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List of Transcripts

Pre-Show[]

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

(all laugh)

MATT: Anyway, welcome to tonight's episode. Before we get into it, we have some announcements to do really fast. First and foremost, getting to our fantastic sponsor for the evening. Returning: the glorious Loot Crate! Thank you so much, Loot Crate, for being fantastic and for being a sponsor for our show as long as you have! It's awesome!

SAM: Hi, guys!

MATT: Hi, Sam.

SAM: Oh, you didn't throw it to me yet, did you?

MATT: No, but I can. Hey, Sam. Why don't you tell us about our sponsor?

SAM: Hey, you guys. Hey, crew. By the way, crew: as I tell you guys about Loot Crate, can you guys get a camera up here? I'm going to show some close-up things. Should have done that ahead of time. It's on its way. Okay. Loot Crate, the theme this week is Primal. Brands include X-Men, Overwatch, Predator, you can go to lootcrate.com/criticalrole and use the promo code CRITICALROLE for 10% off. And that's some severe savings. Just a few days left to catch this month's theme, so check it out. They're a great sponsor; we love them. They do so much for the show. We genuinely appreciate them. Okay, that being said-- and this will tie into Loot Crate, I promise-- I was thinking a lot this week about fan art. Are you on me? Whatever. Fan art.

MARISHA: Where did that camera come from?

SAM: They're fast. So, we have amazing fan artists on this show. We get hundreds of art pieces every week. We're floored by them constantly: legitimately amazing artists. Talented, gifted. And I was like, “why should they get all the fun?” So I was like, “I'm going to do my own fan art this week!” Because things people know about me, I'm a talented performer and all that stuff, but I'm also an emerging visual artist. And this is a chance to get my art out to the world. And so I'm going to present it right now. Guys, this is art, so if you any kind of a reaction that's real-- if you cry, if you clap, whatever. I'll take it.

LIAM: Man. Joma, your time is over!

SAM: I'm going to start with Grog.

MARISHA: So good!

SAM: It's pretty good!

LAURA: Did you really draw that?

MARISHA: Let me see over here! Is that you? Did you do that?

SAM: Magic marker on paper.

MARISHA: That's actually pretty good, man!

LAURA: I like it!

SAM: I feel like I got his rage and his ferocity.

TALIESIN: I'm feeling it.

SAM: Next up, she's hard: Keyleth.

MARISHA: That's pretty good!

SAM: I did Keyleth. I should point out that all of these are signed and numbered by the artist.

MARISHA: I have some fierce bone structure going.

SAM: You're hard. Lot of things going on.

MATT: I can see she's cast the 5th-level spell “Body to Forest.”

SAM: I didn't know how to draw bodies! So I just went with grass!

LIAM: Druids don't shave pits, man.

SAM: Truth be told, I was drinking, so things get a little worse as we go. So, this is Percy! It's a lot of white. I don't know how to paint with white or use white.

LIAM: To be fair, so is Percy.

SAM: He's a white guy with white hair. I've got to work on this one. Next up, a guy who's near and dear to me. Here's Taryon Darrington. Little art tip here, guys: don't use blue pencil on blue paper because it tends not to show up. That's a free artist-to-artist tip for you guys.

TALIESIN: Wait, you need to turn it back this way more. Oh, okay.

SAM: There is a drawing there.

TALIESIN: Bold decisions.

SAM: It's just blue pencil on blue paper.

MATT: It's like one of the Magic Eye pictures. You have to really focus to see it.

TALIESIN: I see a sailboat.

SAM: And then I was like, “The people are going to want Scanlan, right?” So this one took the most time. I will say this. Took about an hour. Mostly because I had to go to CVS to get more magic markers, so that was about 55 minutes of the time. And then the rest was hardcore art. And I feel like I really captured him. He's got a flute. He's got poop.

MARISHA: I love that you broke rule number one of Pictionary and labeled things!

SAM: Okay, I'm going to do the twins next. Probably go a little wider because these will be side-by-side, all right? So you can really get the artistry. Okay, here they are.

LAURA: Which one's which?

(all laugh)

SAM: Some may argue that I photocopied Vax and put pink ribbons in her hair to be Vex. Some could argue that, and they would be correct. But you can also tell them apart because he's got a knife and she's got a little bow and arrow.

TRAVIS: Are those green?

SAM: I ran out of a lot of things, and I was drinking pretty heavily at this point, so I was probably fully drunk at this point. And then last, but not least. I mean, all together, I'd say probably an hour and a half it took me to do all these, including the CVS run. And last but not least, I'm most proud of Pike Trickfoot, ladies and gentlemen.

ALL: Whoa!

SAM: Now, again, you could say that I printed out her IMDB page and colored it in, and you'd be right, but it is also art, and I will stick by that. Now here's how this all ties into Loot Crate, guys.

MATT: It tied into The Dark Knight in particular.

SAM: I'm giving all of this art away tonight! I'm doing a contest, an unsanctioned contest that I'm running myself. So tonight, tweet me pictures of your Loot Crate stuff, like you and your Loot Crate shirt, or you holding a Loot Crate, or a screengrab of “I just subscribed to Loot Crate!” Tweet it to me with the hashtag #BrianFosterSmellsLikeCabbage.

(all laugh)

SAM: And I will, like a lottery, pick one at random to win all of this art signed by the artist. One-of-a-kind pieces that will certainly go up in value-- maybe even before I die! They will be worth a lot of money. And these are all going to a fabulous art collector out there. Thank you, Loot Crate! Thank you, artists! And that's it.

TALIESIN: What are you?

LIAM: That's the end of the episode, right?

SAM: You can pass them around. Share them, show them.

MARISHA: When did you do these? Last night?

SAM: I think it was after you left my house last night.

MARISHA: Are you serious? We left at midnight!

SAM: Yeah, it was eleven-something.

TALIESIN: Is it all my imagination that all of the half-elves all have the same weird chin thing going on?

MATT: It's consistent!

SAM: Yeah!

TALIESIN: I will also say that I definitely get Ashley as the Joker threatening the city.

SAM AND MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Millions will die.

MARISHA: Why the pink lipstick, man?

SAM: That's what girls wear!

MARISHA: Have you ever seen Ashley wear pink lipstick?

SAM: Yep. Girls wear pink lipstick.

MARISHA: Although I appreciate her guns and her biceps.

MATT: She's a monstah.

TALIESIN: She's like if The Joker had a daughter with Krondor.

MATT: Thank you, Sam.

SAM: Sure, sure.

LAURA: Thank you, Sam, and thank you, Loot Crate!

MATT: Thank you, Loot Crate.

TALIESIN: What's that hashtag again?

SAM: #BrianFosterSmellsLikeCabbage

MATT: Okay, there we go. Remember that, guys. All right, merch update. Same old, same old, I'm pretty sure?

LAURA: Merch update! There's merch still in the store!

MATT: Cool. You've got stickers, mugs, patches, bracelets, stuff like that.

LAURA: All that stuff.

MATT: Logo shirts and the disturbingly comfortable “How do you want to do this?” hoodies up there.

LAURA: It's true.

MATT: WonderCon! We're going to be at WonderCon doing a live Talks Machina panel on Saturday, April 1st from 2-3 PM Pacific at the arena at the Anaheim Convention Center. The big room. So fill it, critters! Come on in! We have plenty of room and space for you guys. We want to try to show the convention that we are legion.

MARISHA: Not an April Fools' joke!

MATT: We're actually going to be there.

LAURA: This is legit.

LIAM: It is or it isn't?

LAURA: No, it's not!

MATT: They gave us the big room and went, “You can't fill this,” and we're like, “Yeah, we can.” So we're trying to prove to them that we can fill the room. Come and join us, 2-3 PM.

LIAM: Bring 4,000 of your closest friends.

MATT: Wednesday Club! Taliesin!

TALIESIN: Yes! I missed this week because I realized, once again, that I'm supposed to be doing things other than playing D&D and actually working in the real world. So I missed this Wednesday Club, but I'll be back next week. I don't actually know what the subject is yet because I've done nothing other than this all week.

SAM: Fantastic Four!

TALIESIN: Actually, probably not. We did Marvel last week.

TRAVIS: Old Man Logan!

TALIESIN: Maybe. No Marvel this week! We've got to let DC, and Image, and independent books may give a thing.

TRAVIS: X-O Manowar!

TALIESIN: X-O Manowar? You are a nerd, dude, whoa! Are you coming on?

MATT: How about just Manowar? The band.

TALIESIN: I was going to say, will you come on our X-O Manowar show if we do one?

TRAVIS: I don't know, man. I like football.

TALIESIN: Okay. I love you. So yeah, there will be a Wednesday Club. Check out Twitter for updates, but I'll be back and it will be fun, and I'll be catching up on all my books.

MATT: Awesome. Next up, we have debuting on, I believe it's Sunday. This Sunday, March 19th, on Alpha we have Roundtable. Which is, essentially, a series where a bunch of various storytellers get together and talk about different themes about storytelling over drinks. It's actually pretty badass. This first season is Gamemasters. We have a collection of awesome people from all over the webisphere running games.

MARISHA: We went international!

MATT: Heck yeah. This first episode premieres Sunday. It's a conversation between me, Mark Humes of High Rollers, and Adam Koebel of Roll Play. So, if you want to check it out, it's on projectalpha.com.

MARISHA: Pro-JECT Alpha.

MATT: Pro-JECT Alpha.

MARISHA: Pro-JECT that Alpha.

MATT: It actually was a really awesome conversation. I'm pretty happy about it. We got a little tipsy. GM tips episode went up today! It is my final run on GM tips, but the series continues as I pass it off to a new host. If you haven't checked it out yet, our fantastic Satine Phoenix is picking up the torch to give her perspective as a game master for this next bit. She's awesome. This episode is specifically about how to avoid or deal with GM burnout, which is a topic that I think a lot of people are familiar with.

SAM: You don't have that, do you?

MATT: Huh? Not yet.

TRAVIS: They make pharmaceuticals for that.

MATT: None. (laughs) Hopefully. No, but honestly, it's got some good tips for anyone out there who is starting to feel like they're running a little ragged or a little sluggish. Check it out. Hope you like it. (trumpet fanfare) Signal Boost episode.

MARISHA: Featuring Satine! Which we timed out pretty well. I think intentionally.

TALIESIN: Maybe. Probably not.

MARISHA: I'm not sure.

MATT: Nothing that works out well is intentional in our sphere.

MARISHA: Totally intentionally. So if you don't know who Satine is, get introduced to her with this week's episode of Signal Boost, and then she'll lead you graciously into GM tips.

TALIESIN: It's the gothiest one since me, I think. Well, no, Jason Charles is pretty gothy.

MARISHA: She's awesome. I have kind of a girl crush on Satine. She's so cool.

TALIESIN: She's so cool.

MARISHA: Yeah, you should go watch her.

LAURA: Thanks, Matthew Mercer!

MATT: You're welcome. Updated Trinket stats.

LAURA: (singsong) New Trinket stats!

LIAM: He's got guns attached now! Gatling gun!

SAM: Dagger, dagger, dagger!

LAURA: Yep, and a cannon.

MATT: Misfire score: 20.

LIAM: It shoots bees!

MATT: Yeah, and they all attack Trinket. It's bad. You don't want to use it.

(all laugh)

MATT: (explosion noise) Right back into him. (bear grunting) Yes, and last but not least, Talks Machina live on Tuesdays, 7 PM, here on Twitch and Alpha. Brian Foster hosts every week. We talk about random shit about this, have guests from the community on-- check it out. It's a good time.

MARISHA: And apparently he smells like cabbage.

MATT: Apparently, hashtag.

SAM: Getting a lot of great tweets already.

MATT: All right! That's the last of my announcements.

SAM: Are we doing the other thing?

MATT: Oh, that's right! I'm sorry! The Critical Role Fan Club on Facebook actually had a limerick contest to announce their 10,000th person joining it. And we had a winner. The winner is Tamiko L. Fujio. Sam, do you have a copy of the limerick?

SAM: I have a copy of the limerick in my inbox, right here.

MATT: I think you should read it off.

SAM: I'm going to read this limerick. They had their own internal contest, and this was the winner, and it's really awesome. "Vox Machina is a fine troupe / Who knock baddies and grannies for a loop / Unless they encounter a door / Then their plans are no more / So instead they'll just scry with their poop."

(all cheer and laugh)

MATT: Congratulations, Tamiko. That was awesome! Well done. And everyone leveled. Everyone's at 17 except for Tary, who's at 14. Congratulations.

TRAVIS: Fucking dingleberry.

MARISHA: (sings) 9th-level spells!

LAURA: That Scanlan could've gotten.

MARISHA: Yeah.

(all laugh)

MATT: Anyway, let's go ahead and bring it into tonight's episode of Critical Role.

[opening credits]

Part I[]

MATT: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. I'll remember that. Taryon apparently exploded.

TALIESIN: Yeah, that happened.

MATT: Oh! There he is! Good job! (laughs) It's like you rushed here from work.

SAM: (whispers) Sorry!

MATT: That's okay. So. Bringing us into tonight's episode: Vox Machina, having completed the toppling and destruction of the Chroma Conclave, have now gone towards tying up the loose ends at the end of this massive journey that involved coming to the final stage of Keyleth's AraMente to prove to her people, the Ashari, that she is the proper next leader of the Zephrah Air Ashari.

You traveled far west across the Ozmit Sea after renting passage across a ship helmed by Captain Adela, and made your way to the island city of Vesrah, where you encountered Uvenda, Heart of the Tides, the leader of the Water Ashari, and put upon your final trial. You were sent into the subocean Aerie of Torrent where you were to retrieve lodestones in the constant threat of a kraken in the vicinity. Unfortunately, the kraken was triggered upon your attempt. A massive battle took place, one that claimed the life of Vax'ildan, and barely escaped with a success under your belt. You managed to bring his body back to the central temple at the top of Vesrah, and through bringing Pike's essence by a blessing through Sarenrae, complete a resurrection ritual that succeeded. Vax returns on his ever-dwindling borrowed time from the Raven Queen, it seems, or thrusting himself into danger, but returns nonetheless. After this, you guys got some pictures drawn by Doty, as Pike intimidated him into learning your names in a wonderful method. You got passage on the ship back to Emon, where you have made your way back to Greyskull Keep. And that was where we left off, as you plan for the next leg of your venture.

So. Picking up from there: as an evening rest comes to you all, a night of sleep. Vax, you have a difficult evening, tossing and turning in bed, the general ramifications of recent events surrounding you. Which, as a note, as a person who's back from resurrection, you are at a relative penalty for the next few days. I don't know if you were aware of that. Were you aware of that?

TRAVIS: He is now.

LIAM: I kind of remember people going through that.

MATT: Yep, so you have a night's rest after this, so that's-- actually, no. You traveled on a boat for a few days. That would have gone away! That's right, because you had to make a whole journey back to Emon, so you've rested up heavily in the boat. Forget I said anything.

(all laugh)

MATT: But, tossing and turning as the night eventually takes you into subconsciousness, you are plagued with flashes of deep-sea darkness. Lashing tendrils. The ever-gaping maw, a beak swallowing you. The light fading. And there once again, you see emerging from the darkness the same expressionless, solid porcelain mask of the Raven Queen. The voice, omnipresent but gentle, strangely warming against the cold of nothing. And the voice just calls out, “I've given you back, my champion. But you are still mine. You have a purpose. Do not forget.”

LIAM: You know well that my heart lies with them. Both of them. All of them. But I have put my faith in you. And I await your word.

MATT: “And await you shall. I sense something on the horizon. I sense rousing villainy. I sense twisting the threads of life, but it is too far beyond my vision. Only time will tell. But I've watched your thread. And it leads to something bright; it leads to something great. But your thread is still clouded at that point. I cannot see beyond. And as that thread moves, it gathers many around it: those you've come to love. Perhaps their fate is tied with yours. Is that a responsibility you can bear, Vax'ildan? Then be patient. Enjoy the time you have. For when this rousing evil gathers, I will need your full attention, my champion.” The mask recedes back into the darkness, the cold overtakes you, and suddenly you find yourself shooting up in bed, gasping for breath. Sweat pours down your face just as a gentle bit of light begins to break over the sun coming through the window into the bedroom.

Keyleth, you are roused out of your slumber as well, hearing him gasp and breathe heavily, leaning off the side of the bed.

MARISHA: You okay?

LIAM: Yeah. (coughs)

MARISHA: Did you have a nightmare?

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: I have them, too.

LIAM: I know.

MARISHA: Do you want to talk about it?

LIAM: Eventually.

MARISHA: Okay. Do you need anything?

LIAM: I've everything I need.

MARISHA: I do a little bit of Druidcraft, something like lightning bugs in the room, and make them dance. Nice and calming, just trying to get back to sleep.

MATT: Okay. You get--

LIAM: We get an extra hour.

MATT: You guys crawl up to get back to sleep, and as you do and the darkness takes you once more, you hear the faint echoing whisper in the back of your head as you fall back into your dreams, and it says, “My fate-touched.”

Now, the rest of you wake up the next morning. It's been a while since you've been back in Greyskull Keep, and it is strangely heartening to be back at home without another constant threat of death, without the looming of dragon destruction. And it brings back a flood of memories of when you first had this keep made, the innocence of those days and the things you've learned since, and the new appreciations you've gained for the struggles you've had in the process. Another thing catches you, which is the smell of fresh breakfast being made downstairs, as Laina is apparently already on task.

TRAVIS: Fuck yeah.

(all laugh)

LAURA: I'll run downstairs. Can't miss that.

MARISHA: As I wake up, before we head downstairs, I grab Vax. “Did you get back to sleep? Are you all right?”

LIAM: Yes. You ready for the day?

MARISHA: Never? Always. Yeah. No. Sure, let's go!

LIAM: You're a born leader. Come on.

MARISHA: Thanks.

MATT: You guys come down for breakfast. Laina is currently rushing around, seemingly excited at the prospect of being back in the kitchen, which has been outfitted partially. When she returned, as you know, most everything was stolen from the keep, and it looks like she's made a few trips into town and purchased enough to make it functional. She comes out and she starts bringing meals; she has large piles and plates. “I'm really quite sorry, but we don't have enough plates for everyone, so if you don't mind sharing for now-- We'll go do some purchases.”

LAURA: I start grabbing bacon from the big piles.

MARISHA: Yeah, same. Communal style.

MATT: “Good. Well, I hope it's okay.”

LAURA: It's perfect.

TALIESIN: Oh, good. Plates. I'll have a plate.

SAM: I'll take one as well.

LIAM: I reach in front of the boys and grab a big fistful.

MARISHA: Half-elves are just, (gnawing noises).

MATT: As you guys are eating you hear some heavy footfalls coming from around the corner. The first thing you notice is a familiar female face. Once-short red hair has now grown quite long, or at least grown longer to about here, chin-length. You see Shayne Tranter, one of the guards that you originally hired and then moved over to Whitestone to guard, walk in, leather armor on, big pack over her shoulder, looks like she also returned. As she comes in, she throws her pack down--

MARISHA: Dwarf, right?

MATT: Human. Human female.

MARISHA: Wrong note. Shayne Tranter?

MATT: Shayne Tranter, yeah. She walks in and throws her pack down. “Ah, good morning! Glad to see you're all mostly alive.”

TRAVIS: Did you eat already?

MATT: “No, is there food?”

TRAVIS: Too bad, no.

LAURA: Help yourself.

TALIESIN: Grog, please, there is food.

SAM: But no plates.

TALIESIN: But no plates.

MATT: “And you are?”

SAM: Oh, hi there! Just here for a visit. Taryon Darrington. You haven't heard of me yet, but you will. Do you work here? Are you one of our employees?

MATT: “I'm one of their employees, yes.”

SAM: Oh, well. They made me an official member now, so.

MATT: “Great, so you'll be the one that pays me, then.”

LAURA: Oh!

SAM: We will all chip in for whatever your monthly wages will be.

MATT: “Unless I'm mistaken, and-- well, unless you cancelled our contract. Mind, you've been having me guarding the keep for a long time, so I'm not going charge you for the time over that, we appreciate you on that, but we are back on the clock, and this is kind of my only job at the moment, so--”

LAURA: Start guarding.

MATT: “All right.” And she smiles and sits down, and she grabs a little bit of food and pulls it off into her hand and starts eating off her leather gauntleted glove.

LAURA: Taryon, you don't need to worry about paying on this.

SAM: How much do they cost?

TALIESIN: A fortune.

LAURA: I'm sure I have it written down somewhere.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: We have books, there were books, we kept books.

LAURA: Yeah, there were books! There was also a dragon attack.

SAM: I fully expect to be treated as a full, paying member of this and I will gladly contribute one-seventh of the salary.

LAURA: Really not necessary.

TALIESIN: It's quite all right.

SAM: I insist. It's literally nothing to me.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Someone should teach him the Vox Machina fight song, then.

LAURA: You should do it, Grog.

LIAM: Oh, yeah, Grog. You have the best voice of all of us.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Do you know the fight song?

SAM: No, no, I've not learned any fight song. Most of the songs that I've learned are either religious in nature or I've read them in books and I've made up my own melodies to them. They were epic poems of yesteryear, and I sort of set them to a little melody, mostly happy--

TRAVIS: You made up songs, then?

SAM: Well, I--

TRAVIS: No, that's good. Each of these songs are, like, personal, to the member, right? So you make up a song about what Vox Machina means to you.

SAM: I do that?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Wow.

TRAVIS: We'll need it by sundown tomorrow.

SAM: Doty, we have some work to do! Working breakfast.

MATT: Doty sits down right next to you.

SAM: Machina, Machina. “Sock in a.” Put a sock in a-- no. Vox, Vox. Put it in the box. We'll work on this.

LAURA: I'm scouring my notes for where I wrote their salaries down.

TALIESIN: That was a long time ago.

LAURA: It was, but I've got my spiral here.

SAM: They're 100 gold a month for five of them, and then 50 gold a month for the other two. That's Vex's memory.

LAURA: That's my memory! 100 gold a month for each of the guards, and then what was the extra?

SAM: Five of them get 100 gold a month and two of them get 50 gold a month. I don't remember why or who, but that's how-- I think the guards get 100 and the cooks get 50, or something?

MATT: Servants get 50, yeah.

MARISHA: See, as I wrote down, I believe Shayne, Cordell, Jarett, Kendrick, and Natibe get 100 a month.

LAURA: And then we always gave Jarett a bonus because he was captain.

MARISHA: Yeah. And because he was hot.

MATT: Yeah. Well. There you go. Although Jarett is technically not on your payroll anymore. Jarett's now a member of the Pale Guard in Whitestone.

LAURA: Yeah, I remember it.

MARISHA: That's right. So, reducing our costs. We're getting better at this.

LAURA: Do you know where the rest of the crew is, Shayne?

MATT: “Kendrick is currently watching up on the wall. Natibe, I haven't seen since you sent him off to Wildemount.”

LAURA: Right.

MATT: And she gets a distant stare for a second and says, “Well, Cordell didn't make it through the ordeal.”

TALIESIN: Really?

MATT: You can see her lip kind of-- she has that look of somebody who lost a close friend. She gets a distant stare for a second, clenches her jaw, and then shakes her head and goes back to eating absentmindedly.

MARISHA: We should have some sort of service, then, or at least a dinner in Cordell's honor.

MATT: “That's up to you. I've already had mine. My piece has been said.”

LAURA: Well, we're glad to have you back.

MATT: “Me, too.”

TALIESIN: Glad so many of us survived.

MATT: “Not everyone.”

LAURA: Do any of us remember why Natibe went to Wildemount?

MATT: You sent him a long time ago to look for information about the Briarwoods.

TALIESIN: Oh no!

LAURA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: We made him a snack!

LAURA: We did?

TRAVIS: He turned into a Hot Pocket, y'all!

TALIESIN: Did we fight his undead body in the crypt? Is that-- oh.

MATT: You have not crossed his path.

LAURA: Oh no, we killed our guard?

MATT: You haven't heard anything from him in a long time.

TALIESIN AND MARISHA: Vox Machina, not returning your calls since 1992.

MATT: To be fair, spies, by nature, live a very dangerous lifestyle that they accept. Who knows what his whereabouts are or if he'll ever show up again, but you haven't heard from him.

LAURA: What if he took our money and ran?

MATT: It's also very possible.

LAURA: I doubt it, though.

TALIESIN: I would feel better about that, but probably not.

MARISHA: I can try and scry.

TALIESIN: I just like the notion that maybe if we just checked one more of those cells in the dungeon of Whitestone--

MARISHA: Want me to scry on Natibe? I can.

TALIESIN: You know, I'll say just because I'm curious where this particular rabbit hole leads--

TRAVIS: Really?

LAURA: Maybe.

TALIESIN: It's not like we're going to go wherever--

TRAVIS: We're just eating breakfast. Go for it!

LAURA: Yeah, just scry while we're eating breakfast.

MARISHA: All right. I scry on Natibe.

LIAM: I like that this is our breakfast entertainment.

TALIESIN: This is our version of looking at our phones. This is Vox Machina going--

LAURA: What do you see? Has he posted anything on Facebook lately?

TRAVIS: Have we figured out how to project this on a 55-inch flat wall monitor for us yet?

MARISHA: Actually, good question!

TALIESIN: Yes, but the frame rate is only 120 frames per second.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's only in black and white.

LIAM: He posted on Instagram six weeks ago--

MATT: All right. So, are you doing Scry on Natibe?

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: What do your scrying eyes see, Keyleth?

MATT: So as you eat your breakfast, you take a moment. You finish the small ritual on the center of the cold stone floor of your mess hall area of the keep. You focus on your fuzzy but decent enough memory of Natibe. As the ritual completes, your vision focuses out for a second and then returns to you. There's no focus. There's no Natibe.

LAURA: Oh no!

TRAVIS: He's a Jolly Rancher in the belly of Craven Edge!

TALIESIN: What?

MARISHA: I'm afraid the insane things that Grog just said is correct.

TRAVIS: I am a powerful magician.

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: A happy ranch hand in the--

TRAVIS: Yeah, he's on the farm! He's running through the fields of the farm, happy as can be. All the room to run he wants! (laughs)

LAURA: This is actually very terrible.

TALIESIN: This is really sad in the weirdest way.

TRAVIS: I mean, yes. This is very dark, dark time.

LAURA: That's terrible.

MARISHA: Travis!

TALIESIN: I know. I can't.

LIAM: We're laughing at ourselves. We haven't thought of this guy in 72 years!

TALIESIN: Pre-stream! It's been since pre-stream that this has come up.

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Okay. Wow.

LAURA: Well.

TRAVIS: Zero focus. Nothing.

MATT: There's no creature to receive the scrying spell.

LIAM: My breakfast is not tasting as good.

MATT: Which means he's either on another plane of existence… or he's fucking dead!

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Is that this version of “He's in the Feywild. Everything's fine right now.”

MATT: You sent him to the great spy farm upstate.

MARISHA: Whatever timeline you believe in.

LAURA: At least we've avenged him, in a way.

SAM: Did he have a family? What was his mother's name?

(all laugh)

SAM: Because we might want to send her a gift or some sort of a tribute in coin.

LAURA: Yeah, I'll get right on that. Yeah.


MARISHA: There's got to be public record, right?

LAURA: Yeah. Yeah. Anywho. We're down a few servants, we should probably get some more guards. Hey, Shayne, do you have anyone you'd recommend?

MATT: "Honestly, me and Cordell worked as a team for a long time. We didn't really make friends. I can go looking in the city for you?"

TRAVIS: No.

LAURA: That's all right.

TALIESIN: Keep your eyes open. We trust your judgment.

MATT: "Unless you want to go look for yourself? I don't mind going and finding some good candidates."

LAURA: Find a few more?

MATT: "Yeah."

MARISHA: I feel like the city is pretty overwhelmed at the moment, though.

MATT: "Up to you."

LAURA: A lot of keeps have been ruined. Guards might be looking for work, actually.

MATT: "Yeah. People looking for work right now. You look like you've got more important things to focus on, so if you want to hire some guards and you have trust in me, throw me some cash and I can probably bring some people in."

MARISHA: How do you feel about your workload? Do you feel like you can handle this?

MATT: "I can handle it." She shakes the bit of scrambled eggs from her gauntleted hand.

LAURA: Good leading. Good leading, Keyleth.

TRAVIS: How's your keep bandwidth right now? Is your plate full?

LAURA: This is shitty. Can I roll for insight and make sure that she's trustworthy? I feel like she's trustworthy, but--

MATT: Totally.

LAURA: I rolled poorly for my insight--

MATT: What did you roll? You need to roll poorly, with the bonuses.

LAURA: 13?

MATT: 13. She seems pretty straight.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: She's straight with you. She's not trying to layer it at all.

TALIESIN: We've got a trip to take, so perhaps when we get back, we can audition some new candidates. That'll be fun. You'll enjoy that.

SAM: Yes! I would enjoy anything.

TALIESIN: Oh, it's quite fun. It's quite nice.

SAM: I love me some fun.

TRAVIS: Are you going to audition these new guards like we did you?

MATT: "Oh, I can figure something out. Don't worry."

LAURA: “I like it. Make sure they're trustworthy, if we're not going to be around.” And I hand her 500 gold for herself and for Kendrick.

MATT: Yes.

LAURA: And the three that you hire.

MATT: "All right. I'll get on it, then. I think I should have some time to go into town and do this here within the afternoon." She grabs another roll off the table and takes a bite of it. "Glad to have you back." And she turns around and leaves the room.

TRAVIS: I like her.

LAURA: She's cool.

TRAVIS: Yep. Doesn't say too much.

TALIESIN: Now I remember why we hired her in the first place.

TRAVIS: Because she fought well! She fought a giant fucking scorpion in the courtyard. What are we doing today?

MARISHA: Well, we talked about going to the Cobalt Reserve to drop off this--

LAURA: To drop off the evil book and do a little research on the Nine fucking Hells.

MARISHA: And then--

TALIESIN: We need to do a bit of shopping, but then we do have-- you're not quite done, are you?

MARISHA: I mean, there's that.

TALIESIN: I'm putting it out there.

LIAM: Yeah, you up for it?

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: She's got to get crowned.

TRAVIS: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Wow! I watched that work its way from your ear all the way to your brain, there!

TRAVIS: You're going to get crowned? Really?

TALIESIN: I got lost on the way! It was amazing.

LAURA: Even larger antlers?

TRAVIS: Wow!

MARISHA: Yeah, it's weird. I don't know.

TRAVIS: Does it sit on your head, or on the antlers?

TALIESIN: They decorate it, like a winter's festival.

LIAM: They put antlers on the antlers.

MATT: You do actually know, though you've never seen anyone wear it, because in the time that you've been learning, there hasn't been a formal Voice of the Tempest, it's not a crown. It's more of a mantle. It's a ceremonial mantle.

LAURA: So you just hold it like a giant mantle?

MARISHA: Well, not like a fireplace mantle. Although I could, technically, transform into a fireplace now.

TRAVIS: Why?

MARISHA: Because I'm a badass.

LAURA: (gasps) You could turn into doors!

MARISHA: You know, I could, I'm pretty sure.

MATT: Creature!

MARISHA: No, I could! Hang on, hang on!

LAURA: A mimic!

MARISHA: A mimic! Couldn't I turn into a mimic that could be a door? Or a mantle?

MATT: Well, you haven't seen a door mimic before. Because I don't hate you that much yet.

LIAM: We haven't seen a base mimic before.

LAURA: Yeah, we have!

LIAM: In this game?

MATT: You have seen a mimic, yeah.

LIAM: I don't remember it.

MATT: That was second session.

LIAM: Ooh, shizz-nap!

MATT: Yeah. That was second. A mimic and a gelatinous cube in the same combat. I was like, “Hi guys! Welcome to D&D! (splat noise)”

LIAM: That I remember, yeah.

TALIESIN: Was I at that one?

MATT: No, you weren't at that one, unfortunately. That was before you came back to the campaign.

MARISHA: Can I be a door?

LAURA: I think it's a no.

MATT: I'll look at Shapechange.

MARISHA: We'll think about it. Anyway.

MATT: I'm pretty sure it's just creatures.

MARISHA: It's fine.

LAURA: Okay! What are we fucking doing? What are we doing?

MATT: It's "different creature." If you encounter a door-shaped creature in the future, you can totally do that.

TALIESIN: Please! I'm sure you're having all sorts of reservations and thoughts and processes about this notion, but I will admit, I have yet to introduce your sister to the best part of being titled, which is dressing up. And it would be a coronation! We could get some clothes! We could wear something lovely.

LIAM: Does that jive with your hometown, though, Kiki? Dressing up?

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: It's a sign of a respect.

TRAVIS: Do all people with titles have to dress up?

TALIESIN: Yes.

TRAVIS: Are you sure?

TALIESIN: I am.

MARISHA: We're very open-minded.

LAURA: Oh, Grand Poobah. I'm afraid you have to wear something quite formal.

TRAVIS: You know what? Breakfast is disagreeing with me. I think I have to go back to bed.

TALIESIN: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

TRAVIS: “(gags) Yeah, I don't feel well. I've got to go.” I go back up to my room.

MATT: (laughs) Grog storms off.

LAURA: I really thought we were going to get him to bathe this time.

MARISHA: Does he have an aversion to wearing pants?

TALIESIN: I'm sure we can work out something without pants.

LAURA: (laughs) Just a belt. A really glorious belt. Over the dwarven belt.

MARISHA: All blinged out.

LIAM: It's like a kilt that's barely joined at the bottom already. It's like a poopy diaper.

TALIESIN: Just get him boots that go all the way up to the neck.

LIAM: It literally is a poopy diaper.

MATT: Poopy diaper of dwarvenkind.

LAURA: Gross!

TALIESIN: Activate number one or number two.

TRAVIS: Battle kilt.

LAURA: Seriously, though, what are we doing?

LIAM: Well, we're in town. We've got this book and a library, but we should decide what we're going to do tomorrow. What's to wait? Why don't we go home?

MARISHA: (stammers) Well, it's just weird. It's just weird. It's been so long. It's a lot of build-up, and then it's going to be over.

LIAM: You are adorable right now.

MARISHA: I'm serious!

LAURA: Maybe your dad will have information on the Nine Hells.

MARISHA: He could, yeah. It's just, my whole life has been building up to this, and if we complete it, that makes it real.

LAURA: Wait, I do have a question, actually. If you complete it, do they want you to stay?

MARISHA: If I complete it, then I am the Voice of the Tempest. I imagine I can do whatever I want. Right?

LAURA: Or you stay and lead your people.

LIAM: Yeah. Does the Tempest go on road trips?

MARISHA: I don't know.

LIAM: Oh.

TALIESIN: Has your life been leading up to this moment, or has your life been leading up to everything that happens after this moment?

MARISHA: I'm not entirely sure of the difference of what you just said.

TALIESIN: I'm just saying, as somebody who spent several years of their life avoiding the one thing that would make them even remotely happy, maybe just barreling through it is the way to go. We'll be there!

MARISHA: I guess it is that notion of leading up to this one moment that you've thought of for a while. Once you complete that, what happens next?

LAURA: It's just like getting married, Keyleth.

MARISHA: Is it, though? Yeah?

LAURA: It's all the planning. That just freaks you out, that's all.

MARISHA: Yeah, sure.

LIAM: What do you know about that?

TALIESIN: I was going to say, is that theoretical or experiential?

LAURA: Theoretical, obviously!

TALIESIN: Okay. Just checking.

LIAM: She does read a lot. Or she used to.

TALIESIN: She still reads a lot.

LAURA: I do! (laughs)

LIAM: Are you sharing a library?

TALIESIN: Lots of things.

LIAM: Yeah, yeah. I don't need to hear about it.

TALIESIN: No, you don't. That's why I was so excited that you pried.

MARISHA: It's whatever you guys think is best. We can go to Westruun first, or we can go to Zephrah first. Just whatever you want.

LIAM: Oh, that's a big decision for you to make, I think.

MARISHA: No, it's the difference of a day or two, right?

MATT: You hear the heavy footfalls upstairs of Grog's feet and a door slamming shut.

TALIESIN: He took his time.

MARISHA: Do we need an extra day to convince Grog to wear pants? That could be the deciding factor! Maybe we should put it on him. Right?

LAURA: Keyleth!

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: Make a decision.

MARISHA: (groans)

LAURA: Leader. You're going to be a leader. Just make a choice.

LIAM: Everybody else believes in you. Why shouldn't you?

TALIESIN: Pencil or pen?

MARISHA: (laughs)

LAURA: I'm looking forward to buying a dress either way.

MARISHA: Let's check in at Westruun. Drop off the book.

LAURA: And see how you feel.

MARISHA: We'll head from Westruun to Zephrah.

LAURA: Good plan.

MARISHA: All right.

TALIESIN: You're going to be very good at this.

MARISHA: Man! Decision-making is hard.

TALIESIN: I know.

MARISHA: So many choices.

LAURA: So wait. (valley girl voice) Would the shops here be better for buying a dress than the shops in Westruun?

TALIESIN: Wow!

MARISHA: Good question! Who's importing more? When's fashion week happening?

LIAM: They're both handicapped, aren't they?

LAURA: That's what I mean.

MATT: They've both been under some recent duress, so it really could go either way. Emon is definitely more of the cultural hub, especially since it's such a huge port town. You get a lot more cultural influence from other continents and heavier trade. Emon would probably have better outfits. But Westruun-- which, Grog, you grew up in, and you guys have spent some time in-- does have its own textiles district. There are weddings that happen there. They have other events where they sell fine--

LIAM: What's Westruun like? Pittsburgh?

MATT: You could say, yeah.

TRAVIS: It's like Wisconsin.

TALIESIN: Okay, that's less disappointing.

MATT: Emon's the New York. Westruun's the Pittsburgh.

TALIESIN: Whitestone's the Boulder.

MATT: Kind of, yeah! (laughs)

TALIESIN: It's Boulder, Colorado.

LIAM: Yeah, I like it!

TALIESIN: There's nothing happening.

TRAVIS: Boulder, baby.

LAURA: But it's beautiful.

MARISHA: If it's the Pittsburgh, then we should go now, because everything closes at five.

LIAM: We could also Tree Stride to Vasselheim for the fanciest of shopping. If you want to go all-out.

TALIESIN: In theory, they'll have your crest on file. That's one of those things, any dressmaker would actually know how to assemble something appropriate for any house of any nobility that exists.

LAURA: You know what? Vasselheim will actually know a little bit about Orcus and I bet the Nine Hells, as well, being the god hub.

TALIESIN: Ooh, a work vacation.

MARISHA: We did mention if we wanted to drop off the book at Westruun or Vasselheim--

LAURA: We should go to Vasselheim!

MARISHA: Do we want to do that instead?

LAURA: Decision's fucking made. Let's go.

MARISHA: All right! Let's go to Vasselheim.

SAM: I've never been. That sounds great!

MARISHA: How far north have you been, Tary?

SAM: Quite far north. Right? I'm from the north?

MARISHA: You're from Wildemount, correct?

MATT: You're from Wildemount, which is-- as far as you know, from where you grew up, Tal'Dorei is to the southwest of where you grew up. Issylra, which is where Vasselheim is, and Othanzia is far to the east.

LIAM: First there was the dinosaurs.

SAM: But I lived in the north of that place.

MATT: You lived in the north of Wildemount. It's pretty Siberian, you would consider it.

SAM: Yeah.

LIAM: I want to go to there.

SAM: I thrive in cold places. Is this such a place?

MARISHA: It is quite chilly.

TALIESIN: Not as cold as my home, but it'll do.

SAM: I have some excellent cold-weather robes in my Bag of Holding that I would love to flaunt.

LAURA: Let's go.

MARISHA: Let's go.

TALIESIN: We also probably need a few healing potions and such, and we'll probably have better luck somewhere else.

LAURA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yes!

MARISHA: Anything else we need to do before we leave Emon?

SAM: They'll have potions and things there?

TALIESIN: We probably need to stock up a bit.

SAM: Yes. They'll have these things at Vasselheim?

LAURA: Yeah.

SAM: Great.

TRAVIS: You don't just have some health potions in your armor? You can't just plink one out of your nutsack or something?

SAM: I'm going to reach onto my robe and pull out a patch that produces four healing potions.

TRAVIS: What?!

MATT: There you go.

LAURA: Are they regular, or are they greater?

SAM: They're regular.

LAURA: Oh. All right.

TRAVIS: That's great!

LAURA: That's pretty cool.

TRAVIS: Man! We should tear you apart limb from limb and see what fucking shakes out!

SAM: Please don't.

LIAM: Does that regenerate and come back? Is it one time only?

SAM: No, but I'll just buy another one if I run out.

TRAVIS: Another robe?

SAM: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Wow.

TALIESIN: It's like a four-pack of medieval Five-Hour Energy drink.

MATT: Basically.

SAM: It's literally Monster Energy.

TALIESIN: That's like a 1st-level healing potion.

MARISHA: Tary, Vasselheim does get a little bit--

LIAM: They don't like magic.

SAM: They don't like magic?

LAURA: Arcane magic.

MARISHA: Arcane magic.

SAM: I practice alchemic magic, mostly, so I'll be okay. I think.

TALIESIN: You might want to keep a low profile.

MATT: Alchemical elements, yes. But a lot of your spells and infusing everything is arcane-based. And you have a giant arcane metal man following you around.

SAM: Oh! Maybe I should disguise Doty in some way.

MARISHA: Can you do that?

SAM: No.

(all laugh)

SAM: I can throw a cloth over him or--

LAURA: Make him look like he's just a big dude wearing a robe with a hood over his head.

TALIESIN: Or a ghost.

SAM: Or a ghost! Is it Halloween?

MARISHA: I don't think so.

TALIESIN: It is sadly not Hallow's Eve. We can put him in some armor or some fake cloth of some sort.

LAURA: Let's just put a robe over him.

SAM: Could you and I craft something for him before the journey, like a face mask of some sort that makes him look like a brave warrior?

LIAM: I mean, I am really good at disguises. I haven't flexed those muscles in a while, but--

LAURA: Let him give it a go.

SAM: You can make disguises?

LIAM: I can work with a little bit of nose putty, and yeah, I can make a fake face for this guy.

SAM: That I would love to see.

MATT: As best as you understand, it isn't like, “Oh my god, there's some sort of magic source in Vasselheim, arrest everyone involved.” It's not super illegal, it's just generally frowned upon and calls suspicion.

SAM: No, I want to pursue you making a mask for Doty.

LIAM: So do I. I feel really rusty.

LAURA: I want to help them because I'm a rogue, too.

TALIESIN: Well let's go full Cinderella on this. Let's get all the mice involved.

LIAM: What do we want this guy to look like?

SAM: Well, I mean, there's no disguising the fact that he's eight feet tall and squeaks when he walks.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Should we turn him into a goliath, then?

SAM: I mean, are we going to do full body paint for this?

LAURA: What if we just put a stealth cloak over him or something?

LIAM: Stealth cloak? Do you have a stealth cloak?

LAURA: Yeah, then paint his-- yeah, I do.

TALIESIN: Let's make him look like a goliath that wears a lot of robes because he was horribly scarred.

LAURA: I start taking robes out.

TALIESIN: Grog, how do you feel about this? I feel like you have the look--

LAURA: Grog's upstairs.

TALIESIN: Oh, you're upstairs, you're not actually here. Never mind.

MARISHA: He's upset about the notion of pants.

TALIESIN: I know.

SAM: Making him look like he is in a suit of armor seems like a thing.

TALIESIN: We could put him in a suit of armor.

SAM: He's already metal.

LAURA: Fine. I take all of the robes off. Do whatever you want.

TALIESIN: Is Doty strong enough to wear a suit of armor?

SAM: He's strong.

MATT: I mean, decorative.

TALIESIN: Yes, decorative.

MATT: Yeah. Doty is his own suit of armor.

LAURA: Why are we doing this?

TALIESIN: Because this is funny.

MATT: Because it's amazing.

TRAVIS: He's a giant automaton!

LAURA: Just wear a robe!

TALIESIN: I'm having a wonderful time.

SAM: I want Doty with a fake nose. That's all I want.

TRAVIS: Yeah, yeah, do that!

TALIESIN: Groucho Marx nose and glasses.

(all laugh)

LIAM: I'm going to need your help because I'm not used to working on robots. You can make some mesh work, right? And we can get some clay, and some spectacles like yours, but maybe shaded. Yeah?

TRAVIS: He's only got the one pair now.

TALIESIN: We can make him a mask at the very least.

LIAM: Yeah.

TALIESIN: All right.

LIAM: I have made masks for myself.

MARISHA: This is going to look ridiculous!

MATT: I'm so excited.

MARISHA: Everyone's going to be like, that's a robot wearing a mask!

TALIESIN: No, it's just a man with no arms, legs, heads, limbs and chest.

LIAM: We don't have to, I mean--

TALIESIN: No, we're doing it.

SAM: Let's spend some time.

TALIESIN: Everyone else can get their little run-around of Westruun done while we sit making a robot.

MATT: Okay. So, Vax, needing materials to prepare such an elaborate--

LIAM: Hey, give me some money. I don't have any money. I never have money.

LAURA: You need money to go buy a stupid mask for a stupid robot?

LIAM: This is the first time in this entire goddamn campaign--

LAURA: No, it's not.

LIAM: Yes, it is.

LAURA: No, it isn't.

LIAM: Give me some fucking money.

SAM: Or, I can give you money.

LIAM: I want her money.

SAM: All right.

LIAM: Thanks.

TALIESIN: It is important for him to express himself.

LAURA: I have passed out money lately, before, I think.

LIAM: I throw myself off of things for this one, she can't give me 50 gold pieces.

LAURA: Fine!

LIAM: Thank you.

LAURA: How about everyone gets a thousand gold.

LIAM: It's a party!

TRAVIS: Really?

LAURA: Yeah, everybody take a thousand gold.

SAM: Me too?

LAURA: Except for you.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Hey, Matt?

MATT: Yeah?

LIAM: Do I have this ability? I feel like I remember it, but I'm looking through--

TRAVIS: You don't know?!

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Oh no!

MATT: I'm pretty sure you do! I think you have a disguise kit. It's not an ability per se.

LIAM: I have Imposter, right?

MATT: Right, you have Imposter.

LIAM: That's me, can I use it on a robot?

SAM: By the way, Liam, if you don't have this ability, I want to see this even more.

LIAM: Oh, we're doing it.

MARISHA: Just bluff your way through it.

MATT: No, because Imposter is the ability to mimic somebody else. It has nothing to do-- A disguise kit is what you're using.

LIAM: And I've always had a disguise kit.

MATT: Correct.

LIAM: Because I did something back in the home game, I did something.

MATT: Yeah, you've done a couple of things. But it's not an ability you have.

LIAM: No?

MATT: Well, you do have an ability, but it's only for you, it's not for Doty.

TALIESIN: You own a cardboard box with a bunch of stuff.

MATT: So here's what we do. First and foremost, you have to go to the town and gather supplies because the disguise kit is designed for very small prosthetics and things. This is a large endeavor.

LIAM: This is five times that.

MATT: Yeah. So I'm going to need you to roll an investigation check. This is your ability to go around the town and find, through the midst of chaos of Emon trying to repair itself, somebody who can sell you the supplies necessary.

LIAM: Well, that is a 20.

TALIESIN: I need some clay.

MATT: A natural 20?

LIAM: No, not a natural 20.

MATT: But a 20? That's still fine. All right, it takes you--

TALIESIN: I gave him a list.

MATT: It takes you about three hours, round trip, to go into the city, locate the location, and purchase-- relatively expensive, comparatively, about ten gold pieces for materials to do this. Which is expensive for anyone who's just-- and a lot of it is burlap material that's gone over with a weatherproofing liquid, that when it solidifies, it gives almost a rubbery texture. It's used for carts that are traveling a long distance under bad weather. And you figure that might resemble some sort of a skin-type texture at a distance. You gather other elements to build a mask, to wrap things in material, to block things that might look metallic. So yeah, so you gather things that might work in your favor. So as you collect this, what are you guys working on?

SAM: We're making a mask?

TALIESIN: Well, the first thing that we're going to need, is we're going to need a way of connecting this to him without limiting his movement, so I'm making so it's a very accessible, easy harness to get this on and off. And starting to design and put together how we're going to-- what I'd like to make is a couple-- a porcelain cover for the hands and face so that it actually looks like perhaps-- it won't draw immediate suspicion, but if it does, it will look like somebody with an artificial limb, maybe they've been hurt.

LIAM: Get me ten sets of scissors.

MATT: (laughs) So are you crafting the porcelain?

TALIESIN: I am. I've got the kiln.

MATT: Yes, but your materials, you're used to using--

TALIESIN: Instead of porcelain, I'm going for the ceramics that I use for some of my build. It's more practical. I've been working on some jewelry shit, I could genuinely learn how to do this.

MATT: This is true, but the skillset for jewelry is very different from the skillset of porcelain.

LIAM: I need you to make a rig, like in a video game. Can you do that?

LAURA: I'm going go into town and buy some plates for Laina.

MATT: Okay. I will say--

TALIESIN: I'm willing to have this--

SAM: We could just use mud from outside.

MATT: Do you have a set of potter's tools? Because that would be specifically what would be used for this, if you're going to be working with ceramics and porcelain.

TALIESIN: Can I roll to see? Because I have a kiln, so I might have it, but I don't know if I have it--

MATT: But you have a kiln that's designed more for-- it's more of a metal-use forge.

TALIESIN: It's more of a metal-use forge.

MATT: So it'll destroy ceramics. It burns at a certain heat.

TRAVIS: This could be the dumbest--

MARISHA: This is the best thing we've ever wasted time on.

MATT: I'm so excited.

TALIESIN: If prototype one fails, I'll make it out of pewter.

MATT: Okay. This is an adjacent skill set. You're not going to get your proficiency bonus to it, but you do have materials to essentially try it. I want you to go ahead and roll a base dexterity check. Just add your dexterity modifier. You're not proficient.

TALIESIN: I'm trusting in Gil, because he also can't make a pot.

TRAVIS: Say the thing, say the incantation!

TALIESIN: Mecca lecca high, mecca hiney ho, don't fuck me, Gil.

MARISHA: Where are those pottery tools, Gil?

TALIESIN: And those pottery tools are--

MARISHA: (laughs) It's a good roll.

TALIESIN: 22.

MATT: 22. It takes you the better part of the next two hours, but you manage to create some--

TALIESIN: Thank you for helping me Ghost, by the way. Never mind.

MATT: They have to cool and harden, but in the process of crafting it and heating it, you do have some decent ceramic plates that you think might work. They're going to be fragile.

TALIESIN: That's fine.

MATT: Not like they'll crumble on their own walking, but, if they take any sort of chip and damage the ceramic.

TALIESIN: Hands and face is what I was hoping for.

MATT: I'll say the better part of two hours or so to craft them, and then you begin to heat them in the kiln. It'll take you a while for them to harden and set.

TALIESIN: Okay, and we're just figuring out a little easy armature that won't get in his way. And I'm peeking at him, seeing how he works--

MATT: All right. The armature, roll tinker's kit. Check. Proficiency plus dex.

SAM: I'm going to-- oh, sorry.

TALIESIN: You can assist.

MATT: Actually, this would be proficiency plus intellect, is what it would be, because this is trying to figure it out specifically.

TALIESIN: I'd be happy for an assist, unless you're doing something.

SAM: I was going upstairs to ask one of the help something.

TALIESIN: Oh, okay, go ahead, that's fine. I'll just work on your robot by myself, then. 21.

MATT: Okay, easy enough to figure out a harness. What are you doing, Tary?

SAM: What was the servant's name who you said used to have short hair, now long?

MATT: Shayne.

SAM: I go to her? Him?

MATT: It's a her. She will punch you so hard.

SAM: I offer to buy her hair for 100 gold pieces to use as a wig.

MATT: How do you say this?

(all laugh)

MATT: She's literally outside, sitting on the outside wall of the gate, leaning forward, just on a stool, with a loaded crossbow over her lap, looking out at the distance. And you're down below, about 20 feet down.

SAM: You there, excuse me. Hello?

MATT: She looks over the top. "Yeah?"

SAM: Hi! Taryon Darrington. New member of the group. Hi.

MATT: "Hi."

SAM: Yes, we're working on a very important project. It's an undercover mission in a foreign land, and we're going to need a disguise. Specifically, a wig, a convincing wig. We all thought that it might be a good idea to have some real hair for this wig, and, well, you have beautiful hair. I wouldn't mind if you would lend it to the cause. I'd like to buy your hair for 100 gold pieces.

(all laugh)

MATT: Go ahead and roll a persuasion check.

LIAM: Oh my god, where's Shorthalt when you need him?

LAURA: Did he roll well?

TALIESIN: I'm not saying.

SAM: Persuasion? 24.

MATT: She goes, "You're kidding me, right?"

SAM: Oh, no, no, no. And I reach into my bag of holding and pull out 100 gold and say, it would mean a lot to me and to my teammates if you would cooperate in this mission. It might even save a life.

MATT: She gives you this long, stern, dark look. “(laughs) Make it 500 and you got a deal."

SAM: 500? All right, fine.

(all laugh)

SAM: And a bargain at that.

MATT: "Ah, it was getting too long, anyway." She makes her way down the ladder and just walks past you into the keep. Comes back about half an hour later, head completely shaved smooth, and she's got, in a little square of fabric, a cluster of all of her red hair. She balls it up, comes over.

SAM: A pleasure doing business with you. This haircut might very well be the fate of the world, so thank you.

MATT: "You're welcome."

SAM: Here's your money.

MATT: "Thank you. Here's your fucking hair. God damn weirdo." And walks off and heads back to her perch at the top of the wall.

SAM: Buy my book!

(all laugh)

MATT: Okay. You now have Shayne's hair--

SAM: I'm going to try and make a wig out of it.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Don't really know how.

LAURA: It's just a bunch of pieces of hair.

SAM: Glue? I've got alchemy, right? I can make, like, goop?

TALIESIN: You want a-- no, nope, I'm not helping. Never mind. Don't want to help.

MATT: You can. Do you want to do that?

SAM: Make some goop. Some glue to put on it.

MATT: We'll say, using the basis of a tanglefoot bag, which is a very simple alchemical--

SAM: Oh, it's got goo in it, yeah.

TRAVIS: I mean, I can make a gallon of it.

MATT: You begin to apply it to the top of Doty's head, and begin to very carefully layer hair across it. I'm going to need-- let's see-- (laughs) I love you guys so much.

LAURA: How long does goop last? Will Doty just always have hair now?

SAM: I mean, it's pretty sticky.

LAURA: Gross.

MATT: Go ahead and make-- just make a dexterity check.

SAM: Okay. Okay. Ooh. Not good. I'm feeling lucky. 17.

MATT: 17. (laughs) So it looks a little Carrot Toppy, but it works. These clusters of poofy red hair, but you layer it in a way that looks as good as you can, given the fact that you glued hair to Doty's head.

(all laugh)

MATT: It could've gone a lot worse. From a distance, this kind of looks like a person.

SAM: I also gave him a little bit of--

MATT: Little bit of goatee?

SAM: Just to match me.

MATT: Okay, yeah, great. You now have--

TRAVIS: Do you mean the fu man, or did you give him the full goatee? Because you just did the fu manchu.

SAM: Probably just the fu man.

MATT: All right, there you go.

LAURA: But it's going to be covered by a mask.

SAM: Oh, yeah. Oh, shit.

MATT: You've crafted your own avatar.

LIAM: Is the hair curly or straight?

MATT: It's a little wavy.

LIAM: Wavy, okay.

MATT: Her hair had been short before, when it grew out long, it came out a little wavy. So yeah, it has a little bit of a-- it looks like... What was the actor's name? From Mask?

ALL: Eric Stoltz?

MATT: Kind of looks like that on Doty.

TALIESIN: Critical Role, ladies and gentlemen. Eric Stoltz. Google it.

MARISHA: Cher was great in that.

MATT: It's a great movie.

LIAM: I thought you were going to go Ronald McDonald, so that's a step up.

MATT: Yeah, see? But that's kind of the texture and the look of the hair, from what I recall it.

SAM: Okay, we've set the stage.

LAURA: Wow.

SAM: Vax, bring us home.

MATT: So, with the porcelain cooling off, Vax comes back with the rest of the supplies.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Oh, good gods! What did you make, what did you do?

SAM: He's not just the president, he's a member, too!

(all laugh)

MATT: What's fantastic, is he's glued the facial hair before the porcelain mask was put on, so as Percy and Vax come in with their pieces--

TALIESIN: All right, I've got the-- Oh, good God!

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: I mean, it's bad. It's really bad.

TALIESIN: No, it's-- I mean, like, it's--

LIAM: It's a start. I think the hair will actually help the molding clay stay in place.

TALIESIN: We're going to put a little wrap, it'll be fine.

SAM: And you've got hands?

LIAM: (sighs)

TALIESIN: Oh, yes, that too. Yes.

SAM: Ah, excellent. Excellent.

LIAM: All right. We collectively are Dr. Frankenstein.

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Oh my gosh.

LIAM: Let's make this happen.

SAM: (laughs)

MATT: Okay. So, you put on the harness. You get the ceramic plates on that can loosely appear to be smoother, and a little more of a general curvature to the joints, so that it looks more natural from a distance. You put on the-- The mask of porcelain that you made, I mean, you know, the facial hair that's underneath and is on Doty's face is going to be under the mask.

TALIESIN: Yes. Thank God.

MATT: You could attempt to remove it, if you'd like.

LIAM: No, I think that'll help--

TALIESIN: No, no.

SAM: No. We'll leave it.

LIAM: -- it'll help hold all it in place.

SAM: Just a little glue to help stick it there.

TALIESIN: In case we're in combat and it comes out, maybe we'll get, like, a momentary element of surprise as they go, 'My God, what is that?'

MATT: Plus it's just good to know that, at any given point in time, Doty now has a secret goatee.

(all laugh)

MATT: That only you know about.

SAM: I had extra hair, I wanted to use it.

TALIESIN, MATT, and MARISHA: #secretgoatee.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: What is this episode? What--

LIAM: Oh my God.

MARISHA: This is the worst thing!

MATT: All right. Play 'em home, keyboard cat. Roll a disguise kit.

LIAM: Oh, all right. I'm going to try to make this a--

TRAVIS: (keyboard sounds)

LIAM: What number do I use for the disguise kit? Dexterity?

MATT: No, this would be-- hold on, the toolkit here-- with you it would be-- Yeah, because it is--

LIAM: Because I'm a rogue.

MATT: It's how nimble your fingers are. It's a dexterity bonus plus the proficiency modifier for a disguise kit. If you are proficient with this kit, with the disguise kit?

LIAM: Oh, my gods.

MATT: What are your proficiencies?

LIAM: I don't think so. I mean, I don't know, so I'm just going to say no.

MATT: Then it's just dexterity.

LIAM: Dexterity.

MATT: Just roll a d20, add your dex bonus.

LIAM: Okay. All right, I'm going to go for like, a General Krieg-type look to the face? I'm going to do my best--

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: -- to redheaded General Krieg?

LAURA: Nice.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: Okay, here we go. I'm going to use Luck.

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: I'm going to use Luck.

MATT: (laughs) Are you sure?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Are you sure?

LAURA: Are you sure?

LIAM: I'm quite sure. Natural 20!

LAURA: Oh my God.

(all cheer)

LIAM: General Krieg, it's good to see ya!

MATT: In spite of the absurdity of what you've managed to accomplish with the better part of your day, as the sun is now setting, and the rest of you have been wondering what the fuck is going on down there, you manage to build some semblance of a muscular structure underneath the robes. And amongst the porcelain mask that Percy had set as a base, you have crafted texture, color, it looks kind of like a face.

TALIESIN: It looks like Lincoln from Disneyland!

(all laugh)

MATT: It does! It looks like a shitty animatronic. Which means--

SAM: I was the sixteenth president.

(all laugh)

MATT: Like, it really does.

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: Like, not a good Disney animatronic. Like, state fair animatronic.

MARISHA: Sure.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

TALIESIN, LIAM, and LAURA: Chuck E. Cheese.

MATT: Yeah. This has been through a few fires.

MARISHA: Yeah, I was just going to say, been through a fire!

TRAVIS: (animatronic sounds)

MATT: Yeah, it's Bonnie Springs. It's straight-up Bonnie Springs. But, given the circumstances, not too bad!

TALIESIN: Boys, I'm so proud of both of you.

LIAM: Guys, art is subjective, all right? Put clothes on top of this thing and we're golden, I think.

LAURA: #BrianFosterSmellsLikeCabbage.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

TALIESIN: I'm quite pleased. I'm quite pleased.

SAM: I didn't think that Doty could be improved, but you all impressed me today. Thank you. Thank you for this.

TALIESIN: Good work, everybody.

SAM: Good work.

TALIESIN: Good work, everybody.

SAM: Yes.

LIAM: Good teamwork.

SAM: Teamwork!

LIAM: Yeah.

SAM: Yes! Feels good to say it!

LIAM: Well, good work.

SAM: Shall we go to Vasselheim?

MARISHA: Yeah, let's go.

TALIESIN: Grog?

TRAVIS: And I'll come down.

TALIESIN: Grog!

LAURA: What have you been doing up there?

TRAVIS: Is that General Krieg? (screams)

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: It's all right! It's all right!

SAM: No, no, no!

TALIESIN: It's very expensive, don't break it.

TRAVIS: Why have you aligned yourself with this creature?

LIAM: I knock on the side of its head.

SAM: (hollow metal knocking sounds)

LIAM: That's not Krieg.

LAURA: It's Dootie.

TRAVIS: No. Dootie did not have fire crotch hair. He did not have a face or hands--

SAM: Did you say 'fire crotch'?

TALIESIN: Yes, he did.

TRAVIS: --or a cloak. He didn't have any of that stuff.

LIAM: Yeah, but Grog, we glued it on. We Dorked with it.

TRAVIS: Oh, he's wearing a disguise! Yes.

LIAM: Yes, he's a disguised robot.

TRAVIS: Who did that?

TALIESIN: Oh, all of us.

TRAVIS: As a team?

MARISHA: Mainly these three--

LIAM: Mostly Keyleth.

TRAVIS: Right.

MATT: It occurs to you guys, you don't know where the hair came from.

LIAM: What?

MARISHA: Druidcraft.

TRAVIS: Wow.

TALIESIN: Wow, well done.

LIAM: Got all your hair--

TRAVIS: Could you do that to me?

TALIESIN: Where did you get the hair?

LIAM: Where is the hair from?

TALIESIN: What is it?

SAM: I've got some tricks up my sleeve. (laughs)

LIAM: Did you pull it like a patch off and it turns into a bunch of hair?

SAM: Maybe. Maybe I did.

LIAM: God, magic is amazing.

LAURA: Did you get glue all over my robe that I put on him?

SAM: Maybe. Maybe I did.

MATT: Make a perception check.

LAURA: Oh, motherfucker.

LIAM: That'll do all right.

LAURA: 24.

MATT: (singsong) That robe is ruined.

LAURA: Oh no! It's not ruined!

MATT: (laughs) Certainly. Elements of it are permanently glued to Doty.

MARISHA: Oh, I think this is your hair-dying robe now. Sorry.

LAURA: That was my stealth robe.

MARISHA: And now your--

SAM: And will be once more, I'll have it cleaned and pressed for you.

LIAM: Wait there's glue on the--

TALIESIN: That's the stealth robe?

LIAM: -- on the elven cloak? Oh.

TALIESIN: Oh.

MARISHA: Does that mean that the--

SAM: It's a magical item you put on?

LAURA: (laughs nervously) Yes.

TALIESIN: You put a magical item on the robot?!

LAURA: That's the only robe I fucking had!

TALIESIN: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Wow.

LIAM: Oh, that--

TRAVIS: For nothing.

LAURA: (shouts) I didn't know you were going to glue it to him!

LIAM: Much sentimental value--

LAURA: (shouts) I know!

TALIESIN: Now there's a robot with sentimental value.

LIAM: It's all right, you're still alive. Whoop-dee-doo. Let's just do the thing, come on.

MARISHA: You're right, now that I've blurred my vision, the glue is the most noticeable part.

MATT: (laughs)

TALIESIN: I think it blends into the texture, actually, quite nice.

TALIESIN: Makes it look like he's seen some shit.

LAURA: Motherfucker! Let's go to Vasselheim.

TRAVIS: Yeah, let's go.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'll buy you a new robe.

MATT: Doty's been standing there, and as soon as you guys let's go and Doty starts moving, it has this scary Return to Oz feel to it--

LAURA: Ew. I like it.

TALIESIN: This is everything I've ever wanted.

MATT: (Doty walking sounds)

LIAM: Oh, man.

MARISHA: Hey, where did you learn contouring?

LIAM: What--

MARISHA: (laughs) Because that's really well done.

LIAM: You've seen what I can do with hair, right? I mean, are you really surprised?

MARISHA: Good point, let's go.

MATT: It's the elvish half.

MARISHA: It's the elvish half.

TRAVIS: It's the elvish half.

LIAM: Clasp time, Clasp time.

MATT: Yeah. All right, so. You go ahead and head up to the Temple of Sarenrae within your keep, there is the central tree there. You go ahead and Transport via Plants to--

MATT and MARISHA: Vasselheim!

MATT: Where in Vasselheim do you want to exit?

MARISHA: And we have the book? We have the book in the chest? Chest and the book?

TALIESIN: We have the book.

MARISHA: All right.

LAURA: Not the chest, but in the bag of holding.

TALIESIN: But we have the book. Yeah.

LAURA: Wrapped in cloth.

MARISHA: Where? Wasn't there the tree that was near the Slayer's Take?

MATT: There is one, yeah, there's one that patches there.

MARISHA: Yeah. We'll do that.

MATT: Okay, so you use that one.

LIAM: Let's use that save point.

MARISHA: Yeah. What do they call it? Never mind.

MATT: Okay.

LAURA: Waypoint.

MARISHA: There! Yes, thank you.

TRAVIS: The waypoint.

MATT: So, as you guys emerge it is still early afternoon in Vasselheim. The sun is just setting in your location, you guys have travelled far northwest at this point when it was still midday. You emerge roughly in the center of the Quadroads, a little bit north-center area of the Quadroads. What are you looking for?

LAURA: Well, we should go--

TALIESIN: Library.

LAURA: Yes, the library.

LIAM: Library.

LAURA: We delivered the horn of Orcus to the platinum dragon.

MATT: Yeah, the Platinum Sanctuary.

LAURA: Yes. So we should probably go talk to them as well.

MARISHA: Because I imagine they'd have a good hiding place?

TALIESIN: It's where I put the Ark of the Covenant, certainly.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LAURA: And also to talk to them about Orcus.

MARISHA: Correct.

LAURA: Since that's--

MARISHA: And then shops for more potions.

LIAM: Do we want to split up? You want to go talk Orcus?

MARISHA: That's actually not a bad plan.

LAURA: Yeah. Sure.

MARISHA: Okay. You're going to go research Orcus?

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: The twins?

LIAM: Yeah.

MARISHA: All right. Percy, you want to go to the Platinum Reserve?

TALIESIN: Always.

MARISHA: All right. We'll take the book. Tary? You want to come with us or the twins?

SAM: With you, absolutely.

MARISHA: All right. Grog?

TRAVIS: Ugh, god, the options both suck.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Fuck!

TALIESIN: Go with the twins, they're more inclined to violence.

LAURA: Oh, Grog could also go learn about the Nine Hells!

TRAVIS: No, no no. Okay, wait. Books?

LAURA: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Nope. What are you doing?

MARISHA: Books.

TRAVIS: No. I'm doing my own thing.

LIAM: What could go wrong about--

SAM: I've been wanting to buy some potions and things, is that an option here?

MARISHA: Oh, do you want to be team potions?

TALIESIN: And buying things? You like buying things.

MARISHA: Team Shopping, right Grog?

LAURA: Tary-- Tary!

MATT: Grog's really good at buying potions.

LAURA: Tary-- I pull Tary aside.

SAM: Yes, what?

LAURA: If you're going to go shopping with Grog you need to know-- don't look at him. He is terrible with money.

TALIESIN: I can't look away.

LAURA: Tary, he's terrible with money. I mean like, he will offer them-- stop it! He will offer them double what they ask for.

SAM: Oh. And that's not good? Don't worry, I've been raised around money, I know its worth. I have--

LAURA: I'm just saying--

SAM: -- at least six trust funds and they're all managed quite well.

LAURA: (deadpan) I'm so happy for you.

LIAM: Tru-- what?

LAURA: Just keep an eye on him, all right?

SAM: I will receive your trust.

LAURA: (sighs)

SAM: And I will fulfill your request as a fellow member of this team.

LAURA: (strained) Fabulous.

SAM: Thank you for entrusting me with this mission.

TALIESIN: Thank you, Tary, good luck. Grog, keep an eye on him, make sure that everything's--

TRAVIS: Oh, I will.

LIAM: As they leave, I spank Grog hard on the ass and say, money was meant to be spent!

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: I like that twin.

MATT: (laughs) All right, you scatter into three different directions. First--

MARISHA: To the library?

MATT: All right.

LAURA: No, you were going to the Platinum Sanctuary.

TRAVIS: Yeah, Jesus. (laughs)

LAURA: We're going to the library.

MARISHA: Which is to the place where they--

TRAVIS: Holy shit.

TALIESIN: Archive.

MARISHA: (shouts) To the archive!

SAM: Did you guys both say goodbye and then you're walking the same direction?

MATT: Yep! Yeah.

TRAVIS: Oh, you're parked over here, too? Oh, okay, cool.

TALIESIN: I'm tired-- okay, this is awkward now, we'll just keep--

MARISHA: They're right next door, they're connected, they're partners.

LIAM: Well some people go this way, and some people go that way and some people go both ways!

MATT: (laughs) All right, so you guys make your way up to the Platinum Sanctuary, you head to the base of the central mountain that the north end of Vasselheim is built around, to the winding stair that leads up to the Sanctuary proper. There, as you ascend, you can see the sun is getting to the three to four o'clock in the afternoon position. The color of the sky's starting to turn a bit different. You guys make your way to the outside doors of the Sanctuary, where you see the guards are there, stationed, and as you approach, some of them put up a bit of an aggressive front from a defensive standpoint, but one of them does recognise you and approaches, pulls the front of his helmet up. “You are Vox Machina.”

LAURA: We are.

MATT: “What business do you have here at the Platinum Sanctuary?”

LAURA: We have come to discuss the (whispers) Horn of Orcus that we delivered here a while ago.

MATT: “So you request an audience with Scalebearer Vord?”

LAURA: Mmhmm.

LIAM: Yeah. That guy.

TRAVIS: The sphinx's name.

LAURA: What?

TRAVIS: The sphinx's name.

LAURA: I don't remember.

MATT: (laughs) All righty. Highbearer Vord. He says, “Very well. Please to be patient, I believe he is busy.”

LAURA: Oh. Right.

MATT: And he heads inside, the doors close behind.

LAURA: As he does that, I look to Vax and go, hey, I have an idea. So the book we have, right?

LIAM: Mm?

LAURA: What if instead of leaving it here, we left it at the Raven Queen's sanctuary? Don't you think they would keep it more safe? Because she hates undead, right? This is like her nemesis, right?

LIAM: She does. Yeah, I mean, that's a whole thing, I don't think that's a bad idea, but I feel like if I go there, I need to stay for a bit.

LAURA: Oh, really?

LIAM: Yeah.

LAURA: Do you want to do that?

LIAM: No, not yet.

LAURA: All right, cool. Let's forget I mentioned anything.

LIAM: Let's do that.

LAURA: All right.

MATT: All right. About fifteen minutes or so pass as you guys are looking up. It's a gorgeous view from up here, by the way, I mean, for Vasselheim, the cloud cover is probably 70 to 80% of the year, with coming storms and sleet. This was one of the few days you've been during this part of the season where the sky is open. You actually see some blue in the sky, and as the light of the day begins to grow more towards a dusk color you start seeing the distant change and it's just endless thick, dense forest of the Vesper Timberland all around the city. And so there's kind of this serene waiting period as well.

LAURA: I just lean against Trinket.

MATT: Trinket just (bear noises). You calm Trinket a bit. Trinket doesn't like heights and is up here on this platform, it's literally like a very small rail and then it drops probably a good 150, 200 feet down, and so Trinket's just like staying as far away from the edge as possible. Eventually the doors shift and one side opens up slightly, the same guard walks out. “All right, very well. Follow me.” Turns around. Leads you in. He's carrying his large, very well-polished tower shield to his side, he still has his helmet visor up. Leads you into the central structure.

LAURA: Do we know what we're going to say?

LIAM: We're going to talk about the book. We're going to ask them if they can destroy it.

LAURA: Or hold it, right? Do something with it.

LIAM: Preferably destroy.

LAURA: Okay. It's history, though.

LIAM: It's dangerous.

LAURA: True.

MATT: You guys are led to the audience chamber. Surrounded by the wide den of pillars and the central area has a hole above the top of the temple where the light comes through and there you see, stepping in hurriedly from the opposite side, flanked by two advisors is Highbearer Vord, the Silver Touched. You see his elven form is very fine-featured, his skin still very pale, almost pearlescent when the light hits it and his robes flow behind him, dragging a good four or five feet across the center. It's such an open space between the circular pillars that hold this-- it's just this tiny image of him approaching you amongst this wide-open space with his two advisors. As the footsteps get louder and louder as he approaches. “So yes, you've summoned me, what is your business?”

LAURA: Didn't mean to summon you, Scalebearer, I know your time is precious.

MATT: “Yes.”

LAURA: We however came across, in fighting the Chroma Conclave and defeating them, this book which references Opash's search into necromancy. NecromANcy? NecrOmancy.

SAM: NecrOmancy.

MATT: NecrOmancy. Josh NecrOmancy?

LIAM: NECromancy.

LAURA: Necrome-- yes.

TRAVIS: Necromé?

LAURA: Necromé.

LIAM: (laughs) Does that name mean anything to you?

MATT: “I have read of it, yes. I mean, it's a creature of lore. Opash was before the Divergence, even. If you indeed found a tome that once belonged to him, this is of much interest to us and our network of researchers.”

LIAM: Research?

LAURA: Researchers.

MATT: “Well, yes.”

LAURA: It's an evil tome.

MATT: “I can only assume it is, you are right.”

LIAM: We came to Vasselheim to dispose of it. My sister has read it. Parts of it, and--

LAURA: (whispers) All of it.

LIAM: It's foul. It should not be allowed to exist.

MATT: “We can ensure that it falls into no hands beyond this temple. However, we do have to research the contents, you understand. The necessity of understanding the evils and darkness that are out there, that when they arise we can properly counter them.”

LAURA: Can I insight check him?

MATT: Yes, go for it.

LAURA: (groans)

TRAVIS: Turd burgers.

LAURA: It's not terrible, but it ain't good, 14.

MATT: 14. He's hard to read in general, disposition and station, and his eyes are so white, like the iris is almost non-visible. And his stone face and his explanation but he's making sense, you know. If you have information on--

LAURA: Necromancy.

MATT: On necromancy!

LAURA: Yes.

TALIESIN: Gif.

MATT: Or any devices that darker forces utilize, it better prepares you if you know that those entail.

LIAM: Necro.

LAURA: Right.

MATT: And if there is any place that could withstand the corruption of such a book, it would be the strongest focus of the Platinum Dragon's divine power that exists on the planet.

LAURA: Well, that's good.

MATT: So, you get the sense that Vord is not deceiving you.

LAURA: Okay.

LIAM: What happens after you research it?

MATT: “We seal it in the vaults below, same place we stored the horn.”

LIAM: Has that vault ever been disturbed in its entire history?

MATT: “It's been a long time and we've reinforced it. If I recall, the last time you were here you encountered some of our defense yourselves.”

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: “I think you'll know by memory that we are well fortified. So--”

LAURA: Be warned, the book tried to claim me.

MATT: "Hmm. If you resisted it, I have no doubt our clerics can as well." He nods his head over to one of his advisors.

TRAVIS: Shade.

LAURA: I know, yeah.

TRAVIS: Dark shade.

MATT: This young man with a very, very tight braid pulled to the back of the head that dangles about mid-back behind silver and white robes just approaches and puts his hands out to accept the tome.

LIAM: Oh, I'm sorry, we weren't clear. We came to discuss it. We don't have it now.

MATT: Puts his hands aside and steps back. "Oh. Well. Return with the tome, should you see fit to leave it here."

LAURA: Can I ask you, how much do you know of Orcus?

MATT: "I know enough."

LAURA: I don't know much of anything, and it's important that we learn.

MATT: "Hmm." So, he, nods to one of the other advisors who steps off for a moment. "Sit a moment. This is a conversation to have." And some of the guards come and bring a few chairs and set them behind you. "Orcus, the demon prince of undeath, resides in the depths of Thanatos, one of the varying realms of the Abyss. It is here that he snuffs the life from all creatures and brings them under his sway. He is an entity of ever-hungering need for power, and to take all life and break it so he can bring it under his control. Thankfully, as one of the betrayer gods, he was sealed away, and the Divine Gate was placed up to prevent his, and any other evil entities' entrance into our world. However, that does not prevent him from sending his minions, sending his powers, sending his influence out through the permeable, small gaps in this gate. So his influence remains."

LAURA: He only has two horns, right?

MATT: "Oh! Four, once."

LAURA: Four?

MATT: "Two that he maintains on himself to this day, and two that were severed, enchanted, and bequeathed into of his, at the time, one of his champions."

LIAM: And all these many months, you've been in possession of the horn you have?

MATT: "Yes."

LAURA: And you don't have another one down in that vault?

MATT: "We do not."

LIAM: What have you learned of the one you do have?

MATT: "Well, this belonged to a great and terrible champion of Orcus. It was utilized in the Calamity, the war that came to the very gates of Vasselheim. This armored evil was destroyed and torn asunder, the horn scattered. We currently have some of our finest and brightest out in search of the other one, now that we know they have and can be recovered. Not to any avail yet, but we're doing our best."

LAURA: If you hear any word of that horn, will you send word to us?

MATT: "Of course. And you do the same, please."

LAURA: Of course.

MATT: "One was dangerous enough."

LIAM: We need to discuss a few things, but we'll fetch the tome.

MATT: "Very well."

LAURA: Thank you so much for your time.

MATT: "I don't have much of it. If you have business to discuss with me personally, I would recommend doing it now. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with one of my advisors when you return."

LAURA: Do you know much about the Nine Hells?

MATT: "That's a complicated subject. What do you need to know?"

LAURA: I fear we have to travel there.

MATT: "Why, pray tell, do you intend to travel there?"

LAURA: There is a rakshasa after my brother and our cleric friend, Pike. And, unfortunately, I fear he will return if we don't snuff him out at the source.

LIAM: It's already made one attempt.

MATT: "Hmm."

LIAM: It's only a matter of time.

MATT: "I've dealt with fiends. I've dealt with devils. I am not a specialist on the Hells, but there are a few places where you could possibly research this information. Majority of such research is found in the presence, or at least in the grasp of the Cobalt Soul. They do have one small temple here in the city, and they have one over in Tal'Dorei. Either one will have some semblance of research at their disposal. What I can tell you is, in asking about Orcus and the Abyss, those are demons, entities, savage, chaotic, in selfish, hard to read societies that twist, crumble and rebuild, a rate that only insanity can seem to drive. Madness and hunger drives the Abyss. But the Hells, the Hells are built on tyranny. They are built on societies, power structures, subservience and dominance. Whereas few mortals dare tread in the Abyss, there have been some from many different realms, who go to the Hells to do business."

LAURA: Do you know what sort of people might survive there?

LIAM: Or fit in?

MATT: "Powerful ones. Ones that stay out of sight. Ones that don't make a scene. Just know; they're very clever, and above all else, they seek your soul."

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: They're big.

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: Thank you for your time.

LAURA: So, we'll go to the Cobalt Reserve.

MATT: "All right. One of my advisors will receive the tome upon its arrival."

LAURA: Fabulous. Thank you.

MATT: "Good luck."

LAURA: (whistles)

MATT: He stands up and as soon as you begin to stand up, the seats are already immediately pulled out from behind you. The guards separate them, he leaves with his advisors and you guys are led out of the temple back onto the winding staircase and into the heart of Vasselheim.

LIAM: I pull Vex into an alleyway. (sighs) I don't know what the right thing to do is. I thought one thing going in there.

LAURA: Mm-hm.

LIAM: And now I think maybe you were right. I have not wanted to go to that temple, though. She has finally been speaking to me again.

LAURA: All right. What about?

LIAM: When I died, I saw her. I have dreamed of her already. And she speaks of some sort of purpose on the horizon. And I don't know if she's talking about your promise you made, or what. But she is with us. And I barely know what the fuck I'm doing, but I know that she doesn't want that book to exist. And, honestly, I am frightened of going to that temple because I want time. I want time with you, I want time with Keyleth, I want time.

LAURA: All right.

LIAM: And I don't want to lose that time now, I want to be selfish for a little while. We've been working so fucking hard, by all rights we should be dead.

LAURA: Do you think if you go to the Raven Queen's temple, she'll claim you for her own right now?

LIAM: Well, I don't know. I don't know. And look at this. And I start to unbuckle the front of my chest-- Relax, look at this.

LAURA: What am I seeing? (laughs)

Matt: You see right around his heart there's a dark spot in the skin where some dark veins travel for about an inch or two across.

LAURA: What the fuck is this?

LIAM: I don't know.

LAURA: When did it happen?

LIAM: I don't know.

LAURA: What do you mean, you don't know? Did it happen after you died?

LIAM: I think so. Hurts a little bit.

LAURA: What the fuck? We have to get you to a cleric, that's not normal!

LIAM: Not really, no. I cover it back up.

LAURA: Are you sure it's related to her?

LIAM: But I think you are right, and I think that they're going to hold that, and someone will take it, whether it's in a hundred years or a thousand years, and she doesn't want it and--

LAURA: Well, they're holding the Horn of Orcus.

LIAM: Yeah, they already have that. They don't have this.

LAURA: Then let's go to the Raven Queen's temple.

LIAM: All right.

LAURA: Do you want to go now?

LIAM: Yes.

LAURA: Let's go.

MATT: Okay, while you guys make your way to the Raven's Eyrie, we go to you two. You guys are currently looking for a library. Who wants to make the investigation check to ask for information?

TALIESIN: I'll do it, that's funny.

LAURA: Would I have known anything about what that thing was?

MATT: Not really. It doesn't look diseased. It looks bruised almost. It's just a strange-looking bruise where you can see some of the veins are dark and visible, almost like varicose near the surface.

LAURA: Like trauma?

MATT: Kind of, yeah but it doesn't look--

LAURA: It doesn't look like Raishan's?

MATT: No, it's not like that.

MARISHA: So, we have the book. They went to the sanctuary. We are going to the library.

MATT: Yes.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MARISHA: Okay!

MATT: As far as I know, that's what you guys are searching for.

LAURA: Wait, I thought we had the book.

TALIESIN: It's in the-- wait, no, the book's in the bag.

TRAVIS: And I'm the one with the low intelligence.

MATT: (singsong) Grog has the book.

MARISHA: You guys, I thought our whole thing was that we were taking the book to the sanctuary and then you guys were like, we're going to the sanctuary, because you guys totally gave me shit when I was like, the library, and you were like, not the library, but apparently we are.

TALIESIN: Yes.

MARISHA: All right. Let's go to the library.

TALIESIN: I rolled a 16.

MATT: It's like Vox Machina has a hard time planning.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Don't agree with him.

MATT: It's crazy.

TALIESIN: That's not fair.

SAM: I'm the new guy.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: “I'm the new guy.”

TALIESIN: 16, investigation.

MARISHA: We said we had the book.

TALIESIN: We thought we did, we were not paying attention.

MATT: Did you say you took the book?

MARISHA: I thought we took the book, that was our whole fucking plan--

TALIESIN: I thought we took the book too.

MARISHA: -- that we took the damn book.

TALIESIN: It occurs to me it was actually in the bag that Grog was holding.

MARISHA: But I would assume if we said, “we're taking the book”, that would mean--

MATT: If you guys said you're taking the book; Grog, you heard them take the book?

TRAVIS: I thought you said you were taking the book to go look at the wherever.

MARISHA: We have the book.

MATT: All right. I'll take that as consensus to say that you guys have the book.

SAM: Oh, I used the book to make the wig. Is that okay?

(all laugh)

SAM: It's just, it's all paper.

LAURA: It's glued under the cloak.

MATT: Make a wisdom saving throw.

TALIESIN: Papier-mâché of evil.

MATT: Okay. You guys, not having a bag of holding, are clutching the tome-- it's a big tome, it's like--

MARISHA: I thought we put it in a box, right?

MATT: No.

TALIESIN: No, we didn't have a box.

LAURA: There was no box. It was a book wrapped in cloth in the bag of holding.

SAM: In a box.

MARISHA: We wrapped it in cloth.

MATT: So there you go. You have a tome wrapped in cloth under your arm. You guys spend about an hour or so asking around. The locals, they're-- not saying they're not friendly, but not all of them are well-versed in what you're asking. You say library, some of them are more simpler folk are like, "I don't--" and eventually somebody says, "Oh yeah, you can head over to the-- what's it called? The Cobalt Vault. It's in the southern region of the Quad Roads."

TALIESIN: That's exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much.

MATT: "All right, yeah, I'll show you." And the guy gives you a couple directions down the road, and you make your way there, and it's similar to the Cobalt Reserve in Westruun, but it's about a quarter of the size.

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: The Cobalt Reserve is the center of the Cobalt Soul monk order, the Ioun worshipers that gather information and maintain it. As Ioun's presence was shattered slightly during the Calamity, in the battle against the chained god, her presence in Vasselheim was diminished and then regrew through the Cobalt Soul in Westruun, so it's expanding back into Vasselheim. You make your way to the structure. The exterior of it is this light-grey stone, it's a cylindrical building with three different doorways around the outside and a giant, bright blue and black marbled dome on top. It looks somewhat transparent, like it's made of a glass-type material. As you step into the front, you can see a central chamber within the inside that's also cylindrical, so you have a small walk-around hallway on the immediate inside of this giant structure, and then the actual library is in the interior, and so on the outside, you see a few books and there are some paintings and tapestries on the walls and you see a few varying monks walking around, a handful that are curious and turn as you walk in. They're all wearing the uniform, dark grey and blue robes of the Cobalt Soul, and there is a desk at the front, where you have a young woman of olive skin sitting, her hair short and wavy with very thick spectacles adorning the front of her nose. Young-ish, maybe mid-twenties. She looks up as soon as you guys approach. "Good day. I fear we're still in the process of preparing the interior, but what do you require?"

TALIESIN: We were hoping for access to some of the deep research archives. We've been looking around, we have several, complicated matters that we need to research, and we heard that you had a wonderful collection and we were hoping to gain access to some materials, preferably of the histories of Orcus, the Nine Hells, a few various things.

MATT: "I'm terribly sorry, that type of research is only for Cobalt Soul members."

TALIESIN: Who could we talk to about special access? I'm sure that there must be somebody in charge.

MATT: "I apologize, I am--"

MARISHA: I'm sorry--

MATT: "I'm going to have--"

MARISHA: I am Keyleth of the Air Ashari and this is Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III.

TALIESIN: Close enough.

MARISHA: We're a part of the group Vox Machina, we've been through here before, we're part of the Slayer's Take. This is a matter of great importance, so if there is any type of upper management we could talk to--

(all laugh)

MATT: Roll a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: Fuck this. It's just that dismount at the end.

TALIESIN: (creepy voice) Who wants to talk to the librarian?

MATT: It's Keyleth's specialty.

LIAM: It was going great.

MARISHA: (coughs) Mm, 11.


MATT: "I mean no offense, but I don't think we have the kind of research that you're looking for that we could--"

TALIESIN: We would also possibly like to make a donation. And I pull out the Manual of Quickness of Action, place it upon the table.

MATT: She adjusts her glasses for a second and reaches into the desk and pulls out a small, white gem and passes it over, and as she does, you can see the front of the tome seems to glow almost like a blacklight over something that was reactive to it.

SAM: Covered in semen.

MATT: As soon as I said it, I was waiting for Sam on that one.

SAM: Sure, sure.

TALIESIN: Thank you for ruining that one for me for all time.

MATT: Scans over. "Perhaps. Give me just a moment, please." And she slides the book in your direction, gets up and exits through one of the small doors in the side, that you didn't notice until now. It's part of a similar stone, just gives away and then closes behind her.

TALIESIN: Well, we'll see what happens now.

MARISHA: And yet, worst case scenario, I also have this book that Scanlan read that's on how to be a good leader--

TALIESIN: Hold on to that one.

MARISHA: All right, I'll hold on to it.

MATT: The door opens again and she comes back out, followed by a man of very, very dark skin, bright, soft eyes that crack on the sides from, you can gather, a lot of smiling. He wears the same uniform, blue and gray robes, but as he walks, you can hear what sounds almost like a faint-- almost like jewelry clanging, but you don't see any jewelry on him, and as he approaches, his arms are folded into themselves, and he steps forward quietly, looks at the book for a second, looks up at the two of you, and smiles, "Hello. My name is Kusuo and I am in charge of looking over this extension of the Cobalt Reserve's reach and collection. You have come to offer this book as trade?"

TALIESIN: Yes.

MATT: "And you are seeking what?

TALIESIN: Well, we are in a bit of a bind. We are members of a traveling group of adventurers known as Vox Machina. We recently helped defeat the Chroma Conclave.

MATT: "I'm familiar with your exploits as of late, yes. It is our job to collect information and history and record of it, so I am very aware."

TALIESIN: Well, the deeds and those things that must be done have not yet been fulfilled. We have just a few last, treacherous events that we must complete before the Chroma Conclave is completely put to rest. One of which has to do with Orcus, and the other with the Nine Hells.

MARISHA: It's a rakshasa.

TALIESIN: And we are desperate for knowledge that may keep us safe in our travels. Prepare us for our enemies.

MATT: "Come with me." And he takes the book and sweeps it up, and it vanishes into his robe.

TALIESIN: Worth it!

MATT: He leads you into the small doorway that you watched open and shut before, and on the inside, you go from this barren outer walkway, into this large cylindrical library that is from floor to ceiling about 60 feet tall, with dozens of ladders that move around, and you can see books are in the process of being put up, some books are being categorized, it looks like there were stacks that have just arrived that are in the process of being researched and copied, there are a number of these monks that are at different tables in the process of making copies of books, this is specifically a repository for the gathering and guarding of information. In the center of the chamber, there is a spiral staircase that leads to an upper platform that has another series of chairs, either a research or reading section, and there are only a handful of people on the interior that are not dressed in the same way that these monks are, but each one of them is attended by a monk. And you--

MARISHA: Anyone look familiar? Any uniforms that look recognizable?

MATT: Make a perception check.

TALIESIN: Yeah, use that one. That's weird.

MARISHA: It's on another dice? All right.

TALIESIN: There, that's better.

MARISHA: Oh, that's good!

TALIESIN: What is that? Oh--

MARISHA: That's a 19! Perception?

MATT: Perception.

MARISHA: 21. Sorry, 20. Yeah, 21.

MATT: Okay, so you glance around--

MARISHA: No! 31!

MATT: There we go! I was like, your wisdom's pretty high--

MARISHA: 31.

MATT: Okay. You look around really fast, glance at each person that is not of the Cobalt Reserve's attire, no one you recognize. But they all appear to be fairly affluent. And they're all in the process of reading through some sort of thick book with a stack next to them, of varying sizes, and the monk is just standing there patiently, watching them as they do so.

TALIESIN: That's disconcerting.

MATT: And you recall, from your first time at the Cobalt Reserve, that no books can be taken from the Reserve. They can be read within the interior, they can be copied, notes can be taken. But you cannot remove them, and the monk that is assigned to you is both a guide, and to make sure you don't take anything you're not supposed to.

MARISHA: Right. Theft protection.

MATT: Yes. And it seems that Kusuo has taken upon himself to be your assigned monk.

TALIESIN: There's quite a bustle today, this is impressive.

MATT: "It is more than we are used to, usually. But we are happy to know that people are interested in knowledge. Any given day."

MARISHA: Any reason for the sudden spark in interest?

MATT: "Well, recent events of dragons terrorizing countrysides, leads people to want to defend themselves and learn of these occasional terrors."

MARISHA: Good on them.

MATT: "Anyway, follow me." And he leads you to the back of the spiral staircase, as it comes and meets with the floor, there is a large rug that sits as part of the decor there, and he glances around, and using his foot, his toe clips the edge of it and flicks up and catches the rug, folds it and sets it down, in one swift motion you weren't expecting, and with the dust that sets off, you now see what looks to be a trap door of the same material as the hardwood floor of the library. The small chain that he then bends down carefully, tugs and lifts, and you see the staircase that descends below.

MARISHA: Can you do that with your toes?

TALIESIN: Not with my toes, now.

MATT: "The books you require, we keep in the cellar. So, please, after you." It's a staircase. (laughs)

TALIESIN: No! I'm committed!

MATT: (laughing) You're just going down--

LIAM: Then an escalator!

MATT: You're dog paddling your way through the darkness. You guys descend and the trap door closes behind you and it is pitch black. You have no vision, you can see in the vicinity, the stairs go down maybe 20 feet, however as soon as the trap door closes, a soft glow emanates from behind you and you can see there is some sort of a dangling wristband with a small glass marble that hangs at the end that is now glowing with a soft candlelight, and Kusuo is holding his arm in front of him as it dangles like a candle, and he slowly brushes past you and leads the way down before the stairs stop and level off into an open chamber, a square room, the cellar as he called it. There, inside, you see candelabras flickering in the corners, there's four of them, two near you and two on the far side. Within the shadowed, subterranean chamber, you see shelves and locked cases throughout. Some cases are glass, some are almost crate-like, but they have locks on the sides, and on these shelves it isn't books stacked to each end, each book is facing forward, and seems to be placed deliberately, and some of them are chained in, some of them have chains that dangle from the piece-- this is where all the secret books are kept. This is the private collection.

TALIESIN: Books that want to get out.

MATT: As soon you guys enter the space, two monks of the Cobalt Soul spin out of the corners and immediately stand in the defensive position with their arms out in front of them, and then as soon as they see Kusuo smiles and nods, they put their guard down, arms together, and the bow for Kusuo. Kusuo turns back over the shoulder, "Do not worry, this is Wailen and Sura, they are assigned to watch over. So, stand aside, help our guests." He walks forward and leads you through some of these cases, and you look and they're made of different woods, some of them seem to have been brought from different locations, and there are scroll cases, there are giant wads of ancient parchment that are clustered together and bound with some sort of a leather strip, you can see tomes all across the way of different fronts and sizes, and some of them are very old and ruined. And in the back right corner of this chamber, you see Kusuo pulls what you didn't notice before, and that jangling sound you were hearing before is a giant ring of over a hundred keys that he pulls off of his neck. He turns it and begins just thumbing through the keys, very quickly, like he knows exactly what he's doing. Catches one key, looks at it, and walks over to one of the cases in that corner of the room and just undoes the locks, but they're a different key for each lock, and he goes and finds each one. First try, knows exactly where they go. As each lock is taken, he opens the case and on the inside you smell this scent of dust and ash, and there are four books in there, two of which look damaged, but they all look very old, and he reaches in and grabs two of them. One of them is one of the damaged ones, one of them is not. "You seek information on Orcus?" Sets one tome down on one of the nearby closed cases. "And the Nine Hells." Places the other next to it.

TALIESIN: I just try and see if I can discern what the other two books are just from looking in and being a nerd.

MATT: They don't have any labelling on the cover.

TALIESIN: Oh, nothing. All right. Fascinating. Thank you. I suppose we'll sit, and get to it.

MATT: "Very well."

TALIESIN: And I sit down and I open the book.

MARISHA: Yes. Which one are you opening?

TALIESIN: Before I touch it, this doesn't react poorly to people handling it, does it? There's no--

MATT: He arches an eyebrow towards you. "No, part of our distinct training is to disable any sort of wards should you wish to research."

TALIESIN: Excellent.

MARISHA: Which one are you opening, Percy?

TALIESIN: I open the first one just to look into--

MARISHA: The Orcus one?

MATT: Do you speak Abyssal?

TALIESIN: I do not speak Abyssal.

MATT: The Orcus tome you aren't able to read. It is all in Abyssal.

TALIESIN: Do you speak Abyssal? And the other book--

MATT: The other book?

TALIESIN: -- I open up the Nine Hells, take a look.

MATT: That one is actually written in Common.

TALIESIN: Okay.

MARISHA: Weird question.

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: Abyssal.

MATT: Yes.

MARISHA: I know creatures who are from the Abyss, right? I've encountered them?

MATT: You have encountered demons in your past, yes.

MARISHA: If I do a shapechange into a demon, can I then read Abyssal?

MATT: Lemme look at the spell real fast.

SAM: You're going to change into a pit fiend in the library?

MARISHA: I would let him know! I would give him like a disclaimer.

TALIESIN: I'm going to show you a really weird birthmark, don't panic.

LAURA: I mean, if he really was a demon, why would he need to do research?

TALIESIN: Who is my father?! I don't know.

LAURA: Genealogy of the Nine Hells!

MATT: It does not specify, but it says you gain the abilities.

LIAM: I think I've read it says you keep the same intellect, though, right?

MATT: Yeah, you keep the same intellect.

MARISHA: You keep the same mental stats.

MATT: Correct.

MARISHA: But you get the abilities--

MATT: Yeah, you retain all your skills and saving throw and proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature.

MARISHA: In addition.

MATT: You don't know.

MARISHA: I don't know.

SAM: Might as well try!

TALIESIN: I'm going to take a moment also before this happens, open the Common book, take a moment, and gently ask the good sir if they have a reading glass around, because I still don't have any reading glasses.

MATT: (laughs) He gives a curious look. "But of course." And he snaps his fingers, and the other monks, he just darts off for a second and then returns a moment later with a small wooden case that opens up, and on the inside there are four different types and thickness of reading glass you can go through. You find one that'll work okay.

TALIESIN: Perfect. I'm going to let you deal with this other end of things, because I'm going to sit and read.

MARISHA: What was that demon guy we encountered? Does he have a name?

TALIESIN: Phil.

SAM: You mean the pit fiend, or--?

LAURA: Oh, you mean like Senokir?

LIAM: No, he was a genasii.

MARISHA: The pit fiend was a devil. Who was the guy who lied to us, and you said devil at one point, and he was actually a demon.

LAURA: You said he was a demon and he was actually a devil.

MATT: That was a glabrezu. That was what killed Pike.

TALIESIN: What about the basement way back when?

TRAVIS: Where we found you?

TALIESIN: Yeah, remember?

LAURA: The succubus?

MATT: That was after you found Percy. This was in the palace of Emon.

LAURA: What about the succubus?

LIAM: The succubus. And that thing with the bones.

MARISHA: Succubus are-- yeah.

LAURA: We did kill a succubus.

MATT: You did, yeah.

LIAM: In Krieg's house.

MARISHA: And they're demons, right?

MATT: They are fiends. You're not sure. You don't have enough knowledge-- Are you trained in religion?

MARISHA: No.

TALIESIN: But you could ask me. Well, I'm not--

MATT: Yeah. You're not too familiar. Part of this research is learning the distinguishing factors between fiends. You don't have a whole lot of knowledge of that.

MARISHA: Okay. You know what? You're reading the book on the Nine Hells. That'll tell us what fiends there are.

TALIESIN: All right.

MARISHA: Right?

MATT: Maybe.

TALIESIN: Maybe. I'm reading the book.

MARISHA: Read the book.

MATT: Okay. There we go.

(all laugh)

LIAM: Saviors of the universe, we are.

MATT: So.

TALIESIN: Do you know the dewey decimal system?

MARISHA: Yes. (laughs)

MATT: What're you trying to find? Do you want to just read all the information? It'll take you--

TALIESIN: I'm skipping specifically through Orcus, and also since she mentions what she's--

MATT: There's no Orcus in this book. This is about the Nine Hells.

TALIESIN: Oh, I'm so sorry. Hierarchies. I'm trying to get a general overlay of some of the information if there's a natural enemy for the rakshasas. Any weaknesses, where we can find them.

MATT: Okay. You do know there is a very strong infernal hierarchy of all the hells.

TALIESIN: I'm also seeing what the book also specializes in.

MATT: It's a very rigid power structure here. And the whole purpose of most devils is to try to gain power and ascend their rank by proving themselves stronger or tearing others down to take their position.

TALIESIN: So anyone lower would be an enemy, anyone higher would probably--

MATT: Well, they'll work together because it is a lawful evil society. It is a society that only functions because of its structure.

TALIESIN: Strong weight, yes.

MATT: So it is tyrant and underlings. And underlings will work and serve things they hate that are more powerful in hope of gaining the favor, especially since higher devils can bequeath lower devils the chance to ascend to a higher tier.

TALIESIN: Are there stories of anybody defeating a rakshasa before?

MATT: You glance through, and rakshasas, like any other devil, can be killed. If you can go to it and kill it. But there are many tiers here. There are archdevils at the top. That are the rulers of each-- essentially the top ranks. There are greater devils below them. Greater devils include horned devils, erinyes, which you've encountered, pit fiends, which you've encountered, and ice devils. And they are the greatest of the devils below the archdevils. Then you have lesser devils, which are like imps, spine devils, bearded devils, barbed devils, chain devils, bone devils. You've got all these names, you get some drawings and sketches of some of these creatures, and they all look awful. Lowest in this rank are lemures. Lemures are the souls of people that have passed, who have either done enough evil deeds that they fall under the sway of one of the archdevils. Most of them are acquired by making a deal with a devil. A contract. They're big into contracts. Their power structure is based on what sort of souls, what power they can gain, what people they can sway, what people they can convince to--

TALIESIN: Lemures are infernal Pokemon, is basically what you're getting to.

MATT: Yeah. Once a soul has come under the sway of a devil and is brought to the Nine Hells, it either can become just a lost wandering soul used as a source of energy; most of them convert into lemures which are the low-level slaves. They're ever-tortured, flesh masses that--

TALIESIN: So like The Scream?

MATT: Yeah.

MATT: They're the tortured souls of the Nine Hells. If a lemure does manage to do good enough work over an extended period of time it can ascend into a lesser devil, by pleasing its masters, by whatever it may be. There is a chance, that's how devils ascending are brought to a higher station.

TALIESIN: There's a few that have crawled their way up.

MATT: Yeah, and the pit fiend you killed probably returned and got demoted.

LAURA: Ooh, to a lesser? Like they get turned into something smaller?

MATT: If something really powerful and cool that was given a station was suddenly walking through the street and killed by a bunch of people in the city and came back and was like, "they killed me," they'd be like, "you're weak obviously". Reading the structure, you probably really ruined that guy's day. (laughs)

TALIESIN: He's probably going to have centuries getting his shit back together. He's probably really pissed.

MATT: Yeah, you basically made him lose his house, and his dog, and his wife. You turned him into a country song.

TALIESIN: Do they talk about anything like the children that we saved?

TALIESIN: The effect of angelic, angelic, why those little angel children…those seraphic children…

MATT: There is very little talk about celestial, blood divas, other than the fact that there's been a long-standing battle since the founding. Since the prime gods and betrayer gods divided early in the creation of Exandria and--

TALIESIN: There's no talk about using celestial power as some sort of weapon against these creatures.

MATT: Not celestial power necessarily, but some of the entities are susceptible to various divine magics and abilities, and that is a strong back and forth between the two sides. The big war is between the devils and the demons. The Abyss, which is the nature of chaos and evil and driven hunger at whatever cost, versus the power-hungry devils, which build structure, dominance, expanding their territory, and ruling through structure and power.

TALIESIN: Okay, so within evil, there is chaos versus order is kind of the internal conflict of evil.

MATT: Yes, those are the two sides, devils versus demons.

TALIESIN: All right. This is all very useful.

MATT: But there are many tiers of the hells and nine--

MARISHA: Does it mention any Abyssal fiends that they particularly hate that we might have encountered?

TALIESIN: Flipping. I'm just going to keep skimming.

LIAM: While he's skimming could we jump back for just thirty seconds?

MATT: Sure.

TALIESIN: Actually I'm happy to time-pass and we'll revamp that.

MATT: I just want to make sure that we don't get lost on this somewhere.

LIAM: Just 30 seconds before we go in, I'm like I should have the book. I'll carry the book in, give me the book.

LAURA: I thought you took the book.

LIAM: I don't carry books.

LAURA: No, you have the book. I thought you were lying to the guy. You actually have the book, right?

LIAM: You took the book when we left--

LAURA: I didn't take the book, I thought you took the book.

LIAM: Are you fucking kidding me?

LAURA: Are you fucking serious?

LIAM: Fuck.

TALIESIN: Can we direct people to the Benny Hill steampunk theme song.

MARISHA: (sings Yakety Sax)

LAURA: Let's go to the library.

MATT: All right, meanwhile.

MARISHA: So were we supposed to take the book? Or were they supposed to take the book?

TALIESIN: I thought you said that we were taking the book.

MARISHA: Well, I also thought we were going to the Reserve and now we're in the library.

MATT: Are you unveiling the book?

TALIESIN: No, we are not. We have it, we have not unveiled it.

LAURA: We're heading to the library.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I'm going to keep reading while they head, you guys if you want to--

MATT: There are many things you learn. One, the first layer of Avernus, which is the first layer of the hell. It is a terrible blackened rocky wasteland, rivers of blood. It's a bad place. Usually, you have to travel from each layer into the next one. There are very few portals that'll lead to the hells. Usually, any that do start at Avernus and you have to work your way in. That area is ruled by Zariel, which is the Archduchess of Avernus. This is also the realm of Tiamat.

TALIESIN: Ah, yeah, okay!

MATT: You glancing through and trying to find things that catch your attention. This is a large tome. You could spend days and days researching this but you don't have a lot of time. You are looking for specific things. Dis is the second layer of the nine hells. It is a labyrinth of canyons, wedged between sheer mountains, filled with iron ore. There are iron roads that span through the canyons with a series of bridges that lead over these giant crevasses and this dark landscape. The ruler of the second layer and the lord currently is Dispater.

TRAVIS: Dispater?

MATT: Yes. Dispater, which is--

LAURA: Similar to James Spader.

LIAM: Yeah.

(all laugh)

MATT: Yeah. Just half-cousin. Talks kind of like him, too, it's really creepy.

MARISHA: So, it's the realm of Dis and the leader is--

TALIESIN and MARISHA: Dispater.

MATT: Yeah.

TALIESIN: They're not that clever.

MARISHA: And the first layer of Hell is also referred to as the layer of Inyimenemo-- what?

MATT: Avernus.

MARISHA: Iverness.

MATT: However, what does catch your attention immediately is on Dis there is a city called the Iron City of Dis that is a massive metropolis, primarily where most extra-planar entities travel to do business. It is in many cases an open market.

TALIESIN: So, probably safer.

MATT: It's one of the safer areas for a mortal to walk through, comparatively-- it's still in one of the Hells. But because it is such a center for business, it's a popular location for extra-planar travelers, it's a popular place for succubi, incubi to travel, it's a popular place for rakshasas. It specifically brings up hags, creatures that deal in business, deal in exchanges, deal in contracts. Beyond the usual devil ones, a lot of them tend to go to the Iron City of Dis.

TALIESIN: Okay. I'm marking that-- I'm putting a pin on my Pinterest board.

MARISHA: Atlas Obscura that shit.

TALIESIN: Atlas Obscura the hell out of the City of Dis.

MATT: I can give you the rest of this to read on the break, if you'd like because it's a lot of information, but that's the one that sticks out to you.

TALIESIN: I don't want to kill Travis.

MATT: No. In looking specifically for the mention of rakshasas, there are sections about the creatures and talking about their history and how they originally stemmed from the Hells and burst out of the prime plane. It goes into their history there, the rest of it doesn't have as much in correlation to where you would look for such a creature. They do exist on multiple layers of the Hells.

TALIESIN: City of Dis seems to be the winner.

MATT: At the very least, a place where you can get information that can lead you elsewhere.

TALIESIN: I'm very excited.

MARISHA: Any information on how to get there?

LAURA and LIAM: (singing) We built Dis city on--

TALIESIN: Inter-planar travel.

MARISHA: I can Plane Shift there. I do a very detailed look at what the Iron City of Dis seems like--

TALIESIN: I'll sketch a little bit of it out of the book, as well.

MATT: Okay, cool. And there are some descriptors in there, some mild sketches. One thing it does speak of is the Tower. The Iron Tower of Dispater which is, essentially, this massive central structure to the city where the actual archdevil himself looks down upon the city and keeps watch over most business that he can.

LIAM: Great stealth roll, Dani Carr.

MATT: Good job, thank you, guys!

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Dagger, dagger.

LIAM: Thank you.

MATT: While you guys are completing your research-- Taryon and Grog! What are you guys doing?

SAM: Do you have the book?

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Which book?

SAM: Never mind. Let's go find a place to buy some potions.

TRAVIS: All right. Are you accustomed to buying things?

SAM: Very much so.

TRAVIS: Oh. Do you have a personal shopper?

SAM: I actually do, yes.

TRAVIS: Nice. Well, show me how it's done.

SAM: All right, I'll take you under my wing, so to speak.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm a bit big so I don't know how you're going to do that.

SAM: Doty, join us!

MATT: And as you guys walk through the streets, everyone stares. Partially because you are a bright shiny beacon of finely polished gems and armor flanked by a massive bearded goliath and whatever the fuck Doty is.

SAM: Hello, hi, greetings, good day, good afternoon, don't mind them, they're my friends! Hahahaha!

TRAVIS: Wow.

MATT: About five minutes of walking before two armored Bastions come up in their piecemeal leather and scale breastplate armor with their heavy fur cloaks over their shoulders, holding spears. "You!"

SAM: Uh!

MATT: "You walk with strange company. What's your business here in Vasselheim?"

SAM: We are wandering merchants, trying to find some textiles to buy to resell in other lands. That's all. Don't mind my traveling companions. They're my protectors. I travel as a merchant with a lot of coin, so I found these two at a leper colony and nursed them back to health. It was also a gym, a muscle-man place, so they're really buff. But they're also lepers. And that explains their matted hair.

MATT: Make a deception check, please.

TALIESIN: You get to experience this as a normal person now. I'm so excited.

SAM: What, deception?

MATT: Yeah.

SAM: Ooh, I better use luck. Ooh, no, that's worse.

(all laugh)

SAM: So do I use the higher one, or just the second one?

MATT: I'll double check.

LAURA: I think you have to use the second roll.

SAM: Well, it don't matter.

MATT: You choose.

SAM: Okay, ten.

MATT: Total of ten.

SAM: Yeah.

MATT: He leans in real fast. “Oh wow, that's got to be unfortunate. Being so buff and so filled with leprosy.”

SAM: It is their cross to bear. That's why this one doesn't even talk, and this one is a leper of few words.

MATT: He leans back, and the two guards watch you and nod and step back to let you continue to pass.

SAM: Thank you. Might I inquire from you fine gentleman where we might find some medicine or healing potions? These lepers are set to relapse. That way? All right. I'll head that way then. Good day to you. Keep warm.

MATT: As you guys keep walking, they slowly close behind you and just begin to follow from about 30 feet back.

TRAVIS: That was amazing. Have you ever lied to anybody before?

SAM: Never. I think I have a talent for it though. I just felt the words coming out..

TRAVIS: It was a thrill, right?

SAM: It was thrilling. It was exciting. And they were going with it. They were eating it up. I had them right where I wanted them. I could've told them fucking anything. It was great, right?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Wow.

TRAVIS: On a scale from one to two, how do you think it went?

SAM: I mean, two's the higher of the two, right? Oh, you don't know.

(all laugh)

SAM: I feel good.

TRAVIS: Nice, yeah.

SAM: Now, remember, if anyone asks you, just go (moans in pain) “I'm a leper”, or something like that.

TRAVIS: (moans in pain) I'm a leper.

SAM: That's good.

TRAVIS: Yeah, good. Are they following us now?

SAM: Oh, I hadn't looked.

MATT: You turn around, right at them, and 30 feet back they're walking and they just stop as you stop.

TRAVIS: Still think it went well?

SAM: (whispers) I think they're following us.

TRAVIS: Really?

SAM: What do we do?

TRAVIS: You know, it was probably you told such a good story, they're just fascinated by you now.

SAM: What do I do? I've never been followed by guards before.

TRAVIS: You should probably act casual. Or you could drop some money on the ground, and let all the people run and collect it, and make a diversion. It's up to you.

SAM: Are there people around?

MATT: There's a few.

TRAVIS: Just dump all your money on the ground. They'll come out of the houses, the woodworks.

SAM: I was warned about you and money. I won't listen to that. But I will try to act casual. I will just take off my gigantic, diamond-encrusted helmet. Let my hair down.

TRAVIS: How long is his long, blonde hair?

MATT: Just past the shoulders.

TRAVIS: Just free-flowing? No fancy braids or buns or anything?

MATT: No, just free-flowing, perfectly arced in the front, except pulled back because of the helmet. It's glorious.

SAM: (loudly) Ah, what a day, am I right?

TRAVIS: You're talking real loud.

SAM: (softly) That's what casual people do.

TRAVIS: No. They don't.

SAM: They don't care what people think.

TRAVIS: Volume control, real important.

SAM: Okay. (loudly) Ah, just want to take a load off and just rest here for a while. Not going anywhere, just sitting here and acting real boring, right?

TRAVIS: Yep. How are we going to stay here and find the health potions at the same time?

SAM: Guide me. You've been doing this longer.

TRAVIS: No, you're really doing well. I'm learning a lot right now. Clearly, you are a well-traveled man of mystery.

SAM: All right, I've read about situations like this, right? We just need to create a diversion. While the guards are diverted, we run away, fast as we can, right?

TRAVIS: I literally told you about that one minute ago.

SAM: Yes.

(all laugh)

SAM: Here's my plan.

MATT: Grog, make a perception check.

TRAVIS: 15.

MATT: You're getting close to the exterior of the building pointed to by the guards, and you recognize it. It's the place where you've previously purchased potions.

TRAVIS: Look, I hate to interrupt, right. Do you think you've done anything wrong?

SAM: Illegal?

TRAVIS: Yeah. Have you done anything wrong?

SAM: I don't think so, no.

TRAVIS: You've never been here before?

SAM: Well, we are traveling around with an arcane being. I don't know if that's illegal.

TRAVIS: Yeah, it's totally fine. Look, this place is where the goods are.

SAM: You mean potions and magical items?

TRAVIS: All sorts of stuff. I don't even know if his inventory has improved since we've last been here, but he will give you a really great deal, and it'll give you a chance to prove to me how good of a salesman you are.

SAM: All right. But how do we shake the uards-gay?

TRAVIS: What?

SAM: Well, that came out weird. Didn't think that through.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: I mean, the motherfucking pig-latin. Jesus.

SAM: What they do in the comfort of their own home is their own--

TRAVIS: I don't think there's any shaking them, right. Why don't you leave old twinkle-toes outside, and we go in? Surely Doty can read or something?

SAM: He can stay here and keep watch, but if they ask him anything, he will be--

TRAVIS: Mute.

SAM: Is that all right, do you think?

TRAVIS: What's wrong with that?

SAM: All right.

TRAVIS: Maybe just tell him to be cool.

SAM: Doty.

MATT: Which, as you turn, you see he's been drawing in his book the entire time, everything you guys have been discussing.

SAM: Doty. Act cool. That means book down, don't say a word, and if the guards get close, let us know with some sort of sound. Thank you. Remember, you're a leper, so seem unhealthy.

MATT: (lopsided mechanical footsteps) Horrible creaking sounds.

SAM: Good. All right, let's go inside.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MATT: So, the guards are closing the gap a little bit. You guys pick up pace, they pick up pace a little bit. You get to the outside of the building. The doors are closed. You open them and get inside. The warm interior is lit up. You can see there's nobody else currently inside, except for your old friend, the potion-seller, who's currently reading what looks to be some sort of a-- you're not actually sure what's inside the book, but it's a small, handheld book, and he's reading through, bored. “No. No. No.”

TRAVIS: No, no. She's not here. It's just me and my new, rich friend. Rich.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: Natural 20.

MARISHA: Are you serious?

TRAVIS: That's what it says.

MATT: “She's not here?”

TRAVIS: She's not here. It's just the two of us.

MATT: “And your friend's very rich?”

SAM: Extremely.

TRAVIS: Do you see what he is covered in?

MATT: “What is that?”

SAM: Just outside the door there?

MATT: “Yes.”

SAM: He's a man.

MATT: “Great. Well then.”

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Nice. Slick.

MATT: “So what can I get you? I've got all sorts of salves and spices. We've got all sorts of incense. What are you looking for?”

TRAVIS: Inside the shop, has it grown or become more ornate since we've last been here?

MATT: It does, actually. Last time you were here it was in the process of being put together. The shop seems to be fully open now and outfitted, though it doesn't seem to be getting much traffic, as it is very quiet. So he seems eager he has customers. And now much more put at ease, now that you've let him know that from his vision, the dragon woman did not come with you.

TRAVIS: Yeah. (laughs) You first.

SAM: Oh, for myself, do you have any spell scrolls, or any sort of one-use items that I could use in a fight or a tangle with some bad chaps?

MATT: “Let me see what I've got.”

SAM: Things that could deceive, things that could use force against--

MATT: And he rummages through a couple of scroll pieces. Let's see here what he might have. “I do, should you be so interested, currently carry one scroll that would surround with you a wreath of dangerous fire.”

SAM: Oh, all right. Just around me, or around an area?

MATT: “Just around you. Anything that came too close would burst into flames and be burnt.”

SAM: I have 13 of those right here. Do you have anything else?

TRAVIS: Not that that's not really impressive.

SAM: It's really good.

MATT: “I've got something that makes you jump.”

SAM: I've got that.

MATT: “I've got something that makes you see in the dark.”

SAM: Yeah, I have a light already.

(all laugh)

MATT: “What do you want?”

SAM: All right, give me that one scroll, the fire scroll. I could sell it and get something else.

MATT: “All right.”

SAM: How much is that?

MATT: I'm looking right now for the scroll that's here.

TRAVIS: You have to read the scroll, right?

SAM: I could read it to you. If that's what you're asking.

MATT: He looks you over. “The scroll I would put at a fair 6,000 gold pieces.”

SAM: (gulps) Watch how it's done. I'm going to put an amount of gold on the table. I'd like you to consider it, and if it's to your liking, take it, and if not, just shake your head. And I'll put 200 gold on the table. I'll put 200 more. I'll put 2,000 more. And another 2,000.

MATT: Make a persuasion check.

TRAVIS: 4,400.

SAM: 17. Plus seven! 24.

MATT: Takes the gold.

SAM: (clears throat)

TRAVIS: Wow!

SAM: Check and mate.

TRAVIS: Check'n'mate?

MATT: You now have a scroll of fire shield.

SAM: Scroll of fire shield, excellent. I don't know what that is.

TRAVIS: Wow. Do you have anything that makes you faster?

MATT: “I said I have something that makes you jump.”

TRAVIS: No. I'm pretty good at jumping. What about regular healing potions?

MATT: “That I've got! You've cleared me out of my other various vials last time.”

TRAVIS: No new exotics came in?

MATT: “No, I'm waiting on-- Trade's been a little slow. Looks like things are getting up in Emon, so hopefully we'll have more soon. But for the time being, I do have some more healing potions.” And he goes into the back room, and you hear him rummaging for a minute. You hear one crate fall over and a couple of things shatter. “Ah god damn--”. And eventually he comes back through the door, and he's holding in his arms a few clusters of various glass vials. Some of them have been repurposed and taped at the top, but they're functional. He sets them down on the counter. “All right. I have six potions of healing, and I have three of greater healing, and one superior.”

SAM: Do I know how much these things tend to cost?

MATT: Make an intelligence check.

SAM: Ooh! This is not a save.

MATT: Yes, just add your modifier.

SAM: 20!

MATT: Yes, actually. The regular healing potions can range around 75 to 100 gold pieces generally. The uncommon ones can range somewhere in the 500 gold pieces range. The superior, however, are much rarer to come by, and the fact he even has one, with how recently you guys cleared him out, it's pretty decent. That one can run anywhere between 4,000-5,000 gold pieces.

SAM: And it's six, three, and one? Is that right?

MATT: Six, three, and one.

TRAVIS: Do you want to get them? It seems like you got all the money in the world.

SAM: I can heal myself just fine, but I don't know about your friends-- do they have healing abilities?

TRAVIS: No, not-- well they do, they touch you with their hand and then like all of a sudden it feels a bit better.

SAM: A bit better?

TRAVIS: Yeah. I don't really know how that works.

SAM: But they use potions. I've seen them use potions.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I'm normally pouring them in their mouths.

SAM: Do you think they would appreciate these?

TRAVIS: I don't know, I hadn't thought that far. As a (mumbling) new member of Vox Machina--

SAM: What was that?

TRAVIS: Bad allergies here. It could be like a really great gift, you know? Like Keyleth gave you.

SAM: -- welcome-me-to-the-gang gift.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Do you gift-wrap, here, sir?

MATT: "For an additional charge, yes, of course, I gift wrap!"

SAM: -- of course for an additional charge. What if we took the whole lot of those for 6,000 gold?

MATT: "The whole lot? For 6,000. I'm afraid that is far under the price I'd be considering. Let me see here." And he does some kind of notations, and he goes, "Hm. You seem, from our previous experience, to be quite the bargainer, my friend."

TRAVIS: Yeah, the brains.

MATT: "How would you say to the fair price of 10,000 gold pieces for the batch?"

TRAVIS: Let me confer with my partner. (whispers) How many on your hands is that? Yeah, no-- both hands, how many?

SAM: All.

TRAVIS: Two?

SAM: Oh. Wait.

(all laugh)

SAM: It's too much.

TRAVIS: Too much.

SAM: Yes. This man is insulting your intelligence, and you should be very angry right now.

TRAVIS: How about 9,000 gold pieces?

MATT: "Mm, you drive a very hard bargain, my big friend, however! Because it's you? Deal."

TRAVIS: Done! Pay the man.

SAM: I would object to this. This is coming out of my purse, and I insist that you negotiate with me, and not--

TRAVIS: Tary, this man drives a really well-known establishment. If we leave here, after having struck that bargain, and we don't pay? There will be more guards outside.

SAM: (gulps) How about this. I can trade you something worth far more than the extra 3,000 gold this gentleman promised you.

MATT: "What would this be?"

SAM: It's a rare egg. Magical in nature. It can save a life, in any situation. And if you eat it when you are nearly dead, you will go back into battle with the strength and bravery of ten men, and you will not rest until your foes are dead.

MATT: Make a persuasion check. This isn't deception because you believe this wholeheartedly.

SAM: Is this deception or persuasion?

MATT: This is persuasion.

SAM: 22.

MATT: "6,000 and the egg, you say? Very well." He pushes the--

SAM: Gentle!

MATT: "I will be." He goes over and quickly reaches over and grabs a thick towel-like pile of cloth, and wraps it up carefully. "Ooh." Sets it down. "A pleasure doing business with you all."

SAM: Ah-ah-ah.The gift wrapping?

(all laugh)

MATT: “Terribly sorry. My apologies. I'll be right to it.” And he turns and leaves the room.

TRAVIS: Tary, that was a personal gift from me to you.

SAM: I know, but we're partners, as you just said, and I felt that you would approve of me doing so.

TRAVIS: I suppose I am a bit proud.

MATT: (loud clanging)

SAM: What was that?

MATT: You hear behind you guys in the doorway--

SAM: Oh shit. Oh shit.

MATT: -- some of the impacts of metal, rapidly and heavily.

TRAVIS: What?

SAM: Sword!

TRAVIS: Oh Jesus.

MATT: You watch, (whoosh), whips into a longsword. And you glance behind and you see, walking through the doorway, the very heavy, hulking figure of Doty, carrying two unconscious guards that are hanging from his hands.

SAM: Oh shit.

TRAVIS: What did you do? Give me those! I punch them both, one time each, in the jaw, just for extra measure.

MATT: Okay. Both jaws are very broken.

TRAVIS: Your guy really did a number. Cool. Okay.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Everybody's going to die, all right? So we're going to kill everyone that we see in the next ten seconds.

SAM: Wait, we're killing them? Even the shop owner?

TRAVIS: Yeah, he's got to die.

SAM: Oh shit. All right. Partners, right? I'll do whatever you say.

TRAVIS: Is there a counter in the shop?

MATT: Yeah, there's a counter in the front area.

TRAVIS: Is it wooden?

MATT: Yeah.

TRAVIS: Can he see through the counter?

MATT: No, the proprietor is in the back room. He's wrapping your stuff right now.

SAM: He doesn't know this happened. Let's get rid of them. Get rid of them.

TRAVIS: Well, what's in the shop? Is there a tapestry, is there a rug?

MATT: It's not a very big-- There is a secondary room to the side where it looks like there is an upper platform, but that looks like where his bedroom is, maybe.

TRAVIS: Uh-huh.

MATT: There's a couple of lanterns, it's a warm-lit interior, and as you're looking around, it's not a huge establishment. Make a perception check.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Two.

MATT: You have no idea! You're panicking.

TRAVIS: I saw this in a tavern once. Let's sit them up like they're just sleeping and nobody will notice.

SAM: They have jaws-- the blood! Their jaws are terrible!

TRAVIS: Well, didn't you put a mask on Dotty? Let's do it again.

SAM: I can't! I don't have extra masks.

TRAVIS: No, it will be no problem.

SAM: We can put them somewhere else.

TRAVIS: I sit one up in the corner, and I sit the other one, and lean it on his shoulder.

MATT: Okay.

SAM: Oh my god. What?

TRAVIS: This is great. Don't worry.

SAM: Even I can tell that those are two--

TRAVIS: I have an even better idea! I take the cask of ale out of the bag of holding, and I just start pouring ale all over them.

SAM: Why would they be in here drinking? They're guards on duty!

TRAVIS: They're terrible guards. They make horrible life choices. They're in the wrong line of work. I take two chalices and I throw it in their laps. Cool. Now I need you to vomit on them.

SAM: I can't vomit.

TRAVIS: Do it right now. Put your finger down your throat and puke on these guards.

MATT: Make an intimidation check, Grog.

TRAVIS: 17! Puke on those fucking guards!

SAM: What do I roll?

MATT: I'm going to say, make an insight check. Sure.

SAM: 16.

TRAVIS: Vomit on those bitches.

SAM: (dry heaving)

MATT: And that's going to be giffed forever.

(all laugh)

MATT: Make a constitution saving throw.

SAM: Natural 20.

MATT: About 30 seconds of you trying to gag yourself pass, before the shop owner comes back, with these beautifully packaged healing potions. “All right, so--”

SAM: One second! One second.

TRAVIS: I'm really sorry. These two gentlemen obviously have been off their ass. They came in here, smelling of booze, looking for something to make them feel better, I don't know, and they just passed out in the corner. Is there someone you know that we can call? I really hate just leaving them here.

MATT: Make a deception check.

MARISHA: Oh my god. Come on, Grog!

TALIESIN: Please a four.

TRAVIS: Nine.

TALIESIN: Yes!

MATT: He slowly hands out this really nice bundle, and it has a little bow on it and it's wrapped, and he hands it out to you and just goes, “Please, take this and never come back. Please.”

TRAVIS: For the rest of the day?

MATT: “Ever again. Your presence has brought me no end of pain. Just go.”

TRAVIS: Obviously, we've gotten the better end of this deal.

SAM: I think that that is true, absolutely.

TRAVIS: Do you still have the--

MATT: “Go!”

TRAVIS: We should go. We should leave.

SAM: All right. Thank you for your--

MATT: (incoherent noises)

SAM: Good day to you. Let's go. Doty, come.

TRAVIS: Bidet.

MATT: Doty turns. “Ahh!” And comes running after you guys as you exit the shop.

LIAM: Holy shit.

TALIESIN: That was amazing. I don't feel good.

MARISHA: Wow.

TRAVIS: Good job. We've got to go. We've got to hole up somewhere for a minute. You know. A drink?

SAM: Please.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Is there a tavern near this shop?

MATT: In the Quad Roads? Yeah. There's actually quite a few taverns.

SAM: As soon as we step outside, I barf all over the floor.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Where was that? What the fuck?

SAM: I'm sorry. It just comes naturally. I can't force it.

TRAVIS: You can't perform on command? I needed you. Okay, you got more in there?

SAM: No.

TRAVIS: It's just a one-er?

SAM: Maybe a little.

TRAVIS: Okay.

SAM: (barfs)

TRAVIS: Okay. That looks like Lucky Charms.

MATT: Okay. While you guys get a drink, we're going to get a quick bathroom break. We have a couple more beats we want to get through before the night's end. We're not going to go too long, trust me. But we're going to take a quick bathroom break, and then we'll come back here in a few minutes. We do have one more giveaway here tonight from our awesome friends at Wyrmwood. We have a dice box here, signed by the cast of Critical Role. It is a birch dice box. Do we have a code for the chat room?

CREW: Wyrmwood!

MATT: Wyrmwood. Go ahead and use, one word, Wyrmwood, in the chat room on Twitch. We'll have a break, and we'll have a winner announced for you when we get back.

MARISHA: Wyrmwood with a 'y'.

MATT: Yes, Wyrmwood with a 'y', as in the actual company. Thank you guys so much. We'll see you in a few minutes.

Break[]

[break]

Part II[]

MATT: Welcome back, everyone. So, first and foremost, we have our winner in the chat room. 'OnlyTwentiesAllowed'. Great name, by the way. You won the contest for this week. We're going to go ahead and get your information, and send you your Wyrmwood box. Thank you again, Wyrmwood, for sending that so we can get that to you guys for free as the contest weekly. Back into the story we were. So, you guys are drinking and laying low.

TRAVIS: Yep.

MATT: You guys were making your way to the library, you said?

LAURA: Yes.

MATT: Okay.

MARISHA: We're going to finish up and try and get out, I guess?

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: I would also like to definitely talk about maybe having access later, to come back at some point.

MARISHA: We want to talk to Kusuo and see.

TALIESIN: Just on our way out.

MATT: On the way out, as the tomes are placed back in lock-up, you talk to Kusuo. “That is not a worry. Just make sure that you request me when you arrive.”

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: “It would be my pleasure.”

TALIESIN: Thank you so much. And I hope that that book finds a proper home and is worthwhile. Thank you for your time.

MARISHA: Thank you. And would it be possible if we bring friends of ours in the future who are--

TALIESIN: Of our group.

MARISHA: Yeah, who are fluent in these languages.

MATT: “But of course. Just make sure that you accompany them.”

TALIESIN: Of course.

MARISHA: Thank you.

MATT: He leads you out. You guys exit the library just as Vax and Vex, after finding information on where to go, arrive.

LAURA: Do you guys have the book?

TALIESIN: We do.

MARISHA: We totally do.

LAURA: What the fuck?

MARISHA: I know-- I thought-- You know, I think-- I don't know.

LAURA: What did you find?

MARISHA: Well, some good stuff.

TALIESIN: It actually went quite well.

LAURA: All right.

MARISHA: We found one book that we could read, and one book that we couldn't.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: So we'll have to come back with you guys. Because it was all written in Abyssal.

LAURA: We can read that!

MARISHA: Yes! Because your father forced you to do things.

TALIESIN: Don't they all. Speaking of fathers forcing you to do things, we have to deal with you. We have a starting point for the Rakshasa.

LAURA: Wonderful.

TALIESIN: So, soon, when it's time, step one will be the City of Dis.

LAURA: The City of Dis?

TALIESIN: Dis City. Not this city, but the City of Dis.

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: We built this city.

TALIESIN: Did you build this city?

MARISHA: On rock'n'roll.

LIAM: Can I have that book please?

TALIESIN: Oh, yes! Hi. Yes, this is-- Yes.

LIAM: I'm just going to hold on to that.

TALIESIN: Are you going to hold on-- Do we have a bag to put that in?

LAURA: We have Grog's Bag of Holding, the same one we've always had. Hey, is there somewhere we could buy a fucking Bag of Holding?

TRAVIS: They're kind of rare.

MATT: They're not expensive.

TRAVIS: To Grog, they're rare.

MATT: But you could ask around and try to find somebody. It'll take a little time. You guys are right now hitting the cusp of dawn. Sorry, dusk.

LAURA: Is there somewhere I could find before things close? Just to see?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LAURA: Oh, balls. That's terrible.

MATT: What did you roll?

LAURA: I rolled 13.

MATT: You manage to find one location, but it's been closed for half an hour when you get there.

LAURA: Fuck! Fuck. Fine. It's fine.

TALIESIN: It's in Los Angeles.

TRAVIS: Pittsburgh.

MARISHA: Pittsburgh, yeah.

LAURA: Keyleth?

MARISHA: Yeah?

LAURA: How about we go see your dad.

MARISHA: (laughs)

LIAM: Are we tabling the book, then?

TALIESIN: We're going to drop it off, I think.

MARISHA: What did you guys find out? Is it a good spot, a good home for it? Do you want to drop it off?

LAURA: They definitely are interested in it at the Platinum Sanctuary.

LIAM: A little too interested for my taste.

TALIESIN: You think?

LIAM: Yes. I don't want this book in anyone's hands, frankly.

LAURA: They were very interested in researching it. Which I don't think is a bad thing. They're good people. And learning about history is a good way to keep yourself from repeating it. However, you do serve the Raven Queen, who I know wants nothing to do with the undead. And if it means destroying this book, then do what needs to be done.

TALIESIN: Can we destroy this book?

MARISHA: It's like our magical items. It's not easy to destroy them. Seems like a pretty powerful book.

TALIESIN: The fear I have with the book is of course if we keep it, we keep it out of the hands of everyone, save those who are finally strong enough to best us.

LIAM: Do we want this book to travel to hell?

MARISHA: Ooh, no.

TALIESIN: No, no.

MARISHA: But it might not be a bad-- I mean, we did drop off the horn of Orcus here.

LIAM: I'll tell you what. Why don't you guys get everything set to go, and I will drop this off.

MARISHA: What? Where? There? Where?

TALIESIN: Oh. Oh.

LIAM: Yeah, it'll be fine. It'll be fine.

MARISHA: You're going to go back to the temple.

TALIESIN: That's a terrible idea. I kind of like it. That's not a good thing. I think it's a good idea. That may not be a good thing.

LIAM: Do you want to come with me?

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: I hook him by the arm and we just start off.

TALIESIN: Find a bar!

MARISHA: I'll get things packed?

LAURA: It was my idea! Go fuck yourself.

LIAM: Love you!

MARISHA: I look at Vex.

LAURA: Dresses? Oh, everything's fucking closed!

MARISHA: Oh goddamnit, Pittsburgh.

LAURA: Are there dress shops open? At all?

MATT: Make an investigation check.

LIAM: This ain't New York City.

LAURA: We just want pretty dresses. Oh! Oh! Oh!

MARISHA: Get it, girl. Get it, get it, girl.

LAURA: 25.

MATT: You do manage to find one individual who is in the process of closing their formal attire shop.

MARISHA: I toss them 20 gold. An extra 20 minutes, please.

MATT: “But of course! Come on in.”

MARISHA: Thank you.

TRAVIS: Wow.

LAURA: Ah! Everything's better!

MATT: (laughs) All right.

LAURA: Keyleth?

MARISHA: What?

LAURA: What's good for your Ashari people? Something covered in grass, maybe?

MARISHA: Mm.

LAURA: Turf? Astro-turf?

MARISHA: You know, it's a little esoteric for me. A little experimental. A little Gaga-esque.

LAURA: Lots of pink bows, maybe, for me.

MARISHA: You know, it reminds a little of when we dressed Trinket up in pink bows.

LAURA: Right, and we could be like--

MARISHA: I don't know if that's a good thing.

LAURA: Help us. Make us pretty.

MARISHA: Make us pretty.

LAURA: And very expensive looking.

MARISHA: I'm going to become royalty. Kind of, but not really.

LAURA: It's my first time getting to dress up as royalty.

MARISHA: Yes!

MATT: “All right. That-- Okay.” The gentleman seems a bit overwhelmed, but quickly goes ahead and helps you guys find, over the next 30 or so minutes, some very nice dresses. Better than anything you've previously worn. And he gets you something that he thinks royalty should wear. As there is no real royalty in Vasselheim, it is a church-run state. It is more of a frumpy robe with a fur collar.

MARISHA: Vex, this collar is so big.

LAURA: This is terrible. Give her something flowy.

MARISHA: Why can't I see over it?

MATT: “Flowy. Of course. I'm so sorry. Flowy, yes.” He's starting to get a little impatient, but does manage to pull one very nice simple gown, that just hangs off the shoulders and pools on the ground around you.

LAURA: In all the colors. Can it be in all the colors?

MARISHA: Yeah, can we dip-dye it blue?

MATT: “Dye? I could have it dyed. That would be by tomorrow morning prepared.”

LAURA: Okay.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MATT: “All right, I'll get it taken care of.”

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: All right. While that's happening, you two are heading to the Raven's Crest?

LIAM: Yeah.

MATT: All right. So you guys walk over to the Dusk Meadow. You're met by the same gray, slightly bleak atmosphere on this side of Vasselheim. But you make your way to the exterior of the large structure. The ominous obsidian and gold building that represents the center, if you will, the beating heart of the Raven Queen's worship. As you approach the front stairway, both of you familiar with, one brought in the other not met with any living person for the most part in your journey, you both approach-- still arms hooked?

LIAM: No.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: I suspect you've been here before.

TALIESIN: Yes.

LIAM: (sighs) I like that things are better between you and I now.

TALIESIN: I feel the same. I like that most things are better now. Not everything, but it's a brighter world, even for us.

LIAM: Do you know what I like? I like the version of you that my sister brings out.

TALIESIN: I do too. I'll do my best to keep it in the forefront. And as for you: I like the version of you that's not afraid. So let's go meet this terrible thing, drop off the book, get you feeling a bit better.

LIAM: (clears throat) Come on.

TALIESIN: Fuck. (clears throat)

MATT: As you both ascend the stairs, you see standing-- previously not noticed as you guys were having a conversation-- but off to the sides of each side of the entryway, the two doors that are closed, there are two women in long black gowns with dark veils that drift over their head to the mid torso, that you had lead you into the chamber initially. Both suddenly present themselves, bow, and step out of the side as the chamber doors open to the interior of the Raven's Crest temple. There, standing as the doors open, is what looks to be an older woman wearing the same attire, the same dark veil, somewhat able to see her features beneath the dark material that hangs in front of her. She steps forward as the doors open.

LIAM: Hello there. You recognize me. This is my friend. We bring you an offering for the Queen.

MATT: The woman bends down, takes the tome from your hand. She holds it, she takes her fingers and brushes the cloth away that currently obscures the tome, takes a look at it, holds it a foot further away from her face, and throws the cloth over the front, clasps it in her arms and brings it down towards her torso. And, for the first time since this - you've heard her speak before, you have done this before-- but the strange eerie kind of airy whisper comes out from this older woman as she bends forward, clutching this tome. "We thank you. And we will be sure that this finds its final seal."

LIAM: She has begun to speak to me. Her desires are not clear, entirely, but I am listening. And I intend to learn.

MATT: "Good."

LIAM: We have to go. But I mean to come back.

MATT: "Whenever you're ready. The vision of the gods is obscured beyond the divine gate. We are not just their tools but their extensions. The creations that act as their fingers in this plane. The center of all other life and death. Be watchful. Be vigilant." She bows, and backs into the Raven's Crest once more as the doors close, the two other women now flanking out of the shadows and stepping before each door, and seemingly just not paying attention to your presence.

TALIESIN: I was envious of you once. God. So sorry. (sighs)

LIAM: (whispers) Good day.

MATT: They make no response as you guys turn and make your way down the stairs from the Raven's Crest.

TALIESIN: Just so you know, it is your duty to have some joy in the meantime. You do know that, right? You're no use to her a wreck. She needs a man. Have a fucking beer. And I slap him on the ass as we walk towards the pub.

LIAM: Look over my shoulder at the temple as we walk. Come on, let's get drunk.

MATT: As you head moves forward, walking, you feel this cold tingle just drift down the back of your neck and spine, then it fades, and you keep walking, carrying on your chest there a brief, warm secondary heartbeat representing the brief boon granted upon you by the Raven Queen. You catch up with the ladies at the bar.

MARISHA: Hey!

LAURA and SAM: (laugh)

TALIESIN: I shove Keyleth at him. Fix that, good god.

LIAM: (laughs)

TALIESIN: Ahh.

LIAM: Scoop and lift.

MARISHA: Are you broken again?

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: Ah.

LIAM: I need a drink, have you had one already?

MARISHA: Yes.

LIAM: I'm fine.

LAURA: She's had a few.

LIAM: Yeah?

LAURA and MATT: (laugh)

MATT: You guys, you've found dresses that are to your liking. You've-- the cost of them with the materials would probably run about 20 gold apiece.

LAURA: I think that's acceptable.

SAM: (laughs)

MARISHA: Designer.

LAURA: Mm-hm.

TALIESIN: Couture.

MARISHA: Couture.

LAURA: I can't believe these dresses are so much cheaper than a healing potion.

MARISHA: I know.

LAURA: Ridiculous.

MARISHA: It's like, look at the beading!

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: It's crazy!

LAURA: Wait, we're picking them up in the morning, Keyleth. You're not even wearing it yet.

MARISHA: In the morning, I'll look at the beading.

(all laugh)

MARISHA: It's crazy.

TALIESIN: That's sweat, yes.

MARISHA: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Yeah.

TALIESIN: Ah, where are Grog and Taryon?

LAURA: Oh, we haven't heard from them in a long time.

TALIESIN: Grog, Taryon!

LAURA: Grog!

TRAVIS: Can we hear them?

MATT: You were still in the Quad Roads, keeping low. You guys are both-- you're able to hear them. Whatever you guys have been up to trying to stay out of sight.

TRAVIS: Yes?

TALIESIN: We're at a bar, where are you?

TRAVIS: Funny, we are doing something similar. Are you done?

TALIESIN: No, we're just starting. You--

SAM: Are they talking to you right now?

TRAVIS: Yeah, they are.

TALIESIN: Is that Taryon?

SAM: Just tell them to--

TALIESIN: Tell him we say hello.

TRAVIS: All right. The two fucking people talking to--

SAM: Tell them--

TRAVIS: Yep.

LAURA: Did you buy potions?

SAM: Can we ask them where they are?

TALIESIN: I need to talk to Taryon.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Ask them where they are.

TALIESIN: Tell Taryon to take you where we all are right now

SAM: Tell them where we are right now, and ask them where they are.

TALIESIN: Just have him bring us to us-- I'll give you directions. It'll be fine.

SAM: Tell them--

TRAVIS: My real-world ADD is fully maxed out.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: I just heard a bunch of sea lions barking like, “Ar ar ar ar.” It was nothing. Oh fuck.

TALIESIN: Why don't you two come join us?

TRAVIS: I reach over, I cover Tary's mouth. Percy?

TALIESIN: Yes?

TRAVIS: Let me know when you're done.

TALIESIN: Are you sure? We're drinking. You can join.

TRAVIS: All right. What tavern are you in?

TALIESIN: All right, I'm going to send you the psychic information of where we are right now.

TRAVIS: You can do that?

LAURA: I want to say the name of it.

MARISHA and MATT: (laugh)

MATT: Okay. Vex lets you know that this is the-- shit, what is it? What tavern would this be here? Let me go through.

TALIESIN: Can't you just bullshit? You have to actually look up the real name?

SAM: No, there's two bars in Vasselheim!

MATT: There are a lot of bars in Vasselheim.

TALIESIN: Yeah. It's-- the other bar would actually be enough.

LAURA: The other bar.

MATT: The Siren's Succor.

LAURA: (mystical voice) We're in the Siren's Succor

TRAVIS: Oh my god, I heard it.

TALIESIN: Isn't that amazing?

TRAVIS: My powers are getting stronger.

TALIESIN: I've gone beyond the veil.

TRAVIS: All right. We'll make our way over to you.

TALIESIN: I've gained such power.

LAURA: (mystical voice) Meet us soon. Did you buy potions?

TRAVIS: Are you asking me to buy potions, Percy?

TALIESIN: No, I want you to come straight to the bar. Straight to the bar.

TRAVIS: But I thought you just send me a request for--

TALIESIN: I was thinking about something else. No, you just heard me thinking about something else.

TRAVIS: All right, we'll have to fine-tune my abilities.

TALIESIN: You'll get there.

TRAVIS: All right.

TALIESIN: I have every faith.

MARISHA: You're doing really well at perfecting your mystical voice.

TRAVIS: Oh my god, I hear two voices.

MARISHA: Yeah, it's good. It's good. I like it.

LIAM: Freddie. Order me something that rich people drink.

LAURA: Beer! (laughs)

TALIESIN: Get him--

LAURA: Some wine.

LIAM: Is that it? I've done beer.

TALIESIN: Get him a giant glass of half Guinness, half whatever cider they have.

LAURA: Ugh.

TALIESIN: Rich people get drunk. Oh, do you want something fancy?

LIAM: Yeah!

TALIESIN: Okay, I take the black and tan.

MATT: (laughs)

MARISHA: Oh, black and tan.

TALIESIN: And I get him a tiny glass of creme de menthe. (laughs)

LIAM: This one tells me that you have the goods, so I want the goods. Want the goods.

TALIESIN: I don't know how to feel a little awkward in saying I'm not sure I want to waste it on you. But--

LIAM: We're in a bar, you fucker. Buy me a drink, you asshole. I've saved your life like three times.

TALIESIN: I wait for her to nod. Okay, that's enough.

MARISHA: What do you mean by the goods?

TALIESIN: Oh dear. I pull up-- I tip the barman because I'm showing him that I'm pulling something out for some glassware.

MATT: Okay.

TALIESIN: Because I'm not an asshole.

MATT: Right.

TALIESIN: Well--

SAM: (incredulous sound)

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: And then I pour a little bit of the Tear Whiskey. Of the Green Tear.

LIAM: Mm.

TALIESIN: It's mean. It's minty. You'll love it.

LIAM: Hm.

TALIESIN: We have it every year.

MARISHA: Where did you keep that?

LAURA: (laughs)

MARISHA: Where'd you just pull that from?

TALIESIN: Okay, do you actually want me to answer? You can say yes, it's all right. It's not going to get weird. That's all right. I'm going to tell you anyway.

MARISHA: Whoa. Jeez.

TALIESIN: See this belt? It's got a series of these little--

MARISHA: Uh-huh.

TALIESIN: -- things on. Those are mostly filled with little bits of gunpowder I have wrapped up in the thing.

LIAM: That's all?

MARISHA: Right.

TALIESIN: These last four are liquor.

MARISHA: (gasps)

TALIESIN: Sh.

MARISHA: That's so smart.

TALIESIN: That's how I can just stand everywhere among their being idiots, is I'm really trashed.

MARISHA: Wow. And probably much cheaper than just buying in bars all the time.

TALIESIN: Yeah. Oh yeah. No, I'm-- well. I like to=-

MARISHA: Wow.

TALIESIN: --drink what we-- the locals.

LAURA: I'm staring at the door waiting for Grog and Taryon.

MATT: You have to take the pre-gaming feat to actually use that ability.

TALIESIN: What? Oh--

MATT: (laughs) At that point, you watch as Grog's hands hit the doorway and he sheepishly looks in, checking the surroundings for any possible--

LAURA: Grog.

TRAVIS: How busy is it in the tavern?

MATT: It's actually pretty sparse, aside from your friends, maybe two other individuals.

TRAVIS: Okay. Come in. Come inside. Listen.

MATT: Okay. Tary comes in and (crashing sound) behind you. Doty.

TRAVIS: No, sh. Gah. Sh.

MARISHA: Hey! Oh, sorry.

LAURA: I forgot how weird Doty looks.

TRAVIS: Sh. Jeez. Just bring it down a notch.

TALIESIN: This is so-- Oh. Hm.

TRAVIS: Apparently, Doty had a bit of a run-in with some of that Vasselheim--

LAURA: Did you get it? Did you finally get it?

MARISHA: (laughs)

SAM: Did you get it?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: For those of you at home, this thing has been just driving us nuts.

LAURA: It's been all night.

LIAM: It's a stirge.

TRAVIS: We had a bit of a run-in--

MATT: It's fine.

TRAVIS: -- and Doty may or may not have paddy-caked some of the guards, so, like, we need to remove--

SAM: (tearfully) Doty killed two guards. He just killed them. They're dead.

TRAVIS: Well, there it is.

SAM: (tearfully) They're dead!

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: (tearfully) He killed two guards.

LAURA: He killed them?

TRAVIS: He's been like this.

SAM: (tearfully) We didn't tell him to! He just did.

LAURA: Did he really kill them?

LIAM: But did the disguise work?

SAM: I actually think it did. Actually.

TRAVIS: He's been doing this for the better part of half an hour, so--

TALIESIN: Half full. He'll have a glass of something half full. Thank--

MARISHA: What? What did you tell Doty? What did you inform him right before--

LIAM: Are you sure they were dead? Are they just fucked up?

TRAVIS: I think they were--

MATT: Doty is writing all this down by the way.

MARISHA: Potentially murdered the-- Doty!

SAM: This is evidence, Doty!

MARISHA: I might-- Oh.

TRAVIS: Look, Percy. Vax.

SAM: Ugh.

LAURA: Dear diary.

TRAVIS: I think you need to remove--

LAURA: I have an itty bitty metal penis.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: You need to remove--

TALIESIN: Leave that there.

TRAVIS: -- Doty's disguise.

TALIESIN: No.

SAM: No, no! Oh, because they might recognize him as the murderer?

TRAVIS: Yeah. They'll be looking for a giant red-haired--

TALIESIN: Wait.

TRAVIS: --eight-foot-tall--

SAM: No. What we need to do is put another disguise on top of this one.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: You're right.

TALIESIN: Doty. Doty. Did you actually expire two soldiers?

LAURA: As he's doing this, I pull out some lipstick and I start drawing lipstick on his face, to try to turn him boy to girl.

MATT: Doesn't resist.

TALIESIN: You ask and he listens to you.

LIAM: Is there a mop anywhere in the room?

MARISHA: What?

LIAM: In this room?

MATT: Not within visual--

LIAM: Lame.

MARISHA: You want me to ask Doty? Or you want me to ask Tary?

MATT: -- vicinity. You could ask.

LIAM: What about drapes on the windows?

SAM: (He won't answer any of you.

TALIESIN: Ask him if he actually just hurt, or if they're--

MATT: Not in this tavern, no.

MARISHA: -- just unconscious.

TALIESIN: Maybe he just punched them a couple times.

SAM: Greg knows.

TRAVIS: Yep.

TALIESIN: Ah, that's close enough.

SAM: Did you kill them, with those punches of fury?

TALIESIN: Did you?

TRAVIS: I did.

MARISHA: Are you sure? Did you check?

TRAVIS: I don't know. I'm really strong these days.

MARISHA: Grog.

LIAM: Insight check Grog.

TALIESIN: I'm joining in on this insight check. I call bullshit.

MATT: (laughs) Sure.

LIAM: Well, that's a one.

LAURA: (laughs)

LIAM: I'm not wasting Luck on it.

MATT: He fucking killed two people.

TALIESIN: 13.

LIAM: Jeez, man.

LAURA: Grog.

TRAVIS: It was like an act of mercy, really.

LIAM: Did they attack you?

MATT: Grog, make a deception check.

TRAVIS: No, no.

SAM: Oh, boy.

LAURA: (nervous sound)

TRAVIS: 19.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Fuck.

MATT: Grog fucking killed two people!

TRAVIS: 20.

LAURA: What? 20!

LIAM: Why? Were you in danger?

LAURA: This is what happens when Pike isn't around!

TRAVIS: No no.

LIAM: Why?

TRAVIS: Look, from what I understand, these guards were attracted to the horrific disguise that Doty had. He knocked them out, brought them in. I checked for, like, a pulse, checked their knee reflexes, and they were on death's door, so I just finished the deal.

MARISHA: Okay--

TRAVIS: It was really merciful.

MARISHA: That doesn't--

TALIESIN: I'm feeling slightly better but slightly worse?

LIAM: What a clusterfuck.

LAURA: Did anyone see you do it?

SAM: We're not sure, Doty did this outside without us being--

LAURA: Doty, did anyone see you do that to the guards?

SAM: He won't answer you. Doty, did anyone witness your crime?

MATT: (squeaking "I don't know" sound)

MARISHA: Tary, what do you mean you didn't tell him to-- he just did this on --

SAM: I told him to protect us! He's my protector. He does what needs to be done to protect me.

MARISHA: (sighs) Tary, is this thing safe to be following us around?

TRAVIS: Yeah, no, he's really impressive actually. Have a little more respect.

LAURA: Maybe you shouldn't bring him into cities. Maybe that should just be a rule.

LIAM: Was there no other choice?

LAURA: Doty doesn't come into cities.

TRAVIS: Well, I don't know, we weren't--

TALIESIN: We let the bear come into bars.

LAURA: Well, yeah, Trinket is well-behaved.

TALIESIN: That's fair.

LAURA: Doty kills people.

SAM: Well, to be fair, Greg killed the people.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: Doty merely roughed them up.

TRAVIS: And to be the more fair, they'd been drinking all day. Smelled like alcohol.

(all laugh)

MATT: And he does.

TALIESIN: Are we still buying this?

MARISHA: No way we'd buy that delivery!

MATT: (laughs)

TRAVIS: (You bet your ass you do, that's a 20!

MARISHA: Can I roll an insight check? That's bullshit!

TRAVIS: That's a 20!

MATT: You can.

MARISHA: There's no fucking way!

MATT: You can, go ahead and make an insight check.

MARISHA: What? Oh, bullshit. That was the most bullshit delivery.

LAURA: Yeah, can I try? Can I try too?

TRAVIS: I'm never gonna roll that high again.

LIAM: Please, save us from this moral dilemma!

MARISHA: Mm, mm, 21!

LAURA: Oh!

MATT: You are the first person not to believe Grog's story.

MARISHA: (quietly) Grog.

LAURA: (laughs)

TRAVIS: Yeah.

MARISHA: Do we need to make sure you're with an adult from here on out? Can you not be trusted alone with Tary?

LAURA: Did you buy potions?

SAM: I have quite a gift for you!

LAURA: For me?

MATT: It looks like a--

SAM: For all of you.

LAURA: Oh.

MARISHA: No, no! Do not! Do not be influenced by his very generous act of kindness! That was so kind of you!

SAM: I think you'll find something for everyone in there.

TRAVIS: Is there a little bit of vomit on there?

MATT: Like a little. Spatter. It's dried by now.

MARISHA: That was like 6,000 gold worth of-- But do not! Don't!

TALIESIN: Is this blood on the-- yep--

TRAVIS: No, that's vomit.

TALIESIN: Oh, that's good.

TRAVIS: Yup.

LIAM: We are skipping past the fact that two men are dead right now.

LAURA: (sighs)

LIAM: Do we need to go and find them? And try to--

LAURA: Do we need to go find these dead guys?

TRAVIS: Nope.

MARISHA: Are you sure they're dead?

TRAVIS: I forgot where I left them.

MARISHA: Grog--

LIAM: This is upsetting.

SAM: I know where they are, but the situation was fluid, and it was fast-moving. And we acted on our best instincts and our best judgement, and mistakes were made.

TRAVIS: Yeah. Mm-hm.

MARISHA: Tary, it sounds like all of the opposite of that is true.

SAM: When you're an adventurer--

LAURA: Except for mistakes.

MARISHA: Except for the mistakes part, yeah.

SAM: When you're an adventurer, you have to learn to live with a certain amount of bloodshed around you, and I think what Greg has told me today--what he has taught me was to toughen me up. And I appreciate him for that and I appreciate the lesson. And I appreciate you all for sending me out with him, knowing full well that that would happen.

LAURA: Don't kill people in cities! Don't kill people!

SAM: I still haven't-- I-- okay.

LAURA: Don't kill people!

TRAVIS: Who killed anybody?

LAURA: Grog!

MARISHA: Vax?

LAURA: Did you--

TRAVIS: What?

LAURA: You didn't kill anyone, did you?

LIAM: Of course he did, he looked us in the eye and he said he killed two people! We should go find them.

TRAVIS: Yep. They're dead.

LAURA: I don't believe him. Can I roll an insight check?

MATT: Sure.

LAURA: Oh no.

TALIESIN: Whose vomit was this?

LAURA: Oh no!

LAURA and LIAM: (laughs)

MATT: What did you roll?

LAURA: I believe him!

MATT: What'd you roll?

LAURA: I believe him so good! 11!

TALIESIN: This game is a nightmare.

MATT: Grog fucking killed two people!

LAURA: Oh my God! Grog!

LIAM: That's it.

TRAVIS: Look, I was trying to protect our new friend here. It had to be done.

LIAM: Where was this place? Where was this place?

LAURA: Ugh, we're never going to be able to come back to Vasselheim!

LIAM: We have to find these two men and bring them to a temple or something, we can't just leave them --

SAM: It was a potion seller, it was a medicinal, herbalist or something--

TALIESIN: Oh no.

LIAM: Can you guide me there?

MARISHA: Oh, you did not go to that guy, the guy who-- oh no.

TALIESIN: Did you go to that guy?

SAM: It seems to be--

TRAVIS: He did say he wanted to see the twins, especially.

SAM: That is not--

LIAM: Look, listen, take me to this place. You and I will carry these men to a temple.

SAM: And do what? What they did to you?

LIAM: We will-- what happened to me?

SAM: Well, you were revived, from death.

LIAM: Well, I can't do that. And you can't do that, so we need to take these men to a temple where somebody can help them!

TRAVIS: Oh, God, look, fine, they're not dead!

LAURA: I don't believe you.

TRAVIS: (sighs) No, I just knocked the life out of them, but they're not dead, right, wiretapping does not mean dead, all right?

(all laugh)

SAM: It was in quotations.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM and TRAVIS: Dead.

TRAVIS: Okay, look, they're fine, they might be covered in beer, we don't really need to go back for them.

MARISHA: Insight check!

LAURA: Yeah, I don't believe you. You killed them.

MARISHA: Now you're the fucking boy who cried wolf three times.

MATT: Go for it. Roll insight, both you guys.

MARISHA: God damn it, don't fuck me, Gil.

LAURA: Oh, I rolled Gil, too!

MARISHA: Oh, jeez, that wasn't great.

LAURA: I got it. I got you covered.

MARISHA: 15.

TALIESIN: Natural 20.

TRAVIS: They didn't ask you to roll, Taliesin.

LAURA: 24!

MATT: No, you guys get at this point that Grog's been fucking with you.

LAURA: You fucking dick!

TRAVIS: Yep.

(all laugh)

LAURA: No, but seriously, you still attacked the guards, right?

TRAVIS: He did.

LAURA: That's still really bad.

TALIESIN: Whose vomit is this?

LIAM: So those guys aren't dead, is what you're saying? Those two guys are not dead?

LAURA and TRAVIS: They're not dead.

LIAM: All right, that's kind of funny.

TALIESIN: I still feel like I would like an answer to the mystery of the vomit.

LAURA: At least Doty was in disguise. No one will recognize him. Just take the disguise off him now.

TRAVIS: That's what I said like five minutes ago.

LAURA: Take the disguise off of him.

MARISHA: That looks like Terry's vomit.

TALIESIN: How can you tell?

MARISHA: Because I saw him puke under the water and it floated right past me. I got a great view of it. He's a nervous puker.

LIAM: What is better in this town? A disgusting mess or a robit?

LAURA: A robit?

LIAM: An automaton.

LAURA: It's necromancy.

LIAM: An ottoman.

LAURA: Yes.

SAM: I think I need a drink.

LAURA: (gasps)

SAM: What?

LAURA: What?

TALIESIN: I pour him a little bit of the Tear Whiskey.

TRAVIS: How did you guys do?

LIAM: Oh, great.

LAURA: We thought we had the book.

TRAVIS: But you don't?

LAURA: But we didn't.

LIAM: We left without the book, thinking we had the book, and then we lied about not having the book, but we actually didn't have it.

MARISHA: But it seems like it might be okay, right?

TRAVIS: Got that motherfucker.

LAURA: Did you?

MARISHA: Did you get it? Yeah! Real-life hero.

MATT: Two guards alive. That is fucking dead

(all laugh)

LAURA: I say we get Doty's disguise off of him.

TALIESIN: All right.

LAURA: I say we go to sleep.

LIAM: I start peeling it away.

SAM: And then what?

LAURA: Then we get up in the morning, and we pick up our pretty dresses.

MARISHA: Yeah.

LAURA: And we go get you crowned! So we can wear our pretty dresses.

TALIESIN: Keep drinking.

MATT: Everything but the hair comes off. The mask, the porcelain, everything else comes off.

LAURA: What about the cloak?

MATT: The cloak does not come off.

LAURA: No!

MATT: Not from just tugging it. It's adhered pretty strongly.

LIAM: This is so fucking terrible. I'm so angry.

(all laugh)

MARISHA: Tary, going forward, I think you need to recognize how literal Doty takes things, and maybe think maybe more detailedly on how you word things, maybe?

SAM: Doty did his job. He protected us.

MARISHA: From innocent guards.

SAM: Who were going to arrest us.

LAURA: Why were they going to arrest you?

SAM: Because we were arcanists walking loose in the--

LAURA: It's not illegal!

SAM: I was led to believe it was. And I'm a stranger in this land, and they were trailing us, and your cohort over there, the big guy himself, told me that they were a danger to us, and Doty did his job. Listen, you can't blame Doty for the mistakes that I may have made. I take full responsibility for this, and I throw myself at your feet for mercy. I know I'm new to this team, and I hoped that this gift would be a peacemaking gesture. By the way, you should divide all these potions up as you see fit.

LAURA: We totally should.

SAM: And I'm sorry if I made mistakes today. But we're all alive, we have what we need, and we're still on an adventure, right?

TALIESIN: A toast to mistakes--

SAM: Let's all sing our fight song, shall we?

TALIESIN: -- and to terrible consequences, to failure.

LAURA: How about you go first, Terry.

MARISHA: Yes, let's learn it from you.

SAM: Doty, show me what we wrote. (sings) 'Seven intrepid warriors we, were strong before and stronger with me. Drinking wine and Heroes' Feasts, saving maidens, defeating beasts. We fight, fight, fight, with strength and girth, I slew a marid and proved my worth. Vix and Vox, Kiko and Greg, and Percival with the head like an egg. I defeated a kraken too, and I saved the Ashari single-handedly in the ocean blue. We fight, fight, fight, with strength and girth. I won your hearts and I proved my worth.'

TALIESIN: Ooh. Bravo!

LAURA: Hey!

SAM: Now you all have fight songs too, don't you?

TALIESIN: We'll cover that at the next drink. I think it's time to turn in.

MARISHA: Hm, yes.

LAURA: Wow.

TALIESIN: I'm going to run-- I'm going to get a little bit of the hardest alcohol that they have, preferably a clear alcohol, and ask them if they have any chicken, like-- or some sort of meat that they're about to throw away.

LAURA: Oh. Chicken.

TALIESIN: Stop it.

MATT: They do have some near-spoiling meat. And at the cost of one gold piece you can get a pretty solid bottle.

TALIESIN: I pop it and I'm just going to try and start solventing away the glue with grease, with fatty grease and alcohol.

MATT: It'll take you about the best part of the next couple of hours, but you can do it.

TALIESIN: Yeah, I'm just going to try and get this thing off. Let me try and remove the hair too.

MATT: You do manage to get the hair off. You don't get all the glue splotches. Doty now has this, like, clusters of nasty-looking glue splotches all over the head. And of like, taken pieces of thread, and fuzz, and dirt and things just from the atmosphere to him. It looks awful. Doty looks awful. But the cloak does come off.

TALIESIN: We'll have it cleaned, dear.

LAURA: That's amazing. So worth it, darling, I can't believe you did that. Thank you.

LIAM: Does the cloak of Elvenkind look like butt?

LAURA: It's got clumps of red hair stuck.

MATT: Only like 10% butt. Like, there is still glue on it. You have to spend more time.

LIAM: It worked?

SAM: Did we take off the mask?

MATT: If you want to.

TALIESIN: It looks like the kindergarten class attacked it.

MARISHA: Yeah.

SAM: Should we take off the mask?

LAURA: Probably.

TALIESIN: Fucker.

SAM & TALIESIN: There's another one!

(all laugh)

MATT: It's like a hydra, Travis killed one, two more took its place.

TRAVIS: It's so strange man, they go up, they come back down.

TALIESIN: Arsehole, where did you go? Fuck. They're huge. Sorry. That was really inappropriate.

MATT: So, as you guys get tired, you could rent a room for the evening.

LAURA: Yeah.

MATT: At the tavern if you'd like, the Siren's Succor.

LAURA: Okay, let's rent a room.

MATT: Okay. So, I'd say for the rooms for all of you guys tonight, drinking there, mark off ten gold, it's fine.

SAM: For everyone, or each.

LAURA: For everyone.

MATT: For everyone.

SAM: Pf.

TALIESIN: I know.

TRAVIS: Yeah.

SAM: I can take care of this, if you'd like.

TALIESIN: No, we got this. It's okay.

LAURA: We've got it. It's fine, Tary.

TALIESIN: But part of being--

LIAM: You buy the potions, we pay for the shitty hotel rooms.

SAM: (laughs) I don't know if that evens out. But all right.

TALIESIN: Don't think of it as a thing that evens out, think of it as an ever-increasing debt that doesn't really ever get paid.

SAM: I like the way you think, science bro.

TALIESIN: Cheers.

MATT: All righty. As you guys rest for the evening, the morning comes around. You're across the board, fairly hung-over, but functional. Except for Grog, Grog, you're fine. Yeah constitution 20! But you guys muster yourselves, get a quick bite to eat downstairs, in the now even-more-empty tavern. Your dresses are at the ready, you go and collect them. What's next, what do you guys want to do?

LAURA: We should go to see your people.

MARISHA: I mean, we could catch brunch first?

LAURA: No. We should go to see. Your. People.

TALIESIN: No.

LIAM: No.

MARISHA: All right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Let's go.

LIAM: No time like the present.

LAURA: Wait, what are the colors of Whitestone again?

TALIESIN: Lavender, white, blue, gold, silver.

LAURA: That's the colors I want my dress to be.

TRAVIS: That's fine.

MATT: Okay.

LIAM: It's too late, it's black.

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: I might add, you do-- Part of taking a crest is that you actually do get to build something of your own.

LAURA: We need to work on that, Percival.

TALIESIN: We do. I was-- I feel like I've been negligent. That we've not been--

LAURA: You are still going to explain to me what the fucking Grey Hunt is at some point.

TALIESIN: Yes, we should get to that. Hell, I only know because we've talked about that.

MATT: Yeah. All right.

LAURA: Come on, let's go, Keyleth.

MARISHA: Okay. Let's go.

LAURA: Antlers upon antlers.

MATT: All right. And such. With the Transport Via Plants spell cast into the nearest tree, you guys find yourself emerging outside one of the cliffside trees that have grown out of the outcropping of stone and rock that marks the exterior of Zephrah. Did you all travel here last time, or was it just Keyleth and Vax?

MARISHA: It was just Vax and Allura--

MATT: Yeah, Vax. Allura, that's right.

TALIESIN: Ooh.

MARISHA: Whom we kind of forgot was with us. (nervous laugh)

MATT: That's right, and she was like, "Whatever."

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: All right, so you guys all emerge, and you see now, on these extremely tall mountain bluffs, the wind is strong on the outskirts, and you can see, whizzing past you, puffs of cloud, and leaf, and dust. But it's all contained on the outside of this bluff. And before you on the opposite side, built deep into this mountain top, you can see dozens and dozens of structures made from the natural stone and bending of long wood slats that seem to have been curved over into these dome-like structures. You see small trees emerging in places, and even though you are a few hundred feet off, you can already see maybe 20 or so various people just wandering the town, some of which are outside working on sitting on benches, working on various crafts. You can see leathers being dried out from various hides. You catch the sight of a griffin that swoops past and disappears into a nearby cloud. And looking over the bluff--

SAM: Cool.

MATT: -- but ten feet off, this is the drop, goes down for hundreds of feet before vanishing into low-hanging clouds. You guys have no idea how high up you are, but it seems very high.

MARISHA: (inhales) Oh man.

SAM: Are we falling?

LAURA: Is it super windy?

MARISHA: No no no, we're on the mountain.

MATT: You can see a lot of wind rushing just around you, but it seems like this portion of the mountain is almost protected, or at least the winds are guided in a way where they're not affecting this portion of the mountain.

LAURA: So what do we do?

LIAM: What happens now, boss?

MARISHA: I forgot you guys haven't seen my hometown yet. Okay, all right. Let's go that way. Okay. See, over there is where is where I caught my first baby griffin--

TALIESIN: Oh no.

MARISHA: -- he was lost and got separated from his mom, and I captured him up, and I tucked up under my shirt. And over there actually--

TALIESIN: (groans)

MARISHA: -- I tripped and fell and that was the first time that I scraped my knee--

SAM: Amazing.

MARISHA: -- and I was like, oh no, I'm bleeding.

SAM: It must have been terrible.

LAURA: While she was walking, I go behind and do this to Vax.

MARISHA: Oh, it was so terrible, yeah.

LIAM: Ow.

LAURA: Does it still hurt?

LIAM: No it's fine, I feel good. I feel really good.

LAURA: Yeah?

LIAM: Yeah, I feel really good. I feel rested. I feel fucking healthy man. I don't know. I'm serious.

LAURA: All right, that's happy.

LIAM: (growls)

LAURA: (growls)

MATT: As you guys are walking closer to the outside of Zephrah, you see a couple of individuals beginning to approach, three or four children, just seeing these strange visitors in the outskirts. They're also keeping low and not trying to draw your attention too strongly, though they are out in the middle of the open. You see a few bushes and elements. You see two grown individuals walking up with the children, one of which appears to be a relatively young girl, maybe around 13, 14 years old who pushes the kids to the back and goes, "Keyleth?"

MARISHA: Yes, hi, hi. What's your name?

MATT: "Sora. You used to watch over me when I was little."

MARISHA: Oh my goodness, Sora. Wow, last time I saw you, you were like, like, oh man. Look how big you've gotten.

MATT: "I--"

MARISHA: Do you still know that handshake? Do you remember the--

MATT: It takes a moment for you guys to figure it out.

MARISHA: And there, you've got it. You got it.

MATT: It's slightly awkward, but for the most part you recall it.

MARISHA: Yeah, yeah.

MATT: "I'm much older now, I don't need to--"

MARISHA: Oh man.

MATT: "I didn't--"

MARISHA: You forgot--

MATT: "You're back."

MARISHA: Yeah. I guess I am.

MATT: "We have to tell everyone else."

MARISHA: Hey, hey.

MATT: The kids are all just quietly staring wide-eyed and smiling quietly.

MARISHA: Sora, Sora. Have you seen my dad around?

MATT: "Do you want me to get him?"

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: "Okay."

MARISHA: Okay.

MATT: "C'mon, c'mon kids." And takes them by the hand and they all drag the kids off as you guys wait in the outskirts of the city. One of the kids who didn't quite get a hand on this young three-year-old boy who's running behind them stops. Turns and stares at you all, but stares specifically at Grog and is just wide-eyed, going--

TRAVIS: Hey.

MATT: "Hi."

TRAVIS: Eat your vegetables, you'll look like this.

MATT: "Okay."

TRAVIS: Now get out of here!

MATT: (yells)

(all laugh)

MATT: Just immediately bolts past to catch up with the rest of the crowd.

TALIESIN: So I believe you just set up a lifetime of unreasonable expectations.

TRAVIS: He'll be healthy, though.

LAURA: I've never seen Grog eat a single vegetable--

TRAVIS: No, fuck those things.

LAURA: -- the entire time I've known him.

TALIESIN: I was wondering about that.

TRAVIS: Nothing in green is good.

MATT: A short time passes. A few moments, before you begin to see the city suddenly come to more vibrant life. People are stepping out of their abodes. Dozens of individuals are beginning to come together, talking, whispering, and some looking back and watching you all in the outskirts of Zephrah, until eventually it seems a procession of some kind is all gathering and moving out of this mass of people in your direction. As you look, you begin to see people adorned in similar clothing as to when you first encountered Keyleth in the swamps outside of Stillben. You see these leather-based, almost scaled-looking armor that drifts down to the legs. You see people that hold giant staffs that hold golds and greens and blue colors that mark the symbols of the Zephrah tribe. And then, in the center of them, you've met once before, you see stepping forth, Korrin, the father of Keyleth and the current acting Voice of Tempest of the Zephrah. His long white, silver hair drifting behind him. He approaches with a look. Everyone holds back as he steps forth from the crowd and ignoring the rest of you. Just goes and beelines straight to Keyleth. You can see him, he has a bit of a limp to him that you don't recall from last time, but he seems other than that in good health. As he approaches you, he clasps his hands out in front of him and takes a good long look at you as he reaches out and takes your hands into his own. "My daughter."

MARISHA: I just drop to a knee and say, Kaitiakè, father.

MATT: Kaitiakè, Keyleth. We've heard that the defense of Emon was successful, yes?

MARISHA: Yes, we have defeated the Chroma Conclave. The help of Vox Machina and many many others, at the cost of many lives.

MATT: "Good, good. And that we have been of some aid to your journey."

MARISHA: Yes, thank you. The Air Ashari were very valuable during that day. Very courageous.

MATT: "And we will remember those we lost in that fray. The great sacrifices that they gave so that these children could live. So?" And to this point, he now takes notice of the rest of the group. "By what joy do we have of bringing your allies here and returning to your people?"

LAURA: He doesn't know.

MARISHA: (gasps) Sorry, but Uvenda might have said something. I'm here because I have completed my Aramente, and I've got my blessing.

MATT: "Yes, you have."

LAURA: (gasps)

MATT: "I just wanted to hear it from your lips."

MARISHA: Still waiting on your final word, I guess.

MATT: "Well, while we still have daylight, let us prepare for the ceremony. Come, come, all of you. You are welcome, welcome here in Zephrah. We'll begin, decorations shall commence. Rest, prepare, naught but two or three hours until the ceremony is to occur." He turns, and folks begin to rush in, and people just begin to barrage you with questions and congratulations, and a number of individuals who seem to have heard stories, many second-hand, and exaggerations of the various things that you've accomplished over the past year or so here in Tal'Dorei. You answer questions, you play into the tall tales if you want. One child turns to you and goes, "And who are you?"

SAM: Taryon Darrington.

MATT: "I don't know who you are."

SAM: You will.

MATT: "You--"


(all laugh)

MATT: There is a massive interest around Grog as goliaths generally do not travel this far up into the territory of the mountain. Most of them stay far north in the Cliffkeep or wandering the dividing plane. They're just swarming you and climbing up on you and hanging from your arms and you feel kind of awkward but kind of enjoying the attention at the same time.

TRAVIS: They're really little.

LAURA: Kind of like gnomes.

TRAVIS: Yeah. (gasps)

(all laugh)

TALIESIN: Well that works, well done.

TRAVIS: I'm good.

MATT: Immediately, over the next hour or two, people begin to gather floral wreaths and strips of silk and material that have been prepared specifically for these type of occasions. Many of them new, made from the recent generations and preparation, many that are held over by tradition and by the various leaders that came before you. Many that may have had the hope of the return of Vilya, but instead, carry through with memory of Keyleth. As this transpires, you guys are brought food, you are gathered into a central open celebration. Almost like a pit the descends about two feet, and there are a number of stools and tables, and food and drink are brought about. As opposed to an event and then a celebration afterward, it seems to be a reverse here at Zephrah. It's a build-up. It's everyone, the excitement grows.As this is happening, you glance off and there is one very large, singular tree right across the way, at the very edge of the precipice of this rocky outcropping that holds most of the city of Zephrah. And there at the edge you see one large, twisting, gnarled tree that curves upward. Not quite Sun Tree in height and size, but still very elegant and beautiful with long, thin branches that gently sway on the outskirts of whatever barrier seems to bend and twist the winds from coming and scattering the village. You watch as people step up to it, and they're leaving jewelry, they're putting large ribbons across it. Elements of it remind you of the tree that was in the center of the temple in Vesrah, though a different texture. It seems to be a deep, vibrant, healthy dark brown, and with elements of gray bark, with moss that grow at the base and tuck under the branches, where the shadows tend to linger throughout the day. Eventually, it seems that they have returned and the decor is set, benches have been moved, and most of the people of Zephrah are now shifting in the direction of this tree.

LIAM: In all the hubbub and the movement, a few moments before, I've been watching for Korrin, and when I see him alone for a second, I make a beeline toward him.

MATT: He's in the process of a conversation. And it's interesting. During this whole thing, he was excited to see you and that you've come, but he's also-- he's kept a strange distance from you during this preparation. He smiles, and you guys meet eyes occasionally, but he's also just foo cusing on this endeavour, and then you kind of come out of the blue. “Ah, yes, Vax'ildan.”

LIAM: Forgive me. Might I have just a moment?

MATT: “Quickly. We're about to begin, but yes.”

LIAM: I will be brief. I just wanted to take a moment to say, I really wish you could've seen some of the things she has done. I know you are proud of her. I've never met anyone like her. She's going to do your people very proud. I'm grateful.

MATT: “As are we all.”

LIAM: You've a lot to do.

MATT: “As do you. As does she.” And he reaches out and pats you on the head and ruffles your hair a little bit. And even that feels a little awkward for him, like he felt impulsive to do it, and then 'oh, that wasn't very-- mm.'

LIAM: It's all right. It's more than I ever got.

TALIESIN: Whoa. Ow.

SAM: Darkness.

MATT: Anyway. “Come. It's nearly time.” And as all of you are led over, there are spaces at the very front of the ceremony, in the semicircle around this tree. There are platforms set up at the base of this tree now. Amongst these hundreds of various, dangling threads, these small pieces of paper that flitter on the outskirts of the gentle wind that pushes through. You guess they might contain wishes or passages or something, but you see bits of script written on them amongst the various glinting pieces of glass and gems and stones that have been polished. It's small, but beautiful. The rushing, perpetual gust of air seems to almost hold its breath for this. He clears his throat. And as he looks up to everyone, you swear this tree begins to slowly produce cherry blossoms as his words continue. “For long, we of the winds have awaited the procession of our tradition. With the passing of our elder voice, Dwala, it was my wife Vilya who was selected to take the Aramente. Beautiful and full of determination, she accepted her path. And while she did not return to us, the destiny she set is now seen as one of preparation. Her journey was not in vain, for it was her love that produced our daughter. It was her guidance in joy that taught our child compassion. It was her discipline and understanding that forged young Keyleth's spark of intuition and unlocked her adept connection with nature and the winds. We mourn the loss of our Vilya, but take pride that she lives on in the eyes of our own, returned, beloved woman of the winds. Here we bring together our collective voices to bless upon my daughter, the memory of Vilya, the champion of Guasar, the mantle of our destiny.” And as he puts his arms up, from around you to each side, Keyleth, you watch as young acolytes begin to approach from each side, arms down. All seemingly carrying these various pieces of dark green, leather-like material. And as they come together, they latch them into place and slowly build this mantle. “Ring clear our voices to unite our breath and grant our strength to her guidance and wisdom, as Keyleth takes the rightful and earned responsibility of leading our people into this next generation.” At this point, the assembled mantle is placed into Koren's arms. And you now see this beautiful neck and shoulder piece that rest past to the elbows, but limp and without body, in his hands. As he holds it there and the rest of the acolytes step back and find their place, seated, he lifts his arms up a bit and begins to just sing a singular note (sings). And everyone around you in Zephrah begins to join in in this singular note. Do you choose to join in as well?

TRAVIS: Yeah.

LAURA: Sure.

MATT: As you do, the notes begin to separate and harmonize instinctually. It creates this symphony, this beautiful tangling of hundreds of voices from all across the spectrum. And what at first may seem to resemble a discordant hymn, finds this perfect spread of every note you've ever heard, musically merging as one. As he does this, instinctually, Keyleth, without even thinking, you rise and begin to walk towards him. Like the spirits of generations before you are lifting you by your shoulders and elbows, and bring you up before your father. You find the breath leave your lungs, the inside of your mouth is dry.

MARISHA: Yeah.

MATT: You're unable to understand what it is that's driving you, but before you know it you're standing before your father, looking up into his eyes as all of these voices just swirl around you, this weird warmth. The nerves in your stomach still climb to the top and vibrate within your chest. As your father places this mantle over your head and shoulders, and it comes to rest on you, heavier than you expected, but it fits well. As he places this, the green fades to a golden brown and red and orange and yellow. And the green leaves almost drip back into a long, springing trail of a cloak behind you that seems to grow with each passing surge of these voices around her, until it reaches the ground and curls behind her. Eventually the cloak stops. The voices soften, and come to silence, as you look up once more into your father's face. “Rise, my daughter, and become Keyleth, Voice of the Tempest.” He steps back and bows his head. Steps off the platform. And you stand and turn, and it's just you at the base of tree, looking about at all of Zephrah before you, quiet, silent. And your friends before you, at the front of the crowd.

MARISHA: Didn't think I'd make it here. I couldn't have done any of this without not only the support of every person in Zephrah, and every person of the Ashari tribe, members of Emon, Tal'Dorei, Marquet, even Wildemount. In my journeys, I've learned being a leader is a global effort, one that takes the wisdom of many. Most importantly, I couldn't have done any of this without Vox Machina. And the pieces of them that I've taken away and have desperately tried to emulate in each one of them over the years. Each one of them with qualities that I admire and strive to embrace. Grog, with his strength and his unyielding loyalty. Vex, with her self-confidence and utter fearlessness. Vax is one of the most compassionate people I think I've ever come across and one of the most brave, even if it's maybe foolish. Percival, with your intelligence and your sensibility, is always there to be my balance. Scanlan, with his charisma and his wit. Pike--

MATT: As you glance past the group, you can see just the faint flutter of golden light and energy. Wherever she is, a part of her is watching.

MARISHA: Pike, her generosity and her authenticity, always true to herself. And even Tary. Taryon Darrington, whose blind faith in Vox Machina and perseverance, trusted us even though he probably shouldn't have.

SAM: You're incredible.

MARISHA: All of these things that I learned and couldn't be a leader without. Vox Machina makes up me. Zephrah makes up me. The Ashari people, and all of greater Exandria. I don't know if I'm the leader that you deserve, or a good leader, but I'm willing to dedicate the rest of my life to doing whatever I can for all of us. As long as Vox Machina stands by my side.

MATT: At this point, you watch as the light that remains of the eventually soon-to-come setting sun glints across the cheek of Keyleth, the bit of damp tear that has rolled down her cheek just detaches from the edge of her chin and hits the bottom of the stone. Every cherry blossom in the tree releases, and drifts past her from behind, before getting caught up in the wind just past her, causing this swirl of pinks and reds and whites behind her. Everyone around rises up, and they all begin to cheer and clap. All together. You look around and watch the rest of these blossoms slowly drift. You look and see your friends around you. You look around and you see your mother, out of the corner of your eye, just the memory of her. You sense that if she could be here, she would've been. Your father steps up and takes your hands and just says, “I'm so proud of you. And there's much to be done, I know, but I'm proud of you.” And he takes your hand, and holds it up once more. “To the Voice of the Tempest. And the future of our people.” Everyone cheers once more together.

SAM: To Vox Tempesta!

(all laugh)

MATT: And with that, you gain the Inspiring Leader feat.

MARISHA: What? I get the what now?

MATT: Inspiring Leader feat, as the end of your Aramente.

TRAVIS: Oh, shit, Voice of the Tempest!

MATT: Which is pretty fun. What that allows you to do is--

TRAVIS: You can never die.

MATT: No, you can totally die. You can spend ten minutes inspiring your companions, shoring up their resolve to fight. When you do so, choose up to six friendly creatures, which can include yourself, within 30 feet that can hear and understand you. Each creature can gain temporary hit points equal to your level plus your charisma modifier.

MARISHA: Oh, what! Well, you guys are out of luck with the charisma modifier shit, but what!

(all laugh)

MATT: And they can only gain the temporary hit points from this until they finish a short or long rest. So every short rest you can give everyone 17 temporary hit points.

MARISHA: That is fucking dope!

SAM: You have to give a speech every time.

MATT: Essentially, you take ten minutes to talk everybody up. So start practicing.

MARISHA: Jeez, no.

MATT: And we'll leave it there for the evening.

LAURA: Oh, man.

TRAVIS: That was gorgeous, man. That was gorgeous.

LAURA: With the tree, man.

MATT: That was awesome. Completed your Aramente, took up the mantle, and, apparently, going to the Iron City of Dis soon. That's going to be fun.

TRAVIS: (sings) We built this-- No, no more.

LAURA: No more of Dis City.

TALIESIN: I came up with great formal wear for you, too. It's a shame we didn't get a chance. I figured you out.

TRAVIS: We'll see.

TALIESIN: All right.

TRAVIS: Grog has a very discerning taste.

TALIESIN: I'm very proud I came up with an idea.

LAURA: Well, I'm glad we went with the blue dress after that cape turned all the other colors of nature and it's like, you are covered.

MARISHA: Yes.

(all laugh)

TRAVIS: Covered, girl.

MATT: Well done, guys. Thank you again, Lootcrate, for being our awesome sponsor.

ALL: Lootcrate!

TRAVIS: Matt, you did a great job.

MATT: You guys are always such an absolute pleasure. Thank you for playing in my weird make-up world.

TALIESIN: How long have you been working on that speech, man? That was nuts.

MATT: Oh, that was fun. I've been waiting for everyone to get to that moment.

SAM: Improv-ed it.

MATT: Glad you survived to get there.

MARISHA: No shit.

LIAM: Died in Stillben, game three.

MARISHA: And the next one.

MATT: All right. We'll be back next week, to see where the next leg of Vox Machina's adventure takes them. Until then, have a wonderful night, have a wonderful weekend, and is it Thursday yet? Take care guys.

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