mystery to me that they can put a - Oh, look! They've returned. Vox Machina themselves." Gilmore, at this point, opens his arms, standing and healthy, "My god, I've been waiting for you.

LAURA: (laughs)

ASHLEY AND MARISHA: Aww.

MATT: "And all of you so graciously clean!"

LAURA: You look so healthy, Gilmore!

ASHLEY: Very healthy.

MATT: "Well, I have you to thank for that. Still a ways to go, but -

LIAM: But in two or three weeks, it's not bad. You're looking well.

MATT: "Well, you all have Kima to thank for that. She's been quite attentive to my needs."

MARISHA: How is Whitestone finding you?

MATT: "Curious place, this Whitestone. It's - well, the company's interesting."

MARISHA: Sure.

MATT: The Realmseer laughs. He's like, "(chuckles) So I've heard." "(as Gilmore) We've spent a little bit of time looking at this strange oddity beneath the city, and I'm not going to lie to you, it's really confusing. I've a few theories on it, as does the Arcanist, but we're still comparing notes and we don't want to jump to any conclusions, as tests have been inconclusive and rather dangerous so far. However, before anything else goes underway, I believe there's a very important bit of business that we must attend to."

SAM: Business? What business, Gilmore?

MATT: And he walks straight up to Grog and just gives you a big hug.

SAM: Aww.

LAURA: Oh?

MATT: And pats you on the shoulder and is like, "(chuckling) You big lug."

TRAVIS: You… Gilmore.

(all laugh)

MATT: Walks over to you, Pike, and kneels down and gives you a little pinch on the cheek and is like, "Looking as spry and smiley as ever, I see."

ASHLEY: Hello, Shaun.

(more laughter)

ASHLEY: I give him a kiss on the cheek.

MATT: "Ohh."

ASHLEY: (laughs) Ohh.

MATT: He turns to you. "Vex'ahlia, look at you. I hear, if my words say correct, that you folks are a recent dragon-slaying bunch, hmm?"

LAURA: That we are.

MATT: "(chuckles) Good to know." Skips over you.

LAURA: Ohh.

ASHLEY: Save the best for last.

MATT: And goes to Scanlan and goes to ruffle your hair, and goes, "And you, you, my little bardish friend."

SAM: Little?

MATT: "No, you're actually physically little."

SAM: Oh, I know.

MATT: "You are a tinier person. Embrace it! It's what makes you different."

SAM: That's true, I suppose. I suppose. Yes, that's - absolutely. We've been spreading the good word about you and your works.

MATT: "So I've heard from all sorts of interesting folk. I only hope one day to wear clothes as fine as you."

SAM: Oh! That's a nice compliment.

MATT: "Percival."

TALIESIN: Good patron.

MATT: "Thank you for taking me into your home."

TALIESIN: You do nothing but brighten these halls.

MATT: "I'm… happy to keep things lit.(sighs)" At which point, he goes to look towards you. The Realmseer's sitting there tapping his arm; he's like, "(as Eskil) Right, get on with it, we've got work to be done." "(as Gilmore) Shh. You be quiet. These people have saved my life. Keyleth. Sweet Ashari princess.

MARISHA: Hi, Gilmore.

MATT: "You've grown. I can see it in your eyes." He gives you a big hug.

MARISHA: I give him a hug back.

MATT: "Vax."

LAURA: (giggles)

MATT: "Vax'ildan. Light of my eye. Smiling boy."

(all laugh)

MATT: And he walks up and puts his hands across your shoulders and kind of cups your face. "I've missed you most of all." And pulls you in for a big hug and lifts you up off the ground.

LIAM: Oh, hey, you.

LAURA: You're strong enough to - be careful of your wound, Gilmore!

MATT: As he sets you down, he's like, "Ooh, I shouldn't have done that. My apologies."

LIAM: I pat him on the ribs.

MATT: "Don't touch that. It's still very tender."

LIAM: It's fantastic to see you. You're a sight for sore eyes, yourself. We're very happy to see you.

MATT: "My sight is sore, so this works out well. But please, these tunnels are dank and not becoming of us. Dinner should be happening soon and you should join us, now that you've returned, please."

MARISHA: Oh, before dinner, I think we were all just curious on the state of the… ziggurat, as we were calling it.

LAURA: The orb.

MATT: "Let's talk over dinner."

MARISHA: Spinning orb of death, is what we call it.

MATT: "Let's talk over dinner."

MARISHA: All right, yeah, sure.

TRAVIS: Wait, you said you were doing tests on it, right? Did you throw things at it? Did it blow up?

MATT: "That is part of the test. Nothing blew up. Things did go away."

TRAVIS: They went away?

LAURA: They get sucked in, Grog.

MATT: "We'll talk over dinner. I hate to have this discussion without Allura here. I think this would only behoove the conversation if we're all present."

TALIESIN: An excellent argument.

LAURA: We have some delicious and very expensive wine to bust out.

SAM: Oh, yes.

MATT: "(chuckling) Well!"

ASHLEY: Expensive-ass wine.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Expensive-ass wine we could bust out with dinner.

MATT: "Color me intrigued. Well - "

LAURA: Oh, I haven't got to wink in a really long time, you guys. It felt so good.

MARISHA: Back to your old self.

LIAM: Hard life.

MATT: "It was a good wink. Finest in the land. Well, come to the surface, then! This place is dreary."

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: "You, too, Eskil." "Aye."

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: (as Eskil) "Too many smiles in this area. I like it. It's jovial. Don't see that around these places too often. It's good to see all of you. Come, now, yes, let's move!" You all eventually make your way back to the surface, to Whitestone.

MARISHA: I go to Vex and Pike and go, Is this a good opportunity for us to break out our formal wear?

ASHLEY: (gasps) Yes!

LAURA: Definitely, dear.

MARISHA: Okay.

TRAVIS: Oh, jeez.

TALIESIN: I genuinely have no idea what you're talking about.

MARISHA: The ladies take, like, 20 minutes.

TRAVIS: Let's be honest, it's two hours.

TALIESIN: 40 minutes.

TRAVIS: Fucking 20 minutes, my ass. On what plane are you right now? (laughs)

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Not the Feywild. But maybe soon.

ASHLEY: There's magic involved.

TALIESIN: Same plane as the break room. Five minutes is 15. (laughs)

MARISHA: (laughing) Yes, yes, yeah.

TRAVIS: “I'll be 20 minutes.” The next day…

LIAM: On the way out, as we're all walking out, I walk along with Gilmore and I give him just a gentle shoulder. Shoulder to shoulder. And say, It's really good to see you on your feet. It's the best smile I've had in ages.

MATT: "You and me both."

LAURA: While we're getting ready, I would like to talk to Pike about a certain proposal that happened. None of us have addressed it.

ASHLEY: I know, just because I just -

LAURA: What happened?

ASHLEY: What should I do?

LAURA: What did you tell him? Did you tell him yes, did you tell him no?

ASHLEY: I'm just so, you know -

MARISHA: Hang on, what exactly did he say, by the way?

ASHLEY: I just said we'll circle back.

LAURA: We'll circle back?

MARISHA: Circle back.

LAURA: (laughing) How did he take that?

ASHLEY: I think he was fine with it. He just understands that I just -

MARISHA: Treat proposals like we do our dungeons? (laughs) We circle back.

ASHLEY: Isn't that the only way to just treat all things? I guess, I don't know. I don't know.

MARISHA: (giggles)

LAURA: How do you feel about him, Pike?

ASHLEY: I just don't know. I just feel so confused.

MARISHA: I understand that.

ASHLEY: I just - he kind of wears you down a little.

LIAM: (cracks up)

ASHLEY: And there's something there, for him.

MARISHA: I don't know if that's a good reason to say yes, though.

ASHLEY: Oh, I don't know. He's just very charming.

MARISHA AND LAURA: He is very charming.

LAURA: And I noticed, he's becoming more charming.

ASHLEY: Yes, I know!

MARISHA: Yeah, what is with that? I didn't know that was possible.

ASHLEY: How? I feel like he goes to sleep and then the next morning he's like -

ASHLEY AND LAURA: Even more charming!

LAURA: I don't understand it.

ASHLEY: Why is that?

MARISHA: I don't know.

LAURA: Like, every once in a while I look at him and I go:

MARISHA: Yeah, no, and then I feel really -

LAURA: No, but he's small, but at the same time, I'm kind of interested.

MARISHA: Right! And you kind of think about it for a second and you entertain it, and then you feel really gross about yourself.

LAURA: It's like, you feel like - yeah!

ASHLEY: Yes! Yes.

LAURA: But if you're actually interested, then it's not gross at all.

MARISHA: No! Of course it's not gross if you're actually interested.

ASHLEY: I know. I just. (groans) I've had feelings for someone for a long time, but maybe they're slowly fading. I don't know.

LAURA: Wait.

MARISHA: Wait, what?

ASHLEY: I have. I don't know if I feel comfortable talking about it. But it's fine.

LAURA: We don't want to push you, Pike, but you know, it's just us girls here.

MARISHA: I know! And we've been through so many uncomfortable things together.

ASHLEY: (groans)

MARISHA: Most of life is so uncomfortable. Be comfortable right now.

ASHLEY: I just. I don't know. It's still something that I need to think about.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: We understand.

ASHLEY: I'm just.

LAURA: You pray to your Sarenrae about it.

ASHLEY: Okay. (laughs) You do look lovely, though, in your dress.

LAURA: You look beautiful.

MARISHA: You look so cute.

LAURA, ASHLEY, AND MARISHA: (laugh)

ASHLEY: Thanks. I do a twirl.

(more laughter)

MARISHA: I do a little air cantrip to make the skirt poof out.

ASHLEY: Ooh.

LAURA: I tug up my dress.

MARISHA: Hey, do you guys mind tying me up a bit?

LAURA: Of course!

MARISHA: Nice and tight. (grunts)

LAURA: Can you breathe?

MARISHA: (strained) No, but that means it's right.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: All right, I'm good.

TALIESIN: I assume there's clean clothes for everybody in their quarters, anyway?

MATT: Yeah, it's all good.

TRAVIS: I'm wearing the same shit.

(all laugh)

SAM: And the big hat?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: (laughing) To dinner. (shoonk)

TRAVIS: (laughing) Yeah. I paid money for this thing.

TALIESIN: And I'm going to arrange for our stuff to be stowed in the vault.

MATT: Okay. Not a worry. All right, so as the sun sets, you find your way down to the proper dinner table. Gilmore is there, Eskil is there, Cassandra is there…

MARISHA: We look fabulous.

MATT: You guys look fantastic.

SAM: They do.

MARISHA: Yes. We do.

MATT: Fine outfits have been provided for the men, if they wish to wear them, as well. Some do not.

TALIESIN: Oh, I am dressed.

LIAM: I'm dressed, yeah.

SAM: Oh, I'll dress up. I'll dress up for dinner.

MATT: All righty. As you guys sit down, pleasantries are exchanged - (yawns) Pardon me. You catch up a bit with Cassandra. Partway through -

LAURA: Aw, Matt.

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: What?

TRAVIS: He needs sleep.

LIAM: E3, y'all.

OTHERS: E3.

TALIESIN: Sit down, have a beer, watch our game.

MARISHA: (laughs) 2 pm.

TALIESIN: (laughs)

MATT: Within the next 15 minutes or so, before food is brought to the table, Allura finally enters in a very, very nice dress, and says, "It is so good to see you all are safe."

MARISHA: Allura!

ASHLEY: Hello.

LAURA: I give her a hug.

MATT: She then gives you a big, wonderful hug.

LAURA: How's Kima? We haven't seen her yet.

MATT: "Well…" She looks over this way and Kima walks in, for the first time you've seen her really out of armor since you first saw her. Her hair is also in similar braids to her side and she herself is wearing a golden dress, though she's kind of like…

TRAVIS: Yeah, I know the feeling.

(all laugh)

MATT: She comes in.

MARISHA: Kima.

MATT: "Hello."

ASHLEY: Oh, you look lovely.

MARISHA: Keyleth goes over and gives her a hug.

MATT: She gives you a hug and goes, "It's good to see you guys. I'm glad you're all right… This feels weird. Does this feel weird? This feels weird."

MARISHA: It's only for a few hours. Don't worry about it.

TRAVIS: What are you wearing?

MATT: "That's what I'm saying! Do I have to wear - he's not wearing anything. Do I have to wear - "

LAURA: You don't have to wear a dress, Kima.

MATT: "You don't have to wear it, Kima. It was just a suggestion."

LAURA: (chuckles)

SAM: Kima, he's -

MATT: "I'm going to go change. I'll be right back."

TRAVIS: Yeah, go change.

MATT: She darts off for a bit and Allura smiles and facepalms a bit.

SAM: You two are at the kiddie table.

(all laugh)

LIAM: You ought to let her try that helmet on later.

SAM: Show some class, man.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MATT: You guys catch up a bit as Allura speaks about her and Drake's escape from Westruun. Kima eventually comes back, wearing ratty clothing. Shirt, pants, the general wear she'd pick up throughout the city. And is still carrying her small maul at her side. It's like her little comfort blanket. (thud) Next to the table.

TRAVIS: Yeahhh. That's better.

MATT: She scoots up next to Allura. Gilmore snaps his fingers and wine begins to pour from the servants. Cassandra says, "Well, thank you all for coming. I believe there is much to get underway here. This - " And she gestures towards Gilmore and Allura, and they nod. Eskil raises his hand a moment. MATT: (as Gilmore) "So, while you've been gone. Allura, you've been doing this research for a bit." "(as Allura) Thank you, thank you. So, we've been trying to ascertain the nature of the ziggurat beneath the city. The ziggurat itself is built over what appears to be an ancient temple of Ioun. The glass substance, the diluted whitestone that has been reformed into glass, is used as a very strong arcane current. A lot of energy was being placed in this location, as there is an actual, what appears to be an arcane leyline, a nexus point, near and above Whitestone, hence the Sun Tree's placement.

TALIESIN: Yes, of course.

MATT: "And why it flourishes so well in this region. But everything within a certain vicinity of this temple, of this dark spot, if you will, is eaten. Doesn't vanish, it's not cancelled, it's taken. Devoured. Everything placed within that small little globule of darkness is taken somewhere as well. Now, at first, we thought maybe it was just destroying, but the arcane energy we feel, the flow of it, it's drawing it somewhere. Meaning that this is not what I had feared to be a sphere of annihilation, an object of complete destruction. Instead it feels like it's a siphon. Now, a siphon - siphons are very old. Siphons were used in the First War. They were used as a means of transferring extremely powerful… raw magical powers. They were placed strategically throughout the world's crust at these various nexus points as a means of creating extremely powerful relics. The ones that you seek, the ones that made the Vestiges themselves, were crafted through the use of some of these siphons, but they have been lost and, many thought, destroyed for a very long time, or at least inert. I have reason to believe that this may be one. And it may be active. As to where the other side lies, I do not know. Because each siphon has two points."

TALIESIN: So it's fair to assume that at the other end of this is something old, something trapped, something hungry.

MATT: "Perhaps."

LAURA: Would it be in this plane or another?

MATT: "I have no idea. Everything we've attempted to put through it that had any sort of magical connection, whether it be through inter-planal scrying, anything that would bring us to the other side of this, is crushed, consumed, and transferred as part of it. None of our rituals or enchantments will let us see through this spinning marble, as you call it."

LAURA: You haven't put any blood through it, though?

TALIESIN: Let's not.

LAURA: No, I'm hoping that hasn't happened.

MARISHA: So nothing survives the transfer. It is destroyed into its… purest components, it sounds.

MATT: "Seemingly, yes."

LIAM: Or is it - don't know? Is it that you have no idea what happened to things put through, or -

MATT: "We're still delving into it, and it may be a little while before we figure this out, but this is the best I can ascertain with my knowledge at my disposal. And the Realmseer and Gilmore can back up this research. We've all worked together these past weeks and we're all kind of coming to the same conclusion." She gestures to Gilmore. Gilmore says, "I've only been on this case personally for a few days of rising health standards in my body and I've thrown everything I can at it, honestly, and it's all just come to nothing. Gone. (pthbbt)"

TALIESIN: This is disappointing.

MATT: "You're telling me."

TRAVIS: What about a person?

MATT: "(laughing) I'm not sending a person through there.

MARISHA: To be fair, Grog, I might have tried that, a little.

SAM: What?

TALIESIN: Yes, that's right.

MARISHA: I sort of stuck my hand in the spinning ball of death and let's just say I'm glad I'm still here standing with you all.

LAURA: Was it sucking you in?

MARISHA: It did a considerable amount of damage to my hand and definitely felt like it was sucking me in and I had to resist pretty hard. But it seems like anything that goes in that sphere doesn't come out the other end intact.

LAURA: Gilmore - any of you, Allura - have you experienced any kind of draw toward the orb? Do you feel different, having been around it for very long?

MATT: Gilmore cocks a curious eye to the Realmseer. The Realmseer thinks and scratches his chin, looks to Allura. Allura looks down at the table with her arms crossed, looks to Kima. Kima's finishing her big drink. "(as Kima) I stay away from it. It creeps the hell out of me." "(as Gilmore) Not to my knowledge. Do you think we should be worried?"

LAURA: Well, I don't know. I mean, it is a very strong relic that we don't know how it works.

MATT: (as Gilmore) The difficulty in our research is most of our means of inspection are, well - "

LAURA: Up close and personal.

MATT: "Of arcane nature."

TALIESIN: I was hoping that perhaps we could talk about some engineering possibilities of finding ways that science can measure what it is where magic cannot. Something safe.

SAM: (scoffs) Science, Percy?

TALIESIN: In this sense, as it stands.

MATT: "(as Gilmore) We're open to all possible suggestions. We're kind of at the end of our rope for the time being. We may send a few of us across the way to, well, a few different places for more information. May do a bit of traveling ourselves, it seems."

TALIESIN: I'll sketch something with my copious free time.

MATT: "Hm. Please do."

SAM: No dragons have buzzed by here in our absence?

MATT: They kind of look to themselves. "(as Gilmore) None yet, but we've been very careful. We're in the process of installing some semblance of, (sighs) for lack of a better term, sort of a screen. Ways to reflect and perhaps cloud anyone who attempts to peer too far into the northern regions of Whitestone. The last thing we need is any of these dragons finding their way up north where you've kept all of us and the refugees safe, so we're trying not to piss any of them off, while also trying to make sure that maybe they're not really looking behind this curtain of cloud."

TALIESIN: Any fortifications would be helpful.

LAURA: Don't dragons sort of see past those things?

MATT: "We're doing our best to try and meet those standards."

TALIESIN: I have another request in that direction that might help. If there was a way to spread the word in this city and amongst those who travel, to not speak of us. We should probably not be hailed in this city at all. Our names should be stricken from any record of it.

MATT: Allura leans forward on the table. "No, I see. You're right. There is merit in that, though it will be difficult. Many here look up to you. They see you as the salvation of this city. But I believe we can go about and speak with them and help instill the idea that it's for the better good that you are not mentioned."

TALIESIN: Best to be nameless, at this point.

MARISHA: It's for their own safety.

TALIESIN: It's for everybody's.

LAURA: We-who-must-not-be-named.

SAM: The Unmentionables.

TALIESIN: (cracks up) You're a terrible person.

LAURA: (gasps) I love it.

MARISHA: Yeah. My choice is The Unmentionables. I like it.

MATT: Allura says, "I did find some research on some of these Vestiges you are seeking."

TALIESIN: Oh!

LAURA: Yes!

MATT: "There is - from what I could bring forth from the Cobalt Reserve in Westruun, there is an artifact that lies in the Feywild, swallowed by a terrible tree."

LAURA: Yes, the Warden.

MATT: "Is that the name of it?"

LAURA: The Wrath of the Fey Warden.

MATT: "So you've found some information yourself?"

LAURA: Just the name.

SAM: And that it's in the Feywild, but nothing more.

MATT: "(sighs) This tree that holds it, it's a tree seeded by the betrayal of an archfey whose hatred burned into a black heart of disease. The cleansing rivers of the Gilded Run prevent the spread of the Shademirk Bog that seeps from it."

TRAVIS: Sounds nasty.

MATT: "It doesn't sound very fun, no."

SAM: The Shademark Balg?

MATT: "The Shademirk Bog."

SAM: Ugh, it sounds awful.

MATT: "It seeps from this tree. It is held at bay by the rivers of the Gilded Run."

MARISHA: The rivers are called the Gilded Run?

MATT: "Mm-hm."

SAM: Okay. Well, that helps us. Those are clues.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: And the Shademirk Bog pours out of the tree?

LAURA: Out of the cancerous tree.

MARISHA: The tree is responsible for a swampy bog.

MATT: "From best I could ascertain from my research, yes."

LAURA: And Fen - Fenraths? Fen - what's the name?

SAM: Fenthras, Wrath of the Fey Warden.

LAURA: Fenthras is inside of the tree that is terrible.

MATT: "It is very possible."

TALIESIN: Oh no.

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Do you know anything about the Vestige itself?

MATT: "I don't, unfortunately. Most of the Cobalt Reserve was destroyed and I was under siege at the moment from the return of the dragons. (sighs)"

LAURA: Did you happen to find in your research what, perhaps, we might face in the Feywild? I mean, we've learned a little bit of it, but I know that it's going to be rather dangerous.

MATT: "I've not been there myself. It creeps me out."

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: (laughs) No? Sorry.

MATT: "I did find also about the Spire of Conflux. It is a staff that can bend the elements and was taken into The Abyss by Joran the Sea-Speaker, hero of the Verdant Expanse, about four centuries back, and was never heard from again."

MARISHA: Joran the what?

MATT: "Joran the Sea-Speaker."

SAM: He speaks to the sea?

MATT: "Perhaps."

TALIESIN: Or just the letter C.

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: Cookie Monster.

TRAVIS: Hero.

MATT: "I do have some research about the dragons, as well."

LAURA: Oh.

MATT: "I've done a bit of looking into the personality types, the habits of some of these chromatics you may be coming up against. The black dragon, you seemingly already dealt with, if word has come to me correctly."

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: "Which is magnificent and well done. Very dangerous. Let's hope they don't decide to strike back soon. However - "

LAURA: Good thing we didn't provoke them in the cave at all, Percival.

TALIESIN: If they came there, they would've been provoked, I figured.

MATT: "I did find that the white dragons, they're more primal. They're overall less intelligent than other chromatics." And some of this information you know.

LAURA: Yeah, why am I writing this down? I know this shit.

MATT: "But what they do is they - (sighs) well, don't let the lack of intelligence lull you into comfort. They are also unpredictable and raw. Dangerous hunters, they stalk in ruined lands of ice and vengeance. Their memory is eternal. They recall every slight defeat and have been known to hold vendettas for centuries and centuries. They despise other dragons and this loose alignment with Thordak is stranger than the others for the white dragon. Though Vorugal's distance to the others is intentional, most likely. I mean, the entire alignment between them is strange, anyway, but particularly with the white dragon. They generally steer very clear of, or are bent on destroying, any other types of dragons that may wander in their midst."

LAURA: (whispering) Interesting.

MATT: "Green dragons, in particular, are manipulative. Liars, by nature, finding pleasure in power over others. Through deceit and promises of wealth and glory, they corrupt. They play subservience to other dragons, then plot their demise to claim their hoards. They're the seedy underbelly of the chromatic world, if you will. They amass powerful allies, human and beyond, to their will, bending them and using them as tools. Their life and their very presence is poison to those around them, and is the very basis of their danger. They corrupt the air around them to be venomous. I found a bit about this Raishan you mentioned, and word has spoken, though little that exists out there, that she is also a very practitioned weaver of the arcane arts, so be warned."

MARISHA: So much so that she could almost pass as a druid wielding natural magic?

MATT: "I can imagine that's quite within her grasp. I've heard rumors of her calling the sky down upon her enemies. Previous individuals that hoped to raid her space were swallowed in quaking earth as she laughed from above."

SAM: Druid-y things.

MARISHA: I want to kill her so hard. (strained) I want her to die.

TALIESIN: Do we know where these - where these dragons have been all this time, where they were banished to?

MATT: "I mean, most of these dragons lived their lives wherever they once were before. Raishan used to exist in the mountains outside of Syngorn and actually had amassed a sizeable horde of followers, lizard-men. Lizardfolk, all sorts."

TALIESIN: Wait, then Thordak was banished to the Fire Plane?

MATT: "Thordak we had banished, yes. Thordak, in particular. Now, red dragons are true tyrants, built on impulse and rage. Arrogant to the core, they see themselves as rightful rulers over all. And Thordak, the king of all other dragons, as well. He is powerful enough to amass networks of spies and followers far beyond just the dragons that we've battled, I'm sure. So the more time that passes, the more powerful that network will become.

LAURA: (muffled) Oh, fuck.

TALIESIN: I've had a terrible thought, and it is sort of my business to have terrible thoughts. What else has been banished to the Fire Plane?

TRAVIS: The djinn?

TALIESIN: Well, I say this because if I were to slowly open the portal to the Fire Plane and power it and make it bigger and bigger and bigger, eventually it would be a hole into that dimension that's big enough for a dragon to fit through, but still not big enough for me, so I need to keep eating, to make it bigger.

LAURA: (gasps)

TALIESIN: And maybe they might be looking for what's down there so they can feed it and make a bigger hole. Just a thought. It may be nothing.

LAURA: You think there's something bigger than Thordak in the Fire Plane?

TALIESIN: It's - I have terrible thoughts. It's a terrible thought.

MARISHA: I mean, I'm sure there is something bigger than Thordak, probably in the Fire Plane, but we closed - the Fire Ashari closed the portal. That's our -

TALIESIN: That may not have been the portal.

MARISHA: That was the portal -

LAURA: That's the portal he came out of.

MARISHA: - that Thordak came out of. It ripped apart my entire -

TALIESIN: That may just be where he escaped. There might be - that power may still be flowing.

MARISHA: Well, Allura, how did you lock him in the Fire Plane to begin with?

MATT: "Well, we had, through clever subterfuge, managed to have a member of our team work as a follower of Thordak, work into his greater trust and convince him that to perpetuate his wealth, his growth, his strength, that he needed to truly embrace the essence of fire. And there are crystals, there are remnants of the First War that exist in this world and others. The very core of the elemental chaos itself, the hearts of the titans left behind. These heart-stones are the very basis, or, at least, shadows of the basis of what made the elements when creation came to be. We had found one of these on the Fire Plane, but the nature of these is that they cannot be removed. If they are brought beyond the plane themselves, they generally shatter, and the few that can be brought across temporarily, the magics that contain them do weaken, and those that attempted to harness their power leave it to ruin, destroying all around them before it whirls itself into a frenzy of uncontrollable arcane mass and destroys everything nearby. These were many of the fools who ushered in the beginning of the Second War. So. Essentially, we convinced Thordak to find one of these in the plane and convinced him that he had the power to contain it. Once there, all of our forces gathered and we attacked him, pressed him down, and the gem that we had convinced him - the heart-stone that we had convinced him to take into himself, well, we found a way to seal it, to banish it permanently to that plane so that he could not escape.

MARISHA: All right. So, that's all good. But he did escape.

LAURA: Could he still potentially have it inside of him?

MARISHA: Exactly! That was my question!

SAM: Well, she asked it, so, technically, it's hers.

MATT: She turns and you can see Gilmore's sitting at the table like this. "(as Gilmore)I got a very good close at that dragon. A very good close look, to finish my sentence. I've been drinking plenty of wine tonight, don't judge me."

LAURA: That's very - yeah.

ASHLEY: Expensive-ass wine.

TRAVIS: Been drinking.

TALIESIN: It's the best wine.

MATT: "It is very, very expensive, fine wine."

TRAVIS: Matt's Vineyard is the best.

MATT: "Thank you, Grog, it's wondrous."

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: "But his mass, his unforeseen size to a creature like that. I couldn't help but notice that within his torso there was a pulsing heart… of red glass."

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: Look how clever food makes all of us.

MATT: He looks over to Allura. Allura nods. "Well, if that is the case, then it's, I think, there's very much a chance that he did escape with the heart-stone intact."

TRAVIS: I have a question. We've got one of the Vestiges in these Titanstone Knuckles, made from the heart-stone. If I left the plane with these, are they gonna blow everybody up?

MATT: "(as Allura) An intact heart-stone is the true source of power. Those have been carved from one, an inert one, or, at least, they carry but a smidgen of the power. I think you're safe, Grog."

TRAVIS: Oh, thank god.

ASHLEY: Phew.

LAURA: Which one?

TRAVIS: Kord.

LAURA: Oh, Kord. I got it. (chuckles)

MATT: Allura leans in again. "I have been keeping an eye on Emon from this distance, as well. It seems that Thordak's very essence twists the land with elemental magic."

TRAVIS: (whispering) Oh, shit.

MATT: "My distant views of the city have shown the center of the town cracked with volcanic fire as he digs and burrows beneath the city itself.

TALIESIN: (whispering) Fuck.

LAURA: Oh, fuck.

TRAVIS: Wait, why is he digging and burrowing?

LIAM: He's reshaping the land as he sees fit.

TRAVIS: Or is he looking for something?

LAURA: Because he's a dick.

TRAVIS: Is he not looking for something?

TALIESIN: He might be looking for something, or might be making -

MARISHA: So these heart-stones embrace the essence of where they reside?

MATT: "Their essence is created where they reside."

MARISHA: And he has the heart-stone of the Fire Elemental Plane living inside of him.

MATT: "A heart-stone. There are many."

MARISHA: A heart-stone. Right.

LAURA: I'm confused.

TRAVIS: I need more wine. Do you think he was just making himself at home, or do you think he was looking for something?

MATT: "I don't know. He seems pretty lax. From what I could tell from my investigations, the major step in the Conclave's plan is already over."

LAURA: Take over everything.

MATT: "Now they settle into the divided territories and forget each other. Now, I feel that Thordak is far too old and covetous to be content with just Emon. Now, this was vengeance, which is now complete. Who knows what the next stage in his terrible design is."

MARISHA: So you're thinking the Chroma Conclave was simply a temporary alliance?

MATT: "There are very few permanent alliances between chromatic dragons."

LAURA: Well, that's good.

MARISHA: We can use this.

LAURA: Maybe they won't take vengeance.

ASHLEY: Maybe we can get one of them on our side.

TALIESIN: We can only be so hopeful that they tear each other apart.

LAURA: Maybe the white one will want to help kill Thordak with us.

MARISHA: Turning them against each other's not a bad idea.

TALIESIN: Our best hope, at this point, is just to amass power. We are not strong enough.

LAURA: No.

TALIESIN: But we will get stronger.

LAURA: Does the heart-stone make him even stronger than he already was?

MATT: "I don't know, but he was not that large when we sealed him."

LAURA: Shit.

TRAVIS: Seize.

MARISHA: So we can take - yeah, yeah.

LAURA: If we can pry it out of his body, we could shrink him down. Perfect plan.

SAM: Then we could go inside a dragon again.

LAURA: We can go in another dragon.

LIAM: Every one of them, one after the other.

TRAVIS: You seen any dragons on the outskirts of the town? Have there been any flyovers or close calls within, say, 50 to 100 miles or so? Any reports?

MATT: "Hundred miles. There were reports of the white dragon a week ago, south of us. Far south of us."

TRAVIS: Far south.

LAURA: Doing what, just flying?

MATT: "Just flying. Flying east."

TALIESIN: Unless they know what's underneath the castle, there's nothing of value here.

LIAM: Do we know where Vorugal has taken up roost? No one knows?

MATT: "No. I've tried to Scry, but they're apparently protected against that now."

TRAVIS: What about means of protection for Whitestone. Do you have a defense planned? A warning system?

MATT: "We're just getting now to that point. It may be a few weeks before we're ready to go. It's a lot to build and it's a very big space to protect, but me and Drake are working on some ideas. (sighs)"

MARISHA: Do you know exactly how these heart-stones are forged?

MATT: "They're not forged. They existed. They were the hearts of the primordial titans that existed on this world before the gods even came here."

MARISHA: Oh, that's right.

LAURA: Wow.

MATT: "They were the true denizens of this world, before any of us."

SAM: This is an awesome dinner, by the way. Super good.

LAURA: So good.

TALIESIN: I love game meat.

MATT: "I'm sorry, it's been a very tense time."

LAURA: This wine is pretty good.

ASHLEY: It's very good.

MATT: "Perhaps rest is in order for all of us. It's been a lot. I'm so sorry. It's good to see all of you."

TRAVIS: You, as well.

LAURA: You've done so much.

MATT: Allura brightens up a little bit. You can see that she feels guilty that she just did this information dump and is like, "(sighs) It's good to see all of you."

MARISHA: It was good to see you.

MATT: "(sighs) Well, let us rest for the evening." Drinks the last of her wine, stands up. "We'll talk on the morrow." She gets up. "Kima?" "(as Kima) I'm coming, let me finish."

LAURA AND MARISHA: (laugh)

MATT: (as Kima) "No, seriously, it's good to see you all. I'm glad you're all right."

LAURA: You should have been with us.

MATT: "I should've been with you. I didn't know you left!"

LAURA: Sorry, Kima. We're dicks.

MATT: "Is Westruun okay?"

LAURA: It's… better.

MARISHA: (whispering) It's not great, though.

LAURA: It's getting better.

TALIESIN: It lives. It lives.

SAM: That's true.

MARISHA: It stands.

MATT: "Does my house still stand?"

(all make hedging noises)

SAM: What's a house, really, but a bunch of bricks.

MATT: "Oh, it's fine."

MARISHA: Home is where you make it, Kima.

MATT: "Object impermanence. (glug glug) Next time you're going there, you tell me."

LAURA: Oh, yes. We will.

TALIESIN: We will be returning.

TRAVIS: On one condition. Don't wear any more dresses.

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: "You saying I wasn't pretty, Grog?"

TRAVIS: I like you in your armor better.

MATT: "That's why I missed you." She reaches out and smacks your cheek -

TRAVIS: Yaaah.

(all laugh)

MATT: "All right, kiddies, sleep it is." Kima gets up and joins Allura, and they both leave. Gilmore stands up, Realmseer stands up. "(as Eskil) All right, everyone. Rest well. See you in the morning. And, ah, glad you're all safe."

LIAM: Good night, Shaun.

MATT: (as Gilmore) Good night, everyone.

ASHLEY: Good night, Gilmore.

MATT: "Sleep well." They all leave.

SAM: So we rest here for a night or two and then, to the Feywild?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Feywild.

SAM: Or to the -

TRAVIS: We even have a geographic - demographic location to like -

SAM: True.

MARISHA: We do.

TALIESIN: I feel like the Feywild calls to us.

LIAM: What do you say we go get you a new bow?

LAURA: We could go get me a new bow. There's also the ocean.

SAM: Yeah.

LIAM: Nah. Let's get you a bow.

MARISHA: Let's go get you a bow.

ASHLEY: I'm going to pour another glass of wine.

TALIESIN: Ocean next.

SAM: Pike could go off to get the ocean one herself.

LAURA: No! You're crazy.

LIAM: That's a shitty idea.

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: I think you've had too much to drink, Scanlan.

LAURA: Or the two of you together.

SAM: Yeah, I like the ocean. I don't really like the ocean.

(all laugh)

MATT: You guys all going to rest?

MARISHA: I have one thing I'd like to do.

MATT: Okay, what do you want to do?

MARISHA: I want to go back to our little cave that we dug out under where the Sun Tree is. Is that still there?

MATT: Yeah, it's still there.

MARISHA: I want to go there, and I want to kind of sit down and meditate for a second. And I want to cast Speak With Plants and have a little chat with the Sun Tree.

MATT: Okay. (laughs) You cast the spell, you reach out and touch the roots of the tree, the roots of which have more color than they did before. The dull gray has become more of a full brown. The earth here smells of fresh, damp earth. The tree, while still in the winter phase, is definitely teeming with life, to where it once didn't.

MARISHA: I reach out and I touch the roots. Can I just kind of feel, sense the arcane ley-lines that Allura was talking about that the tree's in the center of?

MATT: Mmm… not really. In speaking to the tree, you can ask questions, but you're not quite - you find yourself unable to tune into that or tap into that source of magic. At this place, at least.

MARISHA: Okay. So I just reach out, touch the tree, and say, Hey, old friend. How are you feeling? Doing better?

MATT: "Hey, bud. Much better."

(all laugh)

MARISHA: You're pretty cool, Sun Tree.

MATT: "Sun Tree, A-OK."

(all laugh)

MARISHA: Hey, Sun Tree?

MATT: "Yeaaah?"

MARISHA: I was just wondering if you knew - if you could tell me anything about this terrible cancerous tree in the Feywild, if you knew anything about it? He might be like your brother or something.

MATT: "Tree cancer? What?"

MARISHA: No! No, okay. There's this tree in the Feywild and it might have a man living in it called Fenthras and -

TRAVIS: (quietly) The bow.

MARISHA: No, sorry, that's the name of the bow, the bow is in it, named Fenthras, and it might be a really sick tree. Can you tell me where there's a really sick tree, maybe in the Feywild?

MATT: "That sounds sad, but no. I don't know a tree like that, sorry. I've been here in Whitestone since day one."

(all laugh)

LIAM: Want to play hacky sack?

TALIESIN: Born and raised.

MATT: So I graduated from Berkeley and made my way to Whitestone.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: My twigs smoke the doob.

SAM: “Barkeley.”

MARISHA: “BARKELEY!”

ASHLEY: Put a pair of Birkenstocks on its branches.

TRAVIS: “Birkenstalks.”

MATT: (groans)

LAURA: “Birkenstalks?” I like it.

MARISHA: Hey, Sun Tree?

MATT: "Yeaaah?"

MARISHA: You apparently kind of live in the middle of all these arcane ley-lines of the world.

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: (cracks up)

MARISHA: How far do those stretch?

MATT: "Loooong way, Kiki. Loooooooong way."

(all laugh)

MARISHA: Can you kind of give me a rough idea? Do they go to the other side of the world? Can you stretch all over the world?

MATT: "Naaah, just right here. Pelor put me here for a reason."

MARISHA: Who? Pelor?

MATT: "Yeah."

MARISHA: Right. So you're not a natural tree, you're a tree from the gods?

MATT: "Sure."

MARISHA: All right. Well, anyway, you're really awesome, Sun Tree.

MATT: "Speak for yourself, Kiki."

MARISHA: Yeah, you're so cool. Okay, so it was good talking to you.

MATT: "You, too."

MARISHA: I'll walk through you soon. 'Kay, bye.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: And then I leave.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: I want to make a once-over on Vax and make sure that - "So you did, you got all the blood off, then?"

LIAM: What are you doing? Yeah, I took a bath.

LAURA: I mean, we got all cleaned up for tonight. I just want to make sure you didn't ruin it by keeping some of the blood in your freaking hair.

LIAM: Don't - don't I look all right? I'm fine! What's your problem?

LAURA: Nothing! Just making sure you're doing all right.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: All the blood's gone.

LIAM: Yeah. It's all gone.

LAURA: You're great.

LIAM: I'm doing much better.

LAURA: Good.

LIAM: Much better. You ready for the Feywild?

LAURA: So - fuck, no, not ready, but we can do it.

LIAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: Stupid to settle.

MARISHA: (snorts)

LAURA: I walk over to Percy -

TALIESIN: I was about to walk out the door, but if you're walking -

LAURA: Before you leave, I whisper in your ear, "You still have a little blood behind your ear."

TRAVIS: (gasps)

TALIESIN: Do you want to take a walk with me?

LAURA: (sighs) Sure.

TALIESIN: We take a very quiet walk around Whitestone. I want to pass all of the temples that are either still standing or destroyed. I just want to take a temple tour. Not stopping, not talking, I just want to see what they look like. Pelor looks good. The one in the cemetery?

MATT: The one in the cemetery is still under construction. That one needs a little more work.

TALIESIN: While in the cemetery - I assume that it's still a mess.

MATT: Most of the graves have been refilled, the corpses have been brought back. Most of the dead that were brought forth from the previous owners have been returned. That was one of the first orders of business that people who live here did, was to return their families to the earth.

TALIESIN: Is there - there were a couple of lords' crypts in there. Was there an Anders family crypt, at one point?

MATT: There would have been, yeah.

TALIESIN: Cool. All right. I'm going to walk back to the castle, with you in tow, and I'm going to find Zahra.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Are you going to tell me why you went and saw the Raven Queen?

TALIESIN: Yes. Come.

MATT: All right. You come back to the study where you originally found Zahra. She's still there poring over books, but is now half-asleep. She has a little candle that's starting to flicker out and she has her feet up on the desk and her tail's kind of curled up and she's falling asleep into the book as you walk in.

LAURA: (whispering) Dear -

MATT: "What, what, what, I - "

LAURA: We all need sleep sometimes, hon.

MATT: "Sleep's for the boring."

TALIESIN: I have a task for you, if you have the time and energy for something a bit quiet, but necessary.

MATT: "What do you ask, Percy?"

TALIESIN: I'm going to have the deeds to the Anders family crypt transferred to your name. I want you to clean it out. Throw the bodies wherever; he has disgraced himself. Clean them. And if you can, if you can find people who can do it, I want to very quietly, in that crypt, create a small shrine to the Raven Queen. This will help.

TALIESIN: And I bring out the vial of blood from the pit. "Perhaps they will know what to do with that."

MATT: "Intriguing."

TALIESIN: But I would like her to have a quiet mark in this city.

LAURA: Is this for you, or for my brother?

TALIESIN: …It's for your brother, so that he can help us. We're apparently all in this together.

MATT: "Intriguing!"

LAURA: I give Percy a kiss on the cheek.

TALIESIN: Oh. Thank you.

MATT: "All right."

TALIESIN: We need all the help we can get.

MATT: "Very well. I'm sure it can be done. I never owned a crypt before. I'm excited."

LAURA: It's exciting. (laughs)

MATT: She takes the vial and puts it on the table.

LAURA: I think it suits you.

TALIESIN: Tell anyone you'd like where I went. It's not a secret. I just wasn't ready to… I don't think your brother - I would hate for him to think I'm competing. I just had some questions.

LAURA: I won't tell anyone, Percy.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

LAURA: Your business is yours. And mine, because I noticed. (chuckles)

MARISHA: (snorts)

TALIESIN: Thank you for noticing, and… I'm trying hard not to make it my business. It's hard to remember sometimes. (sighs)

LAURA: (quietly) We're all family.

TALIESIN: That's awful, isn't it. (sighs) I'm going to go to my room -

LAURA: Oh! Percy!

TALIESIN: Yes?

LAURA: Sorry. If Zahra wanted to make some dragon arrows, could she use stuff here in the castle?

TALIESIN: I'll talk to my sister on the way out. I'll write her a letter and see if they can - they may have to delve into our materials for it, but I think we're good.

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: We'll talk about using our materials for such a thing and I'll - yes, will talk to her about that.

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: I'm going to do my little thing and if it works, great, and if not, we'll speak not of it for a while.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make your tinkering check.

TALIESIN: Better! 30.

MATT: That'll do.

TALIESIN: I craft a brooch. It's not even a brooch, it's a clasp. Using - I had built these pieces of it earlier on in the game. For the last three weeks I've been working on this. I've taken the raven skull that you gave me and made a mold and poured melted silver into a bird skull, a silver bird skull. Taken a ruby and set it behind it, built it into a clasp that does not reflect, and in it, put a sachet of - satchel…

MARISHA: Sachet.

LAURA: Sachet!

TALIESIN: Thank you, my brain? Coffee. Of myrrh and -

SAM: Frankincense?

TALIESIN: (snorts and laughs) Myrrh, sandalwood, and opium and dragon's blood. Not real dragon's blood, but dragon's blood -

SAM: True blood.

TALIESIN: Sap. It's a sap. It's a tree sap. Put the whole thing together.

LIAM: You've had opium this whole time and you never…

TALIESIN: It's not, it's just poppy.

MARISHA: Poppy.

LAURA: What does it do? What does it do?

TALIESIN: You will find out when I present it.

MATT: All right. Everyone else going to rest?

TRAVIS: No. I ran out of dinner super fast and I ran outside of Vax's room and I took the jug and I whispered into it, “oil,” and I poured one quart of oil on the ground outside of his door. Looked around real quick. Is there anyone in the hallway?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 10.

MATT: Looks clear.

TRAVIS: (giggles) And I run away.

(all laugh)

MATT: All righty.

LIAM: That was super awesome and I can't wait to see the outcome, but before that happens, I was standing right here when these two walked off, so I am waiting in the exact same spot for my sister to return.

MATT: A lot of time passes.

LIAM: It's fine.

MATT: A few hours pass before she returns, but she eventually does.

LAURA: Are you still here? You should go to bed.

LIAM: I will. I took a little bit of a nap.

LAURA: In the dining hall.

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: What?

LIAM: You're a grown-ass woman, and you're twice as strong as I am.

LAURA: I know.

LIAM: So your business is your business. Just… both eyes open, yeah?

LAURA: Always. (chuckles) I'm very perceptive. (cackles)

LIAM: Don't do that to me.

TALIESIN: That's two. Two winks! Ah hah hah.

LIAM: Don't - please don't ever, ever, ever - do that to me again.

LAURA: I love you so much.

LIAM: And if you do, you will never use that wink on me again. It is not for me.

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: Just… he's charming, but both eyes open, please.

LAURA: I don't know what you are talking about.

LIAM: Yeah, the fuck you don't. I'm going to go to my room now and see if I splat on the floor.

MATT: All right, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Come on, big money, no whammies.

(all laugh)

LAURA: Ohhh.

LIAM: Sorry, buddy, it's a 31.

MATT: As you approach the door, you look down and see a smear of dark, reflective oil across the walkway about two feet leading up to your room. You guys have a cluster of rooms in this long hallway, and it arcs around like an L. So you guys are in this big L of all your rooms scattered throughout.

LIAM: How thick is it? Is it viscous?

MATT: Yeah, it's pretty slippery.

LIAM: Put my hand in it. Does that stay?

MATT: The hand stays for a minute, then -

LIAM: Goes away.

MATT: Yeah, it's pretty thick.

LIAM: All right.

MATT: Also has a fume to it.

LIAM: Okay. I'm going to scrape a bunch of it up just into my hand, so I have a big handful of it, and I'm just going to go to Grog's room, and I'm going to slowly, just at the door, take time to write: “Grog smells like farts and” -

LAURA: I walk by him as he's doing this and say,

LIAM: Do you want to help?

LAURA: You know he can't read, right?

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: I picked specifically small words!

(all laugh)

LIAM: - “poo.”

TALIESIN: Oh, he can read that.

LIAM: And I draw - No. I'll tell you what I do. Pull down my breeches and I put the oil on my butt and I go (pfft).

(all laugh)

MATT: A little butt-print?

LIAM: A little signature.

MATT: All right. Well done.

TALIESIN: Preschoolers run amok in my gentle abode.

LIAM: Get busy living or get busy dying. Butt-print.

MATT: All right. You guys all get into bed. Anything else you want to get done?

SAM: I just told Pike she looked real pretty tonight and I go back to my reading.

MATT: Okay. You guys all find yourselves back to your respective rooms, resting for the night. Some doors adorned differently than others. Partway into the evening's resting, we'll say the wee hours of the morning, post-midnight or so, your door opens slightly, Vax. You hear a little (knocking sound) on your door.

LIAM: Yes?

MATT: You look over and you see Gilmore pop his head in with a soft smile. "I'm sorry if I'm waking you up, I - "

LIAM: It's all right.

MATT: "Here." And he produces what looks like a folded pile of material and throws it on the foot of your bed and goes, "Come, Vax, I made you a gift. Put it on, come walk with me awhile. We have a lot to talk about."

LIAM: I open it up.

MATT: It's a very well-crafted silk robe of dark blue and black. Beaded, nice against the skin. It's really, really nice.

LIAM: (quietly) "Give me a minute." There's a wooden screen in the room. I go behind it and wipe any oil left off my butt.

(all laugh)

MATT: That's fantastic.

LIAM: Everything looks all right. And I put it on.

MATT: All right. He waits for you patiently in the hallway.

LIAM: Yeah, sure.

MATT: So he begins walking along. Puts his arm out to you.

LIAM: Take it.

MATT: You take his arm. You guys walk up along the hallway. He leads you to a staircase that leads up further, and he goes, "I know a lot has happened these recent months. I've been watching from afar, keeping tabs on your journey best that I can. But I still know so little." You ascend the lengthy staircase and you make your way to the higher floor. You eventually open an intricate door and walk out onto a wide balcony on that tower that overlooks the grounds and the castle before you. Beautiful moonlight, the night air. You see the moon is nearly full and the white light illuminates the densely-forested countryside surrounding the castle. He closes the door and walks up to you at the edge of the balcony, looking over it all, elbows on the edge. "Some time has passed, Vax. And much of the world moves on to newer, greater threats. But true pain never really heals." He turns to you and steps up to you, looking you close in the face. "You hurt me deeply. And continue to hurt. Agony, for weeks, months. Pain I had never experienced. (deepening to a growl) It's all I can think about."

LIAM: Can I make an insight check?

MATT: You would, if you had time.

MARISHA: Oh my god!

LAURA: (gasps) I knew it. I knew it.

MARISHA: No!

MATT: The pain hits you suddenly, before anything else does, as you're lost in that face and the sudden feeling, the sensation of terror and horror. You suffer 18 points of piercing damage, and I need you to make a constitution saving throw.

LIAM: Oh, that's my specialty.

TALIESIN: (whispering) We don't know what the hell this is.

LIAM: Constitution save?

MATT: Mm-hmm.

LIAM: 11.

MATT: You feel the poison -

LIAM: I'll use Luck.

MATT: Roll again.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: 18. Okay. You feel what should be a pulse of poison hit your system and you just manage to fight it off as suddenly you look down and there is Gilmore holding a blade thrust into your stomach, your robes now beginning to fill with crimson red around the wound. It's at that moment you see him pull you in and stare into your face with a very, very low growl: "It's all I think about." And you watch as a flicker to his form happens and you see for a second there's a flash: not skin, but fur. You see teeth, you see whiskers, and the hand holding the dagger is facing the other direction. That's where we're going to end tonight's session.

(shocked exclamations)

MARISHA: Nooo!

LAURA: The rakshasa?

MARISHA: Is it a rakshasa?

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: Ohhhh.

MATT: We'll be back next week.

LIAM: That fucked with my head, Matt. What are you doing?

TALIESIN: Wooow.

MATT: What a rakshasa does.

SAM: Good job, man.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MARISHA: What the fuck?!

TALIESIN: Wow.

MARISHA: Has he been a rakshasa the whole time? Wait, is it the rakshasa who's different? Is it not Gilmore? So many questions!

LIAM AND MATT: (laugh)

MATT: Perhaps this will be revealed next week as we kick in at this very moment.

LAURA: Oh my god. Why does it always leave off when he's about to get killed?

MARISHA: Right! Why is it always you?

SAM: Because he's always almost about to die.

LIAM: This one did die! That one did die!

TALIESIN: Because he runs into all the rooms first and he makes out with everybody.

LAURA: Because you do. That's the thing.

TALIESIN: That's why it happens. He runs into the rooms first 1and he puts his tongue exciting places.

MARISHA AND LAURA: (laugh)

MATT: You also happened to lean in real close -

TALIESIN: I'm not yelling at you, man. I'm envious.

MATT: - and whisper in the ear of the rakshasa as he slowly slit its throat across the floor.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's right, you did do that.

LAURA: Oh, so what did you do? What did you do?

LIAM: I slit its throat, yeah.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: It's all right.

MARISHA: Hang on, wait.

MATT: It just wants to come back and show you the same love.

ASHLEY: (quietly) Okay, so it's not really Gilmore.

MARISHA: Oh, wait, did you get the final blow in the rakshasa in the Slayer's Take?

LIAM: Yes, I did. Yeah, I cut his throat.

LAURA: And you said something shitty to him.

LIAM: He threatened my family and I said, “Say something about my sister again,” and I slit his throat.

LAURA: Oh, nice!

MATT: Oh, boy.

TALIESIN: It's about to drop.

MARISHA: But he was dead. What the fuck is going on?!

LAURA: Did you chop him up?

TRAVIS: Well, if that's not a - that's not Gilmore, where is he?

MARISHA: No, 'cause I'm not a psycho.

SAM: This is exciting.

MATT: This will be interesting next week when we kick in.

TALIESIN: There's a fine line between psycho and practical.

MARISHA: I can see chopping someone's body up might be psycho.

TALIESIN: It's not psycho if you drive a very small car with a lot of trunk space.

TRAVIS: Nicely done, Matt.

LAURA: Nice, Matt.

MATT: Guys, great game tonight.

LAURA: Thanks, guys.

TRAVIS: That Raven Queen, whoo.

LIAM: Whoo.

LAURA: That can be the name of the episode -

LAURA: - is Yaaas Queen.

ASHLEY: Yaaas Queen.

(all laugh)

MATT: Awesome. Well, guys, we're going to go ahead and get home and rest. Hope you enjoyed tonight's episode.

TALIESIN: Is there going to be one more giveaway?

MATT: Is there?

LAURA: Are we doing another giveaway?

LIAM: There were two Loot Crates, one -

LUCAS: We'll do a giveaway afterwards.

MATT: Okay, we'll do a giveaway afterwards. Perfect. One more DX Loot Crate box coming your way.

LAURA: Thanks, Loot Crate!

LIAM: Thanks, Joe Madureira, for the art!

LAURA: Thanks, Joe!

ASHLEY: Get your posters!

TALIESIN: It's so cool.

LAURA: Thanks, Critters, for being awesome!

ASHLEY: We love you!

MATT: Hope you guys got to enjoy our silly E3 couple hours we did earlier on GameSpot. I'm sure that'll go up soon, anyway. But anyway, guys, we'll see you next week. Until then, rest well and, is it Thursday yet? See you then.

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