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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

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

TRAVIS: That's what we do!

MATT: Yep! So, welcome. We had a brief break last week as Liam brought us through his delightfully dark and twisted mind. Thank you again, Liam, for running that.

LAURA: Creepy!

LIAM: I went to Catholic school!

MATT: It was awesome.

MARISHA: Why am I not surprised?

MATT: So, anyway, glad you could join us. Before we jump into tonight's game, we have some quick announcements to make. First and foremost, you want to talk about some new merch stuff that just got in there? What the hell you've got right there?

MARISHA: What's that?

ASHLEY: What are these?

LAURA: What are these? These shirts are in the store right now! And the color, and they're so soft, I'll be petting you guys throughout the whole night.

LIAM: They're soft like the hoodie. They're like a thin version of the soft hoodie.

LAURA: If you have the Gilmore shirt, it feels like the Gilmore shirt. Also, the Critical Role dice are coming back in stock very soon, but they are on preorder right now in the store. You can go in and get on that. We also have the CR enamel pin back in stock, so you can check that shit out in the store right now. We'll wait.

MATT: Awesome. Let's see. There's a new Signal Boost coming out this week with kind of a cool person who hosted that. Who's that?

TRAVIS: DM O'Drien!

LIAM: I am not cool, so you are not talking about me.

MARISHA: It's actually going to play during the break.

LIAM: Oh yeah?

MARISHA: Yeah!

LIAM: So you can hear about all my artsy-fartsy theatrical sad hangups from the past? Oh joy, guys!

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah! You'll like it! So stick around!

MATT: Look forward to that. And also, a reminder that MomoCon's coming up, end of next month, where Taliesin, Marisha and I will be guests and, as of recently, our good friend Brian Wayne Foster will also be joining us for a Talks Machina live panel at the event, which will be fun.

MATT: MomoCon!

LIAM: Yeah, MomoCon is just fun to say. MomoCon.

LAURA: We're all going to say it.

MATT: Yeah. So we'll be there, it'll be fun. It's May 25th to the 28th, in Atlanta, Georgia. Look forward to seeing you guys there.

LIAM: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

LAURA: Oh my, what? How? Why?

(laughter)

SAM: It's the start of a new year.

TRAVIS: Why doesn't it wrap around to the back?

SAM: I tried to get the eyes on my nipples.

TRAVIS: Pull it down a little bit. Just give it a little tug. There it is.

LAURA: I've never realized how large– Wow, it's bulging. Those are some bulging eye sausages if I've ever seen them.

MATT: What's great is when you're not stretching it, it looks like that dumb FaceApp thing now where you can see your older version of yourself.

LAURA: Have you noticed, the guys turn into girls so much better than the girls turn into guys? I mean, we look so terrible turning into–

MATT: I've seen some girl photos that turned out pretty good. Maybe it's just you guys.

LAURA: You have to have your hair pulled back.

MATT: It might just be the three of you, I'm sorry. Although who did Ashley end up looking like?

MARISHA: Haley Joel Osment.

MATT: Yeah, that worked out pretty well.

ASHLEY: Actually, a lot of people tell me that I look like him anyway.

LAURA: Really?

ASHLEY: Him or– I get–

TRAVIS: Brad Pitt?

LAURA: Yeah, definitely Brad Pitt.

ASHLEY: From the '80s band, it's a guy.

TRAVIS: Keep going.

ASHLEY: Justin George?

LIAM: Narrowed it down. Hum a melody.

ASHLEY: I can't think of a song. I'll think of it.

LIAM: This is the whole episode.

LAURA: And she'll just yell it out during the break. Travis makes a really ugly woman, though. I turned one of your pictures into a girl. I never should have done that.

MATT: I don't agree with that. I've seen Nip Tuck.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Matt! Thank you.

MATT: A supportive significant other. Wednesday Club, Taliesin! Do you want to talk about Wednesday Club?

TALIESIN: Actually, this one, it's going to be Matt Key is taking the reins on this one, so I don't even– I'm not sure he's settled on what's going on, but I think we were talking about maybe Brian K. Vaughan and looking at his whole body of work, which would be a lot of fun.

MATT: There you go, that'll be fun.

TALIESIN: TV writer and comic book writer. Could be cool.

MATT: Fantastic. And of course we have Talks Machina next Tuesday, live here on Twitch and Alpha at 7PM Pacific with our wonderful host, Brian Wayne Foster.

TRAVIS: Except there won't be one.

MATT: Oh wait, there won't be one this week! Never mind, 'cause they're going to be on vacation.

TRAVIS: 'Cause you're going out of the country. They're going to– Where are you going, the North Pole?

ASHLEY: I wish we were going to the North Pole. We are going to Mexico!

MATT: Let's be nice and vague. Going to a place that's pretty.

ASHLEY: We're going to a place.

MATT: Which, as a note, as far as Brian was saying, you guys really haven't had a vacation together, ever.

ASHLEY: Never.

MATT: So, super excited that you guys have the chance to do that.

ASHLEY: We've almost been dating for five years and we've never gone on a vacation together.

TRAVIS: Y'all are dating?

(laughter)

LAURA: Wait. What?

MATT: Well, that'll be fun. Yeah!

MARISHA: Also, your Date with Matt Mercer in a Silk Robe, thanks to Brian Wayne Foster, will be up on YouTube tomorrow at 10AM.

MATT: Ho boy.

MARISHA: Is that okay?

MATT: Yeah, it's fine. Prepare for a lot of port drinking.

ASHLEY: Boy George! Boy George! I get it a lot. I get that.

LAURA: What? You don't look like– With a lot of makeup, maybe?

MATT: Awesome, so tomorrow? All right, for those of you guys who missed it, you'll be able to see it tomorrow. No, that's fine, bring tissues.

TALIESIN: That could go a number of ways.

MATT: That it can.

TALIESIN: Sorry.

MATT: But no, thank you all. Thank you all who came on Tuesday to chat and talk and create some fun future characters for this storyline in the future, it'll be fun. Anyway, do we have anything else anyone wants to mention, or shall we continue?

SAM: Did you already do the shirts?

MATT: We did the shirts.

That is so nightmarish, Sam.

LAURA: I love it.

SAM: It's an homage.

TRAVIS: It looks like Mercer's eating the table.

MATT: What I'm looking forward to is the eventuality that you have enough of these shirts that your closet has a section that's just my face.

SAM: Your face, my face.

MATT: Yeah, it's just this face is printed, and just having your wife eventually come up to me and having you go–

SAM: I might have enough that we can all wear one one night.

(laughter)

SAM: Let me think on that.

MATT: All righty, then, without further ado, let's jump into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[dramatic music]

Part I[]

MATT: And welcome back, everyone. So, last we left off, Vox Machina, having completed a multitude of various quests over a prolonged period of time, found themselves free of immediate necessity and danger.

TRAVIS: What?

MARISHA: Brought peace to the world forever.

MATT: No, that's not true.

MARISHA: Nothing bad will ever happen again.

MATT: (laughs) That's not how this works.

(laughter)

SAM: Credits.

MATT: So, as the last episode wound down and friendships were strengthened, you all then began to ponder about what you wanted to do with the time before you. And today we return approximately one year after we left off. So, we met earlier this week to discuss this. We went through a various number of things you wanted to accomplish, both as individuals and some of you in groups. So we're going to go ahead and go over those elements for you guys and get everyone up to speed with what exactly has transpired in this year period of time.

LIAM: Show and tell!

MATT: So, who would like to begin?

SAM: We're just going to share?

LAURA: Just say what we did, what we accomplished?

LIAM: Summer vacation!

MATT: Share elements of it, and then some elements will be roleplayed, because that's what I want to do.

LAURA: Because that's what I want to do.

MATT: Yeah. So.

TRAVIS: Are you pointing at me? Okay, okay. I'll start.

MATT: All right, so, Grog, what are some of the things you did?

TRAVIS: Because I single-handedly established peace across Exandria, I found myself bored, in need of action. And so I sought out where the fight would now be. I looked for Scanlan a little bit along the way. I didn't find him.

MATT: No, you did not.

TRAVIS: I looked for, like, magical items along the way. I didn't find them. So I went to Vasselheim, which is where the Slayer's Take is. And I think before I left, I wanted to get some personal things, like, done to my body. So I had the bear tattoo that I filleted of off Kevdak, and I had it tanned, and then I got a copy of that tattoo on my back.

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Because that shit's behind me.

ALL: Ooh!

MATT: So you now have Kevdak's bear-totem tattoo that was on his chest, now on your back.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: Out of sheer disrespect for him.

TRAVIS: Totes.

MATT: I love it.

LIAM: Did you get a bear ass on your bare ass?

TRAVIS: Much better idea. I also took Kevdak's skull, the top of it, and I had a new cup, a new mug made out of it. With metal bits and stuff, with a handle.

MATT: Yeah, yeah. Okay.

TRAVIS: I don't understand how, but it looks really great. It's like metal and bone, and I (drinking sounds). That's me.

MATT: That's delicious.

TRAVIS: I just choked on a peanut.

LAURA: Yeah. Oh Grog. I heard it happen.

TRAVIS: So, I went to Vasselheim, and I defended my title in the Crucible.

MATT: Yeah. Met multiple times.

TRAVIS: Multiple times.

MATT: Including once against a familiar individual called Kern the Hammer.

TRAVIS: Kern the Hammer, he came back with that monk shit.

MATT: Yeah. And did not prevail.

TRAVIS: Nope.

MATT: However, he did come back to you, requesting to learn and train under you, to teach him your ways. To which you said–

TRAVIS: I forgot. No. Yes. I said yes.

MATT: You said no.

TRAVIS: I said no.

(laughter)

MATT: That's what you told me, at least.

TRAVIS: I said no. I said no, because I was like, you've got to drink, all the time, and this, and he just wasn't up to snuff. That, and I should not be teaching anyone anything. So then I went to the Slayer's Take, right, in search of big game. And I had fun with that for a while, but it just wasn't quite the same. It wasn't crazy-ass, you know, ancient dragons or nothing. It just wasn't quite up to snuff. But I did have my curiosity about the Deck of Many Things piqued. So, at some point along the way, Vex's warnings ringing in my ears, I found a nice drunk sap to–

MATT: So, so, as you are wandering down an evening byway in the Quadroads of Vasselheim, a number of cups in yourself, you hiccup loudly and glance off to the side to find one gentleman who's been far deeper in his cups and is currently trying to steady himself against the stone wall in an alleyway.

TRAVIS: Yup. Hey, you!

MATT: “What?”

TRAVIS: You. You look like a mighty warrior. Do you need another drink?

MATT: “Oh, if you're buying, yeah.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, I do. I have one. And I pour him a little bit from the keg. Hey, do you have like, a wife, kids, attachments? Anyone that would miss you?

MATT: “You think if I did I'd be drinking this hard?”

TRAVIS: I'm going to take that as a no. Cool, hey, look, I don't know if you're interested, but I have, in my possession, something really cool. And I take out the Deck. Do you know what this is?

MATT: “I have no idea.”

TRAVIS: Great! Great! We're in the street, right?

MATT: Yeah. You're near a thoroughfare and there's a small alley off to the side.

TRAVIS: Good. Follow me into this alley and it'll be a deal. Just follow me over here.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. With advantage, because he's really drunk.

MARISHA: For anyone who's watching, this is like, abduction, how to not– 101, self-defense.

MATT: This is terrible.

LIAM: I mean, he's either changing this guy's life for the better, or murdering him.

TRAVIS: 19 plus one.

MATT: (laughs) You watch as in the center of his pupils a little sparkle of interest kicks in. And, I mean, five percent soberer at the prospect of something fun of this stranger that gave him a drink and goes: “Wait, what are you talking about?”

TRAVIS: Well, listen. I am kind of like an evangelical spreader of good news. And I found this. And one time I pulled a card out and I got a magic weapon. It was amazing. And I just figured, like, you look like a guy that would appreciate such a weapon, so–

MATT: (belches)

TRAVIS: – and I open the Deck. I thought maybe you would like to draw a card.

MATT: He takes a second and looks around. Looks at the Deck. “Is this some sort of a magic trick?”

TRAVIS: Yes. Yep.

MATT: “All right. Do you want me to tell you what it is?”

TRAVIS: Sure. Yeah. Just draw it and– Actually, just hold it and don't tell me what it is.

MATT: Okay. Let me get my cards out.

LAURA: Oh my God.

ASHLEY: You have an actual set?

LAURA: What the actual fuck is happening right now?

TRAVIS: It was a fucking year. Did you not think this was going to happen?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: It probably happened in the first week.

LIAM: This is the first of ten guys.

TRAVIS: Lot of problems, lot of drinking, lot of fighting. Ran out of shit.

SAM: What if you die? What if you die right now?

TRAVIS: I'm not. He's drawing the card.

LAURA: Yeah, but you could still die.

SAM: It could kill– It could kill you too.

TRAVIS: Could it?

SAM: I think so.

TRAVIS: I'm not really sure on how this shit works. But I need another card to come out of that Deck.

MATT: Yeah, maybe.

LAURA: Oh my God. Oh no, what did he pull. What did he pull?

MATT: No. No. No. Huh. I'm going to let somebody else pull this. Who wants to pull it?

TRAVIS: Oh, you raise your hand to pull from the Deck? Thats some bullshit.

LAURA: Oh no. Should I turn it?

TRAVIS: Ooh. Ooh.

LAURA: Do you know what that is?

TRAVIS: No, I don't remember.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: It's just, it looked ominous.

TRAVIS: It was a face card, though.

TALIESIN: It was a face card. Oh. Oh.

MATT: (laughs)

LAURA: Oh no. Is it amazing? Did he get something really good?

TALIESIN: You're the DM now.

MATT: Hold on. I have to roll a die first. (laughs) He takes the card and looks at it. Turns around and shows you, and it's this tarot card of a beautiful moonscape, with an open night sky. I believe that's what it is. Yeah, that's what it is. He puts it back in the Deck, and is like: “All right, what's the trick? I'm– I'm feeling a little– a little strange.”

TRAVIS: Could you describe to me how you feel right now?

MATT: And he's like trying to contemplate it. He goes: “Wait a second. I wish that I was a powerful lord of the Quadroads.” And there's a strange, tingling visual image as the cloth around him that was tattered and worn-out becomes beautiful silks–

LAURA: Oh my God.

MATT: The drunkenness fades from him ever-so-slightly, and now he looks washed. And you glance over at the far end of the alleyway, and there's a guy there who's dressed in long, long tails and a coat and goes: “Sir, how long are you going to be?” He goes: “Right with you. I don't even know what his name is. Well, thank you so much, stranger.” And he pats you on the shoulder.

TRAVIS: Grog. Grog.

MATT: “Grog.”

TRAVIS: Grog Strongjaw.

MATT: “Grog Strongthings.”

TRAVIS: Maker of kings.

MATT: “Great.”

TRAVIS: Yup.

MATT: “I still got one more of these.” And he walks off and runs off to the carriage.

LAURA: He got two wishes?

MATT: 1d3 wishes.

TRAVIS: Are you fucking serious?

SAM: Wait, he got two wishes? You gave away two wishes?

TRAVIS: (shouts) Wait! What was your name?

MATT: The queen of diamonds was the card.

TRAVIS: Did I get his name?

MATT: You didn't get his name. He just runs off.

TALIESIN: Lord of the Quadroads, now.

SAM: You just got a cure for cancer, and you gave it away?

LAURA: Wait, wait, I have a question. Once a card has been pulled, is it gone from the Deck, or does it go back in?

LIAM: Some go back, and some–

LAURA: Oh my God.

TRAVIS: I should just pull all of these right now.

(groaning)

TRAVIS: I mean, obviously, it was just a little appetizer, the first one.

MATT: Well, let me see here. Let me see. Let me see.

TRAVIS: That is way better.

TALIESIN: (laughs) You want to pull another one.

SAM: Matt's verifying.

LAURA: Verifying that he did the right thing?

TRAVIS: He's double-checking.

SAM: This is important.

LAURA: I know. Yeah.

MATT: Once the card is drawn, it fades from existence.

TALIESIN: Oh there's no other– No, the Wish card goes.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: The best card is fucking gone. It is the best card, isn't it?

LIAM: Now the Deck is slightly shittier.

SAM: Way shittier!

MATT: But you know what?

TRAVIS: You know what? Only one person picked that card from the Deck. So it's not really my fault.

SAM: It's Laura's fault?

TALIESIN: Good roll, Laura.

LAURA: Thank you, thank you. Hey, man.

MATT: That one's gone, now.

TALIESIN: Lord of the Quadroads now owes you a favor.

LAURA: Yeah!

MARISHA: That's true!

TRAVIS: It was the queen of diamonds, right? Yeah.

ASHLEY: I say, at the end of all this, we all pick one.

LIAM: Who was that man? That was Taliesin Jaffe, Mayor of Ren Faire!

TALIESIN: Huzzah!

ASHLEY: Huzzah!

LAURA: What's going on, Matt?

MATT: Just double-checking to make sure the card goes away, and it does, according to how it's written.

TRAVIS: Clearly, nobody in my group knows what they're talking about. This Deck is a mighty gift!

LAURA: Fuck.

TALIESIN: We're doomed.

TRAVIS: And I put it back in the Bag of Holding.

MATT: Okay. I was like, “Oh god, is he going to draw another card?”

LIAM: Two-hour combat scenario.

TRAVIS: I want to, really bad, but I have an open bar tab.

MATT: Okay then! You, in your time away, radically changed some poor man's life! And, apparently, Wished himself to some level of nobility within the Quadroads of Vasselheim, with one Wish still standing!

LAURA: That's amazing.

TRAVIS: Okay!

MARISHA: Remember that guy.

TRAVIS: Lord of the Crossroads? Quadroads?

MATT: Well, there are many lords and ladies of the Quadroads, he's just now one of them.

TRAVIS: Good deal. That happened.

MATT: I was thinking to myself it was either going to be that or some grim reaper's going to show up and cut his head off.

TRAVIS: That's all I wanted, really. Just cheer him on, maybe have a little better counterweight for my expectation of the Deck, but now I just want to pull one every day. Nothing but good shit happens! Magic weapon! Fucking Wishes!

MATT: So if this happened early in your year, do you still resist the urge as the year progresses?

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: Oh, Jesus!

TALIESIN: Yay!

MATT: How long does it take until the urge creeps up again?

TRAVIS: I mean, oh god, why do I have to be so fucking true to my character?

TALIESIN: There's nothing we can do!

LAURA: We're not even there!

LIAM: Probably thinks he has three birthdays a year, right? So.

TRAVIS: I will probably wait to take it back so that I can open it with my good friend, Pike. Because she'll understand that this is an awesome deck.

MATT: Which actually plays into her opening. The other thing you did, which happens towards the end of the year, is you said you went to the Frostweald.

TRAVIS: I did, yeah. I was curious about the werewolves. So I went to go see the nymph in the frozen lake. You know, the one that's all about Grog.

MATT: Mm-hm.

TRAVIS: So I had a conversation with her, and I felt really bad because I wasn't as affectionate as last time, so I gave her this palm-sized ruby that was at the bottom of the bag. Looked really pretty, so I gave it to her.

MATT: She thanked you.

TRAVIS: She did. We hit it off. And I asked her if the werewolves were just in the Feywild. Turns out–

MATT: Lycanthropy is scattered throughout the planes.

TRAVIS: Well, I didn't fucking know that.

MATT: Now you do. She passed that information on to you. All right. So. That's the truncated example of Grog's year. We might come back to it here in a minute. Next up would be Pike, because that's a good transition point there. So, what'd you do?

ASHLEY: All right. So I followed, in the beginning– did the guy pick the Deck in Vasselheim? Or were you–

MATT AND TRAVIS: It was in Vasselheim.

ASHLEY: So I went with Grog to Vasselheim. And because I wanted to go and read and work on some things–

MATT: Check in on your temple that you built there.

ASHLEY: Yes. I ended up fighting (laughs) because I saw him fight, and I was like, oh, I should probably just try it!

TRAVIS: Yeah!

ASHLEY: And did well.

MATT: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I'm the second champion under Grog.

LAURA: Fuck yes!

MATT: And as everyone was pitting both of you against each other for another championship bout, you both decided to–

ASHLEY: Do it. No! To fight!

TRAVIS: To kill each other.

ASHLEY: We didn't end up doing it.

TRAVIS: Nope.

ASHLEY: We just shook–

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: –and we knew both of us were just too powerful–

TRAVIS: Too true!

ASHLEY: – and I would win. So we just decided not to do it.

TRAVIS: Two monsters of a feather stay in leather.

ASHLEY: Two monsters of a feather. Also, in that time, which was a five-month period, we had a lot of lessons and taught Grog how to read.

LAURA: Yay!

ASHLEY: Just a little bit.

TRAVIS: Just a little.

MATT: You can slowly read four- to five-letter words.

MARISHA: Five-letter words is a big deal!

LAURA: That's a big fucking deal.

MATT: He knows how to write his name now.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: And he can write a full sentence over a short rest.

TRAVIS: Yep.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Meat. Cat.

LIAM: Farts. Farts.

TRAVIS: Doody, with a Y.

MARISHA: Does he get exhausted from reading?

MATT: We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait, what did you ask?

MARISHA: If he gets mentally exhausted from reading. Takes a point of exhaustion when he tries to read.

ASHLEY: I'm so tired!

TRAVIS: I'm tired now!

ASHLEY: I took some time to learn how to be just a little bit more stealthy.

LAURA: Yeah!

ASHLEY: Just did a little bit of training. Not a ton, but maybe, we'll see. I also went to check on great-great-grandpappy Wilhand to see how he was doing, and he's doing fine. He's older.

MATT: Wilhand. Yeah, he's doing good. The home that was damaged in the Umbrasyl attack on Westruun, your room has been repaired. Though it's taken a little while, because it's mainly just him hiring who he can at the time. But he's doing well. He's “an old gnome, but still kicking around! Still doing his best, still doing his prayers to Sarenrae, glad to see you coming, saying hi.”

ASHLEY: Oh, of course. Always.

MARISHA: Does he still have Fassbender?

ASHLEY: I've totally forgot about Fassbender! Didn't he die?

LAURA: No, no, no, we left Fassbender with him.

ASHLEY: Oh shit, I forgot about Fassbender.

SAM: No, I thought that we lost him in the dragon fight.

LAURA: No, no, no, we left him with Wilhand.

ASHLEY: He's keeping him safe. He probably helped build the house.

MATT: If you ask him about that, ask him where Fassbender is, he's like, “Oh, this nice older fella came by and said it was his property? So I gave it back to him. He seemed very–”

LAURA: It was that dick.

MATT: “– very intent on receiving his property, and I wasn't about to argue.”

ASHLEY: That's okay.

LAURA: He was technically his.

ASHLEY: It was technically his. I also sent a little bit of money to – I don't know where they are, but I hired somebody to send a letter and some money to some of my family.

MATT: Yeah, some of the Trickfoots.

ASHLEY: Yeah. And what else? Oh, last, but certainly not least, we opened up a bakery.

SAM: Oh, yeah!

LAURA: Yes we did!

SAM: What's it called?

ASHLEY: It's called– tell 'em.

LAURA: It's called– well, this was Tary's idea– it's called the Slayer's Cake.

ASHLEY: And we have many, many items.

LAURA: Delicious Sun Treats.

ASHLEY: Sun Treats. Bear Claws. Angel Food Cake.

MARISHA: Some Tree Bark that Keyleth made.

ASHLEY: So many treats and treasures.

SAM: Bear Claws?

MARISHA: Definitely Bear Claws, yeah. Out of Whitestone, of course.

LAURA: Obviously, yeah.

MATT: Bear Claws? Is that it? Did you guys make Bear Claws?

ASHLEY: So Tary, Keyleth, Vex and I just decided on a drunken evening, we were like, we should open up a bakery!

LAURA: Let's just fuckin' do it!

(laughter)

LAURA: We found this building that was pretty abandoned in Whitestone, we fuckin' put in a bakery.

MARISHA: We should just do this tomorrow. We should do it tomorrow.

MATT: Whitestone needs more commerce.

LAURA: That's right.

ASHLEY: It does.

MATT: And there are plenty of vacant buildings that are starting to fill up as people move back in.

LAURA: That's why we did it, 'cause we wanted to help the economy.

MARISHA AND ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Anything to get you out of the wine cellar is such a good idea.

MARISHA: Yeah. Plus, small-business tax breaks, it was good all the way around.

TALIESIN: You're not getting a tax break.

MARISHA: What?

ASHLEY: I did try looking for Scanlan at one point.

MATT: You did, yeah.

ASHLEY: But I couldn't find him.

MATT: Yeah. It led you all the way to Emon, I think it was, then it went cold. Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yes. And what was the last thing. Oh, we went to go see–

MATT: We'll get to that.

ASHLEY: – something great.

MATT: Yeah, we'll get to that.

ASHLEY: Yeah. So that's what I did on my year of break.

MATT: All right, who wants to go next?

SAM: Are we going in order, or– what are we doing?

LAURA: I mean, I guess we can, yeah. All right, well, I spent my beginning of the year trying to find the baby of the Grey Render that I sent on its way. Mortally.

MATT: Yes, you discovered that there was an offspring. There was a singular offspring in the Parchwood, not too far from where you saw it emerge in your vision. And upon finally finding it, it was young and defensive and feral and, after–

LAURA: Very angry.

MATT: Very angry. And day after day you returned with various foods and meat and trying to connect with it, and did not succeed.

LAURA: I did not. I failed miserably.

LIAM: So many shit rolls.

LAURA: So many shit rolls!

MATT: Yeah. It fled southward into the Parchwood, and while you now have sent your Grey Hunt that is now working below you to keep an eye out for it, it has not been seen since.

LAURA: Yes. I am on the lookout in case it comes close to our territory. I want to keep our people safe. But I'm not going to go and try to kill it just for the shits.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Yeah. I also built my house!

MATT: Mm-hm.

LAURA: Yes! New house, new house! And built up the guard. And I made a nice little animal sanctuary for Trinket, a nice garden area for him to hang out in, and other wildlife should they so desire. Oh, and Tary, Tary moved in.

SAM: I didn't have a place to stay.

LAURA: And I have such a large house, you might as well just come and live over here, right?

SAM: Well, I mean, if you'll have me.

LAURA: Of course, darling!

SAM: I can sleep on a couch.

LAURA: No, no, no, you'll have your own room.

SAM: Excellent, because I don't think I could sleep on a couch.

(laughter)

LAURA: You're wonderful.

SAM: You're not so bad, either.

LAURA: Oh, you! And I became, for Whitestone, the ambassador to Syngorn. So I'm working on making a Teleportation Circle, is that what they're called?

MATT: Yeah. You're having a Teleportation Circle placed within your estate in Whitestone, and at the end of the year it's still two weeks out from creation. So it's going to take a little while longer, but it is in the process.

LAURA: Trying to make amends, to make peace with my father, trying to forgive and grow and move on. And while Tary was living in the house–

SAM: Braiding hair.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, just doing so many things, we decided to make armor out of Vorugal, so I have new white dragon leather armor that Tary helped me enchant. Actually, that Tary enchanted and I hung out with him, for five months, while he did that.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Yeah, that happened.

(laughter)

SAM: A lot of hard work, but I learned something from it.

LAURA: Yeah, that I'm really good company, basically.

SAM: Yeah, yep. She knows two songs. She sings them all the time.

(laughter)

LAURA: And Trinket gives amazing massages.

SAM: That's true.

LAURA: Yes. I think that's pretty much it, outside of the bakery, which has taken up a lot of time, really.

MATT: Yeah. You did also research some–

LAURA: Yes! I spent a fuckton of time! I'm building up my library in the house, so I spent a lot of time researching Orcus and the Raven Queen and learning everything that I can about all of them. All of them.

MATT: All right. And Vax?

LIAM: Everything's going to start to get a little intertwined here now.

MATT: Which is why I led it along this way, so, yeah.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah. So, overarching theme is, there was a lot of Zephrah and chill.

(laughter)

LIAM: Enjoyed not being on death's door every fucking day and relaxing and being the right hand of the Queen back in Zephrah, and–

MARISHA: Chief.

LIAM: I'm still learning the lingo. Getting to know Korren a bit more. Keyleth helped me– I let a lot of blood and made a small altar to the Raven Queen in Zephrah and it's been all flowered and vined out. And while we spent most of our time– Oh, tattoos, want to talk tattoos?

MARISHA: Yeah, since Keyleth– the mantle's a little heavy and flashy and a little formal to wear all the time, but wanted something to still represent my chiefdom.

SAM: Did you get antlers tattooed on your face?

(laughter)

MATT: Just right there.

LAURA: Ooh, that actually could be pretty tight. Like those elves in Dragon Age.

MARISHA: Keyleth goes hard, yeah. No, I got the traditional Ashari tattoos of the mantle across her chest and shoulders to mimic that.

LAURA: That's super tight.

LIAM: We went together. Yours took much longer than mine did. Yeah.

MARISHA: It took a while. It's old needle-and-hammer style. All traditional.

LIAM: Yeah, and about two-thirds of the way through yours, they started on mine, which is just a pair of antlers on the right bicep here.

MARISHA: See, he got the antlers.

SAM: Nice.

LAURA: Oh, did you really?

LIAM: I did. Not on my face.

LAURA: Oh, that's great. That's so cute.

MATT: Right next to the barbed wire.

LIAM: Yeah. Keyleth for life. So we spent a lot of time in Zephrah, but since have-druid-will-travel, we met up with these two quite a bit. About once a month, we would have three- or four-day weekends. We'd spent time in Whitestone. We went to Vasselheim a lot. The twins spent a lot of time in the library.

LAURA: Yes, we did.

LIAM: Reading a ton. I spent a lot of time at the Raven Queen's temple, getting to know the people there, getting to know what the hell a cleric or a priest or a paladin of the Raven Queen does, since I didn't really have any time to do that.

MATT: Part of your process there, once you had been fully accepted into the Order there, some of the few responsibilities you had were, you were called whenever relatively important figures in the city had passed away, to go and give rites when they were interred and be present during a number of funerals in there. That was one of the earlier responsibilities that was given to you within Vasselheim while you were there.

LIAM: I tried to do a little observing, too, in Zephrah as well. I didn't want to interfere with their customs, but it's like working at a funeral home, and over time you just get used to it. A couple of bits and pieces. I saw everybody, really. I went on a man's weekend with Grog and killed things, that was awesome. Talked a lot of shop with Pike. God talk. The girls went off on their own a little bit, so I spent time trying to figure out what it was Percival does in his workshop. He lent me a book about the history of Whitestone.

TALIESIN: I did, I also sent you on a tour of the frescoes, it was quite nice.

LIAM: It's beautiful, once you're not screaming, running on fire, you can really take in art and pass notes.

TALIESIN: It had been years since I'd done it without being on fire, running around. Yes.

LIAM: Also tried to locate Dr. Dranzel in an effort to find Scanlan, but was unsuccessful.

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: You ate raw meat with me.

LIAM: Yeah, and kept it down.

TRAVIS: You did. Like a champ.

SAM: Do you like me? Check this box.

LIAM: Are we married? Yes or no.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Check one. Carry on, carry on.

LIAM: Oh, and last thing, Vex took me to Syngorn on one of her trips. Spent some time with little sis. Not as much time with Dad. Some time with Dad. We're all right.

LAURA: Eh, it's whatever.

LIAM: It's fine.

MATT: Yeah, you've arranged a respect. There is no familial bond, per se, with him, but a lot of the tension has died away and there is a business, positive interaction.

LAURA: Yeah, there's finally this feeling that we don't need– at least, for me– his approval anymore, which is very nice.

MATT: No, and he acknowledges that, and he seems both simultaneously proud and sad, almost a mild regret that, perhaps, I think he realizes now what he missed out on.

LAURA: How fucking cool we are?

MATT: Kind of.

SAM: Well, you were until that.

(laughter)

LAURA: Just so fucking cool. Thanks for the note.

LIAM: In character, in character. You know, elfs going to elf, and there's no getting around that, so.

MATT: Exactly. All righty, and I think I'm to Marisha as Keyleth. Keyleth, what you got going on?

MARISHA: Okay, so once again, lot of intertwining starting to go on. Got our tattoos, took a little bit of time. One of the big things that Keyleth did over the course of the year, which took a massive majority of her time, was she went on a diplomacy mission to all four of the tribes as well as Emon and Whitestone, and with the help of Percy and Tary, we came up with a system that we are calling the Crisis Orbs system, is what you called it? Where we put magical orbs in each of the cities that are basically giant panic beacons. And each city got assigned a separate color, to where if anything goes terribly wrong, someone can hit that beacon and all of the crystals will light up and whoever can respond first will do so.

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: What if some shitty 11-year-old kid just runs up and hits it?

MATT: They are heavily under guard.

TRAVIS: Oh. Smart thinking.

SAM: By a 12-year-old.

MARISHA: It's like how calling 911 is illegal. You don't do that. You don't do that..

TALIESIN: You're not allowed in that room.

(laughs)

MARISHA: Yes, 'cause Keyleth does definitely– Keyleth and a lot of the other Ashari dealt with a little bit of guilt after Cinderking Thordak, and wanted to make sure that if anything tragically goes wrong again, we can potentially be faster to respond. And have allies nearby. So that was a massive part of it. I also went to Whitestone and grabbed a little sprig off of the Sun Tree to propagate one of my own trees back in Vesrah. Spent a lot of time working on my alchemy, in between. I imagine we have would have crafting parties in Whitestone, yeah? And then, you know, I would do some alchemy.

LAURA: I made friendship bracelets, she worked on her alchemy. So–

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah. It was great. It was great. And he made dragon armor.

SAM: I was just making that fuckin' armor.

(laughter)

LAURA: It looked so good.

LIAM: Girl better appreciate.

MATT: It's not like you have to make the armor, you commission the armor. You enchanted it for five months.

SAM: That's right.

MARISHA: Took trips with Vax, and had him as my right-hand man.

LIAM: Unnecessary bodyguard, yeah.

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: What's his official title?

SAM: Unnecessary bodyguard.

(laughter)

LIAM: It's Puddin'.

MATT: Coattails of The Tempest.

MARISHA: Sir Vax. The Gothy One.

SAM: Cervix?

(laughter)

MATT: Maybe not that one!

LIAM: That's Cervex.

LAURA: I like it.

(laughter)

MATT: And thus, another meme was built.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay, and since you were the last of one of the intertwined events, the four of you– Keyleth, Vax, Vex, and Pike– all took a specific trip.

LAURA: And Tary.

MATT: I'm sorry, Tary came along too. So the five of you guys took a journey into the Feywild in search of the Theatre.

LIAM: (sings) The fuckin' Theatre.

TALIESIN: It was amazing– I wasn't there, but it was amazing.

MATT: You weren't there.

MARISHA: Such a good show.

LAURA: They integrated rap, too. It was like–

SAM: History? Wow.

LAURA: Yeah, it was like a whole new way to tell history. It was just so good.

MATT: (laughs) So after searching for a few days, up northward in the forest where you recall seeing portions of the tree– canopy line shifting and seemingly vanishing and then reappearing, you eventually stumbled upon a large, wooden structure– circular and tall, almost like a giant crown of wood, it sat there– and noticed that the mists that hugged the base of this marsh, as it's slowly recovering since Sondur fell. Still thick marshland, but not quite as disgusting and corrupt as it once was. The mists that clouded this area were all gathering towards this wooden structure, and you begin to see shapes in the mist. Heads. Faces. Bodies. And you begin to realize that these were all spirits of the marsh being summoned to this structure. You all went, disguised as various small flying insects– or beast creatures– and managed to stealth into the entrance doors, into this mossy marsh-rotted wood structure, and on the inside saw the mist form an audience, within the inside of this Globe Theatre-like structure, upon which the central platform remained. A strange, crystalline spark began to form upon that stage, where a doorway opened and then, stepping from it, a half-dozen elvish-looking figures, though their skin is pale white-gray, their eyes white and iris-less, their limbs lithe and thinner and longer than elves you're used to seeing in your experience. And, while none of you could understand– or most of you could understand the language except for Keyleth and Taryon, I think it was?

MARISHA: No, we were the ones that could.

MATT: Yeah, you guys were the only ones who could understand it because you both knew Sylvan.

MARISHA: Correct.

MATT: What you saw was a brilliant three-act performance for the undead spirits of the surrounding marsh. Unaware of the serious danger if any of you had been discovered. (laughs)

LIAM: Do tell, Matt.

LAURA: Yeah, I know. I want to know.

MATT: No. You don't know.

LIAM: Aliens!

MATT: Go back. Go back. However, you watched the performance entirely, did not gather their attention. At which, the entity stepped back into a doorway, and it closed off and you absconded from the Theatre before the rest of the audience could shift its way out and become the mists of the Forests once again.

LIAM: This is their most sacred ceremony or something?

MATT: You don't know.

LIAM: I don't.

MATT: You only know what they told you.

TALIESIN: You only have what I told you later, it's pretty much–

MATT: Yeah. So as you guys returned from this and described your experience to Percy, the only person who really had spent a large portion of his youth researching the Feywild, and having an interest in these Fey creatures and their societies–

LAURA: He didn't want to go! Yeah, he had things to copy.

TALIESIN: I had things to do, I wasn't entirely clear about what you were planning to do. My god!

MARISHA: Sorry.

TALIESIN: No, it's great! You didn't die, you weren't kidnapped, your soul wasn't taken, you weren't–

LAURA: That could've happened?

TALIESIN: Yes, you watched the–

MARISHA: The Royal Troupe of the–

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: Unseelie Court.

TALIESIN: For god's sakes. Yes, a lot could've happened. They have these little vignettes on occasion that they use to sort of– it's like a nice little trap. They just like to grab people and use them for various things, no one really knows because no one ever comes back.

LIAM: Who are 'they'? The 'Unseelie court'?

TALIESIN: They're sort of the shadow court, I suppose. They would be the– for everything that you saw in the Feywild, they are the thing that the Feywild is a little sketchy about and a little worried about.

LAURA: Ooh.

LIAM: Well, listen, man. If I can't have the arts in my life, I'd rather be dead.

TALIESIN: I respect that.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: And I'm very impressed. You're going to have to draw everything. You're going to have to draw everything. It's very important.

LIAM: They looked like Slendermen.

TALIESIN: I don't know what that means.

LAURA: Very tall and slender.

SAM: They kept singing about a Technicolor Dreamcoat.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I have a book about that.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. So. Your adventure to finally find the Theatre, complete. I believe that concludes your immediate ventures. Percival.

TALIESIN: I had the least vacation-y of anybody's vacation.

MATT: Of course you did.

TALIESIN: 'Cause I have technically been on vacation for many, many years. I finally took the mantle of responsibility for not necessarily– I'm not ruling Whitestone, that's not how it works, but I did take on a lot of the civic responsibility.

MATT: Yeah, you guys converted into the Chamber of Whitestone.

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: Which is less of a singular family ruling and more of a small series of offices held by Lords or Ladies.

TALIESIN: I hired someone to help run the– my workshop.

SAM: I was doing a lot of work.

(laughter)

SAM: Mornings at the bakery–

(laughter)

SAM: – afternoons at the workshop, and then an hour and a half every night enchanting it.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: And then we drink.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: But didn't it feel good, Tary, to get your hands dirty?

SAM: It did. I got this thing on my finger, I was later told that that's what happens when you work with your hands.

(laughter)

SAM: It's a blister! Yeah.

TRAVIS: How awful.

TALIESIN: So, with the help, I had time to start working on a few projects. I finally made a new pair of glasses. Well, I tried.

MATT: You tried.

TALIESIN: To make a new pair of glasses.

MATT: You rolled a one. And then you rolled a two.

TALIESIN: And then I rolled again and tried to make a new pair of glasses. And then I realized it's very, very hard to make a pair of glasses when you can't see what you're doing because you don't have a pair of glasses.

SAM: Warby Parker.

TALIESIN: So then I actually called Tary and said, please fix these for me. He made very, very nice glasses. I think they have your name inscribed on them, they're really gaudy.

SAM: Rose gold is the best.

TALIESIN: White gold. White gold. Please.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: It's got to match the outfit. I automated the system for making shot and powder for the castle. I created a royal guard that– and have been training an elite group of soldiers specifically to guard the family and the house. They were the Whitestone Musketeers until Cassandra said that that was silly and so they were called the Riflemen.

MATT: Riflemen of Whitestone.

TALIESIN: Yeah, the Riflemen of Whitestone. (whispers) Musketeers.

(laughter)

MATT: “I'm sorry, Percy, but no.”

TALIESIN: No. I get vetoed a lot, these days.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I began modernizing the city. I have a wonderful dream of turning Whitestone into a shining beacon on the hill of what the future of mankind could be. And the first order of business, one of two big projects that we've started to bring forth our reputation as this modern city, is we've been running steam pipes from the depths through the main streets so that the snow never needs to be uncovered, so that the streets are always clean, and a few of the major houses can be heated this way during the heavy winters.

MATT: It's a heavy endeavor, it's going to take a while to complete.

TALIESIN: It's not completed yet.

MATT: It's begun work.

TALIESIN: We're also trying to create some series of illuminations at least within the main castle in case the thing in the basement that we're still working on ever turns on us and suddenly we are un-magiced, which is a constant fear. I've upgraded, with Taryon's help, we've upgraded several of my inventions. I've had a proper sword of my family crest made. I finally got the glove more-or-less working. More working, honestly, but I'll get into that later. I've been desperately trying to get you to stop going out into the woods to stop searching for that bloody thing.

LAURA: I've been a bit obsessed, I'm sorry.

TALIESIN: That covers quite a bit of it, at this point.

MATT: Yeah. That's pretty much everything you've got here.

TRAVIS: What'd you kill, in the year that you had off?

SAM: Time.

TALIESIN: Time, and things in the woods, on occasion. We go hunting. And I've also been training men how to use their guns, so there's been a bit of that.

TRAVIS: Boring.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: Did you catch a whiff of Galdrick out in woods?

LAURA: I've seen a wolf, out and about, but he seems to do his job well, and I'm not going to stop him.

TALIESIN: Technically an honorary member of the Grey Hunt, I'd say.

LAURA: Yes, quite.

MATT: All right. And Taryon.

SAM: Well… Taryon had a great year.

MATT: You're such a terrible person.

SAM: You've heard much of what he's done. Mainly just building and working and working and building. And in his spare time, he built and worked on things for himself. Chief among them, Doty! Doty 2.0, take this down.

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: Yes, see?

TRAVIS: Oh he fucking talks!

SAM: A little bit. Doty, how handsome am I?

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: I heard “very”. And Doty, what do you say when it's windy outside?

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: It's airy. Right? That's what I heard. Oh no, boo!

MATT: “Tary?”

SAM: Yeah, it is scary. He says a lot of things. It depends on the context, you have to sort of figure out what he's saying. But he can say that, he can say one word. It took a lot of money to do that, but it was worth it. He's also got a couple of upgrades. He's got a waterproof slot for the book inside of him so he can store my book.

MATT: The door itself is also a crest.

SAM: Yes, the crest of Vox Machina, right on his chest, emblazoned there. His arm works a little differently, his right arm, which we might see in some sort of competition at some point. And his left arm, thanks to Percival Fredrickstein von Mussel de something.

TALIESIN: Bless you.

SAM: He's got a little hole right here in his hand, that–

LAURA: That you… never mind.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: That was amazing!

LIAM: Our hero!

TALIESIN: You're gonna pay for that, oh my God, I can feel the radiation.

TRAVIS: It can't be for anything else. Anything else won't compare. Just change it.

LAURA: Just a little hole.

TRAVIS: Itty-bitty little hole.

LIAM: How wide is the hole?

SAM: It's got some girth.

TALIESIN: Well-machined.

SAM: But it can fire a shot, a bullet shot. I've never used it before, but it can shoot something.

TALIESIN: It can.

MATT: Once, and then takes a short rest to reload.

SAM: Yep. And I think that's the major improvements to Doty, other than the speaking and the other stuff. Let's see, what else did I do?

LIAM: You told me one other thing. Did that get jettisoned?

SAM: Oh, I also bought him– I bought a lot of stuff. I'm almost out of money, guys.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: But you're making some, with the bakery.

SAM: That is not what I would call money.

TALIESIN: You are technically a civil servant as well, so you're making money there.

SAM: No, I'm talking about actual money that you can buy things with. I bought Doty a pair of boots.

MATT: Yep.

SAM: The Boots of–

TALIESIN: Wow, that's a lot of cards!

SAM: Yeah, I bought a lot of stuff. The Boots of Elvenkind, so he's a little more stealthy when we go around.

LAURA: Don't you have those, too?

SAM: I also tinkered with my armor, or did I have it tinkered on?

MATT: You don't know how to make armor, so you had the armor commissioned, using the remains of Vorugal's hide. No, sorry, you have Vorugal– the remains of Umbrasyl's hide.

SAM: Yes, so I have breastplate armor that has black dragon scales embedded in it, right?

MATT: Yes.

SAM: And it gives me a little more protection against acid, and it also looks cool. A little darker flair. And so I could communicate with them, I built myself a little earring– it's a little different from yours, it dangles and it's got a nice gem on the end, because if you're going to wear it, at least look good. And also, in my spare time at Vex's house, when she was asleep– she's a snorer– sometimes I would be awake and I would examine her broom a bit and decided to make myself one too.

(gasping)

LAURA: Sneaky sneak!

TRAVIS: You made a broom?

LAURA: You know we have a fucking flying carpet?

SAM: Now we have two brooms. We can leave those fuckers in the dust!

LAURA: That's pretty fucking cool.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: You really have no money left.

SAM: I am out of money. I have a teeny bit left. But I also bought some other things.

TALIESIN: He's now going to become Whitestone's FedEx though.

LIAM: Are we all getting any prezzies?

SAM: Are you back? You were gone?

MATT: All right, is that the end of that?

SAM: And I wrote. A lot.

MATT: Yes.

SAM: Just a lot of writing, and I'm probably halfway through that book by now.

MATT: Awesome. All right. So as the months go by and you all have your individual adventures, as you converse and talk amongst yourselves, the date of Winter's Crest begins to creep up. Now, Winter's Crest is a day that's really only celebrated in Tal'Dorei proper– occasionally by people in other places who migrated away from Tal'Dorei, but the event that it's based around, Eravon the Ice Lord, was specific to Tal'Dorei. It's not celebrated everywhere in the world. However, it is coming up, and you all decided to celebrate your Winter's Crest festival this year, not in Tal'Dorei. You all instead made your way towards the Bay of Gifts, in Marquet.

MARISHA: Tropical vacation.

MATT: Now, how are you guys getting there? Are you taking a leisurely boat trip? Are you going via trees?

TALIESIN: Well, we were leaving from Whitestone, right?

LAURA: We were leaving from Whitestone because we'd all gathered there for–

MATT: Oh, that's right, before you even left there, you–

TALIESIN: That's right, as you were saying, it is based on that festival, and of course Whitestone has its own paganistic rituals dating back many, many years.

LIAM: I've read about them.

TALIESIN: Yes, you have now.

LIAM: And I will start telling you about it.

TALIESIN: I've so many text files to send you, my word. So usually at this time, the winter solstice, especially when we have a new Master or Mistress of the Grey Hunt, there's usually a celebration or a ball, and they're not every single winter's festival, but it does happen, but since this was the first, we decided to have a fancy party. She was bestowed with her crest and otherwise and we all dressed up.

MARISHA: Did she get a dope crown?

TALIESIN: You don't get a crown, you get a cloak-y thing with a medallion piece.

MARISHA: Mantle sisters!

TALIESIN: You don't really have to wear it, it's just something you get to own. But I also had a piece of jewelry commissioned for everybody.

SAM: I've already got one.

MATT: Keyleth helped you with this one specifically.

TALIESIN: This one specifically, because I had to go find our friend in the Fire Plane.

MATT: Senokir, yeah.

MARISHA: That's right, that's right.

MATT: “Very happy to help you.”

MARISHA: And we inform him that we buried his wife's ashes.

MATT: “And I greatly appreciated you being so honorable.”

MARISHA: Yes, yes.

MATT: “Thank you.”

MARISHA: Okay, Percy, do your thing.

MATT: “What do you need from me?”

TALIESIN: I have this design, and this requires some gemstones, and I have a limited amount of dragon scales from five dead dragons, and I was curious if you could make a hero's crest that is built around these five dragon scales, so that everyone who helped to slay these dragons will always have a token that proves that they were there and they were one of them. And then I also need one made without the dragon scales as well.

MATT: “Understood. Right away.”

(laughter)

MATT: “You may leave now.”

MARISHA: Do we come back in, like, two weeks?

TALIESIN: He'll call.

MARISHA: He'll call? Okay.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

MARISHA: Is this like a– do we wait here?

TALIESIN: Goodbye!

MATT: “Goodbye.”

LIAM: (AOL voice) Goodbye.

MATT: You receive word via imp, strangely enough. Which sets you off for a moment, there. But you are notified of their completion, and they're delivered, finished, by this imp.

TALIESIN: They're beautiful, and at the ball, I present all of these to you, and each is just a bit individual. And they are crested in the gems and in the dragon scales to give this color wheel of the red, the white, the blue, the green.

LAURA: That's really beautiful.

TALIESIN: And there's one that doesn't have the dragon scales, but it's just got this flourish around it, and we give it to Taryon because these are meant to be built upon, as we will build upon ours. Your accomplishments will be built upon yours as well.

SAM: Thank you, Percy. That's very kind.

TRAVIS: Is there a pin?

LIAM: Yeah, where are they best affixed to wear our bling?

TALIESIN: Anywhere you like.

LIAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: I don't wear a shirt, so.

LAURA: Just right in your skin, Grog.

LIAM: Nipple piercing.

TRAVIS: Right in the nips?

TALIESIN: All right. Or you could use it as your piece clasp. You could put it on your– you could put it anywhere. You could put it on your gauntlet.

MARISHA: I use it to affix my mantle.

MATT: There you go. Right in the center of the mantle. Right there.

TALIESIN: They're just something so that, in the worst-case scenario, anyone will always know who we are, and we will know each other. It can't be replicated. There's no one else who's made anything like this. There's not enough material to make anything like this.

LAURA: Ooh, I want to make mine my hairpiece.

TALIESIN: And we've got to figure out how to start putting your accomplishments on yours soon.

SAM: Well, I hope to have an accomplishment to add to it.

TALIESIN: You have several already. You defeated a leviathan.

SAM: Sure. I killed a marid, right?

MARISHA: You helped me unify the world, globally.

SAM: I mean, go on.

LAURA: You're a world-class enchanter.

SAM: Mm-hm, yeah, yeah.

TALIESIN: Think of it much like your book.

SAM: Pike, what do you like about me?

ASHLEY: You are so great at baking.

SAM: My profiteroles are really good.

TRAVIS: Profiteroles?

ASHLEY: What did we name the profiteroles again?

SAM: I don't think we had a name for them. Profite-roll for initiative?

LIAM: Profiterolos!

TALIESIN: Profiterolos!

LAURA: Oh, that's profiterolos!

LIAM: You're fun to fucking drink with.

SAM: Thank you.

TRAVIS: Your money.

SAM: Well, thank you.

ASHLEY: Your hair is lovely.

SAM: It is, isn't it?

LAURA: It's very shiny.

ASHLEY: You're kind. You're very giving.

SAM: All right, all right. Now I'm embarrassed. But thank you. Thank you. Doty, you got all that?

MATT: “Tary.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Jesus. No!

(laughter)

TALIESIN: So we just have a wonderful evening where we eat too much, we drink too much, we dance and we all look fabulous.

LAURA: Fabulous.

TRAVIS: I'm only wearing the pointy helmet, Percy's ascot, and his glasses.

MATT: And that's it.

LAURA: No pants?

TRAVIS: I mean, I always have pants on.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Not always.

LIAM: Also, I am not always wearing the Raven Queen's armor. I'm wearing some of Percival's loaner cast-of-Hamilton clothing right now. I, on the break, built a trapped box to slide under the bed so that I can let my skin breathe at night.

LAURA: He doesn't smell as moldy after a year.

LIAM: I smell lovely.

MARISHA: You know, I've crafted him some oils with some herbs. He's good. I helped him manscape a bit, it's good.

LIAM: Barely any hair on this body.

(laughter)

MATT: Oh! All right, and as you guys– the ball is complete, you've all gathered. Your hangovers have faded. You all begin your trek toward the Bay of Gifts.

TALIESIN: Yes!

MARISHA: Wait, are we sailing or are we bamfing?

MATT: That's up to you guys.

TALIESIN: I'd like to sail. I need a vacation.

TRAVIS: (sings) Sailing.

TRAVIS, SAM AND MATT: (sing) Takes me away, to where I've always—

LIAM: A little nostalgia in that for you, yeah?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LAURA: That's right.

ASHLEY: Because I've sailed there before.

MARISHA: And we didn't go sailing with Pike.

TALIESIN: Teach us some sailing songs. It will be fun.

ASHLEY: I'll teach you the ropes.

(laughter)

MATT: Bah-derr.

LIAM: And show us all the best gifs.

ASHLEY: Okay.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: I'll show you all the best jifs.

LIAM: That's okay too. That's okay too.

ASHLEY: Okay, just kidding. I don't say that.

MATT: I don't know what those are. All right, so you make your way to Emon, then you charter a ship across the Ozmit Sea and make your way to the continent of Marquet. On the northeast base of the Aggrad Mountains of Marquet, which consume a sizable portion of the continent's north shore, there before you stands, as it comes across the horizon, a brilliant crescent-shaped bay of white sands, glittering clear turquoise-colored waters, and the grandiose port city of Shamal.

LAURA: (sings) Shamal.

(laughter)

LAURA: Sorry.

TRAVIS: Holy crap.

TALIESIN: God damn it.

ASHLEY: Oh, man.

MATT: Hundreds of ships fill the bay, from small fishing vessels to massive cargo ships, bringing an ever-flowing mixture of cultures, goods, and characters from across Exandria to its sunny location. Now, while back home Winter's Crest brings seasonal rain and snow, here in the Bay of Gifts the sky is clear, the water is warm, and the sun is ever-shining throughout the day. The streets of the city are draped in white and gold silks, affixed and framing crossways and street corners between torch posts and buildings. The distant sound of waves and seagulls cawing seems to envelop the city at all hours, occasionally stemmed by the sounds of localized musicians. So as you arrived here about midday or so, you take in the nice salty air into your lungs. You have your belongings, your sacks at your side, the city is bustling. What do you want to do with your vacation?

LAURA: Oh. What do we do with a vacation?

TRAVIS: Straight to the house of lady fav–

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I don't think I've ever done this before. I'm not entirely sure.

LAURA: I think we're supposed to just hang out and lay down in a hut and hang out on the beach.

SAM: We need a place to stay. Right?

LAURA: Well, yes.

SAM: Preferably a fancy location.

LIAM: As close to the beach as possible.

TALIESIN: Oh my God, you've done this before, haven't you?

SAM: We used to summer in warmer climes. That's right. And–

TALIESIN: We've never needed you more.

(laughter)

SAM: Well, we should get some cabanas.

(gasping)

LAURA: Yes!

TALIESIN: I don't know what that is!

SAM: And some people to wait on us. And we should– Preferably near water. Swimmable water. And we just relax and tan, and sip mojitos. (laughs)

(laughter)

MARISHA: Do you have, like, a racial advantage to find a place like this?

SAM: (laughs) Vacations are my favored terrain.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Teach us your upper-white-male ways!

TALIESIN: The blood is blue.

(laughter)

SAM: I will certainly be of help. I'm afraid I can't pay for us this vacation.

TALIESIN: No-no-no-no-no-no-no.

LAURA: This is Vox Machina's vacation.

SAM: All right.

TALIESIN: This is a group vacation. This is what this is now.

SAM: Well, let's find a resort of some sort. Or a relaxing spa! Or a—

TRAVIS: Some sandals.

SAM: (laughs) Yeah, sure.

MATT: (laughs) All right. So who's helming this journey here? This search for–

LAURA: I'll helm.

MATT: All right, make an investigation check.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: I will help her.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: All right. If you're helping her, that's advantage for her on it, then.

LAURA: Oh, ah!

LIAM: Oh my gosh!

LAURA: Okay, well– It doesn't matter, I rolled it.

TALIESIN: The one that got away.

LAURA: (hums) 17.

MATT: 17. Okay. Roughly 20 or so gold later, you find the party affixed with the finest of Marquesian sandals. (laughs)

(laughter)

MATT: And come upon a place that was referred to you as Dalen's Closet. D-A-L-E-N's Closet. Which doesn't sound majestic, but when you were eventually led to where it resides– the best way I can describe it? It's a field of beautiful hammocks affixed to various tropical trees and structures that are built out of driftwood.

MARISHA: Oh my God.

MATT: Right next to a brilliant bright white sandstone structure that appears to be the actual resort, if you will. It's a wide tavern, single-story. But well-staffed, and not terribly busy. But it seems to be very nice, and akin to some of the best places you've been to in your previous excursions on vacation.

SAM: All right!

MATT: So as you arrive there, you are met with a male, dark-skinned, somewhat balding Marquesian halfling at the front desk who smiles as you approach. He puts out his hands. “Welcome, friends! You are here for a– I imagine to stay within The Closet?”

LAURA AND ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: “Ah, I am Guath, and this is for all of you? I will have to charge for your friend, I am sorry.”

SAM: Oh, well, he's not really a person, but–

MATT: “You're lucky I'm not charging twice! He's a very big guy. That goes for that one as well.”

SAM: He doesn't eat. So–

MATT: “Then he won't order food! But he's going to sleep somewhere, yes?”

LAURA, TALIESIN and SAM: He doesn't sleep.

MATT: “Well then, is he okay with staying out on the beach?”

SAM: Doty? Are you okay with staying on the beach?

MATT: “Tary?”

SAM: He said very.

(laughter)

MATT: “Okay, very well. So that would be ba-da-da– seven and a half? Seven, we'll go with seven. How long do you plan to stay?”

LIAM: A couple of weeks?

LAURA: A couple of weeks, a week? Something like that.

SAM: Ten days? Ten days?

LAURA: Ten days is really good.

MATT: “Ten days?”

SAM: We'll get bored after eight or nine.

MARISHA: Yeah, we might hop around.

LIAM: We should be so lucky.

LAURA: I know what he's about to do to me right now. I know what Matt's going to do.

MATT: “Let me see here.” And he brings up this small abacus and starts doing math really quickly on the side you see. “Nine days, you said?”

LAURA: Ten days.

MATT: “Ten days, all right. We'll put that at an even– with discount for friendships, 1,500 gold for the entire stay.”

LAURA: Oh! Well, seems– and food is included, I'm assuming.

MATT: (laughs) “Oh, no. I'm sorry.”

LAURA: Where would we go eat?

MATT: “Well, we have a restaurant within as well, and there are plenty of places to eat around the way. We are happy to bring it to your quarters, but there is a surcharge for it, of course.”

LIAM: Are you going to do the thing?

LAURA: Do what thing, darling?

LIAM: Your thing.

ASHLEY: Do you have any specials?

LIAM: The thing you do.

(laughter)

MARISHA: AAA discounts?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Rotary club.

ASHLEY: AAA discounts, tenth night free situation?

LAURA: Friends of J'mon Sa Ord.

MATT: “Uh. We do not run discounts here, unfortunately. We are a very premier establishment here in the Bay of Gifts.”

LAURA: Of course.

MATT: “So do you wish to stay or not?”

LAURA: Well, 1,500 gold it is.

TRAVIS: We wish to stay.

MARISHA: That's fair.

TALIESIN: I think we wish to stay. I think–

MARISHA: We never spend money on ourselves.

SAM: Yeah, we never treat ourselves.

LIAM: Yeah. Ultimately our time is worth far more than our money, so– let's just go with that.

TALIESIN: That's very fair.

MATT: “All right! Fantastic!” So you pay off the 1,500. Mark that off on the party gold. You are given some keys–

ASHLEY: How about some free drinks?

MATT: (laughs) Make a persuasion check.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Wow!

TRAVIS: Getting after it! Wasting no time.

MATT: This is training for your vacation next week.

ASHLEY: I used to come here on a ship and we used to bring you guys a lot of supplies, so, you know.

(gasping)

TALIESIN: Natural number.

TRAVIS: Wow.

ASHLEY: 31.

ALL: Ooh!

MATT: What is your persuasion?

ASHLEY: It's 12.

SAM: It is?

LAURA: Oh shit.

SAM: Pike!

TRAVIS: Why have we not had fucking Pike do things?

SAM: No shit!

LAURA: Oh my gosh!

ASHLEY: Maybe, how about– If we don't get free food, what about–

MATT: As you're telling him this he goes, “Well, I–” That's right, because you trained in persuasion as part of the skills feat. That's right.

LIAM: All right, all right! (laughs)

MATT: So your charisma is– Sorry, just making sure on the math on this one. Don't want to get lost. What's your charisma?

ASHLEY: Two. 14.

MATT: 14. Plus two. Plus– So it would be plus eight, unless you had something else to add under persuasion. Regardless, you rolled really high. We'll go over the math later.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: “I don't recognize you, but we've had many travelers and you seem–” He looks over the group a bit, especially the large one. “Free drinks. Why not? I'd be happy to give you this.”

LAURA: All right, nice, Pike!

MATT: He reaches behind the counter and brings out a couple of these small wooden coins.

ASHLEY: Tokens!

MATT: He passes them out “All right, that is five, six– He doesn't drink, you said. So that is just seven. There you go.”

ASHLEY: Thanks!

SAM: We said he didn't eat. He drinks.

(laughter)

MATT: “So seven for all of you! Enjoy your stay! If you have any questions, requirements, issues, or anything, anything at all, you let me know. We can provide. Okay!” He gives you your keys, leads you to you guys'– The rooms are clustered in fours, like a little square. They are all adjacent next to each other in groups of four, so there is two sections you guys are given, in square formation with small pathways, but all the walkways, all the alleys between these all just lead right out onto the beach. There are no solid walls on any of the hallways here, it's just the rooms that are closed off. Everything just goes– you just step off into the sand.

LAURA: This is amazing. I'm already, I'm in love with this place.

LIAM: We don't need to go anywhere. This is it.

MATT: All right, so. Anything you guys wish to accomplish specifically while you're here?

LAURA: No, just get drunk and hang out on the beach.

LIAM: Yeah, I'm already peeling off my shirt.

LAURA: Yeah! Roll for fucking putting on swimsuits!

MATT: (laughs) That's great!

SAM: I have a gift to give to Vax! I have a gift to give.

LIAM: Oh yeah?

SAM: 'Cause we're in the Bay of Gifts.

LIAM: I've got my shirt up around my arms. What's up, buddy?

(laughter)

SAM: You know, we haven't talked much over this year since I've been helping your fucking sister.

LIAM: Well, my sister has locked you up, it's true.

SAM: But, you know, I've talked to her a lot about how you have this ongoing sort of teasing war with Grog.

LIAM: Oh yeah?

SAM: And I have acquired something for you to use in this battle.

LIAM: Do tell, motherfucker.

TALIESIN: (gasps) No!

SAM: Use it when the time is right.

TALIESIN: No! No, you are a sadistic bastard!

LIAM: Oh. My. Fucking. God!

(laughter)

LIAM: Oh my fucking God! I pull him into the tightest hug, and I give him a kiss on his forehead.

SAM: Oh, oh, oh! No! Okay.

LIAM: You beautiful fuck! Slap! Let's go get in the fucking water! And I run off towards the beach.

TALIESIN: That is the darkest thing I've ever seen. That is amazing.

MATT: (laughter) I think I know what it is. All right, so as you guys shed your armor, shed your weapons, put on your beach-faring clothing, you all one-after-one begin to charge your way down to the white beach sands of the Bay of Gifts just outside of the city itself.

TRAVIS: Are there any pool aerobics?

(laughter)

MATT: (laughs) No, but you're welcome to start one.

TRAVIS: No, I'll join the rest.

LAURA: Grog! Grog! Lift me like Dirty Dancing!

(laughter)

SAM: (sings) Ahh!

MATT: Do you wait until she gets to the water before you do that?

TRAVIS: Nope!

(laughter)

MATT: You arc a good 15 feet before you go face-down in the sand.

LAURA: Oh shit! You're supposed to hold on, Grog. Never mind.

TRAVIS: Oh, you said lift. I did it.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Yeah, Keyleth runs out and goes, who wants to go scuba-diving?

ASHLEY: Ooh!

MARISHA: 'Cause I can Water Breathe us, and we can go look at the coral reefs!

LAURA: Yay! Let's do it!

LIAM: Let's do it! Let's do it!

MARISHA: Okay!

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: We do that.

MATT: All right. So.

(laughter)

MARISHA: We do that at some point, throughout the week.

MATT: Through the elements of– which by the way, we're all discovering here now, all the various relaxation elements of magic in D&D.

(laughter)

MATT: Which they don't go into in the Player's Handbook as often.

LIAM: Oh yeah.

MATT: (laughs) You guys manage to explore the majority of– over this journey, and multiple trips– explore a lot of the underwater portion of the Bay of Gifts, which includes a number of wrecked ships, that have just been storms, this is a very, very prominent bay.

MARISHA: It's like the Bermuda Triangle!

MATT: You do run into other individuals that are actually either scavengers or pearl-divers or people that deal with gathering kelp and various other forms of plant life off the ground for food or other purposes. It's a very thriving ecosystem here. The people that live within this bay utilize everything in the vicinity. You see that work here, it's quite fascinating, and you see all walks of life. You all are pale as fuck by comparison to the locals here, who live in the sun most of their life.

TRAVIS: Well, me especially.

MATT: But everyone there is friendly. You're little white-ass beacons underwater.

LAURA: Do we see any mermaids?

MATT: There are no mermaids in this bay that you find. Sorry.

LAURA: It's okay.

TALIESIN: Next vacation.

MARISHA: I turn to Pike and Vex and go, hey! Hey! Underwater tea party!

TRAVIS: Nope. Not doing that shit. Not doing that.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Are you going to join?

SAM: I'm still trying to pressurize.

(laughter)

LAURA: I want to find pearls!

TALIESIN: I'll go diving for pearls! Oh, yes!

MATT: All right. Each of you who wants to go pearl-diving, make an investigation check.

ASHLEY: I want to.

LIAM: I want to go!

MARISHA: Can I look for shark's teeth? That's fun! Can I do a nature check?

TRAVIS: I'm building a sand castle while they're doing that.

LAURA: Investigation?

SAM: I'll help you with that sand castle.

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: 26!

LAURA: Oh, that's good!

TALIESIN: 21!

ASHLEY: I got a five. I definitely didn't find a pearl.

MARISHA: 17.

TALIESIN: 21.

LAURA: 22.

MATT: You have no luck under the water, but you do find a couple of shark teeth– at least they look like shark teeth– along the sands of the beach that have washed up on the shore.

MARISHA: Cool.

LIAM: 26. 26.

MATT: You don't, what did you roll again?

TALIESIN: 21.

MATT: 21, okay. You do manage to find one pearl, it's small but it's pretty. You manage to find a pretty decent pearl. You're not entirely certain– make an intelligence check.

LIAM: All right, I'm okay at that. Not today, though.

LAURA: Are you feeling Lucky?

LIAM: I'm not burning Luck on this.

MATT: You've burned it on lesser.

LAURA: I know, right?

LIAM: I'm not burning it on this. 13.

MATT: 13, okay. You gather the pearl you gathered is worth 150 gold.

LIAM: Do you want this? I don't. You can have it.

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: I rolled 22, as well.

MATT: You and Percival both find similar pearls. Imperfect, maybe worth ten to 15 gold.

LAURA: I don't want to sell it. I just want to have it. It's pink.

TALIESIN: I think I know how to pierce them. Lovely.

MATT: And you rolled a five?

ASHLEY: I rolled a five. I found a boob.

MATT: You found a sea cucumber.

ASHLEY: Oh.

TALIESIN: It's the sea hairs that squirt the ink?

MATT: Not that type. It doesn't seem to have any sort of defense mechanism. It sits there sadly in her grasp.

LIAM: By the way, I should probably toss out, because we probably haven't all been half-naked together– you know this, some of you have, but not all of us together– I still have this big mark in the middle of my chest. This black, veiny thing.

MATT: It's not like a pulsing tumor, or anything. It's a dark spot that looks like a bruise that never quite went away.

LIAM: FYI.

MARISHA: Tattoo's looking good, though.

TRAVIS: Tary, do you know what I hear they do on beaches? You bury someone up to their head in sand.

SAM: Do you want me to bury you?

TRAVIS: No, I thought we could bury you. Hold on. And I start doggy digging between my feet. I go into a Rage.

TALIESIN: You could walk away right now. He'll never know.

TRAVIS: Big hole right there.

MATT: What you don't notice is another traveling couple that's lying on the beach about 15 to 20 feet away are now completely buried in sand with their drinks.

TRAVIS: I end my Rage. Get in.

SAM: All right, sure. We're friends.

TRAVIS: Yeah, totally friends.

SAM: All right. I'll step into the gigantic hole.

MATT: You step in. Doty watches you get inside, not really having an opinion on this.

SAM: Sure.

TRAVIS: Why didn't you pay for our rooms with all your money?

SAM: I've spent a lot of money.

TRAVIS: How much?

SAM: A lot.

TRAVIS: How much do you have left?

SAM: Not a lot.

TRAVIS: I start filling up the hole.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I stop. Just so his arms are out, like that.

SAM: Oh, this is fun. I should have taken my armor off first. It's chafing me.

MATT: All of you guys are beach-dressed except for Tary!

SAM: I thought this was a formal trip.

MATT: Sand's gotten all in the metal joints and the inside of the armor.

MARISHA: You know salt water is bad for the armor, right?

ASHLEY: You should go change.

MARISHA: You should.

SAM: Doty, lift me up, please.

MATT: “Taryon.” Puts you down.

LIAM: He just evolved.

LAURA: Yeah, I know. I feel like he said Taryon.

MATT: Tary. It should have been Tary. Good catch.

SAM: Undress me.

MATT: He pulls off the breastplate, starts taking off the armor pieces. You are now currently down to your skivvies.

SAM: Great.

TRAVIS: Do you want to build a castle?

SAM: Let's build the best castle ever.

TRAVIS: Fucking A, man. Do you know how to do that?

SAM: Do I know how to do that?

MATT: Are you trained in sand castle building?

SAM: I am a tinkerer.

MATT: Yeah, and some of those tools may come in handy. You know what I'm going to do on this?

SAM: Sand castle rolls.

MATT: Yeah, we're making rolls for sand castles.

TRAVIS: No shit?

(laughter)

MATT: For this, we'll have a skill test for you, because you are a brute strength individual. This is going to be a dexterity check.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: And you're following his plan.

SAM: I'm going to go to my history knowledge and try to base it on one of the famous castles from my youth, of my land.

MATT: All right, from the Dwendalian Empire.

SAM: From the Truscan Empire.

MATT: Truscan area. I misspoke in an earlier episode. The Dwendalian Empire of King Bertrand Dwendal.

LIAM: Everybody looks over and Castle Ravenloft is towering above the beach.

MATT: Exactly, yeah. So, make your dexterity check.

TRAVIS: Four!

MATT: Taryon, go ahead and make your history check.

SAM: 16.

MATT: Great. You get the structure built. You map out the right scale structure of this castle, and you get about three-quarters of the way through before Grog (shifting sand).

TRAVIS: What did you do?

SAM: (sighs) You know, maybe we should have– you know, let's just try one more time.

TRAVIS: Okay. What did we do wrong the first time?

SAM: Just be very careful, Grog. Because you were backing up and I think you knocked into it a little bit.

TRAVIS: You putting this on me?

SAM: It was probably Doty.

TRAVIS: Probably. Doty, go walk over there.

MATT: “Tary.” (impact sounds)

TRAVIS: Oh, he listens to me now?

MATT: He walks over about ten feet.

SAM: All right, let's do one more try.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: And really put some artistry into this. We want a moat, we want defensive towers. I'm going to put a little alchemic fire in the middle of it, so if anyone gets through the gates, they explode.

TRAVIS: Wow. Dungeons?

SAM: Of course.

TRAVIS: With alligators in the moat?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: Okay.

SAM: Let's do it.

MATT: All right, now make an intelligence check to lay out the design.

SAM: Just straight intelligence?

MATT: Just straight intelligence.

SAM: 13.

MATT: That's still good. It's not a very hard DC. You're structuring a sandcastle.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Come on, Gil. Five.

LAURA: Oh no!

MARISHA: You're with the worst sandcastle partner.

MATT: This one's bigger. This one's coming along great. You're glad the first one fell over because now this is going to be much better.

SAM: Yes, yeah, this is coming along great.

MATT: (sliding sand)

SAM: God fucking– Grog! You stepped– I mean, the central structure held the whole thing! I'm getting a sunburn because we've been here for so–

TRAVIS: I think that was my fault.

(laughter)

SAM: (sighs) You know what? Just bury me again. Just do that. Bury me again.

LIAM: While that is happening, may I hide Taryon's clothing?

SAM: Aren't you skin-diving?

LIAM: Time is loosey-goosey. Aren't we playing Dungeons and Dragons here? It's up to him.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LIAM: 23.

MATT: You see the opportunity.

LIAM: I'm getting him.

MATT: Make a sleight-of-hand check.

LIAM: Sleight-of-hand check? Natural 20!

MATT: A gentle pass by, choosing the right moment in which Grog is involved in rage-burying and Taryon has completely given up on his activities, you manage to scoot through the sand, and moving your hand behind you to hide the trail, you drag his armor off back towards the resort.

LIAM: Yoink.

MATT: All righty. As you've been buried now, sufficiently–

TRAVIS: All the way up to the head this time.

MATT: Up to the neck. You feel the sunburn is starting to kick in a bit.

SAM: (sighs) I need that helmet, Doty! My helm, please.

TRAVIS: The giant reflective piece of metal?

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: You're going to cook in that thing.

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: What do you mean, “Tary?”

(laughter)

SAM: Where did it go?

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: Don't tell me “Tary!” Your number one job is to take care of me, and your number two job is to take care of my belongings! That stuff is worth more than you!

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: All right, just get me out of the hole.

MATT: (impact noise)

LAURA: By your head.

SAM: Ow!

TRAVIS: I hand him a seashell. I'm sorry.

SAM: Let's go find my armor. I'm going to go look around for it.

MATT: Make a survival check, because you're now tracking.

SAM: Survival? Ten.

MATT: Ten.

SAM: Oh, no. That's a four, so that's three. I'm a negative one for survival. I thought it was 11.

MATT: You spend the next hour asking from person to person on these white sands.

SAM: Excuse me, pardon me. Sorry to interrupt your vacation. Have you seen a lot of armor and a big golden helmet? No? Okay.

TALIESIN: Does everybody speak Common?

MATT: A lot of people do. This bay, in particular, because this bay is a bastion of trade.

SAM: They're all German tourists.

MATT: Exactly, yeah. It's a Swiss drop area. It's great. But while everyone here, for the most part, speaks Marquesian, a majority speaks some level of Common.

TALIESIN: I was just curious if he was walking up to people and they were staring, going “oh no”, and walking on.

MATT: There were probably a couple, but they probably understood him, they just didn't respond. Eventually, you find your way to the resort. You're tired and you're sunburned and you're exhausted. You walk out and see him in this state.

LIAM: And by the way, I went to the front desk and I asked which room Mr. de Rolo was staying in, because I wanted to put some of his belongings there, and I hid the armor in Percy and Vex's room.

TALIESIN: You'd better have been able to actually convince them.

MATT: Which is what I'm about to get to. Make a deception check.

LIAM: Sure. Here's where the Luck is. Yeah. Persuasion, you say?

MATT: Deception.

LIAM: Deception. That's a 20.

MATT: 20. Okay, it takes a little bit of convincing, but eventually he sends one of the employees to go along with you. They let you into the room.

LIAM: And now I'm coming back to the beach.

MATT: Okay, so as you guys come in at the close of the day– you've been here for a few days as part of your excursion here– you all come in as you've had enough time in the sun and you probably need to get out for a little bit.

LIAM: Tary, come here.

SAM: Yes?

LIAM: While you were messing about with Grog, Percy grabbed your shit and hid it.

SAM: Percival?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: My dear friend?

LIAM: He was chortling the whole time.

SAM: I don't believe that he would do such a thing.

LIAM: All right. I walk away.

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: Oh god.

SAM: Let's go to Percy's room. I'm going to go knock on his door.

MATT: Are you in your room, currently?

TALIESIN: Oh god, no.

MATT: No answer.

SAM: I try the door.

MATT: It's locked.

SAM: Chime of Opening.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh, I can open any fucking door.

TALIESIN: Yes!

TRAVIS: Where have you been all our campaign?

MARISHA: It took us a year.

LIAM: You're like a Swiss army knife of fixing all our problems and trolling.

LAURA: We have the same room.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: Opens up. Quick glance inside, and there's sand scattered all across the ground, and in the far end, right next to the bed, haphazardly jammed underneath, you see your armor and belongings.

(laughter)

SAM: We were science bros! How could he? Doty, this calls for revenge. What of his belongings are there?

MATT: Of yours?

SAM: Of his.

MATT: Of Percival's. That would be– because you didn't bring everything.

TALIESIN: My stuff and Vex's stuff.

MATT: Yeah, so pretty much all of Percival and Vex's belongings are within the room.

TALIESIN: Here, take a look. Guns, swords, boots.

SAM: What can we do, Doty? What can we do?

MATT: “Tary.”

SAM: Good idea, but a little bit too cruel.

(laughter)

LIAM: “Kill them all, you say?”

TRAVIS: “But they need their skin to live!”

SAM: All right. I'll go to my cloak and tear off the Patch of Two Mastiffs.

TALIESIN: Oh no.

SAM: They're two big dogs, right?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Yeah, all right. And I'll throw some kibble all over the place and be like, go on, just chew everything up and make a mess and pee wherever you want.

MATT: All right, as you pull the patch and throw it in the room, it glows a bright orange and then flashes and burns into two small coal-like embers that when they slam into the ground, crack and open, and from those two embers you see two full-grown mastiffs. (barking and snorting)

SAM: There's food in there. Eat it all. Scratch through everything you want.

MATT: They both start eating. They go nuts on the place.

SAM: And use this as your latrine as well.

MATT: One of them goes, (sniffs) and just pisses on one of the sacks. You're not quite sure which one it is.

SAM: Good doggy. All right. You're free now. Go away. I don't know.

MATT: Do you leave them in the room?

SAM: Yeah, just stay here, go, whatever you want. I don't know. I feel weird. I don't need a pet right now.

MATT: You leave and close the door behind you? Okay. All right, so you guys meet up again. You get more drinks, you begin to wander the city. Is there anything else you want to do while you're out and about for the afternoon?

ASHLEY: I want to get my hair braided with beads on the end!

(cheering)

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: All righty.

ASHLEY: And Grog.

LAURA: Just the beard?

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: All right. You guys ask around about a half an hour or so, and you're led to one location that is windowless and has an open archway door with some fine purple and red silks blocking the entry. As you walk inside, there's one woman who's sitting there, in the process of eating a small bowl of fruit. You see she is a dark-skinned Marquesian, but elf lineage. She has elven features. Her hair, which is this dirty brown, is braided in rows that go down past her waist and have a series of multi-colored, looks almost like gems and rings and other cool pieces of jewelry that are woven into it. As she's looking at this small book in her lap and eating the fruit, she turns around. “Oh, I'm sorry. Hello.”

ASHLEY: Hi. Could we get our hair– yours looks amazing. Could we get some hair braids? Tight and then going down, with some gems and sparkles in it? And same here, on his beard?

MATT: “Oh, the beard. I can do that.”

ASHLEY: Yeah?

MATT: “Yes, of course.” Closes her book and sets it down. “Come, sit.”

LAURA: Some razor blades up in them.

MATT: She calls out in Marquesian for a moment, and a younger woman, probably about 15 or so, comes out. Human, dark-skinned, as well. Both begin to start working on your hair and your beard. Asking about where you're from. It becomes a conversational piece because you're there for a good hour and a half or so to go through all of your hair and get it done, but nevertheless, you now have a fantastic series of braids in your hair.

TRAVIS: She pulled really hard.

ASHLEY: It looks really good. Do you want to add any jewels in it?

TRAVIS: Jewels?

ASHLEY: Earrings and stuff like how she has?

TRAVIS: I just want the beads. Little beads and little braids. No jewels. What about you?

ASHLEY: I want all of it.

TRAVIS: Everything?

ASHLEY: Just all of it.

MATT: “All of it?”

ASHLEY: What does all of it cost?

MATT: “If you want more than what I have in mine–”

ASHLEY: Well, no. Let's not get carried away.

TRAVIS: Do you want extensions?

ASHLEY: My hair is already so long.

TRAVIS: It is. Do you want other colored hair in there, too?

ASHLEY: Let's put blue in there.

MATT: “Oh, you wish to color?”

ASHLEY: Oh, well–

MATT: “No, it's okay.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, why not? Fuck it!

MATT: She talks to her assistant, and the young girl runs off for a second with a smile. Comes back, and there is what looks to be some sort of a fruit. Looks like a blue pomegranate that's partially crushed. She takes it and with a mortar and pestle setup begins mashing it and goes, “We can do blue.”

ASHLEY: Yeah!

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: So cool!

MATT: The whole endeavor between the two of you guys is not inexpensive– few things are in the Bay of Gifts. It's designed specifically to survive and thrive on the trade here. Both of you guys, it costs about 120 gold.

MARISHA: Oh shit.

TRAVIS: Not a problem.

ASHLEY: So how does that break down? For my hair versus his?

MATT: “Oh, for the two? For any sort of masculine hair endeavors, which is not our specialty– Well, the beads themselves are made from finely blown glass and they're individually colored, and those are made specifically by an artisan who is about three blocks up that way, so those are brought here, and those are purchased on our end, as well. You are paying straight cost of the beads. Time and training, of course, on our end, and we do the finest work you'll find all across Marquet.”

ASHLEY: Well, you know what? I am a very big supporter of small businesses, so support small business, and I will give you 120 gold.

MATT: “The 20 is mainly for him. The 100 was to give you the dye coloring–”

LAURA: Oh, it's for both of you guys? Oh, I thought it was 120 each!

LIAM: That's all right.

LAURA: That's not bad. I mean, that's a lot.

MATT: It's still a lot. But since you've gotten here, you get the sense that it's– by nature, everything here costs a little more. A lot of it's imported and a lot of it is designed for people that are willing to pay for foreign goods.

ASHLEY: Great.

TRAVIS: Are we supposed to tip?

LAURA: No, she owns the business so you don't have to do as much.

TRAVIS: Are you there?

ASHLEY: Just 120.

MATT: Very well. So how much blue did you want to get in your hair?

ASHLEY: Say again?

MATT: How much blue did you want to get in your hair?

ASHLEY: Just some strips, you know. Just some strips on the white so it pops out.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: Just like–

MATT: All right.

ASHLEY: You know, dealer's choice. Just get creative and do what you want.

MATT: All right. Okay. So upon completion– It's very cool. It's pretty close to what you were hoping and expecting. You end up with three streaks: one central one that goes from the center, and then two that go from the sides and back that way.

LAURA: That's way different than I expected.

ASHLEY: It's awesome.

MATT: And then all the tips go to blue, so it's almost like you have these two blocks of white and then eventually it all goes blue towards the edge.

ASHLEY and TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Imagine what that'll look like when your hair is down, too, because it'll be like blue all over the top and all mixed in everywhere.

ASHLEY: Ooh, that's pretty cool.

TRAVIS: Hell yeah.

MATT: So yeah. Anything else you want to accomplish, or call it an evening?

LAURA: I think just eat a nice dinner and then head back to the rooms and get ready to wake up in the morning and do all the same shit again.

MARISHA: Definitely some magically frozen daiquiris.

MATT: You guys all find your way back with some drinks. The sun has set now, the cold night has come in through the bay, but it's still warm. It's cold by the bay standards, but you guys come from the northern ends, in Tal'Dorei proper it's still a pretty warm night. You hear the waves crashing as you enter the establishment. You all head back to your rooms to get in more evening attire. Percival and Vex– how long do the hounds last for?

SAM: Let me look.

TALIESIN: That's a good question.

SAM: It just says Two Mastiffs. I think they just are.

(laughter)

SAM: It's not like a spell or anything, they are two dogs that live now.

MATT: I am so excited. I am so excited.

TRAVIS: They don't live for much longer.

MATT: Okay. So, as soon as you approach, you guys hear, through the door on the other side, this low growl. This (growls).

TALIESIN: Vex?

LAURA: What is that?

TALIESIN: I don't–

LAURA: I open the door. Just fucking on guard.

MATT: Okay. You come inside to notice the entire interior of the room has been sundered. Pillows and cloth torn and pulled everywhere. The room smells immediately of heaping piles of dog shit and urine. The bed is scattered and torn open. The curtains have been pulled down, and there, in the center of the room, are two massive mastiffs, mating.

(laughter)

LAURA: What the fuck!

TALIESIN: I grab the door and shut it.

LAURA: Who did this?

TALIESIN: It was either Grog or your brother. Those are really the only two people who could be possibly responsible–

LAURA: Grog! And I take off running to his room.

MATT: Okay. (laughs)

TALIESIN: I'm not missing this. I am following.

MATT: Okay. Your door is open, Grog. You're just there sitting down for a second just grabbing your jug. Getting a quick nip before your next nip.

TRAVIS: Yeah, mini-fridge.

MATT: And Vex just storms in, heaving mad.

TRAVIS: Hey. Oh. Hi.

LAURA: Did you have anything to do with this?

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I feel like I should ask what, but the answer's probably yes?

LAURA: The fucking dogs. Grog! I grab him by his beaded beard and drag him back to the room.

TRAVIS: Ah! It's really tight! (yelps)

MATT: Percival, as you catch up– She comes around the corner just dragging Grog by the beard behind her.

TALIESIN: Oh god, she's going to kill you.

TRAVIS: (groans) What in the– what– (groans)

LAURA: I open the door and throw him in. Did you do this?

TRAVIS: (sniffs) Ugh. What the fuck?

MATT: The dogs have stopped mating at this point and one of them comes over and goes (sniffs, chomp) and just bites into your neck. It does nothing, it just rests there.

TRAVIS: Is this your fucking dog?

LAURA: Is this your fucking dog?

TRAVIS: No! Where am I going to get dogs from?

LAURA: (huffs) True.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Although I don't think this shit and piss is mine.

LAURA: (laughs) That's good.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: What does our room look like? What does our stuff look like? Is it ruined?

MATT: Your stuff isn't–

LIAM: Not the magical items.

TALIESIN: The stuff in the closet is probably–

MATT: Yeah. You didn't just leave your stuff on the floor, there. You had things put away inside the cabinets and stuff. And the things that were in the cabinets were fine. So most of your general clothing is all right. It's more like your sacks, anything that was just loose. Your boots. All just smell of dog piss.

LAURA: How did they even get in? I take off to the front desk.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh, shit.

TRAVIS: Can I let the mastiffs have a couple of licks from the alchemy jug full of beer that I was drinking out of?

MATT: They do have a lick. Big old mastiff tongues.

TALIESIN: I'm going to go find Vax.

MATT: Okay. As you rush off to the front counter, you can see Guath, the Marquesian, is still there. He's in the process of going through the books, making sure he's keeping everything tidy and he sees you approach. “Ah, hello! Is there anything of–”

LAURA: Who– Hi.

MATT: “Hello.”

LAURA: Who was in our room? Did you send anyone to our room?

MATT: “Uh. Yes. Yes, there was–”

LAURA: Who was it?

MATT: “The other who looks like you. He came by and said that he was supposed to put the– We had to send–”

(laughter)

SAM: Yes!

MATT: “He said he had to put things in the room for you. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. If this is a problem, we can call the– You wish us to call the guards over here?”

LAURA: (scoffs) How? Why? Vax! And I take off running. Vax! Where are you? Where are you?

LIAM: I'm in my room.

LAURA: Ooh!

TALIESIN: I have just turned the corner towards Vax's room. I'm probably just now in eyesight.

LAURA: I sprint and I–

MARISHA: I just showered, you guys, now's not a good time. I'm just–

LAURA: Trinket, off with me, we're ready to fucking fight. He's out of my necklace and we're taking off towards Vax's room.

LIAM: Did you say you're coming to the room?

LAURA: You are dead.

TALIESIN: Can I hear this?

LIAM: I mean, practically.

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: I can too.

TRAVIS: We're all making our way over to Vax's room.

LIAM: Kiki, might want to go to into the bathroom. I think that my sister is coming. Whoa!

LAURA: Keyleth.

MARISHA: Hi, Vex.

LAURA: Put some clothes on.

LIAM: I guess I will as well.

MARISHA: I feel like we're in trouble.

LAURA: Not you.

LIAM: Yoink. What?

LAURA: What the fuck did you do? Why the fuck would you do that in our room?

LIAM: What did I do in your room?

LAURA: Destroyed it.

LIAM: Why would I destroy your room on the first day of our vacation?

LAURA: Did you– Did he– Did you– Why would you?

LIAM: I wouldn't. What are you talking about?

LAURA: The dogs. Shit and piss everywhere. I know you were in our room.

LIAM: Dogs?

MARISHA: There are dogs? (gasps) What kind of dogs are they?

TALIESIN: Why don't you come with me and I'm going to go show you while they talk.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: Are you pranking me? What are you talking about?

LAURA: Ooh. I just yank your hair as hard as I can.

LIAM: (yells) What are you doing?

LAURA: Why would you do it? Why?

LIAM: Do what? You have to be more specific.

LAURA: Dogs. Shitting and ruining everything in our room.

LIAM: What the fuck are you talking about? Dogs? I don't have any dogs.

LAURA: Don't you lie to me.

LIAM: I don't have any magic. I can heal a little bit and that's it. What are you talking about?

LAURA: They're not even magic dogs, they're just dogs! Can I roll to see if he's fucking telling the truth?

MATT: Make an insight check.

LIAM: I'll make my deception check.

TALIESIN: Kiki, we've always been friends.

MARISHA: Yeah, of course.

LAURA: 18.

TALIESIN: I want you to know this is nothing personal but this is–

TRAVIS: Is that your second Luck?

LIAM: Yes, it was.

MATT: That's the second Luck, yeah.

TALIESIN: And I open the door and show you. And then I shove you in and shut the door for a moment.

MATT: You can see he's covering up. You don't quite know the full specifics, but you know he's covering.

LAURA: I know you were in our room and I know you're lying to me.

LIAM: I was not in your room. I am not lying to you, I don't– (yells)

LAURA: I just yank him out of the room. Trinket!

LIAM: What are you– what?

LAURA: Sic him!

(laughter)

MATT: At this point, she's pulled you out into the hallway. You now see, the bear you've grown up with and loved, for the first time, you realize how massive and scary this bear could be as it (growls, heavy steps).

LIAM: I click my Boots of Haste!

TRAVIS: You were fucking naked a second ago.

MATT: Trinket charges you.

LIAM: This is improvisation. If I say it, it's real. That's how this fucking works.

SAM: You were putting on your boots?

MATT: So what are you doing? Trinket's coming at you.

LIAM: I'm running in my boots!

MATT: All right.

LAURA: I have the back of his head. I have his hair.

LIAM: Disengage.

MATT: Okay. So hold on. She does have your hair.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Technically, it's a grapple.

LIAM: Okay. You want to make it a strength check? I know my strength is double hers.

LAURA: (gasps) Your strength is double mine?

MATT: It's athletics and acrobatics versus her–

LIAM: Okay. Oh, acrobatics, okay.

LAURA: Versus my strength?

MATT: I'll double-check real fast. I should remember this, but for this one particularly I want to make sure that I get specifics right here.

TALIESIN: This is so great.

SAM: Forget rolling for sand castles, this is it.

(laughter)

MATT: Yeah, man. This is the craziest shit. (laughs) I didn't expect it to go this way.

TALIESIN: I vaguely wonder what you actually had planned for this.

MATT: Not all this!

TALIESIN: This is bedlam, at this point.

MATT: This went in a whole different direction.

SAM: A big title card comes over the frame: Night One.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay, yeah. It's athletics or acrobatics versus her athletics.

LAURA: Oh.

LIAM: Well, I will choose acrobatics.

LAURA: Motherfuck.

MATT: Go ahead and roll your acrobatics. Roll your athletics.

LAURA: Ugh, it was almost good.

LIAM: 29.

LAURA: Six!

MATT: You slip out from her grasp right as Trinket comes upon you. What's your speed?

LIAM: Fucking wicked, man. I'm double-speed, so 60.

MATT: You don't have your boots on, you just put your pants on!

ASHLEY: Weren't you in the shower?

MATT: You mimicked putting your pants on.

LIAM: All right. 30.

MATT: Okay. Trinket's movement is?

LAURA: Oh, he's got 40.

MATT: Trinket is gaining on you.

(laughter)

MATT: You watch as an older couple emerge from the room down the hallway and go, “Nope.” And close the door.

LIAM: I see food trays left by other customers. I start knocking them down and dumping food on the rug behind me as I run. It's improv. It's real!

MATT: There are small baskets.

LIAM: I said I saw food!

MATT: Yeah, so you knock some baskets behind you and you keep running. You just emerge from the edge of the hallway. You can see the beach ahead of you. You can see the little bit of moonlight hitting the sand in front.

LIAM: What's around me?

MATT: Hallways and doors.

MARISHA: Is our room nearby? Did he see me get shoved in?

TALIESIN: He wouldn't have seen you get shoved in, but he would have seen me in the hallway at this point, if he passed her.

MATT: I'd say you moved one direction. Trinket went and chased him down the other side, so this is going away from you guys.

MARISHA: Hey, Vax? I think they're really mad at us.

LIAM: Little busy, little busy, little busy!

MATT: Just as you emerge to part of the sand and you think you're home free, you stop hearing Trinket's footfalls. (whack) Leapt and just impacts you on the sand and both of you tumble, end-over-end, through the sand. Eventually, you land flat on your back and Trinket pounces on top of you, your breath (groans) as your chest gets closed in. And right up in your face, pinning you down, going (growls).

LIAM: I immediately start doing this.

SAM: What is that?

LIAM: This is me rubbing his tummy.

LAURA: Oh. Don't fall for it, Trinket!

MATT: (growls)

(laughter)

MATT: You are pinned by a very heavy bear, to the point where your breathing is (shallow panting).

LIAM: You hear from under the bear, (muffled) I have been here before, and I will be here again!

LAURA: Why would you do it? It's such a beautiful vacation and you ruined it. You ruined all of our things.

LIAM: Did I ruin it? What did I ruin? I still don't know what happened.

LAURA: Vax, you let two dogs loose in our room and they shit and pissed all over everything, and our bed is ruined. They were fucking in our bed!

LIAM: I did not fucking let two dogs–

LAURA: Then what did you do? I know you were in our room. I know you're lying to me.

LIAM: I was there for five seconds. I put Taryon's armor under the bed and then I left. I was in there for 30 seconds. I don't have any dogs. I don't know dogs.

LAURA: Why would you put Taryon's armor in our room?

LIAM: Because it was fucking hilarious!

LAURA: Wait a minute.

MARISHA: That's the trolliest thing you've said, ever!

LAURA: Did you tell Tary?

LIAM: I did.

LAURA: So Tary did this?

LIAM: What happened?

LAURA: Someone let two giant dogs loose in our room, and they destroyed our things. Just destroyed it. And now, on top of having everything ruined, we're probably going to have to pay for damages. Which will be coming out of your funds, by the way.

LIAM: That's the funniest bit, because I have no money.

LAURA: Well, then Keyleth. Trinket, stay on him for a while. Just for a while. Feel free to relieve yourself.

(laughter)

MATT: Trinket's head slowly turns over back towards you with a, “What?”

LAURA: Just a little time. And I walk.

MATT: As you walk away, Trinket's head moves back to you, and if you could see a bear smile?

LIAM: Yeah. When she's gone and it's just us, I say, she thinks I care. I don't care. Does she let you kiss her? No, she doesn't. But you get to kiss me all you want, so have at it, buddy.

MATT: Trinket goes, (grunts).

LIAM: It's all right.

MATT: And you feel your lower regions get warmer.

(groaning and laughter)

LAURA: You got pissed on.

LIAM: I've been inside a dragon's fucking stomach, buddy. I don't care. The beach is 50 feet that way. Get it all out.

MATT: All right, while you're pinned there, you march off. You guys just now catch up to the chaos.

MARISHA: I have to say, wherever these dogs came from, they're very beautiful dogs. Look purebred. Very great muscular structure. Come here, boys. Come here!

MATT: Keyleth's currently getting the mastiffs out of the room.

MARISHA: Can I Speak With Animals to them?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Come here, boys. Come here. I take out some beef jerky. Come here. That's good boys. Good boys.

LAURA: Where did you have beef jerky?

MARISHA: Fish jerky from where we were at the casino earlier.

SAM: Oh snap!

MARISHA: As Liam O'Brien said, it's improv, so that makes it true!

LAURA: I'm just wondering–

LIAM: You fucking made out that you were hiding in crystal clear bathwater, motherfucker! If you say it, it's real!

MARISHA: Right, so just like the internet, if you say it, it's real. Come here, boys.

MATT: Animal handling.

MARISHA: Oh, it smells. You boys did a number in this room. Okay.

(laughter)

MARISHA: I've got to have some advantage for being a fucking druid, right?

MATT: No.

MARISHA: That's a one.

MATT: So you say, “Come here, boys.” They both look at you. They rush up, grab the jerky out of your hands, and dart out of the room. You hear them, (barks) vanishing.

MARISHA: Fuck these dogs! That's why you said we should never own dogs.

MATT: Taryon?

SAM: I'm getting night cream put on me by Doty.

(laughter)

SAM: Doty, could you sing to me?

MATT: (sings) “Tary. Tary. Tary.” It's all the same. It's all horribly mechanical-sounding and echo-y. It's not singing more than it's repeating your name over and over again in the same intonation. It's horrifying.

MARISHA: Percy?

TALIESIN: You're going to have to help us clean at least our personal belongings.

MARISHA: I didn't do this! I'm more than happy to help, but I just want you to know: I had nothing to do with this.

TALIESIN: Oh, I know. I know you had nothing to do with this. He's useless. You're not, so I'm going to make you help on his behalf.

MARISHA: It smells like shit. Like a giant fucking locker down shit in here.

TALIESIN: Worse than hell. Legitimately worse than hell. This is making me miss hell.

MARISHA: I'm going to cast Control Water. Can I magic this clean-up like it's Fantasia or some shit?

MATT: That is Prestidigitation.

MARISHA: No, can I Control Water and levitate the urine?

TRAVIS: Yeah, totally.

MATT: You know what? Yes, I'll let you do that. I will let you Control Urine.

MARISHA: I am the leader of my tribe, and I am doing janitorial duties. Ugh.

MATT: After completing your Aramente, after years of training in the druidic arts and becoming the leader of your people, you are reduced to lifting the urine from a ruined hotel room.

TALIESIN: I would like you to meditate upon who is responsible for this.

MARISHA: Fucking Vox Machina pieces of– why am I– why are we us?

TALIESIN: This is your boy. I'm taking no responsibility for this one.

MARISHA: Okay, I control the water and fling it into the ocean.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I'm hearing all this over the earring, and I whisper, only to Trinket: I'm back, Trinket. I'm back.

(laughter)

MARISHA: I control a little of the urine that dribbled in the hall, as well. I don't want us to get kicked out by the hotel.

MATT: The room's still destroyed. For the sake of brevity, here–

TALIESIN: Some wild dogs attacked our room.

MATT: Who's talking to the manager about this?

LAURA: Percy is.

TALIESIN: I'll speak to the manager.

MATT: All right.

SAM: (giggles) Wild dogs?

MARISHA: Wild ocean dogs. Beach dogs.

MATT: So at this point, while all this has happened, Guath, the gentleman at the front, sees the bear and is like, “What is going–” (yelps) The dogs go (barks) and jump past him. The slightly chubby halfling comes forward. “What the fuck is going on?”

MARISHA: You tell us, man.

MATT: “No, you tell me. This is my place! Whose dogs were those?”

TALIESIN: We have no idea. We came back and they were in our room, pissing on our stuff.

MATT: Make a deception check.

TALIESIN: This is not deception!

MATT: You know whose they are.

TALIESIN: Actually, do I know whose they are?

MATT: You've been hearing it over the earring this whole time.

TALIESIN: I don't know where they came from.

TRAVIS: That's true, he hasn't said.

MATT: That's true.

TALIESIN: I'll do deception.

MATT: Persuasion.

TALIESIN: Persuasion? Well, deception's higher, but I'll try persuasion.

(laughter)

MARISHA: What the fuck, man?

TALIESIN: No, god damn it.

SAM: Honor yourself.

TALIESIN: I'm honoring myself. It doesn't matter, anyway. That's 27.

MATT: He goes, (sighs).

TALIESIN: I mean, it was upsetting. Your property, our property. This is our problem. All of us.

MATT: “Let me see.” He pulls past and makes his way towards the room, and looks inside, and you can see him go, (distressed noise).

TALIESIN: Has this happened before?

MATT: “No! I've never seen those dogs here before. The breed? They don't exist!”

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I've never seen them before, either. I've never seen anything like it.

MATT: (exclaims in a foreign language)

TALIESIN: How good a job did you do on our stuff?

MATT: It's still torn and messed up, but it's not covered in urine. It still smells terrible in there.

LIAM: Your clothes and bullshit is fine.

TALIESIN: I know.

MATT: “I'm so sorry.”

TALIESIN: It's hardly your fault. This is ridiculous.

MATT: “We'll get you a new room immediately. Hey!” Two servants come out immediately. He starts shouting out to them in Marquesian. They walk off and eventually people start coming in and pulling your stuff out of the room and taking it to another chamber. It's down two halls over, so you guys are separated from everybody else.

TALIESIN: We have a lot of foreign guests as well, in our establishment back home, so I know how things can sometimes get a bit crazy, and I certainly don't want to put any undue pressure on you.

MATT: “Oh, it is okay. We will launch an investigation immediately.”

TALIESIN: Excellent.

MATT: So. (laughs) Vex, anything else you want to do?

LAURA: Yeah, I want to go knock on Tary's door.

MATT: You hear through the doorway this really creepy, “Tary. Tary.”

SAM: I'll take off my blinders, my night-blinders.

TALIESIN: Do they actually have little cucumbers drawn on them?

SAM: My mask. Come in.

LAURA: Do you have Doty singing to you again?

SAM: Oh, yes. He sings me to sleep now. It's sort of a ritual we have.

LAURA: I shut the door.

SAM: Did you have a nice night, Little Elf Girl?

LAURA: I didn't, Goldie. Actually, did you happen to set a couple of dogs loose in our room?

SAM: Well, between you and me, I did.

LAURA: Oh, you did?

SAM: You see, Percival played a little bit of a prank on me, and I got him back.

LAURA: Yes. Well, you also got me back, and actually, it wasn't Percival, it was my brother who did it. Stole your armor?

SAM: But he told me that it was–

LAURA: Yes.

SAM: He told me–

LAURA: Yes, and you believed him over your two best friends?

SAM: You've taught me so much, but not about the human heart. (sighs) I am so sorry. I should have trusted you.

LAURA: You should've!

SAM: I should have not doubted my staunchest ally, Percival. Of course, someone as trained as he is in the sciences wouldn't lie to me like that. I failed you.

LAURA: Tary, you know I can't stay mad at you!

SAM: I'm so sorry!

(laughter)

SAM: What can I do to make it up?

LAURA: I don't know–

SAM: Doty, go clean their room.

LAURA: Thank you, dear.

SAM: I'm so sorry.

LAURA: Oh, it was disgusting.

SAM: But your brother.

LAURA: I know! Trinket peed on him.

SAM: Trinket peed on him? Well, that's pretty good. I feel like there's more revenge to be had, but you know what? We're on vacation.

LIAM: Over their earrings, they hear, he also dropped a loaf.

LAURA: He also dropped a loaf, apparently.

SAM: That's nice. All right. I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me?

LAURA: Of course I do, dear. Have a wonderful night's sleep.

SAM: You, too.

LAURA: I'll send Doty back when he's done.

SAM: He can last forever, so just as long as you need him. He'll wash whatever you need. He has motor skills. Not fine motor skills, but he could try to sew something if anything was ripped.

LAURA: I'll check it out and I'll let you know.

SAM: And if you ever need more dogs?

LAURA: You're the man to call.

TALIESIN: I see Doty appear, correct?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Doty, they're going to take our things. I know why you're here.

MATT: He just walks past you.

(laughter)

MATT: Enters the room.

TALIESIN: Are our things even in our room anymore?

MATT: Your things are being brought out in pieces, but the two employees see Doty enter and set them down and Doty starts picking things up and dusts them off. Starts picking up the piles of dog feces.

TALIESIN: Tary, call him off.

SAM: Sorry?

TALIESIN: Call him off.

SAM: I'm sorry? Call him off?

TALIESIN: Call him off.

SAM: He's cleaning your things.

TALIESIN: No. We're getting another room.

MARISHA: What is he throwing away?

MATT: He's throwing the dung out onto the beach. Starts heading back.

SAM: I should have been more specific.

MARISHA: I don't think he's very sanitary.

SAM: This is my earring, by the way.

TALIESIN: I know.

SAM: This is how I have to talk with it. I have to dangle it.

TALIESIN: I know you have to fiddle your dangle. I'm well aware.

SAM: All right, I'll be right there to give him more specific instructions.

TALIESIN: We're going to sleep.

SAM: I'm coming.

LIAM: Do you improve the reception by moving it around?

MATT: Okay. Over the course of the evening, the room gets cleaned as best as it can.

TALIESIN: We do not tell them what our new room number is.

MATT: You guys, from that point being the most contentious, but you manage to enjoy the rest of your stay here in the Bay of Gifts. You enjoy a nice, well-earned vacation, some of you plotting the next stage in your vengeance, whenever that may occur. Boarding your ship back, making your way to your home in Tal'Dorei, across back to Whitestone proper to finish the remainder of your year's journey. We're going to take a break. Before I go, real fast, letting you guys know, we have another giveaway tonight. This is a nice purple heart Wyrmwood mini holder, which is pretty rad.

SAM: Is that what I have?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: I love it. Honestly, this is the best color. It's so cool. It's kinda like rose gold, therefore it's the best.

(laughter)

MATT: There you go. Yeah, so this is going to go to one of you lucky winners in the chat. The code word for tonight is Momocon. M-O-M-O-C-O-N. So go ahead and we'll do that over the break. Enjoy Liam's episode of Signal Boost.

ASHLEY: It's so good!

LIAM: Man, that was pure Dungeons and Dragons. I took a little pebble and dropped it and it turned into a frigging avalanche on the side of Everest.

TALIESIN: That reminded me of the old home games quite a bit.

MATT: I wasn't expecting that to become our beach episode, but it did! (laughs) All right, guys, we'll see you here in a little bit.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back, everybody, to Critical Role.

(laughter)

MATT: First and foremost, our winner in the chat room goes by the name of Makelovelikewar, congratulations! Congratulations. You won the box. We've all signed it, and it'll be coming to you in the near future. Make sure to contact the folks who run the chat here, and they'll get your information, and well done. All righty, so. Bringing us back in. You guys have been traveling across the Silvercut Roadway, through the dividing plains of Tal'Dorei, onwards to the Alabaster Sierras, and eventually to the homestead of Whitestone. You guys have made your way back.

MARISHA: We catch up on so much gossip.

MATT: (laughs) So you arrive. What do you want to do?

TRAVIS: Well, actually, now that we're home, I would like to try and find Pike once we're in and settled.

MATT: So you guys all get settled and you find your way to your rooms. The afternoon comes to a close for the evening, and everyone's gone off to do their business and prepare for a dinner, we'll say, in about an hour.

TRAVIS: Cool. Hey. Hey. Oh, sorry.

ASHLEY: Hello?

TRAVIS: Hey, it's Grog.

ASHLEY: Oh, come in!

TRAVIS: Huh, what?

ASHLEY: Okay.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Hi, Grog.

TRAVIS: Hi! Hey. Hey. Hey. So, can I shut the door? So I–

ASHLEY: Yes?

TRAVIS: Oh, okay. I shut the door. So, I have a secret.

ASHLEY: Ooh?

TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay.

TRAVIS: Okay, so. When we beat Thordak, I was rummaging around and all of Emon's treasures were in this one place and everybody was like, “Meh, we want to heal,” and I found these little gifts, and one of them was this little itty-bitty deck of cards.

ASHLEY: (gasps)

TRAVIS: I know, right? Now, here's the thing. It was in a really pretty box: wooden box with gold all over it. I tried to open it, and it wouldn't, so I smashed it.

ASHLEY: Naturally.

TRAVIS: Like you do.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: And I took it out. And I drew a card from it, and this magic sword appeared in my hand.

ASHLEY: (gasps) So something magic comes out of it when you pick one? Can I pick one?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Do you want to?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah. So I also went and I was journeying around. I went to Vasselheim. Now, here's the thing. Vex was like, “No, don't pick one, it's dangerous. Mm.”

ASHLEY: Wait, it can be dangerous?

TRAVIS: Well, no. She's afraid that it's dangerous, right? Because the sword, it turned to rust, and I got a headache afterwards. Whatever.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh.

TRAVIS: But I think I didn't handle it right. But I went to Vasselheim, and I had this other guy pick a card. You know?

ASHLEY: Okay.

TRAVIS: And he picked a card. He got two Wishes.

ASHLEY: What!

TRAVIS: Just like that! And he made himself–

ASHLEY: That sounds like the best thing ever.

TRAVIS: I know! He's the Lord of the Crossroads.

ASHLEY: The Crossroads.

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: (gasps)

TRAVIS: He's rich; he had a servant who appeared out of nowhere. All of a sudden he had fuckin' dope-ass threads.

ASHLEY: Should we– Whoa. Should we pick a card?

TRAVIS: I mean, I feel like we should. I've seen nothing but good things happen.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Wait, what do you mean this sword gave you a headache, Grog?

TRAVIS: Well, I don't know. So it was a magic sword, right? I was going to be able to throw it and it would fight without me. Like it would just fight things that I told it to.

ASHLEY: Was it evil?

TRAVIS: No! I tried talking to it and it didn't say anything.

ASHLEY: Okay, that's a–

TRAVIS: We have a history.

ASHLEY: That's a red flag.

TRAVIS: I know. I have a history of, you know.

ASHLEY: So it didn't talk back to you.

TRAVIS: Nope.

ASHLEY: It fought on its own.

TRAVIS: Yep.

ASHLEY: A guy that you met, you made him just rich and amazing.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Pretty much. I think it's a Deck of Fortunate Things.

ASHLEY: A Deck of Fortune?

TRAVIS: I think so. I mean, I haven't really looked at it too closely. Do you want to look at it with your knowledge?

ASHLEY: I mean, I don't, yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I don't know if I have the knowledge, but I'll look at it.

TRAVIS: All right. I give her the deck.

MATT: All right, make an arcana check.

(gasping)

ASHLEY: Natural 20.

(cheering)

MATT: But what's your skill? What's your skill bonus?

ASHLEY: Plus one. So 21.

MATT: Okay, you take the small sack that contains the cards, and you pull the deck out of it, and you inspect it from the outside. Just checking the inscriptions. You've heard things about magical decks of cards. Sometimes they're used to see the future. Sometimes they're used for different types of augury and divination. You might've heard a myth or two about a card deck that can alter reality in good and bad ways. That's as much as you are able to glean from this.

ASHLEY: Can I tell which cards are good and which cards are bad?

MATT: No.

ASHLEY: I was just checking.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: I figured the answer would be 'no'.

MATT: But you do know from looking at this, while the name doesn't come to you, you're able to ascertain this seems to be very, very in line with the fate-altering deck of cards, the one you've heard can do good and bad, and is as powerful and dangerous as it is interesting.

ASHLEY: I feel like I've heard of something like this before.

TRAVIS: Really?

ASHLEY: But sometimes you can choose a card that will do very bad things.

TRAVIS: Oh.

ASHLEY: So it's like a 50/50 chance that you could get something very good. Like, you have your fortune change, you become a king, all of this thing–

TRAVIS: Or you make a bad person a king?

ASHLEY: Or you get a magical sword. Or if maybe someone– you could just die instantly.

TRAVIS: Really?

ASHLEY: I don't know, maybe. Something along those lines.

TRAVIS: But we're good people, so good things would happen to us.

ASHLEY: (strained) Oh, it just sounds so fun though.

TRAVIS: I know, right? And think about my previous experience. There is nothing bad that has happened in what I've seen so far.

LAURA: (laughs) Oh god.

ASHLEY: (strained) Oh, I don't know what to do. Well, do you want to pull one or should I pull one? Or should we not?

TRAVIS: I don't know. I mean, like, I kind of want to. I mean, so like. Like bad things.

ASHLEY: What could be that bad? I mean, if someone were to die, we could do a Resurrection spell.

TRAVIS: How could it just outright kill you? Well if you die, I can't do a spell.

ASHLEY: (sighs) I don't know what to do. I don't know if we should. I don't know if we should test the fates.

TRAVIS: We should flip a coin.

ASHLEY: Let's flip a coin.

TRAVIS: Okay. Do you have a coin?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I have a coin.

TRAVIS: Oh, you do? That was lucky.

MATT: All right. Did you–

MARISHA: “We shouldn't test the fates, let's flip a coin.”

(laughter)

MATT: Do you want me to flip a coin for you?

LIAM: You can roll a 20.

LAURA: Oh yeah, no. We have coins.

MARISHA: I've got one on hand right now, beotches.

TRAVIS: Do you want to?

MATT: It's up to you guys. This is entirely your call.

MARISHA: Here it is.

LAURA: Oh, Melora.

LIAM: Coming in.

LAURA: There you go.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TRAVIS: What if all the good ones are gone?

ASHLEY: Heads or tails. Okay, so one is heads.

TRAVIS: Heads, because that's all bad in the heads. But the tail is the booty, so.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Wait, but what is what?

ASHLEY: So what's what? 20, we pick a card. One, we do not.

LIAM: 20, we don't pick a card.

ASHLEY: 20, we don't pick a card.

LIAM: 20 is sensible. One is ridiculous.

ASHLEY: You are not here.

TRAVIS: Yeah, what do you feel like? What do you feel like? One, we pick a card. 20, we don't– we do pick a card.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: That's both of those. You said we'd pick a card both sides.

TRAVIS: That was a Freudidean slip.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Yeah. One, we pick a card. 20, we don't.

TRAVIS: Okay.

ASHLEY: Who picks the card? Or should we–

TRAVIS: We should flip for that too.

ASHLEY: Okay, okay, I'm going to check it. Oh, we don't pick a card.

TRAVIS: But that was for you, you flipped. And now I flip.

ASHLEY: Okay. Oh. You don't pick a card either. You know what? It's safer this way.

TRAVIS: It is?

ASHLEY: I think so. Because what if we would've gotten something bad? Did you want me to hold onto it? Or do you want to hold onto it? I'm just afraid you're going to pick it and be alone.

TRAVIS: I might.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: No, I want it. I really want it. It's real important to me.

ASHLEY: Do not. Pick it. Alone.

TRAVIS: I've made this promise before.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Who did you make the promise to?

TRAVIS: Vex.

ASHLEY: Well, you live your life how you want to–

TRAVIS: Oh. Ooh. No, your promise was different. You said 'alone' so if I was like really, (distressed noise) I need to, I come to you–

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: And we pick it.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Okay. Deal.

ASHLEY: Yeah, okay.

TRAVIS: Thanks. You're sure you don't want to just, like, slide one out and just take a look at it?

ASHLEY: Just take a peek?

TRAVIS: Yep. All right, fine.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: (strained) I want to so bad.

TRAVIS: All right.

LAURA: That is fate. Helping us.

ASHLEY: I know.

TALIESIN: That was like watching an eight-year-old juggle a gun.

(laughter)

LAURA: Was that another 20?

TRAVIS: Yes.

(laughter)

LIAM: They both want to do it so bad.

MATT: I know.

MARISHA: Moving on from that scene before they change their mind.

MATT: We'll say for the point of the narrative, a couple of weeks go by, relatively unimpactful.

LAURA: Oh, I get my circle!

MATT: Yeah, the Teleportation Circle is complete.

LAURA: Hey, guys. We can go to Syngorn whenever we want.

MARISHA: Oh, rad.

LAURA: Tight, right?

LIAM: The question is, do we want to?

LAURA: Probably not!

MARISHA: Can I go check in with the Sun Tree while I'm here?

MATT: Yeah, sure. So you walk on down to the center of Whitestone, which is now far more full of life and bustling. A lot of the buildings that line the square have little flower boxes underneath the windows. Color has returned to it. Still keeps moody gray skies a large portion of the day, but overall the city itself seems to have sprung into life over the past year or so. The Sun Tree is beautiful. It's still a vastly bark-visible tree. It has that orange-brown color across it, smooth in most places, a little more textured toward the bottom, but you see the very lush green leaves up into the boughs. You can see little bits of white flowers that year-round reside up in the top. It stands there before you in all of its magnificence.

MARISHA: I come up and say, hey, Sun Tree. Casting Speak With Plants, of course.

MATT: “Hey, Keyleth.”

MARISHA: Hey!

MATT: “It's been a while.”

MARISHA: It's been so long. You're looking so good. So healthy.

MATT: “Thanks. I've been eating right.”

MARISHA: Yeah? Have you been working out?

MATT: “As much as I can. You know, I'm a tree.”

MARISHA: Sure. Yeah. How's it been? Whitestone seems so much better. Seems happier. Has morale been up?

MATT: “I mean, yeah.”

MARISHA: Yeah?

MATT: “There's kids and stuff.”

MARISHA: Yeah? Do the kids sometimes climb in you?

MATT: “Yeah.”

MARISHA: Do you like that?

MATT: “No.”

MARISHA: No? Oh, right.

MATT: “No, it's uncomfortable.”

MARISHA: Really?

MATT: “Yeah.”

MARISHA: Should I put a Do Not Climb sign on you? Would you like that?

MATT: “Would you have to nail it into me?”

MARISHA: No. I could stake it in the ground around you.

MATT: “It's fine.”

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: “But thank you. I appreciate the offer.”

MARISHA: Anything to make you more comfortable, man.

MATT: “Appreciate it.”

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: “You're great.”

MARISHA: Oh, thanks. Anyway, is there anything else that you need? Any new news? Anything going on?

MATT: “Nah. Glad the snowing stopped.”

MARISHA: Right? Thought that winter would last forever, right?

MATT: “It's hard to keep these blossoms up through the winter, let me tell you.”

MARISHA: Oh, yeah? But you're still good.

MATT: “Yeah. How are you doing, Kiki?”

MARISHA: Oh, you know. Keeping busy, keeping on keeping on, you know? It's been good. You're like the coolest person I know, and you're a tree. It's weird. Even after a year, it's like talking to an old friend. It's good.

MATT: “If I could blush.”

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh wow.

MARISHA: Oh, look! Some of these flowers are getting a little pink, Sun Tree.

MATT: “Don't point it out. It's embarrassing. So. Hi.”

MARISHA: No, that's all. It's actually getting a little awkward now. It's gone on for a little long.

MATT: “I'm glad you brought that up. I didn't want to breach the subject.”

MARISHA: I just wanted to make sure you were cool.

MATT: “No, I'm cool.”

MARISHA: Yeah. Awesome. Okay, I'll see you around. Bye.

MATT: Hang up.

LAURA: It's going to be a while before you guys call again.

MARISHA: I'll wait for him to text me first. Yeah. It's the rule. Long time.

TALIESIN: I don't know what they're looking at.

MATT: I don't know, either. Partway into the day, we'll say that you've been doing this. The bakery's been going fine. Which, actually, Pike and Vex, you've been in the process of– have you guys hired employees to run the bakery?

LAURA: Obviously.

MATT: Are you more playing as managers as opposed to actual workers?

MARISHA: Owners.

LAURA: Creative input.

MATT: Pike, on this day, you've been keeping tabs on this. A couple of the Pale Guard approach the bakery. One of them, without seeing you, walks in and goes, “We're looking for Pike. Is Miss Pike in?”

ASHLEY: Yes?

MATT: “Could you please come with us? There's somebody on the border requesting your presence.”

ASHLEY: Where?

MATT: “On the outskirts of Whitestone.”

ASHLEY: Okay. Yes.

MATT: “Someone who says they know you. You'd better come with us.”

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: The two guards step back and– do you walk with them?

ASHLEY: Yes.

LAURA: Are any of us with you?

MATT: It's just her, at the moment.

MARISHA: Does she walk past the Sun Tree when I'm having a random conversation with no one?

MATT: Make a perception check.

MARISHA: Rolling really shitty tonight. Let's see what happens. Oh, that's good! That's much better. Straight perception? 30.

MATT: Okay. As you're walking away from the Sun Tree and begin heading back to the northern side of Whitestone, glancing back at him. “Oh, it's good to talk to him again.” And you see Pike walking with two guards just on the southwestern side of the square. She looks a little nervous.

MARISHA: It's about that time I'm like, okay, bye, Sun Tree. And then I'm going to Beast Shape into a crow and start circling her.

MATT: There are two kids off to the side that were just playing who look over and go, “Whoa.”

LAURA: That was amazing!

ASHLEY: That was awesome!

MATT: “I want to do that!”

MARISHA: Poop on the way up.

LAURA: That was even cooler!

MATT: They did not see that. So, as you're brought to the western road, it leads you alongside the shops and one of the guard who's talking to you is like, “Yeah, sorry. A group of folks have been here for a couple of days asking– a few hours, I should say. Not a couple of days. Asking about you. We've kept an eye on them. They don't seem to be aggressive, but they asked for you recently, and we managed to find you by the bakery. Here they are.” They lead you to the outside of the town, and there you see a small carriage with two horses that are currently hitched up front. You see about three other Pale Guard in full armor. One of them is in the middle of conversation with a couple of figures. You see four figures. You see three, and then a fourth one emerges from inside the carriage. It's a topped carriage with what looks to be some sort of curtains that are closed– reds and dark purples. It doesn't look like an elaborate carriage, but it's functional. You see a male gnome with short dark hair, slicked to one side, and a well-groomed mustache that curls at the end. He's in the middle of talking when he glances over and sees you and goes, “Aha! She's here!” He leaps off the top and the guards get defensive as he goes, “Astra! Ogden! JB? She's here!” Then he goes rushing off in your direction as the guards are like, “Sir! Sir!” He ignores them for a second, and the two guards with you say, “Miss Pike, should we?” And they go for their blades.

ASHLEY: It's okay.

MATT: He approaches real fast and goes, (laughs) and gives a big old hug and lifts you off the ground, and it takes you a minute to realize, this is Johann Trickfoot, your cousin who you haven't seen in quite a long time. He's dressed in a fine vest that is a dark maroon color with a gold trim. A little ragged at the edges, but fine. Big, swishy pants and boots, and he lifts you up for a second and then sets you back down and is like, “It's been quite a while.”

ASHLEY: It's been so long. How did you know where to find me?

MATT: “Well, we got your letter! And we've been hearing all about you– at least, JB's been telling us all about you, hasn't she?” And he looks around and you see the other figures as they approach. There's a female gnome, older than you, who you haven't met before, who has curly strawberry-blonde hair that goes just past her shoulders. She's wearing this very revealing shirt and seems to walk with a confidence and smile and she goes, “Pike, my dear! I've heard all about you!” And she rushes up and gives you a big hug as well. You look back, and stepping off the carriage, you see a very old gnome who is just a wreath of black and salt-and-pepper hair, crazy, around him like a lion's mane, and a giant beard. You wouldn't see a face if not for these small spectacles and a little button nose poking out as he's being helped off the wagon by another female gnome that you recognize as she turns around towards you. She has long, straight black hair that goes right past her shoulders. She has a Wednesday Addams vibe to her. She looks back at you and smiles, and you can see this gap in her front teeth. She's about your age. This is JB Trickfoot. She is the–

MARISHA: JB?

MATT: JB. She's another one of your cousins. One that you grew up with, actually, when you were very young, but you haven't seen her in a very long time. As they all begin to approach, this small cluster of Trickfoots have approached. As JB walks up to answer Johann, says, “Yes, indeed. We've heard all about you. I've been so proud to hear that you've done such great good in the world, cousin.”

ASHLEY: I give her a hug. It's good to see you. It's been a very long time.

MATT: “Far too long.”

ASHLEY: Did you guys just come here to see me?

MATT: “Yes.” Johann claps his arm on the side of your shoulder. "Yes, of course! It's been– I can't even remember. Look at how big you are! Last I saw you, you were waist-high to a knuckle-punch. It's been far too long. And so strong!” He's slapping the side of your arm, and they're all doing the whole family gathering, pulling and tugging, and you're starting to feel uncomfortable from all the attention, and the guards are all confused but also mildly amused by this family gathering. The old one now catches up, and you recognize that this is your uncle Ogden Trickfoot, who is the father to both Johann and JB. As he approaches, he has this small walking cane and he's walking at an angle because he doesn't quite see you. He's like, “Are you sure that she's around?”

ASHLEY: I'm right here!

MATT: “Huh?”

ASHLEY: Hi.

MATT: “Ah. Yes.”

ASHLEY: How are you?

MATT: “I'm all right. It's so good to see you.”

ASHLEY: It's so wonderful to see you.

MATT: “There you are.”

ASHLEY: I'm here.

MATT: He adjusts his head a little. “They tell me that you slay dragons!”

ASHLEY: Yes, I did. With my friends.

MATT: “What?”

ASHLEY: Who I would love to introduce you guys to. My friends?

MATT: “What did she say?”

ASHLEY: My friends!

MATT: JB's like, “She said yes. She's slayed dragons.”

ASHLEY: I also–

MATT: “What?”

ASHLEY: I also have a bakery!

MATT: “She says a bakery?”

ASHLEY: It's called the Slayer's Cake!

MATT: “Cake?” Suddenly you see his face brighten. Between the bursts of facial and head hair, you see a little bit of rosy cheeks poke through with a smile. JB goes, “We'll get you cake. We'll get you a cake, uncle.”

ASHLEY: Come this way. I didn't realize you guys would be coming, but I'm glad that you got my letter and everything else.

MATT: At which point, the blonde one goes, “Yes, of course we did. You are as beautiful as everything they told me. I'm Astra, by the way. I'm Johann's wife. We haven't met, but you are a sight to see.” She takes your hands and pulls your hands and goes, “Oh my, and aren't you the strapping young lady. Who's the lucky man?”

ASHLEY: Oh. Well, no one right now.

MATT: “Oh. Shouldn't be a problem. Or woman. Whatever, I don't know. You can tell me later.”

ASHLEY: We'll discuss later, maybe, but do come in. I would love to introduce you to some friends of mine. Come into town.

MATT: JB's smile creeps, and you see the gap in her teeth once more. “Are these friends Vox Machina?”

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: At which point, they all look at her, and she goes, “I'm so excited. Please?” And they all gather around you, and the guard comes up real fast. “Miss, do you require assistance?”

ASHLEY: Just walk us into town. That would be great. Just in case there's anything that might jump out and get us.

MATT: “Very well.” And the three guards that were at the front shout out, “The carriage?” And Johann goes, “Oh, yes! Well, it's now under the watch of one Pike Trickfoot, so just put it wherever the royal horses go.” (chuckles)

TRAVIS: Oh god.

LAURA: Oh, I don't like them at all.

LIAM: A cart of the Sackville-Bagginses just rolled up.

ASHLEY: Let me– you know what? Guards, can you take them to the Slayer's Cake? And I will be right there.

MATT: “Of course! You're a busy woman. Don't worry about it.” Astra fluffs her hair a bit. “Besides, I can have a guard escort me any day.” The guard just grabs her arm and starts walking along with her. You can already tell she's a bubbly flirt.

MARISHA: Keyleth flies down and lands on Pike's shoulder.

ASHLEY: Hey. Okay, so you just saw that. My family's here, the family I haven't really seen since I was a kid, and they're– we have the last name Trickfoot for a reason. I'm going to get on the earring and say, whoever is available, I would love to maybe have you come to the Slayer's Cake. Some of my family is here.

TRAVIS: (gasps, running noises)

ASHLEY: Hold on! Watch your pockets, watch your stuff. Just keep an eye on your things. Yeah, just please come?

LAURA: We've got you, darling.

MARISHA: I bamf out of my Beast Shape. Whoa! What?

ASHLEY: Okay, I sent money. I didn't tell them where I was.

MARISHA: You sent money?

ASHLEY: I did. I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have done it. I just wanted to make sure that they were okay. Maybe that wasn't a good idea.

MARISHA: You've told us very vague amounts about your family.

ASHLEY: Because they're–

MARISHA: It was surprising. You haven't talked about them too much, just that they're shady.

ASHLEY: I left when I was very young, so a lot of them I don't really know. Okay.

MARISHA: You know, we love you, and family or not, if anyone tries to fucking use you, we will–

ASHLEY: Thank you. Okay. I don't think it'll come to that.

MARISHA: All right. I just don't want anyone taking advantage of you.

ASHLEY: Right.

MATT: As you're having this conversation, (thudding sounds)

TRAVIS: (shouting) Gnomes! (pants)

ASHLEY: Okay. Just get ready. Let's go to the Slayer's Cake.

TALIESIN: I'm walking from the cemetery. However far that is.

ASHLEY: They alluded to the fact that they know who Vox Machina is, which I guess in this day and age, people know who we are. Which is weird. Okay, just be prepared, because it's not like I'm embarrassed of my family or anything, I just– they're great! I just don't really know them.

TRAVIS: You don't know them?

ASHLEY: Okay, Wilhand took me out of there when I was six, so it's been a while.

MARISHA: Have you kept in contact with any of them until recently?

ASHLEY: Not really? JB, my cousin who you'll meet in a little bit, but not really. Not really at all.

TRAVIS: Yeah, they never came by Wilhand's.

ASHLEY: No, they have so many things to do.

TRAVIS: Busy. Important.

ASHLEY: Busy. But just hold onto your butts. Hold onto your things. They are sneaky. Sneaky-sneaky. They like to take things, and they're fast and small and that little sleight-of-hand didn't get passed down to me, but– oh, I'm so uncomfortable right now!

TRAVIS: Yeah, you're sweating a lot.

MARISHA: Here. And I dab her brow off a little.

ASHLEY: Thanks.

MARISHA: Do you need anything? Do you need anything to look cool?

TRAVIS: Do you want some deodorant? You kind of smell.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MARISHA: Okay. I pull out my oils that I use on Vax. Here you go. You're good. Much better.

LAURA: Have we caught up with them yet?

MATT: Yeah, they've been having this conversation with them just standing in the square not far from the Slayer's Cake.

TALIESIN: That's never going to get old.

MATT: It'll never get old. Yeah, so you've caught up at this point. Percy, you've just started to see them in the distance.

TALIESIN: Yeah. I'm excited.

MATT: Taryon, I don't know if you're–

SAM: I'm at the Slayer's Cake. I am making blondies.

MATT: Okay. So, while you guys are having this conversation, Taryon, you hear what sounds like ruckus, laughter, conversation, voices overlapping, getting louder and louder and then suddenly the front door to the Slayer's Cake, which has been quiet this afternoon, (thud). And then, (laughs) “Oh! This place is amazing! Do you smell that? You smell that, Uncle?” And you watch as the uncle comes in. (sniffs) “Smells like rocks.”

SAM: Rocks?

MATT: “He lost his smell when he was very– it was a terrible accident. Horse hoof in the face. "Anyway, hi! We're family of Pike Trickfoot, and we were told to come here and try your wares! So this is a bakery?”

SAM: In Gnomish, welcome to the store. Any family of Pike Trickfoot is family of mine. I am one of her closest friends, Taryon Darrington. Here you go. Blondies on the house for everyone to celebrate your blondie, Pike Trickfoot.

MATT: “She wasn't always blonde, you know.”

SAM: Oh, I don't know that at all. What?

MATT: Yeah. I guess she wanted a change of pace. She had dark hair when she was younger.

SAM: Really?

MATT: “Astra, free treats!” And they start grabbing and filling their pockets with blondies and eating them in between.

SAM: I've got more. Sure. You can take all you want. Everything in the store is yours.

MATT: You watch as JB walks up with long, dark hair, and goes, “Do you happen to have any water?”

SAM: Of course! Doty, go fetch some water for these fine gnomes.

MATT: “Tary.” Grabs and gets a small bucket of water and sets it down. You watch as JB begins breaking up the pastry and dipping it in the water and then feeding it to the uncle.

SAM: Ugh.

MATT: Occasionally has to right his face, and it's getting caught in the beard a little bit.

SAM: You know, family is everything, and I'm so pleased to meet you. Can you tell me what she was like as a child?

MATT: “Well, (chuckles) she–” At that point, the door bursts open and the rest of you arrive there at the Slayer's Cake.

TRAVIS: Yes!

ASHLEY: Oh, I see you got some blondies.

MATT: “We did. Your friend here–”

SAM: Taryon Darrington.

MATT: “Taryon Darrington, who apparently speaks Gnomish– look at you, keeping your culture. Was nice enough to give us the run of the house!”

SAM: I told them they could have anything they wanted in the place, free of charge.

ASHLEY: I mean, just don't get sick by having too many pastries.

MATT: (chuckles) “Oh, my dear. That's not possible.”

ASHLEY: This is– guys? Everybody? This is my family. This is part of my family.

MATT: “Johann Trickfoot, random tasker, at your service.” He bows. The woman with the curls says, “Astra Trickfoot. This here's my lumpy husband.” Elbows him in the side. “And also at your service.” And glances over and does a quick scan of everybody and falls on you and gives you a wink. JB, who is currently feeding the older uncle Ogden Trickfoot, goes, “I'm JB. I'm the cousin who grew up with her the most. She's my favorite.” At which point, she's been so concentrated on this, she doesn't realize she's been mashing the food into the side of Ogden's cheek. (babbling) “I'm sorry.” She wipes him down.

LIAM: I'm sorry. What brings you fine folk into town? Are you just visiting Pike here?

MATT: Astra goes, “Well, we travel a lot and we've heard of exploits in various towns all around. I just have not had the chance to meet Pike after all the stories I've heard, and Johann speaks of her often, and JB is pretty much obsessed with your exploits.” JB's over there. “I've been keeping tabs. So we were surprised that we were located by a courier who gave us your letter and your absolutely unnecessary but very appreciated donation to the family, and we thought it would be nice and right of us to come and thank you in person.”

ASHLEY: Well, I'm so glad you did. How in the world did you find out that I was here?

MATT: Johann and Astra turn their heads to JB, and JB goes, “Well, I'm keeping tabs on what you've been doing. There had been word that you not only helped with the reconstruction of Emon, but you've also been traveling to and from Whitestone since the Conclave attacked the continent, so we narrowed it down between a few possibilities, and based on the fact that you, Percival– this is your city, is that correct? We figured that given that basis, we had a good chance. We passed through Westruun and could not find you. Wilhand, however, did say that you're doing well, and we eventually made our way east, and here we are. It's good to see you.”

ASHLEY: It's good to see you.

TRAVIS: Do me next. What have I done?

MATT: “You're Grog Strongjaw. Yes. You're the one that apparently replaced me.”

ASHLEY: Well–

TRAVIS: Huh?

MATT: “You grew up together once we were not, and you're a strong half-giant of a man. The beard confuses me, but you've done many great things, I suppose. The rest of you, it is an honor to meet you. I've heard so much, and it's rare you get to meet heroes in your lifetime.” (shouting) “What? I'm still hungry!”

TRAVIS: They're so nice. I feel terrible.

ASHLEY: Are you guys just passing through? Where's your next destination?

MATT: Johann pops up and goes, “We're always passing through, my dear, but we figured we'd just stay for a few days. However long it takes to get to know you a little better, and then we'll be on our way.”

MARISHA: Did he say weeks? Did he slip that in?

MATT: “We could stay weeks, if you'd like!”

LAURA: Well, you know, days might be more–

TRAVIS: As long as you need.

MATT: “We've been traveling. We're very tired.”

TRAVIS: Pike's family is our family, really.

SAM: Agreed.

LIAM: I just want to get a vibe on them. I want to do an insight check and see what I think of them.

MARISHA: Can I assist him on that?

MATT: Insight you can't– you have to make an individual insight check.

MARISHA: Individuals?

LIAM: Oh, jeebus. Crap. 13.

MARISHA: 26.

MATT: Okay. They're hard to read, in general. They're strange. They're interesting. They're unique. But they seem to be jovial and full of personality. You get a very familiar vibe as you did with Dr. Dranzel's troupe.

TRAVIS: Could I request one thing? Could I have a hug?

MATT: From?

TRAVIS: Yeah, all of you at once!

SAM: A bunch of kittens on a man.

MATT: They look at each other. Johann, and then Astra rushes in. They both give you a hug, and then Astra goes, “Uncle Ogden!” She grabs Ogden and (yelps) comes over and, “I'm confused.” He's being held against you, really, and you watch as JB approaches and pats you.

TRAVIS: It's okay.

ASHLEY: JB? Can I talk to you for just a minute?

MATT: “Of course.”

ASHLEY: Just step outside on the outdoor bench.

MATT: She follows you out there. “You look so pretty.”

ASHLEY: Oh, thank you.

MATT: “You've done so many good things. I've heard so many good things. It's so good to see you.”

ASHLEY: It's very good to see you. How have you been?

MATT: “Well, I've been watching Ogden. Traveling and seeing the sights of the countrysides of Tal'Dorei. It's life on the road.”

ASHLEY: I know. I understand that. How are my parents?

MATT: She looks around and goes, “Well, we haven't heard from your immediate side of the family since your bastard father left for Wynandir across the sea. Good riddance. No offense.”

ASHLEY: No. None taken.

MATT: “That was a long time ago. I was young. But no, seriously. You're not missing much with them.”

ASHLEY: Can I insight check her?

MATT: Go for it.

ASHLEY: Oh no. 13?

MATT: 13? She seems guarded and hard to read, but legit.

ASHLEY: Okay. Well. Have you guys, in your travels– you know who Scanlan Shorthalt is, I'm sure?

MATT: She lights up and goes, “Yes, I've heard of him. Is he around?”

ASHLEY: He's not around.

MATT: “Oh. Okay, but I've heard of him. I've heard of his exploits. (chuckles) As I've asked around, he's left quite a trail of ladies through the years.”

ASHLEY: He definitely has.

MATT: “They have a lot to say about him.”

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: “Bit of a scoundrel, that one.”

ASHLEY: Such a scoundrel.

LAURA: God, she's so weird.

(laughter)

LAURA: It makes me so uncomfortable.

ASHLEY: All right, well, let's go back inside.

MATT: “Of course. I'm glad we had this bonding time.”

ASHLEY: Me, too.

MATT: “You want to come, right?” She grabs your arms and tugs a little bit. You get a very faint sense of mild arrested development that makes you a little uncomfortable.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: She walks inside with you with her arm on your shoulder, and as you come back inside, the hug seems to have pulled away from Grog for a second, but the laughter is billowing from the room, and Johann, at this point, is mid-story to Grog. “And that's the craziest thing! She was so small, but could yet poop so much.”

TRAVIS: I love it!

MATT: “It's incredible!”

TRAVIS: That's my favorite kind of people. Big pooper!

MATT: “If we could have painted a picture, you wouldn't know where she put it away! But that's another story.”

ASHLEY: Oh, well, we don't need to keep saying these things. You know, if you guys would like to stay just for a few days, because we're going to be leaving.

TRAVIS: No, we're not. We're here for a long time.

ASHLEY: We have a lot of stuff to do.

LAURA: Trip coming up.

MATT: “Of course! Days. Weeks was invited here, of course, but–”

LAURA: She doesn't actually live here.

MARISHA: I'm a guest, foreigner, just like you. Passing through. Traveling on.

ASHLEY: I think we have a thing that we have to go fight, and we have so many things that we have to do.

TRAVIS: We just got done fighting all the things. We're settling here.

LAURA: (groans)

ASHLEY: We have some things planned.

MATT: Astra steps forward and takes your hand and she goes, “It's all right, dear. We're not going to stay longer to make it uncomfortable. I'm sorry about these folks.”

ASHLEY: No, no.

MATT: “I married into the Trickfoots. I'm not bound to the same ridiculousness as these guys, so don't worry.”

ASHLEY: Okay.

MARISHA: Can I insight check that?

MATT: Sure.

MARISHA: I don't trust your “married in this bullshit” shit. 20, total.

MATT: 20 total?

TALIESIN: Yeah!

LAURA: I bet she's at the helm!

TALIESIN: Happy new year, everybody.

LAURA: I don't like her winking at Percy!

TALIESIN: While we're whispering about things–

SAM: We have a great new shirt in the store. It says Vox Machina.

LAURA: (silly accent) If you could get a close-up, you would see all of the Vox Machina's made of a different weapon that Vox Machina uses.

TALIESIN: That was amazing.

ASHLEY: Well, why don't you guys stay in my place, and I'll take care of you guys while you're here? Just explore the town, and when we're getting ready to go, I'll let you know, and you guys can go on your merry way.

MATT: “That sounds fantastic.”

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: “It's so happy to have the Trickfoots together again.”

ASHLEY: It's just so great.

MATT: “So where are we all staying?”

ASHLEY: Well, you can stay at my place.

MATT: “Fantastic! Wondrous. Show us along! We have things to unload.”

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Do you want to grab any of the last bit of pastries for the day? Obviously, free treats today.

SAM: Oh, but don't fill up, because I assume we're all going to have dinner tonight together, right?

ALL: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, let's have dinner.

MATT: “Wonderful. I love it. I love it!”

LAURA: Free treats today! Just today. Just today, free treats for the family. After that, no free treats.

MATT: As you're saying this, Uncle Ogden has stepped forward again and JB is like, “Uncle Ogden?” He (grunts) and reaches out and finds the edge of your cheek and chin and he drops his cane, pulls his glasses off, and you see these tiny, dark beady eyes between the wrinkles and he goes, “Pike.”

ASHLEY: Hi.

MATT: “It's so good to see you.”

ASHLEY: It's so good to see you.

MATT: “Thank you. You're a good one.” He puts his glasses back on and reaches out, and JB picks up a stick and hands it to him. He's like, “Thank you.”

ASHLEY: Thank you, Uncle Ogden.

LAURA: Does it look like he really needs that cane?

MATT: You want to make an insight check?

(laughter)

MATT: Sure, go for it.

TRAVIS: Kick the cane out, see what happens. Do you need this? Boom!

LAURA: I think it looks like he really needs it.

MATT: You genuinely feel bad for even having that second thought.

(laughter)

LAURA: I do. I feel really terrible.

SAM: In my broken Gnome, I tell him: it's an honor to mate you.

(laughter)

MATT: His head spins for a second. He smiles, and in Gnomish back to you, he says, “Oh. It's been a while.”

SAM: I love him.

ASHLEY: Well, should we get some dinner? Are you guys hungry, or have you filled up on pastries?

MATT: “Oh!” You watch as Johann spits out the pastry. “Always hungry!”

ASHLEY: Okay, great. Well, let's have a delicious dinner.

MARISHA: We could always go hunting for our dinner. Classic way.

LAURA: That's how we do it in Whitestone. You have to hunt if you want to eat. That's how we do it here.

MATT: “Is that how you got your pastries?”

LAURA: Well, hunting for any kind of meat. Pastries you pay for.

ASHLEY: For the meat pies.

MATT: “Well, we're not hunters, so I guess we'll stay here until you finish hunting. You know we're not hunters. We've never been hunters. Trickfoots don't hunt.”

ASHLEY: We can– (sighs).

SAM: Let's go freshen up for dinner.

ASHLEY: We'll go freshen up for dinner.

MATT: “Not a bad idea. I could use a bath, actually. How about you, Astra?” Astra's like, “Oh, I'd love a bath right now. I've been on the road for so long.” And JB goes, “Uncle could really use a bath.”

ASHLEY: Uncle could use a bath, I know.

TRAVIS: He could. He smells like cheese.

ASHLEY: All right. I'll walk you guys. Let's walk to my place.

MATT: “Very well. Show us along!”

LAURA: I want to whisper to you as we walk back to the house: don't give them any more free things, all right?

SAM: What? I thought they were Pike's people.

LAURA: Yeah, they're great. They're wonderful, but no more free stuff. Just today, but no more after that.

SAM: Okay. Of course. I'm sorry if I was out of line.

LAURA: Of course not. You're so generous.

SAM: I love you.

LAURA: I love you so much.

LIAM: I'm hooking Kiki by the arm. Hey, you've got that look in your eye.

MARISHA: I just don't like it when people try to take advantage of my friends, but they're family, and if anyone is in need, I don't want to potentially put them out.

LIAM: But you think they're a little bit hinky? That's a yes.

MARISHA: We can just keep an eye out. I'm protective.

TALIESIN: Pike, if you need anything, just let me know. And I completely understand the awkward position you're currently being put in.

ASHLEY: Oh god, it's so awkward! I just don't know. Thank you, Percy. I'll let you know if there's anything that I need.

TALIESIN: Keep an eye on the odd one.

ASHLEY: Which one? Because they're all odd.

TALIESIN: JB. She reminds me of me at that age. That's not a good thing.

MARISHA: I say to Vax: Just keep an eye on the odd one, all right?

TALIESIN: See if you notice an interest.

TRAVIS: Pike, are there any more coming?

TALIESIN: If you notice an interest in that one, please let me know. Maybe I could figure out what she's interested in and show her around, maybe.

ASHLEY: Okay. That's a great idea. So this is all of you, then, that came? You guys have been traveling around, just yourselves?

TRAVIS: Got any more of you coming?

MATT: “Not coming with us. The Trickfoots tend to scatter on their own.”

TRAVIS: Like bunnies.

MATT: “Yeah, sure. We'll go with that one. Yeah, not everyone can be trusted in the family.”

ASHLEY: Yeah.

MATT: “It's frustrating. The people that you care for and spend your life hitting behind betray that trust, and good riddance to them.”

ASHLEY: Oh. Well, is there anything you would like to see while you're here?

MATT: They all look back at JB, who lights up again and goes, “Everything.”

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, is there anyone in particular you would like to give you a tour?

MATT: JB is like, “Well, I–” And Johann goes, “I feel like if we don't choose him, we're going to get squashed.”

(laughter)

MATT: You can see a moment of heartbreak and JB goes, “Very well.”

TRAVIS: Yes!

MATT: “Mr. Strongjaw, you may show us around.”

TRAVIS: Yeah. You won't regret that choice.

ASHLEY: All right, come with me. You can come to my place, freshen up before dinner, and we'll have a great time.

MATT: “Great! Great. Now, to the baths. How big are your baths? Are they huge? Are they human-sized baths? Are they bigger than human-sized baths?”

LIAM: Not quite big enough.

(laughter)

LAURA: You don't know.

MATT: “You!” All right, so you show them up to the castle, which I assume is where you're letting them stay.

LAURA: They're staying in the castle?

TALIESIN: The guards have generally been alerted to be wary, kind, polite, and less important that they stop them from doing anything too terrible, more to the point that they just write it down and report it immediately.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Unless anyone's doing something terrible, or going somewhere they really shouldn't.

MATT: Right. Okay. That information is easily distributed throughout the Pale Guard, without issue.

LIAM: “I guess that silverware wasn't so important.”

TALIESIN: Oh, we're bringing out the moderate silverware.

ASHLEY: That's a good idea. That's a great idea.

LAURA: All the good silver is hidden. Hidden up high.

MATT: Because there are only within the castle at any given time, four baths. Four rooms that contain full baths. Occasionally, you have to wait for a person, but they immediately scatter. Three of them are taken.

ASHLEY: Okay. We might have to wait a little bit.

MATT: You wait a while. Eventually, they one by one start making their way down to the main banquet hall of the castle. Cleaned up. You watch as Johann comes down, wearing his same clothing that appears to have been cleaned. “Wow! I'm appreciative that you have servants here that can do such a nice job with such fine family threads.” His mustache is done perfectly. His hair is still slick and wet from the bath, combed over. “Well, thank you. It's in the blood.”

ASHLEY: (chuckles) It sure is.

MATT: He turns around. “Astra? What's taking her so long?” Walks back out to the stairway and rushes past the guards, his little gnomish head dodging by their knees, almost. He goes, (shouting) “Astra!” You hear a voice go, (shouting) “I'm almost done! Wait and be patient!” He goes back. “She'll be down in a moment. Don't worry. In the meantime, is there an appetizer course?”

ASHLEY: Sure. Why don't you take a seat, and order whatever you want, on me.

MATT: “You're so generous!” He pinches your cheek. He waltzes over to the table, sits down and grabs the fork and knife. “Two bottles of red, and… ooh, what vintage have you?” He begins talking with the servants about what various wines are available.

LAURA: I'm just going to pop into the kitchen.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: And tell the staff in the kitchen: obviously, you can make whatever you want. I'm just hoping maybe you don't make it too tasty tonight. Nothing too extravagant. You know, nice, but average. Right?

MATT: The servants that are there, the whole waitstaff and kitchen staff go, “Of course, milady.”

LAURA: Nothing great.

MATT: “A curious request, but one we will fulfill to our greatest ability.”

LAURA: Thank you so much. Lots of salad, lots of very dry, hard meat. Turnips. Lots of turnips.

TALIESIN: Heavy food.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: I'm going to pop into the kitchen after she's done.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, family's here tonight, so everything has to be on its best, all right? The best stuff we have in this kitchen. These are Trickfoots. We have to treat them right, and we have to treat them well.

MATT: The staff stops and goes, “Friend Taryon, I'm sorry, but the lady requested specifically that the meal not be–”

SAM: What lady?

MATT: “Lady Vex'ahlia.”

SAM: She was being polite. These are good people. They need to be treated–

MATT: Make a persuasion check. You're asking them to override the word of the lady of the house.

SAM: One.

(laughter)

MATT: He goes, “I am sorry, but–”

SAM: Who's your manager?

MATT: “The lady you're speaking about.”

SAM: Oh, you're right. She is your manager.

LIAM: Tary, you have Luck!

TALIESIN: Back to the pool house with you.

SAM: I do have Luck.

LAURA: (groans) No!

SAM: What am I doing?

MATT: Persuasion.

LAURA: No.

SAM: That's 24.

TALIESIN: Oh!

MATT: He goes, “But if you say it's the word of Lady Vex'ahlia–”

SAM: These are Trickfoots, man. Trickfoots! Treat them as you would your own mother.

MATT: “I'm so confused. We'll do our best. Holy shit.” You see this internal struggle. “Everyone! Fine meat's back on the menu. Sorry.” And the staff goes, (groans) and starts throwing shit out that they were halfway working on and starting from scratch.

SAM: I go out and grab Vex. Little EG, what are you doing? You told them to give them bad food tonight? These are Trickfoots! We have to treat them with honor and respect.

LAURA: Tary! Ugh.

TALIESIN: You said what?

LAURA: Okay, look. All right. If your father came, and you dislike him very much, right?

SAM: I would give him the best.

LAURA: Oh shit. Okay, bad comparison. These people suck. They're mean–

SAM: What are you talking about? They've been nothing but nice. They've showered her with kisses and affection. It's affection that I've never even seen in a family before!

LAURA: Tary, dear. Darling. They don't treat her very well, and they'll use her, and they'll stay here and keep taking advantage of her, and we don't want that.

SAM: But I get to practice my Gnome.

LAURA: Well, that's true. You can practice as much as you want over the next couple of days, but we don't want to impress them. The more they like it, the longer they'll stay.

TALIESIN: They'll figure out that the poor food– I feel like they're clever enough for that one. Best to feed them well, at least.

LAURA: Really?

TALIESIN: I know.

SAM: I'll back off.

LAURA: Thank you.

TALIESIN: Continue to be charming.

SAM: Always.

TRAVIS: I walk into the kitchen. I go, okay. Listen up! I need peanut butter, I need turkey legs, eggs, cheese.

(laughter)

SAM: “Those are all the foods I know.”

TRAVIS: Chop chop!

MATT: The servants all stop and go, (sighs). “Yes, Grand Poobah.”

(laughter)

MATT: Throw out what they were finishing and begin to make eggs, getting the cheese ready, and all the hearty pork meats. And the peanut butter.

MARISHA: It's a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

LAURA: Spaghetti-Os.

MARISHA: Popcorn.

ASHLEY: Just great. I run over to Percy really quickly. (whispering) Percy?

TALIESIN: Yes?

ASHLEY: I just wanted to… apologize in advance for whatever may happen in the next few days.

TALIESIN: I'm so excited for the calamity that's about to be brought down upon my house.

ASHLEY: Okay.

TALIESIN: There is nothing, short of full dragon apocalypse at this point, that could faze us. We can live through this. We'll be fine.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: I come up and I give her a hug from behind and say: We will never judge you for your blood, dear.

ASHLEY: Okay. Again, I'm not embarrassed.

LAURA: Of course not. They're great. They seem wonderful.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah, they do.

TALIESIN: To be fair, I've also already started drinking.

ASHLEY: Oh great. Okay, I'll join you.

TALIESIN: I pull out the flask of Courage that I've brought.

SAM: Flask of Courage?

LAURA: You got more Courage?

TALIESIN: Oh, there's a lot of Courage. We make it every year.

ASHLEY: I take a big gulp. All the gulps.

MATT: It burns. It burns so good.

ASHLEY: (grunts)

TALIESIN: It burns a lot.

ASHLEY: It does.

TALIESIN: You're going to get drunk, but you're not going to get sleepy.

LAURA: Oh, that's going to feel good in this area.

TRAVIS: You won't get sleepy.

TALIESIN: Let's do this.

ASHLEY: Let's go eat.

MATT: As you guys all find yourselves ready, the Trickfoots also begin to fill in to the banquet hall. The servants provide a fantastic spread of heartily cooked pork meats, peanut butter fresh from the jar, piles of cheeses.

LAURA: I thought you asked–

SAM: This is not what I asked for.

ASHLEY: This is comfort food in Whitestone.

TALIESIN: We thought we would give you the cornucopia of our experience.

LAURA: I take a big spoon of peanut butter.

MATT: Johann gives a curious eye and goes, “Well, who are we to scoff at the cultures of others? Let's dig in, everyone!” And immediately he goes in. Astra begins eating, as well. JB takes a bite and then prepares a bite for Uncle Ogden, who is in the process of staring at the table strangely. Eventually the spoon finds its way there.

TALIESIN: Well, that's the next 30 minutes.

MATT: As this is happening, Johann begins asking questions. “So! This is your castle?”

ASHLEY: Is this my castle?

MATT: JB is like, “No, it's not her castle. It's his castle. She's just staying here, for now.”

TALIESIN: Technically, it's my sister's castle, but certainly.

MATT: At which point, Cassandra comes in from the back, arms crossed. She wanders in. “Brother?”

TALIESIN: That's code. Yes?

MATT: “Everything all right, brother?”

TALIESIN: Yes, fine.

MATT: “Very well, I'll be in my chambers if you require anything.”

LAURA: You're sure you don't want to join us, Cass?

MATT: “I'm fine. I'm a bit tired. It's been a long night. But whoever you are, welcome to Whitestone.” She looks back to Percival.

TALIESIN: The Trickfoot clan.

MATT: “Ah.”

MARISHA: And Keyleth goes–

ASHLEY: If she looks over at me, I'm going–

MATT: “I would love to welcome you all to Whitestone. You are guests of ours if you are guests of hers. We'll talk later.”

TALIESIN: Absolutely.

MATT: She makes her way back up the stairs. You watch as Trish, who's her bodyguard on this shift, follows her up.

LAURA: She's still here? Trish.

ASHLEY: Trish the Dish.

TRAVIS: Trish the Dish.

MATT: She's one of two shift personal guards of Cassandra.

ASHLEY: I'm going to sit next to Ogden.

MATT: Okay.

ASHLEY: JB, I can feed him for a little bit if you'd like to look around or something, or talk to anybody here? Who do you really want to talk to?

MATT: “You. We have so much to catch up on. It's been a long time.”

ASHLEY: Is there someone in Vox Machina that you really love?

MATT: She looks around. There's this long, awkward pause as she keeps looking over Vox Machina again and again, but not making any eye contact with Grog, and eventually goes, “I suppose Lady Vex'ahlia.” Hands the spoon over to you.

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, I'm sure she would love to talk to you. She's very inviting, very friendly.

MATT: “Should I just go sit?”

ASHLEY: Sure.

MATT: “Okay.” She gets up from the table. Johann's still talking. He's telling stories. “We Trickfoots. For generations, we've been problem-solvers. We rove from place to place, solving problems across the countrysides. If you have a squeaky wheel, we fix the wheel. If you have a squeaky door, we fix the door.”

TRAVIS: Amazing.

MATT: “If you have a squeaky tax man, we fix the tax man. That's a joke! That's a joke. You can laugh. See, there you are.”

TRAVIS: They kill the tax man.

SAM: Everybody hates taxes.

MATT: As this conversation's happening, there's a small bowl of what looks to be some of the pork, but it's been soaked in some water or wine, and it's been mashed or pre-chewed. You're not quite sure. But you have the spoon there, and you have Uncle Ogden sitting there going–

ASHLEY: I start speaking to him in Underdark because I haven't spoken that in a while. Ogden? How are you liking traveling with everybody? With Johann and Astra and JB?

MATT: His ear perks up a little bit and he goes, “I haven't heard that talk in a long time.” His head turns slightly towards you, but he's still looking off a little bit from under the glasses.

SAM: Is this Undercommon?

ASHLEY: Underdark.

SAM: Underdark?

MATT: It would be considered Undercommon.

ASHLEY: It's Undercommon? Okay.

SAM: I'm listening.

LAURA: I'm reading their lips.

MATT: Do you understand Undercommon? Okay, then yeah. He looks back and goes, “It's been travel. They take care of me. We're here now.” His hand reaches over and grabs your hand and holds it for a second. He goes, “We're here now to protect you.”

ASHLEY: Protect me from what?

MATT: “From the curse.”

ASHLEY: What do you mean?

MATT: “I've been having visions of you. An angel of light swallowed by dark.”

ASHLEY: Okay. Are these just dreams?

MATT: “They come often, and the dreams that come often generally come to pass. There is a curse in our blood, and we wish to save you from that curse.” His fingers tighten a little bit on your hand. Not in a painful way, but an emphatic hold. “I'm worried for you. You're the only good one.” His hand releases your hand. He drools a little bit and wipes it with his hand.

(laughter)

ASHLEY: I take a spoon of peanut butter. It's a little bit easier. Here you go.

SAM: Like Mr. Ed.

ASHLEY: Yep.

MATT: It dribbles out a little bit. “Unexpected.”

ASHLEY: Sorry, the mix between the pork and peanut butter. It's an interesting mix, but it's Grog's favorite.

MATT: “It's good.”

ASHLEY: It's a good mix!

MATT: You see him smiling now.

ASHLEY: Can you tell me about Astra? How did she come into the picture?

MATT: “Astra met Johann about ten years ago. He needed someone to nail him down. Spry, wily, prone to terrible choices. He's a stupid boy. Stupid, stupid boy.” At which point, Johann, who's been talking, stops and goes, in Undercommon, “I can hear you, Dad. Anyway!” “She's good to him. If she breaks his heart, I'll kill her.”

ASHLEY: There you go. And any word from my family? My mother, anything? It's been a long time since I talked to them.

MATT: “They absconded east and got in a little trouble.”

ASHLEY: That makes sense.

MATT: “It's just like my brother to do that. He's the one who held the stupid gene on our generation.”

ASHLEY: Yep.

MATT: “I'm tired now.”

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: At which point, JB, who's been over there talking with you and asking questions about the castle and what accommodations there are, sees Uncle Ogden get up. “Oh, Uncle, I'll help you. I'm so sorry, Lady Vex'ahlia.” She stands up and walks around and grabs the elbow. “Uncle Ogden, are you tired?”

ASHLEY: I can have someone take him, if you'd like to stay?

MATT: “He's very fragile. If you'd trust anyone to take him?”

LAURA: I can do it, dear.

ASHLEY: Well. Yeah. You would like to stay with him?

MATT: “It's what I'm used to, but if Lady Vex'ahlia–”

LAURA: I would love to. I think your cousin wants to speak with you.

ASHLEY: Great.

MATT: At which point, as soon as you say that, she smiles brightly and goes, “Actually, yes.”

LAURA: Yes.

ASHLEY: Okay.

LAURA: Be on your guard, dear.

ASHLEY: Okay, I will. Check your pockets.

LAURA: Always.

MATT: She sits down next to you and begins asking about, “I can't believe that you stepped into the same ridiculousness that Wilhand did and it's brought you all this. "We just thought he was an old coot.”

ASHLEY: Well, he's all I've known and he's wonderful. He's my family, since I left, and I'm sorry I haven't really contacted you guys.

MATT: “It's all right. We make ourselves scarce on purpose.”

ASHLEY: Yeah. Well, so you've been taking care of Ogden?

MATT: “We've been helping out, but mostly me, yeah.”

ASHLEY: Has he told you anything that he dreams about?

MATT: You can see that she stiffens up a little bit. “So he's already told you.”

ASHLEY: Yes.

MATT: “I don't want to ruin an evening that's going so well, but he's had visions. I'm worried about you. When we got your letter that– we didn't know how to find you. We didn't think that you were in the area. When your letter found us, we thought maybe you weren't that far away, so we began to search our way along the Silver Cut.”

ASHLEY: Okay. Can I insight check her again?

MATT: Yeah, go for it.

ASHLEY: I can't figure out what's going on. Ugh, balls. Oh, wait. 16?

MATT: She's hard to read, in general. Even when she was a kid, she was an odd duck. She seems genuine.

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, how's everybody feeling? Are you tired? Are you full? Is it bedtime? What's going on?

SAM: I could talk to these people all night long.

ASHLEY: Well.

SAM: But if we should turn in?

MATT: You see Astra, who's been drinking deep of one of the two fine bottles of red wine, is drunkenly leaning with her arm around Johann's arm. He's a little tipsy, but he's still in conversation, talking to Grog. He's telling embarrassing story after embarrassing story, and since you're so eager and no one else really wants to pay him as much mind. He's talking to the table, but he's mainly focusing on you.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: As you begin helping Ogden, who, as you grab his arm, he's shaking, and he has his cane as he moves along. His skin is very loose.

LAURA: Ogden, would you like me to help carry you, or are you all right to walk?

MATT: “I can walk under my own power.”

LAURA: Of course you can. Feel free to lean on me, though.

MATT: “At the stairs.”

LAURA: All right.

MATT: He's still looking off. As soon as you get to the stairs, he gets about two steps and has to stop and breathe, and another two stairs.

LAURA: I put my arm down so he can put as much weight as he wants.

MATT: He leans into it and you eventually help him up the staircase that spirals up to the second floor and eventually lead him to his chambers.

LAURA: All right, and I start talking to him on the way to his room in Undercommon. And ask him: How long have you guys been on the road?

MATT: “Always.”

LAURA: Always?

MATT: “By nature, we don't really put down roots.” Big old smile as he says roots, darkened, some broken teeth. Heinous smell.

LAURA: Peanut butter and pork.

MATT: Yep.

LAURA: I couldn't help but overhear you talking to Pike about dreams you've been having.

MATT: “Yes. Dreams.”

LAURA: What kind of dreams?

MATT: “Terrible premonitions.”

LAURA: Like what?

MATT: At this point, he stops and looks up towards you as you're holding his arm, and he reaches up and pulls the glasses shakily from the front of his face and through his small dark brown beady eyes, you see the whites at the sides are bloodshot. He glances up and goes, “The kinds of dreams that end a bloodline.”

LAURA: Well, that sounds terrible.

MATT: “We're trying to find a way to stop it.”

LAURA: Well, that's good. I would like to stop it, as well. We all love Pike very much.

MATT: “Good. Then we came at the right time.”

LAURA: Can I insight check him?

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: That was almost. 21? 21.

SAM: Whispers!

LAURA: Yes!

SAM: So, Taliesin, what's the V? What's the V on this shirt?

TALIESIN: The V on this shirt?

LIAM: It's a book.

TALIESIN: That looks to be a tome of some sort.

SAM: Who is represented by a book?

LIAM: The whole top row is reserved for Matthew.

SAM: Oh, okay. And what's the M in Machina?

TALIESIN: It appears to be some sort of very naturalistic bow and arrow.

SAM: Who would that correspond to?

TALIESIN: Scanlan, I imagine.

SAM: Oh, yeah. That makes sense. And the A?

TALIESIN: The A appears to be a bird's mask and a pistol.

SAM: Also Scanlan.

TALIESIN: Also Scanlan.

SAM: Yeah, sure. And the C?

TALIESIN: The C is some sort of natural wooden crest of some kind.

LIAM: That's Grog taint.

SAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: In fact, this is entirely Grog and Scanlan, which I think, it's about time.

LAURA: Well, Ogden. Are you all right getting into your bed? Do you need any help with that?

MATT: “If you can get me to the edge of it, I can manage.”

LAURA: Well, of course. I hope you know that we're here for you, with whatever you need, as long as we're all here to help Pike. We love her like family, as well.

MATT: “Good. She can use some family.”

LAURA: Yes. Dark tidings.

MATT: “Dark tidings, indeed.”

LAURA: Are we talking like falling into a pit or are we talking like– I'm going to walk him to the bed and maybe like–

MATT: (raspy grunt) He gets up and leans the stick off to the side, and it (thudding noise) onto the ground.

LAURA: I'll crouch down and start untying his little boots.

MATT: “That's all right. I can get that.”

LAURA: I don't mind.

MATT: He leans back and lets you do it.

LAURA: What kind of dark things are we talking?

MATT: “There's a legend in the Trickfoots. Every generation, one is born with the blood curse. One that carries with it the anger of someone slighted when we first became Trickfoots. Maybe it's superstition, but every one of these individuals died a horrible, painful death, screaming of a shadow that came for them. It's a myth, I know, but these dreams are real, and I'd rather be careful and wrong than careless and right.”

LAURA: Do you see the shadow in your dreams?

MATT: “Shapeless. Dark. Eyes like burning coals.”

LAURA: Does that sound like the smoke demon that we saw come out of Percy? Anything like that?

MATT: Shapeless, black shadow with red eyes sounds similar, but Orthax was generally black smoke. Had form, and the eyes were more of a yellow.

TALIESIN: The John Doe of demons, really.

LAURA: All right. How long have you been having these dreams?

MATT: “Months.”

LAURA: Have you ever witnessed it happen before? Have you had the dreams about anyone else?

MATT: “Only once. I was very young.”

LAURA: And they died.

MATT: “My brother.”

LAURA: Really?

MATT: Theobold.

LAURA: And do you know who it is the Trickfoots slighted in this myth?

MATT: “I don't know. This whole family is paranoid and guards their secrets from each other. Anyway.”

LAURA: I wish you a dreamless sleep. And he's out.

(laughter)

LIAM: Random question. Do we see an obvious family resemblance with Pike and any of them?

MATT: Make a perception check.

SAM: They all have a giant birthmark on their face.

(laughter)

LIAM: 24.

MATT: As you've been paying attention to them most of dinner. Mannerisms, everything. There are some similarities.

LIAM: Facial features, I mean.

MATT: Yeah. They're not direct family. They're cousins, uncle– they're once removed from her central nuclear family. But you do see similarities in cheekbone structure, at least with Johann, Ogden, and JB. Moreso with JB. It's hard with the mustache with Johann. But there are some similarities between JB and Pike, and you can't help but envision these two cute little gnome children playing together. These two dark-haired female gnomes running around, and there may have been an age when they could have been hard to tell apart from each other.

LAURA: Ooh.

SAM: Swapped at birth?

LAURA: I know, right?

MARISHA: Freaky Friday!

ASHLEY: Oh man. Okay.

MATT: As Johann picks up Astra. “Anyway, it's been a fantastic meal. I appreciate your hospitality, and I look forward to this grand tour you promised tomorrow.”

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah. Anything you want to see, as long as you've got more of those stories.

MATT: “Oh, I've got loads.”

TALIESIN: I'm going to sneak next to JB really quickly.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: If you want a more proper and private tour of the city, consider the offer open. Just think about where you'd want to start. The offer does stand, though. Have a good evening.

MATT: As you say this to her, she glances back and says, “Very well. Under the needs of being upfront, as well, I want you to know that I'm not interested.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Thank you. That's what it totally sounded like.

LAURA: It did sound like you were fucking flirting.

TRAVIS: You want a proper tour of deez nuts?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I don't think he's figured out what she's talking about.

MATT: I don't think he has, either, no.

TALIESIN: Oh. I'm sorry, I thought that maybe you'd want to see the– and the– oh. Very well, then.

MATT: She looks over at Grog and goes, “Perhaps a tour is in order, but just no. I'm not interested.”

TALIESIN: In the tour?

MATT: “In the tour, yes.”

TALIESIN: Oh! Yeah. I mean, no. Yes. No.

(laughter)

LIAM: Smooth as butter.

MATT: She gets up and walks away. “Good night, everyone. Good night, Pike.”

TALIESIN: How did she do that?

MATT: Eventually, all the gnomes have left and you're all there, dumbfounded, at the dinner table.

LAURA: I come back down.

ASHLEY: Check your pockets! Check your pockets.

LAURA: I had no valuables on me at all.

SAM: I have everything that I own on me. Am I missing anything?

LAURA: I check my hair to make sure my brooch is still in it.

MARISHA: I check my pouch and make sure my antlers are still there.

MATT: You guys scan through, pat yourselves down. Everything's in place.

SAM: I think they're lovely.

MARISHA: And I liked seeing you being bested. Regardless of the people, it's still fun seeing you being bested.

TALIESIN: Cheap shot, at best.

LIAM: You are very different from them.

ASHLEY: Yes.

LIAM: They are quirky.

LAURA: I mean, you're quirky.

ASHLEY: Yeah, but I mean, I haven't seen them in a very long time. Since I was but a kid.

LIAM: Why did Pom-Pom take you out of there?

ASHLEY: Well, because he was different and had a different life plan and because he became a cleric and was the first of– I don't know how far back. I don't even know.

LIAM: And older than all of them.

ASHLEY: Yeah. And he saw that I was and decided– we left. He took me when I was little, and we left. There was a lot that happened, but I didn't know where they were because they travel.

LIAM: They just got here, but what's your feel on this?

ASHLEY: I don't know. I heard some things with some discussions I had tonight, and I need to figure out if they're true or not. We'll figure out in the next few days, just to see what's going on.

SAM: This dream that the old one talked about, does that worry you?

ASHLEY: How do you know about that?

LIAM: You don't know that.

LAURA: He does. He was listening in.

LIAM: Oh, that's right.

LAURA: I actually talked to him a little bit about that, as well.

ASHLEY: You did?

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: A dream? What dream?

ASHLEY: What did he say?

LAURA: He said that there was a thing in your family. A blood curse. He seemed honest enough when he was saying it. Said that people paid the price for a slight someone made a long time ago, and certain members of your family are cursed, and he's had these premonitions, these dreams, before. It was his brother who passed away a long time ago.

ASHLEY: Yes, this is a thing.

LAURA: Have you heard about this?

MATT: You haven't because you haven't been with most of the Trickfoots for most of your life.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: You've been with Wilhand since you were very young. You said six. He's not been eager to talk about the family. You can see he resents the Trickfoot clan, so you haven't heard of this, but you also know very little about them.

LAURA: Wilhand never discussed it with you?

MARISHA: No premonitions of a curse from Wilhand?

ASHLEY: He didn't talk about the family. He wanted to be separate from them and he didn't want me to be influenced by them at all.

MARISHA: Hang on. I don't mean to question everything, but Wilhand defected from the whole family and became a cleric, but he never mentioned anything of a curse? Why did he become a cleric?

TALIESIN: I see your reasoning.

MARISHA: That seems like a dichotomy there.

TALIESIN: It actually makes perfect sense to me.

TRAVIS: He likes helping people.

MARISHA: Or he's terrified of some superstitious curse. Maybe both?

ASHLEY: Maybe both.

LIAM: We trust you, and Wilhand raised you, so Wilhand must have his head screwed on straight.

TALIESIN: I'm going to say you're in a room of people who were raised by– at least 60 percent of the time, ridiculous people who have their head screwed on straight.

MARISHA: That's accurate.

LAURA: Maybe we should ask him about it?

LIAM: That's where I was going. Is there any merit in trying to get a hold of Wilhand right now, while they're here?

ASHLEY: Can we, from here?

MATT: He's in Westruun right now. It is also late in the evening.

MARISHA: I can get us anywhere very quickly.

SAM: Tomorrow we should go visit him?

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Yeah. I don't think they're going to burn down the castle.

LAURA: Maybe while they're taking a tour, we bamf to Westruun for just a minute.

TALIESIN: I don't necessarily know if– do you want to bamf, or do you just want to talk? We can probably just talk to him, or maybe we could have him sent for.

LIAM: Do you remember our conversations with Wilhand when we were in Westruun?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LIAM: They were a little squirrely.

TALIESIN: I'm a little worried about leaving them here unattended.

LAURA: Some of us can stay.

MARISHA: I think it would be a half-and-half situation.

LAURA: Split the party!

ALL: Split the party!

ASHLEY: We could. As you guys know, Wilhand is a little– he's in his older years.

LAURA: We'll try to keep it quick.

ASHLEY: But we could try to keep it quick.

LAURA: In and out, ask him a few questions.

MARISHA: And Wilhand is the brother of Ogden?

LAURA: No.

LIAM: No, he's older than that.

MATT: Yeah, Wilhand is older than Ogden.

MARISHA: Wilhand's older than Ogden?!

ASHLEY: Wilhand's older than Ogden.

MARISHA: I thought Ogden was as old as life itself!

TRAVIS: No, Ogden did a lot of drugs when he was younger.

LAURA: Ogden's had a hard life.

SAM: He's got to be at least 150 or 200 years old.

MATT: Ogden looks like he's older, but his physicality is not based on age as much as it's based on–

MARISHA: He had a Mick Jagger lifestyle.

MATT: Something akin to that, I guess you'd say.

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: Or at least a Tom Waits one.

MATT: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Let's circle back tomorrow.

MARISHA: All right.

ASHLEY: And while they're doing the tour, maybe we can pop over real quick and I think that would be better than him seeing them here.

LIAM: Even as an outsider, that seems a little ugh.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Grog, you'll take the loud ones tomorrow and I'll take the quiet ones?

TRAVIS: Wait, what? I thought I get them all .

TALIESIN: Do you want to get them all?

TRAVIS: Yeah, don't they want all to be on my tour?

LAURA: Maybe you could do the tour together?

MARISHA: Maybe you could do a Grog tour and then a Percy tour.

LIAM: Or you could assist Grog.

TALIESIN: Because you asked so nicely. Also, I was thinking the carpet might be a fine way of moving them around the city.

LAURA: Oh! That is actually a wonderful idea.

ASHLEY: They would be pretty fascinated by that.

LAURA: Quite distracted.

LIAM: You know, the Grand Poobah needs an assistant.

TRAVIS: Oh. Perhaps.

LIAM: It's only befitting of your station that Percival aid you in such a fashion.

TRAVIS: Yes. Quite.

MARISHA: The two masters of the city. Of course.

TRAVIS: My history of the city is unrivaled.

TALIESIN: I will definitely agree that there are sections of this city I would absolutely agree that you are the master of, at this point.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: (sighs) It's going to be a lot of brothels and bars.

MARISHA: “And this was my first hook-up, and this was the scene of my second hook-up.”

TRAVIS: Yeah. This is a big tree.

MATT: I'm excited for this.

TALIESIN: I am so excited for this.

MATT: So, as you all eventually find yourselves resting for the evening, contemplating the plans to take first thing in the morning, we'll go ahead and close tonight's episode there. We'll pick this up next week.

LAURA: Wait, you're not going to be here next week?

ASHLEY: I will. I'll just be a little late.

MARISHA: Sprinting from the airport.

ASHLEY: Yeah.

LAURA: Cool.

TALIESIN: We'll do the tour first, while you guys are off freaking out with the–

MARISHA: Bamfing?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: We'll stall if we need to. We'll make it happen. All righty, guys. Well, thank you so much for watching tonight. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

MARISHA: We're all a year older now!

LAURA: Oh my gosh.

MARISHA: We're older!

TRAVIS: Grog is 14.

MATT: We'll be back here next Thursday, 7PM Pacific, as usual. Until then, have a wonderful weekend and is it Thursday yet? Good night, guys.

MARISHA: Go buy t-shirts!

[music]

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