there are two dragons. you are gay

raja goes for a swim, rocco chokes on pickles, luci says goodbye

talmage: i'm just saying it's like, it's gold ... it's gold, right?
bishop: do you want me to just carry it out in my hands?
rocco: i have a jar of pickles if somebody wants to eat 'em really fast!
talmage: do you???
rocco: do you want some pickles?
talmage: to replace that jar with liquid gold? yes, i will eat a thousand pickles.
bishop: we don't have to eat the pickles, we can dump the pickles out


[ashley]: warm-up time
[ashley]: who wants to roll a d100
[emily]: can we not

rocco needs healing but is concerned that bishop won’t be able to heal anymore.

bishop: well, raja might be able to heal you.
raja: ... it's more of an emergencies sort of thing

bishop looks sweaty and stressed. we decide to take a short rest in the mural room. here, raja feels very connected to alodia. rocco is on-edge – every time he looks at bishop, he feels uneasy. he keeps reaching up to touch his chest, still feeling an ache. his hands still shake occasionally. talmage forgoes resting to take on a new project, painting symbols onto the handle of his dagger. bishop doesn’t sense any more spirits, but the ward has turned red again now that we’ve crossed over it. bishop is unsettled by this.

bishop: did mr. graves give us any specific instructions on--
talmage: no, he kind of dodged every question that we asked him

we head further down the waterfall, raja leading the way with her glowing coin. eventually the corridor widens and turns, opening into a large 50 x 50 ft. room. two giant dragon statues support the ceiling, wings outstretched, wrapping around a large door. a bar stretches across the door. a marble bridge leads from the entryway to the door. the sides are lined with unlit torches and still pools of water.

bishop: mr. graves did say ... don't. the water. don't. that the water was bad.

raja suggests lighting the torches. rocco gets a feeling that something is … off about this place, though it could be the presence of overwhelming magic.

bishop casts [detect good and evil] – he senses some undead within 30 ft. of him.

talmage: should we just run?
rocco: what if i just dip my foot--
bishop & raja: don't
rocco: not in the water!! right over this little pathway!
talmage: why would you use "dip" as the word if you didn't mean the water we are surrounded by we are not supposed to touch

raja decides to walk forward and brandish her coin in attempts to scare off whatever creatures are present.

raja: i am a champion of alodia--

she takes one step and crashes through what we now realize is an illusion of the bridge and crashes into the water.

[roll for initiative]

when raja hits the water, her coin goes with. we can see her underwater, as well as numerous inky black dementor-like creatures surrounding her. under the water, raja can see pieces of a bridge: misaligned and each brandishing glowing runes. the creatures ooze into her armor, dealing necrotic damage. her strength is sapped; her total strength score goes down by 4 points.

rocco runs forward and tries to pull raja from the water, but she fails her spell save and her [light] spell goes out. he can’t find her. she’s able to swim up to the surface, hand breaching the water, but the creatures attack once more and she goes unconscious.

bishop draws his sword and casts [light] on it. talmage tries to pull raja out of the water but only manages halfway. luci shouts an expletive and pulls raja out the rest of the way.


one of the knives on luci’s belt is rattling and glowing.

[shad]: fight me!!!
[shad]: wait not all of you
[shad]: some of you
[charlie]: hold on can you form an orderly queue please

the creatures attack bishop and talmage.

[ashley]: marsh-- hm.
[emily]: YEAH WHAT'S UP

talmage notices that these creatures go after good-aligned people.

[emily]: then why are they attacking me

bishop uses [lay on hands] on raja, and she has a vision

you’re overlooking your city, a beautiful gold city. it’s not raja’s, but it’s yours. elves and orcs and roam throughout the city. kairos, your closest friend, approaches and tells you they have great plans for the future. together, you two can make a change. kairos rolls their eyes, takes your hand, and says “as long as we do it together”

raja wakes up, tightening her claws around bishop’s hand. she feels weak and tired, and everyone is yelling.

bishop: are you okay?
raja: y-y-yes, um, th-thanks, but, c-can you do it without the flashbacks?

talmage bops one of the creatures with his staff – physical attacks appear to not do much.

talmage: you can't just punch them, you guys gotta hit them with-- i don't know, if you can do magic, try to do magic!
luci: hhnhghhgh
talmage: that's the only thing that'll work!!!
raja: who's gonna see you down here, luci!
[ashley]: raja on her deathbed--
[shad]: raja's coughing up water like, "DON'T BE A BITCH LUCI"

talmage points to luci’s glowing dagger.

luci: stop it!!!!!

luci reluctantly pulls out the dagger mr. graves gave him and throws it, rolling a natural 20. it cuts through 3 creatures at once – killing them all instantly – and lands far off under the water. it is still glowing.

luci: god, that's ...

talmage is shocked. so is luci.

rocco punches some ghosts. raja tells us about the runes under the water before casting [sacred flame] on the creatures. bishop notices a gear on the wall next to him with a sun symbol on it. talmage casts [arcane weapon] on his quarterstaff, painting a quick zigzag with his finger, imbuing it with lightning energy. he thrusts the staff into the water and watches the current of magic spread across it, lighting the area briefly and gently hurting the remaining creatures.

bishop: good job talmage.
talmage: *sheepish* thanks

rocco punches some more ghosts. raja notices there is another gear on the opposite wall, but it is broken and has pieces missing.

[charlie]: one of us has to FUCKIN' swim
[emily]: i mean, we have to get the knives anyway
[charlie]: we don't care about the knives! 
[emily]: one of them was from mr. graves!!!
[charlie]: ... he has many knives
[emily]: it was probably a cool knife!
[charlie]: if you wanna jump in and get your knife for your new boyfriend, go for it
[emily]: no, i will imply that someone else should
[charlie]: don't you dare make my son go swimming

bishop takes out the last of the creatures. raja casts [light] on some rubble and hands it to rocco, who tosses the rock far into the water. it sinks to the bottom, and we can see the pieces of the bridge. we notice the water has cleared slightly.

the broken gear has a moon on it, but does not glow when luci touches it. rocco tries to determine what might be missing; it looks more mechanical than magical. rocco rummages through his bag and manages to find the right pieces to fix it back up. luci touches it, and it glows this time.

talmage: you did that in like, five minutes
rocco: ???
talmage: you just like, had that ready
rocco: what do you mean?
talmage: i don't know, it ... was very impressive
rocco: thanks!

we prepare to turn both the gears but aren’t sure what will happen.

bishop: do you want to step back from the edge just in case something does happen?
luci: we still have to go in the water and get my knife. we're not leaving without that.

they step back as bishop and luci turn the gears. the bridge reforms! yay

raja raises a claw to her chest and uses [healing light] and regains a very small amount of hp. talmage is worried raja’s weakened state could be permanent. bishop is confident that it isn’t.

bishop: if it lasts longer than us resting, then we can spend a couple days to strength-train raja again.
[emily]: just some strength-training will bring that negative 4 modifier right back up

bishop uses the last of his [lay on hands] on raja. she stumbles when he pats her shoulder.

bishop: how far did you throw your--
luci: like, over there-- you can kinda see it still--
luci: it's in the water ...
luci: and then there's the other one too ...
bishop: is the other one important to you.
luci: well ... yeah ...
bishop: if i purchased a different knife, can we only get mr. graves' knife out? or do you want both knives.
luci: i'll go get the fucking knife if you light the torches!!!
bishop: i'm not gonna let you go into the water--
luci: there's nothing there, we can see everything!!! i'm a very good swimmer.
bishop: when raja went into the water, she nearly died.
talmage: to be fair, there were monsters when she did that. it was dark. it's very bright out right now.

luci asks bishop to light the torches, and then raja offers to do it. she tries casting [sacred flame] on one half of the room – those torches light up immediately. the group encourages her to try it on the other half, but she’s hesitant.

raja: i'm afraid something might ... not like it if i try to use sun magic on those.
bishop: raja, i bet you can light all of these lights.

suddenly extremely confident, she tries [sacred flame] again, and it comes out twice as powerful. two torches ignite at once, before all of them follow suit.

rocco runs off to the door, and as he’s being yelled at by raja and bishop, luci jumps into the water. luci is able to retrieve his knife but then starts exploring the water deeper. he finally emerges with a staff in his hand.

talmage: where did you find that, what??
luci: under the water, there's a bunch of shit down here - this was the coolest one
bishop: and there's no ... ghosts
raja: we are in a sewer - do you want to be in that water?
luci: gross, it definitely doesn't taste like sewer water
bishop: DON'T DRINK IT
rocco: mr. graves said not to touch the water! and you like, definitely touched it a lot ...
rocco: don't touch me

luci also pulls out a bunch of gold he found.

talmage: do you think the staff we're actually looking for might be down there??
luci: are you trying to tell me to go swimming again in the sewer water?
talmage: if you want-- you just said it wasn't sewer water!
talmage: i'm just saying, you're already all wet soooo--
[ashley]: make a dexterity saving throw
[emily]: you mother fucker

luci grabs talmage’s ankle and yanks him into the water. talmage panics badly before rocco helps pull him out.

luci looks at the staff he found.

luci: sooo
talmage: what'd you find?
luci: i don't know. a staff
talmage: so you gonna try casting magic more now?

luci drops the staff on the ground.

luci: no.
raja: i think it would be wise if you did.
talmage: cuz it worked really well
luci: no, it's fine.
talmage: well, just keep it for emergencies.
luci: the staff?
talmage: well, i guess i meant the magic, but you can't really get rid of it huh
luci: i've tried. you can't.

talmage inspects the staff. the top is ornate, and he notices there’s some dirt floating in the air between the decorations. he places a rock in the spot – it starts to float. talmage begins giggling madly.

talmage: guys look at this!!!

he shakes the staff around and the rock holds its place. bishop removes the rock and replaces it with an apple. it floats. we’re ecstatic.

luci puts a knife in it.

luci: now it's cooler.

we talk about the practicality of carrying this around. it can carry up to 3 items at once. raja places a glowing rock in it.

bishop: it is a magical weapon and it will draw attention to you.
raja: i do think you should keep the light in it for now.
talmage: yeah, this is super handy!
bishop: i feel like i can get away with a sword because swords are--
talmage: well, well well well, hold on.

talmage removes all the items from the staff.

talmage: now it's a normal staff.
bishop: yes, but it's a staff. you know who have staffs?
talmage: ... old people?
bishop: no, they have canes.
luci: are you old?
talmage: no ...
rocco: is this a riddle?
bishop: no, it's not-- magic users have staffs.
[shad]: you can't just run around kirkwall, be like, "i'm not a mage!"
talmage: i can't believe the vale are so cruel to not want items like this to exist
talmage: this is amazing

they inspect the giant door. we’re worried what might be on the other side – it’s something dangerous? bishop insists it’s probably not an army of his people since they all forgot everything.

luci: bishop, did you forget everything?
bishop: for the most part, yeah.
rocco: so you're saying an entire city forgot everything? that's kind of crazy, talmage, i don't know about you
talmage: yes, that's crazy

talmage is worried what the state of the kingdom is in now. bishop insists gods are there now helping the people adapt. rocco is confused why bishop has only been regaining certain memories. he isn’t sure.

raja touches the bar across the door – it starts to melt, turning into gold and pooling onto the ground until it reveals a floating staff. it is black and gold and white with a dragon’s head on it. she picks it up.

rocco: raja how did you do that?? that was insanely cool!
rocco: she seems pretty god-like sometimes, i'm just saying
[emily]: ... OH, you said god ... i thought you said goth.

there is now nothing blocking the door. after some debate, we decide to open the door … just to peek.

raja uses the staff and the door slowly opens. a loud, shaking noise echoes. on the other side is a second chamber with a long bridge over a gap of water 50 ft down. the dragon statues are recreated on the other side, and we can hear the roar of the waterfall. across the bridge is a large statue of a sphinx. on its chest is another doorway.

rocco checks behind him, suddenly paranoid because they definitely just broke some kind of rule.

[ashley]: two dragons
[charlie]: both of them are gay
[dee]: there are two dragons, one is white and one is black. you are gay

bishop recognizes the statue depicts lorentio, a former sphinx ruler of calendora. we all decide we don’t like the vibe of this place. raja closes the door using the staff, and she can feel one of its charges go off.

talmage realizes the liquid gold is still on the floor. he digs out an empty ink bottle and fills it up. luci sticks an entire hand in it and then smacks bishop right on his chest, leaving a golden hand print.

talmage: that's like-- that's like, gold though, right?
luci: i don't have a way to carry it, we can just cover bishop in gold
luci: we can ring him out later

bishop and raja think we should leave.

talmage: does anybody else want some of this?
bishop: do you have more bottles?
talmage: i don't ...
talmage: wh--! no ...
talmage: wait--! no i don't have anything else

luci coats one of his knives in gold.

talmage: i'm just saying it's like, it's gold ... it's gold, right?
bishop: do you want me to just carry it out in my hands?
rocco: i have a jar of pickles if somebody wants to eat 'em really fast!
talmage: do you???
rocco: do you want some pickles?
talmage: to replace that jar with liquid gold? yes, i will eat a thousand pickles.
bishop: we don't have to eat the pickles, we can dump the pickles out
[emily]: can you IMAGINE
[emily]: someone else coming down here through this FUCKIN' dungeon
[emily]: and they just see pickles on the ground
[dee]: next to the remains of a pile of gold
[emily]: something happened here

rocco plans to give mr. graves half the jar of gold. he suddenly pounds all of the pickles at once at starts choking.

[shad]: i go over to give him the heimlich removal-- maneuver
[emily]: REMOVE that heimlich
[charlie]: PROTECT ME

bishop successfully removes the pickles.

luci: what if someone else wanted one of those pickles?
rocco: *weakly* are there any pickles left
rocco: *wheeze* do you want some beef jerky, luci *coughing*
rocco: i have some in a bag if you want

luci goes swimming for more cool stuff. he finds a jar and 25 gold.

[charlie]: he's trying to win our affection so much right now
[emily]: is he? he just dumped me in the water like ten minutes ago
[charlie]: you know what little boys do when they have crushes on people in elementary school ...
[emily]: give us gold that they find under the water?
bishop: as much as i enjoy scavenging a lake--
talmage: yeah, this is really fun!
bishop: i'm being sarcastic right now.

bishop is uncomfortable being here and wants to leave. we ask why sphinxes make bishop so uneasy. he explains that they can command you to do something, and you just have to do it. bishop knows of two that currently exist.

talmage: if there's just two can't you just ... you know
bishop: because they can tell you what to do, talmage.
talmage: yeah, but i feel like there's a way around that, right?

one of the sphinxes is currently in calendora and is “good” now, but there’s a younger one who does whatever she wants.

raja: beyond the ability to magically compel you, i think i'm with bishop here. i don't like the sound of that.
bishop: they're not good people.
rocco: but you just said one of them might be?
bishop: ... i don't trust him.
talmage: okay, so we know that there's two sphinxes out there, right? 
bishop: yes.
talmage: alright, so lets go back and finish our quest?
luci: i found five more gold. were you talking about anything important?
talmage: nice! yeah, not really

we head back. bishop asks to hold raja’s hand as they walk back over the platform with runes. raja suddenly sees alodia before her.

alodia: what are you doing?
raja: ... going back.

alodia looks at bishop and then back to raja.

raja: ... he did save my life a minute ago.
alodia: then that's good enough for me! i'll trust you to follow the right path.

they are able to safely cross. rocco asks who she was talking to, and she says it was alodia. she reminds bishop that alodia is wary of him.

talmage: she just ... talked to you?
raja: yes ... that doesn't ... happen very often, but it has happened before.

raja looks to bishop.

raja: don't let me regret trusting you.

they walk ahead, approaching the room with the chained spectors.

[dee]: raja will grab bishop's wrist and put him behind her
[shad]: i'm fucking MASSIVE behind you
[shad]: i'm so wide

raja is easily able to turn the specters away with her coin.

once out on the surface, we can hear shouting. we peek out, and the city is busy with guards. we can see mr. graves sitting on a bench, feeding birds.

graves: good morning.
raja: what happened up here?
graves: it is not safe to speak right now. follow me to my offices.

he holds his hand out for the staff, and raja reluctantly gives it to him. the city is on high alert. mr. graves leads us through a mismatched pattern of alleyways. at one point, he knocks on a door and leads us through the living room of a young family, leaving a gold coin on the counter. he leads us to the back of his building, the offices of rocco’s father. he holds the door open and ushers us inside.

he brings us down to one of the testing rooms rocco is familiar with. he sets the staff down on a center table.

he tells us we did good work and pays us.

bishop: how do you know about that staff?
graves: ... hector-- figured it out.

he looks a little surprised he blurted that out.

graves: he-- hector had been doing research for us sometime, always wanting to prove to his father he was worth it.

hector was very interested in the dragon god’s history to the city and had figured out the staff was a key of some sort.

raja: what do you want with it?
graves: to study it. to use it for our advantage. to protect people here.
raja: against?
graves: there have been ... warnings. people coming over the waterfall for sometime now.
talmage: do you mean like, protect from people like ... him?
graves: ... from what we know.
graves: calendora was an empire that ruled over these lands years ago. and if we're fighting against those who are magically-inclined, it'd be nice to have some sort of defense on our side as well
graves: rocco has been doing quite a bit of work into it and our company's plans and your father's goals all align with the same ideal of putting up our own defense here.
graves: if you're trying to question my morals with me, i don't appreciate that.
talmage: i'm just--
graves: i can leave you for the vale once again.
talmage: --just curious--
graves: you're already marked for them.
bishop: mr. graves. i think talmage is trying to figure out exactly what's going on, i don't think it's questioning your morals. and i don't think anyone appreciates your threats.

mr. graves thanks us for our services.

graves: i'd be very careful about leaving at this time. very suspicious of anyone who might have any magical potency.
talmage: leaving ... the building?
graves: yes, the building.
raja: can we--
graves: this way to leave, please. rocco, you may stay.

talmage looks very sadly at rocco.

rocco: mr. graves ... if it's so dangerous out there, then why can't my friends just lay low for a little bit? here? like, they did a good job!
rocco: bishop saved me! he brought me back when i was really, really not doing so good
rocco: and then i PUNCHED so many ghosts
graves: he "brought you back"?
rocco: well i mean i didn't die but i went like *choking noises* for a minute and he was like PSHWWWW
bishop: he fell unconscious and i healed him.
graves: with magic?
rocco: he's been using it responsibly!
graves: if you want to stay, you will be working. i'm sure rocco could put you through the tests.
bishop: i would need more information first.
talmage: i would love further information, yes.
gravesbishop: would you be so kind as to tell us more information, mr. graves?
bishop: any information at all?
graves: i think rocco did a perfectly good job explaining it.

rocco explains they just bring out a magic item and you use it! sometimes nothing happens, but sometimes you get hurt. talmage asks if anyone else does testing here. hector did, but rocco was much better. luci makes a face.

bishop: have you been injured before, rocco?
rocco: HMMMMM depends on what you mean by injured ...
rocco: like, you know, i feel like i've used the items in a wrong way that i've like, hurt myself--
bishop: rocco--
rocco: yeah. yep! i have been injured.
rocco: but i wouldn't say that it's like, the item's fault? i would definitely say that it's like, my fault--

talmage is confused at how hector was apparently worse at this than rocco was. bishop is curious how long the city will be on alert – probably just a day or two. mr. graves offers another project that could give us safe passage out of the city.

talmage: would we be allowed to know more information about this project ...?
graves: ... no.

he says it’s another item retrieval. he’ll tell us more if we agree to do it.

he pulls out a jar of pickles and sets it on the table.

rocco: how did you know!!
graves: i always know.

rocco gives him a waterskin of liquid gold in exchange.

graves: this is very nice, thank you very much. this is very thoughtful of you, rocco.
graves: i must go feed my cats.

he leaves us to decide what we want to do.

luci seems excited to do the item retrieval, but raja is not interested in putting her life on the line in that way. we eventually decide on testing items for a few days and then heading back out to the circus.

talmage: um
luci: yeah, i don't-- 
talmage: yeah
luci: i'm gonna-- i'm gonna ... go?
raja: alright. we'll meet you back at the circus?
luci: um. yeah, i don't need-- i mean, i can-- stay in the ... city or whatever ... but
luci: they're not gonna do shit to me, i'm just-- dude, i just don't wanna be, you know, messing with this stuff ...
rocco: how can we find you again luci?
luci: i can meet you at the fuckin' cat shop eventually.
luci: or like a store or something, i can do things in a city, it's not like--

we decide to meet luci in 24 hours, and if we aren’t there in 24 hours we’ll meet in 48.

luci: i mean, like, no offense, but i can't? do th-- this? testing stuff? i can't.
rocco: okay.
talmage: don't go waving around your new knife.
luci: i'm ... gonna leave it here.
talmage: oh
luci: i mean like-- i--
bishop: but you spent so much time swimming to go retrieve it.
luci: well, it was like, cool, but i'm not cool with this shit that's going on here
rocco: do you want me to hold onto it for you?
luci: i'm just going to give it back to him, be like, thanks but no thanks, i mean it was cool, but--
rocco: if you do that luci i feel like--

luci hands the dagger to rocco.

rocco: i think he's just gonna end up finding it in his bag again someday
rocco: i'll hold onto it!
luci: and if you guys are like, in trouble or something, light a fuckin' fire on this building and i'll show up with the circus
luci: i guess
rocco: aw! thanks!

luci takes his time to pick the lock out of the room and leaves.

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