MATT: Hello everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Critical Role, where a bunch of us nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons ALL: (hollering) We play Dungeons & Dragons! MATT: It’s a lot of syllables in that one But before we get into that, we do have some quick announcements to get through, beginning with the first of our two sponsors The first is the wonderful NordVPN So let’s turn over to our resident hackers, Sam and Laura SAM: Okay. Okay, KryptonicOverride Now that Taliesin freed us from the internet, and with NordVPN encrypting our traffic and hiding our IP and physical location, we can unlock the secret of the evil Ultra Codex LAURA: This’ll be a walk in the park, blackwillow69 Time to ja– ja TALIESIN: Jack in? LAURA: Jack in, yes, to the main– main something TALIESIN: Frame LAURA: Frame! LAURA: Positronic. Obviously Time to jack into the mainframe SAM: Yeah, let’s do it! Okay, here we go Oh, a firewall Oh, dang. I– I have no idea what to do I’m stuck LAURA: Oh, BlackWillow, I got a cube over here? Guess I’m going to have to beam it? I don’t know, do you beam a cube? I don’t– SAM: No, no, I think you dream it, or meme it? I can’t remember LAURA: Oh no, no, no, it’s asking for a password! SAM: Password? No problem Wait, actually, we should probably respect their privacy and just stop right there TRAVIS: Whoa TALIESIN: Oh my GameCube You’ve lost your powers! SAM: Wait, what? TALIESIN: When you were in the web, the Serial Killer must have drained your haxxor abilities! Your minds have been sliced! SAM: But we’re the most sophisticated key punchers the dark net has ever booted! There isn’t a digital Kenan that we can’t Kel! TALIESIN: There’s no doubt that– ASHLEY: Wow (laughter) TALIESIN: You are the greatest crypto kings to ever keylog a target But without your hacking skills, you’ll never beat the Ultra Codex LAURA: What do we do, FreezerBurn? TALIESIN: There is a way, but it’s dangerous I could download my entire 1.21 gigaflops of brain archives into your Flashdance protocol SAM: Wait a second, a data transfer? But you’d be giving up your master level computer powers, forever! TALIESIN: It’s the only way One last hack, for justice! SAM, LAURA, and TALIESIN: Haxxors, click together SAM: Okay (laughter) (laughter) MATT: Oh no! TALIESIN: We’re only going to have one shot SAM: You okay over there? TALIESIN: I’ll be fine (laughter) TALIESIN: Power glove is overcranked Transfer modules, hot and bothered. Master and commander? SAM: The far side of the world LAURA: Far side of the world! TALIESIN: Farewell, hacker planet It was leet while it lasted Activating self-slice! SAM, LAURA, and TALIESIN: (screaming) LAURA: Did it work? SAM: Zero one zero one one zero zero one LAURA: (gasps) That’s binary for yes SAM: Yeah! LAURA: I know binary! SAM: Yeah! LAURA: FreezerBurn, are you okay? TALIESIN: Oh. Oh, who? Oh jeez Those are some pretty doohickeys you got there Are those calculators on your arm or something? LAURA: Holy shift He’s gone FreezerBurn’s sacrifice will not be in vain SAM: No LAURA: Because we’re going to heck– SAM and LAURA: — the Ultra Codex SAM: Yeah, and with NordVPN’s 68% off sale going on, it’ll only cost us $3.71 a month, plus we get an additional month free when we sign up at nordvpn.com/criticalrole and use coupon code criticalrole NordVPN’s secure and unlimited service will literally save the world LAURA: Yeah SAM and LAURA: Matt, hack to you MATT: (sighs) (laughter) MATT: Tune in next time for another techno-tastic episode of the Nord in the Stone TRAVIS: Wow MATT: If NordVPN never sponsors us again LIAM: That was a dramatic reading MATT: (laughs) ASHLEY: That was very dramatic MATT: Wow, yeah, that took some turns ASHLEY: The prop work was great SAM: Thank you MATT: Well done SAM: Thank you, Maxwell MATT: Thank you, Sam and Laura and Taliesin, and Nord VPN for your patience And our– MARISHA: Did you shake it to turn it off? That was incredible! MATT: (laughs) MARISHA: Oh my god MATT: That’s how I turn off all my electronics That’s how I turn off my PS4 LAURA: Might leave my haxxor gear on the table for the game, because it’s awesome MATT: It’s pretty cool TALIESIN: That looks like a lot of fun SAM: That won’t distract us at all (laughter) MATT: All righty, and our second sponsor for tonight, the returning sponsor friends from beginning of campaign two up until now, D&D Beyond ALL: ♪ D&D Beyond ♪ MATT: If you are new to D&D or just can’t get enough of your own games, and you want to check out

the legendary epic bundles and unlock all– or epic legendary bundles, I should say– and unlock all 38 current 5E D&D books for your table You can do that now at D&D Beyond You can access all the monsters, magical items, spells, and more for use on the digital tools on their site, and you can get 15% off all future source books and adventures on D&D Beyond on as well, plus anything you previously purchased on D&D Beyond is credited towards your bundled purchase So check out the legendary bundle at dnddbeyond.link/crlb for Critical Role legendary bundle Thank you, D&D Beyond And that’s it for our sponsors for tonight As far as announcements go, Marisha, you got something to talk about MARISHA: Yeah, in case you missed it, first episode back of Talks Machina (laughter) MARISHA: Yeah! SAM: Did it air already? MARISHA: It’s back! It did, it aired and it is now on YouTube ASHLEY: It was so good! MARISHA: It was great! SAM: Brian was so great! MARISHA: Yeah, featuring Laura and Matt MATT: We had a good talk LAURA: Yeah MARISHA: Yeah MATT: Yeah MARISHA: Amazing. And since it now airs every other week, next episode will air on Twitch next Tuesday, September 29th, 7:00pm, of course Yeah, of course And as always, the VOD will be available on YouTube on Thursday and the CritRole podcast network the following Tuesday But it’s back! MATT: Look at that shit MARISHA: Yeah SAM: Awesome MATT: Thank you MARISHA: Talking about the D&Ds LIAM: Woo MATT: Hell yeah MARISHA: Mm-hmm TRAVIS: Nice MATT: All right, thank you, Marisha MARISHA: Double plug MATT: And Laura, you got an announcement you want to make real fast LAURA: Yes! It’s a little one, but it’s a good one All of our Mighty Nein chibi pins designed by the wonderful Jenny Park are now available in our Australia store ALL: Hey! LAURA: Ta-da! Check ’em out at shop.critrole.com.au MATT: Fantastic LAURA: That’s it, that’s all I got MATT: Awesome. Thank you, Laura All righty I believe with the end of our announcements, that brings us into tonight’s episode of Critical Role (water bubbling) (thunder rumbling) (explosion booming) ♪ Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role ♪ ♪ Mighty Nein, Mighty Nein ♪ ♪ Roll the dice, roll the dice ♪ ♪ The adventure begins ♪ ♪ They were always beside you ♪ ♪ Your nerdy best friends ♪ ♪ And the DM to guide you ♪ ♪ And they rise from the flames for the battles ahead ♪ ♪ Villains beware ’cause you’re ’bout to be dead ♪ ♪ They got magic and flair ♪ ♪ They got falchions and cunning ♪ ♪ They don’t see over there ♪ ♪ There’s a monster incoming ♪ ♪ Inspiration is waiting, rise up, don’t think twice ♪ ♪ Put your fate in your hands, ♪ ♪ take a chance, roll the dice ♪ ♪ Role ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ Critical Role (roll the dice) ♪ ♪ Can you answer the call ♪ ♪ Diggin’ deep in your soul ♪ ♪ As the legend unfolds ♪ ♪ Now it’s your turn ♪ ♪ Your turn, your turn ♪ ♪ To roll ♪ (flames whooshing) MATT: And welcome back So last we left off: The Mighty Nein, after returning from Traveler Con and their adventures at Rumblecusp, made their way to Nicodranas to catch up a bit with Marion Lavorre LAURA: Yeah! MATT: To do some shopping, to set off some research into some aspects of the mysteries that surround some of their recent adventures, and we– I guess introduced– not introduced– returned Nott to spend some time with her family. Veth, with her family During that period of time, you all decided to make your way to Rexxentrum, to speak with Lady Vess DeRogna, one of the members of the Cerberus Assembly, who had previously said that they were interested in some transactions, or a business opportunity for you, after seeing what you had achieved in the name of the negotiation that ended the current war between Xhorhas and the Dwendalian Empire After doing a little shopping around Rexxentrum and gathering some extremely powerful magical artifacts, you made your way to the DeRogna’s tower, had a conversation that outlined the future interest she had

to the north, in a location known as Eiselcross She let you know about an element of a shadow war that had been long brewing in that direction and a race to power between many factions, namely the Empire and the Dynasty, in search of these ruins that had begun to uncovered in recent times beneath the ice Broken bits of the ancient arcane city of Aeor seem to have been slowly recovered from beneath that region, and she would wish you to accompany her there in search of more information and answers as to what it’s capable of, what can be found, and preventing others that she feels should not have such power within their midst So you accepted this and were given about a week or so to return when you finished your preparations to begin your journey to this odd, much colder region of Wildemount Upon exiting the tower in Rexxentrum, not too terribly long after your arrival, a message was delivered to the group, a letter that was addressed to Bren Upon reading the letter, it seems that your presence was also noted by Master Trent Ikithon, who then requested the presence of you, Caleb, and your companions, the evening of the next day, to join in his tower, along with your two previous classmates, Astrid and Eadwulf And that was where we had left off So as you all stand around Caleb in the midday, cloudy air, on the not terribly bustling streets of the Candles region of Rexxentrum, as Caleb finishes reading this letter out loud to the rest of you, what do you do? LAURA: Are you going to go? LIAM: (sighs) Ja Ja, it’s what we came back for There’s a lot I don’t understand still And my old teacher is LAURA: A douche? LIAM: Ja, but I don’t know how redeemable or not my friends are I don’t have a lot of faith that they are, but I need to know For sure And then also, I have many questions about the Assembly It is hard to know if they have– if their plans line up with the king’s or if they have their own plans If they have the same plan within the Assembly They don’t all seem to get along LAURA: You don’t think it’s a trap, do you? LIAM: I think it very well could be a trap TRAVIS: What do you think he wants from this meeting, from you? LIAM: That’s a very good question and I’m not sure I can give you a definitive answer But Trent took his work very personally My best guess is I am somewhat of a failed experiment TRAVIS: Hmm LIAM: I don’t know I don’t know why I was left abandoned for so long I’m curious MARISHA: What if you aren’t a failed experiment? LIAM: You think there’s another shoe going to drop? MARISHA: Maybe LAURA: Like they let him go on purpose? TRAVIS: We’ve certainly achieved more than he had previously Perhaps he’s just in favor now? LIAM: I’ve considered it

MARISHA: Just trying to think of all the angles LIAM: Regardless, Beauregard– LAURA: I think it’s “irregardless.” TRAVIS: Irregardless? TALIESIN: Unregardless LAURA: Unregardless, that was it LIAM: Zemnian is very precise MARISHA: They did just update that in the Cobalt Reserve dictionary LAURA: No, no! TRAVIS: They did fucking update it, actually LAURA: No TRAVIS: Just maddening MARISHA: Mm-hmm LIAM: It’s decay of the Empire TRAVIS: Death by a thousand cuts LIAM: It could be a trap, though And I need to impress upon you Ikithon is about as dangerous an individual as you will encounter in your lives, and Eadwulf and Astrid are likely not too far behind, or maybe they– LAURA: They can’t be as powerful as you are LIAM: They have a bit of a head start on me, Jester LAURA: How? Were they there longer? MARISHA: They didn’t drop out LAURA: What? MARISHA: They didn’t drop out LAURA: Yeah, but you use so many spells, you’re so powerful, and you’ve been learning from lots of different sources They only had the one source LIAM: Well, they didn’t take a nap for a decade But– Just be ready for anything He is powerful, Ikithon, but they– I can only guess at some of the things they have done since I knew them, but there is much that I do know And they made the ultimate sacrifice for country LAURA: How old were you when you were here? LIAM: I was a young man; I was 16 LAURA: 16? LIAM: Ja ASHLEY: Wait, you slept for 10 years? Or is this just like a figure of speech? MARISHA: Rip van Widogast LIAM: I was not in my right mind for a long time ASHLEY: I understand LAURA: So you weren’t actually sleeping Were you sleeping? LIAM: No Technically no LAURA: Okay, because I– okay ASHLEY: Was someone else controlling you? LIAM: At that time? ASHLEY: At that time? LIAM: No, not at that time There are some gaps for some of you Could we go somewhere a little more private than the street? LAURA: Yeah. Let’s go TRAVIS: Yes, of course LIAM: Okay I would like to try to navigate our way to some sort of an inn MATT: Okay, yeah LAURA: (laughs) You’re still not here! (laughs) Okay, okay, okay It’s still the same day, right? It’s still the same day that we left Veth? MATT: Since the morning, yes LAURA: Okay, so we’re calling you tomorrow SAM: Take your time LAURA: Okay TRAVIS: Nice place. Just keep chilling SAM: I’m doing fine ASHLEY: Wait, no, aren’t you coming here this morning? MATT: Hmm Are you looking for an inn here in the Shimmer Ward, or are you looking for something a little more–? LIAM: Something very rudimentary MATT: Okay. Yeah, easy enough Back to the Not too far from where you first arrived at the Rexxentrum Archive of the Cobalt Soul, you find a small corner of two dingy roads inn that maybe can house– has about six rooms for rent It can house a handful of people per chamber LIAM: Okay MATT: But it’s really inexpensive, I’d say for– It’s about a two silver pieces to rent a room LIAM: I will rent it just to be perfunctory and find– and there eating down below? MATT: This isn’t so much a lunch tavern, more than just– LIAM: A place to stay MATT: — a place to stay They do have snacks LIAM: Nah. It will do I will lead everyone up to the room MATT: Okay LIAM: That I’ve rented LAURA: This place is nice, Caleb LIAM: We’re only going to stay for a moment I’m not comfortable– There are gaps Astrid and Eadwulf were willing to do

anything that Ikithon asked of them And their final test was to kill their own flesh and blood And they did so And I am like them W–was Am. Am like them MARISHA: Was TALIESIN: We share a road with a lot of people That doesn’t mean that they’re all the same, especially when you take a crossroads LAURA: So you– you did it? LIAM: I-I-I have considered sharing all this for a long time, but you cherish your family so much And I suppose I enjoyed being seen as I should have been Or– or could have been LAURA: I just go up and give him a hug LIAM: There is a reason I have never told you about my mother and father LAURA: You must’ve been so sad, Caleb I’m sorry you felt like you had to hide that LIAM: (inhales sharply) Well, I’ve been lying to you And I am sorry LAURA: We lie We lie about things all the time to protect other people Sometimes to protect ourselves I don’t blame you for that LIAM: Whatever we’re doing here, I I’ve come home in the hopes of atoning And That idea has evolved quite a bit over time And I’m not sure what the exact answer is, but I mean to atone ASHLEY: What does atonement look like to you, Caleb? LIAM: Well, I feel like the things that I’ve seen, no one should see Never again LAURA: So we should put a stop to it, then LIAM: Well, it’s complicated, isn’t it? It’s wrapped up in the ruling of a nation MARISHA: You’ve come a long way since me, you, and Nott were huddled up in that hotel room I said then you had a responsibility and that none of us would see you differently TALIESIN: No one should be put through that ASHLEY: (quietly) No MARISHA: No one blames you LIAM: Well One person Anyway, I find it hard to imagine walking in there tomorrow and you not knowing the whole picture (quietly) That’s the whole picture I want to learn a little bit what’s going on in my colleagues’ heads

MARISHA: We saw them LIAM: Mm-hmm MARISHA: We were handing off the beacon They didn’t They looked pretty far gone LIAM: I have to try MARISHA: Think there’s something redeemable? Think they’re worth saving? LIAM: They’re worth saving, yeah Whether or not we can, I don’t know TRAVIS: Did they ever waiver, or have they remained believers this entire time? LIAM: Well, as children, no Not to my recollection We were very avid in our duties LAURA: So you never wavered either LIAM: No LAURA: And it was the the final act that made you change your beliefs? LIAM: So much time was put into stamping me into a specific shape It was comforting to know your place and serve the greater good But, uh I– I failed my people My people TALIESIN: Feel like they failed you LAURA: Yeah, your family sent you off to the Academy, didn’t they? They believed those same things, right? LIAM: To a degree Yes, my parents were very big believers in the Empire, but they also loved me As wholly as your family, Caduceus, or yours MARISHA: It’s not a failure on your part It’s a failure on the Empire’s I don’t think that it’s by coincidence that your core beliefs that you were doing something for the greater good led you to us and what we’re doing now That’s the truth LIAM: Well, it remains to be seen what we can do, but maybe we can do MARISHA: Had this conversation with Fjord of the other night when we were still in Rumblecusp Think we’re doing good? What we’re doing as a group? LIAM: I do MARISHA: I mean, that’s pretty dope, right? LIAM: Yeah, the Mighty Nein is is pretty dope TRAVIS and LAURA: (laugh) MARISHA: Fuck yeah LIAM: The stage is a little bit bigger ASHLEY: I have a question Did they do this with every student at the Academy, or were you just a select few that was chosen? LIAM: Trent has an eye for talent And to my understanding, we were just the latest We were not the first and we were not to be the last TRAVIS: You three were a bit of a class? LIAM: Yeah Boy, I have thought a lot about this for a long time and talked to no one about it I don’t know all the answers, but we certainly all came from humble means No family name to speak of

I was very good at what I did Even at a young age Eadwulf was not only very capable, but he was strong, and I think that caught Trent’s eye And Astrid Maybe is a bit like Trent, maybe that’s unkind She had a hunger Ambition LAURA: Do you think the Academy knows what he does? TRAVIS: Who, Trent? LAURA: Yeah, do you think like, Ludinus goes, “Okay, Trent, “now go find the people and now we’ll have them “go do horrible things,” or do you think it’s like, he knows that Trent finds these good wizards and brings them up to the forefront Do you think anybody else knows the brutal things that he does? MARISHA: Someone knows LIAM: The Academy I do not believe knows The Assembly MARISHA: The Assembly, someone has to LIAM: Some of them, Ludinus, intimated that he had some idea LAURA: Well, I hate them all now TRAVIS: Just so I have it clear We’re going to try and redeem Astrid and Eadwulf, but Trent, fuck him, right? Or are you trying to MARISHA: Yeah, I mean, it’s always been a fuck Trent, right? TRAVIS: Just to be clear LAURA: Oh no, do you sort of like Trent? Do you have like some weird thing because he like treated you nice a long time ago? TALIESIN: I think a goal is always better than a grudge What’s the goal? TRAVIS: That’s very fair TALIESIN: I have my theories LIAM: Yeah I have said many times that I would like to surgically remove the bad parts. It’s not all bad here TALIESIN: But– LIAM: But it seems impossible TALIESIN: This can’t go on No more of this LIAM: It could go on It has for a long time TALIESIN: Well, there’s a goal LIAM: Yeah TALIESIN: No more LIAM: Whether that means exposing him or stopping him, maybe we will land on that, but I need to know more about what different members of the Assembly believe MARISHA: If he’s been teaching for that long, is there a chance that there are members in the Assembly who were his student at one point in time? LAURA: But just because you’re his student doesn’t mean that you’re one of his proteges, right? TALIESIN: Is there a chance there’s more like you? MARISHA: That’s what I’m kind of getting at TALIESIN: Got away MARISHA: Maybe there are more allies out there LIAM: That’s a very good question. I do not know the answer I spent a very long time trying to stay as far away as possible TALIESIN: Quite possibly not alone LIAM: Well I take a lot of faith by what we achieved on the ocean This nation doesn’t need to be steeped in fear The Empire has slighted the Dynasty, it has taken a cherished religious artifact from them Bloodshed is stopped because we merely gave them what was theirs If that is not a lesson for people in power, maybe they do not deserve the power Or maybe this system is too corrupt, I don’t know MARISHA: I think it depends on how deep the corruption has gone If it’s worth saving If something’s too far poisoned, maybe it’s better to burn it to the ground and start something fresh LIAM: You and your brethren, you dabble in this MARISHA: It’s more or less what we do LIAM: Yeah MARISHA: It’s kind of our mission statement that I just said LIAM: Mm-hmm Would they if he needs to be cut out MARISHA: Oh yeah LIAM: Would they stand by?

MARISHA: Yeah The Cobalt Soul and the Cerberus Assembly have butted heads for decades It’s kind of the checks and balances system And I just to try– just try to not let myself be too naive to the fact that corruption exists everywhere I think I can be an expositor, utilize the resources given to me, and not have to be blind to the flaws LIAM: What about taint within the Cobalt Soul? Possible? MARISHA: Of course LIAM: Have you seen it? MARISHA: No Not to my knowledge Not to my knowledge, not really? MATT: If there has been, it’s been dealt with so swiftly that by the time anyone discovers, it’s already gone Or it’s so far up the chain that nobody knows MARISHA: Right MATT: I mean, it’s hard to tell at a certain point But as far as you know– there are those, of course, with any sort of structure that do fall to corruption, but because it is a worldwide network, there’s a lot more– MARISHA: A bit more accountability MATT: There’s a lot more accountability than other, more locally political structures So it has a higher success rate MARISHA: It’s the common belief in the Soul to share what knowledge is known Especially amongst the branches LIAM: (inhales, sighs) Well, tomorrow night can be a first step, but one, I need Veth And two, we are rode hard We cannot show up tomorrow night looking like this MARISHA: Oh Should I take the pooka shell necklace off, then? (laughter) All right LAURA: I think it’s that good look MARISHA: Thanks TALIESIN: The urge to show up in the Dynasty finest is almost overpowering MARISHA and TALIESIN: (laugh) MARISHA: We talked about going back tonight for dinner and getting ceviche LAURA: That’s true We could go back to Nicodranas and clean up real good, you know. Got lots of fancy clothes at the Lavish Chateau TALIESIN: We still have those outfits, don’t we, there? LAURA: Our evening wear? TALIESIN: Yeah LAURA: Oh yeah MARISHA: Did he say that the dress was formal? Is that a thing? Do we hafta? I’m just curious if it was stated LIAM: No, it was not LAURA: Not formal, or not stated? LIAM: Not stated LAURA: I think you should step it up and make them feel underdressed MARISHA: That’s true, that’s true LAURA: We are fully outnumbering them, so they will feel out of place in their own home TALIESIN: Do clean up well TRAVIS: They wouldn’t poison us, would they? TALIESIN: I’ll try and be prepared for that LAURA: Oh, yes, yes TRAVIS: (nervous laugh) Okay MARISHA: I could also be the taste tester, right? TRAVIS: Do you have some monk shit where you’re– LAURA: Would you know if you’d been poisoned? MARISHA: I can will poison out of my pores TRAVIS: Sure you can LAURA: Ew, I bet it smells so bad after you do it, though MARISHA: Oh yeah TALIESIN: Does your sweat smell after that? MARISHA: Yeah, like– MATT: Like you’ve eaten a lot of garlic MARISHA: I was going to say rotten mushrooms You ever leave a pot of mushrooms on the stove for too long? LIAM: Maybe it smells like asparagus pee? MATT: There you go, there you go LAURA: Like definite, like you know (laughter) It was poison; she was definitely poisoned (groaning) MARISHA: The pheromone, it’s a defense mechanism MATT: Oh god All right LAURA: Do you know that only happens to some people? TRAVIS: Okay MARISHA: The asparagus and pee thing? LAURA: Yeah, not everybody gets the asparagus pee smell MATT: Weird LIAM: Some people named Liam (laughter) MATT: ♪ The more you know ♪ (laughter) MATT: Well, you have, effectively, a day and a half or so until that dinner invitation So what would you like to do in the interim? LAURA: Do you want me to send a message to Trent and let him know that we’ll be there? I can ask what the dress code is LIAM: I think there is nothing I would love more than for you to send a message to Master Ikithon accepting his invitation LAURA: You got it, Caleb I’m going to send a message MATT: Okay. (laughs)

LAURA: Dearest Trent! Hey, got your message to Caleb We will def be there Can’t wait to see what your house looks like Any dress code? SAM and LIAM: Ooh! ASHLEY: Dang! LAURA: I’m getting good at this, you guys! LIAM: Stuck the landing MARISHA: Growth! MATT: A rapid response comes “Ah. Well then, I look forward to seeing all of you “No particular dress code “Wear what is comfortable, please.” That’s all TALIESIN: Fancy TRAVIS: 19 words, pretty good LAURA: He’s got a slimy, slimy voice, but he says we can wear whatever’s comfortable I say we wear formal wear TALIESIN: Agreed MARISHA: I’m into that TRAVIS: Ugh LAURA: Or should we wear our armor? That might be important TRAVIS: Just– I’m going into an enemy’s house, you know LAURA: We can wear our armor and then some fancy accents How about that? MARISHA: Do you have any, like, rip away dresses, you know? So we can, like, wear our gear, but then be like TALIESIN: Technically, aren’t in all clothes rip away, if you’re strong enough? TRAVIS: Ha ha! MARISHA: You’re right LAURA: (laughs) TRAVIS: Yep TALIESIN: I’ll do this real good, hold on LIAM: But seriously, please treat this like we are going in on a fact-finding mission, but also be prepared for it to be a total bloodbath LAURA: Got it TALIESIN: Always TRAVIS: Good, good parameters LAURA: Be prepared for murder TRAVIS: Yep LAURA: So wait, is our goal to murder him tomorrow night? Should we, if there’s an opportunity, should we just murder him? LIAM: Let’s make that plan G TRAVIS: G LIAM: For tomorrow TALIESIN: I’m very proud of you; I was expecting that to be plan C Plan G, that’s growth LIAM: Well, we need to figure out if there are more people to murder So LAURA: Okay TALIESIN: Or people who’ve been waiting for the moment to get out from under his thumb LIAM: We just need to know more LAURA: Do you think all this time that maybe, like– Do you feel like when you were here, do you feel like you were being controlled? Or do you– was it, like, your choice? Do you feel like maybe they, like, were subtly controlling you and you just didn’t know? MARISHA: Oh no LIAM: No, Jester No I am a different person in every way I relished my work We were riding high Serving the king Tasting power This is why it This is why I have never It’s hard MARISHA: I think that was the first time I’ve ever heard you admit or recognize that you were a different person back then Good work LAURA: (laughs) MARISHA: Ceviche? LIAM: Yeah, how do we want to do this? MARISHA: Do you have a thingy? You said you have a thingy LIAM: Yeah, I have a thingy. We could impose on our wizard friend again, or we could just go straight to your house LAURA: Let’s go straight to the house. Why not? TALIESIN: Let’s do that thing while we’re at your house, by the way The poof Where we make the circle and then the teleporty thingy LAURA: The teleporty thingy at the house? TALIESIN: At your mom’s house, we could set up the– LAURA: Oh, we can make our thingy! TALIESIN: Yeah, the thingy LAURA: I love it. Okay TALIESIN: We’ll do that LAURA: We have to make it a little temple, you know TALIESIN: I love making little temples LAURA: Okay TRAVIS: Oh, by the way, when we went shopping, we bought two regular healing potions Does anyone not have one? LAURA: Oh TALIESIN: Rummaging through my bag LAURA: I don’t think I have a healing potion Maybe I do, hold on ASHLEY: Up for grabs Is that all we got? TRAVIS: Yeah, we only got two LAURA: Oh, I’ve got a healing potion TRAVIS: And some dope-ass jewelry ASHLEY: Yeah LAURA: That is a really beautiful ring TRAVIS: Thank you Got it for a steal MARISHA: (laughs) ASHLEY: Wait, how many of those…? TRAVIS: Two, two and two ASHLEY: No, the– TRAVIS: Yeah, the fire? ASHLEY: The fire things TRAVIS: Dos ASHLEY: I thought we got more than that

I thought it was like a pack of TRAVIS: This shithead said two I don’t know, I thought it was two LAURA: I thought it was a box with two balls in ’em Is that right? TRAVIS: Alchemical fire? Alchemist fire? MATT: Alchemist fire? LAURA: It was a box with one, two balls MARISHA: I feel like it was a 12 pack or an eight– LAURA: Was it? ASHLEY: I feel like it was a 12 packer. Yeah MATT: It was a fair amount of them LAURA: Oh shit MATT: I rely on you guys to keep track of the items once they get to you TRAVIS: I thought you were taking notes You taking notes? I thought I was Marisha takes notes ASHLEY: Listen, I have one celebone, two oops-stones, and two chuckle dust Those are the only things I wrote down that I had TRAVIS: Yep MATT: Well then, you better not use them until you confirm with Dani, then TRAVIS: I’ll go consult the Loremaster ASHLEY: Yeah, I’m going to find this out MARISHA: Just Slack Dani LAURA: She’ll know. Text her ASHLEY: Yeah (laughter) MATT: All right LIAM: All right. So I will pull out the little turtle statue that Jester gave me from her home, and grip it in my hand and– LAURA: Don’t crush it! LIAM: Oh, my grip is so weak. I have a Strength of 10 And– LAURA: And don’t let it hurt you (laughter) LIAM: It is in fact jabbing straight through my palm The circle took some futzing, but this is instantaneous So he just mutters a few words and then whoosh LAURA: All of us? Do we have to be holding hands or anything? MATT: I do not believe you have to be holding hands TALIESIN: We can LAURA: Oh. Just to be safe MATT: Right, for this one? LIAM: No LAURA: Okay, wow. We just whirl LIAM: Verbal? TRAVIS: Caleb just disappears (laughter) LAURA: Well, that sucks LIAM: Later, bitches! (laughter) TALIESIN: Ah, man LAURA: Ceviche! TRAVIS: This is part of it, right? This is part of it? MARISHA: Yeah TRAVIS: This is part of it? This is part of it MATT: Yeah, you don’t have to touch hands You have to do it within 10 feet of you LAURA: Okay MATT: So yes, as you all gather in a small circle, Caleb mutters something under his breath and then, no circle on the ground, no extended preparation, you all just suddenly feel that that drifting sensation in your stomach, that brief rising, almost weightless sensation for a split second, and then with a blink of light– where are they? LIAM: We are in the lobby of the Lavish Chateau MATT: (boof) You guys are now right in the center of the now shaded interior of the Lavish Chateau, midday in Nicodranas LAURA: (gasps) MATT: As you land there, you can hear there’s a little bit of music playing It’s not too terribly crowded There’s maybe like four individuals that are in from their dock work just getting a drink A little higher than their pay grade, but because they like the way it’s made here Also, momentarily you hear what sounds like a (boof, barking) LAURA: (gasps) MATT: And you glance over and see Nugget just apparate as well LAURA: Nugget! MATT: (panting, yips) Then runs up and like (sniffing) LAURA: It’s me. It’s Jester MATT: (yips) LAURA: Your original mommy, but I understand if you don’t feel like I’m your mommy anymore MATT: Just starts licking your hand Now, Nugget’s been gone here for quite some time being watched by Marion, and is significantly larger than you last remember him being Still nowhere near a full grown blink dog, but in between the period, maybe, you know, from nose to tail about that big And so is still like a bit of an unwieldy creature for the expectation LAURA: I like to think that Nugget blinks back and forth between the Lavish Chateau and Veth’s family home MATT: Yeah, we’ll say for the past, you know, number of hours, with your arrival, there’s been a bit of– especially with Luc living here, Luc has taken a personal interest in playing with Nugget in the time that he spent here TRAVIS: How do Sprinkle and Nugget get along? SAM: Well, one’s alive (laughter) LAURA: I brought you a chew toy! SAM: Nugget comes over to our house and just poops and then goes back MATT: Yeah, yeah SAM: What the fuck? (laughter) MATT: Yeza’s like, “It’s been an experience.” (laughter) TRAVIS: Every morning MATT: “Hard to catch him, the… asshole.” But yeah, nevertheless, you are here in the Chateau, Nicodranas is your oyster MARISHA: Should we crash Veth? LIAM: Yeah MARISHA: The Brenatto family? See what they’re up to? LAURA: Oh, I should find out exactly where she lives MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah LAURA: I’ll go ask Mama And I run upstairs with Nugget MATT: You run upstairs As you’re running up the stairs with Nugget, you hear (thudding) and then his footfalls stop and you look up and he’s already waiting for you at the top of the landing LAURA: You’re such a cool dog! MATT: (panting) You head up into the room, and as you– Do you knock on the door or just push in? LAURA: Mm-hmm MATT: Which do you do? LAURA: Knock on the door and push in (laughter) MATT: Okay As you go inside, you can see your mother is currently sitting at her little vanity and is in the process of brushing her hair back and turns around and goes, “Oh Jester, you’re back already.” LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah You know, we can just come now whenever Literally, we can just stop in for a night all the time now MATT: “Well, you’re welcome to come whenever you wish to, please “Anytime.” LAURA: Should we let you know? MATT: “Maybe just for the sake of– “might be a very busy night, “but if you’re coming to visit, “give me a little bit of a heads up and I am “more than happy to have you

“That is wonderful news.” LAURA: Yeah, so we can just stay here tonight, and we’re going to have some dinner We’re going to check out– oh, we’re going to check out Veth’s house, I should probably find out where that is MATT: “Oh, right this way.” LAURA: Okay MATT: She stands up and tucks her little stool beneath the vanity, leads you over to the balcony and points across the way of the open, the section of the Opal Archways, from where the Lavish Chateau is, there is this very circular-style there is this very circular-style thoroughfare, like this of main plaza area in the center where there’s a fountain, and you can see there’s a number of these silk streamers that attach from the top of the fountain to the different corners of this region She points over to this one collection of buildings that have abodes in both floors and series It looks the equivalent of an apartment complex, if you will But very, very well built and beautiful, and points over towards the corner and goes, “That is where the Brenattos have been living.” LAURA: Oh, perfect We will go over there, but I’ll be back, okay? MATT: “Of course “I’ll be here if you need me.” LAURA: Okay As I start to run away, I stop and turn around at the door and say: Have you heard anything else from Lord Sharpe? Have you heard anything else from Lord Sharpe? MATT: “Not at the moment, but he has “He hasn’t been a client for a bit of time.” LAURA: Not anything since the party? MATT: “No.” LAURA: Okay MATT: “Why?” LAURA: I was just wondering I was just wondering MATT: “Okay.” LAURA: I love you! MATT: “I love you too, Jester.” LAURA: And I ran down the stairs MATT: Okay So, as you all gathered at the bottom of the Lavish Chateau, where are you off to? LAURA: I tell her exactly, I’ll tell everybody where Veth lives. Should we head off there immediately? LIAM: We need our ninth member MARISHA: Let’s go Kick down her door Break all of her plates Eat all of her food LIAM: Like friends do MARISHA: Drink all of her booze MATT: (chuckling) MARISHA: It’s going to be great MATT: Now Veth, what have you been up to since they’ve been gone? SAM: Well, it’s only been, like, 10 hours (laughter) MATT: Yeah SAM: So not a whole lot? We had a day, we walked around, went to the beach, went to the farmer’s market, had a lunch outside We’re probably cooking, getting ready for a really nice dinner when– LAURA: Little dinner SAM: Yeah, when knock, knock, knock, I guess (laughter) TRAVIS: Knock knock. (slamming) TALIESIN, MARISHA, ASHLEY: Hey! MARISHA: Oh god, it smells so good! What are you cooking? TRAVIS: Oh, hand me some of that, will you? MARISHA: Do you have chairs? MATT: (as Yeza) “Should I–” MARISHA: We could pull up some chairs TALIESIN: I can just– SAM: We have four chairs MATT: “Yeah, I can get some things, “I didn’t realize were having company.” SAM: I didn’t either, They just left! LAURA: We can eat on the floor. It’s okay, I don’t mind SAM: Oh, no, no, we’ll sit on the floor We made sausages and things MARISHA: What a nice balcony! I could sleep on the balcony SAM: You’re sleeping here?! LAURA: No, no, no, we can sleep at the Lavish Chateau There’s plenty of rooms there It’s fine ASHLEY: I put Luc on my shoulders SAM: Oh, that’s tall MATT: “I’m going to– I’ll be right back “I’m just going to make a quick trip to just “grab a few things that we–” LAURA: Do you need any help? MATT: “I’m fine, I can get to and from pretty quick.” SAM: Okay, well, hurry back Oh shit, I think I just stepped in dog shit Oh my MATT: “(sighs)” SAM: Just go, I’ll clean it up by the time you get back here LIAM: Yasha, be careful, the boy’s head is practically scraping the ceiling LAURA: Yeah, maybe duck a little bit ASHLEY: You okay up there? MATT: (as Luc) “Yeah! “This is so cool!” TALIESIN: Careful of the ceiling fan MATT: He’s now doing like, arm flexing, muscles, like ASHLEY: Ooh, so strong! (laughter) ASHLEY: He’s a tough boy SAM: Wow, you guys were gone so long (laughter) SAM: Do we have a new mission? MARISHA: So much has happened LAURA: Oh my gosh, so much SAM: Recap everything that happened in order! MARISHA: And we do (laughter) MATT: Okay LIAM: Thank you SAM: Wow! What a detailed account! MARISHA: Yeah. Bored Fjord SAM: Wow. Anyway, my god So we’re going to dinner with the enemy That’s crazy TRAVIS: Yes SAM: Tomorrow, did you say? Or two days? LIAM: Tomorrow night. We can– SAM: Tomorrow night LIAM: — enjoy the evening here SAM: Yes, yes, yes And then tomorrow, are there preparations that we need to make, like, you know, like a code word or anything, or should we bring a bomb in case things go awry, or? LAURA: Ooh, good call TALIESIN: Really? TRAVIS: You have a bomb just sitting? LAURA: Yeah, a bomb’s always smart– SAM: I have a bomb, yes LAURA: — to have, you know, around, just in case SAM: Or we’ve got Yeza here

I could make some sort of, I can have him make some sort of alchemical thing that we, like, just sprinkle into Ikithon’s drink LAURA: It makes him shit all over himself! SAM: Yeah, I was thinking kill him, but you know Or he can just shit all over himself TRAVIS: Shit himself is good, too LAURA: Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be, though, if he just shit all over himself at the table in his own house? SAM: That’d be pretty good LIAM: I think our chances of murdering Trent Ikithon in his home are slim to none TRAVIS: Good to know, good to know LAURA: What if we lure him out onto a balcony or something? LIAM: What if we go to dinner– SAM: And eat it? LIAM: Eat it, after Beauregard eats it MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah LIAM: Give it to Beauregard. She’ll try anything MARISHA: Mm-hmm. (laughs) LIAM: And let’s see what we see MARISHA: But I guess just to be clear, if there does happen to be a chance where we can murder him, should we? Or should we just like, table that? TRAVIS: I think we’re following his lead Caleb’s lead, yeah? MARISHA: Okay TALIESIN: No sudden moves MARISHA: Yeah SAM: And this trip northward to the frigid country, is that immediately after dinner, or days later? LAURA: It’s like a week from now LIAM: End of the week SAM: So we don’t need to be prepared for like a quick, “Thanks for dinner, Trent. Let’s get the fuck outta here.” We don’t to do that or anything, right? TALIESIN: Only if dinner goes really poorly LAURA: Only if we stay at Trent’s place for a week We should get some winter clothes together, you guys MARISHA: Yeah, we should TALIESIN: I have nothing LAURA: It’s going to be so cold SAM: Okay LIAM: Top of the world, yeah SAM: Is there shopping here? LAURA: I mean, yeah, but SAM: But not winter shopping LIAM: No, I think Rexxentrum is better LAURA: We can have anything custom made, yeah, but it’s colder there LIAM: Yeah. Yeah TALIESIN: A little better SAM: Okay MATT: (creaking door) (as Yeza) “All right, so I think I’ve got enough for everybody.” TRAVIS: Oh, let me take that for you Let me help you LAURA: He’s like a Santa Claus! MARISHA: Oh, you got a six pack! Awesome! SAM: Caduceus, can you help cook a little bit? TALIESIN: Yeah, no, let me– let’s– MATT: “Yeah, yeah, come.” TALIESIN: Oh, it’s really tiny in here. How do you do– oh wow LIAM: Oh, wow TALIESIN: Okay LAURA: Oh TRAVIS: Oh, yeah LAURA: Maybe just get down on your knees, Caduceus TALIESIN: I’m going to just sit I’m just not even– I’m just going to sit down MATT: “I’ll get a stool for you, just–” TALIESIN: Oh no, the floor is fine. This is really low MATT: “Okay, no worries. Just help me cut these up “and I’ll go ahead and get it sautéing, and I’ve got it “You guys continue, sorry.” SAM: We rented the halfling apartment, but we should have rented a full size one MARISHA: Yeah. (laughs) TALIESIN: The rent different is– SAM: You know what? Here Yeza, take 500 gold and just get us another place nearby in case this happens again MATT: “Where are you getting all this money?” SAM: Oh, it’s crazy. We find money all over the place (laughter) SAM: This one, this bunch we found in a volcano! LAURA: It’s true MATT: “So you weren’t joking You actually were in a volcano?” SAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah That wasn’t a metaphorical volcano That was a real volcano MATT: “I thought you were just on, like, “an emotional journey with your friends.” SAM: I mean, it was also cathartic for many other reasons, but no, no, this was a literal volcano MATT: “So this tentacled, multi-eyed beast “wasn’t some sort of projection of your internal–” SAM: It wasn’t fear of commitment MATT: “Actual?” SAM: No, it was real, yeah MATT: “That is terrifying.” Luc’s like, “It’s so cool!” LAURA: It was really cool LIAM: It’s a hard story to tell with Luc around, to be honest MARISHA: It’s what? It’s a bad story to tell? LIAM: It’s a hard story to tell, as many of the details are maybe not for– MARISHA: No, it’s the best story to tell with him around LAURA: It was a giant, black– LIAM: Maybe a couple more years LAURA: — multi-tentacled monster– MARISHA: He’s going to find out sooner or later, man SAM: We’ll just skip a couple of– LAURA: — fire coming out of his skin and he breathed fire and he had multiple eyes and he sent you these mental images of this really scary place MATT: “And did you kill him, Mom?” SAM: (scoffs) Duh MATT: “Yes!” LAURA: Your mom had the final blow She took him down with one shot LIAM: Murdered him straight up SAM: Did I? MATT: Yeza’s over in the corner, like, (tapping) TRAVIS: Finger, finger, finger MATT: “Okay! Okay “I mean that’s greatly impressive. Be careful.” SAM: Of course, of course. Always careful Safety first, right? That’s The Mighty Nein motto LAURA: And then we were throwing penises into a volcano, in the same volcano, and this god came down SAM: Don’t worry. They weren’t real penises We made them first MARISHA: They were real penises SAM: They were toy penises LAURA: Here! MATT: “Dad, what’s a penis?” And Yeza’s like, (groans) LIAM: Oh no! TRAVIS: There was a gold one, but it got stuck in this woman’s hand. It was incredible MATT: (as Luc) “What?!” TRAVIS: For-ev-er MATT: Yeza’s like, “Oh, ah– honey?” SAM: Sorry, we’ll tone it down a little bit TALIESIN: Going to be the best archenemy LAURA: Yeah SAM: But– MARISHA: Hey, Luc. Luc! MATT: (whispering) “What?” MARISHA: You want to learn our secret handshake, though, from the island? MATT: “Yeah!” MARISHA: Just go: Chaos reign! MATT: “Chaos reign!” Yeza’s like, “No no no!” MARISHA: You got it, yeah! SAM: Here, here, here. Give him a fucking firework, take his mind off ASHLEY: Wait, here, here, here

MARISHA: Yeah, let’s shoot some fireworks off from the balcony MATT: “I want a fucking firework!” MARISHA: Yeah! TRAVIS: We have any more T-Rex? Did anyone bring home T-Rex in a pouch or something? TALIESIN: I’ve got some teeth ASHLEY: A T-Rex tooth? LAURA: Yeah! We all have a tooth! MATT: “Hey, Luc, why don’t you go play with “your friend Vanishing Dog, whatever his name is.” LAURA: Nugget, his name is Nugget MATT: “Nugget “That’s the one.” MARISHA: I slip Luc some bottle rockets MATT: Make a sleight of hand check MARISHA: Okay TRAVIS: He’s going to burn the house down LAURA: Oh my god. Please don’t bust his hand off LIAM: Does your house have a yard? LAURA: If he does, though, I’ll be able to fix it. Don’t worry LIAM: No? MARISHA: 11 SAM: There must be a courtyard. It’s a condo MATT: So Yeza sees it TALIESIN: Those Malibu houses SAM: Taliesin, can you tell me, what was it like to grow up as Luc? (laughter) MATT: Yeza walks over and takes the rockets from Luc LAURA and MARISHA: Aww MATT: “When he’s old enough.” LAURA: How old is he? How old is Luc? SAM: DM? (laughter) SAM: At the beginning I felt he was around three or four Now I feel like he’s like six or seven MATT: No, he’s like four SAM: He’s four?! LAURA: He’s four?! SAM: Oh my god! But you know, halflings are different LAURA: I thought he was six or seven! SAM: Halflings are different, right? LIAM: Yeah, they’re much older LAURA: He’s that little? MATT: Yeah LAURA: Oh, now I feel really bad TRAVIS: You gave a four-year-old bottle rockets MATT: Yeah LAURA: You gave a four-year-old a crossbow! MARISHA: Perfectly safe toy ASHLEY: Also, your four-year-old should know what his penis is LAURA: Yeah, a four-year-old should definitely know SAM: We call it a wee-wee LAURA: Oh ASHLEY: A wee-wee MATT: The term he was unfamiliar with SAM: Yeah LAURA: Got it SAM: We don’t use medical terms around him LAURA: You know, my mom believed in medical terms Just put it right out there SAM: Really? LAURA: Yeah That way you never, you know, get confused TRAVIS: Put the penis right out there? LAURA: Just the word MATT: “Dinner’s ready!” (laughter) MATT: All right LAURA: (laughing) Three or four?! SAM: Well, I was confused! He acts– he’s very precocious He reads at a sixth grade– a six-year-old level, I mean LAURA: Oh yeah, well TRAVIS: Sixth grade level? Holy shit, he’s brilliant (laughter) MATT: So You enjoy a fine meal, cooked by the team of Yeza and Caduceus Catch up a bit more on the stories about your all perspectives on the experience, Rumblecusp And you’re able to speak on whatever, as much as you’d like to about your future plans, if at all But nevertheless evening grows dark, the sun sets Is there anything you wish to accomplish for the night here in Nicodranas? TALIESIN: I’m going to take a walk to the lighthouse LAURA: Oh MATT: Okay. All right After the meal is done, and it is a nice filling meal, some of you rest to digest for a bit and, you know, watch Luc begin to act out his interpretations of the things that his mother did He starts taking his– still slightly dangerous for a child his age, crossbow– (laughter) ASHLEY: Four-year-old SAM: Got to learn some time MATT: Yep While Caduceus, you make your way out along the sand-scraped cobblestones of the Opal Archways, passing down towards the harbor Drawn towards the image of the large lighthouse of the Wild Mother You can see the gradual shifting of the beam across the cloudless starry night sky You can hear the sound of waves crashing against the rocks and beach You can hear the occasional whistles and bells from ships that are coming into and going back out to harbor TALIESIN: This is perfect I’m going to cast Word of Recall MATT: Okay SAM: (whispering) What does that do? I guess it recalls something? LIAM: Didn’t you see Total Recall? TALIESIN: Total Recall SAM: Word of Total Recall LAURA: Wait TALIESIN: You have to do it in a– You get the little temple, I don’t MATT: All right. So SAM: Are you leaving the party? MATT: Explain how you cast the spell TALIESIN: Take in the lighthouse, and I reach into my bag for some of the mushrooms and fruit and dirt that I keep from home that my tea comes from, and I just slowly drop it at the edge of the lighthouse as I walk around it as much as I can And let it start to take root and use the Decompose to just let it begin to grow at its accelerated rate

MATT: Okay TALIESIN: Connect it to my temple MATT: Okay. As you finish your pass around, which the lighthouse is on the edge of the cliff So there are a few precarious edges that you toss and let the wind do the rest for you And as you do, you toss a bit of this mulch, if you will, into the wind and watch as a breeze blows it back in to the lighthouse, and it slides down into the bits of cliff edge, dirt, sea grass that are barely cusping off the edge And as you return back to the point where you had begun this, you can already see small peaking caps beginning to make their way through As you finish concentrating, close your eyes, taking a deep breath and muttering your prayer to the Wild Mother, with your eyes closed, the lightless expanse around you Through your eyelids, you see a faint, warm pale white-green glow in the shape of the lighthouse itself, pierce into your mind’s eye And as you slowly open your eyes, that glow remains hanging for but a second longer It’s like the lighthouse itself is emitting light as a central beacon, as opposed to the actual beam As that fades, you look down and the mushrooms are now fully grown as if weeks had passed in a matter of moments And you feel a a deep, anchored connection to this lighthouse TALIESIN: With a little luck, we won’t need this, but we’ll try to deal with what you’ve put in front of us Thank you I’ll take the slow walk back to the Chateau, so MATT: Okay LAURA: I’m going to walk back to the Lavish Chateau Actually, are we all going back there to sleep tonight? LIAM: You said you were putting us up there, yeah LAURA: Okay, okay, okay. I’ll do this when we get back, then MATT: Okay LAURA: But I will step away for a moment and I’m going to just– is there a balcony here? Is there somewhere where I can be a little private? Veth? SAM: Oh yeah, sure. There’s a little courtyard and there’s a roof, there’s a rooftop deck LAURA: Really? SAM: Well, it came with the HOA LAURA: Wow. I’m going to go up to the rooftop deck MATT: Okay. (giggles) LAURA: I’m going to sit down and I’m going to cast Scry on Lord Robert Sharpe MATT: All right LAURA: And see what the fuck he’s doing MATT: Okay. You sit there for a second Looking over, from this perspective, it’s a beautiful view of the Archways of the buildings of similar height And you can see, because the Archways exists a little bit on a higher hill than a lot of the rest of the city, which descends around before it gets to the edge of the cliff side So from this rooftop view at night, it’s this beautiful landscape of hundreds and hundreds of lantern lights, different colors, of different colored glass, and lanterns So it’s this beautiful view And as you sit, the still somewhat warm ocean air coming in, close your eyes and concentrate In that moment, you sense across from you, hands taking yours and a voice, a familiar voice goes, “So you want to go peek in on that disgusting being.” LAURA: I just want to make sure that, you know, I’m not going to get in trouble for what we pulled at the party MATT: “Let’s go have a look, shall we?” LAURA: Okay! MATT: As you close your eyes, you feel your consciousness extend a bit, like the Traveler is taking your hand and pulling your spirit from your body for about a moment In that passage, you bring yourself immediately to the exterior of a beautiful mansion, this estate that exists on the northeastern side of Nicodranas And there, suddenly, you see him sitting in some sort of a dark red leather study, books everywhere He’s in a long loose silk robe over just some comfortable, expensive clothing And it looks like he’s in the process of reading just casually LAURA: What is he reading? Can I see? MATT: Make a perception check TRAVIS: Oh, which one will it be? SAM: Got to pick a good one LAURA: 13 MATT: 13? Can’t quite make out the details, but you can get a good view of him He looks like he hasn’t been sleeping well,

but not much else you really pick up on him LAURA: Is there anybody there with him? MATT: Not from what you can tell, since the focus of this particular scrying beacon is him You can just make out some of the colors in the room around him and the furniture he’s immediately on, which is a lounging couch, dark red leather That’s about it LAURA: Okay MATT: So he’s not currently at the moment hunting you down, if that’s what you were worried about LAURA: No, no, no. You know, just… all right SAM: The book is called, “How to Kill Jester.” LAURA: I know, right? MATT: (laughs) TRAVIS: So You Got Caught Out On The Balcony With Your Wang Out MATT: Second edition (laughter) LAURA: Okay. I guess I’ll stop scrying then MATT: Mmkay. As you return, the voice of the Traveler echoes through your mind “Well. At least we didn’t catch him “with his wang in his hand.” LAURA: That would have been better, though MATT: “Mmm… some things even I don’t want to see.” And then as you open your eyes again, you briefly think you see the flutter of a cloak, but it’s just a leaf drifting by in the wind, but there’s no trees immediately nearby So the source of the leaf is a little strange LAURA: I go back inside MATT: Okay. Any other business before the night is done? SAM: Negative LIAM: I think when we all get back to the Chateau, and we’re laughing and had a good time over dinner and it’s all winding down, I say: Hey, you have talked so much about your time as a child with your fey friend here and all the time you were trapped in your room Would you show us your room? I’m so curious We’ve been in this building so many times and I’ve always wondered what your childhood bedroom looked like LAURA: You guys want to see my room? MARISHA: I feel like– TRAVIS: Sure MARISHA: I think I saw it when you dressed me up in your dress one time, but I– it’s a sight to behold LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, come on up! I’ll go up and show them Good! I needed to go to my room anyway, so this is perfect MATT: Okay. Jester leads you up to the chamber where she spent the majority of her life, and you may describe it to them as you see fit LAURA: Oh my gosh. Um There’s a very, ornate little bed in the room Lots of ruffles. It’s like a, you know, four-post bed, sort of. There’s a canopy, you know There’s lots of little trinkets everywhere Little sculptures, some are shitty, some are pretty good Lots of books And all over the walls, starting at the bottom with really not very good drawings, it just covers up The higher you go, the better the drawings get ASHLEY: As you got taller, you got better LAURA: You know, I think talent comes with height ASHLEY: Probably. I must be extremely talented then LAURA: You are, Yasha LIAM: You’re a big reader? LAURA: Oh, well, yeah. What else are you going to do when you’re, you know, hanging out in here? Plus, I had a lot of tutors, you know My mom always said it’s very important to be educated So you can be a good conversationalist LIAM: Wise woman LAURA: Yes TRAVIS: There are a lot of windows in this room LAURA: Yeah. It’s fun to look out. Isn’t it? LIAM: How many times have you climbed out that window? LAURA: (giggles) Um Quite a few. But I was actually pretty good about staying in for a very long time It wasn’t until after the Traveler, really, that I started sneaking out a little bit more What do you think? LIAM: Better than I imagined, you were not lying LAURA: Oh, oh, oh! Lay down on the bed! It’s okay. It’s okay. Just lay down TRAVIS: Just lay down in the bed, Caleb LIAM: I… it’s a little small for me, but okay LAURA: If you lay down in the bed, up on top of the canopy, I’ve painted the beautiful landscape of the Nicodranas sea line with the lighthouse and everything so you can see it looking out It’s like you’re looking out the window, but it’s above you! MATT: (tapping) (panting) You watch as Nugget leaps up onto the bed as well and is like (panting) LIAM: I’m really more of a cat person, but okay MATT: And just pees in the bed LAURA: No, Nugget! LIAM: Now this I am familiar with LAURA: Nugget, get down. Oh, what is happening? You really should learn, Nugget. Don’t pee in the bed MATT: Is just gone LIAM: Smells like old times LAURA: I was going to sleep here tonight,

now I can’t sleep in this bed MARISHA: We can help you change the sheets real quick LAURA: Ugh, it’s probably gone through to the mattress I’m going to have to buy a new mattress MARISHA: Caduceus, magic it away TALIESIN: How? MARISHA: I don’t know TRAVIS: Eldritch Blast (laughter) MATT and LIAM: (explosion) LIAM: Blackened feathers everywhere TALIESIN: I wave my hands and the windows all suddenly snap closed (crashing) MARISHA: Okay. Yeah, that works TALIESIN: I don’t know what else to tell you LAURA: Keep them open, it’s a very strong smell TALIESIN: I make them all open LAURA: But while we’re here, I am going to also cast Word of Recall here in this room MATT: Okay LAURA: This is, if there ever would be a temple to the Traveler, this is it Since I’ve painted many drawings of him and other things that remind me of him all through the room MATT: Okay. As you guys are here, taking in the space, you watch as Jester smiles and closes her eyes and begins muttering this quiet as much of a prayer to the Traveler as there can be It’s more of just a bunch of like, “Hey, you’re pretty cool.” LAURA: This is going to be, like, a cool temple that people come to TALIESIN: It sounds like Doo Wah Diddy, I don’t know MATT: As she begins to mutter this, it’s interesting The room is lit by three separate lanterns that give this warm interior glow You watch as they all slowly grow dimmer and dimmer And as they do, certain drawings in the surrounding chamber begin to get brighter and brighter You can see numerous dots of green and you can now see clearly what was mostly hidden amongst this scattering tapestry of sketches throughout her lifetime, how many various interpretations of the Traveler are hidden throughout this room And now all of them, one by one are all giving off this faint green glow until eventually the lanterns are nearly extinguished and you can see dozens and dozens of these vibrant, alighting your faces with the volume of light that’s coming from this in a green hue, before (whooshing) all the lanterns brighten up once again and you shake your head, and the color passes And you are now linked to this as a sanctuary for Word of Recall LAURA: Great! Did you also do it? TALIESIN: Oh yeah, that was my walk earlier I’ve got everything MARISHA: What did, what did you all do? LAURA: Well, if ever we’re in a horrible situation that Caleb maybe can’t get us out of, Caduceus and I will be able to get us back to Nicodranas in a flash TALIESIN: We’ll need both of us for everybody, but LAURA: Yeah LIAM: There’s always one of us unconscious, so TRAVIS: Mm, mm-hmm MARISHA: All right ASHLEY: It just bamfs us back here? TALIESIN: Yep ASHLEY: Wow, that’s cool! LAURA: Yeah TALIESIN: Technically, I’ll take us a few blocks away LAURA: Technically, he will! TALIESIN: Yeah! LIAM: Is it very taxing on you to do? LAURA: Well, it’s almost the top of my skill set, but not quite, if you know what I mean (laughter) SAM: Oh boy LIAM: At face value, I think so? (laughter) TRAVIS: Oof (laughter) TALIESIN: It’s not the worst thing, but it’s if we’ve had a real rough time, then hopefully we still have the energy for it LAURA: Yeah LIAM: Excellent Two clerics. Not every group of adventurers is lucky enough to have two clerics LAURA: Yep LIAM: Right, Matthew? LAURA: Some don’t even have one MATT: Indeed TALIESIN: Foolish people MATT: You almost have more than one healer (groaning) LAURA: (cackles) Oh yeah TALIESIN: That’s rough, buddy LIAM: I mean, to be fair, Caduceus is like 1.3 healers TALIESIN: That’s true LIAM: And Jester’s like 0.4 So that’s a lot of healing MATT: Yeah MARISHA: It’s pretty good MATT: If you’re rounding up, then yeah, you have two healers TALIESIN: It’s like the low-fat milk of healers. It’s 98% LAURA: But, you guys, look at my pretty dress I painted (laughter) MATT: Different skills. It’s fine LIAM: Clerlock? LAURA: Yeah MATT: All right Is there anything else you wish to accomplish for the evening or shall we bring you to the next morning? TRAVIS: Next morning MARISHA: Next morning! MATT: Okay LIAM: Caleb will… so quick Caleb will take out the smaller book and spend 15 minutes writing MATT: Okay LIAM: That’s all MATT: Cool. All right. You eventually head off to your various chambers throughout the Chateau and find yourselves getting a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed LAURA: Oh, I snuggle up with Mama since my bed smells like piss MATT: She doesn’t argue

An early morning wakes you all, as you didn’t, especially after your odd sleep schedule in Rumblecusp, getting yourselves back on a decent schedule You go to bed a little early, wake up a little early At like 7:00, 7:30. Shortly after dawn The morning greets you. You all gather downstairs and a morning meal has already been prepared for all of you, courtesy of the Chateau itself What would you like to do? LAURA: It’s great here. Isn’t it? MARISHA: The breakfast buffet cannot be beaten. It’s so good ASHLEY: This is… A buffet. I can’t even You can have anything you want LAURA: And as much as you want! ASHLEY: Yeah. It’s not like you just get one thing, you have every choice TALIESIN: Plates are so small, though I don’t know how any of you deal with this ASHLEY: I’ve went back seven times already TALIESIN: Could I bring my own plate next time? Is that okay? LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Feel free LIAM: Bottomless French toast is amazing ASHLEY: BYO Plate? P? Bring your own plate? MARISHA: BYOP LIAM: But so much asparagus Is that, like, a Nicodranas thing? TALIESIN: It grows very well. It’s hard to kill once you got it going LAURA: Yeah TALIESIN: It’s true MARISHA: I swipe some bacon, put it in my pocket for later MATT: Okay Veth, you can smell the breakfast this early in the morning being cooked across the way SAM: Come over for breakfast. So what’s going on? We going or what? LAURA: Yeah. Are Luc and Yussa with you? SAM: Yep, they’re coming with us LAURA: I don’t mean that, but they can have some of the free breakfast SAM: They can take– I mean, we have food LAURA: Yeah, I know. But this breakfast is, like, it’s like going to the Four Seasons for a free breakfast SAM: They eat here every other day! LAURA: Okay, okay SAM: They are sick of it Did you try the bottomless french toast, by the way? ASHLEY: I just get up and walk over (laughter) SAM: Get some powdered sugar! LIAM: Yasha just undoes her big gnarly belt just, like, one notch LAURA: Woo! ASHLEY: I just take it off MATT: Everyone’s ready for a– (strained) whole day of adventuring Getting the pancake sweats MARISHA: Yeah LAURA: I’m going to just fill my haversack with a lot of pastries, because it’s been awhile MATT: Yeah. Easy enough to do, and there are plenty here So you can write down in your inventory, number of pastries LAURA: Okay TALIESIN: A cornucopia of baked goods SAM: I will take some as well LIAM: Veth, here’s a question for you We are going to be in Rexxentrum for the week We have a lot of time there and we’ve been away from your family for so long Would you like to bring them with? To Rexxentrum? SAM: Is it safe? LAURA: Well, we’re going to see my dad SAM: Wait, what? Your dad is in Rexxentrum? LIAM: Well, we won’t bring them to that, but I have a perfect place for us to stay while we’re there and they could– they’d be very comfortable SAM: Do we have a place? Do you have a place to stay there? LIAM: Yeah. There’s an inn that I am intimately familiar with MARISHA: The Gentleman? The Gentleman’s in Rex– what? LAURA: No, The Gentleman’s in Zadash, can we go there? SAM: Wait, what’s going on? TALIESIN: I would not say no to that at some point SAM: Are we going to have dinner with the enemy tonight? LAURA: You’re right. Yes, that’s happening tonight LIAM: Zadash and Pumat will have to wait LAURA: I mean after dinner. If we survive I want to go see my dad SAM: If I can keep them close, then yeah TRAVIS: (impacts) LAURA: Sorry, guys LIAM: Actually, I am familiar with lodging in both Zadash and Rexxentrum that could house all of us SAM: Okay Yeah! LIAM: It’s just, you’ve had so little time SAM: I had one day. Yes, no, it would be great to keep them around. They can have a little jaunt LIAM: Is everybody– I mean, obviously, they’re not coming to a wizard’s tower TALIESIN: I think it’s a great idea LIAM: Good LAURA: As long as, you know, Trent won’t be spying on us and will use Veth’s family as collateral and do something evil SAM: Ooh, yeah. Maybe we should leave them here for this, until after the Trent dinner and then we can bring them up LAURA: Yeah, and then they can come with us to Zadash and they can see my dad! LIAM: Okay SAM: Yeah. Yeah TALIESIN: I like Zadash. That’ll be nice SAM: Yeah. Just in case there’s a horrible, you know, murder tonight TALIESIN: Murder wizard SAM: Yeah ASHLEY: You say that so happy TALIESIN: Just rolled off the tongue SAM: But thank you for the offer So how do we get there? Are you going to teleport us? LIAM: Well, I would prefer to be at peak capability this evening, if need be, so I would like to use SAM: I have some of that sex potion that I didn’t use yet, if you need that LIAM: Maybe on another night I just mean if we get pulled into danger So I would prefer to use the library again, if that’s all right with you MARISHA: Oh yeah. Do we need to go to Yussa to use that?

Or can we just go from here and then go there? LIAM: No, we can go from anywhere, but we would need to land at the circle at the Cobalt Soul MARISHA: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s fine LAURA: Do I need to be in peak form tonight? LIAM: Well, you rarely are not, but I would advise it, yeah LAURA: Then I probably should not send a message ahead of us MARISHA: I think LIAM: You’re kind of a big deal now MARISHA: We’re above that. Exactly And they know that we’re coming in and out. It’s fine TALIESIN: Only one way to find out, I suppose LIAM: Put your new status to the test MARISHA: Yeah. Let’s go LIAM: Okay. So are we ready now? Any last minute things? MARISHA: I look out the window Do I see Thaddeus? MATT: Make a perception check MARISHA: Okay LIAM: Oh man. That’d be the best MARISHA: Look, you’re so– you’re too far It’s a natural 20! I swear to god, it’s a natural 20 TALIESIN: It’s just lumps of rock MARISHA: It’s that one. It’s that. It’s 24 total MATT: Okay As they’re all having this conversation, getting ready, you just glance over your shoulder, out the window and you see about a block and a half down the way (wings flapping) something fly MARISHA: Son of a bitch. Right before we poof MATT: Well, you have to step through MARISHA: Son of a bi– MATT: (thudding, whooshing) MARISHA: Yeah. (laughs) Yeah TALIESIN: (magic pulsing) MARISHA: What?! MATT: As you all emerge– LIAM: (hooting) MATT: — in the familiar subterranean basement of the Rexxentrum Archive of the Cobalt Soul You can see there is an individual who is sitting there, currently writing in a small book, glance up and (chair screeches) MARISHA: Don’t worry about it Expositor Beau MATT: “Right.” MARISHA: Thanks MATT: “We weren’t made aware of, um…” LAURA: I was going to send you a message ahead of time, but I need all my spells, you know MATT: “Certainly.” As you guys all walk past, make your way up into the library proper, once again the massive interior of this amazing library Since last you were here, meeting with Yudala Fon and a few other members, Crook, the day before LIAM: Yeah MATT: What would you like to do? MARISHA: I guess– nah. She said she’d contact me MATT: They MARISHA: They’d contact me It’s fine. Let’s just move on MATT: Okay. All right SAM: What time is it? Midday? MATT: No, right now it’s early morning. You guys have plenty of time. Is there anything you want to do before tonight in Rexxentrum or otherwise? If you have means of teleport and such, like, you have ways to go. So TRAVIS: I love Matt MATT: I’m just saying don’t feel constrained TRAVIS: “You’re all just going to dinner, huh? “Just going to dinner!” (laughter) TRAVIS: “You got all day!” ASHLEY: Just want to go straight in TALIESIN: Clock’s ticking MATT: I mean, you totally can! LAURA: No, no, no LIAM: Sun’s still shining on you LAURA: We should get some winter clothes, getting prepared so that it can be made while we’re, you know, doing other things MARISHA: Yeah LIAM: Okay LAURA: Sometimes it might take, like, a week to get a coat made or something ASHLEY: Was there any research? Did we already research the Nine Eyes and all that stuff that we were going to do? LIAM: Beauregard’s delegating TALIESIN: Going through there ASHLEY: That’s right. That’s right TALIESIN: Going to your dad, I think that would be a good thing to poke around in ASHLEY: Before we LAURA: Yeah But not today LIAM: Not today TALIESIN: Tomorrow LIAM: But you’re right, we could get some clothing orders in now, so that they’ll be done hopefully by the end of the week, because it is going to be cold as a motherfuck up on top of the world TRAVIS: Do I have this map or is this just for reference? Was this given to us? MATT: That was given to you Or, actually, DeRogna still has it, but showed it to you TRAVIS: Cool. Nevermind MATT: So, and with your keen mind, you would have a very clear LIAM: (high-pitched nerdy groan) MATT: Yep. Just like that That’s the sound it makes every time you use it LAURA: Should we research the city of Aeor? Eeyore? Aeor? SAM: Eh LIAM: (mimics character of Eeyore) The fine city of Aeor MATT: You guys can research whatever you want to with the time you got LAURA: Because we’re here MARISHA: I’m fine with that LAURA: We got in the library, might as well MARISHA: I’m going to check with the monks, too, to see if they actually have some winter garb that might be a little bit more official, uniform LAURA: Good call, good call MARISHA: So yeah So I’ll actually double back inside MATT: Okay MARISHA: And yeah, talk to somebody, and be like, “Outfit me.”

MATT: Okay. Some of the various archivists, or the keepers of the library take you to one of the outfitting chambers there where they have a lot of their standard uniforms for different positions, as well as different weather, and battle armaments and such They don’t have anything that is on its own prepared for the cold that you’ve been told to prepare for But there are some “expositor plus” gear that you can bring that is the beginnings of an outfit that is prepared for the weather you’re going to be encountering Heavy fur lining in some cases, thicker pants with multiple layers, heavy boots that are designed for harsher terrain as well as to prevent moisture from soaking into the center So you get some elements like that You still would probably need to supplement that with like cloak, hood, and probably something for your arms, if you really want to MARISHA: Okay. I’ll grab a pair of pants, like baggy, almost look like gaucho pants that are fur-lined Take my expositor belt that Dairon gave me that I haven’t really adorned yet, and officially tie it around my waist It’s a slate gray that fades, very much in the style that my first belt went to, but fades to a royal cobalt blue And then I grab a fur-lined vest off as well MATT: Okay MARISHA: Just throw that on. Start there MATT: Okay MARISHA: Do they have any, like, pins or anything? Like Ioun pins or badges or something? I don’t know MATT: I mean, there are different elements of iconography that you can use to adorn yourself, if you like You may have to refashion, or fashion it to you MARISHA: Like a little All-Seeing Eye broach or something MATT: Okay. You got it LIAM: Some TGIF flair? MARISHA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hate Mondays. Yeah MATT: Yeah. Not a lot of flair in the library there, unfortunately. All right MARISHA: And then I guess on the way out, I’ll grab Caleb Should we– should we do some research? Wanna hit the books? LIAM: You want to look into flying cities? MARISHA: I guess, I don’t know what else to do with my time LIAM: (sighs) Yeah, we have to– I still need to go shopping, but MARISHA: Well, how about you go shop. I’ll pull some books Feel free to come back whenever LIAM: You pull books, and then I will come back and help you read MARISHA: Great LIAM: Okay MARISHA: I start my thing MATT: All right. What are you researching? Who’s researching what while you’re here? MARISHA: I’m going to talk to one of the scribes One of the archivists. Aeor, fall-foul-Farlan… wait Todd McFarland. What was TRAVIS: Foren? MARISHA: Foren? Yes That And anything about potential, like, weapons or magics or anything that we might find there TRAVIS: Allowak’s Sanctuary? MARISHA: And the Allowak’s Sanctuary MATT: Okay. Go ahead and roll an investigation check for me MARISHA: Okay. [inaudible muttering] All right. Don’t fuck this up. Don’t fuck this up Okay. Okay. Uh 26 LAURA: Ooh! MARISHA: Rolled a 17 MATT: Not bad Okay Foren is the name of the centralmost and largest body of land in Eiselcross Eiselcross is made up of numerous smaller sections of land, like islands, larger islands, that cluster around its space there Most of the area is above the tree line There are some sporadic trees and such, but a lot of it’s just open snowy tundra Blizzard-scarred landscapes, and jagged mountains of gray and white stone You There’s not a whole lot to the history there There is no historical value to the location that is recorded necessarily It’s too far north for people to go and want to live So it seems like the first society that went that direction, out of just general curiosity and expedition attempts was through Uthodurn MARISHA: Okay MATT: And there was a village of Syrinlya that was founded by them, but it was mainly just a fishing village that was trying to take up whatever resources were available on that northern side Not too terribly far from where Uthodurn was, just across the sea comparatively And you also learn that there were strange artifacts being brought back from those small outposts of Uthodurn that were being traded south And this is over the past half a century or so

MARISHA: Oh MATT: They were just strange little sections of relics and things that– some were nonfunctional, some held some power within them still And that’s what began to draw the curiosity and interest of the Empire And then the Empire began to build their own outpost up there, known as Balenpost MARISHA: That’s Balenpost. Okay MATT: You learn that the journey northward– technically it’s a shorter ship ride between Bysaes Tyl, which is the northernmost elven, primarily elven city of the Empire However, the Frozen Depths of that ocean channel there is extremely dangerous to travel So most people prefer to go the lengthier, but safer route from Palebank Village to the south area of Foren To confirm what you heard from Vess DeRogna, there are number of regions on the island of Foren and a lot across Eiselcross that just have strange flares and odd regions of wild magic, where magic of all kinds seems to be bent or twisted and having effects that you weren’t expecting Certain incantations could give you odd, unexpected results Certain incantations could give you odd, unexpected results And depending on the powers that are attempting to be evoked, can be extremely dangerous MARISHA: And that’s any magic user that was attempting to MATT: Correct MARISHA: Okay MATT: With that roll– MARISHA: So– okay MATT: With that roll, there’s only a little bit of information that’s coming directly from Eiselcross and the excavations currently to the Cobalt Soul, because it is a very, very carefully guarded location And for the most part, there is a There’s a lot of mistrust up north and there are a lot of– apparently a number of decades, still, of subtle skirmishes and elements of violence and bloodshed between the Dynasty and the Empire in those regions before the war ever broke out And most likely after the peace was even set, recently Based around these excavations MARISHA: Okay MATT: And there is the central excavation, the biggest one where it is believed where these relics came from And many people surmise that at least a portion of the ancient city of Aeor exists And there are smaller sites throughout where smaller pieces may have fallen, where similar relics had been uncovered MARISHA: Can I go talk to another one of the archivists or whatever, and I’m going to point at the artifacts that he’s talking about, or that I’m reading about, and just ask if we have any here we’re holding on to? MATT: “Unfortunately we do not. Most of those have been “put under the… (sighs) put under “They have been taken and are maintained by the Cerberus Assembly.” MARISHA: I knew that’s what you were going to fucking say. Okay All right. Okay MATT: As far as Aeor itself, with that roll, there isn’t a lot of information What you do know corresponds with some information you’ve already uncovered. It was a mageocracy It was considered one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful of the pre-Calamity, arcane-centric societies It was massive It was quite populated, and was driven by the belief that mortality– the gift of magic to the mortal was a gift as well as a challenge by the gods to eventually show that the creations can become the creator The idea that if a mortal can acquire this much power The idea that if a mortal can acquire this much power to destroy its own creator, then does that not make itself– the gods themselves, you know, as they are And that belief varied throughout the populace there, but those in power firmly felt that there was there was a drive to, whether it be to save Exandria from the destruction of the coming Calamity by eliminating the Pantheon entirely, or for personally selfish reasons There’s no specific record Most of this is just hearsay from survivors of other parts of the region

It is believed that there were no survivors of the fall of Aeor There is no written or verbal record from inside the society, all from those that– MARISHA: Remember it MATT: — remember it from an outside perspective MARISHA: Pompeii style MATT: If you will MARISHA: People from Crete watching it go down MATT: Yeah MARISHA: Okay All right MATT: Anything else? MARISHA: I relay all that info to him when he comes back MATT: Okay LIAM: Put a pin in that. I want to return to that Well, we’re going shopping LAURA: Yeah, I want to buy clothes! MATT: Okay! All right. I’d say LIAM: I would have some idea of where to look for sturdy fare, finer fare MATT: Oh yeah LIAM: Fashionable, but also functional LAURA: I want fashionable TALIESIN: You want to look good For the nobody that we’re going to see, we want SAM: Yeah, if we’re going into the tundra, we want to look hot TALIESIN: Exquisite corpses LIAM: You want to be hot MATT: Look, it’s important. I respect that All righty We’ll say within the Vigil Circle, you find a– for lack of a better term, the garment district of Rexxentrum There are a number of supplies and wholesalers and textile warehouses that sell fine materials, fabric silks, both crafted within the Empire and imported from beyond And there are a number of very, very talented, for a price, of course, custom tailors that can be hired and commissioned for specific pieces So what is it you’re looking to have made? LIAM: I am looking to return to my Empire roots and I commission a long, thick, warm coat, very much akin to the coat that everyone met me in However, this one will not be moth-eaten and disgusting So it will be brown and leather, long coat, fur-lined I will get a very thick scarf and I will also find a leather worker who can build me a new harness for my books The spell book is getting pretty fat and can no longer fit under my armpit So the book on the left will still hang about here, but I have– I describe a case or a harness that is more phone book-sized that hangs off of my right hip MATT: Right. Almost like a side satchel LIAM: Yeah. But then I want them to have it hooked to my belt so that it’s not flying all over the place when we are running for our dear lives MARISHA: Cool LIAM: And then that will be counterbalanced by my old satchel, which I will keep, where I keep all my spell components and other odds and ends MATT: All righty. Okay. I’d say you have all those pieces commissioned It’ll take a few days to gather the materials and create the pieces and it’ll run you about 25 gold pieces for the entire outfit LIAM: Done MATT: Okay LAURA: Okay MATT: Mm-hmm LAURA: I just drew it, so I’m going to just describe what I just came up with I’m going to go and get– Okay, I’m going to get a light blue tunic with long sleeves I don’t need, like, super thick stuff because I am resistant to the cold, so This is more for fashion. A tunic I’m going to get some light gray, thermal tights sort of thing And then I’m going to get some SAM: Arc’teryx? TRAVIS: Yup LAURA: (giggles) You know, D&D tights TRAVIS: $250. Yeah SAM: Under Armour LAURA: I’m going to get LIAM: She’s resistant, so she’ll only take half damage LAURA: I’m going to get some long, knitted thigh highs that are, like, knitted like Fair Isle Anybody that knows me know what I’m talking about It’s stripes and stuff with designs knitted into them, you know, It’s stripes and stuff with designs knitted into them, you know, that are, like, flowers and bees I want to get bees knitted into them And I imagine this will cost a pretty penny because it is pretty specific, but it’s going to be in a pale blue and white and light gray And then I’m going to get an overcoat that is white and it’s fur-lined with a pale gray fur, so it’s showing the trim and I want it to be bell sleeves And then, and it will be fitted to about here and then it’s going to flare out and it’s going to have a little hood on it. Um, yeah! That’s pretty much it! MATT: As you finish—

LAURA: Oh, and I’m going to get some earmuffs to match that And some boots, you know, that are fur-lined boots Obviously to look good, that are going to match my coat and stuff LIAM: Matt is the store clerk MATT: No, that is exactly what I was going to– As you finish your statement, you look up and you see the middle-aged gentleman with his glasses, his chin tuft of white goatee, his hair slicked back with this pencil sticking out through the back of his ear Just going, “And how soon did you need this, lass?” LAURA: In, like, a week? Is that doable? MATT: “Give me just a second.” LAURA: Okay MATT: He rushes off to the back room and you hear some voices, like, (whispering) “I think we should be able to take care of your request “Of course, this is quite a commission “in a very tight period with very specific materials “and with quite a number of “custom knitted elements.” LAURA: Yes, oh yeah You’ll have to have a very good knitter MATT: “We can do this outfit for “120 gold pieces.” LAURA: Ooh, I’ll give you 500 gold, and I would like if it had– could you add some embroidery along the coat edges as well? MATT: “Of course.” LAURA: Wonderful. I would love some pink and blue flowers and maybe some pale yellow bees embroidered on there as well, with some beautiful green, like, vines wrapping around everything, you know, like an emerald green? Something that really reminds you of the Tra– Something like, you know, just a pretty green MATT: “Right, I am following you. Yes.” LAURA: Yes MATT: “All right. Yes “That will definitely be done “I think you’ll be very happy with the results.” LAURA: Wonderful. Thank you so much MATT: “Of course, of course “Uh, half upfront and then half upon the completion of that LAURA: Of course! Yeah! MATT: So you mark off 250 now and pay 250 at the arrival He went from completely exasperated by the whole thing to extremely giddy and jubilant in a way that you didn’t expect such an individual to exhibit LIAM: You just saved his business LAURA: Yeah TALIESIN: There’s a tailor in the back, screaming, “Nine women can’t make a baby in a month!” (laughter) MATT: All right SAM: Who’s next? MATT: Anyone else? LIAM: Ladies? SAM: I would like to– do you have something? ASHLEY: I’ll come up with something, I’m sure SAM: I would like a long-sleeve, fur Lolita dress SAM: I would like a long-sleeve, fur Lolita dress LAURA: Ooh! SAM: It’s a Lolita coat and dress, with a bow knot in the middle and the belt line, and I looked this up before I want it made out of pink fabric and white fur trim on all of the trim places, big buttons down the middle SAM: This is fucking adorable SAM: White hand muff And then I’d like earmuffs, too, but very special ear muffs If you can craft them, you know, white fur earmuffs, but this piece, the headpiece or whatever, I saw this wonderful, lovely little redhead who had these cool antlers, and I’d like to imitate those and put those up on top of the ear muffs imitate those and put those up on top of the ear muffs because they just looked so cool. So I’d like that They can just be little deer, little faun, something, you know, just little antlers TALIESIN: I can’t wait to clean blood stains out of this MARISHA: Oh my goodness! LIAM: Bowknot in D&D MATT: The first tailor you speak to, a middle-aged gentleman with a bit of a gray heft of fur on his chin and slicked-back hair and glasses, goes, “No, I’m sorry. I’m busy for the next week,” (slamming) and closes the door But the next tailor you find can take the commission and puts a full cost, materials, all in, custom elements there, about 40 gold SAM: Cool. Taking Jester’s lead, I’ll give you 42 MATT: “Well. How very kind.” SAM: And some boots MATT: “45.” SAM: Great, done MATT: (laughs) “All right, see you in a week.” All right TRAVIS: Who’s next? SAM: You! TALIESIN: I’ll go if no one else is going to go So I’m going to find a tailor and probably a leather smith and an armor smith, and want to get my armor treated, get it oiled and treated for the cold I leave a couple samples, I pull the pieces off the shield that are mostly decorative to show how it’s done Leave a couple of fabric swatches from what I’m already wearing. I’m going to leave some of my bits

there for them to use for the new outfit And I get a big lavender coat with white and crimson red stitching in it made white and crimson red stitching in it made A wool hat, it’s time for a new hat Black oiled gloves and boots Deep moss green pants, heavy cotton pants and a jacket underneath to keep the armor off of me, just less than a shirt And then worked into the cloak will be some of the dragonfly silk that I’ve brought from home, and we’ll have patterns along the edges of some of the traditional patternwork of my original outfit that comes from home MATT: Okay, cool TALIESIN: Nicest thing I’ve ever owned MATT: No, and it’s not a terribly hard commission You’re also providing some of the materials for it, which would be harder to find That’ll put you at about, we’ll say 25 gold as well TALIESIN: I’ll give him 20 I’ll throw 40 since we’re all being MATT: Okay! Wow, you guys are TALIESIN: It’s only money MATT: You guys are making a reputation for yourselves here in the middle of this district of Rexxentrum All right. Who else? LAURA: Oh, you haven’t gone yet, and you haven’t gone yet ASHLEY: Yeah TRAVIS: You want to go? ASHLEY: Well, I do have a question, so MATT: What’s your question? ASHLEY: Can I– So, the Coat of the Crest I was thinking of wearing the nobleman’s coat MATT: Yeah ASHLEY: Am I able to add anything to it? Like changes, like change the look of it? MATT: Sure. Yeah ASHLEY: Okay So I will bring that coat and I would like to Everything’s going to be black, and I would like the sleeves to be those ones and I would like the sleeves to be those ones that are a little wide, like make the sleeves a little wider So, you know, I can put my hands in between them if cold A sort of leather, drapey hood added onto it with some fur inside. And then– MATT: What color fur? Black as well? ASHLEY: I really wish I would’ve thought about this already Yeah MATT: Okay ASHLEY: Yeah, black fur, and… no, let’s go white Go white White fur, and then in the back of the coat, I want also black embroidery on top So you can barely see it Like some lightning, some flowers, maybe a little white embroidery flowers MATT: Little accents here and there ASHLEY: Little accents here and there And one of those round fur hats that SAM: Like the Russian ones? ASHLEY: Yeah SAM: Fuck yeah MATT: Very cool. Okay ASHLEY: Hopefully I don’t Yeah. Okay. Later I’m going to be like, that’s not what I wanted to wear TALIESIN: There’ll be time to alter a bit ASHLEY: Really wish I would’ve checked my GM MATT: Not too complicated We’ll put you at 18 gold for that ASHLEY: Okay. So I will give 50 gold MATT: Okay. Wow ASHLEY: Since everybody’s– MATT: Big spenders here, Mighty Nein (laughs) Generous group! LIAM: Tailor’s going to party tonight MATT: Yeah. They’re going to tell tales of this phantom group that came through out of nowhere one day and just helped them make it through the winter Fjord, anything specific? TRAVIS: Do you have any coats? (laughter) MATT: “Yeah. There are a number of coats “What sort of coat are you looking for?” TRAVIS: A warm one MATT: “We have a few warm ones, yes.” TRAVIS: I’ll take one MATT: “All right. That’ll be five gold.” TRAVIS: You got it MATT: “All right. Here you go.” TALIESIN: It’s going to be like that time we went to Colorado and you’re just going to be cold everywhere the jacket’s not covering MARISHA: (laughs) TRAVIS: We’re set. Let’s rock! LAURA: I run back to the tailor’s that I went to Knock on the door Excuse me? MATT: Already in there and he’s running around, giving out orders and giving out slips to different members of the troupe to start grabbing materials “Oh, yes, yes, hello.” LAURA: Can you make me some mittens that match my socks, please? MATT: “Yes. Do not worry, no additional charge “We’ll take care of it for you.” LAURA: Thank you MATT: “You’re welcome.” LAURA: Please make them pretty, thank you MATT: “All right, thank you. Someone lock the door.” TRAVIS: Lock the door MATT: All right As you are finishing your research, by the way, you do close the tome, sit there,

taking in a bit of the information, some of it familiar, some of it new A little frustrated that there’s just a general lack of detailed information within the central archive of Rexxentrum on Aeor, when you feel a presence come up, and there you turn and you see Yudala Fon approaching with two of the regular archivists, and as they approach and stand there over you, “Hello, Beauregard “Do not mean to disturb you.” MARISHA: No I mean, it’s a little unnerving when, like, I’m sitting and all three of you are standing I should– I stand MATT: “Very well “We’ve done quite an extensive sweep “of the archives we have here, “as well as put out some feelers “in other connected archives searching for this “Eyes of Nine you had spoke of “Nothing.” MARISHA: Really? MATT: “Is there any other details you could perhaps provide? “Another name, or–? “Perhaps confirm with your sources “what this may have been, “but we do not have anything,” and you watch as they put their hand out, and gesturing to the thousands and thousands and thousands of tomes MARISHA: Yeah, no, I see I know, I’ve seen the books, I’ve been here, yeah, I get it I get the scope Yeah Okay Can I get back to you? Let me think on this for a minute MATT: “Of course.” MARISHA: Okay MATT: They turn around and make their way to the rest of the library MARISHA: Fucking irritated, just toss a book that I have MATT: Yudala stops MARISHA: Huh? ASHLEY: Are they lying? MARISHA: Lying? Oh, I mean, yeah, insight check, as they walk away? (laughter) MATT: Roll an insight check MARISHA: It seem like they were lying? MATT: Roll an insight check MARISHA: Oh, pooper That’s not good 15 MATT: 15 Yudala seems pretty straightforward The times that you have encountered and what you’ve heard, Yudala is one of the paragons of the archives They seem trustworthy TALIESIN: Hmm MARISHA: Okay, I just kind of like– Seems hard to believe, but okay Yeah MATT: Okay Anything else anyone needs to accomplish in your shopping day here in Rexxentrum? LIAM: No, but when I return to Beauregard: You know, I meant to read with you I got a little caught up in errands MARISHA: Yeah, don’t worry about it LIAM: I’m feeling a little anxious, a little too anxious, if you can believe it, to do heavy reading MARISHA: You? LIAM: Today MARISHA: Oh, actually, that is surprising I was being sarcastic, but that is a little surprising LIAM: Let’s go get lunch I could listen to you MARISHA: Yeah, I’ll fill you in I just rip a page out of my notebook in anger MATT: Okay. (chuckles) LIAM: You need beer and a pretzel, come on MARISHA: Okay MATT: All right. So you guys go ahead and find the– LIAM: Find a place, sit at an outside table, and then if she’s willing to share, pump her mind for all the information she got and totally nerd out over it MATT: You got it LIAM: Rather than trying to focus on a book, which I would have a hard time doing right now MATT: Okay All right Anything else? MARISHA: I tell him everything And then also I’d fill him in about Yudala came back, and they said that they couldn’t find anything about the Eyes of Nine Fucking anything! They were like, “Oh, do you, like– “can you check with your sources “and maybe find–” I’m like, bitch, I’m the source I didn’t say that, but I did think it in my head LIAM: That thing you think as you walk down the stairs, ja? Well, maybe it was just smoke and not fire Maybe it was– Maybe we’re seeing meaning where there is none, or maybe it is the key to everything, I don’t know Think about it MARISHA: Keep your ears open Just need more answers LIAM: We can come back later in the week, yeah? MARISHA: Mm-hmm LIAM: Keep thinking MARISHA: Okay MATT: All right

Any other business during the day? All right I’ll take that as a sign that as the sun begins to set across the Zemnian sky, you all gather wearing what attire? SAM: We brought our fancies LAURA: Our fancy MATT: So you’re going full formal on this, okay SAM: Yeah, yeah ASHLEY: Oh, the fancies that we wore to– LIAM: The ball SAM: The ball ASHLEY: Oh, that’s right. That velvet dress LAURA: Yeah, but, like, a little bit of armor still MARISHA: Yeah, I keep on my bracers– LAURA: Just in casies MARISHA: — and I bring my staff MATT: Okay All right Gathering and making your way to the familiar Shimmer Ward of Rexxentrum, as the darkened sky takes the horizon from the sunlight, and you can see from the breaks in the cloud cover bits of starlight peeking through, you eventually make your way to a familiar place to you You come to the second southernmost tower of the Candles on the southern-eastern side of the Shimmer Ward And you stand now before the dark iron gate that is dwarfed by the multi-spired structure of brass and ruddy brick that rises like a twisting monolithic tree from a courtyard dense with oaks This is the estate grounds known as the Ambition’s Call And the gates open for you as you stand there That’s where we’re going to take a break TRAVIS: Ooh MARISHA: (laughs) TRAVIS: Ambition’s Call? MATT: Ambition’s Call SAM: Number four Privet Drive LAURA: It’s a tower? TRAVIS: Lord of the Rings reference LAURA: Out of the oak trees? MATT: Correct There’s a courtyard of oak trees On the corner of this, on the opposite end, there is an entrance that leads to where Astrid was staying, where you went and visited last time you were here in Rexxentrum But yes So SAM: Dinner MATT: Indeed We’re going to take a little break here We’ll be back here shortly to pick up wherever this goes So see you here in a few minutes Now experience the ultimate way to play, by sitting at a table with your friends, with your face in a screen Progress! D&D Beyond Log in to explore strange worlds and fantastial cities thanks to a company based in a really boring one that handles all the tedious math and reference stuff for you so you can finally unleash the epic quest you’ve been crafting since middle school on your friends Or just do what most people use it for breaking out endless new characters while their bored at work I could just finish these spreadsheets, but what if this Paladin owned a horse? Perfect! D&D Beyond Play with advantage Hey Critters! Laura Bailey here! Let’s see what’s up in the Critical Role shop! Ooh! Look at this! Look at the details! Ooh! It’s so cute, I can’t handle it You’re only like 5 clicks away from owning this Maybe more, if you have a lot of windows open on your browser. I don’t know your life Darling, I recommend buying two. One for you and another for you. Let’s be honest This is a lot of stuff you guys. We have like so many cool things right now! All of this and more now available in the Critical Role Shop! Brian: Hey gang! Laura: Hey Brian: I recently went through a move, [Laugh] very recently Dani: To a new car? Brian: Yeah from one car to another I went from a ’96 baby blue Ford Bronco to a ’97 baby blue Laura: Ford Bronco Brian: What’s the Chevy version of the Bronco? [Laughter] Dani: Fell apart right before the finish line Brian: What’s the Chevy version of the Bronco? Where’s my fiance knows more about cars than I do? Laura: I don’t know Matt: That was very sad, continue Laura: That was a sad moment, I’m glad we all witnessed it (upbeat jazz music) MARISHA: Hello everyone It’s me, Marisha Ray, Creative Director for Critical Role content And I want to take a moment to speak from the heart about how much we appreciate your support No frills, no crazy gags, just honesty

Over the past five years, we’ve made a lot of ridiculous promos in an attempt to earn your subscription here on Twitch We’ve leaned on juvenile prop humor, cheap costumes, and putting our loyal employees in slightly embarrassing situations eagerly hoping that we’ve captured your attention Today, I am not resorting to edgelord jokes written by Brian W. Foster Or dressing Sam as a celebrity to recreate an obscure commercial most people haven’t seen to remind you that subscribing with a Twitch Prime account requires you to re-subscribe each month We don’t always need an elaborate green screen gag or have to put Matt in cosplay to tell you that you can easily give subscriptions to fellow critters if you’re feeling generous I mean, hell, I’ve consumed entire production days shooting complicated parody promos featuring Taliesin Jaffe as a vintage spooky boy in full monochromatic glory all in the hope that your smile may turn into a sub But not today No weird graphics No puppet murder No Sam Riegel It’s just me, here to say: thank you Love you all Good night. (kiss) (upbeat jazz music) MATT: Welcome back

So. The gates (creaking)

open before you The courtyard, leading to the tower As you walk through, it’s a beautiful, if slightly ominous, patch of forest surrounding this tower You can see faint fire bugs glowing and fading in and out in the distance, but just far enough out of reach, as you walk this paved path that leads through Eventually, you find yourself to the base of the tower where this massive set of arched double doors that wait for you open into a low-lit antechamber As you walk into the tower chamber proper, you are met with a patterned carpet of dark brown and red that meets wall to wall No furniture, just an open entry You can see a beautiful crystal chandelier that hangs above you in the center of the partially domed ceiling You can see intricately carved wooden panels wrap around the doorless walls, aside from the entryway, housing large paintings set within elaborate frames

You can see one large landscape that shows an odd sunrise, it seems, over a desolate plain of rock and flame, a sky of burning clouds and haze Anyone here who is trained in arcana, if you’d like to roll? LIAM: 15 MATT: 15? That’s enough to know this is most likely a portrait of the Plane of Fire You do also see a bloodied battlefield, a very elaborate, extensive, wide, 12-foot portrait that is curved in the way it’s set against the curved interior of this chamber, where you see soldiers of two sides just clashing and tangling, in this display of violence If anyone here has History they’re proficient with, they can go ahead and roll for that MARISHA: 31 SAM: Ooh! Damn LAURA: Whoa! ASHLEY: Jeez Louise MATT: This is a depiction of the Marrow War, which was the battle– SAM: Marijuana? MATT: The Marrow War, where the Dwendalian Empire clashed with the Julous Dominion, defeated, and then took over the entirety of this area of Western Wynandir, this great valley here Well done And you come across a portrait of a young man in a forest green, gold-trimmed robe on display You see his long dark hair comes to a widow’s peak to the front of his face, right over his gray-blue eyes You take a moment to recognize, but this image does appear to be of a young Trent Ikithon Not but a moment later do you make this beat of recognition then you swear you see the man in the painting give you a subtle nod TRAVIS: Can I use See Invisibility for the next hour? Just because fuck it, why not? MATT: Sure You put it on right as the doors close behind you You’re now enclosed in this chamber There are no stairs There’s no other exit door LAURA: Can I look towards the bottoms or anything of the paintings? I want to see if they have any signatures on them of painters that I would recognize, some of them that I studied MATT: Make a perception check LAURA: Guidance Cool. (laughs, blows raspberry) Nine TRAVIS: Nein? MATT: They’re very detailed It’s hard to pick out where a signature would be If there is one, if it’s hidden, if it’s folded within the actual gold framing, or you’re just not picking up on it, but nothing jumps out to you, unfortunately LAURA: As I get back to the Trent painting, I’m going to touch his face MATT: Okay You can feel the texture of canvas beneath your finger Not but a handful of moments since the front doors closed, and at this moment, the rest of you feel this shift, and you look at the carpet in the center of the room, and there is a forceful glow from underneath in places And you see this faint pattern of various glyphs that are gently muted by the presence of the carpet over whatever the source is, light up in a circular pattern around the interior of the chamber You then watch as the paintings begin to drift downward TRAVIS: Dope TALIESIN: Is this haunted room actually– LIAM: Yeah MATT: (laughs) This is not stretching TALIESIN: Damn. My imagination MATT: But it begins to rise rapidly You watch as a door goes (whoosh), another door goes (whooshing) Floor after floor goes by Four, five floors, you lose count as they go (rapid whooshing) Then it quickly drifts to a stop to the point where you all find your feet lift off the ground for just a second and you find yourself clambering just to make sure you don’t tumble over when the floor comes to a stop LAURA: So it felt like we were going down? MATT: Felt like you you’re going upward LAURA: So wouldn’t we have– We stop? TRAVIS: You go (whoosh) LAURA: You go up when you’re going down, you go huh! MATT: Yeah LAURA: Okay MATT: Physics! SAM: It’s been a while since we’ve been in an elevator LAURA: Been anywhere MATT: Yeah, it’s true. It’s very true TRAVIS: That’s right, you jump up. Whoa! TALIESIN: How does up and down work? LAURA: Yeah, okay, cool Then I jump at the top MATT: Okay You get a good extra foot, foot and a half of leap in the air TALIESIN: High five MATT: You can almost touch the bottom of the chandelier, the chandelier that does not shake or move with the momentum of the chamber SAM: Ooh

MATT: As it stops and lands, you look around you You’ve seen no windows at all in your progression, but you do see– MARISHA and MATT: No windows and no doors MATT: There is actually a door to the other chamber MARISHA: Aww TALIESIN: Don’t worry (laughter) MATT: You see a birchwood door on the opposite side of the room from where the entranceway would’ve been at the bottom of the tower LAURA: Do you think this happened because I touched his face? Do you think it took us to him? Like, what if I would have touched the Fire Plane picture or something? SAM: We would’ve gone somewhere else We would have gone down LIAM: Go down, hell goes down, you go down to hell LAURA: Wow Glad I touched him, then SAM: Yeah Always touch him MATT: The birchwood door (creaking) opens, and you can see a little bit of flickering light on the inside of the chamber beyond TRAVIS: Any Unseen Servants, any spheres in the air or anything? MATT: In this room? No As you, if you– do you approach? LIAM: I start to walk in LAURA: Wait, wait, Caleb LIAM: I stop in the door LAURA: Wait Shouldn’t we have had a code word or something? TRAVIS: Let’s discuss it now, while we’re in earshot TALIESIN: How about “Oh no, it’s a trap”? LAURA: Okay. That sounds good SAM: Great LIAM: The code word is Yahtzee (laughter) SAM: Pick a non-copywritten– (laughter) MARISHA: I don’t know, Solitaire SAM: Pinochle or something? LIAM: No– MARISHA: Old Maid LIAM: — it’s the theater union, IATSE, Yahtzee ASHLEY: IATSE MARISHA: Hmm LIAM: That’s also problematic (laughter) MATT: Damn it, Liam SAM: Teamsters! TRAVIS: Don’t fuck with the teamsters MATT: Okay You can hear very, very gentle violin and harpsichord music You can hear very, very gentle violin and harpsichord music playing from inside the next room As you begin to approach, you peek beyond the threshold, and you can see, giving off a very faint aura, six different humanoid-ish figures that stand at the ready against two walls of a long, hall-like room As you step through the door, they all disappear, and you feel the enchantment that your weapon had given to you fade TRAVIS: Uh-oh MATT: As you all step through, you can see now there are a number of smaller, more metallic iron chandeliers, about four of them, that align the ceiling of this long, hall-like room where you can see a long table sits before you with these kind of pale, tan, beige-colored tablecloths, and settings and chairs for seven guests There are windows in this room, and they appear to be somewhat frosted, but you can see beyond them what looks to be a beautiful forest Dense in trees, a bit of moonlight coming through the branches It doesn’t quite match with the math of where you are with the center of the city Beyond the end of this table, you can see there is a roaring fireplace on the opposite side of the room, and there framed in the flickering flames you can see three figures standing, as they all turn You can see the figure familiar to you all first is the wide-shouldered, short dark hair, well-buttoned velvet tunic on Eadwulf, who had met you once at the Vergesson Sanatorium, when you were inspecting the beacon a number of weeks back On the right side, you can see a woman with dirty blonde hair, short in the back, combed over to one side of the face, smiling in a very, very officious looking suit, smiling in a very, very officious looking suit, it seems that comes into a long dress at the bottom And in the center you see a not quite the same, but mirrored essence of that same green and gold robe that you saw in the portrait below You see the older, jaundiced figure of Master Trent Ikithon Who smiles, puts his arms up

“I’m so very happy that you’ve accepted my invitation “I’m so very happy that you’ve accepted my invitation “Please sit “I believe we have much to talk about.” MARISHA: Question, you said there were only place settings for seven people? MATT: For the seven of you at the table MARISHA: As well as– MATT: As well as the three for them LAURA: Do we have assigned seating? MATT: There does not appear to be any sort of indication of assigned seating SAM: Are you going to take the head of the table? LAURA: Yeah MATT: Okay, Jester takes the opposite head of the table (laughter) Of which Trent takes the furthest side TRAVIS: The corners of the room where there were those six humanoid figures Nothing there, right? MATT: Correct TRAVIS: Empty MATT: Yeah TRAVIS: Okay LIAM: I’ll wait until Astrid sits and then sit in a chair adjacent MATT: So that would be– at the opposite head of the table, Trent, to the left of Trent is Astrid, and then it would be you LIAM: Yeah MATT: Okay TALIESIN: I’m going to sit across from you, wherever you sit LAURA: Somebody should sit next to them so the Eadwulf gets separated ASHLEY: Ooh, that’s a good idea SAM: I use my speed to try to sit where Eadwulf would be seated MATT: He is moving for the chair to the right of Trent Ikithon TRAVIS: Come on, roll for that shit MARISHA: Do it LIAM: Yahtzee TRAVIS: He has to roll dexterity? MATT: Roll a dexterity check, because this is– SAM: I don’t even have my dice out LAURA: It’s like– he’s just pulling out the seat for me TRAVIS: What do you mean you don’t have your dice out? We’re going to die any second! SAM: What is it am I checking? MATT: Just roll a d20, add your dexterity modifier SAM: 17 MATT: 17 You watch this as he goes and pulls the chair out and is about to lean in and (sh-boof) SAM: Is this seat taken? MATT: (as Eadwulf) “Apparently it is.” LAURA: (chuckles) MATT: (creaking sound) And shoves you into the table a little bit (laughter) MATT: Pulls the chair right next to you back, and then sits down ASHLEY: I’ll sit down MATT: In the chair that he pulls back? (laughter) TALIESIN: Power move! ASHLEY: Thank you very much MARISHA: Yes! MATT: “Of course.” Kind of gently pushes it in Looks back to you again Goes to the third chair LIAM: Caleb is watching, like, a mixture of mortification and hilarity, but, like, not smiling Just LAURA: Eadwulf, wouldn’t you like to sit down next to me? TALIESIN: I walk to the chair MATT: You walk to the chair TALIESIN: I pull it out For you SAM: Oh! MATT: “Thank you.” And he sits down MARISHA: Pull it out (laughter) TALIESIN: Just wanted to make TRAVIS: (boof) (gasps, yells) TALIESIN: (whoosh) Ha ha ha. Run! MARISHA: I sit across from Caduceus TALIESIN: Yeah, so we have eyes on either side of the– MARISHA: Good call TALIESIN: Yeah MATT: As everyone takes their seat and finishes, Trent, who’s leaning back in this high-backed chair that comes up to these hook-like hands that are currently reaching over the top of the back, puts his arms up and (claps) gives a clap And you feel this wind (whoosh) rush through the chamber and the doors you came through (creak, thud) close (as Trent) “The meal will be arriving shortly “In the interim, “I am happy to have you as guests in my home.” LAURA: I can’t hear you, can you speak a little louder? (laughter) I’m sorry, I’m just so far down here MATT: He then begins to introduce (laughter) “My companions.” As he speaks, his mouth does not move any longer Instead, the language seems to be coming from all sides directly into your mind MARISHA: Cool SAM: That’s cool TRAVIS: Oh no MATT: As he just stares intently across the table “My companions for the night, of which you are familiar “Childhood friends of your companion, “this Caleb Widogast, “or as we’ve known him, Bren “This is Astrid.” Points to her “And this is Eadwulf.” And he gives a nod “Now, I must say, I’m quite impressed

“ow you all have come together “and done so much in such a short time “What is, if I might inquire, the driving force “behind your travels? “What is your mutual goal?” SAM: Boy, that is– that’s a tricky one to start with We are driven by many forces, but mostly justice Right? LAURA: Yeah SAM: Right? Mostly justice LIAM: I think mostly we are just trying to leave the world better than when we found it MATT: “So we are not too different, then.” SAM: Oh, you seek to change the world for the better? MATT: “Well, what is the purpose of power “if not to use it properly?” LIAM: Much for us to celebrate together at this time MATT: “Indeed.” LIAM: We have achieved peace after so much struggle MATT: “So.” There’s this pregnant pause at the table as he begins to scan across each one of you LIAM: I’m doing the same Can I ask what kind of vibe I’m getting from Astrid and Eadwulf? MATT: I was about to say, as soon as you’re doing this, Astrid pipes up and goes, “Indeed, “it is a pleasure to meet all of these friends of… Caleb, “it is a pleasure to meet all of these friends of… Caleb, “just as it is good to see you as well, my friend, “and I’m happy to get the chance to know “those who have kept him companions and safe “in the time that we could not “Right, Eadwulf?” (as Eadwulf) “Indeed, I have seen some of you at the sanatorium “Seems fate continues to draw us together “Perhaps the Matron has plans for us together yet, huh?” LAURA: Who’s the Matron? MARISHA: Is he referring to the Matron of Ravens? MATT: “And you, what are you?” You see Eadwulf gives a weird half-grin TALIESIN: Vegetarian, so I hope the meal reflects that (laughter) MARISHA: Yes! TRAVIS: Nice MATT: Smile fades (laughs) (as Trent) “Well, I guess “Before I get too deep into my particular interests “for the night, what questions have you for me?” LIAM: Well, I am curious, now that we have reached some quiet between the two nations, seeing as how central you are to the decision making here in the Empire What’s the next step? MATT: “Well, I do apologize “You have not been around for the full scope “of our political engine, but I do not make decisions “I merely guide “Offer suggestions “As to what is next, well “There are many paths “Am I to know “It seems you have fallen with Vess DeRogna, yes?” LIAM: We will be spending some time with her, that is correct MATT: “Mmm “And what errands, if I might inquire, “has she procured your skills for?” LAURA: You might not Inquire TALIESIN: Respectfully, I feel that that information would be considered of a private nature MATT: “Of course, of course.” MARISHA: Does he feel like– does he already know? Does he already know, he just wants to hear it from us? MATT: Make an insight check TALIESIN: I was going to say, my insight check is just not stopping MATT: Yeah MARISHA: 17 TALIESIN: 22 MATT: 22? There isn’t a lack of confidence in his inquiry,

and he does not appear to be finished As he goes, “Is she looking to perhaps drag you “to Shattengrod as glorified tomb raiders, huh? “No? “Hmm, perhaps your familiarity with Xhorhasian society “is to aid her in our acquisitions there “Or is she hoping to bring you to some place colder?” TALIESIN: Well, that is a conversation you should have with her LAURA: I know– as far as I know, she just wants us to hang out for intimate reasons, you know? We’re all very attractive TALIESIN: That’s fair MATT: Make a deception check LAURA: (laughs) TALIESIN: I feel like she should get advantage for the fact that we are very attractive MATT: (laughs) TALIESIN: Sorry LAURA: 15 MATT: Okay “Well, wherever it is that you all intend to travel, “I hope you do so safely and without issue.” LAURA: Without any tissue? SAM: Yeah, we won’t need any We’re not sick or anything MATT: “Hmm. A joke, yes.” The doors enter and you watch as these platters begin to just hover in the faint breeze, held aloft on their own, (clinking) filling up the table before you LAURA: That’s cool. (applauds) MATT: As you see Eadwulf takes a scarf and tucks it into the top of his shirt, and Astrid takes and puts it in her lap Trent leans in “No questions, then?” LIAM: So many questions How’s the new crop? How are your children? MATT: “Well, the children are doing well “Some more than others.” LIAM: Not everyone has the stomach for it MATT: “Hmm “We lost a “talented prospect not long ago.” LAURA: How did you lose them? MATT: “They were captured in Rosohna.” MARISHA: Oh Blondie LAURA: That’s unfortunate SAM: Not Blondie LIAM: No, in the prison in Xhorhas SAM: The girl in the prison LAURA: Yeah MARISHA: What’s-her-butt? LIAM: Well, the Empire will always yield up more youth I find hope in the quiet that was achieved at sea Maybe I’m naive. I’m sure you think so How wonderful it would be if the two sides could approach each other with that forthrightness always You said that you make no decisions, you only advise A thought experiment MATT: “Mm-hmm.” LIAM: Pretend that I am King Dwendal MATT: “Very well.” LIAM: In this moment, advise me MATT: “To? “As the king?” LIAM: In your opinion, do we keep this momentum going, or use it as a feint? And dig in harder in all the traditional ways? What is your advice? MATT: “My advice, “oh great King Dwendal, “is to use this momentum to rally the populace “is to use this momentum to rally the populace “around the idea of your benevolence “and your ability to keep them safe from outside aggression “and your ability to keep them safe from outside aggression “But to keep a very close eye in all the shaded places,

“There are so many lives and only so much land.” TALIESIN: How does he do that? LAURA: Yeah, really? TALIESIN: That was literally both answers at the same time He just said yes twice That was amazing Wow LIAM: I look diagonally down at Eadwulf Like a little more perspective, Wulf How are things going? MATT: “Well, at the moment it is not as busy “So I am enjoying a little more of a relaxed schedule “You look good.” LIAM: Say again? MATT: “You look good.” LIAM: Oh Well It’s a wonder what travel will do, and sun on your back MATT: “Hmm.” SAM: When the war was a bit hotter than it is now, were you very busy? You, Wulf? Eadwulf? MATT: “Not any busier than you were, apparently.” SAM: Well, yes, but were you on the front lines? MATT: “I’m not a frontline sort of fighter “I have different skills. More of a scout, if you will.” SAM: Did you go into enemy lines and go on missions and things? Exciting things? MATT: “Many exciting things.” SAM: Yeah? Like what? LIAM: Yeah, I’m curious, like Veth I missed a year or two What have you both been filling your time with? MATT: Looks over towards Astrid, and Astrid narrows her eyes a bit and pulls her head back and he smiles “We’re doing what we do best, Bren “Ensure history walks the right path.” LAURA: Have you been taking up hairstyling? Because Astrid’s got a pretty cool one Was it Eadwulf that did that for you? MATT: You say this to Astrid? LAURA: Uh-huh MATT: Astrid goes, “No, this is “This is my own design.” LAURA: Oh, you did that yourself? MATT: She takes and pours a little bit of wine “Mm-hmm.” LAURA: Wow MATT: “Why, do you not like it?” LAURA: No, I love it I love it MATT: “Would you like your hair like it as well?” LAURA: That’s okay. It’s so original I wouldn’t want to steal your thunder TALIESIN: Hmm. You might’ve chosen the wrong profession MATT: “It’s my profession that allows me to do this.” And you watch as she flicks her finger and the hair suddenly grows long and curls up in this extremely bouncing, healthy, shoulder bob, and then it recoils upward into this– MARISHA: Careful, you got some Béarnaise in a lock right there You got a little out of control with that TALIESIN: World could always use a barber MARISHA: It got a little on your lapel TALIESIN: I don’t have that LAURA: That’s really cool That’s a really cool spell That’s a really cool spell MATT: “Thank you.” TALIESIN: Flexing a fine talent MATT: She looks back to Bren LAURA: Do you ever teach people how to do those kind of spells? Because I would love to know how to do that spell MATT: “Well, no, these are the things that are taught “after years of training at the Soltryce Academy.” LAURA: Is it so you can like, change your looks? MATT: “Mm-hmm.” LAURA: Because there’s easy Disguise Self spells, you know Those are, like, easy MATT: “Yeah “Then you know all about this sort of magic, then.” LAURA: Oh MARISHA: (laughs) LAURA: Oh, I guess I could just change my hair on a whim, huh? But that looked like you were really changing your hair Were you really changing your hair? MATT: “Glamors.” LAURA: Wow Caleb, I went to learn about glamors MARISHA: That’s why her tits look so amazing LAURA: We are such assholes MATT: (laughing) You guys LIAM: Yeah, Caleb is working real hard to keep a blush down through all of this

MATT: Astrid leans forward and goes, “So, Bren “We miss you “We’re glad to see that you’re safe “and doing so well.” LIAM: I have good friends They’re good people SAM: Are you trying to invite him back? Is that why we’re here? Are you asking him back into the fold? MATT: “Oh, I’m not doing that, no.” Trent leans forward in his seat and goes, “I’m more– just wanted to express my “pleasure with Bren’s– “Caleb’s advancement as the prodigy I always knew he was “While some students take direct tutelage and study, “some are unique in how they best develop: “through self-discovery, “others inspired through hardship “Historically, the most talented mages “have indeed walked this path, for the greatest ambitions “come from those who have endured the dark “and crawled their way back.” SAM: So you’re apologizing, then? MARISHA: No, it sounds like he’s trying to take fucking credit TALIESIN: Yeah, it didn’t sound like an apology to me MATT: “Of my handful of vigilant reaches, “I’ve had a fondness for you three.” And he gestures towards the three students “Eadwulf and Astrid are skilled in so much “Everything one could seemingly want “in disciples and associates “But, and I mean this with all due respect “to the both of them, their potential is limited “Unlike you, Bren “You have the eventual makings of an “Assembly member yourself “And don’t think my eyes are the only ones “upon you for this reason “Some out of curiosity, others, a threat “Forgive me, Bren “I could see your gifts, “and your faults and limitations “To truly grow, you needed to be broken “and left to build yourself “It took longer than we anticipated, “but when you were ready, “we turned on the light and showed you the door.” And he takes something from the side of his setting, and it drifts over across the table in your direction and lands at the front of your plate You see a familiar symbol, that of the Arch Heart LIAM: This is why I am not dead MATT: “Of course “If we wanted you dead, there would have been no escape “And I cannot tell you how proud of you I am “We are “And I know you hate me, Bren “Hate what I’ve put you through, “and I accept those feelings “For it was a hard choice for me to make “What I did, though, I did out of love.” LAURA: (scoffs) LIAM: To what end? To use me? MATT: “No, to show you what you are capable of “It was your parents’ wish when I told them

“of the spark that I saw within you “They asked me to do whatever it took “to help you realize it, “for the glory of your family “and for the Empire “I did just that, as much as it hurt to hurt you “It is the greater man who puts “the needs of others over himself, Bren “And this nation needs you.” LAURA: Insight check MATT: “We need you.” Make an insight check LAURA: Lying LIAM: My eye flicks to Astrid’s LAURA: Natural fucking 20 LIAM: Ooh! ASHLEY: Yes MATT: I’ll text you real fast MATT: (chuckles) LIAM: I would like to insight check Astrid MATT: Go for it LIAM: To see if she’s going along with it Not a natural 20, but 25 MATT: 25, okay What’s your total with the natural 20, Jester? LAURA: 25 MATT: Damn, look at that, two 25s SAM: Wow Wow We might actually learn something MATT: Okay, give me just a second LAURA: Takes longer to text than it does– TRAVIS: This insight check brought to you by– SAM: This text brought to you by Dwarven Forge Makers of the world’s finest modular gaming terrain MATT: Oh, the curses of COVID distance I miss the whispers, it so much easier LIAM: 2020’s hard, man MATT: I know LAURA: Yeah It’s really hard to stay quiet during– MARISHA: I know! LAURA: — his speech MARISHA: Ugh! SAM: Matt, you know, it would be easier and faster if you just did it with Siri with just the– MATT: You’re right! LAURA: Oh, oh, oh MATT: And I will tell this to you out loud, because this is less tricksy With the 25, you can– She’s looking towards you with a feeling of internal conflict that you weren’t expecting You can see there is a softness and a yearning, but her body language is leaning away from him LIAM: From Trent? MATT: From Trent And you see a glimmer in there of the Astrid you once knew Ever so faintly worried LIAM: Worried? MATT: About your response LIAM: Mm-hmm MARISHA: Is Eadwulf just chowing down on his steak? MATT: Oh, no, he’s mid-chew He’s like– MARISHA: Okay MATT: He’s intently watching, and just like– LIAM: You will have to walk me through the logic of this long con Because I do loathe you Deeply MATT: “Of course.” LIAM: But you do nothing flagrantly Everything is very careful MATT: “Indeed.” LIAM: So how would you hope to use me as a tool? MATT: “This isn’t to use you as a tool, Bren “And there isn’t a word I could say that “would find your ears with belief “Correct?” LIAM: Say that one more time? Because of the social distance MATT: Yeah “There is no phrase or words I could say “that you would find yourself able to believe.” LIAM: It’s hard to forget the past MATT: “Then do not forget it “Use it “If I am to be the focus of your hatred, “I accepted that long ago “But what you are now, what you’ve accomplished, “those you’ve drawn around you, and where you go

“That is because of what you’ve endured “Not because of a book you read in some hall “with other sniveling, rich children “You made yourself “Not myself, not them “But it took “that path of pain “to accomplish what this is “And you’re not the only one of us in the Assembly “to have been through similar trauma “and been defined by it.” LIAM: I dead-eye stare Astrid while talking to Trent and say: And you think that my mother and father, our mothers and fathers and children, should serve as grist for the mill in this way? MATT: (as Astrid) “Whatever it takes “to keep the people of this Empire safe “The wants of one do not outweigh the wants of the many “Right?” Eadwulf leans forward and goes, “Our parents made a sacrifice, yes? “Like any soldier does in the battlefield.” LIAM: If we cannot protect our own, then all of it is a failure Why did we get into this? Why did we serve with such vigor, if not to protect MATT: (as Trent) “You see, “when talent rises from nothing, “then nothing truly is lost “You are far more than where you came from.” LIAM: So you’ve sent me off like a windup clockwork toy to serve the Empire Am I right? What if the thing to do now is to supplant you, to pull you up like a weed and do better You comfortable with that idea? MATT: “Nothing would make me prouder.” LAURA: Insight check MARISHA: Insight check I know, yeah He means it, doesn’t he? Fuck, I know he means it LIAM: I’m not even asking MARISHA: That’s great LAURA: Natural one (laughter) SAM: Probably means it TALIESIN: Got broccoli right here MARISHA: He means it MATT: At this point, Jester dribbles down her chin a little bit LAURA: I’m so sorry I’m just– this food looks really good MARISHA: 15, he means it MATT: He seems pretty honest, from what you can tell LAURA: Beau! Beau! MARISHA: Yeah? LAURA: Eat something already MARISHA: I don’t have a fucking appetite He’s disgusting LIAM: Let’s take it further I look at Eadwulf and then at Astrid

When he is out of the picture and you and you and I carry the torch forward, we will mangle more children to feed the fields of Wynandir? MATT: Eadwulf sits back, crosses his arms Looks to Astrid Astrid looks to you and says, “Well, if you were to be “the bannerman of this tower, “that we are charged to, “then we do as you say “If you want to bring more into this fold, we will “If you want it to end, that’s your command.” LIAM: What about you, though? MATT: “What about me?” LIAM: When we spoke last, I had the impression that you were being groomed for this seat MATT: She looks nervously over towards Trent, and Trent leans in a little bit “My ambitions “and the paths laid before me “are not always congruent, Bren.” And she looks deadly serious towards you With a look of “stop.” Trent leans forward with this grin, getting slowly more and more curled and confident “Any man of my position assumes “that everyone I keep close “is just waiting for me to turn my back “Every person in power knows that feeling, “lives by it “It’s the rare one that gets to choose “I just hope you don’t disappoint me, Bren.” LIAM: That is a lot to absorb It’s been an interesting decade, to be sure I often feel like a failure and a success within the same hour MATT: “Then you are learning.” LIAM: I have dreamed of murdering you with my bare hands many nights So I hope it’s not just flowery language you are throwing around the dinner table, Master Ikithon This place, this country could do better It could do it with a little less blood Everyone at this table knows that struggle is inherent to life But this way is not the only way That was given to Astrid MATT: She looks at Trent “Then, “take care of yourself, “all of you, “for the struggle never stops “And because you don’t want bloodshed, “doesn’t mean every other person “that wants what you have doesn’t “History and mortal nature,

“prove this time and time again “If you are not sometimes the first to cut, “you are the first to receive the blade “I’ve spent my life baring knives “Let’s hope you live as long, Caleb Widogast.” MARISHA: I take a bite of my steak Is it poisoned? MATT: It’s very well prepared MARISHA: Jester MATT: It does not appear to be poisoned MARISHA: It might be the best steak I’ve ever had in my life LAURA: Really? MARISHA: It’s so fucking good It’s melting in my mouth Yeah, yeah, yeah, just eat as much as you can real fast– LAURA: Before he kicks us out? MARISHA: Get kicked out, yeah LIAM: I feel like I have been domineering the conversation LAURA: What?! No! SAM: No LAURA: Not at all SAM: It’s been great LIAM: Does anyone else have any questions about me being groomed as the antichrist? (laughter) TRAVIS: How many more beacons do you have? LAURA: (laughing into fake coughing) LIAM: There you go MATT: “What do you mean? You’ve only seen the one “That is what we have.” TALIESIN: Insight check MARISHA: Yeah MATT: Go for it LIAM: Natural 20 TALIESIN: Natural 20 ALL: (yelling) TRAVIS: (machine whirring and firing) MATT: Bringing you to a total of…? LAURA: 40, that’s 40 LIAM: Well, 29 on my end TALIESIN: 30 MARISHA: So… 59 MATT: Well, not combined (laughing) SAM: Yeah, they stack. They stack MATT: That’s how it works ASHLEY: Yeah, you combine them now MARISHA: How many there are, the addresses in which they’re located TALIESIN: His eyes dart to the left “It’s due south, go!” MARISHA: Yeah MATT: Since you’re both here– LIAM: It’s right under the table! LAURA: Yes! MATT: He’s being completely honest LAURA: He’s always honest MARISHA: I hate that– the best liars are honest TRAVIS: What’s the most incredible thing you’ve learned from studying them? MATT: “We don’t know yet.” TRAVIS: Yet? TALIESIN: Have you ever answered a question directly? MATT: “One question at a time.” TALIESIN: I knew it That’s great LAURA: It’s like a party game, really MATT: “We have learned some things, “but there is still much more to glean “We have only just begun our research “So who’s to say what the most important thing is “What I do know there is much potential to help a lot “of good people.” MARISHA: You mentioned being a tomb raider in Shattengrod Is that a mission you’ve sent people on? MATT: “No, but it sounds like the sort of thing “that Vess would definitely go for.” MARISHA: Interesting MATT: “Her interests tend to lie in things “around the forgotten history.” MARISHA: Isn’t that kind of like her title? MATT: She’s the Archmage of Antiquity MARISHA: Yeah, that’s her thing. Right? That’s, like, what she’s supposed to do? TALIESIN: It’s, like, in the name TRAVIS: (laughs) MARISHA: Have you come across any interesting artifacts? MATT: “In my life?” MARISHA: Things she’s dug up recently? Anything pre-Calamity sound familiar? Anything related to the Eyes of Nine? MATT: “I have not, but if you’ve seen such a thing, “please do tell me “Vess tends to be very secretive with her business.” MARISHA: Oh, this has nothing to do with her This is something we’ve all been, like, like a side hobby, you know MATT: “I do not believe I have, “but I am curious.” MARISHA: Have a side hobby? You should have a side hobby MATT: “– heard anything about this artifact “or Eyes of Nine you speak of.” MARISHA: Worth a shot Origami is very– you know, you could probably– the mental health aspect of just having something that’s not intrinsically related to your work, you know

You should– you should get a hobby LIAM: He has a hobby He’s a sculptor MATT: “In a way.” TRAVIS: The trees outside your windows What is that supposed to be? MATT: “I just wanted to provide a “gentle atmosphere Do you not like it? I can change it for you TRAVIS: I would love that LAURA: Ooh! MATT: “What would you prefer?” TRAVIS: Coastal view MATT: Without him moving or even looking away, you watch as all the windows shift into a moonlit oceanside night and you can see waves just breaking against the sides of the ocean beaches LAURA: Is it ocean on both sides or is it ocean on one side? MATT: It looks like it’s ocean on one side and then it curves around and you begin to see the coast on the other LAURA: Cool MATT: Like you’re right on a cliff TRAVIS: Dope, dope, dee-dope LAURA: That’s neat MATT: “Any other parlor tricks you would wish “to ask of an archmage of the Cerberus Assembly?” SAM: Nope, no parlor tricks, but I had actually a question If you don’t mind, Caleb, about your past You know, thank you so much for sending him to us in your weird psycho way But we do appreciate making his acquaintance, however dark and creepy the origins were But you know, you– I think if my memory serves, he was sort of locked up, locked away for a while in a pla– in a bad place He would have stayed there forever, right if someone hadn’t freed him? MATT: “Most likely, yes.” SAM: Who freed him? MATT: “Well, “who do you think freed him?” And he gestures over towards the symbol on the table that was given to Caleb earlier SAM: What? LIAM: What he’s saying saying is that he orchestrated it LAURA: So he imprisoned you and he freed you LIAM: He left me shut off and then he turned the lights back on LAURA: Wow SAM: It’s weird LAURA: That’s very kind of you MATT: “Thank you.” LAURA: Mm Very generous LIAM: Didn’t need those 10 years How is this going? MATT: “Eadwulf.” Eadwulf leans back, pulls back his sleeves and you can see the clustered maze-like tattoos that are across his forearms And you can see similar scars as to the ones that Caleb had with raised areas of the skin, where things are embedded beneath and have healed over And he goes, “It’s come in quite handy, to be honest LAURA: Does that hurt? MATT: “Only a little, at the beginning “But it much more hurts the person on the other side.” And he tenses his arms and as he does, you see energy spark through and arc up the arm LAURA: You’re like a living magical weapon? MATT: “I like that title “Living magical weapon.” MATT: Are his forearms still as amazing as they always were? MATT: Yeah, they’re more so More so. He’s a fit fucker LIAM: Yeah MATT: He takes a little drink and nods to you LIAM: I look over at Astrid What about you? MATT: “They have come in handy a number of times, yes “But do I require to give a presentation as well?” She pulls her sleeves back and shows the same tattoos TRAVIS: You’ve talked about Caleb replacing you Forgive me, I am so forgetful What’s wrong with you? Where are you going? MATT: “Well, nowhere, if he fails.” TRAVIS: Nowhere? You don’t feel ill? MATT: “I take it from the tone of your inquiry “that you don’t seem to understand the

“structure of the Cerberus Assembly.” TRAVIS: I don’t Although I did look up to it when I was younger I was very curious I’m sad to report I haven’t learned much since then MATT: “Membership is only given when a member has stepped down, “kicked out or passes away.” TRAVIS: And do you plan to step down, get kicked out or MATT: “Hopefully, not any “I like where I am “It has served me well for a very long time LIAM: It’s a very generous offer I take it very seriously, truly What if I decide to walk away? What if I want to be a sailor instead? MATT: “That is your choice.” LIAM: Easy as that? MATT: “Of course “But you won’t.” LIAM: No No, I won’t be a sailor TALIESIN: What a shame, you make a fine sailor SAM: He really does not TALIESIN: The world would lose one SAM: Terrible at sailing! LIAM: This has been very informative Illuminating I don’t wish to overstay our welcome We do have business to attend to and preparations to make LAURA: Mm-hm MATT: “Well, regardless, it has been a pleasure to get to see all of you “Thank you for accepting our invitation and for this “quaint bit of conversation.” LAURA: Thank you for the delicious steak It was really one of the best I’ve ever had MATT: “Well, I will let the staff know posthaste “Thank you “I will take my leave.” TALIESIN: May I say, before you go: I think perhaps you are one of the most powerful mages that I’ve ever had the pleasure to be in the presence of And for this, I would offer a gift I think it has been a long time since anyone has pointed out to you that you’re a fool Pain doesn’t make people, it’s love that makes people The pain is inconsequential It’s love that saves them And you would know that, but you have none around you You said so yourself, you surround yourself with lies and deceptions And I wish for you, in the future, to find someone who will mourn you when you are gone Respectfully MATT: “Good night.” And he vanishes MARISHA: (whispers) Caduceus TALIESIN: That was so tasty LAURA: Ooh! MATT: Astrid and Eadwulf are just like– TRAVIS: Yo TALIESIN: You’re welcome LAURA: Wow! MARISHA: Cad burn MATT: Eadwulf takes his napkin– “Um–” LAURA: You guys want to hang out or something? You want to go grab a drink? LIAM: I was to ask the same thing Why don’t we get out of here? MATT: “No, I have– “I have some business I have to attend to.” LAURA: Come on! Hang out with us! MATT: “Mm.” TALIESIN: The invitation’s always open MATT: And he begins to leave the chamber as Astrid stands up LIAM: What if you just walked us a block or two away from the tower? TALIESIN: Please LAURA: It’ll be fun MATT: He looks back at Astrid MATT: “We’ll walk you beyond the courtyard, yes?” LIAM: Astrid MATT: “Just to make sure you safely make it off the grounds.” And they escort you back to the central chamber Proceed down to the base of the tower You do not jump this time because that would hurt LAURA: I bend my knees so they’re like (exclaims) MATT: The door is opened and they lead you back into the courtyard and you step out You can hear the crickets in the nearby oak trees making their evening noise LAURA: I want to thread my arm through Astrid’s as we’re walking

MATT: She tenses a bit You hear the owl nearby going– (hooting) You all continue to walk (laughter) LIAM: Reflex LAURA: I’m going to whisper over to her as we’re walking I’m sorry if you thought I was giving you a hard time earlier I thought maybe you were really mean like Trent, but now I’m feeling really guilty about it because I don’t think you are So I want to apologize if I came across as rude I feel very bad about it MATT: She doesn’t necessarily lean back, but then speaks quietly towards your direction “You don’t know anything about me.” LAURA: No MATT: “You do not know what I’ve done.” LAURA: Well, I know some of what you’ve done, and I know that Caleb cares deeply for you, so you can’t be all bad MATT: No response You watch as Eadwulf as he’s walking along flicks his wrist, and you watch as he pulls out of the air a bottle of some sort of a dark liquor and he uncorks it, takes a swig ASHLEY: That’s a handy trick MATT: “Oh, I’ve got plenty of them, don’t worry.” ASHLEY: I’d love to see more MATT: “Would you?” ASHLEY: Yeah LIAM: I pass the bottle over to Astrid MATT: Okay MATT: Hands it over to Eadwulf, takes it, corks it, and it vanishes LIAM: You could come with us You could, you could MATT: “No, I could not.” LIAM: Well maybe we both have some thinking to do MATT: “Maybe.” LAURA: Are you talking to Astrid or Eadwulf at this point? LIAM: Sure MATT: He’s talking to Astrid LAURA: Okay. Just making sure LIAM: We’ll be out of the city soon I don’t know when we’ll be back MATT: “Just be careful “I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.” Her eyes dart up towards the trees above, you hear again the– (hooting) LAURA: Oh, he’s– he’s an owl now, I get it SAM: We can kidnap you, make it look like a real struggle MARISHA: (laughs) MATT: She actually smiles at that and goes, “I appreciate the candor.” As you guys reach the gates that lead off the estate itself Eadwulf pushes it open “That was certainly one of the more interesting dinners I’ve been to “I like you.” TALIESIN: Thank you, I like you, too Don’t let that stuff get to your head He’s– that guy’s a little– oof MATT: “Yeah.” (laughter) MATT: “I would be careful not to say things to people like him.” TALIESIN: Oh no, I wouldn’t if I had to live here, no Woof MARISHA: “If I had to live here.” MATT: “Anyway.” You see that he’s about to say something to Caduceus and he, “Anyway “Astrid.” LIAM: Good spending time “I’m sure we’ll cross paths again,” and he puts his hand on your shoulder “She keeps bringing us together.” And he walks on LIAM: Does he have any marks of the Matron on him anywhere? MATT: Passive perception on Caleb, no marks on him, but you do catch as he was leaning forward, touching your shoulder, there is a flash of a small, silver pendant of a raven feather LIAM: There’s your multiclass MATT: Astrid lingers for a moment LAURA: Oh, oh, oh! I’m going to use Disguise Self, and I’m going to make my hair very long, about down to here (laughter)

MATT: “See, you can do it “There’s no worries to have.” LAURA: It’s pretty great, yeah, but I want to be able to do like, you know, and actually make it move MATT: “Well, give it time.” LAURA: Okay MARISHA: You sure you don’t want to come get a drink with us? Now that the walking road pylon has left MATT: “I appreciate the offer “But I should not.” TRAVIS: Funny that he let Caleb go and not you Strange, don’t you think? MATT: “Hm?” TRAVIS: Isn’t it funny that he let Caleb go and not you? Seems odd MATT: “Caleb was always his favorite. Bren.” LIAM: (unaccented) Well you were always mine MATT: (unaccented) “You mean what you said in there, right? “To stop him.” LIAM: I cannot hear MATT: Sorry LIAM: I’m sorry MATT: “You mean what you said in there, to stop him?” LIAM: Ja Nothing is set in stone Not for you or anyone MATT: “Race you to the top.” And she turns and heads back into the courtyard LAURA: Are you okay, Caleb? MARISHA: Let’s– let’s get away from here Let’s get a little bit away LIAM: Stares at the tower for a moment Okay MARISHA: Yeah? LIAM: Yeah TRAVIS: Where’s that fucking owl? MARISHA: I know, fuck that LAURA: I keep my eyes out for any owls– MARISHA: You still have that pistol, yeah? SAM: Yeah MARISHA: It’s fucking owl season SAM: Want me to just start shooting? (laughter) TRAVIS: All the wizards come out and kill us MATT: Nothing really draws attention in the middle of you know, the most wealthy, magical district, in the greatest– TRAVIS: (screaming) MATT: — the capital city than just a bunch of rapid gunfire in the middle of a courtyard TALIESIN: Seven people running from a swarm of owls (laughter) SAM: Well, we didn’t die We didn’t fight LIAM: No SAM: Just had dinner That’s good. Right? LIAM: It was good, the steak was outstanding MARISHA: Oh my god, it was so good It was the best, I mean– ASHLEY: I didn’t eat TRAVIS: I didn’t either ASHLEY: I’m starving MARISHA: Let’s go– let’s find a dive bar ASHLEY: I’m mad I didn’t try it, but just out of principle I didn’t want to touch anything LAURA: I get that, I totally get that I feel like out of principle, I wanted to touch it all ASHLEY: Yeah, I get it, I get it TRAVIS: He looked sickly, right? Has he always looked like that? MARISHA: I feel like he’s always looked like shit, but he did look particularly sickly, right? LIAM: He had a little more vigor in my youth, but not much TALIESIN: Gaunt MATT: Yeah, nothing different than last time you encountered him He just in generally has that sort of Mr. Burns complexion about him (laughs) TRAVIS: All right, fair LAURA: Okay ASHLEY: Do you know how old he is? LIAM: Well, unless he has pulled the wool over my eyes in another way, he’s in his late seventies MATT: Late seventies, yeah MARISHA: He needs to take a hint from the ladies and use some of those glamours Let’s get out of the Shimmer Ward I don’t want to have a drink in the Shimmer Ward ASHLEY: Yeah LAURA: Caleb, I’m really sorry that I made a comment about Astrid’s haircut LIAM: Oh LAURA: I was trying to be shitty LIAM: I– LAURA: And that’s– that was a horrible thing to do SAM: I thought you complimented her LAURA: Yeah, but I did it in that girl way where I was being a shithead about it SAM: You were being a mean girl? LAURA: I was being a mean girl SAM: Yeah, that’s not cool. That’s never cool TRAVIS: It sounded like you were complimenting her MARISHA: Oh, that was totally code for mean girl Like, “Your hair is really cute.” LAURA: It was so mean MARISHA: That’s code for like, “What the fuck are you doing?” LAURA: That’s how the girls used to talk to me

when I was outside I don’t know why I did it TALIESIN: Well, we all learn it somewhere, I guess Was that really mean, “Your hair is cute”? MARISHA: Depends on how you say it ASHLEY: We also didn’t know if she was going to be LAURA: I thought she was a bad person ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah, I know exactly– LIAM: I think you were just trying to stick up for a friend ASHLEY: Yeah LAURA: Yeah SAM: No, I think that the slightly mean hair comment was the worst thing that happened tonight and the worst thing that was talked about LIAM: Yeah, if I’m going to take anything away tonight MARISHA: I am so fucking tired of manipulative assholes LAURA: He’s so manipulative MARISHA: Like what’s the deal– what’s the– why is that a theme with all of us? LAURA: I don’t know what you’re talking about LIAM: Well, we spend a lot time around government (laughter) TALIESIN: That’s the best thing you’ve ever said LIAM: I missed it, what did she say? MARISHA: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” ASHLEY: It is a bit of a theme MARISHA: I don’t know why so many people have gone through such great lengths to try and convince us all that they’re responsible for our success TALIESIN: It’s weird MARISHA: The manipulation If I hear one more person try and claim that pain is the only way to make a resilient person What a shitty excuse LAURA: He’s such a bad man SAM: But you didn’t want to just, you know, quick draw on him, take him down right there in his dining room? LIAM: I give myself a 30% chance of success SAM: You got us with you Element of surprise LIAM: I give us 40% chance of success TALIESIN: Really, I would’ve thought that would’ve dropped it to like 28 LIAM: In there? MARISHA: We could have done it LIAM: In there, dicey MARISHA: It’s not killing him TRAVIS: As soon as we walked in, I was not able to see anything with my vision anymore It was immediately dispelled LAURA: He can probably block some of our magic TRAVIS: Fair bet MARISHA: There’s no way we would have gotten out LAURA: Plus, he had Astrid and Eadwulf on his side They’re both probably pretty powerful Not as powerful as you Caleb, let’s be honest, but pretty powerful I don’t care that they had more years It doesn’t matter. You’re very powerful MARISHA: Did we find a tavern? TALIESIN: He said it himself He’s surrounded by people who despise him and lie to him He’s– the minute that he slips up, someone’s going to take him out, anyway We don’t have to do anything He’s set up his own destruction The minute he’d stop losing, I’m sure both of them would turn on him in a heartbeat, and he knows it It’s just so dumb MARISHA: But, but he’s not dumb TALIESIN: Eh? I think he’s pretty dumb MARISHA: So why? MARISHA: Emotionally, maybe, narrow-minded, yes, but he’s calculated LAURA: He knows exactly what he’s saying LIAM: Yeah, he’s always been one to control narrative And that is a big part of holding onto power, controlling narrative LAURA: I believed him I believe him, that your parents said do whatever it takes I didn’t feel like he was lying there, but– MARISHA: Of course LAURA: There’s no way they knew what that meant TALIESIN: I have a funny feeling that if we brought them back for a five minute chat, their first response would be, “I didn’t agree to this.” LAURA: Caleb, on that note, I was thinking about it at dinner I mean, between Caduceus and I we could bring them back SAM: Don’t you need a body? TALIESIN: Body LAURA: Oh Yeah SAM: Was there a grave for them? LAURA: I think you just need bones? SAM: Yeah. Is there– is there a marking? Do you know? LIAM: I have not looked into it LAURA: I mean, if it’s something you want to look into LIAM: Let me think about that There is a very good chance that the Scourgers collected their remains, but maybe Scourgers collected their remains, but maybe LAURA: I’m sorry to bring it up LIAM: No, it– no, you– no, you are all trying to help me No. Let’s find that dive bar and then there’s an inn, a place I know where we can stay tonight MARISHA: Okay MATT: Easy enough to find a dive bar There are plenty of places in Rexxentrum especially up in the

northern more mud-laden region You stumble into one of the nearby dive bars, not making too much of a fuss and find a place to comfortably feel like you can talk SAM: Did that go well for you? LIAM: (laughs ruefully) No No, it gave me 50 more questions SAM: It seems like Astrid was, you know, not a total sociopath Maybe? TALIESIN: I quite liked both of them, actually LIAM: Yeah? TALIESIN: Yeah LIAM: They’re very likable TALIESIN: Well LIAM: They always were TALIESIN: I’ve got a pretty good read on people I think they’re all right And you did a good thing for them today Showed them what life could be like, even just for a second Maybe it’ll stick in them LIAM: I find myself wondering his “plan” for me to take wing and achieve the things he wanted without being right under his thumb If I go off and do anything with you all, is it part of his plan? TALIESIN: I got the sense he’s kind of winging it TRAVIS: Oh, I don’t know They hand delivered a letter to you when you were in Rexxentrum I think he was– MARISHA: He knew we were meeting with Vess TRAVIS: — pretty much on top of it TALIESIN: He’s not– he’s not directing us, though This is just him taking credit for what you’re doing so that you can feel like you’re being manipulated This is– MARISHA: It’s an interesting– TALIESIN: This is just a person who can’t admit that they’re not in control MARISHA: It’s like a tarot card reader TALIESIN: Yeah, that’s actually a very fair estimation LAURA: Hey! That’s not a good comparison at all MARISHA: It’s a great comparison, I’m brilliant (laughter) SAM: Hey, speaking of tarot cards and stuff and controlling the narrative– LAURA: Do you want me to read your fortune? SAM: I do While you’re doing that, something that I assume you told me earlier about, about the research that you did today, or rather didn’t do MARISHA: Yeah SAM: What if– crazy theory– MARISHA: I’m here for it SAM: What if there’s no record of the Eyes of Nine in the Cobalt library not because they’re hiding it from you, but because it was scrubbed because this Trent man or his ilk are somehow you know, controlling the narrative, they don’t want anyone to know about it Or maybe even the Cobalt Soul itself MARISHA: But Trent didn’t seem to know what it was I deliberately wanted to see in– SAM: He didn’t seem to know, but he’s a crafty fucker MARISHA: He is, but not– TALIESIN: I didn’t get that vibe MARISHA: He immediately asked if it was something that Vess put us up to So, that to me clued me in on how laser focused he is on that aspect Scrubbed, absolutely. From Trent? I don’t know. The Cobalt Soul, they did also ask me if they’ve– if they went under any other names, if I know of any other associative language attached to the Eyes of Nine SAM: Well, we know Nonagon, right? MARISHA: So I was– I was thinking about that And then here’s the other crazy thing, nothing to do with your shit, really sorry, kind of going on a tangent SAM: I don’t know, maybe it’s all connected MARISHA: So, Trent asked us about Shattengrod and tomb raiding Nonagon– where is it? Hang on– TALIESIN: Rhymes with? MARISHA: Cree– (laughter) SAM: Has 14 letters in it, which is– MARISHA: When you rearrange them and add their numeral position together–! LIAM: Remember to drink your Ovaltine (laughter) MARISHA: But no That Cree that we talked to at The Gentleman’s lair– ASHLEY: Yes! MARISHA: — asked about Nonagon and said that she was a part of his team called the Tomb Takers and that they were running from a spell caster two years ago MARISHA: Running from a spell caster named Trent Ikithon! MARISHA: Or Vess DeRogna, the lady of antiquities who sends people off to rob tombs LAURA: (gasps) And I was already planning on going to see my dad This is perfect ASHLEY: Cree was that person’s name? MARISHA: Cree the tabaxi ASHLEY: And Cree recognized– MARISHA: Nonagon ASHLEY: Nonagon, which was

MARISHA: Molly ASHLEY: Molly MARISHA: And ASHLEY: I mean, they would probably know– MARISHA: Their group– stole a book and trouble with the law. Ritual resistant teleport spell. Stole a book Did they steal a book or something? I’m trying to decipher my notes, like, a year later MATT: More or less, best that you can recall MARISHA: They maybe stole a book, I don’t know, but they were running from someone and they were called the Tomb Takers LAURA: Whoa ASHLEY: I remember that LAURA: Maybe we should just– SAM: Oh, the “Tomb Takers” or the “Task Takers,” I wrote down But no, I also wrote down Tomb Taker MARISHA: The task– LAURA: What– what if I– MARISHA: Oh now, are they the Tomb Taskers? SAM: I wrote down “Tomb Takers or Task Takers.” LAURA: What if we just like– while we’re hanging out with Vess and we’re like, “Oh my god, we should come up with a group name or something.” MARISHA: “I got an idea, the Tomb Takers!” LAURA: And see what says MARISHA: And see if she’s like– (gasp) Dun dun dun! It’s a pretty good idea TALIESIN: We could just talk to them MARISHA: Yeah LAURA: Or that SAM: Your plans are always so boring (laughter) TALIESIN: I’ll let you go first I’d like to have a backup I like to have a plan G SAM: Sure (laughter) MARISHA: Then I feel like there was another thing Oh! Oh! Okay, hang on TALIESIN: You’ve mentioned that tabaxi before LIAM: We are in a bar while she does this It’s so perfect MARISHA: I’m just flinging notebooks around, as Beau goes through all of her notebooks SAM: Can we get a round of drinks and some yarn, and some thumbtacks, please? MATT: “Yeah, yeah, hold on, it’s coming.” MARISHA: This is super conspiracy theory-tastic, but okay So we’re going to excavate the city of Aeor And it was this mage… ocrity LIAM: A mageocracy MARISHA: And they think that no survivors lived Right? LIAM: Right MARISHA: But what if there was one? SAM: Who? MARISHA: Halas SAM: Who’s Halas? Oh! The Happy Fun Ball? MARISHA: Yes, because when we were in his little ball for the Astral Sea thing, we already mentioned this in the Happy Fun Ball And then we saw the Astral Sea– LIAM: I wanted to follow up at this, this coming week in the libraries and see if– MARISHA: Right Because he had that map and it was the map from– that you touched the red gem of, and it was pre-Calamity LAURA: Oh yeah, definitely LIAM: Yeah MARISHA: The stained glass window was a pre-Calamity map So maybe this guy was from pre-Calamity and he got super obsessed with, like, living for forever But maybe what if he’s– what if he’s a survivor from Aeora– Aeor? Aorta? LIAM: No, that is plausible MARISHA: But I don’t even know how any of this connects! SAM: Well, the Astral Sea also connects Vokodo somehow, right? ASHLEY: And that weird floating city? TRAVIS: That’s where he came from MARISHA: What if Aeor is part of that weird floating city that we saw? What if it just like– (whooshes) MARISHA: Oh, like that’s Aeor and it just bamfed into–?! ASHLEY: Like it was so magical it just– MARISHA: It just like– it didn’t actually crash? It’s there? LAURA: We figured out the whole world! LIAM: Or a contemporary– another city of the time LAURA: While all this is happening, I’m going to be telling Fjord’s fortune with tarot cards TRAVIS: I didn’t ask you– why do you keep putting them there? LAURA: I’m going to pull out the cards Just choose a number between one and 20. Roll your dice TRAVIS: Eight LAURA: Okay, that’s going to be the card you pulled out TRAVIS: Okay MATT: Okay LAURA: Okay. Going to see what that is TALIESIN: I was going to say, I don’t remember the last time I sent you that document LAURA: Okay I don’t know– I’m just going to read this card for you TRAVIS: And this tells me my future? LAURA: Obviously I’m going to interpret it TRAVIS: It’s my future, or what? LAURA: This is going to be where you are right now, in your present TRAVIS: Okay LAURA: The eye and the hand is the card So SAM: You have both of those things It’s amazing LAURA: Yeah, one way, which– pick– roll a d6 TALIESIN: (laughs) TRAVIS: I feel like you’re making this up Two LAURA: Okay, so the eye is facing towards you An eye is held by two hands forming a triangle The hands are holding the eye above a restless sea (laughter) SAM: An eye LAURA: Yeah! I know! Above a restless sea! SAM: Amazing! LAURA: Oh my god, Fjord! The triangle’s like Rumblecusp

Oh my gosh, this– okay Now roll another d20 TRAVIS: There’s more? LAURA: Yeah, then this is going to be your future SAM: Wait, wait, what was the interpretation of that? LAURA: Oh, that’s– you know, obviously you are– you are torn between where you came from, which is the eye and the sea, the turmoil of the Wild Mother right now You’re figuring out who you are in this very moment Do you go and take care of Uk’otoa– ALL: (whispered) Uk’otoa LAURA: — or do you follow the path that’s being laid in front of you by her? TRAVIS: 11 Oh my god, this is such a good card TALIESIN: I love this so much LAURA: This card is called Home or Traveler SAM: Traveler? LAURA: Yeah MARISHA: Oh, wait, is this a secondary card? LAURA: Yeah, this is the future card MARISHA: Okay, okay LAURA: A covered carnival wagon on a road with a cottage cozy in the distance You are– SAM: That’s us! LAURA: Yeah! You’re a– TRAVIS: How is that you?! SAM: When we met you, we were at a carnival! LAURA: So it’s a carnival card, but it’s a cozy cottage in the distance, Fjord Don’t you see? SAM: We are your home LAURA: Don’t you see? TRAVIS: I don’t– LAURA: You’re you’re on the road right now You feel like everything is a circus You don’t know what’s going on, but in the distance, Fjord, there is a cozy home waiting for you That’s your future TRAVIS: A cozy home? LAURA: Yeah! Your home, your place, you will find it TRAVIS: That’s wonderful, Jester LAURA: I know, isn’t it? Anybody else? MATT: Caleb, as a note, too, going off the conversation with Beauregard– That was amazing You did know, cause you recalled this as you were recalling information about Halas in the Folding Halls He is historically known to have hailed from LIAM: Zeidel? MATT: From, well– LIAM: He had books about Zeidel MATT: Right, well Zeidel was the society, the actual council of Zeidel, which he was part of But the actual city that he was from was Zemniaz, which was another one of the floating cities, a competitive nation to where Aeor would have come from that when it fell in the Calamity, the survivors of that are who began the early Dwendalian Empire LIAM: When Zemniaz fell? MATT: Yeah, Zemniaz fell, which is why it’s called the Zemni Fields and Zemnian language It’s all based on the survivors and scroungers of– LIAM: Another separate floating city MATT: Correct MARISHA: Okay, so scratch the whole “he was from Aeor”– but same time in neighboring– LIAM: Same time MATT: Zemniaz was a much smaller and comparatively to Aeor, Aeor was the superpower Zemniaz was still a powerful agent, you know, one of a handful of floating mage nations LIAM: Yeah And it would be very interesting to dive back into the halls of Halas and find him and ask him questions, but that is quite a– that’s a tall order MARISHA: That’s a task But there’s also all those businesses with Tharizdun and the Abyssal invasion that he apparently threatened and the Abyssal invasion that he apparently threatened SAM: Yeah, it seems like there’s all sorts of other realms and planes sort of converging here for some reason ASHLEY: I had written down the same thing I had “an order of Tomb Takers question mark? “Went north to Shattenguard? “Mollymauk’s old order.” MARISHA: To Shattengrod, really? Okay! ASHLEY: Mollymauk’s old order He pulled them off from the main order No idea what that means LIAM: He made a sect MATT: Yeah ASHLEY: So yeah TALIESIN: It’s a sect ASHLEY: I mean, this was– TALIESIN: I’m a sect. That’s good MARISHA: What if it was Vess DeRogna was that was coming after him? TALIESIN: I’m lost LIAM: I mean, right after what I wrote– SAM: Well, a magical woman revived him MARISHA: Huh? SAM: A magical woman revived him Right? MARISHA: He– yeah, he just woke up SAM: Well no, I wrote down “a magical woman revived him.” MARISHA: It was a ritual spell He doesn’t know, he doesn’t remember LIAM: I thought– I remember that as well A woman helped pull him out of it SAM: Yeah LIAM: To my recollection TRAVIS: Chat is just screaming at us right now LIAM: Oh, sure. They’ve got it all figured out (laughter) LIAM: But guys, where I wrote “Tomb Takers” and “Nonagon”, I’ve also written “mahogany desk” and “young, bearded gnome” (laughter) TALIESIN: You’ve cracked it LIAM: We’ve cracked the case! MARISHA: What if TALIESIN: Orange gummy bear gnome

MARISHA: What if Nonagon was pillaged? What if he was, instead of the robber, what if he was the rob-ee? TRAVIS: Robbie! MARISHA: Robbie! (laughter) Love you, Robbie TALIESIN: I am genuinely delighted by all this TRAVIS: He’s not Molly, he’s Robbie! (laughter) MARISHA: I don’t know, man I have so many notes and– TRAVIS: Beau, drink your beer It’s got to– it’s got to connect TRAVIS: Who gave her a straw for a beer? MARISHA: It’s all I got, man It’s this weird-ass mixology bar TALIESIN: We, uh MATT: Not on this side of Rexxentrum TALIESIN: We have someone we can talk to SAM: Who? TALIESIN: The tabaxi, Cree SAM: So we’re going to go to Zadash next TALIESIN: And then maybe your dad can set up an honest conversation? LAURA: With Cree? TALIESIN: Yeah No threats, no harm TRAVIS: If Cree’s there LAURA: I can send my dad a message and ask if he can gather Cree there I’m going to send my dad a message Hey Dad, it’s me We have a favor to ask Can you get Cree? We need to talk to him SAM: Him? Her MATT: Her LAURA: Her. Shit. Her LIAM: Him, her TRAVIS: (siren noise) LAURA: Super important! I love you! MATT: “Jester, it’s been a while “I’d love to help, but Cree left months ago “and hasn’t returned “So I have no idea what she is.” LIAM: Damn it MATT: “Sorry.” “Anyway, I–” (laughter) TALIESIN: Actually, might be able to find him MARISHA: Yeah, can we, can we send Cree a message? LAURA: Yeah, yeah, yeah! I mean, I met Cree, right? MARISHA: Yeah LAURA: Yeah I’m going to send Cree a message MATT: Okay LAURA: Hi, Cree! MARISHA: Yeah LAURA: It’s Jester. Remember me? Where are you? I need to talk to you It’s about– MARISHA: (whispered) Molly Nonagon! Say Nonagon LAURA: Nonagon SAM: Or Lucien LAURA: Or Lucien You know (laughter) Lemme know, okay? That was four (laughter) TRAVIS: “Let me know, okay?” SAM: Lemme. We’re treating– LAURA: Oh, lemme TRAVIS: L-E-M-M-E, right? MATT: A few moments pass before you get a response (distrustful) “Who is this?” LAURA: She doesn’t remember me MATT: “I don’t think I can help you.” That’s it LAURA: I’m going to send a message back The blue girl. Jester. We met a while ago I had a group of friends We knew Lucien– Lucien SAM: At the club LAURA: At the– SAM: Gentleman’s club MARISHA: Uh… (babbles) The Evening Nip! LAURA: At the Evening Nip LIAM: Down to the– to the– to the floor? SAM: Ooh, money is involved! LAURA: Money’s involved ASHLEY: Good job, good job MATT: Few more moments pass And a few more moments pass After a while you get the sense that there’s going to be no response LIAM: (groans) LAURA: Bitch. She made me waste a spell slot MARISHA: Well, if she works for The Gentleman, then we know The Gentleman has her blood and The Gentleman should be able to trace her TALIESIN: We’ll go tomorrow LAURA: That’s a good point MATT: Point of interesting order She was the one who kept and extracted the blood for The Gentleman MARISHA: Fuck! MATT: That was specifically her skillset LAURA: So she would probably– MATT: She was a blood cleric TRAVIS: (singsong) Very similar to Molly TALIESIN and TRAVIS: Hmm! Hmm! SAM: Well, that’s a dead end TALIESIN: Uh, well MARISHA: What do we do? What do we do? TALIESIN: I got– I got things TRAVIS: We go to Antarctica and we fucking find an underground city and some other crazy magic shit LAURA: Well, we’re going to do that, but first– LIAM: We have whole week in Rexxentrum TALIESIN: We also have Scry LIAM: Or anywhere we want to be LAURA: Well, I do want to see my dad I guess I don’t have to. I can just send him messages TALIESIN: I feel like talking to your dad anyway, just to see if we can get any information LIAM: Yeah, handful of words is different than– LAURA: Plus, we can see Pumat! Don’t you guys have things you want enchanted? TALIESIN: Always TRAVIS: Oh, so many things

LIAM: Yeah, that ring of yours You’ve got to get some magic into that TRAVIS: (whispered) Yes TALIESIN: I’d like to talk– I’d like to talk to him about that, actually LIAM: Well, what if we holed up here in town for the night and in the morning, spend the day in the Zadash? LAURA: Okay MARISHA: Okay LAURA: You don’t think Icky-thong’s going to come after you? LIAM: No, I am his chosen I will lead the Empire into a thousand years of glory or something No, not tonight Besides, I have this place we can stay tonight that I think you will love TRAVIS: Oh, a new spot? MARISHA: Not the shitty tavern where we were at? LAURA: Let’s go! LIAM: Not the shitty tavern MARISHA: All right LIAM: Trust me? SAM: Trust? MARISHA: Totally, man LIAM: All right I slap down two gold I have no idea what the bill was, but I’m sure that covers it MATT: It definitely covers it. (laughs) LIAM: Head towards the door and I will– I’m not going to say this to any of them, but I will either go to the same basic-ass inn that we went to earlier or whatever’s closest MATT: Okay To where you are now, you’re a little bit further away LIAM: Yeah MATT: So you would be finding a new location and it’s not hard to find They’re all pretty– you know, you’re on the cusp of squalor in this part of the city LIAM: That’s good MATT: Okay So I will find a place that doesn’t look like an instant death trap, but I’m not being that picky Okay I’ll lead everybody in LAURA: Wow LIAM: And walk up to whoever is at the front desk MATT: Okay, you’re welcome to the front desk and you see a human woman in her fifties or so, and you see a human woman in her fifties or so, hair that’s gone gray at the roots that goes to a bit of red at the end It’s probably been a long time since either it was dyed, or the hair color’s just faded over time Very, very leathery skin that’s seen a harsh life She’s sitting there at the edge with a big tankard and looks part way into her cups and turns to you. “Eh?” LIAM: Good evening I know it’s somewhat late, but there are– I’m going to need nine rooms for the evening, and in one of them, I specifically need a closet or, like, a wardrobe? I have a lot of luggage Do you have something that can accommodate that? MATT: “Probably?” LIAM: Okay MATT: “Right, right “Nine rooms “Closet.” LIAM: In one of them, at least, ja MATT: “There an extra charge for the closet.” SAM: (giggles) LIAM: I think I can handle that– MATT: “Closet fee.” LIAM: I will pay your closet fee MATT: “Right, right “That’ll run you two gold pieces, “including the closet fee.” LIAM: Okay, I hand her– MATT: “Final deal.” LIAM: I give her three gold MATT: “Right.” LIAM: Which way? MATT: “This way (yelling) “Sebastian, bring up the closet!” SAM: Bring up the closet? MARISHA: The closet? MATT: There’s a voice that acts like, (high-pitched) “What do you mean? [inaudible]” (as innkeeper) “Empty out the meats and carry it upstairs for room 102!” SAM: (laughs) MATT: See this older man come out, this dirty face Has been in the kitchen sweating And he’s like, “What do you mean empty out the meat closet?” Tosses a gold to him. “I said…” He goes, “Oh, all right.” You hear a door open, and as you guys make your way out there, these rooms are… functional LAURA: This is really nice, Caleb MATT: Each has a bed LAURA: Thank you for bringing us here SAM: Wonderful LIAM: I tip Sebastian. Was that his name? MATT: Yeah LIAM: I tip Sebastian a silver MATT: Okay LIAM: And you know, before everyone heads to bed, just come in with me for a moment I want to discuss one last thing MATT: (as Sebastian) “(grunts)” LAURA: You need some help? I’ll go up and– MATT: “I got it! “I got it.” LAURA: I’m going to help him MATT: “No! Oh, fine.” He takes it and you carry in this– LIAM: Is he carrying a whisper booth? What does he got? MATT: No, no, it’s a– it’s a wardrobe that had been fashioned as a meat storage rack in the kitchen downstairs, that has been emptied out So it smells strongly of cured meats of various degrees of freshness, but it is a functional, empty wardrobe LIAM: Amazing SAM: I’m picturing, like, an IKEA Malm (laughter) MATT: More or less SAM: With just a bunch of blood on the bottom MATT: Oh yeah, more or less. It is a stained interior But it is placed in the room “Thank you, kindly. Sleep well.” And he heads off and shuffled his way back down the stairs

LIAM: Okay, I get the last of the Nein in and I shut the door Give me one second And I open the door of this wardrobe closet, which smells, and I pull out the wand that Calianna gave me And I look at the bottom of the wardrobe and there’s a little hole, a little imperfection in the wood, a knot, and I stick the wand into that hole so it’s standing up and then I pull out several pieces of stained glass and arrange them just so, and I take out a small piece of slate and put– excuse me, granite, and put that on the ground, and that little wooden cat that I had fabricated, I put on top of the granite and I then began to use chalk to draw around those And I draw a solid line behind that wand and start to utter words and a moment of this and that chalk line begins to glow a thin golden amber color and that chalk line begins to glow a thin golden amber color and a rectangle of amber shimmers up from that line and a rectangle of amber shimmers up from that line And the amber begins to waver and past it, you see just the barest glimpse of windows of stained glass stretching up into the air And I say: Welcome home And I walk in SAM: Ooh TALIESIN: I’m walking in LAURA: Same, same, same, same SAM: Let’s go. Let’s go MATT: As you all step into the wardrobe to follow Caleb into whatever strange realm he seems to have called you into, we’re going to go ahead and call the episode for the night (exclamations) TRAVIS: What did you do? ASHLEY: What is this? SAM: He kills us all TRAVIS: Cat scratch closet (laughter) MATT: Yeah, we’ll pick up there next episode You get to think on your description I’m sure you’re thinking on it for a while, but anyway Thank you all so much for joining us Hope you enjoyed it as much we did We love you very much and is it Thursday yet? Good night LIAM: No!

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