the blood of 14 beetles

luci is bored and therefore a public menace, bishop makes friends, talmage practices normal magic in a normal way

rocco: are you sure you're not like, part cat?
bishop: no.
rocco: are you a cat god?
bishop: i am not a cat, and i am not a god.
cat: *PURRING LOUDLY*
bishop: this cat is very loud in my ear.


the group decides to go shopping to get supplies for their cave mission – none of them have that much money.

talmage: this little hunt reminds me of something you'd find on one of those job boards.
everyone:
talmage: y'know
rocco: what?
talmage: ... like, the job listings in town
bishop: what.
talmage: like ... when you need money? and you go do a favor for someone?
rocco: why don't you just ask-- oh wait, ah never mind
[shad]: "why don't you just ask daddy for money?"
raja: that's how you earn money?
talmage: i mean you can, it's nice when you don't have a stable job lined up
talmage: sometimes people just need a stick from a cave, you know?

they aren’t sure if mr. graves ACTUALLY needs this staff, or he just put it there for rocco to fetch it.

talmage asks rocco what these tests are usually like.

rocco: what do you mean
talmage: i don't know, is there like a pit of lava you have to jump over--
rocco: we can just fly over that one.
talmage: *sighs* okay

rocco explains that sometimes it’s an intelligence or agility test, or sometimes he just fights rats, but nothing too dangerous.

we discuss whether to do this quest or go to the circus first.

talmage: you know how when you have something to do
talmage: but you're like, "oh i'll stop at home first"
talmage: and then you stop at home
talmage: and then you end up just lying on the couch for the next week
bishop: no.
talmage: i feel like it might be one of those situations

we decide luci owes mr. graves, so he should come with on the quest. afterwards, we can bring him back to the circus.

raja: i am somewhat on board with that as i think Things May Happen once we return to the circus.
talmage: THAT SOUNDS ... ACCURATE

luci mentions bishop’s promise to rid the circus of their bird problem.

talmage: we know what's causing it, but i don't know if that makes it any easier for us to stop it
luci: what if you asked your little bitch friend?

people start filing into the fish & bits, so we take our leave. the walk is about 4 hours total.

once back in highkeep, we head towards the tunnels. there are huge streams that connect to the waterfall and big guard rails on the sides so no one falls in. no one hangs out near the edge.

[ashley]: there isn't anyone playing on the sides of it, it's too dangerous to fall off
[ashley]: there are grate systems that catch people
[emily]: god, you know there's some fuckin', like, "wall challenge!!!" where kids have almost died
[ashley]: it's a common problem

we see a big guard tower sporting the vale symbol and next to it arkadia university, a private school for people who are training to become officers of the vale.

rocco: talmage, that's my school!
talmage: oh
talmage: yeah, that makes sense
rocco: i know they do like, when a transfer student does a swap with another student--
raja: an exchange ..?
rocco: yeah! they do that sometimes, if you're interested you could come--
bishop: rocco, i don't think that ...
talmage: you do know that's a really stupid thing to say, right?
rocco: what do you mean?
talmage: why would i want to attend that school. why would they let me
rocco: well, i'm there!
talmage: *sighs* yeah and that's really confusing

raja is learning what money means – things are expensive. and cost money. that she doesn’t have.

bishop is looking for armor in a leatherwork shop. bishop tries to find armor that would work for him, but … this is not metal, he thinks. this will not stop a sword. what is the point of wearing leather.

raja picks out one of the scaley hide armors and shoves it into bishop’s hands. he buys it.

rocco: talmage!
rocco: um, do you need ... supplies
talmage: what?
rocco: do you need supplies
talmage: oh! oh, uhhh--
rocco: to do your like, stuff
talmage: oh, uhhhhhh ...
rocco: i know a couple stores in the area i could take you to
talmage: i ... suppose ... i could take a look.

rocco offers some money to bishop if he needs it. he insists bishop doesn’t have to pay him back – bishop insists that he does. talmage is interested in buying ink – rocco offers the bookstore his brother hector used to visit a lot.

he leads the group to a fancy, three-story bookstore that smells of coffee. we see a few people in arkadia private school uniforms. instead of entering this bookstore, rocco leads us down a narrow back alleyway around it, under a few bridges. we approach a small, black door on the left with an inscribed book graphic carved onto the door. rocco says this is it!

they open the door, and a bell chimes before breaking off its string and falling onto the ground. inside, the ceilings are slanted and deep – the beams holding them up are resting atop fully-stocked bookshelves. there’s a small L-shaped desk by the door, a woman with long pigtails sitting there with a long, black robe. she’s wearing large, cracked glasses. rocco remembers her name is agatha.

agatha: hector, it's been a while since you've been here
everyone: ???
talmage: i'm sorry?
rocco: oh, um, sorry ma'am! that's not hector! i know they kinda look-- uhh, i never thought about it that way, but i guess--
rocco: but that's not hector! this is my friend talmage! he's new in town

she holds her hand out to talmage, and he hesitantly gives her his. she pulls it closer and begins studying his palm, tracing some of the lines. talmage gives rocco a look of confusion.

agatha: this is not hector
agatha: but your fates are intertwined
[emily]: *laughing nervously* what the fuck
talmage: ... thanks

inside the shop, there are rows and rows of books, floor to ceiling taking up the entire 15 x 20 ft area. some books are dusty, some are chained down. there are scrolls, maps, paper, inks, pens, crystals, incense, etc.

a black cat jumps onto agatha’s desk, purring. it walks over to bishop and starts head-butting him. bishop picks the cat up, and it climbs onto bishop’s shoulders. it starts cleaning his hair.

raja offers a claw to the cat, but it hisses at her.

rocco: are you sure you're not like, part cat?
bishop: no.
rocco: are you a cat god?
bishop: i am not a cat, and i am not a god.
cat: *PURRING LOUDLY*
bishop: this cat is very loud in my ear.

the cat has licked bishop’s hair so much it’s sticking in the wrong direction.

talmage asks agatha the last time she’s seen hector – many moons. he used to come and spend hours browsing. she liked him – he was a good lad, very curious. bishop asks what books he would purchase – apparently he was fascinated by dragons and demons. she offers to give us the books he last had on hold. rocco offers to deliver them to him!

she pulls out a crate of books. the first book has a black front cover and white back cover, bound with gold and a lock. apparently a traveler stopped by a year ago who sold her many books and picked up a map. she doesn’t have the key for it, but bought it because she thought hector would like it.

only bishop is able to read the title, “the story of atrimentus and alabaster” – he doesn’t mention it to anyone.

he asks for books on world history – none of that here. most of the books here seem like diaries or personal stories about their experiences.

rocco: talmage! did you wanna get some ink? there's an ink section!
talmage: oh
[shad]: you GOTTA go to the pen section of the bookstore

everything is too long and too fancy, handmade ink bottles that say things like “blood of 14 beetles.” inks with ten different words in its name. “serpent’s poison” is dark green with gold flecks. “angel’s tears: a gift from beyond the clouds” is golden. talmage decides to shop by price, looking for the cheapest inks.

a second cat emerges from where it was sleeping in one of the bookshelves, yawning. bishop tries to pet it, but it scratches him.

[ashley]: you take 1 point of damage
[shad]: damn that's a lot for me
[ashley] oh fuck you guys are level 2
[emily]: YOU'VE KILLED HIM

bishop has two small black cats on his shoulder now. their names are mordecai and bloodworth.

talmage browses the ink, stares at a few for a moment, before putting them down and walking away.

luci: do you want one?
talmage: *surprised* i-- no, i shouldn't
luci: okay.

luci seems extremely bored.

[emily]: why
[dee]: we're in a bookstore
[shad]: he likes knives! that's like the opposite of book

talmage notices one of the books in a cage starts glowing when luci spins the letter opener in his hand. he grabs luci by the arm and pulls him away.

talmage: hey, hey, come here, come here--
luci: what? what??
tamage: you're making shit glow.
luci: no i'm not!

talmage motions to the book – it isn’t glowing anymore.

luci: *sputtering* i wasn't--
talmage: you were-- yes, because you were near it, you were like, doing your thing--
luci: i'm not doing anything!

he angrily puts the letter opener down.

rocco asks talmage if he’s going to buy ink – talmage still has some left, so it’s fine.

rocco: do you need some money?
talmage:
rocco: i feel like you'll need it to do the cool things that-- it might be useful in the cave
talmage: i meeeeeeaaaaaan ... i could pay you back later?
rocco: yeah! how much you need?
talmage: which one do you think i should get?
rocco: i don't know anything about ink
talmage: well, i'm kind of judging based on the name, cuz they're all kind of dumb and funny

“oberon gold” is purple with glitter. “obsidian bloodstone” is black with red flecks.

[ashley]: i have a goth name generator
[emily]: i was wondering where you were getting this shit
[ashley]: 14 beetles is all ashley
[shad]: you know, the goth name "14 beetles"
[charlie]: 14 beetles is my favorite emo band
[emily]: what kind of music would 14 beetles play???
[charlie]: THAT'S JUST A REAL BAND THOUGH
[emily]: ... OH MY GOD YOU'RE RIGHT
[charlie]: THE BEATLES IS A REAL BAND

talmage takes the “blood of 14 beetles” ink bishop asks what other books this mysterious traveler had sold her. she leads them to a gold book in a cage, with the biggest lock they’ve seen. “the great kings of calendora” is written on the spine – though only bishop can read it.

she explains that she can’t read the language, but they do look very nice and the poor boy needed some money. he hadn’t wanted to work for the vale, said he had enough of gods and religion.

rocco: is this your friend, bishop?
bishop: i don't know. could be? the timeline adds up.

bishop offers to transcribe some books if he can borrow them for a little while. rocco suggests we borrow the book, bishop can read it out-loud to talmage, talmage can write it down, and then we can bring it back!

rocco: cuz you have ink
rocco: i mean we can get more ink if that ink is special
talmage: yeah i was kind of planning on using this for something else

bishop buys the smaller calendoran book as well as some ink and paper for the transcription. the book is handwritten and contains various cleric spells. there are bloodstains on the pages, and a few have been torn out and are missing. there are also pages on anatomy and other medical notes. it’s a handmade research book.

agatha hands rocco a pen box and asks him to give her best to mr. graves.

[shad]: why does everyone know this bitch!!!

raja looks at books about dragons. talmage looks at books about demons. bishop looks for books about sphinxes. he finds a dusty bronze book with a sun symbol on the front that starts to glow under his fingertips. it’s a sun spell book.

bishop asks rocco to buy it for him, since the book doesn’t glow when in rocco’s hands. he gets it for dirt cheap. bishop also buys a map.

while this is happening, raja is trying to cause trouble for whatever minor crime luci is probably attempting. he doesn’t appear to be doing anything other than staring down some of the books that glow when he gets near.

BOOKS ACQUIRED:

  • “story of alabaster and atrimentus” locked, paid for by hector – given to rocco
  • calendoran cleric spell book – claimed by bishop
  • calendoran sun spell book – claimed by bishop

they leave the shop, done with their book-shopping. rocco wonders if we should buy bandages.

rocco: do we need band-aids?
rocco: do you have band-aids?
luci: he's a band-aid.
bishop: i am a band-aid.

talmage notices aurabri across the street in the coffee shop, their back to us. they’re having coffee with another vale officer from the school. their helmet is off next to them.

suddenly talmage feels something touch his ass. he looks behind himself – it’s luci.

tamage: ... hello?

talmage takes a step back. luci also takes a step back. talmage checks his pocket – there’s a bottle of ink in it.

talmage: did--
luci: it's the "serpent's poison" one.
talmage: ... did you pay for this?
luci: ... yeah.
talmage: ... yeah okay thanks
luci: mhm
talmage: did you take anything else?
luci: i didn't take anything.

bishop takes the gold book out that he had rocco buy. the entire cover shimmers.

talmage: HEY, WHAT THE-- WHAT
talmage: what was that??
bishop: it's a book.
talmage: what did you--
talmage: where did you-- how-- what--
bishop: i purchased this book in the bookstore that we were just in, talmage.

talmage notices the person with his friend is a vale officer, much taller than aurabri. he has golden armor, like a guard, but it’s a little different. it’s thinner, fancier, and he has a big sword. he recognizes the armor as worn by the same people who branded him, a higher-ranking officer.

rocco: should we go? it looks like we got all our supplies
talmage: *weakly* let's avoid that coffee shop
rocco: why? i really like that place! the coffee's pretty good, but the pastries are kinda bad.
luci: *notices the guard* UH YEAH we should definitely avoid that place--
rocco: why?
talmage: there's just some, people there.

luci asks if rocco knows another way out of the alleyway.

rocco: do you want to go talk?
talmage: i don't know if we sh ...
luci: we're not wanted criminals anymore
rocco: do you wanna say sorry for stabbing them in the ankle?
luci: you should definitely apologize for that
rocco: do you wanna say sorry?
luci: i think talmage needs to apologize
talmage: no!
rocco:  talmage was the one who said you should do it, i agree
raja: did you not apologize before?
bishop: he did not apologize before, neither did luci.
talmage: that's definitely what i said
bishop: talmage kicked them afterwards.

rocco offers to apologize to aurabri for talmage.

bishop: do you want me to tell them i need to speak with them away from their friend and then lead them over here into a dark alley where you can speak with them?

talmage isn’t sure he wants to do that right now. luci suggests kidnapping them. luci also suggests breaking into their house. we acknowledge we can talk to them whenever since mr. graves is our connection. the cats that have been meowing at bishop during the entire conversation and attempt to follow bishop as they leave. bishop pulls out his leftover fish & bits and feeds the cats.

at the cafe, aurabri and the officer part ways.

luci: i can definitely still hit them with my knife
talmage: *laughing* okay no, no no, that was good the first time
talmage: we'll keep our options OPEN, but--
bishop: NOT IN THE CITY.
raja: in the woods is fine - not in the city.
luci: *taking mental note* stabbing people in the woods is okay, stabbing people in the city is not ...

we decide to let them go – we just saw them and can talk with them later.


the group gets a room at an inn. bishop spends the night reading from his new cleric spell book so talmage can write it down.

talmage: i'm confused.
talmage: are these like-- is this what you do?
bishop: it's ... different. but ... similar.
talmage: they get their power from a ... god. is that what you ... do?
bishop: yes.
talmage: what ... god? is your god here?
bishop: assumedly.
talmage: how does that ... work?
bishop: in the morning i wake up and pray.
talmage: does it-- do they-- do you guys like ... chat?
bishop: no.
talmage: you just get your power from this unknown ... entity?
bishop: well, that's what faith is, yeah.

rocco and raja ask if bishop has ever spoken to his god. probably, he says, though it’s a little fuzzy.

luci: how can it be fuzzy if someone's talked to you or not.

luci throws a knife into the wall.

talmage: hey!!! we're paying for this room!
talmage: ... raja's paying for this room!

talmage points to a spell in the spell book.

talmage: no, but-- okay, the way you've healed ... me
bishop: yes
talmage: is that-- is it this one?
talmage: and you just think about ... your god when you cast it?
bishop: well a paladin has tenants and things, so sort of, yes.
bishop: but gods don't exist here, apparently.

they discuss how bishop could be using magic if his god is so far away. bishop isn’t THAT far away. bishop explains he even talked to a few gods before leaving calendora. rocco wants to visit calendora!

raja asks rocco about his brother. if we’re going to be tracking him down, it would be helpful to know more about him.

hector likes books and is passionate about being a tiefling. he likes fire and also wanted to make it himself. he left 3 years ago and didn’t tell rocco why.

talmage: do i really look like him?
luci: kind of
luci: i mean you're like, the same color, same hair, same kind of ... prissy attitude
bishop: you both like books.
rocco: well, you're more pink and his hair is longer than yours! he's lavender-purple, and his hair is longer and white and he wears it in a little ponytail, he only has two horns, you have like four

rocco tries to touch talmage’s horns; talmage swats him away.

raja: forgive me if this is insensitive, but it is typical for two tieflings who are siblings to be different colors?

rocco isn’t sure. bishop says it could happen.

bishop: somebody along your family line made a deal with a demon--
rocco: what???
raja: is that what a tiefling is?
rocco: what??? do you know what bishop's talking about
talmage: rocco, you didn't know?
rocco: no!
talmage: how did you think you look the way that you do?
rocco: dad says not to ask any questions ...
raja: and you just didn't?

sure, rocco had looked through books for the answers, but could never find anything. also he got bored reading them.

bishop: demons are real. i'm assuming they exist around here.
rocco: i've never seen one
talmage: they don't just walk around
rocco: what do you know about demons, talmage???
talmage: i don't know a lot, but i know that they're real because how else would we be here.
luci: well, the vale's whole thing is, you know, hunting down evil, i'm assuming they fight demons - why don't you ask your little bitch friend.

bishop insists demons are real. talmage asks bishop if he’s ever encountered a demon. he says no, but bishop knows they’re real and evil and bad. do not speak to them.

bishop: if they seem evil, or if they're trying to get something out of you, or if you feel weird about somebody - ask me, and i can detect if they are evil or not.
rocco: stranger danger ... got it

luci asks bishop if he can tell if luci is evil or not. bishop casts [detect good & evil]. there’s a celestial in the room. it’s raja. bishop stares her down.

bishop: so earlier when you were talking about how similar making a deal with a demon is to how you got your curse
bishop: what exactly did you mean by that? please be a little bit more specific in this moment.

raja feels intimidated and compelled to answer.

raja: this isn't something that i did to myself. i didn't choose this and i don't entirely know what was done to me. a celestial - that's like a god, right?
bishop: related. tangentially, yes.
rocco: o:
bishop: SHE IS NOT A GOD.
bishop: NOBODY IN HERE IS A GOD, ROCCO.
raja: it is possible that i look ... similar to one.
raja: again, this isn't something that i did or chose.
rocco: are there dragon gods
bishop: yes.
raja: that, i know that there are.
bishop: hector's book is about two dragon gods. alabaster and atrimentus.
raja: those are dragon gods from where you're from?
bishop: yes.
rocco: have you heard of them before?
raja: no, i truly have not. i didn't know that there were any others.
bishop: what is the name of your ... god? patron? patron-god?

there are two dragon gods that are a legend in this area: aedith and alodia. rocco remembers hearing these names because hector was obsessed with aedith, the pragmatic & lawful one. she was seen as the villain of a lot of stories, compared to alodia, her twin sister, who was a cheerful goddess of luck & fate.

raja: you probably have guessed by now, but i bear a strong resemblance to one of the commonly-recognized forms of aedith - to those who believe that she is even a real thing.
bishop: and you're-- ... not to ... follow rocco's track
bishop: but you're not her, right?
raja: i'm not aedith. i am not a god.

talmage asks if this was punishment, or if she was associated with aedith before this happened. raja isn’t sure – aedith did not stop to explain.

luci: so i have a question
luci: you guys are demons because your parents made a deal with a demon; why are you an angel? did your parents make a deal with an angel?
luci: or did they just fuck an angel

bishop explains angels are good so they don’t need to trick people.

luci: what if it's like, a good deal
luci: like you have to pick strawberries or something and get paid for it. like a work contract
talmage: ... what???
luci: would your kid be a tiefling then? would they be a pink tiefling with spots and green hair
bishop: no, i don't think ... unless there's a demon of strawberries
bishop: which, granted, i don't know everything about every demon, but i would like to think that strawberries aren't an evil thing
luci: so are they neutral or are they good

raja insinuates hector might be in a great deal of danger if he successfully finds aedith.

bishop: did aedith harm you?
raja: i mean, i am an exile from my own country and alienated from everything i know, so
bishop: but you get your power from this god?
raja: no. *sighs* this is more than i intended to tell you.

bishop’s head hurts trying to understand. raja takes out a golden coin, flips it, and the coin glows. rocco knows that gold coins are the symbol of alodia.

raja: the power that i have is courtesy of alodia. we share a common enemy, i suppose you could say.

aedith has always been rivals with her sister – raja has a grudge to settle. raja sought alodia out after her transformation. raja has not encountered anyone else who has been gifted power by either of the sisters.

raja: apparently if you're the right person and you storm into a god's temple and call them by name, they may eventually show up
raja: but i think most aren't as foolhardy as to try that, especially when they theoretically don't exist.
rocco: i'm really worried about hector now, cuz that sounds like something he'd do ...

rocco asks talmage why he knows so much about tieflings and demons.

rocco: did they teach you that at school?
talmage: we went over it briefly? it's a common reason for someone to be born with magic.
rocco: is it weird to ask about-- like, what's your story? 
talmage: about why i'm a ... tiefling?
rocco: yeah
talmage: my parents did some shit, and here i am. that's kind of how it goes.
rocco: ... i have to talk to my dad ...
talmage: sorry to break it to you this way.

there’s a moment of silence.

raja: so luci, why are you a human?
bishop: *laughs loudly* i'm going to sleep
talmage: ah--
bishop: ... do you want more story time?
talmage: oh, ah-- i just have a, question ...
talmage: um, do you-- do you have-- can-- what you did before? can you ... can you show me that again?
bishop: cure wounds?
talmage: yeah ...
bishop: are you hurt?
talmage: (not injured) ... a little?

bishop holds his own arm out that has the cat scratches, covers them, mumbles something, and it glows a soft gold. the scratches seal back up. talmage watches intently, looking back and forth between the arm and the book they were transcribing, trying to figure out how it works.

bishop: when you devote yourself to a god, they can bestow certain powers. similar to raja.

talmage looks thankful for the demonstration, but also a little disappointed and sheepish. he thanks bishop. bishop suggests that talmage could always find a local god and dedicate himself to them.

talmage: sure, i guess-- yeah, i just didn't know that that was ... a real option
luci: you can just find a person and be like, i'm gonna be a follower, and if they're a god they can let you heal people? just cuz?
bishop: that is a dumbed-down way of saying it, but. yes

[tw: experimental self-harm]

talmage spends an hour attempting to cast [cure wounds] with his calligrapher’s tools. he uses his regular ink, painting newly-learned calendoran words directly onto his arm. when bishop looks over, he can see there are small cuts on his skin – talmage had been hurting himself, then attempting to heal it back up. it’s kind of an unsanitary disaster. it stings, and bishop notices the ink mixing with some red.

[shad]: god i hate you so much
[emily]: he probably cut himself a little bit and then is trying to heal it with this magic that he's never learned before
[charlie]: you masochistic, fuckin'--
[emily]: i'm trying to LEARN

bishop sits up in bed, watching talmage hurt himself in the corner of the room. he’s making quiet, pained noises, but is oblivious to bishop.

after a moment, bishop gets out of bed, approaches talmage, and sternly takes his pen away. when he touches talmage’s arm, the words glow.

talmage: wha--
talmage: what are you doing.
bishop: uhhh
talmage: sorry, am i--
bishop: well, i was stopping you from--

talmage recoils, shrinking away from bishop. bishop sets the pen down.

bishop: ... stop cutting your arm.
talmage: no, i'm trying to-- i'm trying to see if i can do it!
raja: isn't there an easier way ..?
talmage: how am i supposed to heal myself if i'm not hurt?

[experimental self-harm ends]

luci laughs. bishop casts [lay on hands] on talmage. the words on talmage’s arm light up brighter, healing first under the words he had painted, before spreading to the rest of the arm. after this, the ink and words are gone.

bishop lets go.

talmage: (grumpy) ... thanks.
rocco: you know, talmage, you kind of really do remind me of my brother a little, now that i think about it
talmage: is that a good thing?
rocco: you're a little bit nicer than him, for sure, but i dunno - you think the same way! 
talmage: interesting. well, can't wait to meet him.
luci: *groans*
talmage: yeah, luci, i dunno! are we alike? me and ... hector?
luci: hector's the worst.
talmage: cool, didn't answer my question!

luci’s head is under his pillow because people keep glowing.

bishop: talmage, you don't have to worry about being able to heal yourself.
talmage: well, that's-- 
bishop: if you need any healing, i will heal you.
bishop: i don't know-- yeah, like-- rocco said earlier, what if something happens to you? who's gonna heal you
bishop: me.
talmage: you can't, that's--
talmage: i'm just thinking about ... dire situations
rocco: aww, see now that's how you're different from him! i don't think he would care about other people. that's why i like you, too! you're more fun.

talmage looks extremely embarrassed by this comment, as well as the entire situation.

bishop: go to bed, talmage.
bishop: you can cut your arm tomorrow.

luci is already in one bed, and raja takes the other, unoccupied bed. bishop makes his bed on the floor. rocco climbs in with luci, leaving talmage to sleep with raja.

[emily]: how do you sleep with your horns, like, which way do they ...
[dee]: honestly she's not comfortable no matter what
[emily]: i'm picturing her waking up in the morning, but instead of bed head she just has a pillow impaled on one of her horns, there's like feathers and shit everywhere
[dee]: the first few nights you were with her, she kept tossing and turning and laying on her face, but she has a snout
[emily]: i can see raja having this calm and collected attitude, but then she'll turn and hit her fuckin nose on the doorway
[shad]: we can get you little pool noodles! like goats! and put them on your horns

the group goes to sleep.


[emily]: i don't know how else to do it
[shad]: well you can't hurt yourself in order to try to learn this
[emily]: *whispering* he's gonna do it again
[emily]: i'm just letting you know, he's gonna do it again tomorrow night
[shad]: if bishop sees you doing that, because we WILL be having story time every night--
[emily]: well then i'll be DOING IT IN SECRET
[shad]: yeah, but now he knows you're trying to do this!!
[emily]: so i can do it at least one more time, i think i can get away with it one more time
[shad]: i can't believe you wouldn't take the bed with luci
[emily]: LOOK. ya'll know who i am. i would not be able to utter those words.
[emily]: I'M DOING A LOT BETTER
[shad]: you are!
[ashley]: she has talked to him!
[emily]: i've talked to him! i have not reached "share a bed with"

over the night, raja takes up the entire bed, pushing talmage onto the floor. she gives him a pillow. rocco notices after accidentally brushing his hand against talmage’s face. he wakes up, snuggling closer to luci and making room next to him on the bed.

rocco: you can like--
rocco: there's room! you can be on the end! i'll be in the middle
[emily]: *sighs* i'll sleep on the boy bed
[charlie]: BOY BED BOY BED BOY BED

bishop starts the morning by praying. talmage wakes up earlier to watch inconspicuously from his bed, curious how the process works. bishop is at the window, sitting in a spot of sunlight, praying with his sword sitting on the ground beside him.

his sword glows slightly, levitating an inch off the ground, before settling back down. bishop has a vision while praying.

he’s holding his sword. it’s warm and glowing, its power radiating off the sword and through his body. he’s attuning to it. he’s taking it, pulling it from a collapsed ruin of alabaster. as he pulls the sword out of the dragon’s heart, it glows and the weight of it lessens in his hands. it is finally something he can use, finally something that will help him do what he wants to do.

as he turns around, kairos gets down and bows.

when he comes back to reality, a tear rolls down his cheek.

[charlie]: you've both seen each other cry now!
[charlie]: you gonna be awkward about it?
[emily]: what do you mean?
[emily]: probably?
[emily]: what do you mean?
[charlie]: sounds like you're gonna be awkward about it
[emily]: WELL I'M NOT GONNA FUCKIN' SAY ANYTHING
[emily]: i'm not gonna be like "HEY BUDDY YOU OKAY??? I'VE BEEN WATCHING YOU THIS ENTIRE TIME"

after everyone is up, bishop suggests we get breakfast. we suddenly hear a scratching at our inn door.

talmage: did you steal that cat?
bishop: i didn't, i put it back, i shoved it back through its door 
talmage: aw, you fed it though ...
bishop: but that doesn't mean anything
talmage: that means it's yours now
bishop: that's not how that works.
bishop: if i feed you--
talmage: ... are you gonna?
raja: does that mean that you now belong to mr. graves?
talmage: nya

the cat, bloodworth, is now in bishop’s arms, purring.

bishop: well, we have to ... 
rocco: does he want some fish & bits?
bishop: do you have more, you really should not keep fish that long.

rocco is eating the leftover fish for breakfast.

[emily]: *disgusted* oh god ...
[dee]: EMILY. OF ALL PEOPLE--

we realize we’re pretty far from the shop. we can drop the cat off after out stick quest. we consider leaving the cat with mr. graves. bishop places the cat on the window sill.

bishop: we will be back to the bookstore after we go through a dungeon. you should stay home for a little while, and i will see you in a day.
bishop: i will bring treats. you can tell mordecai that i will bring treats for both of you.
rocco: do you speak cat???
bishop: you just heard me speak to it in common.
raja: could it understand you?
bishop: please let's go to the cave

after breakfast, we head to the tunnel. mr. graves is waiting for us. he takes out a ring of keys.

graves: good morning.
rocco: mr. graves, we found a cat this morning! it found bishop!
bishop: ... we met two cats yesterday, one of them followed us because i fed him fish. i don't know why this is the first news that rocco is telling you.
rocco: mr. graves really likes cats! i just wanted to let him know, that's all.
bishop: it ... was a nice cat.
graves: ... thank you.
[dee]: i also thank people when they tell me about their cats

he unlocks the gate in front of him. inside, there is a sloping staircase leading down. it’s more hallway-like than cave-like. he explains this is one of the old sewer entrances, and we should be taking our first left, towards the cave network system.

rocco asks what we should keep our eye out for. mr. graves tells us to be careful of the water. he is looking for a legendary staff. the dragon staff of agheron. it is said to be covered with black dragon scales.

raja is confused what it is doing here. talmage knows of legendary dragon staves, but this one he’s never heard of. mr. graves will find us once we retrieve it. he ignores any further questions we have, but does tell us they’ve been trying to get into these vaults for many years, and we might be the first to be able to.

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