FANDOM


List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

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

ALL: Dungeons and Dragons!

MATT: Just like that. Durr and Durr.

ASHLEY: How der der der der.

MATT: Indeed. So. Before we jump into the story for this evening, let's go ahead and get through our announcements. First and foremost, we have a fantastic sponsor for tonight's episode. Backblaze has returned to us. Good friends to the show, and Sam, you wanted to talk a little bit about this?

SAM: I haven't done this in a while. Little rusty. But Backblaze. Nervous. Backblaze is such an important sponsor, I didn't want to just do a commercial for them, I wanted to do an infomercial. Maestro?

[infomercial music]

SAM: Hi, everybody, I'm Sam Riegel and welcome to Late-Night Deals. Guys, online backup systems. Just the sound of it gives me a headache. It's always so complicated, expensive, and frustrating. Am I right? Usually, when you back up your data, you look like this guy.

TALIESIN: C drive? USB port? HTTP? Forward slash? Ugh! Speak English! All these wires and cables! I can't take it anymore!

SAM: But now there's Backblaze, a cloud-based backup system that's so easy, you'll look like this gal.

MARISHA: And finished. Using Backblaze makes me feel so awesome and cool and hip and young and free and attractive and empowered and invincible. It's so easy, even a total jackass could use it.

SAM: That's right, Marisha, even a total jackass can use it, and I'm living proof. Taliesin, Backblaze backs up photos, documents, fanfic, and all your user data, and here's the best part. How much do you think it costs?

TALIESIN: For a system like that? It's got to cost, what? $200, maybe? $300 a month?

SAM: Nope.

MARISHA: That sounds too low. I'm going to guess $9,000 a month.

SAM: Nope. Keep guessing.

TALIESIN: $100,000 a month!

SAM: Not even close. If you order now, you'll get Backblaze for just five dollars a month for unlimited and unfryable backup.

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: Five dollars? That's nothing!

TALIESIN: I literally burn five-dollar bills to stay warm on chilly nights.

MARISHA: Oh, me too. Oh, I'm so convinced. But Sam, how do I sign up?

SAM: Oh, it's simple, Marisha. Go to backblaze.com/criticalrole and you'll get a two-week free trial.

TALIESIN: What was that URL again?

SAM: backblaze.com/criticalrole!

MARISHA: One more time.

SAM: backblaze.com/criticalrole!

TALIESIN: One more time.

SAM: backblaze.com/criticalrole! There's no end. I didn't write an end to the bit. That's it. It's over. Yay! And scene.

TRAVIS: Wow.

SAM: Thank you, guys.

TALIESIN: I'm caught in wires. There we are.

MATT: Thank you very much, Sam. Also, anyone who gives Backblaze a try through May will also be entered to win a contest to win some signed art, signed by all of us. And if you've already tried it, you've also already been entered, so don't worry about that. Anyway, thank you so much, Backblaze. Go check it out. And thank you. All righty. Wow. I don't want to follow that up. Laura, any merch news?

LAURA: Oh, just the same merch news as always. We've got these amazing Vox Machina t-shirts in the store.

SAM: Is someone wearing?

LAURA: Yev is wearing it, from Backblaze. But nobody here is, but they're so soft and they're amazing. We also have hoodies and hats and patches and nail wraps and sticker.

MATT: Did you guys want to thank the awesome Melissa Kelp for her design, by the way?

LAURA: Yes! Who designed Vox Machina, and that was in our original fan contest that we did. We had that awesome design that was so cool that we decided to make that design, as well.

MATT: Thank you, Melissa.

TRAVIS: Thank you, Melissa!

LAURA: (sings) Amazing job!

MATT: All right. Wednesday Club, Taliesin.

TALIESIN: We don't actually have an official theme yet, but I have a strong sensation that it's probably going to be something about Riverdale. I get the vibe that we might be going to Riverdale. There might be a teenage witch. Maybe a band. I don't know. We'll see. It's not official yet, but I'm working on it.

MATT: Elrond of Riverdale. Thank you very much, Taliesin. Marisha, Signal Boost.

MARISHA: It's Brian Compton from over at Nerdist. (gasps) You got your Geek and Sundry in my Nerdist.

TALIESIN: You got your Nerdist in my Geek and Sundry.

MARISHA: You dick!

TALIESIN: That's so disgusting.

MARISHA: You fucking dick!

SAM: Jesus, this got dark really fast.

MATT: That and more you can look forward to at MomoCon, as me, Marisha, and Taliesin will be there in a couple weeks in Atlanta, Georgia. So we'll see you guys there May 25th to 28th, and I will be a guest at A-Kon June 8th-11th in Fort Worth, Texas. For all you folks out there in the Texas area, come say hi, that'll be fun.

TRAVIS: (muffled) Fort Worth, Texas?

MATT: Yes.

TRAVIS: (muffled) I went to college there!

MATT: You should come to your college.

TRAVIS: (muffled) No, I'm good.

MATT: Okay. And to finish this off. Talks Machina, of course, we have starting next Tuesday about this episode, hosted by our fantastic Brian Wayne Foster. Make sure you submit your fanart and gif of the week to possibly win some cool prizes. Those will go to talksmachina@gmail.com. So. Without further ado, friends, let's go ahead and dive in to tonight's episode of Critical Role.

Part IEdit

[dramatic music]

MATT: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Critical Role. So. Picking up where we left off. After Vox Machina had taken a year of peace and activity to handle their own respective endeavors, or communal endeavors, they discovered apparently some family of Pike Trickfoot coming and knocking at the door of Whitestone. A reunion with some of her family she had not seen since she was a child, coming in to impart her with the knowledge of a terrible family blood-curse that had been haunting them for ages and visions that were guided by her uncle Ogden to the possibility that she carries the same curse, and wanting to free the bloodline, or at least Pike of this, they had to amass some materials and make their way on a moonlit night to the top of the Alabaster Sierras to complete the ritual to exorcise this entity and destroy it. After gathering the materials and traveling to the top of the Salted Bluffs of the Alabaster Sierras, the ritual was completed and the large, monstrous black cloud and skull entity is summoned forth from Pike's body, and you all leapt in to do battle. However, partway into this fray, Vex happened to realize that it was seemingly an illusion. There was no ritual, there was no blood curse, and this was a ploy from the family to make a little cash off you guys. After some threats to Uncle Ogden and nearly losing him off the edge of a cliff, you made a deal to offer some money. In exchange, you took your cousin JB under your wing, and they were forced to leave and never return. They accepted and went on their way, and with that, we begin today's episode. So you guys have been traveling down the side of the mountain, of the Alabaster Sierras, returning late-night to the city of Whitestone. What do you wish to do?

TRAVIS: Kill them all before we change our mind.

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh, can I cast Locate Object and try to find that diamond that he chucked over the side?

MATT: What's the range on Locate Object?

TRAVIS: Was it a thousand-foot cliff?

TALIESIN: It was far down there.

LIAM: Well, I've probably got about 30 or 40 minutes left on the--

SAM: You could fly down. Some of us own flying brooms.

LAURA: Yeah, we can fly down on flying brooms.

LIAM: Do that. Yeah? I can go swimming.

LAURA: Shit, I don't have my thing.

LIAM: Your thing?

LAURA: That says what the distance on Locate Object is.

MATT: The distance is 1,000 feet of you.

LAURA: Okay, so can I get on my broom and cast it and go try to find it down in the water?

MATT: Sure. It lasts for ten minutes.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: I'll say, go ahead and make an investigation check.

LAURA: I'm organizing my dice right now! 19!

MATT: 19. Okay. It takes you the better part of the next ten minutes or so to even get a blip on your arcane radar. And you suddenly sense as you're coasting along the very base of the surf where the waters crash against the rocks, the tide has been coming in with the full moon, and you can see now the water itself is rough and just smashing into the side of the cliff base. You get a small glimmer, a small beacon, a draw to you like a small pulling under the waves. And you sense about maybe 65 feet down, there it is.

LAURA: 65 feet.

TRAVIS: Under the water.

MATT: Under the water.

TRAVIS: That's three diving tanks for competitive diving.

LAURA: So probably couldn't do it unless I have breathing underwater?

LIAM: Or your friend Keyleth.

LAURA: She's up top. Would I remember the spot in the fucking water if I went up and got her and brought her back down? Do I have enough time to do it?

MATT: You could try and remember it and come back.

SAM: It's 1,000.

LAURA: It's 1,500!

TALIESIN: Are we within earpiece-shot?

MATT: Not with her right now. You'd have to go back up.

LAURA: Okay. I fly straight up from the spot so I don't lose it.

MATT: All right. You're pretty much on the cusp of it. You've been a little flexible on the range of them, but we'll say you get a little ways up.

LAURA: And I say, Keyleth! Can you swim?

MARISHA: (chuckles) Yes.

LAURA: Can you come help me get this diamond back?

MARISHA: Oh, yeah! Yeah.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Am I on the cliff?

MATT: You're on top of the cliff, yeah.

MARISHA: Is she down?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: I can come-- Oh. Are you really?

MARISHA: Can I do it?

LAURA: That's a really high drop!

MARISHA: Can I do the Pocahontas swan dive?

MATT: Okay, make an athletics check.

MARISHA: I run and cliff dive!

LAURA: Oh Jesus. Oh no.

TALIESIN: (sings) Sail!

MARISHA: (sings) Sail!

(laughter)

LAURA: Oh no.

MARISHA: 11.

MATT: Okay. You get a few feet past the cliff edge. Not a majestic jump and the cliff is not completely sheer; it does slightly angle outwards. So you gently leap off, and as you're falling you can see you probably have, I'd say about 300 feet or so before you're going to hit rock.

MARISHA: I'm going to hit rock?

MATT: The cliff is not perfectly vertical. It's a little bit angled and you're heading down to hit the rock.

MARISHA: I go, oops! And can I do a Gust against the cliff wall to push me back a little bit further?

MATT: Go ahead and make a wisdom check. This is a straight wisdom modifier check.

MARISHA: Oh, that's good! Just straight wisdom modifier? 20.

MATT: Okay. Like a gentle fart, you push yourself a little ways from the cliff. I'll say it does just enough of a shove where the trajectory changes slightly. You may or may not be right where the rock hits the surf. You can test it or not. It's up to you.

TRAVIS: Test it!

TALIESIN: And this was the end.

LAURA: Kiki, don't kill yourself over this rock!

LIAM: It was nice being in a couple.

MARISHA: At the last minute, I'm going to (panicked squealing). And turn into a goldfish.

TRAVIS: Before you hit the water?

SAM: Or the rock?

MARISHA: Well, I'm assuming the goldfish would make it easier to hit water.

LAURA: Yeah, but you're going to hit rock!

SAM: Goldfish are not magnetically attracted to water. They still just fall.

LAURA: What about flying fish or something, so you can maybe--

MARISHA: I don't think flying fish actually fly, though.

LAURA: No, but they got big fins.

TRAVIS: They do glide.

MATT: Regardless, as you turn into a goldfish, rocketing towards the base of the water...

LAURA and SAM: Oh no.

TRAVIS: He's taking a picture of it!

MATT: No, I'm not. This is too many dice for me to roll.

(gasping)

ASHLEY: What?

MARISHA: I would just pop back to myself. I wouldn't die.

MATT: And then any additional damage would go over into your--

MARISHA: No, I know.

TRAVIS: There's too many dice to roll, Marisha.

MARISHA: No, it's fine! We're gods!

LAURA: Are we? She says as she dies on the rocks.

TRAVIS: Why would you even tempt that shit?

TALIESIN: Why am I drinking your coffee? I'm going to stop right now.

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: Oh no. What is he doing? No. Seriously, though. What if she just died?

MARISHA: That would be kind of amazing.

MATT: You took 363 points of damage.

MARISHA: You are lying. You are lying! By hitting rocks?

MATT: By hitting rocks at terminal velocity. It's 1d6 per ten feet falling. Keyleth scatters across the edge of the rock. And just crumples into the surf and is now floating.

MARISHA: Wait! What? You are lying!

MATT: No! You just--

SAM: What does that mean? That's below her total hit points!

TRAVIS: That's instant death.

MATT: No, she's dead. Keyleth is dead and floating in the water.

SAM: Unrevivable death?

MATT: Probably revivable. You've just got to retrieve the body.

LAURA and ASHLEY: Oh my god!

SAM: Wait! Vex! I gave you coin!

LAURA: A Revivify coin!

MARISHA: Wait! I thought you were trying to make it out like I'd still hit water!

MATT: I said the distance you jumped and then pushed--

TRAVIS: You jumped from 1,000 feet in the air. Totally logical! You can't even see the water or rocks, but you're like, yep! I've got this, bitch!

LIAM: I am having the best conversation with JB right now.

MARISHA: This is the best thing that's ever happened!

LAURA: Wait, but here's the thing, do I have to roll if I use the coin?

MATT: And now, officially, every member of Vox Machina has died. Most in battle, or some danger.

TRAVIS: That took care of it!

SAM: You broke the seal!

MARISHA: Wait! Was I supposed to turn into a flying creature? And be safe from this?

MATT: That's up to you! That's literally your choice!

LIAM: Okay. I am starting to sweat! Who sees it? I don't see it!

MATT: The only person that sees it is Vex. Vex, you watch as Keyleth-- (jump, poof, splat). It's a scatter of red mess. And you see her floating in the water.

ASHLEY: It's only 7:15!

MATT: I know! This was not in my plan!

ASHLEY: Okay. Go get her!

LAURA: I go fly down there! Is she a body, at least?

SAM: Because she hit as the goldfish!

MATT: Yes, and the goldfish which has a hit point.

SAM and MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Which then made the other 324 hit points go over to Marisha.

SAM: Sure.

TRAVIS: So the goldfish turned into orange marmalade?

LIAM: It was like a magic trick! It was like a fish turned into a corpse!

LAURA: Can I use my coin that Tary gave me? My coin of Revivify on her?

MATT: Because you gave it to her before the battle, right? Yes, you can.

LAURA: Okay. I do that. Don't touch my dice in anger!

LIAM: I'm not angry!

LAURA: I don't know. How do I do it?

MATT: Go ahead and make a straight wisdom check.

LAURA: A wisdom check?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: (yells) I'm so nervous!

ASHLEY: Stop laughing, Travis! Stop it!

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: I mean, you can't feel bad about it.

MARISHA: I thought I was going to hit water and it would be cool!

LAURA: 18.

MATT: 18. Okay. As you go down and pull her out of the water, her soaked red hair covers her face, and that's probably a good thing. As you're a little scared to see--

TRAVIS: It's like a red-haired The Ring.

MATT: And with that, you instinctively begin to seize up, and you sob, and then you realize: the coin! And you fumble for it in your pocket, and you hear the waves crashing below you. And you pull it out and you hold it in your palm. And you feel it glowing, warm in your hand as you press it against the back of Keyleth's broken body. And you watch as the warmth passes from the coin through her back. And as it does, you watch as her broken limbs all snap back into place.

MARISHA: (gagging sounds)

MATT: And she begins to breathe again.

(laughter)

LIAM: What the shit is this show?

MATT: I don't know! This was not in the--

MARISHA: (screaming) That was higher than I thought!

MATT: Keyleth, by the way, looks wrecked. She's still scratched everywhere, she's covered in blood, but she's alive at one hit point.

LAURA: Kiki, that was really, really stupid. I put my hands on both sides of her face and cast Cure Wounds at 4th level. Oh, no! At 3rd level, because I used Grasping Vine last time.

MATT: Yeah, 3rd level. Okay. So 3d8 plus your wisdom modifier.

ASHLEY: Oh my god.

SAM: I better go check on them. I'll dive off the cliff.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yeah. Good. Just a little drop.

MATT: That was a beautiful DND moment, right there.

LAURA: Oh my god.

LIAM: Vax is sitting with JB right now, going like, so what was Pike like when she was really little, little for a gnome?

TALIESIN: We all were wearing the necklace, so we all got a beep.

MATT: You did, briefly.

LIAM: I was really paying attention to JB, though.

TRAVIS: Is yours broken? I think mine's broken!

TALIESIN: I felt something.

LAURA: Keyleth.

MARISHA: I've been really stressed out here lately, and that might have been very impulsive. And I might have been blowing off some steam. And I'm really sorry! (crying) I thought it was going to be fine! I didn't know there was going to be rocks!

LAURA: Maybe next time you're diving off a cliff, turn into a bird.

MARISHA: Oh?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: It might have been a last-minute panic.

LAURA: I'm glad you're back.

MARISHA: Thanks, that was--

LAURA: You know what? Let's not even worry about that coin there. I mean the diamond. I feel like, maybe--

MARISHA: I could go get it now! It's fine. I'm here now.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MARISHA: I feel really bad, because-- I feel bad about that. I'm sorry.

LAURA: I think maybe this is a lesson learned in what is worth risking our lives for.

TRAVIS: Is there a cloud of red in the water?

MATT: There was, but the waves are crashing pretty heavy. Luckily, Vex grabbed her immediately, because otherwise her body would have been thrown under the rocks again by the surf. I just explained the ocean to you before you jumped! That's what would have happened!

TRAVIS: A thousand feet was all you needed.

TALIESIN: We have some amazing physics books that we will actually get into at some point.

LAURA: How about you just climb onto the broom. Don't worry about flying right now.

MARISHA: I can go get the thing.

LAURA: We're just going up.

MARISHA: I still have a Beast Shape left.

LAURA: We're just going to go up.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: We're leaving.

TRAVIS: She's covered in gore, right?

MATT: Okay. Yeah, she's covered in blood.

LAURA: Price paid, I think.

MATT: So as you guys are talking to JB, who's still stunned by the whole thing-- all of this happened pretty quickly, so she's not necessarily opening up entirely, but she's like, "Well. You know, we were both troublemakers."

LIAM: Yeah! Because she's got a wild streak. Now, does that run in the family, or is that just her and you?

MATT: "Oh, that definitely runs in the family." She looks over to you Pike, again, and is like, "I am so sorry. I didn't--"

ASHLEY: It's okay.

MATT: "I'll try and make it up to you."

ASHLEY: Just know I don't want you to-- if you don't want to stay here, you don't have to stay here. I'm not holding you here against your will in any way, but I would love for you to stay because I would love to get to know you better.

MATT: "How could I say no? (chuckles) I'll stay until you need me to leave."

ASHLEY: Okay.

MATT: At which point, you watch as Vex and Keyleth and the broom come up and land on the cliffside.

TALIESIN: Have you two found that diamond-- oh, sweet Pelor!

LAURA: You know what? We're not going to worry about the diamond right now. Yeah, let's just maybe take a moment and recover from that battle which was so hard on everyone.

ASHLEY: What happened?

LIAM: What? You-- What?

LAURA: She's fine. She's fine!

SAM: She's more blood than person.

ASHLEY: Do we need to fix anything?

LAURA: Maybe, Pike. If you can do a little--

ASHLEY: Yes! Cure Wounds!

LAURA: (whispers) Tary!

SAM: What?

LAURA: (whispers) I used your coin.

SAM: Oh. Oh.

LAURA: I know!

SAM: I'm glad I gave it to you, then. Ooh.

MARISHA: It's fine. I can go back and get that diamond now. I feel really bad right now!

TALIESIN: I think somebody's got a carpet ride down the hill coming to them.

LIAM: I'm casting Lay on Hands for my piddly 20 hit points. What did you do?

MARISHA: I thought it'd be fun. I haven't had a lot of fun here lately, okay? It felt like the old days of when Vox Machina was back together, because we've been away for a while.

ASHLEY: You just dove off, Free Willy-nilly?

LAURA: You know, those rocks came out of nowhere. I thought you were in the clear, as well. All I saw was Keyleth and then this little tiny fleck of gold and then gone.

TRAVIS: Wait, did you miss? Did you hit?

LIAM: Did you die?!

MARISHA: It's fine.

LIAM: She looks like a fucking macabre mess! What happened?!

ASHLEY: I forgot that's that what that was. I felt a (whirring), you know?

MARISHA: It's been a lot of responsibility here lately, and a lot of being an adult and so I was like: Vox! We're reckless!

LIAM: That's what alcohol is for! Don't jump off cliffs anymore, please!

TRAVIS: Yeah, you fucked up. That was crazy.

TALIESIN: I have to confess, I've been feeling a bit of stir-crazy myself. Not jump-off-cliffs stir-crazy, dear god.

LIAM: And I turn her bloody face to you and say, let this be a lesson to you, then!

TALIESIN: I'm just saying that I understand the impulse. This was not necessarily the best expression of it.

TRAVIS: We should go on a hunt. That's what we need.

TALIESIN: I think let's take a nap and then maybe go out--

LIAM: I start kissing the gory mess in my hands all over her forehead.

MARISHA: That's gross. Don't.

MATT: That's pretty gross. You marked off the 300 gold for the Revivify, right?

SAM: Oh, how many?

MATT: Revivify. It consumes a diamond worth 300 gold.

SAM: 300!

TRAVIS: Keyleth, did that hurt? Did it hurt?

MARISHA: It felt like blackness.

TRAVIS: Blackness?

MARISHA: It felt like a lot of adrenaline. And it was super exciting and then next thing I knew, everyone was super concerned about my well-being.

SAM: Are you addicted to death now?

MARISHA: No.

SAM: Have we healed her up a bit?

ASHLEY: I'm going to heal her up a little more.

SAM: I can do a healing draught for her.

ASHLEY: A what?

SAM: Healing draught.

MARISHA: Did you guys know: hitting water and rocks from very high feels like hitting rocks!

TALIESIN: I literally have books on the subject.

MATT: Keyleth, as you turn around, you watch as Tary is handing you this small glass vial of what looks to be-- what color liquid is it?

SAM: It's colorless and odorless.

MATT: Okay, it's like a thicker water.

MARISHA: What's this?

SAM: Just drink it. It'll make you feel better.

MARISHA: I just dove off a cliff, so fuck it at this point.

MATT: How much does she heal?

SAM: I rolled on my iPhone. 37. It's 8d8.

MATT: Keyleth, you heal 37 hit points.

MARISHA: Oh Jesus, 37?

LAURA: Do yours, too!

ASHLEY: Yeah! I'll do a Cure Wounds. I haven't used any spells. Let's do 5th level.

TRAVIS: 5th level? Yeah!

MARISHA: I'm fine! Don't worry about me.

ASHLEY: Where are you at now?

MARISHA: I'm good! 104.

TALIESIN: Let's all go home, have a drink, and discuss this over a drink.

MARISHA: Why? What? Why?

TALIESIN: Because I think this may speak to a larger issue amongst us that maybe you are the canary in the coal mine, here.

LAURA: I heard "We're gods!" before she hit.

TALIESIN: Was it "I'm a golden god?"

MARISHA: I said: I'm a golden god! But you know what? I'm still alive; I wasn't entirely wrong.

TALIESIN: You're not still alive, you're alive again!

LIAM: We should celebrate because we've broken in the entire group.

TALIESIN: Yes, I think everybody has at least been dead for a moment at this point.

MARISHA: Was I dead?

TALIESIN: Technically, yes.

TRAVIS: Look how much red is all over you!

MATT: Enough to the point where if you die again, your resurrection DC has gone up. Be aware of that.

TALIESIN: We could make another Kiki out of what you're wearing right now.

LAURA: Have you *died* died? Tary *died* died.

SAM: Did I die? I think I died. In the water, I think I died.

MATT: He did.

TALIESIN: He died at the palace.

SAM: Think I died.

LAURA: Let's go home.

MARISHA: Why are you looking at me like that?! Don't look at me like that!

LAURA: I'm not looking at you like anything. You need a bath, is what you need.

TRAVIS: Yeah, you're covered in shit.

LAURA: It's really a lot right now.

ASHLEY: I say we go back. I would love to go back and maybe have lots of drinks.

SAM: Let's go home.

LIAM: JB. Welcome to the family.

MATT: She's just like, eyes wide open. "Right." She clutches her book a little to her chest as you guys begin to make your way down the mountainside. A different path that the other Trickfoots were taking.

ASHLEY: Good call.

TALIESIN: Maybe we need a hobby?

TRAVIS: We'll never beat that death.

LAURA: That's like Keyleth-falling-in-lava bad.

TALIESIN: That was magical.

MATT: Marisha, how many fail compilation videos have you seen where people jump off the cliff and hit just at the bottom. That was what you did.

MARISHA: (laughing) It was totally a fail video!

TRAVIS: We were in a huge fight with a fake thing that did no damage and you killed yourself in four seconds.

LIAM: I got this!

TRAVIS: We're gods! (vomit sound) Unreal. Couldn't write it.

MARISHA: I thought I could make it!

MATT: I was like, one to 50, she hits the water. 51 to 100, she hits the rock. 94.

MARISHA: So I hit the rock.

MATT: Yeah, that's what happens.

TRAVIS: Either way, you were really screwed.

TALIESIN: To be fair, a goldfish, even at that velocity-- although the velocity would have lessened it more.

MARISHA: I should have bailed out as a bird.

LIAM: Make-believe has consequences.

TALIESIN: That's so true.

MATT: Over the course of the next day or little over a day, you camp once in the Parchwood and make your way back to Whitestone.

LIAM: It's 15 hours of bad therapy.

MATT: For you, yeah.

MARISHA: I love how out of all the things we've seen, what I just did was apparently the most fucked up. Out of everything that's happened to us, and now we need therapy? *Now* we need therapy?

TALIESIN: We were living Tolkien and now we've suddenly shift into Game of Thrones. It got very dark, very random, very quickly.

TRAVIS: Gods. Dead. Five Seconds. Hard to beat.

LIAM: We all stand for something. What do you fall for?

MATT: You find your way back to Whitestone. You check in. The guards are happy to see that you've returned fine. They report to you that the Trickfoot clan have not returned and have not been seen near the city since your return. There are few questions about where they went.

TALIESIN: We're going to have their vehicle searched for anything that doesn't belong to them, and then made ready for them outside the city bounds.

MATT: "Very well, sir." And they search through it and mostly what's found in there are maybe 102 gold pieces.

TALIESIN: Do we have anybody with a criminal background search the vehicle?

MATT: I mean, there are a number of people.

TALIESIN: I would like someone extremely sketchy to search. Actually, Vax, would you search the vehicle?

ASHLEY: And JB, if there is anything you need out of there.

TRAVIS: You have chocolate on your face.

MATT: JB wipes it with a thumb.

TALIESIN: Including anything that you think would be in more capable hands if they were in your hands.

MATT: She shakes her head and "Wait." She climbs up on the cart and she comes back and has a book. Like a small tattered book and she puts it to her side. "That's all. I don't care about the rest."

ASHLEY: Okay.

TALIESIN: Vax, quick check to see if there's anything we care about.

LIAM: Oh, so good. Investigation, yeah? 18.

MATT: 18? You find the gold. You find a cache of dried jerky meats. You find what looks to be some leftover meat pie crust bits that have been there for a few days. Starting to smell a little bit. And you get the sense that anything of importance was on their persons. They weren't really storing those things in a open cart.

LIAM: This has been a bad couple of days.

TALIESIN: All right, just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything (sighs) complicated. Leave the gold, obviously, and food.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Burn the wagon.

(laughter)

MATT: As you say that, Doty's like, "Tary."

SAM and ASHLEY: No!

SAM: You have to learn humor, Doty. Sarcasm.

MATT: All righty, so. What do you want to do?

SAM: Is it night?

MATT: By the time you've returned, it's probably late afternoon. We'll say at this point because it's been about a little over a day and a half at this point, so, yeah. Mid-afternoon.

LAURA: Shit.

SAM: What should we do?

LAURA: I don't know.

SAM: We can go check on the Slayer's Cake?

LAURA: Oh yeah, we should probably do that. It's been a couple of days.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: What did we do with it while we were gone?

SAM: Did we have someone running it? Do we have someone?

MATT: (laughs) You do not.

TALIESIN: There's a sign that says "Closed for adventuring."

SAM: Okay. We should hire someone.

LAURA: We really should.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: To run it if we're not around. (gasps) JB!

TRAVIS: Yeah, the thief. That's a good idea.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's a great idea!

LAURA: Well, do you like baking?

MATT: "I haven't really tried."

SAM: Have you any management experience?

MATT: "I took care of Uncle Ogden."

ASHLEY: I feel like she would be great at it. Would you even be interested in maybe running a bakery? Or is that something that just sounds like the most dreadful thing in the world?

MATT: "(nervous laugh) I don't know." And she pulls her hair. "I could try."

LAURA: How are you at math?

MATT: "I'm quite good at math, actually."

LAURA: Fabulous. Let's head there and see how you do.

SAM: Yes. Let's see, but not make any promises, because someone who's never run any--

LAURA: Right, Tary, you would know about hiring people far more than--

SAM: We should have a proper interview.

LAURA: Right.

SAM: Check references.

LIAM: Well, you weren't a proper adventurer until you were. Got to start somewhere.

SAM: True, but I had the advantage of being able to buy my way in.

LAURA: That's true, but you were still pretty shitty at it, when we first started.

TALIESIN: This is a form of nepotism. It's pretty reasonable.

SAM: I'm open to it.

MATT: All right, is everyone going to the Slayer's Cake?

LAURA: Yeah, because we can eat, too!

MATT: Okay. Right, you guys all make your way to the Slayer's Cake, as the afternoon is coming a close, dusk is starting to change the colors of the sky. Clouds are beginning to move in, as the night's evening air grows colder. As you come to the outside, you see, it's dark and closed, and, you see what appears to be a figure sitting on the ground against the wall, back to the wall, knees huddled up.

SAM: Not JB?

MATT: No, JB is walking with you guys.

SAM: In front of the bakery?

MATT: By the door, a little bit adjacent to where the door is closed.

LAURA: We don't recognize them. Can we see their face?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Is this the same day, or has it been a day now?

SAM: It's been a day.

TALIESIN: Oh, thank god.

LAURA: No! 30.

MATT: (laughs) Yeah! You see actually, a woman in her late thirties or so, early forties, platinum-blonde hair, that's pulled up in a ratty bun. She's got strands hanging in the front of her face, that go to about just past her chin. She's a very simple dress, and a somewhat dirty apron, and a small satchel on her side, and she's leaning against the wall, her knees clutched to her, she's looking forward, she hasn't noticed you guys yet; you're a little ways up.

LAURA: And I don't recognize her.

MATT: No, you do not recognize her.

LAURA: Excuse me?

MATT: "Oh!" And she gets up, and stands up, and (grunting) her back creaks a little bit, and she stretches it, and dusts off the front of her apron, you see little bit of, dust (poof). "I'm terribly sorry, I wasn't sure when you were going to be coming back."

LAURA: Oh, yeah, no. We were just off on an adventure, but it'll take a little while before the food is ready.

MATT: "Oh, that. (sighs) If you have a moment? Fine sirs and madams, I'm sorry to bother you, you see, my husband Dathen has not returned from sea in about, six months. And I'm not certain if he's coming back, and I'm without work and coffers he left me have come empty this month, so could you perhaps use a hand here at the bakery?"

LAURA: Timing is quite--

MATT: It was ridiculous timing, yeah.

SAM: Madam, what's your name?

MATT: "Hilda."

SAM: And you would like a job at our bakery?

MATT: "If at all possible."

ASHLEY: Do you bake?

MATT: "I do!" She reaches into her satchel and you see in the inside she has a bunch of these small things wrapped in paper, and she opens one and pulls it out and shows it to you. You see it's this tiny little cream puff. It's perfectly made, and has a little icing on the top. She's like, "I used to just make these for old Dathen, but--"

SAM: May we try it?

MATT: "Of course!" She goes and pulls a handful out and hands them amongst you and gives them over.

ASHLEY: This is a beautiful cream puff.

LAURA: They're really hard to make.

SAM: Quick sidebar. This is better than anything we've ever made.

LAURA: Did you already eat it?

SAM: Yes. It was really good.

LAURA: I'm going to wait a few minutes to see if Tary looks like he just falls over or anything.

SAM: Wait. What? You think it's poisoned?

LAURA: No. I'm sure it's not.

SAM: I ate it. I ate the whole thing in one bite.

LAURA: It was really good?

SAM: Am I going to die?

TRAVIS: Give me all your stuff.

TALIESIN: How often do you just eat strangers' cream puffs?

MATT: Her eyes go wide and like (mumbles).

SAM: Am I going to die? Did you just kill me?

MATT: "No!"

LAURA: No, she didn't.

ASHLEY: No.

(laughter)

MATT: It's actually very good. It's very, very good.

TALIESIN: You're right, that is fun.

LAURA: It's really good.

TALIESIN: Well, if it's all the same, I may have another prospect for JB anyway.

LAURA: Well, come on inside, Hilda. Let's show you around.

MATT: "Oh, all right."

ASHLEY: This is delicious.

SAM: It's really good.

ASHLEY: This is better than anything that we make.

TALIESIN: It can't possibly be that good.

ASHLEY: Have you tried any of our baked goods, yet?

MATT: "I haven't. I've seen it from a distance, but I couldn't really afford to. I'd like to."

LAURA: Do you live here in Whitestone?

MATT: "I do. I live right behind--" And she points up to the left. Like if the Sun Tree is in the center and you head up straight on the eastern side-- sorry, the western side of the square, the path that leads up towards Whitestone Castle, she points about two blocks up and on the left. And there's a small hovel that's pushed between two buildings there. And she goes "That's where I stay."

ASHLEY: Can I insight check her? Because I don't trust anybody.

LAURA: I don't trust anybody!

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: It just makes us seem like assholes, because we're like (grumbles). I want to go in a little bit and ask around and see what people think of her.

TRAVIS: What? A background check?

LAURA: A little background check.

ASHLEY: 27.

MATT: 27? Okay.

SAM: The whispers.

ASHLEY: I get a whisper?!

SAM: Have you never had a whisper?

ASHLEY: I don't think on the show I've had a whisper.

SAM: Oh my god, everybody's firsts tonight. Backblaze, ladies and gentlemen. backblaze.com/criticalrole to get two weeks free or something.

LAURA: Oh my gosh!

SAM: Yeah, two weeks. Oh, you want to do the infomercial bit again?

LAURA: I really do, but you guys did such an amazing job, though.

TALIESIN: This is why we're the cool table.

ASHLEY: Well, I think that she should die. I'm just kidding.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Bake her into the pies.

ASHLEY: Do you have references?

MATT: "References?"

SAM: Have you worked anywhere else?

MATT: "No, I've mostly just been a housewife, until recently."

SAM: Do you have anyone in the community who could vouch for your character and trustworthiness?

MATT: "Perhaps. Norma Kell wakes up in the morning. There's also Keeper Yennen."

SAM: Oh, Keeper Yennen! We know him! I think, right? We know him?

LAURA: Yeah, we know Keeper Yennen.

MATT: "Yeah, aye. That's all I can think of at the moment."

ASHLEY: How long has your husband been missing?

MATT: "About six months."

ASHLEY: About six months.

LAURA: What was he doing?

MATT: "He's a merchant sailor, coming in and out, but he'd be back within the month usually. Some trips took longer, but six months seems extraordinarily long for him."

SAM: Where did he go, again?

MATT: "Last I know, he does a circle around southern tip of Tal'Dorei and he usually hits Emon by ship. Occasionally heads over to the-- where is it? The shama?"

TRAVIS: Shambala?

MATT: "Maybe something like that. I don't really know for sure. It's a long ways away."

LAURA: Keyleth? I whisper to her. Keyleth, can you scry on people we don't know?

MARISHA: If I have a piece of one of their belongings. Yeah, that definitely helps, yeah.

LAURA: Hilda? Would you like us to check and see if we can potentially find him?

MATT: "You can do that?"

LAURA: Well, if you have something of his that we can look at, we might be able to help.

MATT: "Oh, aye! Just a moment." And she goes and she goes rushing up the street real fast, this renewed excitement in her face.

LAURA: How do we feel about her?

SAM: Pike, if you were dead set on JB taking over the business--

ASHLEY: No, I'm not. JB, don't feel pressured if you don't want to do this. She's a fantastic baker.

LAURA: I mean, she's a really good baker. But, maybe JB can handle the books, and she can handle the baking.

TALIESIN: Well, there is another option. Which is that we have a giant pile of histories and library and novels in our collected library, and we are searching for information about the thing underneath the castle, and we need readers. We need lots and lots of people to read lots and lots of books.

MATT: JB, you watch, like the excitement you just saw on Hilda's face now hits JB's face. "I'm a good reader. I can--"

LAURA: Well, okay.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that seems like a little more fun.

MATT: "Okay, yeah. I can also help with this if you want. I'm more than happy to do both. I have a lot of free time now."

LAURA: That's true. You could run the bakery during the day.

SAM: Why don't while we're gone you could help Hilda. Hilda?

ASHLEY: Hilda.

SAM: Hilda. You could just help out, but maybe leave her in charge? She seems like a--

TALIESIN: Or you could sit in the castle and read diaries and ancient tomes of Whitestone.

MARISHA: Do I notice Grog looking uncomfortable?

TALIESIN: I definitely notice. I don't care.

LIAM: (cell phone ringing) Oh dear.

LAURA: Timer's done!

MATT: Grog, does she notice you feeling uncomfortable?

TRAVIS: I don't know. Do you?

MARISHA: I don't know, do I?

MATT: Grog, are you uncomfortable?

TRAVIS: With this talk of reading? A little bit.

ASHLEY: (whispering) But Grog, you can read some of those books a little bit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's not get ahead of ourselves, all right?

ASHLEY: Well, okay. I think this is a great idea.

LAURA: I'm watching where Hilda is running.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I had a quick thought. If her husband's dead, are we just going to tell her that right now? Just you know, husband's dead. He's being eaten by fish.

LAURA: No!

LIAM: No, you didn't get a read.

LAURA: Yeah, so Keyleth, if you like do read it and you see it's super bad, don't--

LIAM: Oh, it's too hazy. I can't see him.

TRAVIS: That doesn't seem right at all

ASHLEY: No, but I think she should plan for her life if he's not coming back.

TRAVIS: Yep. Pike and I are in agreement.

LAURA: But right now?

SAM: What if he's alive and in peril, do we tell her that? We're going to lose our only employee.

LAURA: Well, then we go try to help him, maybe.

SAM: Really? We have to go help someone? We just met this person!

LAURA: That's what we do, Tary!

TALIESIN: We haven't done that in quite a while to be fair.

TRAVIS: Plus, he was in somewhere like shambalam.

SAM: Do we know what she was talking about, by the way?

MATT: You get the sense she probably was meaning Shamel, which is the port where you guys had your vacation. The Bay of Gifts.

SAM: We could go on vacation again!

MATT: About ten minutes or so pass and then Hilda comes back, and you see she's clutching what looks to be a small, gold chain. And she takes it and goes, "This belonged to my husband. I don't know if this'll help."

LAURA: Sure. Keyleth?

SAM: Ignore the blood all over her body.

LAURA: She's fine.

MATT: You probably cleaned up over the past day or so travel. Unless you didn't, in which case you are just a sticky Carrie.

MARISHA: No, I look awesome.

LIAM: It's dried in the hair, though, and caked in.

MARISHA: I'm a little spacey, maybe? For a little bit.

MATT: Yeah, understandably. You know, like you do.

MARISHA: It's hard to say.

MATT: But anyway, she hands you the gold chain.

TALIESIN: Just checking, do you want to know no matter what? Good or ill?

MATT: "Oh, I just want to know something."

TALIESIN: Fair enough.

MARISHA: What was his name?

SAM: Athen?

MATT: Yeah, it was Dathen. D-A-T-H-E-N. Dathen.

MARISHA: Can you tell me anything else about him that would maybe help? What does he look like?

MATT: "He's got dusty brown hair, usually about shoulder length. Well, he doesn't really grow facial hair but he's pretty scruffy, lower the way. It's been many months, so I don't know. Medium build? Maybe about this high?" And she gives a couple of inches off her own height. "He's got a right scar across his neck and his chest right there he got when he was a kid."

MARISHA: All right. Should be enough. I'll do an actual scrying spell.

MATT: All righty. So looking at the scrying spell here. All right. You sit there and focus and concentrate-- and darkness. Nothing. No link. She's looking expectantly.

MARISHA: What's that?

MATT: She's looking at you expectantly.

MARISHA: Hilda? If he is on this plane of existence, I don't know if it's a good sign. But it doesn't mean that he couldn't be lost somewhere else. My spell only extends to this plane of existence but there are many planes. I can try again.

MATT: "No. That's all right. That's all I needed to know. Thank you." At this point, as the sun is setting, starting to go into the evening, you can see the light causing her to blear a little bit. Here in the shade she's like, "Can we perhaps talk in the morning?"

LAURA: Of course. Take the evening.

MATT: "Where can I find you? Up?" As she points over to the castle.

LAURA: Sure, yeah. One of us will be back here tomorrow as well.

MATT: "All right. Thank you." And she quietly walks back to the corner of the city where she was from.

LAURA: Well, shit.

MARISHA: Well, that's not good.

LIAM: Give the woman a job. Keep her busy.

LAURA and ASHLEY: Yeah.

SAM: I'm just throwing this out there. If that was a ploy to get a higher salary, I'm not biting.

LAURA: Tary.

SAM: I'm just saying, she could be very cunning.

TRAVIS: Yep, she might have killed her husband.

MARISHA: I don't think so.

TRAVIS: Pretty sure she did it.

MARISHA: Do I have any further inkling?

MATT: No. Just did not find a source. Did not find a source. Nothing. Nothing for the spell to grab onto.

LAURA: Maybe you and I can take a stroll up by her abode.

LIAM: All right.

LAURA: And just see.

LIAM: Sure.

LAURA: Make sure she's all right and--

LIAM: Right, best of intentions, yeah. I feel you.

TRAVIS: We are background checking a fucking bakery employee in our Dungeons and Dragons game!

LIAM: Matt has burned us too many times.

ASHLEY: The stupid box that we buried still haunts me to this day.

LIAM: We just got swindled yesterday.

LAURA: Come on! We don't trust anyone

SAM: She didn't give us a social security, we don't have an I-9. There's nothing.

LAURA: There's no way to know. She could just be in here trying to get close to Vox Machina before she takes us all down like Raishan.

SAM: She could be Raishan.

LAURA: She could!

TALIESIN: Speaking of deeply distrustful persons. JB, do you want to come see the library? Does anybody else want to come?

ASHLEY: I would love to come!

MATT: "Yes! Please!"

TRAVIS: Yeah, me too.

MARISHA: Are you insinuating that JB isn't trustful?

TALIESIN: Oh! Absolutely, in the best possible way. I'm highly excited, and I think you're going to do very well.

MATT: "Okay."

TALIESIN: See?

MARISHA: We like untrustworthy people. None of us are trustworthy; it's good.

MATT: "I know, I've read."

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh, that made me happy.

LAURA: We go by her hovel.

MATT: Okay. As you guys make your way back to the castle you stop and go over there. You can see it's one of three small homes that are jammed in the alley areas between these larger buildings. Almost like there's businesses on this one corner and they have smaller people that are living more meager means. Each one of them appears to be occupied. The one that she pointed to, you go to it and it seems... there. There's like a very low light through one of the windows.

LIAM: I'm going to be real shitty and stealth up and peek in and see what she's up to.

MATT: Okay, make a stealth check.

LAURA: She's changing. Crying, naked.

LIAM: We'll find out won't we. 33 for stealth.

MATT: All righty, and then make a perception check.

LIAM: Yeah. Natural 20.

MATT: Okay. You glance up and over the side and from the low candlelit interior, which you watch as there's a small candle that's lit on a little wick there. And there's almost no furniture in this house whatsoever. There's a stool and you just see her sitting on the stool, motionless.

LIAM: I want to insight check and just get as good a read on her emotional state as I can, even though she's got a thousand-yard stare. This is insight?

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: I'll use Luck. Better.

TRAVIS: Luck?

LIAM: Sure, why not? What am I saving it for? 18.

MATT: 18. I mean she's faced away from you. It's hard to pick up-- away but to the side, and you just see her just there. And you see her run through her satchel on the side. Pull out a cream puff and eat it.

LAURA: There's not even a bed in there? Just a stool?

MATT: Just a stool.

LIAM: Into the earring I say: We are terrible, terrible assholes. She seems fine. She seems worthy of a baking job. You know, work with her for a day, but I'm not seeing anything hinky here. Yeah? You need anything else?

LAURA: No, we're going to go talk to Keeper Yennen.

LIAM: Because I'm staring at a woman crying into her satchel.

SAM: Still going to talk to Yennen?

LAURA: It's our fucking business, you know?

SAM: Yeah, of course.

TALIESIN: This is more work than we put in hiring our first castle guards.

LAURA: Yeah. Come on, at least we aren't trying to like ambush her and attack her like we attacked you, Tary.

LIAM: My significant other just mangled herself. I need to keep busy. Let's go see Yennen. And so I lead her off.

MATT: Ha okay. You guys go ahead and make your way towards Yennen's small temple in town. It's past the evening sun, so you see Yennen's one younger boy who helps him keep the establishment. He's in the process of sweeping some of the fallen leaves and various dust that has found its way into the half-open dome place of worship. As you approach he says, "Hi."

LAURA: Can I ask you a question, Keeper?

MATT: "Oh are you looking for Yennen?"

LAURA: Oh shit, yeah, sorry.

MATT: This is the younger boy who is the keeper in training.

LAURA: Keeper in training, is Keeper Yennen here?

MATT: "Let me get him." Puts the broom away. Leaves for a second. The door opens to the side, and you see Yennen come out, half awake. Looks like he's in his evening attire, sleeping attire.

LAURA: Oh shit.

LIAM: Sorry.

LAURA: It's really that late? Oh, he's very old.

LIAM: Sorry.

LAURA: I'm so sorry to wake you.

MATT: "That's all right."

LAURA: Oh, I feel like a dick.

MATT: "What can I do for you?"

LAURA: I just wanted to ask you about someone you might know.

MATT: "Yes?"

LAURA: Hilda?

MATT: "Hilda? Yes, yes."

LAURA: What do you know about her?

MATT: "Not too much. She seems nice and keeps to herself. She lives that way."

LAURA: How long have you known her?

MATT: "15 years?"

LAURA: 15 years? She's been here 15 years?

MATT: "Her and her husband."

LAURA: Yeah. All right. What was he like? What is he like?

MARISHA: Oh shit!

MATT: "A bit of a rambunctious young lad, until he grew up. Don't see him here often. He comes in and out."

LAURA: He's a sailor. Well, that was helpful. Anything remarkable? Any sort of untrustworthiness? Do you think she's fine? She's cool?

MATT: "I assume. Is everything all right?"

LAURA: Everything's fine. You know, we're just weird people right now. It's great.

LIAM: You don't know anything about Orcus, do you?

MATT: "I know of."

LIAM: Didn't think so. We should leave.

LAURA: Thank you so much. Get some rest. I'm so sorry to bother you.

LIAM: Come on.

MATT: "All right. Goodnight."

LAURA: We're making assholes of ourselves.

LIAM: Surprise.

LAURA: Fine. We'll go meet up with everyone now.

SAM: What did you find out?

LAURA and LIAM: So much.

LAURA: She's a loner.

ASHLEY: She's a loner?

LAURA: She's lived here for 15 years, but nobody really knows anything.

SAM: And you said she sits in a room by herself eating pastries?

LIAM: That's what she's doing tonight. I don't think that's what she does every day.

LAURA: Who knows? She doesn't have a bed.

ASHLEY: Why is there no furniture in her apartment?

SAM: Let's watch her work for a day. See how it goes.

LIAM: Did I see more than one room, or was it a single-room home?

MATT: From what you can tell, it's a single room. There's a pile of linens in a corner. There was a stool. It looked like there was a small area for cooking.

LAURA: It's like Skyrim, y'all. There's a stool and a cheese wheel.

TALIESIN: And a pot, and if you break it, there's five coins.

MARISHA: And steal their plants from outside.

TALIESIN: And throw them at chickens.

ASHLEY: Mountain flowers.

MARISHA: Nightshade.

LAURA: Well, this was productive.

TALIESIN: At least we know, and there's no harm in being careful. It's not like it's never happened before.

LAURA: Right.

TALIESIN: It's not the first time that we've been trusting and been betrayed. Or the second or the third. It's reasonable to be a bit cautious and we were a bit cautious.

LIAM: Of cakes?

TALIESIN: Of cakes. To be fair, we are going to be eating them.

TRAVIS: Are we reading right now?

TALIESIN: I assume we've gotten to the library. I don't know.

MATT: They've traveled for a bit you've had time to hit the library and begin showing JB around.

ASHLEY: Are there children's books in here?

TRAVIS: I found one! Look! Bus-ee-ness. Buseness.

MARISHA: He's learning.

TRAVIS: Bus-ee-what?

LAURA, ASHLEY, and MARISHA: Business?

TRAVIS: Sound it out. Bus-eye-ness

MARISHA: Did you find a ledger? Is that what you found?

TALIESIN: There are books I read as a child.

ASHLEY: (whispers) Where are they?

TALIESIN: Everywhere.

ASHLEY: Can I see if I can find a kid's book?

LIAM: That's pronounced boysness.

TRAVIS: Boysness. Can you use it in a sentence, please?

LIAM: Grog got down to boysness and ended a fool's life.

ASHLEY: 13.

MATT: 13? You find what amounts to a children's book for Percival.

TALIESIN: Bless you.

SAM: High school biology.

TALIESIN: The Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll.

MATT: Yeah. Most of the books here are of relatively advanced reading level. You gather it's a trait of the De Rolo family

TALIESIN: Gives me the sense that this kid's going to be fine.

TRAVIS: Or-chid.

LAURA: Grog you can do the "ch?"

TRAVIS: Or-chide.

LAURA and ASHLEY: Orchid.

TRAVIS: No, it's not kid.

ASHLEY: Sometimes when those letters are together, it sounds like a K.

LAURA: What book are you reading that's about boysness and orchids?

TRAVIS: It's an orchid business.

LAURA: Boysness.

TRAVIS: Boysness. Which is a location in Marquet.

MATT: All right. Are you guys doing anything else for the evening?

TALIESIN: Just showing her what we would like to pay her to do. Which is: all of these books, there's this huge section that are mostly histories, diaries, folk tales, or otherwise. Take one of these slips of paper when you read a book. You write your name on it and you leave it in the book. Then anytime you find anything peculiar-- a ghost story or a strange occurrence in any of these books. Anything at all that might be fanciful or unexplained, you mark with a piece of gold thread and put it back on the shelf then one of the other librarians will come and find that book and bring it down for further study. You just have to find the most interesting of these books and make sure that they're well marked.

MATT: "I can do that."

TALIESIN: I had a funny feeling.

MARISHA: What makes them interesting?

TALIESIN: What makes a book interesting? I genuinely don't know how to answer that.

LAURA: Sexy pictures.

TALIESIN: There's not a lot of that in this library.

MARISHA: Are you giving someone parameters by which they don't really have rules to follow?

TALIESIN: Well that's the trouble with looking for something that if you don't know what it is.

MARISHA: Right.

TALIESIN: But if in one of these diaries someone remarks upon a strange murder or a ghost story, or honestly, anything interesting. That's a bit peculiar you just mark it then we take a look. That way we thin out that have to read down to a manageable amount.

MARISHA: So, it takes a peculiar person to know what's peculiar?

TALIESIN: That does help, yes.

MATT: "Okay, I can do that."

MARISHA: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Is there a place-- just ask Percy privately. She can stay with me.

TALIESIN: I assumed.

ASHLEY: Do I have an extra bedroom? Or how does this work?

TALIESIN: Where is Pike?

LAURA: Is she staying in the castle, right?

MATT: She has a room in the castle, one that used to be one of the guest rooms when you had people you were entertaining.

ASHLEY: Maybe there's a Murphy bed or something like that in the room.

MATT: It's easy enough to put a second bed in there. The doorways are wide.

TALIESIN: If she would like her own room, that can absolutely be arranged.

ASHLEY: JB? Do you-- I don't know how--

MATT: She's in the process of looking and she's like writing down, taking notes of the different sections, talking to herself. She's not even looking at you.

ASHLEY: You are more than welcome to stay with me. I do have night terrors, so sometimes not fun, but you can stay with me or you could have your own room.

MATT: "No, that's fine."

ASHLEY: Okay. Wait, which one?

MATT: "Staying with you. Is there something I should do if you're having a night terror?"

ASHLEY: Just wait it out.

MATT: "Okay, don't wake you up?"

ASHLEY: Nah.

MATT: "Okay."

ASHLEY: Okay. This will be fun. It'll be like sleepovers. Maybe we can make a fort!

MATT: "We can make forts? Out of what?"

ASHLEY: Just all the blankets. Tapestries.

MATT: You watch all of a sudden her eyes-- in this library, there are a number of old tapestries and you know carpet elements around. You watch as she scans the entire room for materials and goes, "Oh, we can do this."

ASHLEY: I have a feeling you are a great fort builder.

MATT: "I haven't tried, but I have some theories."

TALIESIN: I pull two engineering books off the shelf and hide them.

MATT: Perfect. All right.

TALIESIN: I feel like this has been taken care of. You know the system.

ASHLEY: Percy, thank you.

TALIESIN: Would you like an extra bed sent?

ASHLEY: Yes, please.

TALIESIN: That can be arranged.

MATT: Okay, so you have a second bed installed in Pike's room. You guys have your dinner for the evening, anything else?

TALIESIN: Take another look at the thing downstairs.

LAURA: Well, I go with you.

MATT: Okay. You guys head down into the tunnels make your way to the ziggurat beneath Whitestone and as you enter the inside of the chamber, you can see there's a few torches set up in there. There is that secondary platform where you guys met a year ago, where you had the small council with Raishan as well to decide what was to become of the Chroma Conclave. Up there, you can see there's a whole research bench set up with a couple of desks and pretty much all the information that's been gathered, and various things that have been studied over the past year or so about it. What has been figured out and there were theories thrown around before of it being a siphon. An artifact that is related to something that was referred to as a Sphere of Annihilation. Not directly, but an offshoot of that type of enchantment. As opposed to completely destroying anything it comes into contact with, it's attuned in the siphoning of things from a location to another. It's a translocation type of magic. There have been a number of things that have been placed within this sphere and did not return, including one volunteer, a member of the Pale Guard, who during the year's research volunteered to step through and was not heard from again. And that stopped any future volunteers from rising to the occasion. But, since the research that's been taken up about what the siphon's existence during the Age of Arcanum they were one, used as a defensive measure against powerful mages, but that was more of a secondary use during the actual war that ended the Age of Arcanum. Their initial creation was supposed to be able to harness and shift ley line energy. The idea was wherever there was a large source of magical energy but it was inconvenient, its placement, its natural placement in the world, they could use these siphons to basically triangulate and shift where that energy would go.

TALIESIN: It's been an awful long time now. We don't even know if they created it or if they found it.

MATT: You don't know, like the information about them is I would say almost mythological, in the sense that there are stories that talk about them and a lot of the information was destroyed during the Divergence regarding to the older Age of Arcanum magics.

TALIESIN: The castle's always had strange stories.

MATT: Yeah, and this is information that was brought together by Eskil Ryndarien when he was down here researching with Allura even during the Conclave. A lot of people have gone off because the research hit a wall, it was like, "Well, we find out pretty much everything about this we just don't know where the siphon is going, and anything we've tried to put through hasn't come back. So the theory is to find the other half of the siphon because it's a connecting point. There's two sides to it, so if it this is correct, then the theory is there would be another side to it. Or if not it might just be a Sphere of Annihilation or something adjacent to it and is essentially a null and void circumstance. Those are where the theories stand.

LAURA: Percy?

TALIESIN: Yes?

LAURA: The crystal that Lillith gave you. Does that work across planes?

MATT: You have to be on the same plane of existence

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: I've thought about it. I definitely think there's something on the other side of this, and this thing is how I think that our work is not yet done. I dream about it sometimes. Do you ever come down and just look at it?

LAURA: To be honest, it intimidates me quite a bit.

TALIESIN: What do you see?

LAURA: What do I see? Can I use my oracle arrow and shoot it into it?

MATT: You can certainly give it a try. You can certainly try.

SAM: (whispers) What's an oracle arrow?

TRAVIS: She can shoot her arrow--

LAURA: And see through the arrow. Okay. What do I do?

MATT: All right well, go ahead and roll an attack.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: Let's back up a bit of a distance.

LAURA: Yeah. We'll back up as far as we can so I can still hit the thing. It is a magical arrow, and this thing cuts out all the magic but maybe once it goes through the siphon, maybe I'll still be able to use it?

TALIESIN: Well, we can actually get to the edge where magic starts again and then it might reconnect once it goes through.

LAURA: Yeah, we'll stand outside of the door.

SAM: So you only have one of these?

LAURA: I have two per short rest.

SAM: Oh, you're fine.

MATT: As part of your newly-exalted bow. Okay, this is going to be-- hold on to that roll whatever that was. So to get out of the radius, because it basically cuts right into the hallway that leads inside of it, you have to back out of the chamber into the hallway a few feet and basically get on the ground and aim upwards towards, and you're going to have to arc over the top of the ziggurat to get in. So this is a shot with a disadvantage.

LIAM: Sharpshooter?

LAURA: With disadvantage. I am sharpshooter.

LIAM: Wouldn't that nullify that? Three-quarter cover means nothing. It's just full cover.

MATT: Well, what I was going to say it would have a really high AC with disadvantage. I'm not going to consider it with having a super high AC. It's still a very hard shot.

LAURA: So disadvantage?

MATT: So disadvantage on the shot.

LAURA: 30.

SAM: Whoa!

LIAM: Yeah, both were high teens.

ASHLEY: It's Critical Role's dice.

LAURA: It is the Critical Role dice.

TALIESIN: What?! I'm so proud of you!

SAM: It shouldn't work.

TALIESIN: It shouldn't work, but it did!

ASHLEY: T-shirts!

SAM: Weirdly, the arrow hits and kills Keyleth.

MARISHA: (death rattle) Not like this.

SAM: Don't do that! This is a long whisper.

LIAM: He's telling her real stuff, man.

SAM: Oh man, this is not what we normally get.

TALIESIN: No this is a whole chunk of stuff.

ASHLEY: Backblaze!

SAM: By the way, just a little insight, what we normally get on the whispers is, "From what you can tell, it seems totally normal." And then that's about it.

MARISHA: That's actually really accurate.

TALIESIN: Briefly, back in the old days, they were experimenting with texting us whispers.

SAM: As far as you can tell he thinks he's telling the truth.

ASHLEY: I want to know.

TALIESIN: I'm glad we stopped trying to text each other whispers.

SAM: Whoa, her mind is blown.

LAURA: Can I have a pencil! I got to write this shit down. Pencil!

TALIESIN: Her eyes go white and it's just (scribbling). Yay.

ASHLEY: It was so much!

SAM: She's drawing a weird alien creature.

LAURA: I got to write it down or else I'll forget!

SAM: Big head, big eyes, small body.

TALIESIN: Three syllables We're being invaded by dingbats.

MARISHA: What does a smiley emoji mean? I don't understand.

SAM: She speaks Arrival language now.

LAURA: Oh my god. Percy! I saw something!

TALIESIN: You didn't. Really?

LAURA: I did! I think it was another plane.

LIAM: Vex dies.

TALIESIN: We have to figure out how to-- is there a way to make sure we get every detail? I'm finding pen and paper; we're writing everything you can remember down. Is there a way to recall someone's memory in perfect detail, is there any sort of magic that can actually--

MATT: There are, yeah.

TALIESIN: Okay. This shit's happening!

LAURA: Otherwise, I could just tell you what I sort of saw, but I heard a lot of "Backblaze!" in the background.

TALIESIN: It was the Backblaze dimension?

MATT: They're not siphons. They're storage units!

MARISHA: You saw the cloud? What did it look like?

MATT: Just Pelor backing up his hard drive. All right. It's pretty vivid for you, and so as you recount. What she saw is the arrow, it was darkness when she fired it, as it passed through the sphere of anti-magic, there was nothing. And then suddenly, imagery blinked through the arrow. From the perspective of it as it coasted away, she looked behind and could see the twin to this orb. Apparently, not under the same anti-magic shell on the other side. Whereas this side steals magic, the other side emits it. As the arrow landed and clattered the stonework maybe 20 feet below the orb, looking around, she saw landscape of blackened, broken stone and ground. Distant mountainscapes of jagged crags, like teeth across the horizon. The sky itself was black and shadowed, like it was perpetually amidst a distant forest fire, and where you can see the grey in the sky you can see roiling thunder clouds with flashes of lightning. And roughly a mile or so from what you could tell from where this was you could see what appeared to be a large obsidian tower of twisted black stone that went up for what appeared to be a dozen or more stories.

LAURA: Don't we know something about obsidian--

MARISHA: The same tower we saw in the Nine Hells?

LAURA: No.

MATT: No, different tower.

LAURA: This is way bigger.

MATT: No, the tower in the Nine Hells was the biggest thing you've ever seen tower-wise. This is big, but imagine a 12-story obsidian tower that's pretty thin and tall.

LAURA: Okay. I'm glad I remembered that correctly because I was remembering it as a citadel and it's just a tower.

TALIESIN: This is spectacular! This is great! We have to let everybody know! Oh god, we have to let everybody know. And I grab her and we bolt out.

LAURA: Does it sound like anything you know?

TALIESIN: No? Yes? Maybe? I don't know! I'm not sure. This is a breakthrough. We have a breakthrough! We have a breakthrough! I am running to Cassandra, who I'm sure is asleep.

MATT: Yeah, most everyone's-- you guys have all gone to bed at this point I imagine; you guys were down there pretty late.

LIAM: Well first I drag Keyleth off to the cozy little bathtubs that they have here in the castle and took the opportunity-- they're quite small, actually. And washed all of the caked in, the last of the caked in blood and everything.

TRAVIS: Because they say it, it's true.

TALIESIN: We have a full Roman sauna underneath, but that's fine, whatever you need.

ASHLEY: I took JB back and we built a fort in the room.

MATT: And you've gone to bed?

SAM: Oh yeah, I'm asleep.

TRAVIS: I look for a book on werewolves.

MATT: Okay, make an investigation check.

TALIESIN: Natural 20, Natural 20!

TRAVIS: Natural 20!

(cheering)

TALIESIN: It's that night.

MATT: Against all odds.

TALIESIN: The trick is it requires human sacrifice.

MARISHA: It is a full moon tonight, isn't it? Or was it last night? When was the full moon?

MATT: You surprise yourself, Grog, going "werewolves." There's a book that talks about the disease of lycanthropy and were-creatures and entities, and it's there before you and you find it's like your own little birthday party.

TRAVIS: I take it with me.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm calling a meeting of the council. I'm sending out the word. I'm telling everyone that we have new information.

SAM: At night?!

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm starting it now so that people who are not here can figure out their way here.

MARISHA: Are you getting it over our earpieces?

TALIESIN: Not them. To the studying council, anyone who's been studying the object. I'm letting everybody know as quickly as possible. There's new information.

MATT: All right, so that being the case, you let Cassandra know. Cassandra goes "My god, all right. Well, let me-- I think I-- hold on." She goes and rushes back to her room and she comes back with a small, looks like a river stone, but has what looks to be a small rune carved into it. She takes it and holds and goes "Sorry to bother you, my dear, but apparently Percival has a breakthrough in regards to the ziggurat and the orb. As soon as you can, please." Then takes it and puts it into a small pouch. "Hopefully, Allura received that and should be arriving soon. As to Eskil, I don't know how to get in touch with him; he's probably well into his sleep and he gets cranky."

TALIESIN: He'll find out in the morning. This is good. We'll start looking with the new data as soon as everyone gets here. This is excellent. Excellent! Good night. Go to sleep. Why are you awake? No! And I'm out the door. I run to Vex's house. We're done.

MATT: All right, so you guys just go to bed?

TALIESIN: Yeah.

LAURA: I guess so. Yeah. But, wait. Actually, Percy? Off subject, but, when I saw Keyleth, I mean, she was destroyed right? I mean, fucking destroyed. Arms everywhere, limbs broken, just terrible.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: We put her back together like we always do, but I can't get Scanlan out of my mind. It's so random, I know, but what if that happened to him and we're not with him? No one's there to cast Revivify.

TALIESIN: If he wanted to be found, he'd be found. His daughter's there, and maybe he is possibly smart enough to explain to her how that stone works.

LAURA: Have you scryed on him again?

TALIESIN: Not successfully. Not since I briefly found him and then I lost him. But I always have people looking.

LAURA: All right. I don't know why he's on my mind. Obviously, we have much bigger things.

TALIESIN: I think maybe bigger things will help. It's been too quiet.

LAURA: You're not good at quiet

TALIESIN: No. I mean, I've enjoyed it. This has been great, everything, everything has been great. This is wonderful, but I will admit I miss-- I don't know what I miss. I miss it, though. I feel like I'm tempting fate and I'm going to regret everything I say right now, one day.

LAURA: I think we are, who knows what his will lead to.

TALIESIN: Maybe we can shut it down for good.

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: Maybe we're going to go find a small black tower somewhere filled with death and despair.

LAURA: I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight!

TALIESIN: No.

MATT: So as you find your rest for the evening, the morning comes. Bright, warm. The clouds that came in for the evening it's still a cloudy sky and as you wake up the mist that usually takes up the bottom of the valley and the forest floor is beginning to burn off as the sun begins to peek through the clouds and show little bursts of blue above. You guys head back to the castle, where all of you are, everyone but Keyleth. We'll say Keyleth's still sleeping and Taryon's still sleeping.

TALIESIN: Keyleth had a bit of day.

MATT: However, Allura is there waiting. She's there and she goes, "Well, isn't this a pleasant surprise?" She rushes up and gives Vex a big hug. She comes and takes your hand as well, Percival, and pulls you in. "So, Cassandra told me that there some sort of a--"

TALIESIN: Well Vex had a brilliant idea. Recently, you came to a very interesting power.

LAURA: Yes, from the exalted weapon that I got from Saundor.

MATT: "Oh, your Vestige. Yes."

LAURA: Yes, and it has the ability to shoot arrows that see.

MATT: "I recall you telling me this, yes."

LAURA: Right so I shot it into the orb. And I saw through it.

MATT: "Oh." At which point you watch her whole demeanor change and then, "What did you see?"

LAURA: Everything. A sky and an orb and a tower. An obsidian tower like twelve stories tall.

MATT: Keyleth comes down for breakfast.

LAURA: Hey, Kiki. Good morning.

MARISHA: Hi, sorry. I had weird dreams.

TRAVIS: Did you die?

LIAM: No, that really happened. That actually happened yesterday.

LAURA: Destroyed landscape, whole other plane. Very dark, very scary.

MATT: "Another plane?"

LAURA: I think. I assume.

TALIESIN: This is everything as she described it. This is everything I could write down.

MATT: As you describe down the location she goes, "This is certainly not a place that I know of on this plane."

MARISHA: My dreams are on this plane?

LAURA: Keyleth! We had a breakthrough.

MATT: "This sounds like a location that resides somewhere in the Shadowfell."

LAURA: The Shadowfell?

TRAVIS: Wait, Shadowfell?

MATT: "The Shadowfell, yes. You know how you went to the Feywild, which is more of an overgrown fey-based, nature parallel to this world, yes? The Shadowfell is the dark shadow reflection of this same place. It's a plane of negative energy and darkness. A tower, you said? I have to go research this some more. This is good to know, but I get the sense that perhaps this ritual was not as foiled as we had initially anticipated."

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Have you been to this Shadowfell before?

MATT: "I have not been."

LAURA: Does Vecna reside there?

MATT: "I'm going to go do some research."

LAURA: Fuck.

MATT: You watch her get a little thousand-yard stare for a second, thinking. Her eyes are darting around a little bit and her brain is just running and running. "All right. Well, unfortunately, I can't leave until tomorrow, I can only really transport myself once a day, but I'll immediately make my way to Vasselheim. That would hopefully be able to clarify some of these questions."

LAURA: Do you need company?

MATT: "No, I can travel faster on my own."

LAURA: All right.

MATT: "Besides, I can always go ahead and bring a friend."

LAURA: How is Kima?

MATT: Make a perception check, actually.

LAURA: 21.

MATT: 21? Interesting. One thing you do catch, though subtle, is as she has her hands folded on one side you do see a small gold band across one of her fingers.

SAM: She's hitched!

LAURA: Wait a minute! Did you guys get married?

MATT: "It was very small, very private, but anyway--"

LIAM: Congratulations!

MATT: "Thank you. Sorry, this is conflicting emotions in this moment right now. Thank you."

LAURA: When did it happen?!

MATT: "Not but four months ago. It was on a whim. We thought and discussed a lot about all the dangers we'd faced over the years together, and with you and the reality of not knowing how long either of us have on this planet. I figured at the very least, why not?"

LAURA: I think it's brilliant. Brilliant.

MATT: "Thank you. We were going to tell you. There's been a lot to do in Emon. It's looking great, by the way. We've nearly completed. Thanks to the help of the Lyceum and many of the mages, reconstruction has been rapid."

LAURA: We really should have gone there in the last year. We need to visit Emon.

TALIESIN: We were very busy.

LAURA: True.

MATT: Then she covers the hand and is embarrassed.

TALIESIN: We can get you back there today, if you think time is of the essence.

MARISHA: I was in Emon not that long ago.

TALIESIN: Why did you go to Emon?

MARISHA: I had to talk to them about constructing the crisis orbs.

LAURA: Oh! That's true.

MARISHA: It was a *lot* of meetings. So many damn meetings.

MATT: "If you could actually send me to the Lyceum instead, and from there I can go to Vasselheim, but I can do my research there."

MARISHA: You want to go to the Lyceum?

MATT: "Yes."

MARISHA: Right now?

MATT: "Well, it's whenever you wish."

MARISHA: You want me to send you?

TRAVIS: I'm going to reset Keyleth's brain.

MARISHA: Oh yeah. Through the tree?"

TRAVIS: I'm going to jog her memory.

MARISHA: Is there anyone else that needs to go while I'm doing this? Because this is it for the day. Anyone else need to go to Emon?

TALIESIN: I think we're good.

TRAVIS: Literally nobody needs to go there but her.

MARISHA: No Kima?

MATT: Kima isn't with her.

MARISHA: I just didn't know if she wanted to go get her.

LAURA: Oh my god, Keyleth.

LIAM: You got a little bit of sleep stuff still in your eye.

LAURA: Eye bogeys, for sure.

LIAM: Yeah, that's better.

MARISHA: I was just asking. Okay, let's go.

MATT: All right, so as you open the gate and Allura steps through, she turns over with a smile. "Thank you, Keyleth. And--"

MARISHA: I say, (whispering) what's up, Sun Tree? And then send her through.

MATT: (laughing) As she trying to talk to you, she's like, (stutters). And you just push her through. She's like, "Whoa!"

MARISHA: Okay, bye.

MATT: (thud) And it closes.

TALIESIN: Why are you awake? Nothing. Never mind.

MATT: All right. So. What do you guys want to do?

LAURA: Well, shit! Well, what do we-- not that we know. I guess we just research?.

TALIESIN: This changes everything. I'm changing the research focus in the library specifically to things on this subject so that we can more focus.

MATT: Okay. JB comes down with you and starts helping catalog and pulling out books and information.

TRAVIS: I'll help you go read, too. And I start reading my book.

LAURA: Oh shit. Hilda. Did anybody go down to the bakery?

SAM: She was going to come see us.

MATT: Yeah, you haven't. It's around noon now, as all this has happened and talking with her.

TALIESIN: She was going to come to the castle.

LAURA: Yeah, but-- okay.

MATT: Tary still hasn't woken up, by the way.

SAM: I'm currently-- Doty is brushing my teeth.

TRAVIS: Brushing your teeth?

MATT: That's not true. Because eventually when you go to check on his room, Taryon isn't there.

LAURA and MARISHA: What?

LIAM: Sam...

MARISHA: He's not going to Sam Riegel us again, is he? Because I can't handle that right now.

LAURA: Where is Tary? Did he leave a note?

MATT: As you enter the room--

SAM (whispers) Hilda ate me.

LAURA: Oh my god, did Hilda do something?

MATT: You can see the sheet is missing. Most of his personal belongings are gone. Doty is still there. And Doty appears to be shut down, nonfunctional.

LAURA: Doty? Doty! Shit!

MATT: The eyes are cold.

TALIESIN: Check the book!

LAURA: What book?

TALIESIN: Doty's book.

LAURA: Oh! I go look at Doty's book!

MATT: It's within his chest compartment.

TALIESIN: I know. I helped build this thing. Can I figure out how to get the book to eject?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: I'm searching around the room, looking for any sign of Tary.

TALIESIN: That's so cocked. That's a natural 20.

MATT: Okay. Not only do you find the latch, but you look underneath where one of the arms is. There appears to be a small glass bead, affixed with a piece of clay. And the bead has this pulsing blue light on it. And you notice it there, and it looks like it's the only thing with any sort of life on Doty's exterior.

TALIESIN: Does that look like part of Doty?

MATT: It doesn't. It looks like something that was pressed onto him.

LAURA: Should we take it off?

TALIESIN: Is it magical?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

TALIESIN: That's a 21.

MATT: It does appear to be magical. It is giving some sort of consistent pulse of energy.

LAURA: Maybe don't touch it.

MATT: It looks fragile, whatever it is. The essence of the magic that you get from it, the nature of the effect, at least, is abjuration.

LAURA: Abjuration?

TALIESIN: I genuinely don't actually know what this word means.

LAURA: I have no idea what that word means, either.

SAM: I've seen it in the Player's Handbook.

LAURA: Yeah, what is it?

TALIESIN: I normally have some clue about a word.

MATT: Abjuration is one of the schools of arcane magic.

LAURA: What kind of school is it?

MATT: (laughs) It's the alteration and harnessing of raw arcane energy. Usually in some sort of-- there are a number of spells that fall into the category.

LAURA: Shit. Shit, we just sent Allura away. Fuck. Balls.

TALIESIN: Should we call everyone? Let's not call everyone. Who should we call?

LAURA: I don't know.

TALIESIN: Let's call everyone. Has anybody seen Tary?

LIAM: He's sleeping in, isn't he?

TALIESIN: He's not.

ASHLEY: Is he at the bakery?

LAURA: Wait, go check the bakery. Will someone go check the bakery?

ASHLEY: I'll check the bakery.

LIAM: Where are you?

LAURA: Do I see any trace of him?

MATT: Make an investigation check again.

MARISHA: Castle?

LIAM: No, they're at Vex's house.

LAURA: 15.

TALIESIN: Can you have some coffee and come down here, quickly?

MARISHA: Oh my god! Coffee sounds amazing to me.

LAURA: Keyleth!

MARISHA: Yeah?

TALIESIN: Yes, what?

LAURA: Focus.

TALIESIN: Three coffees.

MARISHA: Three coffees coming right up. I'll be right over. I get three coffees and I head over.

MATT: Okay. It's hard to pick up a lot of details. It looks like there was no struggle whatsoever. It looks like somebody entered and picked the lock to the room from the inside. That's all you're able to make out. From the inside of the castle.

SAM: Oh, From the inside of the *castle.*

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Somebody that was in the castle did this? In *my* house?

LIAM: Sam, why don't you just tell us where you are?

SAM: Sure. Doty is brushing my teeth.

LAURA: Did you end up opening the thing? Can you see Doty's book?

TALIESIN: I popped the book out, right?

MATT: You found the compartment where you (click, creak). It opens up and the tome is there.

TALIESIN: I have my things upstairs. One second. I'm going to get all of my tools. I have everything on me including the cloak, because I want to be able to absorb any magic that comes off of what looks like possibly a bomb? Just going to be careful. I'm going to very gently remove the book.

MATT: You pull it out of the compartment.

TALIESIN: Flip to the last written page.

MATT: The last written page spoke of, "An evening of curious bakery prevailers signed on to see to the future of goods, and to create in the name of the great Taryon Darrington and associates. And as a sudden slumber comes over me, I will find myself an evening's rest. Goodnight, Doty." And that was the final entry.

TALIESIN: I'm waiting for Keyleth. I'm putting the book back.

LAURA: The top sheet is gone from the bed.

TRAVIS: Yeah, because they took him away in it.

LAURA: Is it an eyelash? Do I get a wish?

ASHLEY: (whispers) Yeah.

LAURA: Wait, get it so that I can make a wish.

TALIESIN: Thankfully, we have a scry spell or two.

MATT: Keyleth, you arrive with three coffees.

LIAM: I tag along.

MARISHA: Okay, I have two regular, one decaf no foam--

LAURA: Keyleth, scry on Tary. Pike, did you find anything at the bakery?

MATT: As you hurry down to the bakery, the bakery is still closed. Nobody was there to open it.

ASHLEY: Is Hilda there?

MATT: Hilda is not there, no.

ASHLEY: I don't see anything here, Hilda's not here.

LAURA: The bakery looks normal?

ASHLEY: The bakery looks normal.

MATT: Locked and closed, untouched since you left it the evening before.

MARISHA: Wait, you think Doty's been boobytrapped?

TALIESIN: Look at that. That doesn't look normal.

LIAM: I want to a take a look at that and see if it looks like a trap, and I don't understand magic, but if it is similar to any trigger mechanisms that I've seen.

MATT: Make a investigation check.

LAURA: Keyleth, come out of the room with me.

LIAM: 31.

MATT: Okay, it does not appear to be a trap, necessarily. It looks like whatever it's meant to be triggered to do has already been triggered.

LAURA: (gasps) Somebody boobytrapped Doty. Can you scry on Taryon? Scry on Taryon.

MARISHA: Yeah, what-- I'm sorry.

LAURA: He's missing.

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: He's missing. Somebody broke in and took him. I go around and start asking-- no, I'm going to stay right here. Will you scry on him? I need to find out what happened.

MARISHA: Okay, last time I tried to scry on Scanlan, everyone gave me a lot of grief about it.

LAURA: Okay, Scanlan left on his own. Tary didn't. He left Doty here. There is no way this was not foul play.

LIAM: Do you think this thing is looking at us? This little bead?

TALIESIN: Once everyone clears out of the room, I will try and remove it.

MARISHA: Who is all in the room? Is it the four of us?

LAURA: No, me and you, we went outside.

MATT: It is just Vax and Percy.

TALIESIN: I am going to try and remove it.

LIAM: Yeah, I don't think it's trapped or anything. You probably can do that.

TALIESIN: Let's see what happens. I'm going to use the cloak to pull it off so that I'm shielded from it if anything happens.

MATT: Okay, you grab it, and as you pull it off, it's fixed and as you pull it off, the bead shatters in your hand and the blue spark fizzles out and you watch Doty go, "Tary."

LIAM: Looks like the bead shut him down.

MATT: You get the sense that the basis of this magic was a one-use Dispel.

LAURA: We're not in the room. You're scrying. Will you scry?

MATT: You watch as Doty immediately starts going "Tary?" and lifts the bed. "Tary?"

MARISHA: It be better if I had something of Tary's.

MATT: Doty leaves and charges through the room and (objects breaking) into the hallway.

LAURA: Doty? Doty, come here.

MARISHA: Hey, Doty.

LAURA: Doty belonged to him. Scry with Doty.

MARISHA: What's up, bud?

MATT: Doty stops and looks. "Tary?"

MARISHA: Okay, I'm going to Professor Xavier this shit and put my hands on Doty's little head. Come here, bend down. Down, Doty. Doty, down. Doty, kneel! Doty, take a knee. Doty, down.

LAURA: Doty? Will you kneel down, please? Fuck.

MARISHA: You know what? It's fine. And I'm going to do the scry.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Do you know what is happening right now?

SAM: I'm getting my rogue character ready.

MATT: Keyleth. Your vision pulls back up into the sky above the clouds. For a second, you feel a rush of wind; you're not sure of the direction. You feel a flash of speed and then with a blink, all of a sudden your vision is above what appears to be a small village along a road. And the vision blinks once again and you're within a hallway, a wooden low-lit hallway, and then the flash. You're inside of a room. A wood paneling wall. You see Taryon, unconscious and wrapped in a sheet, still in his armor, propped against the shaded side of the wall, while a figure stands just out the peripheral. A familiar voice from just out of your range says, "It's okay, dear. We just had a bit to drink. Appreciate your concern." And you hear the door close (click). Then a few footsteps, and you watch as in the peripheral, Hilda steps in next to Taryon, pulling the sheet from his body, revealing him tied up from head to toe. Hilda's image shimmers slightly and dissipates, revealing a woman of ink-blue skin, long white hair tied into almost a topknot ponytail. Pale silver eyes that inspect her handiwork. Under her dark green cloak that you see her hood fall back, you see dark burgundy leather armor. She seems to check Taryon's vitals, under his neck, feel for breathing. Very methodically, and begins to loosen some of his bindings in some places. And you hear her voice say, "Can't have you losing too much circulation, boy. I've got a reputation to keep." She roughly tosses the blanket back over him after fixing the straps and goes, "Sleep soundly, boy. You'll be home soon enough." She stands up and walks across the room, almost out of sight, and sits in the chair facing him. You watch her rummage through her satchel, pull out a cream puff, and throw it to the side of the corner. Pulls out a small box and begins making something.

MARISHA: I don't know what she is making?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

SAM: She probably bought those cream puffs and didn't even bake them herself!

TRAVIS: It was gran's cream puffs.

MARISHA: Don't fuck me, Gil. Oh, okay. Just straight intelligence?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: 17.

MATT: You've seen Vex do this before. It is a fletching kit. She is in the process of making arrows.

MARISHA: She's making arrows?

MATT: She's making arrows in a casual passing-her-time way. And then the vision pulls you back (whoosh) and you're within yourself once more.

MARISHA: (gasps)

LAURA: What did you see?

MARISHA: (shouting) Bitch! Fucking bitch! God!

LAURA: Where is he? Who has him?

MARISHA: (shouting) People wonder why we have trust issues!

LAURA: Who, what--

MARISHA: (shouting) It's fucking Hilda! She's a vampire or a werewolf or a lich or something. I don't know. Don't quote me on any of this. She was just like, I don't want your vitals going down and why do people take everything away from us?

LAURA: Slap her across the face.

MARISHA: (yelps)

LAURA: Hey!

MARISHA: Ow!

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: Can you fucking calm down and tell me what you saw?

LIAM: Did you see Tary-town?

MARISHA: I saw Tary.

LAURA: Is he in trouble? Is he in danger?

MARISHA: Yeah, he looked unconscious, and it was Hilda, and she had ink-blue, sparkly skin.

MATT: Not sparkly, necessarily. Ink-blue skin, silver eyes.

MARISHA: Ink-blue skin and long silvery hair that was in a top long ponytail thing. Long green-- and she had burgundy armor. He was in a wooden room, somewhere.

LAURA: Is it close by?

MATT: Her ears were pointed.

MARISHA: In a hallway. Her ears were pointy. I know a lot of people have pointy ears, including myself, so I'm not judging anyone who has pointy ears.

LIAM: Was she a drow?

MATT: You, Keyleth, who have not actually seen a drow elf in person, really, over an extended period of time to know much about their culture, but through this conversation, she does appear to be, yes.

MARISHA: She sounds like those things you have said before. Yes.

LAURA: The drow?

MARISHA: The drow, yeah. Like us but blue skin, white hair. And she said she doesn't want him losing too much of his vitality, and that she was going to take him back to where he came from and that he was special.

LAURA: (gasps) She was bringing him home?

MARISHA: Yeah, she was bringing him home.

LAURA: To his piece of shit family?

MARISHA: To his piece of shit family!

LAURA: We have to get him. We have to help him.

MARISHA: But why is Tary special?

LAURA: He's very rich. I'm sure his family is just looking for him.

LIAM: Yeah, he is daddy's boy.

MARISHA: I don't know. This seems like she was interested in something other than his money.

LIAM: Well, there. It's irrelevant, though. We've got to go get him.

LAURA and MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: It's just means we knock her unconscious as opposed to killing her when we get there. It will be fun. Let's do this.

MARISHA: Do I have any idea of the hallway and the room, of how far away it was?

MATT: It felt like some sort of roadside inn. That's you have no idea where.

TALIESIN: Well, this we can deal with. A roadside inn. We know were Tary comes from.

MARISHA: He could be literally anywhere within a hundred-mile radius.

TALIESIN: We know which roads one would take to get there from Whitestone, conveniently?

MATT: From what you know, the town of Diastock that he comes from, which is in Wildmount. There are no roads that go there from Whitestone because it is across the Shearing Channel to the other continent. Which means you have to either go by boat-- and even then, it's probably a few hundred miles away from Whitestone on that side of the continent.

TALIESIN: We could do a Locate Object.

LAURA: Yeah, on his dangling earring.

MATT: It's a hundred-foot range.

LAURA: I thought is was a thousand feet range.

MATT: Sorry, a thousand-foot range.

LAURA: Which is still very, very close.

MARISHA: Or very far, when jumping off a cliff.

ASHLEY: What, is he is still here?

LAURA: Okay wait, what if I use primeval awareness-- I can't search out a drow. No, fuck. Can I look around to see if there is any tracks or any hint of anything that she may have dropped in the room or anything that he might have dropped?

TALIESIN: Go check Hilda's house, as well, for clues.

MATT: Searching the room... you searched it once before. Looking over it with a second glance, there doesn't appear to be any sign of anything that she dropped. The best you can tell, especially being a tracker, there doesn't appear to be any sign that either of them left the room. There was nowhere they could have gone. There is no window that exits, then the door was picked, and nobody saw anybody leave the room.

LAURA: She bamfed out. She's got magic. She could be anywhere.

TALIESIN: Then why is she at an inn?

LAURA: Are we sure she was at an inn?

TALIESIN: Well, if she is at what sounds like a waypoint, and if you can travel as far as you want, why would you need a waypoint?

MARISHA: Actually, who is good at math? Oh, Percy! You're good at math.

TALIESIN: I am good at math, why? What sort of math?

MARISHA: Well, when was the last time we saw Tary?

TALIESIN: Last night.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Train traveling.

MARISHA: Exactly. A train traveling by foot.

LIAM: A Tree Stride spell traveling. Yeah.

TALIESIN: It wasn't necessary a bamf. It might have just been, in and out, get on a horse and head towards--

LIAM: That’s a lot of ifs, though.

LAURA: But she didn't leave the room.

MARISHA: She was making arrows.

ASHLEY: I've made my way upstairs?

MATT: Yeah, you've come back at this point now.

ASHLEY: Well, Hilda never showed up for her interview!

(laughter)

ASHLEY: I don't think we should hire her, for one. Where is he? Did you find him? Anything? Nothing?

TALIESIN: How far could they have gotten on horseback? Within the reasonable--

MATT: Well, I mean. The last you saw him, it's been probably 12 hours. On horseback, could have gotten, I'd say, probably a little over 100 miles or so.

TALIESIN: 100 miles. There's only so many roads that lead out of the city. I'm pulling out a map and I'm marking any roadside tavern that's within a 100 miles of the city.

LAURA: Doty? Do you know how to find Tary?

MATT: "Doty. Taryon."

LAURA: Yes. Can you find him? Are you drawn to him?

ASHLEY: Doty?

MATT: I know, it's one phrase.

TALIESIN: I can't make Doty do things, can I?

SAM: You can certainly try.

TALIESIN: Doty, look at me.

MATT: "Tary?"

TALIESIN: Never mind.

ASHLEY: Doty? Do you know where Taryon went?

MATT: "Tary."

ASHLEY: I feel like-- could you give him the book?

TALIESIN: Oh. Yeah. I gave him the book back. Yes.

ASHLEY: Could you draw something for me again?

MATT: "Tary?"

LAURA: Try it. Give him the book. Give him some paper and a pencil.

ASHLEY: Do you know where Taryon went? Can you draw it? Shit, I thought he listened to me.

SAM: He does.

ASHLEY: He does listen to me.

MATT: Well. The old Doty did.

SAM and LAURA: Oh fuck.

TRAVIS: And you had to lose that one.

ASHLEY: Oh, that's right, Doty. You're new. You're new, Doty.

TALIESIN: Doty, don't do that.

ASHLEY: Doty, don't do that. Doty, don't play that.

TALIESIN: I've got a plan. I need to borrow the scrying orb. I'm going to make a list. On the map, I'm going to mark every roadside in within about 200 miles.

MATT: Okay. There's a number of inns in the Turst Fields. There's a couple at the Jorenn Village, where you are familiar with. They might be just outside of the range, but you put them on there as well. Westruun, and along the road of the Silver Cut.

MARISHA: What was that thing you said? Turns field?

MATT: Those are the Turst Fields.

MARISHA: And what was the other one?

MATT: Jorenn Village. That's where you found Percy in prison.

TALIESIN: Okay. Where's the sun?

MATT: Right now? It's close to noon.

TALIESIN: We'll finish this and I'll give it a few hours for the sun to go down so that I can actually figure out what direction the inn is facing.

MARISHA: And I couldn't try and do a nature check to try and see what direction the wind was coming from when it hit me during the scry?

MATT: The wind was less of a natural wind and more of just your vision being shifted. It would not have an impact whatsoever.

TALIESIN: Save the sphere. I have a plan. In the meantime, let's search Hilda's house.

LAURA: Yeah. Okay. We go and search Hilda's house.

MATT: Okay. As you get to Hilda's home, you look inside. It's dark on the interior. You knock. There's no response.

LAURA: Does Trinket smell-- We go in-- Wait! Sorry. Check for traps. Right.

LIAM: 22. No, 24.

MATT: 24. It is locked, but it does not appear to be trapped.

LIAM: All right. It's not locked anymore. 32.

MATT: Okay, yeah. It's a simple lock. As you walk inside, you see the candle that was lit the other night has melted entirely and the wax is dripping off the side of the small bench where it was laid on.

LIAM: One more in here. Is there any bullshit hiding around in here? 29.

MATT: 29. There's no bullshit, necessarily, but there is that pile of linens in the corner. You see it shifting slightly, and as you pull off the side you see there, bound, Hilda. She's like, (muffled noises).

LIAM: All right, Whisper out, and I cut her free.

MATT: "Oh!"

LIAM: You all right?

MATT: "I'm all right."

LIAM: What happened?

MATT: (stuttering) "Naught but a few days ago, this blue-skinned woman came, and she seemed nice enough, and she asked me questions. She didn't hurt me or nothing, she just asked a lot of questions."

LIAM: And you've met us before? No?

MATT: "No. I've seen you around town., People talk about you, saying what you've done for the people..."

ASHLEY: Do you bake cream puffs?

MATT: "I have before, yeah."

LAURA: Do you want to work in a bakery? Just kidding. We were in the middle of something; we'll talk to you later!

(laughter)

LAURA: Wait, does Trinket smell anything having to do with-- can he smell a different smell? Can he smell the evil Hilda?

MATT: Make a perception check with advantage for Trinket.

LIAM: That's good. That's also pretty good.

LAURA: Perception? That is 24!

MATT: Okay, Trinket goes, (sniffing, grunting) and picks up what appears to be some sort of a scent.

LAURA: Yeah! Where did it go?

MATT: Not really a bloodhound-style scent, but a decent scent. Guiding him around over the next hour or so, and trying to go in the areas you know he might have been, the last strong scent is in Taryon's room, and there's no trail from there.

LAURA: Motherfucker. This is terrible. I feel like we did this to him.

TALIESIN: We're going to get him back. Now.

LAURA: He's just so vulnerable.

TALIESIN: Right. Do I have enough of an angle on the sun now, where this should be doable?

MATT: To?

TALIESIN: Figure out which way is north, south, east, and west if I try and scry on Tary?

MATT: Sure. Yeah, you gauge the sun in the sky.

TALIESIN: All right. Kiki, let's do this.

MARISHA: Am I helping you? Are we doing this together?

TALIESIN: Well, you're giving me the orb, since you have the orb.

MARISHA: I'm giving you the orb.

TALIESIN: And I'm going to give it back to you when I'm done.

MARISHA: Yeah, I feel like you did this before.

TALIESIN: I did.

MARISHA: Successfully.

TALIESIN: Yes.

MARISHA: I underestimated you. Do you need my help?

TALIESIN: Sure.

MARISHA: Okay!

MATT: All right.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and glean as much information about the nature of the landscape around the person that I'm focusing on as humanly possible.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: And I'm going to try and figure out a discerned direction?

TALIESIN: Help with type of plants, whether or not it's getting south, east, west. Not north. Most probably south.

MATT: Okay. So, before you do that. You take the orb and sit down and concentrate, and Keyleth aids you with this small ritual. As you close your eyes and focus on Taryon once more, your vision shifts and seem to be jettisoned across hundreds of miles within a second. No direction at the moment; it's too much of a blur of color and light and movement until it comes to a halt, and there you see Taryon, somewhat jostled by the spell kicking in and the momentum, you see him thrown over what appears to be the back of a horse, just (hoofbeats).

TALIESIN: Which way is the shadow of the horse?

MATT: Taryon, you come to consciousness ever so slightly, and looking down, you see hooves clattering on the ground behind you. You glance around. Percival, I want you to go ahead and make a nature check.

LAURA: Come on! They're going to Wildmount.

TALIESIN: This is not my strong suit. That'll do, though! 22.

MATT: 22. The skies here grow gray with clouds as the mountain spire-peppered landscape is broken up by far-reaching forests and river-traced glades. The air appears cold, as the winter here seems to cling to the countryside for a majority of the year and make the gloomy beauty as unique as it is impressive. That's about as much as you can glean from this standpoint. It's very blurred on the outskirts. It seems similar to a harsher Whitestone landscape. This is definitely further east. Looking at placement of the sun in the sky, it's further to the west.

TALIESIN: They've gone east. They're still on the northern end of the continent, if they're on the continent at all.

MATT: No, any further north from here and they'd be in the water. For the time they've traveled, they're east on Wildmount somewhere, you can gather.

TALIESIN: East on Wildmount. Is there any other sign? Can I see a tree?

MATT: Unfortunately, the scrying location, the actual orb that you see from is very limited in scope. The fact that you're even able to make out the details that I told you are because you're seeing color and images and shapes in the distance. You get a vague idea of landscape, but it's all very blurred.

TALIESIN: Is it giving me any sense of anywhere I've been before?

MATT: You have not really traveled length and breadth of anywhere outside of Tal'Dorei, so no. What you do see, though, is on the front of the horse, you see the same cloaked figure riding the horse. Glances back over the shoulder and you can see what appears to be a pale-skinned human woman, looks in her twenties or so, but same outfit. And looks back and checks on him. He's stirring a little bit, and she glances back and goes, "Be patient. We're almost there." (hoofbeats)

TALIESIN: That'll do.

MARISHA: Am I with him in the vision?

MATT: No, you're watching him as his eyes glaze over for a minute.

TALIESIN: Well, that'll do.

LAURA: Where is he?

TALIESIN: They're taking him home.

LAURA: Well, yes, we knew that!

TALIESIN: They're on horseback. They're already quite far... I don't know precisely where they are, but if we can make our way to--

LAURA: Wildmount.

LIAM: Yeah. What's our fastest method there?

TALIESIN: They're going by horse. They'll probably be there sooner rather than later, would be my guess.

LAURA: You don't know where any trees are in Wildmount?

MARISHA: The closest tree that we've ever been to was the one we used to get to Draconia, but I don't know how close Draconia is to him. I can try and scry on where they are and look and see for the biggest tree myself and pop out right there.

TALIESIN: Well, the city that Tary's from--

MATT: Diastock.

TALIESIN: It would be best to go there and cut them off. We know that they're coming from the west. There's got to be a way to get there.

MARISHA: Can I scry on Diastock?

MATT: You can only scry on locations that you've seen or been to.

MARISHA: And people that I have connections to.

MATT: People you can scry on with certain levels of knowing them or hearing about them and such.

TALIESIN: How far is it?

MATT: I'll double check real fast because I don't want to get a lot of anger on the internet. Instead of targeting a creature, you can choose a location you have seen before as the target of the spell.

MARISHA: Instead of choosing a creature. But I could try and scry on Tary again and get a nearby tree?

MATT: It's only a ten-foot radius to see anything clearly around the center, so you'd have to be pretty close to a tree for you to make it out enough.

MARISHA: Do we have any images or any books here on Diastock that I can look at and then try and scry on, and then after I have the knowledge?

LAURA: Doty's book? He might have written some things about it.

LIAM: Gilmore's been many places. He might have something from there.

TALIESIN: How far away is it? How far away is the city from us? How many days on horseback?

MATT: Let's see. From Whitestone directly, it would be probably about-- you can't cross the channel on horseback, but if you were to start at the other side of the Shearing Channel on horseback and ride, let's say 12 hours a day, you could probably get there in about four days. Three to four days.

TALIESIN: So if we misted...

MARISHA: It still wouldn't be enough time.

LAURA: No, just bamf there.

MARISHA: We have to bamf there.

LIAM: Two days. Go to Emon, talk to Shaun. He's been everywhere.

LAURA: Scry on her again!

TALIESIN: Draconia. How close would Draconia be to this?

MARISHA: Yeah, do we know how close Draconia is?

MATT: The Dremoth Ravine, with the remains of Draconia, would probably be about 150, 200 miles from it.

TALIESIN: That's not bad. We could misty from Draconia.

MARISHA: Yes, we could.

LAURA: Sure.

TALIESIN: But you can't Tree Stride today, can you?

LAURA: Oh, you already used it on Allura.

MARISHA: Is that the same day? I thought we slept.

TALIESIN: No, that was the same day.

MATT: Well, you used it once today. You had a full night's sleep, got all your spells back, and then you sent Allura off once today.

LAURA: So we have two.

MARISHA: So that was today. I could do it again, and then I can Misty Step us, and then I would be out of my 6th, 7th, and 8th-level spells. I would be burning higher spell slots to get us there, but I could do it.

TALIESIN: We could be there-- We could be there in hours, if need be.

LAURA: Let's do it!

MARISHA: You have no books here on Diastock? None in Whitestone?

LAURA: Let's look in the Doty book real fast.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. There's a lot of writing in here.

LAURA: Towards the beginning.

MATT: Towards the beginning, it talks about Diastock. It talks about the frustrations of the small-town life and the open world around and all the adventures they're seeking there. It's not written to show any detail or interest about the city where he grew up.

MARISHA: (groans) All right, to Draconia! Let's go!

TALIESIN: Gear up, everyone.

MARISHA: Everyone, the Uber will be here in five minutes.

MATT: All right, you guys gather your materials, make your way to the Sun Tree, and Keyleth, you open Transport Via Plants to the exterior of the Dremoth Ravine in the ruins of Draconia. And that's where we'll take a break!

LAURA: Why can't anybody be nice?

TALIESIN: She was nice! She was tied up by a bad person! She was tied up by some elfy Boba Fett. She was fine.

MATT: Well, if you're really frustrated with how untrustworthy this NPC is, you can thank chat for it!

ASHLEY: Thank the chat?

LAURA: The chat did this to us?

SAM: Fuck you, chat!

LAURA: You turned our own bakery against us! You!

ASHLEY: They know.

TALIESIN: To be fair, carbs are never really your friend, are they?

TRAVIS: They are in workouts!

MATT: All right. We're going to take a quick break. Before we go, guys, we have the giveaway for this. This looks to be a Katalox dice tray here, which is pretty awesome, with a leather interior from our good friends at Wyrmwood. We're going to go ahead and, because I feel like I have to, the code for this contest in the Twitch chat is Samsshirt, one word, with two mid-s's. S-A-M-S-S-H-I-R-T. Sam's shirt.

TALIESIN: Sam's shirt.

MATT: So find your way over to the Twitch chat, put that in there for the chance to win this awesome giveaway! All right, guys. We'll see you in a few minutes!

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

MATT: Hey guys, welcome back to Critical Role. We have our winner in the chat. Tonight's winner is FormaldehydeG. You win. Denova will contact you via a whisper to get your contact and shipping information, and you will get your awesome prize of your Wyrmwood box.

LAURA: (mocking) Prize.

MATT: (Christopher Walken voice) Prize.

LIAM: Don't do it.

MATT: Oh god, I did it. I'm sorry. It's my fault. Right. So, jumping back into the game. You guys have learned of the current whereabouts of Taryon Darrington. Proceeding in the direction of where he is getting transported. Which, let's go ahead and take a moment here, actually. Taryon, as you've come to consciousness on the back of this horse and you hear this woman, cloaked and riding in front of you, tell you, "We're almost there," and then (hoofbeats). You're hopping around on the back, bound. You try and move your arms, and they're tied tightly.

SAM: Doty! Doty. I'm having a dream again. Doty? Oh boy. Ugh. Hello? You there, driver person! Hello?

MATT: The head looks back over. "Oh! You've awakened. Isn't that very interesting?"

SAM: What's going on? Where are you taking me? Have I won a lottery of some sort?

MATT: "You could say that, perhaps. Yes. I have a contract to bring you back to Diastock, and I am fulfilling that contract."

SAM: Oh no. Did my father pay you to do this?

MATT: "Howard Darrington? Because if so, yes."

SAM: He is.

MATT: "Then that is where you are going."

SAM: I will pay you whatever he has promised you, double, if you let me go right now.

MATT: She shakes her head for a second. "I've looked through your belongings. You do not have the money you speak of."

SAM: I will write you a check and I will guarantee it with the name Taryon Darrington.

MATT: She laughs and turns back and focuses more on the horse riding.

SAM: Damn it. (sighs) Money is so good. Not when you don't have it. I have armor. I have jewels that are worth a lot. Please, you don't want to do this. Please. Just let it go and no one will get hurt.

MATT: She turns back over her shoulder. "The money is one thing. But another is one's reputation. When I take a contract, I fulfill it. I have not failed. I will not fail. So you are going home. My apologies." (hoofbeats) And goes right back.

SAM: I respect her so much. (sighs)

TRAVIS: (mouthing) What's her name?

SAM: I don't ask people names, friend. (laughs)

MATT: All right. So what are the rest of you guys doing?

LAURA: Running around like crazy people.

MARISHA: We bamfed through the tree, right?

MATT: Right. Yep. So you gathered your elements and you transport through one of the trees that you created on the outside of the Dremoth Ravine.

MARISHA: That's right. We grew them a forest.

MATT: You did.

MARISHA: Oh my god. That's right.

LIAM: The last time we came here, we came flying out of a tree on an angle.

MATT: On an angle, yeah. You do not come through that same tree.

MARISHA: Off the edge of a cliff. (laughs nervously) It's a theme.

MATT: Sorry.

LAURA: All right, so which way is Wildmount?

TALIESIN: Northeast?

MATT: From this area, it would be northeast, yes.

LAURA: Let's go.

TALIESIN: So I say we head north first. Find the main road.

MATT: You're on Wildmount the continent, but you're heading more towards the city of Diastock, which is on the outskirts of the Dwendalian Empire.

TALIESIN: We did know that they were on a road headed west. Heading east. Which means if we head north and then the minute that we hit that main road start heading in that direction, we might even pass them on the way and be able to identify a horse.

LAURA: Especially if we're in like fart form.

MATT: All right, so you guys are going into your Wind Walk form?

LIAM: Before we do. Percy, do you know anything about this country we're in? Anything?

MATT: Make a history check.

TALIESIN: Not really my area of expertise, but 22. History check, correct?

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: 22.

MATT: This area of Wildmount known as Wynandir is divided into two different kingdoms, essentially. This one you're going towards is called the Dwendalian Empire. This is the strongest and the most functional empire this side of Exandria. It is a tyranny. There is a king, and the law is ruled absolutely through this king. It is a functional economy. Its people aren't mistreated, from what you've read, though it is-- I want to say, it's very Prussian. People work, people live, people die.

LAURA: Harsh?

MATT: It's a harsh environment. It's a colder environment. Whereas the center of Tal'Dorei is a lot of fields and rolling hills across the midsection framed by mountains, across Wildmount, it is a smattering of mountain ranges and spires throughout, and chunks of forest. It is a much harsher environment, as far as the topography and the biomes than Tal'Dorei, and as such, the pockets where people do live, they live as well as they can amongst a very oppressive environment.

TALIESIN: What's the name of the city, one more time?

MATT: Diastock.

MARISHA: Oh, this is Diastock. Okay.

TALIESIN: Diastock. So it's a bit Prussian?

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Okay. That will do. So don't expect a lot of hospitality, and let's just have our business, get it done, and get out.

LIAM: Also, we can't talk when we're farts, so when we get there, what's the plan, plan man?

TALIESIN: We're going to fly up until we see the main road. We see the main road, we're going to take it towards the city. We're going to stay a bit high. If anyone spots a lone horse and a rider with a human-sized package on the back, we're going to do a little spin-around, spin-around, spin-around, and we're all going to park ourselves maybe a quarter of a mile up the road.

ASHLEY: I like that idea.

LIAM: What happens if we don't see the person on the horse? What happens? We just land right outside the gates and ring the bell?

TALIESIN: We land inside the gates.

LIAM: Okay, but that seems a little dicey if we want to work out what we're going to do. We're just going to appear and say howdy?

TALIESIN: From what I know of this city, it's not a locked city, is it?

MATT: It's not a locked city. There are perimeter walls and there are gates that can close in case of times of war. You do know that there is a strong military presence in most cities and there are patrols that often make sure that peace is kept.

TALIESIN: So we can walk in if we need to, but let's not make any waves unless we need to.

MATT: There's a somewhat militaristic nature. It's to the point where you don't know, or at least have not heard, of any widespread abuses of power. At least, not on the outskirt cities. You don't know that much about the political structure there, other than the fact that it is a tyranny. But it has a strong standing military and they do exercise it in times of peace as a form of law enforcement.

LIAM: You and Tary are thick as thieves, now. How plugged in is his dad?

LAURA: Super. Right? I mean, he's not the most powerful guy, but he does well for himself. He runs an area.

MATT: The way Taryon talks about his father is he is a land baron in Diastock. He owns a number of plots and homes and farms and collects taxes on them. His family has been doing this for at least a generation or two and has made quite a fortune off of it.

LAURA: And his sister's name is?

MATT: His sister's name is Maryanne.

LAURA: Maryanne. That's creative. Okay. All right.

LIAM: Yes, Maryanne Darrington.

LAURA: And his mom is Maria. (laughs) All right.

TRAVIS: Maria and Howard?

LAURA: Maria and Howard Darrington.

MATT: Yes.

LIAM: All right.

LAURA: See, I know his mother's name!

MATT: All right. Do you go ahead and accept Keyleth's Wind Walk? All right. With a moment of concentration, you all convert yourselves into plumes of smoke, mist. By the way, did you leave Doty behind or take Doty with you?

MARISHA: We can't take him with us.

MATT: Yeah. Okay, then. Doty is back in Whitestone.

LAURA: I mean, yeah, he doesn't respond to us.

MARISHA: I mean, we would have had to have had--

TRAVIS: Just say no.

MARISHA: No, we didn't.

MATT: I was just reconfirming. All right, then. So, you guys convert to your--

LAURA: I can't put him in the necklace! He won't go in the necklace! I tried before. He doesn't go.

LIAM: Who are you talking to?

MATT: You all coast in the shapes of mist into the moist, freezing air over the Dremoth Ravine and head northward. You guys move as a cluster of small plumes of moisture. As you look forward over the next-- 300 feet a round, at double speed--

LAURA: Carry the three.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Doing air math; it's great. Nothing quite like air math.

MATT: Once again, this is twice in an episode where it's magical-fantasy-realm physics. Somewhere in the middle, you find a fun narrative. I'd say within probably an hour and a half to two hours of travel, because you guys are going pretty fast, you eventually come upon a very well-ridden and apparent pathway that goes from east to west. The topography does seem at least to be somewhat in line with what you saw the brief time that you scryed upon Taryon.

TALIESIN: I'm just heading the direction--

LAURA: That smoke plume definitely--

ASHLEY: That smoke plume knows where it's going.

TALIESIN: I can't hear you.

MATT: So you guys all continue heading east.

LAURA: Do we have normal mental thoughts when we're smoke plumes? Or do we just think in terms of (wind noises)?

MATT: No, you think normally. You're still mentally you. You just can't talk. If you do talk, it comes out as (blows raspberry).

LIAM: (blows raspberry)

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: What does it sound like if you laugh?

LIAM and TALIESIN: (airy laughter)

LAURA: Sorry. We're going.

MATT: As you guys continue pushing east...

TALIESIN: I'm going to be keeping an eye out for anybody on the road.

LAURA: Ditto.

MATT: Perception check from the two of you guys.

TALIESIN: 12.

LAURA: 22.

MATT: Okay. You see what looks to be one small caravan, a series of carts that are heading west along the path. That's the only thing that you see at the moment. You, Vex, after a couple more hours of travel in an eastern direction you see what looks to be a big, thick forest. The forest itself is pretty dense in this area, and there are pockets where it's open and you get a little more of a green field. You've been traveling over a larger green field area, so you start hitting where the forest gets thicker and thicker. The pathway carves through this forest. Then a ways ahead, you see what appears to be a large hill that rises up, and then around the hill, the forest has been cleared and you can see what amounts to acres and acres and acres of farmland that circles almost like a disk around this large central hill. The top of the hill is cleared off, and there you can see what appears to be a metropolitan city. A large town, if you will. You can see what appear to be-- actually, no. You're not quite close enough. So that's what you see. You see this village on top of this cleared hill surrounded by farmland and then surrounded by forest and what appear to be some broken mountain ranges maybe a few miles out each direction.

TALIESIN: I keep skirting around, looking for a lone horseman.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Can I fly down and see if I see any signs along the road? Any markers saying what city it is?

MATT: Okay. You cruise down and begin riding a little closer to the surface. With your general, even passive perception, you do catch what appears to be-- there are a few splinter trails that seem to be the perimeter on the outside of where the forest leads inward and heads along the outskirts of the tree line. There you do see a sign. The arrow leads forward towards what is called the Siren Green Forest, and then eastward towards Diastock. You gather that the large town on this carved hilltop seems to be the town in question.

LAURA: But nobody on horseback?

MATT: You don't see anybody on horseback at the moment, no.

TALIESIN: (hiccups)

TRAVIS: (laughing) Is that the cloud hiccups?

TALIESIN: I'm going to scout around a little closer to the ground and see if there's anybody. Maybe any of the paths off the main road where someone might be hiding and just run through the trees looking for anything. I'm searching around a little bit. I know we're close to the city, and I'm keeping an aerial view because we should be able to see an awful lot from high up.

MATT: You do. You see hundreds of acres of farmland that surround this large hill. It's built all across the top of the hill then built along the front side of it. You can see a number of paths that zigzag down. Elements of it sprawl a bit into the farm, but the majority of the metropolis is on top of the hill itself, and then the farmland around it. You do see, as you get closer and skirt the sides, there are patrols. You see men on horseback with crossbows slung over the side that do perimeters. Some of them are weaving independently through the fields, keeping an eye on people who are in the process of harvesting.

TALIESIN: No interest of getting anywhere near that.

MATT: The rest of you guys continue heading east towards the town, or are you following?

TALIESIN: I'm popping back on the road.

MATT: Okay. Percival catches up to you guys.

LAURA: At this point, I feel like our option is only to go towards the house, if we can find his family's keep.

TRAVIS: Did we beat him here?

LAURA: I don't know. There's no way to know.

TALIESIN: We can land and have a conversation.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. So you guys (whoosh) make your way to the-- where do you want to land?

LAURA: Maybe the edge of town, into the Siren Gate Forest.

MATT: Okay. So you find the edge of the tree line before it opens up into the farmland surrounding the city. As you all take a moment to concentrate, your forms congeal once more into your physical selves and you are able to discuss as you prefer.

LAURA: Well! Anybody see anything?

ASHLEY: Is it possible she could've put some kind of covering over them?

LAURA: Like we did with Whitestone or something?

ASHLEY: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: Many things are possible, though.

MARISHA: Can we still see their tracks if we went back and looked? That would be a ranger question.

LAURA: I mean, it's just horse tracks, but I can look. Horse tracks on a main road. Unless Tary is thinking and he's leaving something behind so that we can track him.

TALIESIN: Tary, can you hear us?

LAURA: Tary? Good idea, Percy!

MATT: Nothing at the moment.

LIAM: Have to be within 500 feet.

MARISHA: I could try Commune With Nature, but it only extends for a few miles.

LAURA: I'm going to cast Locate-- oh, should I do that? Should I waste it right now?

MARISHA: How long does it last?

LAURA: Ten minutes. I'm going to try. Wait, a thousand feet. That's not very far, compared to where the city is.

TRAVIS: A few miles is better.

MARISHA: Plus, that's a concentration spell. The mist form is my concentration spell, so we should be able to do both at once, correct? If we move quickly while she has her Locate Object on?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: Okay. Let's do that.

TALIESIN: All right!

LAURA: I'm going to try to locate his dangly earring.

ASHLEY: Dangly bits.

TALIESIN: His dangly bit.

LAURA: His penis!

ASHLEY, TRAVIS, and MARISHA: Penis!

TALIESIN: His Tary.

MARISHA: (giggling) His Tary!

LIAM: Going down to Tary-town.

SAM: Matt's doing something.

LAURA: I know, it's something.

MATT: Okay. I was making sure the Wind Walk wouldn't affect any concentrations.

TRAVIS: He's doing trigonometry.

TALIESIN: Squaring his hypotenuse.

MATT: And you're attempting Locate Object on Taryon's earring, you said?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: His dangly bit.

MATT: You focus and concentrate. It does not pick up within a thousand feet of you.

LAURA: Okay. So we're going to misty form towards the city and see if we can...

TALIESIN: Yeah.

MATT: Okay. (whoosh) You all head back up into the sky, and you can see now the clouds in this vicinity are growing darker. It looks like it's probably going to rain in the next few hours or so.

LAURA: Okay. So we're less noticeable?

MATT: The temperature right now means it might even sleet; you're not sure. You make your way, coasting over the farmland. Looking down, you can see it's all segmented and all marked off with various colored fences. Everything is really well-organized here, and all the land has been divided. You eventually make your way towards the base of the hill and cruise up to the outskirts of the city, where you see the large stone walls that encircle elements of the outskirts, and you see where each one of these walls opens up to some sort of a pathway. There is a large metallic gate that is currently separated and lifted up in the back that can be slammed and closed and shut in case you need to keep anybody in or out.

LAURA: Ping!

MATT: You're getting no ping yet.

LAURA: No pings? Okay.

MATT: You guys are now over the wall now, these six plumes of mist coasting above. What do you do?

MARISHA: Do we backtrack?

LAURA: We're over his family's keep?

MATT: You don't know what his family's keep looks like.

MARISHA: But we're over the city.

MATT: You're over the city right now, yeah.

MARISHA: So we theoretically haven't intercepted them yet.

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try and motion everyone to follow me in a circle around the city and then back out the front gate.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: Okay. You move pretty fast. It's a big radius to go around the entire wall perimeter of the city. At your full speed, I'd say you can do a full pass in about 15 minutes or so. That's a careful cruising through. Nothing seems to ping.

LAURA: I think we beat him. Maybe we beat him.

SAM: Oh Matt, I forgot to tell you. When I left home, I left a large eternal flame burning on my keep's roof. Is that okay?

MATT: Oh, right! Good to clarify! No. All right. So.

TALIESIN: I don't know. Maybe we beat her. I'm going to try and motion everyone--

LAURA: Back out to the fucking woods?

TALIESIN: Just a little. Not far.

MATT: Back out to the woods? Okay.

TALIESIN: Back onto the road. And off the road so that we're not super visible.

MATT: So you're heading back over the farmland, back to the outskirts of the Siren Green Forest into the tree line?

TALIESIN: About an hour's walk to the city is where I want to put us.

LIAM: To where we can see the city and see the road coming to it.

MATT: All right, cool. So you guys find your way there. You wait for a moment to make sure the patrols aren't anywhere nearby, and you turn back into your physical selves.

TALIESIN: Well, either we've beat them here or she's really clever.

LAURA: Or she took off all of his clothing and he's riding around naked.

MARISHA: But she would still theoretically have his clothing. They would still exist.

LAURA: Yeah, hopefully.

LIAM: What do you think, you think we should camp out here for a while and keep an eye on the road for a day or two? See if we can intercept? And if they never show up, then we need to figure out going into the city.

TALIESIN: Do we have a way of scrying one more time before the day is up?

MARISHA: I do!

LAURA: Okay, then let's scry one more time and see if we beat them.

MARISHA: I can do one of two things. I can either scry on them, or I can do a Commune With Nature spell.

LAURA: Scry!

MARISHA: All right. Scry!

MATT: All right. Your vision shifts once more to Taryon, who uncomfortably, like "Ow, ow, ow" on the back of this horse a little bit, and as you start audibly making a pained sound, a hand grabs the back of where the ropes are entwined and shifts you in the back of the seat to be a little more comfortable.

SAM: Oh, thank you!

MATT: No response from her. Still riding the back of the horse. It's getting darker now, and you can see the clouds are still a little pushing towards that stormy look that you saw when you were in the city. So they're still on the road. They're still traveling.

TALIESIN: But it's the road that we've...

MATT: Seems familiar.

MARISHA: Is the sun in the same direction that we're heading?

MATT: Yes. The sun's more westward at this point.

MARISHA: Okay.

TALIESIN: So we could, in theory, mist low to the ground on this road in that direction, and in theory catch up with them.

MARISHA: And he's conscious. Which is good. He's still alive.

LAURA: And he has his clothing on.

MARISHA: Yeah!

LAURA: Good. That's good.

MARISHA: We won't see his dangling bits.

TALIESIN: Just the one.

MARISHA: Just the one.

ASHLEY: Should we mist that way?

TALIESIN: I say we mist that way.

LIAM: And intercept him.

ASHLEY: I like that idea.

LAURA: Yeah, let's intercept them.

MATT: Okay. So you guys go back into mist form (whoosh) and begin coasting westward along the path. You travel for about ten minutes before Vex and Vax, you pick up what looks to be a small dark shape on the road.

LIAM and LAURA: (whoosh)

MATT: Okay, so what do you do?

LAURA: We're trying to signal everyone!

LIAM: Is there forest on the sides of the road from where we are?

MATT: No, you traveled away from the forest now. You're in open fields.

LIAM: So open fields and roads. Shite. Okay.

LAURA: Oh! But wait! Turn back into-- wait--

MATT: You can't talk.

LAURA: I turn back into a thing!

MATT: So you go and land. Vex lands and takes a minute to concentrate and go back to her physical form.

LAURA: They're up ahead! Maybe we should just bamf here, be solid. I can disguise the landscape and we can ambush her!

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: So I do that.

TRAVIS: Should we set a fallback?

MARISHA: You guys, does this make us highway bandits? Are we highway bandits?

LAURA: As she's saying that, I start using--

MATT: You have about a minute until she gets to you right now, by the way. You're able to see the horse traveling a little above the road, so they're almost upon you.

LAURA: Oh god. What do we do? She knows all of us.

TALIESIN: I'm going to start making my way a decent distance and running a little bit off the road, I'm going to try and find some cover and get ready to injure a horse.

LAURA: Who wants to stand in the middle of the road?

LIAM: And what's on the sides of the road? Is it tall grass, bald?

MATT: It's maybe knee-high grass with sections of bald. The landscape here, outside of the farmland and the forest that you can see, looks a little hard and Badlands-ish. Scrubland.

TRAVIS: I'm going to go 200, 300 yards back towards the city, just in case they manage to get through.

MATT: Okay. So you're getting down, you're doing that...

LIAM: I'm going to get into some grass, as close to the road as I can.

LAURA: I bamf Trinket out! And we get in the grass and stealth.

MATT: Okay. Roll a stealth check. Disadvantage for Trinket.

LAURA: I cast Pass Without a Trace!

MARISHA: Oh, cool.

LAURA: Natural 20!

MATT: Nice. And for Trinket, with disadvantage because he's a big bear.

LIAM: Oh that's a good one.

LAURA: Oh, he got a 19, which is a crit for him! That sucks. 19!

MATT: Well, it's not a crit. That's only on attacks.

LAURA: Oh. Well, still.

ASHLEY: It's a critical stealth!

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: Plus ten!

MARISHA: Oh wait, did you want someone in the middle of the road?

ASHLEY: I'll stand in the middle of the road.

TRAVIS: Unassuming.

MARISHA: Unassuming, okay. I'm going to go into crow form. (caws)

ASHLEY: Maybe I can act like I'm an old woman trying to cross the road.

MATT: So you go into crow form.

MARISHA: I'm going to aid to her bird lady aesthetic.

MATT: Stealth roll, Percy?

TALIESIN: Stealth roll?

MATT: And stealth roll for you, too, Vax.

LIAM: 37.

TRAVIS: Do drows have magic sight or anything?

LAURA: I don't know!

LIAM: It's a reliable talent, in fact.

TALIESIN: Stealth roll is-- oh that's not bad. 21.

LAURA: Plus ten!

TALIESIN: Plus ten. 31!

MATT: Okay. Grog's a ways back.

TRAVIS: Not stealthing.

TALIESIN: And I'm getting down. I'm preparing for the shot.

LAURA: Ditto!

ASHLEY: I'm going to pull up my cloak and slowly start crossing.

TALIESIN: I'm also going to activate the secondary mechanism in the Diplomacy glove.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: I follow Pike and peck at her bread crumbs as she crosses the road.

MATT: Okay! All right, so as this is happening, and this is a really fast rush over, rush over, get into places, and you watch as the horse has galloped (hoofbeats). You have Pike in the middle of the road, dressed the same in memory.

TRAVIS: I have to pee. It's like hide and go seek. The waiting.

MATT: And you watch as the horse (hoofbeats) goes off the path and begins to make a wide circle.

LAURA: Motherfucker! She's going around us?

MATT: Seemingly, yeah.

ASHLEY: Excuse me! Ma'am?

MATT: Full gallop burst.

MARISHA: I take off in crow form.

TALIESIN: I was actually going to-- the second she started to leave the road, I take a shot.

MATT: At?

TALIESIN: At the horse's legs.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: We'll heal it!

MATT: Go ahead and make an attack with disadvantage.

TALIESIN: Disadvantage?

MATT: Because you're aiming specifically for the legs.

TALIESIN: Can I burn a grit for it?

MATT: Oh, you do technically have an actual-- yeah, so you will not have disadvantage on this.

TALIESIN: I'll burn a grit for this. This is worth a grit.

LIAM: Horse killing is a feat you took, right?

MARISHA: We're gods, remember?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Remember that?

TALIESIN: That's not great, but it's not bad. 20.

MATT: 20 will hit. So what's the effect on that one, again?

TALIESIN: That's a strength saving throw or prone.

MATT: What's the DC?

TALIESIN: 20.

MATT: So you watch. No gunshot. Complete silence as you all begin to maneuver. You watch as the horse suddenly (neighs) and goes ass over tea kettle forward, jettisoning both Taryon and the rider from the horse into a neat roll. Since you have not moved, Tary, you make a full spill, skittering across the ground.

SAM: (screams)

MATT: You suffer ten points of bludgeoning damage.

TRAVIS: What about the horse. Does he fall off?

MATT: No, the horse is prone and still takes damage from the shot, so roll damage.

TALIESIN: Oh, and also takes damage.

MATT: Because you shot it with...

TALIESIN: I did. I really shot it. It didn't have a good day. Do I have enough...

LAURA: We'll heal it so good!

TRAVIS: I'm going to eat it.

TALIESIN: There's no horse left. Yeah, oh boy. That's 30 points of damage.

MATT: 30 points of damage!

LAURA: Is that a lot for a horse?

TALIESIN: That's my maximum damage with a single unaffected shot.

MATT: Yeah, as the horse skids over and hits the ground, it falls onto its side, and you watch its heavy breathing become still.

LAURA and ASHLEY: No!

TRAVIS: Dinner!

TALIESIN: I'm keeping a second shot. The second I see her head, I am taking a head shot on this girl.

MATT: Okay. Make a perception check because you were down in the grass.

TALIESIN: Nope.

SAM: I lift my head up. What's going on?

MATT: You can't, because you are tied.

TALIESIN: 11.

MATT: No, you see nothing. What were you doing?

LIAM: (whoosh)

MATT: Okay, so you (whoosh) up in the air. Okay.

LAURA: I'm brooming.

MATT: You're brooming towards. All right, so she comes to a tumble. For this purpose, I'm going to have you two, since you're both pretty quick, roll initiative checks, please.

LAURA: 26.

LIAM: 24.

MATT: Jesus. Okay. So. You both rush over and you watch as she tumbles and catches herself, skidding into the dirt. You can see bits where she's rubbed and gashed in the face. Pale skin, blonde hair, nowhere near the description that you were given by those who were trying to scry earlier, but catches herself and lands, reaches over and sees Taryon about three feet behind and immediately darts over, grabbing something from the satchel--

LAURA: Can I shoot her with an arrow?

MATT: It would've taken your movement to get to her, but you can move half as quickly and go for a shot if you want to.

LAURA: I want to try to go for a shot.

LIAM: How close are we, right in this second?

MATT: Well, you're going to close the distance because you're apparently a bullet. Learn to balance your magical items, people!

LIAM: Or not.

MATT: Or not.

LAURA: Or let your players spread them out and not keep them all for themselves.

MATT: He's that kid, yeah.

LIAM: Salt, salt.

MATT: It's all good. So you'll be able to get your shots off about the time that you get there.

LAURA: Salty. Oh no.

LIAM: You got a four because of all that salt.

LAURA: Yeah, I know. That was 19.

MATT: That hits.

LAURA: The first, and then more than that on the second.

MATT: Okay, so both hit. Go ahead and roll damage.

LAURA: Oh, is it too late to say I want one to be a bramble shot?

MATT: You can bramble shot, sure.

LAURA: Yeah! Okay!

MATT: You decide a bramble shot as you hit.

LAURA: Oh, sweet! DC of 17.

MATT: DC of 17? Not with an eight.

LAURA: She's restrained!

MATT: She's restrained.

TRAVIS: Nice. That's huge.

LAURA: 12, 13.

SAM: Pretty calm fight music, Matt.

MATT: The volume is really low on that speaker. My apologies.

LAURA: 13 plus eight is 21.

MATT: There we go.

LAURA: 21 plus eight is 29, plus 1d6 lightning damage. 29 plus six is 35! 35 on the first shot.

MATT: All righty.

LAURA: And then 16. 24 on the second, and I was wrong, add two more to the first shot because I forgot I was using my bracers.

MATT: Okay, so 37, got it. So you (flying arrows) and fire both off as your broom is coasting inward from an arc and the first arrow catches her in the knee and she (yelps) and is still reaching for Taryon. However, as the arrow smashes into her, it bursts into a series of thorny vines that (whoosh) wrap around and ensnare her and she falls over, now bound like Taryon is for the moment. Falls on the ground. Whatever was in her hand stumbles forward.

LAURA and TRAVIS: Yeah!

MATT: And she's like (grunts) reaching out just as the second arrow hits her in the back and (groans) gives out a yelp in pain. Vax.

LIAM: What distance am I right now, would you say?

MATT: You almost closed the distance with your movement.

TRAVIS: Get in there, Barry Allen.

LIAM: Okay, but am I within 50 feet? 60 feet?

MATT: You're within 60 feet.

LIAM: 60 feet? All right, so I'm going to throw Whisper at her, and she's brambled.

MATT: She's restrained; you have advantage.

LIAM: Right. Yeah, that hits. That's a 32. I'm going to bamf there on this one, right up to her. That is four plus eight is 12, plus this guy makes it 19, plus these guys. Now we do some more math. 20, 26, 27, 31, 34, 39, 42. With Whisper, right into her back, and then click the Boots of Haste and then I'm going to scuttle to Tary and cut ropes. He's probably within ten feet, right?

MATT: Yeah, he's like five feet from her.

LIAM: All right, so I'm cutting him totally loose and I'm going to lift him away. Whatever you'll let me do. Action, action, bonus action, right, and movement to get there.

MATT: Well, no. Your movement was to get there, your action was to attack her, and so you have your bonus action, still.

LIAM: Then I'll use it to cut him loose.

MATT: Okay, you begin to cut him loose. Because there's a lot of ropes around him, there's not a single binding.

LIAM: Okay. Good enough.

MATT: All right, so now it's her turn. She's bound on the ground. Coughs up blood as she's suffered a severe amount of damage in just a few moments. As she's lying there on the ground, the vines twisting around her, she goes, "Wait. Wait. (sighs) Stop." And she's going to... what's the DC?

LAURA: 17.

MATT: 17. She does manage to break free from the restraints. She breaks free from the vines, and then she puts her hands up. That's her turn.

LAURA: Can I land?

MATT: Yeah. If anyone else wants to take any of their actions right now, we're technically not in initiative order. She's put her hands up.

TALIESIN: I'm slowly making my way a little closer to the action, but I'm going to find a place where I can watch both sides of the road and also what's happening off the road right now.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I'm writing my name in the path with a stick.

LAURA: I'm grabbing the thing that she was trying to grab.

MARISHA: Same as Percy, but as a crow.

TALIESIN: Actually, if you come-- well, that would be interesting, actually.

MARISHA: (caws)

MATT: What you find on the ground is a small marble, similar in size to the one that you saw attached to the side of Doty earlier, but it's a different color. The one that you saw earlier was a bluish tint, a light blue tint. This one appears clear.

LAURA: Can I pick it up? I'll pocket that shit.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Can I stand up yet? Am I still tied up?

MATT: At the moment, as all of you begin to converge and close in on her, she just has her hands up at this point. I'd say for the next minute or so, you get cut free, yeah. You still have all your armor on, you still have all your equipment that was on you. Yeah, she took everything with you. You're not robbed. You were just bound and taken.

LIAM: You all right, T?

SAM: I will, yeah. (panting) What took you people so long? I was on a horse for what felt like days!

LIAM: Well, initially we thought you could handle it.

SAM: No! You know me better than that!

LAURA: We're here, aren't we?

MATT: You do have a massive headache, by the way. It's pounding.

SAM: Please tell me that someone brought my toothbrush.

LAURA: Your breath smells disgusting right now.

SAM: Please don't smell it. I'm very embarrassed. I went to sleep. I don't know what this is! I mean. She's taking me. She's paid by my father, probably.

ASHLEY: What's your name?

MATT: "K'ryyn."

ALL: K'ryyn?

SAM: And what, you work for my father? On a regular basis?

MATT: "I was contracted by your father. This is the first time."

LAURA: Just to find him? And bring him back?

MATT: "That's what I do."

LAURA: How much were you being paid? I want to know how much he's worth.

LIAM: You're not really in a position of power here, darling.

MATT: "Upon delivery, I was to be paid 5,000 gold pieces."

SAM: Oh, that's nearly nothing. I'm worth far more than that.

LAURA: You know his father has way more money than that.

LIAM: You are rose gold.

SAM: I am.

LAURA: How long ago did he send you?

MATT: "He sent me out on this job about two months back."

LAURA: It took that long to find him? Does anyone in this town, Diastock, know about Whitestone? Know where you found him?

MATT: "Not to my knowledge. I don't care about people in this town. I was called here to pick up the contract, and I left."

LAURA: What guild do you work for?

MATT: "I work for no guild. I am a solo agent."

SAM: So cool.

LAURA: Can I insight check her?

MATT: Go for it.

LAURA: She's so cool. 17.

MATT: 17? She's hard to read. By nature and by business, you get the sense, and at this point as you're looking at her, she sees you glaring and looking over her intensely, she (sighs) takes one hand up under her hood and presses her thumb to the side of what looks like a small circlet, and her image shimmers and you now see before you the drow elf that was described to you, wincing as the sun is still in the sky and you can see, while the illusion did not seem to give off that, she's physically not enjoying being under direct sunlight.

LIAM: Bet you're glad for that cloud cover today, aren't you?

MATT: "It's been helpful. That's why I prefer to do most of my work in Wildmount."

LIAM: What should we do here?

SAM: Well, we should bind her and search her. Make sure she's not holding any weapons or anything.

TRAVIS: You were just supposed to bring Tary back to his dad?

MATT: "That is all. Unharmed. I took great care to make sure he was not harmed. I have a business I run based purely on reputation."

SAM: I respect that, but I did get a bruise right here from the horse falling over, so I'm not totally okay.

MATT: "That is, apparently, an issue for you to take up with your friends."

TRAVIS: Tary, I thought you left your home. Or were you kicked out?

SAM: I left.

TRAVIS: Yeah?

SAM: Yes. I left of my own accord.

LAURA: Did you leave suddenly, without any word, or did they know you were leaving?

SAM: They knew I was leaving.

LIAM: And how do you want to play this? Because your pops wants you back, obviously.

SAM: Well, this is just some paid shithead, so I don't think we should kill her or anything like that.

LAURA: What happens if you don't deliver your quarry?

MATT: "Then my contract is broken, I do not get paid, and it is a blight on future business."

TRAVIS: Are you armed? Somebody remove her weapons so she can put her arms down.

MATT: You pat her down? Yeah, she has two daggers, one placed in each boot, stealthily hidden. She has a shortbow that is over her chest and shoulder, and a side quiver of about 40 arrows.

LAURA: Oh shit! These are good arrows.

MATT: She goes, "Thank you."

LAURA: Just noticed a good work, that's all.

MATT: "I make them myself."

LAURA: I show her one of my owlbear arrows.

MATT: "Owlbear?"

LAURA: I know.

(laughter)

LIAM: What do you want to do?

SAM: I want to take her belongings and send her on her way.

TRAVIS: You don't want to see her dead?

SAM: That's a separate question, isn't it?

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: We're very close-- proximity, I mean. Seems foolish not to at least go have it out with him. This is unacceptable behavior, I think, in any relationship. This is not cool, right?

LAURA: No, he should have offered way more money for you.

SAM: Well, yes, there's that, too.

TRAVIS: She did surrender. I'm just thinking, maybe we go in, she gets paid, she gets her reputation, and then you can--

SAM: You want her to get paid? She kidnapped me!

ASHLEY: You should still make your dad pay, though!

SAM: What?!

ASHLEY: You could say, I would've come here--

SAM: She committed a crime against me. I don't want her to get money!

MATT: As you're having this conversation, she slowly puts her hands down.

LIAM: I'm still watching.

TRAVIS: And she surrendered, right?

SAM: I'm sorry. I guess I was raised with a different appreciation for money, but Pike, your family came in and robbed us and you gave them a bunch of gold. Then this person kidnapped me, and you want to give her 5,000 gold.

LAURA: Well, we don't want to give her 5,000 gold. We want your dad to have to give her 5,000 gold.

ASHLEY: And if you show up with all of us and her, say you could've just called, I would've shown up, but you still have to pay her.

SAM: You think he'll be guilted?

ASHLEY: Well, I don't know. I don't know him.

TALIESIN: I think it might be an easy way to the city.

SAM: I live in the city. I'll just walk in!

TRAVIS: Maybe she owes us one after this.

SAM: It's my house!

LAURA: Should we all be in disguise?

LIAM: Are you sure you're cool to walk in right now?

SAM: Yes! I'm Taryon fucking Darrington. People shake when they see me walking down the street here.

ASHLEY: You know, she was able to find you. Maybe she could also find somebody else for us.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Who?

ASHLEY: A very good friend.

LAURA: I think it's a wonderful idea.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Maybe she owes us one. K'ryyn, would you like to owe us a favor if we let you live, and get you paid, and you keep your reputation all on the same day?

MATT: "To be perfectly honest, this is an offer I very well cannot refuse, given the circumstances. If you are serious."

LAURA: We are. We want you to find someone.

MATT: "Then find him, I will."

SAM: I abstain! With an attitude!

TRAVIS: Noted. All in favor of getting her paid, letting her live, and earning a favor?

ASHLEY: Well, hold on, Tary. If you had it your way, what would you want?

TRAVIS: What are you doing?

ASHLEY: Majority rules, but let's hear what you have to say.

SAM: I would like an apology.

TALIESIN: I think that's fair.

LAURA and ASHLEY: That's fair.

MATT: Her eyes become these narrow slits and the jaw clenches. "I apologize for any discomfort or embarrassment my retrieval of you may have cost."

LAURA: That's a good apology.

SAM: And as to the amount that was promised, do you think that was a fair amount?

TRAVIS: Oh, this is a bit much.

MATT: "It was my standard rate."

SAM: I accept your apology. And as I said, I admire your diligence and faith to your contract. You don't get any of your belongings back! Is that all right?

ALL: (negative noises)

LAURA: She's might need it.

SAM: You don't get any of your magical belongings back! I want it.

LAURA: Well, I want you to look at them. I want to know what it is.

SAM: Yeah. But we'll, I guess, walk in together and you can present me to my father. This seems so stupid, but sure, I'll go along with it.

LAURA: And then you'll help us out.

MATT: "Very well. It seems we have an accord."

LIAM: I'm going to yank Vex aside, actually.

LAURA: Well, I'm going to shake her hand before-- shit.

LIAM: Are you talking about what I think you are talking about?

LAURA: Yeah!

LIAM: You want to send her after your friend?

LAURA: Our friend.

LIAM: You think he wants a mercenary showing up in his life, looking for him? Think about it.

LAURA: He could be dead.

LIAM: He's doing what he wants to do.

ASHLEY: Did I overhear them?

MATT: Make a perception check.

ASHLEY: 16.

MATT: How quiet were you guys being?

TALIESIN: Pretty quiet.

MATT: You glean elements of the conversation.

LIAM: I wasn't trying to hide it.

MATT: Yeah, you get the gist of what they were talking about.

ASHLEY: Okay. She doesn't have to bring him or anything, it could be just looking, bring us information if she sees him.

TRAVIS: Like a two-day report.

ASHLEY: We don't have to! We don't have to do it, but I do like the idea of this woman-- this woman had a job to do. It's not her fault. I'm sorry, Tary, but I do feel like we need to let her complete her mission.

TALIESIN: It's a bit her fault.

SAM: Fine. And then we can send her to look after that little creep that you're always talking about.

LIAM: When you were in Vasselheim--

LAURA: It was a cube, Tary. Like a cube.

SAM: That's gross. That's disgusting.

LIAM: How would you feel if you learned that we sent someone to watch you? He left. He wanted to go. He wanted to be away from us.

ASHLEY: I know.

LIAM: If he wants to come back, I want him back.

ASHLEY: I know, but I feel like he should've come back already.

LAURA: What if he's dead?

ASHLEY: What if he's dead?

LIAM: What if he's being a father to his child? What if he's enjoying his life?

TRAVIS: Boring.

ASHLEY: If that's the case, then maybe she can tell us that and then we'll leave it alone. But what if he's dead?

TALIESIN: Why doesn't she just owe us one favor to be claimed later?

ASHLEY: Yes, I like that idea.

MARISHA: I fly down to Pike's shoulder and I go, (caws).

LAURA: Yeah, I know, right?

ASHLEY: See, she thinks-- I like that idea. She owes us a favor at some point.

TRAVIS: But I want to find Scanlan!

ASHLEY: Maybe we should table it.

SAM: Yeah, let's go talk to my dad and get this settled, and then we'll figure out your next assignment or whatever.

LAURA: You'll hang out, though? You're not going to disappear?

MATT: "I have business still to make, and you have been merciful, so I will remain."

MARISHA: I fly over to Percy's shoulder and I go, (caws).

TALIESIN: I am Groot.

MATT: "Very well. Into the city, then?"

SAM: Yes.

MATT: She looks back at her horse. "I assume we'll be walking. Very well." And her image shimmers once more to the pale-skinned blonde woman in the same outfit, and you all walk along with her through the forest, down the path, through the farm fields, making your way to the outskirts of Diastock. As you are making your way up the hillside path, one of the patrol guards comes down on horseback, crossbow slung over his shoulder and his hand on the side of his sword as he glances down and goes, "Hail, you there!" And as soon as he glances over the group of you. "Mister Darrington, welcome home."

SAM: Thank you. These are my friends. They should be treated with respect.

MATT: "Of course. Good day."

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Bidet.

MATT: He continues clomping by, (hoofbeats), making his way down the rest of his patrol.

TALIESIN: It's going to be a dark window, isn't it? This entire trip.

SAM: No, the town was never the problem. It's a fine place to grow up.

TALIESIN: I'm very curious. Let's see this place.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: I'll go ahead and drop form so I'm not a bird.

TALIESIN: Ow! Oh god!

MARISHA: Oh, I always forget that. I'm so sorry.

TALIESIN: That's all right, it's not my shooting arm.

MARISHA: I'm learning, still.

TALIESIN: I know.

MARISHA: Sorry!

TALIESIN: It's okay.

MARISHA: Here, let me just--

TALIESIN: Yeah, ow. Yeah.

MARISHA: There you go.

TALIESIN: I'll need a bit more later. Thanks.

LAURA: Tary?

SAM: Yeah, oi?

LAURA: I'm sorry.

SAM: For what?

LAURA: Well, you know.

SAM: No, you're right. We can't punish people who are just hired to do a job. It's fine.

LAURA: It's how we all started out, really.

SAM: Yes, I hired you.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: He's got a point.

SAM: And now, we're so close! Here, let's go to my dad's house, but... I need to make an entrance. I'll be on broom.

LAURA: Can I be on broom, too, though?

SAM: Yes. Behind me. And I should be front and center. You guys can flank--

LAURA: Flank and be behind you.

SAM: Yes, thank you.

MARISHA: I catch up to Tary a little bit and I go, hey! Are you special in some way? Is there something about you that's magical and special?

SAM: Is this a trick question? There's everything. Most things are special about me.

MARISHA: That's true. Is there a reason a vampire would want you?

SAM: What? There's vampires here?

MARISHA: Do you have special blood?

SAM: No? Wait, what?

MARISHA: Can I look at your eyes?

SAM: I mean, sure? They're the bluest of blue.

MARISHA: That's true! Do you know anything about your bloodline? Is there something about you? I feel like I have an essence about you now.

TRAVIS: How much of her brains were left in the rocks?

LAURA: I know, she got rattled.

MATT: Yeah, she's gone full Phoebe from Friends.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

LIAM: I'm off to the side with Grog going one, two, three, shoot!

SAM: My town here, it doesn't have very many high hills, but still, stay on the ground, will you?

MARISHA: Okay!

MATT: As you guys make your way into the actual city of Diastock, the architecture here is very tall and as intricate as it is old. The stonework is edged and almost sharp in places, the shape and design of most roofs and windows leaning towards the gothic. You can see similar roots here to some of Whitestone's older buildings and architecture, common space where the original de Rolos traveled once from Wildmount. The architecture here, as opposed to the more built-for-function that a lot of you are used to in Tal'Dorei, anywhere from huts to, I want to push almost Tudor to colonial, this definitely has a tall stone archways, tall stained-glass windows, in places. A lot of the buildings, edges, and roofs will come to tiny metal spires where points or occasionally flags or tapestries would hang from in the wind. Very different visual feel than anything you've seen over in Tal'Dorei.

As you guys make your way through the streets, in the presentational mode of which Taryon has requested, people do stop and stare. You can hear whispers, some folks pointing, some of the patrols gather to keep a close eye as you pass. No excitement, no parade, no cursing or aggression, just acknowledgement of the arrival of these strangers and a very flashy lord. Eventually, you lead them to the Darrington estate. This is a large, three-story building surrounded by tall, iron pike-topped gates that surround the somewhat octagonal shape of the grounds. The main gate is watched by a single man in a simple leather outfit and a metallic helmet. Who, as he sees you approach goes, "Have you-- sir! Welcome home!"

SAM: Thank you! Tell the master of the house that we've arrived.

MATT: "Yes. Right away, sir!" Opens the gate and rushes off to the front door and disappears inside for a moment. The door opens again, and you see emerging from it a very tall, thin, brass-scaled dragonborn with very fine clothing. His lack of tail speaks of his Ravinite lineage. You recognize this individual as Berthold; he is the servant of the house and quarters. As he approaches he goes, "Oh, Master Taryon, it has been some time! Good to see you in good health!"

SAM: Yes, excellent to see you, too. You've been keeping the grounds quite nice.

MATT: "We've been doing our best. I take it you--" and he looks over to the woman K'ryyn, goes, "You--"

"Yes, I would like to complete my contract."

"Very well. Please, follow me inside. This way." The dragonborn turns around. He almost towers over you; he's this spindling tree of a dragonborn. As he leads you into the home, you watch him; he has to dip down to enter the interior of the house. As you step inside the estate, you're immediately hit with the smell of musty carpets, wood oil stain, and some since turned-to-smoke-and-embers burning wood in a fireplace. You see immediately in the darkly lit interior fine tables and well-crafted furniture that clutter hallways, holding vases and dried flowers that probably have been in long need of a change. It's eerily silent. It seems, at least on this floor, empty of pretty much all life except for Berthold. He begins to walk up the stairs. "Right this way. You know." And he heads up the second flight of stairs to the very top of the interior of the estate, and there is the very heavy oak door that marks the study quarters of your father. He knocks lightly on the door. "Master Howard, you have some unexpected guests, including the one you hired to bring your son home. And is here with your son."

There's a pause. You hear a voice on the other side say, "Let them enter." The door creaks open. (creak)

Berthold steps back. "I'll wait here." He bows and gestures for you all to step into the room.

As you guys step into this study you see, standing right across from you, looking into the fireplace, you occasionally hear the crack and the snap of what looks to be a halfway burned fire. A human man in his late forties. His short blond hair is receding to the top of his head. You can see the firelight glistening across his somewhat oily forehead, and two heavy sideburns that are an uncombed mass that frame the sides of his very hardened square jaw. He is dressed in a nobleman's coat and breeches, though his shoes are nowhere to be seen. Just barefoot on the ground. He looks over and sees you enter and looks towards Taryon and his hardened face turns to a softened smile. "My son."

SAM: Papa.

MATT: He looks over to the woman, K'ryyn. "What I've heard is true, and I thank you for your time. Berthold will see that you are paid." She nods. There is a nod to you.

SAM: You'll wait for us outside the grounds, and we'll give you your next assignment soon.

MATT: "That is the arrangement." She leaves the room and you hear Berthold walking alongside her and chatting with her about payment as she leaves.

As soon as they walk down the stairs he turns and goes, "I am glad to see you are well."

SAM: Are you? You sent that woman to kidnap me.

MATT: "I sent that woman to bring you home. To see that you were safe."

SAM: She bound and gagged me and threw me on the back of a horse. That's how you brought me home?

MATT: "You're a hard man to find when you want to be."

SAM: I am literally the least hard man to find. I tell everyone my name, I wear a gold helmet, and I walk around talking about myself.

MATT: His smile fades for a moment. "And yet you were very far from these lands."

SAM: Yes, I was. I was living a new life, as I told you I would. I was finding myself and becoming someone.

MATT: "That is good. Just know that I was worried. You fill your head with these fantasies and ideals and step out into the unknown. Do you know how many men and women are found gutted in the streets and left and abandoned to rot away in forests by some bandits on the roadside? Not to mention the various beasts of the wild out there. I was worried about you."

SAM: Well, I was in danger for much of my time away, but that's not a bad thing, sometimes. Becoming an adventurer or whatever I am now, it wasn't supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be hard, and it was, and it had risks. But along the way, I did much, and I stand before you now as a different man than who left. One who has been through a lot and knows the dangers of the world, but is also a survivor. You know, when I left, I told you I was going to prove myself to you. That I would bring you back stories of my exploits and show you what kind of a man I really was. And I wrote a lot of them down in a book, but I don't think I want to show it to you, because I don't think you deserve to see it. You never supported me as a child, and you don't now. Financially, yes, but not as a father. And the things I did while I was away-- well, the book is a diary now. It's for me, not for you.

MATT: "Taryon... while my parenting might have been strict or distant at times, I didn't reflect on them in my care for you. We have a legacy in this family to maintain."

SAM: Yes, I know. That's all you seem to care about.

MATT: "That's all that matters."

SAM: It's not all that matters. I know that I carry your blood and that means a lot to you.

MATT: "This money which you seem to relish in, that you took without asking, the last of our coffers. Your grandfather started this, and I've done everything to maintain it. And your interests, your attention, could not be brought to learn and maintain this business after me, so I've had to turn to Maryanne. It's not that I don't love you, but you have another purpose in the family. And that is why I've brought you here."

SAM: And what is that?

MATT: And you watch as his hands are shaking and he's fidgeting and scratching his chin and running his fingers through his sideburns. "We're impoverished. I haven't been able to pay our staff in nearly two months. Everything that I had to do to maintain this legacy has come back to bear fruit, and the debt that we owe is vast."

SAM: I don't believe you. Where's the money? Where's the family money?

MATT: He looks around at the rest of you, and you can see now there is trepidation with having the conversation in front of strangers.

SAM: It's all right. They're with me.

MATT: He reaches over and grabs off his desk an already-opened bottle of some sort of wine. Takes a quick swig and sets it down. Slumps into his chair in front of the fire and rests his face on his hand. "Everything your grandfather Oberon built, it's on the verge of fading away. All the taxes we claim on our lands now go straight to a syndicate that we owe of a lot of money to. Unless we find a way to pay off the debts of your father and his father before him, we will all be thrown into the cold or worse. Now, I've seen this storm coming for a while, Taryon. I've spent years trying to coax a family union with the Truscans; you know this. After much toil and diplomacy, they have agreed to wed you to their daughter Lydia. This union will bring our family a renewed avenue to wealth and protection within the empire! We can stave off this terrible end, and you will be a hero within the family."

SAM: I don't understand. The way we lived, the way you talked, made it seem like there was endless money, forever.

MATT: "This stems to your lack of respect."

SAM: *My* lack of respect? What happened? How did you ruin us like this?

LAURA: What is this syndicate you speak of?

MATT: His eyes dart to you with a fiery hatred, like how dare you speak up right now. "When you grandfather passed, when you were still but a baby, our lands were nearly taken from us by a rival barony from within the Dwendalian court. Lord Jaipher found loopholes to revoking our titles and ownership set by Oberon and in my panic and necessity, I found an ally in the Myriad."

SAM: In the Myriad?

MATT: "Through a whispered hint, I met a man named Korshad, who ensured our surviving ownership in trade for a partnership with him. I signed, not wanting to toss, at the time, my only child out onto the street. But as the decades passed, I did not realize in my haste, the depths of the deal that I had made. And with many harvests failing in recent years, the agreement now devours our livelihood from within. They now demand our accrued debt paid in full or they take full ownership of everything."

SAM: I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. You're saying everything I've lived has all been built on this deal with this shady group? You're a criminal? You're just a criminal.

MATT: "No. No, it is built on what we built as a family."

SAM: We didn't build anything as a family!

MATT: "We did, and nearly had it taken away. I did this to maintain it. And I let you live as you all deserved to live."

SAM: But Papa, you never told me any of this. You were cold to us, and you told us a bare minimum of what you did and how you ran things.

MATT: "I hoped to find a way to fix this before I needed to, yet here I am, prostrate before my own child. Broken." And he starts like; tears just pour down his cheeks. "I was just trying to make it right."

SAM: I didn't know any of this. How would I? And now I have to fix it for you by marrying some girl?

MATT: "It's a marriage of convenience."

SAM: That's still a marriage.

MATT: "It means nothing more than political gain. Your life is still yours to live."

SAM: No, it's not! I have to be here, I have to be with her. I have to live in her castle or she in mine. (sighs) Listen, I've learned a lot from these people over the last year and so. And one thing I've learned is that you are who you are whether you have a lot of money or not. And I don't have that much anymore and I'm still okay with that. And it's not because of the things I own, it's because of the deeds that I do. You've done some bad deeds in your life, and it sounds like you've done them to preserve our family and preserve our legacy, but that's not a reason to do them.

MATT: He leans forward to you and looks to you with an honest, more honest than you've seen him, very vulnerable expression. "Every man and woman who has money has done bad things."

SAM: Yes, I'm sure that's true. And I assume I’m somehow complicit in this.

MATT: "You are not. I tried to keep you, your sister, and your mother as innocent as I could. My back is to a wall now."

SAM: I'll have to think about this.

MATT: "Think on it. The choice is still yours; I would not force you into this, but it is a chance I wish you to contemplate."

SAM: What have you done to our name? Do people know of this?

MATT: "No."

SAM: And if I marry this girl, it will just all go away?

MATT: "If you marry this girl, we will have the influence and the wealth to pay this debt and cut ties with the Myriad entirely. We would be a free family once more."

LAURA: How much debt are we talking?

MATT: "The last amount we were given: 230,000 gold."

LAURA: Well. That's a lot.

ASHLEY: Is there any other way than marriage that you can think of?

MATT: "I've exhausted the options I have at my disposal."

LAURA: What if we just wipe out the Myriad?

MATT: He laughs.

SAM: They're far too big.

MATT: "You underestimate the sheer size and how ingrained they are in the society here. This is no guild. Wildmount is the Myriad in many ways."

SAM: And if I say no and they take all of our possessions and our estate, everything, what then? We're ruined.

MATT: "We're on the street. We are but beggars within our own city, at the mercy of those we've been taxing."

SAM: How could you do this to us?

MATT: "Because I loved you. I loved you all, and I did what was necessary."

SAM: You never told us that. You always talked about bloodlines and legacies and the Darrington name. But you never told us you were proud. You never comforted us. You never cared what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I'm cursed with this name now, Darrington. You've sullied our name by enforcing these taxes and just being an asshole to everyone around our whole city, and now I have to live with it or marry this girl to save it. Listen, I'm sorry I left, and I'm sorry I took all of that gold. I did not know it was everything. But what you're asking me is-- I'll need to think. I'm sorry.

MATT: "I owe you that, at least. I never claimed to be a good man. I never claimed to be a good father, good husband, but I can try to be better, can't I?"

SAM: Yes, you can. I'm going to go see mother and Sister. Might my friends stay here the night?

MATT: "Of course, and enjoy the grounds while you can."

LAURA: This Korshad, and the Myriad, where do you meet with him?

MATT: "It's been some time, but if you wish to seek him out, ask for who you can speak with the Many, in the Grumpy Lily."

SAM: Grumpy Lillian?

MATT: The Grumpy Lily. You know this to be one of the seedier bars in town.

SAM: Oh, okay.

LAURA: And I'm asking to speak with the Many?

MATT: You're wishing to speak with the Many.

LAURA: All right.

SAM: Well, good to see you. Have a good afternoon.

MATT: "I'm glad you're safe."

SAM: Thank you. It's good to see you again.

MATT: "You too. More than you know, my son."

LAURA: Do we leave the room?

SAM: Yes, let's leave the room.

LIAM: We could have cut that air with a knife.

LAURA: So here's the thing, though. You said he like hated you, and he didn't seem like he hated you at all!

SAM: He's acting differently than I recall. It's been a while. I'm not used to seeing him like this, and honestly, I don't know how to take it.

LAURA: Well, you can't marry that bitch.

ASHLEY: You can't marry her.

SAM: It seems like I have to.

LAURA and ASHLEY: No, you don't.

TRAVIS: Got to do it.

SAM: Grog said I have to.

LAURA: Grog.

TRAVIS: Simplest. The shortest distance between two--

ASHLEY: Two points.

TRAVIS: Yep. Is--

SAM: Marriage.

TRAVIS: Marriage. Yep.

LAURA: You're getting so smart, Grog! So smart.

TRAVIS: Don't be jealous.

LIAM: I know some about the Myriad, correct?

MATT: You've encountered them once. Back in Stillben, back at the very beginning of your adventures. The very beginning.

TALIESIN: Not me.

MATT: Percy, this is the first you've heard.

MARISHA: Wait, you?

LAURA: He wasn't with us yet. We had that other guy he was playing.

(laughter)

LIAM: Rusty. Rusty Trombone?

TALIESIN: Rusty Trombone.

SAM: He was a weird character choice.

MATT: That's a good name for an artificer.

(laughter)

MATT: As you exit the study and close the door behind you, left in the cold, quiet silence of the house. You continue your conversation.

TALIESIN: Where is your sister?

SAM: I don't know.

LAURA: How much money did you take when you left?

SAM: I thought a meager amount. 50,000 gold.

MARISHA: That's a lot.

LAURA: I mean, but considering the debt that they're in.

MARISHA: That's literally more than my entire tribe owns.

LAURA: Well, we have a lot more than that in our party fund.

MARISHA: I know. We own more than my tribe owns.

TALIESIN: I own more than your tribe owns.

MARISHA: I know. I will say, Tary, I think that you're special. You have very large dangling bits. Along with your earring. Very large other bits.

SAM: Thank you.

TALIESIN: We were working on that particular compliment, and I feel like we have a little way to go.

MARISHA: I thought it was all right. No? I thought that was a compliment.

SAM: Tell her she did good.

TRAVIS: Are you cool with your sister?

SAM: No. I'm not cool with my sister. She's not that great.

TRAVIS: Is she married?

TALIESIN: Do you think she knows about this?

SAM: I guess. I suppose she knows about this.

MARISHA: And the last time you spoke with her was when you left, I'm assuming?

SAM: Yes, that's right. She's being groomed to the heir of the family, and I was being shut out. My mother is here somewhere, too. She's pretty quiet.

TALIESIN: What do you want to do?

SAM: I guess talk to them, but we can't go after the Myriad; they're powerful and dark.

TRAVIS: What if we offer services, and they excuse part of the debt?

SAM: No, he offered services, and look where it got him.

ASHLEY: Do you know Lydia?

MATT: You've never met Lydia in your life. You don't even know what she looks like.

TALIESIN: I'm not even sure if that's something that should be entertained.

SAM: We could go talk to them, but I don't see how that's going to change anything.

LAURA: Maybe she's a really cool girl that won't be into you and you can just hang out and be besties?

SAM: Gross.

LAURA: Hey!

SAM: No. I like being besties with you. I don't want some rando.

TALIESIN: It's not fair to her, either.

MARISHA: It's not. Honestly, maybe we should just go talk to her first.

SAM: Lydia?

LAURA: No, she's in a whole other town.

ASHLEY: Here's the thing, you're not going to marry her. Okay?

SAM: Why not?

ASHLEY: Because if he wants to be a better father to you, then he's going to let this go and not make you do this. If that means him being out on the street, that's my opinion.

TRAVIS: That's harsh.

SAM: Everything he is, is his status, though. This place, where he lives, his servants. If he's got nothing, then he's just... he'll die.

ASHLEY: Sometimes, when you let that go, only then are you able to truly live.

TRAVIS: Whoa.

LAURA: Deep.

SAM: That is maybe true, but listen. I've been working on this for a year, and I'm starting to get really nervous. I'm down to my last few bits of gold, and I don't know how that would feel to run out.

ASHLEY: I don't have any money.

LAURA: Because you gave it all away.

TRAVIS: Technically, I've got a lot of money.

ASHLEY: Money gives you everything you want.

LAURA: It's the best thing.

MARISHA: Hey, but you're thrifty. You're good.

SAM: No, I'm not thrifty.

MARISHA: Yes, you are! Taryon, I've seen make amazing things. You can survive. You've been to the depths of the watery abyss. And you've lived, kind of.

TALIESIN: That's a bad example.

LAURA: I'm really wishing we had taken a lot more money from Thordak. If we had taken more money, everything would be fine right now.

MARISHA: No! That's not the lesson of the story, you guys!

SAM: Yes, money would have solved this.

MARISHA: No! Not the lesson, not the lesson we're supposed to take away!

TALIESIN: No, I mean he's right that money would have solved this. But that's not the lesson. Keyleth is right.

MARISHA: I don't have an alternative for the lesson. It's just not the lesson.

TALIESIN: We're here. We can figure out a way out of this. We're smart, we're clever, we're powerful. And what's one more cliff?

MARISHA: Yeah, we're gods!

TALIESIN: Not again.

TRAVIS: Not going to say that ever again.

ASHLEY: I say we go talk to the Many.

LAURA: Yes, let's go talk to the Many.

LIAM: I understand this is very complicated. Are we really looking for a solution to fix several generations of your family's misdeeds? It sounds like your father, your grandfather have been navigating murky waters for some time.

TALIESIN: I want to find out what your sister knows.

LIAM: I don't know what the right decision is, either. Do you marry this woman to fix decades of terrible decisions?

TALIESIN: I don't necessarily see how two wrongs right anything here. It's really just kicking the ball down the road while you make another random human being you have not met miserable.

LAURA: That's right.

SAM: I assume I would be a fine husband.

LAURA: You'd be amazing.

SAM: I feel like I'd be okay.

LIAM: You'd be really good at making blondies and many things besides blondies, as well.

TALIESIN: Oh, this is so depressing. I'm not going to even pretend that this is true. Absolutely not. No. You'll be miserable, and that will make her miserable.

SAM: Yes, it's true.

LIAM: So if we know that that's not happening, then we deal with the problem that is left behind. Which is: do we worry about your family's life, their safety? Are they safe here, or will they be eaten alive?'

SAM: I assumed they are not safe here. We'd have to convince them to leave, or protect them somehow, or make a deal to at least protect them in poverty.

LAURA: Maybe we just talk to the Myriad, talk to Korshad and see what we can do. Maybe he needs something, and we can provide it.

TALIESIN: We are bad news for anybody like that. I'm sure it would be worth their time to get us out of town, possibly get you out of town. You can't be good for business.

SAM: All right. Well, a quick stop to talk to my sister, possibly, and then at least go and investigate this contact.

LIAM: God, this sucks.

SAM: I appreciate you all being here for me. I'm sorry. I didn't realize that this was going to happen and I don't want-- if you fellows want to go back and just continue on, I can solve this.

LIAM: Nah, man! You're one of us now!

LAURA: Just next time you get abducted by a bounty hunter, give us some warning, would you?

SAM: I'll try. Maybe I should sleep with bells on.

LAURA: That would be a good idea.

LIAM: You're halfway there.

SAM: Percy, can you make me some?

TALIESIN: Some bells? Absolutely. I'm going to regret this, but yes.

TRAVIS: Don't do it, man. They made me wear bells. Don't you let them hold you down.

LAURA: I thought you liked that hat.

TALIESIN: I like that you approve of the arranged marriage, but it's the bells that really--

TRAVIS: Yeah, you don't get to keep eyes on me all hours of the day.

SAM: Yes, I'll walk through the place and look for sis.

MATT: Okay, and we'll pick up there next week, as it is 11:00, we'll pick this up.

LAURA: Your dad is not what I expected!

ASHLEY: No!

SAM: (singing) Me, neither!

LAURA: Ugh!

SAM: Mercer!

LAURA: Matthew Mercer.

MATT: What?

LAURA: You have a way of taking our backstories that we think we've created and then just flipping it on us.

TALIESIN: You didn't miss anything

SAM: No, Grog jumped off a roof and died.

MARISHA: Was it 1,000 feet? Yeah, all right.

LIAM: He can actually take that much damage, though.

MARISHA: 360 points?

TRAVIS: Yeah, raging, reduced to half. Yep.

MARISHA: Technically, I don't think falling damage counts as weapon damage. I don't know if you can take half damage.

MATT: Well, bludgeoning, it would.

TALIESIN: Bludgeoning.

LAURA: Damn it! (laughs)

MARISHA: Oh, half damage.

LAURA: How many hit points do you have?

TRAVIS: A lot.

TALIESIN: He doesn't like to brag.

MATT: Awesome, guys. We'll see how this goes.

TRAVIS: There's not a lot of real sound family structures in this campaign.

ASHLEY: We all have such terrible families.

LAURA: We all have shitty families.

TRAVIS: Let this be a lesson.

LIAM: Mom was great.

LAURA: Yeah, Mom was real great.

LIAM: She was the best.

TALIESIN: Every fucking moment of my backstory, man. I'm so excited for this shit.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Bonus backstory.

MATT: You guys keep creating-- you act like you didn't hand me backstories with traumatic relationships with your parents already.

TRAVIS: You're so dark, man. Why do you make this shit up?

LIAM: It was years ago!

TALIESIN: One fucking page.

MATT: I take what I'm given, and I extrapolate.

SAM: Yeah, you do.

TALIESIN: You came up with most of that shit off on your own. You didn't even write it down.

SAM: Yeah, for some of it I had.

MATT: Yeah, he had a lot of it, and then a few things from this.

TALIESIN: Maryanne was off the cuff?

SAM: No, I think I had their names written down.

MATT: Yeah, you did.

MARISHA: Well, for anyone who has been asking: I am okay. I did not leap off the cliff out of some weird parallel allegory.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: I thought it was because your Logan's Run crystal started flashing.

MARISHA: This was not a cry for help. Not a cry for help. I thought it was going to be dope. That's it. I just thought it was going to be cool as shit, and then it wasn't.

MATT: No, and then it was absolutely was cool as shit. What are you talking about? That's the sort of shit that makes DND. Are you kidding me?

MARISHA: Yeah, you'd know if it's a cry for help.

TRAVIS: Yeah, great take-off, action was amazing. The finish, though, the landing--

LAURA: Should have stuck the landing.

MATT: Everyone would have remembered a goldfish's entry into the ocean for five minutes. Everyone is going to remember Keyleth splattering across the rocks forever.

TALIESIN: That goldfish wouldn't have remembered it very long either.

LIAM: I've got this great trick, but I can only do it once.

MARISHA: In my head, I was an awesome cartoon, and it worked.

MATT: And it would have, but it got down to the dice. As always, if I rolled lower than 50%, if would have been fine.

MARISHA: 100d6 dice, yeah.

MATT: Percentage dice is what I meant, but anyway. All right, guys. Have a good night, a good weekend, rest well, and we'll see you guys next week, and is it Thursday yet? Good night!

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.