one in a million

rocco goes super saiyan, bishop remembers a friend, talmage receives an order

luci: i have a question first.
luci: am i a sphinx?
bishop: no, you're twinky
luci: i think it's a valid ques-- whAT
luci: WHAT DID YOU CALL ME


we are at the western edge of highkeep; a large stone wall circles the outside of the city. built into this keep is a large living area for vale operatives as well as the school, arkadia university.

the western entrance has two doors: one leading to the outer wall (waterfall) and one that leads to the inner wall (city). we are 40 feet from the edge of the waterfall.

mr. graves stands before us. he’s feeding birds, wearing a beautiful three-piece suit despite the hot weather. he hands rocco a key that will get us in and out of this door. we will be compensated for whatever we bring back to him.

graves: i will see you in the morning.
rocco: yes, sir!
talmage: should we meet you ... here?
bishop: i'm sure he'll find us.
graves: if you find another way out, i would be very ... excited to hear about it.

mr. graves leaves.

rocco: luci
rocco: do you wanna know something fun?
rocco: his cane is a knife
luci: okay. i'll keep that in mind
rocco: well, i just know you really like knives!
luci: i ... guess
talmage: have you seen him use it before?
luci: ... has he killed someone in front of you
rocco: it's-- he goes so fast, you know? that it's hard to see him pull it out
[emily]: dude he did NOT FUCKING ANSWER THAT QUESTION

rocco unlocks the door before hanging the key back around his neck. bishop wonders why mr. graves even has this key, before helping push the heavy door open.

the hall is about 40 feet wide. there are grates in the ground that let air out. it’s very damp and humid here, moss is growing on the walls. you can see rushing water through the grates.

to our right we can see where the nets beneath the waterfall are set up. lanterns are lit along the wall. to our left, towards the city, there are big, barred gates that have been drawn down, four levels of them, to protect the city from potential attackers.

no one is here, but we can hear chatter: guards or vale officers, we aren’t sure. bishop takes a moment to unharness his wings in case someone falls off the waterfall.

we go down the stairs and turn left, running into a big, grated door. to the left and right of it there are large wheels creating a drawbridge situation. bells are attached to presumably alert anyone of the door being opened. we don’t want to alert the guards because we aren’t sure how illegal what we’re doing is …

rocco: does anyone wanna just go and talk to them?
bishop: um, no
talmage: not really
raja: do you?
rocco: well, i mean, i could
raja: what would you say?
talmage: "hi can we please explore your spooky sewer systems, we're looking for a stick"

we decide to try and lift the gate regardless, just being very quiet about it. luci muffles the bell with fabric.

bishop tries to lift the gate but isn’t strong enough. he tries again with luci, rocco, and raja helping. they still can’t lift it.

talmage realizes he might be able to help – he takes out his ink brush.

[shad]: draw a smiley face on his cheek
[charlie]: draw a dick
talmage: okay, don't laugh.

talmage writes “you can do it” on luci’s arm. luci has a hard time reading it because talmage wrote it facing away from him.

luci: ... thanks

luci’s arm starts to glow, and he looks uncomfortable. they’re all finally able to lift the gate.

talmage offers to set an alarm behind them to alert him if anyone else passes through the gate after them. they decide not to.

past the gate, we see the hall is just filled with many more gates.

bishop: luci, how sneaky are you?
luci: ... pretty sneaky
bishop: if you slipped back down the hall to investigate those voices, would you be seen.
luci: we just lifted the gate.
talmage: do you wanna lift the other gates?

they look around, curious if there’s another way to go than through these new gates. raja, still retaining some of her elven traits, can still sense hidden doors. there is a symbol of highkeep imprinted in the ground near the gate, and she brushes some dirt off of it with her tail.

rocco notices there’s a keyhole in the the ground and immediately sticks the key in it. it begins twisting, but the key is still around rocco’s neck. he manages to duck his neck out as it spins, sinking into the ground, revealing a staircase going down. rocco pockets the key again. it appears that going down the stairs will take us down to under where the water is.

we close the large gate that we just spent so much time trying to open.

raja: luci, can you help us again?
luci: sure. you gonna write something on someone's face?
talmage: did it help?
luci:

talmage paints “you can do it :)” on rocco’s forehead. they all are able to lower the gate.


[ashley]: we're gonna take a break
[dee]: we solved ... almost one puzzle
[emily]: we walked like ten feet

when we step down, the wind picks up. four decaying spectrals float through the wall, wearing long back, gold-accented robes. they all have collars that chain them to the wall.

spectral: [calendoran] {this is not for you, you should not be here}
bishop: {who is it for, then?}
talmage: is he possessed
rocco: he speaks ghost?!
spectral: {we are the keepers; we keep those out who are not welcome}
spectral: {prove that you are welcome here}

raja recognizes the sun symbol on the spectrals having previously seen it in alodia’s temple in stained glass imagery, as well as on the sun spell book for the bookstore.

she takes out her golden coin, casts [light] on it, and steps forward. the creatures look at raja, bow to her, and then back up.

talmage: what the fuck
raja: i told you that i am a servant of alodia.
talmage: could you understand them?!
raja: ... no.

there are three ways we can go in this room. we take a staircase down.


in this new room, there is a mural along the wall. it features calendora, highkeep, and two dragons encircling one another in the shape of a figure-eight. one is black and gold, the other white and gold. on the left of the room is a cave-in, and on the right are eight panels on the floor, covered in glowing runes.

raja and rocco examine the mural. suddenly, a shadow takes up the space, engulfing the area. raja passes her fear save, but three others emerge from the wall.

[roll for initiative!]

bishop swings at a shadow with his glowing sword, but misses. rocco punches one, and it screams and completely disappears.

raja and bishop take damage from shadows. one of the shadows totally envelopes rocco.

shadow: {you are trespassing where you don't belong}
rocco: IT'S WHISPERING GHOST THINGS IN MY EARS I'M SCARED

rocco is downed immediately, the life being sucked out of him. talmage enters the room and attempts to throw a dagger at one of them but misses.

talmage: COIN, USE YOUR COIN

raja brandishes her glowing coin.

raja: i am a servant of alodia, we are not trespassers here!

the shadows ignore her. luci throws a dagger, but also misses. bishop rushes to rocco. he reaches through the shadow, touching rocco on his chest, hurriedly using [lay on hands].

rocco rolls a d100. he rolls a 100. everyone loses their shit. everyone has to leave the table so the dm, ashley, can have a one-on-one with rocco.

rocco has a vision.

[spoilers?]

he wakes up screaming.

bishop: are you okay?!
rocco: ahh!! where am i?!

both his fists are glowing bright gold. he immediately starts wailing on the shadows around him, totally destroying all of them with blinding, holy energy. he’s making panicked, screaming noises.

rocco collapses.

talmage: woah woah woah
raja: what did you do-- to him?! what was that??
bishop: i have done the same thing that i've done to talmage--
luci: bullshit

rocco lays down on his side, curled up.

bishop: are you okay?? are you-- do you need--
raja: was that the first time you've healed ... him?
bishop: i don't think i've healed rocco before? are you okay?? are you okay. do you want me to carry you right now, are you tired?
rocco: you know when you have lots of cookies and then you fall asleep really fast?
luci: yeah. me too
rocco: i feel like that

raja realizes this is similar to what it was like when she was given her power for the first time. she asks if rocco saw anything or talked to anyone.

rocco explains that he saw a dark-skinned elf with red hair pulling a knife out of him, and then felt as though he were falling before he woke up. the elf had been wearing the 7-pointed sun symbol: the symbol alodia also uses.

bishop reveals that could have been kairos, the person that he’s looking for. raja asks if they are a god, but bishop doesn’t think so?

talmage: well they clearly helped the situation
raja: did they?
rocco: i don't know, i couldn't tell what was going on, i just felt like i was falling afterward ...
raja: it powered-up rocco, but he seems pretty shaken-up by it.
talmage: did you feel in control of yourself? did you feel unnecessarily angry?
rocco: i felt ... powerful. i feel ... good? but that just kind of freaked me out. i feel stronger, somehow.

raja approaches the mural; the sun symbol is now fractured. she attempts to touch it, and the dragon begins to glow. bishop tries touching it, and the star lights up.

bishop is mad that apparently he isn’t wanted here despite being associated with the imagery. raja implies bishop should carry around a symbol.

raja: i have a symbol of my god, what would you even be symbolizing?
[emily]: damn
raja: do you swear allegiance to a god?
bishop: i am a paladin, yes.
raja: of?
talmage: do you have their symbol? what god?

bishop ignores the questions. rocco asks why kairos would be stabbing someone. bishop isn’t sure.

talmage: so do you or do you not have a symbol of the entity that you worship because if you do i feel like this is a good place to have it handy
bishop: not ... specifically.
raja: are you able to draw a symbol.

bishop draws the symbol.

rocco: oh! this might not be important, but i was wearing gold pants!!! shorts? like his!

after a brief explanation, we find out rocco had experienced one of bishop’s memories. kairos had been stabbing him in the chest, which seems to match up with the scar that bishop currently has.

talmage: did you heal ... part of yourself into him? what?
rocco: it's like-- have you ever had an out-of-body experience?
bishop: but you were in--
rocco: but i was in somebody else's body?

raja asks if bishop has amnesia – he says things are fuzzy. rocco talks about how bad the experience was; it felt like he was dying.

rocco: so i ... i died in your body. like, you died once, according to this ... memory i have ... of you
bishop:
luci: is that news to you?
bishop: not-- no.
luci: it's not news?!
raja: it's not news that you died before?!
bishop: well i didn't bring it up because you guys don't know about magic
rocco: thank you for saving my life ...
rocco: um, are you sure you don't remember anything about this kairos guy?
bishop: i mean, i remember things about him.
rocco: you don't remember the part where he stabbed you?
talmage: why would he-- would he have a reason to have stabbed you? would he stab you again? why are you looking for him?!
rocco: is he mean? is he not your friend? i assumed he was a friend ...
luci: he said he was a friend.
luci: *under his breath* friends stab each other ...

bishop dances around everything, and we get extremely confused.

bishop: it's ... complicated. the calendora situation is .. also complicated.
raja: alright?
talmage: is that why you left?
bishop: not ... specifically, but.
talmage: ... okay???
bishop: okay, quick rundown, i guess?
talmage: please.
bishop: calendora, big empire, run by evil sphinxes. 
raja: oh.
talmage: oh? okay.
bishop: bad things. tried to take over everything. evil. bad. they ruled for a long time, then, uhhh. city got caught in a time loop for 4,000 years.
luci: how many?
bishop: 4,000.
luci: are you sure it wasn't like, 3,998? 4,000? seems fake.
luci: how old are you?
raja: i'm just going to accept what you're saying as a legend of some kind.
bishop: this is why i didn't bring it up

raja insists we don’t have to believe the story, but bishop should tell us anyway. there was a time loop for 4,000 years, some people broke the time loop, gods intervened to say sphinxes are bad – we should fix this situation, bishop added – and then bishop left to find kairos.

rocco: are you an evil sphinx?
bishop: no! do i look like a sphinx to you?!
raja: they're ... some sort of cat.

raja asks who bishop and kairos are to each other.

bishop: it's a ... complicated and slightly ... fuzzy situation.
luci: fuzzy like a ... sphinx?
bishop: THEY DON'T HAVE LITERAL FUR.
luci: i don't fucking know!
raja: they don't?!
bishop: they're people that are lions that can tell you what to do, and then you have to do it.
raja: how are they lions if they're not furry.
bishop: how are you a dragon?
raja: i was cursed to look like this.

talmage asks if bishop can do what he did to rocco again.

bishop: i cast the same thing that i cast on you when you cut your arm yesterday.
talmage: did you do it any differently
bishop: uh, i did it quicker?
raja: he cast it on someone that was unconscious?
talmage: okay--
raja: i don't think that's something we want to experiment--
bishop: we are not knocking anyone out, currently, for me to heal them.
talmage: no, that's not what i was suggesting, i'm just saying that-- y'know--
luci: that's not what he was suggesting, huh
talmage: that's not what-- if it came-- look--
raja: no one is knocking anybody out, i have a feeling we're going to get another opportunity.

talmage asks why he thinks kairos would have stabbed him.

rocco: did you hurt his feelings?
talmage: did you ~betray~ him?
bishop: no, if--
raja: did he betray you?
bishop: yes, apparently
talmage: why do you want to find him? if he's--
bishop: to figure this out. because i don't remember everything, and if he's running then he has to know something.
talmage: so you just wanna know what happened, that you don't remember, and you think that he's the key.

bishop knows that they were friends before the time loop. apparently they were somewhat important in the city.

bishop: there was a time loop so i don't know where--
luci: is there a time god in this time loop?
bishop: well the time god didn't cause the time loop, he ended the time loop.
everyone:

we’re confused on why kairos might be bad if he’s wandering around healing people.

luci: were you a bad guy?
bishop: no.
rocco: maybe bishop was the bad guy, and he was stabbing the bad guy.
bishop: i'm not a bad guy.
talmage: so when we find him ... 
bishop: well, we're not going to stab him.
talmage: you sure?
luci: i thought that's what friends do.

talmage is worried kairos might try to hurt us. bishop doesn’t want to think so, but we can’t rule out that possibility.

talmage goes to inspect the floor with the runes on it. he remembers seeing some of them in the calendoran book he was transcribing with bishop. one of them might mean “sun”? he calls bishop over and asks if he knows what they mean. he can read the entire phrase.

we hold up the sun, and we hold up the world
we are a line in the sand, for they can go farther once more

bishop doesn’t know its significance, but he mentions that he’s reading it upside-down. it seems to be some sort of ward, preventing someone from entering from the other side. we decide to carefully test the runes before barreling forward.

bishop quickly touches his hand to one of the platforms but removes it before anything happens. the rune turns red.

raja touches her coin to one of the platforms, and the rune turns brighter gold.

they ask luci to try.

luci: i have a question first.
luci: am i a sphinx?
bishop: no, you're twinky
luci: i think it's a valid ques-- whAT
luci: WHAT DID YOU CALL ME
bishop: sphinxes are large, and are cat-like, and have wings, and tails.
rocco: so they look like you, but with a tail?
bishop: n-no.
rocco: you have wings
bishop: i do, i'm an aasimar--
rocco: and you're large
bishop: i am--
rocco: and you're kinda gold
raja: and you have wings
rocco: you do remind me of a lion
bishop: i don't
talmage: luci, it doesn't matter if you're a twink, come touch this stone

luci looks angry and throws a knife at the platform. after a bit of arguing, he touches it with his hand. nothing happens.

raja: it's facing the other side, trying to keep people outside from coming in.
raja: you're from outside, from calendora. maybe that's what it's reacting to?

talmage touches the rune – nothing happens.

raja walks across the entire platform – it glows white, and a mist parts for her. she is able to return just as easily.

rocco: what if you came back and held hands with bishop and showed it that you're friends!

raja feels her heart skip, and she hears the voice of alodia in her head.

alodia: be careful
raja: be ... careful? can my friend pass?
alodia: be careful of your friend. be careful of him.

she safely guides bishop across the platforms. once across, bishop lets go of raja’s hand and touches the platform from the other side to test it. he immediately goes unconscious. bishop rolls a d100. he rolls a 100. everyone loses their shit. everyone has to leave the table so ashley can have a one-on-one with bishop.

bishop has a vision.

[spoilers?]

bishop wakes up, crying. rocco runs over to him, hugging him and also crying.

raja: what just happened?! what did you do??
raja: why did you do that??? you saw what it did the first time you put your hand down!!
bishop: i-- thought that-- i just wanted to see if it-- it wasn't the--
raja: if it did that again??
raja: did you see ... something?

bishop nods.

talmage: was it your friend again?
bishop: yes.
talmage: was he stabbing you?
bishop: yes.
luci: same time or different time?
bishop: ... i think i was the bad guy.

rocco is confused – bishop is good! raja tells everyone alodia warned her about bishop.

raja: how do you know that you are the bad guy?
bishop: it's sort of explicit: i hurt people. that's why he stabbed me.
talmage: did you hurt people in the memory you got back?
bishop: no, i was dying.
talmage: right, but, do you remember hurting people?
raja: how do you know that you hurt people if you don't remember it?
bishop: he stabbed me so that he could stop me from hurting more people.
talmage: is that what he said?
bishop: yes.

luci asks if bishop believes kairos. he does.

talmage: maybe he meant hurting people emotionally, like maybe you were just a really bad friend
luci: yeah, stabbed people
luci: ... no, that's a good friend, sorry
[ashley]: luci's still mad you called him a twink
raja: ... well. if we run across a sphinx, or you seem likely to stab any of us, we'll react accordingly.
raja: but, for the moment ... you haven't seemed inclined to do either of those things.
bishop: i don't intend to.
talmage: let us know if that changes!
bishop: i will.
talmage: let us know if you have any more ... brain blasts or whatever the fuck these are
luci: do you think he's going to start knocking himself out to get more of them?

luci looks at talmage.

rocco: i really don't like encouraging this behavior of us getting knocked out, and talmage like, cutting himself and stuff, it's kind of weird ... it's really not healthy
talmage: okay, i won't do it around you anymore, sorry--
bishop: don't do it at ALL, talmage.
talmage: that-- i-- we're not talking about me right now!

bishop rolls a d100. he rolls a 100. everyone loses their shit. talmage has to roll a wisdom check – natural 1.

talmage looks upset, angry, and confused. something weird is going on, but the rumbling in the room has stopped.

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