Episode 11: Whilst The Dust Settles

This transcript is colour coded for ease of use. Please download the PDF.

Tobe as played by Liz

Myx as played by Nina

Mhurren as played by Vinny

Erbak as played by Tom

Narrator/Scraw/GM/Everything else as played by Ray

[Audio Description]

{Tone Guide/Sarcasm etc}

[musak]

Ray note: Worry not. Yes, this is episode eleven. In the audio, I somehow ended up saying ten instead of eleven. It felt wrong to change that in the transcript to make myself look less stupid. And I don’t have the source audio to edit it cleanly, so; it’s stuck. For all to see. Forever. What will my parents think of me.

Ray: Hello, and welcome to Tails From the Dark Dragons Inn, Episode 10 , Whilst The Dust Settles. This week we’ve received a five-star review from Dulenheim in Panama. Thank you so much for your kind and considered words. Your advice will definitely be something we’ll be looking at taking onboard. This week features the regular crew: Vinny as Mhurren, Liz as Tobe, Tom as Erbak, Nina as Myx and I’m Ray, your host and Game Master and I play, well, just about everyone else.

Usher: “Evening. Good to see you back. We’ve got your usual table picked out. The Doomsinger will be taking a sabbatical for a while, but don’t worry. We’ve got a special performance arranged tonight.”

Timothy: “Hello and welcome to the Dark Dragons Inn, home and heart of the Scales of Justice. I am Timothy, your host and orator this evening from the Helping Hands Company. Are you sitting comfortably? Because the tale which I tell you this night may leave you unsettled. Intrigue, excitement and just a hint of betrayal.

GM: Myx is making her way towards the sensation that is drawing her forwards. You don’t really absorb much of the surroundings. In fact, you don’t really remember much about the journey at all. All you know is that by the time that you reach the edge of the forest, it’s already early afternoon, by the time you reach the edge of the forest, and you look around and you realize that you’re already partway through the woods. You don’t really remember walking into these. But, nonetheless, you find yourself in the woods and the sensation draws you deeper ever still.

Myx: Myx, being very dazed.

GM: When you walk for a very long time and you’re focused on what you’re doing, it can be very easy to lose track of time and spacial awareness. Deep inside the woods, as you move forwards, you come to the edge of a clearing. The trees are getting thicker and thicker. The boughs overhead are letting through less and less light. And then, you see ahead of you, a clearing in the trees, a large circle of trees that are almost perfectly even. The area within is bathed with light, because there are no boughs overhead.

Myx: Myx takes a moment. She slows down her pace a little bit to look around and absorb what’s actually happening.

GM: Myx walks into the clearing and when you get there, the sensation of pulling stops.

Myx: First thing Myx does is plop down on the floor because her feet are sore.

GM: So, you sit down on the floor and you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and it’s a nice day. There’s a gentle breeze. You hear the wind rustling through the leaves of the forest, occasional birdsong.

Myx: Just relaxing. Maybe at this point, other than just sitting, Myx lies down on a grassy patch of ground.

GM: You close your eyes.

Myx: The sun is very bright, and it feels nice, so, yeah, just almost ready to take a little mid afternoon snooze, she’s so comfortable.

GM: So, despite the urgency with which you’ve been drawn here, you decide, you know, it’s nice here. I’m just gonna take a load off. And, you lie down, you close your eyes and you feel the warmth of the sun melting through you. You feel your muscles relax after the last day and a half, two days of adventuring and tracking and hiking and ultimately stress. You hear the gentle rustling of the wind through the leaves. You just feel a little bit more relaxed, until, you feel something touch your nose.

Myx: Myx brushes at her nose as if she thought maybe a bug had landed on it or something.

GM: As you do so, you hear, “{high pitched voice} Boop!”.

Myx: Myx very quickly sits up and is just like, “What was that?”

Voice: “{laughs}”

Myx: “Who are you? I hear you.”

Voice: “Silly Quickling. You know who I am.”

Myx: So, Myx looks around to try and figure out the source of this voice.

GM: You turn, you look around and-

Voice: “You’re going to have to do much better than that.”

Myx: Myx gets up, brushes off the bits of grass and, “Titania? Is, is that you?”

Titania:“Well, who else would it be?”

Myx: “I don’t know? Lots of things have been happening. I-i-it could have been someone pretending to be you.”

Titania :“I’ve never known you to be so paranoid.”

GM: And you see before you a glowing white light walks out of the edge of the clearing and coalesces into a humanoid form in front of you.

Myx: Myx just gets down on one knee and bows her head in respect.

Titania: “Ew. That’s not necessary. We’ve known each other far too long for that. Gross.”

Myx: Myx gets up and looks at the vision of beauty in front of her.

GM: The vision that coalesces in front of you is a four and a half foot tall, slight, female shape. She has a pale silvery skin. It’s borderline white, but it has a holo sheen to it. She has bright, silver hair and the gown that begins to grow upon her is made from flowers. You watch as they curl up from the ground, twist around her leg and slowly branch out and then bloom across her torso until she’s wearing an ornate gown of flowers.

Myx: “You look very beautiful today.”

Titania:“Well, you know, dear. I do try.”

Myx: “So, I feel like it’s been a while and you called me and I-I was a little bit surprised, but, what can I do for you?”

GM: She does a few skips and hops in the air and so she … Imagine she’s skipping up a few stairs, because she’s almost half your height and she skips and hops up until she’s a few feet above you and then she doubles over backwards and bends back until her eyes met with yours.

Titania:“Can’t a girl just call on a friend? I was worried about you.”

Myx: “Well, I mean, of course. I was surprised.”

Titania:“{Motherly tone}Well, I mean, you have things to do. I can’t always be disturbing you, pulling you away from your big adventure.”

Myx: “Big adventure that feels like it’s going rather slowly at the moment.”

Titania:“Well, whose silly fault is that?”

Myx: “I blame my other party members, really.”

GM: And she boops you on the nose again and then stands up straight, slowly floats down in front of you until her face is facing yours.

Titania:“Well, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t something you could do.”

Myx: “Um, ask and I will certainly do everything I can.”

Titania:“Well, that’s very nice of you. Um, so, I may be aware that you’ve been playing with dragons.{excited whispers}”

Myx: “You wouldn’t even believe. They are very, very big and very, very scary.”

Titania:“Yeah, I know. I want one.”

Myx: “So do I, but maybe one that isn’t so scary.”

Titania:“Oh, I mean, I could arrange that for you, if you could arrange it for me?”

Myx: “You want me to get you a dragon?”

Titania:“Yeah.”

Myx: “A big one?”

Titania:“Eh, um, I’m not picky.”

Myx: “So, you’re telling me {laughs} the fav-, the favor, you want me to bring you a dragon?”

Titania:“Or a dragon egg. That would work too.”

Myx: “{flabbergasted}Uh, um, do you, do you have any advice for how, um, I-I should get one?”

Titania:“Of course. I wouldn’t just ask you for something like that.”

GM: And she snaps her fingers. She produces from the tips of her fingers a small branch that curls out from her hand and it looks almost like a fishing rod, but at the end of the branch, a small vine drops down and turns into a small lasso. And then she twists her wrist and the branch becomes disconnected and she hands it up to you.

Myx: “Um, am I supposed to put this around the dragon or dragon egg?”

Titania:“So, what this does is if you attach it to something, it can make it very small. Dragon eggs are quite big. It wouldn’t work on a big dragon. Not really. They wouldn’t stay still long enough. But a dragon egg, that you could probably use it for.”

Myx: “So, then, it has to be around the whole, uh, dragon or dragon egg rather than a part of it, right?”

Titania:“You’ll work it out.”

Myx: “Do you, uh, um, {laughs} on this note, do you have any idea where I could find a dragon egg?”

Titania:“Well, I’m sure you’re already halfway on your way there.”

Myx: “That dragon did say something about a prodigy, progeny?”

Titania:“Mmm, progeny.”

Myx: “Is it possible it’s n-not an actual born dragon yet?”

Titania:“You do catch on fast. That’s why I like you.”

Myx: “{laughs} Oh, okay. Here, here’s another question. The, do I only have to use this for the dragon or could I, for example, use it to shrink enemies and put them in my pocket until later?”

Titania:“I mean, you could try, but it will only work once, and I’d really rather you used it for an egg for me.”

Myx: “That is fair enough, no worries. I-I-I-I was being overly hopeful {laughs}.”

Titania:“So, we’re agreed then. You’ll get the dragon egg and you’ll bring it to me and I’ll keep it.”

Myx: “Yes, uh, absolutely. When I have obtained this monumental beastie for you …”

Titania:“{dismissively}It’s only a baby.”

Myx: “{laughs} When I survive the feat of obtaining this thing …”

Titania:“Well, it’s in an egg, it can’t fight you.”

Myx: “It might not be able to, but I imagine there might be some things guarding it that could.”

Titania:“Ah, pish posh.”

Myx: “Will you know to call me, or should I …”

Titania:“You should come back here. I like it.”

Myx: “Okay.”

Titania:“Yes.”

Myx: “I can absolutely do that. Excuse me asking, but what did you mean you could arrange a dragon for me?”

Titania:“Meh. You’ve already agreed anyway, so I was thinking we should spend some time together. Like you said, it’s been such a long time and I just think we should spend time catching up.”

Myx: “I would love that. That would be wonderful. But, but, but, um, um, if, uh, um, if it’s not too much to ask, before we do, I-I’m more than happy to spend time with you and I-I enjoy your visits …”

Titania:“Well, of course.”

Myx: “It has been awhile.”

Titania:“Well, wonderful.”

Myx: “But, I did something really stupid.”

GM: She just looks at you and tilts her head and rolls her eyes.

Titania:“{sighs} Yes?”

Myx: “So, I have a friend, a very close friend of mine who was having some …”

Titania:“The silly boy with the bird. Ugh.”

Myx: “Yes, Tobe. His name is Tobe.”

Titania: “{sings}Bird boy.”

Myx: “Um, and …”

Titania:“You know his mistress is awfully mean.”

Myx: “I can’t I know much about the Raven Queen.”

Titania:“She’s like a stick in the mud.”

Myx: “So nowhere near as fun as you, then.”

Titania:“Definitely not. Who could be?”

Myx: “{laughs} Um, he was meditating to try and find her, communicate with her, because Oz, his bird, is missing. And I was meant to be there guarding him and when I heard your call, I left him, without saying anything. I didn’t say anything …”

Titania:“Well, that was mean. {astonished}”

Myx: “I know. I’m an awful …”

Titania:“God, you’re an awful friend. I hope you treat me better.”

Myx: “Believe me, I do. I was just so confused and absorbed with what was happening, I-I just, uh, I-I was like in a trance. I-I, it didn’t occur to me and I feel awful about it.”

Titania:“Well, Quickling, Quickling, Quickling. You are awfully quick to jump to action.”

Myx: “Oh, I can’t help it. {laughs} Um, is, would there be anyway, while I’m spending some time with you, to just maybe send a sign to him to let him know that I’m okay, that I will be back soon, but not now. Is there anything that can be done?”

Titania:“{long drawn out} Hmmm. Okay, sit down.”

Myx: Myx plops on the ground.

Titania:“Close your eyes.”

Myx: Myx closes her eyes.

Titania:“Boop! {tee hees} Okay, concentrate.”

Myx: “Okay, wh-what should I concentrate on.”

Titania:“{yelling} Just concentrate!”

Myx: “Okay, okay, concentrating.”

Titania:“Boop! {twitter laughs}”

{laughs}

Myx: “This is {losing breath} … Should I concentrate on your booping? {laughs}”

Titania:“Don’t be ridiculous. We’re having fun. Now focus.”

Myx: “Okay, focusing.”

Titianium: “Clear your senses. Now say the magic word. Jamboobuhlah!”

Myx: “Jamboobuhlah!”

Titania:” {laughs} Quickling, you’re so funny. Ah.”

GM: And then you feel her poke you right in the middle of your forehead. And the next thing you know, you feel really different, and you’re not in the middle of the woods. You’re actually in the middle of the city. And everything looks really strange. It’s like you’re looking at everything through a goldfish lens and things are just slightly distorted. They’re clear and the’re sharp and they’re in focus. You’re not under the influence of hallucinogen, or nothing’s making you feel woozy, but everything’s very intense.

Myx: Can I identify faces? Is there anyone around me?

GM: Looking around you, you don’t see any faces. You don’t see any people, actually. And you look down and you realize that you appear to be hanging on a wall, sideways. In fact, you are in an alleyway staring down into a pile of refuse. And everything smells really intensely. So much so, you can almost taste it.

Myx: Do I have hands? Can I look and see if I actually have hands?

GM: Roll a dex save.

Myx: Oh boy.

GM: You feel your body drop, suddenly as you try to pull your hands away from the wall that you were holding onto and your wings open up as you look down at your hands and realize that you have little scaley claw legs.

Myx: Myx is very confused right now and doesn’t understand what’s happening.

GM: In your mind you hear-

Titania:“No, focus! Focussss. Quickling, your body is fine. You’re here with me. Everything’s fine. Focus on seeing what he sees. In fact, why don’t you just say hello. I mean, you’re sharing a space. It’s rude.”

Myx: “Uh, um, hello?”

Darconius: “Hello!”

Myx: “Who are you?”

Darconius: “This is very strange.”

Myx: “It is very strange. I’m sorry. I feel like we’re sharing a body?”

Darconius: “Yeah, it’s mine. Um, but that’s okay. Um, you won’t eat me, will you?”

Myx: “No, of course not?”

Darconius: “That’s good. That’s good, yes, um …”

Myx: “I’m trying to find …”

Darconius: “Did you need me for something? I’ve-I-I’ve not really shared a brain before.”

Myx: “Do you know Titania?”

Darconius: “Everyone knows Titania. She-she’s the queen of the fey. She’s very powerful.”

Myx: “Well, I think she’s put us together to help me find my friend.”

Darconius: “I can do that. I’m very good at finding people.”

Myx: “Okay, um …”

Darconius: “What does he smell like? Does he taste like bacon?”

Myx: “{laughs} If he does, I don’t actually know, because I’ve never …”

Darconius: “Well, what kind of friend are you?”

Myx: “Well, I mean, we talk and we spend time together and we go on adventures, but I can’t say I’ve ever tried licking him.”

Darconius: “I want to go on an adventure. That sounds really exciting!”

Myx: “I mean, i-if you want, y-you can come with us once we find him. I really need to get a message to him.”

Darconius: “Where was he when you last saw him?”

Myx: “Um, he was meditating in, was it the keep? I feel like it was the keep. Try and find his mistress.”

Darconius: “Excellent. One question. …What’s a keep?”

GM: So, we last left Erbak and Mhurren who were much earlier in the day still, trying to interrogate Nasim, who, I believe, was just responding to the claim that Erbak made. So, Nasim, Mhurren, tell me more about your order. And Nasim went, “Hah, good joke.” He’s still going-

Nasim: “Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. {long pause} Ha. Ha.”

{laughs}

Nasim: “Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

Erbak: “I am confused. Did you not know each other?”

Nasim: “He is not of my order. You said the Talons of Justice, my order. But he is not of that.”

Erbak: “Ah, must have misinterpreted this.”

Nasim: “Perhaps so. But it was a good joke. Ha. Ha. Ha.” And for the record, you can tell that this is genuine mirth. He’s not fucking with you, this is him laughing.

Erbak: “So, what is your order then? How does it operate? What does it do? What are its functions? I apologize, I am quite inquisitive.”

Nasim: “I can tell. However, our order is very old and somewhat secret. However, all you really need to know is we fight for justice. Hence the name.”

Erbak: “Hmm, do you have allegiance to a particular god?”

Nasim: “I do. I worship Bahamut. And indeed most of our order do. She did found it after all. Oh no. I’ve said too much. Pretend that part didn’t happen.”

Erbak: “That is fine. Many religious orders claim their deity founded them.”

Nasim: “I suppose that is true. Ho. Ho. Ho. Ho.” And he goes on like that for {laughs} a few minutes.

GM: Mhurren, I believe you were inspecting Leosin. Nasim’s description of him was accurate to what you are currently seeing. The doctors have said it will be a number of days before he comes to.

Mhurren: “So, Nasim, you follow the light of Bahamut?”

Nasim: “Indeed. I am but an apprentice, yet I have followed in her light for many decades. Where from do you hail?”

Mhurren: “I hail from Temple of the Stoneclaw.”

Nasim: “Ah.”

Mhurren: “I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.

Nasim: “I am familiar. It is run by a man of no small talent named Kriv if I am not mistaken.”

Mhurren: “Yes, my master. You know of him?”

Nasim: “He is an honorable man.”

Mhurren: “Certainly. Well it was he who sent me away to seek out Leosin. I have received a letter from my master suggesting I seek out Leosin.”

Nasim: “Hmm.”

Mhurren: “But I, I haven’t a clue what for.”

Nasim: “I am afraid I do not, but if he sent you here to meet him, then chances are Leosin has something for you. Information, perhaps. He was very eager to come to Greenest in pursuit of his studies.”

Mhurren: “What might he be studying?”

Nasim: “I believe we discussed this before you found him, but he was studying the cult and their movements.”

Mhurren: “Right.”

Nasim: “Worry not. It has been a stressful few days. I’m sure you have been very busy killing people.”

{laughs}

Tobe: Oh god.

Mhurren: “Um …”

Erbak: “We did kill a lot people.”

Mhurren: “There was obstacles, yes.”

Nasim: “Such is the way of the light. We all have walls we must climb. Hmm. When did you last spar with anyone? You look a little rusty.”

{laughs}

Erbak: “Well, if you gentlemen would certainly like to have a go at one another, I would be very happy to watch. Very intriguing to see an actual combat between two trained monks.”

Nasim: He turns and he looks at you and, “Sorry, we do not fight for pleasure or entertainment. Our art is not a spectator sport.”

Erbak: “Oh no, this will purely be for research purposes.”

Nasim: Turns to you, Mhurren, and says, “Is he always this obtuse?”

Erbak: “I have been told that.”

Mhurren: “He’s a good …”

Nasim: “Allow … Allow me to rephrase. This was not an invitation. Nothing personal.” He turns back to you, Mhurren, and says, “If you would like, we may train in the way of the hand when you are free of …” And he looks at Erbak and looks back at you and says, “Obstacles.”

Erbak: This has gone over Erbak’s head, by the way.

Mhurren: “Um, I, I might take you up on that offer, Nasim.”

Nasim: “Then I look forward to it.”

Mhurren: “Likewise.”

Nasim: “If there is anything that you need of me, please do not hesitate to ask.”

Mhurren: “Oh, one last thing. You said you were from Candlekeep was it?”

Nasim: “No, we were traveling from the library at Candlekeep with my master and returning to Berdusk.”

Erbak: “This library at Candlekeep sounds fascinating.”

Nasim: “It is very old and very full of books…and scrolls…and one very interesting rock.”

Erbak: “Ah, might I inquire as to what makes the rock so intriguing?”

Nasim: “It has some very old words on it. I am told they are quite fascinating, but I could not read them. Something about bees.”

Erbak: “Bees. I’ll have to make a note to visit Candlekeep at some point.”

Nasim: “I would recommend it if you like books…and scrolls…and rocks.”

Erbak: He is just going to have a sit down and pour over some of his books for a bit. He’s completely forgotten about the fact he ran out of the meeting room with Tarbow.

GM: Erbak sits down, begins studying his texts in the medical quarters and the Tabaxi give him this look. ‘Why exactly are you studying here? We have things to do?’ He’s not especially in the way, just off to one side, so whatever. Getting him to leave is more hassle. Maybe he’s just very close with this person or something.

Erbak: What time of day are we?

GM: Midmorning. It’s just the beginning of the afternoon at this point.

Erbak: I probably just want to inquire if there’d been any news, any action from the cultist camp. Captain Escobert , I’ll go try and find him.

GM: The keep is not that big and it shouldn’t be that hard to find someone here, but it takes you the best part of two hours to find a guard who knows where Escobert is. As it turns out, he is visiting family in the city and he won’t be back for a couple hours more. So, you recieve that news and we cut away to Tobe and Scraw who are making their way through the city.

Scraw: “Well, I mean, personally, did you see the way I was holding him? I felt that if you just, you grapple him just so,” and he’s making motions with you as he’s walking, “And you them like this and it makes it very hard for them to wrestle back. And it feels good because it makes you feel stronger because you’re solid and y-you’re holding him and … Am I making sense?”

Tobe: {laughs} Tobe’s not really listening to him. As they’re walking through the city, he’s keeping an eye out for Myx just in case. But he’s nodding and agreeing.

Scraw: “Well, [claps], that’s excellent. Great. Anyway, if you get, from that position, you’d move with the hands on the face and then you can put your thumbs in that …”

Johnny: And at this point, someone comes up and goes, “Excuse me, uh, you look lost.”

Tobe: “Uh …”

Johnny: “Do you need help?”

Tobe: “I’m actually looking …”

Johnny: “W-where are you trying to go?”

Tobe: “Well, my friend here’s looking for a tavern. I’m just keeping an eye out for my friend.” And he describes what Myx looks like. “You seen her anywhere or?”

Johnny: “I’ve seen a lot of pretty ladies like that, mate. Yeah. I know what kind of tavern you’re looking for, ey, ey. I’ve, I mean, I got you.” And he’s tapping his nose. And he’s a gnome, and he’s quite a tall gnome, but he’s a gnome nonetheless. “Oh no, I got you. I-I know what you’re looking for. You want to visit The Mistress over at the, uh, The Golden Harp. It’s just, uh, down that road, and, uh, {conspiratorially} you tell them Ol’ Johnny sent you. They’ll give you a discount and the special service. Just make sure you ask for it nice.”

Tobe: “Uhhh …” {laughs} Disgusted, put out face. {laughs} “Okay, well. I don’t …”

Johnny: He doesn’t believe you. “Uh-huh {skeptical}, yeah. Disgusted. Right. Dont worry buddy. Your secret’s safe with me.”

Tobe: “There is no secret!”

Johnny: “Uh-huh. Yep.” And he looks at Scraw. “You pair of devils looking for pretty blue ladies? Golden Harp. Oh, yeah.” And he just starts walking away backwards from you guys, making finger guns the whole way. “Don’t forget the special service!”

Tobe: “I don’t want to know what the special service is.”

Scraw: “You know, actually, I’m kind of intrigued.”

Tobe: Tobe just gives him this look, “What?” {laughs}

Scraw: “It’s a tavern. What harm could it be?”

Tobe: “A lot of harm. I’ve already had to endure a lot of inappropriate touching.”

Scraw: “What on earth makes you think there would be inappropriate touching at a tavern? How do you go drinking? I’m looking forward to this.”

Tobe: “I-I’m going to regret this, but sure. Sure. Let’s just go with your gut instinct.”

GM: So, you follow the vague and poorly made out directions of the small gnome guy, and you find yourself in front of a rather well built stone building. And there is a sign over the door that looks like it’s seen better days, but you can tell, glimpsing at it closely and squinting, that the paint job was probably somewhat metallic at some point and it’s at least a yellow harp. The windows here are wooden framed, crossed with black slate-like material and you can’t see much on the inside because there’s heavy, velvet curtains covering the windows.

Tobe: Tobe’s even more put out by the fact that there are velvet curtains.

GM: They are a deep emerald green color and they’re not completely closed over. They’re heavily drawn. So, there’s maybe a foot of sunlight getting through either side. There’s enough space in the window that you could see through if you were really intent.

Tobe: Yeah, he decides to take a look inside for a good gap in the curtains.

GM: Tobe walks over to the window and his sticks his hand on the window and puts his face right up to it. You look through the window and you see what looks like a fairly normal tavern. It looks very well kept. The table near the window, and I say near the window, it’s literally a foot away, is occupied by two goliath and a lizardman and they appear to be enjoying some food together. And you put your face up against the window and one of them turns and gives you this look like, “What the fuck?”

{laughs}

GM: And then he just turns back to his plate and dives headfirst into the meat and yanks it off. And then he turns and snarls at you through the window. But looking past him, behind the bar, there appears to be an Aasimar lady and she’s not dressed particularly flashily. She’s got a leather tunic on. She has a quite fine, embroidered waistcoat and she’s wearing her hair tied up in a quite tight bun. And she is at least moderately attractive, as per the description by the gnome.

You don’t see a lot of Aasimar in there, but there is at least one pretty Aasimar lady, and she is behind the bar. It doesn’t seem particularly busy because of the fact that it’s the middle of the day. Not everybody’s into the day drinking, but you get the impression that there’s probably more people in here than normal, because the city was just under attack and people like to get together and swap, “Aw, I fought them off,” kind of stories.

Tobe: Deciding that it doesn’t look the kind of stuff that he was suspicious of it being, he goes inside with Scraw.

Scraw: “We’re good? We’re good? It smells good. I want food. But first, drink!”

Tobe: “Yeah, sure.” {laughs} Tobe’s more about food first.

Scraw: Scraw follows you in.

GM: Fairly dimly lit in here. It’s a very specific vibe they’re going for. The lamplight in certain corners actually glows with a purple flame and the barmistress looks up, notices you, acknowledges you with a small nod and goes back to wiping down bottles and shining the bartop.

Tobe: Tobe decides to find the most secluded table.

GM: You find a secluded table. The first one that you find is secluded but is just surrounded by the most gaudy paintings and a couple of them are quite bawdy, quite almost borderline lewd and there is a lot of lighting. It’s very secluded. It’s cut off from the rest of the tables, but there’s a lot of light here.

The next table that you find is less secluded. It’s more between a few tables, towards one back of the room, but the only lighting around here appears to be a dull purple flame lamp which is slowly lowering and appears to have an adjustable switch so you can dim it even further or make it brighter as you prefer. Not quite as out of the way, but it does allow for brooding.

Tobe: Yeah. I’ll go for that table. He’s not here to make friends.

GM: You go over and you sit at the table and Scraw follows suit. And as he’s following you, he looks at the person behind the bar and he waves his arm as if to indicate, “Please come over here.” And she looks up and she turns and you see her shout something to someone. It’s relatively noisy in here. There’s a fair amount of conversation, as compared to the bar that you were in a few weeks ago, this place is definitely not dead. And you see her nod to someone and then go back to what she was doing. She does not make any moves to indicate she’s coming over to your table.

Tobe: I mean, Tobe’s fine with not drinking anything. He’s trying to find his feet at the moment.

GM: You sit down at a table.

Scraw: Scraw joins you. “Well, this place seems nice. I like the smell. It’s like … okay.”

Tobe: He’s actually … Tobe’s actually going to take out the letter that Liberty sent to him and read it over again.

Scraw: Scraw’s sitting opposite him, babbling about something. He gets the sense that Tobe’s not feeling good. He can’t put his finger on it, but it’s almost like he’s been more talkative than normal and he assumes that means something’s wrong.

Tobe: Not a bad assumption, to be honest.

Scraw: Even if more talkative has essentially been, “Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure. Mm-hmm.” “So, uh, anyway, where’s your bird? Do they not let birds at … Uh, they don’t let birds in pubs, of course. He must have been outside.”

Tobe: “No, actually, I have no idea where he is.”

Scraw: “That seems rather irresponsible.”

Tobe: “It’s concerning. I’m very concerned.”

Scraw: “Perhaps I can help you find your bird. I’m very good at finding things.”

Tobe: “If my suspicions are correct, then he’s back at the cultist cave.”

Scraw: “Great. I mean, oh, th-that’s very unfortunate. Um, but we can recover him if we know where he is.”

Tobe: “I mean, I’m just assuming, because that’s the last place I saw him, but seems the most likely.”

Scraw: “So, he’s just an ordinary bird, then?”

Tobe: “No, he’s not.”

Scraw: He’s slowly narrowing his eyes. “So, how do you know where he is?”

Waiter: “{clears throat obnoxiously}”

Tobe: “Yes?”

Waiter: “Can I take your orders?”

Tobe: “Um, just any mild drink. I don’t have any preferences. Just a … Something that’s not going to get me drunk.”

Waiter: “Heh. Right. Kay.”

GM: You look around, and you realize that you can’t see the source of the voice.

Tobe: “Hello?” {laughs} “Scraw?”

Scraw: He just looks at you and he points sideways and down. “{clears throat pointedly}”

Tobe: Tobe looks down {laughs}.

GM: There is a small goblin with a notepad and he’s wearing a little black waistcoat and he’s got a little red hat on.

Tobe: If Myx were here she’d find that adorable.

Waiter: “What can I get you? There’s a menu on the table. Just read it.”

Tobe: Tobe does that. He’s feeling rather embarrassed now.

Waiter: “I mean, I can give you a few more minutes if you want. I can come back.”

Tobe: “That would be great, thanks.”

Waiter: “Sure.” And you see him roll his eyes. “Ugh. Out of towners.”

Scraw: Scraw picks up his own menu and he goes, “I think I’ll have the … Tobe what does this say?”

Tobe: “Scraw, can you not read?”

Scraw: “Of course I can {sheepish laugh} read. I’m just, they’re very small letters and I have big hands.”

Tobe: Tobe looks over to read it for him. “Bacon and egg sandwich, Scraw.”

Scraw: “Hmm, that does sound appetizing but I think the roast bison’s probably better.”

Tobe: “Isn’t it a bit early for a roast bison?”

Scraw: “Well, I mean, when you put it like that. You’re right, the ox would be better.”

Tobe: {laughs} Tobe just face palms.

Scraw: “Well, I’m a growing boy. Huh, I’m very self conscious about my size. I- I need to eat a lot.”

Tobe: “That’s fair. I’m not judging.”

Scraw: “Do you have to sharpen your horns or do they just stay that way naturally, as it were?”

Tobe: “That’s an interesting question. They just kind of grow that way.”

GM: So you are sitting by a window and you are reading a menu. We’re gonna break there. Myx, you are making your way through the city with your accomplice and they are trying to help you find Tobe.

Myx: “The keep is a very big building {laughs} where they keep people safe.”

Darconius: “{sharp inhale} I know! I know exactly what that is! And I’ve got it. I’ve got it.”

GM: And before you know it, the walls are zooming by your eyes. Everything’s a blur. It takes a matter of a minute and a half before suddenly you stop.

Darconius: “There it is! That’s where all the people go {whispers} to stay safe.”

Myx: I’m trying to look at where I’ve been brought to.

GM: It’s a pub. There are a lot of people in this pub, a lot of people. So many people. This is probably the busiest pub that you’ve seen. On the outside there is a sign of a horned man and he has a shield. He is standing in front of a group of peasants who are cowering behind him, and in front of him there are a hoard of angry looking people with weapons.

Darconius: “Look, look! See! See! People come here and the horned man keeps them safe.”

Myx: “{soft groan} You’re not wrong. {laughs} Well, th-this isn’t quite where I meant.”

Darconius: “That-that’s good. I’m, I’m, I’m learning. I can, I can do better.”

Myx: “I should have chose my words a bit better, but while we’re here, we may as well have a look just in case.”

Darconius: “I just think that I could help a lot more if I knew what he smelled like, just, you know, just a little bit.”

Tobe: That’s not creepy at all.

Darconius: “Like, I just, you know, you said he’s your friend. You must know what he smells like. What did he have for breakfast?”

Myx: “Um, well, you see, this past morning he didn’t eat much because …”

Darconius: “He didn’t eat breakfast? You … What kind of friend are you?”

{laughs}

Darconius: “You’ve got to make him eat breakfast. You’ve got to make sure you take care of your people.”

Myx: “I know. Okay. {voice breaks} I already feel guilty enough. He wasn’t hungry because he was sad and stressed, okay.”

Darconius: “Why was he sad?”

Myx: “Because his friend is missing–“

Darconius: “You’re missing!”

Myx: “Not, not me.”

{laughs}

Myx: “Another friend. Now Tobe is missing two friends.”

Darconius: “He’s having a bad day.”

Tobe: He is having a bad day. {laugh}

Myx: “He is, yes.”

Erbak: He’s having a great day to me.

Myx: “And that’s why I need to find him.”

Darconius: “Okay, but seriously, what does he smell like? C’mon. You must know. Does he not like rub himself in the dirt and stuff like normal people?”

Myx: “Um, he’s not normal people. He, um, is a tiefling. Do you know what tieflings smell like?”

Darconius: “There’s a lot of tieflings in this town.”

Myx: “Mmm…”

Darconius: “Does he smell like purple?”

Myx: “He does smell like purple now that you mention it.”

Darconius: “Well, you can see what I can see and you know how these people over here, like, that one’s orange.”

Myx: “Yeah.”

Darconius: “And, and that one’s green.”

Myx: “Y-yes.”

Darconius: “So maybe, like, maybe he’s purple.”

Myx: “Well, he’s definitely …”

Darconius: “You seem like the kind of person who-who’d be friends with a purple.”

Myx: {laughs} “What color am I then?”

Darconius: “Well, you’re a blue, obviously.”

Myx: “Okay, okay. Let’s try that approach. Let-let’s look for purple.”

GM: You go rushing around the city again and everything is much faster paced than you’re used to normally and everything seems so much larger. It’s not long before you find yourself outside of what would appear to be another pub.

Darconius: “This one! I’m sure of it. It’s here.”

Myx: “Mmm, this still doesn’t seem like the kind of place my friend would frequent. I have to say.”

Darconius: “{indignant/petulant} Do you trust me or not? I already learned. This is no keep. I don’t need to be taught no lesson twice. I’m the smartest that they ever comes.”

{laughs}

Myx: “Oh, okay, okay. I- I’ll trust you.”

Darconius: “So how do we go in, boss?”

Myx: Well, can I tell if it looks busy or not?

GM: From out here, the windows are dark. It’s hard to see inside, but there aren’t people falling out of the door like there were with the other one. It’s not the kind of place people are queued up to get into. And the level of noise around here doesn’t seem too exuberant.

Myx: “Can we maybe peek through the window?”

Darconius: “Uhhhh, hang on.”

Myx: “{whispers} Okay, sneaking.”

Darconius: “{whispers} Okay. Oh man. We’re gonna sneak so hard.” And he zooms over to the window and lets you get a look through.

GM: You find yourself looking through the window and as a matter of fact, directly in front of you, is a small table, which you can see, sitting at, is Scraw and Tobe. And Scraw appears to be giving Tobe some kind of lecture about wrestling.

Myx: “Darconius. Darconius. They’re here.”

Darconius: “See, I told you. Purple. I got it. I got it in my snifter.”

Myx: “You did and it’s such a good job. See, see that one, the, the kind of one that looks a little broody? Um …”

Darconius: “The tiefling that I was looking for, because he’s purple and smells like purple? Yeah, I think maybe I realized that was him. {scoffs}”

Myx: “And the hairy one next to him, that’s my other friend, Scraw.”

Darconius: “Cool. He looks impressive.”

Myx: “He is very impressive. He’s quite the warrior, you know?”

Darconius: “Neat.”

Myx: “Okay.”

Darconius: “So how do we get in?”

Myx: “I guess, I-I don’t see signs that say we can’t go in, so w-what would you prefer? Through the window? Well, if we can lodge ourselves, lodge the window open?”

Tobe: Oh my god. {laughs}

Darconius: “Uhhhhh, windows sound good. Cool. Let’s try that.”

Tobe: Just to ask, did Myx forget that doors are things?

GM: You quite easily unlatch the window and Tobe, you are sitting at the table talking to Scraw and you hear a faint click as you turn to your left and look at the window. You see a small reptilian creature fiddling with the latch and you see it push its nose up against the window, wriggle side to side as it squeezes its neck through and the window easily pushes open and it dexterously moves through and slithers down to the ground.

Myx: Me and my companion waddle over to Tobe’s table.

GM: Tobe you watch as the small, somewhat dragon like looking thing with wings waddles over to your table.

Tobe: What the fuck is going on? {laughs} “Can I help you?”

Myx: “Tobe, it’s me. It’s Myx.”

Tobe: “I’m sorry, say that again.”

Myx: “It, okay, okay. It’s me, but it’s not me. It is me but in a different creature body.”

Tobe: “Right, okay.”

Myx: “Right, yes. Um …”

Tobe: Tobe wants to do an insight check. {laughs}

GM: It’s kind of hard to read but even though this reptile sounds like Myx and it’s giddily clapping it’s claws together, doing all these hand motions that seem very familiar and it talking with Myx’s voice …

Tobe: He’s very perturbed. {laughs}

Myx: “Okay, okay. What can I do to prove to you that it-it is me, Myx? Ask me a question.”

Tobe: “What’s my bird’s name?”

Myx: “That’s easy. His name is Oz.”

Scraw: “And where is he, you fiend?”

Myx: “Oh, I don’t know. {stammers} The last …”

Scraw: “Ah-HAH! It lies. We should squash it.”

Tobe: “But Scraw, ngh, I think it probably is Myx.”

Darconius: Darconius does back you up a few steps. “I don’t like this. No. I don’t like this. He’s scary.”

Myx: “Yeah, right now he is very scary.”

Darconius: “Don’t let him squish me.”

Myx: “Uh, I promise I won’t let him squish you.”

GM: Keep in mind, no one else can hear Darconius.

Tobe: Is Myx talking to herself?

GM: Yeah.

{laughs}

Myx: “Scraw, stop it. It is me. Remember, I stopped you from fighting the big, scary dragon?”

Scraw: “So you brought me another one!”

{laugh}

Myx: “This isn’t …”

Tobe: Tobe is just like, “No, no, calm down.”

Scraw: “I must say, I feel that my honor is being insulted right now. This creature is very small.”

Tobe: “Don’t … I-I don’t think you’re meant to fight it, Scraw.”

Myx: “N-no.”

Scraw: “Well, that would make more sense. I don’t know why she’d think this thing could challenge me.”

Darconius: Darconius bristles up, puffs up to try and make himself look bigger and snarls.

Myx: “Ignore that. Just relax. I got this.”

Darconius: “I could take him.”

Myx: “I-I know.”

Darconius: “He’s not so tough.”

Myx: “Please …”

Darconius: “I bet under all that fluff he’s just skin and bone.”

Myx: “Shh, don’t let him hear you.”

Darconius: “He can’t hear me. Only you can hear me.”

Myx: “Just shush for a moment. I-I’m trying to get them to believe me.”

Darconius: “{sighs} Fine. Okay. Whatever.”

Myx: “Thank you. Now …”

Darconius: “Tell Tobe he smells like purple.”

Myx: “Um.”

Darconius: “Do it. {whispers} Do itttt.”

Myx: “Tobe. Darconius says you smell like purple.”

Tobe: “Uhhh, {laughs}.”

Myx: “That’s how we found you.”

{laughs}

Myx: “Well …”

Darconius: (Snickers) “He does.”

Tobe: “Smells like? Okay, my clothes are purple and my eyes are purple and my skin is like greyish purple. But smells like pur-?” He’s really confused.

{laughs}

Tobe: But after like she says the name, even though he’s obviously never had this kind of experience with Oz, I see he’s getting like a sense of deja vu. “Myx? Are you actually in there or are you somewhere else?”

Myx: “I-it’s complicated. I’m … I-I-I’m, I’m somewhere else. But I’m consciously here because I wanted to tell you that I’m okay and I felt horrible because I was so entranced by what was happening and I didn’t leave you a note and, and, I-I’m, I’m sorry.”

Tobe: “{exasperated sigh} ” {laughs} Not all of his stress but most of his stress evaporates. Okay. I hopefully don’t need to worry about Myx. He trusts her not to like lie to him about being in danger, so he feels fairly confident that she is. If she says she’s okay, then she’s okay.

Myx: “I-I promise I’m okay. Um, I don’t know when I’m going to be back yet, but don-don’t worry. Um, I’m safe. So, you know how earlier you were trying to get in touch with your patron?”

Tobe: “Yeah.”

Myx: “Well, mine got in touch with me.”

Tobe: “Oh.” Kinda frowning a little bit now {laughs}.

Myx: “Um, well, she wants me to spend time with her for a bit and I’m no one to turn her down so, that, that’s, that’s sort of what’s happening at the moment.”

Tobe: “Oh, um, okay. Thanks for letting me know because like, you know, I was really worried to come out of my meditation and you weren’t there.”

Myx: “I know. I’m sorry. It, it was, it was really dumb and I didn’t mean to make you worry more than I did, promise. I-It was not intentional, just very … You know the thing with the rats?”

{laughs}

Tobe: “I wish I didn’t.”

{laughs}

GM: Tobe has very vivid memory of the thing with the rats.

Myx: “You know that thing where sometimes I don’t think things through right?”

Tobe: And he has this total look of complete understanding but also exasperation on his face. “Yes, Myx. I’m familiar with this particular habit of yours to not think about things.”

Myx: “Yeah. I, I promise. I-it’s something I will work on. That’s where I’m at right now.”

Tobe: “Okay. Well, I guess you should go back to …”

Scraw: “Does she know anything about the bird?”

Tobe: “Yeah, actually, do you know anything about my bird?”

Myx: “Well, I tried mentioning the Raven Queen to Titania, and she just, she has the worst regard for her.”

Tobe: “{cringy} Oh.”

Myx: “So, I’m not having any luck getting anything out of her but, I-I will try.”

Tobe: “Well, don’t endanger yourself to do it.”

Myx: “Oh, {scoffs} no.” {laughs} “No, no, no. Nothing like that. Um, I-I- I have a quite playful, um, mistress. No, no, no, don’t worry. I-I will casually see if I can find out anything more. Of, well, I’ll try. And if I do, I’ll absolutely let you know.”

Tobe: “Well, thanks. I guess, uh, I should let you get back to, I guess, bonding with your …” It’s a really odd concept to Tobe.

GM: Yeah, because Tobe’s patron is aloof and distant and mysterious.

Tobe: So is he. {laughs}

Myx: Mine is quite different.

{laughs}

Myx: “But, yeah, just, if you could, just let the party know I’m okay and I will find you guys when my bit is done from this end.”

Tobe: “I will do that. Come back safe.”

Myx: “I will! Don’t worry!”

Tobe: It’s kind of like, he’s not sure like, usually he would hug Myx. “Mmmm,” he just pats the lizard thing on the head gently. {laughs} And awkwardly, and non threateningly.

Darconius: Darconius lets out a little, “{trills}”, involuntarily, slinks back in embarrassment.

Myx: “Darconius, you’ve done me such a huge, huge favor and it means a lot. Is there anything, while I’m here, that I can do for you?”

Darconius: “{long drawn out} Umm. No. I’m okay. I’m just here because uh, she wants me to be.”

Myx: “But what do you want?”

Darconius: “Eh, doesn’t matter. We can play later.”

Myx: “So, when I’m done with Titania, you’ll come find me?”

Darconius: “Well, I mean, I’ll probably come find you before then.”

Myx: “That works.”

Darconius: “Okay. I’ll see you later.”

Myx: “When I’m not in this tiny body I’ll give you some really tasty food and some good pets before I go.” Myx looks at Scraw through the tiny little eyes of her pet. “Don’t let Tobe get into too much trouble. And you don’t get into too much trouble. Don’t go beating up no tiny dragons.”

Scraw: “I have no reason to challenge such meager fare.”

Tobe: Tobe’s a little offended that the insinuation that Scraw would be stopping him from getting in trouble.

{laughs}

Myx: Well, someone has to keep Tobe safe if Myx isn’t around.

Tobe: {Sarcasm} Yes, someone has to keep Tobe safe from making friends {laughs} with plague rats.

Darconius: Darconius sticks out his tongue and, “{flicking hiss}, he tastes like purple too.”

{laughs}

GM: So, you slip out of Darconius’s consciousness and go back to your study.

Mhurren, after you stepped away from the medical thing, you were looking around for the head of the guard and you found that he was not available.

Mhurren: I probably would have returned to Nasim.

GM: When you meet up with Nasim, as you return to the medical quarters, you actually bump into him as he is leaving the quarters.

Nasim: “Ah, you’ve returned. I feel this moment is fated. I was looking for you.”

Mhurren: “Is that so?”

Nasim: “I feel there is much we can learn from one another.”

Mhurren: “Seems I feel the same way.”

Nasim: “Come. I have a private room here.” And he invites you to his quarters and on the way to the quarters you see him reaching into his bag he pulls out a large bundle of wrapping and he begins to bind his hand as he walks. “I am glad that you returned.” Tightens it, ties it off, keeps walking towards his quarters, starts binding the other hand.

Mhurren: “I feel there is much you can teach me.”

Nasim: “Perhaps so. Tell me, what have you learned from Kriv?”

Mhurren: “Only that I was to seek out Leosin.”

Nasim: “Hah. Hah. Hah. Ho. Ho. No. I do not mean recently. You said you were from the monastery. I wish to know,” and you see him tighten off his other hand as he clenches his fingers and tightens it, squeezes, “what you have learned from Kriv.” And you see him twisting his wrists around, getting a feel for the bindings on his hand.

Mhurren: “You mean, how to fight?”

Nasim: He turns and nods and he brings you to the entrance to his room. He opens the door, gestures for you to go in.

Mhurren: I step in.

GM: The room is fairly sparse. It’s not particularly decorated in any way. It seems like this room has been given to him purely as a spare room to sleep in, but he has taken all of the furniture and either moved it to an edge or even flipped it up on its side so that it takes up less room in this room. And there is a small corner where he has laid out some blankets as he appears to prefer sleeping on the stone floor over the bed, which was probably made for someone slightly smaller than he is. Keep in mind, this essentially is a giant-kin. He’s pretty goddamn tall. He’s quite large. And, as you walk further into the room, he turns and shuts the door behind him. And the room’s quite well lit. There’s a few sconces and a lamp in one corner.

Nasim: And he says, “Yes, I wish to know what you know.” You get hit in the face with a beanbag.

{laughs}

Nasim: It doesn’t do any damage. He doesn’t hit you hard, but it comes out of nowhere. You don’t even see it coming. It just [fwap!] smacks you square in the middle of the forehead. “Hah. Hah. Hah. I am sorry. Just a small test. When we are through, that will not happen again.”

Mhurren: “I suppose I am rusty.”

Nasim: “We can fix this. Nothing a few rounds won’t brush the dust off.” And with that, he strikes a ready for combat pose and invites you to spar with him.

You spend the rest of the day training. There isn’t much light left. There’s not much left of the day, but you train well into the late hours of the night and at some point, he turns to you and you’re exhausted but he’s breathing heavier than he was. But at the same time, there seems to be a level of serenity around him that you get the impression he could keep doing this for hours and hours and hours if not days. And he stops and puts a hand up and stands straight.

“You fight well, for someone who is not trained.” And you also notice that when he’s in combat and when he’s been fighting, it’s like his overall demeanor increases speed. His speech pattern becomes more fluid and instead of the slow cadence that he normally has, he speaks with a much more direct approach. “It seems you have not been taught some of the basics but I see your ki control is strong but directionless. I feel like with time and perhaps a bit of focus, you could easily master the way of the open hand. I am merely an apprentice, but if you wish, I can teach you.”

Mhurren: “I would like that.”

Nasim: “Tomorrow then. Rest. Wake. Eat. I will be waiting.”

Mhurren: “My thanks.”

Nasim: And he opens the door, gives you a slight bow and allows you to leave.

Mhurren: I do a slight bow and …

Nasim: “You are welcome, always. My door is open, except when it’s closed.”

Mhurren: I’m rolling my eyes as I leave.

Nasim: “You can always come through it if you wish.”

GM: For the next few days you often find Nasim waiting for you outside of his door or outside of the medical quarters where he has gotten up early enough that he can check on Leosin’s progress without disturbing the physicians and also have time to prepare before you arrive so that he may train with you and give you a due diligence.

And it’s not long before you find that that basics of the open hand technique come to you quite naturally. It’s like a lot of what’s been taught to you in the past was actually the foundation of this. The techniques that you learned at the monastery, the abilities you’ve been reawakened to, you find are actually the basis of the introduction to understanding how to use your body in the open hand technique.

Nasim spends a lot of time teaching you to specifically direct your ki in certain ways so that you can use it more adequately and more efficiently. And you become a practitioner of the open hand.

Myx.

Titania: “Why do you want to know so much about that horrid bird woman?”

Myx: “Well it’s not that I want to know so much about her, but you see, my friend Tobe has a familiar, a raven named Oz, and he’s missing.”

Titania: “Hmm.”

Myx: “And Oz means a lot to Tobe and we’re trying to find him, but he won’t respond to his calls.”

Titania: “Silly bird boy. Mmmm. Maybe he should stand on his head.”

Myx: {laughs} “I don’t think Tobe’s the kind to stand on his head much.”

Titania: “He doesn’t sound like fun.”

Myx: {laughs} “I mean, he’s not as fun as, as me, that’s for sure.”

Titania: “Of course!”

Myx: “But, I mean, can you think of anything that maybe I could do to help him or to look for Oz?”

Titania: “If he’s a familiar, Tobe needs to go looking in his dreams. That’s where I would look.”

Myx: “Although, the Raven Queen hasn’t answered any of his calls. Do you know …”

Titania: “She doesn’t talk much.”

Myx: {laughs} “Do you know if there’s anything Tobe could do to get her to respond?”

Titania: “Um, well, she is the goddess of the passage between life and death. So, if you hung out there, she’d probably get her attention. So, try dying.”

Tobe: {laughs incredulously} Wow.

Titania: “I think that would work.”

Myx: “Um, I-I appreciate the idea. I’m probably not brave enough to try that myself, but, uh, we’ll keep that in mind.”

Titania: “I mean, it wouldn’t work for you. She doesn’t care about you.”

Myx: {laughs} “That’s a good point.”

Titania: “A lot of people die all the time. But if she’s got some kind of agreement with the bird boy, then if he dies, he’s probably more likely to get her attention.”

Myx: “I don’t want my friend to almost die or die.”

Titania: “Well then, just tell him to go to sleep. Talk to his bird in his brain.”

Myx: “Okay.”

Titania: “Yeah. They’ll be fine. Anyway, we should work on this training.”

Myx: “Yes.”

Titania: “Party!”

Myx: {laughs} Titania is the best.

GM: Over the next few days, you do intermittently have training sessions with Darconius, and at one point or another, you go out of your way once more to find Tobe. Perhaps it’s late one night and Tobe is in his room.

Erbak, the last we left you, you were studying with your books and you were watching the physicians take care of Leosin. They don’t ask you to leave at any point, so long as you are mostly out of the way, they are not particularly interested in the fact that you’re there. You don’t seem to have any interaction with the patient, so they’re not really sure why you’re there, other than the fact that you helped to bring him in and they figure you’ve probably got some kind of personal stake in ensuring he makes it through.

Erbak: Well, this is the first day, when you left me without; the thing in the afternoon.

GM: Yes, correct. It was early afternoon, yeah.

Erbak: I’ll be staying for a little while and I want to just be present for a while he’s awake, just to study his state, to see what kind of like, effect’s wrong with him. Just to see what kind of state of mind he’s in.

GM: He seems to drift in and out of consciousness at various point in time. When he is awake or appearing to be, he’s often just staring glassily ahead. He’s no longer murmuring. The physicians, whatever they’re doing for him, does appear to be helping reduce that aspect of his suffering. So, he’s a lot quieter than when you first found him, and you do see a lot of the minor injuries are healing over time, but a lot of the real damage that’s been done has been done to his mind.

Erbak: Right. Once I’ve determined that, back to thinking it seems logical that talking to him’s gonna be well, difficult and at this moment, I’m not entirely convinced that a few days, maybe, he may still not be in the best situation afterwards. If there was only some way to get into his mind, just get in there without having to just work through his consciousness state.

GM: Without having to cope with the speaking to him and having him speak back, and actually, without having to communicate.

Erbak: Pretty much.

GM: If there was just some kind of way to bypass his willingness to talk or his ability to talk.

Erbak: Just, yeah, an obvious failing of the anatomical design of these creatures. Hmm. I’ve been around the keep a lot. Do i know if the keep has a library or anything akin to this?

GM: You haven’t really explored the keep that much, because obviously you’ve only been here a few days, really. And, you’ve spent a lot of that time near Greenest, not even in Greenest. Most of your time in the keep has, in fact, been around the medical quarters, because quite often when you’re here, you’re quite fascinated with the ongoing proceedings in there. You are thinking in terms of texts, and you spend your time wandering the keep. You speak to a few guards and you ask if there’s any kind of library.

Guard: “No, no library here. This is a, a keep for politicians and keeping the townsfolk safe, that sort of thing. There’s no library. There was a library, but I think most of, well, not here, but in town, and I gather a lot of the books were either stolen or destroyed, burned for kindling. But there, there may still be a library in town. I must admit, I’ve not, I’ve not really taken much interest in whether or not the books were okay. I was more concerned with my wife an sister.”

GM: You do find, however, through various conversations that you have, that there is one guard who works in this keep, whose name is Bawden, and he actually is a private book collector and when you ask him …

Bawden: “Oh, you, you fancy books do you?” He’s a rather slender dwarf with no facial hair whatsoever to speak of, which is very strange to see. And he’s rubbing his hand across his chin as though there were a beard there, a lifelong habit. “Oh, y-y-you fancy books, yes? Erm, well I , I do rather have, uh, you know, I have quite a {laughs} a modest collection, if you’re very interested in books. Uh, what sort of books, um, does one aspire to read?”

Erbak: “Um, scholarly law, preferably. Something, I-I’m fascinated by the magical arts, but in relation to that, I’m also fascinated by the medical arts and then the psychological arts. Many arts, in fact, involved in my area.”

Bawden: “Well, um, there is the, uh, Plaudium theorem of the mind psychosis, that of course is piffle, basically. I mean, i-it’s been disputed for decades, but I have a copy. There’s also Rhimes Wonderbooks of Magic and Merriment. That is rather splendid reading, entertaining, if perhaps inaccurate. And, you see, I-I collect oddities. I may have a medical textbook of sorts. Would it bother you, if it were written by somebody who killed a few people of different races?”

Erbak: “Eh, not at all.”

Bawden: “Well then, I’ve got a treat for you. It’s called Inside and Out: Everything’s that’s Delicious from Head to Toe. It’s, it’s, t-the title’s deceiving. It’s medical. I assure you.” And he rushes off to his room and comes back with a old, leather bound, rifled through book, which looks like it’s seen many, many easier times. But it’s a well worn book. It’s the sort of book where you open it and you try not too hard to think about what people who owned this have done with it previoulys, as it’s covered in various stains and dirt. He offers it to you.

Erbak: “Well, it is a well used book and therefore a valuable book.”

Bawden: “Absolutely. I do have an eye for true culture, if you …”

Erbak: “Fascinating. Fascinating.”

Bawden: “Yes. {laughs} I traded it from a, uh, wandering traveler on the last caravan. I gave him a half a scrubbins for it. {chuckles}. He had no idea what he was getting rid of.”

Erbak: “Yes, yes. Truly fascinating. Might I, might I borrow it for a short period?

Bawden: “Please. Please do. Um, would, please don’t leave the keep with it. Ideally, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing it, but for one of the Scales of Justice, by all means,please read away.”

Erbak: “Well I have quarter. That’s easily enough to find me there, although I may spend some time just in the dining hall.”

Bawden: “Return it when you are ready. I will not be seeking it out. However, um, if I might trouble you, I may stop by and, uh, discuss what you think about the text when you are done with it.”

Erbak: “Certainly. Certainly. I-I must go. I mean …”

Bawden: “By all mean, please do, and watch out for the texts on the liver. They’re rather ghastly.”

Erbak: “I know. It’s a terrible organ.”

Bawden: “Yes, it doesn’t taste good at all. Yes, quite. Can you believe some people still cook it? Disgusting.”

Erbak: So, Erbak is tooddling off. How obvious, looking at the front cover is it that this book is of dubious origin? Or is it just a journalist?

GM: Roll an insight check on the book.

Erbak: Ah, Christ.

{laughs}

GM: It seems unusual that someone with such very obvious interests in the mechanical aspects of the various races is so focused on how much each part of it tastes? But, you know, science works in mysterious ways, I guess. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary stands out, except for the fact that the blurb mentions flavor 17 times.

{laughs}

Tobe: Wow.

Erbak: I’m going to bimble over to the quarters to have a rummage through that. Pour through the book; pour through it cover to cover.

GM: Yep.

Erbak: Glean what I can out of it. Assuming I do that within a reasonable time.

GM: You’re an educated man, you are very focused. I imagine you get through that within the first day.

Erbak: And I’m just copying down any relevant, useful passages into my journal.

GM: What you find is that at some point, the author of this book, in addition to dismembering the specimens that he found, every now and again, in an attempt to extract the flavor, the true essence of the individual pieces, he spent a lot of time trying to reassemble them in certain ways, to combine them, as it were into a single immaculate dish. And it’s odd, the findings that the flavors didn’t combine as well as he expected. You do glean a lot of information about the ways in which things just don’t work together when combined improperly.

Erbak: Hmm, fair enough. I’ll return to him the next day, then.

Bawden: You return to him the next day and he is thrilled that you are done with it so soon. “Uh, well, um, it’s good to see you. I have gathered a few other bits and pieces that might take your interest.”

GM: And you find that he has seven books and all of them are horrific. There’s one on the scientific methods of mental disruption. So, ways that you can physically disrupt the thought patterns of people. So, for example, a lobotomy, would be a physical way of disrupting the brain from working certain ways. When a brain does not perform the way it is intended to, you can physically disrupt it using this medical technique and it will work differently! And there’s a lot about the way the mind works in different species and what kind of chemicals that they produce, what those chemicals do to the body. You’ve got things like adrenaline that increase strength. All of these have different races have different sized medullas and how those affect the way the bodies work. So there’s a lot of stuff in there, but it’s also mostly about torturing people, because it’s about experimenting on the various brains of living specimens to see how we can make their brain work more different.

You have another one which it’s an emotional study. So, it’s a study on behaviors, the mannerisms, the emotional psychology of the different races. Perhaps some of the cultural backgrounds behind that.

So he gives you this stack of books and he seems very excited by the fact that you are interested in them. And you are interested in them. They’re fascinating. They’re so detailed and the diagrams are very, very clear. And the techniques are very well documented and there’s a lot of detail and that’s very good. And he is very obviously thrilled that he has found someone who shares his interests in books.

Erbak: I’m going to very hastily, and so I’m pretty much going to study these with absolute gluttony over the next few days and going to absorb as much as I can. Taking a couple hours out of my thing every now and then to see if I can catch Leosin during his waking hours.

GM: So you do all of that, and you spend your time making notes on Leosin’s behavior, on the contents of the books and I imagine occasionally experimenting, applying your magical awareness of certain aspects of the details written within these books to see if you can modify and apply them in a practical way. And indeed you do. And eventually you have enough notes that you find yourself looking at something functional.

Erbak: Excellent.

GM: Tobe.

Tobe: After spending time in …

Scraw: “Drinking! Drinking! Drinking!”

Tobe: Yeah, i’m pretty sure Scraw’s doing more drinking than Tobe is. He’s pretty…he’s very perturbed. Of course, he has his own reasons for keeping his patron at a distance, but simply because he’s weary of certain things. But he is perturbed about the closeness. He never like considered that it might be possible to like share a body with Oz.

Scraw: “Come on! Just one more. You’ve barely even had a half tankard! You’ll be fine.”

Tobe: One day, Scraw might actually get Tobe to just chug and that will be a very interesting game.

{laughs}

Tobe: But not this day.

Scraw: “Hey, Tobe. I think the lady at the bar is looking at you.”

Tobe: “She can look all she likes.”

Scraw: “She’s, she’s got her eyes on you, but you are in there, boooy.”

Tobe: “You know, Scraw, I’ll take one for the team. If you want her, you can go and flirt with her as much as you like.”

Scraw: “Looks a bit too much like Myx for me. I prefer them hairy.”

Tobe: “Well, at least you know what you want.”

Scraw: “Well, suit yourself. Lonely love lost lore lawn one two three, evermore.”

Tobe: “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Scraw: “{spittles} Six.”

Tobe: “Okay, that’s enough.”

Scraw: “Kay.”

Tobe: He puts his hand over the top of Scraw’s tankard and pulls it away from him.

{laughs}

GM: Roll a strength check.

Tobe: Oh god. {laughs}

GM: {laughs} You take it away. You put your hand over the top of his tankard and slowly draw it back.

Scraw: “N-n-no. Just one, no, come on, no. This is- this is my drink. Tobe. This is my dr-drink {frustrated stammering}. We will never speak of this. Let us go. The booze is making me weak.” And as you’re leading him out of the tavern, shouting over his shoulder, “Booze makes you weak! Don’t do it!”

{laughs}

Scraw: “Your muscles!”

Tobe: “Okay, okay. Okay, big guy.” He’s pushing him out the door. {laughs}

Scraw: He willingly goes. He no longer wishes to be assayd by this vile venom.

Tobe: Tobe won’t stop him drinking next time. Tobe is guiding the drunken bugbear …

{laughs}

Tobe: … back to the keep.

GM: Yep. You take him back to the keep. You find yourself in your own room and later that night, Darconius finds his way into the room, guided by Myx. Scraw is loudly and drunkenly snoring and Tobe is probably sitting on the bed, glaring at him.

Tobe: “I want to sleep.” {laughs}

GM: You’re sitting there and you’re so focused glaring at Scraw that you don’t see this small reptilian creature sneaking up on you. Completely unaware of anything other than Scraw’s snoring, a reptilian creature mauls your face.

{laughs}

Tobe: “Ah!”

Myx: “I’m back!”

Tobe: Has his hands around the Darconius? Pull away from his face. Confused for a second because something just suddenly hit him in the face, so, “Uh, Myx?”

Myx: “Hello!”

Tobe: “Hiii?”

Myx: “Well, you looked like you needed something, and I didn’t know what, so …”

{laughs}

Myx: “I’m sorry. Th-there is actually a reason why I’m here.”

Tobe: “Okay.” He puts her down on the bed.

Myx: “So,” all serious in Darconius’s body, Myx stands up on hind legs and looks at Tobe as in the eyes as possible at the current height and says, “Titiana says you might be able to find Oz but only in your dreams. You have dream to find Oz.”

Tobe: “Okay. T-that’s fantastic. How? D-d-d-does she have any great ideas as to how I can sleep with …”

Scraw: “{snores loud and long}”

Tobe: “I thought about smothering him, but that might be bad. I mean, I’ll attempt it, but that would definitely be bad.”

Myx: “Yeah, don’t smother him, but if you can, roll him over to his side. I hear that with snoring people, especially when they’re snoring loudly, if-if you roll them to …”

Tobe: Tobe gets up from the bed. He doesn’t really know how. He’s drunkenly asleep, so he doesn’t think that the bugbear’s going to be very alert. So, he just goes over to bed and just rolls him onto his side.

Scraw: You manage to hoist him by his fur and drag him over and you get a, “{interrupted snore} {muttering}”

Tobe: Tobe manages to do it, but it’s not easy.

Scraw: “I like them hairy.”

Tobe: {laughs} “He must really like hairy women.” {laughs}

Myx: “I mean, to each their own.”

Tobe: “I’m not judging him, but that’s not the first time I’ve heard him say that today.”

Myx: “Great. Try, try searching for him in your dreams and …”

Darconius: “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I’ve got an idea. What did Titania say to help you find your way in here?” Tobe, you see Darconius go silent and start pointing at his head. Super concentrating with both hands, just pointing at his head.

Tobe: Stare, raising an eyebrow in question.

Myx: “Focus.”

Tobe: She just bloats out the word focus. {laughs}

Darconius: The little lizard is pointing at his head and suddenly with Myx’s voice goes, “Focus!”

Myx: “Yes! Tobe, you have to focus. When you’re dreaming, you have to focus, otherwise you won’t be able to locate Oz.”

Tobe: “I’ll try to sleep and focus at the same time.”

{laughs}

Myx: “You can do it. If anyone can do it, you can do it.”

Tobe: “Well, that’s no pressure or anything.”

Myx: “‘Cause, if, if it doesn’t work, you can always try another night.”

Tobe: “I suppose that’s true.”

Myx: “Or you could nap.”

Tobe: “I would rather keep trying.”

Myx: “Or we could slip you a sleeping potion.”

Darconius: “If he has to dream, doesn’t he have to sleep.”

Myx: “Yes, Darconius, he does. I suppose we should …”

Darconius: “Then we should probably leave him alone.”

Myx: “Yeah. Okay. So, we are going to leave you to it for now. Sleep well and, and you can do it.”

Tobe: “Thank you. Good night, Myx.”

Myx: “Good night, Tobe.”

Tobe: He gingerly pats the dragon on the head.

Myx: Myx in Darconius’s body waves his little leathery wings.

GM: And then hops out of a window and soars away and Myx you snap out of it. Tobe you hear as Darconius swoops out the window, you hear, “{tiny dragon noises}” And you go to sleep. It doesn’t take you long. You find yourself passed out. And, for a while, you don’t dream at all. You’re just in that absolute death of exhaustion. The day’s stress, both in terms of emotional and physical, on your body, catches up with you all at once and you’re out cold.

When you do finally dream, it’s like you’re surrounded in a cloud of feathers. You’re walking through darkness and the darkness slowly becomes thicker. It’s almost like liquid, but it’s light and as you move through it, you feel the liquid becomes the storm of feathers. As you’re walking through this feeling, you’re trying to reach out for Oz and you hear him in your mind. His voice echoes and reverberates around this space.

Oz: “Don’t worry, Tobe. I’m on my way home.”

Tobe: “Where are you?”

Oz: “She needed me to get something and I’m bringing it. I’ll be there soon.”

Tobe: He’s a little bit perturbed, but he trusts Oz, but also ’cause, obviously, he would feel if …

GM: You definitely sense that this is Oz and you definitely sense that there are truths to his words and despite the fact that you are asleep, you also feel like your connection with him is growing stronger. And, even though you can’t see an inch in front of your face, it’s just constantly falling black feathers around you, you don’t feel like you’re being swamped. You don’t feel like you’re in a void. You feel like you’re bathed in not warmth, but an absence of cold. It’s a reassuring sensation.

Tobe: Feeling this growing connection, the trust he has in Oz, he trusts that he will be there soon and he is really, “Okay, I don’t need to worry. Nothing bad has happened.” It completely puts his mind at ease. Although, he will still feel more at ease when he has his bird back, because he has learned that he is more reliant on his bird than he thought. {laughs}

GM: The next day, you wake with something warm on top of your head.

Tobe: Tobe, in his tired haze, he hasn’t woken up, not realized instantly and puts his hands to feel the top of his head.

GM: And you put your hand up towards the top of your head and your fingers immediately contact feathers and you pause for a second and you hear a faint whistly breathing. And it sounds very, very familiar.

Tobe: He sits bolt upright.

Oz: Oz who was on your head flaps immediately into the air. [Oz caws]. “Jesus, uh, di-did you have to? grah I was sleeping. {groans}”

Tobe: “{deadpan}I’m sorry, Oz. I was just so excited to have you back.”

GM: And you notice that the window to your room is wide open and there is something propped against it.

Oz: “Gah, geez. Tobe, I’m sorry, just, um, I’m happy to see you too.” And he lands on your horns and starts preening your hair with his beak.

Tobe: Usually Tobe would probably find that a little bit annoying and try and get rid of him, but he just leaves him there for now and goes over to the window.

GM: What you find there is a rather ordinary-looking, plain black book.

Tobe: I pick it up and start flicking through it.

GM: So, you pick it up and you try to open it and it doesn’t open.

Tobe: Huh. I, yeah, I turn it over in my hands trying to see if there’s a reason why it shouldn’t be opening.

GM: The hair pulling stops.

Oz: “Are you sure you want to do that?”

Tobe: “Is there reason why I shouldn’t be?”

Oz: “{sighs} She sent me with it.”

Tobe: I take it back over to the bed with me and sit down with it, kind of thinking.

Oz: “That’s why I was gone. She made me come. She made me find it and I found it and I brought it like she wanted. And now it’s here. I don’t trust it.”

Tobe: “You don’t trust it.”

Oz: “I don’t trust her.”

Tobe: “Hmm. I think I should open it.”

Oz: “If you say so.” And he does a little raven walk over to the book and he pecks it and the book falls open.

Tobe: I start looking through the pages, slowly.

GM: A lot of these pages are blank, but Oz reaches over with a wing and he brushes himself against the sides of the pages and rubs the back of his head against one page and then the next. And he does that a couple times. And as you’re watching this display, the pages slowly begin to reveal words to you, which, initially speaking, don’t seem to make a lot of sense. They’re not in a language that you necessarily recognize or understand, but every now and again, you look at a word out of the corner of your eye and it seems familiar, and then you turn and focus on it, and it goes back to being gibberish.

You get the sense that this book will be functional and legible to you, but it’s going to take time and it’s going to take studying it for at least a few days. But one way or the other, she very obviously wanted you to have this for whatever reason. Enough so that she was willing to take away your familiar for as long as she felt was necessary.

Tobe: Tobe’s a little bit skeptical because obviously he doesn’t understand what she wants or why, but he wants to find out, so he does commit to studying the book for however long it takes him to start understanding what it is.

GM: And you find that after a couple hours of study that you develop the knack for reading this book, which ultimately involves trying not to read it. It’s like you’re trying to read the book by tricking the book into believing it’s not being read. If you ever try and focus on any of the words at any one time, it immediately becomes gibberish. And it turns into a language that you don’t recognize, you can’t understand and makes no sense whatsoever even when you do understand the words. But, if you’re looking at the other page and focusing on say, Oz as he’s preening himself, you might be able to catch the words on the opposite page out of the corner of your eye and slowly piece those together. And it becomes easier the longer you spend focusing on it.

And you begin to realize that the words in this page are details of various arcane arts. Bit by bit, you begin to jot down the words your recognize onto other pages that don’t fucking disintegrate. You find yourself learning more and more about the book and you do spend the next few days studying what you can and ultimately this is your pact of the tome. You have not necessarily become closer with your patron, but you do have a stranger, more thorough understanding of who she is and what your relationship with her really is like, I guess, and that balance of power has been made clear.

She can take whatever she wants, whenever she wants, but that doesn’t mean that that’s what she’s there to do. She is willing to give when she feels like it’s necessary.

Tobe: At the beginning though, him trying to understand the book, it probably vexes him even more considering he has eyes of the rune keeper as well. {laughs} For a little while at lease, part of the problem was overcoming his own being vexed by not being able to {laughs} read it.

GM: He spends a couple of hours, and initially, he starts to feel like he’s getting the hang of it and then he starts being overconfident and focusing too frequently and it just gets harder. And he starts basically blocking himself from progressing and he just gets frustrated. He closes it, puts it down, and says, “Whatever, Oz. I don’t need that book.”

Tobe: One of the other things he does, maybe when he’s too annoyed to study the book or when he just need a break he actually does pen a letter to Liberty thinking that he hasn’t actually responded to her letter at all and he totally should.

GM: Yeah. Erbak.

Erbak: On the last night before we reconvene , I want to try and attempt something a bit risky. So how many doctors are on the ward, on average, at night?

GM: On average, at the moment, because Leosin’s essentially in intensive care, he has an average of at least two doctors with him at all times.

Erbak: What I’m basically going to suggest, I was hoping to do, is I want to attempt an early form of the spell. And I go in early and do my usual looking like I’m studying business.

GM: What time do you think this is at?

Erbak: Late evening, I’d say.

GM: So around the time when the doctors change and there’s only two around and the rest have gone for the night.

Erbak: Yeah, when both of them look like they’re in a position where they may have just sat down for a second. Quickly just trying to put a spell on them so they fall asleep, where I feel it might be likely they’ve fallen asleep in their chairs or something like that. Without feeling like they’re just passing out.

GM: And falling over and hurting themselves.

Erbak: Yeah. And then I’m going to try and use an early example of the spell read thoughts on Leosin. What I’m trying to, I know he keeps going on about the secret that he wouldn’t tell. That was what he was muttering.

GM: So, you are trying to use detect thoughts, which allows you to read the thoughts at a surface level or probe deep.

Erbak: I think at an early state, it’d just be a basic surface level thing.

GM: You get the sense that he’s still stuck in the torture. You get catches of memories of being tortured. And …

Erbak: Do I get any idea of who the torturer was?

GM: There is a dragon. That’s the sense you get. Dragon and torture. Just this desire not to tell them anything. That’s all you really pick up. But as you are probing for these surface level thoughts, what you’re getting is really vague and splintered. Dragon. Pain. Won’t tell you anything. {growls}. And you push for more, a need to know something. And you find yourself pushing harder than you’ve expected to or you intended. And Leosin’s mind is in such a state that it fights back against the intrusion. And he is now aware that you have tried to invade his mind.

Erbak: Is he aware that it was me?

GM: Yes. He is not conscious, but he knows that -you- tried to invade his mind.

Erbak: Is he aware …

GM: And he doesn’t know who you are now, but when he comes to, he will definitely know that you and that person are the same?

Erbak: Does he know why? Is he aware of my intentions?

GM: No.

[gentle music]

Erbak: Hmm. I was afraid that might happen.

GM: So, when you are kicked out, you look around, keeping in mind that your sleep spell only lasts for a minute. You look around. There doesn’t appear to be any guards that have been aware of your presence there.

Erbak: I’ll sit in the corner and read for a bit until the doctor and nurses wake up, so that they don’t think that they just nodded off or something. Then i’ll wait until the usual hour that I’m going to bed at. And, I’m actually to return the book here as well.

Ray: And that’s all we had time for this week. What exactly is Erbak up to? Perhaps you’ll find out next week in episode 12, A Man Revealed. The song you heard at the beginning of this episode was Extravaganza by TRG Banks. And the song you are now hearing is While You Were Here by Ending Satellites. Until next time, travel safe and remember The Scales of Justice are here for you, always.

The Doomsinger Written by: