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Pre-Show[]

MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors play Dungeons and Dragons and occasionally leave sobbing messes. Tonight's going to be a very interesting episode. Before we get into that, let's go ahead and coast through our announcements so we can get to the actual game at hand. First and foremost, we want to thank our sponsor for many weeks still going, Loot Crate!

ALL: Loot Crate!

MATT: Thank you so much. Sam, did you have something prepared?

SAM: I don't really have anything prepared this week, guys. Instead, I thought I'd tell you a little story about something that happened to a friend of mine. Her name is Jessie. We grew up together in a small town. When she went away to college, she didn't want to go because she was a homebody. Her parents said, just go, have fun, you'll love it. She got to college. A couple of weeks into it, she and her roommate went out at night. She came home. She fell asleep. They were a little tipsy. She woke up in the middle of the night to this scratching sound and she couldn't figure out what it was. She just went back to sleep. Got up again, heard another scratching sound. What was it? She couldn't figure it out. She went back to sleep. The next morning, she woke up. Her roommate, the skin had been ripped off of her body, and the cat that they shared had also been turned essentially inside out. And on the wall in the blood of her roommate was written: Use code criticalrole for $3 off.

TRAVIS: That's a lot of blood.

SAM: That's a lot of blood, and it's a lot of savings for the new Loot Crate, whose theme is horror. Channel your best Final Girl with items from The Walking Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and the story I just told. Hey, should we open them up, guys?

TRAVIS: Yeah! Now, I think this is September's theme.

SAM: This is definitely horror. Let's open them and see what horror items we have?

LIAM: Whoa, look at this scary car!

LAURA: Whoa!

LAURA: Look at this scary keychain of Batman!

MATT: Scary Stark Industries.

TRAVIS: Stark Motor Racing.

TALIESIN: The scariest Stark Industries.

SAM: Look, it's Dark Knight.

LAURA: No, it's Gone in Sixty Seconds.

MARISHA: Nicolas Cage was scary in Gone in Sixty Seconds, just throwing it out there.

MATT: I forgot he was in that movie.

LAURA: Ashley, do you want this?

SAM: What's the pin? The pin says Loot Year. Oh, it's like Goodyear.

TRAVIS: Is this really a hood ornament?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: That's pretty sick.

SAM: But in all seriousness, Loot Crate is a big supporter of the show, so we want to support them. Go online, go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole. Sign up, get subscriptions for all of your friends and all of your dead friends who died tragically in a horror.

LAURA: (laughter) In a horror.

TRAVIS: I used to break those off of the front of people's cars when I was a kid because I was an asshole.

MATT: Yeah, you were. (laughs) Great! Thank you, Sam. Next up on the list, I will actually be down in San Diego tomorrow for the first day of TwitchCon. I have a panel in room FrankerZ. It's at 6:30 to 7:30pm about GMing roleplaying games on Twitch. It's going to be me, Adam Koebel, Chris Perkins, a bunch of great people that run a lot of great RPG programming on Twitch. We're going to be talking about our experiences running it, answering questions, all that fun stuff, so if you're already down there or you're in the San Diego area, come tomorrow and say hi at the panel at 6:30. It'll be awesome.

LAURA: 6:30am.

MATT: Oh, totally. No, never. 6:30pm in FrankerZ, I think is the room, unless I'm reading the emails wrong. That's the only room information I was given. FrankerZ is the guy who's sending me the emails.

SAM: (stage whispering) They're our fucking sponsors! Leave the box on the goddamn table!

TRAVIS: I got it!

MATT: Anyway, speaking of fun news, Laura, you wanted to mention something about some things up on the store?

LAURA: Yes, this is exciting!

SAM: Is it about your friend who went to college?

LAURA: Her face was ripped off, but when her body was discovered, she was wearing one of these How Do You Want to Do This? hoodies. These sweatshirts that have been available before and then we took them away. But guess what, guys? They're back!

TRAVIS: We made more!

LAURA: For two weeks of preorder, you can get these comfy, cozy hoodies.

TRAVIS: What is that voice you're doing?

(laughter)

LAURA: There's other things in the store too, like our beautiful mug that I don't have on the table today that Ashley used in Blindspot!

MARISHA: Yes. And Christmas is right around the corner, you guys!

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's getting cold, so make sure you bundle up nice and warm.

MATT: It is, no joke, the most comfortable hoodie I've ever owned.

LAURA: You'll be wearing it all the time.

LIAM: Soft as hell.

MATT: I was a little worried when we started doing actual wearable merch, I was like, it's going to end up being that chintzy stuff that we don't want to hawk, but I'm actually really happy that it came out pretty high-quality.

MARISHA: I miss school relay races.

MATT: What?

MARISHA: Sorry, go ahead. Nothing. Don't worry about it. Keep going.

MATT: Anyway, anything else you want to talk about? Nope, then let's go ahead and get into tonight's episode of Critical Role!

Part I[]

[dramatic music]

MATT: Welcome back. Before we begin, real fast, I have been notified that Twitch is having some audio sync issues. Recommendation has been said to try and switch between the Flash player or the HTML5 player on Twitch. That seems to be fixing the issues for a lot of people out there. So if you're having issues with that, reloading or trying that switchover should fix the audio sync issues if you're having any. Without further ado, last we picked up, Vox Machina, who had been traveling to collect the Vestiges of Divergence, artifacts from an old ancient time to gain enough power to combat the Chroma Conclave, a group of chromatic dragons that assailed– (burps) pardon– Tal'Dorei, led by Thordak the Cinder King. When you get nervous, you get the burps. I feel like Robert Durst.

TRAVIS: Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots.

MATT: Different guy. You, in searching these artifacts, found that one in the city of Ank'Harel had been taken out from under your nose by a long-forgotten NPC named Ripley.

MARISHA: Well, she wasn't forgotten.

MATT: You know what I mean. You gave chase down to the Glintshore Island of the Hespet Archipelago, and upon storming the beaches, destroying her ship, you walked into the jungle, where an ambush turned into folly. You charged into what appeared to be a couple of illusions. As the floor detonated beneath you, setting you across the ground and starting an encounter with snipers in position, at half-health and below for most of you. You gave a very good fight and still managed to push through. Unfortunately, Dr. Ripley, with the reveal that she has now bound herself to Orthax, the shadow demon that once plagued Percy's inspiration and nightmares, bent on vengeance, managed to take him, slay him, and leave him cold on the ground. As a group, you did manage to dissect Dr. Ripley very aggressively and get vengeance back for your friend. But where we left off, you'd just let the adrenaline and the shock of the moment hit you as Ripley's breath expends and a tiny tree begins to try and break and grow from her corpse on this parched land. So. What do you want to do?

SAM: (chuckles) We have no idea.

LAURA: Oh no.

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Wait, did she originally take Percy's gun? Was that what she was using?

SAM: I don't think so. She took his designs.

MARISHA: He threw Percy's gun into the pool of acid.

TRAVIS: Should we collect her gun now?

SAM: We're all extremely emotional, but we need to move quickly if we're going to do anything. We need to collect all the guns.

MARISHA: We should collect her guns. We need her other hand, and we need the Vestiges off of her fucking body.

TRAVIS: Well, let's collect those. Quickly.

MARISHA: Grog?

TRAVIS: Yes?

MARISHA: Will you do the honors of taking her other hand?

TRAVIS: I would love to use my teeth for that. No, I'll use the axe.

MATT: All right. With a heavy thud sound, her hand is jettisoned from the wrist, her left hand, as it scatters across the broken glass floor of the center of the jungle here in Glintshore.

TRAVIS: This one, right?

SAM: There's only one, so yes, that's the one.

TRAVIS: Bag of Colding.

MATT: Fair enough. Kynan is still standing there, the adrenaline wearing off of him. And he's at a good 15, 20-foot distance from all of you just standing.

TRAVIS: I forgot, are we killing him?

LIAM: Hold on a second. I walk over. Do you have the blade?

MATT: (stammers) He looks down and he seems to have dropped it after everything that transpired. And he picks it up and holds it.

LIAM: I've come a long way for that.

MATT: “Take it.” He throws it to your feet and it spins and scatters and comes to a halt at the tip of your boot

LIAM: Wait here a moment, please. I bend down, I take the knife, and I walk it over to Keyleth and put it in her hands. And I walk back to him. How?

MATT: “I didn't mean for any of this to happen.”

LIAM: How? There are people behind me who want you dead, and I cannot blame them. How?

MATT: “I wouldn't blame them, either. Look, after we met, I was hurt. I was angry. I knew I could be someone, despite what you told me, and I could prove it, prove that I was worth your attention. And I left Emon and my home to seek that destiny and I'm sure many of you did the same.”

LIAM: Do you know what shape Emon is in right now? And this is what you choose to do with your time?

MATT: “You don't know what I've been through!”

LIAM: What has that man done to you? What has she done to you? What have any of them, except for me, done to you? And what have I done except be an asshole?

MATT: “Look, when she picked me up in Kymal, she taught me a lot. I learned a lot. She also told me that you weren't who I thought you were. When everything went down in Emon, with the dragons. She said you did that!”

LIAM: Summoned the dragons?

MATT: “You were responsible for it. She had me listen in to a conversation where you admitted that it was your fault.”

LIAM: I'd like to make an insight check.

MATT: Go for it.

LIAM: (sighs) No.

MATT: He seems emotionally on the brim of a complete nervous breakdown, but he's holding his ground. His hands are shaking in place as he stands staring at you with the look of a man on the precipice.

LIAM: Kynan, what am I to do with you?

LAURA: We'll deal with him later.

LIAM: I ought to cut the heart from your ribs. I ought to cut out my own! Is there anyone else here, now? Is that it?

MATT: “Well, we went back to the cavern to set up, but you got here too quickly–”

LIAM: How long have you been here?

MATT: “Only a few hours.”

LIAM: A few hours was all it took for that? Are there more of you?

MATT: “We have a few people on the ship.”

TRAVIS: Not anymore.

LIAM: Listen to me. I don't know what's going to happen in the next 24 hours for you, but the best thing you can do right now is help us. When anyone asks you to do something, you do it.

MATT: “Well, I would ask for a chance to redeem myself, but I am also beginning to understand what I've done. And I accept whatever judgment you see fit. Just know that– just know that I've been very confused.”

LIAM: Look at me. Kynan, look at me. You help right now. Put all that out of your mind. Right now, you help. Can you do that?

MATT: (whispering) “How can I help?”

LIAM: Just do whatever we ask.

MATT: “Whatever you want me to tell you. I know a little bit. Anything, just let me know.”

LIAM: We're going to table this. Just be Johnny-on-the-spot right now, all right?

MATT: “Okay.”

LAURA: (tearfully) Grog? Can you pick him up? Percy?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Where am I taking him?

MARISHA: I have nothing left. I have no way to get us out of here quickly right now.

TRAVIS: Can I ask, is Orthax still here? That's who that was, right?

LIAM: Yes.

MARISHA: Orthax could have his soul, for all we know.

LAURA: Do we sense him? Is Orthax around? Can you sense evil?

LIAM: Yeah, I could, yes.

MATT: Okay, so you sense as part of your paladin ability. Divine Sense, I believe it was?

LIAM: Yeah. 60 feet: demons, celestials, devils.

MATT: Yeah, as you guys are going through Ripley's things, you do sense there is a pulse of fiendish energy emanating from somewhere near Ripley's body.

MARISHA: Near Ripley's body?

LAURA: How do we destroy him?

SAM: I don't think we can. He's just a shadow, isn't he?

LIAM: We have to go to him.

TRAVIS: Oh, I was going to ask the question of could he help us with Percy.

SAM: Orthax?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Honestly, right now I think– it sounds crazy that I'm saying this, but we have mutual interests with him. It might not be the worst idea.

MATT: Who's inspecting Ripley's body?

LAURA: I will, I guess.

MATT: A few things you find as you rummage through. You find about 1,051 gold pieces. Two weeks of rations, some of which appear to have been dampened and will probably be gone soon. You do find the cloak. The dagger that Kynan used still lays to the ground. No, it was handed to you, so you have it right now. There is what appears to be a small polished grey stone with a couple of runic symbols carved into it. You also find what appears to be a small leather case, a long thin case about that long, that is latched shut. And her gun. Which is similar to Percy's Pepperbox, but thinner, longer, more refined. It's a deep gunmetal gray color with brass sections and what appear to be portions of whitestone built into it. As she pulls the gun out, you immediately know that that's the direct source of the fiendish energy.

LIAM: Put that down. Please. Put it on the ground.

SAM: It's in the gun?

LIAM: It's in the gun.

MARISHA: Just like last time.

LAURA: So we drop it in acid again?

SAM: Well, that didn't kill it, did it? Just got it out of the gun.

MARISHA: And what if he has Percy?

LAURA: No!

TRAVIS: Well, let's try and get him back first before we get upset about it.

LAURA: How do we get him to Whitestone?

TRAVIS: Yeah. How do we move?

SAM: We have an airship.

TRAVIS: That'll be too slow.

SAM: Maybe it can take us somewhere with trees.

LAURA: Somewhere with a tree.

MARISHA: I need to rest.

TRAVIS: How long?

MARISHA: I need to sleep.

LIAM: This tree is stunted that's coming out of Ripley's body?

MATT: Yeah. It's a slow-growing tree. It's only about six feet tall. It wouldn't be large enough to use her spell through it. This is the remnants of a Fenthras death. There are a few large jungle trees, like I mentioned before, that have managed to find root and grow in this jungle. It'd be like one healthy tree for every 50 that are burnt, charred, and petrified. There are trees available in this jungle that in theory could be used for that spell, if you had it available to you.

TRAVIS: I don't remember, do we have a way to call Pike?

LAURA: We have the stone.

SAM: Wait, does that send one of us back to her?

LAURA: Potentially.

SAM: One living soul holding a dead soul?

TRAVIS: Or can we bring her to us?

MARISHA: I could try and scry her. Let me see, actually.

LAURA: I could try putting Percy in the necklace and–

SAM: Going through? Yes.

MARISHA: But what if you can't get him back out? Living and willing, right?

LAURA: Yes.

MARISHA: We don't want him to get stuck.

TRAVIS: Is that correct?

SAM: No disrespect, he's an object right now. So if one of used the stone, holding him, it'd be carrying him like a sword. He'd go through.

MATT: Make an intelligence check. With plus two because of your Jack of All Trades. Add your intelligence modifier plus two.

SAM: Okay. 16, 18.

MATT: 18? That might not work for most spells.

(laughter)

SAM: Shame, intelligence check.

MATT: He's still considered a creature. It's just a dead creature.

LAURA: So we rest and then we go to Whitestone in the morning.

LIAM: Can you do the mansion, Scanlan? Are you tapped out?

SAM: I could, but–

MARISHA: I can't believe that there's nothing we can do right now.

LIAM: We could stay here.

LAURA: I still bring Trinket out of the necklace, and I cast Cure Wounds on him.

MATT: Okay, yeah. As Trinket emerges from the necklace, his unconscious form hits the ground, laying on the side. As you walk up and place your hand, still breathing, and your warm touch presses across his fur and the breathing inflates into one deep breath and then (bear noises) the head leans up and begins licking your hand as you finish the casting of the spell. Go ahead and roll hit points for Trinket.

LIAM: I'm also going to give him a butt scratch and do Lay on Hands and give him another five hit points.

LAURA: Nine whole points. Plus five.

MATT: You also do notice, Vex, on the gun, it has across the handle, the bottom of the handle, the name of the weapon, which is named Animus.

LAURA: Animus?

MATT: And across the barrels you now see there are three empty barrels and three that still have names.

LAURA: Can I read the names?

MATT: The names are: Rictor Wells, Oz Grud, and King Bertrand Dwendal.

SAM: Oh my god.

MATT: Rictor Wells, Oz Grud, and King Bertrand Dwendal. Apparently all people that Ripley in some way, shape, or form felt vengeful towards.

LIAM: I'm going to walk over and pick up the false arm that I hacked off. Will you put this in the bag?

TRAVIS: Which one? Oh, regular bag.

LIAM: This big, old arm here.

TRAVIS: Can I see the little stone with the runes on it?

SAM: Why don't we ask Kynan what it is? Maybe he's seen her use it.

TRAVIS: Kynan, what is this?

MATT: “That's what she used to listen in on you guys.”

MARISHA: Ugh. Hang on, wait let me see it. Does it look like the other Scrying Stone that we have?

MATT: No. It's a very different enchantment. This one looks a little simpler, and upon looking at it there's no magic left in it. You did disenchant the other side of the enchantment, of her old gun.

TRAVIS: What about the little latch box that's closed?

SAM: Yeah, open that little box.

TRAVIS: I open the latch box. Or she opens the latch box.

SAM: I open the latch box.

LAURA: Just rip everything out of my hands. Go for it.

SAM: We all simultaneously tear it open.

MATT: Okay, as you open the cap on the edge of this leather casing, you pull it open. You see it's essentially a side scroll case. On the inside, there is a single tightly wound piece of parchment. The smell immediately is very musty and old with a hint of burnt wood. And yeah, there's some sort of parchment that is tightly coiled in there.

SAM: Should I take it out and take a look?

TRAVIS: Read that.

LAURA: Have you seen her messing with that, Kynan?

MATT: “That was something we found in the cave when we got here. But she quickly grabbed it and put it away and wouldn't tell us what it was.”

LIAM: What is this cave?

MATT: “I only got to the outside of it. I was standing guard.”

TRAVIS: So you haven't been inside?

MATT: “No.”

LIAM: How far off?

MATT: “Maybe a couple of miles. It's at the base of the mountain.”

TRAVIS: What if that was her escape route? What if there's a way out?

SAM: Yeah, could be. I'll open it and look it over.

MATT: Okay. Make an arcana check.

MARISHA: Be careful, Scanlan.

SAM: Not good. Do I add Jack of All Trades? Is that a thing now? 16.

MATT: Well, you add it to all ability checks and skills you're not proficient in.

SAM: I am proficient in this. 14.

MATT: 14. That's fine. That's enough. Yes, it is a Scroll of Gate.

SAM: A Gate scroll.

TRAVIS: Good thing?

MARISHA: Oh, we just got our ticket out of here!

SAM: The scroll allows an arcane caster to use an action to cast the 9th-level spell Gate.

LAURA: Do we have an arcane caster? Is that you? Scanlan?

SAM: Am I an arcane caster?

MATT: Yeah, you are an arcane caster. Consider this is an extremely powerful spell that has a lot of various uses, so consider. Just so you know what it's capable of, I'm going to read you some of the spell here.

SAM: Also, I might not be able to do it because it says level nine. If the spell is higher than the level the caster can use, then they must make a spellcasting ability check to succeed.

TRAVIS: Okay, so just cut off your foot as a tithe.

MATT: So Gate, just so you know: You conjure a portal linking an unoccupied space you can see within range to a precise location on a different (or the same) plane of existence. The portal is a circular opening which you can make five to 20 feet in diameter. It lasts for up to a minute. The portal has a front and back on each plane where it appears. It would be between planes essentially. I would say if you wanted to use it as just a teleportation circle, you could, but it's a waste of a 9th-level spell.

SAM: But it's a waste of a 9th-level spell?

MATT: Comparatively to what she can do with Tree Stride and other things like that.

MARISHA: We might want to save it.

LIAM: Is it different from Plane Shift?

MATT: Deities and other Planar Rulers can prevent portals created by this from opening in their presence. When you cast the spell, you can speak the name of a specific creature. A pseudonym, title, or nickname doesn't work. Specific name of a creature. If the creature is on a plane other than the one you're on, the portal opens and pulls them through to you. So it has a lot of various uses.

LAURA: We could bring the rakshasa through.

MARISHA: We could. If we knew its name.

TRAVIS: We stow it.

MATT: You can bring a lot of things through on that, instantly, for better or for worse.

LIAM: Hotis, Orthax.

MARISHA: That is how it's different from Plane Shift.

SAM: Or we could use this to go save our friend.

LAURA: What do we know about these healing spells?

TRAVIS: What healing spells?

LAURA: Well, what we need to do to Percy. How long do we have? To get him to someone?

MARISHA: I have a feeling the longer we wait, the harder it will be.

TRAVIS: Then we rest now, yeah? Hard choices, but we have to help ourselves if we plan to help him.

MARISHA: But like you said, the Gate spell could theoretically bring Orthax back, if we might need to. Who knows?

SAM: Or it could bring a healer to us right now.

TRAVIS: I say save it and rest. That's my vote.

MARISHA: How long has Percy been dead?

MATT: At this point, maybe 20, 25 minutes.

TRAVIS: Voice your opinions now. Do it.

SAM: I don't know how death magic works.

LAURA: I don't, either.

SAM: I don't know if eight hours makes this huge difference.

MARISHA: It depends on what you're trying to do. I have one ability I could use. You have to do it within ten days. But I'm not necessarily comfortable doing it, regardless. I don't know, I've never done it before, and I don't know the ramifications. I'd prefer to get him to Pike.

TRAVIS: Then let's summon the mansion and do this.

SAM: All right. But we have to collect things first. We need all the guns. Even the broken ones. If any one finds any of these, they could be retrofitted or used for evil in the future and that's something that Percy would not want. Ever.

TRAVIS: I'll go get them, because I'm still doing pretty dandy and I'll absorb all the glass shards from walking around.

SAM: I need to go find our dog. He probably won't be able to be found, but he could be somewhere. And I feel like we should look in this cavern, don't you think?

LIAM: We could go.

MARISHA: I'll stay with Percy.

SAM: Someone has to stay with him.

TRAVIS: Okay. If you two want to go check the cavern, I'll collect all the guns and check the bodies of the people that are down.

LAURA: Can we have taken a short rest to heal a bit before we do anything?

MATT: You could do that. Just half an hour to an hour. You can do that. So you guys take a short rest now to use any of your hit dice to go ahead and heal up. And Scanlan's giving Song of Rest, so you get an additional–

SAM: 1d12.

MATT: 1d12 to each one of you guys on top of whatever you're healing.

MARISHA: Keyleth takes Percy's body and I drag him over to the table and I lay him out and I start cleaning him and cleaning his wounds as best as I can.

MATT: He's a bloody mess. But at the same time, there is a strange look of peace on his face. It both comforts and upsets you. And you have a hard time concentrating on the face. You're just focusing on the body as you clean him and make him look as good as you possibly can using Druidcraft and other spells at your disposal.

TRAVIS: Guns and bodies.

MATT: Make an investigation check.

TRAVIS: Nice. Oh, minus two. 15.

MATT: 15. All right, you find, let's see… you find 620 gold pieces total across all the bodies. You find two pistols, two rifles. There is also a long-barreled Bad News-like rifle that was discarded across the battlefield by Ripley earlier in the fight. It's busted. There is a greatsword and a set of full plate that were on the goliath that you battled.

TRAVIS: Full plate?

MATT: Full plate, yes. You find a total of 185 rounds of small ammunition.

TRAVIS: Okay. For the pistols?

MATT: And about 26 rounds of large ammunition for the rifles.

TRAVIS: Got it. 26 rounds.

MATT: You find a potion of superior healing on the smashed corpse of the wizard that didn't get a chance to use it before it fell to its horrible death. That's a really good one. A set of Bracers of Defense, plus two, which I think you've encountered previously.

TRAVIS: I have.

MATT: So you can write that down. And yeah, that's all you find on the corpses.

TRAVIS: Those Bracers of Defense need to be attuned?

MATT: It's a plus two. They do need to be attuned, I'm pretty sure. Let me double check. I'm pretty sure they do. Yeah. And you have the cloak, and you have the dagger at your disposal, and the gun. If you wanted to take the time to inspect them during the short rest.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: Okay. So. While he's doing that, you guys go off to the cave?

LIAM: Yes. And I'm going to look for traps the entire way there.

LAURA: And I'm going to ride my broom there so I don't get any damage walking on the glass.

MATT: Okay. Is Kynan staying behind with you guys?

SAM: I can keep him, and he can help me look for the dog.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make an investigation check.

SAM: Does he make one, too?

MATT: He does, yeah.

SAM: 30.

MATT: It takes you the better part of 30 minutes or so, but the needle in the haystack was not as hard a search as you thought, and you find it wedged between two branches back in its hard onyx form. Unscathed, seemingly, from the explosion.

SAM: Just scratch him behind his ear. Sorry! Maybe we'll do more next time.

MATT: All right. You guys, because you're going to check for traps as you go? Go ahead and roll an investigation check.

LIAM: 18.

MATT: Okay. Making your way through, there don't appear to be any traps in your way. And as you wind through the path, and there is a walked path following the tracks of the people who had set up the ambush for you and heading towards the mountain where Kynan had pointed earlier. You do eventually, and also watching your sister above, and you can see the entrance to this. There is a large volcanic-mouthed cavern at the bottom of the mountain before it meets the edge of the jungle. You get to it, and it's about 40 feet by 20 feet initially. And it quickly funnels down. All the rock in here, by the way, is very dark, broken, porous volcanic texture. It looks like this mountain at one point in time may have been volcanically active, or at least, may still be, and there isn't sign of any recent activity. There's no smoke. There is a heavy sulfurous smell as you get close and actually begin to enter the front of the cave. Do you guys continue forward into the cavern?

LAURA: Is it dark in there?

MATT: Yeah. There's no light source. You guys can still see up to a certain distance okay without light.

LAURA: Could I–

LIAM: I'll check for traps again. I'll pull out the flame tongue dagger to get a little more light.

MATT: Little bit of torch light.

LAURA: I set fire to the tip of an arrow and shoot it using Oracle Shot into the cave.

MATT: Okay. Go ahead and make your investigation check.

LIAM: One.

MATT: Okay. As you instead are distracted by the flaming side of the arrow, her lobbing it, and suddenly her eyes just glazing over white. It catches you off guard, the first time really seeing this happen, and so you weren't even paying attention to the rest of the cavern. You all of a sudden are having an immediate first-person of the very tip of the arrow coasting through darkness. The fire itself crackling around you like you're wreathed in flame. You can hear the flame licking past your ears almost as you pass through the wind of this still tunnel air. Eventually, coming down, you can see the tunnel condenses and then turns sharply right and you scatter against the rock, fall to the side. We'll see where it lands, actually. Okay. You hit the ground and ahead you can see with a little light that the tunnel splits into two, but there is… There's detail to the walls that doesn't look natural. There is some idea of construction here. There is structure. Someone has refined elements of the interior of this tunnel. That's the best you can make out with the arrow's placement.

LIAM: You all right?

LAURA: That was cool. It's a fucking tunnel. There's maybe something in there. (tearfully) I don't know what we're doing. I don't know what purpose it serves.

LIAM: (voice breaking) I'm so sorry. I walk in.

MATT: Okay. As you guys continue following the path that the arrow did, the tunnel winds back and forth a bit. It pinches and then curves quickly to the right, where you find the arrow still lying there.

LIAM: Stealth, please?

MATT: Roll a stealth check.

LAURA: Can I check for anything that looks out of place, any danger or anything? Traps, if you will.

MATT: Make an investigation check, while you're stealthing.

LIAM: 25.

LAURA: Terrible investigation.11.

MATT: It seems safe.

LAURA: It seems so safe.

MATT: Are you stealthing, as well?

LAURA: Sure. 20.

MATT: Okay. The two of you pushing forward, the cavern divides to the right and left eventually. To the right was what you got the glimpse at. To the left, it just continues, the same kind of porous rock. And it's like a volcanic tube, that general erosion built a floor that's a little less wide than the walls, which are spherical in shape.

LIAM: So, on the right, it's natural, and on the left it's more altered.

MATT: Other way.

LIAM: Other way. So one is natural, one is touched.

MATT: To the right, where the tunnel curves off, you can see what appear to be smoothed-over walls, where it's been just either ground down. They're not perfectly flat but there has been some amount of effort put in making it a smooth-walled structure. That same burnt sulfur smell is stronger the deeper into the mountain you go, but not to the point where it's forcing you to cough. You do feel a little bit of burning in the lungs from proximity.

LAURA: Are there tracks at all in the cave?

MATT: There are a few footfalls going through the dust. Very hastily. They're like jogging-paced footfalls. And even just from some of the tracking you've done previously in the day, some of these footfalls are of the people that you encountered earlier, including Ripley.

LAURA: I feel like they've already been in here, and she took what she found.

LIAM: Let's be sure. I'll take point. I start walking down the altered path.

LAURA: Following the path that we see her footsteps in.

MATT: Okay. And carefully stepping forward for the next ten minutes or so, it goes from a slightly curved and bunched rock formation into a singular long tunnel that has been pushed into the mountain itself. And it abruptly comes to an end. In here, the soft, ashy dust that once formed the floor has given way to crunching of thousands and thousands of tiny bone shards. And you see before you what appears to be a cluster of hundreds of skulls that are built up into one altar-like platform. Everything here is burnt. And elements of this look like a large fiery event transpired in here that destroyed much of what once was a more structured interior. And this altar, while it remains in place, it look like it suffered severe damage in the past. The skulls and rocks that are there, most of them are broken, cracked and thrown against the walls. This looks very old. It looks like this place hasn't been touched in a very long time.

LAURA: Anything that looks like a teleportation circle or anything?

MATT: Investigation check.

LAURA: (sighs) Natural one.

LIAM: I got an 18. No, I got a 20.

MATT: You don't find anything that resembles a teleportation circle. What you do find is in the altar. It appears that there was a compartment that has since been opened up that is left vacuous and empty. It appears to have been recently disturbed.

LAURA: Okay. This is what Ripley took. This is where she found the scroll.

MATT: And once you do that, looking at the little bit of ashy soot that was on the outside of the scroll, you do get the sense that that was probably what was taken from this altar.

LIAM: Do we waste our time with the other passage, or do we go back?

LAURA: (tearfully) Let's go back.

MATT: Eventually, you guys make your way back to the rest of the camp. You've cleaned up Percy to the best of your ability. You've gathered all the materials from all the other corpses around the battlefield. You and Kynan return with your onyx dog. What are you going to do?

SAM: We sleep.

LAURA: Super restful, just the most restful sleep.

SAM: Yeah, it's going to be a great night. We'll hang out, tell stories about Percy, cry a bunch.

TRAVIS: Not yet!

SAM: Yeah, you're right. All right. What time is it? How long have we been awake? Should we let the airship know so they don't keep hovering?

LAURA: Yes. I'll fly over to them.

SAM: We have flares.

LAURA: Yeah, but they might not understand what it means. I'll fly over to them and tell them, what, they can go?

SAM: But we don't– I guess. Is there anything we need from them? They can bring the arm back to Ank'Harel. Weren't we supposed to bring her arm back to Ank'Harel?

LAURA: Yeah, but there wasn't a time limit on that.

SAM: We'll mail it?

LIAM: We'll just hold onto it for now.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: I'll fly up to the airship.

MATT: Okay. It's a little ways south of the island, but it was at the ready. All of its various arbalest setups are still ready for war. They're basically just waiting for your guys' order to come and attack. As you come to the edge, you see Captain Damon immediately rush up and goes, “We saw some sort of explosion on the island. Is everyone all right?” Immediately his expression drops, and he steps on to the back of his heels and drops his hands in front of him in a very business-type setup. “I'm sorry.”

LAURA: We're going to find another way back home. You can take the airship back to Ank'Harel if you want.

MATT: “Where are you going?”

LAURA: Somewhere with… clerics. I don't know.

MATT: “Very good. I guess, if you need me and my crew, come find us in Ank'Harel.”

LAURA: Of course. Thank you.

MATT: “Safe travels. Crew!” And he starts shouting out to the rest of everyone on the deck. As you coast off, you hear him shouting at a distance over the wind, “We're going home. Whatever that is these days.” You hear the flare of various magical crystals. The vibration creaks. They glow a brighter blue as the ship turns around.

LAURA: Oh shit. I go back.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Did you leave your purse?

LAURA: Oh, my wallet! No, but I go back up and I say to Captain Damon: Are you willing to join a fight?

MATT: “Explain.”

LAURA: Those dragons destroyed our home. We could use an airship in the fight against them.

MATT: “We're outfitted to take down relatively dangerous prey, but–”

LAURA: You wouldn't be fighting alone.

MATT: “I mean no offense here, and the honorable goal is fantastic, but I also have a crew to feed.”

LAURA: Of course. There's a lot of gold there. A lot of riches.

MATT: Make a persuasion roll.

LAURA: I've been rolling so well tonight.

LIAM: This is the one.

LAURA: 20?

MATT: “We'll learn the details later, but I'm happy to help. Convincing them will take some coin, but where would you like us to go?”

LAURA: (quietly) Oh shit. Should I?

SAM: We're not there.

LAURA: (sighs) Do you know where Whitestone is?

MATT: “I've not been there, but I can figure it out.”

LAURA: It's in the mountains.

MATT: He looks over, and you can see Teera, who is the halfling with the rotted teeth, comes up and goes, “I know that's by the Alabaster Sierras. I can get us there.”

LAURA: I'm trusting you with that location.

MATT: “All right.” She bows her head and backs away, uncomfortable with the tension of the situation. Captain Damon goes, “We'll meet you in Whitestone.”

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: “Safe travels.”

LAURA: You, as well.

MATT: The ship continues making its way southward, turning around slowly to start turning more northeast direction. You guys watch as you see the ship go overhead from the island, heading in the opposite direction of Ank'Harel. Eventually, Vex makes her way back to your location on the island.

SAM: How'd it go with Damon?

LAURA: We're getting married. It's wonderful.

SAM: I knew it!

LAURA: They're heading to Whitestone.

SAM: Aren't we not supposed to tell anybody about Whitestone? Didn't we have some blood pact, don't ever say the word Whitestone?

LAURA: We did.

SAM: Also, isn't it invisible?

LAURA: It is.

SAM: Great. All right, well, maybe they'll find it, anyway.

TRAVIS: Shall we?

LIAM: Can you do the thing, Scan-man?

SAM: Sure. I'll house it up.

MATT: Okay. As you summon Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion, you all come to a familiar space, spectral servants waiting to wait on you. But the somber atmosphere still remains. You find your way to your respective rooms, and if there's anything you'd like to do before the evening's rest, now's the time to speak up.

LIAM: Hey, just an idea. Everybody remembers when they were kids putting blankets out in the living room and sleeping. I don't really want to go back to my room. Want to camp out in the den together?

MARISHA: Yeah, we can make a blanket fort.

SAM: Sounds good.

LAURA: Didn't you ever have blanket forts, Grog?

TRAVIS: I didn't have blankets.

LAURA: We'll show you how it's done.

TRAVIS: Fine.

LIAM: Where do we put Percival?

TRAVIS: With us.

SAM: Yeah. We're still a team.

MARISHA: That sounds a little weird, you guys.

SAM: Well, we're not going to let him sleep alone. We'll put him on a table, and we'll all sleep around him on the floor. It'll be super weird.

TRAVIS: I reach into the bag of holding, and I take out one of the ten expensive-ass bottles of wine. I take out two of them. I de-cork two. I hand one to Vex and one to Keyleth and say: It'll be a hard night, but you both have to sleep. Drink this, and we will attempt to remedy this when we wake. The best thing you can do for your friend now is to sleep, so do that. Save your tears for later.

MARISHA: Keyleth also pulls a Vex.

MATT: All right.

MARISHA: I take out the dagger and I hand it to Vex– to Vax, sorry.

LAURA: Thank you, you already said it. You said it's mine. It's mine. I take one of the blankets, and I cover up Percy.

MATT: You take that and cover him up and put him currently to rest on the ground. Kynan is still by the door.

LIAM: Come here. Two things. One, there's blue people all over the place in here. Don't pay them any mind.

MATT: “Yeah.”

LIAM: Stay in the room, but give us a little bit of space.

MATT: “Of course.”

LIAM: Hey. We'll work it out. Have faith.

MATT: He doesn't say anything.

LIAM: I go back to the group.

TRAVIS: And we sleep.

MARISHA: I Druidcraft little fireflies above us. Make it all pretty, and sleep, too.

MATT: You guys take an evening's rest within the mansion. You recover half of your hit die. Whatever your maximum hit die is, you recover half that for the evening's rest. You're at full hit points, and your spells are returned to you.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: We're normal again.

LIAM: Well, that's debatable.

MATT: Grog is at level 15, so you would get back eight of your hit dice that you've spent.

LAURA: (sing-song) Morning comes.

MATT: All right. What's the plan?

SAM: Well, we're recovered. How'd you guys sleep? Everyone sleep okay? Not great.

LAURA: Can we Tree Stride, Keyleth? Can we go?

MARISHA: Yes, let's go.

MATT: As you guys make your way to the front door, you see Kynan is leaning against the wall of the front, his knees pushed to his chest. He hasn't slept. He has big bags under his eyes. He's just staring at the floor.

TRAVIS: Kynan, is it? Do me a favor. Sulk around this group a little bit later. Otherwise, I might kill you right now. So fall in line and pick your chin up.

MATT: He's not reacting.

LAURA: I give him some water.

MATT: He acknowledges as you place it down. He doesn't drink any of it.

LAURA: You should get up. We're leaving.

MARISHA: Are we bringing him with us?

LAURA and LIAM: Yes.

MATT: He stands up slowly and just follows you like a ghost right now. What's the plan?

SAM: Got to find a tree.

LAURA: Go to tree. Go to Sun Tree.

SAM: Where we going?

LAURA and TRAVIS: Whitestone.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Closest, biggest, fattest tree.

MATT: It doesn't take you long. You've seen a few that'll work in your initial travel into the jungle here. You find one thick jungle tree that's probably 35 feet up, slightly curving at the top, one of the few living trees in this forest. It's a nice wide solid trunk, so it's perfect for you to do this. As you all gather around, making sure you have everything you need, Keyleth, you reach out, touch, and mark the space where the doorway is to open. As you finish the casting of your spell, the bark of this striated palm tree-type structure falls away into the entrance. On the other side, you can see that brief, hazy glimmer of a cloud-covered day at Whitestone. You all quickly rush through, one after another. Portal closes behind as you all stand now leaping outside of the Sun Tree in the center of the main town square in Whitestone. It is getting close to… The sun is setting. It's later in the afternoon, evening.

LAURA: Do we see anyone around? We get Pike. We go to Pike.

MARISHA: Pike immediately.

MATT: All right. There is still that faint shimmer on the sky above you.

TRAVIS: I have Percy over my shoulders, fireman carry.

MATT: As you guys arrive, a number of people who live in Whitestone–

LAURA: What?

TRAVIS: Yeah, around my shoulders. Yeah. No. Fireman carry.

MATT: As you guys begin walking away from the Sun Tree, you can see a bunch of townsfolk and some guards begin to walk up to greet you, and be like, “You've returned–” Immediately, the energy is felt and everyone steps away and gives you space as people begin to see the limp body of Percival being held over Grog's shoulder.

LAURA: Someone should get Cassandra.

MARISHA: Immediately. Tell them we're coming. To prepare quarters.

MATT: “Right away.” The guard rushes off up towards the Castle Whitestone. Are you guys walking towards the Castle Whitestone, as well?

SAM: That's where Pike is, right?

LAURA: Is she building a temple here?

MATT: There is a temple being built here, yes.

SAM: In the castle?

MATT: No. The temple would be within the city itself.

SAM: And that's where she was last seen?

LAURA: Can we try the earrings? Does Pike have her earring?

MARISHA: Yeah, she's got to have her earring, right?

LAURA: Pike, can you hear us?

MATT: Pike, you who have been suffering a very sleepless night, feeling some amorphous heartbreak that you haven't been able to define yet that has prevented you from closing eyes without spells of sudden anxiety and sadness, hear the voice come peeking through, and the immediacy of Vex's tone is both comforting and immediately confirming a terrible fright that you've had lingering at the back of your mind.

ASHLEY: Vex?

LAURA: Where are you, darling?

ASHLEY: I'm in the temple. Where are you? I know something's wrong.

LAURA: (tearfully) We're coming to find you.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MARISHA: To Sarenrae's temple.

MATT: You guys beeline there. The temple is still under construction, and construction's been slow due to the scenario that currently exists on Tal'Dorei. Many folks instead are putting a lot of energy toward defenses and training in case anything bad happens in Whitestone. There are a few worshipers that have converted to Sarenrae and are helping, but Pike is still the central place of what is a basic stone structure that is slowly being outfitted. As you approach, it's pretty much a hovel, but is making its way. As you approach, you can see the front door open, and there Pike's form, long silver- and gold-colored evening wear, her hair tousled around her face, the little bit of wind that's blowing through causing it to tumble against one chin. She looks out the rest of you with sadness across her eyes.

ASHLEY: I knew something was wrong. Where is he?

LAURA: We bring him inside.

MATT: You all make your way into this room. There are two other people that are helping around. They're general townsfolk. They're not heavy into any specific use aside from cleaning and helping construct. But they bring a large table out, and you guys set Percy on top of it.

LAURA: Pike, can you do something? Can you help him?

ASHLEY: I'm going to try.

TRAVIS: We're here with you, Pike.

MARISHA: Whatever we can do to help. We just knew we couldn't do this without you.

ASHLEY: Okay, I'm going to cast Resurrection on him.

SAM: Resurrection? What does that do? Does it just bring him back?

LAURA: Does Resurrection just bring him back?

MATT: There are two spells at your disposal. There is Resurrection, which is a 7th-level spell. It costs a diamond worth 1,000 gold, which the spell consumes. Or there is Raise Dead, which is a 5th-level spell, which consumes a diamond worth 500 gold pieces, but the target has to have been dead no longer than ten days.

LAURA: Okay, so we could do that. What does Resurrection do?

MATT: The same thing, but the person could have been dead for up to a century.

MARISHA: Is there a better chance with Resurrection?

MATT: I would say, being a 7th-level spell, I would give a very faint modifier, depending.

SAM: I don't know, Vex. We could save 500 gold.

LAURA: I bring out the best diamond I have.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: I got a whole 40-pound bag of gems.

SAM: What was that, Ash?

ASHLEY: With Raise Dead, is there– (sighs) what is my question? How whole does he come back?

MATT: Whole. With both spells, he comes back whole. If it works.

ASHLEY: Well, we could save a little money.

(laughter)

SAM: No, Pike, no!

TRAVIS: Oh, how grief does strange things to people!

SAM: Or we could buy him a better tombstone if we had the extra money!

LAURA: That's terrible, Scanlan!

ASHLEY: His glasses are broken. We could fix his glasses.

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: This is Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III. He needs a large-ass diamond. Pull out the biggest one you've got.

LAURA: I've got a thousand-dollar diamond. It's actually listed in my items. A thousand-gold diamond.

ASHLEY: Let's do it. He's a de Rolo. He deserves the best.

MATT: Okay. Pike, you begin to set the stage for the ritual. You begin to pull out the sage. This temple, as simple as it is, but simple is the nature of Sarenrae, one who does not have much worshiping influence in this world. You know that she requires just enough, and the faith is stronger than the presentation, but you pull out the best you can all the offerings that are necessary. You scrawl out the various divine runic symbols that represent healing, that represent connection to one's divine entity, that represent stalwartness and strength of heart, that represent love and family, everything you can think of that really binds this ritual to the moment. As you guys are sitting around to prepare, you begin the incantation of the ritual. The first stage allows you to reach out and make contact with the spirit wherever it is. After five minutes of searching, you have no way of locating it. The spirit, currently– something is blocking it.

LAURA: Is it Orthax?

MATT: You know it's out there. You can sense that there is an essence of Percival, but it's like it's blurred and there's something blocking it. The ritual's unable to reach out.

ASHLEY: How do I find out what it is?

LAURA: Is there a way to find out what it is that's blocking it?

MATT: You may have to think about it.

ASHLEY: Insight check, or can I–

LIAM: Religion. It's Orthax.

MARISHA: I pull out Ripley's gun, and I hand it to Pike while she's still in her ritual, and see if that has any effect.

MATT: As Keyleth hands you the gun, that strange blockage becomes crystalline. What was once a dark spot that was preventing you from clarifying your vision is now a clear patch of shadow. Having seen this once before, Orthax is indeed blocking the ritual and is currently hungrily feasting on the soul of Percival.

SAM: In the gun?

LAURA: How do we draw him out?

MARISHA: Do we try and destroy the gun again? Do we do this again?

TRAVIS: What if we carve his name back onto the barrel?

LIAM: What if we use that scroll to go to him now?

SAM: Go to Percy?

TRAVIS: Or go to Orthax.

LAURA: We can pull Orthax through the gate.

LIAM: Or kill him on his home turf and kill him for real.

MARISHA: He's a shadow fiend. Does that mean we have to kill him on his own turf? Do we know?

MATT: I would say, Pike, make a religion check, and make an intelligence check, Scanlan.

LIAM: Can I make a religion check?

MATT: Actually, yes, you can, as well.

SAM: Check? Just a check?

ASHLEY: 21.

SAM: 11.

MATT: Holding this, the essence of Orthax, a shadow demon like this. Orthax was not destroyed and sent back to his plane. Orthax cannot be sent back to its plane when it's bound to whatever its crux is. Whatever object that Orthax has used as its focus holds it in this plane and it cannot be destroyed on its plane while it's attached to that object. The gun right now is essentially the anchor that Orthax is using.

LAURA: We need to destroy the gun.

MATT: Destroy the gun or find a way to break the connection.

TRAVIS: Didn't you detach Craven Edge from me? Didn't you sever a thread? Didn't that happen?

LAURA: Can you reach out? Can you do that?

TRAVIS: Yeah!

MARISHA: Pike did that, right?

SAM: How'd you do that, Pikey?

ASHLEY: I'm trying to remember!

TRAVIS: I don't even remember, and it happened to me.

SAM: Well, you were dead, weren't you?

TRAVIS: No excuse.

MARISHA: Wasn't it a something-evil spell?

SAM: Could we throw the gun into the little hole under Whitestone Castle?

LIAM: There also still acid.

LAURA: Yeah! What if we brought the gun in front of the circle? It cancels out the magic of it.

MARISHA: Throw it in the circle?

LAURA: Or just bring in there.

MARISHA: Is it an arcane magic like that?

LAURA: I don't know. We could try.

SAM: There is acid. We could do the same exact thing.

LIAM: And repeat history, Scanlan.

ASHLEY: I think it was Greater Restoration.

TRAVIS: That was right. That's what severed it.

MATT: You want to try a Greater Restoration spell, is that what you're saying?

SAM: On what?

TRAVIS: On the gun.

SAM: Can you do that to an object?

MATT: Yeah, that's what she did for–

TRAVIS: She could see a thread that was connecting us.

MATT: What are you doing, Pike?

ASHLEY: To the gun? Is that even going to make any sense?

MARISHA: Pike, I can try Greater Restoration, if you want to save your healing magic. Do you want me to try it?

ASHLEY: I mean, in case this doesn't work–

MARISHA: I'll try to recreate what Pike did to Grog.

MATT: You take Animus from her, the pepperbox, and even holding it there is this dark weight to it. It feels like lead and cold in your hands. As you concentrate, channeling the divine druidic energies that currently you're focusing into it, your vision comes to a similar dark, shadowy mass that Pike had seen during the attempt at the resurrection ritual. You can see there is indeed a connection, there is a tangible gateway between this weapon and Orthax, the shadow demon. There, enveloped in the darkness, you can sense in your heart of hearts: that's where Percy lies. As you begin to focus on Greater Restoration, you begin to feel the nature of the curse that binds him to it. And you reach out in this space. You guys watch as Keyleth reaches out into the air of nothing, but within your sight and your vision, you can see that thread, and you grasp it. As you hold it with your fingers, you feel it fight. You watch as Keyleth's hand bolts around with nothing in her grasp. You hear the voice whisper, “No! No, I finally have him. I finally–” And with that, you snap with your fist. The shadow screams and vanishes and there you see a brief glimmer of light, the remaining spirit of Percival as it drifts off into the Astral Sea.

MARISHA: I scream: Percy!

MATT: The spell finishes. The gun itself, you guys see a flash of shadow around it, and it dulls. All the names on the side vanish as well. The barrels are now clean.

MARISHA: Pike, do it!

ASHLEY: I continue working on the Resurrection spell.

MATT: Okay. As you go back into this ritual, that blockage is gone now, and you can see, clear, the somewhat tattered-around-the-edges, but whole and existing soul of Percival. The ritual makes connection, and with that, that coldness becomes a warmth and a familiarity as you reach out and implore the spirit to take your attention and come back. Now, who wants to aid in this resurrection ritual? Who has something to offer as a part of this skill challenge?

SAM: I would like to inspire her, at least. Is that something that will help?

MATT: Inspiring whoever wants to be part of the ritual, yeah. You can go ahead and inspire.

LAURA: Can I reach forward and look in Percy's coat for that condensed whitestone that he carries?

MATT: Sure. Go ahead and make an investigation check.

MARISHA: Hey, Vex, will you look for that raven skull that I gave him while you're at it?

LAURA: Sure. 25.

MATT: 25. You start rummaging through his coat and you find his gun, Retort. You find a bunch of random bullet casings and bullets. You find a cluster of papers and notes that are folded up in a small book, and what appears to be a partially sealed letter with no name on it.

LAURA: Nothing else?

MATT: You eventually find some of the whitestone glass, the green glass that you guys had flashed around in Ank'Harel.

MARISHA: Does he still have the raven skull on him that I gave him?

MATT: The raven skull is still on him. It hangs around his neck, yeah.

TRAVIS: What is that?

LAURA: He says it's supposed to amplify magic. Right?

SAM: I think.

LAURA: So I put it on his chest.

MATT: All right. What do you want to offer to the skill challenge for this event? Something that you as an individual bring to this and bring to the connection to Percy to try and–

LAURA: (shakily) I say: Percy, I don't know if you can hear me, but that day in Syngorn was one of the best moments of my life. And not because of what you think. It wasn't because of my father or the title. It was because of Whitestone. It was because of you. You allowed me to be a part of the thing that you hold dearest. And I was so proud. But I don't want to be here if you're not. Whitestone still needs you, darling. I still need you here. And I lean down and I kiss him, and I say, I should have told you: it's yours.

MATT: Make a persuasion roll.

LAURA: Natural 20!

MATT: I trust you. Okay. Who else wants to add something to this ritual?

SAM: Matt, would I inspire Pike or Percy?

MATT: If you want to inspire Pike, Pike could attempt to bring something to the ritual and then could use your inspiration die on top of what her check is.

SAM: I see. All right. I'll inspire Pike, then. I assume she's going to bring something to the ritual, right? I assume?

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: So how do you inspire?

SAM: I inspire her the only way I know how, which is being an ass. So I'll inspire her with a shitty limerick.

I know a gunman with a white coif-a
Who acted evil and had a bad cough-a.
He learned that someone
Had possessed his big gun,
So I threw that shit in the lava.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. You have a d12 inspiration die, Pike. What do you want to try and bring to the ritual on top of your casting the spell to draw him back? What do you want to bring to the ritual?

ASHLEY: I don't know. I mean, the love that we have for him? I don't know. (tearfully) This is so stressful.

MATT: I know. You being the pious woman you are, what you've used in the past, religion has been optional. Your connection with Sarenrae in this is important. If there are other skills you can think of that you'd want to bring to this, as well, that you're good at that would fit this circumstance. You can try anything. How well it fits will depend on how high the difficulty class is.

ASHLEY: Right. I think, clearly, I would hope that Sarenrae would come in and step in and help in this.

LAURA: Can you sing? Can you sing, Pike, like you did for that little boy? Percy joined you then.

ASHLEY: I could.

SAM: Didn't you have that thing that brings your god to help once a day?

LAURA: Divine intervention?

ASHLEY: Can I use that along with this?

MATT: I'll let you, yeah.

ASHLEY: Well, heck yes.

MATT: All right. Roll a d10. Let me know what you roll first.

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: What'd you roll?

ASHLEY: I rolled a three.

MATT: Okay. Sarenrae is with you, but the intervention, the Divine Gate that separates the gods from the Prime Material Plane still stands. She's lending what energy she can in this moment. Imploring to her and the connection you do have through the Divine Gate, I want you to go ahead and make a religion check. Roll a d20 and add your religion modifier.

ASHLEY: Come on. 18?

MATT: Okay. Do you want to add your d12 inspiration from Scanlan?

ASHLEY: Yes. That's ten. An extra ten, so what did I say? 28.

MATT: All right, gotcha. One final skill challenge check to make. Who wishes to add to this?

LIAM: I have a notion, but you are very close to him.

MARISHA: I grab the skull from around his neck that I gave him. I say: Percy, we had many conversations about life and death, and in many ways, you were my total opposite. But you are also my best friend. Even though I told you that day that I gave you this that we're all going to die and that you can still be saved from yourself, it was clear the journey was far from over, and it still isn't. And then I'm going to cast Conjure Woodland Beings, and I'm going to have a barrage of crows come from around me. I'm going to tell him: As much as you might think your journey is over, just because yours might be, ours isn't. And we need you. And I need you.

LIAM: I kneel at his head and shoot out the wings and lend them to Percival like the crow he is. Like a cloak.

MATT: I'm going to say between the two of you on that, I need you to make a charisma ability check. With advantage because of Vax helping you. This is in particular a challenge for you because persuasion's already been used. You as your point of leadership and strength of character, you're piercing through the veil and through the ritual to appeal to him as a person to another through sheer force of charismatic persuasion. With advantage. Adding your charisma bonus.

MARISHA: Use the gold die. Percy. 19.

MATT: 19. You feel, Pike, the ritual begin to culminate. The divine energies lent to you by Sarenrae fill your form, and you watch as Pike's physical form now seems to overlap her divine form you've had at a distance. She is this radiant golden image of herself, the same golden wings flaring up around her. You watch as Percy's body begins to rise off the table, the arms and legs limply hanging underneath, the chest rising up. The light from Pike begins to create a small well of divine energy that spirals down into his chest and blasts through him and the table. The table itself cracks beneath him, yet he still remains aloft as the energy hits. The energy fades. The ritual completes. The room grows still and cold and dark once more. Pike's divine form disperses into golden feathers that drift and disappear across the wooden floor. Percy's body slowly lands onto the table. Stillness. Stillness. (inhalation) Breaths begin to fill his chest once more. Unconscious as he is, life is slowly returning to Percival, as is color. His pale skin pale as it's ever been, but now slowly stirring.

ASHLEY: (sighs with relief)

LAURA: (laughs) Pike!

MATT: I'll take a picture of that just so everyone knows.

LAURA: Taliesin, get your butt in here!

SAM: He's so quiet. We should just let him sleep.

ASHLEY: This is too fucking much, man.

SAM: Pike, you're in a temple! Don't curse.

ASHLEY: I don't care.

LAURA: Percy?

MARISHA: You said he's still unconscious?

MATT: Still unconscious.

LIAM: Oh. Well, I cast Lay on Hands and take him out of that, right away. Ten hit points.

MATT: Percival! Get back in your chair.

TRAVIS: Get your monkey ass back in that chair!

SAM: But–

TALIESIN: I've been watching South Park. I don't know about the rest of you.

LIAM: No Hamlet death for you!

MATT: Let me tweet out the photo real fast.

LAURA: I feel like we need to take a break. Can we take our break? I'm going to throw up.

MATT: Actually, this would be a great time to go ahead and take a break. We're going to go ahead and go take a quick break.

LAURA: Good job, Ashley!

SAM: Ashley, you did it! You have one job, Ashley! One job!

TALIESIN: Two jobs.

MATT: Those were some good rolls, man, and apparently a convincing– I was literally waiting for a text from Taliesin to let me know, based on how the ritual went, whether or not Percival felt it was enough to bring him back, even if it would have succeeded.

TALIESIN: You guys could have fucked it up so bad. It would have been great.

MATT: We'll be back here in a number of minutes.

MARISHA: (hoarsely) Did we say the right thing? Clearly?

TALIESIN: I'll tell you when the camera's off.

LIAM: Listen, all we know is half the audience is going to be furious.

(laughter)

MATT: All right, guys. We'll see you here in a few minutes.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So. Diving right back in. Percival, freshly breathing on the table in the partially constructed small temple to Sarenrae in the city of Whitestone, apparently successful, his spirit restored. You come to consciousness as a tiny hand is smacking you in the face.

SAM: It's like that little doll hand on SNL.

TALIESIN: Can I use my missile grab again?

MATT: Yes, you can.

TALIESIN: I do not open my eyes.

SAM: He's awake! He's alive! Ow!

TALIESIN: And I slap him in the face.

MARISHA: His reflexes are working. His reflexes are working great.

TALIESIN: (gasping)

LAURA: Welcome back.

TALIESIN: (hoarsely) Where are we?

SAM: Your home. Our home.

LAURA: Oh shit. Can you see? Are his glasses broken?

MATT: His glasses are cracked.

TALIESIN: But I can see fine. I'm nearsighted. I don't feel well.

LIAM: You want to feel better?

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: Ripley is dead.

TALIESIN: Thank you.

SAM: Deader than dead. She's torn asunder. We have parts of her.

TALIESIN: That's good news. There's only one part we need. Well, two.

SAM: Two?

TALIESIN: Did we keep both her hands?

LAURA: We did!

SAM: I thought one was a fake.

TALIESIN: I'd like to see it.

SAM: Okay. All right. That's a weird request when you just wake up.

TALIESIN: Not now.

LIAM: Yeah, your sister's going to be running up in here very soon.

TALIESIN: Oh god, no. I'm going to lie back down.

MATT: At which point, the door slams open and Cassandra's there with what appears to be Seeker Assum and a couple of the guards from Whitestone. “Where is he? Is he all right?”

TALIESIN: I'm going to throw up.

MATT: “Oh, he's all right.”

(laughter)

MATT: “You scared me. I heard he was–”

LAURA: Everything's fine, dear.

MATT: She walks up to you at the table and leans over and, “Stop getting into trouble, brother. Please?”

TALIESIN: Well, just a few more dragons and I'll take a break. It'll be fine. I'm tired.

MATT: She runs her fingers through your hair a couple of times and looks down. Her stern expression melts into a warmth and appreciation. And she feels the coldness of the body and goes– You can see her putting together the setup, the ritual, your emotional state and the damp cheeks. She looks over towards you, Pike, and nods and says, “Thank you.”

ASHLEY: You're welcome.

TALIESIN: (sighs heavily)

MATT: “Get some food in you and stop being so bloody useless,” and slaps you upside the face and turns around and leaves the temple.

TALIESIN: If everybody had just slapped my face while I was dead, that would have been so much more convenient.

LAURA: Who says we didn't?

LIAM: That wasn't the worst of it.

TALIESIN: No, it was really not. I am very tired.

SAM: Well, you spent last night on a table, which is much beneath a man of your station.

MARISHA: Percy, you were gone for quite a while.

TALIESIN: How long?

LAURA: A day.

TALIESIN: Only a day?

SAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: How long did it feel?

TALIESIN: I don't know.

TRAVIS: What do you remember?

TALIESIN: Nothing worth repeating.

MARISHA: I beg to differ.

SAM: I wanted to use a Gate spell to save you instantly, but everyone else in the group said no. They wanted to save it for something else.

(laughter)

SAM: I stood up for you when you were down, and they turned their backs on you. I give him a big hug, and I say: I think that entitles me to one of the guns that we found. Just one of them. The smallest one. You can teach me how to use it on weekends.

TALIESIN: We'll discuss this.

SAM: It's a hard yes I'm expecting.

(laughter)

LIAM: Laughter. Laughter's back.

TALIESIN: It was not pleasant. Thank you. Thank you for what you did.

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: I saw what you did.

MARISHA: What do you mean you saw what I did?

TALIESIN: It was the only thing I saw.

MARISHA: Did you hear me yell for you?

TALIESIN: No, but I saw your hand. Thank you. (sighs)

MARISHA: Percy.

TALIESIN: Yes? I'm glad that that's not waiting for me any more.

MARISHA: Are you sure?

LAURA: Is he gone?

MARISHA: Do you still feel him?

TALIESIN: I haven't felt him in a long time. I stopped feeling him after you did what you did. And then there was nothing, and then I was here. But in between, I did feel him, quite a bit. I'd rather not think about it at the moment.

MARISHA: You should rest and get better.

TALIESIN: I think I'm going to rest.

LIAM: Bedtime, Percy.

TALIESIN: Hello, Pike!

ASHLEY: Hi!

TALIESIN: I don't suppose you've had time to read any of those books.

ASHLEY: I've read all of them. Just all of them. I've had lots of time on my hands.

TRAVIS: I want to insight-check Pike.

(laughter)

MATT: Roll an insight check. Pike, roll a deception check.

ASHLEY: Yes! Here we go!

MATT: What'd you roll?

TRAVIS: 11.

ASHLEY: All right.

MATT: Pike, what'd you roll a deception check?

ASHLEY: (laughs) Four.

(laughter)

MATT: She's lying through her fucking teeth, Grog.

TRAVIS: Pike!

ASHLEY: Hey, it was a joke! Trying to make everyone laugh?

TALIESIN: You just lied to me. I'm so proud of you.

ASHLEY: I'm learning.

TALIESIN: I'm so proud of you.

TRAVIS: That was very clever, Pike.

TALIESIN: You should do that more often.

ASHLEY: I give Percy a big hug.

TALIESIN: (groans)

ASHLEY: Please don't do that again?

TALIESIN: I can make no promises. Oh, that hurts. Hi.

TRAVIS: Did you thank her for the necklace?

TALIESIN: Thank you for the necklace. That was–

ASHLEY: Not enough?

TALIESIN: No, apparently just enough, because here we are, and she's been dealt with. So it was just enough. (sighs) I'm very tired.

MARISHA: You should sleep, and we'll talk more tomorrow.

TALIESIN: I'm going to not sleep in here, wherever this is.

MARISHA: No, this is still a construction zone.

TALIESIN: Is this what you've been building?

ASHLEY: Yes. I know, it still needs some work. It's not very cozy yet, but it's coming around.

TALIESIN: I don't know if cozy is really the point. I'm going to lie down somewhere soft.

TRAVIS: We should all go back to the castle, then.

MARISHA: I'll go dump a few healing spells and stuff into him. Let's get you to lie down first.

MATT: So you go and heal him up. You guys make your way back to the castle. The guards are there waiting. As you enter, you can see there, sitting in the foyer, talking and discussing, is Jarett and Gilmore, who both look a little nervous and intense about apparently recently hearing what happened. As soon as you enter, Gilmore turns. “I take that as a good sign. He's standing.”

TALIESIN: I am literally using my gun as a crutch.

MATT: “Oh, come here, you white-haired fool!” Then he runs forward and lifts you up with a hug that hurts so much. He holds you up for a second and sets you back down. “I know that hurt.”

(laughter)

MATT: “And what did we learn? Don't get killed again!”

TALIESIN: Third time's the charm, in theory. Should we show them what we got?

SAM: What do we have?

MARISHA: You heal 48 hit points, by the way.

TALIESIN: Thank you. I don't even know what hit point level I'm at.

MATT: You'd be at one.

TALIESIN: I'm at 49.

LAURA: What do we have to show them?

TRAVIS: We have two Vestiges to show them.

LAURA: Oh shit, I haven't even looked at the cloak. I tucked it away.

TALIESIN: We have two Vestiges.

LAURA: I pull out the cloak.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Get it identified.

MATT: Gilmore goes, “I see you've also been prolific. Here, let me have a look.” He takes the cloak and folding it over his hands, you see the sparkle of energy through the blue inside of it. He's like, “Very interesting.” He puts his hand over it, and his eyes flare with arcane energy. “This is indeed Cabal's Ruin, one of the Vestiges of Divergence. Well, to be specific about this: once attuned to whoever's wearing it, you have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects, which is pretty badass, if I do say so myself. Also, when you're hit by some sort of asshole's spell out there, you can use your reaction to have the cloak swallow part of it. You halve the damage you take from the spell, if there's any damage to be taken, and the cloak gains a number of charges equal to the spell level of the triggering spell.”

LIAM: All this arcane terminology is fascinating.

MATT: It's the filter of game rules. You don't get a Vestige now! You get Whisper, Keyleth.

(laughter)

MATT: Essentially, what this does is you can use your reaction to swallow a spell if you're hurt by one. Even if you're not hurt by it, you can still swallow a spell. You can only use it once per short rest. But it does half damage to you and–

(static from Ashley's microphone)

LIAM: Excuse you.

MATT: It gains a number of charges equal to the spell level that you absorb. Up to a maximum of six charges can be stored in the cloak. So, six charges. If you have the cloak on and you hit with an attack, you can expend any number of charges from the cloak to deal an additional 1d6 lightning damage per charge.

LAURA: So you could do an additional 6d6 lightning damage?

MATT: Yeah, onto an attack that you deal with the cloak. That's what Cabal's Ruin does.

SAM: Does it have to be a magic user to wear it?

MATT: No. In fact, it doesn't channel through spells. It channels through physical attacks.

MARISHA: Oh, melee attacks.

MATT: Melee weapon attacks is how the enchantment works.

SAM: Groggy? Percy?

LAURA: Grog in a cloak?

LIAM: Percy, you'd look pretty swag in that.

TALIESIN: I would.

SAM: But you already have a Vestige.

TALIESIN: I do?

SAM: No, Groggy. So does this go to Percy?

LIAM: Yeah, this is going to David Bowie you up. You should wear that.

MARISHA: It was worn by the woman who tried to kill you. And succeeded.

SAM: That's pretty cool.

TRAVIS: What about the other Vestige?

SAM, LAURA, and MARISHA: Whisper.

LIAM: How are you doing, Shaun?

MATT: “What do you mean? I'm doing fantastic.”

LIAM: How are you holding up?

MATT: “It's a little rough, but it's okay.” (chuckles) “I'm doing my job just as you are. I mean, you all look tired, exhausted, and emotionally drained. So do I! So I think we're all doing our part.”

MARISHA: Your parents are lovely, by the way.

MATT: (chuckles) “Ah, yes.”

MARISHA: Thank you so much again.

TRAVIS: We gave them a bunch of water.

SAM: Didn't he give us something to give to them? Did we do that? Yes, we gave them what you told us to.

LAURA: The locket.

MATT: “Thank you. I appreciate that.”

MARISHA: We told them you're doing great and we told them you were doing fantastic and wonderful and successful.

MATT: “Well, thank you. When all this is done, I should go visit. It's been a while.”

LIAM: They seem very proud of you.

MATT: “Taken a while.”

SAM: They told us you weren't potty-trained until you were six. Is that true?

MATT: “Give me your dagger.” He takes it, runs his fingers on the blade. The slight curvature to it out there to the point. He does his Identify. Forged with a mercurial metal pulled from the Far Realm. Light dances and shifts across this curved blade. It has a plus three bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the dagger. It also deals an additional 1d8 psychic damage on a hit. Whenever Whisper is thrown, you can choose to transform into shadow and merge with the blade, teleporting instantly to wherever the blade impacts. Which means you can teleport as far as you can throw the dagger, which is the max range of the dagger. Yeah, so 60 feet, you go wherever it throws to. If the target is a creature, you emerge adjacent to the target in a space of your choice around the creature. Whenever you critically hit a creature with an attack with Whisper, the target has to make a wisdom saving throw against a DC 18 or become frightened of you for one minute.

LIAM: Well, it's either Pike or me.

(laughter)

LAURA: What about Keyleth?

MATT: It's up to you guys.

LIAM: You're going to fight with a little– you want it?

MARISHA: I've been practicing my juggling, to be fair. I could use it in my knife juggling. Yeah. No. What am I going to do with it?

TRAVIS: I honestly would like to make a case for it. Just consider one thing: I chase people around the battlefield. And I really have a hard time getting to them sometimes. It'd be really great to travel 50 feet, then throw another 60, and then be right on their fucking asses.

MARISHA: Do they happen in the same turn? They happen in the same turn, yeah?

MATT: Yeah. The minute you throw and hit something, it immediately teleports you if you choose. It doesn't have to happen. You could throw it, and then it hits the ground and you stay where you are if you want to, but if you choose, you can travel with the blade and essentially appear Nightcrawler-style in shadow next to whatever you hit.

LIAM: This knife is so sexy, though, and you are so invulnerable to everything.

TRAVIS: I'm just saying, for consideration. Obviously, daggers are your bag, baby.

LIAM: What if–

SAM: You arm wrestle for it.

LIAM: No. What, give him this? I'm considering giving you my cloak instead.

SAM: Haste? No.

LAURA: Your armor?

LIAM: No! My cloak.

SAM: Which one's that?

LIAM: Displacer cloak.

SAM: What does that do?

TALIESIN: Makes you very hard to hit.

LAURA: Yeah, but Grog doesn't need that.

LIAM: He doesn't need anything. He's got a thousand hit points.

TRAVIS: Do I need to be attuned to Whisper?

LIAM: Yeah, all of these.

MATT: You have to be attuned to Whisper, yeah.

TRAVIS: Somebody else can have it.

MATT: “If there was anything else you need me to look at, I still have a full score of simple tricks.”

TRAVIS: Simple tricks?

MATT: “Is there anything else you want me to look at before I go to bed, because it's late.”

LIAM: What time is it, Shaun?

MATT: At this point now, the sun has gone down. It's, I'd say, nine in the evening.

LIAM: Nine. Percival, you should go to bed.

LAURA: Wait, I have an old music box. Can you look at it and see if it's magical?

TRAVIS: An old wooden music box?

MATT: He takes the music box. Eyes flare up. “No, it's an impressive music box.”

LAURA: Just a music box? Lovely.

SAM: Hey, you read Marquesan. The language of Marquet.

MATT: Marquesian, but yeah.

SAM: Marquesian. I got this book, found this book in this shitty casino office. It's written in Marquesian.

MATT: “Don't pronounce it, please. It's offensive. Huh. Well.” He blushes a little and closes it. I think it found the right owner.”

SAM: Oh. It's a porno.

MATT: “It's an instructional guide. You might learn something.”

LAURA: It's an instructional guide?

SAM: I can't read it, though. How will I learn?

MATT: “Maybe you start taking classes in Marquesian.”

LAURA: Are there any illustrations?

LIAM: Yeah, pictures. You like pictures, Scanlan.

SAM: Are there?

MATT: (chuckles) You scan through real fast, and yeah. You only got a little ways into the book when you first looked at it. In the center, there's probably a good 30 pages of really beautiful old– it's essentially the Kama Sutra.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I think that one folds out. That's quite nice.

SAM: Oh, ooh?

LIAM: Oh, it's a pop-up book.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Scanlan, isn't there anything else you need to deliver to one of these two fine gentlemen?

SAM: I don't think so.

TRAVIS: No, I believe there is something you acquired for one of these two gents.

SAM: Ix-nay on the ice-spay. There are authorities around.

TRAVIS: Why are you calling spice “ice-spay?”

SAM: Grog, if someone hears you talking about this shit, you could be in deep trouble.

TALIESIN: I literally am the law here. I am literally the living embodiment of law and justice.

SAM: Jarett.

MATT: “Yes? I'm glad to hear everyone is doing okay, and it's good to see you here in one piece. How was your journey?”

SAM: It was great! (quietly) Do you spice?

MATT: “Right!”

SAM: We had a great time! (quietly) Do you spice, boss? Do you want to spice something?

MATT: “If you brought some, yes.”

SAM: I like the way you look.

(laughter)

SAM: All right. I give him one bag of spice.

MATT: “That is a lot of fusaka. Thank you very much. That lasts a long time.”

LAURA: He spent 50 gold on it.

MATT: “You paid 50 gold for this?!”

SAM: For the pair.

MATT: “Oh, you got swindled, my friend!”

(laughter)

MATT: “But I appreciate it. It's very thoughtful.”

SAM: It was worth it to see the smile on your face.

MATT: “Well, thank you.”

SAM: I'll keep this bag, if that's all right with you. I've grown quite accustomed to the stuff. It's really quite lovely.

MATT: “Great! I'll give you some tips on how to prepare it, but you know what? I'll cook a classic Marquesian feast in the coming days for all of us in thank you for the spice.”

LAURA: Thank you.

LIAM: Oh, Jarett.

MATT: “Yes?”

LIAM: This is Kynan.

MATT: Who's been ghosting you guys the whole time, looking extremely nervous.

LIAM: Kynan has been telling me that he wanted to help protect Whitestone. He hasn't anywhere to live. He needs something to do with his time, and he has a fire in his belly and wants to serve.

MATT: “All right. A friend of you is a friend of ours. You are able-bodied?” Kynan is taken aback by the whole thing. His eyes are wide, still staring at you. Slowly, he starts talking out the side of his mouth to Jarett. “Yes. Anything. Whatever I can do.” Jarett walks up and puts his hand on his shoulder and goes, “Well, first off, you need to be more assertive. You are talking like a sniveling coward. You need to project your chest, shoulders back, and when you speak, you speak with intent and– ah, it's late. We'll work on it tomorrow.”

TALIESIN: I may have a thought for the boy later.

MATT: “Oh! Before I forget, this came for you, Keyleth.”

MARISHA: What now?

LAURA: A letter?

SAM: (singing) Letters! We got letters!

MATT: “Traders came in. A parcel in your name. Don't know who it's from.”

MARISHA: What did they look like?

SAM: How did they get through the invisible wall?

MARISHA: How do they know my name?

MATT: “I don't know. They were sent from Westruun, I think it was.”

TRAVIS: Oh shit. Open that.

LAURA: What is it?

MARISHA: It's got something thick in it, which isn't–

SAM: Could be a seal.

MATT: Read the letter first.

MARISHA: Read the letter first?

SAM: It's in Marquesian.

MARISHA: It's long.

PATRICK ROTHFUSS: (offscreen) Keyleth, I write to let you and your companions know that the repair of Westruun is proceeding well. I will not bore you with the details. Suffice to say that our children are well-fed and safe, our elderly and infirm are cared for and comfortable. Without the help of you and yours, this would not be the case.
The folk in charge argue constantly, but that is to be expected, and it is no bad thing. They all want the same good things in different ways. I listen, mostly, and do what I can to make sure that they listen to each other. Without listening, nothing good can happen.
The town– when I say the repair is going well, it is a hard thing for me to talk about. I am not a particularly clever man, and much of this is new to me. When you make a mistake with metal, you can melt things down and start afresh. It is irritating, and it costs in time and soot and sweat, but it can be done. There is a comfort in iron, knowing that a fresh start is always possible. But a city is not a sword. It is a living thing, and living things defy simple fixing. Roots cannot be reforged. They scar, and broken branches must be cut and sealed with tar, and this makes me angry, as it always has, and my anger has no place to go.
It was easier when I was young. I could use my anger like a hammer against the world. I was so sure of myself and my friends and my rightness. I would hammer at the world, and breaking felt like making to me, and I was good at it. And while I was not wrong, neither was I entirely right. Nothing is simple.
I do not work in wood. I am not brave enough for that. There is a comfort in iron, a promise of safety, a second chance if mistakes are made. But a city is more a forest than a sword. No, it needs more tending than that. Perhaps a city is like a garden, then.
So these days, it seems I have become a gardener. I dig foundations in the earth. I sow rows of houses. I plan and plant. I watch the skies for rain and ruin. I cannot help but think that you would be better at this, but circumstance has put both of us in our own odd place. You are forced to be a hammer in the world, and my ungentle hands are learning how to tend a plot of land. We must do what we can do.
Did you know that there are some seeds that cannot sprout unless they are first burned? A friend once told me that. She was– she was a bookish sort. I think of gardening constantly these days. I wear your gift, and I think of you, and I think it is interesting that there are some living things that need to pass through fire before they flourish.
I ramble. You have the heart of a gardener, and because of this, you think of consequence, and your current path pains you. I am not wise, and I do not give advice, but I have come to know a few things: sometimes breaking is making, even iron can start again, and there are many things that move through fire and find themselves much better for it afterward.
I have enclosed a gift. Once it was a sword, but it has changed. It is a small thing, and silly. Please forgive an old man for his foolishness. Still, I hope it brings you some small comfort.
Kindly, Kerr.


MARISHA: (hoarsely) Holy shit.

SAM: What's the thing?

MARISHA: I don't know what to say.

LIAM: Are you all right?

MARISHA: It was Kerr.

LAURA: Is he proposing to you?

(laughter)

MARISHA: It's got branches on it.

TALIESIN: It's quite beautiful.

SAM: Does it say something?

MARISHA: I have passed through fire.

LAURA: Wow. Motherfucker, that's cool.

MARISHA: This is a lot to deal with right now. We have friends. I have a friend.

LAURA: You're becoming a wonderful leader, Keyleth.

MARISHA: And as kind as his letter was, I think something was wrong, and I think there's more to his message. Vex, maybe you? He scribbled out some words.

LAURA: Let me see.

MARISHA: And speaks vaguely in areas around them.

LAURA: Can't tell.

LIAM: Those are called words, Grog.

LAURA: I don't know. Maybe he just didn't like what he wrote.

MATT: Make an insight check, Vex.

LAURA: Natural 20!

MATT: Looking at handwriting and the way it's scribbled out, the scribble is hastily, and little bits of text that come through, it appears that they are just thoughts that he may have felt uncomfortable putting in the letter after writing them out, and then scratched them out. There doesn't appear to be any serious agency or danger around them.

LAURA: I think it's fine, Keyleth.

MARISHA: You sure? I worry.

LAURA: I think he perhaps bared his heart a little too much.

MARISHA: What do you mean?

LAURA: Maybe he said things he thought better of.

MARISHA: I don't know what to say. It's really comforting to know that not everyone hates us.

LAURA: Speaking of, I did have Captain Damon bring his airship here. Is that stupid?

TALIESIN: No. No, that's not a bad idea. We need a better way of communicating with them. And I'm rethinking. Did you collect everything from the battle?

SAM: Yes.

TALIESIN: Good. That is a discussion we should have in private downstairs. Perhaps in the morning? Bring everything downstairs and have a discussion with Cassandra and anybody we trust.

LAURA: Yes. We should sleep. You should. You look very tired.

TRAVIS: What time of the day is it right now?

MATT: It's getting later in the evening, close to 10pm, comparably, even though you guys woke up maybe three hours ago.

LAURA: Jetlag, man. It'll get you. I don't know what to do.

TALIESIN: We can have this conversation tonight. I'm going to feel miserable for a while.

MARISHA: I don't think it's a wise idea.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we could certainly let you sleep.

SAM: We do have to start planning for the next leg of our journey.

LIAM: It's true, but Percy needs to go the fuck to sleep, seriously.

TALIESIN: I will admit I fear sleep at the moment.

LAURA: How about some coffee, then?

LIAM: Jack him up first?

TALIESIN: How am I physically, at the moment?

MATT: Physically, you're sore and you're drained. The essence of the ritual and the following healing spells– you're physically whole, but there is a very physical toll on you from the ritual as well.

TALIESIN: So I'm not filled with holes or anything.

MATT: No, but you feel like a walking bruise, and every movement of your body is fraught with such physical exhaustion that you haven't felt, and only time is going to take care of that. You're effectively at minus four to any d20 rolls you make until you rest. Then it becomes a minus three, then another night's rest becomes a minus two. So you're in a rough spot for the next few days, unless you're resting consistently.

TALIESIN: (sighs) We do have to have a conversation about all that. We either have it now or later.

TRAVIS: Take a fucking nap, man! We'll convene in the morning!

LIAM: You're outvoted, Percy. Go to bed.

MARISHA: You literally just rose from the dead.

TALIESIN: I'm going to need new clothes.

LIAM: Nobody wants to talk to you right now. We want you to go to sleep. We're going to go have a drink and have a fabulous time. We'll see you in the morning.

TALIESIN: Right. I'll see you in the morning. I'm going to go up to my room and pass out.

MATT: For the brief moment you have consciousness as you enter the room, it is a wondrous, welcoming sight. You have just enough time to get that thought across before you face down in your bed and right to sleep. Clothes still on, face down from the corner of the bed. It's a terrible sight, but you don't care. The rest of you, what do you wish to do?

LAURA: I give Pike a huge hug.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I give everybody a big hug!

TRAVIS: Yeah, little Pike!

ASHLEY: With my gauntlets on, so a big bear hug!

MATT: It hurts a little, and you're proud of her for it.

ASHLEY: (growls)

TRAVIS: Yeah, I give her a fist bump with the gauntlets, and the knuckles.

MATT: It actually causes this strange collision shockwave. It pushes you back a second because there's too much strength in one fistbump!

TRAVIS: Oh, Pike, you're getting too strong for your own good!

ASHLEY: (laughs) Hey!

(laughter)

ASHLEY: Oh man. Should we all have a drink or something?

LIAM: Jarett, Shaun, can you get away?

MATT: Shaun goes, “For a moment, maybe. I should probably rest, as well. Jarett?” Jarett goes, “You know what? Yes. Drink sounds nice. It's been a while. Good company.”

LIAM: Kynan, come on.

MATT: Kynan's still in shock and nods and slinks– as he walks behind you, he walks with his head low and you can see he averts his gaze towards the ground, watching where he's going to be walking. Gilmore individually gives you all a brief hug or handshake. “I'm sure we'll talk more tomorrow. I'm going to go join Percy's plan of action.”

TRAVIS: Can I walk over to Vax? So I'm assuming you're taking this little chick under your wing.

LIAM: Well, I'm not taking him with us to Draconia or anywhere, no.

TRAVIS: No, but you're sure he's clean?

LIAM: I might like to have Pike take a look at him in the morning, but I think so.

TRAVIS: He's pretty spaced out.

LAURA: Why doesn't Pike look at him now? Are you tapped, Pike?

ASHLEY: No. Who is this guy?

MATT: You recognize him, Pike, as you say that, looking at him, though much more harrowed, a little more built than you last saw him, but this is the young man who was waiting for you guys outside of Greyskull Keep a few months back, asking to join, who was bright-eyed and inexperienced.

LIAM: And I clocked him.

ASHLEY: Oh yeah. Hi, again.

MATT: “Hi.” It's one of the things where he's always looking down, but you step into his field of vision, already being shorter than him. As you're looking up at him with your gauntlets there at your side, he's looking at you, but he's also not wanting to look you in the eyes a little bit. “Hello, Pike. It's good to see you.”

ASHLEY: Good to see you.

TRAVIS: Pike, do us a favor and give him a once-over. Make sure there's no funk on him.

LAURA: He was traveling with Ripley, Pike.

ASHLEY: He was probably what?

LAURA: He was traveling with Ripley. Oh no.

SAM: She froze, she froze in a weird position.

(laughter)

MATT: Welcome back. We had a bit of a technical difficulty there, but apparently, we're back up and streaming and everything's good, so we're going to jump right back into the story where we were.

SAM: I am currently holding Gilmore's severed head in my hands, right? Blood spilled, dripping–

MATT: Just gouts of it, anime-style like Fist of the North Star, spraying.

LAURA: And Percy's dead again.

SAM: Percy died, yeah. Percy died.

MARISHA: Yeah, he's gone. I've cried eight more times.

LAURA: My bad, sorry.

SAM: We need to resurrect him. Ready? One, two, three.

(yelling)

MARISHA: Thanks, Vesh!

TRAVIS: We're having Pike check–

MATT: So having Pike check Kynan. Kynan's looking at you, Pike. What are you going to do?

ASHLEY: I'm going to Detect Evil.

MATT: Okay. Looking over and you finish the spell, there is no sense of evil from him. Make an insight check. I'll say with advantage because of the nature of the spell, because why not?

(laughter)

LAURA: Because you are all powerful and you can do that.

MATT: Because he is a broken man standing before you.

ASHLEY: Okay. 28!

MATT: You don't sense any evil in the sense of what the spell would gather. You do sense from looking at his expression, his reaction, and what bit of information you have, this is a person that's been heavily brainwashed, and their idea of what the world was, or as it was, has been broken, probably many times. Kynan's in a rough spot, and the guilt is weighing so heavily on him right now that it's probably best that somebody keep an eye on him.

ASHLEY: I put my hand on his shoulder and I say: Kynan, you look like a man who feels like he's made a mistake, and you just need to turn that frown upside down.

(laughter)

SAM: Wise.

MATT: Looking down at your smiling blue gnomish eyes, this broken boy of a man does mutter a slight chuckle in reaction, then catches himself and nods. “I have a lot to think about. I have a lot of penance to deal with. Thank you.”

ASHLEY: You're welcome.

MATT: “Maybe a drink would help.”

ASHLEY: Of course. That always helps.

MATT: Jarett smacks him on the shoulder. “All right, then. Let's get this pup trashed. Follow me.” He leads you down to one of the two taverns. The one that had been destroyed as part of the initial battle here in Whitestone has been constructed. The roof's still mostly missing, but they have a covering over it. It doesn't appear to be a rainy evening, so it should be fine. There's a handful of folk in there having drinks. Jarett treats you all to a round of finer ale of Whitestone brand. They don't have a large selection of rare imported drinks here, but it's enough to at least get the job done. Anything you guys want to do specifically while you're all having drinks tonight?

TRAVIS: Wait, Jarett! While we were in your hood, I acquired this delicious little bit. And I pull out the sandkheg bottle. This is called Seraph's Swine Swallow. And I pour a little into a glass and I hand it to him.

MATT: He goes, “I am not familiar with this. You say this is from Ank'Harel?”

TRAVIS: Yeah, and it's all in one. Hit the back of the throat and swallow it all in one.

MATT: “To friends?”

TRAVIS: Yes. To friends, and to health.

MATT: “And to survival.”

TRAVIS: And to fukasa. Sukasa. Mi casa.

(laughter)

MATT: Make a deception check.

TRAVIS: 14.

MATT: He gives you a keen look, looks to Vex, nods. “To friends and trust.”

LIAM: It's so worth it.

TRAVIS: I take his cup. I pour a little, and I'm like, can't let him take this ride by himself. I pound it, as well.

MATT: Make a constitution saving throw.

LAURA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: Not great. 13.

MATT: The fiery rumble in your stomach is matched directly behind by the heavy flow of numbness that fills the entirety of your chest, jaw, and tongue. Jarett goes, (heavily slurred) “That was quite strong.”

TRAVIS: (slurred) I think so, too.

MATT: (slurred) “You fucker.”

(laughter)

MATT: Slams the glass down. (slurred) “Well, I'm not going to have any conversation for a while.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: (slurred) You're talking really funny. Let's braid each other's hair.

MATT: “Please don't. I think that I have far more than you do, and it's too short, anyway. Be a waste of your time.” He became Castilian, suddenly.

LIAM: I get three drinks at the bar and I walk past Keyleth and leave one on the table by her and go and sit down by Kynan. I want to show you something. I bought these months ago. And I root around in my pack and I pull out the three finely made daggers that I bought.

LAURA: They were expensive!

LIAM: She's right. They were expensive. I'm actually not going to give them to you tonight because you're worrying me a little bit, but in a day or two, these are yours. I bought these for you months ago. I looked for you. I visited the butcher shop, and I missed you. I'm very sorry about that. I wish that this had not… I wish this had not played out the way it had.

MATT: “Me, too.”

LIAM: You can atone. It is not too late. I see the look in your eye. It is not too late.

MATT: He keeps looking over at Keyleth, and you see every time he sees her, he has that spike of guilt in his heart.

MARISHA: Yeah. You better, motherfucker.

LIAM: You fucked up, clearly. Big time. And you can either curl in on yourself and rot in a ball, or you can make up for it. You know what's going on in Tal'Dorei. You know what's going on. I spent too much time looking inward. It's pointless. Be of use.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

LIAM: I'm going to use Luck. That is a 17.

MATT: Most of this conversation, his eyes have been darting away from connecting with yours. The evasion has been persistent, but as soon as those words finish, his eyes finally lock with yours and stay with you. He takes a beat and goes, “I know what I've done. And there's no way I can express how sorry I am. The woman I followed, she was confident, she was persuasive, and she picked up what others wouldn't, and I bought into that. And that shows once again that I was never ready to begin with, like you said, and I appreciate that wisdom in hindsight.”

LIAM: I was kind of a dick.

MATT: “You were kind of a dick. But still. I'll do my best. I can't make any promises, but I'll do my best.”

LIAM: That's all any of us can do.

MATT: “Yeah.”

LIAM: You're battered. You're not broken. Do better.

MATT: “Okay.”

LIAM: Drink up.

MATT: You guys share a silent drink.

MARISHA: I shoot him daggers whenever his eyes meet mine at one point.

MATT: And he immediately goes back to his drink and takes another sip.

ALL: Oh no!

MATT: We're living in the broken future of technology. Thank you for your patience. So as Kynan's avoiding eye contact with Keyleth and getting progressively drunk as the evening goes on, occasionally, you see him smile hearing other bits of conversation. The positive presence, at least, of you guys being somewhat forgiving in the moment and the fact that Percy did come back alleviated some of his guilt. He's doing better than he was earlier, definitely, but he's still very inward. Jarett is having hilarious conversation with Grog as it progresses. (slurred) “It is great to have all of you back, and I hope my hometown was very kind to all of you. I do miss it, and perhaps when all this is said and done and I can get a proper– maybe a writ of approval from you folks here at Whitestone. Maybe they can absolve me of a couple of things on the books I would like to say goodbye to.”

TRAVIS: (slurred) I can't understand what you're saying.

MATT: (slurred) “I can't understand what I'm saying. Where did you get this?”

TRAVIS: (slurred) It is the best!

MATT: (slurred) “It's pretty great.”

ASHLEY: What is it?

LAURA: Oh, Pike!

MARISHA: Pike, you have to try some!

TRAVIS: (slurred) Pike, do you want a little bit?

MATT: (slurred) “You have to have some. It's not very tasty, I'll tell you that, but let me tell you, what it will do is this.”

ASHLEY: That's okay. You don't drink alcohol for the taste.

TRAVIS: That's my monster! And I pour her a little glass.

MATT: All right. Do you down the shot, Pike?

ASHLEY: Well, yeah!

(laughter)

MATT: Make a constitution saving throw!

ASHLEY: I came to party!

MATT: Go ahead and roll a constitution saving throw, Pike.

ASHLEY: Oh boy. Here we go.

LIAM: (singing) Turn down for Pike!

(singing)

TRAVIS: That was the whitest drop-in beat ever.

ASHLEY: 15.

MATT: 15? Pike downs it. It burns in her stomach, and she takes it.

TRAVIS: What?!

LAURA: Seriously? Pike, you're such a badass!

TRAVIS: (slurred) How do you feel, Pike?

ASHLEY: I feel like it didn't taste any different than what I usually have. Throw me off another one!

TRAVIS: I pour her another one.

MATT: All right. Make another saving throw, Pike.

ASHLEY: Oh shit. (laughs) I just rolled a one!

(laughter)

MATT: So Pike takes the second shot, slams the drink down on the table. You feel the numbness hit your lips, Pike, and you feel a little strange, a little sparkly and numb for a second. Your tongue isn't quite functioning as you would hope as everyone's looking towards you. (slurred) “A second shot? That is obviously very brave of you, Pike.”

TRAVIS: (slurred) Yes, she's got quite the tolerance.

ASHLEY: Well, I thought it– I don't even know… (garbled speech)

(laughter)

MATT: And with that, Pike faceplants onto the ground and passes the fuck out.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh no, Pike!

TRAVIS: (slurred) Pike? Pike.

ASHLEY: I got too cocky.

TRAVIS: Can I try to pick her up by her collar and try to hold her up? Is she just limp?

MATT: She's limp in your grasp, man. She's snoring loudly, too.

TRAVIS: (slurred) Well, that's one way to go for the night.

MATT: (slurred) “I think this is an important lesson for all of us– at least the two of us– no more of that.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, no. I put it in the bag of holding. (slurred) Did you know that it comes from a venomous part of a big animal?

MATT: (slurred) “You should have prefaced that before we had a drink.”

TRAVIS: (slurred) Didn't I say that? That was my fault.

MATT: (slurred) “It's fine. Too late now.”

TRAVIS: I go lay Pike in a booth or something.

MATT: She's slumped over.

(laughter)

MATT: Anything else you guys wish to accomplish while drinking? Or do you want to call it a night?

SAM: Do we need to talk about our plans, or are we waiting for Percy for that?

LIAM: Wait for the brain.

LAURA: I know, right?

TRAVIS: I'm over here.

SAM: I'll pull Jarett aside real quick, if that's all right.

LAURA: Can I check out that letter that I found on Percy's–

TALIESIN: I'm going to fucking kill you.

SAM: Well, while she reads, I pull Jarett aside and I say: Listen, I know you've had legal troubles before in your homeland, but we're buddy-buddy with the leader now. In fact, I have this symbol. They gave me this symbol.

MATT: (slurred) “Look, Scanlan, I've known you long enough to know that you are a master of tall tales.”

SAM: This is the gods' honest truth, man. This is a real deal. This is diplomatic immunity, man. I can get you off!

MATT: (slurred) “I honestly don't even know if you're real right now. I am so fucked up on this.”

TRAVIS: (slurred) Jarett, I'd listen to him. It's not very often he offers to get people off.

MATT: (slurred) “You're telling me that you've made friends with J'mon Sa Ord.”

SAM: We met them in their palace, and we're pretty tight now, so I bet I could get you free and clear.

MATT: (slurred) “Then please do.”

(laughter)

SAM: Will you do something for me?

MATT: (slurred) “If it is within my ability, as your employee, of course.”

SAM: You're a man who knows things, knows how to get things.

MATT: (slurred) “Depending, maybe.”

SAM: I was a little disappointed with the samplings in your home. I was wondering if around here, you couldn't find me a little something-something.

MATT: (slurred) “What?”

SAM: A little pick-me-up? A little ride? A little dipsy doodle?

(laughter)

SAM: Drugs, man. Drugs. I want drugs. I want you to go find me drugs. Listen, I've had a really rough time. I saw my friend die. We found the body of another friend.

MATT: (slurred) “I understand that. I don't really deal with these things.”

SAM: But you know people who know people.

MATT: (slurred) “Not here in Whitestone!”

SAM: I'm going to get you cleared of murder, man!

MATT: (slurred) “Look, if you want to get some suude, go down to the Turst Fields, or maybe over in Kymal.”

SAM: What were those words? The thirst feels?

MATT: (slurred) “The Turst Fields! South of the Alabaster Sierras.”

SAM: There's way too many S's in what you just said!

MATT: (slurred) “Looking for drugs, yes?”

SAM: Yes.

MATT: (slurred) “Get some suude!”

SAM: Some thuude?

MATT: (slurred) “Suude!”

SAM: I don't know what you're saying! Spell it!

MATT: (slurred) “S-U-U-D-E. Suude.”

SAM: Suude.

MATT: (slurred) “Yeah, suude!”

(laughter)

SAM: What is that? Is that place? Is that a person?

MATT: (slurred) “No, it's a drug!”

(laughter)

MATT: (slurred) “What did– do you even know what you're asking me for?”

SAM: I don't! I don't know it at all!

MATT: (slurred) “You confuse me, gnome.”

SAM: I am confused, too!

MATT: (slurred) “Look, as your employee, this is a very uncomfortable conversation to have.”

SAM: This will not affect our professional relationship one bit. You have my word.

MATT: (slurred) “I can send a courier, maybe, but that's very highly illegal stuff. Mind you, to be fair, the prison where they put you is currently being sat on by a giant red dragon, so if there was a time to buy, this would be it.”

SAM: There you go!

MATT: (slurred) “Look, I'm in charge, of well, that!” And you look over. Kynan's face-down on the table, trashed. (slurred) “In charge of that, now, apparently. Still training, along with Kash, a bunch of people. I cannot do this myself. It would not behoove our current state here in Whitestone. I could ask around, maybe send somebody. It'll be a while. I can't get you suude here in Whitestone!”

SAM: It's okay. Just try your best.

MATT: “All right.”

SAM: I believe in you.

MATT: (slurred) “Thanks.”

(laughter)

SAM: (lisping) You're the best.

MATT: (slurred) “Now you're just making fun of me.”

SAM: No. I'm going to clear your name, man. I'm your ticket to freedom.

MATT: (slurred) “I'll go and get you some suude.”

SAM: Thank you.

MATT: “You're welcome.”

SAM: That would make me so happy.

MATT: (slurred) “That's all I want. Be pleased.”

(laughter)

LIAM: Vax paid attention to that entire conversation.

MATT: Eventually, Jarett: (slurred) “All right, I need to sleep this off, whatever this is. Good night, everyone. See you in the morning.”

LAURA: Good night.

MATT: He stumbles his way out the door frame into the Whitestone night. Anything else you guys wish to accomplish tonight, or are you going to go ahead and get some sleep?

MARISHA: I was looking anxiously over at Vex when she was–

LAURA: Oh, this? Oh. Well, I suppose I'm a horrible person, so you might as well be, too.

TRAVIS: What, you read it?

LAURA: This?

TRAVIS: Yep.

LIAM: What is it?

LAURA: It's a letter. It's a goodbye letter from Percy to us.

TRAVIS: A what?

LAURA: I feel like it's a bit of an invasion. I probably shouldn't have done that.

SAM: It's weirdly Patrick Rothfuss's voice, though.

(laughter)

SAM: (Rothfuss voice) Dear Vox Machina, it's me, Percy.

TRAVIS: Are we all reading it, or just you two pricks?

MATT: Just read it out loud at that point.

TALIESIN: Only those of you who don't care about my privacy.

LIAM: Taliesin, would you like this to be in your voice?

TALIESIN: No! It was never supposed to be in my voice.

LIAM: (reading Percy's letter)

“My friends, I have just taken an audience with the Raven Queen, who has snuffed any hope of my redemption, for which I am truly grateful. With new clarity, I can finally see my life as a series of compounding poor choices. There was nothing I could have done to save my family, yet I still sold my soul in search of vengeance. Later, I allowed Ripley to leave, knowing full well she was a greater threat to the world than the Briarwoods would ever be. I traded the world's safety for the belief that I could murder my way to peace, that if I could be a greater horror, it would bring my family back. Once this lie was shattered, I scrambled to find a solution, to make a deal, to undo my mistakes and balance the scales. I now understand that there are no scales. There is no redemption, and no ledger that judges me good or evil. I am free to simply be myself and live with the terrible mistakes I've made.
"Tomorrow, I start upon a new path beyond the gods and demons who have tormented me, and it's your friendship that makes this possible. Though a shadow lingers, the need for vengeance is gone. I will try and do my best for you all. I will strive to buy the future more time free of my legacy. I will stand against the children of my madness in hope, rather than in anger. And if you are reading this, then my travels on this path have come to an end.
"Scanlan, thank you for destroying my gun. Do not let the weight of life's consequences crush your bravado. It is your greatest weapon.
"Grog, remember that your compassion has brought you this far, not just strength. For the record, I would have wiped the floor with you that time.
"Vax, you often remind me of myself, and yes, I know that that is a bit of an insult. Stop indulging your desire to sacrifice and try being the man that these two women seem to think you are. They may actually need you one day.
"Vex, you often remind me of myself, and that is the highest of compliments.” Oh, true to form, Percival, true to form. “I hope you free yourself of whatever voices haunt you. Also, since I'm gone, you're the clever one now.” Still the clever one.
“Keyleth, don't let the world break you. Learn to forgive it for not living up to your standards. We promise to try harder.”


MARISHA: (chuckles) Smartass.

LIAM: (continuing)

“Pike, it is wonderful to have you home. You bring everyone closer to their best selves, and I can only imagine what a burden that must be.” Oh, she's out. "Allow yourself some vice and failure." Done and done. "They'll still love you just the same." All true.
"As to what must be done, I'd be content to be left in a ditch, my weapons and notes burnt and broken.” Fucker. “But I imagine that would upset Cass. If you can, take me home. If you can't, I understand. She knows where to find the rest of my instructions. Times being what they are, burn my work or bring it home in the hopes of aiding in the defense of Whitestone. I leave this judgment in your capable hands. Please find Ripley before she does too many terrible things and erase my legacy wherever you find it. That silence would be the greatest eulogy I could ever hope for.” Oh dear.
“With eternal gratitude, Percival of Vox Machina.”


TRAVIS: I'm going to kick his fucking ass.

SAM: Why? He didn't mention you, did he?

TRAVIS: Yeah, he did! He said he could have wiped the floor with me!

SAM: Well, I'm sure it was a joke, friend.

LIAM: Yeah, that's a very highbrow kind of humor. It's hilarious. I promise it's hilarious.

TRAVIS: Highbrowed?

LIAM: Yeah. It means stuffy. Boring. Boring humor.

ASHLEY: Am I still out?

MATT: You're still out. You're done for the night.

(laughter)

MATT: Actually, you know what? Roll a perception check. With disadvantage.

SAM: Well, you should not have taken that note.

LAURA: Well, I know. I was searching for something important.

MATT: 12? You're passed out. You don't hear anything.

LAURA: I just realized I still had it, is all.

TRAVIS: So do we plan to act like we didn't read it, or are you going to try and slip it back in his pocket without him noticing?

LAURA: What do you guys think?

LIAM: That's a good point. I balance a tray on top of Pike's prone form and put some cups on top of it.

LAURA: Should I pretend I didn't read it? Should I pretend I didn't take it?

TRAVIS: Was it sealed or anything?

LAURA: No, it's just folded.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Try and sneak it in.

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: I put a tray on top of the cups on top of the first tray.

MARISHA: But now we go forward with the knowledge that we know Percy was anticipating dying?

SAM: Well, aren't we all anticipating dying?

LAURA: Technically, we should all write these letters.

LIAM: That's Percival up and down. There's nothing really that surprising in the letter, really.

TRAVIS: Don't know if we all need to write.

LAURA: Grog, you can draw some pictures for us.

LIAM: More cups on top of the second tray.

SAM: The fact is, we all might die at any point, and it would be terrible, and we should enjoy every day that we have together.

LIAM: That's right. Third tray.

MATT: Make a dexterity check, Vax.

LIAM: No problem. 24.

MATT: 24. The stack is beautifully balanced. It's rotating a little bit.

LAURA: You better hope she doesn't move.

LIAM: I stand and admire my own work.

TRAVIS: I walk up and shove Vax into the tray of glasses.

MATT: As he's admiring it, you get a sudden push forward and clacking. All the trays and glasses fall and hit the ground. You hear the metal and the brass (clanging).

LAURA: Did it wake her up?

MATT: Pike stirs. You wake up, still trashed, Pike, and your lips numb as ever, but you're back to consciousness now, hearing all this clattering around you.

LIAM: Hey! Did you know that I'm–

ASHLEY: I just tried to stealth!

LIAM: What?

ASHLEY: Too loud.

LIAM: You are drunk! You are very drunk!

ASHLEY: Oh!

LAURA: We should head back to the castle.

LIAM: Yeah. Grog, you want to pick up Pickle and let's go get some sleep?

TRAVIS: Pike, what did you do to all these cups and trays?

ASHLEY: Did I do that?

TRAVIS: Yes! I'm very disappointed. You should apologize to the owner.

ASHLEY: I'm sorry, owner.

(laughter)

MATT: The older woman over in the corner who owns the bar is like, “It's fine.”

TRAVIS: I flip her a gold coin.

MATT: She watches it hit the ground and goes, “Thanks.”

TRAVIS: Welcome. All right, let's go home! I pick up Pikey.

MATT: All right. You guys find your way back to Whitestone Castle to your respective rooms.

LAURA: No. I sneak into Percy's room.

MATT: Okay. Make a stealth check.

LIAM: Turn down for what.

LAURA: (sings) Shit, why? I'm sorry!

SAM and LAURA: (continue singing)

LAURA: 29.

MATT: 29. Yeah, no. Percy does not seem to notice you. He's snoring loudly face down in his still-set bed, (snoring) in the bed itself. The room is dark, but you can still see fine.

LAURA: I'm not going to shove it in his butt, all right? Can I try to reach under and get it into the pocket in the coat?

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

SAM: Reaching around?

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I love you all so much.

LAURA: Sleight of hand? Seven plus 15 is–

MATT: 22. Percival, I need you to roll a perception check with disadvantage.

TALIESIN: Full disadvantage, or the new disadvantage?

SAM: You're dead. You're essentially a dead person.

MATT: You are in the sleep of the dead right now, so you're rolling with disadvantage, and whatever you roll, minus four.

TALIESIN: Minus four. Perception?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: 13.

MATT: A couple moments of snoring, and you stop and you wait for the breathing to continue, and you find the coat pocket where you found it, gently slip the letter in with the notes that you found it with, close it, step away.

LAURA: I tell him: I'm glad you're back. And I leave the room.

MATT: Okay. You gently close the door. No issue.

LIAM: Cucumber sandwiches…

LAURA: Oh, so this is yours. Here, I don't need it any more.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. As you guys go to rest for the evening, sleep takes you eventually, some of you longer than others, because you woke up not too long before. Sunrise comes in Castle Whitestone once again. The previously somewhat cloudy day is now a very gray sky day. There is a slight mist in the air. Looking out over the forest from the windows, you can see that the forest itself has a very thick, low fog and mist that does cover portions of it. It's a cold, cold morning and it's a brisk way to wake up. As you guys all begin to come down to eat your meal for the morning as the guards go about business within the castle, Seeker Assum comes into the room with you guys and goes, “I am sorry to intrude. There is some new information while you were gone that I would like to discuss with you. When you finish eating, we'll meet in the war room. I'll be waiting for you.” He leaves, looking a little spooked.

SAM: That's ominous.

LIAM: Let's throw it back and go.

SAM: Yeah, let's chug and go.

MATT: Okay. You guys finish your meal as fast as you can. You head up and meet in the war room.

LAURA: The war room down by the orb?

MATT: No, this is actually a meeting room in the castle that has been converted into a war room for planning and such. This is where you met with Cassandra and Allura and people in the past to discuss about important matters. You come into the room. There's the big window facing out across Whitestone on the second floor for this room. There's the table in the center, and Assum is sitting there, fingers steepled, looking at the table. “Thank you. Please, come in. Close the door behind you. I think we should have some privacy for this.”

MARISHA: Very foreboding, Assum.

MATT: “This is an important conversation.”

LAURA: Should we have this downstairs, then?

MATT: “I'd prefer to have it here, in private.”

LIAM: Out with it.

MATT: Assum stands up for a second and goes, “Thank you for coming. I think it's time we discuss something of extreme importance.”

LAURA: I want to insight.

MARISHA: I agree.

MATT: Go for it. Insight checks.

SAM: He hasn't even said anything yet.

LAURA: I don't care.

MARISHA: He's being really shifty.

LAURA: 27.

SAM: Ooh, whispers.

MARISHA: Also 27.

LAURA and LIAM: Ooh!

TALIESIN: Look at the big brain on Brad.

SAM: Hello. I am Loot Crate. Please buy me. Oh, hold on, Matt's coming behind.

TALIESIN: That just got really awkward and really weird.

LAURA: Don't you think? Ashley, I think we should go down to the orb.

SAM: Ashley, I think you should move to Los Angeles.

LAURA: Ashley, come home.

SAM: Ashley, we all died. It's just you now. You versus the dragons.

MATT: Assum stands up, hands on the table.

MARISHA: Assum, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be insistent here, but if this is as private of information as you seem to be making it out to be, maybe we should go to the room where we know cannot be spied upon.

MATT: “I assure you, this room is safe. It's going to be a brief discussion.”

LAURA: I would feel more comfortable downstairs. We talked about this.

MATT: “Before I continue, hear my words. Think before you act. I implore you. Understand that not all is what it seems, and I come to you as an ally.”

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: Assum's eyes flash a vibrant green for a second and then become yellowish reptilian orbs. You see a hint of green scales curl across the face. “Now please, let us talk. Violence will not end in your favor. You have no plan, no trap. I am smarter, more prepared, and more powerful than all of you. I know of Whitestone. I know your tricks, and I know your weaknesses. If I wished you destroyed right now, I could have done it a thousandfold already. So consider the fact that we're even having this conversation is me putting forth a lot of effort and intent to have this discussion. No rash actions.”

TALIESIN: Noted.

MATT: “Now, let us put our cards on the table, shall we? I, as I'm sure you've noticed, am Raishan. It is a pleasure to meet you in person, slayers of the Hope Devourer and the Iron Storm. I need your help. I wish to kill the Cinder King.” And that's where we'll end tonight's session!

(screaming)

LIAM: You fucking Machiavelli!

TRAVIS: You came into our home with that shit?!

MARISHA: Fucking you come into our house!

LIAM: Wow. Look at that little boy smile. He's so pleased.

MATT: And on time, 10:05.

LIAM: Wow!

TRAVIS: Are you fucking kidding?

LAURA: Wow.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: There were a few holes in Assum's story when he first got here nobody picked up on. Yeah.

TRAVIS: He's been this way the whole time?!

MATT: The whole time since he arrived in Whitestone.

MARISHA: She's been posing as Seeker Assum.

LAURA: It's when he showed up and he's like– you said something about transporting somewhere–

MATT: Yeah, there is no teleportation sigil to Whitestone. That's why you guys had to travel there on foot.

LIAM and TALIESIN: We're so smart.

SAM: We're like seven detectives.

TRAVIS: I knew that. I don't know if the rest of you did.

SAM: He was just playing to his character's intelligence.

MARISHA: But I also put a bracelet on the actual Seeker Assum, so I should be able to scry on that guy. Find out where he is.

MATT: If you wish to, you can.

MARISHA: Hopefully, he's not dead.

MATT: Well, I guess we'll find out in the future. Maybe we'll find out in the future.

TRAVIS: Thank you to Loot Crate.

LAURA: Hey, thanks, Loot Crate.

MATT: Thanks, Loot Crate. You guys are awesome!

LAURA: Thanks, Ashley!

MATT: Thank you, Ashley, for coming! You're amazing!

TRAVIS: We set a crazy new record tonight.

MATT: Apparently. A lot of you guys came tonight to watch the show. Thank you so much for coming and watching.

MARISHA: And thank you to Patrick Rothfuss.

MATT: He's been planning that for a couple of months with me.

MARISHA: Miss you, Kerr-bear.

MATT: Thank you guys for your patience with the technical difficulties in the latter half of the show. Hopefully we didn't miss anything on that. We tried to make sure we got everything up to speed with you guys. Thank you for being so supportive of the show. We love you guys very much. We'll see you in a week, and is it Thursday yet? Have a good night, guys.

[end of captions]

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