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List of Transcripts

Pre-ShowEdit

MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to this evening’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors, some of us far from our place on the Internet, sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons, throw some dice, and all that insanity. So, welcome to the chaos. Let’s see, first and foremost, let’s go ahead and get some announcements out of the way so we can hop into the game proper. Sam is on his way, per usual. Liam is here via Internet.

LAURA: Can you see him, is he there?

MATT: There we go, there’s our Liam.

TALIESIN: Digital Liam.

LAURA: My brother.

LIAM: What?

LAURA: I can’t see you, you’re hiding in the shadows.

LIAM: Can you hear me?

LAURA: I can, yes.

MATT: Wonders of the Internet.

LIAM: I’m in the Bag of Holding.

MATT: That’s not going to end well for you, if oxen have shown us anything. Yeah, poor Dork. Always remember Dork.

TRAVIS: Never forget.

MATT: That’s another shirt. Have a seat. Hello!

LIAM: I can see you guys on Twitch! Did you know you’re on the Internet?

LAURA: What? You’re crazy!

MARISHA: Someone’s watching?

TRAVIS: Don’t make it weird, man.

MATT: Don’t make it weird, Liam. All right, let’s go ahead and plug through these announcements so we can get into the game.

LAURA: Yes, yes.

MATT: First thing, me and Marisha wanted to reach out and let everyone know that we’re going to be guests next weekend, I believe it’s the 8th through the 10th, at an event called Tekko. Tekko in Pittsburgh. It’s an awesome convention, we’re going to be doing panels and signings, all that fun stuff. So if any of you are in that area, you should come hang out at Tekko with us, in a week. That would be awesome.

MARISHA: My old stomping grounds.

MATT: There you go.

MARISHA: College days, yeah.

TRAVIS: Aw, sad Affleck.

MATT: Sad Affleck, best game ever. Watched it over and over again. All right, so. Today, guys, is the last day to pre-order your Gilmore’s Glorious Goods shirts. We’ve had them up for a week. There’s a delightful presentation by our lovely Liam. You should pick one up. I should pick one up. I don’t have one myself, yet. Yeah, go ahead and preorder a copy. We’re trying out this new process to get shirts out to everyone, so get that one before they’re gone.

TRAVIS: It’s actually tomorrow.

MATT: Tomorrow.

TRAVIS: Tomorrow at midnight is the deadline.

MATT: So would that be like midnight tonight, or–?

LAURA: See, that’s exactly what I was asking Travis.

TRAVIS: You smart son of a bitches. It’s so simple. Tomorrow at midnight.

LAURA: Is like in a few hours.

TRAVIS: Oh my god. Oh my god.

TALIESIN: 12:01 is the start of the next day. Midnight is still today.

LAURA: Oh, really?

TALIESIN: Sure. I could be wrong.

MARISHA: It’s 12:00 am.

LAURA: Is it ending tomorrow night, or is it ending tonight?

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

MATT: I don’t know. You should order tonight, just in case!

LAURA: I’m scared it’s actually ending tonight. He thinks it’s tomorrow night, but I think it might be tonight.

MATT: To be safe, make it tonight, but it’s probably tomorrow night.

LAURA: It’s probably tomorrow night.

MATT: But to be safe, make it tonight.

LAURA: He’s going to murder us all, very shortly.

MATT: Save it for the battle. Save it for the battle, Travis. Also, is it already up in the store now?

TRAVIS: Yes, 6:30 today, it went up.

MATT: All right, we have two new shirts. Two new shirts available for pre-order, guys.

LAURA: All these overlapping things happening?

TALIESIN: These two new shirts.

SAM: Whoa, what’s that say?

MATT: Dagger, dagger, dagger.

SAM: Dagger, dagger– jagger? Why would it say jagger?

TALIESIN: In honor of Mick Jagger.

SAM: Oh, okay.

LAURA: And we’ve got our Critical Role logo on the back. So cool.

MARISHA: So you know it’s official.

TRAVIS: I really like these ones.

LAURA: They’re soft, they feel very nice on your body.

MARISHA: They do.

LAURA: But yeah, those will be up as well for a week for pre-order, so yeah, check those out. Get whatever shirts you can. And I think there’s a limited amount available for purchase right away, so if you order fast, you might be able to get them. But that’s a very small amount. And also, to everybody that’s been messaging us on Twitter, there have been some people that have really been wanting us to expand our sizing and we are definitely working on that. It’s hard to find some vendors that can accommodate us, but we’re working on it, so hopefully moving forward in the future, we’ll have larger sizes available to everyone.

MATT: Yeah, we’re really, really trying to do that. Soon. Soon, we’ll have announcements. Great, so there is also– let’s see, Sam, you had an announcement about a cartoon?

SAM: Oh, oh yes. I’ve been voice directing this cartoon called Home, based on the movie Home with Dreamworks and they just announced today that it exists. So it’s coming out in a week, and it’s going to be really good. It’s a really fun show. Zaniness.

TALIESIN: Kooky zany.

SAM: Kooky zany. Kooky zany. Big, bright colors.

MATT: Fantastic. Also, tonight is our 47th episode, we are three episodes away from our big 50th episode. It’ll be a regular episode of this, depending on where the story is at the time, but it’ll be special because it’s our 50th. Also, we’ll have a couple surprises and we’ll be doing our big Critmas blowout right after the 50th episode. Then we’ll be putting to rest until the holidays come around, but yeah, look forward to that 50th episode when it hits, guys. So make sure you don’t miss it. Mark off your calendar. I already did. But I have to. Every week. So I don’t have a choice, but you do, and you should come. Anybody else have any other announcements they want to make?

LIAM: Oh my gosh, Laura, hold up my boxes. Do you have items that need to be put inside boxes when you’re not holding dice? Because Wyrmwood Gaming makes boxes for your dice and if you use the code “critrole”–

LAURA: Critrole! Critrole!

LIAM: You can get free shipping.

MATT: (laughs) It never makes me not laugh.

LAURA: By the way, I have some of Liam’s dice in front of me.

MARISHA: Oh, snap.

LAURA: Maybe my brother should hang onto his things.

LIAM: Don’t infect my dice!

MATT: Cool, anything else, guys? We good?

MARISHA: My last episode of Signal Boost is this Tuesday.

SAM: What do you mean last? You just started!

MARISHA: Yeah, we rotate hosts out.

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Because it’s like our favorite things and I don’t want to have to–

SAM: But you’re the best host.

MARISHA: Oh, thank you, Sam.

TALIESIN: Of all the hosts they’ve had, she certainly was the best one.

SAM: Yes, she’s number one.

MARISHA: Thank you. I’m glad my friends support me.

MATT: It’s still your show, you still produce it.

MARISHA: Yes, yeah. I’m not letting it go. I’m still producing it.

SAM: Just tell me, am I one of the hosts?

MARISHA: Do you want to host?

SAM: Just tell me when, and I will be probably be 20 minutes late.

MARISHA: Okay, I’ll make that work.

TRAVIS: That’s what these pre-show announcements are, is trailers for those that are late to the stream, they don’t miss anything. But, see, Batman vs. Superman, no trailers. Scared the shit out of me. You can’t do that to somebody. That’s half of the joy of going to the movies.

MATT: What? Yeah. That’s half the joy gone and then you have the movie. Sorry. Anyway, so–

LIAM: Oh wait, I got one last thing, it’s not really a professional announcement, but I am sitting in the kitchen that I grew up in. I’m playing Dungeons & Dragons in the first room that I ever played Dungeons & Dragons in.

MATT: That’s awesome.

LAURA: That’s a wonderful announcement.

Part IEdit

MATT: Fantastic. Well, cool, guys, then let’s go ahead and get this show on the road. So, last we left off, Vox Machina, having to traverse the world in search of artifacts known as the Vestiges of Divergence, ancient items of power used in massive-scale warfare in ancient moments of history, they had acquired one from a sunken temple of the Champion of the Raven Queen, taking the life, and thankfully not permanently, of Vex'ahlia over here. The party then retrieved their first artifact and made their way towards the Pyrah tribe of the Ashari druids, the Fire Guardians of the Gate to the Elemental Plane of Fire, which apparently Thordak, the Cinder King, the great red dragon that helms the Chroma Conclave that just tore through all of the civilization of Tal'Dorei, emerged from.

MARISHA: “Apparently.”

MATT: “Apparently.” By that I mean, confirmed, universally, tore through. You guys went there, found a surviving faction of the Pyrah tribe, including Cerkonos, their Headmaster, as well as a few members of your tribe, the Air Ashari, Keyleth. And your father. You went towards the remnants of the Cindergrove, ran into an ally, a strange blue-scaled dragonborn by the name of Gern Blanston, master of necromancy and candle-making and combining the two for interesting effect. You fought your way through the Cindergrove, tearing through elementals, encasing efreets in hamster balls and holding them aloft for extended periods of time. Worked out well. And then managed to seal the Gate with the help of the druidic tribes there, Gern, and the intrepid adventurers of Vox Machina. After which, you went to spend the evening there on the mountainside to rest before continuing your journey to wherever that next step may be. So the rest of you are beaten, bruised, and winded over the previous series of battles and the accomplishment you achieved here at the top of the caldera of this mountain. The erupting, seismic energies and molten rock that once spewed from the center of this rift have calmed, and the gate once again has been sealed to its dormant, controllable, and watchable size. You guys are free to make camp wherever you’d like.

LAURA: We already rested, though?

MATT: Not yet, you’re about to set up rest. There are sections, as you’re walking out of the Cindergrove, that you can see members of the Pyrah tribe are pulling up still-functional pieces of huts and tents and things that were destroyed when Thordak tore through the rift, and they’re beginning to reassemble a place to stay for the evening for themselves, so if you wish to stay among the Pyrah tribe for the evening, it seems to be at least a relatively safe bet.

LAURA: What do you think, Keyleth? I mean, it’s your family.

MARISHA: That’s up to you guys. I don’t think I can transport us out of here until we sleep.

TALIESIN: I have no problem sleeping here this evening.

LAURA: I’m rather winded, actually.

TALIESIN: Yes.

TRAVIS: What are all the tents and houses made of, anyway?

MATT: Most of them are made of pieces of stone. The actual blackened grey rock of this mountain, elements of it have been fused together with bits of glass to forge these thick, very sturdy walls when they aren’t being torn through by a colossal red dragon.

TRAVIS: (scoffs) Whatever.

MATT: So they’re being brought back up, druids are using what remains of their powers from the fight today to assemble more walls of stone, and they’re basically creating ramshackle living spaces using their magic.

MARISHA: I’m going to go ahead and assist them, because I didn’t use any 5th-level spells.

MATT: All right. So you begin throwing up some stone walls to help build a small shelter for the evening. The rest–

LAURA: Is Gern completely out of the picture, have we lost sight of him?

MATT: You’ve lost sight of Gern, Gern went back into the Cindergrove and began essentially gutter-sniping what pieces of red dragon scales he could locate in the vicinity. He has not been seen since that moment. Who knows to where he wandered?

SAM: Key-leth? If I may.

MARISHA: Yes, Scan-lan?

LAURA: You said that so weird.

SAM: That’s how it’s spelled: Key-leth.

MARISHA: So regal of you, Scan-lan.

SAM: Are your people comfortable in these little huts and stuff, are we going to be safe tonight? Because I could assist us with slightly better shelter.

LAURA: Like how, what do you mean?

SAM: With my magical… dalliances.

TRAVIS: Is that another name for your penis?

SAM: It is.

LAURA: Are you going to poop us a bed?

SAM: I could poop us a bed. Are we okay here, safely, or should I get us something special?

TALIESIN: With your dalliance.

SAM: With my dalliance.

TALIESIN: I think your penis may have more names than I do, I’m kind of horrified.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I want a house from your balls and bits.

MARISHA: I mean, my people have lived here for thousands of years.

SAM: Yes, but their shelters are destroyed now, so.

MARISHA: Sure, I mean, generally we’re safe as long as dragons aren’t smashing through the village, but I mean, if you have an alternative.

SAM: I have an alternative. I could do a bit of dalliancing.

MARISHA: You know, you’ve talked about it so much now, Scanlan.

TALIESIN: Is this going to be self-dalliance or are you going to need a partner or two?

LAURA: I know, are we just going to watch you diddle yourself? Let’s have it.

TRAVIS: Mushroom-stamp the land, let’s go.

SAM: No, no, so I will take a minute and cast Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion.

TALIESIN: I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you.

MATT: Okay, so you guys watch as Scanlan rummages through some of his side pouches and belongings, pulls out a few elements, a small doorway carved from ivory. He pulls out a piece of polished marble, a tiny silver spoon, and puts them on the ground in front of him, closes his eyes for a second–

SAM: Can I enchant it with a little song or something?

MATT: Yes you may.

SAM: So I’ll sing (singing) It’s a sick house, it’s mighty mighty, it’s letting it all hang– that’s it.

MATT: You guys are mildly confused, but as he picks up the items, you can see the door sets off this small spark of white energy that glistens in the air, hovers, and then creates a somewhat shimmering doorway, just standing in the center of the space in front of you.

LAURA: What?

SAM: Would you like to come into my place? It’s a little modest shack that I’ve been working on.

LAURA: Is this a teleport sort of–

TRAVIS: It’s a door.

MARISHA: Is this a joke?

TALIESIN: There’s nothing on the other side of it, is there?

SAM: No, no, it’s a place where we can rest for the evening, totally safe and comfortable. It’s on a slightly different plane from ours, so nothing can actually hurt us there or get to us.

LAURA: Is it that fire plane where we just– there’s no dragons in that plane?

SAM: I haven’t checked in a while. Actually, this is my first time doing this.

TRAVIS: We should send somebody ahead first to check. Vax, are you up to the bit?

LIAM: Am I up to what? What was that, Grog?

SAM: It’s totally safe, don’t worry, don’t worry.

LIAM: As long as you’re not going to whip out the cube, then lead the way.

SAM: How many people can fit in there? It’s pretty big.

MATT: Any creature you designate when you cast the spell to enter. So you could say the entire Pyrah tribe if you wanted.

LAURA: What?

SAM: Everybody.

MATT: Everybody in the group, or the Pyrah?

SAM: How many are there?

MATT: Here, there’s close to 35, including the Zephrah.

LAURA: Wait, could you technically do this with any refugees? I mean, where do they go when you make the door go away?

SAM: This is my place, all right? I don’t want any riffraff in there. Listen, there’s a guest list, there’s a guy at the door–

TALIESIN: I can solve this really quickly. Are any of the Pyrah tribe hot?

LAURA: Like, attractive?

TALIESIN: Attractive.

LAURA: They’re all hot.

MATT: Through the soot and ash and the rather somber atmosphere here that paints them as a people that are the survivors of a horrible calamity, beyond that, there’s probably a few that you’d consider attractive, sure, if you’re that kind of person.

TALIESIN: That one over there was looking at you, I saw her wink at you earlier.

SAM: Oh, really?

TALIESIN: You should impress her.

SAM: The one with her face just sheared off?

TALIESIN: Yeah, why not?

SAM: All right. Not really my type. I like full-faced people, but I’ll take it, I’ll take my chance.

TALIESIN: I think that’s big of you.

LAURA: So terrible.

SAM: You know, if there’s anyone from your immediate family that you’d like to give lodging to tonight– okay, we’ll take them all, we’ll take them all in. We’ll take them all in.

MARISHA: Sure. Do you want to tell them? It is your humble abode.

SAM: Ashari people!

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: You see some of them stop and drop the rocks they’re currently holding and building some of these small shelters.

SAM: Don’t worry about your shelter for tonight. Let Scanlan Shorthalt take care of you, in every way, shape, and form imaginable. Come with me through this weird magic door into another plane. Believe me, it’s going to be okay.

MATT: They all look at each other with a strange glance and continue building their current shelters.

LAURA: Why the fuck not? And I walk on through.

MATT: Okay. You open the door, and as you grab it, it is a solid door, and the handle spins, you look inside, and within you see an incredibly lush foyer to a grand mansion, a 25-, 30-foot ceiling made of marble and dark woods, you see a two-part staircase that splits off onto a second-tier floor, you hear soft music playing in the distance, and immediately you see two somewhat ethereal servants come down, dressed as a butler and a maid, they come down, with an echoing voice that say, “How might we be of service?”

LAURA: What the fuck.

SAM: Hi. I step in after her. Yes, I’ve made some changes to the place. Living quarters are upstairs, there’s a kitchen, parlor, game room over there, billiards, all sorts of stuff. We have a music room. There are a hundred attendants who can wait on us. I’ve assigned some of them specific jobs. Five are going to play music for us wherever we want, especially during our meals.

MATT: “Let me take your things, Master.”

SAM: Oh, yes, yes, here.

TRAVIS: I come inside and I see the ethereal things, I’m like, ghosts! And I take Craven Edge and I swing at the ethereal sumbitch!

SAM: Are you attacking my attendants?

TRAVIS: No, the ghosts in your house!

SAM: They’re my people!

TRAVIS: What?

MATT: By the time you go to stop him, three of the servants that have grabbed a few of your belongings and been carrying away, are swung at, Craven Edge passing through, and their energy dispersing, and their contents of whatever they’re carrying drop and clink to the ground.

LAURA: No!

SAM: Jesus Christ–

TRAVIS: Thank god I’m here.

SAM: Grog, Grog, easy. Easy. They’re not ghosts, they’re not ghosts. They are supernatural spirits– some would say ghosts– that are good, they serve us, they serve me–

LAURA: Wait, do you pay them or do they just work for you?

SAM: They’re slave ghosts.

LAURA: This is terrible. Scanlan!

SAM: Well, no, they like it for some reason.

LAURA: Are you sure?

SAM: I can command them to do literally anything and they like it.

LAURA: Have you asked them?

SAM: Watch this. Watch this. I call one over. You there, you there.

MATT: This maid comes over, a plumper older woman, no feet, just drifting along with this path of mist behind her. “Yes, Master?”

SAM: Can you please braid my chest hair?

MATT: “But of course, Master.”

SAM: Do you like this job?

MATT: “It is my purpose, Master.”

SAM: See? This is what I’m telling you.

LAURA: Your purpose, do you enjoy your purpose?

MATT: “What does one but enjoy their purpose in life?” And continues braiding his chest hair, these tiny little hairs, doing a very good job. It’s not very long, but sure enough, there is a pattern.

LAURA: Wow.

SAM: Thank you, you’re dismissed. Back to the music room.

MATT: “Of course, Master.”

LAURA: Do you tip them?

SAM: You can tip me, I’ll pass it out later.

LAURA: I believe you.

TRAVIS: Hey, you there, you, ghostie, do you have any ale in this establishment?

MATT: “But of course, sir. We have an entire winery as part of the mansion.”

LAURA: What in the fuck is this place? How are you doing this?

TRAVIS: Bring your most expensive frosty glass of ale.

MATT: “All right.”

LIAM: I pull Scanlan over to the side. Have you always been able to do this? Have you been holding out on us, man?

SAM: It never occurred to me to do this before, for some reason.

TRAVIS: You shouldn’t be Burt Reynolds, you should be Hugh Hefner from now on.

SAM: No, this is a skill that I recently acquired. I would not hold out on you. This is a new skill that I’ve just learned, and I’m still making improvements to the house. You’ll see that our dining room has a portrait of myself in it. Not the one that I had commissioned, but one that I had envisioned before. It’s just me in a smoking jacket standing in front of a fireplace with me in a smoking jacket above it, Stephen Colbert-style.

TRAVIS: Really?

SAM: And we all have our own separate rooms. All of the beds are circular, they all have a mirror over them.

TRAVIS: Oh my god. It’s Graceland!

SAM: Mine is a waterbed, so be careful.

LAURA: So wait, you built this entire castle, so how do we know that you haven’t installed creepy spy things into our rooms, Scanlan?

MARISHA: Yeah, little peep holes.

LAURA: I don’t trust you.

SAM: On we go to the rest of it!

TRAVIS: I’m waiting on my beer.

TALIESIN: I’ve got a great idea. Let’s get some beer, let’s take a rest, and in the morning we can go to the game room, get some dice and some paper–

TRAVIS: A game within a game. The Inception (bass note).

TALIESIN: It’s called Meta and Dragons, we’re just going to see how deep it goes.

MARISHA: Keyleth just gets a nosebleed for no reason. She’s not sure why.

TALIESIN: Had to get that out of my system.

MATT: An ever-spinning top on the banister. At this point, Grog, you can see that the servant you had sent off comes up with a very large, somewhat spectral flagon, that upon handing it to you, turns into a solid metallic form, and inside–

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

MATT: – a very, very finely chilled, very nice-smelling wine.

TRAVIS: I put my hand up for a high-five.

MATT: It makes contact.

TRAVIS: It does?

MATT: A little cushy, but it does make contact, yes.

TRAVIS: Wait, these servants will do whatever you want to do?

LAURA: That is terrible, it’s a terrible path you’re going down right now, I am uncomfortable with this–

SAM: I am way ahead of you, Grog. I’m way ahead of you. As I said, there are 100 servants here. 50 of them are assigned to me and my own personal service. The rest are available to you in whatever capacity you’d like them.

TRAVIS: This is going to be the best night ever.

MARISHA: Let me go try and gather the rest of the Ashari.

LAURA: So uncomfortable right now.

MARISHA: Can I get a plate of food from one of the ghosts as proof?

TRAVIS: It’s about to get Caligula up in this bitch.

MATT: The servants gather up a platter of food, piling up, grapes and meats and cured ham.

MARISHA: I just pop out of the door and address the people.

MATT: As soon as you pop out of the door, it all turns to smoke and dissipates.

MARISHA: Aw, son of a– Hey, guys, hey. It’s okay. It’s actually really nice. It’s been rough, why don’t we all take a night off and everyone come in and get some food. Take a night off.

LAURA: Scanlan, where are we staying? Where’s our rooms?

SAM: Rooms are all upstairs. There’s individual rooms for all of us. Mine is at the end of the hallway, and is slightly bigger than the rest. You will find comfortable beds and things in every room. The two rooms next to mine are reserved–

LAURA: For?

SAM: One is for Pike, the other across the hallway is for Kaylie, just in case she ever drops by.

LAURA: That’s really sweet.

TALIESIN: Weird, but sweet.

SAM: Don’t worry, it’s not weird.

TALIESIN: Oh, it’s weird.

SAM: Keeping her close to my heart.

LAURA: It’s super-duper weird. It’s really weird.

SAM: It’s not super-duper– fine, fine, forget it. When you have a daughter, you can worry about her as much as I do.

MATT: At this point, Keyleth returns with a few straggler Pyrah tribal members that come in, looking about, surprised, bewildered, and some of them a little freaked out by this transdimensional space they just stepped into, TARDIS-style. Servants come up and start helping them. Some of them are still clutching the rocks they were building as they pass it off and start making their way out to various rooms to inspect the mansion. A few stay back to continue what they were already building, ensuring future establishments to sleep once you guys have left. So yeah, you guys are welcome to rest for the evening, if you’d like.

LAURA: Is the door protected? Can anybody come in, or is it only if you invite them?

SAM: Only invited.

LAURA: This is the best fucking mansion ever. How– I mean– what?

TRAVIS: How many times can you do this?

SAM: Once a day, but that’s all we’ll need, right?

TRAVIS: Shit, yeah. Wait, wait, wait, so if we were in a fight and things went really south–

SAM: We could take a break.

LAURA: (gasps) No, but they could run away, it’s not like time freezes.

SAM: It does take a while to cast.

MATT: It takes a minute, so yeah.

SAM: It takes a minute to cast.

MARISHA: So it can’t be the middle of a battle, sure.

LIAM: Is there anything else you can do that you haven’t– can you make an army of unicorns or a giant in a dancing dress, or is this the extent of what you can do?

SAM: I’d like to keep a few secrets, if you don’t mind.

TRAVIS: Can you make fart sounds with your armpits?

SAM: Yes. I can bend my thumb all the way back.

LAURA: I pull out my crystal and I call upon the great power of Trinket. I choose you.

MATT: With a flash of deep blue and black light, Trinket emerges (bear noises).

LAURA: We have a mansion! You built a Trinket room.

SAM: You know what, I totally forgot to build Trinket a place to sleep.

LAURA: That’s okay, he’ll stay in Kaylie’s room for the time being, and then–

SAM: No no, Kaylie’s room is locked.

LAURA: Pike loves him, I bet he wouldn’t mind–

SAM: Let me just think about this for a second. There’s the third pantry. The third pantry could possibly work. It has some just mostly– no, no, it’s full, we can’t use that.

LAURA: Do you have any rooms with very high ceilings?

SAM: The front.

LAURA: The very front?

SAM: The front hall.

LAURA: But I mean somewhere I could put a bed for myself and Trinket with very high ceilings.

SAM: All right, yes, there’s a whole basement area. It’s a large space.

LAURA: Wonderful. I’ll move my bed down there.

SAM: It’s for training and working with weapons.

LAURA: That’ll be perfect. Trinket needs to train.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I’ll go down there and I’ll stay with Trinket.

LAURA: All right.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I want to train a little, want to work out a bit.

LAURA: Totally. I understand.

TRAVIS: Yep. I need a target, though. Hey, can you call one of those little ghostly guys over?

SAM: You can have five of them.

TRAVIS: Yeah, right, fine. The first one of you that brings me a cow wins.

MATT: They all look at each other. “Right away, sir.” And all five of them drift off. A moment later, they all return with a spectral cow.

MARISHA: Like five cows, they each return with one?

MATT: No, each one of them is just traveling with one cow, they’ve all brought you together one spectral cow.

TRAVIS: It’s like a bunch of Mr. Meeseeks with cows. Do I get to pick a cow? There’s just one cow?

MATT: There’s just one cow.

TRAVIS: Right. So can I touch the cow on the head?

MATT: You touch it, and it has weight to it, it has surface area.

LAURA: No, we’re killing cows, we’re killing, we’re killing poor servants–

TRAVIS: We’re not killing anything! And I punch the cow in the nose.

SAM: Jesus!

LAURA: That’s so dark!

TRAVIS: No, look, I’m just seeing what it is. Stay, Bessie.

MARISHA: Grog, you just punched a cow in the face.

TRAVIS: What, I’m just seeing if it bled. Did the nose bleed?

MATT: There is no blood.

TRAVIS: I punch it again.

LAURA: Grog! Stop it!

TRAVIS: I took a really easy punch.

LAURA: Look, you’re hurting it!

TRAVIS: No, I’m not. Is there any blood?

MATT: No blood.

LAURA: Trinket blocks it.

TRAVIS: Never mind. You know what, I changed my mind, I don’t need a cow. I’m going to go stay in a normal room.

LAURA: No, Grog, actually, I think you should train for a little bit at least. Just come down to the basement and maybe train for a little bit.

TRAVIS: All right.

LIAM: I’m sorry, where did that cow come from? I call one of the servants over to me. Can you get anything? Could you get me a small squid?

MATT: They all look at each other and shake their head. “No, sir, we have limited resources here. “The cow, we happened to have one.”

LIAM: Is that a real cow, Scanlan, or was that some sort of ghost cow?

SAM: Ghost cow.

MATT: At which point the cow disperses.

TRAVIS: I punched it so hard it exploded.

TALIESIN: The ghost of a dinner you’ve already eaten, come back to haunt you.

LAURA: I go down to the training room. And I stop the servant and go, can you bring down a bed for me?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Thank you. Grog, can we train, please?

TRAVIS: Yeah. You want to train with me?

LAURA: Yes, I think I need to train with you, specifically.

TRAVIS: All right. Always a good time to get better, I guess.

SAM: What’s going on over there?

MARISHA: I don’t know.

MATT: You guys walk out of the foyer into the main hallway, and at the end to the left you see a doorway appear where there wasn’t one before. It opens up on its own, and as you walk you can see stairs that lead down and into a basement chamber that has a sand pit surrounded by brick. There are a series of wooden training dummies and various training accoutrements. There are chains hanging from the ceiling for lifting and climbing exercises. There is a basic set of weapons against the weapon rack and a basic set of armor on the other set.

SAM: Muscle-ups.

TRAVIS: Rope climbs.

TALIESIN: Are we really about to pretend to do Crossfit? Is that a thing that’s actually about to happen?

SAM: Is there a big thing that says WoD on it?

TRAVIS: Wizard of the Day?

LAURA: The minute we get downstairs, I start pawing into the Bag of Holding.

TRAVIS: What are you doing?

LAURA: I just need to (grunts).

(a phone dings)

SAM: Ooh, how did you do that?

TRAVIS: That was awesome.

TRAVIS: What did you grab?

LAURA: Oh, just this cleaning utensil, is all. Are we by ourselves? Nobody else came down, right?

MATT: Just the two of you.

LAURA: Yeah, I just wanted to do some cleaning with this broom that I–

TRAVIS: But this is where you train.

LAURA: I put it in the Bag of Holding before. Maybe you can train over there on those dummies, and I can just sweep up some of this sand that’s around in this area right here.

TRAVIS: I thought we were going to train. I thought we were going to fight.

LAURA: Yes. Well, Trinket actually wanted some training with his cannonball. If you will stand still so he can run into you a few times, that would be swell.

TRAVIS: I feel like there’s a problem with this idea, but I’m not sure what it is, so I do it.

MATT: Okay. Trinket comes along with you and, in a very confused manner, attempts to train with you for a short time. It’s been a while since you wrestled a bear, so it’s kind of fun at times.

LAURA: It’s fun, right?

TRAVIS: Look, I know I usually hit back, but apparently your mum thinks you can cannonball into me, so give it a go.

LAURA: Go ahead and try, Trinket!

MATT: Trinket backs up (bear growling), looks over at you again like, “Are you sure?” Across the sand flooring into a giant rolling attack towards you.

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck.

MATT: That is going to be… What’s Trinket’s attack bonus?

LAURA: Oh, God, you’re really doing it.

TRAVIS: Yes!

LAURA: Yes, that’s the point of this, to get Trinket to run into you is the point. His attack bonus is plus eight.

MATT: Plus eight, that’s a 23 to hit.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that hits.

MATT: You go ahead and take seven points of bludgeoning damage.

LAURA: And you’re knocked prone!

MATT: Go ahead and make a strength saving throw.

TRAVIS: (laughing) Okay. 26.

MATT: So Trinket rams into you, and you hold firm and flex. Conversely, the giant bear bounces off, stumbles back onto Trinket’s butt.

TRAVIS: That was pretty good! I liked it a lot!

MATT: Licks you right along the face, beard cowlicks up a little bit.

TRAVIS: I think this might be a good look for me. How do I get it to stay?

LAURA: While all that is going on, I have a broom in my hand.

MATT: You do.

TRAVIS: I start climbing all over the walls.

LAURA: I put it between my legs and try to sit on it.

MATT: All right.

SAM: Weirdly, I’m doing the same thing upstairs.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Is one of your servants named Broom?

LAURA: And I jump in the air a little bit.

MATT: Hop.

LAURA: Okay. I say, up! Fly! Lift up! Fatty Arbuckle! Shenanigans! Ren and Stimpy, I don’t know.

TRAVIS: Rotisserie chicken!

LAURA: Fuck! Grog.

TALIESIN: Perhaps it requires a bad Irish accent.

LAURA: (Irish accent) Fatty Arbuckle!

(laughter)

LAURA: Nothing.

MATT: Nothing.

TRAVIS: Do you usually yell when you clean?

LAURA: (groans) I put the broom on the ground. I walk over and I punch Grog as hard as I can.

TRAVIS: What was that for?

MATT: Grog, it’s not very strong.

LAURA: It’s not. I’m pretty fucking weak.

TRAVIS: No, I know, but I like to make her feel good about it. Ow!

LAURA: Sorry I hurt you, Grog, I know that was a very strong punch.

TRAVIS: I look at Trinket and wink.

LAURA: Are you guys good? Do you want to keep training?

TRAVIS: Yeah, what are you doing?

LAURA: Nothing! I put the fucking broom back in the Bag of Holding.

TRAVIS: You didn’t clean very much.

LAURA: I figured the servants can do it. I walk upstairs.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Can Scanlan cast Sad Trombone?

SAM: We have a music room. I actually have a trombone.

MATT: That’s true.

SAM: (sad trombone sound)

MATT: With Vex not there, Trinket gets a little antsy and eventually your training session with Trinket comes to an end as Trinket goes to seek Vex. You can finish your wall climbing in solace.

TRAVIS: All right. I’m good for the night.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: I wanted that cow.

LAURA: I go find Keyleth.

MARISHA: Okay. I don’t know, I’m just chilling. I’m eating food.

TRAVIS: Eating food.

MARISHA: Relaxing.

LAURA: Hey! Actually– no, I don’t want to talk to you. Keyleth. What do you know about magical things? Like a lot?

MARISHA: I’m not great at identifying what they are. I can generally be like, that’s magical! But I don’t know arcane things, only natural-based magics.

LAURA: Oh, fuck. Thank you so much!

MARISHA: Why?

SAM: Anything I can help you with, Vex?

LAURA: Scanlan! I might need to talk to you, dear.

SAM: Should we retire to my room for this?

LAURA: Why, yes, we should.

SAM: (excited gasp) I was not expecting that.

MARISHA: Keyleth just picks up her plate and awkwardly leaves.

LAURA: I go get the broom from the Bag of Holding again.

SAM: I run up to my room to make sure that everything’s neat. Light a bunch of candles.

LAURA: I follow him up and knock on the door.

MATT: Okay. The door opens up at the first knock. (creak)

SAM: I’m lying in bed. Black satin sheets. Oh, I forgot you were coming!

LAURA: Wow. Well, darling. I shut the door behind me. I have a favor to ask you.

SAM: I should warn you, we’re not alone. And I look over to the five musicians and I ask them to strike up a little–

MATT: A gentle classical piece with a small, low-timbre brass section comes in.

SAM: Little bossa nova.

MATT: Yeah, it’s nice. It’s not too involved, doesn’t distract you too much.

LAURA: It’s nice mood setting, I like it.

SAM: Whatever. It’s, you know, it’s my special place where I like to come and think about philosophy and life.

LAURA: You’re so smart. I’ve always thought that about you, that you’re very smart.

SAM: Well, many people do.

LAURA: Yes. I sit down next to him on the bed.

SAM: (gulps) It goes up and down a bit. It’s a water bed.

LAURA: Cozy. Help me!

SAM: Is that–

LAURA: What?

SAM: Did we see that before?

LAURA: Maybe. Okay, Scanlan, I’m a terrible person, I know.

SAM: What did you do?

LAURA: I took a broom from a poor, poor dragonborn.

SAM: You took Gern’s magical broom?

LAURA: Maybe.

SAM: Oh my gods.

LAURA: I know, I’m sorry, I know, I’m terrible, and now it won’t work and it was pointless and I want it to work. Help me.

SAM: Because it flies?

LAURA: Because it flies, Scanlan.

SAM: What is it with you and flying?

LAURA: I don’t know, there’s just something about being up there in the air that makes me feel alive in a way that I’ve never felt before.

SAM: I could make you fly.

LAURA: Okay. Wait– Oh, you mean. With your cube.

SAM: Yes, that’s right.

LAURA: I’d rather you do it with this broom, actually. And not in any weird way, just to be able to help me make the broom fly. Do you know how to do that?

SAM: I will try. I will examine the broom and make some sort of check on it.

MATT: Make an arcana check.

SAM: Oh, that’s not good.

TRAVIS: Should’ve come to me for that.

LAURA: Oh, no!

TALIESIN: It’s a number.

SAM: 14.

MATT: 14. Okay. Looking over the broom, you can tell it’s enchanted. There are runes along the sides of the broom. You do gather from the nature of the enchantment that it is an item that requires a spoken phrase from the wielder to initiate its magic. Short of an Identify spell, you would probably have to guess. If you know the Identify spell, that would be a way for you to.

SAM: I don’t. Can I examine it to see if there’s any markings, any hidden anything on it?

MATT: Make an intelligence check. Or, you know what, this would be specifically investigation. Investigation check.

SAM: Investigation. 21.

MATT: You do notice that many of the runes intricately carved on the side of the broom are– they’re part of the enchantment; however, there is a certain phrase that is not part of the enchantment. It’s scrawled into and very cleverly hidden amongst the broom. It is not Common. What languages do you know?

SAM: Common, Gnome. Pig Latin.

MATT: It is not a language you recognize.

LAURA: I speak Elvish, Draconic, Undercommon?

SAM: You don’t see the words, though.

LAURA: But you saw it.

SAM: There’s some words here that might be a clue to the code word. Basically, we need to find the code word. What do we know about Gern?

LAURA: Well, I tried Fatty Arbuckle. I thought maybe that was something.

SAM: Did you try the others? Coral? Carol?

LAURA: Coral. Carol.

SAM: You probably need to hold it.

LAURA: What was the… Oh. Coral! Carol! I don’t remember the other one’s name.

SAM: I don’t either.

LAURA: Stimpy? Was it Stimpy? It was Stimpy!

SAM: Try: On Coral! On Carol! On Stimpy! On Fatty Arbuckle!

LAURA: Wait, but what does the word say? Where’s the word?

SAM: I can’t read the words.

LAURA: Can I find it? What is it?

MATT: Do you point it out to her?

SAM: I point it out to her.

LAURA: What is it?

MATT: It is Draconic.

LAURA: What does it say?

MATT: It’s archaic Draconic. It’s from the base root of the language, which is one of the oldest languages in civilization. It spells out, phonetically, the word for candle.

LAURA: That’s smart. (hacking spit)

MATT: At which point, the broom jumps up in your hands, and almost lifts you off the bed for a second, and you catch it and hold it back down.

LAURA: (singing) Something has changed within me! Oh my God! Oh my God. Scanlan.

SAM: Weirdly, you are not the first floating chick I’ve had in my bed. But that is amazing! You’re flying!

LAURA: I hug him. I hug him as hard as I’ve ever hugged Scanlan. I love you so much. You’re my favorite person in the entire universe right now. I owe you–

SAM: Nope. You owe me nothing. That’s what friends are for.

LAURA: I love you.

SAM: I shake her little elf hand.

MATT: It’s a pretty big elf hand compared to your tiny gnome hand.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: I sit on it. How high are the ceilings in here?

MATT: How high are the ceilings in your room?

SAM: As high as they can be on the top floor.

MATT: For this room, because it is an extradimensional space, this room is probably a good 50 feet high. High ceilings, with drapery. It’s so garish.

LAURA: Can I sit side-saddle on it?

MATT: Yeah.

LAURA: (hacking spit) I don’t remember how I said it before.

SAM: You’re going to have to remember that now.

MATT: Better write that down. (hacking spit)

LAURA: Why didn’t I choose something more fun to say?

MATT: Welcome to D&D. As the words emit from your mouth, the broom takes off, and you have to aim it a bit. You start going around in circles, slowly rising up towards the roof of the room.

LAURA: Yay, this is awesome! I’m really high!

SAM: I instruct the band to start playing Flight of the Bumblebee.

MATT: (whistling)

LAURA: Oh my gosh! Can I take my hands off?

MATT: You do, and you start going, “Whoa!” Go ahead and make a dexterity check.

LAURA: Oh my God. I probably should have been lower to the ground when I said that. Okay, that’s fine. Oh, I’m still exhausted!

MATT: Yep.

SAM: Oh, shit.

LAURA: 20.

MATT: That’s fine. You’re fine. A really bad roll might have had a circumstance, but you manage to catch yourself on the broom in time and, okay. You’re getting the hang of it. It’s still not something you’re used to, but it’s fine.

LAURA: Can I point it down towards the ground and get lower?

MATT: You do. And you take a few minutes to figure out the pitch and wobble of it, and it’s less of a directional flight, more than it is a combination of how you hold the front of the broom and concentrate on its direction. But nevertheless, a few moments pass, and you get the hang of it.

LAURA: Oh. My. God. This is the best day of my entire life.

SAM: You look great up there.

LAURA: Thank you. Thank you.

SAM: But you should not have stolen that!

LAURA: Oh, I know, I know, it’s terrible!

SAM: He was our friend! He helped us!

LAURA: How bad of a person am I? I’m a horrible person!

SAM: We should do something to repay the debt!

LAURA: Well, I tried. I was going to give him a lot of dragon scales, and he wandered away!

SAM: We can’t possibly find him now.

LAURA: Well, how do I help him? Because I feel terrible.

SAM: If we can’t help him, you’re going to have to help someone else to make up for the lost karma.

LAURA: I will help as many people as I can while I’m flying through the air.

SAM: Perhaps I will pick someone for you to help someday. To repay us both.

LAURA: I think that’s a deal, Scanlan.

SAM: All right. I will mark that down.

LAURA: What are you, like, a hag now? I sit on it, and I open the door, and I fly through the doorway.

MATT: She drifts out of the room. The door (slam) shuts behind her.

MARISHA: You’re going to be one of those Segway assholes now!

TRAVIS: Yes, totally!

MATT: You lean back in your bed, on your fine, black silken sheets, with Flight of the Bumblebees still blaring by the fireplace.

SAM: All right, guys, it didn’t work, you can go.

MATT: They all get up. The music stops. And they all slowly drift out of the room, one by one. Fireplace still crackling.

SAM: It’s nice in here.

TALIESIN: I’m sitting wherever there’s a lounge of any kind. I’m working in the sketchbook. Working on things.

MATT: Not a worry.

MARISHA: I’ll be reading my alchemy book, because I have had so little time to catch up on my reading.

TALIESIN: We never talk anymore, do we?

MARISHA: We never do.

TALIESIN: Mmm.

LAURA: I’m so happy! It’s the best!

MATT: So good!

LAURA: I’m going to try to sleep. It’s going to be really, really hard because I’m so excited, but I really need to get some rest!

MARISHA: Did you feed the dog?

TALIESIN: Today? I don’t know.

MATT: So, anyone want to do anything else? You going to go rest for the evening?

TRAVIS: I rest.

TALIESIN: I’m good.

MATT: All right. You all eventually find your ways to your rooms, happy and comfortable in the fact that no one has to take watch for this night. As you all get to bed, a few hours into the evening, Keyleth, you are just starting to doze off when you hear a knock at the door.

MARISHA: (gasps awake) Scanlan?

MATT: You open the door?

MARISHA: On my door?

MATT: On your door.

MARISHA: Who is it?

MATT: “Keyleth, it is Cerkonos. Please open up. I wish to speak with you.”

MARISHA: I open the door.

MATT: Okay. Cerkonos comes in. The first thing you notice– previously, you had seen what was his burned-off arm at the shoulder. You can now see the flesh is extended and is currently very slowly in the process of regenerating his lost arm. And it catches you off-guard for a moment, and he puts his hand up and says, “Sorry, it is not very presentable.” And he still keeps his hand over it, slightly embarrassed by the mid-regenerative state of it. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you, I come as unease has taken my mind.” And he enters the room and closes the door behind him. “May we sit?”

MARISHA: Of course, please, Cerkonos.

MATT: He goes over and takes one of the nearby chairs and sets it down, places one across from him for you to sit, gestures with his one arm. Sits down. “I would not speak with those I do not trust. And I have seen your purity of soul, Keyleth. So I come to you with these concerns.” His eyes trail off for a moment in the distance, and he gathers his thoughts and his words. “Four years ago, a young woman came to Pyrah for redemption. A lost girl, cast out and wishing for acceptance. We, as we do with outcasts, took her in, taught her. And in time, called her one of our own, one of the Pyrah. In recent months, she began to grow distant, taking to staying in the Cindergrove unattended for days at a time. One afternoon, the mountain moved, angry with shifting fires. We felt a disturbance in the Gate, and when we went to investigate, there she was, commanding powers we did not know she had.”

MARISHA: What kind of powers? Beyond those of druidic nature?

MATT: “These were the magics taken by man who defied the gods. These were the purest of ancient arcane threads. We watched as she reached out and tore open the Gate. She laughed as we called out to stop. But something terrible emerged from that wounded sky.”

MARISHA: Thordak?

MATT: “This dragon you speak of, yes. I defended all that I could, but the power was too great, and unconsciousness took me. I awoke to my people in tatters, the fires untethered, and this terrible girl gone. It is both embarrassing and greatly alarming that we could be infiltrated by such an entity. That blame falls on me, as the headmaster, for not seeing this earlier.”

MARISHA: You acted within the good nature of our people, there’s nothing wrong with that. How old was this girl when she came to you? And how old is she now?

MATT: “When she came to us she couldn’t be more than 15.”

MARISHA: So she’s 19, 20?

MATT: “Perhaps. She did not seem to blossom into womanhood as many do. We considered her more of a runt of her litter, if you will.”

MARISHA: And what was her race?

MATT: “She seemed human.”

MARISHA: She seemed human? What do you mean?

MATT: “We take many forms as druids. If she was indeed human, at that age, to command such power… I do not know her true nature.”

MARISHA: What was her name?

MATT: “Her name was Raishan. Anyway. I wish to tell you this because my heart is heavy with guilt, and I want you to know that even in places of comfort, family, be careful, keep those you know you can trust close. Be mindful of those that promise aid when they have not proven themselves. If you have an instinct, follow it.”

MARISHA: Are you referring to something in particular, Cerkonos?

MATT: “I just do not wish you to make the same mistake I did. Anyway, I thank you for your companions and you coming to our aid. It shall not be forgotten.”

MARISHA: I shall keep an ear open for the name Raishan. If I hear anything about her, I’ll send word.

MATT: “Should you need the aid of the Pyrah, though we are not much at now, come find me. I look forward for to you bringing Zephrah together. You will make a fine leader.”

MARISHA: Thank you, Cerkonos. And I’m glad that you’re still with us.

MATT: “Kaitiaki, Keyleth.”

MARISHA: Kaitiaki, Cerkonos.

MATT: Cerkonos leaves.

MARISHA: And I start poring through my notes for the name Raishan, because Keyleth believes she has heard that name before as one of the dragons, correct? One of the white–

LAURA: (whispering) It’s the green one.

MARISHA: –the green one. Okay, okay.

MATT: That is true.

MARISHA: Do I have any other reference, would I know anything else about that?

MATT: That’s all you know, is the name Raishan was used when the Conclave attacked Emon. And it seemed the name belonged to the green dragon that initiated the assault where you guys were.

MARISHA: Fucking bitch.

MATT: So, these thoughts echoing through your mind–

TALIESIN: Streets will run green with revenge!

MARISHA: Yes, they will!

MATT: You sleep, but uneasily, as all of these realizations swirl in your head. Eventually sleep takes you, but it is not an easy sleep. Just enough to function. Barely. Vax. As you yourself have attempted to stave off sleep for many days, pushing yourself to your limits, it finally takes its toll, and you drift off into a deep, deep slumber. In that slumber, you find yourself in darkness. Echoes of a distant voice, muffled, as if underwater. Crash. The darkness is shattered into a thousand black feathers, and you find yourself falling, falling. Falling towards what seems to be a tangled net of glowing threads. You’re afraid you might impact at such a speed, but before you do, you slow and come to a stop before this extremely prominent glowing weave, this infinite tapestry in all directions. You are uncertain of the meaning of this moment when a large cold hand reaches past your shoulder and grasps a thread right before your face, this singular glowing thread, pulsing with light like a heartbeat. You follow the arm over your shoulder, and glance up directly into the massive form of the Raven Queen: porcelain face like a mask, long jet-black hair, her body encasing you like a physical cage. Your eyes follow the arm back to the thread that she carries between her massive fingers. She tugs it, ever so gently, and it causes waves to ripple through the tapestry into infinity. Her voice fills your mind, both calm but cold. “This is you, my champion. You are fate-touched. The choice is yours. Rebirth or ruin. Maker or martyr. Conqueror, tyrant, or nothing.” She plucks the thread from the weave, snapping it. You plummet into the hole left behind it, falling faster and faster into the dark. Losing control, you turn around and see the Raven Queen, disappearing into the distance, growing smaller and smaller, until suddenly, nothing. Grog. You fall into a deep snore, heavy, heavy snore, after drinking the wine, climbing up walls, you’ve had an exhausting day of–

TRAVIS: Sleeping in the sand pit.

MATT: Okay, you are face down.

TRAVIS: Like a beach, just (snore).

MATT: It’s great. You’ve drooled into the sand, and it’s clustered around your beard. It’s horrifying. But in the middle of snoring, this restful sleep also comes into your mind, and you find yourself walking alone. A long hallway, into blinding light. You have to cover your face, it’s so bright, but you push forward because you know there’s only one way to go. You cannot see, but you can hear around you and sense the hallway’s ended, and there’s now space around you. You cannot see, but you sense an arena, gladiatorial in nature. You can hear the distant whisper and hum of crowds cheering.

SAM: Phillip! Phillip!

MATT: You sense others around you, closing in suddenly. A voice, ever-whispering in your ear, says, “Release me.” Still blinded, eyes closed, on instinct, you pull the cold, dark blade from your back and swing wide, over and over again, feeling the shuddering shock of each impact, your strength matched by the razor-like edge of your weapon, cleaving down any who would approach. The high of adrenaline is incredible, and you laugh aloud at the sheer thrill of your own power.

TRAVIS: (laughs triumphantly)

MATT: The light subsides and your vision returns. You look to see hundreds of people dead at your feet. Farmers, children. You see Pike, motionless, cast among the carnage. You want to scream, but instead you laugh, against your own judgment and intent, like you’re locked within yourself and have no control. And as you look up from the pile of corpses at your feet, you see a towering figure before you, cast in furs and bone, standing even a head and a half’s height above you, is Kevdak, looking down at you with pride. The entire herd steps up beside him, staring at you atop your throne of corpses, and the herd kneels. Kevdak bows, looking up at you, smiling. “You. You have finally made me proud, Grog.” You wake up (gasp), spittle and sand and grit mashed against your face. Who knows how long it’s been, but it’s been a while since you’ve had a dream, let alone one like that. Now, as you all eventually come to in the morning, having your evening’s rest, you’ve recovered your hit points, your spells, all of the usual good stuff, in a fantastic mansion. Maybe not the most fantastic rest for some of you, but a fantastic mansion. You all eventually find your way to the breakfast nook, which is as extravagant as you would imagine a Scanlan-based breakfast nook would be.

TALIESIN: Green marble, silver tiling. Sorry, carry on.

MARISHA: Crystal chandelier.

SAM: Waffle presses.

MATT: There’s a fantastic breakfast feast already prepared, rows of servants along the walls waiting eagerly to attend to you guys as you sit down, pouring fresh juices. It smells fantastic, and most of you look rested, except for a handful.

SAM: Eat! Drink!

LAURA: I come skipping into the room, for sure.

TALIESIN: Good morning.

SAM: You’re looking delighted and delightful.

LAURA: What a beautiful day it is!

MARISHA: Do you have wine and ale at the breakfast buffet?

SAM: Sure, sure. There’s mimosas, there’s–

MARISHA: I’ll have a mimosa.

TALIESIN: You’ve never heard of breakfast beer?

SAM: Breakfast beer? Sure. There’s milk from a cow with a broken nose.

LAURA: Oh, that is so sad. Can you heal it? Can it be healed?

SAM: It’ll be fine. When we leave this place, all these people die, anyway.

TALIESIN: You’re supposed to churn the milk after it leaves the cow.

LAURA: Wait, Scanlan, can we store things here, or does it all disappear as soon as we leave?

SAM: I don’t know.

MATT: You haven’t tried it before.

LAURA: We should leave something inconsequential.

SAM: We’ll leave Trinket, and then we’ll try it again, and if Trinket’s still here, we’ll know.

MARISHA: Schrodinger’s Trinket.

SAM: It’s just– no?

LAURA: No.

SAM: All right. We’ll leave the broom and see if it’s still here.

LAURA: No, no, no, let’s not.

TALIESIN: What broom?

SAM: Oh, Vex, is there something you’d like to admit to the rest of the group? They’ll see you use it sooner or later.

MATT: You hear a voice go (grunt). Trinket’s over there, face covered in breakfast food, trying to sit at one of the edges of the table like a person, the actual bowing of the wooden bench that Trinket’s on, you hear the creaking as he moves around in it.

LAURA: Thank you, Scanlan, for making me feel… So, guess what! I can fly! A-plus!

TALIESIN: How did that happen?

MARISHA: I had a really weird night, too. What happened in your… because, I mean, flight?

LAURA: Did you have a weird night? Do you want to tell us about it?

MARISHA: No, I want to hear about your night.

TALIESIN: I think you go first.

MARISHA: I want to learn how you fly.

LAURA: Okay. So I sort of kind of tricked Gern, I’m a terrible person.

SAM: Gern, our friend.

TRAVIS: You swallowed that last part. What did you say?

LAURA: I sort of kind of, this is the worst… took something that wasn’t mine? In a way. I mean, I was holding on to it, and then I slipped, and it fell into the Bag of Holding.

TRAVIS: Why is that bad?

TALIESIN: You stole from a candlemaker?

LAURA: I stole from a necromancer.

TALIESIN: Slash candlemaker.

LAURA: Yes. No, he was a nice guy.

SAM: I think we should hear Vax’s opinion of this.

MARISHA: Vax, I think you were a bad influence.

LIAM: I can’t judge. I’ve done my share in the past. I thought you were a little overly nice to him.

TALIESIN: I mean, to be fair, we did steal a carpet once.

LAURA: We did.

SAM: Did we steal that? I thought it was just a–

MARISHA: We used that in an emergency.

TRAVIS: We commandeered it.

LAURA: We took it, Scanlan, and we didn’t tell Allura.

TALIESIN: And then never gave it back.

SAM: That’s true.

LAURA: We’re terrible.

LIAM: I don’t think any of us can judge you, Vex'ahlia, but it does strike me as a little bit odd, if nothing else.

LAURA: I know. I know, I’m afraid these rogue tendencies I’ve been learning from you, brother, maybe rubbed off a little bit. No, I just, I know I shouldn’t have.

TRAVIS: I don’t care.

LAURA: I wanted to return it right away, and then he wandered off. That’s a lie, I didn’t want to return it. But I did want to pay him!

TRAVIS: I don’t think you wanted to do that either.

LAURA: No, I did! I did, I wanted to pay him! But he wandered away, and then I didn’t pay him, and now I have this broom that I stole, and there’s really no way to return it. Well, I probably could find him, but I don’t want to because now I can fly, you guys.

TRAVIS: Are you going to re-gift it?

LAURA: No. I’m going to keep it.

MARISHA: What do you say, Percy? I think it’s kind of funny.

TALIESIN: Are you honestly asking my opinion? You said what?

LAURA: Actually, Percy, do you know– I know you can build things and make things wonderful.

TALIESIN: Can you show me? What is this thing, what did you steal? What is this thing?

LAURA: I pull out the broom and I lift up in the air.

MATT: You guys watch as Vex all of a sudden (whoosh) takes off above the breakfast room.

TRAVIS: Sweet!

MARISHA: All right, that is pretty cool, Vex. That’s pretty badass.

TALIESIN: I don’t know if I approve of the metaphor, but that’s–

LIAM: What happens when you shoot a couple arrows from up there?

TRAVIS: Yeah, shoot me with an arrow!

MARISHA: Yeah, shoot some arrows!

TALIESIN: Okay, you’re not holding onto the broom anymore.

LAURA: No, I’ve been practicing! I’ve been practicing!

MARISHA: I reach on the table and I grab what I’m sure is a whole chicken sitting there.

SAM: Sure.

MARISHA: And I hold it up and I go–

TALIESIN: Has it not occurred to you that you’re not going to be able to fly?

LAURA: No, no, no, look! I’m not holding on, Percy! Look at me, not holding on!

MARISHA: Okay, Vex, ready? Ready, Vex? Vex?

TALIESIN: Oh, dear.

MARISHA: Trust.

SAM: Watch your eyes. Watch your eyes.

MARISHA: Trust Vex!

MATT: All right, Laura, I want you to go ahead and, first, roll a dexterity check.

LAURA: Okay. Shut up! 13.

MATT: 13, okay. You almost slip off the broom in the process of drawing the arrow from the quiver. You catch yourself and just barely manage to pull back and fire. I want you to go ahead and roll an attack with disadvantage.

LAURA: Oh, man, disadvantage. Okay.

MARISHA: Please, god, may your aim be true today, Vex.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16. (impact) The arrow does get relatively close to your hand, but it does stick into the turkey.

MARISHA: She did it! I hand the chicken to Scanlan.

SAM: I start eating.

TALIESIN: I pull the arrow out of the chicken.

LIAM: Do it again! And I throw the chicken closest to me into the air.

LAURA: Oh, shit.

SAM: A moving target!

LAURA: Oh, god, okay.

MATT: Okay, make another dexterity check.

LAURA: Okay.

SAM: There’s lots of chickens, by the way.

LAURA: Shit balls. 13.

MATT: 13. Okay, this time, you start falling off and you catch yourself entirely. The arrow just goes wide, you don’t even get a chance to nock it in the bow.

LAURA: Mother bitch, I really need to work on this! Okay.

MARISHA: It’ll take some practice.

TALIESIN: I don’t think this is– this may be an engineering issue.

LAURA: Yes, Percy, this is the thing. Can you build a seat on this?

TALIESIN: I pull out my notepad and start sketching.

LAURA: What if you could build a seat, and then I can sit on it instead of trying to sit on this tiny little stick?

TALIESIN: Let me–

SAM: Tinker?

TALIESIN: Tinker.

MARISHA: You know, beyond it being an engineering issue, it might be a greed issue first.

LAURA: Really?

MARISHA: Look–

LAURA: How’s that mimosa treating you?

MARISHA: It’s phenomenal. It’s been a long few weeks. I don’t care. I don’t care. We’re never going to see Gern again. I have so many other things to care about.

SAM: Oh, no, she’s day drunk again.

LAURA: Oh, no, are you already drunk, Keyleth?

MARISHA: No! I’m just, it’s been a long few– Look.

TRAVIS: Oh, Jesus!

MARISHA: I don’t care anymore.

TRAVIS: How many was that? Just one, right? We’ve been here for five minutes.

LAURA: I float down.

MARISHA: No! I just don’t want you to die.

LAURA: I float down eye-level, but I’m still floating.

MARISHA: I don’t want you to die. I don’t want you to die because of your greed. I don’t care that you have– You look amazing. Doesn’t she look amazing?

TALIESIN: Like a real hoverboard, is there a chance this one might set on fire as well?

LAURA: Why are you trying to be an asshole?

TALIESIN: Sorry.

LAURA: Here’s the thing, Keyleth. I’m not afraid to die anymore. I came to this realization. I’ve seen the other side. I’ve come to terms with it.

MARISHA: Well, that’s phenomenal that you’ve come to terms with it! I don’t know about the rest of us in the room that all watched you die, though.

TALIESIN: I feel too guilty to say no to her. I’m perfectly content to let this go.

TRAVIS: It is pretty sweet, flying around like that.

LAURA: It’s pretty wonderful.

MARISHA: It’s really cool.

TALIESIN: She’s an adult. Deep levels of arrested development, but an adult nonetheless.

MARISHA: I don’t care about the broom.

SAM: Keyleth, Vex swore to me that she would only use it for good.

LAURA: That’s right. I’m not going to steal anything while I’m riding on it.

TALIESIN: Where would you put it, anyway? You can’t let go.

MARISHA: Just don’t get into trouble, I guess.

LAURA: I’ll practice as much as I can, and Percy’s going to help me.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: So I can be stable on this thing.

TALIESIN: I may need some money, but we’ll put something together.

LAURA: I will give you all the money you want.

LIAM: Are you going to carry that on your back?

LAURA: Maybe.

LIAM: You’ll look like a Byroden chimney sweep.

LAURA: But I feel so good.

MARISHA: You got out, you came out on top this time. It might not happen next time.

LAURA: I start eating while sitting on the broom.

MARISHA: All right. I think she’s listening to me.

SAM: I think you broke through.

MARISHA: I think I did.

TALIESIN: I think you’re learning to let people be people.

MARISHA: I don’t care anymore.

SAM: Oh, look, look! Another round of chickens has just arrived for us to eat.

MARISHA: Oh, chicken!

SAM: I don’t know what breakfast is, so I just keep commanding them to make chickens.

MATT: So much chicken, guys.

LAURA: Where should we head to?

SAM: What is our next– Shoot, I kept a to-do list for us, but I didn’t bring it tonight.

TRAVIS: (burps)

SAM: Oh. I thought you were going to say something. That was a belch?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Did you want to head back to– Actually, Keyleth, you said something weird happened last night for you as well.

MARISHA: Yeah. Cerkonos stopped by.

LAURA: Yeah? I look at my brother. All right, cool. Keep going.

MARISHA: Not… As my elder. He stopped by as my respected elder. Do you all remember the name Raishan?

TALIESIN: Yes.

LAURA: That’s one of the dragons.

MARISHA: Apparently she’s our little infiltrator.

LAURA: What do you mean?

MARISHA: She came to the Fire Ashari, she came to Pyrah, about four years ago, and the Ashari, being the adoptive people that we are, they took her in.

LAURA: They adopted a dragon?

MARISHA: They adopted a dragon.

LAURA: How?

TALIESIN: Do they think she’s the one who sabotaged the rift?

MARISHA: They do. They were unaware that she was a dragon.

SAM: Does that make her the leader or something? Is that how all the dragons got through? I’m still not quite sure.

TALIESIN: It makes her the instigator, at the very least.

MARISHA: It makes her fairly close to Thordak, it would seem. Apparently, when she came to the Fire Ashari, she was about 15 years old, and…

SAM: As a dragon?

TALIESIN: Visually.

MARISHA: As a human woman.

LAURA: So she was making it seem like she was 15.

MARISHA: She was making it seem like she was 15, and they started realizing that she possessed powers far beyond anything that they had seen before, and then these powers began to exceed anything beyond our druidic capabilities. And it would seem that they realized that too late.

SAM: Did they say anything about her goals, or motivations? Her ambitions?

MARISHA: Cerkonos said one day they woke up and the mountain was spewing fire, and was angry with lava, and when he went to investigate it, she was there, ripping open the rift. And that was when everything happened. When he came to consciousness, everything was destroyed, so that’s all he saw. And she was gone. But we know where she went next.

TRAVIS: Where?

SAM: To Emon.

LAURA: Oh, eventually.

SAM: Kill everybody.

LAURA: Right. Totally. That day. The day.

MARISHA: I was trying to skip exposition, I thought you guys could fill in the blanks.

TALIESIN: We thought you had new information beyond that and would maybe want to add. It was certainly set up that way.

MARISHA: Thank you. I’ll work on that next time.

TALIESIN: It was very leading.

LAURA: Okay, well that’s good to know.

SAM: So perhaps we should inquire if you think this– Raishan?

MARISHA: Raishan.

SAM: Has tried to pretend to be a human woman in any other place? Should we ask around, or was it

just the one ruse here to gain entry for her companions?

MARISHA: I’m not sure.

SAM: All right. Well, don’t trust anyone.

MARISHA: Don’t trust anyone.

LAURA: Got it.

MATT: Servant rushes forward, “More chicken, sir?”

SAM: Keep it coming.

MATT: “Right away.”

LAURA: Do you guys have vegetables, maybe? Any vegetables?

MATT: “Vegetables, sir?”

SAM: I forgot to tell them to make them. Sorry. It’s all chicken.

MATT: “Chicken it is.”

LAURA: Cool. Chicken and mimosas, it’s my favorite breakfast.

MARISHA: And waffles.

SAM: Oh, waffles too? Chicken and waffles, that’s right. Maybe someone else should be in charge of the food next time we come here. My tastes are a little–

TALIESIN: Base?

LAURA: Little?

SAM: Singular.

MARISHA: And one thing that this does confirm is that this has been a plan that’s been in the process for a very, very long time.

SAM: No, I just came up with the chicken this morning when I woke up.

LAURA: Where are we going next, you guys?

SAM: Grog had some brass knuckles to get. Was that a thing? Did we get those?

TRAVIS: No. We haven’t gotten those yet. But there’s other things to explore.

SAM: All right. Wait, did we have to go make a trip to anyone else’s homeland? How’s Whitestone?

LAURA: We need to talk to a sphinx. A sphinx’s boyfriend.

SAM: Oh, that’s right. Maybe that should be our next–

MARISHA: What was his name? Hang on.

SAM: And what were we trying to get there? Another one of the articles of confederation?

MARISHA: We need the Titanstone Knuckles of Kord, which Kevdak has.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: That’s with your tribe.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Okay, but then there’s the sphinx.

LIAM: Time for a family reunion, Grog.

SAM: What’s that, Vax?

LIAM: I said it’s time for a family reunion, Grog. Are you ready for that, or do you want to put that off a bit?

TRAVIS: Oh, no, I mean. Whenever. It’s. You know.

LAURA: So do you want to go now, or do you want to maybe swing by somewhere?

TALIESIN: It’s either that or the library, I imagine.

TRAVIS: You want to go to the library?

TALIESIN: I was just saying that it’s either that or the library.

SAM: So it’s Grog’s herd or the sphinx to get something.

LAURA: We’ll remember.

SAM: On the way. And then, or, TBD, find something else to do. I guess Grog’s thing is the most promising. We know that there’s Knuckles there, we know that there’s people we’ll know there.

LAURA: Well, it’s all actually around Westruun, right? Aren’t your people around Westruun?

TRAVIS: You know, they roam.

LAURA: So we have to find them.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Last time we ran into them, wasn’t it on the way to Kraghammer?

TALIESIN: From Westruun.

MARISHA: Odessa’s mate is south of the Frostweald.

LAURA: I think it was.

TRAVIS: Was it?

LIAM: Yeah, it was. On the way to Kraghammer, that’s right.

SAM: Is Frostweald near Kraghammer as well?

LAURA: The Frostweald is–

MATT: South of Westruun.

LAURA: South of Westruun, yes.

TALIESIN: So let’s make our way to Westruun, I suppose, then.

SAM: And that’s in the direction of both Grog’s herd and the Frostweald?

LAURA: Potentially? Well, Grog would know.

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: Cool. Yes, I think Grog really wants to go.

SAM: Yeah, we should probably go there.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Let’s do that.

MATT: Your herd wanders all across the Silvercut Roadway, that whole area to the west of Westruun, south of Kraghammer, east of Emon, that vicinity.

TRAVIS: They wander there.

LAURA: Around there.

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: Okay.

TRAVIS: But look, I was thinking. It might be a thing when we find them, right? So picture this. Me, and then a lot of other me’s, and they’re all really big and angry. So if we want to do anything else before that happens–

SAM: You think they’ll attack us? But we’re with you! You’re our ally!

TRAVIS: Yeah, and I’m a super cool, awesome, fun guy, but we didn’t really leave in the best terms.

LAURA: Oh, weren’t you–

TRAVIS: Ass-kicked, yeah. All left for dead, pretty much.

MARISHA: You know what, Grog, it’s been a while. Why exactly were you beat up and kicked out of your herd?

TRAVIS: Right, so I was a bit younger, and we were wandering through the woods, and we came upon this little old bearded thing, right? And he was carrying groceries, like food and stuff, and everybody was a little hammered from boozing, and they were like, hey, let’s kill the little thing, and we’ll string him up and see what his insides look like! And normally I’m like, yay, I’ll wear him as a hat! But he looked really sweet, and I felt bad, so I said we shouldn’t do that. And… They didn’t like that answer. My uncle in particular, he didn’t like that, so he made me fight my cousin, his son.

LAURA: And?

TRAVIS: That wasn’t bad, I handled that. It was not a problem.

MARISHA: Okay. So they might have a grudge about that.

TRAVIS: No, there’s no grudge. They pretty much think I’m dead, because after I whooped his son’s ass, he whooped my ass.

LAURA: Oh.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN: We have a thing for that.

SAM: We do?

TALIESIN: Can I borrow your hat?

SAM: Of course you can borrow my hat.

LAURA: The Hat of Disguise?

TALIESIN: If you don’t want to have an immediate confrontation with your family, there’s no particular reason why they have to know you’re alive yet at all.

SAM: You could wear this hat. Might not fit on your head, you could maybe put it on one of your knuckles.

TRAVIS: I’m not hiding from my herd.

TALIESIN: You were giving off the impression of one who is looking forward to putting something off.

TRAVIS: I was, was I?

TALIESIN: You were. You’re not anymore, as if you’ve been dared, somehow.

LAURA: Very big.

SAM: If you’re too scared to do it, we can go elsewhere. Sorry, I will never say that again.

TRAVIS: No, I’m excited to go. I want to go. We should go. You know, what we need is the wolf.

LAURA: The wolf?

TRAVIS: Yeah. We need–

LAURA: Oh, the wolf in Whitestone?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Don’t they smell shit? He could help us find them.

LAURA: Well, Trinket can smell.

MARISHA: And I can also theoretically turn into a wolf to help us find things.

TRAVIS: I mean, if you want to. I don’t know how long it’s been since he’s seen a she-wolf, so, you know.

LIAM: Grog.

MARISHA: I was talking as in–

TRAVIS: I mean, it’s very generous.

LIAM: Just out of curiosity, we weren’t going to walk in and negotiate with your uncle. He’s not going to give us these Knuckles. He’s a proud owner of them, yes?

TRAVIS: Yep.

LIAM: And how many are in the herd, roughly?

TRAVIS: What’s a number bigger than five?

LAURA: Six?

TRAVIS: Yeah, it’s like six.

MARISHA: You mean it’s like at least six? Or possibly more than six? How fast actually is the reproduction process of goliaths?

TALIESIN: Are there more people in your herd or fingers on your hand?

LIAM: I hold up Scanlan’s hands and then I hold up my hands behind them so that all 20 fingers are waggling. Grog, are there more than this many in your herd?

TRAVIS: Yeah, six.

LAURA: Okay.

TALIESIN: He’s counting hands, not fingers.

LAURA: Oh. I hold up mine, too.

SAM: We all hold up our hands.

LAURA: How many hands is that?

LIAM: We’re doing rakshasa hands. Grog, is there more of them than rakshasa hands?

TRAVIS: That’s closer, yeah. It’s been a long time.

MARISHA: Yeah, this could be bad. This could be bad.

TALIESIN: We could attempt to steal them.

LAURA: Steal from the goliaths? That could work.

MARISHA: How easy is that?

LAURA: Does he wear them all the time? Does he put them in a chest?

TRAVIS: I mean, they’re pretty smart, they’re like me.

LAURA: Yeah. You’re right.

LIAM: I don’t think it’s going to be pretty no matter what we do, but I actually think trying to steal them might be a better angle than going toe-to-toe with “six” goliaths. I just did air quotes.

LAURA: If six is the right number.

TRAVIS: Here’s the thing, though. Normally, if you try and steal something, or if you try and break the rules and you’re like Keyleth and you get arrested every time, arrested ain’t so bad. They don’t really arrest you. They, like, open you up and use you as an appetizer.

LAURA: As a hat.

TRAVIS: Yeah. That was my thing, though. So I’m a little nervous about that.

LIAM: We just have to pick the least terrible option right now.

MARISHA: Well, we need these vestiges. We cannot do anything without these vestiges.

SAM: It seems to me that no matter where we go, we are putting ourselves in peril.

TRAVIS: Yep.

SAM: So it’s really just a question of which peril do we want to face first.

MARISHA: And don’t we theoretically need the vestiges before we go visit Odessa’s boyfriend?

SAM: I thought Odessa’s boyfriend had a vestige.

LAURA: No, he has locations of other vestiges.

TRAVIS: Odessa? Osysa.

MATT: Osysa.

MARISHA: Sorry.

TRAVIS: Shit, that’s what I would call her. Odessa.

LAURA: I feel like Pike would want to come with us, Grog. You’re very dear to her.

MARISHA: But wasn’t Pike and her grandfather the reason?

TRAVIS: It was Pike’s grandfather, yeah. And plus, she’s a healer.

TALIESIN: At the very least, let’s make our way to Westruun, then. Let’s get that far and see what’s–

MARISHA: Well, remember Westruun is under dragons right now.

SAM: We can instantly transport anywhere.

LAURA: You know of trees outside of Westruun?

MARISHA: I can, but it’s under dragon reign. In fact, isn’t that where Raishan stopped off?

MATT: No, the scrying that you saw was Umbrasyl, the black dragon, that took up residence, it seems, in Gatshadow, the mountain north of Westruun, at the base of the Cloudkeep mountain range.

LAURA: And Gatshadow is where Grog got his scar, right?

MATT: Yep, that’s where you guys initially… that happened.

TRAVIS: All right. Fuck. Look, if there’s a lot of them, and only a handful of us, it’s not usually customary to have two sides go at each other. If we want those Knuckles, I’m pretty sure it might have to be one on one. Now, I know I can totally take my uncle. But I wouldn’t mind if we found a few extra-credit items before we did that just in case I have the flu that morning, or it burns when I pee. Just something to take the edge off.

SAM: So sphinx first.

TRAVIS: If that’s what you want to do, then yeah!

SAM: Say no more.

MARISHA: Okay. And did we also want to check out the Cobalt Reserve which was in Westruun, or did Allura already handle that and we’re cool?

LAURA: Allura, I think, handled that, right? You saw her.

MARISHA: She was there and it looked pretty trashed. It looked like she grabbed a lot of the last of the good things.

SAM: All right. Let’s go to the sphinx, then. Where’s that? The Frostweald, we’ve been there.

LAURA: Yes, we have been to the Frostweald.

SAM: Do you remember any trees there?

LAURA: Frostweald is where Grog mugged down with the nymph, right?

LIAM: Allegedly.

LAURA: Allegedly.

SAM: We’ll never know.

TRAVIS: Grog does not kiss and tell.

LAURA: Yes, you do.

TRAVIS: All the time.

LIAM: All the time. All the time.

MARISHA: Just not that one time that we want to actually know.

SAM: Let’s go to the Frostweald.

LAURA: Let’s do it!

SAM: Do you remember any trees?

MARISHA: Do I remember any trees?

MATT: At the time, because you were not specifically paying attention to this ability of yours, there is no specific tree that has caught your attention. You could attempt to make an intelligence roll.

MARISHA: Not my strong suit. A straight intelligence check? Nine.

MATT: Nine. Unfortunately, you can’t recall the specific location of any trees in the Frostweald. It’s been a long time since then, and you weren’t being conscious of it at the time.

MARISHA: It’s been a few years, you guys.

TALIESIN: All trees look the same, don’t they?

MARISHA: After a while.

TALIESIN: Say it. All trees look the same.

LIAM: All right. Everybody hop on Vex’s broom.

LAURA: I mean, we could try.

MARISHA: I could get us close, or I could scry and look for a tree.

MATT: If you would like to, yeah.

MARISHA: Can I take time to do that?

MATT: If you want to, yeah. The trees in the area that you would know, that you recall, there was a… There were trees based around the Crossroads, which is the middle point of the Silvercut roadway that’s even further northwest, and west of Westruun. There’s the Bramblewood Forest, which is just north of Westruun. Most of them would be further west from there. Those are the closest.

MARISHA: The closest destination. Would the Crossroads be good? Maybe get us to the Crossroads?

SAM: Or we could just go to Westruun. Is Westruun still there?

LAURA: Westruun’s under dragon rule. There’s an actual dragon on Westruun.

MATT: Not on. Up in the mountain, but watching down, probably.

MARISHA: But they’ve got wyverns policing, right, in Westruun?

MATT: You didn’t notice in your scry.

MARISHA: I’m going to assume. Let’s do the Crossroads.

LAURA: Let’s do it! Let’s do it! Let’s do it!

MARISHA: We could theoretically run into your herd, though.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, I hope we do.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: To the Crossroads!

MATT: Okay. So you’re going to the Crossroads. The Crossroads is about two days of travel northeast of the Frostweald, about three days’ travel.

MARISHA: So I would be going northeast from the Crossroads? Or if I wanted to go in the Bramblewood I would have to southwest to get to the Frostweald?

MATT: Here we go. This is the Frostweald. This is Westruun. This is the Crossroads. This is Emon. This is Kraghammer.

LAURA: Oh shit.

MARISHA: Where’s the Bramble forest?

MATT: It’s right here. It’s by Westruun. The Crossroads is over here. You can totally take the Crossroads, but it’ll be–

LAURA: Go to the forest.

MARISHA: Let’s go to the forest. Let’s go to the Bramblewood forest.

MATT: Bramblewood forest? Okay, that’s fine.

MARISHA: There’s got to be some big trees there. I remember a few big trees. I remember admiring a few big trees in the Bramblewood forest.

MATT: Because you spent a lot of time in Westruun, specifically, you do recall various locations. You take a moment to concentrate on a few trees actually within Westruun. You recall there was one that was near a playground where you had once interrogated a small child if they had seen–

TALIESIN: Yeah! I remember that!

SAM: We spent a whole day in that park.

MATT: Yep. You begin to cast the spell and you concentrate on that tree in the park. There’s no connection to the tree. You gather that the tree may not have survived the initial attack on Westruun. However, you do take a moment and you do recall at the entrance to the Bramblewood, when you guys were briefly attacked by that group of thieves that were pulling you off to the side, pretending to be a stranded caravan.

MARISHA: That was good.

MATT: There was a series of rather large trees that marked the roadway there, and you recall one that had distinct markings, and you do manage to find a point of concentration or connection there.

MARISHA: I guess it took me a moment to find signal. Okay. All right. We’re good.

SAM: You need a signal boost.

MARISHA: I think I got one.

MATT: You complete the spell against one of the petrified trees on the outside of the Cindergrove. The doorway opens up, and you guys can see a thicket of Bramblewood trees on the opposite side. You all rush through one after the other, Trinket jumping behind. You all make it through, and you’re now standing on the central pathway of the Bramblewood. Further south, you’re probably about an hour and a half foot travel before you exit the southern portion of the forest.

MARISHA: All right, sorry, guys, this is as close as I could get us.

LAURA: No, this is great!

SAM: And how far are we now? A day’s travel? Two days’ travel, you said?

MATT: To the Frostweald? You’re about a day and a half. On horseback you’re about a day, under a day. On foot, you’re looking at about two days’ travel, a little over two days’ travel.

SAM and LAURA: Ugh.

MATT: That’s a rapid pace.

MARISHA: Mist form.

TRAVIS: Or we go where?

MARISHA: We could be clouds.

SAM: We’re not very fast in mist form, are we?

LAURA: No, we are, we’re super fast.

SAM: Are we?

MATT: You’re fast in mist form.

MARISHA: How long would it take to get us in mist form?

MATT: It would be a little bit faster than a horse.

SAM: Like a day.

MARISHA: Should we turn into clouds and go?

SAM: I haven’t done this before. Is it freaky?

LAURA: I pop Trinket back into his little crystal.

SAM: Is it super freaky?

TALIESIN: It’s so super freaky.

SAM: All right.

LAURA: Percy, what if instead of a seat, what if it was like I was straddling it, and there were two little things like footholds?

TALIESIN: I’m sorry, do you want to design this?

LAURA: No, no, it’s up to you. It’s totally you.

TALIESIN: Are you sure?

LAURA: I was just coming up with ideas to help you out.

TALIESIN: You’re welcome to design this, it’s just going to be much more expensive.

LAURA: No, no, it’s all you. It’s all you.

MATT: So, Keyleth, what are you doing? Are you doing the–

MARISHA: Yeah. I’m picking my spells because I haven’t done that yet, but yeah. We’ll poof!

MATT: So Keyleth goes ahead and casts– Is it Wind Walk?

MARISHA: Wind Walk.

MATT: All of you guys take a moment to transform into a mist form, and you all begin to coast right around the top of the trees, making your way south to the back of the Bramblewood. As soon as you exit the top of the trees, you can see Westruun ahead of you, and there are a number of interesting things that catch your attention. First and foremost, you see, halfway between the treetops to the south end of the forest and the very north part of Westruun, there appears to be a large, green open field with thicker patches of grassland here and there. There is a section that is a grassless dirt mound, that has, as you start coasting over you can see, what looks like spikes of wood, a couple of things that glimmer in the light as you pass over, and what looks like large grooves dug in a haphazard pattern. This patch is about 15 or 20 feet across, and you see two people bringing a cart away from it.

LAURA: Can we mist down a little closer to get a better view of what it is?

MATT: Yeah. These wispy people-clouds (wind).

TALIESIN: Those clouds look like half-elves!

MATT: No one seems to pay mind. The two individuals that went away with the cart are a little far from what you can see at this point, but they both appear to be humanoid, in no particular rush but they’re hauling this large cart away. As you look, you can see in this patch of dirt, the glimmers that you saw was a smattering of gold and silver coins that appear to have been tossed into this pile. It looks like there are pieces of wood that have been broken and crushed in the giant grooves. Who’s taking the intense look at this one right now? Okay, so the two of you, I want you to roll investigation checks.

TALIESIN: 18.

LAURA: Wow. No, 16 for me.

MATT: You recognize, and you get a feel for it too, because of your specialty in this, you notice that the giant grooves that tear into this are actually sweeping claw marks, like something of a large size and a very fast speed came down, and has come down multiple times, to snatch up something that was placed in this location.

LAURA: Oh, this is where they make their offerings.

TALIESIN: This is where the offerings are made.

LAURA: That’s good to know. I have advantage on anything having to do with dragons.

MATT: Right, which, as you’re seeing this now, yeah, you would gather the information with him as you did. Do you guys continue southward?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: Coasting on the outskirts of the city?

LAURA: It’s good to know that that’s there, though.

TRAVIS: We could set an ambush later.

LAURA: Yeah!

MATT: You guys begin to coast around the outside of Westruun, drifting up above as well, this wispy pattern of clouds. You get a view of the external farmlands that dot the north-northwestern side of Westruun. A number of them appear to have been burned. Not like forest fire or cataclysmic meteorite, like intentionally burned. The crops are charred and black, and there’s a pattern to how that was set. A few farmhouses also appear to have burned as well. But there are farmlands that are also functional, and you can see people tilling the land. I want everyone to make a perception check.

TRAVIS: A what?

LAURA: Perception.

TRAVIS: 14.

MARISHA: 16.

TALIESIN: 18.

SAM: Three!

LAURA: 31.

LIAM: 22.

MATT: Okay, so people above 20 would be the twins. All right, so Vex and Vax, you guys look over these fields and two things you notice. One, each set of farmers that are working, there is a well-armed individual on the outskirts of each of these farms that is intently watching them work. As you’re paying attention to this, one of them walks over and starts screaming at one and pushes them over, and then stands back and keeps guard. You also notice that the outside of the city, there appears to be some sort of construct or battlements, almost like another wall, a very thin wall, has been built around the various entrances to the city.

LAURA: They’ve imprisoned the people. We can’t talk to each other.

MATT: Can’t talk to each other, no, not in mist form.

TALIESIN: Just vape at each other.

TRAVIS: Do we keep going, or do we– Somebody make a choice. Down or keep going?

LAURA: I don’t know what good we’ll do right now.

MARISHA: Can’t do anything right now.

TALIESIN: You’re the only two that have noticed.

MATT: It’s up to you guys. Do you guys want to go investigate, or do you want to keep going south?

LAURA: I mean, how many guards are there around there?

MATT: You only see two that are actually in the immediate farmland, and they’re quite a walk away from the actual city. They don’t appear to be on heavy lockdown.

LIAM: As wind, I’ll pull in front of my sister and use windiness and wind hands and wind farts to put up a stop sign with my hands and point down if that’s possible in this form.

MATT: Yeah, that’s possible in the form. Vex, you see Vax, your brother, stop in front of you, put his hands up, and point downward with his hands.

LAURA: What do you want to do? What do you want? I noticed it too.

TALIESIN: I float on over to this.

LIAM: I’m going to go down and I’m going to motion for her to follow.

TALIESIN: All right, going down.

MATT: You guys all follow?

TALIESIN: I’ll solidify on the ground.

SAM: I’m still thinking about, what were those big gashes in the ground back there?

MATT: Yeah, it was really confusing to you. All right, you guys all drift down towards the ground as you see Vax begin to take on physical form on the outskirts.

LAURA: Oh, shit. Can we stealth? As we come out of it, I want to cast Pass Without a Trace immediately.

MATT: Okay. Are you going down to the burnt farmland or one of the healthy farms?

LAURA: Can we go down in an area that there’s shadow, to where we’re hidden?

MATT: There are a few of the fields that are more high crop, corn-style stalks.

LAURA: Somewhere that when we take form, we’ll be hidden.

TRAVIS: Just you two, right?

LAURA: I don’t know.

TALIESIN: I’m going down, too.

TRAVIS: You three?

MATT: Okay. Percy, Vax, and Vex all take a moment to revert back to their physical form.

SAM: Oh, I’m reverting, too. I’m a follower.

MATT: All right, Scanlan. Keyleth?

MARISHA: I guess so.

TRAVIS: Wow, we’re just going to make this super obvious, huh? There are dragons flying overhead.

TALIESIN: Well, we’ve landed.

MARISHA: We’re in a corn field.

TRAVIS: Yeah, we’ve landed. Let’s do it. We all want to die.

MATT: All right, so all of you, including Grog, or are you staying in your mist form?

TRAVIS: Fuck it. Let’s do it. I’m changing.

MATT: You all take a moment to revert to your physical form. I would like everyone to make a stealth check.

LAURA: And I cast Pass Without a Trace, so it’s extra ten.

MARISHA: Ooh! Natural 19.

TRAVIS: Hey, 18!

LAURA: 32.

LIAM: 25.

LAURA: Add ten!

LIAM: 35!

TALIESIN: 31.

SAM: 29.

MARISHA: 36.

SAM: We’re all good.

TRAVIS: 28.

MATT: What did you get again?

LAURA: 32.

TALIESIN: You don’t know we’re here anymore.

MATT: Where’d the party go? You all begin to weave your way through the various lines of high-stalk crop. Where are you heading? Are you heading in towards the city, or are you heading towards the farmers?

LAURA: We just want to sit here for a minute and talk about it. Can we just say, so here’s the thing. Those guards are attacking the farmers. I’m pretty sure they’re using slave labor at this point. Kind of like you, Scanlan! Slave labor to provide food for the city. Vax really wanted to stop down, but the thing is, if we kill the guards and set the farmers free, everybody in the city might starve. It’s a tough situation right now.

TALIESIN: Or they might just send more guards, once they know that one’s been killed, and then kill everybody involved.

LAURA: I’m afraid right now I don’t know what all we can do in this town until we can defeat the dragon, which unfortunately is rather close.

MARISHA: It’s a bigger problem.

TALIESIN: We can’t do anything for them right now until we actually know what’s happening.

MATT: As you guys are having this conversation, you can see there’s a slight rustle, and a farmer comes across, carrying a small satchel as he’s picking things off of one of the nearby areas.

TRAVIS: Is he close to us?

MATT: About 15 feet from you.

MARISHA: Does he see us?

MATT: He doesn’t seem to notice you guys.

LAURA: I mean, we can tell him to hold out hope.

TALIESIN: Maybe he knows what’s going on.

LAURA: He could also be one of the assholes that’s serving the dragon, just like people in Emon.

TRAVIS: I go (clicks).

MATT: The farmer turns. (gasps) You now see him. It’s a man in his late 40s, early 50s, gray beard.

TRAVIS: Shh! Help me out. Shh.

MATT: “Yeah…”

TRAVIS: Shh!

LAURA: Act natural!

TRAVIS: Keep picking!

LAURA: Keep picking!

MATT: He keeps picking.

LAURA: Hey, you. Do you like the dragon or do you not like the dragon?

TALIESIN: In the interest of the internet, we should probably do stage whispers.

LAURA: Do you like the dragon or do you not like the dragon?

MATT: You can see there’s some heavy bruising on his face and part of his cheek is swollen. He goes, “It would be hard around these parts to find someone who likes a dragon, let alone that one.”

LAURA: Good.

MATT: “Not the worst of the worries right now, though.”

LAURA: What’s the worst?

MATT: “The ones who work for him.”

LAURA: Right. So you have to provide food for everybody living in the city? Is that how that goes?

MATT: “Every one of them. Otherwise they just go ahead and steal from whoever’s nearby. Isn’t a caravan that’s made their way past Westruun in the past week.”

LAURA: Well, here’s the thing. We’re trying to help you. We’re trying to find a way to (clicking) (choking) kill the fucks. You get me? Ill-kay the agons-dray.

MATT: Drops the fruit he has in his hand. “Please! Please help us, please!”

LAURA: Act natural! Keep picking, keep picking, keep picking! We want to help you. We really, really, really want to help you.

MATT: “They have my daughter.”

LAURA: Oh, shit.

TALIESIN: Who’s in charge?

SAM: Who has your daughter?

TALIESIN: No daughters right now.

MATT: “Those beasts.”

SAM: Beasts? What beasts?

LAURA: The guards? They’re keeping your daughter?

MATT: “Keeping a lot of people.”

TRAVIS: Do you know where they keep them?

MATT: He leans over, nudges towards the direction of the city.

TALIESIN: Who’s in charge?

MATT: “I don’t know his name.”

SAM: And that spot that we saw, just outside of town, that’s where gold is given to the dragon? Do you know anything of that?

MATT: He looks a little confused. “I don’t know. They just take what we have.”

LIAM: The guy, you don’t know his name. What does he look like? Where have you seen him?

LAURA: Keep your voice down!

LIAM: I’m talking through Skype, so it’s a little more difficult for me!

MATT: Who are you talking about?

LIAM: The guy who’s got your child. You don’t know his name. What does he look like? Where have you seen him?

MATT: “I don’t know. They’re all different types, I haven’t seen the one who has them. They have them.”

LAURA: They, the guards? The people that serve the dragon?

MARISHA: What type of people are they interested in?

MATT: “Half-orcs– Interested in? Whoever keeps him at bay. I don’t know, they take whoever seems useful. Sometimes they take them and slaughter them before us as a warning.”

MARISHA: Then why did they take your daughter?

MATT: “I don’t want to think about it.”

LAURA: To keep him working!

TRAVIS: Look. Say we were really bored, and we wanted to get you your family back. Where would you go?

MATT: He points over to the city. “But there’s one right out…” And you see him pointing angrily around the corner, probably to the one that you saw on the outskirts of the farm area you guys came down in.

TALIESIN: Let’s go to the city then, I suppose.

SAM: Wait, what?

LAURA: There’s a dragon!

SAM: To do what, to attack half-orcs that work for a dragon?

LAURA: Farmer. What’s your name?

MATT: “Reginald.”

LAURA: Reginald. Reginald, we want to help. How often do you see the dragon flying around?

MATT: “Once every couple days, maybe.”

LAURA: Once every couple days. When was the last time you saw him?

MATT: “About half a day ago. Dusk yesterday. I don’t know. We all stay inside around that time just in case.”

MARISHA: Does he have patrols? Does he have wyverns working for him as well, that fly around?

MATT: “I haven’t seen anything flying but the dragon. There was a huge fight not more than a week ago between these people and that thing. They seem to have come to an accord.”

MARISHA: These people?

SAM: The orcs?

MATT: “The orcs, the whatever they are. The big strong angry ones that keep taking all of our stuff.”

MARISHA: Oh, no.

LAURA: (gasps)

SAM: What, what?

LAURA: What do they look like?

MARISHA: Do they look like him, maybe?

MATT: “Some do.”

TRAVIS: Oh, fuck me.

LAURA: Shit.

TRAVIS: Fuck, fuck, fuck!

MATT: “The dragon came in and tore everything down.”

TRAVIS: Damn it. Shit hammer.

MATT: “Burned, liquefied, dissolved portions of this city, people screaming. And then it left. Both of them.”

SAM: You’ll be okay. We’re going to keep going. Good luck.

TRAVIS: No, wait, wait.

LAURA: Scanlan!

SAM: No, we have to keep going. We can’t face these goliaths and dragons and orc guards! This is craziness!

MARISHA: One of the dragons was green?

MATT: “From what we saw.”

LAURA: Green and a black.

MATT: “Green and a black. I think a white one, but that one kept going.

SAM: I mean, we’ll be fine.

MARISHA: And the green one kept going?

MATT: "All of them kept going. We thought we were safe. We tried to re-gather. And then, within a day, a bunch of these bastards came and took what was left. Slaughtering, stealing.”

TRAVIS: We’ve got to go get his kid.

LAURA: I feel like we have to help them. We have to help them!

MARISHA: Oh man. I feel like you all are talking like I normally do, and I’m talking like Grog normally does. This is such a weird day.

SAM: No, you’re using way too many prepositions.

TRAVIS: You said there are a lot of people that look like me.

MATT: “From what I’ve seen. I don’t go too far into town, they keep me out here, but I’ve seen a few.”

LAURA: I’m keeping an eye out for the guard. I want to keep an eye out for the guard, make sure he’s not noticing.

MATT: Perception check.

TRAVIS: They’re in the city?

MATT: “Most of them are, yeah.”

SAM: Were there six of them?

LAURA: 17.

MATT: 17, okay. You don’t see the guard nearby.

TRAVIS: We need that guard.

MARISHA: What are we going to do right now?

TRAVIS: We’re going to ask him some questions.

MARISHA: This is a coup on a grander scale than Whitestone that we’re talking about.

TRAVIS: I just want the guard.

SAM: Where’s the guard? Can we see him?

MATT: You guys want to try and find him?

LAURA: Well, I saw him on the other side of the thingie.

MATT: Okay. You guys begin making your way towards the direction that Vex saw the guard. You start pushing through the crop, making your way to the edge, and at the point where these high crops end, it opens up into what looks like a heavy root-based field. Potatoes, carrots, things that are beneath the ground. You guys see across the way the two other farmers that were out there, the one that you saw being loosely beaten, they’re both filling satchels and emptying them into two larger carts that are put up to horses, one of them a larger pony. You see what appears to be another hulking humanoid, taller than an average person, skin slightly gray, a smattering of tattoos across the body. You recognize–

LIAM: And best we can tell, he’s the only guard? The only one?

TRAVIS: No, there’s two. There’s two.

LAURA: I have an idea!

SAM: Wait, he was about to tell us who it is.

MATT: From what you can see, you actually recognize this individual.

TRAVIS: Fucking nipple tassels!

MATT: This is an individual that you knew quite a ways ago, a young goliath who was still about a half a foot shorter than you when you knew him. He was named Horace, because he hated it, and Kevdak gave him this name and you actually, at some point in the past, recall even giving Horace a good beating. A little of the smaller of the goliaths you’ve encountered. This is years later. This punk kid, and he was kind of a punk, has grown up now, and is still smaller than you by a size, but still seems to be every bit of an agitating little bitch you remember, from the way that he’s treating these people.

TRAVIS: Is he holding anything?

MATT: Not in his hand at the moment, no, but he does have across the back what looks to be some sort of large blade sheathed.

LAURA: Can I give my idea?

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: What if we ask Reginald to call for help, like he needs this fuck’s help, and then he comes over, and then we spring a trap on him.

MARISHA: That’s not a bad idea.

LAURA: I can use Hide in Plain Sight on us, and hide us, and make us look like we’re part of the crops.

TRAVIS: I love it.

LAURA: To set an ambush.

TRAVIS: I love it.

LIAM: And the goal is to question this guy or to take him out? To question, yeah?

TRAVIS: We’re going to ask him questions, and if he makes a peep– Hold on, before we do that. Can you see the other guard that was out here?

MATT: Glancing about, because it is a pretty open area, you can see the secondary guard is walking away, looking to check one of the other homesteads. There is a farmhouse.

TRAVIS: It’s like Kansas, right, it’s flat?

MATT: Yep, it’s flat farmland on the outside of Westruun. As soon as you break the south side of the Bramblewood, it’s just plain.

TRAVIS: What distance would you put him at? How far away would you put him? 100 yards?

LAURA: The other guard?

MATT: I’d say the other guard’s probably a good 400 feet.

TRAVIS: Do it.

LAURA: Yeah?

TRAVIS: Do it.

LAURA: Can I take a minute to camouflage us and then tell Reginald to call him over?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: When he comes over, I grab him. Nobody do anything that’s loud.

LAURA: Got it.

MATT: Okay. So, as you all take a moment, stepping into parts of the stalks of the edge of this land, Vex, you go ahead and start taking up leaves, patches of dirt, mud from freshly watered ground, and you start smattering the rest of the group with it. You guys are going full Arnold from Predator. You begin to blend into the vicinity.

MARISHA: Question. Could I work with Percy?

TALIESIN: Yes?

MARISHA: I have Entangle learned today. Could we fashion a quick Entangle trap, where when the guy steps into it he’ll be entangled? Or I could maybe just be prepared for it?

MATT: You can be prepared for it when it happens.

MARISHA: I’ll be prepared for it.

TALIESIN: I’m going to draw her a little sketch of something that would spring, that you can make out of wood.

MATT: The spell expends when cast, so it’s more of waiting to release it. To make it as part of a set trap, that would be a consumable trap you would have to construct.

MARISHA: All right. I’ll just be prepped with it.

MATT: Okay. So you guys all have hidden.

LAURA: Reginald.

MATT: He’s behind you guys, watching all of this happen. “Yes?”

LAURA: Act like you’re still picking and act like you hurt your ankle, and call for help from that guard over there. We’ll protect you.

MATT: “Promise?”

TRAVIS: Yeah, I promise.

MARISHA: And try and maybe keep a bit of a distance, because I’m going to be doing a trap here. It’s going to be 20 feet. You don’t want to be in it.

LAURA: Just step back and call for help.

MARISHA: Just step back, all right?

MATT: So you guys are all working on the very edge of where these crop fields begin. Reginald pushes through a little bit, and goes, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” You hear in the distance a voice go, “Hey you! What’s your problem?” He goes, “My ankle!” And he starts hobbling into the crop. “You shut your trap! It’s your fucking ankle! What’s that stupid– Oh, you–” (grunts) He starts lumbering up. “I’m going to teach you about letting a peep out of that stupid maw of yours! I’m going to beat that face so hard it can’t make a noise ever again! Stupid git!”

TALIESIN: And now.

MARISHA: (whoosh)

LAURA: The minute he’s in the high crops so he’s out of visual from the other guard.

MATT: Okay. So as soon as he steps into the high crop area.

MARISHA: I’m waiting for Percy’s cue.

TALIESIN: Now!

MATT: All right. So what are the specifics of the Entanglement spell?

MARISHA: 20 feet.

SAM: It always works and it catches whoever you want!

MARISHA: It always works…

MATT: All of a sudden all of the crops, all of the large stalks and vines start (whoosh) wrapping around his body.

LAURA: Shit, mother bitch!

SAM: What’s wrong?

LAURA: That’s a bit obvious.

MARISHA: Is it obvious?

MATT: It’s once he’s inside the area, so it’s not like the wall on the outside.

LAURA: Okay. I was picturing all the plants suddenly losing their shit.

MATT: No, just the ones in the immediate vicinity.

SAM: Like a used car lot?

MATT: Okay, so he’s going to attempt to make a strength saving throw.

LIAM: I’m going to squat at the edge of the high crops and keep an eye on the other guard who was walking off just to make sure he’s oblivious.

MATT: Make a perception check, if you could, Vax. Surprised so he has disadvantage on the saving throw. What’s the DC?

MARISHA: Me? 19.

MATT: 19? That’s a failure. All right, and what?

LIAM: 28.

MATT: 28! Yeah, Vax, keeping an eye, the guard doesn’t seem to have kept notice and continues walking off towards the distant farmhouse. The plants all wrap around his body and he: “What’s this? Stupid– ”

TRAVIS: I run over and I tackle him, knock him to the ground, put my hand over his mouth, punch him in the forehead. Punch him again. Punch him a third time. And I barely lift my hand.

MATT: “You motherfucker– ”

TRAVIS: Punch him again.

MATT: At this point, now he’s got blood pouring out of the corner of the eye. One eye has gone a little red from burst vessels. You can see it starting to swell up already. Blood’s now pouring out the side of the nose where you’ve hit it, and he’s still fighting even though the plants have kept him entangled. As soon as the calm comes to him (heavy breathing).

TRAVIS: (sing-song) Horace.

MATT: The eyes go wide and all the tension in the body loosens. “Fucking hell.”

TRAVIS: (muffled) Fucking hell.

MATT: You’re still holding his face? (muffled) “Fucking hell.”

TRAVIS: I’m going to move my hand. If you make a sound, wash, rinse, repeat, yeah? Nod. Shut the fuck up.

MATT: He spits a couple teeth out the side of his mouth.

TRAVIS: You’re looking big.

MATT: “You’re supposed to be dead. You’re supposed to be fucking dead. I watched you beaten to death. "Why the fuck are you still alive?”

TRAVIS: Yeah, right. Funny thing about me. So look, who else is out in this field with you right now?

MATT: “No one. It’s me and Cole, but Cole’s heading back to the city. We have other ones passed out around, but most of them stay in town, especially during the day. That’s where the festivities are.”

LAURA: Festivities?

MATT: “Do you want back in? You’re alive, man. Now’s the time. It’s a good time for the herd.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, no I want back in, for sure. That’s what I’ve come here for: to come back in. But here’s the thing. It’s a bit of a surprise, right? Other people haven’t seen me. You like a good surprise, right, Horace?

MATT: “Yeah?”

TRAVIS: Yeah. I thought you might. Here’s my question: have you seen my cousin Zanror? Is he in the city?

MATT: “Probably, aye.”

TRAVIS: Right. And what about Kevdak?

MATT: “Kevdak stays in the city, as well. Up at the old Margrave’s place, actually. Turned it into his palace. Want me to take you?”

TALIESIN: Before we go any further, what do I roll if I want to find out if Horace really does like surprises? I’m not kidding.

MATT: Make an insight check. All of you guys are still hidden, by the way, unless you want to do something.

TALIESIN: No, I’m just watching.

LAURA: And we gained another plus ten, so now we have plus 20 to all of our stealth, by the way, from that Hide in Plain Sight.

SAM: Wait, what?

LAURA: We have Pass Without a Trace, which adds plus ten, Hide in Plain Sight adds plus ten. That’s what I camouflaged us fucking for.

SAM: How do you have all these things?

MATT: All of you guys make another stealth check with plus 20.

MARISHA: Natural 20, so 40. Actually, I have a stealth of seven.

LAURA: 46.

TALIESIN: 43.

MARISHA: 47.

MATT: You guys have never been seen. Retroactively, no one’s ever seen you in your entire lives.

TALIESIN: I could fire my gun, at this point, and they’d be like, oh, rain’s coming.

MATT: If it was Bad News, it would still probably break stealth.

TALIESIN: Well, if it was Bad News, yeah.

MATT: Okay, unless you rolled a one. Yeah, no. (laughs) Horace hasn’t seen anyone. “I could take you in.”

TRAVIS: Right, listen. I was going to pounce on this poor farmer over here, but I saw you were obviously keeping your eye on him. Why are you doing that?

MATT: “Which one are you talking about? Reggie?”

TRAVIS: Yeah. Old Broken Foot over here.

MATT: (laughs) “He’s a little bitch, that one is. No, but you know what? I caught him sniffing around. I think he’s keeping some gold hidden.”

TRAVIS: Really? Gold? This poor farmer?

MATT: “Twisted his arm a couple of times.”

TRAVIS: Have you?

MATT: “We could do this for old times’ sake. Each take an arm, pull until he tells us.”

TRAVIS: Oh, like wishbone?

MATT: “Yeah.”

TRAVIS: Yeah, that does sound like a good idea. Here’s my thing. Why are you guys in this city? It’s not really our thing to be in civilized places.

MATT: “Here’s the thing. Let me get loose here for a minute. I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable.”

TRAVIS: No, I don’t think I will, Horace.

MATT: “Okay. We were heading up north. We took out a small caravan just south of the road cuts, near the Silvercut Way, and all of a sudden out of the sky, we saw these streaking dragons come through. Largest I’ve ever seen. Dangerous as the day’s long. So we fled. We watched them come here and tear into this city. Rend it, destroy it, smoke and flames and ice and all sorts of craziness. And they kept going. We figured, dragons come, didn’t take the spoils, there’s plenty of spoils for us. More than we could ever dream of. Most of it’s pretty well-guarded, but there couldn’t be much left over there. So we gathered up who we had, and mind you, the herd’s swelled a bit since you left, my friend. We conquered another wandering tribe last year. Zanror took the head of their leader and commanded them to join. We’re about a hundred strong these days.”

TRAVIS: Jesus.

MARISHA: Fuck.

MATT: “Pecking order. Still us goliaths at the top. We got all sorts of other piddly men.”

TRAVIS: Really?

MATT: “Half-men, half-orcs. A few brutalized elves here and there. They make cooking easy. Anyway, we took that moment and we rushed into the town. Took it before the day was over. Killed all who didn’t bow before Kevdak himself. Days of revelry ensued, my friend. Oh, you missed out. Wine, women, gold. We took what we wanted until one of them dragons came back. Black one. Scary. Killed a lot of us. We weren’t so much a hundred strong then, but by the end of that we had 50 or 60 to our name before the anger finally stopped. Kevdak bent a knee and made an offering to this dragon.”

TRAVIS: Kevdak did?

MATT: “I know. But trust me, you see a beast this size… it was survival through a mutual discussion, if you will. Promised our might to its worship, gathered our spoils, deliver it every now and then. We got to have the leftovers. We rule the city in its stead. Not a bad deal. Doesn’t watch. We leave it what we find– most of it, at least, we keep a little on the side– and we live like kings here. Westruun is now property of the herd.”

TRAVIS: Well, it sounds really good.

MATT: “You’ve missed out, and there’s quite a few openings now, since we’ve lost a few of the less than strong folk. You look strapping. I’m sure Kevdak would be more than happy to have you back.”

TRAVIS: I do. I’ve actually brought a few gifts.

LAURA: (whispering) I notch an arrow.

TRAVIS: I unsheathe Craven Edge.

MATT: “That’s a good blade.”

TRAVIS: Isn’t it. And I ask out loud, are you hungry?

MATT: “It’s been probably half a day since breakfast. Aye. Why?” His expression begins to shift as realization begins to dawn on his face.

TRAVIS: I pull it back. I stick the point in between his ribcage, and I drive it up through him.

(shocked noises)

MATT: Before he can say a word– he tries to speak through the pain, but it’s met with the gurgle as various bodily fluids fill the inside of his lungs and throat.

TRAVIS: Oh, more?

MATT: The blade, now, you can see (choking noise) peeks through the back of the mouth as his eyes go ever so dull, the rest of the blood flow pouring out the sides of his mouth.

TRAVIS: Pity that, acid reflux.

LAURA: Grog! Oh shit. Good job, there.

MARISHA: Vex?

MATT: As this is happening, the blood that has filled the mouth begins to seep back into the mouth. The trails are still there, but what was once filled to the brim has been slowly recessed, swallowed. Not by the unmoving body of Horace, but the dark blade itself now drawing from the inside.

LAURA: What the fuck is that sword, Grog?

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: What is your sword doing?

TRAVIS: Nothing. It takes in the strength of who it slays.

LAURA: It takes in the blood?

TRAVIS: Did it do that?

LAURA: Grog.

TRAVIS: What?

SAM: You killed him. Was he related to you in some way?

TRAVIS: I don’t know. I remember him. He was always a little shit.

MARISHA: Grog, do you remember killing him five seconds ago?

TRAVIS: Who?

MARISHA: Oh no. You guys.

LAURA: The little dude. Your little friend?

TRAVIS: Horace?

LAURA: You killed him. On purpose?

TRAVIS: Sure.

LAURA: You wanted to?

TRAVIS: Yeah, he was going to go tell about us.

MARISHA: You were conscious of that?

TRAVIS: What?

MARISHA: Is it me?

SAM: You’re using too-big words.

TRAVIS: So listen, right? Either we stay and do some recon, or we take out the other guy that’s walking back to the city. Really shouldn’t be a problem. But if they’re all in there, 50 strong, I don’t think we’re quite ready for that. The sneaky fucks in our group could go take a look, if you’re feeling randy.

SAM: What would be our mission?

TRAVIS: Info only.

SAM: You killed this one quite easily.

MARISHA: Very easily.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but that’s because we did it as a group.

MARISHA: Did we?

LAURA: Could we wait until nightfall?

SAM: I’m going to check out his body. See if there’s any booty on his body.

LAURA: Well, as soon as we move, we won’t be camouflaged in this crop anymore. We’ll lose that.

MARISHA: Yeah, we won’t look like crops.

MATT: As the stalks unwind, leaving his defiled body and you draw the blade free, Scanlan, you find, across the body, there is a simple, slightly chipped-but-still-functional greatsword that was sheathed in the back, wrapped in a haphazard hide that functioned as a scabbard. Mostly just leather pants, a few furs, looks to be a bone necklace and a bone bracelet around the wrist which looks to be teeth, human teeth. About 27 gold pieces in total change.

TRAVIS: How far are we from the city here?

MATT: About a five-minute walk.

TRAVIS: Five-minute walk. That’s not far.

LAURA: Keyleth, can you use your powers to suck him into the ground so that nobody sees him?

TALIESIN: I honestly don’t think they’re going to find him, anyway.

LAURA: I use my abilities and try to camouflage the body so that nobody finds him.

MATT: You pull him up into one of the walls of the plant stalks and set him in there, mounding up whatever bits of fallen leaves and dirt you can. He’s pretty well-hidden.

MARISHA: I use my Druidcraft to grow some flowers on top of the dirt.

MATT: Some flowers come up there. Some of the local leaves from the stalks bend down and help cover him up.

TALIESIN: Leave a couple of his human teeth that he’s collected–

SAM: I’ll leave all his human teeth, I’m not gonna take that shit.

MARISHA: Great, so very successful trip. Stopping down.

LAURA: Reggie?

LIAM: His partner’s still long-gone.

TRAVIS: That guard?

LAURA: The other guard, yeah?

MATT: The guard’s gone. Reggie’s still sitting there, watched this whole thing happen. Looking at you and goes, “You did good. You did good.”

TRAVIS: I know I did. Just imagine what we’ll do to the rest of them.

MATT: “Thank you. Thank you.”

SAM: Are we going to do anything to the rest of them?

LAURA: Right now?

TALIESIN: I think we’re going to go take a look.

TRAVIS: I don’t mind you taking a look, but be careful.

TALIESIN: We can also still turn into mist.

MARISHA: We can.

LAURA: They can’t hurt us when we’re mist.

SAM: We can all mist and go into the city and check it out.

LAURA: See what we see.

TALIESIN: Be fast and stealthy.

LAURA: Can we stealth while we’re misting?

SAM: It doesn’t matter if they see us, they can’t do anything to us.

MATT: Yeah, it would be being conscious of the cloud patterns in the sky, moving with the wind in a way where you become less noticeable as something strange. So it’s possible.

LAURA: Let’s try that, so we can spy on the city! Get closer in.

TRAVIS: It feels kind of cheap.

LAURA: Why?

TRAVIS: I don’t know.

LAURA: At least if we go in, Grog, we can see what we’re up against.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but can’t we use our eyes? Just as they are. Do we have to turn to smoke this time?

MARISHA: Why would we not?

TRAVIS: It feels a little cowardly.

LAURA: It’s not cowardly, Grog, it’s safe.

SAM: You can stay behind.

LIAM: What if Vex and I went as mist, just the two of us, quickly? Just the two of us.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that’s fine.

TALIESIN: I may join you two for this as well.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: And what are the rest of us going to do? Just wait? Me, Scanlan, and Grog?

TRAVIS: You can turn into a cloud, and float in there, and see what you want to see, but I’m not turning into mist when my herd is inside that city. If I go in, I’m going in.

SAM: As Grog.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: So why don’t we just not go in right now?

SAM: Why don’t you all go in, I’ll stay back with Grog.

TRAVIS: Thank you.

LAURA: All right.

TALIESIN: Not crazy-ish.

MATT: All right, the four of you convert into mist form, crest up over the edge and start drifting your way over the top of Westruun, leaving Scanlan, Grog, and Reginald amongst the crops.

TRAVIS: Reginald, you want some ale?

MATT: “Do you have some?”

TRAVIS: No, I do, yeah, hold on. Get the cask out, pour him a cup.

MATT: He drinks thirstily, both because he seems genuinely thirsty, and second, it seems like he could use a long, hard drink.

TRAVIS: Pace yourself, son, there’s a lot that’s here.

MATT: “I’ve been drinking longer than you’ve been alive, friend.” Just (guzzles).

TRAVIS: Wow. Another?

MATT: “Yeah.”

TRAVIS: I’ll keep them coming.

MATT: And, for that, we’ll take a quick break, come back here. See you guys here in a few minutes, and we’ll continue this story. See you in a minute!

BreakEdit

[break]

Part IIEdit

TALIESIN: Cock goblin.

MATT: Welcome back! Ha ha, they got it on stream! Sorry, Liam, we’re not as good as you are at it. So, guys, quick note before we get back into the game. Apparently, the shirt link wasn’t working earlier, it is working now. They got it functional, so go ahead and hop on now while you can. Returning from the break, as Grog and Scanlan sit, waiting to hear back from the rest of the team, traversing over towards Westruun, seeking information in their mist forms. The two of you remain behind. The four of you guys who are in mist form, where are you going?

LAURA: Can we stealthily head towards a pocket of people? Do we see a crowd of people being held?

MATT: This is your mist form?

LAURA: This is my mist form.

MATT: Ocean. I like it. I’d like you guys to make stealth checks.

LAURA: Stealth checks!

MARISHA: Do we still have Pass Without a Trace?

LAURA: Yes! 39.

LIAM: 42.

TALIESIN: 33.

MARISHA: 24.

MATT: You guys make your way across the rest of the fields. You head over Cole, you can see walking his way to the outside of the western side of the city. You come towards the bottom of the gate. You can see the rigid, small fence structure you noticed when you were far away from the city becomes more clearly visible. It is a series of spears and pikes that are set up as a barrier or a barricade to the outside world to Westruun. You do see adorned atop a number of them a few heads, varying sizes, various people, various ages.

MARISHA: Does this appear to be goliath-built?

MATT: It’s hard to say. It looks built.

LAURA: And the spikes are facing inward towards the city, or outward?

MATT: Outwards. There are breaks in it, but essentially it’s partially a pseudo-defense mechanism, it’s more as a warning, it’s a point of intimidation.

MARISHA: So does it look pretty jerry-rigged?

MATT: Yeah. It’s not anything too classically designed.

LIAM: No flying buttresses?

MATT: Not quite, no.

TALIESIN: Doric columns, oh my god! Awful! Tacky!

MATT: You coast over the outside wall and glance down within. You can see there are people wandering the town, townsfolk that are out in the streets. Many of them are in pairs or groups, two to four people, appear to be traveling from one place to another. Most of them are accompanied by one or two armed individuals. Some of the people have chains around their neck. You do see a number of these buildings are in ruins, patchwork places. Some are just crushed. Some appear to have been melted down, like the wood or stonework itself has been dissolved into a pile of matter. You see places where fires have broken out and some places have burned into a giant cluster of ash and broken wood. A quick memory glance at this height, you start looking for specific areas that you recall from memory. One: you glance over and see where you first came to meet Pike, where she and Wilhand lived. That area is the area of town that was, apparently, salvaged from the battle. It still stands, there appears to be very minimal impact. As you give yourself enough closeness to check in, the red brick homestead of Wilhand does appear to be standing.

LAURA: Can we see Wilhand anywhere?

MATT: At this distance, no. You also note, towards the shopping district of Westruun, there is the shop of Abjurist Noja, one of your first enchanter friends who protected you during your first Winter’s Crest.

MARISHA: Yeah! He cast the protection spell on us!

TALIESIN: This is making me feel very old.

MATT: His structure is still standing as well. A few buildings around did not fare so well, but his shop and a number of other ones adjacent to it seem to still be standing. You can’t really tell if they’re functional, or how busy they are, or if anyone’s doing anything with them, but that’s still there. You do notice, though, at numerous parts of the street, there are just piles and piles of burnt wood and ash, like they’re large burn piles that were set at different periods of time and have long since burned. Little bits of white, post-burning plumes that still smolder over the past few days. You’re not quite sure what these piles contained at the time they were set ablaze. There is still the worship district here. You have the various temples. Best you can glance, a few of them have been partially toppled. There is damage to some of the buildings. Still too far away to make out any specific details beyond that, some of the structures having taken a hit in previous conflicts. You’re not sure from which source.

LAURA: What about the mayor’s house where we heard Horace–?

MATT: The Margrave’s. Towards the southern central portion of Westruun, south of the main town square where the bulk of your first Winter’s Crest festival here in Westruun took place. The Margrave’s house is at the very southernmost portion of that. That entire square is lined with row after row of sharpened wood sticks and various other weapons, tridents, broken swords that have been, with ropes, strapped together to form a military barricade. If anything were to attempt to attack from the ground, it would be difficult to do so if this area was filled with prepared soldiers, using these as protective guard. The actual Margrave’s home is intact, although at this glance, you can see a lot of it has been defiled, elements of the outside walls are strewn with dark burgundy paint slapped over. You can see what looks to be some sort of strings adorning edges of it, like decoration. You see, walking through this area, what looks to be 12 or 13 or so armed individuals of varying heights. Probably a good six or seven goliaths among them. Others appear to be human, half-orc, it’s hard to make out the full details from this distance. They’re all on the outskirts surrounding what was previously the Margrave’s home. Now the homestead of Kevdak, seemingly.

LAURA: Can we see Kevdak anywhere?

MATT: You have no idea what Kevdak looks like.

LAURA: I look for a bigger goliath than the rest, or one that looks older and bigger.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16. At this distance, it’s hard to make out any specific details. You can barely make out the fact that they’re goliath. It’s only because you’ve traveled with Grog so long you can pick out the details, the hairless form, the tattoos, the general tone of skin. They’re male and female, it’s a smattering of all different types of goliaths. Some of different thickness, some that are a little more barrel-chested and wide, some that are a little shorter. There are other similarly dressed individuals that are not goliaths as well, but they seem to be more of a subservient role within the herd than the goliaths that would be the ruling class within this self-contained society. But no one stands out to you as matching the descriptions of Kevdak that Grog gave you.

TALIESIN: The mansion seems to be where they’ve based their operations, though.

MATT: Seemingly.

LAURA: We don’t see a cluster of prisoners anywhere out in the open?

TALIESIN: Where’s the prison I was being held in?

MATT: The prison you were being held in was in the Umbra Hills. That’s far north of Westruun.

LIAM: That’s when we fought the Nightmare.

LAURA: Yeah!

TALIESIN: (laughs) (imitates Laura) Yeah!

LAURA: Do we see a cluster?

MATT: Do you see a what?

LAURA: A cluster of prisoners out in the open at all, or is it just out around–?

MATT: It’s hard to tell because most everyone who lives here is, in some, way, shape, or form a prisoner. You do see at the various gates of the city as you went through, there’s about three, four individuals average stationed there. Nobody seems to be entering or exiting. And the pace of those that are not of the herd that you see walking through the city has a feel of hopelessness, or at least their presence outdoors is more of function. They do what they’re told, and if they’re not, you’ve already seen what happens to them.

MARISHA: Now what?

TALIESIN: Maybe stealth isn’t– maybe Grog’s right– we can’t talk, can we?

MARISHA: No, we’re fucking clouds.

LAURA: Can we say go back to the–

LIAM: Yeah, I’m gesturing to go. Get out.

LAURA: Yeah, let’s go back.

MATT: Make a stealth check, guys, on the way out.

SAM: 93.

TRAVIS: Scanlan and I have been alone.

LAURA: 39.

MARISHA: 32.

LIAM: 44.

TALIESIN: 26.

MATT: Okay! You guys make your way westward. Is there anything you guys wanted to accomplish while they were gone?

SAM: Just massage each other.

TRAVIS: Right, so I turn to Scanlan. And I say: you and I are mates, right?

SAM: Yes, the best of mates.

TRAVIS: Right. Could I confide something in you?

SAM: I wasn’t aware that you knew what that word meant.

TRAVIS: (clears throat) Right. Well, I’m full of surprises. One of which is– so, I had this horrible dream recently, and in the dream, I was killing all these people with this amazing sword that I have.

SAM: Yes?

TRAVIS: But there were a lot of people, and some of the people that got killed I knew. And I feel it has something to do with this sword that I have. And the secret is: I can hear the sword talking to me.

SAM: Like, talking-talking, or you just–

TRAVIS: Yeah, look, so I’m telling you because you and I have such a history, right? And I feel like you won’t judge me, but, like, I’m afraid the rest of the group won’t quite understand. I don’t know if I’m crazy or if this sword is talking to me.

SAM: Do you see a mouth on it or anything?

TRAVIS: No, I just hear a voice and I was wondering if maybe I take it out–

SAM: All the time?

TRAVIS: No, only when I’m holding it. So, like, I could take it out now and we could see maybe if you hear it.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: So I take out Craven Edge.

MATT: You take out Craven Edge, you hold it out in front of you.

TRAVIS: Craven Edge. How did you enjoy your snack?

MATT: “It was a good snack. A snack it was. If there’s more where that came from, I would be so thankful.”

TRAVIS: Are you getting that?!

SAM: No, Grog, I’m not.

TRAVIS: You’re not hearing anything? No, like, super sexy (low-pitched growl) voice? Nothing?

SAM: Try one more time.

TRAVIS: No, it’s not worth it. Look, do you want to hold the sword?

SAM: Sure! That’s a good idea, actually! Can I hold the sword? How big is it?

MATT: It’s a greatsword. It’s almost twice the length of your whole body and probably weighs close to as much as you do.

SAM: Can you hold the top part and I’ll just hold it by the handle, the hilty-part?

TRAVIS: I hold the blade, and I hand the hilt towards Scanlan.

MATT: As you hand the hilt over towards him, there’s hesitation in the voice, “Only you are worthy of holding me. You will hand me to no one.”

TRAVIS: (grunts) See, now, now, now, Craven, I’m starting to feel like I’m doubting myself. I’m seeing things– he’s talking to me.

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: I’m going to take it right back, I just want him to experience your glory.

MATT: Make a charisma check.

TRAVIS: Shit. Fuck. That’s bad.

LAURA: No.

TRAVIS: (gulp) Seven.

MATT: Seven? Okay. You can’t give the sword up. It means too much, and the voice in your head says, “Only those proven worthy to feed me can carry me. And you, Grog–”

SAM: Grog, hand me the sword.

TRAVIS: (pained) No. On second thought, don’t worry about it. It’s clearly– and I take it back– it’s not, it’s just– maybe I just need to see someone or talk to somebody. Clearly, I mean, you don’t– it’s talking, you don’t hear it, right?

SAM: I don’t hear it, but maybe if you handed it to me, I could.

TRAVIS: No, it’s really heavy, too. And I sheathe it.

SAM: Do I believe him?

MATT: Make an insight check.

SAM: Not good.

MATT: Grog, make a deception check.

SAM: Not good! Seven!

TRAVIS: Three!

(laughing)

MATT: Grog’s not the most able liar, you glean. You’re pretty good at seeing past the deceit of others. This definitely falls under the line of deceit, as adorable as it is to see him try.

SAM: Grog, you want to give me the sword. And I will cast Suggestion on him.

LAURA: Ooh!

MATT: Is it a wisdom saving throw?

SAM: I haven’t used it in a while, and I don’t have my thing.

MATT: I’ll pull it up real fast, just to make sure. I’m pretty sure it is.

TALIESIN: I think it is.

MATT: Yep, make a wisdom saving throw.

TRAVIS: Giant modifier on this one. 16. With a modifier of zero.

SAM: Well, 18, if I’m not using my thing.

MATT: Not using the cone, so no, it still fails. So you feel compelled now to give this sword. You’re like, no, that’s a great idea.

TRAVIS: You know what? That’s a great idea! I feel like you should hold this sword. And I hold on to the blade, but I still hand the hilt to him.

MATT: As he holds up the sword towards you, you grasp the handle. As his hand touches it, the voice goes, “No! Only you can wield me!” Go ahead and make a wisdom saving throw again.

TRAVIS: 18.

MATT: I’m sorry, that’s a charisma saving throw.

TRAVIS: 19.

MATT: 19?

TRAVIS: Yeah, plus one.

MATT: All right. You feel the influence of the blade begin into creep into your mind, but the bond you have with Scanlan and the time you’ve traveled together, you manage to shrug it off. Fighting that impulse, you still hand the blade over. You take the handle. You let go of the weapon. You hold it in your hand now. It’s a (heavy thud).

TALIESIN: You ruin everything good! You take everything good away from all of us!

SAM: Well, it’s heavy.

TALIESIN: Throw it into acid, why don’t you?!

TRAVIS: Ask it a question!

SAM: Oh! I talk to it?

TRAVIS: Yeah! And it’ll talk right back, it’s like that!

SAM: Oi, Craven Edge. Have you been talking to my friend Grog?

MATT: There’s a long beat of silence. And then a barely audible (annoyed sigh).

LIAM: Sing to it!

MATT: All of a sudden, you hear this tiny voice creep up in the back of your head: “If you truly wish to hold me in your grasp, I require you to prove to me your worthiness.”

TRAVIS: Is it saying something?

SAM: No.

TRAVIS: No?! It’s not saying anything?!

SAM: Craven Edge? How do I prove I’m worthy?

TRAVIS: What?

(laughing)

MATT: The blade, all of a sudden, it almost seems to have a slight shift of its own, like a divining rod, and it moves. And the blade shifts away from the direction of you and Grog and gently shifts down the way to an older gentleman who’s now returned to picking a few crops and it points in his direction and says, “Prove to me.”

LAURA: Is it Reggie?

MATT: Pointing to Reginald.

LAURA: No!

MARISHA: Not Reggie!

TRAVIS: Why are you pointing it at Reggie?

SAM: I don’t think I can. I don’t think I want to. So I think I’ll try to give the sword back to Grog.

MATT: Make a charisma check.

SAM: Is this magic?

MATT: It’s not a spell. Let me double-check, if you’re referring to the gnomish racial capability. Let me go ahead and check the rules here, because this could make a difference here.

SAM: Well, it’s fine.

MATT: Against magic? I’ll say yes, because it’s technically a magical entity.

SAM: Natural 20.

TALIESIN: Witchcraft!

MATT: The sheer force of personality that begins to exude from this weapon, you sense that it is old, it has seen many a hand, and has probably taken far many more a life. But it’s not met a gnome like you before, Scanlan Shorthalt.

TALIESIN: (singing) Never known a gnome like you before!

SAM: Take this back, will you?

TRAVIS: Yeah! I take it back. It talked to you, then, yeah?

SAM: Yes, it did.

TRAVIS: Right, it’s creepy as shit.

SAM: It’s very compelling. I don’t know if you should have this, Grog.

TRAVIS: (confused sputtering) Now, hold on! I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t fucking, you know, batshit crazy, which I’m not! And I’m really glad that we’re sharing in this now. But hey! Hey! Don’t tell anyone. Promise me.

SAM: All right. I won’t tell anyone. But I might have to ask some questions about this.

TRAVIS: No, that’s why I brought you in! You’re all smart, right? And I always want to ask questions like, what’s the first thing it remembers, what was it doing with Lord Briarwood–?

SAM: Does it tell you to kill things?

TRAVIS: No!

SAM: A lot? I know it does, it just told me to kill something.

TRAVIS: You must be a dark wizard.

SAM: Does it tell you to kill things?

TRAVIS: No! It just says it’s hungry.

MATT: At which point, you both hear a voice simultaneously go, “Always hungry.”

SAM: Yeah!

TRAVIS: You heard it that time! Holy shit! I feel like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and you’re James Earl Jones! I’ve got a friend in this now!

(laughing)

TALIESIN: Oh boy.

TRAVIS: Right, so, look, you know.

SAM: We should not tell the others about this. This is very strange.

TRAVIS: Yeah!

SAM: They might freak out.

TRAVIS: Right!

SAM: I’m going to ask about this. When next we see Pike, I’ll ask her about it.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Find out if it’s good or bad or neutral. Because I don’t know anything about this. Right, I don’t know anything about this?

MATT: Make an arcana check.

TRAVIS: It could be good; there’s nothing wrong with being hungry.

SAM: 12.

MATT: 12. It seems magical.

SAM: Yeah, I don’t know. Don’t know anything about this.

MATT: As a bard, you understand that there are certain artifacts, weapons that either upon their creation, upon their development, had the essence of a creature or soul put into it. Or, conversely, the weapon came into being as its own personality. You’re not sure of the nature of this, and you’re unable to ascertain which side of the spectrum it lies on as far as morality goes.

SAM: I’ll do some investigating. In the meantime, try not to kill anyone in our party. If it tells you to.

TRAVIS: I would never!

SAM: Well.

TRAVIS: Never!

SAM: Okay.

TRAVIS: No, yeah there’s never even, like–

SAM: Let’s just keep this between us.

TRAVIS: Yeah, totes.

SAM: Just like that time in Emon when we–

TRAVIS: Yep!

SAM: –double-teamed–

TRAVIS: The Eiffel Tower!

SAM: Yep!

TRAVIS: Yep! All right!

SAM: It was a–

TALIESIN: Oh, that went up my nose!

LAURA: Ugh!

MATT: At which point, a few clusters of wind come landing out of the sky.

MARISHA: What? Green lights?

LAURA: That’s us.

MATT: You guys, you’re the mist!

MARISHA: (panicked yelling) Oh! It’s just me!

TALIESIN: You’re literally just scared of your hands.

MARISHA: (relieved) Oh!

TRAVIS: What did–

SAM: Nothing happened here. How was your trip?

TRAVIS: Yeah, boring here.

LAURA: Totally boring?

TRAVIS: Yep. No action.

LAURA: You know, not a lot to see there. There’s a lot of goliaths and a lot of other bad guys walking around, oppressing very nice-looking people.

TRAVIS: A lot of goliaths?

MARISHA: They’ve made really poky fences everywhere.

TRAVIS: That’s what I’d do.

LAURA: It looks like if we barged in, straight in, they’d probably have very good fortifications.

TRAVIS: Right.

MARISHA: I also think they’re trying to be scary.

TRAVIS: Trying to be scary?

MARISHA: Not that you’re not scary all the time, Grog. I just think they’re like, ooh.

LAURA: They really want to look scary.

MARISHA: They really want to look tough, yeah.

LAURA: So, here’s the thing. Do we barge in, totally risk our lives? Or try to find a way around this situation?

SAM: There’s a central stronghold of some sort?

TALIESIN: Yes.

SAM: Is it a fortress?

LAURA: It’s where the mayor lived before.

SAM: It’s a house?

LAURA: Yeah, it’s like a big house.

TALIESIN and MARISHA: It’s a nice house.

SAM: And if we were to make our way into it, somehow, what would our mission be?

LIAM: Well, let’s put on the table what we’re doing here. Right? Kevdak has the Knuckles. We don’t know where he is. He’s probably pretty formidable on his own. And in a day or two, a dragon is going to be swinging by, so it’s not one problem, it’s a very large problem and a massive problem.

TRAVIS: Agreed.

LAURA: I wonder if Kevdak goes to the sacrificial area where they leave the hoard for the dragon.

TALIESIN: I wouldn’t.

MARISHA: Or if he does rounds to check in on people.

TALIESIN: I’ll also say I think it’s more than likely that, in the end, I doubt the dragons would care who is filling the sacrificial plate.

LAURA: As long as someone is.

TALIESIN: As long as the plate’s full.

TRAVIS: As far as this city goes, correct me if I’m wrong, but we have two options. Either we stealth in with the stealthy people, not me included, and we try and pickpocket Kevdak for the Knuckles. Or I challenge Kevdak for the Knuckles.

MARISHA: Is Kevdak known to ever wander off by himself? Does he take interest in his subjects to where we could corner him alone?

LAURA: Or is it a walk in and try to challenge him?

SAM: We could take out that guard, what was his name, Cole or something?

TRAVIS: Yeah, Cole was heading back to the city, though.

SAM: Well, we could find one of your goliath friends, hold them hostage, and draw out Kevdak that way.

TRAVIS: They won’t care about a hostage.

MARISHA: There also could be the issue of are they going to go looking for Horace?

TRAVIS: Maybe. Not that hard, though.

SAM: We could do some sort of a diversion, set a fire or something that would draw them out. Or set a fire to the house they live in.

MARISHA: That’s not a bad idea. What would bring Kevdak out?

TALIESIN: Grog. Grog would bring Kevdak out.

MARISHA: Grog?

SAM: Do you want to march in there, solo, while we stealth–

LAURA: No!

SAM: No, no, while we all stealth around in the rooftops watching, ready to act.

LIAM: Grog, I’m curious how tied you feel to the ways of your people now, or if you do. Do you feel the need, yourself, to face him on your own, or would you be amenable, would you be friendly to the idea of my sister and I softening him up for a moment, and then letting you have at it? What do you want to do here?

TRAVIS: So my fear is this: that if it’s anyone but me and him, everyone gets involved. Not just us, but all 60 of them in that stronghold. I don’t think we walk out of that very well. I’m not opposed to facing him head-on and seeing what fate has in store for me while you free any prisoners that might be around, or ransacking his house for any fun bits, but I think he’s going to have the Knuckles on him.

MARISHA: Question. Is your herd and Kevdak the type where, if you start getting the upper hand in this fight, will the herd move to protect Kevdak?

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: So they’ll honor a one-on-one fight? They’ll honor that? They won’t pull a fast one and swarm in when he’s on his last leg?

SAM: Tell us this. If we walk in with you into town, is that not good? Should you walk into town alone and we lurk in the shadows?

MARISHA: Do you want to be on a hilltop, like standing on a hilltop? Because we could arrange that.

TRAVIS: I would need to think about it. Regardless, I think now is not the time. Perhaps we go look for Osysa’s mate.

SAM: You don’t want to do this now? It seems like now or never!

MARISHA: We know where Kevdak is, he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

SAM: We may not know where he is after this.

TRAVIS: He seems pretty fortified. And we don’t have Pike. And this is her hometown.

MARISHA: Judging by the– no, I didn’t hear any of that.

LIAM: I want to throw something in here as well. And I don’t know what to do in this situation, I’m looking to you all for guidance. But I do know two things. One is that I don’t want you to fall, Grog. We need you. And I do not want you to fall to Kevdak. And second: if you do fall, I’m not willing to walk away without those Knuckles, not for me to use, but for us to use. We need those Knuckles. So if you are to fall at his hand, which I do not want, I don’t know that I can honorably walk away.

TRAVIS: Well, yeah, speaking from a selfish position, if I fall, you can really do whatever the fuck you want. I think honor is bupkis at that point. So I don’t mind what you do after that.

LAURA: You’re not going to fall, Grog.

TRAVIS: No, no, no.

LIAM: My first point, Grog, I need you, we all do.

TRAVIS: That’s very sweet. Uh. Emotion. I would like it if Pike was here.

TALIESIN: We know.

LAURA: We wait.

MARISHA: Look, could we hear Horace when he was interrogating him?

MATT: Yeah.

MARISHA: Judging by the way Horace was speaking, it sounds like they’re pretty settled in for right now.

TRAVIS: They’re not nomadic any more.

LIAM: Sitting pretty.

TRAVIS: Yeah, they ain’t going anywhere.

MARISHA: So we know where he is now. It’ll give us a little bit more time to formulate our plan? This is your fight, Grog, we’ll follow you in this one.

LAURA: You want to go in there with Pike?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Let’s wait for Pike.

LAURA: We wait for Pike. We wait until Gilmore’s up and standing and we bring Pike here with us.

MARISHA: Pike might even be an emotional trigger.

LAURA: For what?

MARISHA: The herd if they see her, maybe.

LAURA: They never met her.

MARISHA: That’s true. They probably don’t give any shits.

TRAVIS: Let’s just do this. Let’s go after Osysa’s mate. If we don’t learn or find anything incredibly valuable, we’re at the same place we are now.

MARISHA: Good point.

TRAVIS: And then we can kick the tires.

SAM: Do we still have mist possibilities?

MARISHA: We do, we can float on.

LAURA: Is Reginald still around?

MATT: You notice that Reginald’s sitting there, clutching his full stachel.

LAURA: Hi, Reggie!

MATT: “Hi!”

LAURA: So we’re going to help you.

MATT: “Right.”

TALIESIN: We’re going to go get some reinforcements.

LAURA: You might have to wait a little while.

MATT: “That’s okay, but you’re coming back, right?”

LAURA: We most definitely are. Spread the word that hope is alive. We will find a way to beat this.

MATT: “All right. I’ll be careful. You be careful, too. Come back as soon as you think you can, when you’re ready.”

LAURA: Don’t tell anyone what you saw here, though, right?

MATT: “Good luck.”

MARISHA: If anyone asks where Horace is, what happened to Horace?

MATT: “I haven’t seen him for days.”

LAURA: That’s a good answer.

MATT: Spits on the pile where his corpse is. “All right. Hope to see you soon, then.” He turns around and begins walking back.

MARISHA: Reginald.

MATT: You guys all take a moment, collect yourselves, revert back to your mist form, coast out of the farmland, heading southward in the direction of the Frostweald. And there, we’re going to finish our campaign for the evening.

MARISHA: Ooh, shit!

LAURA: Man, Grog!

MARISHA: Grog!

TALIESIN: Feeling the pressure now? Feel it?

LIAM: Grog showing restraint and caution!

LAURA: I like it! I want Pike here, too.

LIAM: Yeah, so do I.

TRAVIS: It’s too big for Grog.

SAM: Could have taken them.

LAURA: You could totally have taken them.

TRAVIS: Could have. But it’s where Pike and her family raised Grog.

LAURA: Seems appropriate.

TRAVIS: Her schedule’s so busy, but if we can get her next week…

TALIESIN: Well, next week we do the sphinx, and then the week after.

MATT: We’ll figure it out. We’ll get her back sometime soon, right?

TRAVIS: We do.

LIAM: If it takes 17 episodes, we will.

MARISHA: You’re in New York. Can you stuff her in your suitcase while you’re there, bring her back?

LAURA: Good call!

MARISHA: Just commandeer her, she’s tiny!

LAURA: She’s little!

MARISHA: She might be a little loud.

LIAM: Skype is rough, guys, it makes me feel bad for Pike.

MATT: We’ll have you back soon, buddy.

LIAM: I’m fine.

MATT: No, you’re not! You need to be here!

LIAM: (fake crying)

MATT: I know. Hopefully we’ll be having Ashley back when Blindspot releases her between seasons, we’ll have her back for a few months.

MARISHA: Season break!

MATT: Whenever that happens soon. We’ll see you guys back here next week for the next length of the journey of Vox Machina. Until then, is it Thursday yet? See you guys soon.

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