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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show Edit

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

TRAVIS: We play Dungeons & Dragons!

MATT: Oh, we're in rare form already, this is bad.

LIAM: Is this really a permanent installment? It's here for good?

SAM and LAURA: Yeah. LIAM: Okay.

MATT: Oh boy. Sadly, no Taliesin tonight. He's very sick, so he's home probably watching, hopefully watching this, so you can keep with how we ruin your character while you're gone.

LAURA: No!

MATT: So get better, buddy, and we'll see you when we come back.

TRAVIS: Got too close to a time-traveling version of himself.

MATT: Yeah, he was like, "I can make it!" And we're like, "No, do not be patient zero."

MARISHA: Timeline fatigue, it's a real issue.

LIAM: Super rude of him to not have his character die last week since he wasn't going to be here today.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: That's horrifying. So yeah. Feel better, Taliesin. Before we jump into tonight's episode, we have some quick announcements to get through. First and foremost, we have our wonderful sponsor of the campaign, our friends at D&D Beyond. Sam?

SAM: D&D Beyond, everybody.

MATT: Oh jeez.

SAM: Speaking of campaigns, everyone is on the edge of their seats to see what will unfold in the campaign for president of D&D Beyond. If you're just joining the show, you might not have noticed, but I, Sam Riegel, am running a ferocious campaign to become the president of D&D Beyond, the company. Not sure yet if they know this, but I'm going to win, and will command their company. Running against me has been Liam O'Brien, doing a great job.

LIAM: You see the polls lately?

SAM: The polls, not only have I seen the polls, we were just up in Seattle and a lot of people who came by our tables for like an autograph or whatever said they were voting for you, friend, which scared the shit out of me.

TRAVIS: Don't believe the polls.

LIAM: D&D players want a firm hand.

SAM: I think, ultimately, your strong-arm, authoritarian technique will fail. But just in case, I've prepared an ad-- which I hope will win me back support-- by showing the people what I think they really like and they really want most out of a candidate: celebrity endorsements. So I've lined up some pretty hot celebrity endorsements, and I hope they will turn the tide of this election. Roll that video, guys.

[VIDEO] WRITING: And now, a message from supporters of Sam Riegel.

BEN SCHWARTZ: Sam is the man for me. Truth, justice, and the Sam-merican way-- that's terrible.

AIMEE CARRERO: [fixes hair]

BOBBY MOYNIHAN: Sam Riegel makes shit happen.

AIMEE CARRERO: Truth, justice-- truth, justice, and the Sam-merican way. And the Sam-merican way.

DAVE HEWLETT: Yay to my bestest best friend... Sam. Yay Sam, and boo, Liam. We done?

GREY DELISLE: Sam Riegel is running for president and he asked me to make an endorsement video for him.

AIMEE CARRERO: [fixes hair]

TIM SIMONS: Hi, this is Tomothy Simons, and on behalf of Sam I just wanted to say that-- he really wants me to say that?

GREY DELISLE: So I said I would, and so I am, and this is my endorsement video that I said I would make. I have to see Sam a lot, so I told him I would make this. So, this is it.

BOBBY MOYNIHAN: Sam Riegel for president.

YVETTE NICOLE BROWN: Sam, Sam, he's our man. If he can't do it, no one can. Vote Sam. Who's Sam?

BEN SCHWARTZ: Sam is the man for me.

AIME CARRERO: Vote for Sam. Can you hand me my phone, please? I just have to make a quick call. I have to call my agent, because I didn't get a break. No, I didn't get the SAG meal.

BEN SCHWARTZ: Truth, justice, and the Sam-merican Way. [mumbles] Sam Riegel makes shit happen. [aloud] Sam Riegel makes shit happen.

TONY HALE: Is it Rye-gel? Okay. The love and compassion that this person has for the world is insurmountable. Samantha Riegel.

BOBBY MOYNIHAN: Vote for Sam Rogol for president. Is that his name? Am I done?

SAM: I'm Sam Riegel and I approve this message because celebrities are the best among us. [VIDEO ENDS]

SAM: I rest my case. I mean--

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

MARISHA: Holy shit.

SAM: Celebrities typically know better than you and I do. They exist on a higher level of thinking and existence, and when a celebrity says that you're good, you're good.

TRAVIS: How much shit do you have on them? Do you have a recording of their farts in the booth or something?

SAM: I absolutely, every time they've said a naughty word, I've recorded it and kept it banked. Anyway, thanks to D&D; Beyond for sponsoring the show, and I hope I can run your company someday. Back to you, Matt.

MATT: Thank you, Sam, and thank you everyone who's now debt-free of what they owed Sam Riegel over all these years.

TRAVIS: Getting out of hand.

MATT: Holy shit. All right, yes, and thank you D&D Beyond, for making this happen every week.

SAM: Mm-hmm.

MATT: A big thank you to everyone who came out and saw us this past weekend at Emerald City Comic Con. We had an amazing time, it was a great panel, the Critters come out in full force, every convention we just take over and it's amazing. We had the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of you guys, had some incredible times, got some incredible gifts from a number of fantastic folks out there, shared some great words, some tears, some hugs. So thank you all for making the time out there to come see us, and we have Denver Comic Con coming up soon, and other events throughout the year that we get to announce as we go. Super excited about that. Travis, you had an announcement.

TRAVIS: Yes, oh, all you crazy beautiful people, our Vox Machina, Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter animated series campaign is still running strong! That's my best Sam Riegel impression.

MATT: That's pretty good.

TRAVIS: We have currently raised over $7.7 million to make this animated special series, Briarwood amazingness. Our next and final, really, stretch goal is $8.8 million, and if we hit that, we will be able to complete the series and make ten episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina.

SAM: Holy shit. Guys, we might actually get there.

TRAVIS: I know!

SAM: This is like, it's possible, we could make a whole season of a TV show.

TRAVIS: Don't even know.

MATT: Just us and the community. No big companies, nothing.

TRAVIS: It's amazing, everybody knows. Also, if we hit 8.8, finally, finally, our very own Ashley Johnson will DM her very first game. We will put her behind that screen, we will effectively kidnap her from NBC Blindspot, and it will be amazing. Don't quote me on that. Thank you all.

MATT: Awesome. Thank you, Travis. Laura, I think you had a quick merch announcement to make?

LAURA: Oh, me?

MATT: Yes, you.

LAURA: Oh, this Cobalt journal? Y'all, this has been a long time coming, we've been working on this for a while. Taliesin designed this gorgeous--

SAM: No way.

LAURA: Yeah. He created all of the fricking code. This is what we used in our--

MATT: It's an actual, functional, written language of the Cobalt Soul cipher.

LAURA: I mean, shoutout--

LIAM: Taliesin has been talking about that design for about two years.

LAURA: Yeah, and every time I was like, "Is it done?" He's like, "It's almost there." This is worth it.

SAM: Did any of us actually look at it to see what it actually means?

MATT: I did, thankfully. Yeah. It's actually really cool. It has a bunch of hidden symbolism and stuff in it.

MARISHA: I wish he was here to explain it all.

LAURA: I know, I know. I got a lot of tweets from you guys with our journals that we've released in the past, and a lot of you were like, "Can we have gridded paper? Because I like to make notes of my maps." So I made the back 30% of it gridded paper for people who like to check things out.

MATT: OG.

LAURA: So yeah, pretty freakin' cool. It's in the shop right now, and it's also in the UK store right now.

TRAVIS: Chicka chicka.

MATT: Mmm bomp bomp. We can't get clearance on that one. Thank you, Laura. Super excited, they've been working on that for a while, so super excited to see that.

LAURA: There's a thing, you can close it, you can place mark stuff. It's pretty great. (laughter)

MATT: All true, all true. As a quick note, we will be taking next week off. Many of us have been working our butts off for a while, and some folks need a little break, and some folks are just traveling with family. There are a lot of vacations and little escapes all lined up, and we're like, let's just go ahead and take the week off for all of us, for ourselves and our crew, who have been working tirelessly for the past few weeks with everything with the Kickstarter and the channel and everything. We will be dark March 28th, next Thursday, as well as the following Talks, April 2nd, will be dark as well. We'll be back returning on our regular schedule the following week. April 4th will be the next episode after tonight. Enjoy the next two weeks, use that time to relax, use that time to, I don't know, watch other episodes or check out some of the other great streams out there, or get the rest of your family and friends indoctrinated.

LIAM: I can finally get that colonic.

MATT: See?

TRAVIS: Wow.

LAURA: You've been talking that for so long.

MATT: Hey, everything is content, right?

SAM: I'm ready for it.

LIAM: Do you know how many miniatures are trapped up there? I need to flush it out.

TRAVIS: Check your colons, kids.

MATT: There's where the Thordak went.

LIAM: Gelatinous cube is rough.

MARISHA: That would ruin a camera.

MATT: And on that note. Let's go ahead and dive into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

(water bubbling) (thunder crashing) (explosion) ♪ Role, Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, roll the dice ♪ ♪ The adventure begins, they were always beside you ♪ ♪ Your nerdy best friends and the DM to guide you ♪ ♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪ ♪ Villains beware 'cause you're about to be dead ♪ ♪ They got magic and flair, they got falchions and cunning ♪ ♪ They don't see over there, there's a monster incoming ♪ ♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don't think twice ♪ ♪ Put your fate in your hands, ♪ ♪ take a chance, roll the dice ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, roll the dice ♪ ♪ Critical Role, Critical Role ♪ ♪ Can you answer the call diggin' deep in your soul ♪ ♪ As the legend unfolds, now it's your turn ♪ ♪ To roll ♪ (flames whooshing) (laughter)

Part I Edit

MATT: And welcome back, everybody. That was a team effort tonight, well done.

LIAM: We will never stop doing that. We will never stop.

MATT: I've noticed. I just accept it this point. No, this is my life now.

SAM: We'll be at your funeral and we will be--

MATT: I hope so!

SAM: We will say cockbutter!

MATT: Oh.

(laughter)

MATT: No, I did something horrible in a past life and I'm still paying penance.

(laughter)

LAURA: I'm using it. It's mine.

LIAM: It's mine. It's a gift.

LAURA: Too bad, I'm taking it.

LIAM: Motherfucker...

(laughter)

MATT: So. Last we left off. The Mighty Nein, the intrepid cast of unique and broken individuals, found their way east to the lands of Xhorhas, in search of the seemingly recently captured husband of Nott the Brave from a previous life, which seems to be held and is currently residing somewhere beneath Ghor Dranas. Upon traveling through subterranean tunnels under the mountain range of the Ashkeeper Peaks, wandering past the dangers of the ashen wastes of the western side of Xhorhas, you made your way to the City of Beasts, Asarius, where you, under the guise of various illusions and/or just smeared mud, hid throughout the society, made some friends, purchased some moorbounder beasts as mounts, and underwent a conversation with one of the drow heads of the city, and accepted two contracts, it seems, to both gain gold and possibly favor with the Bright Queen Leylas Kryn herself. Whoever that may be. Upon searching for an Empire spy, as one of these you discovered it to be Dairon, your mentor from the Cobalt Soul, and the other one enabled you to travel towards the north center of the city, beneath the well there, to discover a source of this slow-rolling demonic incursion into the city of Asarius. There you did battle with a succubus and an incubus, as well as some sort of other demonic general entity that came through the portal. A very harsh battle ensued in which a number of members of your own party turned against you under the charm effects of these demonic creatures.

TRAVIS: Talking about you, dick.

MATT: (laughs) At the end of this, all of you lay bruised and beaten, and Caduceus, snuffed, his life lost, if not for the divine magics of Jester and that one diamond you guys have been carrying around for a long time as components, you managed--

SAM: And we don't have one now.

MATT: No, you do not.

LAURA: Caduceus still has one.

MATT: Does he still have one?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we bought two.

MATT: Good to know.

SAM: Thank god.

MATT: Pulling him from the jaws of death, you returned with a mild vision from the Wildmother, and you all, broken and beaten and not in a place to make much conversation, quickly made a night's rest here, in the seemingly now safe caverns beneath the city. So, you guys take your long rest, you can set yourselves at a full night's recovery.

SAM: Before we sleep, or as we're sleeping, I just wanted to check with Caleb. Caleb, Caleb, I found this leather scroll. Would it be better for you to identify it now or after we rest? It's in a language I can't understand, I don't even know if it's a language at all.

LIAM: Hand it over.

SAM: What?

LIAM: (louder) Hand it over.

SAM: Okay. Yes, please is always appreciated.

(laughter)

LIAM: I pull the book out and I start to Ritual cast Identify.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: This is before we went to sleep or after?

LIAM: This is before going to sleep.

SAM: Can't tell your morning voice from your just-almost-died voice.

LAURA: Yeah, from his I-was-controlled voice.

LIAM: Wait, it's a scroll in a different language?

MATT: Correct. You use Identify--

LIAM: I'll switch to Comprehend Languages instead.

MATT: Okay, all right. It is Abyssal, and there's nothing magical about it. It does not contain any sort of spell or incantation. What it is is an incomplete, or at least a very limited portion of a construction instruction. Looking over it, and based on some of the things you had seen in the tunnel behind you, approaching this space, you gather that this was the next wave of development beneath the city in which a more permanent portal you saw being partially inscribed in the stone of the tunnels as you entered, this is the next wave of instructions that were to be given to essentially the away team that has been here locally.

LIAM: Okay.

SAM: Like how to build a portal?

MATT: It looks like more and more lines of the inscription runes that were going to be used in the next wave of preparing whatever was going to be the permanent portal.

LIAM: Just to clarify, is it instructions to build the portal that we fucked up, or the thing after that portal?

MATT: No, the permanent-- yeah, the archway that you saw the small demons carving into the rock. The object that you found is not referenced there at all, and while you know its purpose, the construction-- there's something about it that seems strange. Like seeing fiendish construction, seeing things that are built or have some sort of an Abyssal influence in their design, what you discovered doesn't seem Abyssal in origin.

TRAVIS: The scroll doesn't seem Abyssal in origin?

SAM: No, the flying saucer.

MATT: Yeah, the silver disk.

TRAVIS: Oh right, with the mercury in it.

MATT: Correct.

LIAM: That I will take, if we're going to bed, 10 more minutes to-- forget it, I will spend 20 minutes or so to cast Detect Magic on it first, and after that-- well, just Detect Magic first.

MATT: On the scroll?

LIAM: On the disk.

MATT: On the disk, there is very much a magical essence to it. Yes.

LIAM: What is the quality of the magic. Which school?

MATT: Conjuration.

LIAM: Conjuration, okay. Now I will finish the trio and do Identify to see if it is usable.

MATT: It's usable in its current form. Meaning it isn't something that you activate an effect happens. It is a generator that begins to tear and bend different inner and outer planes based on its construction to be closer together. This one is specifically tuned and built to draw towards some layer of the abyss. You're not able to ascertain specifically. Its construction seems a little haphazard. Almost like it was designed just barely to function, you know, cheaply, to get the job done, but it isn't a mighty artifact that's lasted eons. It looks like it's serviceable, but probably easily broken.

LIAM: Are you saying that, Caleb examining it, I just see a piece of a puzzle and understand its purpose, but there's no specific way for me to use it.

MATT: No. I mean, it's working now, and just its proximity begins to, and what you do learn is that it cannot be, at least the way this is designed, it cannot be focused to create or design or summon a specific portal. It just gradually, by its proximity, begins to shred the barrier between the planes.

LIAM: I see.

TRAVIS: What'd you find out?

LIAM: It is some sort of a linchpin between here and, I don't know, the abyss. I don't know. It's the best piece of evidence we have, yeah?

SAM: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: For sure, did that piece of paper say anything? Like...

LIAM: It just laid out what we stumbled on down here. These things are taking instructions from someone.

MARISHA: You think it still counts as good evidence if we break it a little? We've got the plans. We've got the rune rubbings, we'd have a, you know, broken artifact.

TRAVIS: Probably not as much, not as impressive as if it's intact.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

SAM: Caleb, in your expert opinion, if that disk thing, if that stays in one place for a while, will it eventually a burrow a hole into the portal into another dimension? Like should we keep moving it around so it doesn't like just stay put and just sort of--

LIAM: I'm afraid I do not know.

SAM: That's a monster coming through to attack us.

LAURA: That's a monster. That's somebody peeking out of a vagina.

SAM: It's a monster coming to attack us. There's nothing more.

TRAVIS: Yeah, no no no. Do you remember when that nasty thing stuck its head through and it said like, is it ready or is it complete? Like he was asking them if something was being finished.

LAURA: The portal. The thing with the blueprints. Yeah, yeah.

TRAVIS: Is that it?

LAURA: I think so.

MARISHA: I'd imagine so.

LAURA: That's what those little guys were building, yeah?

SAM: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: All right.

MARISHA: I'm just wondering how widespread this incursion was planning on being.

TRAVIS: How'd the device get here in the first place? Somebody had to put it here, right?

MARISHA: Someone had to put it here.

LIAM: Maybe they mean to take the city. We found those dogs or whatever they were in another place entirely here.

TRAVIS: Can you check it for fingerprints or anything like that?

LIAM: What?

TRAVIS: You know, like, you know--

MARISHA: Let me get out my CSI dusting kit.

TRAVIS: Can you cast a spell to see who held it last?

SAM: Ooh.

TRAVIS: Like who the previous owner was? Do you have any of that in your books?

LIAM: Yeah, so I'm going to bed, and I just sort of lie down and collapse on the ground.

LAURA: I could cast Zone of Truth on the apparatus.

TRAVIS: What would that do?

LAURA: Nothing at all.

(laughter)

SAM: I'm just worried if we go to sleep and we lay it here, it's going to just slowly start opening a portal. Like shouldn't we just move it around a little bit so it can't? Or just, we decided we were going to put it in the box, right?

LAURA: We're going to put it in the lead box.

SAM: Okay, that should be enough. I know magic enough to know that we're kosher.

LAURA: That is A-okay.

LIAM: Set it outside the dome a foot.

SAM: All right. Let's do it.

TRAVIS: All right.

SAM: Sleep.

MATT: All right. You guys all, within the safety of Caleb's dome, his magical hut, you all find yourselves resting for the night, exhausted. The next morning, who knows what hour, except for you, you'd know, because fucking feat. By the time you guys come to consciousness it's more than eight hours, just-- oh man.

SAM: A bigger flask.

(laughter)

SAM: Stretch goals. Stretch goals.

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

LAURA: Do you have to keep both of the flasks on the table still, or--

SAM: I will have to keep all three of them soon, I hope.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Will you have to drink all of the contents in a single game?

SAM: Oh no, oh god.

TRAVIS: I think so. That's what Lyft is for.

LIAM: Once again my opponent focuses on the superficial and not substance. You know what to do.

SAM: You're a flip-flopper, Liam.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Sorry.

LIAM: Only in bed.

MATT: So. Hmm? So. Coming to consciousness, you Caleb--

LAURA: I give Caleb the side-eye. I'm just keeping eyes on him.

MATT: Okay. Make a Perception check.

LAURA: Oh, that's way--

MATT: That's super cocked.

LAURA: Way.

SAM: The worst dice.

LAURA: I love it! Shut up, it was cool. I got a really bad roll on it, though.

(laughter)

LAURA: That was what, a Perception?

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: Yeah, eight.

MATT: Eight, all right. He's sleeping pretty hard. Everybody is. You're a little distracted, because on the ground not far from you is Caduceus, who is super exhausted and snoring super loud.

(imitates snoring)

LIAM: Frumpkin is also purring furiously all night.

MATT: There you go. You're surrounded by a haphazard motors.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: As consciousness comes to you the next morning, a good solid 12 hours or so of sleep is needed as you guys just run through exhausted after the battle the night before. This would put you guys, after your combat and rest, probably mid-afternoon. You do also notice that the corpses of the-- I believe that's four hours of sleep that you did not have the dome.

LIAM: Not protected, yeah.

MATT: Yes, but you fell asleep.

LIAM: I was looking it up.

MATT: But no issues, thankfully. The corpses of the demons you had fought before are now black sludge.

SAM: Ew.

MATT: Rapidly through the night they have decomposed into a thick black ichor and just seeped into the dust and dirt of the chamber floor. The heart of the demon still remains, if only because of the electricity that was used to tear it, or that was within the body of the creature when you tore it out, seemed to have cauterized it to some point, and also because it's cool to let you keep a demon heart.

(laughter)

MATT: I'm not going to be a total dick, it's just cool to have a demon heart that you tore out.

(laughter)

MATT: So I'll allow it. Other than that, it is a quiet, sore, cold, subterranean morning greeting you in the mid-afternoon under Asarius.

TRAVIS: Well, that was a shit string of events.

MARISHA: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: Should we go back up top and turn in our findings and get this rescue mission back on track with a favor to boot?

SAM: Yes, but before we do, maybe we should just, so this doesn't happen again, maybe we should have like a code word with each other, in case you're taken over by another being or something, your mind is controlled, like there's a challenge word and a reply.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: And if you don't say that reply, I know you're a bad guy and I kill you.

LAURA: That's really smart!

TRAVIS: What about like octo, and you say--

MARISHA: Puss.

SAM: Pussy.

SAM: No?

TRAVIS: What about ella, and you say--

MARISHA: Puss.

SAM: Pussy.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Wow, no phant? Okay. How about hairy?

LAURA: Dog.

MARISHA: Puss.

SAM: Dog is good, hairy dog.

LAURA: Hairy dog is usually where I would go with that.

TRAVIS: What about smugglin'--

LAURA: Pussy.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I'm tryin' here. I'm just coming up with the same shit.

LIAM: What happens if the first word is pussy?

LAURA: Pussy. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Smuggler.

(laughter)

SAM: All right, we've got a couple options there. Basically if you think your friend is mind controlled, say anything to them, and if they don't say pussy back, kill them.

TRAVIS: Quick point of order, I think if you are charmed or controlled in the same way that our friend Caleb was yesterday, I don't believe you'll be able to say that word, right?

LAURA: Right, I don't think you will.

SAM: Definitely not, no.

LIAM: I disagree, I was in complete control of my mind and faculties, and I would have known to say "pussy smuggler" if it was the time to say it.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Look, the DM is dangerously holding a d20, maybe we should--

MATT: No, I just, this is just a very pretty die.

SAM: Let's continue on.

LIAM: Sure it is, Vecna!

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We will make our way up out of the cavern back (exaggerated accent) topside.

(laughter)

LAURA: How does Caleb look? I mean, not Caleb, how does Caduceus look?

MATT: Caduceus is beat to shit, but slowly conscious, sitting up, in the process of pulling out and like fiddling with some tea, and just looks over and goes, "Oh, hey."

LAURA: How do you feel, Caduceus?

MATT: "I'm alive. That's pretty good."

(laughter)

LAURA: Yeah, it's pretty nice, pretty nice.

MATT: "I appreciate that."

SAM: I'm sorry that I accidentally killed you yesterday.

MATT: "Things die. Some come back. We'll talk later."

(laughter)

I don't want to do this moment without Taliesin.

SAM: Wow, it's so good!

TRAVIS: It's okay, tea happens.

(laughter)

SAM: Pussy.

TRAVIS: No, all right.

(laughter)

MATT: He slowly gets up and (groaning). Crick in his back, stretches a bit. What are you guys doing?

SAM: We have to get out of this well.

LAURA: Yeah, let's get up and out, I guess.

SAM: We should go see Lady Zethriss Olios.

TRAVIS: Before we get out, I'll sidle up next to Caleb and just say hey, how'd that feel yesterday when you were all, you know, launching shit at us?

LIAM: Not good. I was there, but it didn't matter. Not good.

TRAVIS: You ever had anything like that happen before?

LIAM: Hmm. No. Not like that, no.

TRAVIS: Not like that, like having your faculties overtaken?

LIAM: No, I have never been controlled through arcane means before.

LAURA: Did it feel like you wanted to do it, or did it feel like you wanted to fight it?

LIAM: I was actually frightened of you.

TRAVIS: Huh.

LIAM: It made me frightened of you.

LAURA: Well, we are pretty scary.

SAM: But you feel better now, you know that we're friends, right? No lingering effects, no PTS...

LAURA: No itchy fireballs? (laughs)

LIAM: No. No, I'm fine, I'm me. I'm me. Check on our big friend over there.

TRAVIS: Yeah, Yasha.

MATT: Yasha currently stretching, getting up and getting the Magician's Judge and sheathing it and standing up, and just been listening in to this conversation and as you all glance over, all eyes cast upon her, she just, "Sorry. Sorry."

TRAVIS: Yeah, well, you know, it's all water under the bridge, yesterday's events.

LAURA: It could've happened to any of us.

SAM: That's true.

TRAVIS: We'll be more prepared next time.

SAM: Somehow.

LAURA: How?

TRAVIS: I just put it out there. I don't actually have an answer.

MARISHA: I mean, we might be able to find something that could help with not being so easily swayed.

MATT: "Well, I mean, now that we know, next time we come across anything like this, maybe I can try and help out a bit."

LAURA: Yeah! You have awesome spells.

MATT: "Oh, thank you."

(laughter)

SAM: All right, let's go.

TRAVIS: Let's do it.

SAM: Let's get out of here.

TRAVIS: Yee-haw!

MATT: You guys make your way back towards the tunnel where you had originally entered, make your way towards the entrance of this cavern that is pressed against the exterior wall of the well, about 15 feet down, right where the water level hits. The well, the bucket is currently up, it is currently wound up, and you look up through the 15 feet of space before it reaches the surface, and you can see the gray sky ahead.

MARISHA: How wide across is the well?

MATT: It's about four feet across, I think.

LAURA: Oh, we could do this.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm going to do the monk Ninja Warrior thing.

MATT: Sure, make an acrobatics check. This would be athletics, actually.

LAURA: I'm going to follow behind her doing the same thing.

MARISHA: Okay. 22.

MATT: Yeah, without issue. You guys are like, "Ah," Beau's like, "I got this."

LAURA: Oh, that's how you do it? Okay.

MATT: Make an athletics check for you as well.

LAURA: Oh, wow, that was, okay good. 20.

MATT: Now, it's interesting. Your arm span is just wide enough where you can reach the sides, and usually you'd have a hard time keeping the pressure there, but you're pretty beefy.

LAURA: I'm so beefy.

MATT: You just (impacting). It takes a little longer than Beau, but you do manage to make your way up and out the well through your own physical locomotion.

MARISHA: When I get to the top, I want to slowly peek my head up, and look around and see if anyone's watching or how suspicious this looks.

MATT: Okay, make a perception check. I was rolling for Yasha, it's fine.

MARISHA: Natural 20.

MATT: Nice!

LIAM: Girl!

MARISHA: What's up, what's up.

MATT: You don't see anyone suspiciously looking in this vicinity. Natural 20, okay, hold on.

TRAVIS: Yeah! My ass he's rolling for Yasha.

SAM: Guys, go subscribe to D&D Beyond right now while the whisper's happening. It only takes a moment. You'll have a new subscription by the time Matt sits back down. ♪ Buh buh buh ba bum ♪ ♪ Bum bum bum ba bum ♪ That's a big whisper for a perception check.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I know.

SAM: What the fuck is she seeing?

TRAVIS: Which one of those pictures is older, the left or the right?

MARISHA: Interesting.

TRAVIS: You'll never know.

MARISHA: Jester and I get up.

MATT: Yep, you guys get up, Yasha climbs up after you.

LAURA: My butt hits Beau, my head hits Beau's butt.

MARISHA: (grunts) Oh, sorry.

LAURA: Sorry.

MATT: Yasha instinctually hears that and goes, "Sorry." She's been apologizing a lot.

MARISHA: I send the bucket down for the rest.

MATT: All right. You guys, one by one, easy enough with the help of the rest of your party, you make your way out of the well and back onto the streets near the center of Asarius. What'd you get?

TRAVIS: Six.

MATT: Well you didn't have to roll for it, you're fine, they were helping.

TRAVIS: Okay, good.

MARISHA: While they get up, while they climb the rope, I'm just going to say: You guys got it, yeah? Yeah, okay, bye. I grab Jester by the arm and I pull her across the road a little bit.

LAURA: What's going on?

MARISHA: Where's your thingy, your medallion, your symbol thingy? The Traveler--

LAURA: Oh, it's on my belt.

MARISHA: I look at it.

LAURA: What about it?

MARISHA: Is that the same one?

MATT: You glance across the street and between two of the buildings there's a hut, like a hut made of stone and a thatched roof, it looks old and weathered, and there is a wooden door and on the door you see, hanging from a metal ring, at first glance it looks like a meal bell, like a dinner bell type thing, but it's a little archway with a little path running through it with the horizon in the center.

MARISHA and LAURA: (excited babbling)

MARISHA: I know!

LAURA: I take off towards it.

MARISHA: I power walk behind.

MATT: Okay. All right.

MARISHA: Still looking around.

MATT: You go ahead and make your way there. You push past this heavy pair of oxen that are (groaning) making their way across the street with a cart wheeling behind. You see this large orc that, "Hey!"

LAURA: I go under his legs.

MATT: (grunting)

MARISHA: Sorry, sir.

MATT: (reins cracking) and takes the reins and pushes them a little further, you guys move past that as the (squeaking) wheeling continues on.

LIAM: Man, I saw all of that.

MATT: You make your way to the door, and it's a door.

LAURA: Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock. Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello.

TRAVIS: Jesus.

MATT: (door opening) Super dark inside, you just see a little bit of speckled gray and brown fur and this big cloudy eye glance through and go, "Hello?"

LAURA: Hello? O-M-G.

MATT: The eye squints a bit and it rotates and goes to the other eye, which is not as cloudy, and goes, "What's that?"

LAURA: What do you think it is? What is on your door right here, man?

MATT: (creaking) The door pulls open and you see now hunched down in the doorway an elderly gnoll, the hair mostly white and gray, this heavy walking cane, its crooked stick on the side. You see bits of the snout where the fur's fallen out, the wrinkled skin and some of the spots that are coming through a bit of the snout. Some of the gums are missing teeth and are blackened. This is older and not in the best health, and the smell is awful too.

LAURA: Yeah, that would be some stinky breath.

MATT: Some stinky halitosis breath, yeah.

TRAVIS and MARISHA: Elderly gnoll.

MATT: The sequel has been found.

LIAM: Not regular.

MATT: The other hand grabs the doorway and peeks through, the elongated neck of the the gnoll creeping in, looking it over. "Are you a friend of the Traveler?"

LAURA: Are you?

MATT: "Come in, come in."

LAURA: Okay, okay, okay! Can Beau come in, too? She's also really cool and she also sort of likes the Traveler sometimes.

MATT: "You also follow the Traveler?"

MARISHA: Yeah, well, I follow Jester, and whoever she follows, I follow.

LAURA: I'm gathering a small army of Traveler followers and she is one of them, actually.

MATT: "Sure, come on in."

LAURA: Sweet!

MATT: Turns around, and you walk inside. The interior is small, it's ten-foot by ten-foot, that is the extent of the interior. There's a heavy bundle of rags and furs and such that are pushed over, a broken wooden frame that once maybe was a functional bed but now it's just a pile that it sleeps on. The smell in here is a combination of rotting food, general wet, oily fur, a hint of urine smell, and burned out candles.

LAURA: The candles don't do a good job of covering that.

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: It's a little rank in your hut.

MATT: "Well, you're welcome to leave."

LAURA: No, no, no, I like it, it's wonderful.

MATT: He pulls up a small stool and (groans) sits on it for a second. Leans on one knee towards you. "So why have you come to my house, what you want from me?"

MARISHA: Are you going to tell us a story? You have the posture like you're going to tell us a ghost story.

LAURA: Like, mostly I want to know like--

MATT: (sniffing) "Where are you from, huh? Not many humans hang around in Xhorhas."

MARISHA: Mm-hmm, yeah. You know, I feel like I'm a citizen of the world, you know, I'm not really from any one place.

MATT: (muttering)

LAURA: How did you meet the Traveler? When did you find him? When did he come to you?

MATT: "What's your name, friend?"

LAURA: What's your name, friend?

MATT: "I asked you first."

LAURA: You did, you really did. It's Jester after all. What is yours?

MATT: "Covak."

LAURA: Korfak?

MATT: (exaggerated) "Covak."

LAURA: (exaggerated) Covak. Nice, yeah. When did you find him? When did he come to you? What did he say, you know? What did he look like? Does he have the same cloak that he wears with me or is that like the only thing, or sometimes, you know? (laughter)

MATT: "Okay, well, he came and found me about a couple of years ago, after my partner was killed by a gloomstalker in the south. Thought it strange that a fair folk would visit an old codger like myself, but he taught me to pass the time, you know, pissing off folks with pranks."

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "You know, pissing off my neighbor, Bruuktash. He's a real right prick."

LAURA: Really?

MATT: "Yeah. Brought some liveliness back into my life when I was mostly just lonely, and promised he'd bring some gifts down the road the more I poked those nearby. (laughs)"

LAURA: Did he?

MATT: "Well, not yet, you know. I'm just sewing mischief as much as I can. The old--"

LAURA: Right.

MATT: "You know, physicality is breaking down as the years pass on--"

LAURA: That's okay! You look spry, totally spry. You got really nice ears and I am a good gnoll ear expert, after all.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: It's true.

MATT: "(snorting) Well, anyway. Kind of became me only friend. Doesn't visit often, not really, but he was telling me there was supposed to be some meeting soon.

LAURA: He was telling me about the same thing, yeah!

MATT: "In Unndilar, some point around there. He told you the same?"

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, are you going to go? I mean, I hear it's going to be the biggest rave ever.

MATT: "Oh, (chuckles). I mean other than Gimmel who helps at the butcher you're the only other person I know who believes me. (nervous chuckle)"

LAURA: Wait, who?

MATT: "Gimmel at the butcher."

LAURA: Yeah, I can totally understand everything you say.

MATT: "I told him all about the Traveler. He made fun of me for a while, but--"

MARISHA: The dragonborn butcher, that guy?

LAURA: No, you're thinking of the Gentleman.

MATT: An ogre was the butcher.

LAURA: The ogre.

MATT: That you met.

MARISHA: Sorry.

MATT: But you don't know who Gimmel is. You haven't run into a Gimmel yet.

MARISHA: Gimmel.

MATT: "No, no, he's one of them orcish folks. (snorts) How'd you come to find him, huh?"

LAURA: Oh, came to see me when I was really young.

MATT: "Oh, how long ago?"

LAURA: Oh, you know, years ago. Probably it must be like, oh jeez.

MATT: "(coughs)"

LAURA: 15 years ago maybe, you know?

MATT: "Ah. Long time!"

LAURA: He was, you know, like my age when he came to see me, and then we hung out and we were like best friends hanging out for a long time, and then, you know, he got a little older, and I think like more powerful, you know, because he tends to do these sort of things, and then he seemed just to come see me less and less but he still is, you know, super prevalent in my life and stuff.

MATT: "That's great, I'm glad that he--"

LAURA: I mean, I think I might be one of the originals. I think if we go to this place in like a year, right, I think that I'm probably going to be like, (clicks tongue) pretty high up in the ranks.

MATT: "Well, I wouldn't know about that. I've done quite a few deeds in his name."

LAURA: I mean, do you have, like, a lot of spells from him? Because I totally do.

MATT: "No, but I--"

LAURA: I brought a person back to life.

MATT: "I've shat in at least four of the wells of this city."

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Oh my god.

LAURA: I smelled something when we went down there, I think that might be--

MARISHA: Yeah, it makes so much more sense.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah. I was like, why does the water smell like this?

MARISHA: I thought it was sewage, and it turns out it is.

(laughter)

MATT: "That's the will of the Traveler."

MARISHA: (laughs nervously)

MATT: "(coughing)"

MARISHA: Give everyone dysentery?

LAURA: Oh, hold on, I have a present for you. I'm going to take out my paintbrush of magic stuff and I'm going to paint a little Traveler figurine for him.

MATT: "Oh. You're quite talented, aren't you?"

LAURA: Yeah. I'm really talented.

MATT: "Thank you."

LAURA: You're welcome. You can pray to that whenever you feel the need to.

MATT: "(groans)" Carefully gets up and lumbers across the chamber and sets it on just this makeshift table that's barely functional for a creature of his size, and sits and admires it, his body half-cocked to one side the way he holds his weight and goes, "Yeah. (chuckles)"

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: Spins around, looking at the both of you. "How'd you come to know the Traveler, huh?"

MARISHA: Oh, you know, we're just starting our relationship. It's still very new. It's really Jester here that introduced me to him, and haven't been visited yet, personally, didn't know if he was real or not until this just happened, so mind's a little bit blown, but I'm hopeful, you know?

MATT: "So, I'm really excited about this gathering, I don't get to meet a lot of other folks and most just think I'm a bit crazy, you know?"

LAURA: I didn't even know there were other people and then we were in this one place and I found these tokens that were, like, his symbol, you know?

MATT: "Really?"

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, so somebody had to have left them there, so there's got to be a few more of us.

MATT: "Oh, that's going to be such a good time. I'm excited."

LAURA: I have a feeling whoever brings the most people to the thing is going to be the winner. You should probably start--

MATT: "Oh, it's a contest?"

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: "I didn't know about that. We're supposed to bring more?"

LAURA: You're supposed to bring as many people as you can.

MATT: "Well, there's only a few more months of time until, oh goodness--"

LAURA: Few more months? Wait, what was that date? I mean, I know, I remember.

MATT: "He just said Unndilar, more to come, so mysterious.

LAURA: I know.

MATT: "(chuckling) (coughing)"

LAURA: I hope you don't die before it happens because that would really suck.

MATT: "Me, too.'

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: "(chuckles)"

LAURA: How long of a trek--

MARISHA: How old are you? Sorry.

LAURA: Sorry.

MARISHA: What's old for a gnoll? Is that rude to ask?

MATT: "Aye."

LAURA: How far away is this place?

MATT: "What place?"

LAURA: The place we're meeting him.

MATT: "I don't have a place yet. It's in the month of Unndilar."

LAURA: Oh, I thought he gave me a place.

MATT: "He didn't give me one yet."

LAURA: Oh, hold on, let me look at my notes.

LIAM: Can I interject for a second?

MATT: Sure.

LIAM: Caduceus, they've been gone for 10 minutes! You see everything! Where did they go?

(laughter)

We can't make a store out here, but though they have been gone forever. They've been taken or something.

SAM: Calm down, calm done, it's fine.

LIAM: It's not fine! Where are they?

MATT: "They haven't been taken. I just saw them go across the street that way."

TRAVIS: Is that a skid mark on the side of the well?

(laughter)

SAM: There is a bit of--

MATT: "I wasn't going to say anything about it, but probably."

LAURA: I think I thought it was a location. The day Zenith, Unndilar" is what I wrote before.

MATT: "All right, I suppose the invitation's going to come at some point soon, right? (chuckles)"

LAURA: That's pretty cool. I wonder if he can be in a bunch of different places at the same time. Probably not. I wonder what he wants us all to do when we get together.

MATT: "I'm sure it'll be interesting."

LAURA: Hey Traveler, are you here right now?

MATT: "Huh, huh?"

LAURA: What do you want us to do? Will you tell us where we're going? Because we're, you know, a couple people here now, talking about you. Do you hear him?

MATT: "(laughs) Good trick, good trick. I almost thought he was here."

LAURA: He might be.

MATT: "It's been months since he made an appearance. I think that's his way of keeping me on my toes."

LAURA: I saw him last night.

MATT: "Okay."

(laughter)

MATT: He visually deflates a bit.

(laughter)

MATT: It gets really awkward. The room just gets super tense and quiet.

MARISHA: I back into a pot and knock it over a little.

LAURA: Oh no, that was probably the pee pot.

MATT: It was.

LAURA: Oh no.

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

(groans)

MARISHA: Feeling uncomfortable.

LAURA: Hey, so--

MATT: "You should probably get going."

LAURA: Yeah, yeah. Hey, do you know the spell Sending?

MATT: "What?"

LAURA: So, it's this spell where you can send people messages.

MATT: "I don't."

LAURA: Okay, well I know it, so here's the deal. If I find out a location, I'm going to Send you and let you know.

MATT: "Sure, no, tell me more about the great gifts he's given you. It's fantastic."

LAURA: Well, I mean, I've known him for a long time. Like I'm sure in a couple years, you'll, and maybe when we meet in a couple months, you know, you'll already have some spells. Maybe if you started wearing a cloak like him, you know, he would like it. I draw dicks on things.

MATT: Reaches back and grabs one of the blankets from the bed and (whooshing).

LAURA: That is already a huge improvement.

MATT: "All right, yeah. (chuckles)"

TRAVIS: When an NPC tells you to leave.

MATT: You can now see the gnoll is like eyeing you up and down very intently and is making, with the good eye on the left, and is making intense mental notes.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, take it in, take it all in. All right Beau, we should go.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "I'll escort you."

MARISHA: Nice to meet you.

MATT: You see the hands touch the back, and for as old as this gnoll is, still got some strength in him, and shoves you back out the side. The front door. The door (creaks). "See you in a few months, dear. (snorts)"

SAM: Oh.

MARISHA: Why's everyone react to me like that?

LAURA: I don't know. You're so likable.

MATT: At this point, you do notice that Jester's cloak is on fire.

(nervous exclaiming)

LAURA: What?

(laughter)

MATT: You pat it out. You hear behind the door, "(laughs)."

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: What is wrong with you people?

TRAVIS: Jesus, it's Fight Club.

LAURA: I'm going to go to the back of his hut and just draw a giant dick and a flaming poo.

MATT: All righty.

MARISHA: I get the boys' attention, and Nott.

MATT: "Oh, there she is."

LIAM: You should've led with that, Caduceus.

SAM: Hi. Everything all right out here?

MARISHA: How do I smell?

LAURA: You smell like pee!

TRAVIS: Y'all smell like wet dog.

MARISHA: (groans)

SAM: I like it.

MARISHA: I have so many questions.

LAURA: There was a dude and he also worshiped the Traveler, you guys.

SAM: Is that unusual? Is that--

LAURA: I've never met somebody else that did.

SAM: Wow.

LAURA: But the better news is that I'm way more powerful than he is, that means the Traveler likes me so much more!

SAM: That is good news.

TRAVIS: So not only are you not alone, you're the only one that can do stuff?

LAURA: I don't know if I'm the only one, but obviously I'm one step above that dude, so.

SAM: Nice. Nicely done.

MARISHA: He was a very old gnoll, like steps away from death, you know, like so old, yeah.

TRAVIS: Could smell it on him?

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

SAM: That's got to be a good sign that we're on the right path.

LAURA: Yeah, so P.S., in a few months I'm going to have to go and, you know, get together with all the other Traveler followers.

MARISHA: Yeah, so--

TRAVIS: In a couple months?

LAURA: I don't know where it's at, though, so hopefully it's somewhere we can get to pretty soon.

TRAVIS: How many other followers are there? Like, five?

LAURA: (noncommittal noise)

SAM: Should probably find out at this event, right?

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: I mean, has he given you any indication of what he wants with all of you there?

LIAM: The Traveler does not give you any answers to these questions?

LAURA: No.

SAM: Well, most religion is steeped in mystery by design, actually.

LAURA: You know what, I'm going to talk to him about it tonight.

MARISHA: Okay. Just make sure it's not some like weird cult thing they want you to do a mass suicide and ride on a comet or something.

TRAVIS: That'd be dark, yeah.

LAURA: What would be the point of that?

MARISHA: I don't know!

LAURA: If we all die, how would he get his name out?

MARISHA: That's a good point, but I don't know what his power is fueled by.

TRAVIS: Yeah, his ways could be mysterious, beyond your comprehension.

MATT: "Gods are pretty mysterious."

LAURA: But your god is really pretty.

MATT: "Yeah, yeah, she's pretty nice."

LAURA: Yeah.

LIAM: Well, I'm sure Nott's husband is sitting pretty. What are we doing right now?

SAM: We have to go rescue him! Oh my god, he's probably dying right now.

TRAVIS: What if that minotaur comes around?

SAM: (gasps) Did you see him?

(laughter)

LIAM: Let's decide on a course of action. Right now I would like to get out of this city, actually, so--

LAURA: We go see Lady Olios.

SAM: We have to go see Lady Olios, present our--

LAURA: Our findings.

SAM: Our findings and our evidence, and for the payment, we should probably decide before we get there, so maybe as we walk we can talk about this.

TRAVIS: We're walking and talking now.

SAM: We're walking and talking. The favor that we ask of Lady Olios could be transportation to Ghor Dranas, the release of my husband, the location of my husband, permission to see, visit my husband. I don't know what's too much, right? If we ask for her to release my husband, maybe she doesn't have that ability, maybe we've just wasted our wish.

TRAVIS: When it comes to your husband, do you think it's important to not detail him as your husband?

MARISHA: Yeah, we didn't tell her that we're from the Empire, and--

LAURA: Shut up, Beau! Stop saying that out loud!

MARISHA: I'm saying it really quietly. Quietly!

MATT: I assume these conversations are quiet.

TRAVIS: Sotto voce. Yeah, I mean, was he known as a chemist, like a scientist? Could we ask to see a scientist that was--

SAM: We have to specify that it's him. I don't want to see just any scientist right? I don't have to reveal my relationship. It could just be an important person to us. Maybe... who are we, right? Well, that's maybe the first thing we need to establish. When she says, "Who are you guys?" Who did we tell her we were? We're a band of--

LAURA: Mercenaries?

SAM: Travelers?

LAURA: I don't remember.

SAM: I think we said people who were--

LAURA: We said we were investigators!

SAM: And we were trying to find this man.

TRAVIS: What if we were commissioned to build a piece of a scientific apparatus that he needed for his studies and the only way to get him what he needs is to be reunited with him?

SAM: Could be. We already did tell her that we were being hired to go find him and bring him back.

TRAVIS: Well shit fuck.

SAM: Well, we didn't say why or by whom. We could say that for the good of science he's needed back in wherever he's from.

TRAVIS: Because if we could just get in the same room with him then we could poof out of there somehow, right?

SAM: Some of us can.

TRAVIS: I mean that's what we should probably be hoping to do at a best-case scenario.

LAURA: Caleb, how long until you can use that thingy?

LIAM: Which thingy?

LAURA: The teleportation thingy?

LIAM: I need to study. We are getting killed almost every day.

(laughter)

LAURA: How long does it take to study?

LIAM: Years.

LAURA: It's going to be years before we can do that?

LIAM: I don't know, I need access to books and libraries and paper and ink and not being murdered by things.

LAURA: That's why you always look for books?

SAM: Yes, he's trying to find new powers and abilities.

LAURA: But he already told you how to do it, didn't he?

LIAM: No.

LAURA: He just said hey, here's a thing?

LIAM: He gave me a back door, and told me when I--

LAURA: Is that like a--

TRAVIS: Okay.

LIAM: You are so--

LAURA: I'm just confused, what are you--

TRAVIS: Just chill out, all right?

MARISHA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: So we're looking for him, and maybe we need to give him something to complete his studies, that way they're motivated to get us near him, right? I mean, that's what they took him for, because he was studying their stuff.

SAM: Maybe.

LAURA: What if we just, with her, what if we just say hey, will you give us a letter, a sealed document, saying give them whatever they ask for.

SAM: Give who whatever who asks for?

LAURA: Us.

SAM: To give to whom?

TRAVIS: From Lady Olios?

LAURA: Yeah, a signed document from Lady Olios to whoever is in charge in Ghor Dranas and say hey, these people did a huge favor for me, give them whatever they want.

SAM: I'm sure she'll have questions, followup questions, right? I mean, she's not dumb, I assume.

MARISHA: Well look, we already told her that we're looking for somebody. That's not that far-fetched.

SAM: I think what we need to decide is are we looking for his location or are we looking for him to be released to us? Is that a bridge too far, should we start with that?

LIAM: They sent forces into another empire to retrieve him. She's not just going to throw all caution to the wind and give us everything we want. We find out where he is.

SAM: Just his location.

LAURA: So then we need access to question him.

TRAVIS: Yeah, an audience.

SAM: Oh, yes, ooh, that's a good idea. We have our own beef with him.

LAURA: Yeah, fuck that guy.

SAM: We need to get our own answers to close our investigation.

LAURA: Yes, yes, yes.

SAM: Ooh, I don't mind this idea.

TRAVIS: Right, what did he do?

SAM: He knows what he did.

TRAVIS: Yeah, but (high-pitched voice) I'm Lady Olios. What did he do?

SAM: Hmm, what do you think he did?

LAURA: He's a very powerful alchemist.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched voice) Quickly, I'm very highly regarded.

LAURA: Apparently, one of his potions that he made killed an important family member, and we were hired by that family.

SAM: Wow, this is good.

LAURA: Or it made them, okay, it made them really sick.

SAM: Uh-huh.

LAURA: So we have to go question him because we have to find the antidote.

SAM: The antidote, the cure!

LAURA: We're on a time limit!

SAM: This is good. That feels like, I mean, that's not just a good cover story, that's just a good story period. I want to find out what happens. How does it end?

MARISHA: It is the story, though, more or less.

SAM: Oh yes.

MARISHA: People have been getting really sick in various parts of the world.

SAM: That's true.

MARISHA: Whenever you're lying to somebody-- look, I've been doing this a lot. Whenever you lie to somebody--

SAM: Caduceus has rubbed off on you, I think.

MARISHA: You got to keep it close to the truth. You got to keep it rooted in things that are true, and then you just, you know, you play with those--

MATT: "Just tell the truth."

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MARISHA: Those boundaries a little bit.

LAURA: What's wrong, Caleb? Why do you look like this?

LIAM: It's just been a hard day and this sounds like a very bad idea.

LAURA: What are you talking about? This is a really good idea. We've got the Traveler on our side.

LIAM: We are walking into the heart of the enemy of the Empire.

MARISHA: Well, we've already done it once. We're just walking in again.

SAM: She owes us now, though. She can't have us killed.

TRAVIS: We ask for that, and a worse case scenario, we'll get the location. Yeah?

MARISHA: Negotiation tactics. You start high--

LIAM: She does not have to give us everything.

SAM: Maybe she'll give us something?

LIAM: Yeah, maybe something.

MARISHA: You know what my mom used to always tell me?

TRAVIS: No.

MARISHA: If you ask, the worst they can do is say no--

LIAM: Not exact--

MARISHA: –and throw you in an Imperial prison–

LIAM: There you go.

MARISHA: --and you never see your family again. That's the worst that could happen.

LIAM: That is the worst they can do.

SAM: That's happened to at least three of us.

LIAM: That is not even the worst they can do.

LAURA: If she doesn't want to give us the favor that we want, we just take the money. And then we say thank you, and then we leave.

SAM: Is the money Plan B?

LAURA: And then we go buy some--

SAM: If she doesn't want to give us the location, maybe she could give us safe passage to Ghor Dranas? Is that worth it, or is the money better?

MARISHA: I'm real broke. I'm super into the idea of money.

SAM: Okay.

LAURA: 'Cause we already have transportation. That's why we have our moorbounders.

SAM: That's true.

TRAVIS: It's time to see how we fare. Are you ready?

LAURA: Got it.

MARISHA: Access first, right?

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: Who's going to do all the talking?

LAURA: We will, because we already--

SAM: We know her.

LAURA: --established the fact that we are doing it.

SAM: If someone wants to come with us, I wouldn't mind it.

LIAM: Maybe Fjord should go with you this time.

TRAVIS: I wouldn't mind.

SAM: All right.

LAURA: All right.

SAM: Let's do this.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: I'll be nearby watching the tower--

SAM: Keep sentry. Keep near him, and if there's anything spooky outside, you can message me, and if we get problems inside we'll message you.

MARISHA: I'm going to try to be inconspicuous because I reek of Empire.

LAURA: You reek of pee, actually.

MARISHA: Yeah, I do.

SAM: So the humans and Yasha will stay outside with the firbolg.

LIAM: No, we should change ourselves again. I am going to use Disguise Self and turn myself into a half orc.

MARISHA: Can you do that to me?

LIAM: I can do something similar, yeah. I've already done it once.

LAURA: Are you going to just do that while we're walking or are you going to duck into a alley or something?

LIAM: That part is implied, Jester.

SAM: (laughs)

LIAM: What do you want to be, Beauregard?

TRAVIS: (laughs)

MARISHA: I'll be my sexy tiefling boy again.

LIAM: Special it is. Okay, let's go find a quiet place.

MATT: All right, so you're using your Polymorph again for that?

LIAM: Yeah, Disguise Self on myself--

MATT: And then Polymorph. Which as you are a transmutation specialist, to burn a fourth level spell for essentially a first level ability that is concentration, I'll allow it.

LIAM: Danke schön, mein herr.

MATT: All right, so, as you guys go and disguise yourselves and Caduceus just waits and--

MARISHA: I hand off the rubbings of the sigils.

SAM: Oh, and we'll take the--

MARISHA: The disk, yeah.

SAM: The disk and the scroll, yes.

TRAVIS: Anybody want to stare into the dingle-danger?

SAM: Yes.

LAURA: Oh. Who should do it?

MATT: Dingle-banger?

LAURA: Who wants to stare into this?

SAM: I'll stare into it.

LAURA: Yeah, but make sure you don't take it out. Here is the gold disk.

SAM: Ooh, so many threads of possibility.

MATT: So Nott's looking into it?

SAM: Yep.

MATT: All righty.

TRAVIS: That was just a handful of glitter.

(laughter)

MATT: All right.

LAURA: That'll never come off.

MATT: You make your way to the central portion of Asarius to the large standing gray tower that is the Aurora Hold. Through the familiar doorway, you are led by the clerk back to the chamber where Lady Zethriss Olios makes her time, it seems, since the previous conversation you had. Led into that same study-like chamber, she sits in mid-conversation with another drow figure dressed in nice robes across the way, and as you are presented to the main chamber, the two Kryn guards keeping just a close eye from behind, she puts up her hand to stop the conversation, looks over towards the rest of you. "Hello. It would seem you have returned. Does this mean good news?"

SAM: Are we in the safest place to talk?

MATT: "If you could give us just a moment, please."

SAM: We'd like to introduce you to our associate here, Fjord.

TRAVIS: It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Olios.

MATT: "The pleasure is mine." She puts her hand out.

TRAVIS: Give it a little kiss.

SAM: Kiss it.

TRAVIS: I got it, I got it.

MATT: "So, if this is another one of your companions, how many do you travel with?"

LAURA: I get confused because we say nine, but it's not that many.

SAM: It's around nine.

LAURA: It's around nine.

MATT: "Very good. If you, just a few moments." The other drow figure leaves the chamber, kinda gives a nod as he passes by into the hallway. Door closes behind you guys. "So, what have you discovered as part of your investigation?"

LAURA: Lady Olios, there is so much stuff happening in your city.

SAM: Right under your nose and you never knew about it.

MATT: "Do tell, please."

TRAVIS: We located a well in the city, we traveled down it and found a cavern underneath the soil, which opened up into an even larger caverns and there there was a rift.

LAURA: Well, they were making, okay, so we saw this rift that was shaped like you know.

MATT: "Similar to the ones you said you'd found--"

SAM: There was monsters in progress coming through from another plane of existence.

LAURA: Yeah, and then this big guy came through and he was like is the portal complete and stuff? Then we were like, oh no, what is he talking about? So we killed him!

SAM: Big fight, big fight. Long and short of it, many of us almost died, all of them did.

LAURA: I used my amazing powers to close the rift for you.

MATT: "So you are more than just an investigator."

LAURA: I'm a very powerful investigator.

MATT: "Interesting. Very well."

SAM: The rift is closed, and you'll be pleased to know the more permanent portal for some, I don't know the exact mechanics, but there was going to be a more permanent portal--

LAURA: Oh, here. I pull out the rubbing.

SAM: For monsters to come through.

LAURA: This was a symbol on it. We fucked up the symbol so that they couldn't complete it, though.

MATT: "Lythir." The door opens, and the male drow who was in there previously pokes in the room and goes, "Yes?" "Please step inside. I need you to take a look at these and see if you can corroborate some of this information."

SAM: We have other evidence as well.

LAURA: Oh, we really do.

SAM: We found this scroll. Did you give her the scroll yet?

LAURA: No, not yet.

SAM: This scroll, if you will translate from the Abyssal. We all speak it but you may not.

(laughter)

SAM: It gives partial instructions on how to make a more permanent portal to the Abyssal plane of existence, I think.

LAURA: Perhaps the piece de la resistance that you're looking for.

SAM: I don't know if we should. I think that's enough.

TRAVIS: No, might as well.

SAM: You think so, Fjord?

TRAVIS: I mean, it is pretty substantial.

MATT: "What are you all talking about?"

LAURA: I mean, the favor that you are going to give us in exchange is a pretty great favor, I feel like we should--

SAM: Yes, there is going to be an exchange here, correct? We have your word on that?

MATT: "We will discuss payment once this is an approved conclusion of the investigation."

SAM: All right.

LAURA: Should we just-- okay. I take out the lead box that's got a thingy in it.

MATT: "It's got a thingy in it?"

LAURA: Okay, so this is, like, crazy magical, and also has the ability to open rifts into the Abyssal plane, I'm guessing--

SAM: Or others, we don't even--

LAURA: We don't, it could be any plane, but we know the Abyssal plane is one that it was working on.

(laughter)

LAURA: It looks like a flying saucer, or a fried egg.

MATT: She looks in for a second, her piercing eyes past her violet skin, glancing inside the box. Looks over to the other, male drow that she introduced as Lythir, and gives him a side-eye and he (clears throat) steps forward and looks into it. Brings his hand up and you see his fingers trace a similar series of symbols and shapes as you've seen Caleb do a number of times, when looking into the affirmation of various magical objects and what their capabilities are. You specifically have seen this many times, you've studied Caleb's, you know, incantations in the past. The eyes briefly glaze over and then there's a moment of realization. "This is as they say, actually. It is quite powerful and is Abyssal in nature."

TRAVIS: Can I tell if he's ever seen this before?

MATT: Make an Insight check.

SAM: Fjord.

LAURA: Yeah, smart thinking there, Fjord.

TRAVIS: 17.

MATT: 17.

SAM: Whispers!

LAURA: Ooh!

SAM: Wow!

TRAVIS: Gimme gimme.

SAM: What if we looked over and Matt and Travis were just making out--

LAURA: Making out?

SAM: Just like in it.

LAURA: With caramel aftertaste.

MARISHA: Just taking the opportunity.

LIAM: That's how Matt imparts wisdom.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh boy, guys.

LAURA: (laughs)

SAM: Hey, that Kickstarter's still going on.

(laughter)

MATT: All right. Sorry.

LIAM: Yeah, I'm just thinking about them making out now.

(laughter)

MATT: She goes, "Well, and it's still working, you say?"

LAURA: I mean, it seemed like, I mean we didn't turn it off or anything, you know?

MATT: He looks back to her and goes, "Might I, please?" She goes, "Of course." He reaches forward and grabs one of the crystals and pops it out, and you watch it (sputter). The glowing orange light slowly fades and the mercury that was spinning rapidly inside the orb comes to rest as a little (flittering) at the bottom of the orb.

TRAVIS: We forgot to mention, it's fragile.

MATT: He throws the crystal in the box and goes, "Yes, but its functioning is very dangerous to be allowed to maintain. The last thing we need--"

LAURA: We wanted you guys to be the ones to (clicks tongue, cut-throat move).

MATT: She looks. "Well, this is actually quite impressive. And if this does indeed stop the issues we've been having that have been escalating in the recent month, you have done a great service to the Dynasty."

SAM: That's why we're here, to do service to the Dynasty.

MATT: "What of the spy?"

LAURA: Nothing yet on that front, but we did find out that one of the reasons people were killing each other in town, you know? Are because there was a couple of succubus incubus people. They had wings and stuff and they were whispering in people's ears and being like go kill your friends or your family, and then people would do it.

MATT: "You have also dealt with these creatures?"

LAURA: Yeah, they're dead.

SAM: They were ghosty, so we don't really have much proof of that.

LAURA: They turned to sludge.

TRAVIS: They were quite powerful, unfortunately. The one thing you should keep in mind is that this device was obviously planted there by someone.

MATT: "(sighs) We shall keep an eye, then." Make a Persuasion check for me, about the lack of proof but convincing that you have taken care of these creatures.

LAURA: No, but with advantage, because Fjord helped me?

MATT: You've all been diving into the conversation. I'll allow the advantage, sure.

(laughter)

SAM: That was very kind.

LAURA: (groans in relief)

SAM: Extremely kind.

LAURA: Okay.

MATT: It's not going to change much.

LAURA: 21?

MATT: 21, okay. She gives a nod and goes, "All right. Well. (sighs)"

LAURA: There was a bugbear. There was a bugbear.

MATT: "There are many."

SAM: There was a bugbear who's been affected by these, haunted by these dreams, he killed his neighbor's dogs, right, is that right?

LAURA: Yeah, and when we saw him, he was being mind-controlled by them, they were dressed up as--

SAM: Not just mind-controlled--

MATT: "What was this bugbear's name?"

SAM: This bugbear's name was, of course, Gluzzo? No.

TRAVIS: Kaulden, nope.

SAM: Gimmel? Nope. Lady Zethriss. Gluzzo. Gluzzo! Nope, that was the one who got us--

MATT: Gluzzo. We will take care of this Gluzzo figure.

SAM: No no, it was not Gluzzo. It was not Gluzzo.

LAURA: Okay, and here's the thing, he wasn't doing, here's the thing.

SAM: It was Umadon. Umadon!

LAURA: And he wasn't doing anything. He maybe did some bad stuff but it was because he was mind-controlled, right? So we took care of the things that were mind- controlling him and now he'll be fine. He was dreaming about these like sexy bugbears.

SAM: He was under the evil corruption of these of these incubuses and succubuses but now he's free and clear. All we're saying is you could go talk to him if you needed any corroboration as to the dreams.

LAURA: He was seeing some sexy bugbears and he would be able to tell you that.

MATT: "We will inquire about these sexy bugbears with this Umadon and also keep a watch, just to ensure that such behavior does not continue."

SAM: Well...

MATT: “That is one job. Well done,” and she takes the box away from you and puts the rubbings over on the desk, and goes, "Very well. So, successful contract puts you at a benefit of 10,000 gold pieces."

SAM: Or a favor.

MATT: "You wish to have favor of the Bright Queen. Very well, that will greatly diminish the amount of the reward."

LAURA: What exactly does the favor do for us there?

MATT: "You would have to present what you have done before the Bright Queen and then the favor would be granted by what she sees fit."

SAM: Who's the Bright Queen? Is that the whole leader here--

MATT: "Where are you from?"

LAURA: So... so...

SAM: A roving band of goblins.

MATT: "But a fine investigator who seems to be diving into aiding the Empire."

LAURA: Yeah, only a few years ago Nott separated from her band and decided to become more of a productive member of society and some things haven't been filled in yet.

MATT: Make a deception check.

SAM: I missed a lot of things. I still think doo-wop music is current.

LAURA: 22.

MATT: 22. She goes... "(sighs) The Bright Queen is the governess of the Dynasty. The oldest, who has lived many lives, and guides all of us under the banner of the Luxon."

SAM: Oh. I remember now, of course. Of course, yes. In goblin, it's a totally different word. In the goblin language, so.

TRAVIS: What's it in goblin?

SAM: (garbled snarl) (laughter)

SAM: More of a tonal language. Like there's six tones and they all, if you don't say them right, it can mean a totally different thing.

(laughter)

MATT: "So you are accepting a favor of the Bright Queen. I tell you, I do not know, and cannot assure the extent of her favor and where it might take. That is up to you, but I can present you to her, and the Kryn den in Rosohna."

SAM: Rosohna? Yes, I know where that is, I definitely do.

LAURA: Cool, that's great. Yes, that's what we wanted.

SAM: Yes, please.

TRAVIS: Could you possibly also ensure that our passage goes uninterrupted and unmolested?

MATT: "I will take you myself."

LAURA: Whoa.

TRAVIS: Even better. Most gracious of you.

LAURA: So we bought some moorbounders because we were going to go ourselves. Do we still need those then, do you think?

MATT: "You do not need them. We can try to fit them, but the space is a bit... I'll leave that up to you."

LAURA: Yeah, we'll figure it out.

MATT: And the other drow says, "My lady, if there is travel to Rosohna, I would also like to come, if that is all right." "Of course, of course. You will accompany us. So, gather the rest of your team then, and when you are ready I will escort you and we will make the rest of this debt paid."

LAURA: "Wow, thank you so much. That's a large favor for us.

SAM: And your friend, what is his name--Lythas? Lython?

MATT: "Lythir."

SAM: Lythir will be joining us?

MATT: "At least for the travel, right?" and he goes, "Yes, I was going to request transference anyway."

TRAVIS: And only so I can close my books on the matter, I know it reduced the coin that came for completing our task, but what is the reduced amount?

MATT: "The final amount with the favor would bring you to 2,000 gold."

TRAVIS: Excellent. Thank you.

SAM: Well, should we pack and be back here in like 25 minutes?

LAURA: Or like how long until--

MATT: "Well, let us get you paid first," and she steps out the chamber and gathers one of the servants. You watch as one of the goblins scoots in and listens to her, darts out and then returns about five minutes later with a heavy satchel that is jingling with coin. Fairly heavy. Passes it over to you and it seems to be, if you take a moment to glance through, somewhere in the neighborhood of probably what was promised, though if you wish to stop and take the time to count in front of her you gather it probably might be a bit offensive.

TRAVIS: I'm sure I'll be fine. Feels right.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

TRAVIS: Well, let us gather our comrades and we will meet you outside.

LAURA: Later. We'll come back. We'll come back?

SAM: At sundown?

LAURA: Do you have a specific time that would be good for you?

MATT: "Sundown should be fine. That gives us an hour to prepare."

SAM: Great. See you then. Pleasure doing business with you.

LAURA: Thank you so much.

SAM: Thank you.

LAURA: You're looking really pretty today, by the way.

TRAVIS: This is that entrance where the left side goes into her chambers and the right side goes into another one, or no?

MATT: As you head down the hallway, to the right leads to her chambers, the hall continues on, and there are other doors, but they're all closed. As soon as you exit the room, the guards are right there. There's two full Kryn soldiers that are just at your sides, essentially waiting for you to leave.

TRAVIS: Another day, another job done, right? Keeping it safe.

LAURA: We're going out.

MATT: (laughs) No response.

SAM: Light be with you.

MATT: One of them gives a nod. You guys exit the Aurora Hold?

LAURA: I ring the bell as we leave.

MATT: (laughs) The other bell? As you leave again, the other door, "Huh, what?" The same servant looks in there frustrated as he... You guys exit and you gather the rest of your troops here. You guys, as you're waiting outside carefully in the alleyway, it's been about 15, 20 minutes since they left, in the process of them getting the attention, traveling, having the conversation, and returning, so yeah, you're pushing close to half an hour.

MARISHA: Nothing weird happened on the outside? We're all good?

MATT: Make a Perception check.

MARISHA: Not good, not good. Ten.

MATT: Ten? Nothing strange catches your eye. The usual bustle and business around the city. As far as what you've encountered. I mean, it's common here, but it's still just something you're getting used to. The wide array of interesting creatures that call this place home, the sometimes brutish comparative day to day activities, or at least what seems to be brutish construction seems very violent. You know, the feeding and care taking of various beasts of burden seems dangerous. Nothing that catches your eye as worthy of further investigation. The rest of your team does gather up to you.

SAM: Hey. Went great in there.

LAURA: Oh my gosh, she loves us.

SAM: We're going to go meet-- we got escalated. We're going to meet the Light Queen.

MARISHA: What?

SAM: Which I might need some clarification. Is that a person or a deity?

LAURA: No, that's a person, man. As far as I know, she's the head of the Kryn empire.

LIAM: Empress.

LAURA: She's the empress!

SAM: Empress Leylas Kryn?

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

LIAM: You're taking us-- we're going to meet the empress?

SAM: I thought that she was talking about some god. The Light Queen.

LAURA: No man, I'm pretty sure she meant the frickin' empress.

SAM: That's crazy.

LAURA: Or maybe she was talking about the head of the church.

SAM: I don't know, do you know?

LIAM: I was not there.

SAM: Yasha, do you know what the Light Queen is?

MATT: "I was not privy to politics."

LAURA: See what I mean? See, it's possible for you to be part of the empire and not know.

SAM: But we're going to another place, a place called Rosebud?

(confused mumbling)

SAM: Rosohna?

LAURA: Rosie Cosieburgs.

MATT: "I don't-- sorry, I don't know that--"

SAM: No, not you Yasha. Matt behind her.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Yasha, go!

MATT: Yeah, Rosohna.

LAURA: Rosohna.

LIAM: Sona?

MATT: Rosohna. Like R-O-S-O-H-N-A.

SAM: ♪ Rosohna in the highest ♪

(laughter)

TRAVIS: So we made it in, we presented our evidence. It's important to note, though, that she did have a drow fella come in and check out that little frisbee looking thing, yeah. He seemed a little jumpy. I don't know if it was because he was intimidated by what he was seeing or if--

LIAM: Did he seem suspicious of you?

TRAVIS: Not of us, he seemed suspicious.

SAM: He also said, did you catch that at the end? Where he said I wanted to put in for a transfer anyway?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Like he wants to get out of this place?

TRAVIS: He's headed the same place we are in a hurry. I couldn't tell if he was just upset by the power of what he was seeing or the implications of it, or if maybe he knew something he wasn't letting on. But he might be somebody to watch. He had a little bit of the arcane flair that you do. Just saying.

LIAM: When do we leave? Tomorrow?

TRAVIS: Tonight.

LIAM: Tonight?

TRAVIS: Right before sunfall. Down, sundown.

SAM: In an hour.

LIAM: What about the big cats?

SAM: Let's go round them up. Maybe they can come with us.

LIAM: Maybe.

LAURA: Or we get our money back.

TRAVIS: We're going to bring the cats, all right? We might trail behind the caravan a bit, but we set the tone here, all right?

MARISHA: Did she say how we're traveling?

LAURA: No, what if it's just like a--

MARISHA: Teleportation.

TRAVIS: Well, then hope it's big enough for some kitties.

SAM: Because we just plunked down a big amount of money on these bad boys.

TRAVIS: Might just leave them here. We'll find out.

LIAM: We have about 30 to 40 minutes left.

SAM: Yes, you could do some book shopping.

LIAM: No, with this, our disguise. We can't just hang around, we need to go somewhere or go-- where are we meeting them?

LAURA: Here.

SAM: Here.

LIAM: Do we need to do anything? Does anyone need to do anything before we go?

LAURA: I kind of need to pee, but outside of that.

SAM: Butcher for sure. Meat. We got to go get the animals.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's get the animals and come on back. That's all I can think of.

MARISHA: How are we--

SAM: Should I just run by?

MARISHA: --going to do this?

LIAM: We have to change.

MARISHA: But how are we going to do this for that long?

LIAM: It's good that we were not in there.

TRAVIS: Did you guys not-- you weren't for the first audience, were you?

LIAM: No.

TRAVIS: You guys might be our slaves. Right? You might work for us. Well, I mean, they weren't in the first audience or this one.

SAM: No.

TRAVIS: And we certainly don't want to be seen traveling with humans so casually, so maybe they work for us.

SAM: Should we go buy some leather straps and strap you guys up like you're--

TRAVIS: Some buckles?

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Some harnesses?

LAURA: I've seen some of those before, my mom said there were some clients--

MARISHA: This feels so degrading.

LIAM: I don't like it either, but I think it is maybe-- we don't know what we're walking into, what the situation is yet.

SAM: Some leather straps.

LIAM: I cannot do this for longer than short bursts of time.

MARISHA: No, I know.

MATT: "We all wearing straps, or--?"

SAM: No, I don't think--

LAURA: Only if you want to, Caduceus.

TRAVIS: You're actually all right.

MATT: "I don't know what that means, but okay."

(laughter)

SAM: Should we get a set for Yasha, too, or--?

TRAVIS: No, she's fine. As we're heading to go get the moorbounders, are there any like stables or areas that might have such apparati?

MATT: The stables have all sorts of harnesses, but they're designed for moorbounders.

TRAVIS: That's fine, we'll make use. Slide that shit over your shoulder.

MATT: You can go and ask Zorth.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: You come in he's like, "And welcome back! So nice to see you. Glad you're coming back for your beasties. We've been feedin' them. They're quite hungry. Growing beasts, you know."

TRAVIS: Good, I'm glad. We're actually going to take off this very evening.

MATT: "So soon?"

TRAVIS: Yeah, I have a question, because you've been such a fantastic business partner, if I had told you to outfit these two gentlefolk here with, I don't know, maybe some rigging, some harnesses, what would you say might work?

LIAM: I would along the way have jumped into an alley and turned myself into the twin of Jester.

MATT: Okay, right.

MARISHA: Am I still a tiefling?

LIAM: Yes, you're fine as long as we're in a small amount of time.

MATT: "I mean, if that's what you want I'm not one to judge. But certainly. Per harness runs you about-- I could probably get both of you with one harness amount of leather, so--"

SAM: Two harnesses, two harnesses.

MATT: "All right! All right! Who am I to not want to sell more? Pay your ten gold pieces for the two harnesses."

MARISHA: Ten gold pieces!

LAURA: Those are huge harnesses. Why do we need one for each of them?

TRAVIS: Easy, servant. Ten gold pieces sounds fine. Could you make some modification so it fits them a little tighter, a little more snug, like they've been wearing it a bit?

MATT: "Yeah, we can take care of that one. Just a second. Boys!" He calls the other goblins over and instructs them. They gather the harnesses and they kind of swim around you making little measurements around your body and kind of (swarming noises) making marks on there like those batches of scattered parchment and scribbling with charcoal. It's like a nightmare tailor experience, before they jaunt off for a second and you see them cutting and bolting straps until eventually they come back with two loosely human-shaped harnesses. They'll work. They're not comfortable, and as they kind of begin putting them on you it's-- it's very unique.

TRAVIS: Yeah, breathe. There you go.

MATT: Like collar, chest harness. Arms at front, cuffs.

TRAVIS: All right.

LIAM: Do we still get the moorbounders?

TRAVIS: Yeah, of course we do.

SAM: BDSM up in here.

MARISHA: Fuck off, Nott.

SAM: I'm going to zip your mouth shut!

MARISHA: (muffled) Oh, fuck you!

(laughter)

MATT: Harnesses.

(laughter)

MATT: Oh man.

LIAM: Nott, fetch the gimp.

MATT: Oh boy, oh boy.

TRAVIS: Here's the 10 gold we owe you. Appreciate you very much.

MATT: "'Course! Always appreciate your patronage. Keep coming back and spending money and making strange requests, we'll do what we can."

TRAVIS: Okay, will do, next time we are around.

MATT: "Yeah! (laughs)"

TRAVIS: All right, let's get outta here. We got to get back.

LAURA: Yarnball, come to Mama.

MATT: "All right, boys, open up the pen!" They open the pen and immediately, (snarling).

SAM: Jesus Christ.

MATT: The beasts come out. You're just like oh god! The goblins take a second, they get the harnesses on them like (snarling) fighting them off, one of them spins off, (shouts) and gets thrown the opposite side, and eventually the ones who've bonded with them, you guys manage to calm them down.

LIAM: Halt.

LAURA: Oh.

LIAM: Kommen Sie mit. Ja? And I walk out.

LAURA: Yeah, do that too. Halt, you, and also here's a treat for you, I got it downstairs and stuff. Here. Here, don't bite my hand, okay.

MATT: Walks with you, and Caduceus walks up to his, "Hey. All right." (laughter) You guys just exit the facility. I hope I'm doing him justice for you, Taliesin. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Pretty good.

MATT: You guys make your way with your moorbounders, and, whereas previously, you were rather inconspicuous in the street, that's changed, because you have three massive beasts tethered behind you as well as two humans, quite tethered, alongside you.

LAURA: I want to climb on the back of mine and ride it.

MATT: Okay, you get up on the back.

LIAM: She would've still been a tiefling, and I specifically changed into Jester's twin. So we're just BDSM monster people.

MARISHA: Eventually, I do feel like before we go up to them, we should drop this. So we're not having to keep it up.

LIAM: It was just to pick up our ride.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: The sun is setting now. You're hitting dusk.

TRAVIS: Moorbounder.

SAM: Slave, get on one of the moorbounders.

MARISHA: (groans) My feet are bound. Yeah, Fjord, put me on the cat.

TRAVIS: I just push her off so she's in the mud and got dragged a little bit. Got to look like you've been in that thing for a while. Come on, commit to the part.

MARISHA: This is like some Stanford Prison Experiment shit.

LAURA: I'm just unhooking your feet. That's stupid. What's the point of having somebody working for you who can't even walk, right?

MARISHA: Thank you, Jester.

LAURA: You're welcome. Fjord, do you want to get on my moorbounder with me?

TRAVIS: Sure.

LAURA: You can ride in the back.

TRAVIS: Okay.

MATT: All right.

LIAM: I drop the magic and lean down onto the ground and get some soil on my hands and I rub it down, and then I clap it onto Beauregard's face and smash her face around and make it filthy, and then do the same to myself, and then take three steps back very quickly.

MATT: All right, cool, and you do that, effectively filthy, also realizing in hindsight, moments after, it's not just mud.

(groaning)

But it works.

TRAVIS: It's shit!

MATT: Not all of it. It's a mixture of various things.

(laughter)

MATT: As the seven of you-- well, Yasha just walks alongside, but while the rest of the six of you are up onto-- riding tandem, two per moorbounder, making your way through the muddy streets of Asarius, you slowly make your way as the dusk light of orange through the clouds of the gray now transitioning to the mild bright primaries of the sunset. You see the Aurora Hold before you and make your way towards it to wherever the next step of your destiny awaits. And we're going to take a break there.

TRAVIS: Ooh ooh.

MATT: Because it is 8:40.

MARISHA: Good work, negotiation crew. Yes, good work.

MATT: So we have--

LIAM: That's nice.

MATT: Yeah. We'll pick up on that here in just a minute. In the meantime, we do have our giveaway this week from our friends at Wyrmwood. It is not a dice tray this week, actually.

LAURA: Oh, I love this thing!

MATT: You guys have seen their Kickstarter thing they're putting out there. These are their red oak tabletop tiles, which are these here. They're a series of magnetic tiles that you can arrange like next to each other as magnets on the table. These are slots like, oh god. This is like a spell slot counter, right there.

LAURA: And death saving throw.

MATT: Yeah, there's a death saving throw keeper. There's a tiny dice roller there.

LAURA: There's one that's got a dice jail.

MATT: Wait, is this the dice jail here?

LAURA: Yes!

MATT: It's got a little dice jail for if you piss off your dice.

LIAM: Put some together, put some together!

LAURA: That's pretty cool. I figured out how to do it the other day.

MATT: There you go, you assemble them magnetically.

TRAVIS: The center. Put them in the center.

SAM: We have a camera there?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Oh, yeah. But wait, it's not--

MATT: See, and they snap together like that.

MARISHA: That's a coaster?

LAURA: Well no, that one's upside down. That's for your spell cards.

MATT: More stuff in there. It's pretty awesome. You can check out Wyrmwood's Kickstarter campaign for these right now to pick up your own set. The keyword for tonight is recovery. You enter the word recovery once into the chat here. More than once, you'll be disqualified, but we'll have a winner when we come back here shortly. See you guys in a little bit.

(upbeat music)

Break Edit

♪ You got the perfect warlock ♪ ♪ Her weapons and supplies ♪ ♪ But you need a place to track your stuff ♪ ♪ 'Cause you're so disorganized ♪ ♪ You click open the web page ♪ ♪ You heard about on Critical Role ♪ ♪ And now you're ready to kick some butt ♪ ♪ In a mineshaft full of gnolls ♪ ♪ It's D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ Yeah D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; Beyond ♪ ♪ You got your stats, you've got your swords ♪ ♪ And you got your invisible wand ♪ ♪ It's D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; ♪ ♪ D&D; Beyond ♪ (laughter) TRAVIS: What!? Guys, we did it. LAURA: We're at the airport. We're about to get on a plane after Emerald City Comic Con. TRAVIS: We got our carry ons still. LAURA: And we just found out the news. TRAVIS: We broke it. $7.5 million for the animated Kickstarter. LAURA: I can't believe you guys. TRAVIS: What the heck? That's amazing. LAURA: (Vex voice) Darling. TRAVIS: That means you've unlocked two more episodes of the mysterious Briarwood arc. LAURA: Oh my gosh. TRAVIS: And unleashes the new Vox Machina guest one-shot. We got Felicia Day. LAURA: We got Will Friedle. TRAVIS: Wil Wheaton. LAURA: We got Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. TRAVIS: Patrick Rothfuss. LAURA: What the what! We have Patrick Rothfuss? TRAVIS: We have Patrick Rothfuss. LAURA: Oh my gosh. TRAVIS: I mean, schedules still to be determined, but they are all in, and we are in, and that's so exciting. The next stretch goal, which is even crazier to say, which is our last one, is $8.8 million, which would finish the first season of this animated series and finish the Briarwood arc, and that would be everything that we'd ever hoped for and more. We don't know what to do after that. Except make other stories, but this is the start, this is the way that we want to do it, and it's only because of your generosity and your support and your passion and love. LAURA: We love you! TRAVIS: Okay, we got to get on a plane and try to pretend to-- LAURA: Be normal, what? TRAVIS: We love you so much, and please continue. We'll see you on Tuesdays and and Thursdays going forward. (kiss sounds) Bye. TRAVIS (VO): Previously on MAME Drop. WHITNEY: It's not a very effective way to deliver papers. TALIESIN: It's your paper bag of shame. See, non-customers have like spooky goth houses. WHITNEY: Whoa. TALIESIN: Then customers are super happy and you have to shoot the paper. WHITNEY: I want to be a non-customer. Look at how cool, it's got a skull on the door. TALIESIN: The non-customers have the best houses. You just have to avoid everything, yeah, see? Non-customers coming home in their hearse. Oh my god. WHITNEY: Is this consensual violence? TALIESIN: This is, indeed, consensual violence. I'm just like, he's like shooting things out of a syringe at you. WHITNEY: You look like an old professor. TALIEISN: What? WHITNEY: I look like a weird, what the fuck? TALIESIN: Oh, you're in trouble now! I am the reason the turtle dies. WHITNEY: What? TALIESIN: I don't know, I just keep hitting buttons. (laughs) WHITNEY: What the heck? TALIESIN: What is happening? Whoa. WHITNEY: I think you got me. TALIEISN: You should pick one of those. WHITNEY: Oh, I get to place it? Okay. TALIESIN: That seems only fair. WHITNEY: Well, I'm going to keep this going. TALIESIN: All right, all right, I'm into it. WHITNEY: Look at that cute cat. TALIESIN: Nice. WHITNEY: Thank you for the gift that you're about to bestow upon me. I appreciate you. Thank you for letting me be on your show, and I have your consent? Okay. TALIESIN: I'm glad that you've now put the prize machine in charge. There's no going back anymore. WHITNEY: Ooh! TALIESIN: What did you get? WHITNEY: Did I get a weapon? TALIEISN: Maybe. Oh my god! Oh man, you are very lucky, okay. WHITNEY: What is this, it's a little book. TALIESIN: You got tiny props. WHITNEY: I got a tiny, oh! I got a little book of astronomy and a telescope. Oh. TALIESIN: Tiny telescope. WHITNEY: I can see all the way to my house from here. And I got a world map. TALIEISN: And a world map. WHITNEY: Oh my god, I love it. MATT: "Well, hello there. "I'm Pumat Sol, and I'm here to get you sold "on a brand new voice pack from Killer Voices, "featuring yours truly. (chuckles) "That's right, you can now enjoy commentary from me, "Pumat Sol, as you murder your enemies "and storm bases that technically don't belong to you "in some of your favorite PC games. "Want to hear me in Fortnite?" MATT: "Oh, I'm in that." MATT: "How about PUBG?" MATT: "Oh, we're in that." MATT: "League of Legends?" MATT: "Oh yeah, you know we're in that." MATT: "You can find a handy link to download "the Killer Voices app made by the folks at Overwolf "at critrole.com/killervoices. "Respectfully, I think you just got sold. "All right boys, we're done, we got a lot of work to do. "Come on, come on, shoo, shoo, shoo. TRAIVS (VO): Last time on Yee-haw Game Ranch. MARISHA: "Howdy boys!" BRIAN: What the hell? MARISHA: "I can't thank you enough for giving me breath. "What was the name you gave me to awaken my soul?" BRIAN: It's the armadillo we named two weeks ago. It's Root N Toot N Ruby. MARISHA: "Root N Toot N Ruby? "Well hell, that's got more kick than sour sarsaparilla "on a hot day. "There are other critters out here who need names." BRIAN: Oh yeah, we do have a bunch. MARISHA: "Speak them, and they will return, just like me." BRIAN: Wow. MARISHA: "So dust off your boots and enjoy those "games, boys. But remember the prophecy." BRIAN: The what? TRAVIS: Prophecy? MARISHA: "The prophecy..." TRAVIS: What are you doing with-- BRIAN: What the hell? Brian: All right, Kimothy was raised in Venice. Today's actually the first day he's ever left Venice. TRAVIS: Uh-huh. BRIAN: Sometimes he gets in trouble because of the way he looks. He's basically modeled after the drummer from Sevendust which is a super deep cut. TRAVIS: Yeah, I see it! BRIAN: For some of the fans out there. But yeah, he killed both of his parents a couple years ago and he's been on the run ever since then. He's allergic to cheese but he loves other dairy products. (cow moos) TRAVIS: One second. BRIAN: That's Kimothy in a nutshell. All right, up first... Hey! Hey, hold on. TRAVIS: I got a lot of flack for my Cheeto throwing, or my cheese puff finger throwing. I want you to know, I've been working on it. One, a-two-- BRIAN: Wait, but these are bigger ones than last time. TRAVIS: Yeah, no problem. BRIAN: That landed on my shoe. TRAVIS: Oh, it did! BRIAN: Dude, you don't know where my shoes have been. TRAVIS: I'll throw it and catch it. BRIAN: Where are you, sir? TRAVIS: I'm just down here. I'm right here. (laughter) (laughter) TRAVIS: Pig-sooie! (static) (eerie music) (grunting) MATT: "Oh! (chuckles) "Would you look at that? I think it worked. "You were right, Pumat Number Three. "All we had to do was invoke that subscription cantrip. (echoing) "Pumat Number Three? "Oh boy. "Well, hello there, I'm Pumat Prime. "It's good to finally join you here in the Prime dimension. "I see this is the Twitch Prime realm, I think, "and oh, we're on the Critical Role channel, aren't we? "Well, would you look at that, you got chat and everything. "(chuckles) "Respectfully, I was looking for the prime rib realm, "but this isn't too bad. "You see, if you already have access "to the Amazon Prime realm, you can get a free subscription "to the channel of your choice in the Twitch Prime realm. "The two realms have a pretty good working relationship "after that peace treaty the prime minister signed "a few years back. "You just have to remember to renew your Twitch Prime "subscription at the top of each month, respectfully, "and hey, if you're already a subscriber, "you can spread the joy by gifting a subscription "using the Gift a Sub button. "That is, assuming the Empire hasn't sent "a tax man to your shop here recently. "All right, well, off to find that darn elusive "prime rib realm. "Who knew the prime dimension had so many pockets? "Good luck. (chuckles) "Pumat Three!" (dramatic music)

Part II Edit

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So, we have, the winner of our fantastic giveaway of the awesome tiles from our friends at Wyrmwood, is FurryPhotos. Congratulations, FurryPhotos. You have won this awesome Wyrmwood Kickstarter giveaway. We'll have that to you ASAP.

LAURA: I feel like I should put this in that jail that is over there, but whatever.

MATT: I'll get it to you.

LAURA: Yeah, I'm going to use it tonight.

MATT: There you go. That's for you.

TRAVIS: For now.

MATT: It belongs to FurryPhotos.

LAURA: Give me that jail.

MATT: All righty, so.

LAURA: Of course it's the bottom one.

MATT: Bringing us back in. As you guys caravan your way through the streets to the base of the Aurora Hold, you make your way to the front stairs, up through the front entryway, the doors that are open, and the clerk there, immediately wide-eyed goes, (stammering) "Excuse me, what's going on?"

TRAVIS: We have a meeting with Lady Olios.

SAM: Zethriss Olios. These are our hoopdies.

MATT: "Are you bringing these creatures into the Hold?"

TRAVIS: I'm sorry, what do you mean the Hold?

MATT: "Are you waiting here?"

LAURA: She said to meet her here.

MATT: "I'll be right back." The clerk darts off.

SAM: What is the Hold?

MATT: The Hold is the structure you're in.

LAURA: Yeah, the Hold.

MATT: A few moments pass before both Lady Zethriss Olios and Lythir arrive out of the left-hand opening. You see that the leisurely outfit that she had on earlier is now gone, and there now is this longer, white--

LAURA: Track suit.

MATT: Yeah, just track...

(laughter)

MATT: Just chains, everything.

(laughter)

MATT: She came back from yoga, guys.

(laughter)

MATT: No, this long, almost ceremonial dress, with like white and silver, a beautiful necklace of some dull gray stone that when light hits it shines and shimmers. It's very pretty. Anyway, as you approach, she steps forward and goes, "Very well, so have you acquired all of your friends?"

SAM: Yes, we're all here, yes.

MATT: Looks across Caduceus, Yasha, looks to the two of you.

TRAVIS: I apologize for any confusion. These two work for us. Hard workers, they're tough to find in this day and age, but they do their jobs well.

MATT: "Interesting. All right. And your beasts, have you decided to bring them or not?"

TRAVIS: Absolutely.

LAURA: I mean, do you think it would be appropriate? Here's the thing, we don't want to offend anyone, but these guys were expensive, you know?

MATT: "We can try."

TRAVIS: How long is the voyage?

MATT: "Oh, not long."

LAURA: Are we teleporting or are we traveling?

MATT: "We are using a much faster means of traveling."

SAM: Do we need, would it make sense to leave these guys behind, or should we, I mean, can they fit, is it a thing where they have to fit?

MATT: She thinks for a second and goes, "We can try."

SAM: All right!

MATT: "All right, this way." She turns around, the guards open the door on the left-hand side, fully, and you guys see, it's about five feet wide and about seven feet tall. It is a comical experience squeezing these moorbounders through. This is Winnie the Pooh stuck in Rabbit's window, it's--

TRAVIS: Except they want to eat each other.

MATT: Yeah, it takes about six people each time to push them through the doorway, and in the process they're growling and snapping at anyone that isn't you guys, and it's--

LIAM: (imitates cat yowling)

MATT: It is unique. The folks that spend most of their days walking the halls of the Aurora Hold will probably tell of this tale for years to come.

LAURA: No pooping on the floor, you guys!

MATT: Too late, it's already happened twice.

(laughter)

MATT: On the smooth floor, too. Just, you know, Jurassic Park level pile.

LAURA: Caleb, clean that up.

LIAM: I clean it up.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What I said, motherfucker!

MATT: You do make your way down the hallway, which is--

LAURA: Oh, you took it.

SAM: Oh!

LIAM: "Cleaned poop for thief." Got it.

MATT: All righty. You are led down the hall past the office where Lady Zethriss was originally meeting you for your first and secondary meeting. Continuing on, the hallway curves to the left and then comes to a small circular chamber where the other hall seems to curve and enter from that side, so this building seems to have two main halls. Where it meets in the center, there is a doorway that heads back towards the direction of the entrance at the base of the Hold, and a spiral staircase that leads up higher into the Hold's towers, it seems. On the side that you're facing, there is a fairly heavy-looking door. It's a double door. You see a symbol of the dodecahedron is carved into this door, where it's divided in the center, where the two sides are closed in, and there on each door you can see a heavy entrance where a key of some kind should go in. Flanking each side of the door is a heavily armed orcish guard. One's orcish, one's half-orcish, and they're both arms crossed, standing, weapons at the ready, and as they approach they give like a bow and respectful nod towards Lady Zethriss, and as the rest of you come around the corner into the chamber, they all curiously look at each other and this cluster fuck of a group that's making its way towards the doorway. One of them begins to pipe up and goes, "Lady," and she goes, "Ah, it's fine." She reaches into a small satchel she keeps on her hip and procures this beautiful intricate silver key that matches a little bit of the silver inlay that's pressed into the designs along the frame of the door. She presses into one side, it clicks to the left of the door, (clicks), one to the right, (clicks), and both doors shudder as she turns the key until eventually both the orcs reach out and grab the edges and pull both sides open. Beyond that you see a wide staircase, about eight feet wide, that curves downward out of sight. She continues down, as does Lythir. Do you guys follow?

SAM: Yes.

TRAVIS: We should.

LIAM: You look too cocky. Uncross your arms. You look like you want to start a fight or get it on with that woman. Just look meager.

MARISHA: I want to do all of the above.

(laughter)

LIAM: Inside thoughts, inside thoughts.

MATT: So, progressing down the spiral, descends about 100 feet or so into the depths beneath the Hold. The temperature gets colder. The air gets noticeably more damp. Most of it is carved stone with just bits of earth that are held back with strips of stone that have been carved out of nearby marble or placed in through some magical means. It seems that they've been affixed magically with this seamless and beautiful in its construction. Imagine like a stone ribcage that marks the roof as you go down, just an occasional stone kind of archway bars that go over the top.

LIAM: Giger.

MATT: -ish. Once you hit that 100 feet below, it levels out, and you find yourself in what is a Y-shaped intersection between three small diamond-shaped chambers, each marked with a silver arch at the entryway. Imagine the stairs stop and you're in this small room, maybe 10 feet across. It's somewhat circular, and on the right side there is a diamond-shaped chamber that goes to one side, to your left there's a diamond-shaped chamber that goes that way, and then across the way there's a third chamber. They're about 20 feet across, 10 feet wide, where it's at its widest point, and there's an arch that signifies the opening to each of these doors. The floor of the chamber before you has this interesting circle of various symbols and carvings that may have had molten silver poured into it and then cooled to give it this silver-embossed sigil on the floor. You recognize it. It is similar, though unique, to the symbol that you were shown in the tower in Nicodranas. As you one by one begin to squeeze your way through, there's not enough room in this chamber for all of you and the moorbounders, so the drow step into the chamber across from where the entrance is. Essentially the point of the triangle between the three chambers. Within there, there was another subtle, nowhere-near-as-bright silver, but a subtle carving on the ground, similar size, about 10 foot wide, this large, grooved-- not filled with silver, but a carved groove of other sigils and symbols, and it's some sort of an arcane... like an arcane equation that is built into this, for layer upon layer up on layer, getting more intricate as it goes toward the center. As you begin to head into that chamber, Lady Zethriss, leading the troop, turns around and goes, "I shall cross first. Grant me a pause for but a minute so I may notify of your coming. I think you prefer not to be eviscerated upon arriving, yes?

TRAVIS: That would be preferred.

SAM: Not right upon arrival, no.

MATT: She turns and steps through. You watch as she goes, steps on to the circle. Her body just vanishes in the middle air, like she just stepped through a curtain and doesn't exist.

LAURA: Wow.

TRAVIS: Caleb, start counting.

LIAM: One, two, three--

MATT: Lythir steps through. Same scenario.

LAURA: Dang, I was going to ask him some questions. Hey, you guys, now that we're down here without anybody around us--

MATT: There are guards behind you. The orcs that let you in are up in the stairway kind of keeping a distance from the moorbounders that right now are jammed in and squeezing, like (snarling).

SAM: Jesus.

MATT: This is a very unique journey.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: Money well spent. Has it been a minute?

MATT: Been about a minute.

LIAM: 58.

(laughter)

MATT: Who goes first?

TRAVIS: I'll go.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Hope you don't get eviscerated.

MATT: (whooshes) Fjord vanishes through.

LAURA: Okay, I'll go next. SAM: Okay.

LAURA: Then we should send--

SAM: The slaves?

LAURA: Yeah, and then you and Yasha.

SAM: Sure.

MATT: Jester, you step through. (whooshes)

SAM: All right.

LAURA: With my moorbounder, yeah?

SAM: You lot.

MATT: Bring your moorbounder behind you. You watch as Jester vanishes but the tether remains, taut, and at the edge of it you see this sparkle, and it seems to almost like eat the tether as the moorbounder moves forward, and then eventually as it steps into the circle, the moorbounder (whooshes) vanishes as well.

LIAM: I will take my moorbounder by the collar and just walk forward.

(laughter)

MATT: (whooshes) You vanish as well. Caduceus is there with his moorbounder like, "Wow, that's pretty crazy."

(laughter)

MARISHA: I go.

MATT: All right. He follows you, and you guys all step through, Yasha following suit.

SAM: I'll take a big swig and go last.

MATT: All right. Braving yourself, as Nott is wont to do, you take a heavy swig and step forward and (whooshes).

SAM: Ah!

MATT: The sensation is cold at first. The body chills in but an instant, and it feels like you're being blasted with a heavy blast of wind. Like you just opened a door in the middle of a storm, for an instant, and then it comes to rest again. Your eyes lose focus for about a moment, and then as they clarify once more. The lighting has changed. You now find yourselves in a chamber very much like the one you just left. Mirrored, though larger. The circular center is now about 25 feet across, and there's plenty of room for you and your moorbounders to all squeeze into this space all together. On the floor there is a similar symbol to the silver inlaid symbol on the ground as well. These are anchor sigils for teleportation circles.

LIAM: Fixed and carved, yeah?

MATT: Correct. They're carved and then it looks like they've had molten silver poured into them so that when it cooled, it now has this really cool looking silver inlay that matches the symbols.

LAURA: Does the silver do anything special, or is it just pretty?

MATT: You don't know.

LAURA: I say it out loud.

MATT: You say it out loud. Lythir turns to you and goes, "It does both. It aids the continuation of the enchantment and it is quite beautiful."

LAURA: It really is.

MATT: You see now six chambers affixed here as opposed to three, and there is one staircase that just continues upward. Not a spiral as the one you came down from the Aurora Hold, but one that continues up. As you guys have all stepped through at this point, Lady Zethriss turns to you, at the base of the stairs, kind of ascended about three or four of them before stopping and turning around and goes, "Welcome to the underarches of the Lucid Bastion."

(laughter)

LAURA: Where is that?

MATT: "I have spoken on your behalf, and you will meet with the Bright Queen within an hour."

LAURA: Whoa.

MATT: "Your guard will escort you to the holding chambers until you are to be presented. Follow please." She continues to ascend the stairs.

LAURA: Lady Zethriss?

MATT: She continues walking but gives a hand motion for you to catch up.

LAURA: How often is it that the Bright Queen actually sees people?

MATT: "Not very often. Usually as a favor to a member of the various dens. You have done me a favor, and as such, I have given you one in kind."

SAM: You're a den mother, then?

MATT: "I am one of many figures and many dens, but I am one of the three most powerful in mine, yes."

SAM: Oh.

LAURA: I had a feeling you were really powerful.

MATT: "Thank you." She continues to ascend, her formal dress dragging behind her by about five or six steps. There are guards waiting for you at the top. It's about a 60-foot climb. It's not too extensive. You make your way towards the top of the staircase. It opens up into this, how do I describe, this beautiful, long hall to the right and left of you. You can see like a semi-opaque gray quartz-like material that the entirety of this hallway is carved from. You can see the walls themselves reach up probably 30 to 40 feet, and slowly come to a heavy arched point at the top. There are pillars about every 20 feet or so, and this hall goes on for maybe 80 to 100 feet in each direction. You look past that. It goes on even further, and further. This is probably a good 200, 300 feet of hall in just this section here. You can see where each one of these arches and the pillars rise up and curve to meet the point. There are sconces that are affixed there where a simple white chain dangles and holds onto these blue luminous orbs, about that large, that just hang from them, and give off this beautiful ethereal light that fills the chamber, brighter than you expected. This gives this entire hall with the somewhat mostly opaque gray crystal a very, almost a dreamlike quality. It's beautiful and it's strange and it's different, and you swear you can see moving shadows or shapes beyond, but you're uncertain if there are things actually beyond the chamber walls or if it's just a trick of the light, or you're just getting used to the interior. As you move into the main hallway, your moorbounders coming up behind you, still growling and sniveling and scraping the ground with their claws as they move. (snorting) You can see now, up ahead to the right side, there are about a dozen or so drow guards and about three orcish, or larger, creatures in similar Kryn warrior armor, but it is made silver and reflective. More ornamental. Beautiful and intimidating, and they step carefully and intently to meet you as you step to the right and head further down that chamber following Lady Zethriss. As you guys make it towards where these guards are, Lady Zethriss turns to you, the clacking of your feet across this empty hallway, the quiet causing the sound of your footsteps to echo in the silence, she spins around and goes, "They will lead you to the antechamber. Prepare yourselves. Within an hour you will meet with the Bright Queen."

SAM: Is there any formal way to address her ladyship?

MATT: "Just the queen."

LAURA: Should we have some like special clothes on or maybe should we get cleaned up and stuff because you know she's really important and stuff.

MATT: "You'll be fine."

TRAVIS: You mentioned you were one of three den mothers. Forgive our ignorance, would you mind telling us about the other two?

MATT: "My sisters, you mean."

TRAVIS: Your sisters. I'm unaware.

MATT: "Where are you from?"

SAM: Shit. We are the worst at this.

MARISHA: Every time.

TRAVIS: Every time.

LIAM: Poke poke poke poke poke.

MATT: "I'm just curious. You all seem to find your way under the Dynasty's banner, but know so little of its structure."

TRAVIS: Well, we all sort of found each other by accident. I was an outcast from deep south, made my way up north and then east, and found this lot.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. You're kind of technically not lying.

TRAVIS: 23.

MATT: The tension remains, but she doesn't press further. She goes, "Well, to inform you a bit, there are many dens that help run the Dynasty. Den Kryn, which you are about to meet, has been since its inception for the past near-millennia, the heads of our people. Meet this with reverence, honesty, and respect. I take it none of you are consecuted, correct?"

SAM: Well, I haven't turned 13 yet so I can't technically...

TRAVIS: That's enough.

MATT: "Then you have nothing to look forward to if this life were to end. Be careful."

SAM: Is there a way we can just quickly get consecrated or whatever before--

LAURA: Consecuted.

SAM: Yeah. Before we meet her or....

MATT: "Show your faith. Many many years of service to the Dynasty, maybe then, but such things are not handed out to strangers."

LAURA: Yeah. Nott, obviously.

SAM: Of course. I mean I just thought that maybe...

TRAVIS: Anything to avoid? Any topics of conversation not to be spoken of within in the Queen's presence?

MATT: "Stick to your business, answer her questions, ask of your favor. That should suffice."

TRAVIS: Thank you.

LAURA: We should probably put our babies in a holding area, or should we bring them with us to see her?

MATT: "They will remain in your holding area, I am to believe," and she looks past the guards, and makes a motion towards the moorbounders, and you watch as a few of them step forward and reach out to take your leashes, your tethers of the beasts.

LAURA: Ooh, oh. Be careful.

MATT: The creatures (snarling). As they approach, they carefully step forward and look towards you and Caduceus and Caleb for a moment of permission. One by one, they gather them and--

LAURA: I give my orc guy an arm of the little creature that I killed.

MATT: As you reach in, (squishing) it is just tar, it is degraded.

LAURA: Here, just, I put the tar in his hand.

MATT: It seeps into all the metallic pieces of his armor.

LAURA: Yarnball really likes that. You can offer it to him.

MATT: You don't finish the phrase before your moorbounder goes (snarling) and starts licking it out of them, he's like (groaning).

LAURA: (laughs)

MATT: Yarnball's like (slurping), eyes bugging out the sides.

(laughter)

MATT: (spitting) And immediately coughs it up onto the ground.

LAURA: Aww.

(laughter)

MATT: The guards all look at each other and collectively sigh.

LAURA: Yarnball's eyes don't blink at the same time.

(laughter)

MATT: Only one of them blinks, really. At this point, Lady Zethriss goes, "I believe at this point our debt is paid."

LAURA: Thank you.

MATT: "Thank you."

SAM: Yes, thank you very much for your honorable transaction, and if we find anything else out, we'll come and tell you right away.

LAURA: Is Lythir going to come with us or is he staying with you?

MATT: He's like right beside you, he says, "No, I have business as well."

LAURA: Oh okay. Cool, just checking.

TRAVIS: May the light be with you.

MATT: "You as well." She turns and heads the opposite side of the hallway. She's not returning to Asarius, but she's handling business elsewhere. The guards turn and begin to lead the moorbounders, and yourselves, further down the large hall, for about 150 feet or so, until you reach what looks to be a double door. Here you see, as it opens up into the antechamber, the guards push into the inside, it's a 20-foot across room flanked with some black stone benches on each side. You can see a small fountain of clear water that's gently trickling out that's in the center of the chamber. You can see three metallic cups that are resting on the lip on the outside of this fountain. The guards tether the moorbounders to these heavy posts, these metallic posts that sit in the corner, that look like they hold up some sort of a vase or some sort of a container made of clay or stone. It's hard to make out the materials, but they tether them to it and then lead you inside the antechamber. As you guys make your way in, they close the doors.

MARISHA: Can I get like a glance at the glasses?

TRAVIS: Yeah, the cups on the top?

MATT: Yeah, the cups are inside the room with you.

MARISHA: They're in the room.

MATT: Yeah, the antechamber is-- there's a set of benches on each side, and there's the fountain in the center, and there is a larger set of double doors on the other end that are currently closed.

MARISHA: Do the cups just seem...

MATT: Make a Perception check.

MARISHA: Like water cups, presentory type of thing? 13.

MATT: They appear to be clean metallic cups. They're are not huge. They're small.

TRAVIS: Just resting on the edge of the fountain?

MATT: Yeah, which only lifts about a foot and a half off the ground, so you know, you could almost lean and sit on it, uncomfortably, if you want to.

TRAVIS: That needs to be picked up, come on.

LAURA: Do we see a symbol of the dodecahedron anywhere?

MATT: Make a Perception check.

LAURA: Oh, it keeps doing that.

SAM: Yeah, it does a lot of things.

LAURA: Eight.

MATT: Eight. No, you don't see anything like that. There isn't a lot of iconography in here. You do notice, and getting a closer look at the material of this-- whatever this structure is made from, this beautiful gray quartz, getting close to it, you can see, because it's mostly opaque, but there's some sort of translucence to it. You can see layers and shapes and interesting things in it, and on the inside, you can see veins of silver almost. It looks like maybe a few inches inside, imagine blanched white silver tree branches that just extend upward like veins and capillaries that eventually dissipate amongst the rest of the stone.

TRAVIS: It's still, it's--

MATT: It's still, it's not moving. It's beautiful. It gives everything in here like a natural feel, even though it is hewn material. But very pretty. Above the fountain there is another one of those blue orbs that is dangling from a white chain that is giving this nice cool glow to the interior. Temperature's comfortable, if like slightly chilly, but comfortable.

TRAVIS: What's coming out of the fountain? Just water as far as we can see?

MATT: Clear-- just fuckin' blood everywhere.

(laughter)

MATT: Perfectly clear water, it looks like. You hear the faint trickle. (water noises)

LAURA: Oh man, I never did pee.

SAM: Oh no.

TRAVIS: I'll go over and pick up one of the cups.

MATT: Okay, it's light, light weight.

LIAM: Are we alone at this point?

MATT: It is only your party. Just you guys, Caduceus, and Yasha. You are sealed in the chamber and you assume you have under an hour.

TRAVIS: Definitely ours to use, right?

MARISHA: Oh, this is the waiting chamber.

MATT: You gather this is the waiting chamber.

SAM: Do you think they're watching us?

LAURA: Let's look around the walls and see if there's any like, looks like peepholes or anywhere people are looking in, or maybe through that, I wonder if they're looking at us through that glowy thing.

TRAVIS: I scoop the cup through the fountain.

MARISHA: I do the same thing.

TRAVIS: Cheers.

MARISHA: Maybe it's the Fountain of Youth.

TRAVIS: You actually drank that shit?

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: So, Beau, I need you to make-- no, I'm kidding. It's very crisp, very clean, cool water. It's actually some of the best water you've had in a long time. You've been--

MARISHA: We've been in Asarius for so long. Yeah, that's good.

TRAVIS: Really nice. Everybody else want to wet your whistle?

MATT: (as Caduceus) "Yeah, that sounds like a great idea." Take the cup and scoops it in.

MARISHA: I'm going to look around.

TRAVIS: I'm only going to tell the truth when we get in there.

LAURA: Cheers.

MATT: "Cheers."

MARISHA: I want to look for any like--

MATT: Puts some tea leaves in it, kind of lets it sit for a little bit.

SAM: Home brew?

MARISHA: Any writing on the wall? Any marks?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

MARISHA: Ew. Gross. 11.

MATT: You run the perimeter a couple of times and you don't see any writing. There's nothing particular about this chamber and its design beyond the fact that it's functional and beautiful in its simplicity. Most of the detail is within the actual stone itself and that is-- it's beautiful, it's ancient, it's hard to really grasp how it was made, but it gives off a very calming air to the interior.

MARISHA: Okay.

SAM: I guess we wait.

LAURA: Yeah.

MARISHA: So what are we gonna say to this-- I mean--

SAM: The truth. We're going to say the truth.

LAURA: We're obviously just gonna talk about the truth.

SAM: About how we're looking for the scientist gentleman because he can help cure our employers.

LAURA: Can I sit down on the bench?

SAM: Right?

TRAVIS: Mm-hmm.

LAURA: And I'm going to take one of my brushes and on the underside of the bench--

SAM: Where do we come from?

LAURA: I'm going to draw a symbol of the Traveler.

SAM: I feel like they keep asking us where we come from.

MATT: Go ahead and make a sleight of hand check for me.

SAM: Oh, boy. Are you gonna graffiti this place?

LAURA: 16.

MATT: 16, okay. You deftly stretch for about three minutes, and feel pretty confident. Now is this regular ink or is this magical?

LAURA: This is just regular ink.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Xhorhas.

MARISHA: I know, but where in Xhorhas? Ashkeeper Peaks? Where's-- Yasha.

SAM: Where you from?

MATT: "I'm from south of the Sorrow Seep."

SAM: The what, Sorrow Seep?

MATT: "Yeah, in the Iothia Moorlands."

TRAVIS: Yeah, basically not on this map-ands.

MARISHA: Do we want to be from there?

TRAVIS: Why don't we say we're like from Bladegarden and we came over through the Ashguard Garrison. Because we weren't welcome no more. Too much?

LIAM: I certainly hope that they are not watching us right now. Because you have shat the bed if they are.

TRAVIS: What do you think?

(laughter)

LAURA: I think we should tell the truth, that we are pirates, y'all.

SAM: We are pirates.

TRAVIS: Fair enough.

SAM: We're from the sea.

LAURA: I know pirates are frowned upon and stuff, but that's the truth, and we grew up on the sea, you know? We shouldn't be ashamed of that.

TRAVIS: Exiled from, the hell was it called? In one day.

LAURA: Darktow.

TRAVIS: Darktow.

MARISHA: Yeah, I'm all right with that.

LIAM: We are exiles in every sense of the word.

MARISHA: I don't think that Caleb and I will probably do much talking.

LAURA: Right.

SAM: Okay.

MARISHA: But, it might be weird to have your servants, slaves, whatever you want to call us in the room. Should we have a little bit more of an explanation there?

LAURA: Maybe when you come in, you both just like, bow down and get down on all hands and knees and look down at the ground.

SAM: Ooh, you could hold the cups for us. Why don't you hold the cups for us?

MARISHA: I was thinking more like I'm your personal bodyguard.

SAM: Oh!

LAURA: What if you sit down on your hands and knees and then we sit on you like you're our personal like stool.

TRAVIS: Yeah, like benches.

LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, like you come around with us and give us like, you know.

LIAM: We are very expensive benches that you hire.

LAURA: Very powerful bench.

TRAVIS: Among other things, but yeah.

LIAM: I've always thought that about you, Caleb.

TRAVIS: Real important job description.

MARISHA: I wish I had a bench to throw at all of you all's heads.

LAURA: There is a bench. There's a couple black benches in here.

MARISHA: They seem very bolted to the ground.

LIAM: How, how did I get here with you people?

(laughter)

LIAM: How?

SAM: We take you to all the best places. We're about to meet a queen, yo. This is amazing.

LAURA: It is.

SAM: We were on a boat a couple days ago it feels like.

LAURA: She's like really famous and stuff!

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: (as Caduceus) "I'm actually pretty excited."

LAURA: See?

MATT: "I've never met a queen."

LAURA: No. MATT: "No."

MARISHA: Like a little Elvis, like just a little.

(laughter)

MATT: To be fair, yeah.

TRAVIS: Any coins on the bottom of the fountain?

LIAM: (like Elvis) Thank you, Wildmother, thank you.

(laughter)

MATT: The DM will remember that.

(laughter)

MATT: No. What was your question?

TRAVIS: Any coins at the bottom of the fountain? Anything tossed in for good luck?

MATT: Make a Perception check.

TRAVIS: Hey! 20.

MATT: 20, no coins. It is clear. It is a perfectly clean-- there is no algae. It is just clean water.

SAM: I'm going to look for peepholes, or spy holes.

LAURA: Yeah, I said that a while ago.

SAM: Oh, you did?

LAURA: Yeah, but I never rolled an Investigation.

MATT: Sorry, go ahead and either of you or both of you roll an Investigation checks, or one of you with advantage, if you want.

LAURA: (groans)

SAM: 20.

LAURA: Okay, that's better than me.

MATT: 20. Okay. You glance around the chamber, you spend the next 15 or so minutes carefully scanning the ceiling and the walls and the floor where it meets. No peepholes. About that time, the doors where you entered open. You've been here about 40 minutes or so. There doors where you came through open, and Lythir steps in as well.

TRAVIS: Hey, welcome back.

MATT: "Yes, of course." Anyway. He comes in and the door closes behind him. The guards are still waiting there on the outside, and he just stands, finds one of the nearby benches, and stands next to it, doesn't even sit, but just quietly keeps watch.

TRAVIS: Unusual traveling partners, I know. What are you here to talk to the Bright Queen about?

MATT: "That is my business, but it seemed convenient to affix my wagon to yours in this travel. I was already in the middle of discussing business with Lady Zethriss, so here we are. Strange bedfellows, yes?"

LAURA: How crazy is it that there was a fucking rift to the Abyssal plane, huh?

MATT: "I will admit that was unexpected. Such magics are not commonly found or even seen these days. That is an ancient construct, but not. I'm confused by it."

LAURA: Not-- what do you mean it wasn't ancient?

MATT: "Meaning the materials were more recently cobbled."

LAURA: Oh really? Do you think somebody built it within the city?

MATT: "I don't know if it was in the city, but it's been within this age at the very least."

LAURA: Whoa.

MATT: "Weeks, months, (sighs) the shape and design of it seems to have seen little wear and tear."

LAURA: Yeah, it did seem pretty new.

TRAVIS: These happenings, are they limited to the City of Beasts, or has it been happening all over the Dynasty?

MATT: "I do not know. I have not been privy to such discussions, so."

SAM: But you might be seeing more of the Dynasty soon after you get transferred away, right?

MATT: "Maybe."

SAM: Don't like the City of Beasts that much. Too many beasts, not enough beasts?

MATT: "It lacks some of the more... gentle comforts of life."

SAM: Sure.

LAURA: Where are you from?

MATT: "I believe we've asked enough questions of myself. Where are you from?"

LAURA: I believe we've asked enough questions of us, too.

MATT: Yeah, he narrows his eyes very intently towards you.

LAURA: Have you ever tried baked goods with cinnamon in them?

MATT: "Why do you ask?"

LAURA: Because they're really good.

MATT: "I have not."

LAURA: You should try it.

MATT: "Good to know. I will keep this in mind, next time I have the option, enjoying this 'cinnamon.'"

SAM: It's one of the top ten foods. It's really good for you.

LAURA: It's A plus. Yeah, it's supposed to be really good for your health, yeah.

MATT: "You keep your pets close by."

TRAVIS: Yes, they serve a variety of functions. They have actually very sharp memories. Watch. I can say 13 44 16. What I say?

MARISHA: 13 44 16.

LIAM: A very old date.

LAURA: Beau. They also make really excellent-- Beau, come here. Be my foot stool.

SAM: We're doing that? We're doing that thing?

LAURA: I'm sitting on the bench already so I just lift up my feet and wait for her to get down.

MARISHA: And I bend down and I say, "I'm going to fucking get you later."

MATT: "This is a very interesting punishment for imperial dogs."

TRAVIS: It's not so much a punishment as it is an honor for them. Caleb, why don't you come over here and make sure my boots are looking clean for the Bright Queen, will you?

LIAM: I take a very filthy rag out of my pocket, and I start to buff his shoes.

TRAVIS: Yeah, that's right.

SAM: This is awful.

MATT: Lythir actually lets out a chuckle watching this. "Well, you certainly know how to pass the time."

LIAM: I've had this dream.

MATT: At this point, you hear some footsteps approaching from the other larger door.

LAURA: You can get up!

SAM: Get up, you dogs.

TRAVIS: (laughing) Get up, you dogs.

(laughter)

MATT: Caduceus and Yasha look very uncomfortable. (boom) With a resounding thoom, the heavy stone doors begin to grind against the floor leading further into the bastion. A bright white light warms you as you step into the colossal cathedral-like throne room. The octagonal chamber is made of the same semi-opaque gray stone maybe 120 feet, 150 feet across from you. It rises to a gradual point, like an inverse pyramid from the interior. With harsh edges and elongated jagged ridges that cut upward along the surface like climbing ice. You see roughly 12 armored figures, similar to the silvered warriors of the hallway previously, vigilant at two exits. The doors where you entered and a pair of doors at an angle to your left. The rest of the chamber is enclosed. At the peak of the room, where the point is at its highest, probably the elongated pyramid shape of this chamber, about 200 feet above the center, you see a circular sphere about 10 feet across suspended by heavy white chains, and it is emanating a bright white light, like a small captured star, illuminating the chamber like it was the brightest moonlight you've ever seen, the purest, whitest moonlight. Now the actual room before you you can see gathers and rises up into a small, lifted dais, and then on that there are three more elevated platforms with staircases that lead up to the center and ones on the sides that curve up to the edges. On top of that, above the platforms as the guards begin to lead you closer to it still. You can see there are two side platforms that raise up with gentle stairs on top of this central raised area, and on each of these side bits there are four chairs, four on this side, four on this side. Seated within them you see a menagerie of figures, mostly drow, but you see an orc, you see a bugbear in robes on the opposite right side. They're all mid-conversation in hushed whispers. You cannot make out their talking at this distance but you can see that there is some commotion and discussion. The third raised platform raises higher than the other two, and has one heavy wide staircase that ascends up to the top where you see five chairs of differing sizes. In the center, one massive, bright white crystal throne that rises 13 or so feet from its base. Between where all those chairs are arranged in a semi-circle towards the stair, you see in the middle a short pillar, maybe three, four feet off the ground, and atop it, a bright platinum wire frame construct of a dodecahedron. All the individuals around as you ascend the staircases towards the center of this area, all the conversation stops and comes to a halt as all faces (whooshes) shift (whooshes) to you. Atop the highest platform, immediately across from you as you step up the large staircase and walk towards the middle of these two rows of raised chairs, the eyes watching as you pass. You see five figures sitting among the chairs at top, and in the center, in the throne, you see a beautiful figure. A voice rings out, sourceless around you. "Visitors, you bear witness to the Bright Queen Leylas Kryn." The woman in this throne stands in a sparkling warrior dress of crystals and mithril chain. Her beautiful dark gray blue skin peeking from beneath the vibrant glow of glittering beads and armor plates. Her white hair topples from under a headdress of three white crystal ibex-like horns that curve to the back. Past her shoulders the hair meets her waist from behind. Her piercing turquoise eyes look down at you from above a stern smile. She steps up, lording right over where the dodecahedron is, coming no closer as you are all led to stop kind of between these three raised platforms. The bright light ahead casting shadows directly around where your ankles and feet are. The voice once more ominous and around you says, "May she warm your weariness." She lifts a staff you can see that goes about a foot and a half beyond her height, itself solid white marble that fades to gray and at the top. It seems to arrive into four clawed fingers that wrap around an even smaller symbol of the dodecahedron. "Welcome, children of light."

SAM: Light be with you.

MATT: "Lady Zethriss of Den Olios speaks of a deed done in the protection of Asarius, and discoveries most foul. I ask you to tell me of these deeds."

LAURA: Well.

SAM: Yes, our Queen, Empress of Light, it is lovely to take audience with you. Thank you for your time and your graciousness. We are the members of the Mighty Nein.

LAURA: Mm-hmm.

SAM: A group of adventurers and investigators who have recently helped your Lady...

LAURA: Olios.

SAM: Olios, thank you.

LAURA: Yes, they were having an issue because a lot of like fiends and monsters were coming out into the city and also some people were being like mind-controlled and they were acting very weird and stuff, so we, you know, took care of that.

TRAVIS: We found a happening under the soil, and there was creatures from the Abyssal plane. We fought, destroyed, and managed to shut a rift to that dimension. We recovered an artifact which we brought to Lady Olios.

SAM: We only apologize that it took us an entire day to solve this problem.

LAURA: Yes, we had to wait until the dead of night, when one of the citizens of the town was being molested by evil mind-controlling succubuses and incubuses.(aside) That's what they're called.

SAM: I think it's, yeah.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: One's a boy and one's a girl.

LAURA: Yeah, and they, yeah, they were making him visualize like really sexy bugbears, like--

SAM: We don't need to get into the details, but it was devastating for your people until we stepped in and put an end to it.

LAURA: We saw them, we fought them, we followed them down to their lair, where we drew them out and then closed the rift, and upon closing the rift and killing the creatures, we found the artifact that was causing it.

TRAVIS: We covered that already.

LAURA: Yeah, but I was making it sound cooler.

TRAVIS: Yeah, okay.

MATT: Make a Persuasion check.

(laughter)

SAM: See if it was cool? Cool check, cool check.

LAURA: No!

SAM: Not cool.

LAURA: (high-pitched noises) Persuasion! What do I got here? 10.

MATT: All right. You see a slight grin and a cocked eyebrow peek through the very intense and well-presented presence of Leylas Kryn. "Lady Zethriss of Den Olios also says you deferred most of your riches to seek my favor. Is this true?"

TRAVIS: It is. Money is not as important to us as a favor would be in our time of need.

MATT: "Well, her word carries weight with this court. Might I ask, what are your origins? You act with an air that is unique in Xhorhas, especially during these trying times.

LAURA: (sighs)

SAM: The truth is we are people without a home and without a place of our own. We all have different origins, but--

LAURA: We came together on the seas.

MATT: "If you are indeed to have my favor, what would you wish of me? What calls your deeds done that such threats to your own lives pre-consecution?"

LAURA: Well.

SAM: Well, we do have a favor to ask, yes, yes. If I may, we are on a greater mission of our own, an important mission to recover, or at least question a gentleman that we believe is in your custody, or at least your Dynasty's custody. His last name is Brenatto, and he's a scientist, a chemist. We believe that he has done some experiments which have wreaked havoc in other parts of the world, and caused people great suffering, and as part of our mission we are to find out what he knows and possibly use his information to heal some of the people who are affected by his experiments.

LAURA: We were asked to find him and return him so that he may be punished by the people there, but we know he is in your custody, so we understand if that's not possible.

MATT: I would like both of you to make deception checks, please.

TRAVIS: (concerned mumbling)

SAM: That's a one, so I'll use this (the Fragment of Possibility).

(laughter)

MARISHA: Change that timeline.

SAM: Way better. Still not great with my negative three.

LAURA: Mighty Nein for me!

MATT: What is it?

LAURA: Nine.

SAM: 10. (laughs)

LAURA: Oh jesus.

MATT: Okay.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: I tried to let you talk. It's your thing, but shit. Deception, plus eight.

MATT: Okay, a couple things.

SAM: We are instantly dead.

(laughter)

MATT: One, the warm expression of the queen becomes less warm and a bit more stone-faced. Specifically in the moment that you concentrate and utilize that fragment of possibility within you.

(gasping)

MATT: There's a brief--

TRAVIS: We used it!

(exclamations)

MATT: Hold on. There is a brief, just a slight head turn of acknowledgement towards you, and a curious look. A voice comes out from the side, the left side of you, amongst the thrones that goes, "My queen, if I could speak."

TRAVIS: (inhaling)

LAURA: Is that Lythir?

MATT: You look to your left to find the voice, and Lythir is standing there. "Of course." She puts out a hand. Lythir steps forward and goes, "My eye has been caught by these travelers, for their smell is alien, their intent unclear. I myself still recover from wounds suffered along the western edges of the Ashkeeper Mountains not a week before."

SAM: Oh, we fucked him up.

MATT: "As does my partner, a lauded echo knight in your service, my queen. We came upon a troop of Dwendalian scouts seeking weakness in our borders, wishing subterfuge upon our brave soldiers. We did battle, and slew many of their filthy ilk, but were forced to flee when the tides turned against us. When these creatures, these allies of the Empire assailed us." The air leaves the room as every member of this court kind of stands to look down upon you. The queen leans back into her gait and her staff (thuds) hits the stone. In that silence, she looks down at you, her eyes now burning. "Is this true?"

SAM: Yep, yep, that's true. Yeah, we did fight with some of your soldiers upon crossing into the Dynasty, yes.

LAURA: But we're not soldiers of the Empire.

TRAVIS: My queen, clearly the gentleman is confused, we too were found and ambushed and found ourselves assaulted from both sides. Your friend over here did not seem to take any special actions to ascertain the nature of our journey. We did trade blows, although I do not recognize him from the particular encounter, but yes, this did occur. We were trying to make our way to the City of Beasts, which we successfully did.

MATT: Make a persuasion check with disadvantage.

SAM: Oh, disadvantage, Travis Willingham!

LAURA: You got this. You got this!

TRAVIS: Persuasion?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: 11.

SAM: Hey, that's over 10.

MARISHA: It's over 10.

(laughter)

LIAM: This one goes to 11.

MATT: Her chin now raised, the warmth has vacated her face, the expression hard and angry. "I am curious why you would walk into my sanctum."

SAM: That's it?

MATT: "Have you nothing to say for yourselves?"

LAURA: We simply seek your aid.

MATT: "Guards."

SAM: Wait, wait! We have not been honest with you, it's true.

MATT: "Guards." I'm going to go ahead-- be back in a moment.

SAM: What are you doing, where are you going?

TRAVIS: He's getting a map. He's getting a map!

SAM: Are going to go into combat, Matt?

MATT: I don't know. It's up to you guys.

SAM: If we do, this combat is powered by our friends at Dwarven Forge. (laughter) They just restocked their most powerful Dungeon of Doom sets, which are available in their store now at DwarvenForge.com. Go get it. This combat should be interesting for everyone watching. If it's combat.

LAURA: No, we do not need to fight them. We are not going to fight.

MARISHA: No, we have to surrender.

LAURA: We're not going to fight.

SAM: I mean, there's a million people, and chairs everywhere! Deadly, deadly chairs.

(laughter)

MARISHA: Never trust chairs.

LAURA: God dammit. Just a couple fucking rolls.

MATT: Like all of the rough rolls, guys.

SAM: We might die?

MARISHA: We fucked up in not recognizing--

MATT: The guards immediately start approaching. Are you guys fighting or are you surrendering?

LAURA: No, wait, wait!

MARISHA: Put up our hands.

SAM: Throw up our hands, yeah.

MATT: All right, you are surrendering.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right.

LAURA: What are we going to do, fight you guys? You guys are super powerful.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: We don't work for the Empire! Please!

MATT: The guards all approach, stepping up to the sides, here behind, and here, and here.

LAURA: What should we do? Quick, say something.

MATT: More begin to arrive up.

SAM: We have to tell them the truth.

LAURA: Tell her the truth.

SAM: Yes, yes.

LAURA: Just tell her!

MATT: She turns and sits back down on the throne. Everyone else begins to sit down. They seem to have lost attention on you in the moment, and the guards begin to rush forward and just grab you at the shoulders. They grab Caleb.

LIAM: I am sorry! We are sorry. We have come to bring you something. We have to come to bring you something. We have come a long way.

TRAVIS: No, no, no.

SAM: Oh no, oh no.

TRAVIS: Just get arrested, man. Just get arrested.

LAURA: I think we should do it.

TRAVIS: Oh, Jesus.

MATT: They've pushed Caduceus onto the ground. Yasha's currently being put into shackles.

SAM: Please, please, spare us. He's my husband. You have my husband. You're holding my husband.

MATT: There's no attention being paid.

LIAM: The Empire is working against you. Wildemount is working against you and we have brought the proof, if you will allow me to show it to you.

MATT: Zythier across the way goes, "What proof?"

LIAM: I need to approach my friend. I mean no harm. I need to remove something from--

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

SAM: Oh boy. Oh boy, this went perfectly in my head.

LIAM: 16.

MATT: 16. "You have a moment. Anything strange and I take off your head."

LIAM: Jester, I'm coming to you, okay? I am just going to open this bag.

MATT: As you reach for it, you hear the sound of many blades being drawn as you reach for the bag. Echoing through the immense chamber, the bright light bearing down on top of you. You can feel the sweat beads forming and dripping down your forehead and gathering on your brow.

LIAM: I say this as a child of the Empire, connected to inner circles there long ago. And I reach in and grab the dodecahedron.

SAM: (gasping)

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Oh god!

LIAM: And I lift it into the air.

MARISHA: I thought you were going to get out the tripod first.

SAM: Go big or go home.

MATT: Okay. The minute you pull the dodecahedron out, you hear the clattering of metal. (imitates clanging) "(gasps)" Gasps. If you thought air was escaped from the room before, it is a vacuum now in silence. The thrum of the object in your hand, the light pulsing, like the heartbeat since the moment you found it. You see every eye upon you, and the queen, the Bright Queen herself Leylas Kryn, has stepped around the art object, the symbol that sits before her throne and looks down straight into it, her eyes wide, you see tears forming at the corners of her face.

LIAM: I am of the Empire, but I am no friend to the Empire. One of your own came to retrieve this, and fell. And I bring it to you. I set it down in front of Jester, two or three feet in front of her feet and raise my hands back into the air.

MATT: Everyone is just locked in on this and slowly they all begin to look to the Bright Queen. She holds her staff up and says, "Release their bindings." One by one, you find your chains, your manacles, pulled away. The queen takes a step, and another, and another, and approaches, tall, elegant with each step. She approaches, and she's even more imposing, more beautiful and ethereal the closer she gets to you. She sets her staff aside and reaches down and from the handles picks it up. "You bring us hope. And you have undone one of many great wounds against us today. I have no words. My emotions burn within my chest. If you are no friends to the Empire, you have certainly today become the heroes of the Dynasty." And that's where we'll end tonight's episode.

(yelling and laughter)

MATT: Because it's 10:00 and I want to do Taliesin in this when we come back in a couple weeks. Plus it's a fun moment to finish.

LAURA: Oh, that's right, we're taking next week off.

MATT: Taking next week off, yeah.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh god!

MATT: Oh man! Okay! That turned that around.

(laughter)

SAM: Oh god.

MATT: I was like all right, they're going to go to prison, and they'll go back there, and maybe like try to find out where he is in the prison. No, no, okay.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: (exhales)

LIAM: There's my die.

MATT: Yeah.

LIAM: That I was looking for.

MATT: That's where it is.

LIAM: Part of the world.

(laughter)

MARISHA: All right.

MATT: Okay.

TRAVIS: Yeah, figured her husband was in jail, where we were going to be sent to. But no.

MARISHA: Because he did say that he was going to like Rosohna, right?

SAM: Huh?

LAURA: He didn't say.

MARISHA: He didn't say?

TRAVIS: We never even got to try it with the tripod.

LAURA: I know. Maybe we can give her the tripod, too, and just you know, tell her--

SAM: Just go full Kryn?

LAURA: Say like-- tell her to give it a whirl while we're still in there.

(laughter)

MATT: Okay. I've got a lot to think about over these next two weeks.

SAM: Oh god. Oh god.

MARISHA: So much.

MATT: Oh man. All right, all right. You've returned the beacon to the Kryn, okay.

SAM: So are they super powerful now and they're going to-- oh god.

MARISHA: Destroy the Empire?

TRAVIS: Let's just go back to the third temple and get Uk'otoa out here while we're at it, I mean, fuckin'...

(laughter)

TRAVIS: What have we got to lose?

MATT: Okay. All right. Guys, well done.

SAM: Well done?

MATT: Yeah, you did something crazy!

SAM: We gave the nuke to the bad guys! Bad guys? Are they good guys?

LIAM: Is the Empire good guys? Is there a way to lose Dungeons & Dragons other than a TPK?

SAM: We gave somebody a nuke, oh god.

MATT: Well, you might be in a position to learn a lot more about the dynamics of the world larger than you now that you've made a very huge ally very quickly.

SAM: Nice.

MATT: Oh, this is going to be real interesting.

SAM: Oh god.

LIAM: We got two weeks to think about it.

TRAVIS: (holding up the map of the Empire) This map, right? This map covers the areas that we've just declared war with.

(laughter)

TRAVIS: We are a part of this part of the map. This is us. Fuck this whole thing. Us, no longer safe for us.

LAURA: Not necessarily.

TRAVIS: (high-pitched) Mmmm, pretty sure.

LIAM: So the Empire doesn't know where the dodeca went. As far as they know, someone broke into the tower and took it.

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Oh boy.

LAURA: They didn't know that we took it.

LIAM: The Kryn took it.

MATT: Well. Well done. Sadly no combat, but at least you get to see the throne room.

SAM: How would we even survive that?

LIAM: Did we use the new cameras?

MATT: I'm not saying that you would've survived at the very least, but I'm just, going off of our previous experiences, sometimes, I don't know what you guys are going to do.

SAM: Yeah, I know.

MATT: I knew it was a possibility you'd surrender, I knew it was a possibility you'd try and be like fuck this, I'm going to get out and make a crazy escape! Then it would've, but fuck, that was--

LAURA: Ride or die, bitches. Ride or die!

TRAVIS: We teleported in. I don't think we were trying to escape. Did think we were going to jail, which is maybe where we were trying to go in the first place.

(laughter)

SAM: It's all good.

LIAM: We're in a position of power now. We are.

MATT: That one surviving dude.

LAURA: Yeah, man, I'm surprised we didn't recognize him. He was in armor. Motherfucker.

TRAVIS: Oh, so oh.

MATT: Yeah, and your Insight check wasn't high enough to get more information about his response to you when you guys had entered the chamber.

LIAM: Also legitimately, for all we knew we were about to be murdered on the spot.

SAM: Absolutely.

MATT: Well, cool. I'm super excited to see what happens now. Well, all right guys, well. (laughs)

TRAVIS: Let me go home and rewrite some stuff.

MATT: Well, I've got some prep to do. I've got some prep to do.

TRAVIS: Toss some binders out.

MATT: I'm glad we have a week off now. Anyway, we'll see you guys. As a reminder, we're off next week. We'll be dark for that. We'll still have content and stuff throughout the channel throughout the week. We'll be back the 4th of April, I believe. April 4th.

TRAVIS: That's correct.

MATT: So, enjoy your time off, we'll enjoy ours, and as always, we love you very much, and is it Thursday yet? Good night.

TRAVIS: See you in two weeks!

MATT: Bye, guys.

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