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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

MATT: (as Victor) Welcome to tonight's episode of Critical Role, our Halloween edition. Where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. Hi. Tonight we will astound you with spooky tales. I don't know what's going to happen as we are just going to continue the game that we normally play. Welcome, I'm Matthew Mercer, dungeon master.

(laughter)

MATT: Those who don't recognize my costume, you're really confused, especially if this is your first time tuning in. Sorry. (normal voice) I am not dungeon mastering like that for the rest of the evening because I will have to run into traffic after an hour.

(cheering)

MATT: Guys, I want to give a quick thank you to Amazon for delaying all my orders, making me put my costume together last minute out of shit I found at Home Depot. So, thanks, Amazon. It's fantastic, I appreciate it. All right, anyway. I guess we should go through everyone else's to see the magnificent costumes around us. Let's go and start over here with our fantastic–

SAM: I am Hotis! The rakshasa. And I cannot speak with my mouth hole. (growls)

TALIESIN: I have Clarota, but the mask is currently on its way here because I didn't have nearly enough coffee. So on the break there will be a giant squiddy mask that is terrible, just terrible. It's the worst thing.

MARISHA: Half Clarota! I am Doctor Anna Ripley, from Wildemount.

TRAVIS: You suck, Ripley!

MARISHA: This is very heavy. This is a bludgeoning weapon, it is not a piercing weapon. It is a bludgeoning weapon. Right hand to the Briarwoods. And uber Percy fangirl. That's me. Cheers.

LAURA: Ooh! Nice, nice!

MATT: All right, Liam.

LIAM: Hi, Hi. I am Tyriok. I make maps.

SAM: Why are you having trouble picking that up?

LIAM: Oh, well. I was turned to stone recently and I don't have two arms anymore. I have one. I can still roll dice though and I have maps and I have a compass and I am the least dangerous person at the tables. I'm not level one in anything, really, except maps. I'm level 15 in maps. I'm just happy to be here and be alive. Mostly.

LAURA: We've been opening doors for him all night.

MATT: Thank you, Liam. That's awesome. Laura!

LAURA: I'm Lady Briarwood. Here with the man I broke the world for.

TRAVIS: You broke it for me, baby.

LAURA: That's right. You should say who you are.

TRAVIS: Oh right. I'm Lord Briarwood.

LAURA: Nice!

TRAVIS: Yeah. Undead. Betrothed.

LAURA: That's right. More than betrothed.

LIAM: Do you know, people who are in love high five?

TRAVIS: We be representing the dead motherfuckers in this game.

LAURA: I'm not dead.

TRAVIS: Are you not?

LAURA: No, man.

LIAM and LAURA: Just inside.

MARISHA: Actually, me and Travis are the only dead ones.

LAURA: I guess. Well, I am dead. No, I am dead.

LIAM: Currently dead, but you weren't undead.

LAURA: Exactly. I misunderstood.

MATT: You're both dead. You're destroyed. You're dead. You're somewhere–

SAM: I'm in another plane of existence probably.

MATT: Yeah, you're having a real rough week right now is what you're having.

LIAM: My arm is dead.

LAURA: You're the only person alive.

LIAM: Cheers.

LAURA: And you of course.

MATT: (as Victor) Parts of me.

(laughter and cheering)

MATT: (as Victor) What?

LAURA: Cheers, Victor!

TRAVIS: Yeah, cheers. Salut, bitches!

(cheering)

ALL: Happy Halloween!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I can't breathe.

LIAM: So that's it. That's the show.

MATT: Yeah. Thanks guys, thanks for coming. We shall get into our announcements for the evening. I need my hand to do that. This is, by the way, pre-finger loss Victor. As I know there will be some purists out there like, why does he have all his fingers on his right hand? Matt, you're so inaccurate to your own character.

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: All right, so first and foremost, tonight's episode is sponsored by Loot Crate.

TRAVIS: Loot Crate!

(cheering)

LAURA: Get your maps off the table, Tyriok.

LIAM: Sorry.

MATT: We've got an unboxing to do here with their last theme here. But before we get to that, Sam did you want to–

SAM: I wanted to say guys that this month's theme for Loot Crate is magic. And I don't have much planned for tonight, but I did learn a magic trick. I'm going to do a magic trick. It's my first magic trick I've ever done. And I don't have a deck of cards at home, so I'm going to use spell cards instead. I'm going to give it a little shuffle here. Oh, hey there, cowboy.

TRAVIS: Oh, please let something come out of your mouth.

SAM: Taliesin, can you give it a shuffle?

TALIESIN: I'll give it a shuffle. Liam, do you want to shuffle?

LIAM: Sure, I've got it. We got 30 minutes, right?

SAM: Get ready for November's enchanting theme: Magical! We've cast a powerful, ancient spell to deliver you this 100% exclusive crate. Featuring bewitching items from Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Big Trouble in Little China. And more! Use the promo link: lootcrate.com/criticalrole.

MATT: Marvel as Sam slowly becomes Bill Cosby. (Cosby impression) You see!

LIAM: No, no, no, you can't take that back!

SAM: I'm going to show Taliesin that these are, in fact, randomly shuffled cards. Can you please give the card deck a little cut anywhere you'd like. I'm going to look at this half of the card deck and it'll tell me what's in the other half of the card deck. Okay. I know, Taliesin, by looking at that, that the fourth card down is See Invisibility.

TALIESIN: The fourth card down.

SAM: The fourth card down is See Invisibility.

TALIESIN: So, this card here will be–

SAM: Will be See Invisibility!

TALIESIN: It's like Nicholas Cage as a cat. It is, in fact, See Invisibility!

(cheering)

SAM: The most magical part of this trick is that it makes me a quadruple threat: Actor! Singer! Professional Lover of Ladies! And now, Professional Magician. Thank you, Loot Crate.

(cheering)

TALIESIN: Remarkable Nicholas Cage impersonator, too, it's really amazing.

SAM: My mouth hurts so much right now.

MATT: Thank you, Sam. Thank you, Loot Crate! Yeah, open your Loot Crates.

LAURA: These are from October. These are not the current ones.

TALIESIN: These are not the magic theme.

MARISHA: No, it's the horror theme.

SAM: This is what everyone should be getting this month.

LAURA: Okay, that's the coolest.

TRAVIS: Are those Freddy Kruger chopsticks?

LAURA: Yes, I think.

MATT: That's pretty badass.

MARISHA: Little chibi Leatherface!

TRAVIS: Of all the things you thought could never be cute. Leatherface.

MARISHA: Little Leatherface.

LAURA: I have to see if these are actually usable or not.

MATT: Negan shirt.

LIAM: Got it! It's off!

MATT: Well done, Liam, well done.

TRAVIS: Camp Crystal Lake.

SAM: Ooh, a little pennant. My son will love that, big fan of the movie.

LIAM: I'm going to wear this for my kids all the time.

MATT: Regrettable Supervillains.

TALIESIN: Too soon, guys, too soon. Just too soon.

TRAVIS: Preying Mantis man. Cat Girl.

TALIESIN: Camp Crystal Lake, oh that makes me happy.

SAM: These chopsticks are amazing.

LAURA: The chopsticks are awesome, but don't try to pick up metal dice with them because they're way too heavy.

LIAM and LAURA: Don't eat metal dice.

TRAVIS: Ooh, the Walking Dead t-shirt. I call dibs on this next week!

MATT: There you go. Thank you very much, Loot Crate, for sponsoring us. You can go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole.

TRAVIS: Promo code “criticalrole.”

LIAM: Beginner's luck.

LAURA: That's right.

TRAVIS: Good job.

TALIESIN: That one's going to fail you every time, now.

MATT: That would have been impressive. Next up, let's see. GM Tips. We now have the second episode that just went up on YouTube. They go up a couple of days early on Alpha if you want to check that out. The most recent episode deals with improvisation, dealing with the unexpected. I'm a big fan of this new run. We get to go a little more in-depth with the elements of running your own games at home. So, if you're a GM, check them out. They come out every week, we have new ones coming out for the next six or so weeks. I can't remember how many episodes we did. So, for a while, so every week, a new one coming. Alpha on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and then on Thursdays on YouTube, so check that out. Next up here we have Titanfall 2 came out!

TRAVIS: Titanfall 2!

MATT: It's fun. I play Jack Cooper, your protagonist in the single-player campaign. It's basically a future buddy cop film with a giant robot.

TRAVIS: You sound sexy in that, man. Just saying.

MATT: Thank you.

LAURA: You do!

TRAVIS: High noon!

MATT: (as Victor) It's how I like it! I'm like this the entire game!

TRAVIS: That's a whole different Titanfall.

LIAM: I'm in there too! I've returned from the first game as Barker and I will yell at you if you're in my faction. Damn, that's got some weight to it, son! Mmm!

MARISHA: At least a d8.

LIAM: (explosion noise)

MATT: And that was the end of Tyriok.

LIAM: (as Tyriok) I shot something else off!

MATT: (laughs) Oh god.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah! Telltale's Batman episode three came out. I really like the way that's going. Fun.

LAURA: There's some good stuff happening in that episode.

LIAM: Who is this Batman character?

MATT: Next up, our Critical Role Halloween costume contest finishes next week. Halloween night is the last time to submit so if you have a Halloween costume if you haven't finished yet, get it finished, put up some photos with the hashtag #criticalcostumes on Twitter. We will be judging those in the coming week and giving you guys prizes and rewards and all the silliness that we can try and produce for you because we're excited. So many good things are already out there. You guys have been crazy!

LAURA: Yeah. There's been some really phenomenal–

SAM: Can I enter the contest as this?

MATT: I believe you already have, and you can win all of your shirts back.

SAM: Oh shit! Then I do not want to do that.

(laughter)

MATT: Fantastic. Marisha. There is a new Signal Boost episode.

MARISHA: Oh yeah! Both the Signal Boost Halloween episodes are out. And Taliesin and I are in them. And you make a cameo in the latest episode.

MATT: I stare at a mirror. It's fun.

MARISHA: Yeah. Go watch for Halloween.

MATT: Travis. How about Talks Machina?

TRAVIS: Yes! We are super excited about this one. Starting November 15th and every Tuesday after on Alpha we will finally get to introduce Talks Machina which is our Critical Role talk show. Hosted by our amazing friend Brian Wayne Foster. You can follow him at Brian Wayne Foster something something.

MARISHA: It's like @brianwfoster.

TRAVIS: @brianwfoster. And you can also catch the Talks Machina page on Twitter @talksmachina. You can also get early access if you go to alphainvite.com for early access to the page. We're going to be on there; it's our chance to give insight after the game. It'll be a weekly thing so we can answer questions that people might have, talk about moments that happened, how it went well, how it didn't, how we suck. There will always be a few of us on there every week, we might even have some guests, and some segments! It's going to be awesome. It's something we've been wanting to do for a while–

LAURA: Yeah. And Brian's a really awesome guy so we're excited about it.

MARISHA: Yeah. You guys are going to love him. He is great.

MATT: Brian is awesome.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Hai!

MATT: Hai! That's all the major business announcements. The final announcement, for those who weren't paying attention to social media. Yeah. Take your glove off.

MARISHA: Oh!

TRAVIS: Take it off! Take that glove off!

TALIESIN: We're doing that.

SAM: That's no fake hand!

TRAVIS: That ring better be there!

MARISHA: He put a ring on it!

(cheering)

LIAM: Applause, applause, applause!

MARISHA: I have that to look forward to in my later years.

MATT: (as Victor) So excited!

LAURA: Congratulations!

LIAM: I mean, he doesn't have to take it off!

MATT: (as Victor) Only parts of it.

SAM: Are we going to do a Critical Role themed wedding?

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MARISHA: No. No.

MATT: That's not going to be a thing. But we have already decided on our date.

MARISHA: Although I might still have Travis Willingham as my flower girl. Doing the dust of tracelessness.

TRAVIS: I would be honored.

TALIESIN: So cute!

SAM: I'll start writing my Best Man speech. It'll be a song.

MATT: All the limericks in one.

LIAM: Delivered in tiger?

SAM: Yes. Delivered in tiger makeup.

MATT: You've now done a tiger outfit twice. Two different tigers. All right. On that note, let's go ahead and dive in to tonight's episode of Halloween Critical Role.

[dramatic music]


Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back. As we last left off, our band of adventurers, Vox Machina, were in the process of formulating their plan of attack against the Chroma Conclave, a group of chromatic dragons that had banded together under their king, a massive-sized red dragon that sundered the Tal'Dorei countryside and currently sits on the main city of Emon. You have traversed multiple planes of the world and have gathered these various artifacts called the Vestiges of Divergence in preparation for this battle, honing your skills. You guys, after finally defeating your third member of the Conclave and allying with a fourth, Raishan, you defeated Vorugal, the white dragon, over in the ruins of Draconia in Wildemount. You are now returning, after gathering the spoils of the fight, making your way to the next leg of your journey, to the very, very fast approaching conflict with the Cinder King himself. And that's where we begin. Last we left off in the middle of a nearby frozen forest, Percival and Vex, probably a fair distance of time apart make your– no.

(laughter)

LIAM: That's “later.”

MATT: Jumped the gun.

LIAM: Matt, I don't know how we're going to do this. I got to look right at you.

LAURA: Look directly below. Maybe stare at his eyes.

LIAM: I'm going to look at the torch over his right shoulder.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: He's missing so many teeth!

LIAM: We got to go shopping or drinking or something, nothing serious for the love of Sarenrae.

MATT: So! As you guys reconvene towards Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion to prepare for the next leg of your journey, what do you wish to do?

SAM: Wait, we're in the Mansion right now?

LAURA: No, we're at the top of the ravine.

TALIESIN: We're preparing to go through a portal.

MATT: Correct, you guys are. So you've gathered to go ahead and make–

LAURA: Did you want to sleep before we went back to Whitestone?

MARISHA: No, I can go. Yeah, no. It's been eight hours, I've done my thing?

MATT: Yes, for the restoring some of the farmland, yeah. Which as you complete the entirety of the spell, you watch as the rest of the snow melt begins to turn to water, and you watch as the land itself grows more fertile and the crops begin to pop forth. Like you began to see when the ritual initiated itself. With the completion of the land cleansed, you are free to go to the next length of your journey.

MARISHA: Sorry.

TALIESIN: Stop, I can't make eye contact. I'm sorry, it's okay. We'll get there.

LAURA: I think you look great, Matt.

LIAM: You look like Doc Brown exploded, I don't know what to do.

TALIESIN: Pat that tuft of hair down.

MATT: Marty! Okay. Happy Halloween.

LIAM: 30 more minutes, 30 more minutes and we'll settle down.

MARISHA: You have to get immune to it.

LIAM: I would like to set the Deathwalker's Ward to Matthew's costume.

MATT: All right, you take a short rest to set your– (laughs).

LIAM: That's from Vasselheim.

MATT: What else do you guys wish to do? What's the next step in your journey?

SAM: I mean we got to go back to Whitestone, right away? Is there anything else to do here? Is there anything to deliver, any piece of any body to take with us? Anything? We got everything already?

LAURA: We need to deliver Ripley's arm back in Ank'Harel.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: That needs to happen.

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Kashaw's in Vasselheim.

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: We need to do something about him.

MARISHA: He might be in Whitestone by now.

LAURA: He might be back. He might be on his way here.

TRAVIS: He's a dick, he can take care of himself.

LAURA: Hopefully, he won't just loose something on the Ravenites here.

SAM: Let's get out of here.

MARISHA: They've been through so much.

LIAM: I mean it's really reconfirming his whole life-view so, you know. Hi!

LAURA: Hi!

TRAVIS: I'm having trouble.

SAM: All right. Keyleth! Cast your thing and let's get the fuck out of here.

LAURA: Let's get on to Whitestone. Get on getting on.

MARISHA: I'm coming, boo.

MATT: As you focus and touch the outside of the tree, you watch as this small, familiar portal begins to tear its way through the outer bark of the nearby trunk. From there, as you reach through the magic creating this portal between you and Whitestone, you hear the voice echo in the distance, “I hear you.” And thus, the temporary doorway between here and Whitestone is open. The rest of you guys rush through, with Kima and Pike in tow, you make your way into Whitestone itself. At this point in time, it looks like it's fairly late in the afternoon. It's still day here, that's a day, eight hours there. Actually no, it would be pretty early morning by here. At this point, you step out and the sky is starting to come to light. You see the blue slowly transitioning into a light orange to a yellow as the sunrise is making its way over the mountain range that surrounds the outside of Whitestone. You're met with a few wandering guards that wander through the town that acknowledge your presence, but it is your call as to what you wish to do now.

SAM: Does the town look like it's safe and intact?

MATT: It seems like it hasn't suffered any sort of incursion or attack, yeah.

SAM: Okay, yeah. That's good.

MARISHA: We've only been gone for what? 24 hours?

LAURA: No, like two days because we slept there.

TALIESIN: About two days.

MARISHA: I'm going to go check and see if I can find Kash.

TALIESIN: Also going to head towards the castle. And we should drop off some of our spoils.

LAURA: Our loot.

TRAVIS: Where? Where do we drop them off at?

LAURA: The castle?

TALIESIN: I would imagine the treasury room is where it can be.

MATT: There is a treasury vault in the Whitestone castle.

TRAVIS: Oh. Cool. Yeah. Totally knew about that place.

MATT: All right, Pike says she's going to go and check in with the temple and make sure everything there is taken care of and situated. Kima leaves with you guys towards the Whitestone castle. As you make your way up, you get to the very outside of the castle at the time the sunrise finally breaks the mountain range and you see the sun coming in. What little bit of mist begins to slowly burn off of the surrounding forested area. The cold, brisk morning air is immediately met with that warm ray of sun hitting you and it's welcoming both to be returning to a place of comfort but also the transition into day itself is a very warm and welcoming experience. As you step towards the front, there are four guards at the front gate. They step aside to let you in. As you step into the main foyer of the area, you already see a familiar sight. You see there waiting, arms crossed, leaning against the wall, Seeker Assum.

LAURA: Scars still on the face?

MATT: Yeah, still acid-pocked scar across the right side, ruining the tattooed face. The rest of the castle seems relatively quiet at this time, as it is very early.

MARISHA: She's the only one– he's the only one there?

MATT: Within the actual foyer of the castle, yes, the main entrance area. As you guys begin to step inside, Seeker Assum steps in your direction. Steps in your direction, and Kima is already taking a brisk walk in that direction and goes, pointing outward toward Seeker Assum. “Now–”

MARISHA: I grab Kima by the wrist. Not right now, maybe?

MATT: “Now you told me you'd already met with a creature. This is the–” At which point, Seeker Assum's hands rest on to Kima's shoulder. Kima's head whips around to face Assum, and Assum says, “You need not worry.”

SAM: He's going to try a thing on her.

LAURA: She hates that!

SAM: She doesn't like it.

MARISHA: Oh no.

TALIESIN: He's going to the sheets.

MATT: Kima's eyes blink for a moment and she–

MARISHA: No no no no no no. I still have my hands on Kima, right?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: I counter with a 6th-level Dispel Magic. Can I do that?

MATT: You can certainly try.

MARISHA: Fuck.

MATT: All right, so as you begin to–

LAURA: Oh no, we're going to start a fight, that's going to start a fight.

MARISHA: I don't want her to fucking cast any shit on Kima.

TRAVIS: What if it was just a chill out spell?

MARISHA: It's probably a charm spell. Or a memory spell. No, I don't want to fucking wait–

MATT: It's not a Counterspell, but you can try to cast it on her to see if it has any effect.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: All righty, so the DC of the spell– okay. So, as you pull back and begin chanting to yourself, clutching Kima and pulling her away from Assum, Assum's grip leaves Kima's shoulder and Kima's still shaking her head groggily. You finish the Dispel Magic and you feel the strange, warm pulse of energy radiate briefly out from Kima's body. Kima turns to look at you and goes, “What– why would– I'm sorry, I went groggy there for a second. We've had a long day. Good to see you, Assum.” And Assum nods and says, “Well, the pleasure is mine. Glad to see you all made it back safe and sound.”

SAM: Yes we did. Thank you, Assum.

MATT: “We have a meeting set here in the next two hours to gather our information and best situate the next plan of action. You also have a friend waiting for you. Your armored Kashaw returned but a half day ago apparently. Sleeping at the moment should you be interested in waking him from his slumber and notifying him of his, well, his services no longer being needed.”

TRAVIS: Did he return alone?

MATT: “He did. And rather proud with his findings.”

LAURA: Oh shit. Where are you off to now?

MATT: “Oh, I'm here waiting for the meeting.”

LAURA: Lovely.

MARISHA: And who all is going to be a part of this meeting?

MATT: “As far as I know, it's going to be myself, Cassandra, Allura, and Drake.”

LAURA: Oh, good! Allura, we haven't seen her in forever. Have we?

SAM: We saw her pretty recently.

LAURA: We did. Shit. Yes, we did. Never mind.

SAM: All right. Well then, until the meeting?

MATT: “Until the meeting. Now, food should be ready.” And Assum steps out into the sunshine and closes his eyes, takes a deep breath as the sun rays hit and looks over his shoulder, smiles, and continues to walk down the path in towards Whitestone itself.

SAM: We can kill him right here, right now!

MARISHA: (groans)

TRAVIS: No, no. (coughs)

MATT: Kima takes a couple steps and says, “Wow, I'm more tired than I expected after that fight. Then again, we did kill a dragon! And that is fantastic!”

TRAVIS: We did. Yeah. And you got a brilliant new sword.

MATT: Which she pulls out and (swish). You can see the arc of light streak across the blade as she flings it in the air with incredible strength for a halfling of her size. She's still marveled by it. “You know what? I'm not going to sleep. I'm going to go practice!” And she goes and runs off down one of the hallways towards one of the castle's training rooms.

TRAVIS: Wait, Kima, Kima! You don't hear anything when you use that, do you? Like voices or someone talking to you or–

MATT: She holds the blade up to her ear. “No.”

TRAVIS: No, good! Good. It's a beginner problem, but you're quite advanced. Not worried about it. Enjoy!

MATT: “Thanks, Grog!” Slaps you on the shoulder with an awkward glance and continues the excited steps forward into vanishing somewhere into the castle.

TRAVIS: The sword is clean.

LAURA: Good job.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Dodged a bullet on that one!

LAURA: We should put that hide in the Treasury.

TRAVIS: Hide?

LAURA: The 140 pounds of dragonhide you're carrying right now?

TRAVIS: Oh right! I'm dragging it behind me.

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Right.

TALIESIN: Like a body in a carpet.

TRAVIS: Well, I'm off to deposit this hide!

SAM: Good object work!

TRAVIS: Yeah. Boy, I'm going to need to switch shoulders! Getting a little roll in the ol' righty there.

MARISHA: Keyleth grabs Vax as they wander off and pulls him behind the rest of the crowd.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: Let's go.

LIAM: Where?

MARISHA: Let's track Raishan.

LIAM: All right.

MARISHA: Let's track her. Let's just do it right now. Let's kill her. We can do it, she won't be expecting it. We can find her.

LIAM: I pull her further away. She won't expect it, but she is a fucking ancient being.

MARISHA: But she's sick and she– We can do it right now. When she's not armed.

LIAM: Keyleth, I want to kill a dragon as much as you do.

MARISHA: It's not about killing a dragon, it's about killing her.

LIAM: I know, but we want it to work. We want her to die. And if you and I do it, it's not going to happen. Her being sick is still up here. We need the others. I really want to use both my arms to take her, but I can't. I take her by the arms. And we need the others. If I thought we could do it– Listen to me. I love you, and if you ask me again, I will go with you. But I don't think it will work. I think you and I will die. I think Raishan will spit on our bodies. You will not get what you want. And then Thordak won't die. No one will be happy. I understand–

MARISHA: I just want this to be over.

LIAM: I want this to be over.

MARISHA: Okay.

LIAM: We need to stay with the others; there's–

MARISHA: Okay. Okay. I understand.

LIAM: Listen to me; if you tell me to go in, I will go in. But there's strength with the others. After this, if you tell me to go in, you say the word. It's not like I haven't tried to throw my life away already. You think I wouldn't do it for you?

MARISHA: I feel like it's very telling when Grog has more patience than I. (sighs) Okay.

LIAM: Hey. It'll happen.

MARISHA: I just don't want to wait so long that she gets the upper hand on us. The longer we wait, the more she learns about us. The more we're letting her in, the more we're revealing. I feel like the longer we wait, the closer is her inevitable betrayal.

LIAM: Pulls her in and touch foreheads. I don't think we're going to be waiting for long; I really don't.

MARISHA: Okay. Let's catch up with the others.

LIAM: Yeah. Yeah.

MATT: The rest of you, what have you been up to?

SAM: I pull Percy aside and say, we can kill her right now.

LIAM: Ugh! It's a tiger!

TALIESIN: Well?

SAM: Well, we got to go to the treasury.

TALIESIN: We have to go to the treasury.

SAM: And then what? Who do we need to check in with? Everyone, right? Gilmore and Kash and–

LAURA: We've got a couple hours.

TALIESIN: We have a couple hours. We need to talk to people. We need to find out where this meeting's being held, if it's being held downstairs or if it's being held in the battle room.

LAURA: It won't be if Assum has anything to say about it.

TALIESIN: Well, maybe he won't.

SAM: And what is this meeting? I know that we have to have a conversation with Assum.

MARISHA: Yeah, but what is this about?

TALIESIN: This meeting may be the beginning of something very violent or this may be the start of something; I don't know. But be prepared perhaps that this meeting may be on moment.

TRAVIS: (singing) Be prepared.

TALIESIN: Don't think about it. Don't plan. Don't have any thoughts in your head.

LAURA: Improvise. We're good at that.

TALIESIN: You can't lie about anything. Do not lie to her about anything. And one of the ways we can lie best is by truthfully saying we have no plans against her right now because we have no plans against her right now. The more we talk, the more she will be able to perceive our deceptions, if we have any. Be very careful. This is going to be very dangerous. There's going to be a lot of improvisation.

LAURA: I hate knowing that she's going to be able to hear all of our plans.

MARISHA: (sighs)

TALIESIN: Honestly, we should have assumed that they could hear all of our plans from the beginning.

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: (sighs) My fault, really. Well, we are very good at being spied on.

SAM: Yes, well, we like to talk.

TALIESIN: And even if we do, even if we were to get rid of her, there's no sense in believing that they still don't know everything we're doing.

SAM: All right. Then we'll see what he proposes and take it from there.

TALIESIN: And let's hope that we're downstairs, and if we're not downstairs, there's still options.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: Grog, you've finally caught up with the group. You've managed to drop off your large amount of dragon hide in return.

TRAVIS: Holy shit, that skin weighs a ton. Good thing I'm strong as fuck. What'd I miss?

SAM: Is there a cold place in the treasure room? Wait, this hide is going to be cured, or smoked, or something, whatever you do. Stretched?

LAURA: It's got scales all over it. I mean that stays, right? It doesn't have to be kept cold?

MATT: I mean, it probably should be.

LAURA: Kept cold.

MATT: It probably should be attended to in a short amount of time, like in the next week or so, before it's really–

LAURA: Would it be an armorer, or a blacksmith, or– who works with dragonhide?

SAM: Taliesin, what's the old fashioned word for the guy who does the hide stuff?

LIAM: Tanner.

SAM: A tanner! Thank you!

LAURA: Is there a tanner in Whitestone?

TALIESIN: One would assume we have a tanner in Whitestone.

MATT: There are a few tanners, yeah.

TRAVIS: Is it super cold where I dropped off the hide? Like is it below ground?

MATT: It's below ground. Yeah, it's not–

TRAVIS: A bit chilly?

MATT: Comparatively. Whitestone in general is a pretty chilly place, so yeah.

SAM: But not like a fake-bake. We want a real tanner, right?

LIAM: Hey, while they're talking about all this, can I stealth away?

MATT: Yes, you can. Make a stealth check.

LIAM: I'll use Luck. 28.

MATT: What was that?

LIAM: 28.

MATT: 28. Okay, yeah. You vanish without anybody else noticing your disappearance.

LIAM: I would like to go as quickly as I can towards Gilmore's house.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: He's cheating on you, Keyleth.

MARISHA: (laughs) Look, it's 2016.

TRAVIS: Did we decide what we do about Raish–?

LAURA: (shushing)

TALIESIN: Seeker Assum?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: We're going to talk, we're going to listen, and we're going to be prepared for anything.

TRAVIS: Okay, so we're not (death noises and farts)?

LAURA: Not just yet.

TALIESIN: We're going to talk, we're going to listen, and be prepared for anything.

SAM: Was that last sound the sound of Seeker Assum's bowels?

TRAVIS: It's open to interpretation.

SAM: Okay. After he dies, letting it all out?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Just want to be fancy. I lean that way but, you know. Cannot speak for other people.

TALIESIN: The work speaks for itself, really.

MATT: Fair enough. Vax, as you rush down towards the homestead that Gilmore had made here in Whitestone, the door is closed. There's a large pile out front of ruined furniture that's been jammed into this collection. Presumably from the last encounter they had when the incursion of assassins made their way in. But the door's closed, and seemingly locked.

LIAM: (knocks)

MATT: A few moments pass, no response.

(Mario coin sound)

LIAM: That's him, that's magic!

MATT: But you find a cool coin.

LIAM: (knocks)

MATT: Yeah. Eventually you hear a little rustling, and you hear a voice, muffled, from the upper floor say, “Confound it, I'll be right down!”

LIAM: I'm so scared of this with that hair on your head.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: You hear some footsteps, and then eventually the door (unlocking sound). You hear the unlocking mechanism. The door swings open a little bit. And you see, you know, morning robe, chest open, curly chest hair poking out. A very groggy bedhead. Gilmore opens the door. “Yes, can I help– Oh. "Good morning.”

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I don't know what to do.

LIAM: Why did I do this? Tonight?

MARISHA: Now you know why.

LIAM: Hey, this is not fair. Can I come in to talk? Quickly, I have to head back to the others.

MATT: “Of course. Would you like some tea?”

LIAM: No. I don't even have time, I just want to talk to you.

MATT: “I'd like some tea. Come on in, come on in.”

LIAM: All right.

MATT: He ushers you to enter, and leads you to one of the small chairs. And he walks back into the kitchen, shouting over his shoulder, “So! Vax'ildan, please. Tell me what's on your mind.”

LIAM: You know, we're getting closer to the end game here.

MATT: (laughs) “I certainly hope so. It's taken a couple years off my lifespan.”

LIAM: We just killed another one of the dragons.

MATT: “Really?!”

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: “How many is that for you now? Three?”

LIAM: It is three.

MATT: “Making a name for yourself. I'm proud of you.” A few moments pass, and silence. And Gilmore walks back out, clutching a small tray with a few teacups. And as he's walking, he's twirling his finger and you can see a little spiral of flame encircling the tea kettle as it begins to heat up. He brings it over, sets it down on the table. Pulls his robe in and sits down across from you on this low slung tea table. Takes a bit and sips it. “So, what brings you here this early in the morning, friend?”

LIAM: I think I might be dead in a couple of days. So I came here to apologize. If you think I have no feelings for you, you're kidding yourself. I care for you very deeply. I have for a long time. And I don't think I've treated you fairly. But I wasn't playing games. Shaun. It's been a little weird lately, and I understand why, but I want you to know that I love you as a dear, dear friend, and I really don't think I'm going to be here in a few days. And I would hate to think that I would be–

MATT: “Shh. That's far too fatalistic for the Vax'ildan that I– number one. Number two, you have nothing to apologize for. Look, everything's on fire around us all the time. We all jump at whatever bit of comfort finds its way before us. And at the same time, I appreciate your honesty. And I'm thankful for the connection that we do have. And yes, heartbreak comes. But heartbreak goes. It's part of life. It just means that I need to find somebody who's a little more my speed.”

LIAM: That guy'll be fast.

MATT: “He better be. Don't worry about it. Go. Kill a dragon. Another. Kill two more. Kill six more, I don't care! Just know that you're coming back, because I need you and your friends to keep pimping out my name.”

LIAM: Sure. Whoever gets you will be a very lucky man.

MATT: “I know. I know.”

LIAM: Love you.

MATT: “I know. You sure you don't want any tea?”

LIAM: I'm really nauseous right now. I almost didn't come here.

MATT: “I'm glad you did.” He takes your cup. “Waste not, want not. (sips) Now go! Stop being uncomfortable in front of me! I need to get my morning–”

LIAM: Yeah. Yes.

MATT: “–situated.”

LIAM: Goodbye.

MATT: He stands there. Waves his hand and the door opens on its own.

LIAM: I leave.

MATT: He takes you by the shoulder real fast before you leave, and turns around and goes, "'Till next time. Say it.”

LIAM: 'Till next time.

MATT: “All right. Go.” And you feel a little pat on your backside, on the way out. He sits there holding his tea, watching you leave. Door slams behind you. You make your way back.

LIAM: I'm sorry I made you do that in that skullcap, Matt.

MATT: Look, I don't have to look at this. I'm fine!

(laughter)

MATT: From my perspective, this is easy.

LIAM: All I saw was a very handsome man.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Training. This is all training. It's training at a thousand times gravity.

MATT: (laughs) It totally is! Like performing arts with the weights on.

LIAM: Been doing this since the 80s and 90s, man.

LAURA: We need to find Kashaw. Before the meeting, yes?

MARISHA: Yeah, I set off. To find Kashaw with Vex.

MATT: All right. Asking around quickly, he is back in the room where he's been staying in Whitestone. You go back to his door. It's closed.

MARISHA: (knocks)

LAURA: Kash?

MATT: Nothing.

LAURA: (loudly) Are you sleeping?

MATT: Nothing.

SAM: Break down the door.

MARISHA: Kash?

LAURA: I'm going to jiggle the lock. Is it locked?

MATT: It's not locked.

LAURA: I open it. Just a crack, and look in.

MARISHA: I hope you're not naked!

LAURA: Shh.

MATT: As you open it up, there's no light on the inside, but the light does come in as you slowly open the door with a (squeaks). You can see he's halfway out of his armor, passed out on his back, on the bed. He's one arm out, snoring loudly like he was too tired to make it all the way, and (snores).

LAURA: Should we let him sleep or should we talk to him?

MARISHA: I don't know.

LAURA: He snores.

MARISHA: Wow.

LAURA: You know, my brother doesn't snore.

MARISHA: No, I know.

TRAVIS: Ew.

MARISHA: No, I mean I don't–

LAURA: No, just don't, just don't.

MARISHA: Just don't worry about it.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: I love you, Travis.

LIAM: You thought I'd be the one to fuck up.

(laughter)

LAURA: Do I have any like stones or any like rocks or anything in my bag or–

MARISHA: You're going to throw a rock at him?

LAURA: Yeah, just to see if he wakes up.

MARISHA: We can't just poke him? That seems so weird, though.

SAM: You're an archer.

LAURA: Well, I don't want to kill him.

MARISHA: Why don't we just tap on his shoulder?

LAURA: I'll sneak in, tap his shoulder, come back out, see if he wakes up.

MARISHA: Oh, that's what I want to do.

LAURA: I don't want him to know that, you know–

MARISHA: That we did that? Sure. I'll stand on the outside and look unsuspecting.

LAURA: I want to sneak in and tickle his little foot and walk out.

MATT: Well, he still has his boots on.

LAURA: Shit.

MATT: It's more like his upper torso, he got partway out of that.

LAURA: All right, I tickle his hands.

MATT: Okay so you're opening his palm–

LAURA: Tickle his hands and then go back really fast to the doorway.

MATT: Okay, you tickle his hand. No response.

LAURA: Fucking–

MATT: (snores)

LAURA: I flick his nose.

MATT: As soon as you flick his nose and you start to back away, there's a blur of motion as suddenly he comes leaping out of the bed (grunts) and goes over and grabs his spear, his hand reaches for nothing in the air, and slings it forward in your direction, (whoosh) bypassing by your face by a few inches. And he looks still half awake, going (startled noises).

MARISHA: Oh Kash, oh hi. Fancy meeting you here. Shit.

MATT: “Yeah, it's my room.”

MARISHA: I keep doing that.

LAURA: I know; it's awkward.

LAURA and MARISHA: Hi.

MATT: “Hi.” And he throws his spear to the side.

LAURA: Oh good, I was wondering if–

MARISHA: Yeah, I hope we didn't– I hope you weren't sleeping.

MATT: “I hope I wasn't either. Sure, all right, I'm glad you're here because it took me a long-ass time to get here.” And he sits up in the bed and– or he sits down back on the bed and reaches over and pulls out one of his packs and brings out a couple of rolls of paper. “Okay, so I talked to Vanessa and got two contracts that we could take up for this.”

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: “We got one here,” and he pulls it out, “This is for two indigenous creatures to the region that you were talking about over by Wildemount. One is a purple worm matron.”

LAURA: Ooh, that sounds big.

MATT: “Supposedly. Shit's dangerous. Careful. This one is for a Storm Giant. This one is a little harder to get a hold of apparently.”

LAURA: They're so hard to get a hold of. We should probably focus on the other one.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: Unless Vorugal's already dead.

MARISHA: Yeah, wouldn't that be crazy if he was already dead?

LAURA: What would we do with these contracts if he is? Just wondering about that.

MATT: “Get out of my room.”

MARISHA: Kash.

MATT: “Just get out.”

MARISHA: Kash.

MATT: “Get out of my room.”

MARISHA: Look–

LAURA: Your help has been–

MARISHA: Not overlooked.

MATT: “Out. Of my room.”

LAURA and MARISHA: We should probably go.

LAURA: Do you want these back–

MATT: “Out of my room.”

LAURA: I'm going to set them down on the ground.

MATT: “Out of my room.”

MARISHA: You know, we could–

MATT: “Get out of my room.”

LAURA: By the way, you might want to get like a mouthguard or something because you snore a little.

MATT: You leave him in silence and darkness. (yelling) “Out of my room!”

LAURA: Keyleth, we should go.

MARISHA: Okay. Okay. We'll see you later.

LAURA: Keyleth.

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: Come here.

MARISHA: Okay.

LAURA: And I take her around a corner. He kissed me.

MARISHA: Kash?

LAURA: No! God no! Percy!

MARISHA: Like right now?

LAURA: Percival!

MARISHA: Did I miss something?

LAURA: No.

MARISHA: What? Percy?

LAURA: Yeah!

MARISHA: (squeals)

LAURA: I know.

MARISHA: That's good, right?

LAURA: I mean I know you guys are like–

MARISHA: No!

LAURA: Pretty close and I don't know if that's weird.

MARISHA: Why are you asking me?

LAURA: I don't know, you're like his sister, kind of.

MARISHA: He's not my twin brother.

LAURA: This is true. How are things with you and Vax? Thanks for bringing it up. Is it good?

MARISHA: I still worry if you care.

LAURA: I care; of course I care.

MARISHA: Yeah, you say that.

LAURA: I hug her. Well not your antlers in my face.

MARISHA: Oh, sorry, sorry, that happens a lot. I'm very happy for you.

LAURA: Hey thanks. We should go look at the treasury.

MARISHA: Okay, let's go to the treasury. We should go victory shopping.

LAURA: Oh my god.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: Do you think he'd mind if we– I mean we have so much money, we don't even need to do that.

MARISHA: I mean it's basically our money, though, right?

LAURA: Yeah. No. It's–

MARISHA: Yeah. Okay.

MATT: All right, so you guys wander your way off–

MARISHA: You know, Vex, I feel like you might be a bad or good influence on me. I'm not sure, but I like it.

LAURA: It's all good.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: Scanlan, Grog, Percival. What are you guys doing?

TALIESIN: Life is failing the Bechdel Test so hard right now.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: So bad.

TALIESIN: Sorry. (laughs) Carry on.

LAURA: Sometimes they do talk about boys.

MARISHA: They are like 50% of–

TALIESIN: No, I did not see that coming.

TRAVIS: We don't really need to like check in with anything.

SAM: You mean do you have the gold?

TRAVIS: Well I mean I– yeah.

SAM: We should probably divvy it up, don't you think?

TRAVIS: What? What? What?

TALIESIN: No, no, no.

TRAVIS: But it's really a lot to hold onto your person. I mean, it's a bag of gold–

SAM: No, but we should all replenish our personal–

TALIESIN: You can have some pocket money, but–

SAM: Yes, yes, yes.

TRAVIS: Yeah. How much do you want? You don't have it. I have it.

SAM: 5,000. We have hundreds.

TRAVIS: Yeah, if you want 5,000. Do you have good credit?

SAM: Do I have good credit?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: I've never misspent a single coin.

TRAVIS: Can I have your last four pay stubs, please?

(laughter)

SAM: Here's two of them right here.

TRAVIS: Hey! That's good enough! Have 5,000 gold!

MATT: As Grog gives you 5,000 gold, which weighs roughly a hundred pounds–

SAM: Shit!

MATT: It weighs more than you do.

LAURA: 5,000 gold is a hundred pounds?

TRAVIS: And it's probably about 1,000 because I can't count to 5,000.

MATT: Yeah. He starts divvying it out until it's like larger than you in a pile in the center of the room.

TALIESIN: Well what are you going to do with it?

SAM: All right, all right. I'm going to give some back.

TRAVIS: Are you really?

SAM: Why don't you give me ten platinum.

TALIESIN: No! Absolutely–

SAM: (chuckles) It's the same! It's the same!

TRAVIS: Why not?

LIAM: Ten platinum?

TALIESIN: Ten platinum is an awful lot.

TRAVIS: But he can carry ten. That's easier.

LIAM: Sure.

TRAVIS: Hold on, let me consult Blackstone.

LIAM: Ten or ten thousand?

TALIESIN: (stage whisper) Don't do it!

TRAVIS: Yep. Stoneblack says it's all right.

SAM: You're with us. You're with us.

TALIESIN: I am!

TRAVIS: I take the gold. I put it back in.

TALIESIN: No!

TRAVIS: And I give him ten platinum, which is actually six.

MATT: So you get six platinum from Grog, which is roughly sixty gold.

TRAVIS: One. Three. Seven. Eight. Nine. 40. Ten.

SAM: That's it?

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: Excellent.

SAM: And give me 500 gold, as well.

TALIESIN: No!

SAM: Of course. I need money.

TRAVIS: It's really heavy. How about I give you 20 more platinum?

SAM: Great. That sounds good.

TRAVIS: And I give him four more.

SAM: (laughs) Give me 50 more platinum.

TRAVIS: 50?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: All right. I give you one more.

SAM: Thank you. 11 platinum.

MATT: Perfect.

TALIESIN: I'm going to try to find Allura. I'm going to leave them to their madness. I'm going to try and find Allura and Cassandra or anybody I can find in the castle at this point.

MATT: Okay. As you walk around, nobody else who's supposed to be meeting has gathered yet. However, Cassandra is awake and in the process of going through some papers. She has her personal guard at her side and two guards at the door and you can see she's getting herself prepared for the meeting. As you enter the room, the door partially ajar, you see her still down currently thumbing through notes. Her hair is still in disarray and pulled back haphazardly. And she's wearing her morning gown and without even looking up goes, “Percival. Glad you've arrived and still in one piece.”

TALIESIN: Yes. And down one dragon.

MATT: “I have to tell you, I'm very impressed.”

TALIESIN: Thank you. Two more to go. It's going to get a little heavier at this point.

MATT: “Indeed. That's what our meeting is about.”

IPHONE: What was that, again?

TALIESIN: What was that, again?

MATT: “Sorry, I need to go fire some of my guards. They're making a nuisance. Continue, please.”

TALIESIN: Two more to go. I fear that it's possible that Whitestone itself may eventually be a target of an attack. I feel it may be inevitable.

MATT: “That is, actually, what our meeting is about. Prevent that from happening.”

TALIESIN: Quickly to check. I would know what languages Cassandra spoke, correct?

MATT: What languages do you know?

TALIESIN: Elven, Celestial, Common.

MATT: She knows Elven and Common. She does not know Celestial.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MATT: That was more your hobby.

TALIESIN: I figured. That was my guess. I wanted to confirm.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: I hand her a small slip of paper that I have written in Elven: “Be prepared for anything today. Keep silent.”

MATT: She gives you a very keen look. And you can see Cassandra. As much as she is the healthiest you've seen her physically, her eyes have dark circles over them. It looks like she's been very harried by the events of these past few weeks. Understandably so. But she takes and looks over the sheet and goes, “Well, very well. Should be an interesting meeting then.”

TALIESIN: I think so. I do think so. It's good to see you taking command.

MATT: “It's good to see you, and I look forward to you sharing some of the burden soon.”

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “Right?”

TALIESIN: Quite possibly.

MATT: “Right?”

TALIESIN: We will discuss once the dragons are taken care of.

MATT: “Good.”

TALIESIN: We will discuss, at the very least, relieving you of some of this burden.

MATT: “Good.”

TALIESIN: I know it is not fair.

MATT: “Whatever is fair in this life? The wonders of lordship and ladydom.”

SAM: I'm going to run off and try to find Jarett.

MATT: Okay. Do you wish to come? Anything else you want to bring to this conversation?

TALIESIN: No, I'm fine with that. My last thing is, I'm going to quickly run and have a quick conversation privately with– I assume we have some sort of royal jeweler of some kind, or somebody who does some of the ornamental work.

MATT: No one who lives on site per se, but there are two individuals that your family generally used for various forms of jewel craft.

TALIESIN: I'm going to write and send a letter off for that.

MATT: Okay. No worries. Scanlan, what are you going to do? Looking for Jarett?

SAM: Looking for Jarett.

MATT: Okay. You head outside of the main castle, down to where the training barracks are for Whitestone. And you can see Jarett's already out there, with a small, metallic platter on his lap, scarfing up some food real fast. He's gotten his day started relatively early and as soon as you approach, mouth's already full. “Mmm! Scanlan! It's good to see you.”

SAM: Good to see you too! What're you enjoying there?

MATT: (laughs) “The usual gruel that you find in this city.”

SAM: Oh, I thought it might be something, meat-based that you could have popped up a bit with your spice.

MATT: “Oh, well trust me, I've used it on the eggs and it makes it bearable. Whitestone is not well known for its cuisine from what I can tell. Everything's gray and lacks flavor.”

SAM: I'll invite you over to my house some time, give you a proper chicken dinner.

MATT: “All right, I will happily take you up on that offer, thank you.”

SAM: Wanted to check in on (lowers voice) the task we talked about?

MATT: “The task?”

SAM: You know, the mission we discussed.

MATT: “Remind me again?”

SAM: I don't want to talk about it out in the open. But you know there was some illicit–

MATT: “Oh!”

SAM: Items of medicine.

MATT: “Yes, I sent a request through someone I know.”

SAM: Sent a request?! You're using other people? I trust you, I don't trust other people!

MATT: “I'm not going to leave the city right now to go find– Look, I have two people I know that might be able to get what you need. But it's going to take time.”

SAM: (sighs) I don't have time. (sighs)

MATT: “When did you pick up this habit?! I'm worried about you now, Scanlan.”

SAM: I haven't picked it up. I'm trying to pick it up, damn it! It's the most difficult habit to pick up! Listen, can I confide in you, man to man, one on one, here?

MATT: “Certainly.”

SAM: You're a fighter, you're a strapping young battle man, aren't you?

MATT: (chuckles) “I have been told this once or twice, yes.”

SAM: I haven't felt myself recently. You know, we have these fights and some of them are pretty epic and there's monsters involved and I'm usually on my game, but lately I'm feeling a little off! How do you cope with that?

MATT: “Well largely by not using illicit substances?!”

SAM: Don't judge! Don't judge.

MATT: “I'm not judging! I'm worried about you. Like, if you don't even have a habit, why would you look for this? The Scanlan I knew, the one that hired me, he knew how to deal with this issue. He got laid.”

SAM: I don't really do that much anymore.

MATT: “Maybe that's why you're not feeling up to the task?” (laughs)

SAM: That is a very fair point, Jarett.

MATT: “I'm just saying. Look, and I do not mean to talk out of turn.” He sets his meal aside. “But you are a man who walks, driven by his pelvis. Am I wrong?”

SAM: You're not wrong.

MATT: “Then what happens if the pelvis goes unused? Grows bashful?”

TRAVIS: Preach.

SAM: Like a fine instrument, it can go untuned. If you leave a fine violin without playing it for many years, it could wither and rot until you need to replace some of the parts. In a way, the same is true for my member. But the problem here, Jarett, is that I'm distracted. I'm distracted by things that haven't ever distracted me before. I've made a promise to someone to stay alive. I've never valued my own life before and when we get into the shit, I'm second-guessing things. I'm making stupid decisions that I wouldn't have otherwise made.

MATT: “Because suddenly you have purpose. Because you have a reason to come back.”

SAM: Yes.

MATT: “That's not a bad thing, then.”

SAM: I don't know how to harness that kind of stress.

MATT: “Do you have a keepsake of this reason to return, this person you made a promise to?”

SAM: Do I have a keepsake? I don't think so.

MATT: “Then you need to get yourself a keepsake!”

SAM: Well she's not around right now to get a keepsake from.

MATT: “Then something else that reminds you of her. Something that you can look at in that moment when you're not so sure.”

SAM: How did you get so wise, Jarett?

MATT: “Drink a lot, listen to people talk. There are none wiser than barkeeps, my friend, and I have been friends with many a barkeep.”

SAM: These are all good suggestions. But I'm a man of instinct, and my instincts said I need to supplement my body with some extra liquid courage. So if you can please continue to look for me.

MATT: “I will continue searching and providing what you require.”

SAM: I've heard that it can help people in moments of panic and stress.

MATT: “And I've watched it ruin lives near K'Tawl Swamp!”

SAM: I can handle a lot of things.

MATT: “You are a strange gnome.”

SAM: Takes one to know one?

MATT: “Does not work in this circumstance but I applaud your attempt. It was good. I'll do what I can. But don't forget you have more than one reason to stick around.”

SAM: I know. That's what worries me. I'll think about what you said. Maybe I'll go have a toss, see if that helps, too.

MATT: “Here, tell you what. Come here.”

SAM: Yes?

MATT: And he suckerpunches you in the face. You unexpectedly fall back. You feel the pulsing of the blood run to your cheek. Your eyesight goes white for a second. He goes, “See, now you have to live to return the favor.”

SAM: You! That was clever. I will definitely get you back.

MATT: “Good. I look forward to it.”

SAM: Watch your back.

MATT: “I always do.”

SAM: Get me some drugs!

MATT: Awesome. Grog.

TRAVIS: It's daytime, right?

MATT: Yeah, it's early morning.

TRAVIS: Is there a way I can find a courtyard or an open-air area?

MATT: There are a couple of courtyards within the perimeter walls of the castle. They have some small garden elements.

TRAVIS: If I get there, are there a lot of guards keeping an eye?

MATT: Not within the courtyard, no. Occasionally, there'll be one patrolling.

TRAVIS: Can I pee in the courtyard?

MATT: By all means!

TRAVIS: I feel like I need to mark my territory. This is home for us, and I peed all over Greyskull Keep. I left little puddles that y'all didn't know about. It's real important in case other goliaths come around and are like, (sniff) “Nope, the wolf's here. I got to go elsewhere.”

TALIESIN: I assumed it was shoddy masonry and everything was leaking.

TRAVIS: No, stealth roll, motherfucker. Can I take a leak on a wall in the courtyard?

MATT: Yeah and there are a number of walls to choose from: varying heights, different levels of masonry. You have the veritable pick of the litter.

TRAVIS: Can I find the highest wall with the most ornate decoration on it and go slightly off left? The way me member goes and make a little box right there? A little waterfall on the whitestone.

MATT: Certainly. You find the portion where the exterior wall has one little parapet-joining portion with the exterior of the castle itself. There, you can see the masonry is fine, the stones themselves are clean-cut and joined properly. There isn't a whole lot in the way of ornate craftsmanship on the exterior of the castle or the walls, but you feel, as far as your interest, Grog, this is a good wall.

TRAVIS: Very nice.

MATT: You mark your territory expertly.

TRAVIS: In a wide, arcing pattern, not like the one shot, like a nice, upside-down crown.

MATT: There you go, like a Cylon eyebeam. Yeah, totally. You do so with gusto. Congratulations.

TRAVIS: Thank you. Home.

MATT: That's how Grog spells home.

MARISHA: Stellar RP.

TRAVIS: How else do you spell home?

MATT: Unless there's anything else that needs to be done–

LIAM: I'm not done with my errands. Can I go find Kynan?

MATT: You can. Kynan, who is currently under the watch of Jarett at the moment, is asleep. You start walking towards the direction as Scanlan is leaving the exterior of the barrack training grounds.

LIAM: Hey, buddy.

SAM: Hi.

LIAM: You look a little rough. You all right?

SAM: I'm fine. One of our employees punched me in the face.

LIAM: Which one?

SAM: You don't want to know. It wasn't the cooking cook.

LIAM: You look really tense. You look out of character.

SAM: (growls)

LIAM: Oh dear. Head back. We're going to have that meeting soon. Get your game face on, yeah?

SAM: I will. I'll wash my face. Get to it.

LIAM: All right.

SAM: How are you doing?

LIAM: I'm good.

SAM: Yeah?

LIAM: Best I've been in a while.

SAM: That's good to hear. It's been a while since we had one of our depressing chats. You seem a little more chipper these days. Coming around to my perspective, are you?

LIAM: Can I make an insight check?

MATT: Yeah, make an insight check.

LIAM: Seems full of shit to me. I'm going to use luck. I've got it.

TRAVIS: That's your second luck!

LIAM: Who cares? This is a game. I'm with my friends. I'm having fun. That is an 18.

MATT: 18. Are you deceiving him any?

SAM: No! Not at all.

LIAM: But does he seem confident and happy is what I wanted to know.

MATT: As much as he would in the given situation, yeah.

LIAM: All right. (sighs) I'm happy. I'm in love.

SAM: Really?

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Do I know the fella?

LIAM: Yeah. I'll tell you later, all right?

SAM: I want to hear details! Dirty, dirty details! Sweaty details!

LIAM: Oh, he is so hung. Unbelievably hung.

MARISHA: So much dick talk!

LIAM: I'll tell you later. I have to run an errand. We have to get to this fucking meeting, yeah?

SAM: Oh yeah. I'll see you there. Game face on.

MARISHA: Is this how they talk themselves up?

TRAVIS: Yeah, don't women talk about their vaginas?

LIAM: I'm talking about your goddamn antlers. Jeepers. Off I go.

SAM: Locker room talk.

LAURA: Oh.

(laughter)

LIAM: (yells) No!

MATT: The campaign is over. Whitestone burns in flames. You make your way there. Jarett, you can see, finishing a meal. Looks over to you. There's nobody else in the training area. It's still relatively early. You do, with your perception, see back on the main stone building, you see a few individuals walking back and forth in front of one of the windows. It looks like things are starting up over there for training for the day. Jarett finishes his meal, scarfs up the last bit of egg on the side of the plate, “Hey!”

LIAM: Jarett!

MATT: “Yes!”

LIAM: Hey, I don't want to interrupt. Kynan, the new guy. Is he around?

MATT: “Probably inside, sleeping or waking.”

LIAM: Okay if I go in?

MATT: “Sure. This way.”

LIAM: Just be a minute.

MATT: “Sure, go for it.” He sits back down. You head inside. The door's not locked. You open it. You see ten different individuals that are all in the process of waking up. You can smell coffee. Very basic breakfast meats being cooked. Some of them are around tables talking, hunched forward and laughing. As soon as you walk in, a few of them turn and look at you. Some don't recognize you, some do. You see, in the far corner sitting alone at one of the tables is Kynan, who is prison-style guarding his food and eating by himself.

LIAM: Right towards him. Hey.

MATT: “Hello.”

LIAM: How are you fitting in?

MATT: “All right. Everyone here's been fine.”

LIAM: You hanging back?

MATT: “I mean, as much as I need to. This is still a lot. Jarett's been good. He's been watching.”

LIAM: He's a good man. Yeah, I get it. We killed another dragon.

MATT: “That– wow.”

LIAM: Yeah. I don't want you to question your decision here, all right?

MATT: “No, I mean– I don't have anything else right now really. So, what's the question?”

LIAM: There's no question. But if you could, I have two favors I want to ask.

MATT: “Okay.”

LIAM: First one is, after I leave here today, could you embrace these people?

MATT: “Yeah, I'm trying.”

LIAM: Yeah, I know, and I know you have reservations, and I know that you've got guilt. When I walk out of here, I want you to work on letting go of that. For real! Leap of faith kind of shit. Just let go of it.

MATT: (sighs) “Well, I'll do my best.”

LIAM: I know. Scratch that, three favors.

MATT: He looks down a little bit for a second seeming like “oh boy.”

LIAM: Yeah, I know I'm a handful. The second one, I don't even need for you to say anything about this, but you know the white-haired guy I travel with?

MATT: “Yeah.”

LIAM: Yeah. He's got a sister, and I don't want you to do anything other than keep an eye on her and keep her safe.

MATT: “Okay?”

LIAM: We're going into the lion's den. Soon, I think. And we'll probably come out of it, but just in case. She's got a lot on her shoulders; you know that. So just keep an eye on her. That's it. All right?

MATT: “All right.”

LIAM: And the last thing. You've got those knives I gave you, right?

MATT: “Yeah.”

LIAM: Yeah, hold onto them. I trust you. I need you to watch after one last thing for me, all right? It's very important. I wake up Simon, and I let him crawl down my arm. Do you see this guy?

MATT: “Yeah.”

LIAM: He's been with me through a lot, and I don't want him at the bottom of a ditch.

MATT: “Are you sure?”

LIAM: I have never been more sure of anything in my life. I want you to have him, and I want you to take care of him.

MATT: “I'll do that. It'll be done. I promise.”

LIAM: Kynan, I need you to believe in second chances.

MATT: “It's all I have to keep me going right now.” He reaches his hand up towards the snake, and Simon leaps from your hand to his and swirls down his arm. He looks confused for a second as it wraps around his waist and then forms into the shape of a belt. You now see a few other guys in the room, and the room's got a little bit quieter. They're all watching what's happening, “What's going on?” He notices the attention and, “I'll take good care of him.”

LIAM: I believe you.

MATT: “I mean no offense. It's a lot of attention right now.”

LIAM: I give a slap on his cheek. Remember everything I said, all right?

MATT: “Yeah, I will.”

LIAM: You're a good kid. (whack)

MATT: (soft chuckle) “Same temple.”

LIAM: I'll see you later, all right?

MATT: “Yeah. Definitely.” And you head out. Okay. At this point in time, a number of pages have been sent throughout the city to gather those who've been wandering about Whitestone, as you are being called to the meeting in the second floor war room held within the castle itself.

MARISHA: Second floor?

MATT: Same one where you met with–

MARISHA: Assum? That'll do. All right.

TALIESIN: Be ready for anything.

TRAVIS: Let's go Krogering! The best of everything!

MARISHA: Before we walk in, I grab Grog. How do you do it?

TRAVIS: Do what?

MARISHA: You're able to utilize your rage when necessary. How do you keep it suppressed when it's not needed?

TRAVIS: Ah. Well, good question.

MARISHA: Please enlighten me, Professor Grog.

TRAVIS: Right. It all comes down to one word, really. (clears throat) Family. Right, before I was a part of this group, I had no family. Pike took me in, I met all of you. And I had a purpose. So before that, I would be down to fuck anything up, anytime, no problem. I still kind of am. But I realized that if I fly off the handle too soon, it screws over my family. That's no good, because I care about you. Most of you.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: You're going to get yours. It's coming. And I'm going to help you. And I'm going to high five you when it's done. But until then, you keep that shit tucked inside. Let it build. And then when the time is right, you let her have it. And I'll throw you into the fray, when the time is right.

MARISHA: Promise?

TRAVIS: Yeah, I promise.

MARISHA: Deal.

TRAVIS: Deal.

(cracking noise)

(laughter)

MARISHA: Ow! Ow, Grog! Grog!

TRAVIS: Oh shit, sorry! I'm so sorry!

MARISHA: No, it's fine. I appreciate it. It's good.

TRAVIS: Oh, yeah. Bruises, right?

LIAM: She should really take one hit point of damage.

(laughter)

MATT: Sure, you take a hit point of damage.

MARISHA: Oh man, people are going to ask questions about that later.

TRAVIS: No, it's cool. You make up a really good story.

MARISHA: Sure. Yeah.

TRAVIS: But listen. If at any time it gets to be too much, you just go. We've got you.

MARISHA: Okay. I don't want to let you guys down.

TRAVIS: You won't.

MARISHA: Thanks, Grog. Okay. (clears throat) Let's do this.

MATT: All right. You guys enter the war room, same as it was previously left. However, you are brought the image of the table in early morning: Allura, Gilmore, surprisingly, Drake Thunderbrand, Cassandra, as well as Assum, who's standing behind most of them, back to the window. They all, middle of conversation, turn, and smile as you begin to walk in. You see Gilmore nods to everybody. Gives an extra smile to you, Vax. Cassandra's waiting for the pleasantries to end. Allura comes up and takes your hand, and she goes, “It's wonderful to see that you've returned safely. I've had many terrible thoughts that perhaps this meeting would not be as positive, and I'm very glad to know that I was wrong. And that you brought Kima back to us as well. Pike is safe as well. So congratulations, I guess, are in order. Come, sit. These circumstances do press our timeline a bit.” And you see there are a number of other chairs already brought into the room, prepared for you guys to sit around together.

MARISHA: Is there anyone sitting next to Raishan?

MATT: No, actually.

MARISHA: I sit next to Raishan.

MATT: Raishan is not sitting. Raishan is standing with her arms crossed, leaning against the window.

LAURA: I want to stay standing as well.

MARISHA: Yeah, I move closer to Raishan.

MATT: Okay. As you approach, you see Assum's eyes watch you. Small grin on the face, and a little nod.

MARISHA: I give a nod back.

TALIESIN: I pull a chair out for Assum, and I'm going to offer him the chair and sit. And pull one out extra for myself.

MATT: At which point Cassandra gathers all of your attention in the midst of this chaos. “The excursion to Wildemount went well. As far as I understand, you are now one more dragon-slaying into this chaotic endeavor. Well done. Tell me, how did this happen?”

TALIESIN: A deal was made with the locals. We brought the dragon to an appointed kill spot outside of the city. We summoned a creature.

LAURA: With the Gate scroll that we showed you, actually.

TALIESIN: There was a battle. And we felled it. That was more or less how it went down. It was a simple trap, it was elegant, and we barely survived.

MARISHA: I pull out the Spire of Conflux and hand it to her. We retrieved this in our spoils. You may recognize it as one of the Vestiges that we spoke of earlier.

MATT: Cassandra takes it and says, “It looks quite important. Allura.”

MARISHA: Yes, I thought I was handing it to Allura.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Sorry. It was meant for Allura.

MATT: I can see how this would be confusing.

MARISHA: Yes.

SAM: You look just like Allura right now.

LAURA: Allura, is everything okay? Have you been through some shit, Allura?

MATT: “It's been a rough week.”

(laughter)

MATT: I almost did Allura, too. Next Halloween.

LIAM: Vax is leaning against the door to this chamber, by the way.

MATT: All right. Allura takes it, inspects it. “This is a magnificent artifact. Well found. Perhaps we'll take a look at it after the meeting together.”

MARISHA: Sure.

MATT: Cassandra gets everyone's attention once more, motions to the guards. The door that you're leaning by gets closed as the guards step out, so it's only you guys having this conversation. “So, with another of the Conclave fallen, retaliation is imminent. And with Thordak already infuriated at the death of Umbrasyl, and we only caught but a glance of that anger, thankfully through the means of which Allura and Gilmore and others were able to cloak the city, I do not feel that will last the entirety of the time we would need to take a leisurely stroll through our next series of plans. I fear that less protected cities may be in the path of retaliation before it finds its way to us.” Allura speaks up at this point and goes, “Thordak is a creature of infinite pride. And a slight such as this against the Conclave will most likely trigger the destruction of even more innocents. Both to satiate his anger and, I'm certain, to also draw us out. He is an intelligent one, as is the company he keeps. I've also reached out to other members of the Arcana Pansophical, and hope that they would come to our aid, but given the recent death of Vorugal, I do not know if they'll arrive in time to be of any assistance. So we have to begin to gather our strengths, our allies. And honestly, I think we need to strike first.”

TRAVIS: You do?

MATT: “Well, otherwise we wait for the fight to be on Thordak's turf.”

TRAVIS: That's unexpected.

LAURA: Just pop on over to Emon, then?

MATT: “Well, we need a plan first. We need to gather those we've called to arms. We need to assess what strengths we have, and utilizing all of these things at our disposal, come up with an idea of how we're actually going to do this.” Gilmore steps in and goes, “If we are to strike, I agree it should also be very soon. We've pushed the boundaries of being on his peripheral even this long. And you say that he knows your faces, correct?”

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: “His gaze will now surely fall upon the seven of you, at the very least.”

TALIESIN: It was inevitable.

MATT: Assum steps forward at this point, from the wall, and begins to walk in front of you, Keyleth, and between Percy, “The longer he remains as well, the more the landscape of Emon and the surrounding Bladeshimmer Shoreline begins to churn. Begins to boil with flame and toxic fume. He is scarring the surrounding land with his claws, his teeth, his flames, his roar, and those that follow in his shadow. His fearmongering has risen a number under him. A creature of such pride is eager to show that if you fall in such fear and do as he says, there are rewards. I'm sure you've come across many weak-willed individuals in your travels that would be eager to jump at the chance of working beneath such a powerful and dangerous creature.” Allura steps in at this point now and says, “Now I believe it is partially his essence, but the expedited rate of this elemental transition around him is based on the soul anchor that we embedded within him to keep him in the Fire Elemental Plane. This stone that resides in the center of his chest and belly. I believe this stone is somehow drawing elements of the essence of the Fire Elemental Plane itself into Emon. I mean, it's not unusual for the presence of a red dragon over hundreds of years to begin to convert the scenery around, but this speed… I can only see a connection between the enchantment that we hoped would hold Thordak at bay, and the changes we're seeing at the center of Emon and beyond. Now, it was never intended for him to leave that place, and I feel deeply responsible for many elements of the danger we now see in this world. I only know that I will do whatever it takes on my end to see that this comes to an end. Whatever sacrifice, whatever is necessary. I'm at your disposal. But the responsibility of the destruction is also our own. The longer we take, the more chance he will tear through Kymal. He will tear through Westruun. He will tear through Daxio. He will begin to burn everything that Tal'Dorei is, until we show our faces.”

LIAM: I am curious what the Master of Secrets thinks. Assum?

MATT: Assum is still walking a circle around the table.

LIAM: What do you propose we do?

MATT: “Hmph. Well, before we get to that, let us discuss things we have at our disposal, the information we have, and from that, we can garnish a plan. I am the Master of Secrets; I am not a Master of Warmongering and Attack.”

TALIESIN: I get up, I walk to the window, and I look out the window. We're not going to be safe here for much longer, that much is certain. We will need to move quickly.

MATT: Drake speaks up for the first time and goes, “Aye, not to mention that slippery green drake is still out there somewhere, and we have no idea where it is. Two members of the Conclave are remaining.”

TRAVIS: Well– Ow! Right, yeah. Two.

TALIESIN: Do you think perhaps it's best to skip one and hope for the element of surprise? Maybe he thinks we're going to finish off his generals before we come to him. It may be a brief moment of surprise. If anything, maybe he's expecting us to kill one more, not go for the main prize.

LIAM: Cut off the head of the king?

TALIESIN: Maybe.

SAM: Thordak, from what I understand, is extremely powerful and influential. That Raishan dragon is a mere pittance in comparison. A small, exponential ant, a pawn, if you will, on the battlefield.

MATT: “I certainly hope so. And if that's the case, then I think you're right. Go for the king first. But we must do so with eyes all about us because the last thing we need is to be flanked by that beast in the center of our attack.”

MARISHA: Exactly. We don't want to deal with two ancient dragons.

TALIESIN: Can we lure it somewhere else, perhaps?

MATT: “If we knew where it fucking was.” Allura speaks up at this point and goes, “Look. I know that Thordak's hate for me still burns, hence the reason why they went directly for my tower when they first arrived in Emon. The one trump card we do have in this is me.”

LAURA: Do you want to offer yourself as bait?

MATT: “If need be. I'm not saying that's the right plan, but I'm saying it is one thing we can perhaps utilize in our plan, in our strategy.”

TRAVIS: Is his hate for you?

TALIESIN: I think– There was a ship in Draconia, a northern ship of some kind. I still feel there may be some sort of weapon inside it that may prove useful. It was a ship that had been dragged there by the white dragon. It's been bothering me. And then of course we have whatever it is we have downstairs. I'm not saying we should use it, but it is powerful.

LAURA: I don't know how we would use it.

TRAVIS: We can't move it, can we?

LAURA: We can't touch it.

MATT: Gilmore pops up again and says, “Exactly. We were poring over that thing for a number of weeks, until we had to build this barrier. And to be perfectly honest, I am sick of it.”

LIAM: You've got nothing?

MATT: “Well, we understand it's a siphon. It's bringing the energy of the nexus somewhere. We don't know where the other end of it is. Or if it's even functioning properly.”

MARISHA: Allura, do you still feel a connection with the soul stone that's inside of Thordak?

MATT: “Well, I have no personal connection to it, I know that I was the architect of its enchantment, and the ruse, of which sealed it within Thordak.”

MARISHA: You built it. You must know of some way to disable it.

TRAVIS: Or a weakness.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: “We designed it to have no weakness. The intent was to keep him there indefinitely. Perhaps if we could–”

MARISHA: What?

MATT: “Assum. You said you have friends, back in Emon still, that have been gathering intel.” Assum turns. “Yes, actually. And I was hoping that, as part of our plan today, we could even go and retrieve some of this information. Perhaps that could teach us more about this soul anchor you continuously talk about.”

SAM: How can we retrieve this information without going to Emon?

MATT: “Oh, we would have to go to Emon.”

SAM: That sounds crazy. Is there any way to not do that?

MATT: “Perhaps I'll go alone.”

MARISHA: The soul stone has been broken and abused before. I have a feeling there's someone who might have an idea on how to disable it.

TRAVIS: I really don't, I have no idea.

MARISHA: Well, Raishan was the one who busted out Thordak in the first place, out of the Fire Plane. So I would assume that Raishan has some idea on how to–

TRAVIS: Oh.

LAURA: You think? I feel like Raishan would only know how to open up a portal.

MARISHA: Well, I have a lot of feelings about Raishan.

MATT: Cassandra speaks up and says, “Well, you've been abroad. You've been gaining arms and allies, from what you've told me from across Exandria. Let us consolidate our options, our strengths, and plop it down in front of the Conclave, best we can.”

SAM: I'm no master strategist, but we do have allies that we can call upon, and weapons, and men and arms and troops. However, taking the fight to Thordak in Emon seems foolhardy at best. I suppose this is where the intelligence could come into play. Is there some other place where we could go and try to take back from Thordak, to lure him away from Emon?

MATT: Assum steps into the conversation and goes, “The thing with that plan is Thordak has amassed thousands of lizardfolk in Emon at this point that follow his whim. In the nearby mountain ranges, many from the Stormcrest, that worshipped him the entire time that he was gone. Wyvern riders originally aided in taking the city that you met, as did I. But since, other allies have found their way to the Cinder King's sway. Last that I checked, it seemed that there were a number of allies that he brought over from his time in the Fire Plane as well.”

LAURA: What?!

MATT: “Fire giants, in the service of the dragon, now walk the streets.”

SAM: So, if we go into Emon, we're facing fire giants, lizard people, and that's before we get to Thordak the Cinder King?

LAURA: How the fuck are we going to fight him?!

MATT: “That's what we're discussing today.”

SAM: Does Thordak covet any other territory, or city, or town? Vasselheim? Here? Anywhere that we can lure him to?

TRAVIS: Anything he has nostalgic feelings about? Glintshore–

LIAM: Anything that would piss him off?

MATT: “You were lucky to draw a creature of such infinitesimal experience and intelligence as a white dragon away from its home roost. I would be greatly surprised if you had pulled a great, powerful, intelligent, ancient red dragon from its home turf advantage.”

LIAM: So your prediction is that we have to slog our way through the outskirts of Emon to fight him on his home turf. Is that about the size of it?

MATT: “That's one way.”

SAM: What's another?

MATT: “Distract his allies and go straight for the heart. You have allies, like Allura just said, all throughout the world.”

TRAVIS: This is true. We have the Herd, we can go get the werewolves.

SAM: The Ravenites would help.

MARISHA: Everyone who we ask, everyone who we send in there, we're sending in to their death.

TALIESIN: This is war.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but it's either death now or death a little later.

LAURA: We're sending ourselves as well.

LIAM: So, are we talking about sending everyone we know and everything we have to the outskirts of town–

SAM: For a full frontal attack. While we bamf into the dragon's lair.

LIAM: Yeah. We create a massive fucking clusterfuck on the edge of his periphery and we go for the center.

LAURA: How long did it take you, Allura, to create that heart?

MATT: “Well. The design and the development and enchantment of it are powerful enough to anchor itself to the soul of a dragon of Thordak's strength. Better part of six months.”

LIAM and LAURA: Six months.

LIAM: We've probably got a week or two.

MATT: “And that was with a dozen other hands helping me. Most of the Arcana Pansophical was at my side for that and we don't have that kind of time.”

LIAM: Well, we take a day or two and we amass every heavy fucking hitter we have, and we do this. What other choice do we have?

MARISHA: I keep thinking back to Emon where we watched half of our friends die in a second.

LIAM: A lot of us are going to die.

MATT: Cassandra sits up a little bit in her seat and goes, “If we are smart about this, we can minimize the casualties far more now than they would be a week, two weeks, a month, a year from now.”

TRAVIS: I agree.

TALIESIN: What of Whitestone? We put the city at great risk. How much risk are we willing to take?

LIAM: Percy, everywhere is at great risk right now.

MARISHA: It's true.

TRAVIS: We should leave Whitestone.

SAM: But even getting to Emon, aren't we exposing ourselves to detection and attack?

TRAVIS: We are if we wait.

SAM: We're going to march several armies across the entire continent to get there? It'll take days.

LAURA: How do we get armies there?

LIAM: We're going to take a day or two. We're going to figure out how to get who we have to where we need. We're not doing this tomorrow. In a couple of days. Three days. Four days at the most. It's not ideal, but it's what we have to do.

SAM: We can at least move people to, you know. Where's that town that was established?

TRAVIS: Outside of Westruun?

MATT: There's Westruun, Kymal were the two that you moved–

SAM: Westruun is close-ish, right, to Emon?

MATT: Westruun's a little bit further than Kymal is. Kymal is where you sent a lot of the Westruun refugees.

TRAVIS: Right.

LAURA: But they're just townsfolk.

SAM: But we can at least assemble there, from all the different territories, and then meet up, form a plan, and then march from there.

LAURA: March on Emon? If we gather our forces, Thordak will notice.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we've got to do a lot of recon before then. But I think he's got a good point, right? We've got to have like a staging point.

MATT: Cassandra turns, looks over to Assum and goes, “Recon, actually. Anything else, Assum, you may have in regards to what we can expect there?” Assum is still slowly walking around the peripheral of the meeting table. “I can tell you that most of the city's wealth and resources, as well as caches, sealed arcane relics, and weaponry, long held by the Lyceum or the arms of Emon, have been stolen and thrown atop the victory hoard of Thordak. Most who are part of this rebellion within the city are doing so with scraps. That is why the Clasp has been so instrumental in the removal of many of the oppressed folk within the city. Also, the fire that marks Thordak's presence that have drawn fire and molten rock across the city, as well as the outskirts of the city walls, scar the landscape and fill the sky with sulfurous clouds and black smoke. The good news is that smoke can be utilized, should someone have some control over the elements, to be a screen. However, where the Cloudtop District once stood, there is now but a heated cauldron of glowing stone and flame. Hundreds of gifts and statues left in Thordak's image litter the outer area, while a massive cavern dives beneath the central region of the district. Now this cavern, as we've watched it, we believe it to be the location of Thordak's treasure vault. As well as the occasional sleeping place of the massive drake we speak of. Thordak is also showing rather intense signs of physical change since being released from his prison. And his size still remains enormous by comparison. His eyes now burn with a searing white light. Burning stars in the sky. His jaw ever dribbles with burning liquid that blackens the ground it touches. The gaps between scales appear to flare bright with each breath, like a star engine beneath the scales.”

MARISHA: (sneezes) Sorry.

LAURA: Bless you.

MARISHA: Yeah. Sorry.

LAURA: Do you think it's overtaking him?

MATT: “I've no idea. Allura?” And Allura goes, “Well, if the anchor was indeed removed from the Fire Elemental Plane, then Thordak would have had his soul torn from his body. That is how the anchor worked.”

MARISHA: So you don't think he actually even fully separated from the plane, he brought the plane with him.

MATT: “Or at least, maybe a piece. I wasn't there, I don't know the ritual that brought him over.”

MARISHA: Maybe then we're looking at this the wrong way. Maybe we go at this through the Fire Plane. Maybe there's something still there.

TALIESIN: A way to sever his connection to the Fire Plane, maybe.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Allura thinks for a second.

MARISHA: We've got an easy door in.

MATT: “I could try. But the enchantment itself– We don't have enough information. It wasn't bound to a specific place in the plane, it was bound to the plane itself. I don't know how you'd sever it from the other side.”

TRAVIS: From the other side, we'd have to go there.

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: That's called thinking outside the circle.

SAM: But then once we're there, what do we do?

MARISHA: And we don't even know where to look. I mean, we could at least talk to the Ashari there. They might–

TALIESIN: Another ally.

TRAVIS: Is there like nothing friendly in the Fire Plane?

LIAM: It's at least as big as Tal'Dorei. I mean, it's another dimension.

LAURA: It's huge.

MARISHA: It's huge, but not many people know the whereabouts. There's still locations and destinations within the Fire Plane. It's navigable.

LAURA: Maybe all the evil things in the Fire Plane are gone right now and they're with Thordak.

MATT: Assum steps forward to the table, and puts his little halfling hands on the edge and goes, “Well, it's a shame that we don't have any information about this ritual that freed him from the plane.”

LAURA: That is a shame. A real shame.

MATT: “I'll see if my compatriots can gather information, but in the meantime we'll do the best we can to gather similar information.”

LIAM: Well, we know we don't have a lot of time, but do we maybe want to table this and think on it?

SAM: At the very least, should we send out some letters, alerting our allies that–

LAURA: Shit's going down.

SAM: It's time to start stocking up and getting ready to move?

MATT: Drake steps forward and goes, “I think that's a fine plan of action. Reach out to all those you brought in. Hopefully we can get a few of our friends in this as well.”

LAURA: Did an airship ever arrive?

MATT: They all look at each other, a bit confused. “No.”

LAURA: An airship? Did anyone see an airship flying around?

MATT: “I didn't see one.” And Cassandra goes, “No. There hasn't been an airship here, no. Are we expecting one?”

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

MATT: “Good to know.”

SAM: The city is invisible.

MATT: “Yes, so they won't see us if they come. If we see an airship, do you wish us to flag it down?”

LAURA: That would be good.

MATT: “You trust it?”

LAURA: Yes.

LIAM: They are a rarity.

MATT: “All right.”

SAM: Maybe come up with a landing point as well.

MATT: “Now?”

SAM: Well, soon.

TALIESIN: We have one other possible option in front of us. Show them the medal.

SAM: No, thank you.

TALIESIN: You're not going to show them the medal? Not that, no! No, not that. Please don't whip that out, no one wants to see that.

SAM: No, not the cube.

TALIESIN: We have another ally that we have spoken of.

SAM: It's a tenuous ally at best. Maybe we shouldn't discuss it until we're 100% sure about it.

LIAM: Yeah, that's a big maybe. That's a big maybe. Yeah.

MARISHA: Yeah, they're very busy though.

LAURA: Yeah, it's really far away and, then as we were leaving, the people that we talked to about it–

MATT: “It's fine, I get it! Reach out to your people on one end.”

TALIESIN: I slowly walk around the table, thinking hard about it. And I stab Seeker Assum three times in the back with my sword.

MARISHA: Let's fucking do this shit! Let's do it! Let's do it!

LAURA: But we need to know the ritual!

LIAM: It's too late, he did it.

MARISHA: (yelling) Yeah!

SAM: Oh Percy, no.

MATT: Go ahead and roll–

TALIESIN: That's a surprise attack.

MATT: I know it is.

SAM: Oh god, why? We're in crazy costumes.

LIAM: Check out the brain on Brad.

LAURA: We've got Allura and Gilmore, and Drake.

TALIESIN: We have a lot of people in the room.

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: Go ahead and roll. Roll the first attack. With advantage.

TRAVIS: We're in a room.

LAURA: Whitestone's about to be destroyed.

SAM: And Raishan's about to leave.

LIAM: Oh man, he's not making you roll stealth, motherfucker.

LAURA: Why would he? He doesn't–

LIAM: Because I would. And Hotis did on me.

LAURA: That's different.

LIAM: No it's not.

TALIESIN: That's 29.

MATT: Okay. As you pull the blade out of the hilt to go ahead and begin to strike– You're a quick individual. You're also in the presence of an entity that does not trust anyone or anything. You take the blade and swing out in the direction of Seeker Assum. And where your blade strikes, it shimmers through the image. There's a flash, and Assum is suddenly four feet away from the position where Assum was standing. At which point, everyone in the room stands up immediately and is like, “Whoa whoa!” Cassandra goes over and puts her hand towards you, and Assum is taking a few steps back and is like (breathes heavily).

TALIESIN: No tricks in here. No tricks in here, if we're really going to do this.

MATT: There's this moment of extreme quiet, tension, as Allura's looking at you, looking at Assum, looking around. And there's like this slow, connecting moment of realization throughout the room as everyone's eyes go wide.

TALIESIN: If we're really going to do this, no tricks in here.

MATT: And with that, we're going to take a break.

(screaming)

MARISHA: Amazing!

LAURA: Taliesin!

TALIESIN: Don't trust a man who just kissed somebody! That's a man who's saying fuck it.

LIAM: Backpedal, backpedal, backpedal!

MARISHA: I'm into it. I'm really into it.

LIAM: Yes, we know, darling. We know.

MATT: All righty. Well, we'll go ahead and take a short break here, guys. We'll be back here in a few minutes. And we'll (Victor voice) see what happens next! (normal voice) All right. See you guys here in a minute.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back, everyone, to Critical Role. When we last left off, Clarota, over here– Let us all marvel at that!

(cheering)

TALIESIN: It was me all along!

LAURA: Oh god. Are you going to leave that on the whole time?

TALIESIN: Oh hell no! I can't see or hear a thing.

MARISHA: It was so short-lived.

LIAM: Three seconds of costume, that's all you get!

(laughter)

SAM: You can't put just this part on?

TALIESIN: No, it's really uncomfortable!

LAURA: Just the helmet?

LIAM: Do the frigging helmet. I had my arm behind my back for two hours!

TALIESIN: Why would you do that?

LIAM: Commitment!

MARISHA: I have so many guns in my belt! No one can even see them, and I'm still committed.

SAM: I painted my entire body.

TALIESIN: What is wrong with you people?

LAURA: That's good. You're good now.

TALIESIN: I can't really claim sanity. I just did something mind-bendingly stupid.

LIAM: You now look like one of your own bullets.

(laughter)

MATT: You have a very Merlin from Excalibur thing going on there right now.

TALIESIN: A dream to some, a nightmare to others.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Oh, like lightning! Yes!

MATT: We need more green lights in here to really get the effect.

TALIESIN: Go see Excalibur. Not right now, but tomorrow.

MATT: All right! So, bringing it back in. As your blade swings through and passes through the form of Seeker Assum, it shimmers and then darts backward into the corner of the room.

TALIESIN: I immediately sheath and say: No more tricks. If we're going to do this, we need everybody to know what's on the table.

MATT: At which point, everyone who stood up and held off at the chaos, you see all the faces going off in realization. Assum goes from a defensive position and then stands up again. Crosses the arms.

TALIESIN: We're either going to win, or we're not. I was hoping you were going to take care of that.

MATT: “We're working on that plan as we speak. But pardon me if I take a few– how do you say– careful backups in case one would take a blade and stab at an ally, supposedly.”

TALIESIN: You know damn well that we're not allies. You know damn well that this is a tenuous relationship. And you know that neither of us trust the other.

MATT: At which point, Allura puts her hand out and goes, “I'm sorry. What the hell is going on here?!”

TALIESIN: We'll get there. I would hope that you wouldn't trust us, and I would hope that you understand that we don't trust you. But we need to make a real plan now.

MATT: As the tension slowly subsides, Gilmore puts his finger up, “Pardon my momentary ignorance. Would you like me to cleanse the room?”

TALIESIN: I'm hoping for a conversation to start that I promised I wouldn't start myself. I am trying to keep to the letter of my word.

SAM: It might help if Gilmore were to make sure everyone is on the up-and-up in this room.

TALIESIN: Seeker Assum, do you have an opinion on how you would like to proceed?

MATT: Seeker Assum takes a few steps towards you. Casually looks up to you and goes to pat you on the shoulder. His illusory hand passing through your form. Goes, “I'm quite comfortable where I am right now. Let us continue this conversation.”

TALIESIN: The floor is yours if you wish to tell everyone what the real plan is.

MATT: “Very well! Since my hand has been forced. Hello. Seeker Assum is still back in Emon, dealing with the difficulty of preparing the current circumstance we're discussing. I am Raishan. Member of the Conclave. Up until recently, tenuous ally with Thordak the Cinder King, who is now considered a mutual thorn in all of our sides. I've made an agreement with your Vox Machina for quite some time. Together, using our combined strengths, we slew Vorugal, the Frigid Doom, over in Wildemount. We've returned to reconvene. I've provided nothing but honest, upfront, and necessarily vital information to your victory.”

TALIESIN: I will confirm everything but “for quite some time” to the room.

LAURA: I've just been staring at Allura.

MATT: Allura, you see her fingers are twitching and her arms tense, and there's this very faint air that's blowing her hair ever so slightly, where there's no wind in the air. She's on edge right now and is looking to you guys for guidance, like “Are we doing this?” Cassandra stood up immediately. For the first time in a long time, since Whitestone was reclaimed, Cassandra now resembles more her age than she ever did. She has a look on her face like she's far out of her depth. Understanding the circumstance, there's legitimate fear in her face, and she's looking at Percival with that look of, “What have you done?”

TALIESIN: Now we can have a real conversation about what's going on. We have an ally on the inside, albeit an untrustworthy one. You'll pardon that, but there's every possibility that this is an elaborate trap. I respect your intelligence far too much to try and pretend otherwise. You understand certainly what I mean? Having this on the table, we now know that there's every possibility that the red dragon knows everything. There's every possibility that we're walking into a trap. Or there's every possibility that we have an insatiably powerful ally. It is a terrible risk.

MARISHA: Or an insatiably powerful enemy.

TALIESIN: Also a terrible risk.

LAURA: Either way, we can now ask about the ritual.

MARISHA: Why don't you inform the room on how you utilized an entire race of people to break the ritual?

MATT: Everyone's still standing at this point, looking. Cassandra slowly sits down but is still looking between Raishan and Percival. You watch as Assum's form steps towards the center of the room, the flash of green flaring in the eyes with a smile, “The anchor that you speak of was indeed removed from the Fire Elemental Plane. We discovered that it was indestructible. Good on you, Allura. Well created. We tried many different ways: rending it, crushing it, sending it elsewhere without the enchantment tearing Thordak with it. To no avail. In trying to find a way to bring Thordak through, we needed to bring the soul anchor and the Fire Elemental Plane with it. The one place where such research could be gathered promptly, fully, was Pyrah. Now, mind you, it was not my intent for such destruction to rain upon them. I spent many years with them. I got to know them. They're a fine people. In that time, I learned the ways of temporal travel between dimensions. The details that allowed me to see the fabric of the Fire Plane, to where we could encase a bit of it within the soul anchor itself. Once we had managed to crack that essence, I was able to, from a distance, using the allies at the other end– Thordak had found friendship with some of the ousted fire giants. They found comfort outside of the ordning under the shadow of the fire dragon. In using their deep, rich-blooded past and forging and making, they were able to convert the soul anchor into something that housed the essence of the Fire Plane. However, we didn't have a means of creating a hole large enough to bring both through without destroying both in the process. And as such, we waited for the right time: The Winter's Crest.”

MARISHA: You bitch.

MATT: “To some, maybe. But we called this the Ember Seed. The Ember Seed resides in the center of this heartstone. That is what is causing Thordak to swell. That is what's driving him mad. That is what is drawing the very land around Emon to fiery eruption. It is also what keeps his soul on this plane.”

TRAVIS: What keeps his soul on this plane?

MATT: “It keeps the soul intact with his body.”

TRAVIS: Destroy the stone…

TALIESIN: It can't be destroyed.

MATT: “In theory. But we've tried. Believe me; we've tried.”

MARISHA: And you kept the soul and the stone inside of him?

MATT: “To remove it would destroy him as well, as the Arcana Pansophical saw fit. So yes, both came through. Waited for the Winter's Crest, had enough power and understanding of the ritual to open the entirety of the tear, and Thordak screamed through, flames in his wake. And he laid waste to your people, not I.”

MARISHA: No. You used me. You used us. And my fear that I had originally appears to be true. A lot of this is my fault. I'm willing to accept my onus. The fact that you can't shows all the kind of person that you are. My promise still stands. I'm thinking it might come sooner rather than later.

MATT: “You do understand that without my aid, you will not succeed?”

MARISHA: I understand that without your aid, none of this would have fucking happened in the first place.

MATT: “Yes, and there are quite a few in this room that fall in that category.” She looks to Allura and Drake.

MARISHA: So it seems all of us can accept our part in this matter, except for you.

MATT: “I accept my part in this matter as well. You don't think I feel duped by this? You don't think I have many things I wish to tear from the very corpse of that entity? You think I don't want to see him burn as much as you do? This vengeance that burns within me!”

MARISHA: What would you do if you actually got what you want?

MATT: “What all of us want: freedom.”

MARISHA: I pull out the Spire of Conflux. There are always many solutions to many problems. You think Thordak is the only solution to yours? This staff was birthed from the head of Melora, the same goddess who gave you that curse. What if you wanted me instead? Me and this staff. Maybe I can help you more than Thordak can.

MATT: “Are you saying you understand the way to remove this? That you know the secret to burning this wretched disease from my form?”

MARISHA: I'm saying I might be your best chance at salvation. I'm pretty sure this staff is the closest living relic that we have in existence to the god who granted your curse. Thordak is no god. That was your first stupid mistake.

TALIESIN: I think if I might translate. What my friend here is trying to relate is that, perhaps when the dust has settled, your salvation may either be found in the withering corpse or cackling smile of a creature that you are subservient to, who will take great delight in your destruction. Or perhaps in those you've aided who will feel grateful.

MARISHA: It's up to you, Raishan.

TALIESIN: And I will advise her to take no revenge until all cards are on the table.

MATT: “Well. Good.”

MARISHA: Clearly you are the type of person who looks for answers in other people. You are clearly unaware of accepting any fault or any result of your actions. Why don't you start fresh? Do you really want Thordak to have another sway over you? Another gift, another favor, that he's given you? That he is going to hold over you for all of eternity? Do you really want that? You're stronger than that.

MATT: “That's why we're working to watch him fall.”

MARISHA: Are we?

MATT: (chuckles) “If you need not my help, just let me know.”

MARISHA: Oh no, Raishan. We don't need your help. Let me say that right now. This all depends on what you want out of the end of the deal.

MATT: “I wish to be given unfettered, unbothered, unwatched control over the corpse upon his death to extract the information I need. I will leave your very sphere of existence and understanding until the end of your days.”

LIAM: What happens if we say no to that?

MATT: “Oh, then I'll find another way.”

MARISHA: Spoiler alert: we're saying no to that.

TALIESIN: Unfettered I'm fine with. It's unwatched–

MATT: “Then watch! Watch, for all I care. It will be Greek to you anyway.”

MARISHA: She's taken way too much. She doesn't get to leave!

TALIESIN: She's already left.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I walk over around the table towards Assum. I try and poke her in the shoulder. Him.

MATT: It passes through the form.

TALIESIN: This is the deal that we are offered. This is the deal that's on the table. We are in a tenuous position of power.

SAM: You can stop poking, Grog.

TRAVIS: She's not here!

LAURA: That's crazy.

SAM: Give her one more good poke.

TALIESIN: How do we get in contact with you when we know when we move and how?

MATT: “Well, what is your next step through your journey?”

TALIESIN: That is the question. Now that everything's on the table, I'm sorry to shock everyone. I was hoping not to be the cause of it. I was hoping that it was time for everything to be on the table. But this is actually what we're dealing with. This is the complexity. This is the battlefield.

TRAVIS: So we have to rally our forces to us, and we have to do some really smart recon. Do we make her a part of that or no?

TALIESIN: No, the more distance that we keep, the better.

SAM: From her?

TALIESIN: Yes. She will probably be, I imagine, in our way on occasion.

LIAM: But no one make any mistake. She's lying to our faces. She is not telling us what she wants or what she wants to do. You have a whole plan!

MATT: “Assume what you will.”

LIAM: Shut the fuck up! You've been droning on for an hour! Shut the fuck up. You're not telling us what you want. You fucking shit bag. Fuck you!

MATT: “Keep great company.”

LIAM: Does anyone really believe that this is all going to be fixed if we work with her?

MARISHA: I say we take a recess. Gather our thoughts. Raishan, my offer still stands. If you want to come and find me, I know you know how. Maybe we can commune with Melora together.

MATT: “You do not comprehend the magics that you even speak of. It's cute. Look, I agree. Distance is of aid to us at the moment. If anything, I should probably cut off the information of Vorugal's fall. I should speak with the Cinder King and still establish my allegiance from his perspective.”

TALIESIN: Can you cut off that information? I would imagine that would be far too much.

MATT: “Cut it off, no. But I can attempt to guide the fury, if you will.”

LAURA: Will he know it was us?

MATT: “I can guarantee it.”

TRAVIS: Can you keep him from attacking Whitestone?

MATT: “For a time, maybe.”

MARISHA: Can you guide his fury in a way that would be beneficial to the plan?

MATT: “If I knew what the plan was, yes.”

MARISHA: You were saying ideally, if we could get him away?

TALIESIN: I don't think we're going to get him away–

SAM: We're going to do recon. We're going to send out word to gather our forces– where?

TALIESIN: What if he knew where we were?

TRAVIS: We don't know yet.

SAM: Let's find out, let's pick a place.

TALIESIN: What if you knew where we were? What if we found a place? We pick our battleground. He discovers where we're hiding.

MARISHA: And Raishan rats us out.

TALIESIN: And Raishan discovers this information.

MARISHA: Would certainly put you in the good graces of the Cinder King.

MATT: Raishan takes a moment and thinks.

TALIESIN: You are searching for us right now, are you not?

MATT: “I am indeed, but Thordak has been using us as the attack.”

LIAM: Yeah, he's not going to leave his nest.

LAURA: So what if we kill you?

MATT: “What do you mean?”

LAURA: How does Thordak know you're alive?

MATT: “Because I check in every now and then to remind him.”

LAURA: What if he sends you out, and we kill you?

MARISHA: And you never come back? He'd be forced to be the one to have to leave the battlefield.

TALIESIN: If he knew where you were headed.

MARISHA: You're a clever girl. I'm sure you can make a ruse to make you look convincingly dead.

TALIESIN: You wouldn't even have to tell us where you were hiding. You could just hide. And we could ready ourselves.

MATT: “That is an idea. Hmm. Take your recess. I'll take mine. There may be something to this plot.”

MARISHA: And we can all assume that when we exit this room, that our tenuous alliance is still that. Correct?

MATT: “I would hope that there's no more errant blade pokery?”

TALIESIN: Now that I know your tricks.

LAURA: We do it to everyone. Don't worry.

TALIESIN: We actually do, now that I think about it.

MARISHA: Yeah, that's kind of true.

LIAM: We're also not alone here. Allura, how does this sit with you?

MATT: Allura is sitting right now, she's listening to everything with her hands crossed. Shakes her head and goes, “To be perfectly honest, this bothers me a great deal. But the fact that Whitestone still stands does speak volumes at the least.”

TALIESIN: It does.

MATT: “With the cards being in our favor.”

TALIESIN: It's not the first devil I've made a deal with.

MATT: “No.”

LAURA: Doesn't always turn out well, Percival.

TALIESIN: Doesn't always turn out terribly, either.

MATT: “Regardless, I have a lot to think about. As do we all.” And Allura slowly turns her head and looks up, probably for the first time since she sat down, to the illusory Raishan's Assum form. “Assum lives, then?” “Indeed he does. Indeed he does.” And Allura turns her head back and goes–

MARISHA: Can I do an insight check?

MATT: Go for it.

MARISHA: Does she know if Assum is up to something no good? 25, I think? Better double check that. 25.

MATT: 25? Okay. It's hard to read the demeanor of Raishan in general. It's this middle ground of neutral expression with a half-cocked grin. Information flows at this consistent rate of being generally difficult to read. The beat of hesitation is meant for emphasis, more than covering, if that makes any sense. So it seems to have an honesty to it, if you could read any honesty from Raishan.

LAURA: Raishan, now that we know you're you, do you have to continue the ruse of being Assum, or can you bring him here?

MATT: “I can certainly bring him here if you'd like. However, he is doing quite a lot of good with the Clasp, and Brom and Tofor underneath Emon right now, and they've managed to save many lives and continue to do so.”

LAURA: Maybe you could pop him over then? Just for a little bit.

MATT: “Well–”

LAURA: You're quite powerful.

MATT: “What do you have need for Assum?”

LAURA: I want to hear what's going on with the Clasp. I want to see for myself that he's alive.

TALIESIN: We're actually going to have to have a conversation with the Clasp, because we're going to purge the city once the dragon is gone.

MATT: “Why don't you go see him yourself?”

TRAVIS: No, I like her idea. I want to see him here.

LIAM: Yeah. I feel a little better here. It would go a long way to earning some trust.

MATT: “Well, make your choice. Either I intercept and begin to work towards Thordak's ruse and set a space that convinces him perhaps I've fallen into your hands, or I go retrieve your friend from Emon. I'm not your errand boy, and we have a limited time here. Which is more important?”

TRAVIS: Sure you are. You are our errand boy. We are your vessel to what it is you want. So get busy, and do it quickly. After all, you're very powerful. But that changes day by day, doesn't it?

MATT: “So, Emon it is. Very well. Back in a day.”

TALIESIN: We will start figuring out and discussing a place for the final battle. We will find a place that is advantageous. Your input, if you feel the urge to give it, is always welcome. At least to me.

MATT: “It's going to be very difficult to pry the Cinder King from his nest.”

TALIESIN: Your supposed death will go far for that.

MATT: “If anything, but I have no guarantees.”

TALIESIN: As long as everything is on the up and up, and as long as we do not catch you in deep deceit.

LIAM: (whispers) Good luck with that.

TALIESIN: We will make sure that the plan moves in the direction it is meant to.

MATT: “One day then.”

TRAVIS: One day.

MATT: And the image (disappearing noise).

TALIESIN: He's going to send Assum to us.

TRAVIS: So Allura, so it's clear: Seeker Assum is Raishan.

TALIESIN: And has been since Raishan's appearance in Whitestone.

MARISHA: And we didn't know until 48 hours ago? Tops?

TALIESIN: Now, can we maybe make sure that everybody in the room is who they say they are?

SAM: Go stab everyone, Percy. One at a time.

MATT: As you say that, everyone pulls back from the table.

LAURA: I'm a dragon too! (evil laugh)

LIAM: Hi. Larkin.

MATT: There he is!

TALIESIN: I apologize. I didn't know what else to do.

LAURA: You thought you were going to stab him!

LIAM: Yes you did, Percival.

LAURA: That was not a play!

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's be real about it. “No tricks in this room!”

LIAM: Yeah, you shifted gears very quickly there.

LAURA: No tricks.

TALIESIN: I've told no lies in this room.

LIAM: Uh-huh.

TRAVIS: (fake cough) Whiff!

TALIESIN: I tell that creature no lies. Ever. That is a green dragon. There is no tricking it, there is no deceiving it. There is just telling as much truth as you can get away with.

MATT: As you're talking, you feel a tug on your right arm. And you look over and you see Cassandra, who has come over to your side and is pulling on your sleeve with a very intense look in her eye. She goes, “Percival. I can watch Whitestone. I can get the people fed. I can keep the people armed. I can organize the day to day. I can't keep it safe from that.”

TALIESIN: Which is why I would ask everyone to please not antagonize it.

MATT: “Percival. Percival! I don't know what you dragged us into in this, but I need you to pull us out of it. I can't do this.”

TALIESIN: I've moved the battle. That is the best that I know how.

MATT: “How long have you known?”

TALIESIN: Two days.

LAURA: Not long, Cassandra.

TALIESIN: Two days.

SAM: Maybe three.

MARISHA: We were forced.

TALIESIN: The day before we left to kill the white dragon.

SAM: There's a time difference.

LAURA: And if we had told any of you, your life would have been in danger.

TALIESIN: This was the best way I knew to keep her from destroying this city outright. This was the best way that kept her from telling the red dragon where we are. And the longer that we can keep her a tenuous ally, the longer Whitestone will stand.

SAM: When she does come back with Assum, this plan that we started in on– it's a good one?

TALIESIN: I think so.

SAM: Well, we have Raishan convince Thordak that we're amassing forces in Kymal or something. Thordak sends Raishan to get us. We “kill” Raishan.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

SAM: And then Thordak comes to check on our dead bodies?

TALIESIN: We send word of a dead dragon.

SAM: How can that plan fail?

LIAM: I mean, I'm not the only one who thinks she's more dangerous than he is at this point.

LAURA: Oh yes. I think if we give her access to Thordak's body afterwards, we're asking for a lot of trouble.

TALIESIN: Which is why if Keyleth can figure out a way to cure her of this disease, it takes a big card off the table.

LIAM: We've got 24 hours.

MARISHA: I have ideas.

TALIESIN: We have more than that, because it's going to take quite a while. That's how long we have to make a plan.

LAURA: Question. What if we do actually just kill her?

SAM: Raishan?

LAURA: When we fake that we're killing her, what if we kill her?

MARISHA: Just actually kill her?

TALIESIN: She's going to be expecting that, and it will not work.

TRAVIS: And she's super slippery. She just totally like evaded Percy's sneak stabby-stab.

LIAM: Is there anyone around right now?

MATT: Oh yeah, no. Allura, Drake–

LIAM: 20, natural 20! For perception.

MATT: For perception?

LIAM: Yeah. I said, “Is anyone around?” and I rolled a 20.

MATT: You guys are still in the war room.

LIAM: I know, but you know what I'm talking about. You know what I'm talking about.

MATT: Oh!

LIAM: There it is, it's right there. Invisible fucking Larkin dwarf dragon.

MATT: You don't see anybody else around.

LIAM: All right. That's a 20.

LAURA: Should we continue this conversation downstairs?

TALIESIN: First, is everybody who they say they are? Please, if you would be so kind.

TRAVIS: Oh yeah, Allura. Can we light your sage real quick, make sure everybody's on the up and up?

MATT: Allura sits up and says, “Well, I mean, it makes sense. Assum is the one that requested we not move the war room down to the–”

TALIESIN: So why don't we move the war room now?

MATT: “I think that would be the best, yes. Let us all adjourn to the new space at the ziggurat. That should at least keep things honest.”

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: Allura picks her robes up and–

SAM: Grog, your beard might go away.

LAURA: (gasps) No!

TRAVIS: No, it's in there.

TALIESIN: It just won't grow while he's down there.

LIAM: I mean for science, right? Let's go. You look really good without a beard, Grog. I've always thought so.

TRAVIS: You shut up, you.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We can go down there, I don't care.

TALIESIN: All right.

MATT: Okay. You guys make your way down to the ziggurat. The guards come and start carrying chairs and other elements of the war room. Eventually, you're all led down through the tunnels, which have been a little more refined and given an actual more comfortable path past the now-defunct whitestone refinery that the Briarwoods had originally established. You enter the ziggurat room. It has more lighting to it than it previously did. A number of torches now line the walls, the sconces that are lit as the guards progress upward. You can see the reflection to the green glass-like Whitestone material that permeates the outside of the ziggurat. And not right by it, but partially upward there's a small wooden platform that's been where the main base of operations for research and study is here. You see a number of desks set out. It's been built alongside of the large pyramid-type structure. And eventually, you all adjourn up into that space. As you go up there, you all feel a significant drop in enchantment. All of your magical items, all of everything, gradually fades in this space. So, Grog, you actually feel your musculature– the Titanstone Gauntlets themselves, the effect begins to completely fade back to your classic, Grog-like strength.

TRAVIS: I feel totally fine.

LAURA: Are the walls still like people?

MATT: Oh, do you want to go to the top of the ziggurat and check?

MARISHA: Oh.

TALIESIN: Not yet. After the meeting.

MARISHA: Did they have like a clean-up crew down there?

TALIESIN: It's a guy on a scaffold with a scrub brush going, “Ew. Ew.”

LAURA: They're really clean naked bodies now.

LIAM: Brush cleaning out the fingernails.

MATT: At this point, they're looking around. Everyone who's journeyed with you towards this new meeting place, the ziggurat, is of the same physicality they were at the meeting room. Any illusions that would have been cast aside or dispelled at this point seem to not be present. So everyone is, by all intents and purposes, who they say they are.

SAM: Okay.

TALIESIN: And this also means it would probably be impossible to scry in this room.

MARISHA: Yes.

MATT: Allura nods. “Yes, actually. Yes.”

TALIESIN: Excellent. This is where all talk must happen now.

LAURA: Where it should have been happening.

TALIESIN: So now you know what we've been dealing with for the past 72 hours. She did help with the death of that dragon. In fact, I doubt we would have survived without her aid. She could have very easily left us there to die.

LAURA: It's true. She actually revealed her entire form during the battle. Which is quite diseased.

TALIESIN: At least it appeared diseased.

MARISHA: She's definitely not as strong as the others, but far more clever.

TALIESIN: And she knows where we are. And what our plans are. And every inch of this place. Including this thing.

MATT: “Well then, what do you presume we do?”

SAM: We don't really have a choice, we have to work with her to some extent. We can make it hard for her, and we can be assholes to her, and go tell her to get Assum for us. But other than that, we have to work with her.

LIAM: What's the benefit of working with her?

SAM: Because if we don't, she can destroy Whitestone whenever she feels like it.

LIAM: What if we tell her we're going to fake her death, and then we kill her for real?

SAM: That's fine, if she ever gets close enough for us to kill her.

TALIESIN: She's not going to.

TRAVIS: She evaded it really easy.

SAM: Why would she need to come face to face with us in that plan, ever? She could say, “I'm going to go meet them in Kymal. Oh, I died!”

TALIESIN: Our best bet is maybe– hopefully enough of us still have our strength. Maybe at the end if she has been ravaged by the red dragon.

TRAVIS: I agree.

LAURA: And then we try to defeat her after that?

TRAVIS: I agree. Our play is the finish line. That's it. Not a moment before.

LAURA: But we have to beat her to it. If she gets a hold of that stone–

MARISHA: It's what she wants.

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: Our hope is to break the stone.

MARISHA: We can't break the stone.

TALIESIN: Only because no one has.

SAM: If we draw Thordak to us, at least we control the battlefield. She could still be lying in wait to pounce on his body the second we kill him.

LIAM: If. We have to hope that she's actually going to fight with us. She's done it once. We don't know that she's going to do it again. We don't know.

MARISHA: They mentioned moving the stone that shouldn't have been able to have been moved. Correct? They moved it inside of Thordak, and then Thordak left with the stone in him, right?

TALIESIN: Yes, which I don't think should have been possible.

MARISHA: Right. So how did they do it? Because I'm also looking at another thing that is supposedly immovable.

LAURA, MARISHA, and TALIESIN: Supposedly.

TALIESIN: Oh, it's possible. Nothing is impossible.

LAURA: Are you suggesting we put the vortex of doom inside one of us?

MARISHA: Kind of, yeah. That's what I was–

MATT: Allura immediately puts her hands up and goes, “No! No. No. No.”

MARISHA: There's got to be a way to move it.

SAM: To do what, though?

MATT: “This is an absence of magic. It is a void of magic. It is a maw that devours magic. The enchantment that we put within Thordak is pure magic.”

LIAM: And you've been working on it for months, and you are smarter than us.

MATT: “Well.”

LAURA: Right. No way to transport it? None at all?

MARISHA: It could be the only thing that could break the stone!

LAURA: Think about it. If we could get that stone next to the vortex, he'd be fucked.

MATT: “Right! So what, we take a few wooden two by fours and push it along? Look, everything I know, everything I've studied, everything I've spent my entire life working for is useless near that.”

LAURA: This is a temple to Ioun, right?

MATT: “It was.”

LAURA: The goddess of knowledge?

SAM: Sure.

MATT: “The only person I know of who rightfully worshipped Ioun was Brom.”

LAURA: Brom?

SAM: Of the Clasp?

MATT: “Arbiter Brom. He was of the council with us.”

LAURA: And he's in Emon, potentially?

MATT: “According to Raishan. With Tofor and–”

LAURA: Brom's with Assum?

MATT: “Yes.”

TALIESIN: What holds it there? It's a shame we can't open a giant door and push it down here.

MARISHA: What did you just say?

TALIESIN: We can't do it.

MARISHA: What? Say it again, one more time?

TALIESIN: It's a shame we can't open a giant door and push the dragon in here.

SAM: How on earth could we–?

TALIESIN: We couldn't do it. It won't work. Because that side of the door won't open by its very nature. No door can be opened to this room. No one can get in or out without someone walking.

LAURA: You couldn't have used the gate scroll in here.

TALIESIN: I'm trying to even conceive of a machine that could move this. But I don't understand why it's here in the first place.

SAM: I don't think the secret to defeating Thordak is moving this thing.

TALIESIN: It's a shame we couldn't. We have a line in the sand of how close we can get to this thing with magic, correct?

MATT: “This way.” And she leads you back down the ziggurat, out to the entrance where you guys entered this large chamber. And about 20 or so meters back, you can see there is a specific wooden support beam that is structured within this tunnel. And on that beam, elements of it are painted black. And she goes, “This is the perimeter in which the siphon devours magic inward.”

MARISHA: How big is it? How big is it, roughly?

MATT: What, the–?

MARISHA: Perimeter.

MATT: “I'd say it'd take a half-mile?”

MARISHA: Damn, this place is really big. And it's encased in stone, yeah? Kind of, right? Were we encased in whitestone? Right?

TALIESIN: In stone. I've got a terrible idea.

MARISHA: Tell me!

TALIESIN: What happens to magical creatures when they enter the circle? Have we experimented at all to find out what would happen to a magical creature? A creature whose very essence is magic?

MATT: “I don't know.”

TALIESIN: (sighs) There's no humane way to do this.

SAM: Sure there is! Kiki, get a fey creature in here.

LAURA: Yeah, that's what I was thinking, send him in.

MARISHA: Oh yeah, they die and they go right back to their plane.

SAM: No, I think they just die.

TALIESIN: And even if they do go back to their plane, they may not be able to in there, they may wither and actually die. I just wanted to put that on the table.

MARISHA: Are you trying to make me feel better about any of this?

TALIESIN: I don't want to lie to you about this. I've been practicing intense levels of honesty, if not telling the whole truth.

TRAVIS: Sidebar. Do we have all the Vestiges that the sphinx told us about?

SAM: No.

TRAVIS: What else is there?

SAM: There's one in the Fire Plane.

LIAM: Something for Pickle.

MARISHA: The Dawn Martyr. Dawn Martyr?

TRAVIS: I know I'm not the smartest one in the group, but we don't know what the fuck we're talking about with this little sphere. Why don't we go find that last Vestige and see what it turns up?

LAURA: I don't know if we have a lot of time–

TALIESIN: We have time. In a day.

MARISHA: I mean, only if we–

TALIESIN: In a day she returns. We chose a place, we move our forces in there. We have days where she could be looking for us, and then when she disappears it's going to take a day or two for him to really find out. It will be about three to four days before anything actually happens.

SAM: What are we doing, going after this Vestige when– can any of us even use it?

MARISHA and LAURA: Pike.

TRAVIS: Well, I can. Kima might. I'm not much for poetry, but it seems sort of poetic that Thordak came from the Fire Plane, and the last Vestige we're looking for is in the Fire Plane.

MARISHA: Also, we might be able to find some information on the stone.

LAURA: This is true.

SAM: The Fire Plane isn't just like Dallas.

TALIESIN: It actually is quite like Dallas. I think that's a very reasonable comparison.

SAM: It's a horrible place where we could all die.

TRAVIS: Well, so was the Feywild, and we didn't–

SAM: We're risking our hides for something that might benefit one of us, maybe.

LAURA: Well, that's what we've been doing this entire time.

TRAVIS: That's basically all of our choices at this point.

MARISHA: We could go in with the rest of the Fire Ashari that are there. We can meet up with Cerkonos. Is this whole ziggurat encased in whitestone?

MATT: The ziggurat itself is built from stone, and then the upper exterior of it is covered in this green glass-like substance that is distilled whitestone residuum.

TALIESIN: I have a plan. It will take a little bit of time, but it's vicious.

MARISHA: What?

TALIESIN: It probably wouldn't work. Well, let's find out what happens to a creature inside here before we–

TRAVIS: A regular creature or a Feywild creature?

MARISHA: Okay, I actually do have Conjure Woodland Beings.

LAURA: That's not a magic creature though, it's a woodland being.

MARISHA: No, woodland beings can be like fey creatures.

LAURA: Really?

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

TALIESIN: Something small.

TRAVIS: Do it! Oh my god, do it!

LAURA: Just a fairy. Just a teeny little fairy.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: What level's that? That is–

MARISHA: Third level.

TRAVIS: Wait, if you like conjure it outside and walk in, is it going to go poof and disappear?

LAURA: Potentially. We'll find out.

MATT: A fourth level, you mean.

MARISHA: Sorry, fourth level.

MATT: Yeah, so you can create some fey creatures, yeah. What are you summoning?

MARISHA: What makes sense?

TRAVIS: What's going to squeal?

TALIESIN: We're on one side of the line. Send it to the other, see what happens.

MARISHA: I'll summon a–

SAM: Little pixie!

MARISHA: A little– (stutters) A little pixie.

LAURA: (copying Marisha) Lalittle lilittle li– A little pixie.

MARISHA: A lillul lillul pixie.

SAM: Hi, little pixie! Go in that room!

TALIESIN: This may be, by the way, how we deal with Raishan.

MARISHA: What?

MATT: Okay. So you conjure a pixie?

MARISHA: Sure. And I send her in.

MATT: Pixie flies in. Continues to fly in. Nothing happens.

TALIESIN: Pixie's fine?

MATT: Pixie seems fine.

SAM: Pixie's not a magical creature, I guess.

LAURA: Isn't it, though?

SAM: Has magic, maybe. Isn't a magical being.

TALIESIN: Can you make the pixie do something? Try and have the pixie do something magical.

MARISHA: Yeah. I have them. Can't they cast like Confusion or something like that? Or can they cast–?

SAM: Polymorph.

MATT: They can cast Confusion, they can cast Polymorph, they can cast things like that.

MARISHA: Hey! Try and Polymorph me!

MATT: Pixie turns around and nothing happens.

MARISHA: Nothing?

MATT: Pixie looks confused. “What? Sorry.”

TALIESIN: It's all right, you did very well. How do you feel? Do you feel all right?

MATT: Technically, this pixie–

TRAVIS: Touch it.

MATT: We'll say for the purposes of this, sure. There is very basic communication. The pixie is–

TALIESIN: Tinkerbell.

MATT: Yeah, Sylvan is the language that it speaks, so it is close enough to Elvish that those who speak Elvish can like interpret elements of it.

MARISHA: Oh, I know Sylvan. I know Sylvan. Hey! How do you feel?

MATT: “A little queasy, that's all.”

MARISHA: Queasy? Yeah?

MATT: “It's weird.”

MARISHA: Hmm. Hey, will you do me a favor and don't hold it against me?

TALIESIN: Why don't you let it leave?

TRAVIS: Just go do it! Just do it!

MARISHA: Will you go touch that black orb?

TALIESIN: No no no, don't do that!

TRAVIS: Yeah yeah yeah, go touch it. She meant what she said.

MATT: I mean, she's only listening to her, so–

LIAM: Yeah, it doesn't matter what Percy says.

TRAVIS: Do it. Fucking do it.

SAM: Let's see if it goes to the other world.

LAURA: You don't know where it goes.

TALIESIN: That's right, I don't know.

LIAM: No, you don't know what she's talking about. It's Esperanto.

TRAVIS: You don't speak Sylvan.

TALIESIN: I've already done my dumb stuff for the day.

LAURA: Stab stab stab.

TALIESIN: It would've been so badass!

MATT: All right, so yeah. You continue to walk as the pixie floats up towards the top of the ziggurat. You get to the top and you notice that no, all the bodies have been removed. It's been cleaned up.

LAURA: It's just an empty pyramid-y thing now.

MATT: Yeah, it's like this empty platform now with the walls, encased within a small colosseum. And there it is, the general spinning black marble. The pixie approaches and like–

LAURA and TALIESIN: (whines worriedly)

MARISHA: Yeah! Yeah. You got this.

MATT: Touches it, and you watch the pixie go– and is gone.

MARISHA: Hmm. So as we expected, yeah.

TRAVIS: Well, hold on. Wait.

LAURA: Wait.

MARISHA: I don't think she's coming back, yeah.

LAURA: Hey Allura, how many things did you throw in the orb?

MATT: You see her in the back leaning against the wall like she's seen this a hundred times. “Oh, many things. Chairs, outfits, pieces of stone, metals. We've put all kinds of things.”

SAM: Any animals?

LIAM: Anything alive?

MATT: “No, nothing living!”

TRAVIS: What was the biggest thing you put in there?

MATT: “Your desk chair. Cassandra said it would be all right.”

TALIESIN: (sighs) Yes.

LAURA: Have you put a box around it? Just encapsulated it completely?

MATT: “We tried, and upon moving it, once it contacted it did not move with the box. It just crushed and absorbed the box itself.”

TALIESIN: So. I have an interesting request which may end up being too complicated. I'm not sure.

TRAVIS: Probably.

TALIESIN: Can we build a teleportation sigil directly above it? Outside of its range?

MATT: “Given the better part of a year, yes.”

LIAM: So you're saying there's a chance?

TALIESIN: Can we build one in the hallway leading to this room?

MATT: “A temporary one, as in like a–”

MARISHA: Like a spell.

MATT: “Like a brief spell, yes. I can do that now. It's the permanent installation of one that takes an exorbitant period of time.”

TALIESIN: As long as we have some way of knowing what point at which we re-enter this room. Then we at least have a way of having it chase us into its range.

MARISHA: Oh man.

TALIESIN: Or better still, if we run one way and it runs the other.

MARISHA: Have you been in contact? Have you attempted to scry, or do a Locate Object spell on anything that you've thrown in? Probably?

MATT: “Yes, but unfortunately there's been no way of connecting anything that goes through. It just vanishes.”

SAM: I think that's a fucking terrible idea.

TRAVIS: (chanting) Fire Plane.

SAM: What are you talking about? We can't lure a dragon into a teleportation circle big enough to get a dragon through, and then somehow assume that the dragon's going to keep running into the room with no magic? And then what are we also going to assume? That it's going to jump into the crazy Vecna circle and become a ninth level of hell after that? We have no idea! That's a terrible idea! I'm vetoing it.

TRAVIS: I third that.

TALIESIN: The cereal shiller has a point.

LIAM: That idea's not grrreat!

(laughter)

LAURA: You've been waiting! Waiting to find a time to say it, haven't you?

LIAM: Nope! Just drunkenly popped in my head.

TALIESIN: Yes, Grog. You have a point?

TRAVIS: Fire Plane.

TALIESIN: If we are going to do the Fire Plane, if that is going to happen, then we cannot go until preparations start getting made for the place at which we're going to have this confrontation. We need to pick a point, preferably far from here. Is there a ruined city?

SAM: What, for us to lure Raishan-slash-Thordak to?

LAURA: What about Fort Daxio?

SAM: Fort Daxio's near Emon. And so is Kymal.

MATT: “Well, it's north of Emon. Kymal's east of it. And the Ironsea Ridge. But Kymal's filled with civilians.”

LAURA: Fort Daxio has an army gathering there already, right?

MATT: “Well, Fort Daxio has a piece of an army. Most of it went to Syngorn and we haven't heard since.”

TALIESIN: Fort Daxio at least does have soldiers already.

LAURA: Well, Syngorn is gathering their forces as well.

MATT: “Have you reached out to Syngorn, let them know this was going to happen? You mentioned that they were coming to power?”

LAURA: We have.

MATT: “Well, we need to reach out to the resources we have and call them in.”

LAURA and LIAM: Yes.

TALIESIN: Everyone, is Fort Daxio where this confrontation is going to happen?

LAURA: We haven't been to Fort Daxio.

SAM: We should probably go check it out. But everyone wants to go to the Fire Plane, get some armor.

TALIESIN: We go to Fort Daxio to start everything up. While they prepare, we can maybe make a trip to the Fire Plane once things are prepared. They will not need us to organize the armies and gather forces.

MARISHA: It's really frustrating. I feel like we have all the pieces here. I just can't figure it out.

TALIESIN: We have all the pieces buried underneath every civilian.

MARISHA: I'm really obsessed on this ziggurat thing. Have you thrown any whitestone into the ziggurat?

TALIESIN: No, don't do that.

LAURA: I'm sure they already have.

MATT: “We have.”

SAM: It's going to be fine, Keyleth. After we kill Thordak and Raishan becomes super-powerful, Raishan will come here and get the Vecna orb and unleash all sorts of hells on the world, and then we'll know what it was!

LIAM: I mean, that's basically what's going to happen.

TALIESIN: That's a very good plan.

SAM: Yeah, I mean, we can't really do anything about it.

MARISHA: Which is why it's frustrating, because I feel like we can beat her to the fucking punch.

LIAM: Yeah, I think Thordak's a fucking meathead and we should take care of Raishan ahead of time.

MARISHA: You already know how I feel.

TALIESIN: I think you're mad to think we can do that. I think that you're mad to think we're actually going to see her again before the final confrontation.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we're not going to see her.

TALIESIN: I think she's going to stay far, far away.

LAURA: No. She knows.

TALIESIN: I took that shot specifically to see where she was sitting and see where we were sitting with her.

LAURA: You took that shot specifically to stab her three times in the back, Percy.

TALIESIN: It also worked that we found out she wasn't there.

LIAM: Yes, revisionist history.

LAURA: I thought you were practicing honesty.

TRAVIS: That's like saying I farted because my stomach hurt, and then I found out it stunk as well.

TALIESIN: I was aware it could go horribly wrong, which is why I was prepared to say something.

LIAM: Likely, there's a master plan; we understand.

TALIESIN: I'm not saying it was the best plan.

TRAVIS: Cool. Fort Daxio then? Check it out?

TALIESIN: Does anybody else have anything to say to this?

MARISHA: We basically don't have a plan. We're going somewhere until we come up with a plan in the meantime.

TALIESIN: No, we're preparing all of our forces at Fort Daxio.

MATT: Cassandra says, “If Fort Daxio is to be the place where this is to go down, then that will be the place we'll send our allies.”

MARISHA: Jesus. Let's put all of our eggs in one basket.

SAM: Yeah. But what else are we saving them for? This is it.

TALIESIN: This is the omelette. Where do we want our allies? Far away from the red dragon?

MARISHA: You don't feel like we are stepping into every trap that Raishan has laid?

SAM: What else can we do?

MARISHA: Kill Raishan first!

SAM: You can't heal the disease. We can't control this orb. There's nothing else we can do.

MARISHA: It doesn't matter! We just need her to believe that I can cure her disease.

LAURA: Let's be honest. Raishan wants Thordak dead. That's her endgame as well.

LIAM: That's the only thing we can count on.

TALIESIN: Because right now Raishan could have us all dead.

TRAVIS: Are you saying you want Raishan to go with you one-on-one so you can do the Melora thing, and then maybe you take her out? And you want a shot at it before we try anything else? Because I'll grant you that.

MARISHA: I could try. That's what I was trying to bait her into.

LAURA: She's not going to show up.

MATT: Allura brings her hand up, “I've done plenty of research on these. I mean no offense to you, Keyleth, but you convincing an entity that exists on deception through deception to believe you in that regard? And based on that conversation, she already seems to see through that ruse. I would not recommend it.”

LIAM: Allura, any chance you know the Gate spell?

MATT: “No, that is far beyond my capabilities.”

TRAVIS: Yeah. Rare spell, that.

TALIESIN: I'm not mad in thinking that trusting this creature is the only option available at this point. I say “trust”. Walking in this direction is the only direction available at the moment. Any attempt to counter her at this point leads to our destruction. She has us.

TRAVIS: Yeah, no, we got that. So does anybody want to do anything else before we go to Daxio?

SAM: The only thing else that we can do before we go to Daxio is to send word to our allies. I think we should grab Kash, send him out a quick list of who we need to contact. Ravenites. Feywild wolves.

LAURA and LIAM: Syngorn.

LIAM: Zahra, Kash.

LAURA: Your people, Keyleth.

LIAM: Kima. Allura.

TRAVIS: Wolves are on another plane. Herd is wandering.

LAURA: J'mon.

SAM: That's by flute. Wait. What about our brotherhood of– what do we belong to? Not the Clasp–

LIAM: Slayer's Take.

SAM: The Slayer's Take! We can get them too, right? We have money, we can hire them! We have a hundred thousand gold!

TALIESIN: You want to hire them… Oh.

LAURA: We could take out a contract against the red dragon.

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: We can hire them to kill a red dragon.

LIAM: Yeah. What are we going to do with that money when we're dead? Nothing.

MARISHA: We are sending everyone we know into one centralized location. Do we really feel like that's a good idea?

SAM: Yes, this is what we've built towards.

MARISHA: Is it?

TALIESIN: We're building a trap. Where would you put them?

MARISHA: We didn't talk about throwing everyone we loved into the frying pan. That was not the trap.

SAM: What did you think we were making allegiances for? Just to hang out with them? We need them to fight and die for us!

MARISHA: I'm down for the cause of the war. Just not when it's a stupid fucking plan!

SAM: We're going to be there too!

MARISHA: We don't have a plan! We're just asking everyone to meet in one location.

LIAM: Well, we're talking about building an army.

MARISHA: And then doing what with them?

LIAM: To kill the general.

MARISHA: And then doing what? They're just going to be sitting there! They're going to be sitting ducks!

TALIESIN: They're not going to be sitting there. We're going to make tactical decisions about where to place everyone in and around the fort.

MARISHA: I've accepted that people are going to die. I've accepted that. I do not condone sending people to their slaughter when we don't have a goddamn plan.

TALIESIN: Well, what's your counter proposal? Because I feel like we're making a plan here.

MARISHA: I don't think that it's smart to put every potential ally we know in one spot. Can we not divide it up? Can we not find places nearby?

TALIESIN: They won't all just be in the fort. Everyone is going to be placed.

SAM: Once we get there and survey the area, we can come up with a comfortable plan. You can make some caverns for them to hide in.

TALIESIN: We're going to also create ways of making sure the dragon can't take flight. We're going to make sure that everyone has a purpose and a place. It will not be just a giant swath of people ready to die.

SAM: We're just getting them in the right county.

TALIESIN: We just need everybody in the city.

MARISHA: But we also know that Raishan knows everything that we're going to do.

LAURA: She doesn't know Fort Daxio. She doesn't know any of that.

TALIESIN: She doesn't know Fort Daxio. Honestly, she's going to have to know. She's going to have to send them. There's nothing we can do about it.

LAURA: She doesn't know about J'mon Sa Ord.

MARISHA: I don't trust that she doesn't know anything. I'm going to assume that she knows everything.

TALIESIN: That's a good assumption.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's fair.

TALIESIN: Even so, there's nothing that she's not going to know, because she is what is luring him out. If we fought him here, she already knows where we are. Right now she knows where we are. She knows everybody that's here.

SAM: I go behind Keyleth and stab three times.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: Is this happening? Are we doing this? I'm so excited. Yeah!

SAM: No! I would so lose.

MARISHA: Bring it! She's on edge, all right?

TALIESIN: We have to play this the way we have to play it. It's dangerous, but we have to assume that she will most likely not betray us until the end.

SAM: Right now, somewhere, there's a man on an airship going, “Do you see it yet?”

LAURA: They're keeping an eye out at this point, all right?

TALIESIN: They're being good. We have to assume that she has not betrayed where we are yet, which would have been so simple. It would have been so simple just to raze this city to the ground.

MARISHA: Look at what we did with Ripley. We walked into every trap she set for us blindly. We got cocky. We got bold. We fell for all of that.

LAURA: Keyleth, we have to fight eventually. We're not trying to be cocky about it; we're trying to set up an army!

SAM: Might I point out, Keyleth, that Raishan wanted us to go to Emon and face Thordak, and we are already not following that plan.

LAURA: This is true.

TALIESIN: That is the other option. Go there.

LIAM: We can count on her to be duplicitous. We gather forces; we take out Thordak. We'll figure out how we're going to do it. We're not saying throw every spaghetti at the wall. We figure that out. Then we talk about the real enemy.

TALIESIN: It's a fort. We prepare the fort. It is what a fort is for.

LAURA: If the opportunity arrives to take out Raishan, then we do it. Beforehand. If not, immediately after Thordak is dead.

MARISHA: We could all be dead.

TALIESIN: Why are we not dead right now? Explain to me why we are not dead right now.

MARISHA: I honestly don't know.

TALIESIN: Because this fight is going to happen. That is why we are not dead right now. It's the only possible explanation that I can conceive of. This fight is inevitable. Once this fight has happened? Oh, we're dead. After this fight, I have no doubt that we are in grave danger.

LAURA: After this fight, there won't be enough people to bring us back anymore.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: But this fight, this first fight, is going to happen. And we need our forces, and we need them prepared, and we need them not marching into a city. We need them in a city holding siege. Preparing to tackle, to grapple, and to subdue as best we can. To be difficult to find, to be surrounding. We need all of these things, and we cannot do any of these things unless we bring him to a place where all of our power is.

MARISHA: Let's go check out Fort Daxio.

TRAVIS and TALIESIN: Hey! (laughter)

TALIESIN: Isn't it interesting that we all feel the need to convince her, no matter what? I'm just pointing that out.

LIAM: Well, I don't know how we're going to get the king out of the castle, but yeah.

LAURA: We need to figure out if Fort Daxio is the place to send everyone, all right? We got to fucking check it out.

TRAVIS: Let's put one foot in front of the other first, shall we?

LIAM: Let's go buy some black powder. This is the time.

SAM: How do we get there? We don't know of any trees there.

MATT: (as Victor) “No!”

MARISHA: I can scry.

TALIESIN: Ironically, any town where you go to buy black powder, it's always him. It's really interesting. I don't know why.

LIAM: And he's in 16-bit every time!

(laughter)

SAM: Do we know anyone in Daxio? Can you scry there to find a tree?

MARISHA: I can scry there regardless and find a tree, yes.

TALIESIN: Does the rest of the council approve of this ridiculous plan?

TRAVIS: Yes, I approve.

MARISHA: This non-plan.

MATT: Allura says, “Yes. I mean, I don't know anyone in Daxio at the moment. Riskel was the only "one. Or Riskel was the one I knew with a connection there, and his father, Mikael, was in Syngorn.”

TALIESIN: Do you think that they will be agreeable to this plan?

MATT: “Who? Those who are there, most likely. Here, I'll give you a written…” and she pulls out a small little side scroll pouch. Scribbling a note and says, “This is a decree from the council. They'll have to listen to you.” She finishes writing it, rolls it up, “So they'll be at your disposal. It's not the army; it's the reserves.”

TALIESIN: Any powers that you can think of, let them know where we are heading. Do not let them know the plan. But let them know that if there are forces to gather, they are gathering in that direction.

SAM: And don't share our carefully crafted plan with anyone. The details are so precise and exact! You must keep them secret.

TALIESIN: The more precise details you have in a war plan, the more things that will inevitably go wrong in the first ten seconds.

SAM: Hey, how about we go to Daxio, and then you guys can catch up? The airship arrives in a couple of days.

MATT: “We'll do that. And then we're meeting you at Daxio, correct?”

TRAVIS: Yeah. (chants) Dax-i-o. Dax-i-o.

TALIESIN: (chants) Dax-i-o. Daxio!

MATT: “Very well. Daxio it is. We'll see you soon.”

SAM: On the morrow.

TALIESIN: No, we plan.

SAM: Be pleased.

LIAM and LAURA: Beep beep.

MATT: Beep beep. Bidet.

MARISHA: Bidet. (laughter)

MATT: And with that, we'll finish the night's session, picking up here for next week.

MARISHA: We're finishing it now?

MATT: Well, yeah. It's 10:30.

TRAVIS: What was under that blanket?

MATT: I don't know. You'll find out, I guess.

LIAM: Dumbfuck ending.

MARISHA: Sorry, guys.

TALIESIN: I tried to stab a dragon. I swear, I tried.

TRAVIS: No, we know you did.

TALIESIN: I tried to end the game. I thought the game could totally have been ended right there.

LIAM: You've got that gunslinger sneak attack times ten damage against a green dragon.

TALIESIN: Man, I did the math on what that could have done.

MATT: It could have been nasty, had it been a less tricksy dragon, maybe.

TALIESIN: Had it been a less tricksy dragon, that would have been…

LIAM: Matt, you've got a little something right–

MATT: (as Victor) There? Here?

LAURA: Right there.

LIAM and LAURA: You got it.

(laughter)

MATT: (as Victor) I get to enjoy this for a little bit, at least.

TRAVIS: We should have him walk down the street and take bets on how long it takes him to get arrested.

(laughter)

LIAM: Just put him on Melrose.

MARISHA: Those YouTube videos of social experiments? Just send out Matt.

MATT: (as Victor) Two cheeseburgers. Couple of fry.

TALIESIN: Filet of fish!

MATT: (as Victor) Filet of fish! (normal voice) Oh, man. All right. We'll be back next week. For whatever the hell your final plan is going to be for this.

TALIESIN: This is a great plan. I am behind this plan 100%.

MATT: I am so excited.

TRAVIS and MATT: Thank you, Loot Crate.

SAM: Come on, Loot Crate.

MATT: I'm excited for the countdown to Thordak that we're now embarking on.

TALIESIN: Maybe there will be time to run to the Fire Plane really quick.

MARISHA: I was going to say, sorry for being a pain in the ass. It takes a lot for me to sacrifice all my people when a fourth of us have already been sacrificed.

TALIESIN: We'll go to the Fire Plane and get them and we'll pick up an object and we'll fight a dragon. It will be great.

TRAVIS: It's cool. I have an internal timer, and if you don't meet it, I'm going to kill all your people.

(laughter)

TALIESIN: The glasses make that weirdly threatening.

LIAM: (singing) It's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band.

MARISHA: New at Sundance!

MATT: Cool, guys. Thank you so much. Everyone looks awesome. Happy Halloween, everyone!

ALL: Happy Halloween!

SAM: Hashtag Critical Costumes!

TALIESIN: Get candy from strangers.

MARISHA: Yeah, go knock on strangers' doors and get candy from them.

TALIESIN: Do it! It's good for America. Eat candy from strangers.

MARISHA: Totally inflated.

MATT: Rest well. We'll see you next week. (as Victor) Is it Thursday yet?

[music]

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