charmed the pants off him

mr. graves gets a letter, bishop steals pants, talmage lights up

luci: is he like your ... babysitter?
luci: he sounds like ... a nanny? is he your nanny?
rocco: that's not--
luci: butler? but like, in charge of you
rocco: he's like a nanny, but he's really good at, like, kung-fu fighting and stuff
luci: ... a ninja nanny
talmage: ... a bodyguard?
rocco: he's a bodyguard! he's my bodyguard.
rocco: ... that makes me sound like a little bit of a baby and a loser


the night in the polaris school is uneventful. they explore the rest of the school, finding more vale armor littered throughout other destroyed rooms.

after another day of exploring, the group discusses what their next steps are. bishop mentions that rocco wanted to meet with mr. graves. rocco has to check in with him. we’re skeptical about mr. graves’ possible associates, but rocco doesn’t really know who works for who … just that mr. graves works for his dad!

raja: we are breaking all of the laws
bishop: well i would hope not-- all of the laws
rocco: right now???
rocco: raja, are we breaking the law right now?????

talmage asks what a normal check-in with mr. graves is like. rocco usually tells mr. graves about his homework, his internship, his breakfast, etc.

raja: those are ... odd questions to ask someone about an internship, don't you think?
rocco: well he ALSO asks me how i feel, which is really nice
bishop: is he also your ... doctor?

rocco explains that mr. graves is more of a personal assistant for his dad.

talmage mentions that he saw mr. graves working very closely with a vale guard the other day. he also asks if mr. graves would hurt rocco for any reason. rocco is very put off by this question, insisting mr. graves treats him VERY nicely.

bishop: will he turn any of us in?
raja: i do not intend to meet him.
rocco: i don't know about that - i don't think that's his job
rocco: have you done any crimes recently?
raja: all of us have done crimes recently.
talmage: rocco, you did a crime

rocco insists mr. graves doesn’t go around putting people in prison – his job is just to look after rocco.

rocco: you don't have to meet him, i guess - i could meet him and just talk to him--
bishop: i feel worried about sending you on your own--
talmage: well--
bishop & luci: *stares at talmage*

rocco keeps asking invasive questions about everyone’s parents.

talmage: if you were to check in with him, and then leave again - would that be weird? would he expect you to go somewhere else?
rocco: well, he'd probably start asking questions - he might tell my dad. i might tell him to NOT do that
talmage: would he ... do that? does he keep secrets from your father?

rocco explains if something happens related to his internship, then he has to tell his dad.

luci: is he like your ... babysitter?
luci: he sounds like ... a nanny? is he your nanny?
rocco: that's not--
luci: butler? but like, in charge of you
rocco: he's like a nanny but he's really good at, like, kung-fu fighting and stuff
luci: ... a ninja nanny
talmage: ... a bodyguard?
rocco: he's a bodyguard! he's my bodyguard.
rocco: ... that makes me sound like a little bit of a baby and a loser

talmage asks if rocco’s dad is also a tiefling – he’s not.

rocco: also my brother ran away a while ago and he wants to make sure i don't do that
luci: that's what you're doing right now
luci: you ran away to join the circus and then he followed you there
rocco: ohhhh ... yeah, you right

rocco explains that he has two dads.

[charlie]: i don't care about the mom part and how birthing works
[charlie]: he has two gay dads
[charlie]: if you guys care about the science i'll make up a mom or an egg that he came from
[shad]: WHY WOULD HE COME FROM AN EGG
[charlie]: i-- what?! EVERYONE COMES FROM EGGS, SHAD

we spend like five minutes trying to figure out how to send a message to mr. graves without magic before realizing we can just send a letter like normal fucking people.

we decide to contact mr. graves and ask him to meet rocco at their favorite fish & chips restaurant. talmage asks rocco if he had ever stolen a magic item from his internship.

rocco: ..... maybe
rocco: *gasps* you CAN'T tell mr. graves--
talmage: --i won't--
rocco: --you CAN'T, or my DAD--

rocco has taken bits and pieces of broken magical items before. talmage is curious if rocco were to have a magical item on his person, would the vale know? rocco doesn’t know. talmage mentions he has the ability to craft a magical item that would allow them to communicate with each other over long distances. they deem that too unsafe.

rocco: so why were you asking if i stole things from the lab?
talmage: because you have experience with it and maybe you've been caught with an item or two in the past and maybe just got off with a slap on the wrist ...

bishop warns we should not try to test our limits. rocco insists that mr. graves would be nice if rocco ever did something wrong.

rocco: when you asked if he can keep secrets, that's what i mean - sometimes he'll like, not tell my dad everything--
talmage: so he cares about you
rocco: yeah! yeah, of course he does

we all agree to accompany rocco to his meeting, but plan to not sit with rocco. we don’t fully trust mr. graves.

rocco: luci could come with!
luci: 
talmage: yeah! :)
talmage: he does look kind of ... average.

rocco is curious what he should ask mr. graves about. bishop suggests to ask why he was talking to the vale guard.

talmage: how do you think he would respond if you knew about the stone that he gave the guard?
rocco: well he wouldn't be able to get me in trouble if i found that he has a magical thing--
talmage: you could hold that over him
rocco: yeah!
bishop: i don't recommend blackmailing this man
talmage: i'm just saying it's an option
raja: it's always good to know these things
[emily]: "blackmail's always a safe route!"
[dee]: it's always good to have blackmail on the table!

we tell rocco to get as much information about us from mr. graves as he can without implying that he knows us personally.

rocco: "friends"! i made friends, but don't tell him what you look like or who your name is or where you come from--
raja: i feel as though you are perhaps the type to frequently make friends, so that seems like--
rocco: [silence indicating that is absolutely not the case]
[emily]: well there goes that mood
rocco: mr. graves said that one of my last homework assignments was to make friends!

before leaving, talmage roots around the dorms for an old wizard cloak. he finds a heavy knee-length black cloak with the name “lisa” in it.

[charlie]: ohhhhh then you're gonna be wearing their clothes ... ya weirdo
[emily]: YEAH THAT'S THE THING ... but also it's like, i'm wearing a magic user's clothing to ... hide that i'm a tiefling
[charlie]: just drown yourself in guilt

once ready to go, we decide to try going out the back way where there is a giant hole blasted into the wall.


we head down the winding pathways, luci opening a door to a big, sheer drop-off into a rocky, now overgrown, hollowed out crater. it’s hot and the sun is out.

we discuss which way is the best to go and assume the back route is safest in order to not be discovered. rocco is the first to climb down into the crater, but the air shimmers and shifts when he passes through it. bishop can tell this is a broken illusion. when rocco passes through and looks back, it just shows a wall. talmage recognizes this spell from his own school. they all pass through and start looking around the crater.

rocco realizes the front might be a better way to leave, since the crater seems more dangerous than we had thought. they all decide to head back up to the main entrance. raja climbs up, but just … keeps climbing. she thought the door was there, but …

she slides back down. she can’t find the door.

luci climbs up and is able to immediately find the door again. he falls in and disappears. raja climbs back up, trying to find where he fell through. luci’s hand appears out of nowhere and helps pull her through.

raja sticks her head out the door – we can just see it floating in the air.

luci: should we push them all out
[shad & emily]: you bitch
luci: it'll be really easy they can't even see it
[emily]: i hate you
raja: ... which one

bishop climbs up the hill, reaching out for luci – but luci retracts his hand last-minute and says “psyche” – raja and talmage laugh. finally bishop is pulled through. talmage seems iffy about going up next.

rocco: do you want me to go first, talmage?
talmage: actually, yeah, i do! you can go
rocco: i'll hold my hand out for you!
talmage: yeah! thank you
rocco: you'll know know which one it is because it's blue!
talmage: i would - that's true! you're a smart one, go on ahead :)

rocco is able to climb up just fine, being pulled in by luci. he notices the crack in the illusion getting wider and sticks his hand out to pull talmage in. talmage grabs rocco’s hand, but as rocco tries to pull him in, talmage is stopped at the illusion. talmage rolls a perception check to figure out what’s going on, but fails with a 19.

talmage: *noise of distress*
rocco: i can't pull him in ...
raja: uhhhh
luci: should i help him?
rocco: i can't pull him in for some reason - am i just not pulling hard enough? luci, help me, maybe i'm just not strong enough--

luci reaches out one hand. talmage removes a hand from rocco’s and grabs luci’s instead, who is able to yank talmage in – but only on his side, so talmage’s head thunks against rocco’s side. the whole thing looks very stupid, but eventually luci is able to drag him through. unfortunately, talmage takes magical damage from the wall.

talmage: OW
bishop: luci, what are you doing--
luci: i didn't DO that what the HELL
rocco: should i--
luci: let GO rocco
talmage: I HATE THIS PLACE

rocco lets go of talmage. luci immediately hands talmage his coin purse back.

luci: sorry, it was a joke-- but yeah, you got hurt somehow
talmage: WHY DO YOU HAVE THIS
rocco: you have a really big problem with stealing ...
luci: i gave it back. that's not stealing

we notice the illusion crack open even further. bishop drills luci on what magic he knows. talmage feels gross and achy from the contact with the illusion. they head to the front.


bishop goes to open the heavy front gate again, but notices talmage is looking pretty bad. he’s got a blackish hue to his arm, where rocco was holding. bishop approaches him first.

bishop: are you okay, talmage?
talmage: ... i mean, i wouldn't ... mind if you could do what you did before ...
bishop: yeah, it was dark-- i didn't realize you were as hurt as you were.

rocco starts screaming because he thinks he sees something in the sky. bishop sighs as he casts [cure wounds] on talmage, patting his shoulder and rubbing his back. it’s very warm and comforting, but also still feels weird and unnatural to talmage.

without breaking a sweat, bishop walks over to the door and picks up the beams keeping the gate closed. everyone is in awe – this is designed to be opened by four people at once. bishop climbs back over the fence.

[ashley]: it's a nice up-skirt shot
[charlie]: okay ashley
[charlie]: your hercules is showing

we debate traveling via road or through the forest – we decide the road should be fine, we’ll just act casual.

[ashley]: luci? i can't believe he was able to do a fun thing and roll a natural 20 twice - that's a lot, that's a very gutter vibe
[emily]: you passed the mashed potato test!

after traveling on the road for a while, we notice a carriage coming our way. talmage rolls a natural 1 and is INCREDIBLY paranoid – his stomach sinks and the thumping of horse hooves causes him to panic. everyone else is fine.

raja: they're just local merchants, stay calm, keep going
talmage: *freaking out*
raja: stay calm
talmage: i-- mean-- i-- we should hide, right--
raja: no. that would be very suspicious, they've already seen us
rocco: how do you know
luci: because we can see them, rocco

bishop and raja both put a hand on talmage, comforting and restricting all at once. the carriage continues approaching – talmage grows more and more anxious. the carriage slows and the man driving it cheerfully voices his concern – it’ll be nightfall soon, and we should find a safe place to stay. he tells about the inn ahead in the next town.

once he notices rocco, his friendly demeanor shifts. he firmly tells us to be on our way before doubling his pace away from us.

rocco: he was so friendly!
rocco: except for when he looked at me
talmage: rocco, aren't you used to that?
rocco: yeah ... i am, he was so nice to begin with, but then he looked at me--
talmage: right, but that's normal.
rocco: it was just disappointing, okay!

the group arrives at the inn. we consider if we should be disguising ourselves.

rocco: if i look at someone directly, it's not like i'm going to be able to hide--
talmage: look, the moment you're confident about your appearance is the moment they distrust you.
talmage: ... sometimes they like it better if you act like you know you don't belong

the group discusses who should do the talking – rocco suggests luci since he looks the most inconspicuous.

luci: i am a human male.
talmage: he's our mascot

bishop ends up being the one to check us in and secures a single room for the group.

talmage: you know, bishop could make some money other ways around here dressed like that
[shad]: i can't believe you're slut-shaming me right now
rocco: what do you mean

luci grabs a table in the main dining area. raja runs upstairs first to cast [disguise self] on herself and put her bag on one of the two beds in their room before coming back down.

[ashley]: in the middle? is that her bed now or is she sharing?
[emily]: oh you better be sharing
[charlie]: CAN YOU IMAGINE THE ALTERNATIVE OF LUCI, TALMAGE, AND ROCCO ALL ON ONE BED

we order drinks and food. talmage reaches out to touch raja’a face, curious about the magical disguise, and she snaps her teeth playfully.

20 minutes later and 2 drinks in, luci is drunk. raja keeps glancing at her reflection in the silverware. luci wants to order more drinks.

talmage: are you a loud drunk?
luci: what?
talmage: do you get loud when you--
luci: [louder] WHAT?
talmage:
rocco: maybe his ears don't work so well
bishop: they ARE rather short
rocco: ... i didn't mean it like that, that was pretty rude ...

luci offers his “entertainment services” in order to help pay for the room, but talmage and rocco are iffy about attracting attention.

talmage: is that good idea?
rocco: but you can't just come back to the table if something bad goes wrong
raja: if something bad goes wrong we'll back you up
luci: if something bad goes wrong i'll stab my esophagus and bleed out
[charlie]: "SOMETHING BAD GOES WRONG" IS A REALLY STUPID SENTENCE

luci tries to bribe them with more drinks to let him swallow swords, insisting they’re no fun. bishop and raja encourage him to do whatever he wants.

raja: i can be a great deal of fun when not on the run.
[emily]: "i can be FUN."
[dee]: narrator voice: "she can't"
rocco: talmage, maybe he's just missing the circus! maybe he'll feel better if you let him do it
bishop: we're not stopping him from doing it!
luci: i'm right here

everyone keeps drinking. raja is fun to watch drink with her disguise active. bishop gives his to luci, much to everyone’s dismay. we realize we’re still looking for someone to send a message to mr. graves.

rocco: should we just ask the barkeep?
rocco: who wants ... to go ask?
luci: i can do it
everyone: NO

bishop approaches the barkeep, earning whistles and pseudo ass-slaps on his way. he’s directed to a merchant group who are headed to highkeep the next day.

rocco: talmage, you're right! they really DO like bishop
talmage: yeah they do

bishop asks one of the twinky humans if he can deliver a message. he agrees, and bishop goes to get the letter. rocco writes it:

hey, mr. graves!

um, can i meet you for my daily check-in at your favorite restaurant? the one with the fish that you really like! everything’s fine! just need to see you!

love you! rocco

on his way back, bishop buys some wine for the human as a thank you. the human starts flirting with him, but bishop is kind of awkward about it and then returns to the group.

raja: was he ok? you looked distressed.
bishop: oh, he was just flirting with me. i just needed him to deliver the letter, though.
rocco: bishop IS really good-looking, so i understand!
talmage: rocco, you keep talking about people as if they aren't right next to you, and it's KIND of charming? i'm not sure if you're aware that you do it.
bishop: i think talmage might have a problem with what you're saying.
rocco: i know that you can hear me! i'm not trying to keep anything from him -  he's good-looking!
talmage: ... okay
rocco: are you upset because i didn't say that you're good-looking, too?
talmage: no, i'm not! this is just something i've noticed that you do.
bishop: talmage, you are also attractive.
talmage: *laughs weakly* thanks!
bishop: if you're feeling left out.
talmage: i wasn't.
rocco: everyone has really nice faces!
talmage: have we reached this part of the night?
bishop: i think luci's the only one that's drunk.
luci: what?
bishop: i said, i think you're the only one that's drunk.
luci: i heard you.
bishop: then why did you say what?
talmage: we weren't TALKING to you luci, we were talking ABOUT you right NEXT to you
rocco: ... should i stop doing that?
talmage: *shrugs* no
rocco: why did you point it out, then?
talmage: i was just curious if you were aware. that you do it.
rocco: not really ...
talmage: okay well i guess now you are

raja excuses herself back to the room. talmage asks if bishop is going to buy pants. luci suggests he find someone in the inn and ask to buy their pants. everyone looks around the inn for someone whose pants he might fit into.

talmage: *searches for pants*
[ashley]: bishop is SO big you don't think ANYTHING could cover his dummy-thicc ass
[emily]: i am so upset by those words
bishop: I CAN'T WALK UP TO A MAN AND BE LIKE HELLO, MAY I BUY YOUR PANTS.
luci: YEAH YOU CAN
rocco: have you thought of asking him first?

they discuss ways to score these pants: a bet? a challenge who can wear them better? darts?

luci: ok soooo i'm really good at darts. and throwing knives.
talmage: are you also good at that when drunk?
luci: [drunk] i'm not drunk.
talmage:

luci suggests seducing the man and then stealing his pants.

luci: you have to go seduce him, right
rocco: what
luci: and then after that we can just steal his pants
luci: and then we have his pants
rocco: it sounds like you want to do that, luci
luci: no, gross

bishop approaches the man in the leather pants. he’s very drunk. bishop is extremely blunt about wanting to buy the man’s pants, if he has an extra pair. he agrees, very drunk, and says he has an extra pair up in his room. he leads bishop upstairs, unzipping his pants on the way up.

rocco: where are they going
rocco: talmage what's going on
talmage: I CAN SEE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

upstairs, the drunk man removes the pants he’s wearing and hands them to bishop. he’s not wearing underwear. bishop pays him for them and thanks him before leaving. he walks back downstairs holding a pair of pants.

[dee]: YOU DIDN'T EVEN PUT THEM ON
[dee]: AT LEAST WEAR THEM

luci and rocco previously insisted on following bishop and the man, rocco being worried about what might happen. talmage is left to tip the server and then runs after them begrudgingly. luci’s logic is to go outside and climb up the side of the building to spy. bishop exits the building, holding his pants. rocco is excited that he found pants. bishop says he wants to wash them first.

everyone retires to the room for the evening.


as everyone is getting ready for bed, talmage pages through the spellbook that he had taken from the school. he attempts to cast [mage hand] from it as if it were his personal spellbook. as he reaches out to feel the magic, a jolt of pain surges on the back of his neck. everyone else sees it start to glow, a V symbol shining through his clothing. the glow stops after a moment, feeling itchy on his skin.

rocco: what was that?
talmage: oh, i'm sorry, you guys can keep-- just ignore me, i'm just--
rocco: did you see that?
talmage: sorry was that-- me?

raja wakes up from the light. talmage slams the book shut. everyone is quiet for a moment.

raja: is something wrong?
talmage: i-- probably drank too much i tried to-- do some-- ah
rocco: your neck looks like, a, it was like, like ... the vale symbol
rocco: is that normal
talmage: right, sorry, yeah that, happens sometimes, it's fine
rocco: does that mean that they're gonna like come here right now?
talmage: n-no! no no no! i--
talmage: i don't think so-- um, i mean, this has happened before and that didn't-- it's-- i don't think-- no

talmage doesn’t seem sure what he’s saying is correct. raja tries to recall if a vale officer would have a vale brand for any reason, but she doesn’t know of this ever being the case. bishop tries to recall if the magic radiating off of the mark is familiar, but it’s not.

rocco: talmage--
raja: talmage--
talmage: it's fine, it's not-- it's not anything that you guys need to worry about--
raja: i think we should be worried about somebody in our room bearing the brand of the vale.
bishop: talmage. are you okay?

talmage is quiet for a moment. his body language is very defensive.

talmage: *laughs weakly* um. i don't know? yes? i guess? 
rocco: did it hurt? 
talmage: right now, kind of, yeah, but i mean it-- *sniffles* happened earlier today, too.
everyone: 
talmage: yeah it hurts, i don't know.
everyone: 
talmage: look, i-- it hasn't-- it's not-- i'm not dangerous to be with because of it, like, i'm not-- you guys don't have to worry about-- i'm not gonna-- it's not gonna do-- i'm not gonna do anything--
bishop: i didn't think you would, do you need me to heal you?

talmage is taken aback.

talmage: ... sure.
rocco: talmage ... did the vale do that to you ..?
talmage: ... that's kind of obvious.
rocco: right, but like, why?
[ashley]: but we spent 40 minutes trying to get bishop a pair of pants
[emily]: YEAH THIS TONE SHIFT IS WILD
rocco: why would they do that to you?
talmage: i don't know?
rocco: you don't know how it happened?
talmage: no, i know how it happened, i don't know why-- *laughs* i don't know why they did it to me--
rocco: is it because of like, with your school, you said that things have been happened there and they like, caught you?
talmage: *sighs*
rocco: i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm sorry, i'm asking too many questions!
rocco: you don't have to answer if you don't want to, as long as you're okay.
talmage: i'm fine, it happened ... a little while ago. it only hurts sometimes. and-- and i'm just trying to get rid of it.
rocco: does it only happen like, when you mess up on a spell? cuz like, you cast spells before and i didn't see anything!
talmage: it happens when i-- when i tried to do magic like this--

talmage points to the spellbook he’s holding.

talmage: but the door back at the mountain, and the wall that-- that too.

rocco suggests maybe the only reason talmage had issue passing through the illusion was because someone other than luci helped him in.

talmage: maybe- i don't-- it hurt. whatever happened there, it hurt.

bishop approaches talmage and uses [lay on hands] on him.

rocco: talmage, you can have the whole bed if you want!
talmage: oh, woah no, i--
luci: now hold on

bishop offers to help talmage get rid of his mark. raja points out the similarity of their situations. talmage reveals this happened to him within the past 6 months.

rocco: is that why you use, like, a paint brush sometimes?
talmage: kind of.
rocco: can you do magic? because you didn't glow in that fight when we fought the birds
talmage: yeah, that, it's-- it's sort of a way around it, i've found
rocco: you're really smart! why don't you just keep doing that then? is it harder?

talmage looks like he doesn’t want to be having this conversation

bishop: i think it's important for talmage to not be restrained by somebody else - even if he didn't want to do wizarding magic, having the option and the ability to do anything freely is important for anyone.
talmage: i don't want their mark on me.
raja: that i understand
talmage: and i can't see it, but i know it's there and--
luci: yeah, i saw it when you burned all your clothes off, but i didn't really--

talmage’s mark is on his back shoulder/neck. it’s always present but can usually be hidden with clothing.

[ashley]: yeah emily was like, "i didn't expect to have to confront this right now" and i was like, "emily you rolled in front of the bad vale guy!! naked!!!"
[emily]: it was like, episode 2 and it was like ALL OF MY CLOTHES ARE GONE and i was like "BUT THAT'S MY THING AAAAA"

rocco apologizes that this happened to talmage.

talmage: i got too many drinks and i got kinda confident and i thought that maybe i could ...

rocco insists him and everyone else will help him! talmage says they aren’t obligated to help him, but luci chimes in that he knows someone who can break curses. he implies he’s seen talmage’s brand before and that wyn has removed them before.

talmage: i didn't think ...
luci: you didn't ask.

everyone insists luci drink some water. he returns and sits down on raja’s bed.

luci: can i sleep on your bed? i don't want bishop to try to suck my dick like everyone else
bishop: alright there's TWO problems with this--
luci: i don't care

luci takes two pillows and puts them over his head.

bishop: I KNOW YOU CAN STILL HEAR ME

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