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Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki

List of Transcripts


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

ALL: (hollering) We play Dungeons & Dragons.

MATT: Sometimes, we're also a little slow on the exit there before we go live. But before we jump into our game tonight, we do have some announcements to get through, including our sponsor for tonight: Beadle & Grimm's. Sam.

SAM: Oh, hey, all you tripping billies. It's me, Bob Matthews, Dave Matthews' younger brother, and two-stepping into this ♪ satellite ♪ is Rick Matthews Bronstein, Dave Matthews' estranged second cousin once removed.

SAM and ROBBIE: ♪ Ooh, family! ♪

SAM: Oh, yes, this episode is sponsored by Beadle & Grimm's and their brand new, amazing boxed edition of our own Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn. Now, B&G wanted to hire DMB to promote their fantastic product, but Dave's a little too busy chilling with Jack Johnson, Hootie, and several of the Blowfish.

ROBBIE: ♪ But we were available ♪ (laughter)

SAM: Thanks, cousin Rick. ♪ (light guitar music) ♪ Anyhoo, this box is packed with exclusive items, including battle maps. That's not it. That's a battle map, maybe. Maybe. In-world handouts. Dude, this is fabric. That's very--

LAURA: Whoa.

MARISHA: That's very nice.

SAM: Expensive-feeling, yes. (laughter)

SAM: Jewelry and coins. Encounter and magic item cards, a GM screen down there somewhere. I'm an old man. (laughter)

SAM: ♪ And four bonus adventures ♪ In fact, me and my second cousin wanted to sing a song about it right now. However, we are currently under a cease and desist order from Dave's lawyers. (laughter) And we are not allowed to sing any of his songs, so instead, we are literally going to make a song up on the spot. Here we go.

LIAM: Sing it, Waterboy.

SAM: ♪ Oh yeah ♪
♪ It's in the air, It's airborne ♪
♪ Yeah, Tal'Dorei, And Tal'Dorei Reborn ♪
♪ Oh ♪

ROBBIE: ♪ You can be the coolest kid on the scene ♪

SAM: ♪ Yes, you can ♪

ROBBIE: ♪ With your brand-new custom GM screen ♪ (cheering)

SAM: ♪ I got some jewels, I got some coins ♪
♪ You better gird your loins, oh! ♪

ROBBIE: ♪ Oh, crap! ♪
♪ How do I beat that? ♪
♪ How about with a new sweet battle map? ♪ (cheering)

SAM: ♪ Beadle & Grimm's ♪

SAM and ROBBIE: ♪ Beadle & Grimm's ♪
♪ Beadle & Grimm's ♪
♪ Beadle & Grimm's ♪ (laughter)

SAM: ♪ Beadle & Grimm's ♪ (laughter) (cheering)

ROBBIE: I'm so mad at you right now.

SAM: Well, this premium tabletop experience is available in three tiers. Oh, there's more. The first tier is--

SAM and ROBBIE: ♪ Arcane ♪ (laughter)

SAM: Arcane, where you get this awesome box, and then--

SAM and ROBBIE: ♪ Awakened ♪

SAM: Terrible. Where you get this box, plus either the badge pack, the badge pack or the map vault. I don't know what this is, or--

SAM and ROBBIE: ♪ Exalted ♪

SAM: Terrible, possibly the worst. (laughter)

SAM: Where you get both. Check out everything right now yourself at ♪ And thanks for supporting the show ♪

ROBBIE: ♪ Crash to you, Matt. ♪ (laughter) (cheering)

MATT: Oh wow. Thank you, both of you.

ROBBIE: Thank you, Sam.

SAM: Thank you, Robert. I mean, Rick.

MATT: I appreciate that Robbie diverted into Creed while Sam just turned into full Adam Sandler character from the late 90s.

TRAVIS: ♪ Sloppy joe, sloppy, sloppy joe ♪

SAM: But really, this is great box, everybody. You should really check it out.

LIAM: This is Bobby Boucher. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Bobby Boucher.

TRAVIS: I love my mama.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. Thank you, Beadle & Grimm. It's super awesome what you guys have done with the book. Yeah, it's awesome. Check it out. Laura, you got some announcements.

LAURA: Oh, shit. Okay. This is more of a train wreck than normal, because--

TRAVIS: More than what we just saw?

LAURA: That was amazing. I am here to tell you we have merch in our store, but I don't have it to show, because I might have it in the dirty laundry, because I was wearing it. (laughter) Imagine, if you will.


LAURA: Of legend, The Legend of Vox Machina t-shirt.

SAM: Not just A Legend of Vox Machina.

LAURA: It's The Legend of Vox Machina t-shirt. It's black. It's got white picture on it. Oh, it's beautiful. Check it out in our store. Oh, and we also have this amazing black hoodie, of The Legend of Vox Machina.

ASHLEY: Ooh, can I put it on?

LIAM: We're going to paste it in, right?

LAURA: Can you post-- put this in my hand?

MARISHA: I'll talk to Schapiro. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Stop wearing the merch at home.

LAURA: Ooh, and the back, it's got cool purple stuff on it.

SAM: Wait, there's a bag?

LAURA: It's a back.

SAM: Oh, that's a back.

LAURA: Check it out in the store.

MARISHA: Can't you tell?

SAM: I'm sorry.

LAURA: ♪ ♪

TALIESIN: Improv is not miming, apparently.

TRAVIS: Nobody's going to do this for us.

LIAM: Now try it on.

MATT: Space work's like a seven.

TRAVIS: Arms out like a scarecrow.


SAM: Wow.

LIAM: Looks good.


MATT: What I am excited about is even when it's not actually here, Ashley still manages to put it on wrong in the cutest way. (laughter) It is the best.

ASHLEY: I put the hoodie on. The back is here. It's covering my face. (laughter)

MATT: That is amazing.

ASHLEY: I can't see.

MATT: Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Ashley. (laughs)

LAURA: Sorry I forgot the stuff.

MATT: It's okay. Crash back to you, Sam. You have something to talk about.

SAM: Oh, I do? Oh, yes. I do.


SAM: Guys, our animated series is out.

TRAVIS: It's out!


LAURA: Heck yeah!

SAM: I've seen it. Maybe you've seen it. The first three episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina are available right now on Prime Video. Episodes four, five and six release at 12:00am Pacific on February 4th. That's midnight tonight, guys.

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

SAM: I know. So after the show, we have to watch.

MARISHA: Staying up 'til 2:00am.

SAM: Just staying up, yep.

LAURA: Hell, yeah.

MARISHA: Doing it.

SAM: You should know that we're going to host our next watch party for episodes four through six this Tuesday, February 8th at 7:00pm Pacific on Twitch. Make sure your Prime Video account is synced up to your Twitch so you can watch along with our cast and guests and ask questions in chat. It's so exciting.

TRAVIS: Dude, I'm so pumped!

MARISHA: So exciting.

TRAVIS: We're going to answer all the secret questions.

SAM: Yes.

MATT: Fantastic. Thank you, Sam.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: I think that concludes our announcements for tonight.

MARISHA: It's all over the map.

TRAVIS: Poor Andy Dufresne.

SAM: Andy Dufresne. (laughter) Zihuatanejo.

MATT: (laughs) And on that note, let's go ahead and jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

ALL: Ooh! (drumming)

♪ Critical ♪
♪ Critical ♪
♪ It's Thursday ♪
♪ It's Thursday night! ♪

ASHLEY: ♪ One-by-one, we climb until we reach the top. ♪
♪ Two-by-two, we fall. ♪

LAURA: ♪ Will we meet our end or meet our destiny? ♪
♪ Hold your breath and roll! ♪

MATT: How do you want to do this?

ALL: ♪ It's Thursday night ♪
♪ All ye Critters, come join us ♪
♪ It's time to continue our plight ♪
♪ There is magic and mystery ♪
♪ Who knows what will happen? ♪
♪ He might! ♪
♪ But one thing's for sure, ♪
♪ We never give up on the fight! ♪

TRAVIS: ♪ From the healer ♪

LIAM: ♪ To the renegade ♪

MATT: ♪ We all share the same goal ♪

MATT and TALIESIN: ♪ Adding more allies ♪
♪ Taking more chances ♪

SAM: ♪ Hold your breath and roll ♪

MARISHA: You can certainly try.

ALL: ♪ It's Thursday night ♪
♪ All ye Critters, come join us ♪
♪ It's time to continue our plight ♪
♪ It's Thursday night. ♪
♪ There is magic and mystery ♪
♪ From darkness, our friendship will rise ♪
♪ But one thing's for sure: ♪
♪ We never give up on the fight ♪
♪ Oh, get ready, ♪
♪ Get ready, ♪
♪ It's Thursday night! ♪
(flames whooshing)

Part I[]

MATT: And welcome back. So last we left off, our band of heroes had been pursuing a few variable threads. You had come to Eshteross with information about this strange entity, the Nightmare King which you had encountered, who seemed to be responsible for a lot of the chaos bursting across the city of Jrusar that you had been either hearing of or present for. They also mentioned that they were under the employ of some individual named Armand. Eshteross says this sounds like Armand Treshi, a name familiar to you in some of these other investigations and it was said that possibly, in the coming event, a ball of sorts, that is being held in under a week here in the city, may be interest in trying to find out more about the individuals involved, if not other ventures. You okay, Marisha?

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

MATT: Okay. (laughter) (squeaking/honking noises) You also found the individual that Chetney was looking for, Gurge, who gave you some information about where to find out the whereabouts of this troop of hemocraft-based warriors that had essentially found ways to keep their beast at bay, may be able to teach you. Now with this, you're able to also speak, at Eshteross' introduction, to Oshad "The Anger" Breshio and the family of which he was protecting when two of the family members were killed recently by a very familiar assassination attempt. Gathering a bit of information and a direction into Heartmoor to find more information, you also finally had a path into the Conservatory that you've been waiting for since your arrival in Jrusar. Late into the evening, you all went up and waited patiently as Imogen went through the library to seek any information that might help unveil answers about her strange, reoccurring nightmares and her odd abilities, and you found some. Something, at least. Possible rumors and theories about seemingly historical recurrences of similar visions and dreams by others. And a name, a familiar one, that of your mother, Liliana Temult, before the remainder of this one report was seen torn and missing. And that's where we left off. So Imogen, as you stand there, poring down upon at least the bulk of this report tome that you were able to locate, the rest of it missing, the possible ramifications of this information washing over you. What do you do?

LAURA: The page or the student that's helping me?

MATT: Mm-hmm, the scribe, yeah.

LAURA: The scribe. Can I ask him: How could pages be torn out of this? I thought these books were protected.

MATT: He takes it. "This is very unusual and a great shame. I apologize. It is not often that individuals that use our space vandalize any of the pieces here. This has gone by under our noses without notice. I appreciate the heads up. We'll go ahead and look into it immediately."

LAURA: Do you keep track of who checks out the books?

MATT: "We generally have some semblance of information. I can look into it."

LAURA: Maybe find out who had them last.

MATT: "That would be the first order of our investigation."

LAURA: I would very much be interested in knowing that.

MATT: "That would be official school investigation, and do note, as an individual who also is seeking this information, we'd have to make record that you were the last individual with the tome, as well."

LAURA: Sure. But you were with me. You know I didn't do it.

MATT: "I believe so, but I was with a majority of those who would've had the tome, as well. I'll go look into it."

LAURA: You were with the people that would've had the tome?

MATT: "It would have been myself or one of the other scribes who were specifically assigned to this portion of the library."

LAURA: Do you remember anyone checking this out with you?

MATT: "Not in some time. If you don't mind waiting for a moment, I will look into our records."

LAURA: Sure.

MATT: You sit there, left in the late night silence of the library, the occasional distant echoing cough or sniffle or a shuffling of the other four individuals that occupy the library space this late at night. Otherwise, this open space around you is almost oppressive. You can glance up and see the tall, thin glass windows that look out into the starry sky. Then you ponder over the immensity of what any of this could mean.

LAURA: Do I know how late it's gotten?

MATT: You would gather, at this point, it's well past midnight. It's not super, super early morning, but it's now a hour past-- A short time later, the scribe returns, looking over a small, leather-bound notation book, goes through. "The-- Oh dear. The last individuals to have checked this book out were the-- the late Lumas twins.

SAM: The who, the what?

LIAM: The Lumas twins.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

MATT: "I apologize. I wish I could be of more help, but."

LAURA: Thank you very much. I'm sure I'll be around more. What was your name again?

MATT: "Oh, Tiron."

LAURA: Tiron, I really appreciate everything.

MATT: "Of course. It's my pleasure to have something to do this late at night, beyond just read my research, so."

LAURA: Well, have a wonderful evening, and--

MATT: "You as well."

LAURA: -- good morning.

MATT: "That, as well. I'll escort you off."

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: The rest of you have been spending your time however you can, whether it be by napping on the exterior steps of the Conservatory, or talking amongst yourselves. Eventually, you hear the familiar footfalls of Imogen across the stone floors, exiting the front chamber doors of the Conservatory.

LAURA: Oh, before I leave. Is Professor Kadija Sumal, I don't know if I said that right.

MATT: Kadija, yeah.

LAURA: Kadija, do they work here at the Conservatory?

MATT: "I am not familiar with a professor of that name. My apologies. There is no one here at the Conservatory of that name."

LAURA: Thank you very much.

MATT: "Of course."

ASHLEY: I found some coins in the fountain.

LAURA: Oh, you did?

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: You know people make wishes on those.

ASHLEY: Well, how do you think they come true?

LAURA: That's wonderful, Fearne.

ASHLEY: I don't know how they come true.

LAURA: Oh. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Anyway.

SAM: How'd you do in there?

MARISHA: Yeah, what was it like?

TALIESIN: Did you book?

LAURA: I-I-I found a book about dreams and powers, and it was written by a professor who doesn't work here. I need to find out. But they did a study, and my mom-- my mother was part of it.


LAURA: I don't-- I don't know. It got to-- Oh god, there was so much. I'm so sorry, it's so late, you guys. It got to the part it was just really getting interesting, and I have no idea why she was part of it, and then the pages were ripped out, and apparently, the pages were ripped out by the Lumas twins.

LIAM: The twins?

LAURA: The twins. How are they wrapped up in all this? How am I wrapped up in what they're wrapped up in?

LIAM: And you're sure?

LAURA: That's what the scribe says. I don't think he was supposed to tell me that, but he did.


MARISHA: The plot thickens.

SAM: Wait, the Lumas twins were--

MARISHA: The ones who died.

SAM: Yes, yeah, yes, but they were interested in dreams?

LAURA: They were interested in--

LIAM: The stars, planetary bodies, celestial bodies.

LAURA: That's what the book was also about.

SAM: Oh, okay.



LAURA: The moons giving power.

LIAM: That's what you were looking into?

LAURA: Yeah, I wanted to find out why I started getting the powers that I did, why they timed up the way they did.

ROBBIE: When you say your mother was a part of the study, was she a researcher, or an actual person in the study?

LAURA: I think she was someone in the study. I don't know.

ASHLEY: Could you ask her?

LAURA: I don't-- She's gone, Fearne. I don't know her.

SAM: Like dead, or--?

LAURA: I don't know her. I don't know.

MARISHA: Did your--

SAM: Did you ever know her?

MARISHA: Did your father ever talk about this?

LAURA: Talk about her? Never. Any time I tried to bring her up, it was like he just turned off. Part of me thinks that's one of the reasons he stopped coming around me. Once everything started changing, it's almost like he knew that he'd give something away. I just thought he was uncomfortable. I didn't know-- I don't know.

SAM: But he was keeping her a secret or something?

LAURA: I mean, I know she existed. I know who she was. I don't know anything about her.

TRAVIS: Did your dad ever say anything about your mom having the same sort of gifts? Nothing like that?

ASHLEY: Do you happen to know if she's still alive, or you don't know?

LAURA: I thought she was-- I hear her in my dreams. I think it's her.

LIAM: Do you think that she was here? Or that the book just made its way here?

LAURA: I think the book made its way here. This professor, this person that wrote the book, they're not here, so.

MARISHA: I wonder if we can track them down. Do you happen to know how long ago this book was made? I mean, if it was revolving around your mother.

LAURA: That's true. It could've been years before I was ever. I didn't ask. I'm an idiot, I didn't ask.

SAM: The book was studying your mother as a subject, or she was one of the--

LAURA: She was one of many subjects.

SAM: Oh, okay.

ROBBIE: Most universities, books that are written, research papers, they're part of a study, they communicate. If you're allowed in the library, are you allowed in the rest of the university?

LAURA: I don't know.

MATT: The paperwork that you were given offers you access to the--

LAURA: The library.

MATT: The premises, to the level that a student would.


TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MARISHA: Maybe the university knows where this professor is.

TALIESIN: You said the book was damaged, though. Or no, the Lumas twins--

LAURA: Potentially had ripped the pages out. So maybe the pages are at their house, or--?

TALIESIN: Well, I mean, that's a lead, in my opinion.

TRAVIS: Yeah, refresh my memory. The Lumas twins, Bell and Jar, they were killed?


TRAVIS: The Hunger-- The Anger was--

MARISHA: By a similar attack from--

TRAVIS: Right.

MARISHA: -- Orym experienced.

TRAVIS: They were in their 20s, right?

LAURA: Yeah, 22, I think.

MATT: Imogen, you do recall that in the paper, it did note that Professor Kadija Sumal, was based out of the Aydinlan Seminary in the city of Yios.

LAURA: Oh, right.

MATT: The capital of Aeshanadoor. It's far to the southeast of here.

LAURA: Oh, okay.

MARISHA: Wait. One more time for the people who didn't get that. Not me, though.

MATT: Aydinlan, A-Y-D-I-N-L-A-N Seminary.

MATT: In the city of Yios, which is Y-I-O-S.


ROBBIE: Would we-- Just knowing that name, would you know what type of religion was being studied there, or is that sort of a question mark?

MATT: Make a history or religion check, your choice.

ROBBIE: Oop. Seven.

MATT: Seven? I mean, the best that you can recall in your travels, and knowing Marquet decently, the city of Yios is, it combats with Ank'Harel as the center of academic study, and is often touted as the pinnacle of academia in Marquet. It tends to be more aloof against the rest of the political... interactions across the continent and beyond, and if you aren't taking a direct route in with an escort, the path to get there is challenging.

TRAVIS: You really shouldn't sleep on that student access. You could wander into a lab. I hear they experiment with all sorts of mind-altering shit. Get a free ride.

SAM: And Frisbee golf.


LAURA: That's true.

SAM: On the quad.

LIAM: And--

TRAVIS: Open your horizons.

LAURA: You know, I think I'm going to hold off on that, just because, you know, if I get kicked out before I get a chance to do any more research, I'll be kind of bummed.

TRAVIS: Suit yourself.

TALIESIN: Is this free ride theoretical or from experience? I just want to know.

TRAVIS: I've experimented with quite a few things in my day. Sometimes, it's a free ride. Sometimes, you pay.

LIAM: Who's got the map?

SAM: It's behind you.

LIAM: Is it?

LAURA: You've got the map.

LIAM: I don't think I do. You guys would see it poking two feet above my head, if I had the map. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I just assumed you were a save point.

LAURA: Is it on the map?

LIAM: I don't know.

ASHLEY: I have something written down. I don't know if this is important.

ROBBIE: It's a good start. Yeah, yeah, yeah, a good start.

LAURA: The city of Yios is down below the map.

LIAM: Off the map?

MATT: Yeah. It's off the map, way in a southeast direction.

LAURA: It's far away.

MATT: There is the Hellcatch Valley between that region and where you are now. The Hellcatch Valley sits central to Marquet, and is the lawless waypoint between the other major regions. Now there used to be more skyports, but the-- How is it called? The Apex War, roughly two decades before that happened between Aeshanadoor and the Stratos Throne, both locations destroyed their skyports, and haven't put them up since. So right now, the only skyports that exist officially in Marquet are Ank'Harel and Jrusar.

LAURA: Oh wow.

MATT: Which has brought a lot more trade and a lot more business into Jrusar ever since, but it also means those two other major players in the politics of Marquet have been a little more isolated and slowly rebuilding their political outreach.

TALIESIN: I appreciate the "officially" that was snuck in there, by the way. That's exciting. (laughter)

SAM: Fearne, you had something very important to say.

ASHLEY: Oh, yes, well, it looks like I wrote, this is probably, means nothing, but a friend of Brushad's, Estani?

LIAM: Yeah?

ASHLEY: Was also from Yios, and it said we could talk to them about the attack. I can't read what the rest of what I wrote, because it's squiggles.

LIAM: Well, I was going to ask you, Imogen, first, are you going to spend any more hours or days searching here, or--?

LAURA: I mean, I was there for quite a while, wasn't I?

SAM: I mean, yeah, but if you didn't find what you were looking for, we should keep looking.

LAURA: I feel like that's what I was looking for.

SAM: But I mean, you didn't learn about your condition or anything.

LAURA: I wonder if I could check that-- No, I can't check the book out, because I turned it in because it had ripped out pages, because I'm really smart.

MATT: As is the nature with most students, the official tomes cannot be removed from the library. You are welcome to spend time copying them, which is what some students do. If not taking notes from them, there are people whose jobs are to scribe one to one those tomes if they are to be included to other libraries. It's a bit time-intensive.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: But it's doable.

LAURA: Did I take notes on the other people's names that I saw in there?

MATT: Well, there were probably like three dozen names of people that, in some way, shape or form, were contacted as a part of it, and then there were a number of other names that were mentioned through history, of people that were historically written to have spoken about having similar visions. So yeah, we'll say you noted a number of names as you went through.

LAURA: Okay. Did it say in the book when it was written?

MATT: You didn't get there because it was torn out.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: Like Ash said, we could maybe double back to the Lumas house and if that doesn't turn anything up, there is the Heartmoor Hamlet.

LAURA: I mean, we need to go there anyway.

LIAM: I do.

LAURA: It's certainly a good lead.

MARISHA: And that was where the Lumas twins were studying.

LAURA: That's where his patron was sending us too, so. It all lines up.

LIAM: That's wild.


SAM: Oderan Wild. (laughter)

SAM: But that's far journey, right, and we have--

LAURA: It's a few days.

SAM: We have a ball to attend.

LAURA: Yeah. We can go after the ball.

TALIESIN: Party, then work, I think is the way to go.

SAM: That is always your philosophy.

TALIESIN: Well, it's party then party until you have to work, but yes, yes, you're technically correct. That's-- (sighs)

MARISHA: All right, well, what are some loose ends we need to do in town? Do we still need to sign this contract with Eshteross?

TALIESIN: We also need to figure out-- I assume we have to wear things if we're going to go to this thing.

MARISHA: Oh, right.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Got to get a tux for Pâté.

TALIESIN: That, I approve of. (chuckling)

LAURA: I wonder if a few days is enough time to get that custom made.

MARISHA: If not, maybe-- Chetney, do you know how to sew?

TRAVIS: Basically, just to repair my own stuff, I can't make fancy shit.

TALIESIN: You should definitely repair your own stuff.

TRAVIS: What're you talking about?

TALIESIN: Nothing.

TRAVIS: This is all character, baby.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Yeah. Very. I can sew, but it looks like this.

MARISHA: It's pretty gorgeous.

TALIESIN: Thank you, I don't think it's going to get us in the door, though.

MARISHA: Even if I could find him a tiny bow tie, that might suffice.

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: If we're sticking around, then, that means that Imogen can keep going to the library over and over and see if--

LAURA: Every night.

SAM: Yeah, and see if she can figure out what's going on in your noggin.

TRAVIS: Yeah, is there any reason to look up the other books that the Lumas twins might've checked out?

LAURA: That's a great idea.

TALIESIN: Holy shit.

ASHLEY: That is a very good idea.


LAURA: Oh my gosh.

TALIESIN: Just a really good idea.

LAURA: Chetney, that's really smart.

TRAVIS: Yeah. My favorite movie's "Seven," so.

LIAM: Favorite what?



MARISHA: That would be his favorite movie. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Makes so sad.

LIAM: What's in the book? (laughter)

TALIESIN: What's in the box? No.

LAURA: I can come back tomorrow night.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: Yes, maybe we can also find out more about-- Other things. Other things.

LAURA: Yes. A lot of other things.

SAM: Are you being vague on purpose, or--?

MARISHA: No, I just couldn't think of any at the moment.

SAM: Oh, cool, cool. (laughter)

SAM: It's late now, isn't it?

LAURA: Yeah, we should go to sleep.

MATT: It's probably somewhere close to one in the morning.

LIAM: Jeez.



LIAM: That was a lot of books.

TRAVIS: Get turned up.

TALIESIN: Some reading, some potions. Get ready to party, to leave town. This is all exciting.

LAURA: Yeah.


LAURA: Go back to our--

LIAM: Sleeping Spire.

LAURA: Our tavern.

MATT: Okay, so you're heading back to the Spire by Fire? Okay.

LAURA: We have not checked in with Zhudanna in quite a few days.

MARISHA: Oh goodness.

LAURA: Maybe we should sleep there tonight just to make sure she's okay.

MARISHA: All right, let's try not to wake her, though. It's so late.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. So the rest of you go and take a room out, or rooms out at the Spire by Fire. So you could easily uncomfortably fit all of you in one room or comfortably fit you within two or three. That'll run, let's say about a gold for the two rooms for the night.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I got it.

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: We're sleeping at Zhudanna's.

MATT: They're modest sized. As you both make your way to the Windowed Wall and approach the exterior of Zhudanna's homestead. The door is closed.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: (laughs)

LAURA: We go and unlock it and go in. Can we go in?

TRAVIS: Check for traps!

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: What's wrong? Does it look fine? What--

LAURA: Is it okay? Does it look weird?

MARISHA: Has she watered her flowers?

MATT: Make a perception check. (clamoring)

TALIESIN: He's fucking with you.

LAURA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: How could you be so careless?


LAURA: 12.



MARISHA: Wait, wait. Nope. Nope, that's a 13, not an 18. 16.

MATT: 16. Still pretty decent.

MARISHA: 17. (laughter)

MATT: You realize that the door--

TRAVIS: Will you take 18?

ROBBIE: So many numbers!

TRAVIS: Maybe 15? (laughter)

MATT: (stuttering sounds) - teen?

LIAM: Will you take 15 and a half?

MATT: One dollar.

TRAVIS: (auctioneer patter) 45, 50.

MATT: You find that the door isn't locked, it is slightly jammed and it's been this way before. It's the way that Zhudanna could just lift and push it open.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: We've got to fix that for her.

MATT: The smell of a recently-fizzled oil lantern fills the air. It is lightless in the interior. You glance inward and you can see those Dancing Lights emerge as well sitting in the far recliner, Zhudanna.

MARISHA: She awake or asleep?

MATT: She appears to be unconscious.

LAURA: Why is he making it sound like she's dead?

MARISHA: I know!

SAM: Can't tell if she's awake because she doesn't have a head. (laughter)

LAURA: Oh no, what if she's like-- What if she just-- Does it smell funny? Does it smell funny?


MARISHA: She's breathing, right? Is she breathing?

MATT: You rolled high on that perception check. Yeah, she's breathing. She's asleep in her chair.

LAURA: Jeez louise, Matt!

TRAVIS: You got some mileage out of that one, man. "You smell a metal smell."

MATT: She's just asleep.

SAM: You can't tell how regularly she's breathing. Could be shallow breaths.

MARISHA: All right, well, put her to bed.

LAURA: Lead her to bed.

MARISHA: Yes, we lead her to bed.

MATT: She half wakes up. "Oh, I was wondering where you were." Lead her back to bed. "Are you hungry?"

LAURA: Oh, go to bed.

MATT: "Okay."

MARISHA: We'll chat in the morning.

MATT: She goes right to bed and transitions immediately back into whatever dream had held her.

LAURA: I thought she was dead.

MARISHA: Maybe it's just because I've got death on the brain. I don't know.

LAURA: Like, what if something we did led someone here and then-- (sighs) We got to check on her more often.

MARISHA: Yeah, we should.

LAURA: She is old.

MARISHA: She could die at any moment. She's just so frail.

SAM: "I can hear you." (laughter)

SAM: "I'm still in the room." (laughter)

MATT: So you all get your long rest for the night, preparing for the following morning. Now, counting from where Eshteross had told you, you're about four days from the ball.


MATT: But--

LAURA: Sorry. Were the dreams any different having read the information I did, or was it the same as it always is?

MATT: Well, you don't have this dream every night. It's not a particularly intense nightmare every single time. It's just a recurring one.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: This was a restful night's sleep comparatively. Still, your brain processing memories and pieces of other dreams, and when you come back to consciousness, unable to really recall what it was that you were experiencing, but nothing as visceral and as intense as the often-recurring red storm.

SAM: We're all together again, or--?

MATT: Yes, you all managed to meet up once again. Breakfast is had. The day is yours. What would you like to do?

TRAVIS: Do we need a long rest? We didn't do anything, right?

LAURA: I don't think so.

TALIESIN: Sleep is good. Without it, you feel shitty, so. I feel like that's an accomplishment by itself.

LIAM: Does anyone have anything to do besides kill time before this 'do?

SAM: There's some items that I could use, or some upgrades that I could use to perform different, newer tasks.


MARISHA: I'd like to go shopping as well.

TALIESIN: I would not say no. We need potions, we need some shit.

ASHLEY: Oh, are we going to go shopping?

MARISHA and LAURA: ♪ Shopping ♪

TRAVIS: If we go shopping, don't go to the Prison Emporium.

SAM: The Prison Emporium?

TRAVIS: Yeah, whatever that place is called. It's a fuckin' rip off. I got business there later.


SAM: The Prism Emporium?

TRAVIS: That sounds probably more likely.

LIAM: That sounded really loaded.

TALIESIN: Do we want the expensive places, or do we want the cheap places?

MARISHA: Always cheap, but also with magic?

TALIESIN: Would Emenar's have magic shit or no? I don't think we've been to Emenar's yet.

MATT: You have not been to Emenar's yet. Emenar's may occasionally rarely have something, but it--

TALIESIN: It's not the vibe.

MATT: It's not the vibe. Those are rare, scavenged elements when they do show up.

TALIESIN: It's not the Take-it-or-Leave-it. Man, thinking.

MATT: Places that you could think of, there's the--

TALIESIN: Prism Emporium, I guess.

MATT: The Prism Emporium. There's the Trove of Marwa. There is...

TRAVIS: Trove of Marwa.

ASHLEY: Advik's Wandering Curiosities and Collections?

TRAVIS: "Marwa Endalia." I don't know what that means.

TALIESIN: That sounds fun. Trove sounds fun.

MATT: Your call.

LIAM: Also-- Oh, go ahead.

MATT: Your call.

LIAM: There's a dress code, too. I don't-- How do we-- Maybe you know.

ROBBIE: Oh, dress code, not so much you have to dress a certain way, but you want to present a certain air. Upscale, I would say, for certain, probably not cheap. Everyone looks nice, I think you all look nice. You look very nice!

LAURA: If we're going to a ball, we need nice clothes.

ROBBIE: Correct. That is correct, yes.

TRAVIS: What happens if you don't wear nice clothes?

ROBBIE: If you don't?

TRAVIS: Yeah, do they not let you in?

ROBBIE: Less so. More so, you wouldn't be able to utilize the social experience of a ball. People wouldn't want to talk to you, you'd be off in the corner by yourself, and-- No, no, no, no, no. None of that. Not in a good way.

TRAVIS: You're selling this real hard. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I'm digging it.

ROBBIE: I think if you trust us, we can make you up and you could feel just at home.

TRAVIS: Trust.

ROBBIE: All right. Yeah, that's my opinion.

LIAM: I mean, I feel like you have the most experience with a performance, right? And that's what this is. We want to fit in, it's a performance. Do you want to style us?

TALIESIN: Do you want to dress us?

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MARISHA: Please dress us.

ROBBIE: I would absolutely love to, yes! (cheering)

ROBBIE: Absolutely.

TALIESIN: The less I have to think about this, the better. I'm very excited.

MATT: In your times that you spent, though not detailed elements, one thing you did clock as you were traversing through the Lucent Spire, in that brief, brief spin that you guys were doing recently, you recall a location referred to as The Golden Veil. It looked like a high-end clothing and attire boutique.

TRAVIS: Goddamn it.

LAURA: It's probably too late to get something custom made.

TRAVIS: Probably too late, yep.

ROBBIE: Actually, most sort of nicer places do have a in-house alterations person. It shouldn't take more than a day or two per person. For someone with your size and stature, not quite a bit of material to work with, so it should be pretty quick.

LIAM: So better to get that order in today because they might need time to get stuff ready for us.

LAURA: Yeah.


LAURA: Then even if we don't get invited to the ball, then-- What?

LIAM: I don't know, your husband is just funny.

MARISHA: He just hates it so much.

TRAVIS: Taliesin shot me in the heart. Too good.

ROBBIE: I may not know the fashions of the area or the times, but I can make sure we all look nice. It's the best I can do, even with Chetney.

LAURA: Chetney, I'm sure, will look fabulous and I can see him in a nice, little tux.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you'll be jealous night of. I'll be taking numbers.

MARISHA: You should get tails, big, long tails.

LAURA: That would be just lovely.

TRAVIS: I can just slit my cloak down the middle and be set.

ROBBIE: Three-quarter rule, longer torso. Never mind. We'll talk, we'll talk about it. We'll pass the place-- What was it called? The Gold--

MATT: The Golden Veil.

ROBBIE: The Golden Veil. The Golden Veil, does anyone remember seeing that?

LAURA: Yes. I saw it as well, back there. We could go back.

ROBBIE: It's worth a pop-in.

LAURA: Sure!

ROBBIE: Let's go.

SAM: Mr. Pock O'Pea?


SAM: Just in preparation for this ball, I don't want to stick out or anything. So I was thinking, you know, I briefly spent time as a turtle and it was interesting, because I was breathing, which was new.

TALIESIN: I was going to ask.

SAM: It felt really cool. But also it felt weird because I had feet and it was really interesting to sort of propel myself around that way. I was wondering, maybe, I don't know how, I don't want to stick out, so I was thinking if we were to get some garments, maybe I could get pants. Could you make wooden feet for me? They could sort of go on the bottom of the pants, so it looks like I have legs?

ASHLEY: Just hang out on either side of your wheel?

SAM: Yeah, yeah, there'll be a wheel in the middle and then two legs on the side. They wouldn't notice the wheel if they saw some--

TRAVIS: This sparks brilliance.

TALIESIN: If you put a little spike on either side, then they would--

TRAVIS: I can make this happen.

MARISHA: Can you make them look like they're walking?

LIAM: The walking duck toy.

ASHLEY: What about your face?

TALIESIN: What about it?

SAM: Wow.

ASHLEY: I mean that--

SAM: Insight check. (laughter)

MATT: Oh my goodness.

ASHLEY: Are you trying to not look like what you are?

SAM: Well, I just don't want to make the event uncomfortable for all of you, so if you think that I should--

LAURA: You would never make any of us uncomfortable!

SAM: Well, no, I don't want to attract too much attention. Also, aren't we supposed to be there to be gathering information surreptitiously?

ASHLEY: We need to get you some feet.

TALIESIN: You're fascinating and interesting. There's nothing that-- If anything, you are a positive.

MARISHA: I think we should move forward with the feet idea, just because I want to see that, but not because-- You're perfect just the way you are.

TALIESIN: Do it for you.

SAM: You all accept me. I get it.

TALIESIN: Don't do it for us, do it for you.

SAM: Okay.

ROBBIE: We're all going to draw attention regardless.

TRAVIS: Yeah, and I mean, worst comes to worst, Imogen's got student access now. We could find the cadaver department and borrow a face for a night, it'd be no big deal.



SAM: Could you rig something up like that with your tools?

TRAVIS: I mean, yeah, I'd just get some simple stitching! Give you a smile.

SAM: Your what? What'd you say?

TALIESIN: That idea happened fast. You've done that before.


LIAM: I don't know if you could-- You might need to stick it on with pitch or something.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Let's look at outfits and then we'll talk. (laughter)

LAURA: That's fucked up.

MATT: I hate this.

LAURA: I hate it. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I'll make you look younger! (ripping) (laughter)

SAM: I'm here to party!

MATT: The Jrusar Chainsaw Massacre over here. Jesus.

LIAM: Smiley day! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh man.

SAM: Well, we'll work on the feet and figure out the face later, I guess.

TRAVIS: Okay. I start feverishly working on a new piece of wood.

MATT: I have this image of Fresh Cut Grass with his buzzsaw in a field with the leather mask on going, "Ah!" (laughter)

TALIESIN: I put googly eyes under mine, so you get a little bit of that rock, too. (laughter)

LIAM: Touched the wrong cursed item.

MATT: This is the heroic troop.

TRAVIS: Come on, Michael Bay, make that movie.

MATT: All right, so. You're first heading towards The Golden Veil, is that what you're doing?

ROBBIE: Or the morgue? What's it going to be?

TALIESIN: Veil, then some magic shit.

LAURA: Golden Veil.

ROBBIE: Golden Veil.

MATT: Okay, I take it that you are utilizing your neutral skin cloaks that were gifted by Eshteross as you traverse the city shortly after being present at some sort of a large arcane explosion at an important locale.

LAURA: Yeah, you know, a change of clothes is probably wise anyway.

MARISHA: That's a good idea, yes.

TALIESIN: What's that? Anyway.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: A good idea, or a change of clothes?

TALIESIN: Kind of both, to be honest.

MATT: Well, everyone go ahead and mark two silver off your character for the travel from last night from the conservatory--

MARISHA: I got you this time, Letters.

MATT: And heading to Lucent Spire.

TRAVIS: Are there gondolas and stuff? Yes.


LIAM: That's all right, Chetney's got me.

TRAVIS: I do! Four silver! I work furiously both rides, shavings everywhere.

MATT: You got it. Okay.

TRAVIS: Four silver, fuck.

MATT: Heading back into the Lucent Spire, returning to these beautiful, immaculately kept streets and small pathways, the estates and gardens that surround you. It reminds you once again of the variation in class stepping into this space of which much more gold seems to flow through the neighborhood. But not long afterward, do you see the locale that is The Golden Veil: a beautiful, two-story boutique that seems to hold an intricate architectural design where you can see trim placed along the window sills. It seems to evoke like the building itself is an outfit. If you were to try and dress a structure, this is a very well-dressed structure. Even within 20 feet of it, there is a perfumed smell that seems to waft through the front doors. It's not overpowering.

TRAVIS: It's Abercrombie. (laughter)

TRAVIS: It burns!

LAURA: Oh god, it's burning!

MATT: There you go.

TRAVIS: Try some Woods.

MATT: Upon entering, the scents mingle a bit with nice, herbal scents, and it seems to be in a slight cycle so that no smell seems to dig itself too heavily and consistently into your mind or sinuses. But within, you can see all manner of dress forms, holding all beautiful designs of fantastic silk dresses and wraps and scarves. You can see there's a whole section for hats. There are a number of dressing rooms in the back and at least a half dozen individuals rush around in the process of gathering materials. You hear the sound of these mechanical machines that are currently stitching through the layered material and fine trim into an outfit as you see an impatient noblewoman standing there watching and giving notes aggressively from over a divider. Near the front, there's an empty-- My brain completely shat the bed on that right there. (laughter)

TALIESIN: There's a void.

MATT: There's a, yep, that happens on occasion. Yay.

LAURA: Still loading.

MATT: Still loading, yep. Must gather your party before adventuring forth.

LIAM: Loading in.

MATT: Yep. You see all manner of cabinetry and a countertop, but there is no immediate sign of help at the ready. As you glance around for a second, you smell, first, some sort of heavy burning tobacco smell. Like a thick, tarry tobacco. A voice from behind goes, "I'm sorry, can I help all of you?" You glance and you can see a small gnomish woman with a grand smile across her face, wrinkles that crack at the corner of the eyes. But you can see immaculately done eye makeup with a gold filigree curl at the end of each eye. The hair is done up in almost victory rolls, in a way. And this-- I can only describe it as a power suit-type arrangement that sits on her. You can see, across the shoulder with a strap, there is a large pincushion that's resting on the shoulder, and over one arm, it looks like there was a wrap of material. "Might I ask what you're all looking for, perhaps?"

ROBBIE: Oh, hello!

MATT: "Hello."

ROBBIE: My name is Dorian. What's your name?

MATT: "Dorian." Puts the hand out towards you. "I am Seamstress Quatell. This is my establishment, and you are coming at a very busy time. There is an event coming soon that is keeping us front to back, but there might be room. What is it you seek?"

ROBBIE: The event. We may be attending, we're not certain at this point, but--

LAURA: We're definitely attending.


LAURA: We're new to town and have recently been asked to attend, and therefore need--

ROBBIE: Clothing, we need clothing. We all need clothing.

LAURA: We need an array of clothing.

MATT: "Well, the timeline is very small on anything custom. If you want small adjustments, that can be done within the timeframe, so pick up something you might like, and we can go into measurements and alterations."

ROBBIE: Lovely, so we're free to browse if that's all right with you?

MATT: "Of course."

ROBBIE: Oh. Oh, how fun!

LAURA: Great!

ROBBIE: Thank you so much.

SAM: Okay, Matt, what's in the store? (laughter)

MATT: I would ask, more specifically, what is it you are looking for, and I can give you some guidance. You do see, there is a wide array of outfits with cultural touchstones from all acwoss--

ALL: All acwoss.

MATT: All acwoss Exandwia! All across Exandria.

TRAVIS: Ah, La Croix! Pamplemousse! (laughter)

MATT: Oh man, I am running on half energy tonight. But you see there is attire that holds the regal shoulder shelf display that a lot of noble houses in Wildemount might hold. You could see there is an element of Nordic furs that draw from Issylra and Othanzia. You can see there are a large swath of Marquesian inspirations from across the continent, things from a beautiful jama coat tailored for the female form that has the high collar and the fold over in the front, sleeves that bunch up towards the middle forearm before cuffing at the end, and a beautiful dress that flows up from there. You can see all different designs of sherwani coats, also themselves the short collar in the front and a long, buttoned down, sequins in the front, tailored well and tight to the torso that rests to where the end of the thigh is. You can see there are all manner of cloaks and display designs. There are even pins and sashes that can be customized as well with all manner of trim that are available to place upon them. What is it that you are considering for your character?


LAURA: Oh man.

ROBBIE: If I may give you all one piece of advice since we're browsing on our own. The fastest way to get called out at an event that perhaps you don't feel like you should be there, or you're feeling insecure, is to try to be something that you're not. So my piece of advice is: Whatever you're looking for, make sure that, even though it's lovely, it's still you.


LAURA: That's great advice, Dorian.

ASHLEY: That's great. Should we all wear the same thing?

MARISHA: Oh, like a uniform?

ASHLEY: No? That's not how it works?

SAM: Could be cool.

ROBBIE: We could go with a color pattern, maybe. Something to match to say we're all from the same house or troop or group.

LAURA: Oh, yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay.

LAURA: What colors does Lord Eshteross wear? Do we know what his house colors are, like? (laughter)

ROBBIE: In fair Verona!

MARISHA: He's a Gryffindor.

ROBBIE: What are the Eshterosses wearing? (laughter)

ROBBIE: What do we got?

TALIESIN: I don't know.

LAURA: Is there a crest? Like the colors of a crest or something?

MATT: You haven't looked deep enough into his abode to consider there being a crest. You do know that he took over from a previous-- The family that this whole venture was bequeathed unto had a long history. He just came into it, but you didn't see any sort of flashy signs of coloration or crest designs that caught your eye.

LIAM: Just that "kiss the cook" apron, that's it.

MATT: Yes, that was it.

TALIESIN: I don't know what I want. I'm not sure a uniform is it, though.

TRAVIS: When I was in Uthodurn the store that I was at was on the Deliberation Disk and there were some fancy people there. Maybe I could wear some Uthodurnian styles?

ROBBIE: Of course, yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about Chetney, yes! Something with some flair that says, "This is who I am, but I'm the best of where I'm from."

TRAVIS: Yeah, like I left that place the better for it. I came out on top!

ROBBIE: Yes, yes! Go look for your clothing!

TRAVIS: Well, you got anything from Uthodurn? (laughter)

MATT: "That is possible. Not a request we get often. Come with me." She leads you off--

TRAVIS: I'm gone.

MATT: She brings you through--

TRAVIS: Oh god.

MATT: (laughs) Through all beautiful arrays of large outfits and displays to what you quickly assume might be the forgotten and/or discount rack. If there was one here.

TRAVIS: Looks good to me. (laughter) Nordstrom Rack, baby.

MATT: She sifts through and pulls out this folded endeavor. Blows on it and dust billows off for a second. Shakes it out, and you can see it is this awesome, layered, double coat. It has a sash going into the front that the trim off of it has a snow-type design on it. It looks like it's evoking the idea of icicles on the edge of a roof. But the rest of it is a cool, pale blue coloration with ivory around the edges. There's no collar to it, it's just a smooth transition down before it opens up just past the waist. It's a nice coat.

TRAVIS: Double coat, that's good for concealment.

MATT: "Is this more of what you're looking for?"

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'll take it! Does it come in my size?

MATT: Holds it out and it's a bit wide. You can tell at a glance this is more of a dwarvish build, this. "Shouldn't be too hard to take in, though."

TRAVIS: What about for my head? Is there anything matching up top? I can't keep my dome naked.

MATT: "We'll take you to our haberdashery floor. Come with me."

TRAVIS: Haber-fuck?

MATT: Leads you upstairs and you can see--

TALIESIN: No one comes back. (laughter)

MARISHA: That was it for Travis' second character. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Your face.

ASHLEY: Killed haberdashery. (laughter) (laughter) (laughter)

MATT: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: FCG in a Chetney face.

LIAM: When he comes down 10 minutes later: (like Chetney) "I feel a lot lighter now!"

TALIESIN: Once the wrinkles open up, I bet it would fit all the way over.

MARISHA: You could change your name to Fresh Cut Chetney. (laughter)

MATT: So there is a beautiful floor of all sorts of hats, from large showy ones with feathers and wide brims, to short, military-looking cupfold hats. There are some that have tassels that hang down past the back of the head and there are some that have a regal point to the front and flair out towards the back. You can see there are a number of designs here. What kind of idea do you want to evoke with your head gear?

TRAVIS: A brim is actually pretty sweet. Some wide-brimmed hat options might be just the thing. Because I'm short enough that if I want to disengage from royal conversation, I just tip my chin and I'm out.

MATT: "I can gather from your presentation that you're not Marquesian, yes?"


MATT: "You wish not to present as Marquesian, yes?"

TRAVIS: Correct.

MATT: "Then allow me," and she reaches over and grabs a movable ladder and shifts it over, climbs up to a top area, and plucks off, I mean, it's Errol Flynn level, wide brim Robin Hood hat, but it pulls even further out. We're hitting more Darkwing Duck level, I guess I could say with this one.


TRAVIS: I'm in my younger years. I'll take it! Sight unseen!

MATT: "Very well."

TRAVIS: I mean, I've seen it.

MATT: "Tailoring cost, outfit, coat, and hat combined. With a two-day turnaround for custom tailoring. 85 gold." (surprised screaming)


SAM: I start rolling out of the place. (laughter)

TRAVIS: You can just hear screaming through the haberdashery going (screams). (laughter)

TALIESIN: I told them.

LAURA: Oh no!

MARISHA: I wanted boots!

ROBBIE: We got to.


TRAVIS: Oh, that's good, that's good. Let's start a tab for the whole group and just keep note of those items. I'm going to make sure everybody (nervous noise) else has what they need.

MATT: "Very well."

TRAVIS: I'll go join the others. Don't let me keep you. I (quick footsteps) down to the others as quickly as I can. You guys! You guys! (heavy gasping)

ASHLEY: Are you okay?

TRAVIS: I got a coat and a hat. It was-- Is anybody listening?


TRAVIS: Do I see anybody? It was 85 fucking gold!

MARISHA: That is a lot of money.

TALIESIN: Did we not know that this was going to be stupid expensive?

SAM: Maybe they have some sale items. Or maybe we can talk to--

LAURA: Didn't he get that from the sale rack?

SAM: Was that the sale rack?

ROBBIE: Those are a few season ago prices.

LAURA: Oh jeez.


SAM: Wait. Do these places--

SAM and MARISHA: Rent? (laughter)

LAURA: Rent the Runway!

MARISHA: Western Costume.

ROBBIE: Dorian visibly cringes. (laughter)

SAM: I don't know how this is going to work.

TRAVIS: Maybe you and I could split an outfit, if worst comes to worst.

SAM: I go to the restroom for a while, while you're wearing it, and then we switch off?

TRAVIS: I'll come in through the vent.

ROBBIE: (displeased) Mm.

TRAVIS: We should ask about the rental.

SAM: We should ask about group rates or rentals or maybe, you know, I could try to use some of my magical charms to convince her to give us a discount or something.

LAURA: I mean--

TRAVIS: Also. Maybe we just invest in a few of us going in. Because I don't need to go in there. Truly, I appreciate the thought, but fuck!

SAM: I would also take one for the team, and as much as I want to wear pants, the alternate I was thinking of is if we cut out a little round sort of hat for me and draped a table cloth over me, I could be like a two-top that just--

TRAVIS: Rolls around?

SAM: -- follows you wherever you go. No one would know I was there.

MARISHA: You don't have to wait for a ball to wear pants. We can achieve that whenever you want.

SAM: You're right. All right.

ROBBIE: I don't think it'll take much for you, FCG. Maybe a little metal, or a piece of flair, or something. You're amazing as-is. Polish you up.

SAM: Okay.

LIAM: Maybe the thing to do is to show you off, as a distraction, so other people can slide about.

SAM: Don't worry about me too much. I get this weird feeling that Imogen really wants to dress up so maybe we should ask about--

TRAVIS: Renting?

LAURA: No, I really, I mean-- No.

MATT: "So what else can I get for you?"


ROBBIE: We're just browsing, window shopping. I suppose.

MARISHA: We were curious.

MATT: "Yes?"

MARISHA: Can we just rent these or borrow these for the night and then we'll bring them back?

TRAVIS: With collateral?

MATT: "If you wish to have them as-is, that might be considerable, but anything with tailoring must be a purchase."

LAURA: How much do the gowns run?

MATT: "That depends on where it's from, the material utilized, and who the designer was, but let me show you." She shows you across an almost Victorian-style dress that gives a schoolteacher look, but a little nicer. "This was one of the imports from Tal'Dorei. Seems to be close to your size. I also have a balintawak, which is a beautiful dress from the southeast of Marquet." It has this awesome sash across the side, as well as this beautiful dress, pointed shoulders. This awesome head scarf wrap with a design across the front and it ends at the mid-arm around there. This beautiful gold design, like a peacock pattern that's woven into it, and the dress itself billows out. It looks very pretty.


MARISHA: It looks very expensive.

LAURA: That looks ostentatious. That would attract attention rather than...

MARISHA: That looks like our entire budget.

TALIESIN: Don't you want to attract attention?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: How much is it?

MATT: "If you're wishing to take it temporarily, rental, you were saying. As is. With collateral. 10 gold an evening."

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: How much to buy it?

MATT: "This? 50."


TALIESIN: Fuck that then.

LAURA: Okay.

ASHLEY: Sheesh.

ROBBIE: I'm not telling you how to spend your money. Of course not. But an event like this, I'm just saying, it's up there with a wedding or a graduation. This is a once a year at most, perhaps even once a decade event--

LAURA: I've never been to a ball.

ROBBIE: If you're going to spend the money on something fabulous, this is the time to do it.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: But, but, that's just, you do you, you know?

MARISHA: Maybe Eshteross could give us a stipend.

LAURA: Yeah, or maybe we can find a thrift store.

MARISHA: Or maybe we could find a thrift store.

TALIESIN: For some of us, that's a great idea. Don't fuck around with this. Get the dress.

TRAVIS: Yeah, get the dress.

LAURA: You know, here's the thing. Dorian made a big--

ASHLEY: (chants) Get the dress!

LAURA: No, no--

TRAVIS, ROBBIE, ASHLEY, and TALIESIN: Get the dress! Get the dress!

LAURA: I'm not particular. I think it's a lovely-- It's obviously-- It's a beautiful dress.

TRAVIS: Try it on!

ROBBIE: Can she try?

TRAVIS and ROBBIE: Try it on!

MATT: "But of course, we have chambers just for that. This way my dear." (laughter)

LAURA: Can I come out with these big (laughs).

ROBBIE: How does she--

LAURA: You know. I just--

LIAM: We're playing dress up and there's nothing there.

MATT: They're not bladed shoulder pads. They just come to a nice point.

TRAVIS: Legion of Doom with spikes.

MATT: World of Warcraft style armor shoulder pads.

LAURA: I fully pictured World of Warcraft like. (laughter)

LAURA: You know, Dorian made a point to say dress like yourself, feel like yourself. I feel like this is not going to feel like--

MATT: "How about you tell me what it is you're looking for and we can try and piece it together." For the purposes of this, because otherwise we could spend the next two hours individually shopping for each of your outfits and decide whether or not this is what you're looking for, nah, something else. (laughter)

MATT: How about--

SAM: I didn't like how Matt described that. (laughter)

MATT: How about you inform me the look--

LAURA: Have I mentioned I spend hours in custom creation in video games?

MATT: No, I understand, which is why I'm saying you let me know what kind of look you're looking for and how close we can get to it and what the cost would be.

LAURA: Just something simple. Something real simple. Like a sheath dress. Or, you know, just--

MATT: "How about a kebaya?"

LAURA: What is that?

MATT: She shows you over to this wonderful ensemble that has an open-collar design. It's a simple top with these beautiful bell sleeves and simple clothes in the front and this long dress that folds in the front, but it's all beautifully-detailed pattern. It's simple. It doesn't necessarily seem ostentatious or a grab for the eye, but still has a formal look to it. You've seen other individuals in the city in the Lucent Spire with similar such attire, so it seems like it would fit very well.

LAURA: All right. Yeah, sure. Why is nobody else shopping? All right, sure, I'll do that. I'll buy that. How much for that?

MATT: "35 gold."

LAURA: 35 gold.

TRAVIS: I'll revise my order. I don't need the cloak or the hat because the markup got crazy. 85, are you nuts? Do you have any just single women's dresses? Sleeveless so I can put the vibe out and let them see the guns?

MATT: "That can be arranged, yes."

LAURA: That's good. That's nice.

MATT: Yeah, sure enough, there are a number of dresses that could match what you're looking for. What are you looking for?

TRAVIS: Just a single dress, one piece. Kind that goes down to the floor. But I can tell you, I can like--

LAURA: Single dress.

MARISHA: It's a T-shirt dress. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I don't know dress-speak!

TALIESIN: You're trying to have as few pieces as possible.

TRAVIS: I'm just going for the single garment.

MATT: "Color preference?"

TRAVIS: Oh. Silver like my hair.

MARISHA: Oh my god.

LAURA: Gorgeous.

MATT: "Let me see what I can find."

TRAVIS: Or white. Some people say that it's white or gray.

MATT: There is a dress that is found. Once again, made more for a dwarvish individual so it's a bit baggy, but it can be tightened or tied inward if need be.

TRAVIS: Cinched, yeah.

MATT: It definitely hits that... Dupioni silk sheen to it.

TRAVIS: I don't know what that means.

MATT: A textured shine.

TRAVIS: Dextered shine. I'm here for it. How much?

LAURA: That's really lovely. That's going to be lovely.

MATT: "This is a very simple ensemble. This will run you 12 gold."

TRAVIS: Done! Sold.

MATT: "Very well."

TRAVIS: I head outside. (laughter)

TALIESIN: That's the most Travis thing I've ever seen in my entire life. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Scene for me.

SAM: Keep working on those feet. Dorian, do you need anything? Because you look great already.

MARISHA: You do look fancy.

ROBBIE: Well, thank you very much. I actually, I'll save it. It's a surprise.

MARISHA: You already own something? Of course you do. Dorian, I was looking at-- Help me, just help me.

ROBBIE: Sure, sure.

MARISHA: All right. I was looking at these little robe-like dresses with the furs on them.

MATT: ♪ With the fur ♪?

MARISHA: It reminded me-- Yes, robes with the fur. Reminds me of what the fancy women back at home in Tal'Dorei used to wear.

ROBBIE: Let me ask you a question. Do you like it?

MARISHA: I do. I especially like this one that's got the fox on it, but it still has the fox's face. Like they just couldn't bother to cut the fox's face off. I love it.

ROBBIE: Yes, yes, I--

MARISHA: It's so cute.

ROBBIE: I think you should go with your instincts. You sound excited. And if you're excited, I am excited.

MARISHA: All right.

ROBBIE: Want to try it on?

MARISHA: I'll try it on.

MATT: So what do you find and what does it look like on you?

MARISHA: It's a wrap gown, with a big belted type of situation, and it's got a nice fox fur that still has the fox's face. The tail goes around.

MATT: Is it well-taxidermied or not? (laughter)

MARISHA: Is it cheaper if it's not?

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: I'll take the cheaper one. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Like that one stuffed fox.

MATT: The skin pulling back a little too much.

TRAVIS: How much for the fur without the face? (laughter)

MATT: "Are you certain this is what you're looking for, dear?"

MARISHA: I think he's so cute, yes.

MATT: "Very well."

MARISHA: Is this a reject or something?

MATT: "No, no, it's just been looking for the right owner for quite some time." (laughter)

MATT: "15 gold for the entire ensemble."

MARISHA: Great! Nice. That's good.

ROBBIE: You're going to wear it out?

MARISHA: No, I should save it. I don't want to ruin his face.

ROBBIE: Right. (laughter)

MATT: Who else?

TALIESIN: Do you have suggestions? Do you have any-- I don't know. Well, someone else go, I don't know.

LIAM: I think I have an idea of what I want. I'd like to get something made here in the city.

MATT: "Very well, very well."

LIAM: I'd still like to be able to move around, so definitely something that's with pants. I like a lot of the jackets and coats, the longer jackets I'm seeing here, but sleeveless as well because I need to be able to move.

MATT: "So you're asking for more of a sleeveless sherwani-esque design?"

LIAM: I think so?

MATT: "Very well, very well."

LIAM: In darker greens, if you have.

MATT: "That can be arranged, yes. Let me see what we have. I will decide whether or not it is a fully custom design or just an alteration."

LIAM: Does that sound all right?

ROBBIE: That sounds fabulous.

MATT: All right, and she does return with a pair of roomy pants that match the coloration of the coat that she finds. It is a sleeved coat, but as she points out, "The sleeves can be easily tailored to be removed. It also can be tailored to fit your size." The pants, while they are roomy, they're also pinch towards the ankle and buckle there.

LIAM: That's perfect.

MATT: It looks nice and looks comfortable, but it will also add a lot of mobility.

LIAM: I like it, ring it up.

MATT: "Very well, this ensemble with the alterations would run 25 gold."

LIAM: Fair.

MATT: "All right. Who else?"

TALIESIN: Out of curiosity, is there anything Kryn running around or--

MATT: Roll a perception check.

SAM: Anything what?

TALIESIN: I wouldn't know what it is. I was trying to think of a style that would actually pique interest. That perception check is below my screen. 16.

MATT: 16. You do glance, and you who have not really been to an establishment like this to pick and choose an outfit, more than just to find whatever comes your way and makes sense, you do see a very dark, deep purple-gray ensemble that has a double-breasted, fold-over button-up piece. The sleeves actually probably look a bit small for your frame, which will mean you'll just look bigger in it. If you want to maintain that subtle intimidation, but it would look pretty sleek. Almost has a Matrix coat-type cut to it.

TALIESIN: Yep, yep, that's what was in my head. I don't know what the fuck that is, but that's interesting.

MATT: "Oh, this is our Xhorhasian import. This is a rare find. It is not entirely inexpensive, though it is a simple ensemble. Pants included would run 50 gold pieces."

TALIESIN: Well, I know what I told you. Fuck it. All right.

MATT: "Very well."

LAURA: I'm impressed.

TRAVIS: Biggest spender.

TALIESIN: We'll make more.

MARISHA: Treat yourself.

ASHLEY: Okay, so ma'am, I have a piece already. It's a beautiful white lace dress that I received as a gift. Do you have anything that might go with this? It's got the hoop on the bottom. Then it's all lace all the way. Maybe like a peach, a sheer jacket? With a ruffled collar?

LAURA: Oh, that'd be beautiful.

ASHLEY: Then, you know, big sheer sleeves that come to here, like a bed jacket.

MATT: "I think I have something just like that from one of my old associates who left town to start her own business."


LAURA: The jacket would cover up the velcro in the back.

ASHLEY: Oh yes, that would be great. Do you have any pins or-- (laughter)


MATT: "Katarin's work is quite good, so it is a bit pricey."


MATT: "For this item of yours, the single piece that would overlap what you already have, would run 45 gold."

LAURA: (gasps)

ASHLEY: 45 gold for the one piece?

MATT: "But it is a Delish."

ASHLEY: It is a Delish.

MATT: "Yes, Katarin Delish was my associate."

LAURA: Oh, oh, a Delish, that's the name of the person.

ASHLEY: Yes, Katarin Delish. Well, in that case.

TALIESIN: Wow. That just happened.

ASHLEY: Ooh, that is pretty steep.

LAURA: It is delish.

ASHLEY: It's a Delish, I got to get it.

MATT: "She opened up her own enterprise in Ank'Harel and as such, these are collector's items."

ASHLEY: I've heard of these. You said it was 45?

MATT: "Yes."

ASHLEY: Okay. Would you go down at all?

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

ASHLEY: Okay. Let's do this guy. Oh wow, okay. 22.


MATT: As you're saying this, she's putting it on you and is like, "Hmm." Pulls out a pin and tucks it in here, tucks it in here. While it looked like it flowed a bit, the way she's folding it and tucking it in it accentuates your natural voluptuousness and not in an overt way, but in a way that the form and shape feels better on you and matches what you had before. She steps back and looks at it, pin still in her mouth, goes, "It's like it was made for you." (laughter)

ASHLEY: I feel the same way! It's so lovely.

MATT: "35 gold and it is yours."

ASHLEY: Okay, I'll take it.


LIAM: Fey glamor.


ROBBIE: You look good.


ASHLEY: Thank you very much. What was your name, Cattrall? Kim Cattrall?

LAURA: Quatell?

MATT: Quatell.

ASHLEY: Quatell, okay.

LAURA: (laughs) Cattrell. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Quatell.

SAM: I still need something.

MATT: "Oh!"

SAM: Oh, hi! For the person who likes to stroll around, I was thinking a pant suit like the one that you have on.

MATT: "Oh. A keen eye, I've not dressed an automaton before. This is an interesting challenge. Is this a growing need for attire for such creations?"

SAM: I mean, there might be others who come out and want some clothes. I mean, I haven't seen any myself, but maybe I'm part of the wave.

MATT: "Very interesting. Which one of you is the master of this entity?"

SAM: They're all--


MATT: "Excuse me." Leans in and--


MATT: "Is this a singular outfit for your automaton? Do you know if there are others seeking such? If this is something that is going to be happening I would like to be on the ground floor of it."

ASHLEY: Oh, um. As a customer, probably a loyal customer, I'm pretty sure that's something that you should get ahead of. Yeah.

MATT: "Tell you what. If you would mind spending some time here for us to get an arrangement of various measurements, as well as some sketches from some of my associates for our own--"

SAM: Oh, you also have associates? What's your designation?

MATT: "I'm sorry, I do not understand your compatriot."

SAM: Oh. Sorry, I misunderstood. Keep going.

MATT: "That is all right. But yes, if you wouldn't mind staying for a bit, I would like to study you, as an entity, for which to make for."

SAM: Sure.

MATT: "Great, great. Come with me. Give us about an hour, if you do not mind." You watch as some of the other customers are coming out. She closes up the doors, escorting you out, and you are swept up by her and her associates. This is the oddest recreation of the mouse and birds dressing Cinderella, how it's just a bunch of these various seamster--

ASHLEY: ♪ Ah ha, ah ha, ah ha! ♪

MATT: -- seamstresses all measuring, and marking, and sketching you. You're just suddenly the center of attention as all of them are talking to each other in various, seamstress code, with bursts of Marquesian and laughter and asking curious questions, as they're all just studying you, essentially. They're holding up different patterns. They're trying on different coats and outfits, and eventually finishes a sketch where it's handed over to Quatell, and she turns it over towards you and goes, "How about something like this?" Looking forward, it looks like a pretty decent approximation of your form, but it has a very detailed pantsuit-type setup. You can see it. The shoulders are actually broadened and the sleeves hang a bit before tapering towards where your wrists are, and give this, for lack of better term, noble drapery look to it.

SAM: Seinfeld pirate shirt?

MATT: Yeah, kind of. But it does button in the front, and there are pants that are designed to-- At this point, she points to a couple different options. "Now do you wish for these to drape alongside your rotating unit? Or are you more interested in them just affixed to it?"

SAM: Well, I sort of dreamed of having a leg look.

ASHLEY: You sure did.

ROBBIE: Imogen, can you talk to Chetney? Is he outside?

LAURA: You want me to leave?

ROBBIE: No, no. Oh, well--

LAURA: Oh, yes!


LAURA: What would you like me to say?

ROBBIE: Well, ask him if FCG's legs are done.

LAURA: You can tell me in mind, okay.


LAURA: Just tell me--

ROBBIE: We've never-- It feels-- Should I? May I?

SAM: It's seamless! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh, for fuck's sakes. I walk outside. (laughter) You done with those legs yet, old man?

TRAVIS: (startled yell) I mean, the general shape is there. I left room for detail--

TALIESIN: No ones cares. Grabbing them. (laughter)

SAM: It would be great to have to have these on the end of my--

MATT: "Interesting."

SAM: -- my leg area.

MATT: "Very well. They take the next 15 minutes, taking pieces of material and retrofitting this existing outfit that they have now, in a fevered pace, altered and customized to match the design that was sketched to you. These wooden feet are affixed to the bottom of this pair of pants, and it is all placed upon you, and you look... You look unique.

SAM: I will do a little 360 spin.

MATT: The feet just drag. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Should we paint little shoes on it?

LAURA: Yeah, I think we should paint little shoes on him. Also, I think maybe we can attach the pant legs to something to where when you wheel--

SAM: To my elbows?

LAURA: Maybe, so you can drag them, you know?

MARISHA: I take out my red thread.


MARISHA: I use and wrap them around the feet, then time them around your elbows.

LAURA: That's so much better.

ASHLEY: This is incredible.

LAURA: I'm getting--

LIAM: Better by the minute.

LAURA: -- marionette vibes.

TRAVIS: Chetney comes running in. He's like: It's not finished, okay? What have they done to you?! (laughter) There's a whole-- I have a build for it. I'm going out now. (laughter)

ASHLEY: You are going to sell a lot of these.

SAM: I love it. Thank you.

MATT: "Of course. Of course. Just sign here."

LAURA: What is that?

MATT: "This is a trade. There is no charge for this service, but the design, we mark as ours."

SAM: Oh, I'd be happy to-- Maybe you should sign on my behalf.

MATT: "Indeed. My apologies."

ASHLEY: Sure. Would you like me to read it or just sign it?

SAM: No, I don't care.


MATT: "Thank you so much." (laughter) "I believe that puts us square. So thank you. Thank you for--"

LAURA: Can I insight check her just to see if she's trying to get away with something.

MATT: Sure. Roll an insight check.

LAURA: I feel like she's just--

ASHLEY: Yeah, it feels a little shady.

LAURA: No. I don't know shit. Seven.

MATT: Seven? (uncertain noise) It's hard to read her. She's a good businesswoman.

MARISHA: Does she also own the idea of feet on automatons? Is that part of the design?

LAURA: Maybe that's the thing.

SAM: Fine by me. (laughter) Look, I can kick!


MATT: They do begin to let patrons back in, and the standard business of The Golden Veil continues from here, as Quatell closes out the final elements of paperwork and gifts to each of you, the outfits that are ready to go.

LAURA: What color was my outfit? I could choose--

MATT: You can choose.

LAURA: That's great.

MARISHA: I didn't choose either. What's your color?

LAURA: I think mine would just be something subtle. Chetney went with a silver, but I think I'd also go with a cream color.

MARISHA: Oh, that's nice.

TALIESIN: I feel like we can all do interesting descriptions once we're actually at the ball.

LAURA: Yeah, okay.

TALIESIN: Have some time to think about it.

LAURA: That's great. Are you going with black?

MARISHA: I was thinking it's a dark chocolate brown.

LAURA: (gasps) Oh, Laudna, that's lovely.

MARISHA: Like it kind of looks black. But when I turn in the light, you can kind of see the brown.


LAURA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Svelte and beauty.

LAURA: (gasps) Yeah! It's gorgeous.

ASHLEY: You could tell-- just wait until you see your friends.

SAM: I can't wait to have some.

ASHLEY: I wonder if Pussy would like one of these.

SAM: Possibly. I mean, Pussy didn't really have a lot of opinions about things. (laughter)

ASHLEY: How strange.

SAM: I mean--

LAURA: Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

MATT: "Thank you all so much for coming." (laughter)

TALIESIN: Save him.

MATT: "If ever any future events are to transpire and you wish to outfit yourselves with the finest available here in the Oderan Wilds and beyond, you're ever welcome at The Golden Veil."

SAM: Thank you so much for the discount. Thank you, Fearne, for sweet talking her out of me being charged.

ASHLEY: She said that she might make more of these.

SAM: I don't know why she would do that.

ASHLEY: She said that there might be more of your type coming in to shop.

LAURA: More associates.

ASHLEY: Yeah, what was that?

SAM: Well, it's just, that's how I referred to Dancer. She was my associate.

ASHLEY: Well, what's the designation bit?

SAM: Oh, well, that's just my purpose.


ASHLEY: Your special purpose?

SAM: Yeah. Just to help you living folk, make sure that you're okay.

TRAVIS: You remember Dancer's designation?

SAM: No, no, no, she gave me mine.

TRAVIS: Oh. Oh right. Yeah.

SAM: Yeah, she made me and gave me my intent.

LAURA: Wow. I probably wouldn't know anything about that spell that was used on him to turn him into a turtle. Would I know anything about that?

MATT: You can roll an arcana check, if you want to.

LAURA: Sure. 16.

MATT: 16. You don't know what the spell is. You've never seen something like that before, but as a person who instinctually can figure out some elements of the weave of arcana, there are some facets that anchor into your mind. You gather that it has to deal with the transmutation of one body into another--

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: -- seemingly focused on bestial shapes, but that's the extent.

LAURA: I just, I feel like-- Spells can't turn a chair into an animal. Do you know what I mean?

SAM: No.

LAURA: I don't think they can turn something inanimate, something that isn't living, into something that is.

SAM: So you're saying I must be alive to be turned into something else alive?

LAURA: Exactly. I don't think you give yourself enough credit.

SAM: That's interesting. I don't know. I mean, I don't breathe or eat or--

LAURA: But you think.

LIAM: Is there anything you want?

SAM: Sure. Lots of things, but I want you all to get what you want first. But yeah, I want things. I need to find out who did that to-- to my friends, and figure out if I can get them some sort of, not vengeance, but just sort of justice, I suppose? I'd like to find out what I am. That would be nice. And if there's more of me.

LAURA: I wonder if I can research that in a library.

SAM: That would be amazing.

LAURA: I'm going to write it down.

SAM: Okay. I can come with, if you need.

LAURA: Maybe we can get you in, depending on how we present you.

SAM: I could be a two-top, you know? A table that follows you around. (laughter)

TALIESIN: I feel like this is some other desire that we're not talking about is your two-top thing. Is this a--

TRAVIS: I live to serve.

SAM: I have a table kink.

TALIESIN: I was going to say, this feels like something. To be fair. No judgment.

MARISHA: If we cut a hole in the middle of the table top and put it over your head, then you'd just be a head on the table. You could be the centerpiece.

SAM: Well, that's kind of cool.


LAURA: That is pretty cool.

MARISHA: We could put little pieces of lettuce under you. (laughter)

MATT: What?!

LAURA: What else do we have to do? (laughter)

MATT: You have a handful of days before--

TRAVIS: Do we leave with our garments or do we have to go back and pick them up, or--?

MATT: For those who needed heavy customization, which I believe is mainly just yours.

LIAM: Sleeves coming off?

MATT: Which it wasn't heavy. That one would be ready later in the day.

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: But most of you guys pulled existing outfits that existed from there and had minor alterations tailored, so they'll be ready within the next day or two at most.

TALIESIN: A quick potion and magic run is the only thing I can think of.


LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Where abouts?

TALIESIN: I'm trying to remember.

TRAVIS: Trove of Marwa or the Prism Emporium.

TALIESIN: Prism's kind of iffy, if I recall, right?

LAURA: Something specifically not in the Core Spire would be great.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, Prism's in the Core Spire.

TALIESIN: Trove it is.

MATT: All right. So you head from the Core Spire, which another gondola ride. It's a silver.

LAURA: We're terrible at this.

MATT: It's how the city makes its money.

TRAVIS: Who am I covering this time?

LIAM: Me every time.

TALIESIN: I'm fine.

TRAVIS: Every time?

LIAM: Every time.


LIAM: Because he took all your money. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Two silver.

LAURA: Didn't you get a whole lot of money, Chetney?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I gave some of it out, too.

ROBBIE: I don't think we ever knew that, though, did we?

TALIESIN: I don't think I ever put--

MARISHA: You didn't. You two are the only ones that know that.

ROBBIE: I don't know it.

LAURA: Well, I knew you found a bag. You told me about that.

TALIESIN: What was in the bag?

TRAVIS: I just whittle away on the gondola ride.

LAURA: What was in the bag, Chetney?

TRAVIS: Money.

LAURA: How much?

TRAVIS: A lot.

TALIESIN: (laughs)

LAURA: Oh, really?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Enough to cover a bunch of fancy clothes?

TRAVIS: (uncertain noise) (laughter)

TRAVIS: No. (laughter)

LIAM: How about half?

TRAVIS: You know, it's all so abstract.

LAURA: In your head you hear: Are you lying to me, Chetney?

TRAVIS: Ah, balls. Balls?

LAURA: Yeah? What about them?

TRAVIS: Balls. (laughter)

TALIESIN: It's like in your head was the truth, and you were slowly whittling away at it.

TRAVIS: All right, fine! There was a lot of money in the bag! Like 80 platinum.

LAURA: (gasps)

TALIESIN: Jeez! Fuck!

MARISHA: We're about to go search for other items. Maybe you can come in handy then.

TRAVIS: I'm very frugal.

LAURA: All right.

ASHLEY: 80 platinum.

TRAVIS: Like I said, I can be a resource. I give favorable rates for loans.

SAM: It's a lot of dinners.

LAURA: It's a lot of dinners, Chet.

TRAVIS: But I'm paying for gondola rides so far.

LAURA: For him!

TRAVIS: Well, yeah. They paid Artana Voe like 10, 30 gold each or whatever. I had to pay it back.

LIAM: 100.

TRAVIS: 100 gold. I'll give you 70 more gold. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Fuck. Shit!

LIAM: Do I see-- When he opens the bag, can I see how much there is in there?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: I believe in you.

LIAM: Yeah, that's a 23.

MATT: 23. Are you trying to hide the contents of your bag?

TRAVIS: Didn't know I needed to. (laughter) No, I'm not.

MATT: It's a sizeable amount of coin.

LIAM: Thanks for the gold, Chet.

TRAVIS: You're welcome.

MATT: Now, not having to gondola ride to the Lantern Spire, as there is the Fatewalk Bridge that leads you there. You push through the midday crowd to the exterior of the Trove of Marwa, which you've seen at a distance, but haven't approached as it looks like a building built out of a shipwreck in the middle of a city in the Oderan Wilds. So whether there was a ship here and then they just hollowed it out and made a building, or they brought pieces of a ship to decorate it, but in the middle of all these various shapes and the heights of structures in this industrial district here in the upper echelon of the Lantern Spire, you see this cocked and upward-angled sunken ship, but out in the open air. You can see port holes along the side. There is moss growing on the edges from the moist jungle atmosphere, and you can see different plants and flowers have taken root in elements.

TALIESIN: I genuinely don't know how I've never been in here.

ASHLEY: This is cool.

SAM: Which spire are we on?

LAURA: The Lantern Spire.

TRAVIS: I take out my notepad and I just start sketching without taking my eyes off of the ship. Inspiration striking. I grab the wood and start working.

TALIESIN: Oh yeah, it's because I never give a fuck up here, that's why.

MATT: You enter the interior, and while it is a beautifully intricate, almost art piece-like structure, it is a bit cramped in there. It looks like everything may have actually been built out of a ship, (laughs) because it is just a crushed, low interior. There are blue lanterns that give this bluish glow to the inside. The smell's a bit musty, and you hear this single sound of a music box. ♪ Ding ding ding ding ding ♪ There is a music box in the center back of the room that's just playing on its own.

TRAVIS: Burn it down.

TALIESIN: I walk over and tap it.

MATT: Okay, you tap it. "Yes?" (gasping)

MATT: Suddenly out from behind the counter, a young human girl, beautiful, dark tan skin, black hair that's cut to a bob that's a bit scattered and wild. She has her hair pulled up with a band that's wrapped behind. Big leather gloves on and a bit of a smear on one arm. Leans forward towards your face.

TALIESIN: Fuck. (laughs)

MATT: "Hi."

TALIESIN: (laughs) Hi!

MATT: "Can I help you? What are you doing? You're here."

TALIESIN: Well, first off, we're here to shop. Secondly, is this real or is this just a deep commitment to a bit?

MATT: "Yes." (laughter)

MATT: "Great, shopping. That's awesome. All right. Wonderful. Let's make some sales today. I love it, I love it. What are you looking for? I might have some. Hold on a second." She rummages just through something in the back and pulls out a canteen and just chugs a bunch of water and it spills down the chin. (slurps) "Anyway. So what can I do? What can I do for you?"

TALIESIN: First off, I have to know your name. I don't care about a lot of people's names, but I have to know yours. Please.

MATT: "You first."


TRAVIS: (laughs)

LAURA: Aaron? (laughter)


TALIESIN: I was trying to think of a bullshit name and I couldn't think of one. I freaked out.

ASHLEY: Aaron?

TALIESIN: I freaked out. I was Byron, and then it just--

TRAVIS: That was a nosedive.

MATT: "That's so weird. That's my name, too."

TALIESIN: Ashton. My name's Ashton. I give the fuck up. I'm not good at that. I'm just not fucking good at it.

MATT: "Just the slightest bit of forthrightness, and we're already off on the right foot. Ashton, pleasure to meet you. I'm Marwa Endalia."



MATT: "This was my father's establishment, and kind of a junk heap, but you find a couple of fun things here and there."

TRAVIS: Her last name is Endalia.

TALIESIN: I need to come up with some bullshit names.

LIAM: Rev, Fuv, Nuv, Sev, Num, Nova, Sum.

TALIESIN: Revim, Nova, Willem, Novum. Fuck.

ROBBIE: Is she a tween or a teen or a kid?

MATT: You can't quite place the exact age, but you expect to be either, somewhere around 20.

ROBBIE: Oh. An adult.

MATT: Very young. Yeah, like a very young adult. But there is definitely a chaotic air of a--

TRAVIS: Jubilee.

MATT: A child given responsibility and making the best of it.


LIAM: We're on the hunt for healing potions mostly, but are also just curious about whatever is interesting.

MATT: "Let me see what I got. Hold on. (smacks lips) (inhales sharply)" Pulls the gloves in and begins to lift up a latch or a trap door of some kind coming from behind the countertop, and then heads downstairs, (footsteps) deeper into the ship hold. You begin to hear some (rustling), some rustling something being pushed over. Something's being shifted. Some heavy coughs (coughs), and you see some dust from underneath. Eventually you hear some dragging sounds. Comes up, you can see this new layer of soot across her whole face. Wipes the edge the brow, sets it. "I got these. I think they're healing potions. They're potions. They're not normal liquid, so I assume they're prob-- Want them?"

MARISHA: Fearne?


MARISHA: Do you want to give the sniff check?

ASHLEY: Yes. May I?

MATT: "You may."

LAURA: What color are they?

MATT: You look at one of them and it has a dark, deep green coloration to it. The other is mostly translucent, like water, except for has this very, very faint bluish tint to it.

ASHLEY: (sniffing)

LAURA: What does it smell like?

ASHLEY: It smells like-- What is a healing potion supposed to smell like?

TRAVIS: Licorice.

ASHLEY: It doesn't smell like licorice.

MATT: Make a medicine check, Fearne.

LAURA: Cherry Chloraseptic?

MARISHA: Yeah. (laughs)


TRAVIS: Numbs your throat or whatever.

MARISHA: I can feel it.


MATT: Nine. You have no idea.

ASHLEY: I'm pretty sure this is a healing potion from what I can smell.

MATT: "Great. There, that's what you're looking for. That's wonderful.

LAURA: What about the blue one? Can I smell that?

MATT: "Sure, yeah. Go for it." That one, as soon as you uncork it, smoke begins to billow from the inside of it and begins to just fill the room. (whooshing)

TRAVIS: Close it, close it!

TALIESIN: Definitely a healing potion.

MATT: You try and re-cork it and it (sputters). It's just pouring out of the bottle. It won't go back in.

LAURA: I'm really sorry.

MATT: The entire room is now completely suffused with thick, thick smoke. (coughs) "Okay. Not too good."

LAURA: I'm trying, I'm trying!

MATT: "It's fine. Just leave it. Put it down. (coughs)"

LAURA: I can't see the counter.

MATT: "Here, follow my voice. Follow my voice. All right, put it there. There, yes. Thank you. Thank you. God, what is that? Okay, good to know. Good to know."

TALIESIN: I was feeling real bad, but now I feel a lot better. Thank you for that.

MATT: You're all just standing in the thickest of smoke. All you can see, like blue fog lights, is just this diffused blue glow from the blue lanterns in here, and just the shape of your hands about this far from your face and the rest is just dark smoke.

TALIESIN: Fearne, are you still wearing your sword?

ASHLEY: My moon sickle?

TALIESIN: The ridiculous sword. The wall hanger that you stole.

ASHLEY: Oh, my ornamental saber?



TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to try to take it in the--

ASHLEY: I have lots of things that you can try to take.

TALIESIN: I want that.

MATT: Okay, go ahead and make a sleight of hand check.

TALIESIN: That's a nine.

MATT: That's a nine? I would like you to make a perception check with disadvantage.

TRAVIS: In the smoke.

ASHLEY: Okay. 17.

SAM: Whoa.

MATT: You feel the sword tug.

ASHLEY: What are you doing?

TALIESIN: Nothing? (laughter) I'm just going to slowly back off. (laughter) Letting go of the sword.

MATT: Just Homer Simpson back into the smoke. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Shit! I'm not winning today.

ASHLEY: Is it still smoky in here?

MATT: Yeah. About a minute passes, and it slowly maybe begins to dissipate.

ASHLEY: While it's still smoky, I'm going to just try to grab something.

MATT: Anything?


MATT: All right. Roll a sleight of hand check and roll a d6.


MATT: 18, yeah. Okay, yeah. Then roll a d6.


MATT: A five.

TALIESIN: I'm very impressed.

MATT: Okay. You reach out, and one of the nearby countertops, there is just a whole array of what feels like pieces of broken or unfinished jewelry, small glass beads. There's an egg-shaped smooth glass something that has leather wrapped around it, and you grab and pocket that. So just mark a glass egg wrapped in a leather cord.

LIAM: Sounds like trouble.

LAURA: Yeah. (laughs)

TALIESIN: I'm very excited.

ASHLEY: Oh, I can't wait to eat it. (laughter)

MATT: At this point, the smoke begins to dissipate closer and you can see Marwa has now moved around the room, and has opened up two of the portholes, and then has a big, thick rug, and it's like-- (whooshes). You can get a better view of her now. She is rail thin, just this lanky young woman who you can see by the dirt on the elbows and the patches on the attire, definitely has an engineer type look about her, and doesn't seem to give a shit about any of you or anything at the moment. It puts you at ease.

TRAVIS: I like that last one. Is there any more liquid left in it once you got the top back in?

MATT: "I don't know. I just, I didn't-- Yeah, probably."

TRAVIS: How much for it?

MATT: "That-- (sighs) Let me-- I got to be better about this."

TRAVIS: You could always tell about how someone charges for their wares. You don't want to insult them by paying too little and you don't want to cheat yourself by paying too much.

MATT: "Indeed. You seem to be a very experienced purveyor of mysterious oddities and artifacts."

TRAVIS: Maybe.

TALIESIN: What kind of oddities and artifacts are we talking about?

MATT: "Well, I don't know. I'm just finding them. All this is stuff that I just found. Me and my dad found over the past 10 years or so."

LAURA: Was this your ship?

MATT: "This was our ship. It was a ship. It's a weird thing. There was a wild storm about 20 or so years ago."

LAURA: A storm?

MATT: "A storm, to the north, near the port town, just past the mountain range. A water spout just picked up a ship and dropped it right here in the middle of the spire. At first, there was the intent to destroy it, but well, the Mahaan house that was trying to do that owed my dad a big favor, and so he asked if he could go ahead and take over the ship as opposed to demolishing it. He said, if you can manage to make it not a genuine eyesore, and that's what we did. So it's still kind of an eyesore, but it's not as bad of an eyesore as it was."

ASHLEY: It's very cool.

MATT: "That's how it all came about."

ASHLEY: I love it.

LIAM: Do you have anything that's not in a bottle that you've seen do stuff?

MATT: "Yes. Yes. This, I got a couple of things, actually. One of them is still in a bottle. Is that a problem? It's another bottle."

LIAM: Okay.

MATT: "All right. This one I did look up. This one, I do know what it does," and she reaches up to one of the upper shelves and pulls on the edge and is tugging on this piece of leather that is just out of view and then suddenly, tink, something starts falling. (crashes) Things start breaking. But she reaches out and grabs a couple and prevents it from breaking and this--

LAURA: Okay, I want to use my Telekinesis and try to catch one, too.

MATT: Try to catch one?

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah, I say you manage to do so.

LAURA: You're welcome.

MATT: "Okay, whoa! I was like, 'I can do this?'" (laughter)

MATT: "I'm very confused. A little disappointing, in hindsight, but I appreciate the help. So this," and it's this long, thin bottle with a small chamber at the bottom and the stopper is a dark red rubber, and it has a bright gold tassel that hangs from it and the liquid inside has this bright orangish-yellow-- a thick liquid, and as it swirls inside, the bottle itself is warm. She goes, "This, we used to have a few of them. This is the last one I have, because one of them got us out of a jam because I drank it and I shot fire out of my mouth for an extended period of time and it was amazing."


MATT: Thankfully, it only goes one way.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: (snickers)

MATT: "But yeah. This one will run you about 200 gold pieces."


MATT: "That's market value. I'm..."

TALIESIN: I don't know.

MATT: "Not looking to make max profit here. I just, you know, trying to find some work."

ASHLEY: What price did you say it was again?

MATT: "200 gold."

TRAVIS: 200.

ASHLEY: 200, hmm.

MATT: "Also, got this," and she pulls off the edge of, hanging on a hook, this wound, very, very nice looking silk rope that has a light green coloration to it. She says, "This, 50 feet of rope. Pretty useful, right? Not too bad." Takes the edge of it and chucks it up and there is an opening above her where one of the ladders leads into the next floor of the ship up there and the rope just-- (whooshes) and ties itself on to the top of the ladder and tugs on it. (gasping)

LAURA: That's clutch.

MATT: "Takes itself to the very top, ties it for you. Not too bad. It's helped me in a lot of situations I got myself in as a young tyke. But, you know, I'm here most of the time now, so--"

MARISHA: Can it untie itself as well?

MATT: (pops) (gasping)

MATT: "Wait, hold on. You're making a fool of me." (grunts) She falls to the ground as it suddenly lets go and she almost hits her head on the counter and before getting up, "(groans) Yeah, it's just playing with me. Yeah, this is a pretty cool rope. It climbs itself. 185 gold. Steal, if I say so myself. It's a bit used but--"

MARISHA: It's made of steel?

MATT: "No, it's a steal. It could be made of steel. I don't know, I haven't looked that close. (sniffs) Nah, it's not steel. But, it is a steal, if you want it."

LAURA: That's pretty cool.

MARISHA: That is really cool.

LAURA: I feel like we could use that.

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

ASHLEY: I think we need that.

MARISHA: We can solve so many puzzles!

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I'll put in for that.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: "All right."

MARISHA: I'm kind of in the market, so, all right. I've seen and I've heard that you can get boots that stick to the wall and you can climb the wall.

MATT: "That sounds amazing."


MATT: "Yeah, no, yeah, if you find anything like that, let me know."

MARISHA: All right, all right.

MATT: "That would be so useful! Oh my god, the repairs on this place would be so much easier. Let me know if you find that. I'd be very interested."

MARISHA: I won't, but all right.

MATT: "Great."

TRAVIS: You've got cool stuff like weapons, tools, edged objects?

MATT: "I'm not much of a weapons person. More of a knickknack collector. The other thing I was going to show you, which is really cool. It has a-- Ah shit, I need to clean this place, I--" (laughter) I don't..."

LAURA: What does it look like? Maybe we can help you?

MATT: "It's a round thing about that big. It's got a leather. It's a-- You know what? I have been meaning to clean for some time now. If you want to come back tomorrow, I'm going to straighten up a few things. I haven't really had anyone looking for stuff in a while."

ASHLEY: What does that do?

MATT: "It's kind of a fun thing. I don't know specifically what it does, but it contains a decent amount of what I'm pretty sure is blood in it and it's still liquid inside and from what I heard based on the jungle witch that gave it to me, that it's useful when it comes to spooky magic stuff, so."

ASHLEY: Wow, can I help you look for it?

MATT: "If you want to, yeah! That'd be great."

LAURA: I'll have a look around.

MATT: "Yeah, totally! Yeah, no, no, no! I usually. It's right over here with the majority of the various pieces of pottery and the small little sculpted cherubs the older folk usually buy and there's--"

MARISHA: Creepy.

LAURA: Are there any rods made of crystal or amber or anything like that?

MATT: Are you asking her this?

LAURA: No, as I'm looking around. Do I see any?

MATT: There are. There are pieces of rod-like architecture or smaller devices that have elements that are like a crystal rod or some sort of amber piece that could function for what you're looking for if it was extracted from the rest of the art piece and/or collectible--

LAURA: Oh, okay.

MATT: -- device it's attached to. This isn't a place for magical implements, but they can be cobbled from the knickknacks and various trinkets that are throughout.

LAURA: Can I find a piece with a crystal rod in it? Chetney, would you be able to take this out?

TRAVIS: The crystal rod?

LAURA: The crystal, would you be able to get it out of this?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'd smash the shit out of that. No problem.

LAURA: But, keep the crystal intact. I need it.

TRAVIS: I'll give it my best shot.

LAURA: How much for this?

MATT: You look at it and it looks like an old comb-type device. This is a crystal handle for a comb that the edge of it, the end of it, has been rotted out and fallen through, so now it's just-- A lot of this feels like a hoarder's house in a way. "Oh yeah, no, that, ooh. Oh, that's-- You can--"

LAURA: Should I just take it?

MATT: "Yeah, you can just take it."

LAURA: Okay. Great.

MATT: "That's fine. Just have it, it's not--"

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "I really got to clean up."

LAURA: Was this yours?

MATT: "No, no, no. It wasn't mine. That was Harold's."

LAURA: Oh, who's Harold?

MARISHA: "Harold's!"

MATT: "Harold's a guy we used to travel with through the wilds. You might want to wash that."

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: What happened to Harold?

MATT: "He's dead."

SAM: Oh.


SAM: Did something in the wilds do it?

MATT: "Yeah. No, it was terrible. You should probably clean it."

LAURA: I will.

MATT: "All right, cool."

SAM: Just out of curiosity, I don't mean to pry or anything, did you see the creature that did it?

MATT: "No, no, we just found what was left of him. It was, like, pieces, it was crazy!"

TALIESIN: We have that in common now, actually.

MATT: "In fact, a lot of these I probably should wash. I haven't thought of that in a long time."

LAURA: How long have you been here?

MATT: "I haven't processed that. That's probably trauma. What?"

SAM: Oh, trauma, you say?


SAM: Do you want to talk about it?

TRAVIS: Oh shit.

MATT: "Maybe."

MARISHA: Maybe you could trade your services for a discount?

SAM: Maybe, but I'll let you continue and maybe we can talk about that after.

LAURA: Well, that's all. How long have you been here?

MATT: "Well, we've been here about-- Hmm. I've been here about five years. Me and my dad, been here a little over 10."

LAURA: All right. And where's your dad now?

MATT: "He's no longer with us. So I take care of the place."

ASHLEY: Was he in here at one point?

MATT: "Oh yeah, no, we both used to run the establishment, and we'd travel all around the trails here and meeting friends of his from all across the wilds and the valley and, you know, just making trades, finding what we can, little adventures."

SAM: Did he die in the wilds?

MATT: "No, no. He... He just got sick."

SAM: Oh, I'm so sorry.

LIAM: So sorry.

MATT: "Yeah, it happens, you know. But--"

MARISHA: So is it just you now?

MATT: "Just me."

MARISHA: Oh. Would you like a friend? We could be your friends!

LAURA: That's a weird-- Is that a weird question?

MATT: "No, you're just a weird group."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "So-- I mean, I'm not against it."

MARISHA: Okay, we're friends.

MATT: "But we did just meet and currently, the relationship seems to have been squarely in the customer-client element there and so the timing of it does feel a little suspicious, based on the fact that you are looking to acquire things from me as the peddler, the seller."

TRAVIS: No, no--

MATT: "Perhaps if you were to return in a non-business based environment, I would be a little more receptive to this extension of possible friendship, but right now-- Just learning from the lessons I have from my father. Best to keep my distance emotionally."

LIAM: Well, we'll jump past the first part, then. I put down the amount of gold. What was it 200 for the rope?

MATT: "The rope is 185."

LIAM: 185. I count that out.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay.

LIAM: So we're passed the first stage of the courtship, and now we can work on being friends.

TRAVIS: Stage two, I'll give you four gold for the rest of the Mezcal smoky bottle, whatever's left in there.

MATT: "No, that's reforming in there." Looking at it, you can see where after the bottle had been uncorked, it was emptied, and now you can see there's a little bit of this mercury-like viscous liquid that's flowing inside. You can see it slowly increasing. So like, "So looks like it'll little reform in about a day.


MATT: "So this is still functional, my friend. If I'm looking at this right-- Ah, what was the note?" You can see, pulls up a small box of crumpled papers and notes and starts pulling through, unfolding.

ROBBIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a shoe box, for sure.

MATT: Yeah, it's this--

TRAVIS: 100%.

MATT: Pulls up--

TRAVIS: Last three years' worth.

MATT: Yeah, it is. This is the-- This is a tax person's nightmare. It is going through old receipts.

TRAVIS: H&R Block, here we go again.

MATT: "This is an Eversmoking Bottle, and that'll run you 250 gold pieces."

LAURA: Whoa.

TRAVIS: Fuck. I'll take it.

MATT: "All righty, my friend."

TRAVIS: I like your spirit.

MATT: "I like your money."

ASHLEY: Do you have rocks?

MATT: "I got some rocks, yeah."

ASHLEY: Do you have obsidian?

MATT: "I think I do. How much you want?"

ASHLEY: Let me see how much I would need. Give me a second.

TALIESIN: Getting into components?


TALIESIN: Have we decided that it's time for components?

ASHLEY: Well, I'm just getting ready, just in case.

TALIESIN: Wow. We're at components.

ASHLEY: (like Owen Wilson) Wow.

LAURA: Well, he always used components.

TRAVIS: Eversmoking Bottle.

LIAM: I'm a fighter. What are you doing?

TALIESIN: A sword is not a component.

ASHLEY: Just a few pieces.

TALIESIN: I mean, I guess technically it is.

MATT: "Oh yeah, all right, let me-- Okay," and she heads back down below, and you glance past where she's going and you can see, while it is chaos up here, there is one table down there with this immaculate spread of very delicately labeled minerals. You can see them all placed into small, little jars or receptacles and they're all independently labeled across, like a mineral collection, if you will.


MATT: She pulls out a shelf from underneath, and counts out these small, dark, flakings of glass and puts them into a small piece of wrapped cloth, folding over and brings it up, climbs back up the ladder, sits down. "This do for you?"

ASHLEY: Perfect, thank you very much. Oh, how much is it?

MATT: "These flakes? I'd say probably, like, five gold for the batch."

ASHLEY: Perfect.

MATT: "Wonderful, wonderful."

ASHLEY: Thank you.

MATT: "Don't normally hear requests for such exquisite materials, so it's a little exciting."

ASHLEY: We'll see if it works.

LAURA: While she was down there, I'm going to have gone along the shelves of all of the messy items and Prestidigitation.

LIAM: The dust away?

LAURA: Yeah, some of the items to help her clean up a little. She seems a little overwhelmed.

MATT: Aw, that's pretty sweet. What were you saying?

SAM: You need anything, Dorian?

ROBBIE: Oh, I'm just amazed. This place is wonderful. I have a question. Maybe-- You've been knocking it out of the park. This is a ship. You don't happen to have, it's purely aesthetic, pearls by any chance?

MATT: "Okay, I thought you were asking if it sails. I would be like no. Not in a long time. Not in a very long time."

ROBBIE: A string of pearls or two or just, you know?

MATT: "I have pearls. They're not, like, a necklace, if that's what you're asking about, but I--"

ROBBIE: I could probably-- Yes, do you have any?

MATT: "I think I have, like, four."


MATT: "Yeah, yeah."


MATT: "Four, I'm sorry."

ROBBIE: No, no, don't be sorry. That's fine, that's fine. I'm okay, thank you.

LAURA: You don't need them?

ROBBIE: No, no, I don't need them. I don't need them.

TRAVIS: What are these pearls for?

ROBBIE: (lip buzz)

MATT: "Is there a specific number, like 23 pearls are you searching?"

ROBBIE: Just to look. No, no. It could be costume.

SAM: Dorian, she lost her father. (laughter)

ROBBIE: I thought we had moved past that, FCG. I was fostering the customer relationship.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

ROBBIE: I'm good, I'm okay. I'm all right. I don't need them, I don't need them. Not at all. Anyway, how about that bag of blood? Is that somewhere? Can we look for that?

TRAVIS: Is that the 200 gold thing?

MATT: "I can't find that. I am so sorry."

LAURA: I've been looking.


LAURA: Maybe it fell on the ground?

MATT: "Come back tomorrow, maybe in a couple days. I'll see if I can pull it out of nowhere."

MARISHA: We'll come back. Bring you--

SAM: We definitely will come back.

MARISHA: Hot chocolate or-- Do ice cream. Oh, we know this baker. We'll get you a pastry.

MATT: "Okay! I'll take pastries."

MARISHA: That's what friends do, right?

TALIESIN: You like rocks, right?

MATT: "I do."

TALIESIN: Okay, cool.

SAM: Just a quick question before we go.

MATT: "Yeah?"

SAM: Do you happen to have cork, incense, fine copper wire, diamonds worth 300 gold pieces, a clay ziggurat model, or a jeweled horn, or a glass eye?

ROBBIE: Her father died, FCG! Her father died!

TALIESIN: What are you doing?

MATT: "From what I can recall, I got copper wire."

SAM: Okay.

MATT: "What else was there?"

SAM: Cork, incense.

LAURA: I think I saw--

MATT: "I got cork. Incense? Don't have incense."

LAURA: What about that little sculpture over there? Is that a ziggurat?

MATT: "No, that's supposed to help you poop."


LIAM: How?

MATT: "You put your feet on it when you-- It's a thing."

SAM and LIAM: Oh.

SAM: Better position for you.

LIAM: I imagined something else entirely.

SAM: I have feet.

TALIESIN: This with little-- Oh, that's a lot.

MATT: "That is... unique."

TRAVIS: Of all the fucking things to think up. Laura's so broken.

TALIESIN: In my head, I can see it, is the amazing thing. I can see, in the right light, that could look like a ziggurat.

MATT: "What was the later one you were saying?"

SAM: A clay model of something, a ziggurat or--?

MATT: "I got clay models of all sorts! I got little piggies here. I've got--"

SAM: Maybe I can take one of those and make it into a ziggurat?

MATT: "Kids that are fishing. Little cute kids that are giving presents."

MARISHA: They've got a little clay turtle.

MATT: "I sell a lot of creepy little kids. A lot of people who collect these around here."

SAM: I'll take that.

ASHLEY: Chetney, can you work in clay? Do you think you could also turn that into--

TRAVIS: Clay?! I thought we had something.

ASHLEY: Well, I'm just trying to expand your mind.

TRAVIS: Wood! It's wood only, baby.

MATT: "What were the last couple?"

ASHLEY: You're only going to work with wood for the rest of your life?

SAM: A jeweled horn, a glass eye.

TRAVIS: I mean, yeah.

SAM: Diamonds worth 300 gold.

MATT: "Don't have any diamonds. Don't have a jeweled horn. I do have a glass eye, though."

TRAVIS: That tracks.

MARISHA: Yeah, that tracks.


MATT: Pulls underneath and opens a small-- looks almost like a scroll case that's a bit moldy on one side, opens it up and turns it a bit to one side. You hear a couple things clack together before pulling it out and sets it on the counter and you can see it's a yellowed glass eye.


MATT: It's been weathered enough to the point where it's getting a darker yellow coloration. The iris is a bright, vibrant blue, but because of the discoloration, it's starting to turn more of a sea green.

LIAM: Does it seem to corrupt or radiate extreme evil?

MATT: Make an arcana check. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah, seriously.

MATT: Delilah couldn't destroy it, but it went here!

LIAM: (German accent) It is-- I rolled 19.

MATT: 19? It's just a glass eye.

LIAM: That's gross.

TALIESIN: I don't know if I've ever meant this quite as much, but that thing has seen some shit, jesus.


MARISHA: (sad trombone)

TALIESIN: I have been sitting on so many puns tonight. I have been keeping them to myself. One had to get out.

TRAVIS: I've been a good boy.

SAM: For the wire, the cork, did you say incense?

MATT: "I don't have incense. A wire and cork, I've got those somewhere."

SAM: Wire, cork, a couple of those clay figurines would be nice.

MATT: "Okay, okay."

SAM: And the glass eye. How much is all that together?

MATT: "Glass eye and," she goes in and starts rummaging through and assembling the pieces of what she could find. There is a coil of multi-used copper wire, but it functions for what you need. There are a number of these clay figurines that are all, what's that arrangement of small children that you--

MARISHA: Precious Moments.

MATT: Yeah, it's really, really--

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

MATT: Not well-made Precious Moments clay figures.

TRAVIS: Nightmares.

LIAM: Hummel figurines.

MATT: Yeah. The glass eye and then--

TALIESIN: Delightful Seconds.

MATT: And the cork. Cork, yeah. There's a number of pieces of cork.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MATT: That are pulled from long-emptied jugs of dark green glass and the corks are assembled in place. "A whole batch'll, is five gold?"

SAM: I don't have any money.

MATT: "Oh."

TALIESIN: I've got five gold. It's covered.

SAM: Thank you so much.

TALIESIN: Dolls, doll clothing. I'm looking for doll clothing.

MATT: "We've got dolls, we've got doll clothing. Yeah, what do you need it for?"


MATT: "Why do you need doll clothing for?"

TALIESIN: I need a tuxedo for a doll.

LIAM: Right.

SAM: Oh!

MARISHA: You're brilliant!

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MATT: "For a tiny doll?"

TALIESIN: For a tiny doll.

LIAM: Bringing it back around.


MATT: "Let me check."

ASHLEY: Dolls, I need dolls.

TALIESIN: Impress me.

MATT: Ascends, climbs like a monkey quickly up into the upper echelons of the ship leaving you all to your own devices. You hear. (patters) (creaks) (shattering) (gradually quickening whooshes) (clicks)

SAM: What is that?

TALIESIN: It sounded like--

MARISHA: Just do parallel bars?

TALIESIN: That sounded like tableware. That sounded like tableware or a serving tray. Oh!

LAURA: Parallel bars.


MATT: Jumps down with a heavy impact onto both of her heavy boots. Gives you this look.

LAURA: Oh, we got the look!

MATT: Lifts up from behind this ghastly fucking doll that probably was part of the ship that was shipwrecked here. You can see this porcelain has heavy-- This face has a heavy crack through the face there.

LAURA: Perfect!

MATT: The outfit that there is this formal, dark attire. It's a small boy, but the outfit has all manner of green crusted in the side from mold and mildew that has assembled at the edges of the material. Where one hand is just off and it's exposed wire sticking in this massive--

LAURA: Oh, copper wire.

MATT: -- awful display. One of the eyes is stuck downward and the other one opens and looks off to the side a bit. Sets it down. "It's pretty cool, huh?"

TALIESIN: How much?

LIAM: Let's go, Stephen King.

MATT: "I like the fact that you're a man who knows what he's looking for. I'll give you a discount. Three gold."

LAURA: (aghast noise)

TALIESIN: Eight for everything, then?

SAM: Yeah, with my stuff, too.

MATT: "Yeah."

TALIESIN: I think it's perfect. Is it perfect, Laudna?

MARISHA: Never seen anything more perfect in my life.

TALIESIN: It's perfect, eight gold.

MATT: "Got it. All right. All right. Well. That was a lively, unexpected interaction for the evening. I haven't talked to anybody in four days. That felt great. Thank you."

TRAVIS: Four days!

MARISHA: Are we getting the rope? Did we buy the rope yet?


MATT: You bought the rope.

TALIESIN: We got the rope.

MARISHA: We bought the rope.

TRAVIS: Those are the 200 gold thing? The blood bag?

TALIESIN: When we find the blood bag.

LAURA: How much was the little green vial?

MATT: "Oh, that was 50 gold."

LAURA: Because we don't know what it was.

TRAVIS: Did we get the fire breath?

LAURA: No, but the green vial that we don't know what it was.

MATT: "I'm not quite sure what that does, but I mean, it looks like it's got something magical to it. 50 gold? Solid? I don't know what it does."

LAURA: What do you think? 50 gold for--

TRAVIS: 50 gold, done.

TALIESIN: I'll put 50 gold in the card game, sure.

TRAVIS: Got it.

SAM: She's an orphan, Imogen!

TALIESIN: Oh, who isn't?

LAURA: Yeah!

TRAVIS: What do I put down for this 50 gold?

LAURA: Dark green--

TRAVIS: Oh, I'll have to identify it or something first or find somebody that can. Okay, dark green potion.

TALIESIN: Raise your hand. I'm sorry.

ASHLEY: The blood bag--

TALIESIN: Raise your hand in this shop if your parents--

ASHLEY: The thing that you were talking about.

TALIESIN: -- are probably dead. Thank you.

ASHLEY: How much was that?

TALIESIN: No sympathy.

LIAM: I'm sitting pretty.

MATT: "That one."

TALIESIN: No one asked!

MATT: Goes through some more of the notes.

TALIESIN: Write home about it, why don't you, fuck!

MATT: "I think from asking around some people I know. It's roughly around 350 gold. It's a decent enchantment item. I mean, it was given to me by a freaking jungle witch, so I'm going to, you know, charge a premium."


MATT: "Sorry, I don't have it."

ASHLEY: That sucks.

MATT: "I'll keep looking."


TRAVIS: Well, this is quite the grab.

SAM: Thank you so much.

MATT: "Of course. I'm going to eat lunch."

TALIESIN: I'm sobering up. We should fix that.

TRAVIS: Oh, oh.

MATT: "I eat alone. You got to go."

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: "Thank you."

TRAVIS: Nice to meet you, Marwa!

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: "You too, people. What do I call you?"

LAURA: Um...

TALIESIN: (coughs)

LAURA: We really need to-- Hell, I don't know what we should name ourselves.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I-- It's cute and all. My last group did not end well, so I know we've been, yeah, no, that's--

MARISHA: Do you think that name is cursed?

TALIESIN: Perhaps. It brings back unpleasant memories.

MATT: You hear this-- this whistle suddenly goes off on the side of the room. You see steam emerge from it for a second and you can now, hearing this faint clicking in the background that's mixed with the general sound outside, but you can see there's a bit of clockwork that's attached to this whistle. As the steam goes up, she goes, "All right. That means I got to eat. Everybody out. Bye!"

TALIESIN: Yep, nope, nope. That's fine.


MARISHA: Bye, friend!

MATT: "Bye. Not yet!"

SAM: Have a smiley day!


MATT: "Have a good day." Goes and pushes you all out. Closes the door. You hear it locks from behind.

ASHLEY: Before I leave.

MATT: Yes?

LAURA: Don't do it.

MARISHA: Don't do it.

SAM: Do it. Do whatever you want.

ROBBIE: Do it.

SAM: Do whatever you want.

MARISHA: Don't push it back.

TRAVIS: She's an orphan.

ASHLEY: Hold on. I'm going to leave something for her. I'm going to pull out--

LAURA: An ornamental saber. (laughter)

MATT: Of the recently attacked member of the elite in the city.

MARISHA: Weird shit shows up in pawn shops.

SAM: That's true.

ASHLEY: I'm going to pull out a blue and bloody rabbit's foot.

MATT: Okay. Yeah?

ASHLEY: Because it's bloody.

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Then put it on the counter.

MATT: Perfect.

ASHLEY: So she doesn't see it.

MATT: Awesome, cool.

ASHLEY: Nope. I'm going to take out the glass egg and I'm going to put it on there and I'm going to leave.

MATT: Okay.


TALIESIN: That's a flex.

TRAVIS: Wow, there was some struggle there.

ASHLEY: There was some struggle.

TALIESIN: That was a flex.


TALIESIN: That's impressive.

LAURA: I feel like we've witnessed some growth.

ASHLEY: No, no, heavens no. This is--

MATT: After you all are pushed out into the midday sun here in the streets of the Lantern Spire, a moment later you hear, "Oh fuck, there it is! Silly me!" behind the door. But the rest of the day is yours. The rest of the next few days are yours and we'll return here shortly to see what comes up in the next stage of your adventures because we're taking a break.

MARISHA: All that shopping!

ROBBIE: Shopping!

TRAVIS: We're so much poorer now. We've spent some money.


LAURA: Spent money.

MATT: You spent some money. We've got some fun stuff in the interim.

ASHLEY: She was all alone! She was her own shop just all on her own.

MARISHA: It works for creepy magic! I'm going to go back and buy it!

SAM: We have to go back and talk to her.

ASHLEY: I had to, I had to.

LIAM: I really thought you were going to say, "I drop a deuce on her front door." (laughter)

TRAVIS: Just shit on her floor. (laughter)

MATT: Mr. Bull Dog.

ASHLEY: Leave a little bloody poo.

ROBBIE: Oh my god.

MARISHA: Bloody poo!

MATT: Oh my, anyway.

ASHLEY: Sorry.

MATT: We'll see you guys here in a few minutes.

TRAVIS: We're going to break, for god's sake!

MATT: Critical Role.


MATTHEW LILLARD: (cackles) Hey, is it on? Okay. Hey, it's me, Matthew Lillard. Normally in these videos, I'm kind of funny and charming, but I'm in a bit of a situation. I'm in a dungeon with Sam! Okay, here's the thing. If you buy a premium edition of Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn by Beadle & Grimm's and Critical Role's Darrington Press, they're gonna let me out of the dungeon. And if you don't, the goblins are gonna eat Sam. (evil laughter) So let's check out the box, shall we? (jaunty, upbeat music) Okay, if you go to you can check out the box and buy one, and you can save my life. Unfortunately, there's no hope for Sam. Right, Sam? Not a chance. Thank you. (jaunty, upbeat music)

Who's payin' for all this? Goodness, such a mess, absolutely dreadful. But I can assure you, darling, Vox Machina will find those respons-- Don't even try it. Money, now. Well, you see. (wall crashing) We don't exactly have any money on us per se, but if you give me five- (all screaming) Uh, hello? Yes, excuse me. Ah, haha. Thank you, much appreciated. Tavern Keeper: And stay out! Does this mean we're officially banned from every tavern in Emon? Wonderful. We have no money, no place to live, and fuck all for prospects. Well, perhaps if someone didn't accidentally decapitate the last fellow who hired us. Well I apologized, didn't I? We have a mountain of debts and, oh god, three silver to our name. We need a job. Anything at this point. I mean, if protecting carts from swindlers and killing goblins for gold isn't getting us anywhere, I don't know, maybe, maybe we could try doing some good this time? Nah. Boring! (uplifting fantasy music)

MATT: From Darrington Press, experience the dawning of a new age with Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, the definitive 5e source book that brings the land of Tal'Dorei to your game. Rediscover the land of Critical Role's Vox Machina 20 years after their campaign, with new maps, detailed guides for each region, and a fold-out map of the continent. Delve into Tal'Dorei's hidden histories with this nearly 300-page tome containing nine dazzling subclasses, five rich backgrounds, and dozens of new creatures, feats, and magic items, including the Vestiges of Divergence. Explore uncharted waters with the Oath of the Open Sea paladin, unlock the arcane secrets of hemocraft as a blood magic wizard, defend the land from elemental chaos with the Ashari background, or even come face to face with the legendary heroes of Vox Machina themselves, complete with official stat blocks, portraits, and biographies, detailing their lives 20 years later. The future of Tal'Dorei is in your hands now. How do you want to do this? Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, available now at Critical Role's shops.

LAURA: Hey critters, Laura Bailey here to guide you through what's new in the Critical Role Shop. Look at this. Isn't it fashion? So much fashion happening here.

MATT: Glorious.

LAURA: Could anything be more perfect? Oh, so comfy cozy. Style should never be a dump stat darling. And Hey, if you want, you could head over to the Critical Role shop right now. (sneaky music) (typewriter clicking) (sneaky music) (moving piano music)

Announcer: We now go live to a special address from the President.

ASHLEY: Hey dweebs. Now as your president, I've been kinda killing it lately. I gave global warming an atomic wedgie. I balanced the budget by selling my Pog collection, and I saved the Queen of England from that octopus! But my kick-assery is far from done. According to this chart that I made, an estimated 35% of you are still a bunch of nasty goobers, but don't worry, I have a plan. Operation: Gag Me With A Spoon. It's easy sleazy. According to this study that I wrote, if every citizen subscribed to Critical Role on Twitch, we could reduce maximum goobage by a metric buttload. Twitch is the only place where you'll get a live and moderated chat and when you subscribe to Critical Role, you instantly get access to all their shows as soon as the live broadcast ends. So while you're oogling those Critical Role dorks with their sick goof-em-ups and their nerdy voices, think of me, Gale, the current president of whatever. Now I gotta go make a fresh batch of spitballs, but I guess I have some time for your boring questions. You. Reporter: Gale, is it true that if you subscribe to Critical Role through Prime Gaming, you have to resubscribe every month? Uh, yeah. I do it right after my monthly prank call to Pee-an O'Brien. Next question. Reporter: Does Critical Role have exclusive emotes for their subscribers? Uh, doy. Of course they do. I like the hello bees one, 'cause bees are cool. I replaced my whole security detail with a bunch of bees that think I'm their queen. Last question. Reporter: Yeah, with all due respect, is Operation: Gag Me With a Spoon a real policy, or are you mad goofin'? Am I mad goofin'? What, do you see me scarfing Milk Duds while doodling ding-dongs in the SkyMall catalog? Listen, I know I'm new to this. And I admit that when I made the wish to be the boss of everything, I did not know the witch that works at Woolworth's was listening. Well, Faustian bargain or not, I am the president and I have an obligation to lead this country. So to answer your question, no, I am not mad goofin'. Security, take him out. (bees buzzing) (Gale laughing) Later, chudruckers!

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back. So, the group of you have a little under three days, four or three days before the ball occurs. What else would you like to do in the interim?

SAM: ♪ Balls ♪

LAURA: I think we should see if we can get back into the Lumas House and look for pages.

TALIESIN: Do you want a small group or a big group for that?

LAURA: I mean, it's really up to you to see what you think would be appropriate.

LIAM: Yeah, I think that I could probably navigate that reintroduction, I guess. Why don't we keep it small? So they don't feel like, "Eh!" So many.

LAURA: Yeah, that's fine.

LIAM: Okay.

LAURA: I would like to go research every night, if I can, before the ball and just go back and--

MATT: You have access, so--

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I have a question. We were in that shop and, you know, he asked like, "Who are you guys?" I know we talked about business prior, but like, you don't have a moniker that you go by? Has this always been the group that you've run with, or--?

MARISHA: It's been a work in progress.

LIAM: Everybody asks.

LAURA: I know, we really need to--

ROBBIE: It's bothering me, too. Our last group didn't have a name.

LIAM: We tried.

ROBBIE: Yeah, we tried. It's tough. It's really hard.


LIAM: You want it to mean something.


ASHLEY: We didn't land on anything? We didn't land on anything.

TRAVIS: The last group?


ROBBIE: We had a group of friends that we traveled with for a bit of time before we joined ourselves.

TRAVIS: Oh! Oh, that's right. Yes, you met.

SAM: I also was part of a group before this, and so was Ashton.

ROBBIE: Did they have a name?

SAM: They did. They did. It was called The Division of Public Benefit.



SAM: Mm-hmm. (laughter)

LIAM: Pithy.

LAURA: You're such an asshole.

TRAVIS: The Division of Public Benefit.

ROBBIE: Lengthy--

TRAVIS: That's a long one.

SAM: The Division, it was short.

MARISHA: The Division.

LIAM: Way to carry that forward.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I tried to announce the New Nobodies and I just--

TALIESIN: I kind of--

MARISHA: Does it bring back trauma?

ROBBIE: Yeah, what happened to the old Nobodies? You told us, right?

TALIESIN: They fucked off, which is fine, but yeah, moving backward is never a good plan. I'm not a big fan of moving backward, forward, and you know, yeah.

LIAM: I mean, what thematically brings this group together?


ROBBIE: Furniture.

TALIESIN: Death! Money, furniture.

LAURA and MARISHA: Furniture!

TRAVIS: Why furniture?

LAURA: Because we've been killing a lot of furniture. I mean, the first time we met was because of the furniture and then Bertrand pulled us in.

ROBBIE: I almost got killed by a rock.

MARISHA: The Furnies. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Who pulled you in?

LAURA: Bertrand. I mean, that does make sense.

SAM: Oh, he was this nice old man.

TRAVIS: I don't know who that is.

LAURA: We wanted to pay tribute to him and we haven't come up with something.

MARISHA: I mean, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Bell.

TALIESIN: I almost like you better, if that makes you feel better.

TRAVIS: Almost?

TALIESIN: It depends on the day.

TRAVIS: If I spend more money, will it help matters?

TALIESIN: Oh yeah!


SAM: How much money do you got?

TRAVIS: Well, not that much!

TALIESIN: Then no.

TRAVIS: I mean, I don't have my own fancy uniform, just ready to go for a ball!

ROBBIE: Ah, I'm sorry. I do like what you picked out, though.

TRAVIS: Thank you. It's very minimalist. I may go without a hat. I don't know.


TRAVIS: I know.

TALIESIN: You should wear something to just bring the whole thing together.

TRAVIS: I don't put anything on this mane of love.

TALIESIN: Not even wood? You're not even going to make something out of wood? Wear your ware?

TRAVIS: Oh shit. Now I have temptation.

ASHLEY: Wear your wares.

TALIESIN: Sleep with that.

TRAVIS: But just something to think about. I mean, you're working for some pretty big people. Notoriety seems like it would serve you pretty well.

TALIESIN: I've met more old people with this group than I think I have in the last 10 years. That is an interesting thing. (laughter)

MARISHA: What would Bell say if he was here?

LIAM: What do you think, Chetney?


MARISHA: You're old. Old people think alike, right?

LIAM: Right.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Fiber is important.

TALIESIN: He does sound like him.

TRAVIS: You'll miss your knees when they're gone.

ROBBIE: That's a good saying, yes.

LAURA: Bell wanted us to be the Sorcerous Swords. Bell's Sorcerous Swords, but--

MARISHA: It's too, too much.

TRAVIS: Boy, I really like the sound of that. It's got nice alliteration.

LAURA: I don't--

LIAM: You want something succinct.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Hell, I don't know.

SAM: The Lumas twins.

LAURA: Something like that, Bell's Lumas Twins. Yeah.

TALIESIN: Twin Bells. That sounds like a pub. Fuck.

MARISHA: Maybe it'll come to us in the next three days. I don't know.

LIAM: Boy, it's almost as if this is a--

LAURA: Hell, I don't know. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Next time someone asks, just say the first thing that-- Whoever says something first.

SAM: We'll do that.

TALIESIN: Fuck it.

SAM: We'll do that.

ROBBIE: Free association, is that what you're suggesting?

TALIESIN: Somebody's going to say something next time someone asks and it's going to happen.

ROBBIE: Oh, oh, okay.

LIAM: It's almost like this is a real problem we're having. (laughter)

SAM: Why don't y'all go to investigate your papers and we'll do some thinking over the next couple of days and it'll just come to us.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Like a focus group.

MARISHA: I tried the focus group, but that didn't work either. I asked everyone. No one cared.

SAM: Yeah, they said you asked people and they were like, trouble and--


LAURA: And sweet?

TALIESIN: Oh, I thought you were suggesting The Focus Group is the name for the group.

LAURA: Sweet Trouble.

ROBBIE: Not bad.


SAM: The Focus Group!

MATT: We are the Focus Group!

SAM: Because we can't focus!

ASHLEY: Focus! (laughter)

TRAVIS: The FG! (laughter)

MARISHA: It's got a comma in it and it's just "Focus, Group."

ROBBIE: Focus, Group.

TALIESIN: Oh, fuck us.


ROBBIE: We'll figure it out.

TALIESIN: It's the Fuck Us Group.

MATT: ♪ Bring the focus, Bring the mother, bring the motherfucking focus ♪

TRAVIS: You're going to investigate papers.

LAURA: We're going to investigate, let's go see if we can talk to them.

TALIESIN: I'm going to work on my fucking mask.

ROBBIE: Do we need anything at-- Your what?

TALIESIN: My mask.

MARISHA: What do you mean?

LAURA: Your mask for what?

ASHLEY: Are you going incognito?

TALIESIN: Did no one else read the fucking--

LAURA: What are you talking about?

LIAM: Well, we bought clothes.

TRAVIS: Oh, wait a minute. Do we need masks for the party?

MARISHA: Oh shit.

LIAM: We just finished shopping for seven hours.

MARISHA: An all-day event. Maybe Eshteross can help us.

TALIESIN: You don't buy a mask, you make it. Otherwise, it isn't yours.

ASHLEY: Maybe--

LAURA: Really?

TALIESIN: That's how you imbue it with its power. No, I don't know. I just like fucking making it. I just want to make some shit.

LAURA: We should've ask--

ASHLEY: Should we have a craft day?

MARISHA: Oh, we should have a craft day.

LAURA: Well, we got a few days.

ASHLEY: Okay, we can make our masks.

SAM: Let's go shopping for supplies.

TALIESIN: I've got tons of shit at my house.

LAURA: Let's go.

SAM: Okay, great.

MATT: As you arrive at the-- No.

TALIESIN: Yeah, let's just make this shit at my house. We've got hot glue, we got whatever the fuck you need. Magic.

MATT: Hot glue's level two, right? It's a level two spell slot.

ASHLEY: Hot glue has such is good smell.

TRAVIS: It does.

TALIESIN: You are not wrong.

SAM: Come on, focus, group.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no! (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh no!

ASHLEY: That's a pretty great--

TALIESIN: We're not fine. (laughter)

TALIESIN: We're done.

ASHLEY: The Focus comma Group?

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: This is now going to be a joke forever. (laughter)

MATT: All right. So you are first looking towards the Mahaan House of Lumas.

LIAM: Right. We are making our way to House Lumas.

ALL: ♪ Makin' our way! ♪

SAM: ♪ Focus Group ♪

MATT: Is just you, or--?

LIAM: Just the two of us.

MATT: The two of you, okay. In the early afternoon, traveling back to Lucent Spire-- that's a silver each.

LIAM: I'm getting used to this a little more gradually.

LAURA: These fucking--

LIAM: Yeah, 5% better. This is like the 15th time I've watched you ride one of these.

LAURA: I'd been on these for quite a while before you guys came to town.

LIAM: Oh, it's never going to change, then.

LAURA: Look out the window. We are high.

LIAM: Yep.

LAURA: These things could snap at any moment.

LIAM: That's probably not going to happen.

MATT: It begins to shake slightly left to right.

LAURA: You see what I'm fucking talking about?

MATT: You think it's the wind, but you look to the back of the cart and there is a little 12-year-old boy in really good dress with a giant lollipop just going-- (laughter)

LAURA: In his head, he hears: I can find you in your dreams.

MATT: He drops his lollipop.

LAURA: Shit, now I feel guilty. Laudna does that shit all the time and it just-- I'm kidding, kid, I'm not going to-- I didn't-- Shit. You're fine. You're going to dream of-- shit.

MATT: It comes to land at the Lucent Spire.

LIAM: As we walk out and she looks the other way, I look up at the kid and say, "She'll haunt you forever," and I walk off. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Jesus! This campaign hates children.

MATT: You walk for about 30, 40 seconds before you hear, (crying)

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: The kid just goes running. You hear, (posh voice) "What's wrong, Daniel?" As you continue moving forward. (laughter)

ASHLEY: "But what's wrong, Daniel?"

MATT: You follow the familiar path to the exterior of the Lumas House. The guards are still placed, keeping watch in the main central garden area that leads into the courtyard before the house itself.

LIAM: Okay. Before we get any closer than we are now, I have an idea.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: I think in this one instance, it'd be cool if we just were real about what we want.


LIAM: You know what I mean? Just you're a scholar, they were scholars. It's a coincidence. They were the last people to check out that book you believe, and you know, we left things on a good note. So I think, just in this instance, maybe honesty is the way to go. Keep it simple.

LAURA: All right. All right.

LIAM: It's just because they were kind to us and I don't feel like--

LAURA: Fully, and I mean, we are asking to rummage through... their rooms.

LIAM: Right.

LAURA: Potentially.

LIAM: And so much goes south if we're breaking into their house, so.


LIAM: Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but I have good feeling.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: All right. Excuse me?

MATT: As you walk up to the guard and they take a somewhat defensive stance and you say, "Excuse me?", a voice to your left goes, "Oh, welcome back." You glance over, and hidden just beyond the hedge that you didn't see sitting on a small dark marble bench is Ela Lumas, the matriarch of the household, who's currently sitting with a small metallic tray with tea and small cups on there, and is in the process of thumbing through a small-- it looks like a pocket book before closing it and turning it over to you wearing a different, but still white dress.

LIAM: Oh, good morning. It's fortuitous that you're out here. Am I catching you at a good moment today?

MATT: "This time is fine as any. What do you need?"

LAURA: So sorry to bother you again, ma'am. It's such an odd coincidence. I'm on a bit of a scholarly hunt. I was working at the Starlight Conservatory. One of the books that I was researching had a couple pages missing from it. When I asked them who the last person that had seen the book was, they said it was the twins. It just seemed like too odd of a coincidence, like fate had pulled us here. So, we thought--

LIAM: We thought, if it's not overstepping, we were wondering if you had any of their things left? We obviously don't want to take, but we're wondering, under your discretion, of course, if there's any of their studies or notes left, if we could possibly with you take a look?

MATT: "Well, the Duskmaven works in mysterious ways, I suppose. You are welcome to look, if you'd like."

LAURA: Thank you so much.

MATT: You would acknowledge this just because you've heard it from people who live nearby. The Duskmaven is Marquetian. In many places, the Marquetian interpretation of the Matron of Ravens.

TRAVIS: Dusk or dust?

MATT: Duskmaven. Yeah. Different cultures have different interpretations of, you know? While the deities largely are consistent, there are different interpretive designs and ideas of it based on culture and landscape and history. "But yes, you are welcome to look about. If you would like to escort just for comfort, of course, come with." The guards follow along, but leads you back towards the direction where you originally saw that observatory tower, and leads you into a chamber that, you know, there is a bit pause as she opens it and takes a deep breath before crossing the threshold and then staying there, before she turns to both of you and says, "For what you need."

LIAM: That's extremely generous of you. We're very appreciative. Thank you.

LAURA: We'll try not to take up too much of your time.

MATT: As you enter, you can see this is equal parts just a massive dormitory slash laboratory, if you will. You can see there were two different beds set up, arranged different parts of the room. There are two different floor levels, one about five or six feet above the other with stairs that wind around to the upper portion. You can see there is a large device, a telescope-type brass contraption that descends from the tower itself and leads to an upper platform. It's a bit raised up, and you can see all sort of manner of cranks and odd portions of the device that are used to shift and alter it to whatever the viewer would prefer. You can see there are tables for note taking, desk space and everything, but it's mostly all locked away and kept clean, kept spick-and-span.

LAURA: Do you know where their most recent notes would've been?

MATT: "Unfortunately, I do not. I apologize. I do not follow the same pursuits they did. So I was... I did not take it as personal interest at the time."

LIAM: Is it okay if we leaf through a little bit?

MATT: "I think so, for a time, not too long, I hope."

LAURA: Of course not.

LIAM: Are we looking for pages, yeah?

LAURA: Yeah, torn edges, anything you see about celestial bodies and dreams, visions.

LIAM: Torn pages is a good start.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. Both of you make investigation checks or one of you with advantage, your choice.

LIAM: Take advantage.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: I hold up boxes and drawers for her, show her things.

MATT: Right, but let her guide the actual investigation.

TRAVIS: Let's go, L.B. Come on now.

LAURA: Oh jesus. 15.

MATT: 15.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: You spend the better part of an hour--

LIAM: You take 14 and a half. (laughter)

MATT: You spend the better part of an hour poring through what's available, looking at through whatever loose notes can be found underneath, small books, looking through books, looking through-- gathering pieces of sheet paper and scrawlings on them. Looking across the shelves, they have various other tomes that speak about astronomy, that speak about the planes, that speak about all the various interesting and fascinating celestial acknowledgements and theories across the history of Exandria, pre- and post-Calamity, but nothing that matches the missing pages that you had hoped to find. Unfortunately.

LIAM: What do you think?

LAURA: This is such an awful question. In your head, you hear, "Do you think it would be completely untoward to ask if their belongings were returned, that they were--"

LIAM: I think if you do it respectfully, that'll be all right.

LAURA: When they were attacked, the possessions that they had on them at the time, were they returned to you?

MATT: "As far as I know, whatever they kept on their persons and traveled with returned from the Heartmoor to us. I do not know the specifics, necessarily. I cannot imagine why Estani would not return anything. So--"

LAURA: They'd be in the same location or would they be somewhere else?

MATT: "Aside from what was personally on them, everything else has been placed back into this chamber."

LAURA: Is Estani the one who would have done it?

MATT: "Estani was a family friend who was present when they were attacked. They did not return, but they were responsible for sending them back home."

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: Our business is most likely going to be taking us in the direction of where they were lost. If we find anything, obviously, you'll be the first to hear. Is there anything else we can do for you to repay the kindness you've shown us here today?

MATT: She reaches down and pulls open the breast fold of her robe that she's wearing, and pulls out a small pin that you can see was being held in there and looks at it for a second. "Show this to Estani. This should be enough to ensure that you are indeed a family of the house." She hands it down to you and glancing at it. It is the shape of an arced bow with a series of four pointed stars within the space where the string would be, and looks to be a crescent moon that almost matches the shape of the bow, just smaller into the back. It is a gold and silver pin.

LAURA: Cool.

LIAM: Well, I think-- Unless there's anything else?

LAURA: No, I think-- Thank you very much.

MATT: "Of course."

LIAM: Orym blooms out a single large flower in his hand and leaves it on the desk amidst the papers that they're leaving behind. Thank you, ma'am.

MATT: "Good luck."

LAURA: The Matron brought us together for a reason. I do believe that.

MATT: "Let us hope it is for the right reason, for she is many." With that, you are escorted back out past the garden, into the streets of the Lucent Spire to pursue the rest of your interests.

LIAM: As they're walking away, he just looks up, "You're a good egg."

LAURA: (laughs) You, too, Orym.

LIAM: That's it.

MATT: All right. What else are folks looking to do as the time clicks on, as the days progress towards the looming political event?

TRAVIS: I got this bottle of mucous, I'd like to figure out what it is.

SAM: Oh yeah.

LAURA: Green mucous, yeah.

TRAVIS: It's a green potion.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's right.

TRAVIS: Could I find an arcane shop of knowledge?

SAM: I could just tell you what it is.


LAURA: You can identify things?

SAM: (whirring) Yeah.

TRAVIS: Oh, that's some G shit, yeah.

LAURA: Why didn't you do that in the store?

TALIESIN: Didn't ask.

SAM: Oh, I can do it once a day.

LAURA and ASHLEY: Oh, okay.

LIAM: You have an Identif-eye?

SAM: I have an Identif-eye. (laughter)

TRAVIS: As long as you don't--

MARISHA: (drawled) I identify.

TRAVIS: -- do anything dangerous today, I'll take it.

SAM: Sure. I will identify that thing.

MARISHA: Just for you.

SAM: Matthew, I think I can do this with something.

MATT: I believe you can.

SAM: Something, I don't know where it is.

MATT: It'll be under racial traits, I believe.

SAM: Racial traits. Sure.

TRAVIS: I identify.

SAM: I identify.

MATT: All right. It is indeed a healing potion.

SAM: It is a healing potion?

LAURA: Oh, it is?

SAM: I wasted it. I mean-- (whirs) It's a healing potion!

TRAVIS: That's great.

SAM: I hope it serves you well. Well, maybe it's like--

TALIESIN: Not ripe yet.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Is it special? Is something weird about it?

MATT: You don't know. It definitely has the scent and air of-- Well, then you see the mass-produced healing potions that are usually funded by local government or by extremely well-refined creators of magical implements for sale. This definitely has the air of being a little more of a rural bake.

TRAVIS: Oh god.

TALIESIN: They dye them red, it's not actually part of the--

MATT: Right.

TALIESIN: That's just added later.


TALIESIN: It's like Pernot, just put the green.

MATT: Yeah, there's sediment in there that's built up in some areas like a dark deep green, almost brown coloration.

TRAVIS: Would it be equivalent to a greater, a regular?

MATT: It would be equivalent to a regular.

TRAVIS: Okay, cool.

MATT: But do note, that it is the green healing potion.

LAURA: Oh, interesting.

TRAVIS: I will make a note.

SAM: Maybe it has a chance of failing or something.

MATT: Actually, with an Identify spell, you would know all of its various capabilities. It also makes you resistant to poison for an hour.


TRAVIS: Yeah, baby!

LAURA: Extra special.

MARISHA: It's better.

LAURA: You got that for 50 gold. How much is a healing potion, a regular healing potion?

MATT: Anywhere from 50 to 75 gold.

LIAM: Sounds like Mr. Pibbs.

TALIESIN: It just dares you to drink something more noxious.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Identify. That's very handy, FCG.

SAM: You're welcome, anytime.

TALIESIN: Once a day.

ASHLEY: I mean, I told you that it was a healing potion, so.

LAURA: You did.

SAM: You did!

ASHLEY: Just by smelling it.

TRAVIS: You suggested I start working with clay.

LAURA: You know, we should find out what that little-- Oh, never mind. We didn't see you take it.

SAM: And she gave it back. Speaking of clay.

ASHLEY: I'll steal it again later.

SAM: I don't know how it works, but I'm going to-- Do I know what a ziggurat is? I need a clay model of a ziggurat and I've got some clay.

MATT: You have some hardened clay. Yeah.

LAURA: It's hardened clay.

SAM: Can't you melt it down? I don't know how clay works.

MATT: That's not-- That's not how--


ROBBIE: No, no, no.

SAM: Oh shit.

MATT: But you can, you can buy some clay and attempt to utilize your skills to craft a ziggurat.

SAM: It's just like Play-Doh.

LAURA: Eight gold.

LIAM: A little hard statue.

LAURA: How much did you spend on it?

MARISHA: You can't do that with Play-Doh, either. Once it's dry, it's definitely dry for forever.

TALIESIN: Yeah, there's no remoistening.

ROBBIE: Just eat it.

MATT: It's very sad.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I was about to say. It's never quite the same.

LAURA: Oh, look at this buddy. He is so pooping.

LIAM: He's so sad.

MATT: I know.

SAM: Try and find some clay.

MATT: Easy enough to find in a number of general stores, who honestly, probably gather it from a couple of the more damp sections of some of the alleyways, but you can attempt to sculpt your own ziggurat, if you'd like.

SAM: I will try.

MATT: Okay. If you could roll either a dexterity or intelligence check for me, please.

SAM: Oh boy. Okay.

MARISHA: What are you doing?

SAM: I'm going to do dexterity plus zero. Guidance! It's a five. (laughter)

ROBBIE: Oh boy.

MATT: It will function for any sort of spell usage you need that requires a ziggurat of a clay sculpture. But it definitely looks a lot more phallic than you intended. (laughter)

ASHLEY: What is that?


SAM: It's a ziggurat!



ASHLEY: That's not what I would call it, but that works.

SAM: I-- Well, I-- (stammers) How do I explain this?

LIAM: We're all adults here.

TRAVIS: How are you holding that?

TALIESIN: No judgment.

ROBBIE: Yeah. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh, yeah, I see it now.

MARISHA: It's balanced to the left.

SAM: It will help me focus my magic to cast a spell.

MATT: A symbol of The Focus Group. (laughter)

LAURA: How did both campaigns end up with a dick as their symbol?

MATT: Because we're responsible adults. We are mature human beings.

MARISHA: Why a (slowly) ziggurat? Ziggurat?

SAM: Because-- I don't know. I just had this feeling deep inside of me. Maybe it was something that was sort of-- Maybe Dancer sort of--

MARISHA: Programmed it in you?

SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't know. I get a sense-- I get a sense that I need it. (laughter)

SAM: I got a sense that I need it.

TRAVIS: Can you remind me what your associates' names were?



LAURA: Oh. Never mind, continue.

TRAVIS: Oh, did you attack me or something?

LAURA: No, I just need your help, but you can keep talking to him.


SAM: You mean the people who I travel with?

TRAVIS: Well, yeah, you keyed in on the associates.

ASHLEY: Designated driver?

SAM: Yeah... Dancer!

ASHLEY: What are they called?

SAM: Dancer was my maker. She's great. We also rolled with Terrawyn. They were really cool with earth magic and stuff. Ozene was a-- She was an awesome hi-yah type fighter, and also really great with water and stuff. Then Axer was--

LAURA: Used an axe.

SAM: He used an axe, yeah. He's a big, big surly type. Had flies buzzing around his head.

LAURA: Oh wow.

TRAVIS: Awesome. Cool.

SAM: They're all gone now, though.

LAURA: I'm sorry.

SAM: It's all right. Earlier, Orym, you asked me what I wanted and I would very much like to find some sort of justice for them and I didn't tell you before, but I think I remember seeing the thing that did it to them. I don't remember much because I was coming out of a stasis, but I did see that the creature had one eye.

LAURA: One eye.

SAM: So I've been trying to find--

LAURA: A one-eyed--

TALIESIN: On the side or in the center?

SAM: Oh, I mean--

TALIESIN: Is that just too much?

SAM: It's just a blur.

LAURA: You know what? I wonder if we can do a thing.

SAM: What's that?


LAURA: I'm going to cast Detect Thoughts.

TRAVIS: Oh shit.


SAM: Okay.

LAURA: All right.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Just open yourself up to it, all right? Don't try to fight me on this.

SAM: I won't.

LAURA: All right, I'm going to put my hands, both hands, on the side of his face.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: I want you to think-- If this is too traumatizing for you, if this is too hard, you don't have to do it.

SAM: No, it's fine.

LAURA: Think about the moment.

SAM: Okay. I was-- Well, it was early morning when I woke up or was roused, I suppose, because I don't think my stasis was over yet. I sort of came to and I saw a lot of blood. And-- some of my friends fallen. I saw Dancer. Her last few breaths. She sort of looked at the creature that was... upon her, I guess? Then it turned at me suddenly. I just remember being so scared, and it looked at me with that one eye, and then it was just gone.

LAURA: While he's telling this whole story, I'm going to try to dive deeper and deeper into his brain and see if I can pick up any visual cues to maybe see it more clearly than what he can remember.

MATT: Okay. Focusing on the vision that's present. The words that are spoken are clearer than the image you get. There is... I want to say a boundary of emotion, but there is definitely... A type of trauma or scar within this somewhat humanoid, but also alien mind that while he is able to acknowledge these experiences verbally, it's like... It's like the memory's not letting you in.

LAURA: Does it feel different than other people that I try to Detect Thoughts on?

MATT: Only in the sense that FCG. is not a typical human. The blockade isn't like a second force trying to push you out, but anybody who has undergone some sort of a trauma that they're not quite ready to face, there is an instinctual protective resistance to it. It's more akin to that.

LAURA: Okay. Yeah.

SAM: Did you get anything?

LAURA: No. Mostly just what you were saying.

SAM: Did you see-- You didn't see the creature?

LAURA: Did I see the creature?

MATT: Weirdly, no. It was just flashes of like, like spikes of memory. You remember a campfire. You remember elements of jungle. You remember sudden movement. You remember screams. You remember the sense of fear, the shaking, the helplessness within Fresh Cut Grass. Then the aftermath. Like somebody who woke from a dream, but was too groggy to stop something that was already in motion.

LAURA: I didn't see it. I've never tried to-- Do something quite like that before, but-- I'm sorry I put you through it.

SAM: No, it's fine. I do that stuff a lot. I used to do that stuff all the time. Try to pry into people's minds and see what's bothering them. And you do sort of the same thing, sometimes.

LAURA: I do the same thing but normally it's trying to find thoughts, less about trying to find visions, if that makes sense. I just got flashes of what you went through.

SAM: Well, thank you for trying. If you ever want me to do that to you-- I wouldn't mind returning the favor.

LAURA: Thank you so much. I'll let you know. (laughs) Don't you do it right now.

SAM: No, of course not.

LAURA: All right. You're welcome in my head anytime you want.

SAM: If you want me to.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: Sam.

SAM: Huh?

MATT: You take two points.

LAURA: (gasps) What did I do?

MATT: You didn't do anything.

TRAVIS: (alarm noises) (laughter)

LAURA: Oh no!

MATT: All righty.

SAM: Just roll a couple death saves. (laughter)

SAM: I'm unconscious-- no. (laughter)

MATT: You're fine, you're fine.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: All right, so--

TALIESIN: Don't traumatize them.

TRAVIS: Are you going to go check out the other library?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: Stuff?


MATT: What else would you like-- So you're going to do further research?

LAURA: I was going to do more research if I could, but--

MATT: What specifically are you looking into?

LAURA: I am looking into-- What do you want me to look into?

MARISHA: Well, you know, only after you've done sufficient research on whatever you're looking for for yourself. But, you know, if you just happen to stumble upon anything about The Briarwoods, what they were up to, having a dead woman in your head a year after she dies, how to get rid of said dead woman in your head, if I get rid of said dead woman, am I going to lose all my powers? All those things.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: That could be good.

LAURA: So the stuff we talked about.

MARISHA: Yeah, you know.

LAURA: FCG, do you want to try to come in with me? I could say you're my assistant.

SAM: If you'll have me, yeah. You were going to look up something for me, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Yeah, sure, I'll come with you. Yes. Absolutely. In fact, let me give you some... If you're going to lie and say that I'm your assistant, let me give you some Guidance.

LAURA: Oh, thank you.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: Okay, so what are you looking into right now?

LAURA: Okay, I want to look into-- Number one, I want to find out if it's possible to find out what other books the Lumas twins had checked out when they were there.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Actually, you know what? I'm going to go ahead and give you Enhance Ability on all intelligence checks. Is that something I can do? Would that help your research, right?

LAURA: Is that investigation? Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's investigation. That's good.

SAM: Fox's Cunning. All right.

MATT: So you go and head to the library. Your previous scribe is not currently working. But the individual that you are assigned, named Yome is a more gruff figure. You go ahead and ask them for access. Roll a persuasion check with disadvantage.

SAM: You do have Guidance.

LAURA: I do have Guidance still. Then Guidance, I add a four.

MATT: Add a d4, yeah.

LAURA: 14.

MATT: 14. "I'm sorry. That information is specific to administration."

LAURA: Right. Thank you. I'm just going to look for more books, then.

MATT: What else are you looking at?

LAURA: Are you with me? Was I able to get FCG in with me?

MATT: I will say having an automaton assistant is not entirely out of the realm of expectations. So, yes, you were able to accompany.

TRAVIS: It's like having a laptop in the early 2000's.

MATT: Kind of, yeah. People are like, "Wow, I mean, sure. Where do you get one?"

LAURA: Maybe together we can look for-- I want to find out information about the Briarwoods in Whitestone. Any information I can find out about them.

MATT: Roll an investigation check.

LAURA: With advantage?

MATT: With advantage because of the spell.

LAURA: Come on, you piece of--

TRAVIS: Probably just need more dice.

LAURA: Eight.

MATT: Eight?

LAURA: I'm sorry, Laudna!

LIAM: Got to cross the threshold.

MARISHA: It's all right.

MATT: You find historical records, which are available. They speak of Sylas and Delilah Briarwood. Two nobles within the realm of Wildemount that were... Some accounts say exiled, others say that they were hunted beyond its borders.

LAURA: Angry, yeah, I just stabbed my--

MATT: I can tell. But then were known to abscond to Tal'Dorei, where they raised a bloody incursion in the city of Whitestone, wiping out the majority of the de Rolo family, and then taking over. There, they held, in secret, power in court over the township for the period of about five years, before they were ousted and thought to be destroyed by the heroes known as Vox Machina.

SAM: Are there pictures of them in the book, and are they sexy?

MATT: No, there are not pictures because you rolled too low to find the sexy photos. A 15, at least, to find the sexy photos. I'm just saying. (laughter)

MATT: Yes. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Legends of Vox Machina Swimsuit issue? (laughter)

LIAM: There is a note scribbled on the side: Pretty sexy.

MATT: Hey, the Ghost Rider spread in that swimsuit issue was awesome.

TALIESIN: Yeah, that's very fair.

MARISHA: Is this holographic? (laughter)

TALIESIN: In the dollar bin.

LIAM: Well, yeah. Look at that cube.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: But yeah. You find footnotes that apparently speak of involvement, like post mortem involvement during the incursion of the Whispered One. Also involving Vox Machina, but there has been no recorded account of that. And that's it.

LAURA: Okay. Oh god, also information about suddenly getting power. This is so similar to what I was researching before, but getting power, being related to an external magic source.

MATT: Go ahead and roll an investigation check.

MARISHA: Come on, girl.

ASHLEY: Come on, baby.

SAM: I will also look with her.

LAURA: Oh, yeah, that's good.

MATT: Okay, yeah, because yeah, she has advantage--

LAURA: Ooh, ooh, ooh, that's good! Did you Guide me? You didn't Guide me.

SAM: I did not.

LAURA: 20.

MATT: 20, good, good. You find a plethora of books and tomes and historical accounts speaking on people who spontaneously began to develop magical powers. There are some that speak of blood magic and lineages that carry contact with magical beings, whether it be fey, dragons, and other djinn and elementals that in the past history, there was, whether a magical imbuement or an actual crossing of bloodlines, in which case people who were born in later generations began to suddenly evoke powers and abilities. There are some that speak of individuals who were experimented upon that were cursed or corrupted by, whether it be natural situations or dark mages who intended to try and create and essentially force magical beings and those capable of bending the elements to their will. Those speak of failures and eventual... essentially degeneration of these individuals and were considered both unethical, illegal, and practices that are essentially hunted down to prevent from happening again. There are... tales of gods gifting champions and chosen ones who work and walk within a path of fate that marks their interests that will grant boons. But those usually come in the classically and written as a series of visions from the entity. There is a divine nature to these gifts. It's overwhelming, the amount of... historical and theoretical writings that conjecture on the multitudes of sources of spontaneous power.

LAURA: Anything about severing that tie? Do you lose the powers given to you?

MATT: There are some that speak on the source of patrons. That can pick up entities that are more powerful, that aren't divine, that can grant it as an exchange. But then those also are contracts that can be breached and that tie is severed, but those are usually acknowledged and at least bought into, to a certain degree, by the person, so there was a conscious level of understanding of that arrangement. Yours-- It's hard to place. Based on everything you've read, it could be bloodline related. A lot of the things that you read, it tends to draw you in the direction of there being something in past lineage that has been sparked at a certain age, or by a certain alliance of... congruent, magical... alignments in the world. That may have triggered this spontaneous capability.

LAURA: I'm also looking for Laudna, to be able to sever that Delilah connection if she did that. Any evidence that if she severed that connection with Delilah, she would lose that.

MATT: Most conversations and write-ups regarding patron-based relationships where it is a gift granted by a contract with a more powerful entity or being say that when that contract is broken outside of some sort of majestic fey, doublecross, written in print-type gotcha moment. Those gifts do recede with the arrangement. There are exceptions, but they're rare, and they usually fall into the realm of folklore or fairytales that are told through the ages of a mortal outsmarting an immortal, and those are rare or honestly, probably fiction in a lot of cases.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: So I'd say-- There are discussions that fall in the realm of interesting conversation topics, but there is no How to Break Your Relationship with Your Patron and Keep Your Magic for Dummies.

LAURA: Right, right, right, right. I have so many other things I want to look up in regards to Laudna. But I don't want to waste-- (murmurs) everybody's time, so...

MATT: Well, we'll come back to it.

LIAM: Libraries are pretty great.

MARISHA: I love libraries.


MATT: The rest of you, what else would you like to do? Look up, have conversations, ask about folks. Prep, what would you like to do?

LIAM: I got one. One of these nights before the ball, at night in bed in the sort of Wonka-esque pile that Dorian, Orym, and Fearne sleep in one bed together--

ROBBIE: Throuple--

LIAM: At, like--


LIAM: -- one in the morning, Orym shifts and says: Fearne?

ASHLEY: (groans)

LIAM: Are you awake?

ASHLEY: (groans)

LIAM: Wake up.

ASHLEY: (groans)

LIAM: Dorian.

ROBBIE: I'm in the middle, I can hear you.

LIAM: Okay, good. (laughter) I want to have a-- A pow wow, a chat. Well, no, yeah, I'm good. Tired, too. That Ira character. He knew your last name.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

LIAM: Is that a problem?

ASHLEY: I don't think so. (laughter)

MARISHA: Probably fine.

LIAM: Okay, I'm going to wake up. And he sits up, barely crests his head out from between the two of them because he's so small.

LAURA: He rolled over you. (laughter)

TRAVIS: (mumbling)

ROBBIE: (groans)

ASHLEY: Do you think it's a problem?

LIAM: Yeah, I mean, I'm leaning towards yeah. He knew your last name. Are you well known? Is your family well-known? Over there, out there, in there?

ASHLEY: Well, yes. We-- We're, I mean, we're-- We're basically royalty there.

ROBBIE: Excuse me? I've never done this, insight check?

MATT: Yeah, roll an insight check.

TRAVIS: Do I believe her?

ROBBIE: Yeah, do I believe her? Six.

MATT: She's hard to read. You can go ahead and roll. If you wish to feel-- or you can roll for a placebo or you can roll for deception and let them know what you want to let them know.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MARISHA: Jesus. (laughter)

ROBBIE: There's a lot going on over there.

LIAM: She has pixies and sprites falling out of her dress left and right.

ASHLEY: Oh, goodness me!

LAURA: What is this?

ASHLEY: 21. (laughter)

LIAM: Fucking fey.

ROBBIE: Chaos.

LIAM: Fey creatures.

TALIESIN: 10 seconds of Buster Keaton and then (whoosh), yeah.

ASHLEY: I mean, we're certainly not-- My family never held place in court, but I mean we're basically royalty there.

LIAM: You guys have a lot of enemies?

ASHLEY: Um. How would you describe an enemy?

ROBBIE: Someone who wants to kill you or your loved ones.

LIAM: That.


ASHLEY: I mean, I want to say yes. Yeah. But-- You know, it's, that's everybody. Don't you just get mad and you want to just kill somebody?

ROBBIE: You know, from--

ASHLEY: I mean, I don-- You know what I mean. That's a little bit dramatic, but--

LIAM: I know what you mean.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I think it's just, I mean, I think-- I think it's just, I don't know. Maybe he just, he's one of those people that could-- is kind of like Imogen. You know, who could, look into somebody's mind and pick up on their person, their stuff, you know?

ROBBIE: Didn't he smell you? Am I incorrect?

LIAM: Yeah.


ASHLEY: He did, but fey do have, we have a very good sense of smell.

ROBBIE: But he knew you. Proper name by your smell. I can only assume he smelled someone close to you. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I mean, I do have a pretty strong scent.

LIAM: I just smell flowers.



ROBBIE: All right.

ASHLEY: It's a bit strange to me, I will say that.

MARISHA: I imagine she smells like a ferret. (laughter)


ASHLEY: A little musky, like a little musky.

LIAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Like Frito paws. (laughter)

LAURA: Oh, Frito paws, I love Frito paws.

LIAM: You're rolling around in a flower bed.

MARISHA: Yeah. (laughter) Eucalyptus.

LIAM: Do you-- Do you-- I guess you would have told us already. Do you have any kind of insight into-- What that-- Ira would want? Here? Do fey cross over a lot? You did.

ASHLEY: I don't know, I imagine that they do. But I don't know what-- I don't know what he wants. I mean, I just figured that maybe he just knew me because of where we're both from. But I mean-- He could know my parents. He could know my grandmother. He could know anyone else in my family. But I don't know his goals.

LIAM: Last question. How worried do you think we should be about him?

ROBBIE: That's a great question. Because it's non-specific.

ASHLEY: I mean, my gut reaction is to not be worried at all. So, I don't know.

MARISHA: I want to be Fearne when I grew up.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Not a suspicious insight check, but to just, 'what the is fuck is going on' insight check. 16.

ASHLEY: Be a little worried. Just a little bit, I mean, I really don't know much about him, I just know I've heard stories, but they're all from my grandmother. So it's possible. She just-- They could've dated, you know? Then she just talked shit about him. (laughter) Was like, "Bah, he's a nightmare," you know?

ROBBIE: You got an ex-boyfriend vibe from him. Is that what you're trying to say? (laughter)

ASHLEY: I mean, she's dated--

MARISHA: That's how he got Nightmare King.

ASHLEY: Just all types.

ROBBIE: Didn't text back for three days.

MARISHA: Yeah. "He's just a nightmare."

ASHLEY: He ghosted her.

ROBBIE: Yeah, essentially.

TRAVIS: Names are stuck.

ASHLEY: She's dated all types. So it wouldn't surprise me.

LAURA: He was pretty cute.

ASHLEY: He was pretty cute. He had, you know--

LIAM: What are you doing in here?

LAURA: I'm sorry, I'm trying to sleep.

ASHLEY: Imogen just said he was cute.

LIAM and ROBBIE: Ugh. (laughter)

MATT: This is the weirdest fucking group.

ROBBIE: Creep!


ASHLEY: I mean, listen, he really should get his teeth fixed and--

TRAVIS: It's one o'clock in the morning! What are you talking about?

TALIESIN: Walls are thin, y'all.

LIAM: All right, all right. I mush the side of Fearne's furry leg as my pillow and my legs go over Dorian's legs, and I make my little hammock that I usually do.

TRAVIS: I got to pee! (quick footsteps) (laughter)

LAURA: You're just sleeping in their room. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I give him a pat on the head.

LAURA: Chetney, get your own room.

ASHLEY: And Dorian, too. (laughter)

ASHLEY: We'll be okay. If push comes to shove-- I'll make sure to... kill him. I don't know. I'll figure it out, we'll figure it out. We'll figure it out, trust me. Trust me!

LIAM: You're scary as hell, too, so I'll take it.

ASHLEY: Okay, good night, I love you guys.

LIAM: Love love.


MATT: Laudna.


LIAM: (punching noise)

MATT: You watch. You wake up as Imogen is shifting in her sleep.

LAURA: Fuck.

MATT: You.

MARISHA: I wake up first.

MATT: Yeah, you wake up first and see her... shifting.

MARISHA: I am not going to wake her up. I'm going to immediately start-- I'm going to start scribbling anything she says, though. Keep going.

MATT: The storm returns.

LAURA: Fuck.

MATT: You hear the crack. Earth and land pull apart in the distance as trees vanish beyond the horizon. The green, now brown and red fields falling away. You pull at the door on the house and it is locked shut. That familiar sense... of nowhere to go. Your hair's tossed painfully across your face. Your eyes burn from the impact of dust and rock and shards of glass and sand. You hear your mother's voice once again. "Imogen! Run! Run far!" You glance back in the storm, and see the shadow... of two people.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: Holding hands. Young. You can't make out their distinct shapes. But they just stand there. Their silhouettes consumed by the storm as they vanish into the chaotic mass.

LAURA: Are they the twins?

MATT: Is what you hear from her voice.

MARISHA: I just write down, "Twins."

LAURA: I take off running as fast as I can.

MATT: You abandon the house, and run into the fields beyond, and run, and run as hard as you can. Horses fleeing in the distance, you see trees falling, you hear and feel the ground shudder and break beneath you, but you run, you run as hard as you can. Her voice still echoing in your ears, fading as the sound (whooshes) gets louder, and louder, and louder.

LAURA: (grunts)

MATT: And louder!


MATT: (gasps) You wake up!

MARISHA: Imogen! Just grab her by the hand. I'm so sorry. I didn't want to wake you up because I wanted to, maybe there are answers. I go and I get her a glass of water.

LAURA: I saw somebody again.

MARISHA: You... You said "twins." You said "twins" out loud. Did you see the Lumas twins?

LAURA: I don't know. I don't know, I saw two figures standing next to each other. My mom was telling me to stay away from it.

MARISHA: She was talking to you?

LAURA: Just run.


LAURA: Always.

MARISHA: The twins, they... they passed some time ago.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: It's not like with Bertrand?

LAURA: No, I've never seen anything like that before, Bertrand was the first. Do I just see dead people now?

MARISHA: You know, it doesn't-- Dead, yes, but it feels like there must be another connecting factor.

LAURA: What is this storm? What's a red storm about? Have you ever seen one?

MARISHA: No, can't say that I have. I just start brushing her hair, and giving her a little bit of a scalp massage. Hang on a second. I'm going to step outside and crack the door. Where are the moons right now?

MATT: Just looking up, it is a somewhat clear sky. There's some cloud coverage, but it's broken, I'd say 70% of the sky is open stars. You can see that, actually, at this time of night, you cannot see Catha. Catha is gone from view, probably past the horizon. You can see at an angle, the dull glow of Ruidus is, you know, I think we mentioned a few months from the zenith. But you know Catha will probably return the next night. It's not full for another 15 or 16 days or so.

MARISHA: I just also jot down where the moons are--

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: -- in my notebook. We're going to figure this out.

LAURA: I know, is it dumb to go towards the problem? They're connected, right? I don't even know if it was the twins. It didn't look like Bertrand, right?

MATT: It didn't. It looked like two relatively young adults, side-by-side.

LAURA: It had to be them. It had to be them.

MARISHA: Your mother, perhaps trying to find more information on her may answer some questions.

LAURA: Yeah, I wouldn't know anything about her.

MARISHA: Your father.

LAURA: He's so far away.

MARISHA: Seems like a lot of things are right now. Doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it.

LAURA: Yeah. Yeah. I found out the Briarwoods are from Wildemount.

MARISHA: Really? Interesting.

LAURA: I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but.

MARISHA: When you were talking about, from your research, different-- how powers come to be. Bloodline being one of them.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I don't know. Seems like we should just keep going back in time.

LAURA: Start from the beginning.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm. We're going to figure this out, I promise. Or at least die trying.

LAURA: I'm so glad I found you.

MARISHA: Me, too. I don't know what I would do without you.

LAURA: I don't know what I'd do without you.

MARISHA: These witches be bitches. (laughter)

LAURA: All right. I'm going to make some tea, and go back to bed in a bit.

MARISHA: All right. I just peek in, and check in on Zhudanna, make sure she's still breathing. (laughter)

ASHLEY: Somewhat ominous. "Make sure she's still breathing."

MATT: She's still breathing.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: (laughs) Jeez.

TALIESIN: A pocket mirror check.

MARISHA: Yes. (laughter)

LIAM: Laudna's like your fairy goth-mother.


LAURA: She really is.

MARISHA: Fairy goth-mother.

LAURA: Is it because-- (laughter)

ASHLEY: Salagadoola, mechicka boola!

LAURA and ASHLEY: Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!

LIAM: (hisses)

MATT: I'm more of a Mad Madam Mim kind of person, but.


MATT: That's just me. All right, who else has anything they wish to situate, set up, prepare?

MARISHA: I would like to-- oh wait, what are we going to do?

TALIESIN: I am creating a giant fucking craft project at my place. Anyone who wants to come work on their fucking mask, we got everything, I'm going to try, and enlist Milo in this shit. There's going to be a little cash thrown down. I am inspired.

MATT: The minute you tell Milo, they're like, "Oh, are you kidding me? Of course, yeah, no, let's make some masks! That's incredible!"

TALIESIN: Show the sketch, I will get to that.

MATT: "It's going to be fucking weird."

MARISHA: I'm joining this.


LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Same, same, same.

MARISHA: I'm going to make a quick errand run, and then I'm going to join this.

TALIESIN: Did anyone get any of those crystals from the basement? Did anyone manage to grab anything on the way out of the basement? I'll give it back, I just got to--

LAURA: I mean, I have a crystal rod. Oh, wait, well--

TALIESIN: From us getting our ass kicked, I mean. In the secret basement, but underneath the library, that weird with the--

ASHLEY: No, it exploded.

TALIESIN: We didn't grab anything on the way out?

LAURA: Uh-uh.

TALIESIN: Fuck, that's okay, all right.

LAURA: Chetney?


LAURA: Can you get all these nasty bristle comby things off of this crystal rod?

TRAVIS: Yeah, you just want the rod?

LAURA: Just want the crystal.

TRAVIS: Stand back. (laughter)

MATT: Within but a matter of 10 minutes, with acute intensity and precision, the rod, crystalline, has been freed.

TRAVIS: Ah, here you go. It's beautiful. You want it in one piece?

LAURA: Yes, please.

TRAVIS: Oh, here you go.

LAURA: Thanks.

MATT: (laughs)

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: No, I'm to put it in my thigh holster. Next to my dagger.

MATT: There you go. All right.

TALIESIN: (whistles)

MARISHA: I'm going to run back to... Mmm-aras--

MATT: Marwa's?

MARISHA: Marwa's. Was her name.

MATT: All righty, yep.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah.

MARISHA: If anyone wants to-- I'm going back to Marwa's.

MATT: You come back to Marwa.

MARISHA: I'm just running because I don't want to miss--

LAURA: Ooh, bring her some food.

MARISHA: Exactly, I don't want to miss craft day, so I'm power walking.

TALIESIN: I threw some cash at you in case you don't have enough. Oh, you have enough, you're fine.

MARISHA: I'm good, thank you, but I'll take your cash.

MATT: All right, you enter, and it's straightened up a little bit.

MARISHA: I grab a pastry.

MATT: Okay, fair enough. As you're snacking, full-on toast-in-mouth, anime girl running into school in the morning, trying to make your way.

ROBBIE: Sailor Laudna.

MATT: Yeah. (laughter)

MATT: I am here for this!

TALIESIN: Oh wow. Wow!


TRAVIS: You heard a bunch of saves, new file.

MATT: All right, Marisha, next Form of Dread, it has to be a magical girl transformation of your nightmares.

LAURA: You are a magical girl.

ROBBIE: Form of Dread!

MARISHA: I love this.

MATT: I'm all about this.


MATT: Oh my god.

TALIESIN: The screams of death. (shrieks) (laughter)


MATT: The souls curling up and forming the bow. (laughter)

MATT: Yes, as you enter the Trove of Marwa, you can see there has been an attempt made to straighten things up a bit. By that, I mean, things that had fallen have been shifted over this way, and put into a pile that has not yet been organized. Marwa, at this point, you can see has a plate out with all sorts of dried cheeses that she's snacking on as she has this massive magnifying glass that is affixed to a clamp-like device to the side of the counter. And is currently in the process of carefully holding with massive tweezers these tiny little, pieces of jewelry, like a gem in a fitting. And is like--

MARISHA: I get a little too close. Whatcha working on?

MATT: "Stuff." Unfazed.

ALL: Oh.

TRAVIS: Killer.

MATT: "What you looking for?"

MARISHA: I brought you a croissant. It's got blueberries. (laughter)

MATT: She just keeps working.

MARISHA: It's a friend croissant.

ASHLEY: (laughs)

MARISHA: Okay. Did you find that thing?

MATT: "Yeah, I did, just give me a minute." Ting, ting! "F-f-f- Fudge-a-ma-sicle! Okay, uh. I'm going to take a break." Just shoves it all to the side. You hear it scattering and falling to the ground. "Yeah, I found it, you want it?"

MARISHA: How much? Since you have it.

MATT: "Ah! That'd be 350 gold pieces."

MARISHA: You said it was less yesterday.

MATT: "I did not." Shakes it. (whooshing) "It's got blood in there, you like blood, creepy girl, woo-woo! Ah, mystical blood pouch. You want it?"

LAURA: I only heard 250.

MARISHA: I heard 200.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I have 200.

LAURA: I have 250 as well.

SAM: Yeah, well.

MATT: Eversmoking Bottle was 250. This was 350.

LAURA: Ah, shit.

MATT: May have been misheard.

TALIESIN: I did give you some gold before you left.

MARISHA: How much did you give me?

TALIESIN: I gave you probably at least 125 gold.

MARISHA: Really?


TRAVIS: That better do some shit, I'm just saying.

MARISHA: Okay, okay, okay.

TALIESIN: I don't know if that helps.

MARISHA: It does.

TALIESIN: Okay, bring me back my change.

MATT: "I mean, it seems like it's fate, going from one witch to another, so, you going to buy it?"

MARISHA: I like witches.

MATT: "Mm?"

TRAVIS: They be bitchin'.

MARISHA: I don't have that much on me, but I can give you 300.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

MARISHA: Come on, bitch, come on, bitch.

LAURA: What a good croissant that was.

MARISHA: That was such a good croissant.


ALL: Whoa!

MARISHA: I feel like I need to take it. Just it's fine, it's 14.

MATT: 14, holding it back, goes, pulls a crumb from the side of her mouth.

MARISHA: How about this?

MATT: Eats it.

MARISHA: 300, and I'll take whatever trash you have that you don't want to take to the dump. I'll take out your trash.

MATT: "I don't have any trash."

MARISHA: Lies, look at this place.

MATT: "This place is filled with treasures that I just need to organize. It's not trash, you don't have an eye."


MATT: "Oh, this friendship's gone south real fast."

MARISHA: So, that's what fazes you.

MATT: "Look, some men call this trash. Me? I called them treasures."

MARISHA: I'm not saying it's all trash! I'm saying there is trash sprinkled amongst the treasure. (laughter) But I like trash. I'm not dissing trash.

MATT: "Where would you take it?"

MARISHA: We're having a craft day. Do you want to come? You can bring whatever this is.

MATT: "What are you making? What are you crafting?"


MATT: "Ooh."

MARISHA: I need to make a bow tie for Pâté.

MATT: "What's Pâté?" (laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh god.

TALIESIN: Was waiting for this shit.

MATT: Her eyes just go wide. "(gasps)"

MARISHA: "Laudna speaks a lot about you! She really likes you."

MATT: "300 gold."

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: "And--" Just scoops a bunch of odd shit into a small pouch. It's small washers, and glass beads--


MATT: Strange strings that have pieces of hair still stuck in them where they were tied together, and pulled off whatever they were originally attached to.

MARISHA: No, you can leave the hair.

MATT: Makes a pile and goes, "For your mask day!" Boof.

MARISHA: (excited noise) Thank you.

MATT: "No worries, and every time I see you, I want you to bring me a pastry."

MARISHA: In perpetuity, for forever? Do I continue to get discounts if I do that?

MATT: "Like, if I never see you again, you don't have to bring me a pastry, but if I do see you again, you bring me a pastry every time."

MARISHA: Will you hurt me if I don't bring you a pastry?

MATT: "No, but that's what friendship is, right? Right?"

MARISHA: Friendship is pastries.

MATT: "Then we're good! Just keep bringing them, we're good!"


MATT: "Okay. Have a good day, creepy girl! Bye!"

MARISHA: Bye! And I go back.

MATT: Perfect.

MARISHA: I got the egg thing!

MATT: You did.

SAM: Yay!

LAURA: Yeah!



LIAM: Eggman.

MATT: It's creepy, it--

MARISHA: Do you have a piece of paper that says what it does?

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MARISHA: Give me the paper.

MATT: Do you have an Identify spell, or do you want to just sit for an hour, and attune with it to learn what it does?

TRAVIS: Oh, attune!

LAURA: You could attune while we're masking.

MARISHA: I'll do that.

TRAVIS: It's an egg. It ain't going to do shit.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Or you could ask if--



MARISHA: Yeah, run back. (panting) She spills shit all over the floor.

TRAVIS: Whoa, shit! It's a smorgasbord!

MARISHA: Uh-huh! I hit the jackpot.

TALIESIN: Did you blow that whole 125? It's okay if you did, I'm just curious.

MARISHA: I actually did pretty good, I didn't, I still have it. I talked her down. I used it a little bit of it, but not all of it.

TALIESIN: What are you giving me back?

MARISHA: I'll give you back... 75.

TALIESIN: Okay. (laughter)

MATT: What you have found is a Bloodwell Vial plus one.

MARISHA: Bloodwell Vial plus one.

LAURA: (gasps)

LAURA: What does that mean?

MARISHA: What does that mean?

MATT: You can go look it up when you add it to your character sheet.

LAURA: (gasps)

MARISHA: Bloodwell Vial.

TALIESIN: Plus one.

MARISHA: Plus one.

MATT: Actually, I can tell you right now.



MATT: As I pull it up.

LIAM: (southern drawl) Identify.

MARISHA: (southern drawl) Identify.

ASHLEY: Bl-uh-deh!

LAURA: Buh-luh-deh!

ASHLEY: Blood?

MATT: So, yes.

ASHLEY and LAURA: Not funny!

TRAVIS: So great.

MATT: So. You, in order to attune to this, you realize the blood that's within there is an old blood, and there was a process of you adding your own blood to this vial as part of the attunement process.


MATT: So you need to expel some of the crimson within, and then add some of your own.

LIAM: Do you have any?

MARISHA: Barely, not a lot. Couldn't donate two quarts.

MATT: You watch, as you begin to spill your blood onto it, it's (slurps) pulled into the glass, and what liquid was in there is expelled as ash from beneath. Until eventually whatever you drip into it, it's just consumed, and is now within, and moves freely within. There's a leather cord that's pulled through the top part of the glass, that you can wear.



LAURA: Is this safe, Laudna?

MARISHA: I'm not sure.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I was going to ask, does that worry you?

MARISHA: Mm-mm! ("I don't know!")

MATT: You can utilize it as a spellcasting focus, if you'd like.

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: So it can take the place of any material components that don't have a monetary value.


MATT: And it adds a plus one bonus to your spell attack rolls, and your saving throw DCs for your sorcerer spells.

ALL: Oh!

ASHLEY: Dope, dope. (gasping)

MARISHA: I needed that. This multi-classing shit is tough at low levels. Plus one to my spell--

MATT: Plus one to your, if you equip it into your character, it should have a thing. In addition, when you roll any hit dice to recover hit points while you're carrying it, you can regain five sorcery points.

LAURA: (gasps) Holy shit!

MARISHA: Holy fuck!

MATT: But you can only use that once per dawn, essentially.

LAURA: Once per dong.

LIAM: Now for wrath--

MARISHA: Worth it!

LIAM: Now for ruin.

MARISHA: All right, all right! Great.

LAURA: Dongs are so powerful!

MATT: So you all spend a craft day making masks. What do you make?

TRAVIS: Well, actually, I don't make any masks. You just see me in a pile of wood chips, shavings everywhere, working vigorously. I say: Hah! Finally, I'm done. You see, custom orders, they get priority. I want to thank you for guiding me through that whole wardrobe process, that was a nightmare. I don't know how you do it. Anyway, as requested, here's your airship.

MARISHA: Oh my god! (laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

TRAVIS: All wood, no outside materials. Made by hand, just for you.

ROBBIE: It's amazing, it's so light! What is this, balsa wood?

ASHLEY: That's amazing.

TRAVIS: Just leave a little mystery in there. It's the S.S. Brontë.

ROBBIE: All right, the S.S. Brontë? You've even carved it in the side!

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's right there.

ROBBIE: This is, without a doubt, one of the top five gifts I've ever gotten. It's fantastic.

TRAVIS: That sounds like a disappointing life, but okay. We're square, right? (laughter)

ROBBIE: Square.

TRAVIS: All right.

TALIESIN: Wow. (laughter)

ROBBIE: I shall treasure it forever, and I'm going to--

TRAVIS: That's one off the list. We're getting even, motherfuckers.

ASHLEY: That is so beautiful!

TALIESIN: I don't know what I expected, but it was-- That's impressive.

TRAVIS: That's MC-level stuff. You got to raise your expectation level.

ASHLEY: I'm going to try to steal it.

TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to make it easy for you to disappoint me.

MARISHA: Immediately.

LAURA: Just on the table in front of all of us.


MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: Can we all make a perception check since she's doing it--?

MARISHA: Since she's just reaching across the table?

ROBBIE: This is for display, I put it in my pocket for sure.


ROBBIE: All right.

LIAM: My passive is 20.

ROBBIE: Oh boy! Five! (laughter)

MATT: So, you, in the moment of connecting with this delightful new friend you've made, do not notice this just vanish from the table in front of you, the rest of you all see it. It is the most overt just reach over and grab you've ever witnessed.

ROBBIE: Did you cast some kind of invisibility spell on it? That's so neat, Chet!

ASHLEY: I'm just holding it. Wow. (laughter) It really is so well done.

TRAVIS: Fearne! No skipping the line, that's not for you.

ASHLEY: I'm not taking it, I'm just holding it to play with it. (laughter)


ROBBIE: You can play for it for-- (laughter) There's no watches in this realm! You can play for it for 10 minutes, Fearne, 10 minutes.


ROBBIE: Then you have to give it back.

ASHLEY: I put a bowl of water in front of me, and I put it in the bowl of water.

LAURA: (gasps)

SAM: Nice.

LAURA: It's an airship.

ASHLEY: Oops. (laughter) Give me some string. (laughter) I tie some string around it, put it over the-- Woo! (laughter)

TALIESIN: It's fucking--

SAM: Dripping on us.

LIAM: Wait, wait, wait, bring it over here. I tie my new rope to it, and I go, whoof!

MATT: (whooshes) (clicks) It affixes.

LIAM: It's up there.

LAURA: Oh, what if we can't get it back down?


LIAM: Bink, whew, boof.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: (sneezes) Oh jeez!

ROBBIE: Oh, come on!

TRAVIS: FCG, I was wondering, I was working real hard on that one, and I cut myself a few times. Could you fix my fingers, please?

SAM: Heal them? Sure, sure.


SAM: I will, I will bless them with eternal life. No, I'll--

TRAVIS: Eternal life?! (laughter)

ASHLEY and TALIESIN: Just your fingers!

TALIESIN: They will last way longer than you will.

TRAVIS: I'll just be a rotting corpse.

ROBBIE: FCG, the middle name is "Christ." (laughter)

TRAVIS: Broke the cast.

SAM: I will heal them.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

MATT: Don't ruin his story twist later.

ROBBIE: I'm sorry, I'm sorry!

TRAVIS: Now that that's out of the way, I will start carving a very delicate wood wolf mask, that will go just under my eyes.

MATT: Okay, cool, awesome, I dig it.

LAURA: Ooh, a wooden one?

MATT: So he's working on that, Dorian, what do you craft for your mask?

ROBBIE: Oh, mine is made out of fabric, and I've muddled a sticky paste together, and molded the fabric, and hardened it to make it look like it's fabric blowing in the wind.

MATT: Ooh.

TRAVIS: Fabric, huh?

ROBBIE: Don't judge me.

MATT: I love it. Laudna, what'd you make?

MARISHA: Yeah, I take the trash, and some of my scrap leather that I have.

MATT: Yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: I mold the leather, and take some of the-- I gather all the hair that was in the trash pile.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: And I glue it, and I make a fox-like mask that matches my fucked up fox's face on my dress.

MATT: I will say, go ahead and roll a dexterity check.

LIAM: That's messed up.

MARISHA: Dexterity check?

MATT: Yeah, just I need your dexterity modifier.

MARISHA: Okay. Mm, mm, 19.

MATT: 19.


MATT: It matches your fox head wonderfully, which means it is equally terrifying.

MARISHA: Horrifying.

MATT: Yeah, it is--

MARISHA: It's perfect. It's got little patches of hair on it, it's good.

MATT: Great, awesome.

SAM: No cadaver skin, right? So I'll just--

MATT: Sorry, bud! Not this time.

TRAVIS: Not with that level of effort. (laughter)

SAM: I'll just Clark Kent it, I'll just have some big glasses.

MATT: Okay, great. (laughter)

MATT: No one will notice.


MATT: Perfect.

LIAM: Where'd FCG go?

SAM: Oh, it's me, I'm right here!

TRAVIS: Who's this scholar you're with?

ROBBIE: Oh my god.

MATT: Perfect. Fearne.

ASHLEY: I'm going to make something that looks like a craft piece that a five-year-old would make for Thanksgiving, or at church. Where it's you see the white glue, you see the feathers are all askew, it doesn't look great.

SAM: Nice, nice, nice, nice.

MARISHA: Macaroni on it.

MATT: Well done.

ASHLEY: Yeah, macaroni. (laughter)

MATT: Perfect. Imogen?

LAURA: I'm going to use leather, and just make a nice little eye one out of a cream-colored leather. I'm going to get some of the glass beads that I can find, anything shimmery, that creates an iridescent vibe, glued all over it, something electric. If I can find some beads, I would love to create a little extra piece that comes around the head, and comes down over the hair as well.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: You can get beads.

MATT: Go ahead and roll a dexterity check for me, if you don't mind.

SAM: Guidance!

TRAVIS: Earn this mask.

LAURA: Come on!

TRAVIS: I see it from here.

TALIESIN: Ooh, it's rough.

LAURA: That's a--

LIAM: That's a cocked pyramid.

LAURA: Fuck this. Six.

TALIESIN: Since we have a big team, can we give her some assist?

LIAM: She is beauty, she is grace.

MARISHA: Fuck craft day.

LAURA: Fuck craft day! Eight.

MATT: You're fine. (laughter)

MATT: Look, these are simple crafts. There's no threat to any of these. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Thank you, Matt.

MATT: Genuinely, all I want to know is if anyone rolls a natural one. It's going to look real janky. That's primarily why I'm having anybody roll. If they have a semi-complicated idea, I just want to see if they royally fuck it up, and then we can maybe get to experience that. But you're fine.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: What you got?

LIAM: I go sit down by Chetney, and I grab one of his discarded chunks of wood from what he was making, and I set it down. I go into my bag, and I take out my simple set of carpentry tools.

LAURA and TRAVIS: (gasp)

LIAM: I start to carve a little wooden mask.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

LIAM: It's nothing super elaborate, but it's okay, and it's got a cherry blossom design to it, both the shape of it, and then carved, etched into the surface of it as well.

TRAVIS: I just start singing. ♪ You've got the touch ♪ (laughter)

ALL: ♪ You've got the power ♪

LIAM: I'm no artist, but my mom taught me a couple of things.

TRAVIS: I have a whole new level of respect for you. We have to talk. I have so much I can share, I'm an open book.

LIAM: I will read that book.

TRAVIS: Your start is good. Is that where you're leaving it?

LIAM: No, I-- (laughter)

LIAM: That's just five minutes in.

TRAVIS: Oh, okay.

LIAM: I'm going to go another, like, 20. It's not going to be-- I can't make that.

TRAVIS: Well, I mean, you know, that's hundreds of years of experience, but you know, if you want me to take just a polishing look at whatever you do, I would be more than happy to give, you know?

LIAM: Well, can we start here, and we'll call this the beginning, and then you can give me tips as the weeks go by?

TRAVIS: I would love that.

LIAM: All right.

MATT: So how detailed are you going with this?

LIAM: I mean, I want it to look pretty, but I'm not an artisan.

LAURA: You're not an MC?

LIAM: My art is the sword, not the carving tools.

MATT: We'll see about that, roll a dexterity check.

LIAM: But I'm proficient in it!

MATT: You are.

LIAM: Ooh, a one, I'm going to reroll it!

MATT: Because you can do that as a halfling, damn it, that was my one chance! (laughter)

LIAM: That is a 23.

MATT: 23, it is, even with the short time, an impressive display of attention to detail and form. While not on par with a master craftsman such as yourself, there is a hidden thread of talent in this little halfling here.

TRAVIS: I'm so proud. You really have a gift. Sometimes all you have to do is water the plant. You're an Ashari, right?

LIAM: Yeah, I was thinking about home.

TRAVIS: It shows. May I compliment you on such a fine endeavor?

LIAM: Yes?

TRAVIS: Truly, I don't fuck around when it comes to wood. Game respect game. (laughter)

LIAM: Well, I bow before the master.

TRAVIS: May it serve you well.

SAM: What is happening?

LIAM: I look down at his liver-spotted head and smile. (laughter)

LAURA: You just randomly get in your head: Fucking piece of shit! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Do you know what the Ashari-- You know what? Never-- You know the Ashari from that? Mm.

TRAVIS: Well, I remember asking after the--


TRAVIS: He was sent to search for the--

TALIESIN: You just threw it out there.


MATT: By the way, Ashton, what have you made?

TALIESIN: Well! (laughter)

TALIESIN: I took some scrap leather, and some scrap cloth, and mushed all this together with some glue, oiled up, and pressed it to my face to get a rough fucking shape. I've also slightly modded the outfit, because I'm not showing any fucking skin. Gloves, boots, full thing, as much as I can.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm making a big, full, I'm grabbing it, and wrapping it, and tying it behind my head, so it covers everything but the purple crystals on my head.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Everything hidden. Slicing it open, opening up the eyes, and then just using some red thread to tie it, tie the mouth together a little bit.


MATT: Ooh!

TALIESIN: I should, if I did it right, look like the Nightmare King.

ALL: Ooh!

ROBBIE: What?!

MATT: Roll a dexterity check for me.

TRAVIS: Oh, you're going in, you're going in half cocked.

MARISHA: Hell yeah.

SAM: Guidance!

TALIESIN: Dexterity check?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: I'll take that Guidance.

SAM: Guidance!

MARISHA: Come on!


TRAVIS: Low key we will not be.


MATT: That is, while a creative interpretation with limited materials, for those who have very closely seen the Nightmare King in person, it definitely evokes the shape and the dread.

TALIESIN: Dog barks at me, I bark back louder.

MATT: That's fucking cool.

TRAVIS: Plus anyone that's seen him, have a reaction.

TALIESIN: Fucking thought, aren't they?

ASHLEY: That's such a good idea.

MATT: That's cool.

LIAM: I think I saw him in the 90s at the Limelight. (laughter)

TALIESIN: So yeah, no skin. Just that, that big crazy-ass.

MATT: You got it. Okay, okay.

ASHLEY: I just traced my hands.

SAM: Cool. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Feathers, feathers!

ASHLEY: And feathers.

TRAVIS: Like Pan's Labyrinth.

TALIESIN: Little macaroni.

ASHLEY: Yeah, like a Pan's Labyrinth-y--

ROBBIE: Turkey.

ASHLEY: Turkey, yeah.

ROBBIE: That's funny.

MATT: Easy enough to scavenge feathers that had fallen from Effid the Fallen's den not far from where the Krook House is, yeah. Okay. So masks are assembled.

MARISHA: Then, real quick, I bust the doll.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: And put Pâté in the tiny doll clothes.


SAM: Great.

MATT: Good call.

LAURA: You should keep the doll head, though, because it's useful.

TALIESIN: Use the whole doll. You don't want to waste it.

ASHLEY: You could use something.

MARISHA: That's great.

LIAM: Jeez.


LAURA: You look so handsome!

ASHLEY: You, sir!

MARISHA: (as Pâté) "Oh, look at you."

ASHLEY: Oh, don't you get shy. Don't you get shy!

MARISHA: "You better stop that, you're giving me a chubber!" (laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh wow!

LAURA: Come on, Pâté!

TALIESIN: I was ready to say Professor Pâté, but now I'm upset.

LAURA: Pâté.

MATT: Milo leans in and goes, "I kind of hate it, and I kind of love it."


MATT: "I mostly hate it."

LAURA: Pâté, you promised you'd stop drinking.

MARISHA: It's true. Go home, Pâté.

TALIESIN: Both of them are very off putting.

MARISHA: You're drunk.

MATT: "There's no lower form of comedy than ventriloquism."

MARISHA: (laughs)

SAM: That's true.


SAM: To the ball?

ASHLEY: To the ball?

MATT: If you'd like to-- well?

SAM: Yes, please.

MATT: Where are you going?

SAM: To the ball?

TRAVIS: No, we're going to Eshteross' first.

LAURA: We have to go to Eshteross' first.

SAM: I want to go to the fucking ball! We'll go to Eshteross.

ROBBIE: Lot of prep.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: It's a lot of prep!

MATT: So we'll say in prep for this, you go ahead and meet back up in the Eshteross manor.

SAM: Is he breathing? (laughter)

MATT: Every NPC you ever encounter from now on is sleeping and you have to check.

TALIESIN: You're just waiting to do CPR, aren't you? You're just waiting.

TRAVIS: Holding your finger under his nose. "What are you doing?" (laughter)

MATT: Yes, he is breathing. So do you go to him the day before, the day of? How soon are you visiting?

TALIESIN: Day before.

ALL: Day before.

MARISHA: Day before.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Hair and make up take a while.

LAURA: Just because what if we're not allowed to go? We haven't fully found out and we're doing all this prep work. We've got masks, we're all going to be dressed up.

MATT: I know.

LAURA: Oh no.

MATT: Which, to that point--

MARISHA: It would be really, because I didn't get to--

TALIESIN: Oh, you wanted to go. Ooh!

TRAVIS: He's rolling some shit.

MATT: So. I was waiting for the return.

LIAM: See how many tickets.

MATT: So you return to Eshteross's manor, and you're brought into his den where you first locked weapons with him to prove yourself worthy under the guise and tutelage of Bertrand Bell. But here Eshteross has a table laid out and chairs arranged in preparation for your arrival. He beckons you all to sit, he goes, "Very well. There are a few things we must go through. Both in intent, plan, and... Well. I have been able to acquire invitations for your troupe. As two separate groups."

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Two separate groups.

MATT: "An accompaniment of mine, and an accompaniment of an individual of our creation. We have to construct a noble persona from beyond Marquet and I will submit the necessary paperwork to ensure they know what to expect. So one of you will have to masquerade as this guest of the event."

TRAVIS: All right, I'll do it.

SAM: No! (laughter)



ASHLEY: Wait, what?

SAM: I mean...

ASHLEY: Tell us about the guest.

LAURA: I'm pretty good at lying. Just letting you guys know.

ASHLEY: Give us a--

SAM: So am I.

ASHLEY: An idea so we can see who matches best with it.

MATT: "Well, it depends on who we are choosing. For instance, if it is to be you, Laudna, well, there is a very specific narrative we must present."

MARISHA: There is, yes. There would have to be a thick narrative.

MATT: "Yes, so probably not you."

MARISHA: No, it shouldn't be me.

MATT: "It should not be you. But--"

ASHLEY: Dorian?

MATT: "Dorian?"


ROBBIE: Makes the most sense, doesn't it?

LIAM: As long as you're wearing a mask.

ROBBIE: Heh. Hmm.

LIAM: Just because...

LAURA: The bounty on your brother.

SAM: We're all wearing masks.

ROBBIE: All right.

MATT: "Have you already procured outfits and masks?"

SAM: Of course.


ASHLEY: We sure have.

MARISHA: You want to see them?

MATT: "Very well." He closes a trunk in the back of the room. (laughter)

LAURA: You had masks for us?

MATT: "I admire your gumption and your initiative."

TRAVIS: Fucking-- We spent all that money.

TALIESIN: We needed a craft day.

MARISHA: We did need a craft day.

MATT: "Well. Think on what sort of persona you would want to present as. Let's go over a few notes here, some elements of what to expect and what the intent is of this, our, arrival. Now, the Chandei Quorum is a council of eight allied, anonymous leaders within Mahaan houses and guilds throughout the Wilds. Membership to this Quorum is decided and maintained by the majority of the Quorum. And any ousted are sworn to secrecy under penalty of death. Now this union of faceless oligarchs works through a ninth public-facing pseudo-member chosen by the Quorum who speaks their will in public forums and events such as this, known as the Face of the Quorum. For nearly a decade, this Face has been an individual known as Gavis Aranda. They are a member of the Beautification Guild of Jrusar, keeping the city presentable. They're a charismatic and politically dexterous figure. Now, discovering who is one of the anonymous members of the Quorum is a powerful boon in these political spaces as it allows alliances, lobbying, and business propositions in favor of one's own house and guild, while maintaining a plausible deniability if you follow me. This may indeed allow the chance of one's self to be voted into the Quorum, should the opportunity arise and the proper alliances made with the 'unspoken' members. I personally despise this club-like mentality. It only seems to maintain the interests of this unknown ruling elite at the expense of the populace that lives here, runs the city, and is the beating heart of its culture. In exposing the Quorum and even connecting them to some of the corruption that plagues the common folk of the Wilds, there is a chance for unrest on such a scale that reform may have an opportunity. Especially if pressured by outside allies, like J'mon Sa Ord of Ank'Harel, the Court of the Lambent Path of Aeshanadoor, and even the Stratos Throne or other interests abroad. Now, I have personal interest to upset this balance, and perhaps expose or discover who is part of this Quorum. So, one. I've interest in perhaps learning anyone who reveals themselves as a possible member. Now, us together, we have mentioned a deep mistrust and a series of dark connections to House Treshi, yes? House Treshi's alliances within the upper circles of society and perhaps confirmation of a member of the Quorum amongst them. I have a long term reason to believe that Armand Treshi himself might be a member. I'd be curious to suss out any of these connections to this Nightmare King you mention. That, in itself, may be enough to begin to unravel his carefully plotted place and position of power. As part of this, if not at this event, thereafter, I propose you plant something on him. Something that can be traced and followed. In particular," and you watch as he leans back, his orcish face pulling out of the immediate lantern light and stepping into the shadow with an ominous look as he pushes forward this small case and lifts it. There you see presented on this bed of red velvet a silver circle, a loop, a ring. This is a replica ring of Armand Treshi, the one he keeps on his left thumb. He is always seen with it. This platinum band, he is never seen without this jewelry. But this one has been enchanted and is capable of magical tracing by us."

LAURA: This is so cool.

MATT: "The challenge is for one of you, or all of you somehow, to manage to slip the ring from his hand during this event and replace it with this." (laughter)

LAURA: Oh god!

ROBBIE: The old switcheroo!

LIAM: Good thing we got a rogue. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Take the thumb, sew it back on.

LAURA: Take thumb! (laughs)

MARISHA: (laughs)

MATT: "Are you up for this task, or shall I reach out to some of my other contacts?"

SAM: This is a good old-fashioned heist, this is great. Yeah, I think we can do this.

TRAVIS: Just real quick, can I smell the room and see if there's anything off about the people that are in here? Any scents that are unfamiliar?

MARISHA: Good call.

MATT: Make a perception check with advantage.

MARISHA: Come on. Chet! Chet, Chet!


MATT: Your wolfen senses, (sniffs) smell the strong layer of scents through the chamber as well as the familiar musk of Lord Ariks Eshteross himself present. Nothing else in the room seems to be wild or unfamiliar, thankfully. "Now this gala, this event, is to be held within the Chandei Quorum's chambers at the very apex of the Core Spire. It is a massive assembly hall where political gatherings and major celebrations are commonly held. Lodging is provided to all guests within the chambers as a courtesy to avoid inebriated figures of interest and political power wandering the streets at night. I have two suites set aside to divide our troupe amongst, should the need arise. Now, I was going to tell you of the attire of expectation, but it seems you've already made business of dressing yourselves for this event. Very well."

LAURA: Is it fancy enough, what we got?

MATT: "Show me what you have."

TRAVIS: Show me what you got!

SAM: Quick fashion show.

MATT: Show me what you got! (beatboxes)

MARISHA: Walk it, walk it.

LAURA: We're walking, yeah.

MARISHA: We're walking.

MATT: He nods and takes it in with a serious--

TRAVIS: Just have a white dress.

MATT: -- judgment.

LAURA: Your little dress.

MATT: It's silver, yeah?

LAURA: Is white the color of mourning here?

MATT: "White is commonly the color utilized for mourning, but the color can have multiple meanings."

ASHLEY: How about white with peaches and cream? Combination?

SAM: (like Eshteross) That's just cute.

MATT: "I mean." (laughter)

TALIESIN: That's the color of a morning snack, certainly.

ASHLEY: That's true. I think it's fine.

MATT: "That is delightfully complementary, I have no notes."

ASHLEY: I agree.

TRAVIS: Quick and instant, baby, all day.

MARISHA: Oh god, that peaches and cream flavor.

TALIESIN: Peaches and cottage cheese were my thing for years.

MATT: "Tomorrow afternoon, as the sun begins to set, I have had transportation arranged. You will meet here in advance to dress and prepare. You will be picked up by two sillgoat-drawn carriages."

LAURA: Oh my gosh!

MATT: To ascend to the peak of the Spire.

LIAM: Sillgoat?

TRAVIS: How do you spell sillgoat?

MATT: S-I-L-L-G-O-A-T. You've seen them throughout here, they are commonly used as the beasts of burden and beasts of travel throughout the Spires and surrounding spaces because they are very surefooted. They are strong, and they are a little easier to keep control of than horses at this elevation.

TRAVIS: Are they fast if they need to be?

MATT: They're comparable to a--

TRAVIS: Quarter horse?

MATT: They're comparable to a standard pull horse.

TRAVIS: Got it.

MATT: "So, any questions before we begin for tomorrow night's proceedings?"

ASHLEY: Do we need to bring a plate of food?

SAM: Is it a potluck?

TRAVIS: I have a serious question. Will we be searched for weapons? Will we get patted down or...?

MATT: "Most events like this, overt weaponry is to be checked in. So whatever you can... confidently hide, do so."

TRAVIS: I can hide some stuff.

MATT: "Otherwise, you will be without your weaponry. Unless allowed to by the Wardens of the event."

SAM: And Armand Treshi typically has bodyguards or people around him to provide security?

MATT: "I assume he will be. There will be quite a number of Wardens available, but many of those who can afford it will likely have one, if not more, personal guards at the event. Now, Armand is tall for a dwarf and perhaps not as broad."

MARISHA: Oh, he's a dwarf.

LAURA: Is he married?

MATT: "I do not believe he has a partner, no." Yeah, Gurge didn't get a very close look from the back. He said humanoid, human-like, couldn't quite tell.


MARISHA: He's tall for a dwarf?

MATT: He's tall for a dwarf.

TRAVIS: The royal persona that we're going to be given. This one over here, are you going to come up with that or is that something that we should wordsmith tonight?

MATT: "That's for us to discuss in this moment, or if not, by the night itself. I would need to notify them by the morning. I told them to expect someone, but they are... They are awaiting my paperwork."

TRAVIS: Pick a royal name, like Pubert or something.

ROBBIE: (laughs) Pubert? Well, it's not bad.

SAM: Pooh bear.

LAURA: You hear in your head--

TRAVIS: Pubert Boyle.

ROBBIE: I'm sorry, me? Yes, I'll--

LAURA: Why not just go as yourself? You are royalty.



ROBBIE: I'm not so certain with our current circumstance, or my brother's circumstance.

TRAVIS: Next in line, don't fight it.

ROBBIE: (groans) No, I'd rather keep that the way it is.

TALIESIN: I'm not going to use my real name.

ROBBIE: Should any of us use our real name?

TRAVIS: I'm throwing down. Let them know.

ROBBIE: All right. Do you have any ideas about who this other... Are we arriving together or in separate groups?

MATT: "We are arriving in two separate groups, one that is to accompany me and one that is to accompany you."

TRAVIS: Oh boy.

MARISHA: Who would you like to have in your group?

MATT: "I'll leave that open to the troupe."

ASHLEY: But can we know each other when we get there or is it we stay separate the whole time?

MATT: "We can mingle as long as it seems natural within a social environment such as this."

ASHLEY: Right, just normal socializing type of thing, okay.

TRAVIS: Well, if we're going to make a move on this ring, that group should probably be with Eshteross because he's going to probably be able to get closer than you.

LAURA: Or if the new person is very interesting, maybe Armand will want to make himself known.

TRAVIS: Also true.

ROBBIE: So what type of person is Armand? What does he value?

MATT: "Connections. Business. His family's hands in many different guilds and businesses within the Wilds. They primarily run most of the gold mining operations within the Oderan Wilds. They handle masonry, pulling from two different quarries."

MARISHA: Do you know what he might be in need of right now? Seems like he really is invested as a part of this Paragon's Call situation, maybe weapons?

MATT: "Perhaps. Perhaps interest in-- hmm." In employing expansions of Paragon's Call to other political ventures and locations beyond Jrusar. Whether it be your family or a created individual, having interests from abroad that might be looking to invest in this mercenary troop might catch his attention."

TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, if your family doesn't do a lot of trade with Jrusar, offer him the hookup.

MATT: "To be honest, while I might be able to present introductions, I can guarantee you, I am probably looked with as much mistrust by some of the political elite as I look at them."

MARISHA: You know, we could always do the usual Fearne level of pick-pocketing, bait and switch with this ring situation. Or maybe you have some sort of interest in his jewelry and just want a closer look. Maybe he'll hand it to you. A little sleight of hand?

LAURA: They have suites available. Maybe we get him drunk and charm his pants off.

MARISHA: (gasps)

SAM: Or challenge him to some sort of game of chance where they bet jewels or something, I don't know.

LAURA: That's great, too.

MARISHA: Does anyone know any good magic tricks? Just need a ring.

SAM: Aren't you a sorcerer?

MARISHA: There's magic, and then there's magic. Illusions.

ASHLEY: So he always wears this ring as a-- is it a decorative choice?

MATT: "I am uncertain there."

ASHLEY: Oh you think-- okay.

MATT: "He wears all of his jewelry all of the time."


ASHLEY: Oh wow, okay.

MARISHA: You should always take a piece off and leave it at home. That's what they say.

TRAVIS: What, why?

MARISHA: I don't know, some dumb shit I heard.


MATT: "He's an ostentatious figure that prefers to flout his station. So we'll use that to our advantage."

LAURA: Maybe, Dorian, you can also put on a lot of jewelry.

ROBBIE: Do you have any on loan?

MATT: "I'll be right back." He leaves the chamber.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah!

MATT: Comes back a short time later with a long box with a dark burgundy, pillowed top. Shifts it open and you can see inside, there are all number of chains and necklaces and rings. "I'm uncertain which of these will fit you as some have been affixed to my hands, and some have been affixed to my previous patron's."

ASHLEY: Do you happen to have any pearls? Like a string of pearls?

LAURA: (gasps)

ROBBIE: That's nice.

ASHLEY: It's not for me. Dorian was really wanting a string of pearls.

ROBBIE: (chuckles) Thank you. I take them.


MARISHA: How are you feeling, Dorian? You look very overwhelmed. (laughs)

ROBBIE: Scary. It's a big performance.

MARISHA: But this is what you do!

ROBBIE: It is.

MARISHA: You're good at this.

ROBBIE: It is, but this feels more important than that. I'll go as myself. My real self.

LAURA: I think that's wise.

ASHLEY: I do, too.

ROBBIE: All right. (clears throat) If we succeed in this, can you ensure my protection? My family's protection, if I put our family name on the line?

MATT: He leans forward under the lantern light, his square, strong jaw clenching as he adjusts the spectacles at the end of his nose, his strong, orcish warrior presence, almost oppressive in size and demeanor. "I will do everything in my power. Everything comes with a risk, and you're welcome to walk away at any time. But everything in my power."

ROBBIE: All right. I will slide the pearls back to him. I will break away from the group and go start looking through the chest of masks that he had offered us earlier. I'm going to start rifling through them.

LAURA: Try to find that--

ROBBIE: Quietly.

MARISHA: While Dorian is away, I turn to everybody else. Do you think he's okay? Do you think this is a good idea, putting Dorian up for this?

SAM: I think he's the best person for the job; he is a noble.

MARISHA: I agree. I just don't want to cause undue trauma.

SAM: (laughs) Then don't look at anybody. (laughter)

MARISHA: That's fair.

ROBBIE: Savage.

LAURA: Dorian, you hear in your head: Is this all right?

ROBBIE: It's fine. And what needs to be done.

TALIESIN: I'll stay on that side for security.

LAURA: We should split up, you and me.

SAM: So we can be listening to people think?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Yeah?


LIAM: Yeah?

ASHLEY: Do you have thoughts on this idea?

LIAM: I think Dorian is the best person for the job. Dorian has talked us out of 20 different situations. He's the best fit.

ASHLEY: Right. But... I don't think that we can actually, or Eshteross, actually offer protection for his family.

ROBBIE: I've pulled the mask out of the chest, and I look to Lord Eshteross and I go: Are there any more clothing I could look through?

MATT: "Indeed." The masks he has, they lack the charm and personality of what you've all managed to create. They are mainly just like a solid bronze, covering part of the face. One might curl up to one side. They're effective. They're also not extremely ostentatious, with the intent of being subtle. So the choice is yours on what you would like to take and bring with you. But he guides you up into, carefully, and he says, as you approach, or as you fall behind, "Follow my steps, exactly." Leads you through a hall on the far left, then makes a quick right and then follows on the right-hand side. Heads to a door, and he turns the knob, takes his cane, and slips it through the top of the door, and holds on something, pushes the door open, and then hits a latch. Something comes and hangs for a second. He goes, "We're safe to enter." Enters the room, and all the furniture in this room is covered in sheets, and there's dust. There are cabinets and there is a large armoire that is covered, and he goes ahead and pulls the sheet off, off to the side, dust settles in the space, as he opens it. (doors creaking) On the inside, hanging on the rack, there all manner of long coats and cloaks. At least 20 different outfits of beautiful colors, make, and design. He looks back to you. "All of these ones belonged to the late husband of my previous employer, and the lady of the house. You look about the right size. Take your pick."

ROBBIE: Yeah, I'll just start methodically, just going--

MATT: What do you find?

ROBBIE: Looking through them. So the mask that I've pulled is super stern-looking, nothing whimsical about it, but it's got a regal look to it. And, as I look through the clothes, I find something in the same color pattern blue that I have, but the same thing, sharp shoulders, quick lines, nothing, no flair. It's very, almost militaristic, but severe, but elegant. That's a whole suit jacket thing. I'm going to grab that. As I do, put those things away, I'm going to reach into my bag and pull out the outfit that I had, which was this chiffon outfit that I had previously gotten a long time ago, and look at it for a minute. Then I'll pull out the mâché mask that I had, and I'll crumble them both up and throw them in the bottom of the bureau, and leave them behind and go back down to the group.

MATT: Okay. Eshteross carefully leads you out of the chamber and back down the hall. (laughs) As you're walking alongside and head down the stairs, he goes, "I think this will do."

ROBBIE: Might not be as much fun, but it'll get the job done.

MATT: "Don't think you don't have to have fun. In fact, might make you less suspicious."

ROBBIE: All right. Two drink minimum. (laughs)

MATT: "Enough to still effectively do what you need to be done. Very well, and it is," and he asks you to spell out the name properly to him.

ROBBIE: Oh, all right. Well (laughs), I start to awkwardly spell it, and I'll just write it down on a piece of paper. Secondsun, just like it sounds, but it's S-U-N, instead. And pass it off to him.

MATT: "And this is of which nobility?"

ROBBIE: Nobility's a broad term.

MATT: "Location? Homestead?"

ROBBIE: Everywhere. The Silken Squall.

MATT: "The Silken Squall. You're of the Silken Squall?"

ROBBIE: Correct.

MATT: "Hmm. Won't have to press as hard as we assumed." Rolls it up, and hands it off to his associate. She takes it, Evelyn, and she leaves the chamber. "I doubt with this, there will be a much of an issue. Rest. Prepare. Decide who is to travel with who, and tomorrow, we go to a ball." So, the night is yours to rest. Any last minute prep you would like to do before the day comes?

SAM: We should just figure out who's in which group.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: I'll be with Dorian.

TRAVIS: Sounds like Ashton is as well, right?

TALIESIN: Well, it depends. I honestly think that, considering this is your play, I think you should really have final say over who you have next to you.

MARISHA: I think you're essentially plan A on the ring swap-a-roo?


MARISHA: Then Eshteross' group will be plan B, if that doesn't work.

SAM: You don't know how, I mean, we can't know how you're going to swap out the ring ahead of time, but you should have someone with you who can distract.

MARISHA: Correct.

SAM: Someone who can maybe magically assist somehow--

MARISHA: Correct.

SAM: Or buff.

ROBBIE: Do we really have a plan, though? This feels a little bit, by the seat of your pants.

SAM: Well, it's like yada, yada, yada, Dorian gets the ring, we go home. (laughter)

ROBBIE: What if it's not Dorian gets the ring, though? What if it's one of you guys get the ring?

SAM: Yeah, well.

MARISHA: Maybe it's best.

LAURA: That's true. If you're talking to him, maybe one of us can distract him.

TRAVIS: Who has great sleight of hand?

TALIESIN: Pretty good.

LAURA: I'm not very good.

ASHLEY: Well, not really me.

MARISHA: Well, you're good.

TRAVIS: Six, seven. Yeah.

ROBBIE: I'm pretty good with my hands.


TALIESIN: In a perfect world, we somehow knock him, get him to off-balance, get him to drop the ring and then assist and hand it back to him and make the switch there. That's the perfect world.

LIAM: What if we--

MARISHA: It's on his thumb. He's got to take it off.

LIAM: What if we start out with charm, plying him with wine, getting him comfortable? Then if he gets loose enough, you start comparing jewelry.

SAM: Yeah, watch guys love showing off their watches and stuff.

MARISHA: Absolutely!

LIAM: If that doesn't work, at least he's drunk or half drunk, and we can then make it, hopefully a little easier to go for the switcheroo.

LAURA: Yeah, maybe one of us can follow him.

ROBBIE: So, are we trying to balance--

LAURA: If he tries to pick us up or something.

ROBBIE: Yeah, are we trying to balance between the two parties' hotness? Like, find a mean amount of attractiveness?

MARISHA: (scoffs) Well, we're all super hot.

ROBBIE: Yes, yes, we're all super duper hot, all of us.

TRAVIS: Why are you looking at me?

ROBBIE: I'm just saying.

TALIESIN: I don't know.

TRAVIS: Just recognizing the alpha, I get it.

ROBBIE: There's a type for everyone.

MARISHA: We've seen Chetney shirtless.

LIAM: Chetney's like the gnomish World's Most Interesting Man. (laughter)

TALIESIN: Well, that's burned into the skull now.

TRAVIS: I don't normally drink beer. But when I do. (laughter)

TRAVIS: I get fucked up. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I do think that whoever is going to be in your group, I do feel like Imogen should be with you so she can listen in. I feel like that would be-- She can tell us what's going on.


MARISHA: That's true.

ASHLEY: And listen to him.

LAURA: That's true.

ROBBIE: I've always enjoyed having you at my side.

MARISHA: If that's the case, maybe Ashton, with his Nightmare King mask could be an interesting distraction, maybe get some interesting thoughts.

TALIESIN: I am very loud, intimidating muscle, as opposed to quiet, subtle emergency muscle. I would be happy to just stand behind you and look menacing as fuck.

LAURA: If, just devil's advocate, if Armand is connected to the Nightmare King, is it playing our hand too much to have Ashton standing right behind you.

TALIESIN: That is the question.

LAURA: It might be better to have him spot Ashton in the crowd

MARISHA: Then see what happens.

LAURA: See his reaction to it.

ROBBIE: Right. Or an enforcer for each team. Orym, you said you'd like to stay with me. Would you?

LIAM: Yes. Yes.

ROBBIE: All right. Fearne?

ASHLEY: Of course, I, of course. I'm just trying to think of who are the best people to keep you safe.

ROBBIE: You're the best person to be with us.

ASHLEY: (sighs) Okay.

SAM: The rest of us will be on snooping and distracting duty? Trying to figure out--

TRAVIS: Maybe we should have alternative plans. Anything that gets hand-in-hand contact. I mean, if somebody wanted to flirt with Armand, and I don't know, say give him a palm reading or something, you know, anything that would get him alone for a second, and give it a switcheroo.

ASHLEY: We could try lots of things. Or even if you're comparing jewelry, if that doesn't work, you could go into another room and compare scars, and get naked and...

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Or arm wrestling?

ROBBIE: Yeah, that's closer.

TRAVIS: Worst case scenario, we get FCG the face mask he needed.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: All right, it's a plan. That sounds like a plan. That sounds like a good plan.

MARISHA: So Team Dorian is going to be Dorian, Orym, Imogen, and Fearne.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm.


MARISHA: Team Eshteross is going to be Ashton, FCG, Laudna, and Chetney? Does that sound about right?

LAURA: That's like the enforcer team right there.

TALIESIN: Yeah, actually we are definitely a good plan B. I will admit. That's a lot of muscle.

ROBBIE: Sneaky, strong. Creepy?

MARISHA: (giggles)

TALIESIN: And Doc. (laughter)

SAM: I'm nice.

TRAVIS: What's our absolute, worst-case scenario, fail-safe plan? Not just a diversion, but like a calamity. Everybody's got to get out of the room, and we're pulling and running and shoving and going, "Oh, Armand, this way," and you grab the--

SAM: Like a fire, or like a--

TRAVIS: Yeah, or like a big fucking werewolf jumps out in the middle of the room.

SAM: Or maybe--


MARISHA: I can make everything go dark.

SAM: Oh, that's true.

TRAVIS: I also got this bottle of--

MARISHA: Kill the lights.

TRAVIS: Smoke.

LAURA: Oh, yeah, yeah.

MARISHA: Can you see in the dark?

ASHLEY: I can if I'm something else.


ASHLEY: You know, if I can turn into something else that can see in the dark.

LAURA: Worst case, I can just drape yourself around my neck, and you can talk to me mentally and tell me which direction to go.

ASHLEY: Great. Great.

LAURA: I'll hold onto your-- you could see in the dark.

ROBBIE: Mm-hmm.

SAM: Can you become a hornet or a wasp?

ASHLEY: Sure, I can. (laughter)

SAM: Just wondering if you could--

LAURA: Can you fly? Can she?

ASHLEY: I don't think I can fly yet.

MARISHA: If he has a bee allergy.

SAM: Well, I was thinking, you could sting his hand and then, Oh, we got to take that off or it's going to puff up. We got to take that ring off.

MATT: At 8th-level.

ASHLEY: I'm wondering if I can fly?

MATT: At 8th-level, you're able to fly.

MARISHA: Just go into anaphylactic shock, yes.

SAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I've always been a believer that plans go wrong. Goals always stay the same.

SAM: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I mean, I could always be a beautiful cat.

LAURA: Seriously, we could put the ring in one hand, trip and fall, grab onto his hand, and take the ring off while we're falling. Then go, "Oops, I took your ring off. Here you go, let me give it back."

TRAVIS: This is literally her in any mall of America. (laughter)

TRAVIS: (dramatic groan) Get up, please get up. Stop doing that. (laughter)

ASHLEY: We're in Claire's Accessories.

TRAVIS: Please stop it. (laughter)

TRAVIS: Top of the escalator. Oh! (laughter)

LAURA: You really didn't like it when I did that.

TALIESIN: We have communication. We have a goal. I don't know what else. We have at least some idea of a plan.

ROBBIE: I will say this. You're speaking of worst-case scenarios. I've seen that before. When I was younger, we had a court dance, if you call it, not quite a ball, and someone showed up unexpectedly and they were killed immediately.

LAURA: Wait, what are you--

ROBBIE: Immediately. They were not supposed to be there. There were internal secrets being shared, and the guards were told to kill them, and they did.

SAM: Are you suggesting that one of us pretend to be killed by a guard?

ROBBIE: No, I'm suggesting that the worst-case scenario is not an, oopsy-daisy I fell and the ring is gone. The worst-case scenario is we get busted for what we are and we die.

TRAVIS: Oh, that worst-case scenario.

LAURA: Well--

TALIESIN: That's the typical--

LAURA: At least you're telling the truth.

ASHLEY: That's true.

LAURA: We are legitimately your companions.

ROBBIE: Yes, you are.


ROBBIE: Still going to wear the thing?

TRAVIS: The dress?


TRAVIS: Yeah, I feel like it's very disarming.

MARISHA: Oh, speaking of. Chetney, I was thinking of swapping out of my chisel headpiece for something maybe a little bit more sleek, but I noticed your golden weapons there. Maybe one looks like a nice little hairpin that I could slip in, in case you need it.

TRAVIS: Yeah, just get it back to me.

MARISHA: No, I mean, it's yours. I'm just--

ASHLEY: That way you can come into the party.

MARISHA: Sneaking it in my hair.

TRAVIS: Oh! Oh, shit. I didn't even pick up on it.

MARISHA: If shit goes down, I can be like, ah, Chetney, go.

TRAVIS: My walls are high. That's a winner. (laughter)

ASHLEY: I happen to know court dances as well.

SAM: Ooh!

ASHLEY: So, should we need to--

SAM: You could lead?

ASHLEY: We could do some dancing and fool them that, you know, we're supposed to be here.

ROBBIE: That's a good idea. Dancing, a promenade, lots of hand touching.

LAURA: Oh, yeah.

ROBBIE: Perhaps?

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm. All of that. (laughter)

ASHLEY: See, it's perfect.

ROBBIE: FCG has legs now. (laughter)

ROBBIE: He's learning it.

ASHLEY: Look at you dancing.

TALIESIN: I'm going to need so much to drink for this.

LIAM: Maybe we start the ring off with you, and if things go sour, then we just improvise.

MARISHA: That's what I think as well.

ROBBIE: All right.

MARISHA: I think like a good old fashion, "Ooh, your ring looks nice. Can I see it?" And see what happens.

LIAM: Tap you off, ba-ba-bum.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

ROBBIE: Just steal it.

LAURA: And just take it right off his hand?

ROBBIE: Just take it right off his finger.

MARISHA: How's your sleight of hand?

ROBBIE: It's very good.

SAM: I'll give you a little boost, too.

MARISHA: Here, practice.

ROBBIE: Practice?


ROBBIE: All right. On your-- Okay. Oh, it's--

MARISHA: Let me pop my finger back.

LAURA: Yeah. (laughs)

MARISHA: Yeah, pop my finger back in place. It's fine.

TRAVIS: Slough.

MARISHA: Oh, you want to see my ring? Well, yes, it is made of the finest platinum. I'm very rich. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

ROBBIE: Oh, it looks so lovely. You can have it back.

MARISHA: Oh, thank you.


MARISHA: Wow, it looks exactly like the one I gave you.

LAURA: See? That's pretty good.

TALIESIN: Oh my god, yeah.

ASHLEY: I didn't even see it.

LAURA: Now, what if he doesn't want to take it off his thumb?

SAM: We'll figure it out.

TALIESIN: Then we knock him out. (laughter)

LAURA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: What would make you take a ring off?

SAM: Hm, bee sting.

TRAVIS: To appraise it. To give it value, to get it cleaned.

TALIESIN: Proposal.


ROBBIE: I haven't met many dwarves. Are they proud? Do they have that sort of vibe?

LAURA: I think everyone's their own person. I don't think dwarves--

ASHLEY: But he seems to be, with the jewelry he wears.

ROBBIE: It was a generalization. I was just saying-- I mean I just-- I haven't met any. That might be naive of me, but I'm sorry. All right. (laughter)

LIAM: We know what our first play is, right? There are multiple plans that we can pivot to. Alcohol is very important for lubrication, but there's flirtation.

LAURA: There's flirtation. Dater troupe, drama club.

MARISHA: Do we know what he's into?


MARISHA: What type of person he likes?

LAURA: Do you know, Eshteross?

TALIESIN: We may find out.

LAURA: Because you, oh, we're not with him anymore.

TALIESIN: No, we're here.

LAURA: But he did say--


LAURA: No, but he did say-- I asked if he was married and he said he didn't have a partner, so I don't know.

ASHLEY: Well, we can ask that in the carriage tomorrow, just to prep.

TALIESIN: If someone starts making progress, they keep at it.

ASHLEY: Sure. That's a good plan.

TALIESIN: Right. There's no way to know till you know.

LIAM: If jewelry comparison doesn't go down, and Dorian and Fearne both lay it on thick and you listen in, right? You can probably tip them off as to who should go in for the kill.

ROBBIE: Yeah, we've got a lot of flavors here. Surely, someone's taste.

ASHLEY: Yeah, we've got something for everyone. That's true. Then you could say like, "Hey, back off, it's not you."

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: We should send in Chetney.

LAURA: Yeah, he's really into little, wirey--

LIAM: Muscle-y--

ASHLEY: Little men.

TRAVIS: I'm basically the ace.

LIAM: Ropey.

LAURA: (laughs) Ropey.

SAM: We do have something for everybody.

LIAM: It's like Popeye.

TRAVIS: I'll just tell him to keep twirling me, when that hand's working--

LAURA: Because you've got the attachments, right?

SAM: I haven't. I don't have. I can make a quick attachment. It might be a little rusty. (laughs)

ROBBIE: What about your ziggurat? You could always get out your ziggurat. (laughter)

MATT: Oh my god.

ASHLEY: Maybe we should be The Grab Bags. (laughter)

LAURA: I like it.

ASHLEY: Just, lots of things.

ROBBIE: We'll make it work.

SAM: Yeah. But we'll also know when we get there.


MARISHA: Should we have a group name for this?

LAURA: Are we going to be announced as ourselves though?

SAM: No.

LIAM: In two groups.

LAURA: We need a fake name.

ASHLEY: Oh, in two groups.

MARISHA: Do we need two separate names?

LAURA: Well, I assume one will be with Eshteross.

SAM: Lord Eshteross and his friends?

ROBBIE: Well, we truly could use this as our focus group. One name--

LAURA: That's true.

ROBBIE: -- as a second choice. Next name, first choice. Announce them both and see which gets the bigger applause.

TRAVIS: Yeah, the focus group's really delicate, and the second group goes and raises hell.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: Two names, then. Let's come up with two instead of one. Much easier.

SAM: Focus Groups?

LAURA: Raises Hell.

ROBBIE: Raises Hell.

LAURA and MARISHA: Bell's Hells.

ASHLEY: Bell's Hells is--

SAM: It's pretty good.

ASHLEY: -- pretty damn good.

TALIESIN: All right.

SAM: It's pretty good.

TRAVIS: Bells?

LAURA: Yeah, the Bells. The Belles of the Ball.

MARISHA: (gasps)

TRAVIS and SAM: Ooh.

LAURA and ROBBIE: Bell's Hells.

TALIESIN: Bell's Hells.

LAURA: Yeah.

ROBBIE: What was the one we bailed on a little bit?

MARISHA: Focus Group.

LAURA: Oh, the New Nobodies?

ROBBIE: Is that out?

TALIESIN: I'll honestly say, it's entirely possible somebody in that room might actually have had--

MARISHA: Okay, so not the New Nobodies.

TALIESIN: We did used to rob people in this town.

MARISHA: The Grab Bags, the Grab Bag Hags?

LIAM: The Nighty Mein.

MARISHA: The Mighty Neins?

LIAM: Nighty Mein.

MARISHA: The Nighty Mein?

ROBBIE: Nighty Mein.

MARISHA: The Mighty Mimes.

SAM: The B&E.

LAURA: The B&E. (laughter)

ROBBIE: I feel like there was another good one.

SAM: We'll be fine. We'll be fine. We don't even know if we need a group name.

MATT: You got time to think on that.

SAM: Okay, it's done.

LAURA: We say every single--

MATT: Indeed.

LIAM: Fresh Cut and the Pussycats. (considering noises)

MARISHA: Lord Eshteross and the Dave Matthews Band. (laughter)


SAM: ♪ All the little ants are marching ♪

MATT: I hate this.

TRAVIS: Dave Matthews Band and Adam Sandler. (laughter)

TALIESIN: We're a little loopy, what can we say?

MATT: I know, I know.

LIAM: And now, the dancing shall begin. ♪ ("Ants Go Marching") ♪ (laughter)


MATT: All right, new campaign. (laughter)

LIAM: Tarrasque.

MARISHA: Burn it down.

TRAVIS: Wipe it.

MARISHA: Trash it.

TALIESIN: This is how you get a TPK, guys.

MATT: Indeed. So, plans for the most part set, paths decided, goals considered, and possibilities laid out.

SAM: Ants marching.

MATT: Ants marching. I hate you so much, Sam. (laughter)

MATT: Damn it. You rest for the night, and the next day finish your final preparations, before you reconvene at the abode of Lord Eshteross to get dressed, made up, masks at the ready, approvals confirmed for your troops' arrival. Until slowly you hear the sounds of sillgoats gathering--

LAURA: Oh gosh.

MATT: -- on the exterior. Just as the sun begins to slowly lower in the skies. The oranges and purples begin to brighten, leading into the later ports of the day, into the night. The carriages await you outside. Beautiful dark woods, gilded in golds and dark greens on one, the other hitting maroons and browns with bright bronze and silver accents on it. Each with four sillgoats to the front, situated and clomping their way before they stop, and (goats neighing), and getting ready with their creepy-ass, fucking square eyes.

ASHLEY: I go over and I Taylor Swift scream goat at it. Like a--

MATT: It screams right back at you.

ASHLEY and MATT: (yell)

MATT: Nuzzles you. (goat bleating) Your characters are arranged, your troupes divided. As the doors are closed by the assistants, (cracking reins, clopping hooves) begins riding up around to the spirals streets of the Core Spire towards the top.

LAURA: I'm so glad Eshteross hired a makeup artist.

MARISHA: Me, too. (laughter) Need a lot of foundation for this, a lot.

MATT: Up, up. Arriving on the climbing streets at the apex of the spire, passing the Mirror Towers, which currently are under heavy guard and investigation. You all just hold your breath, glancing over through the window of the carriage to see the chaos that you missed before, where the previous tower no longer stands. The roadways shift from the standard dark gray and brown stone, into an alabaster white, until eventually, it reveals the sprawling gardens and trees surrounding an incredible, wide, dome-like structure of colored glass, that is enveloped by a spread of buildings and halls that wrap around the edges of the spire top like a lasso. The windows overlooking the Oderan jungle and surrounding city below. Small towers and elevated walkways connect to the dome citadel in an elegant tangle. The warm radiance of interior light giving it a glow, almost impressive were it not for the Prakash Pyre burning so brightly in the distance from the Lantern Spire. Numerous other carriages are before you, both pulled by beasts or arcana, circling in the arrival road ahead. Individuals you see emerging from the carriages, gathering and walking towards the entrance, the incredible 20-foot gold arch that welcomes the invitees within. As you take in the sights, the brimming anxiety, the butterflies, and worry that gathers in your stomach, you can't help but smile. It's going to be an interesting night. That's where we'll pick up next time. (excited noises)

ASHLEY: Ooh, I have bubble guts. I'm nervous.

MATT: Masquerade ball, y'all.

TRAVIS: It's going down.

ROBBIE: Balls out.

LIAM: This is going to be great.

TALIESIN: This is going to be so easy.

MATT: It's going to be fine.

TALIESIN: It's going to go exactly the way that we planned.

MATT: I don't know. Great.

SAM: Always does. Always does.

TRAVIS: Oh man. Oh man.

MARISHA: I've got a nice bonus to my attack and saving throws. I'm ready. (laughter)

ROBBIE: That blood sack's legit.

MARISHA: I got a blood sack around my neck.

MATT: Yep.

TRAVIS: It's been a minute since we've been at a ball or a dance, or anything.

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: I'm so excited.

LIAM: It always goes well.

MATT: Well, friends, I'm excited to see where this goes next time. In the interim, have a wonderful night. Thank you so much for joining us. We love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night. (cheering)

TRAVIS: Here we go again!