naked & afraid

talmage burns, birds attack, luci glows

gidley: don't scream!


everyone is practicing for their performances. as guests arrive, among them are various vale guards as well as an conspicuous man wearing an eye patch.

talmage approaches luci & juggles alongside him for the crowd. the children are fascinated by talmage’s appearance. one of them asks if talmage can juggle with his tail – he tries & succeeds.

talmage: so ... what do you do when you make a mistake
luci: *sputtering* what? i don't make mistakes
talmage: that's what i thought you'd say

rocco watches lorelai on the tightrope outside the tent entertaining the audience and young children as they filter into the tent. the children are wary of rocco’s appearance at first, but he hangs upside down by his tail to entertain them.

everyone’s acts go pretty well, but the man with the eye patch only pays attention to rocco & bishop’s performances. he also seems focused on bishop’s sword. bishop and raja put on an act of an evil dragon fighting a hero.

talmage rolls a 1 to walk on hot coals so his clothes catch fire & he starts screaming. he then rolls a 3 to play it off like he meant to do that. luci pushes talmage into the dirt, helping to extinguish the fire. finally, talmage rolls a 2 out of 100 to see how much of his clothing remains. unfortunately, everyone saw a lot of talmage. he crawls off the stage, miserable.

[charlie]: luci saved him though
[emily]: mmm
[charlie]: you were on fire and he pushed you into the dirt!
[emily]: mmm whatever
[charlie]: he saved your life
[emily]: saved my life??? i took ONE damage

breck lends talmage his clothes & bishop caries him off to mope in the back. he decides to snoop around while the rest of the show goes on & notices the man with the eye patch get up & leave from his seat. he follows, eavesdropping on a conversation he has with one of the vale guards. they exchange a magical summoning stone, one that had the same oozy black energy as the birds from yesterday. talmage hears them mention a meeting the vale and the man with the eye patch have planned the next day. they also discuss being unhappy about the current situation – the circus performance itself or something else, we aren’t sure.

after the performance, guests leave but the vale guards remain. lorelai quickly finds talmage & explains she is worried the vale was not convinced he was a real circus performer. she says he needs to come up with something new to convince them WHY his performance was so terrible. someone suggests saying he had suffered from an injury prior & his leg was still healing. wyn appears out of nowhere & supplies bandages to help talmage fake a leg injury.

walking back out to the stage, talmage fakes a limp. gidley offers them a pained smile. somehow already knowing what their plan is, they explain to the vale that talmage was too excited to get back on stage & should have let their leg heal more before performing again. the guard offers to inspect the wound, probably skeptical of his condition. gidley places a hand on talmage’s ankle & he suddenly hears a voice in his head.

gidley: don't scream!

talmage’s ankle suddenly cracks, the bone’s splintering under their hand. he manages to only let out a small noise. everything checks out here, according to the vale; but they’re probably still a little suspicious. after the vale leave, talmage lets out groans of pain, cradling his leg. silently, bishop places his hands atop talmage’s, which glow brightly before talmage is fully healed. everyone is shocked. talmage is also shocked, having never felt that kind of magic before.

gidley is stressed about how much magic we’re apparently cool with just using whenever we feel like it.

we talk about the mysterious man with the eye patch. rocco knows him. he says his name is mr. graves. he is rocco’s handler of sorts. he works closely with rocco’s father, who works for cicero – a company we recently learned collects & “tests” items with magical properties. the vale is also known to confiscate any magical items & is apparently working with cicero, according to rocco who has seen agents of the vale showing up at cicero lately.

over dinner that night, gidley thanks us all for our performances. he hands out everyone’s earnings, and even talmage gets 5 silver pieces. he throws 2 of them at luci.

later, under a full moon, the caravan is approached by birds & a bear once more. they do not attack but merely watch. rocco & bishop exit their tent to see what the birds will do. the creatures creep closer, but do not attack – until bishop draws his sword. they immediately swarm him, pecking at him & his sword.

talmage begins digging through his bag. he pulls out an ink brush & a hand mirror. after painting a quick symbol onto the mirror’s surface, it begins to glow faintly, & talmage throws it out of the tent into the grass. birds immediately swarm it before one picks it up & flies off. the creatures are drawn to magic!

rocco, raja, & bishop begin to fight the birds as they did the night before. talmage paints another light rune on a rock he finds on the ground & tosses it out. birds instantly swarm it, but they have a harder time picking up the heavier rock. bishop takes his flask of holy water & forces it down the bear’s throat, killing it instantly in an oozy explosion.

the other circus members are out of their tents quicker this time & we get to see gidley bopping birds with his cane. wyn apparently kills like two of them but doesn’t visually DO anything – the birds just. die. it’s terrifying. luci throws a knife at one point, but swears loudly & we notice both the knife & his hand are glowing brightly.

after all the creatures are dead, gidley starts rushing everyone to pack up; we apparently need to leave as fast as possible because the vale is probably on their way here. we realize the birds were probably on the lookout for magic casters & all of us used magic in that fight. this apparently also includes luci. gidley insists it’s just temporary, that he can come back soon, but that luci needs to go with us, & we need to get the hell out of there.

we can hear vale soldiers in the distance. it’s about midnight. we run.

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