family matters

a cat explodes, talmage breaks & enters, luci’s intelligence is questioned

radious: is he an idiot?
everyone: mmmmmmmmm ...
radious: is he enough of an idiot to follow the cat here?
everyone: hmmmmmmmm ...


it is currently about 7 pm. we’re still hiding in the storage room of the cicero testing building.

our plan was to meet up with luci at the book shop the next morning. the only way in and out of the city is through the main gate, which we are wary about using. we throw around ideas of how to get out: disguises? flying over the wall? we hear yelling and stomping around from downstairs – we need to go. we decide to just run, despite the fact that we will eventually need to cross through the city’s central square to get to the book shop.

as rocco leads us through the back alleyways, we can hear a warning bell chiming in the distance. the whole party is very sneaky, silently moving through the alleyways, until we hear loud meowing. the two black cats from before are screaming affectionately at bishop.

cats: meow! meow! meow!
bishop: SHHHHHH

bishop picks one up. suddenly, someone leans out of their back door, sees us, and their face drops. rocco pulls out his bag of beef jerky and feeds it to the cats.

raja: [graves] ... are these your cats?
man: n-n-no sir, they are not my cats--

the group attempts to win the man over by being affectionate towards the cats – it doesn’t work. he calls for the guards. we run, bishop carrying the two cats with him.

raja drops her disguise as mr. graves – talmage decides to keep his disguise as aurabri active. we can hear people on our heels, but their horses can’t follow us down the alleyways. we reach the main city square, and it’s packed. we think about an actual good plan, but promptly throw our plans in the garbage in favor of just booking it in plain sight.

talmage notices that the cats are really intent on being near bishop. he removes one of them from bishop to see if they meow louder, but they don’t. talmage suddenly realizes the cat is definitely magical – a familiar. he looks the cat dead in the eyes.

cat: *sneezes*

a cloud of [darkness] envelopes the area. rocco books it straight into the darkness, towards where he last saw the alleyway we need to get to. the group holds hands as we run, but rocco gets super lost. we emerge from the darkness – outside of the main square, on the other side, but we aren’t sure WHERE exactly. we keep running down the alley – it’s not one of the nicer areas of the city, and rocco is unfamiliar with the layout. while running, bishop accidentally bumps against a wall and it burns against his skin. he notices the door frame he bumped has a four-pointed star logo on it, glowing whitish-blue.

bishop: that's a polaris place, they might help us because they're magically-inclined--
bishop: if someone other than me could knock on the door please-- because it hurts--

talmage knocks on the door. nothing happens. raja casts [light] on her coin and touches it to the polaris symbol.

raja: please, we need shelter.

the door thunks and slides down. inside, is a dark cavern with a spiral staircase leading downwards. inside, raja’s light should radiate further, but it’s very dim. the door slowly slides back up behind us, and we hear thudding as guards run past, yelling that they saw us come this way.

bishop feels ill being here. the cats are still atop him; one of them jumps off and starts padding down the stairs. talmage can tell that’s the one that had cast the spell – mordecai. we follow the cat.

talmage: ... that cat exploded
bishop: he cast a spell.
talmage: [awestruck] i know, i was not expecting it
[ashley]: you just heard "meow!" and then it cast darkness
[shad]: *crying* i love these cats

the hall is lined with the same unlit torches we saw at the old polaris building. raja casts [sacred flame], lighting them blue. the torches are made of a crystal and have nothing that would make them burn; in other words, they are intended to be lit with magic. the place feels similar to the other polaris building … it’s not as elegant or beautiful, and it looks like it was aggressively hollowed out of the rock.

at the bottom of the stairs, we reach a blank wall. one of the cats is gone. raja tries pushing through the wall – it’s solid. bishop calls for the cat. he crouches down and can see a cat paw bat out from underneath a slit in the wall. he bats at bishop’s face.

raja tries touching her coin to the stone, asking to let us through – nothing happens.

talmage runs his hand along the wall; he can tell it’s some sort of illusion. he can’t feel it, but he can see his hand touching it? it reminds him of places he’s explored that he wasn’t supposed to. if he pushes his hand further, he can feel it sink into the stone, but appears unmoving to everyone’s eyes. he pushes his entire arm in – to the others, it simply looks like he’s pressing his body against the stone.

[shad]: you're clipping through!!!

talmage sticks his face through – this time, everyone can see his head enter the wall.

talmage: ... mordecai?
mordecai: meow!
bishop: talmage ..?
talmage: it's dark!
bishop: you're in a wall.
rocco: how'd ya get in there?
talmage: i just tried really hard
rocco: ok!! 
bishop: NO--

in his attempts to venture further, talmage’s vale symbol lights up through his disguise. he winces in pain and falls forward, completely disappearing through the wall. everything seems to shift and change until he hits a set of iron bars.

the rest of the party calls out to talmage. no response. bishop asks the cat for help. he also considers punching through the walls.

raja: i mean, i'm not illusioned and i'm not in any way associated with the vale, so ...
bishop: we could try, but we can't-- talmage isn't responding, at the very least--
rocco: he probably just can't hear us!
bishop: yeah, that's the. that's the issue that we're running into, rocco. that's the problem that i'm explaining.

raja comes up with a plan: she hands her coin to rocco. if she gets to the other side of the wall and is safe, she will cast [light] on another object, causing the coin’s light to dispel. that means it is safe to cross over. if it doesn’t happen, then … don’t.

raja takes a deep breath and walks through the wall.

meanwhile, talmage smacks into raw, iron bars. they’re cold and damp. he can feel what little magic he has left drain from him. he feels uneasy, and looking back he doesn’t see the wall he came through, but the wall of a jail cell. the cell is 5 x 5 ft with a big iron lock. talmage laughs nervously.

???: [angrily] fuck! aurabri, is that you?!
talmage: [aurabri] whuhhhhh--

the voice sounds familiar. he can see a long table, papers scattered about. a small candle’s flame glints off of the figure’s glasses. talmage suddenly realizes he’s definitely been scolded by this man before.

???: i've been down here trying to catch you for months for everything that you did!
???: and i've finally done it!!
talmage:  [aurabri] *laughing in disbelief*
???: you've got some explaining to do--
talmage: [aurabri] WOAH WOAH OKAY HOLD ON hold on hold on, hold on-- i--
talmage: [aurabri] is that really you?!
???: *sputters* of course it's me??

the figure draws his wand and casts a spell. talmage’s hands and ankles are suddenly bound, tightened by vines.

???: answer me quickly - is that mark going to alert anyone?
talmage: [aurabri] *laughing* i don't think so, no??

talmage dispels [disguise self]. he can hear a loud noise, like something falling over. the binds are still on him, and he can feel them beginning to constrict his chest. the man comes closer and talmage can see it is a much more raggedy, skinnier, older version of his old professor. he is a human in his mid 50’s. his wand is drawn and pointed, which talmage knows is not fun to be on the receiving end of. the wand glows a sparking green.

radious: i don't appreciate this sense of humor, young man.

he is completely stone-faced.

talmage: ... can you let me out?
radious: how do i know it's you.
talmage: i'm-- how would i--
talmage: how would it not be me.
radious: i've seen some things.
talmage: um ... i know that you ... tell people that you like your coffee black, but you add a ton of sugar to it?

the situation is hard to read – there’s an ambient fire in the background meant to make the situation more intimidating. talmage feels the vines loosen slightly.

radious: ... talmage, i heard you were dead.
talmage: is that--

raja suddenly falls through the wall, landing right on top of talmage.

[ashley]: there's a man who has seemed to have restrained him-- fire burning in the background; green, sparkling wand pointed; talmage tied up--
[emily]: talmage looks like he's having a great time though
[charlie]: oh???
raja: ... are we alright here?
[charlie]: i SEE
[dee]: raja just learned several things about talmage
talmage: ow, oh-- there's more of us, i don't know if we can all fit in here--
radious: what are you-- what-- what-- how did you even get in?!
raja: i ... asked for refuge ... at the door.
radious: you are?
raja: i-- i'm--
radious: excuse me, but i'm ... distrustful of strangers.

raja removes her hood.

raja: somebody who has a vested interest in not being caught by the vale. for starters.

radious looks her up and down, adjusting his glasses. he is still wary.

raja: why would i choose to be disguised like this.
radious: why were you dressed as aurabri in a vale uniform.
talmage: we were-- um-- *laughs nervously* that's a long story--

talmage insists radious can trust raja. he also informs him there are two more people coming, as well as some cats.

radious: cats?

he looks down and sees mordecai slip through the bars and start rubbing against his legs. he picks the cat up, and it licks his face.

radious: did you bring them here?
talmage: they were really helpful!
radious: troublemakers, both of them ...

raja requests more space in their cell – the others are waiting on her signal. radious flicks his wand and talmage’s vines loosen. he opens the cell door for them, still very wary and with his wand drawn. he isn’t afraid, just cautious.

talmage fully acknowledges his hostility and still runs forward for a hug. radious is surprised, but embraces him.

radious: you've always been ... very resourceful, haven't you?
talmage: have you been here this whole time??
radious: it's a very long ... story
radious: but i am ... very ... glad to see that you're alright
radious: i am NOT so glad to see you disguising yourself as aurabri of all people, and i do expect a full explanation for that

talmage looks sheepish. raja casts light an a different coin, radious watching her very carefully.

bishop walks through the wall, hitting his head immediately on the top of the small iron cage. talmage is watching, amused.

radious, having just had his tearful reunion, sees bishop and immediately pulls talmage behind him. he flicks his wand at bishop who hits the ground, bound with vines.

talmage: oh woah, woah, woah, woah, woah--!
talmage: he's good!

raja and bishop insist they can explain things once their other friend gets here.

on the other side of the wall, bloodworth hops off rocco’s shoulder and trots right through. he climbs up onto the highest point of bishop’s restrained body and circles a bit before lying down.

rocco follows the cat, stumbling over bishop on the floor.

radious: r-rocco greylock. is one of your companions?
talmage: y-yes?

rocco wonders how radious knew his name, but his family is a little famous. radious looks at talmage.

radious: do you know where you are?
talmage: uhhhh not-- entirely? like, you mean the city, or like--? our current--? no.
raja: i assume another polaris sanctuary?
raja: we found a school in the forest--
radious: how did you get in? nobody's been able--
raja: the same way i got in here? i asked with magic.
bishop: we know a guy.
raja: i'm a disciple of alodia.
radious: ... wonderful, um. my apologies for being so guarded, then.
radious: would you like-- ... i didn't make that much coffee for everyone, but i can put more on if you'd like it.

bishop is still tied up on the floor. radious snaps his fingers, turning on the lights. we’re in an underground room with no windows. there’s a big table in the middle with many chairs piled up along the side of it. etched into the center of the table is a large polaris symbol. it looks like an underground bunker: a cot in the corner, canned foods on the counters, and bunk beds along the sides.

he releases bishop carefully.

radious: ... are you all who's causing the ruckus?
talmage: currentlyyyy ..? yeah ... yup
radious: how bad? i would say on a scale of ... 1 to 10?
talmage: like, bad for who ...
radious: for ... the situation. that you are in.
talmage: uh ... maybe like an 8?
bishop: like a 10.
talmage: well. i've had worse
rocco: nothing's on fire?
raja: they're probably not going to immediately kill us on sight.
talmage: no one i know has died yet?
rocco: that's true, bishop only got stabbed once!

radious notices he is bleeding and takes out some bandages.

bishop: i can heal myself.
radious: you can-- you can what?
bishop: i can heal myself.
radious: you can heal yourself, son?
radious: you--

radious sits down, watching skeptically. bishop casts [cure wounds], awkwardly watching him back.

radious: hm. fascinating.

he writes something down in a small notebook he pulls from the pocket of his tattered clothes.

radious: i can't believe you broke in here, too, talmage
radious: you keep finding places you just shouldn't be--
talmage: *laughs nervously* well, i guess that's just, what i'm good at--
raja: you make a habit of this?
bishop: who is this?
talmage: this is radious--
radious: professor.
talmage: right, sorry-- professor radious. he was one of my teachers back at the ... the school i went to.
radious: i'm a bit harder for the vale to catch than a bunch of kids.

talmage notices the bunker could house a lot more people than just him.

radious awkwardly tries to offer us beverages – all he has is coffee and water. he wanders off to get the drinks, muttering to himself.

radious: the vale who are after you will not find any of you here, as long as what you said about that mark is true.
radious: that they can't trace it.
bishop: to our knowledge.
talmage: i don't think they can ..?
radious: there are different types of those marks that they give out to people.
talmage: ... do you know..?
radious: can i take a look?

talmage pulls his shirt aside. radious puts a different pair of glasses on and takes a close look at the mark on the back of talmage’s neck.

radious: it is ... a sort of ... beacon.
radious: if you use magic, it will alert them to your location.
talmage: oh, fuck. okay.
radious: but you haven't ... so you're fine right now.
radious: it's one of the ... harsher ones.

radious asks why talmage was disguised as aurabri. talmage poorly summarizes their situation. radious knows of isaac graves.

talmage: i figured they wouldn't mess with me if i looked like aurabri, because they seem to have ...
talmageradious: go on.
talmage: ... they seem important now? and so--
radious: they're alive?
talmage: what?
radious: they're alive?

talmage explained that aurabri technically gave them a summoning stone and he isn’t entirely sure who they are aligned with. rocco is confused why radious is here, a place where so many vale are stationed.

rocco: why are you still here? why not run away from highkeep?
radious: because it helps people like you.
radious: they helped me, and i will help others who are in other situations like yourselves who need to disappear or find somewhere safe.
raja: ... are you familiar with gidley's circus?
radious: yes.

we explain that’s where we are heading after this.

radious: ... gidley rockfort could be doing much more with their talents, but insist that a circus is where they need to be.
bishop: i'm inclined to agree.
radious: one of our associates is part of their circus.
rocco: who's that? we might know them!
radious: i'm sure you do.
rocco: ... who?
raja: i don't think he wants to tell you, rocco.
radious: rocco, this is no offense to you, but i do not trust ... literally everyone you know and love.
radious: has talmage explained the situation that the both of us are in?
raja: beyond, perhaps, the school that you were attending being raided?
radious: yes, that was the school i worked at. for many, many years.
rocco: talmage gets really sad when we ask him about his school.
radious: yes, many people died. many people were taken. i assumed ... talmage, one of them.
raja: and that is when you were branded.
talmage: ... yeah. yeah i was, i was trying to get out, and i was caught-- i don't know, they didn't kill me like everyone else.

radious says despite his age, he is still determined to get revenge. gidley apparently is taking a more peaceful approach. talmage asks if he’s found others who agree with his views – that’s where they are. the group is currently at the northern-most outpost. it’s radious’s job to help anyone here who is magically-inclined.

radious: but i do not think that you, or your friends, should be part of this.
talmage: wh-- why not?!
radious: you're-- you have plenty of other options--
talmage: i have plenty reason to be right here!
rocco: we kind of have a target on our back right now, talmage ...
talmage: well, they can't--
rocco: --sorry!!! that was really offensive--

rocco is worried because we were being followed. radious states he is not in charge of recruitment; we have to be invited to join.

radious: have you done anything that would make them want to offer you a spot?
rocco: oh yeah, we've done lots of cool things!
talmage: are they really being choosy ...

they have to be careful about who they let join so they don’t accidentally expose their entire operation. raja asks what the recruitment officers are looking for, but radious does not know.

radious seems to recognize bishop’s name. he reveals he knows kairos.

radious: he told us if someone named bishop ended up here ... you match enough of the description ...
raja: to imprison him on the ground with some vines?
radious: *sighs*

talmage tells the story of when he first met bishop.

talmage: and so because he had flown in, that sort of caused a lot of ruckus ...
radious: i remember that ... that was you ...
talmage: and so gidley was like, "hey, he's with me!" and then we all joined the circus ...
radious: gidley always beats me to everyone ...
bishop: well, you're not a recruitment officer.
raja: is gidley?
radious: they like to say they recruit "talent."
talmage: well, we were not that.
raja: you weren't.

talmage receives a [message] in his head.

radious: [do you really trust him?]
talmage: [yes ...]
radious: [i really don't want to be cleaning blood off my floor, so do i have to kill him or not]

the room goes quiet as it’s obvious they’re [messaging] back and forth. talmage insists that bishop is trustworthy, just that he doesn’t remember who he was. but he seems like a genuinely good guy. radious sighs out loud.

he tells bishop that lots of people are afraid of him and want him dead. this organization did not say that they should kill him, but that they should definitely send him back where he came from.

radious: i did not want to be the person to tell you this ... but why are you here.
bishop: i was looking for kairos
radious: and what if they don't want to see you?

bishop explains his opinions on the situation have changed recently and he hasn’t had a chance to consider that. kairos is currently a strong ally the resistance has to fight against the vale, and their one word of warning was … bishop.

bishop: when we were in the caves, there was a point where i crossed a threshold and fell unconscious, and i regained some of my memory back.
bishop: glimpses and bits ... and i ... learned at that point that i am ... a sphinx, a little bit.
radious: ... what do you mean.
rocco: what?
raja: what?!

the cat in bishop’s lap purrs.

bishop: at least related to, i don't know--
rocco: i KNEW IT!!!!!

raja is scandalized. bishop only learned this recently. he explains this is why he had a lapse of judgement when we went down to get the staff. radious starts muttering to talmage.

radious: what's a sphinx?
radious: vines ... vines ..? bad? how bad is this. vines?
talmage: no, no i think we're good

bishop explains that he can issue verbal commands, and the vines would do nothing.

talmage: and you didn't know that until--
raja: can you accidentally command people?
rocco: have you ever used that on us?
bishop: ... to my knowledge, it has happened once to talmage, and once to raja.
talmage: woah, what, what did you tell me to do? did i do it?!
talmage: what did i do??? do i remember doing it???!
raja: yeah, no, hold on, what did you have us do?
bishop: you were talking to rocco about trying to heal, and then you said, "oh, well i'll just go cut my arm later," and i told you not to do that
bishop: and then that's when i realized-- it was a heat of the moment, and i don't know how to bring that up--
bishop: all i know that i did with you is when we were in the cave, and you were trying to light the lights. i said that you could light the lights, and then you lit the lights--

rocco mentions that he thinks bishop used his power on mr. graves, too. back during one of our conversations with him, he looked uncomfortable answering one of bishop’s questions. talmage is extremely confused about his mental state. bishop doesn’t know how to undo it. radious starts asking bishop questions about sphinxes; he has his notebook out and is taking notes.

radious: so you're saying that you commanded talmage to - i'm not forgetting about that, by the way, we'll talk about that later - to not hurt himself to cast magic?
radious: and you accidentally told the greatest spymaster around to give up information about someone, and he did.
bishop: ... yes.
radious: i'm aware of who issac graves is. absolutely terrifying, and i'm glad i'm not on his bad side.
radious: ... i won't be on his bad side for this, will i?

he looks nervously at rocco.

bishop: no, you're protecting rocco, you'd be on his good side.
radious: ... do you want anything else to drink?
rocco: no no no, please, it makes me uncomfortable when people do that-- you're just trying to do the right thing!
radious: i am trying not to get killed.
rocco: i'll let him know that you helped us in our time of need!
radious: good to know ...
[charlie]: he's like, "cool, whatever, you piece of shit"

talmage is having a mental breakdown. radious takes more notes.

radious: tell me to drop this pen.
bishop: i don't ... really want to.
radious: good.

he writes that down.

bishop: i don't want to command people, it happens mostly on accident. i tried it when you guys were downstairs and it was a lapse of judgment.
raja: is that how you got stabbed?
bishop: well i didn't tell him to stab me
[emily]: "what are you gonna do, stab me?"
[ashley]: "oh, i have to now!"
[dee]: "i guess i will!"
[charlie]: *plays the "shoot me" vine*

radious asks some questions about where bishop is from but realizes he is not ready to unpack all that right now. he seems tired.

radious: all i know is that kairos is not from around here, so we're just going to leave it at that
radious: i don't need to know your situation - i do not want the vale torturing it out of me later

radious still has to tell his superiors that he saw bishop and offers to pass along a message.

radious: do you have a message? do you wanna say anything?
bishop: u-uh ...
radious: do you have any free will thoughts of your own?

talmage is curious if kairos would meet with one of us instead of bishop, but they aren’t here – they’re recruiting in the south right now.

radious: there's no better way to recruit someone than to bring 'em back to life and give 'em a purpose.
rocco: that's a little, i don't know ...
radious: rocco, you might be new to this situation, but people like myself and talmage haven't had a lot of hope recently?
radious: and having someone who believes in anything to help people who are being hunted and killed just for existing makes me get out of bed in the morning.
talmage: ... well if we ... if i were to sign up, do you think there'd be a chance i could chat with 'em? at some point in the future?

talmage looks excited about the possibility of joining.

radious: i ... could ... call a recruitment officer ... into town to see if they see anyone worthwhile?
talmage: how does ... that usually work.
radious: i don't know, save someone from a burning building with magic? be a good person. you have to be offered a position.
radious: i shouldn't have even let you in here, but you got in on your own somehow.
bishop: talmage just sort of walked through the wall.
radious: yes, i know, he does that.
rocco: wait, you've done this before?
talmage: i mean--
bishop: is that how you got into your school originally?
radious: yes, that is exactly how it happened.
talmage: it was a while ago ...
radious: we couldn't keep him out.

he notes how we befriended the old woman at the book store, and she sent her familiar to look after us. we ask if hector was ever a part of this organization – only briefly while in school, but then went south to vaselle, and no one has seen him since.

radious: there's only so few magic schools left, and they're trying to help the ones that are.
radious: after ... brighthaven ... was destroyed, it was one of the last few. and ... we lost ... our biggest school, the polaris institute, years ago.
radious: but, you said you--

he turns a page on his notebook.

radious: i would like to know about you saying you were in there?
radious: nobody's been able to get in to even see what it's even like since it was evacuated.
radious: you said you had help?
bishop: yes we did ... meet someone ...
bishop: i'm pretty positive he would not want--
radious: *writing* "he" ...

we assume luci would not want us to talk about him to radious. we consider asking him permission first.

talmage: he would help us, i just don't think he would be useful to anyone else, so it's probably not worth it to know.
raja: he is not going to help the vale. he is not a threat to you.
talmage: frankly, i don't think he wants anything to do with any of this.

radious is … exasperated but goes along with it. he tells us to rest and that he can help us get out of the city.

radious: if you want to ... be part ... of what i am doing, you'll have to earn that on your own.
talmage: *nodding*
radious: each of you will have to prove yourselves worth it. and knowing me is not quite gonna get you there.
radious: talmage, i can put in a good word for you, but i will not put a word in for your friends.

talmage grins. he asks how many recruiters there are, but radious doesn’t know.

radious: if you want one, i could call one to the area and tell them i have ideas and give loose descriptions.
radious: but you will have to do something to catch their eye, without knowing who they are.

raja considers the idea of attacking the vale headquarters.

radious: you can stay in this room, please do not adventure much farther
radious: i'm ... very glad that it ... it turned out you're okay talmage.
talmage: *laughs nervously* i thought-- yeah-- yup, i-- also thought that you were super dead this whole time, so this is jarring--

radious pats talmage’s head and assures him that things will get better. raja is bewildered at talmage’s sudden softness.

[dee]: raja is very surprised to see talmage receiving or showing any affection

in the night, raja sleeps poorly. she notices radious come over to tuck talmage in, sigh, and walk away.

everyone wakes up to breakfast being cooked. (it’s a little burnt.) radious checks in with us.

raja: we are meant to meet someone this morning.
bishop: can mordecai send a message to agatha to tell a specific customer ... information? that we're safe, but--
radious: the friend that took you into the polaris?
talmage: fuck
radious: i'm not an idiot.

we talk about retrieving luci and bringing him here. radious offers to go. we consider sending a cat.

radious: if he'll follow it. is he an idiot?
everyone: mmmmmmmmm ...
radious: is he enough of an idiot to follow the cat here?
everyone: hmmmmmmmm ...

we aren’t sure the answer to that.

we decide to send a note with one of the cats. should we include the polaris symbol?

radious: the polaris and us are very different organizations, not to get your hopes up, they are dead.
raja: but you're using their symbol?
radious: this symbol is older than them. they just adopted it
talmage: is-- do you have a ... name--
radious: *monotone* yes. i've covered it up with illusion magic so you can't read it while you're here.

talmage immediately tries to spot where the symbols might be. radious smiles.

we try to determine if luci would be smart enough to decipher a note and follow the cat to us.

[emily]: in an au he lost $20 in poker immediately
[ashley]: in-game he got drunk right away
[emily]: i'm leaning towards dumb ..!
[charlie]: this man is an idiot

talmage is worried luci will feel tricked winding up here.

[dee]: i don't feel as though he could get all the way here and then be mad at us because there's more magic
[emily]: HE WILL DO THAT
bishop: how ... clever do you think luci is.
talmage: okay, wait, ya'll--
radious: so you're saying his name is luci?

we groan about giving away luci’s name.

talmage asks radious if he knows how to get rid of his brand.

radious: the ... main way that we've found is, um ... killing the person that put it on you.
talmage: okay.
radious: as far as ... enchanters go, you'd need quite a powerful one, one that's stronger than the person that put it on you. do you know who ..?
talmage: i ... i'm not sure.
radious: convincing them to remove it is a possibility, as well.
rocco: i think that's better--
talmage: or ... kill them and it'll go away?

radious suggests that kairos could lift it.

talmage: i've also heard that the circus could help with that..? you know, gidley's? have you heard anything about that?
radious: who
talmage: someone told me that maybe they'd be able to help--
radious: who told you?
talmage: someone?
radious: who?
talmage: hmm?
radious: talmage. i will give you something in return?
talmage: what?
radious: what do you want to know?

talmage is silent.

we discuss the circus – it will be the best place for us to be right now.

raja: what about you, rocco. 
rocco: um, well i can't really go back home? i'll be in big trouble, like, we caused a lot of problems?
talmage: but ... trouble from who.
radious: i'm ... going to go out and get the morning newspaper. see if anything has happened. i have a bit of a routine.
talmage: oh, i was gonna ask, like, how you get your intel, but i guess the newspaper might do it.
radious: i do have a day ... job. i have to keep cover.
talmage: where do you work--?!

radious takes a loud sip of his coffee and stands. the two doors leading further into the bunker shut suddenly.

radious: no snooping. i'll be back in about half an hour. do the dishes while i'm gone.

bishop: i'm sorry about ... commanding either of you, or rocco, or whoever i might have
talmage: you said you didn't know when you did it to mr. graves-- do you think there were other times you did it to us?
bishop: it's possible.
rocco: can you undo it? if you told talmage not to-- i mean, i agree, talmage shouldn't do that anymore, but--
bishop: not that i know how. but there's got to be a way.
talmage: can you command me to not listen to your commands?
bishop: the thing about that is that you ... might try to listen to both commands? which could ... end poorly.
talmage: *groaning* cool, okay

rocco still wants to find hector, who is probably in the same place as kairos. so he may as well travel with us.

we discuss the dragon staff. rocco and bishop are concerned that if we don’t return the staff to the door, then the city will be vulnerable to an outside attack. raja and talmage are unconcerned.

bishop reveals that, upon awaking, he spoke with someone in kairos’s family. the vampire had pointed towards the city and said that was where kairos had gone. we are confused – is kairos also a vampire? no, just this one man. also, vampires are real.

while chatting, talmage snoops through radious’s bunker. he finds a chest with a lock on it. the key is still in the keyhole.

rocco: talmage ...
talmage: hm?
rocco: he told us not to, like ...
talmage: oh, it's fine cuz it's me!
rocco: are you sure?
talmage: yeah!
rocco: oh! i didn't realize you were that close!

talmage grabs the key and it immediately drips black ink all over his hand. it spells out “talmage, i know what you did”

talmage: ... it works
rocco: hey, that's kind of cool! his spells kind of work like yours!
talmage: i mean--
rocco: did he teach you all that you know?
talmage: the ink stuff? no, no, that was me. i think this is just a ... funny coincidence.
bishop: i think it's so when he gets back in 15 minutes, he'll see that you tried to open his chest after you told him not to.

talmage slowly hides his arm behind his back. he conveniently decides to start doing the dishes.

radious returns with the newspaper. at least we aren’t on the front page?

radious: i'm assuming from what you've described to me, because you won't tell me exactly what happened, that some vale officers caught you doing magic in a place that they shouldn't have been?
bishop: i don't know if ... "caught" is the right word for what happened.
radious: wonderful. would you like to tell me the right word?
bishop: "witnessed"? it's not like we were necessarily trying to hide the magic thing.
radious: you should value your life more.
bishop: we were testing magic objects--
radious: you were testing magic objects?

we explain rocco’s internship position to radious. he assures us that our faces are nowhere in the newspaper; it just says to be on the look-out for suspicious characters. on the second page, the main article is about a building burning down – mr. graves’ apartment complex. rocco starts panicking.

radious: it happened sometime in the night.
bishop: well that could have just been him--
talmage: rocco, he probably did that himself. that sounds extremely extra and like something he would do.

radious does not seemed worried. issac graves has done something like this in the past – he probably burned his own apartment down and is hiding somewhere.

as we’re chatting, the symbol etched in the table, as well as the surrounding torches, suddenly light up bright blue. radious stands, worried.

bishop: oh-- i think our friend's here.

a few moments later, a door opens, and luci peers in.

luci: i don't ... like this place

radious is confused.

bishop: did you follow the cat because we asked you to follow the cat, or because you understood our picture?
luci: ... what?
bishop: did you follow the cat. because that's what the note asked you to do. or did you understand the picture.
luci: i followed the cat because the note told me to follow the fuckin' cat!
bishop: why did you think there was a picture.
luci: *sputtering* it was on the door!
luci: the fuck is this place?
talmage: *guiltily* yeah, it's sort of another one of those ... magic-- you know, remember that place that you hated?
talmage: it's another one of those, but this one's in-use!
radious: mr. calloway, would you like to sit down?

luci looks at him wide-eyed.

radious: i knew caelyn calloway very well - we worked together, went to school together.
luci: i don't-- don't, don't, don't, don't, don't call me-- call me that.
raja: no matter how much you say "don't call me that," i feel like maybe the torches lighting up are--
luci: it's just some fuckin' magic shit thing!

the torches flare brighter.

rocco: he likes to be called luci, sir! sorry. that's his name.
talmage: ... do you have any tips for him ..?
radious: as a generalization ... caelyn had to cast a certain amount of a magic a day ... to not ... have it all ... burst out when she didn't want it to. which is what i'm guessing you powering this bunker is doing.
luci: that's bullshit.
talmage: *sighs* so we need to walk him every day or else he's gonna blow shit up?
radious: besides that ... this could be a problem for you, talmage. being around him.

luci sits down and pouts.

luci: *mumbling* by the way ... i saw mr. graves ... he came by with his cats while leaving town yesterday ... they found me, as i was just, you know, sitting at a coffee shop ... 
luci: he had a carrier with one cat under each arm and a backpack and said not to worry about it, he'll find you later
raja: did he say that in a threatening sort of way?
luci: yes.
raja: yeah alright

rocco thanks luci. he was very worried about mr. graves.

luci: he didn't seem very happy ...
bishop: no ... we might have gotten him fired.
luci: yeah, i left you alone for like, a few hours, and then you found a secret new magic place and got the whole town on high alert?
bishop: opposite order.
raja: we were discussing ways of getting back to the circus.
luci: you're gonna-- *softer* you're gonna ... come back? i didn't know if you guys wanted to.
bishop: we did promise to help with the bird thing.
luci: oh, um, i didn't know you still-- like-- okay. sure.
talmage: we would have at least told you first that we were gonna fuck off? and then fucked off?
luci: hm. respectful.
luci: cool. so. where are we ..?
luci: cat ... brought me here ..?
bishop: the cat is a familiar of the book lady.
luci: oh ... she's super a witch. she got really mad when i came back, and i had to pay her a bunch of money for the shit i took.
bishop: you took things?!
luci: just like ... some ink ... a letter opener, i gave that back ...

they discuss their escape plan briefly.

radious: yes, i can get you out of the city. i do not know who the people were who saw your faces or know who you are besides issac graves, who i am grateful has left this city.

bishop describes the vale officer with red hair and two colored eyes who stabbed him. luci makes a pained noise.

talmage: he's the one who recognized me when i was aurabri ...
luci: you mean the one that was having coffee with him the other night?

everyone stares at luci. radious knows who this officer is – someone who went to school with both hector and gidley.

rocco: oh, we can go ask gidley!
luci: (muffled) no!
luci: ... his name's brayden.
luci: and he's an asshole.

we know that brayden watched us cast magic to test the magical items.

bishop: hypothetically, if somebody got him arrested briefly ... how mad would he be?
luci: *perks up* what happened?
bishop: you can ask questions after, but let me speak fully first: i'm part sphinx, so when i went to go--
luci: why
bishop: i had one request

bishop summarizes what happened while everyone was stealing the staff at cicero.

luci: did you at least deck him? anything? make him cry?
bishop: no
radious: so you told brayden lucille to stand aside for you and to put his weapon down?
bishop: yes

radious puts his head in his hands. luci explains that brayden is his half-brother. he has three total half-siblings: ayden, brayden, and dayden.

talmage: are you like ... cool with them?
luci: *stuttering*
talmage: like, i'm getting the vibe that you don't want to see them ...
luci: after my mom ... died, i wasn't really welcome into their family? ayden was nice, i see him sometimes, he'll come and watch a show, but i haven't--
luci: (slowly) um. they're ... vale officers? and sometimes i do magic accidentally?
talmage: right, okay, that makes sense
talmage: and they don't know about that?
luci: oh, i don't think so ... i-- no ... i mean ... no!

luci explains that him being apart of this will not help us, even if he does have family in the vale.

talmage: well, if you wanted to avoid him at all costs, where would you go?
luci: i don't know ... um ... probably into gidley's tent in the circus? he's scared of them.
talmage: their tent, specifically?
luci: no, brayden's just kind of scared of them. *laughs*
rocco: he doesn't like clowns?!
luci: no

radious sits next to luci.

radious: luci ... so we have a situation where you are a calledaway ... calloway ... and a member of the lucille family.
luci: yeah? what of it?
radious: okay. that sucks for you, i'm sorry.
talmage: what you were saying before, about how you knew caelyn, and she had to use her magic repeatedly ..? or else it would overload her ..?
radious: mhm?
talmage: so you think that's probably what's happening to luci, right?
radious: oh, absolutely.

talmage looks at luci for a reaction. luci looks away.

talmage: so it's probably in his best interest to--
radious: find a teacher. go to school.
talmage: or at the bare minimum ... just sometimes do magic ... sometimes ..?

bishop reminds us that the crows are at the circus, preventing him from doing that.

talmage: oh! i know how they're doing it! the birds?

talmage digs through his bag, finding the two bird stones, and hands one to radious. radious casts [identify] on it.

radious: so they're getting old magic students, like aurabri and others, to use these?

talmage explains there are 6 summoners in the area.

radious: do you think they're doing it willingly?
talmage: i don't ... i don't know, i've only-- i only know of aurabri, and-- i don't-- i don't know.
bishop: they seemed very willing to give up the stone to somebody they might have trusted with it, even after talmage--
bishop: after they were stabbed.
bishop: twice.
luci: i stabbed them really good.
radious: i'm glad somebody did

talmage tells luci about how he was disguised as aurabri when he encountered brayden.

bishop: do you think aurabri's in a lot of trouble? because you didn't respond in the best way when he gave you your direct order.
talmage: yeah, he kind of told me to do something, and then i super didn't, and then i left.
luci: but you guys are still gonna, you know, help with the bird thing ..?
everyone: yeah!
luci: i wish we could just like, catch brayden and beat the shit out of him until he tells us what's going on
talmage: ... would that work?
luci: no he's really strong ...
talmage: okay! so! we've got clowns. what are his other weaknesses.
luci: um. he really doesn't like it when you mix his brights and whites in his laundry. because i had to do his laundry for a really long time.
luci: he also gets weird around gidley.
[shad]: okay, so we're supposed to be clowns and then do his laundry?
[emily]: dude, i'm just saying, two of us got disguise self, we could become clowns instantly
[shad]: you can do that with makeup, you don't need disguise self!!
[charlie]: is it really the outfit that makes you a clown, or the attitude?
[emily]: what's a clown attitude?

bishop asks if the circus would be okay traveling south – probably. we’ll ask when we get there. radious reiterates that he can help us escape the city.

radious: talmage ... do you want me to send word for a recruiter?
talmage: i mean-- so, if they don't think we're good enough, they won't say anything?
radious: they'll tell me.
talmage: ... yeah, you can send 'em! 
radious: they're gonna be who you least expect, just so you know.

he stands, declaring he will get everything ready to leave tonight, just after sunset.

talmage: how will we be getting there ..?
radious: ... magic?
talmage: right, like ...
radious: ... i know some teleportation magic.
talmage: ooh, okay!
talmage: i was wondering if you were just gonna put some like, blankets on us and shuffle us out ... 
radious: no, i'm going to do it much more efficiently, by teleporting you outside the city wall.
radious: if there's anything you want to do in the city, do it now.
radious: and, luci ... keep an eye on them.

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