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The Wildemount Chronicles

Welcome to Wildemount! 6 adventurers pulled together by the Threads of Destiny seek out fortune, favour and chaos!

Episode One
"Open Stage Night"

We open in Exandria, in the year 842 PD (Post-Divergence) as six adventurers are pulled toward their destiny. Moving through the continent of Wildemount, we settle in Nicodranas, as the Lavish Chateau holds their Open Stage Night. Anyone is welcome to join, and show off their talents on stage. Four adventurers - Jimothy, Celosia, Erani with their cat Theyna, and Mercy - head for the Lavish Chateau. 

 

Leading this group is a svelte Kitsune (fox) that goes by Jimothy Brassfangs III., Esq. Jimothy’s fur contains a multitude of red shades, and he always carries a teacup he drinks tea from. He has a long, dark, deep purple cloak clasped together with two musical notes. Jimothy wears his air of confidence like an accessory, from his 5’2'' height. Celosia is slightly taller than Jimothy, as an Elf with the side of her head shaved and dyed beet-red hair. She’s a bit scantily clad, in a way that suggests she looks great and she knows it. Erani is one of those bringing up the rear, standing tall at 6'0'' with pale blue skin and vibrant electric turquoise hair. They’re wearing studded leather armor, and carrying an interesting sword that matches their color palette of varying shades of blue and silver. Walking beside Erani is a small Somali cat, their fur a mixture of gray, blue, and silver, and their posturing tense. The cat’s name is Theyna. 

 

Mercy is a construct comprised of a carved runic tree. These runes give structures to the face with magical flourish. These runes will glow during whatever activity Mercy is engaging in, but especially communication. Mercy’s hair is made of rainbow vines, which pulse with color (albeit, a bit faded now). Everything is scarred, weathered, and overflowing. Their body has moss, nests, mushrooms, and various creatures inhabiting them. There is a clay pot entangled in vines that they wear like a backpack. One side of Mercy’s face is particularly scorched, with paint baked into the wood after many years, it seems like. His eyes are hollow, but they move around like vacant eyes would. The nose is flat and nonexistent, and the mouth is a series of intricate runes that glow when speaking, and can form smiles and frowns as to aid in basic expression. He’s quite the colorful tree man. This group, like many others in Nicodranas, have seen the posters about town advertising the Open Stage Night at the Lavish Chateau. They are headed that way now. Jimothy’s interested in entering The Brassfangs for Stage Night, which until now has been a band of one, with Mercy being the biggest promoter of their performances.  

 

Meanwhile, inside the kitchen of the Lavish Chateau,. Pie is a generic elf with average ears, with red hair and a cutesy appearance. She’s 5’6”, wearing a turquoise dress with an apron over it, and she’s currently covered in ingredients as she was trying to experiment with her baking. Right next to Pie, is a 6’0” Half-Orc, wearing colorful clothes in shades of purple, yellow, and orange. On the side of her head that’s shaved are a number of scars, while the other side has jet black hair. On the same side as her scars is a prosthetic leg. They are tinkering with a project that will help Pie, while she frets over where she put her last baking implement. The two of them speak to each other in Marquesan like old friends can. 

 

Both are finishing preparations for the evening’s festivities. They are greeted by Tyral, their ever-fussy supervisor. Pie plays a prank on him as he leaves, just to get him to lighten up. Pie and Rynae are invited to watch the festivities proceed during open stage night. They find an open table, where Rynae’s eye is drawn toward Mercy. Neither are very subtle about their curiosity as to what exactly Mercy is, though Pie pushes Rynae in front of her as they make their way through the room and up to Mercy’s table. Through all this, Mercy introduces himself with one of his signature gestures; making flowers appear in his hand. Pie returns the gesture with a purple mushroom for Mercy’s collection. Here they learn Mercy does not eat, as Pie offers everyone at the table food. Still the creatures in Mercy’s sanctuary will eat well on this night.

 

Pie realizes that she recognizes Jimothy, having heard of The Brassfangs. Erani introduces themself, as well as Theyna. Celosia greets Rynae in Orcish. Tyral makes the rounds, offering anyone who wishes to perform to enter their name into his top hat. Rynae and Erani will join Jimothy in an act of musical collaboration. Still, Jimothy insists on being the frontman of this operation. Mercy wants to set up a merchandise table for Jimothy & The Brassfangs, where people can find merch and flowers. Rynae’s contribution will remain a surprise, in order to achieve maximum chaos. Pie hears in her mind that The Traveler approves. He has a drink waiting for him in the kitchen, specially made by Pie. Open Stage Night has officially begun! Nadine, the maid of Marion Lavorre, will assist. First to perform is Bluud, who reads a truly riveting poem he has written himself. 

 

Before long, Jimmy & The Brassfangs take the stage! Celosia gives Jimothy the illusion of having actual brass fangs. He whips out a trombone, for the opening number called, “The Pie in the Sky.” Mercy adds a pleasant scent of pie to this performance. Erani waits for the right moment to join in with some Bladesong acrobatics. Rynae’s final trick of pyrotechnics has the audience erupting into applause. Jimothy is encouraged to give an encore performance, though his attempt at stage-diving results in a superhero landing. During intermission, Jimothy signs an autograph. 

 

Once the show has resumed, it’s time for Marion Lavorre to sing. It is a mesmerizing sight for those that have never seen her perform before. While Jimothy is impressed, hoping to collaborate with Marion, Rynae points out that she’s something of a hot commodity around here. Three figures shove their way past Bluud, storming onto the stage in order to deliver a threatening ultimatum. Marion has until sundown tomorrow to hand over her “companion” or the Lavish Chateau will burn to the ground. Jimothy is able to recognize employees of the Jagentoth family, by the emblem on their attire. This group of adventurers, now including Pie and Rynae, confront these men on the rudeness of their appearance. How dare they threaten the Ruby of the Sea, and this fine establishment? 

 

The confrontation escalates, until these three men reveal themselves to be werewolves. The rest of the evening’s performance is canceled as a battle commences. In the end, it is quick. The other two head for the door, but one werewolf stays behind to take on this crew of adventurers. Mercy’s chilling words, as he ends this werewolf’s life? “Hello, friend. It seems that you were the one brought to ashes on open stage night. Welcome to the Lavish Chateau.” While Erani, Pie, Celosia, and Rynae leave to track down the other werewolves, Jimothy and Mercy stay behind to speak with Marion Lavorre. She believes they can help each other, and opens up a dialogue. 

Episode Two
"Saving The Ruby"

We return to Erani, Pie, Celosia, and Rynae chasing down the werewolves on their path toward the Mother’s Lighthouse. Pie and Celosia manage to corner the two of them. Now they’re surrounded. At the Lavish Chateau, Open Stage Night has been canceled but the house is still packed. Mercy, Jimothy, and Mercy’s beetle sit down for a cup of tea with Marion Lavorre. Mercy tells Marion a bit more about himself. All the while Mercy and Jimothy suspect Erani and Celosia, along with Pie and Rynae, are chasing down the werewolves. Mercy praises Bluud on his ingenious poem. He observes the chemistry happening between Marion and Jimothy. Together Mercy and Jimothy learn this isn’t the first time that such blatant overtures have been made by the Jagentoths. Marion recalls their mentioning of the Mother’s Lighthouse. Mercy asks if they might borrow a cart so he and Jimothy can travel out to the docks in order to join their friends. Jimothy will drive, while Mercy (with Jimothy’s trombone) shall play the cart’s horn.

 

Onlookers have gathered to watch the scuffle between these two werewolves and four adventurers. This group attempts to intimidate these mercenaries into revealing their agenda with Marion Lavorre. When they do not listen, they learn their lesson on why they should have. As a lycanthrope leaps to attack, he gets side-swiped by Jimothy and Mercy aboard the cart. It is rendered unconscious, and returns to its human form. Mercy protects the unconscious male’s decency with a fig leaf, through Druidcraft. The other lycanthrope surrenders. Together they are taken back to the Lavish Chateau by this group of adventurers. Pie recruits an unwitting new intern for the Lavish Chateau, in the conscious but bound mercenary/lycanthrope. Mercy places a Jimothy & The Brassfangs t-shirt on the unconscious man, and begins to doodle on his face. Pie brings the unconscious one back from the brink of death with her apple pie. 

 

Once returned to the Lavish Chateau, the party messes with the Lavish Chateau’s new intern by dragging him up on stage for his turn at amateur talent night. Mercy returns for his beetle in a teacup, leading Marion to suggest the name Giles for the creature. Now that everyone has returned, Mercy gets an opportunity to be a wingman to Jimothy when it comes to Marion. The Ruby of the Sea suggests their new captives spend some time with Bluud before they return to the Jagentoths. Marion is grateful for the help of these adventurers, revealing what she knows about the Jagentoths and their ultimatum. The person they’re after is someone Marion wishes to protect; one who values their privacy. When presented with the idea of evacuating the Chateau given the threat of arson, Marion feels as though she is safer staying there. 

 

Marion learns whether or not this group has an affinity for the art of disguise. As this mystery individual has blue skin, everyone looks to Erani. They take down further details of what this person looks like, when considering what to implement in a disguise. The group is divided about what the right path is when moving forward. Mercy would like to mitigate the risk to Erani as much as possible. The mercenaries working for the Jagentoths might try to kill Erani, if they come seeking retribution from the individual they want. Erani agrees to be the bait, as the group works together to create the ideal disguise, with direction from Marion. Mercy worries that once they’ve gotten what they came for, what if these people take Erani somewhere else? Pie has the idea that Erani should pretend to be dead, because they surely wouldn’t want to carry a corpse around. Their differing ideas clash, though Marion trusts in the abilities of this group. After a short rest, the party is ready to carry out their scheme. 

 

They leave from the Lavish Chateau at around 4 am. Erani will pretend to be dead, though they have ways of stopping anyone who checks to make sure their disguise is legitimate. Mercy questions their plan; if it fails, they could make enemies of the Jagentoths. Pie suggests they pose as a new organization in that instance, coming in for a hostile takeover of their operations. Building off of Pie’s suggestion, Mercy says they could bring the body in for their inspection, then take it away for a burial. The idea being to pretend that it was Marion’s only stipulation for the surrender of this person. 

 

Mercy carries Erani, who pretends to be a corpse, on their path to the lighthouse. Jimothy walks next to Mercy. The others are the second wave, in case things go awry. Celosia recognizes the leader of this band of individuals as Ionos Jagentoth. Pie pretends to have a delivery from The Lavish Chateau. Ionos and the band of mercenaries demand to know where their other men are. Jimothy claims they got lost. Pie claims they got drunk. Ionos is curious how this group managed to convince Marion to give up their mystery individual. Pie claims he’s been dead for days, in the basement of the Chateau. Mercy presents Erani for closer inspection when requested, and Ionos remarks that Mercy’s a unique sort of enforcer. Prestidigitation adds the smell of death and decay, and the pallor of a corpse.

 

Ionos wants to take the body onto their ship. This leads to an argument between the adventurers and the band of mercenaries that is resolved through combat. We see glimpses of Rynae’s Eldritch Cannon and Mercy’s Blood Curse of the Fallen Puppet. Ionos is briefly terrified of Mercy’s creepy smile. Jimothy unleashes a Stinking Cloud with his trombone. Abruptly, Ionos convulses as his chest glows a vibrant crimson red. Red energy erupts from Ionos’ chest, spiraling toward the sky before it launches back onto him with a flash of intense blaring light. Burned into the stone below his feet, is the silhouette of Ionos in his werewolf form. While Ionos himself has disappeared. Elsewhere, Ionos appears to have been captured. He’s taunted by his captor, an Elven man with long silver hair, who snaps Ionos’ neck with a wave of his hand. 

Episode Three
"The Next Step"

Erani, Pie, and Jimothy need to know what made Ionos Jagentoth disappear in a blaze of red energy. Pie goes cross-eyed while detecting an intense magical aura in the air. The scent of the arcane hangs in the air. Mercy observes there is now a pile of crimson ash where Ionos once stood. It matches the color of the moon Ruidus, which could indicate another lunar flare. Rynae the ash is Ruidium, a very rare and powerful mineral that comes from the moon. The last time Rynae used this ash, they exploded. Jimothy admires Rynae’s resilience, as he gathers more of the ash with Pie’s assistance. Rynae carefully stores the ashes inside a metal box. Celosia stands in the shadows and drinks. By now, the sun is rising in the distance, and Nicodranas is slowly coming to life. An elderly female living in the lighthouse is awoken by the disturbing sight of Pie picking the lock to her door. This is Lightkeeper Gladys, who gladly accepts Pie’s offer of free breakfast. Everyone else is free to enter as well. Jimothy prepares Chai tea to go with Pie’s scones and coffee. Jimothy abruptly shrinks in size after everyone has settled in for a cup of tea. Celosia vows to switch to alcohol. Gladys assumes Jimothy’s cup of tea will last longer now. While everyone except Mercy is in the lighthouse, they learn a bit more about Gladys and her life. She apparently was not disturbed by the mercenaries outside. Gladys might recognize Erani’s disguise, but it is likely she has forgotten their true name. 

 

Outside, Mercy has been painting the lighthouse exterior. This mural depicts the events of the previous evening. While inside for tea time, Pie invites Gladys to stop by and enjoy some pie with her and Rynae at the Lavish Chateau. Jimothy washes his tea cup before departing to check on Mercy. There’s no longer any evidence of last night’s battle outside. Mercy asks Jimothy to place the finishing touch on this painting. Together they dip their hands in paint to make a completed star. While Mercy pokes his head into the window of the lighthouse, Jimothy suggests they go and have a rest. Together, the adventurers depart from the lighthouse and make their way back to the Lavish Chateau. By the time they’re back in Nicodranas, the city is bustling. Once inside the Chateau, Tyral finds Pie and Rynae. The two of them missed serving breakfast, and he needs their help. Celosia, Erani, Jimothy, and Mercy reconvene with Bluud. Marion Lavorre descends the stairs in her morning dressing gown. Jimothy tries to avoid her eyes, while he’s not his normal size. Marion is relieved to see them back safe and sound. With some amusement, she notes Jimothy’s change in size. Their exchange grows somewhat steamy given their present company. When it comes to securing this group accommodations, Marion laments that they’re fully booked at the moment. Though, it is possible for this group to share one room. Jimothy cheekily asks, “Is it your room, ma’am?” Leading to Marion’s saucy reply of, “Oh, you’re funny. I’m going to have fun breaking you.” 

 

Bluud directs everyone to the Little Sapphire’s room, which is across from Marion Lavorre’s bedroom. This room is uniquely decorated, given the sheer amount of knickknacks and artist renderings of what appear to be penises. Rynae kicks back in the nearest chair for a nap. Everyone settles in for a long rest. Rynae stirs from sleep first, having made their way onto the floor. Suddenly they are staring at Nugget the Blink Dog. Mercy assists Pie in bringing brunch for everyone. Jimothy and Erani shared the room’s only bed. Celosia has been up and wandering around, trying to play fetch with Nugget. Before they decide on a plan for the day, they feast. Mercy offers Jimothy a Nicodrani Breakfast Tea mix. Meanwhile, Mercy takes a page out of the way Jimothy nurtures his teapot, murmuring encouraging words to the sproutling in his Pot of Awakening. Jimothy approves. Together, Mercy and Jimothy admit that they’re both intimidated by Pie, which makes Rynae giggle, and Pie ask the Traveler if they can somehow get rid of these two newcomers. It’s still early days, so the answer from Artagan is no. Pie instead talks about the Fish Market, and how it’s one of her favorite places to visit. Perhaps they could go there, where Rynae sometimes sets up their booth to sell things. As far as what else there is to do in Nicodranas, it really depends on everyone’s personal preferences. 

 

Jimothy remarks that it’s too soon for an encore performance by the Brassfangs. Pie cheekily suggests Jimothy perform alongside Marion, which leaves Jimothy flustered. Everyone encourages Jimothy; Marion doesn’t flirt so candidly with everyone. After this pep talk, Jimothy is emboldened to go and visit her room. Mercy helps Jimothy get ready, handing him a unique bouquet of intensely saturated forget-me-nots. With that, Mercy gives Jimothy a double thumbs up, and backs away from the scene. Marion answers the door scantily clad. She’s been expecting this visit. He presents her with this bouquet, which could only hope to match her beauty. Jimothy propositions Marion, alluding to spending some time “collaborating” together. During this intimate discussion, Jimothy tries his hand at a bold pickup line. Marion is open to his offer; though for now, they’ll start with the basics. With that, Marion pulls Jimothy into her room by his scruff, and closes the door! 

 

Elsewhere, Erani and Pie discuss where they might research these moon flares and strange incidences. Rynae knows there isn’t really a library, but there is a Wizard’s Tower. Researching Ruidium may require a trip outside of Nicodranas to a place like Zadash, which would have better resources. For now, they could pay a visit to Yussa. Still, Mercy enjoys traveling and thinks a visit to another city would be fun. Pie leaves a cup outside of Marion’s door, imbued with a message that is triggered if the cup gets knocked over. It’s essentially a note letting Jimothy know where she and the others have gone but that they’ll be back. With that, the adventurers (sans Jimothy) head toward the Open Key, and are soon fast approaching Tidepeak Tower. Whilst in Marion Lavorre’s room, Jimothy manages to hold his own. It is early evening when Rynae knocks at the wall, calling for Yussa outside of the tower. They encounter Wensforth, who is reluctant to let anyone inside to see his boss. Still, Pie insists they have a need for information about Ruidus. Erani explains the events of last night: the gist of which being that a werewolf turned into Ruidium. At the moment Yussa is far more intrigued when he meets Mercy. Pie senses the moment Yussa attempts to detect magic on Mercy. Sensing this man’s mounting curiosity, Mercy offers Yussa a bargain. He will talk about himself with Yussa, in exchange for Yussa’s assistance. The rest of the adventurers discuss the night before (Rynae stutters more than usual). When Rynae reveals the Ruidium, Erani ensures Yussa doesn’t take it all before offering them information first. 

 

Yussa reveals what he knows about Ruidium; while it is connected back to the moon, it isn’t supposed to exist down on the ground. It isn’t available for purchase anywhere. This Wizard argues back and forth with the party, until Rynae lets it slip that they carry around Black Powder. It could be disastrous if Ruidium and Black Powder mix; leading Rynae to agree to relinquish the Ruidium. Pie adds a stipulation; should they have need of it again, they will come back. Yussa agrees; he’s too intrigued by Mercy, enough to ignore the fact that Mercy has been drawing stars on his table. When prompted Mercy shares that he met Jimothy six months ago. He met Celosia and Erani three months ago, and Pie and Rynae only yesterday. Yussa asks to hear Mercy’s origin story. Mercy’s tale begins 1,200 years ago. He was made in Aeor and owned by the Maximus family. Mercy’s mission took him to Avalir. Before Mercy continues, he finds the nearest book to paint images of the scenes he is describing. Mercy met someone special in Avalir while he was working as a muralist. Elunorae. She was a tiny girl, who he thought looked so cool. Their connection was sweet. It’s possible she was bullied as a child, and gravitated toward him for that reason. Mercy would tell her, “You are a butterfly,” to which Elunorae would respond, “Not yet!” 

 

Bad things happened. Mercy and Elunorae were trapped beneath rubble, while his left side got burned. Elunorae helped him disguise the scorch marks, as Mercy cried for the first time. Bolo Maximus was a greedy woman; she wanted Mercy to help her family escape, but treated Mercy as no more than a machine. For the first time, Mercy told her no. He helped Elunorae get passage out of Avalir. He never intended to go with her, but could not bring himself to let go of her hand. Together they left Avalir. Elsewhere, Mercy was adopted by a farming family known as the Othrics. He stayed for several generations, until he left on his own. This is where his memory starts to get hazy. Mercy describes waking up at several different points during his life. Once there was a woman who loved plants, as much as he did. At one point, he was surrounded by untold riches. Years later, he awoke again in a dusty basement full of different types of treasures. After escaping that, Mercy went to Port Zoon, where he was not well liked. After spending a year there, more constructs arrived that were different from Mercy, as he believes he is some sort of prototype given his wooden base. More people arrived, and were nicer. And so Mercy traveled on, painting ships. Mercy explains his prime directive in a nutshell. He was created to make, create, and travel. He is a mirror of the beauty of this world, though he has never taken in the ugly. One of the most beautiful things he ever encountered? Jimothy, who is kind. Now, he is here. 

 

As Mercy spoke, Yussa became transfixed by his story. He believes it is possible that Mercy is the most unique individual on the face of Exandria. Still, he worries for Mercy’s future. Should people realize his worth, the target on his back may become even bigger. Mercy reassures Yussa; he is much older than the wizard. He will be okay. Mercy passes the book full of watercolor images illustrating his story over to Yussa, with a flower on top. A gift for his new friend. Yussa is glad to have welcomed this group of adventurers into his tower. Their agreement is solidified. Anything Yussa learns about werewolves, or the lunar flares, he will share. As long as Mercy provides any additional stories from his memory. Erani was moved to tears by Mercy’s story. Yussa gives Mercy a sending stone; this will be how they can stay in touch. Mercy has a request: does Yussa have any old sheet music? Yussa finds sheet music dating back to when Zemniaz still floated in the sky. As they have collected what they came for, it is now time to leave Tidepeak Tower. 

 

Meanwhile at the Lavish Chateau, Jimothy adjusts his collar as he redresses himself. Both Jimothy and Marion hope the other found their shared experience insightful and satisfying. Jimothy kisses Marion’s hand, while she expresses her wish to see him again. Jimothy leaves her with, “You can break me any time you like.” To which Marion replies, “I love it when they say that.” As Jimothy leaves Marion’s room, he whispers to his teapot. “You wouldn’t believe what happened.” On the way back to the Chateau, Mercy’s attention is drawn to the nearest torch. Through the light of the flickering flame, he has the uneasy sensation that he’s being watched. Mercy kneels, drawing a star where he was standing. He then straightens and hurries to catch up with the rest of the group.

Episode Four
"A Dream Of Fire"

On the way back to the Lavish Chateau, every one of these adventurers feels a strange tingling throughout their bodies. Mercy grows taller, wondering if this is a result of some emotional growth from sharing his story. Elsewhere, Jimothy feels himself getting stronger. While they’re passing through town, Mercy wants to stop by the fish market to pick up some gift wrap, ribbon, and a blank card for the sheet music he picked up. He meets an elderly gentleman named Wilsley who runs a stall selling everything he needs. Mercy chooses wrapping paper in a shade of Tiefling Red. Together Wilsley and Mercy talk about a shared pastime: collecting beetles. Mercy offers him a beetle from his sanctuary as a gift, whom he dubs Montgomery II. Pie adds her gift of a croissant. As the sheet music is wrapped in Tiefling Red paper, Mercy signs the card with an orange handprint. Erani purchases a length of ribbon as a cat toy for Theyna.

 

While walking through the fish market, Celosia purchases a quality sketchbook from a stall run by an eclectic pair of vendors. These are a Satyr and an Ogre wearing identical frilly pink dresses. Celosia admires their style. Returning to the group, Mercy admires the sketchbook. Celosia admits she doesn’t get to visit her nephew as often as she likes. Mercy approves of her thoughtful gesture. After this brief stop at the fish market, it’s time to head back to the Lavish Chateau. Rynae plans to stop by their house before they begin their journey to Zadash the next morning. Erani is intrigued when Rynae invites the rest of this group to visit their home as well. Pie reminds Rynae to clean the place up a bit. A compromise is reached: Rynae will sleep at their home, and clean it before everyone arrives tomorrow. The group departs for the Lavish Chateau. Given Mercy’s increase in size, he will stay in the Chateau’s garden. 

 

Pie makes sure that Mercy along with his sanctuary are comfortable outside. Passersby remark on the garden’s new feature, until Mercy turns his head and says, “Hello!” Before the group got back Erani indulged Celosia in one of their rituals by casting Fly on Celosia, who delightedly soared through the air for a while. Back at Tidepeak Tower, Yussa watches Celosia’s display with amusement. At last Celosia lands in another tree in the garden, deciding to sleep there. Before they depart for their home Rynae tinkers with their heating plaque, an experiment they are determined to ensure is a success. Pie remembers to feed Rynae first, before attending to the rest of their group one by one. While Rynae is leaving for their home, Pie leads them through the garden so they can both watch Mercy root into the ground before he creates a minor phenomena. This depicts each face Mercy has encountered on their journey thus far. Pie and Rynae are similarly inspired by Mercy, leading Pie to scribble in her cookbook.

 

Celosia admires Mercy’s art from her perch. Mercy mentions her nephew, whom he would like to meet one day. Celosia asks Mercy to add a butterfly to the inscription in the sketchbook. That way, this gift will be from both of them. Mercy adds the illustration using Celosia’s thumb as a paintbrush. She sniffles quietly, watching the rest of Mercy’s display from her tree perch. Pie makes sure everyone else is able to sleep comfortably first. Since Nugget the Blink Dog isn’t around, Pie offers his usual basket to Erani for Theyna instead. Meanwhile, Nugget is curled up next to an exhausted Jimothy Brassfangs III, who has been sleeping in the Little Sapphire’s room. Erani isn’t quite ready for bed yet, poised on the roof watching Mercy’s display and processing. After everyone else goes to sleep, Erani comes down from the roof. Giving Celosia another moment to play with Theyna.

 

Eventually everyone settles in for an evening’s rest. Each of this group dreams of fire, though some depictions are more vivid than others. Celosia and Erani both witness fire and ruin in the landscape of what was once Nicodranas and The Lavish Chateau. The sea has been replaced by an ocean of burning lava so bright it’s nearly blinding. The only other sign of life is the sound of an approaching army of devils and fiends, with some beings made of pure flame. They’re unable to move in the face of such evil, unsure of what will happen next. Just before they awaken from this dream, Celosia hears a whisper in Draconic, translating to, “Gathering of Shadows.” Erani, who does not understand Draconic, hears the words, “Ghor Dranas.” 

 

Celosia and Erani awaken from this nightmare, to a new day in Nicodranas. During the night Mercy’s sweat ran with paint, as he gripped the ground during this stressful dream. Pie discusses her dream of fire, which was shared by Mercy. They can’t seem to come to an agreement on why this has happened. Erani and Celosia recount their more vivid experience. It is mentioned in their conversation that Ghor Dranas used to be an area of Xhorhas. Mercy visibly panics with the mention of those two words. He barges into the kitchen at the Lavish Chateau, clearing the nearest surfaces and painting on every last available inch of space. Pie reaches out to Rynae through their special alarm, which alerts them to return to the Lavish Chateau. 

 

Jimothy rejoins this group looking reinvigorated. He also dreamt of fire the night before, though he chalked that up to the flames of passion roused by himself and Marion. Jimothy would rather like to forget any other mention of fire. Erani notices Jimothy’s muscles, which makes his chest puff out even further. Now it’s suggested that Jimothy’s name might carry a significant amount of weight. After all, not everyone could entertain the Ruby of the Sea so thoroughly. Mercy apologizes to Pie about the paint in her kitchen. She reassures him, even though there’s a bunch of devils on her kitchen counter now. Mercy and Erani both have questions about the Traveler. While they discuss the Archfey, Celosia briefly glimpses a cloaked figure with long red hair scritching Theyna’s belly. 

 

Rynae arrives at the redecorated kitchen as Pie is discussing Artagan. Rynae adds that they also dreamt of fire. They continue with what they know about the Gathering of Shadows. We learn that Xhorhas was an old city during the Calamity where Devils made their kingdom. When the Calamity struck, the Devils and Fire Gods made the city of Ghor Dranas their base on Exandria. That was where the final battle of the Calamity took place, and where the Calamity ended. Mercy doodles unconsciously, perhaps processing this information. Soon he adds that he would like to leave; there may be no further answers to be found in Nicodranas. They will regroup at Rynae’s home, but not before Pie informs the Chateau so they may find a suitable replacement. Pie runs into Marion, explaining that she has to leave and suggesting Marion take a vacation herself. Marion respectfully declines the offer. 

 

Soon this group is off to Rynae’s house, with Pie bringing up the rear. Erani doesn’t mind the mess indoors, curious to know what Rynae considers to be their most treasured invention. Rynae reveals two halves of a sphere, which are capable of adding light and sound elements to shows at the Lavish Chateau. Or so they hope. Celosia enjoys testing out her laser pointer on the mirrored sphere. Hopefully this invention will be properly hung in the Lavish Chateau someday. As Mercy is too large to enter Rynae’s home, he instead uses his Sending stone to contact Yussa, telling him in 25 words or less of their dream of fire. Mercy concludes this missive by adding that he’s scared. Yussa’s response? “Me too.” 

 

Mercy paces a small moat around the house, his steps leaving dandelions in their wake through Druidcraft. Dandelion seeds are whisked into the air as this happens. Jimothy’s feeling a bit helpless as he wonders how to help Mercy. Rynae pulls out some lawn chairs, placing them in a circle in a backyard so Mercy can have some company. At last, Mercy admits that he’s worried for his friends; he would never want them to experience what he went through long ago. With the mention of Elunorae, Pie reminds him that her memory lives on through Mercy’s stories about her. Mercy offers the group some consideration; he’ll listen if anyone else would like to open up about their own stories. Instead this group expresses an interest in learning about what Mercy knows, particularly about Avalir or the Age of Arcanum. Mercy believes Celosia would have loved living in a flying city. 

 

Erani opens up about their heritage, and the Rifenmist jungles of Tal’Dorei. Their regret? They left without saying goodbye to Aliyah, a child that looked up to them. Erani mentions their transformation, and how fundamentally strange it was to adapt to the need to sleep. The moment Aliyah’s mother declared she didn’t want her child speaking to Erani anymore, they decided to leave home. Mercy and Pie share their own words of encouragement for Erani. Lastly, Pie learns about Theyna, who has been around ever since Erani’s transformation, approximately 250 years ago. Jimothy vows to share his story when the time is right. As Mercy meets Rynae’s robot dog, he expresses his gratitude that Rynae had everyone over to their house. Pie receives a sending spell from Jester Lavorre! Mercy returns to the task at hand - figuring out their next moves. 

 

When Celosia seems reluctant to share her story, Rynae agrees that their focus should be on making a plan. Mercy reveals what he learned from Yussa; he believes the Wizard also dreamt of fire the night before. Research seems more and more like their best option. Jimothy expresses that he’s never played a concert in Zadash, and there’s no time like the present. Before they depart, Rynae gathers their commissions into a lockbox for their clients to access. Pie assists. Together the two reason that they may need a cart for their travels. This journey will take approximately two weeks. Rynae gathers necessary materials as Mercy secures a cart and some horses, with the promise that Jimothy will be at the helm once more. With these preparations in place, everyone climbs into the cart and departs from Nicodranas in the early afternoon. Elsewhere, Yussa prepares himself for a visit from Beauregard. They discuss curiosities, and ass-kicking. 

Episode Five
"The Adventure Begins"

This group of adventurers are off on the first leg of their journey. Pie continually checks on the horses, Jimothy, and how hungry everyone else is as they travel. Mercy lets his sapling from his Pot of Awakening soak up some sun in the meantime. Mercy reveals his gift for Jimothy. While Jimothy is driving, he’d love to hear the music played, and offers Mercy his lyre. Erani offers to hold the sheet music, as Mercy’s vine fingers pluck the strings of Jimothy’s lyre as though he is casting a spell. Mercy gives an emotional performance, leaving the rest of his group taken aback by the eloquence of his playing. Erani is inspired to learn how to read music. Mercy’s new friends lend elements of sight and smell to the lovely sound of the lyre. As they travel, their eclectic group draws the eyes of passersby. After hours of traveling this group finds a place on the side of the road in order to make camp. Mercy takes a moment to stargaze, laying in the grass and creating an outline of his body made from bright yellow sunflowers. When he gets up, he will leave a perfect star behind. 

 

Rynae has fashioned a kalimba, asking Jimothy’s help with tuning the instrument. They were inspired to fashion this instrument after listening to Mercy play the lyre. They would very much like to learn to play now. Everyone settles into their own evening rituals. Pie tinkers with her Sonic. Celosia helps Theyna get some exercise. Through some creative experimentation, Erani fastens Theyna’s leash before casting Fly on her familiar, watching as she soars through the air like a kite. This group spends an enjoyable evening learning music and having fun together. Erani does some more processing. Pie admires the stars and talks with Artagan the Traveler. Jimothy will take the first watch, and Pie will take the second. As Jimothy’s watch is uneventful, he takes a moment to reflect. When Jimothy wakes Pie for her watch, she asks about Jimothy’s favorite food. It’s crème brûlée! During her watch, Pie glimpses the entrance to the Dwendalian Empire. It’s clear she has never been this far away from Nicodranas before. 

 

While Pie is reflecting, Mercy is releasing a rehabilitated chipmunk from his sanctuary. Given his friendship with Pie, he names this squirrel Cake. Mercy encourages cake to enter a nearby tree in order to live with the fairies. Cake bids him a fond farewell; and Mercy leaves a mark above the hole in the tree that Cake entered. Soon after it’s time for Pie to make breakfast for everyone. Mercy will assist. Pie has an idea of how to return the favor: offering vegetable oil for Mercy’s joints or crumbs for his sanctuary from the Top Hat of Holding. Mercy makes a new resolution: every time this group stops to make camp, he will look for a sick or injured animal to house in his sanctuary. Pie collects a few sunflowers to turn into oil, for Mercy’s joints. 

 

While breakfast was being prepared, Celosia snuck away to do her makeup. Jimothy approves of Mercy’s new moisturizing routine. Soon, everyone is awake and enjoying breakfast. Together this group packs away the essentials and piles back into the cart, ready to travel again. The next several hours pass without incident. Soon this group encounters four silhouettes on the road ahead. These are elegant halflings dressed in fine robes similar to what Jimothy prefers to wear. These travelers wave to the group in the cart. Erani sticks the dismount as they exit the cart with a graceful flourish. Reluctantly, Jimothy stops the cart as Erani meets these halflings face to face. These travelers call themselves the Porridge Quartet, and harmonize a ‘hello’ in unison. They are on the road to Port Zoon looking for challengers to participate in their storytelling contest. They have a previously undefeated record. 

 

As Jimothy shirks back from the spotlight, Mercy steps forward and names himself as the performer among this group. Rynae takes out their kalimba in order to provide musical accompaniment. Mercy is first in this competition. The Porridge Quartet make themselves comfortable on the grass. Erani asks an important question: who among them will be the judges? Everyone will get a vote; Mercy’s competitors promise to be unbiased. Jimothy looked intrigued when Mercy declared himself to be the performer. Mercy’s tale begins: he describes waking up in a seemingly endless room full of dusty treasures. Celosia and Pie add their Minor Illusions as visual aids for his tale. At the end of the long room was an empty throne, with a decomposed skeleton off to one side. Above that throne was a painting of the same throne, which took up a lot of wall space but felt empty at the same time. The skeleton was missing from the painting; instead, there was a well-dressed and smiling figure leaning against the empty throne. As Mercy watched, the figure in the painting spoke. 

 

“Have Mercy. Look at you, awake again.” Mercy felt comforted by the figure, and the two became friends. It took time to learn that all the other paintings in that room were empty, though he never figured out why. Mercy’s new friend said he didn’t know, and Mercy chose to believe him. Eventually his new friend let him leave that room. Outside, he found he was close to Port Zoon. Mercy concludes his story with, “Isn’t that where you said you were going? Maybe you could say hi to my friend for me.” The Porridge Quartet were ensorcelled by Mercy’s storytelling. After Mercy’s story is over, the Porridge Quartet decide they will stay away from Port Zoon, and go into early retirement. Their leader decides he needs to lay down for a while. This group reminds the Porridge Quartet in their own way that storytelling shouldn’t be about competition. Pie lets chaos reign by tossing a pie in the face of their leader. The Porridge Quartet remain unfazed - their leader now has trauma to process. The other three members direct their leader toward Nicodranas; Pie adds that they should stop by the fish market. 

 

For now this group must get back on the road. Pie wonders if Mercy’s story was real, as she watches the changes in Mercy’s runes back to normal. Soon everyone has piled into the cart, Jimothy directing them onto the road for another few hours of travel. Soon it’s evening again, as this group nears the Wuyun Gorge. From here, the Quoraska Jungle is visible from just below the Ashkeeper Peaks. Erani would enjoy being in a jungle again. As the terrain is rockier, Pie imagines Erani casting Fly on their cart. Jimothy brushes his fur before bedtime. This time the evening watch is assigned in pairs: Erani and Pie are up first, followed by Celosia and Mercy. Pie and Erani talk about Theyna, and how Erani has never had a favorite food. Pie plans more food experiments for Erani to try. Should they get an opportunity to visit the jungle again, Erani might recall the recipes they used to prepare for their tribe. 

 

Pie checks on Rynae while Erani wakes up Celosia and Mercy. Celosia expresses her admiration for Mercy’s stories; she hopes there are many more where that came from, to share in the world. Mercy offers to be her audience should Celosia wish to tell her own stories. Celosia reasons that after a few centuries, her repertoire of stories might be close to Mercy’s. Still, she will share with him a secret. She’s never been afraid of death, but rather, being the cause of death for everyone she loves. That’s the thought that has haunted her ever since that first nightmare. While it hasn’t happened yet, Celosia adds that sometimes history has a way of repeating itself. Mercy gives some sound advice. Celosia has surrounded herself with the right people. Should control slip from her grasp, they will be there to help. 

 

Mercy reminds Celosia that she isn’t putting anyone in danger by loving them. Celosia confesses her dark secret: when she was just six years old, a single spark of flame she created destroyed everything except her brother. She is terrified of something like that happening again. Mercy is kind and understanding. He doesn’t like fire, but he does not blame the ones who wield fire whether they want to or not. The butterfly Mercy summons lands on Celosia’s trembling palm. Mercy says what he only tells his favorite people. “You are a butterfly.” Celosia responds, as Elunorae once did. “Not yet.” Their conversation shifts. Celosia is glad she’s never doubted Mercy’s honesty. He adds that when Jimothy lies, they have to go on to the next town. Mercy shares his observation that Theyna won’t let him pet her as much as he’d like. Before the sun rises, Celosia suggests Mercy make her a cat toy, or grow some silver vine on the arm he typically produces tea leaves from. 

 

Celosia fixes her makeup before the new day begins. Pie and Rynae both dreamt of Theyna using a scratching post - perhaps Mercy could create one. Despite the added suggestion of natural elements, Theyna goes more for Mercy than the actual scratching post. Still, the claws sinking into his leg feels like a massage, which is good enough for Mercy. The day continues, with overcast but nice enough weather. This group is approaching the gateway of the Dwendalian Empire. Jimothy is able to spot a small dead raven in the middle of the road. It appears to have been pierced by a very distinct arrow, with bright blue fletching. This raises Celosia and Rynae’s suspicions immediately. As a precaution, Jimothy summons his Tiny Hut so this group might protect themselves in case this turns out to be a trap. 

 

Having been ambushed before, Celosia investigates the felled raven and glimpses a cut thread on one of its legs. It’s possible a message was intercepted from this raven before. Pie detects a faint trace of magic from the bird, though not from the arrow. It is entirely possible this bird’s death has been staged. Pie and Erani investigate this anomaly further. Rynae believes this was a targeted attack that was covered up, in order to intercept the message this bird carried. This group returns to Jimothy’s Tiny Hut to discuss their findings in private. Mercy’s theory: this bird was caught between two empires when it died. Pie recalls that ravens are seen as an ill omen in Wildemount. As they break these theories down further, Jimothy hears a knocking against the side of his Tiny Hut. 

 

The stone that landed against the hut glows blue and spins. With a flash of brilliant white light, everyone feels a searing brain in their heads. The Tiny Hut is being dispelled, along with Theyna. Mercy realizes this was an Intuit bomb. Footsteps and voices reach their ears. The trap has been sprung, and the party braces themselves for an attack. Meanwhile in parts unknown, a door is summoned from a pit of raging fire inside of old stone ruins. A hand reaches through, to the other side. 

Episode Six
"The Hunt"

These adventurers must quickly deal with the fallout of this unexpected psychic attack. Perhaps it’s an unintended side effect, but Jimothy and Pie shrink in size (much to the delight of Artagan the Traveler) while Erani is emboldened by a sudden strength. Five individuals descend upon the adventurers in a clear attack formation. Mercy does not observe any more bombs, but believes these people might be bounty hunters or black market dealers. Mercy shouts in an ancient language that these guys just fucked up, as he surges forward for his attacks. Celosia and Pie fight by Mercy’s side. Rynae protects Jimothy and Erani with their Eldritch Cannon. Jimothy belts out his rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart while casting Heart to Heart on Rynae. 

 

As Erani’s Bladesong strikes the most important looking enemy, something amazing happens. Erani’s lightning attack travels through the ground and into the nervous system of the thug Celosia killed. Mercy activates their Blood Curse of the Fallen Puppet, in a terrifying reanimation of the deceased mercenary as he turns on his compatriots. Undeterred, two of these assassins lunge at Mercy for a brutal attack that knocks him unconscious. Erani tempts fate in their attempt to mitigate some of the damage, which results in an unfortunate loss. What’s going through Mercy’s mind, as his consciousness hangs in the balance? He sees the beginnings of a silhouette of a little girl in a dress. Butterfly wings unfurling from her back. 

 

Celosia screeches in anger, ready to crack skulls with her barbed wire bat. The mercenaries speak, “I don’t think you understand. No matter what, we’re taking our prize.” Pie knows Mercy doesn’t eat, but crushes several Goodberries in an attempt at a healing salve, which miraculously works. As Mercy races back toward consciousness he becomes aware of fire, heat, and movement. A deep voice says, “Not yet,” in a manner that is both unsettling and yet comforting. Mercy awakens as Pie begs him to live, and he says hello to his friend again. With Mercy taken care of, Pie rears back to attack with her Starlight Staff. As Rynae’s Protector Eldritch Cannon assures their defenses, Erani’s Booming Blade clashes with the mercenary’s rapier. 

 

Jimothy rushes to Mercy’s side to heal him and the rest of their friends. He reminds Mercy that they can’t lose him yet. There are so many animals left for him to save. Celosia’s protective stance over Mercy gets tested. At last, Mercy is conscious but prone. While Celosia is weapon to weapon with an adversary, Mercy’s vines intervene. His Hex leaves a searing hot tar drip of black paint on their body, rendering him irrelevant. Celosia adds the cherry on top, hitting a home run with her barbed wire bat, sending the guy’s head sailing into the distance. Giles the Beetle smirks for Mercy, as he attacks the mercenary that Celosia frightened. The adventurers work in tandem to bring the rest of these mercenaries down apart from one, whom they take as a hostage. Celosia ties the last man up. 

 

Mercy, having recovered by now, gives his friends a thumbs up to show he’s alright. These adventurers were caught off guard but they are doing alright now. Everyone experiences some healing, including their hostage. After a quick scan of the area, Pie determines that they are in the clear, for now. Mercy turns his glaive on their hostage, in a show of intimidation. Through their interrogation they learn that this man labels himself as a survivor. He heard there was a market for “things” like Mercy, and wanted to get rich quick by sweeping him up for collection. Jimothy hisses when this man refers to Mercy as a ‘thing’ to be collected. When this man refuses to answer Mercy’s question of how old he is, Mercy makes a tally mark with the burning end of his glaive on the man’s thigh. He’s 47, but probably lying about his age. 

 

This man reveals that no one sent them; they were just tracking Mercy ever since the Lavish Chateau. Try as he might, Mercy can’t get more than a cryptic answer about where he got the Intuit bombs. Rather than hurt this man further, Mercy places a terrifying curse on his shoulders. It’s enough to frighten this man to lose control of his bodily functions. Pie gets rid of the smell with Prestidigitation. Mercy punctuates his curse with, “You’re finding a use, just like your friends. The only use you will have? Fertilizer.” The man is terrified, but he understands. One last push for information reveals that they planned to build him as a creation from Aeor when they put him up for auction. Pie presses him further, trying to charm him into telling them who would want to buy a creation from Aeor. 

 

Their first real lead is a rumor that people from the Cerberus Assembly wanted creations from Aeor, but that might just be gossip. At last, they learn their hostage’s name is Clifton. Pie directs Clifton back to the Lavish Chateau, after he promises Mercy that he will certainly try to clean up his act. Jimothy’s all for removing a finger or giving him a brand to send a message, but Rynae distinguishes the difference between the mental trauma he’s experienced already versus physical scarring. Still, Jimothy reminds Clifton that they’ll be checking in on the Lavish Chateau to make sure he arrived there. Pie adds in her Magical Tinkering to a stone that goes off like an alarm whenever he gets within thirty feet of Mercy. The alarm will say, “I’m a fucking asshole who almost lost his finger.” 

 

This particular Hex is not one Mercy is used to doing. The sounds around Mercy fade out as he holds his weapon like a javelin, carving a star into Clifton’s forehead. Jimothy makes sure Clifton won’t die from the scar. Before Clifton can walk off with Celosia’s rope, she takes it back along with the trinkets he stole, because they’re the most difficult things to replace. Mercy places the bodies of Clifton’s friends alongside each other, unnerved by the dehumanization of being pursued as an object. Pie suggests they decompose the bodies and make them a part of the earth again, saying to Mercy, “Let’s combine powers and make some flowers.” Among the bodies were a series of journals written in Thieves Cant that can account for this group’s heists over the last eight or nine months.

 

Celosia accounts for the funds that were spread out among the mercenaries. Pie takes the Thieves Cant journals as scrap paper. Erani reunites themselves with Theyna, who has some added appendages in the form of wings. Theyna soars through the air, eventually landing on Mercy’s shoulder and nuzzling his face. Mercy regrets that Theyna was forcibly dispelled after the Intuit blast. Erani regrets that Mercy had to suffer. He’s alright, after all of that. Erani casts Fly on Mercy, saying, “You are the butterfly.” Mercy grows giant butterfly wings out of his back. He is immensely grateful for Erani, telling them, “We were right about you. We’re your tribe.” Mercy takes off running before he leaps into the air, flapping his wings and shouting, “Elunorae! I’m just like you!” The swell of emotions with his declaration is somewhat distracting to his flight pattern. What he doesn’t see, is the Griffin made of Starlight looking down upon him from higher in the sky.

 

Elsewhere on Wildemount (closer to Eiselcross) we see the village of Essealand snap into existence after the latest Reconvergence event. Somewhere in the village, we see Conall Macginnisi, Phrike, Rhys, and Feronia huddling together for warmth. 

Episode Seven
"Opening The Cage"

After a trying day, this group of adventurers are back on their journey to Zadash. For the past several hours they have been traveling through the Wuyun Gorge, surrounded by high stone walls with no signs of the forest anywhere. Other wagons travel alongside them, where the path will converge on the Wuyun Gates. Rynae grabs a rock from the side of the road, to turn into a stone figurine. Pie uses her Magical Tinkering to make the stone scream in pain as it is carved. Celosia is horrified at the thought of Rynae torturing an Earth Elemental. Pie switches the stone’s cries of anguish to ones of approval. Rynae will return to this project later.

 

At Pie’s behest, Jimothy creates a pocket symphony with his lyre and trombone, which are played using Minor Illusions. This creates nice traveling music. Mercy hums a song, as he moves to the front of the cart with Jimothy and his Pot of Awakening. As they travel, Mercy grows a pauldron of cacao, using a mortar and pestle to create the most pure, chocolate-infused tea. Jimothy appreciates the gesture, as he didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. Mercy’s feeling better since the events of yesterday. Erani gifting Mercy with the power of flight was a sign to Mercy that he and Jimothy are on the right path, surrounded by the right people. Pie smelled the scent of chocolate, moving to the front of the cart to ask for some. 

 

Pie is able to prepare coffee for Rynae with Mercy’s saturated coffee beans. Pie wonders if Mercy is essentially a walking pantry, a question which offends Jimothy. Even if he was, did he say he was sharing? Mercy answers the question; he’s not a pantry, he’s just able to grow things (even if the color or flavor is off sometimes). Rynae reasons that color could never be off with Mercy. As they’re traveling, the Queen Gate becomes visible on the horizon. This is the Southernmost point of the Dwendalian empire. There are less than usual Crownsguard patrolling the gate, though a few cats also wander the area as well. A few of the guards are dressed in different uniforms, making them recognizable as soldiers of the Righteous Brand. Their numbers have dwindled since the war. Now there’s less of an urgent need for guards, but they still make their presence known. 

 

As their cart moves closer to the gate, this group realizes the wagons are being stopped and the guards are speaking to the drivers. There’s a sense of lingering tension in the air from when these borders used to be heavily guarded. Celosia changes her hair color with Prestidigitation, while Jimothy shape shifts into his human form, who is known as Lothario. He’s got shoulder-length black hair, sun-kissed skin, and amber eyes. This ability of Jimothy’s came from his father’s side of the family. He clarifies with Pie that Jimothy is his true form. Celosia adds that her nickname Celo would be a good fake name to use. It’s too late for Pie and Rynae to change their appearance by the time Jimothy moves their cart forward once more. To the Crownsguard, Lothario is a 20-year-old humanoid. Each gives their reasoning for passing through, and none are questioned too thoroughly. 

 

Billan the Crownsguard is content to send them on their way. Mercy senses the tension in the air and asks Billan for clarification, but he says that everyone is still adjusting to life after wartime. Mercy observes that for some people, peace is the foundation and war is the effort. Adjusting to the opposite being true can be difficult sometimes. With that in mind, Mercy learns that Billan’s grandfather’s favorite flower was a Daffodil. He creates one that he offers to the Crownsguard, who will remember this kindness should their paths cross again. They apparently don’t find it necessary to keep a ledger of visitors at the gate anymore. With that, this group is free to enter into the Dwendalian Empire. The landscape remains largely unchanged, though the atmosphere is different in this part of Wildemount. Travelers passing by on the road seem friendly, which makes this leg of their journey easier. 

 

Soon the sun sets and it is time to make camp. Celosia’s hair turns to normal, but Jimothy stays in the form of Lothario. As everyone prepares for rest, Mercy paints the cart to look like a sugar glider, adding several portraits of them along the sides of the card. Near the trailer in the back, it looks like a silhouette is straddling the hitch. Jimothy prepares oolong tea for this group, which should help everyone relax this evening. Pie adds a lewd element to the cart’s new paint job, a small homage to the Traveler. Tonight Pie and Mercy will take the first watch, and Celosia will take the second. It’s a pleasant enough evening. Though Pie takes a moment to apologize to Mercy, not wanting to overstep any of his boundaries. Mercy creates a saturated blue apple, splitting it in half and giving one half to Pie. She’s delighted by the possibility of turning these apples into pie. 

 

Mercy reassures Pie that she can’t overstep him on their path to friendship. He’s happy to help her out whenever she can. This gives Pie an idea; she attempts a backflip using Mercy as a springboard. Several beetles applaud her effort. Pie then uses Shape Water for the sake of Mercy’s sanctuary. Still, she’s curious to learn if there’s a constellation shaped like a butterfly in the sky. Mercy isn’t sure, but together he and Pie lay in the grass in order to create one. Pie creates a sheet of water on which Mercy draws a luminescent outline, which takes the shape of a butterfly. Pie is grateful for their friendship, giving Mercy a bracelet from an animal rescue to attach somewhere. He secures the bracelet through Druidcraft. Their conversation leads to how their art is similar and yet also different. Pie’s art deals in taste and smells, while Mercy’s is more visual. Mercy acknowledges that if power lies in creation the way that Pie believes, then she’s already pretty powerful. 

 

Soon it is time for Celosia’s watch. Changing out of her sundress and into her normal clothes, she writes a letter to her brother and tucks it inside of the journal for his son. The sun is rising in the distance. Meanwhile, Celosia’s friends each have a specific dream about fire. For some, it isn’t the first time. While this is the second time for Erani, Jimothy, Pie, and Mercy stand in a barren wasteland together. Behind them are the cracked remains of the Wuyun gate; while farther away than that are the ruins of what they can only assume was Trostenwald. Smoke and ash choke the atmosphere. These four adventurers are alone at first, but turn and find themselves facing each other. From what remains of the gate they hear the sound of approaching footsteps. Erani might have some insight into what’s coming for them next. Sound is strange inside this dreamscape; it echoes, but some of the echoes are reversed. 

 

Mercy takes a big breath. Telling his friends that they need to fly. He abruptly pivots and sprints toward the steps as fast as he can. Jimothy, Pie, and Erani follow. They appear to be running toward the danger, pursued by a massive army of nightmarish creatures that descend upon the wasteland. When Mercy realizes this is a dream, he uses the Rite of the Flame on his glaive to create a wall of fire. Attempting to protect his friends from what lies ahead. Pie nearly catches up with Mercy, until the wall of fire is erected. Even as she tries to fight through the fire, the wall reaches in to pull her back. The flames bite at her skin. Erani is unable to dispel the wall of fire with their magic. Jimothy has a PTSD flashback, finding himself too frightened to do anything. Pie tries to run through the wall of fire again, getting engulfed but struggling through the flames. 

 

Jimothy tries to use Sending to communicate with Mercy, unsure of whether or not his words make it through. Mercy hears a garbled and reversed message, though after grasping the general meaning he responds with, “Not yet.” Pie escapes from the wall of fire, which seems to expand toward her, Jimothy, and Erani. Mercy is visible in the distance, though he is running away. Mercy told Pie to fly, and so she will try. She runs, and the ground beneath her feet starts to give way. While she doesn’t fall, her movements are slow. The army of nightmarish figures is closer now. Another wall of fire appears ahead of Mercy. He places his hand into the fire, casting Hex to inject it with some color. The fire doesn’t burn his hand; instead providing warm and uneasy comfort. As Mercy places his hand through the fire, he feels a hand grasp his. It’s soft, warm, and human. Mercy steps into the wall of fire, with his hand held. 

 

Pie leaps into the air with determination, carrying herself upward with a set of devilish wings that unfurl from her back. On the other side of the fire, Jimothy and Erani would be unable to see it happen. Shooting after Mercy that this is a Fey trap does no good. Jimothy casts Heroism on himself as he attempts to move through the fire to get to his friend. The flames burn him right away. Erani’s magic doesn’t seem to be helping. Mercy passes through the second fire barrier, only for the rest of the world to fall away until he’s standing alone in a black void. He remembers being trapped beneath the rubble with Elunorae, which was the first time she hummed the song she learned from her mom in the kitchen. Mercy stands and sings as loud as he can, while his voice doesn’t echo in this endless dark void. Eventually Mercy seems to be traveling through space and time. He hears distant explosions, burning embers, along with shouts and screams of, “Take arms! Take arms! For Avalir!” 

 

Eventually the world around Mercy transforms into Avalir, a place that should not exist anymore. Still hearing the shouts from the past. Bewildered, Mercy walks through the empty city in the direction of the Archsept. The room is barren except for an iron cage. A person is trapped inside, huddling on the floor and crying. Mercy attempts to communicate with this person, to no avail. He crouches on the floor and opens the door, which is surprisingly unlocked. With an ear-piercing screech of the hinges, the person inside looks up. They have long dark matted hair, with a wide smile and red eyes. They tell Mercy, “Thank you for opening the door.” With one hand, they push Mercy away. He sails through the air at a hundred miles an hour, out of the Archsept and off of the edge of Avalir as the city is consumed by fire. 

 

As Mercy flies through the wall of fire, Pie, Jimothy, and Erani are pulled through the dreamscape as they hear guttural laughter echoing in the distance. The ground fast approaches as they wake up. Meanwhile Celosia dreamt of spending time with her brother and his infant son in front of the hearth. Rynae’s dream wasn’t as nice; they were back at school, in the labs as their project exploded with all their new friends instead of the other students. Rynae remembered laying in a pile of rubble. As they were awake earlier, Rynae joins Celosia only to find three of their friends have blood dripping from their ears. While Mercy isn’t visibly injured, all four of their friends are tense and sit bolt upright at the same time. 

 

Pie gushes about her ability to fly in this shared dream. Unfortunately, it does not translate from the dream into real life. These adventurers have shared a dream once again. Everyone provides their own perspective. Mercy sits, stunned for a long moment. He’s numb, as he states definitively that he can never get away from Avalir. Mercy now believes it was selfish of him to leave, to try and forget what cannot be forgotten. The Calamity. He wanted to protect Jimothy in the dream, to shield him from what Mercy’s eyes had seen. Mercy gives his perspective on his own chilling dream. He wanted to help the child in the cage, because all he could think about was Elunorae, and how it would be hypocritical of him not to help. And so he opened the cage, and he feels like he failed them all. 

 

Jimothy adds that Mercy can’t protect them forever. They aren’t his sanctuary, they’re his family. Mercy responds, “Jimothy, I’m not your sanctuary. You are mine.” This group has a vulnerable conversation about what family means to them. Pie expresses the hope she felt as she flew during the dream. This proves that there was life after the Calamity. They’re still here, and he is here. They can defeat whatever is there, as long as they are together. Pie reminds Mercy that he is not alone anymore. Each of his friends share their own words of encouragement for Mercy. Jimothy adds that he’d like Mercy to let them save him once in a while. Celosia reminds Mercy that it’s not a weakness to show kindness. Mercy feels reinvigorated. Though they must be careful to protect each other given the frequency of these dreams. Pie wonders if she and Rynae could cast Identify on Mercy. Before this happens, Celosia squeezes Mercy’s hand. Because of their positioning, Identify is inadvertently cast on Celosia as well. Meanwhile, away from this group with blood dripping from their ears is a concerned Artagan the Traveler. He hesitates to approach, before he vanishes. 

 

Even farther away, across a vast ocean of lava our view centers on a partially submerged land mass; the remains of Avalir. Inside the crumbled Hall of Prophecy, Devils, Archdevils, and Demons congregate. They seem to be preparing for something. Two demonic figures carve crude reinterpretation of a certain Aeormaton’s style of painting into the wall. The first image shows the events of the shared dream that just happened. The second image is of a sealed cage. Instead of a child trapped inside, it is a familiar Archfey with long ginger curls.

Episode Eight
"The Road To Trostenwald"

In the fields of the Dwendalian Empire, Mercy and Celosia hold hands as Erani, Rynae, and Pie cast Identify on Mercy. The memory of Celosia’s deepest regret (the fire that cost her everything) is unwittingly pulled from her memory. Everyone apart from Jimothy watches what happened from Celosia’s perspective. As far as what can be determined about Mercy’s fate, everyone apart from Jimothy hears a word they do not recognize. This word is Timberlyn. Celosia looks shifty and uncomfortable as Jimothy demands an explanation. Mercy attempts to ground Celosia with the scent of Pie’s cooking recreated through Druidcraft. He’s unconcerned with himself in the moment, focused on grounding his friend until she at last is centered back in herself.

 

They must research the term Timberlyn in the library in Zadash. Pie is convinced she will fly in real life, at some point. Now the priority is leaving for Zadash as soon as possible. Jimothy offers green tea to the group, for the sake of energy. A sound starts to fill Jimothy’s mind as an enemy with fangs and claws starts to sing an enchanting song. Running toward Jimothy is an angry Siren! They must battle this strange enemy before resuming their journey. They make quick work of what Jimothy can only assume is a stalker. He reasons that having stalkers might mean that Jimothy & The Brassfangs have made it as a band, though he can’t work out whether that’s a good or a bad thing. Jimothy adds that they should leave immediately, to avoid any more stalkers. Rynae reassures Jimothy that they’ve got his back. Pie’s Cure Wounds helps restore his perfect face. 

 

Before they leave, Erani pulls Celosia for a quick chat about what was revealed during the Identify. They are sorry that the memory was pulled from Celosia without her consent. They would like to gain more control over their magic. While Celosia enjoys cuddles with Theyna, she admits Erani reminds her of her brother. Erani is honored by the comparison. Celosia opens up about her family, along with her girlfriend: a half Drow, half Orc woman named Ash. These two adventurers grow closer as friends. After her talk with Erani, Celosia seems calmer, especially with the approaching storms. Pie and Rynae discuss what happens as Pie tinkers with her sonic once more. Pie practices the Encode Thoughts spell with Rynae’s help. Celosia adds a translation of Pie’s encoded thought, “Sometimes the people that love you want to keep you around, so that they know you are safe.” Pie and Rynae are delighted by how many languages Celosia can understand! 

 

That same evening, everyone sleeps soundly. Pie has a dream that feels more like someone else’s memory. This vision is a feast for the senses. She’s on a ship in the ocean, seeing an indistinguishable blur of color. Pie experiences herself, saying, “Sometimes the people that love you want to keep you around, so that they know you are safe.” It wasn’t really her voice saying those words, either. After that, Pie’s dream returns to normal. Rynae finds their sleep to be quite restless after the previous dreams about fire. Over the next few days of travel this group encounters some stormy weather on their way to Zadash. It’s bearable for most of them but Jimothy. Eventually, the storms pass. On the road ahead is a view of the small yet sizable rural town of Trostenwald. This is the first stop on their journey, deep within the Marrow Valley of Western Wynandir. This area is bordered by the blue waters of the Ustaloch to the east, and the Amber Road to the west. 

 

Their cart approaches the Wuyun Gates from the Southside. There are Crownsguard on patrol here, watching over that pleasant little town. Soon this group finds themselves in the thick of the marketplace at the southernmost point of town, close to noon. Jimothy is content to go sightseeing on the Lochward, closer to the eastern side. He finds an apothecary advertising natural remedies, herbs, and medicinal things. It is full to bursting with potted plants, fungi, and strings of dried herbs. Jimothy is a connoisseur of herbal tea; if this business sells tea, he will find it somewhere. Jimothy is followed by Mercy and Celosia as they admire this establishment; somewhere a noisy cat is chased by a half elf with tanned skin, this turns out to be the proprietor of the establishment. Jimothy’s request is misunderstood by this half elf, who wonders if Jimothy seeks any performance enhancing stock. Jimothy backpedals - he seeks anything that will calm anxiety. Celosia adds that Jimothy doesn’t need performance enhancing drugs, because not everyone can land the Ruby of the Sea. 

 

The half elf gives Jimothy his congratulations. As long as they are not in league with the Crownsguard, the half elf will sell to Celosia, Jimothy, and Mercy. If this man is similarly aligned, they have to tell Celosia and Jimothy! The half elf might have just the thing - the finest Skein in all of Wildemount. It’ll make the user see the weave of time itself. While Erani is intrigued, Jimothy is looking for something closer to an upper and not a downer. He wants the kind of high that will make him feel asleep while he’s still awake. Erani would like to purchase the Skein, though the price of 60 gold is a little too rich for their blood. Jimothy attempts to barter, leading the half elf to take stock of everyone in the shop, including someone like Mercy. All this time, Mercy has been visiting with each of the mushrooms and potted plants from around the shop, using Druidcraft to create new friends for each one of them. Jimothy sees the gleam in the half elf’s eye, warning him that his friend is not a thing to be sold for improving his business. 

 

Finally the half elf introduces himself as Simon. He explains that he would be willing to barter if these adventurers would help him out with an inventory problem. A group of shady individuals has been stealing from his supply. Deal with them, and he’ll help Erani out with a free sample along with Jimothy and Celosia’s requests as well. Simon names the Eyeless. This is their street name, they’re more collectively known as the Ocu Luminous. Not much else is known about them, other than the fact that they hail from the Underdark. Those that encounter the Eyeless have described them as Reptilian. Where their eyes should be, are only more scales, yet their eyes function ordinarily. They are notoriously dangerous and unpredictable. Simon has hired someone to track them down, but assumes they did not survive to report any information back. Last time they spoke, Simon’s informant mentioned a cave system near Trostenwald, specifically across from the Loch. 

 

Jimothy’s straight to business, wanting to gather supplies for this mission. Simon can’t help them there, but he can offer some chamomile, along with four standard healing potions. He’ll even throw in a sample of Skein for Erani, which is pre narcotic. Mercy wonders if there’s some sort of arcane energy that slipped Simon’s radar. In the corner is a dense collection of deep cerulean colored mushrooms, which appear to be glittering. These are zoom shrooms. Mercy ascertains that he might be able to grow them once every couple of days. Erani is warned by Rynae on their way out of Simon’s shop to hide the Skein as it is quite illegal to possess. For an hour after consuming this person is able to see into the Ethereal Plane. This is not to say Rynae has not always wanted to try it, but it’s still dangerous. Erani maintains that their interest in this drug is purely scholarly. Perhaps they could all take a trip together later? Still, they have to check out the caves full of Eyeless beforehand.

 

While Mercy is here, he’d like to paint something nice for the town to look at. Jimothy is all for finding proper accommodations at a tavern since they’ve been camping out so much. He could also do with a bite to eat. Pie reasons that having a dedicated room for Erani to do drugs in would be smart. They decide on the nicer tavern known as the Nestled Nook, which also includes parking for their cart + horses. Jimothy arranges their accommodations, which will be one big room for all of them to share. Pie makes sure there’s breakfast included. Jimothy also puts in their evening drink order, relishing the opportunity for their drinks to be brought to their room. Unfortunately that does not include room service, they’d have to order at the bar and head upstairs to their room. Jimothy passes, heading upstairs with the keys. Pie finesses her way into helping out the kitchen staff, to her delight. When she tries slipping out the back alley to talk to Artagan, she unfortunately gets no response after about 20 to 30 minutes. Eventually heading back inside to rejoin her friends.

 

Elsewhere in the old stone ruins where the door first appeared, there are now scorched footprints that lead away from the path of the door. These are big footprints with pointed toes. The tracks lead out of the cave, and the grass where those footprints touched the earth is scorched. These tracks lead into the jungle ahead. Back in the cave on the wall are the same crude carvings, with a twist. Where once there was a cage with an Archfey inside, there are now two cages. The second one, with an open door. Next to it, we see a demonic figure leading someone else into the cage. A small Gnome with silver hair and shining armor is inside.

Episode Nine
"Curiosity Brings Consequences"

We return to that night in the Nestled Nook. Before bed, Erani took the Skein potion and asked Rynae to make notes of any unusual occurrences while their wisdom is impaired. Returning to the dreams of these adventurers, Mercy and Rynae have their own dreams that relate back to fire. Mercy’s is a loop of the cage opening in Avalir, every time with different faces he’s seen on his journey. Erani, Pie, Jimothy, and Celosia find themselves in the same burning hellscape of their previous dreams. The only recognizable elements in this wasteland are each other’s faces. While they’re aware that they are dreaming, they also feel fully conscious.

 

Erani determines they’re surrounded by the ruins of a city that seem old yet simultaneously new. Pie believes they should fly in order to avoid ground attacks. This group discovers that using magic in this dream results in psychic damage. Flames are visible on the distant horizon. Celosia is able to catch Pie after her disastrous attempt at flying. From around the corner, the voice of a little girl speaks, “You’re silly!” This girl says she’s never seen anyone like this group before. Pie tries to bribe her with cookies, but she’s not allowed to have any. Jimothy senses the spectral aura surrounding this little girl. It makes her difficult to look at because she seems to be both corporeal and transparent.

 

Jimothy attacks the little girl with his dagger, only for her form to disappear into a cloud of spectral butterflies. These butterflies fly in kaleidoscopic patterns before floating back down and re-solidifying. When asked, the little girl reveals that she is not allowed to have a name. She will not reveal who gave her this edict, but warns these adventurers, “He’ll hear you!” if they keep asking questions. The little girl seems unable to say the name of this mysterious stranger, nor can she describe what “he” looks like. Suddenly, the little girl screams. The adventurers feel the ground shake beneath their feet, from every direction. Pie reaches for the little girl, but she raises her hand and screams again. Pie disappears into a cloud of spectral butterflies. 

 

Jimothy is frightened, demanding to know what happened to Pie while holding his knife to the little girl. He also vanishes in a similar fashion. Celosia and Erani watch these two clouds of spectral butterflies coalesce and fly toward the sky. A cage envelopes the little girl in a cloud of thunder that booms down from the sky. Erani and Celosia shout at the little girl, but she does not react. The door slams shut and the cage lifts into the sky, while everything goes dark around Celosia and Erani. Soon the two remaining adventurers are surrounded by a black void, though fear doesn’t stop Celosia and Erani from trying to determine the expanse of this negative space. After hours of walking in a place where time has no meaning, Erani and Celosia hear the sounds of a crackling campfire. 

 

Celosia sits across from a monochromatic hooded figure with flaming eyes. This may be a dream to Erani and Celosia, but it is so much more to this stranger. Over time so many names have been designated for this stranger that he can’t possibly choose one when prompted. Though perhaps Celosia will see the stranger again, with even more of her friends next time. Erani is also welcome to join the campfire. Erani is guarded when interacting with the stranger. The stranger reveals very little about themselves when prompted. The most information they garner is that to the stranger, this place is a cage, and they’re looking for the key. Celosia suggests picking the lock. When Erani asks what the stranger did to get locked up, they hop on the defensive in response. When trying to ascertain the stranger’s intentions, Erani hears their voice inside her mind, warning her not to peek. Celosia becomes defensive over Erani. 

 

The stranger reveals that Celosia and Erani are free to leave. Celosia suggests it would be improper to leave so soon. Erani wonders what would happen to their bodies if they stayed. The stranger muses that they can rewrite the rules of time here. With a wave of their hand, Erani ages rapidly. Celosia is angry, though the effect is gone in a moment. During that moment, Erani felt awful. Still, Erani argues that they haven’t been able to free themselves with their supposedly powerful magic. Another wave dismisses Erani into a cloud of spectral butterflies. The stranger is glad to be alone with Celosia; they find her fascinating. They propose a bargain: anything Celosia wants, should she help him pick the lock. The stranger clearly values their freedom. Celosia’s attempts to ascertain the stranger’s intention yields a similar result to Erani. And here they thought Celosia was the smart one. 

 

When Celosia and the stranger stare each other down, they lean forward to reveal the face of Celosia’s girlfriend Ash, with an unkind expression. Still, the stranger does not choose what they look like. This face was influenced by Celosia. She says, “I see why you hide your face. It’s a pretty one.” The stranger responds, “Yeah, I might keep this one. No one’s using it, right?” Chilled to the bone, Celosia stabs the stranger with her girlfriend’s face in the heart. The stranger’s voice turns insidious. “To go for the heart of someone who had their heart torn out millennia ago is such a folly. I understand if you are curious, but let me tell you: curiosity brings consequences.” After that interruption, the stranger returns to the subject of their bargain. Celosia acquiesces reluctantly, but evades the answer of what it is she truly desires. The stranger reveals themselves to be the Lord of Lies, Asmodeus.  He thinks Celosia is lying to herself. When Celosia tries to wake herself up, her magic fails. 

 

Asmodeus is amused. They’re free to continue this discussion another time. He imparts a warning that he’ll send one of his friends after her, or perhaps her girlfriend, if he doesn’t hear from Celosia. The implication here is that he’ll use Ash to make her more amenable to their bargain. Celosia hears his warning that one of the truest rumors about Asmodeus is that he has an abundance of mercy. Asmodeus snaps his fingers, and Celosia wakes up. The next morning at the Nestled Nook, Pie, Jimothy, Erani, and Celosia wake up more exhausted than they were when going to sleep. Jimothy can’t bear the sunlight right now. Mercy has a bioluminescent mushroom growing from his chest, just like the one in Simon’s shop. These exhausted adventurers account for their experiences during the latest shared dream. Erani shares their theory that Elunorae was the little girl in the dream. When asked, Mercy paints her portrait on the wall. Still, her aura made her difficult to look at directly. All the spectral butterflies were desaturated as well. 

 

Erani describes a powerful magical stranger unable to free himself from the dreamscape. It isn’t enough for Erani to hear someone is powerful, they need to prove it with their actions. Erani and Mercy discuss the common knowledge surrounding Asmodeus and the Nine Hells. Evil souls are sent to the Hells when they perish. Centuries ago, Demonkind and Devilkind inhabited the Hells, waging a war against each other. During one of the other shared dreams, the group recalls they were approached by both Demons and Devils, which doesn’t make sense. The two are historically enemies. Rynae adds that Asmodeus is a Betrayer God. Mercy knows more about the Calamity, though the details about how it started escape his memory. He’s unable to remember how Vesper Chloras, the Calamity, and the Nine Hells are connected. For many, the Calamity was ancient history. For Mercy, it was a bad day, which is the understatement of the century. 

 

Celosia elaborates further on Asmodeus’ offer of a bargain. Celosia stalled as long as possible. Rynae is relieved to hear that. Celosia adds the detail that Asmodeus took the face of her girlfriend Ash. She stabbed him in the heart. Jimothy applauds her bravery. Rynae can tell that Mercy is tense. For the most part he has avoided the latest dream debriefing. When Erani adds that Jimothy stabbed a ghost that might have been Elunorae, Mercy is staggered. Still, they weren’t sure one way or another. The little girl’s speech patterns matched Mercy’s. Jimothy knows it wasn’t real. After filling in the remainder of the details, Jimothy reminds the group that they’re all together again. That’s what matters. Mercy is still unnerved. No one had ever interacted with Elunorae before. To be fair, all this girl told them was that “he” did not allow her to have a name and kept her caged. 

 

Mercy needs some fresh air. The group are worried, but respect his wishes. After leaving the Nestled Nook, Mercy walks to the cliffside to paint. Pie passes out last night’s cookies, baked into butterfly, goose, and moose shapes. There’s even an awkwardly shaped Theyna cookie. Erani takes it; though they regret Mercy’s discomfort, they only shared the details for the sake of transparency. Jimothy’s been through worse. He hopes Mercy doesn’t hate him for stabbing the little girl. Mercy is the closest thing Jimothy has had to family since he left home. When prompted, Jimothy talking about where he grew up leads to a conversation about blood vs. family. Celosia wisely observes, “You don’t choose your blood. You choose your family.” Jimothy brews chamomile tea to go with Pie’s cookies, which the group enjoys as they take a moment to reflect. 

 

At the cliffs, Mercy paints a portrait of the Ustaloch in the evening, somewhat similar to his mural at the lighthouse in Nicodranas. As a finishing touch, he changes the shape of the moon into a cage, adding several bars. As he paints, Mercy is visited by an old friend: Caduceus Clay. They decide to take a walk and talk for a while, as Mercy is accompanied by Theyna. Mercy prepares an appropriate tea brewed with pink leaves. Much has happened since the two last saw each other. After Caduceus traveled with a group of insubordinates, he spent a long time reflecting before he wound up back home. Caduceus finds it fitting that his nostalgia led him back to his old friend. Mercy has found his own insubordinates to travel with. He knows they’re the right type of friends, but he doesn’t want them to suffer more with him around. Mercy has realized he’s unable to outrun his past. He has no idea what to do next. 

 

Caduceus Clay believes Mercy will regain the color he feels he has lost. These journeys they find themselves on often serve as tests. Mercy asks his friend to pass along his gratitude to the Wildmother, for the butterflies he has encountered. Caduceus is reminded of own friends when he looks at Mercy’s friends. While they’ve saved his life once already, Caduceus tells Mercy to wait until one of them actually kills him. He’s been there. Mercy has an epiphany. He’s always dreamed of having the kind of friends he has now. He won’t be afraid to share his dreams with them any longer. Caduceus knew he had the answer all along, as he watched the colors return to his friend. Mercy has a parting gift for Caduceus: pink mushrooms from his leg, so his hair stays pretty. Caduceus has his own parting gift; he will Commune with the unseen forces to answer three yes or no questions about Mercy’s fate.

 

Mercy’s questions are as follows: “Did I, or am I, letting something truly nefarious out of a cage?” The first answer is No. The second question, “Can I properly heal Celosia’s flame?” The second answer is Yes. Finally, the third question, “Are these dreams representative of a larger, impactful truth?” The wind around these old friends picks up stronger than before. The final answer is Yes. Mercy is grateful for the help of Caduceus Clay. For now Caduceus must travel to Nicodranas, in order to help his friends who have hit a spot of bother. Mercy has some advice for not standing out in Nicodranas, given his unusual appearance. He’ll fit in much better wearing a Jimothy & The Brassfangs t-shirt. Caduceus takes his proffered shirt. While he’s aware Mercy follows a different life path, he hopes his friend will remember that the Wildmother watches over him. Mercy confesses he gives flowers to people with the hope that the Wildmother will watch over people more deserving than himself. (That’s also why Mercy is one of her favorites.) 

 

Mercy asks Caduceus to pass greetings from himself and his friends along to Marion or Yussa. Together the two old friends stroll toward the edge of Trostenwald before parting ways. Mercy talks over how cool Caduceus was with Theyna. Together, Mercy and Theyna decide to find a gift for Erani before they return to the Nestled Nook. Through misdirection Mercy steals a Fulgurite necklace from a jeweler. Back at the Nestled Nook, the rest of the group is well into what is perhaps their eleventh cup of Chamomile tea. Mercy returns, describing his encounter with Caduceus Clay during his walk. Jimothy is affronted that an old friend wouldn’t pop up to say hello. Pie and Rynae concoct an ill-fated scheme to try and meet up Caduceus on his way to Nicodranas. At Mercy’s surprise, Jimothy mentions that Caduceus once saved his life, along with another friend of his, Finnegan. Mercy had no idea they had these two mutual connections. 

 

The group decides Jimothy should contact Jester Lavorre, whom he learns is Marion’s daughter. Pie really needs Jester to get in touch with her right away. As Jester has never received a Sending spell before, her response to Jimothy is fragmented. Jimothy has more tea before attempting to contact Caduceus. Mercy places the Fulgurite necklace into Theyna’s mouth, allowing their familiar to deliver the gift for Erani. As it is stolen, Mercy suggests Erani keeps it hidden until they leave Trostenwald. Meanwhile, in the dreamscape, we see the Devils taunting the little girl in her cage. When they leave her alone, her attention is drawn to a scrap of parchment that floats through the air. She grabs it, mouthing the words on the parchment. “Redemption is for everyone.” The little girl hides the parchment in the rags of clothing she wears. 

Episode Ten
"Night Of The Eyeless"

Erani grows to ten feet tall while Rynae shrinks to three feet tall. Erani’s proportions are now off-balance. Pie can finally touch Rynae’s head. Erani hopes the drugs were not involved. However, Rynae was only an observer while Erani took Skein last night. While Erani is flabbergasted, Theyna looks unperturbed. Mercy’s now the only one that understands Theyna’s meows as a spoken language. Theyna is utterly confused, though he’s always wanted to be smaller. As a familiar, he never got to experience life is a kitten. Erani assumes Theyna is upset. Theyna observes that their kiss is like being kissed like a spaghetti monster at Erani’s new height. Pie offers one of Rynae’s toys to Theyna, who swears he will have his vengeance on that toy. 

 

At the moment, it’s almost teatime. Mercy’s feeling much better since yesterday. This group recalls that Simon Earth wanted them to take care of the Eyeless. It’s time to make a plan. Though the taller Erani should get a chance to stretch their legs. Rynae could hop on Mercy’s shoulder. Pie hopes the Skein did not cause their changes in height. Everyone gathers outside of the Nestled Nook, including Mercy. Celosia suggests a stakeout of the herbalist’s shop, or else they should ask other businesses if their wares have gone missing thanks to the Eyeless. Erani wonders if the Eyeless are stealing Skein in order to be able to see. As the drug allows the user to see into the Ethereal plane, it could be how they’re functioning without eyes. Mercy and Celosia break this theory down even further, as Jimothy prepares more Chamomile tea. 

 

This group learns more about the Ethereal plane. It exists as a strange mirror of the world, though it is far more spectral. While some believe the Ethereal plane is the afterlife, it is more accurately an echo of the real world. While it is possible to traverse the ethereal plane (like all of the other planes) there exists different layers as well. Mercy postulates that the dreamscape is the place between this world, and the Ethereal plane. Mercy thinks there’s some merit to asking other businesses if they’ve been similarly disturbed. That way they can provide their insight into the shared dreams, if need be. Celosia adds that Asmodeus told her he had an abundance of Mercy, which felt very pointed. Mercy recalls the widely held belief that Asmodeus was the one behind the Calamity. Celosia fears that Mercy is the key Asmodeus needs to escape the cage. 

 

Mercy adds that through Caduceus he learned these dreams represent an impactful truth. He needs to contemplate this new information. Determining the identity of the little girl might let more pieces of this puzzle fall into place. While Mercy feels out of his depth, Celosia reveals she’s never shared dreams before. Their impact must be significant. Now the question becomes, if they were eyeless lizards hoping to see into the Ethereal plane, how would they go about doing that? Celosia would look for the easiest possible path. Even if she doesn’t sell the drug, she’d still steal it. Pie wonders if the phrase “abundance of Mercy” might indicate Asmodeus has a hidden stash of Aeormatons somewhere. Erani tries to imagine clones of Mercy in a cavern in the Nine Hells. Pie suspects Mercy may be a prototype, before raising another question. If Mercy does not have eyes, is he in fact an Eyeless? Pie’s genuinely curious. 

 

This gives Celosia an idea. If they get Mercy to use Skein, they might understand the Eyeless’ motivations given Mercy’s lack of a traditional field of sight. Still, they don’t know for sure if this will work. Erani knows Simon just offered the Skein sample to get them hooked; getting enough for Mercy to use might be difficult. Erani can’t recall anything from their Skein experience as they took the drug before bed. Pie wants to learn more about Mercy’s origins. He recalls the word Timberlyn from the Identify spell. They’ll have to research that movie more when they get to Zadash, though Rynae suspects they might need the restricted section. Information about the Calamity is not likely to be available for public consumption. Should their access be hindered in any way, Pie can shift into Beauregard as he is from Zadash. Still, Rynae adds that Pie doesn’t have his deeper voice or an accent. 

 

Erani met someone from the Cobalt Soul while they were in Marquet. Rynae reasons that Erani’s contact might be their ticket inside. Erani reveals the disturbing fact that they once spent ten years inside a library without going outside. Theyna brought them food. Mercy hatches their plan. They will stake out the drugstore at night and ask around in the shops during the day. Though now, there isn’t much daylight left. Celosia and Rynae recall the cave system mentioned by Simon. Rynae suggests staking out the shop with what little daylight there is left. Mercy approves; at night, the Eyeless will have the home court advantage. Rynae adds that should they catch sight of the Eyeless, this group should tail them back to the cavern so they can kill them all, if need be. Mercy would recall the name Ocu Luminous, and its connection to the Underdark. It makes sense that they’ve taken refuge in the cave system. As the Eyeless have been around for a long time, conflicting information exists. 

 

Pie suggests using Hold Person to catch an Eyeless as long as they’re humanoid, though she hopes they won’t have the element of surprise. Erani suggests that Theyna could infiltrate, and they could use Theyna’s eyes to see up to a hundred feet. Pie suggests that would work better if Theyna could transform into a bat. Mercy warns they must be prepared to travel further into the cave than what they might consider comfortable. The group takes a moment to trade supplies. While Mercy doesn’t have dark vision, the animals in his sanctuary would. Plus Rynae will be on his shoulder, and they have dark vision. Tonight they are traveling buddies. Erani turns Theyna into a bat, making him Batna. With all of that settled, the group chooses a point from which to stakeout the herbalist’s shop. Batna make his way inside. Mercy listens to the nearby animals to see if they have noted a disturbance. 

 

Erani sees through Theyna, who is echolocating. They meditate a bit, while they watch the owner lock up and go home. Erani tries to find spare keys, but Theyna can’t determine whether they’re there or not. Pie nervous fidgets, uses Druidcraft, and whistles. Rynae rests their head on Mercy’s head, becoming the eyes as Mercy becomes the ears. Celosia goes back and forth between watching the lake and the herbalist’s shop. Hours pass. The streets are now deserted. They do not see anything. Their attention gets diverted sometimes because this is boring. Some of them can’t help looking up at the red moon in the sky. More time passes. Rynae leans on Mercy as a beetle crawls on their face, wishing they were tinkering with an invention right now. Mercy sorts through different conversations of the wildlife. The critters of Trostenwald have an abundance of drama. The voices of two flies get his attention. While they’ve noticed unusual looking people, it becomes clear that the flies are referring to Mercy and Rynae, and their group. 

 

Mercy and the flies briefly talk to each other, recounting their days. While Mercy has bugs in his sanctuary that could come out, one of the flies called Terry gets anxious around new people. They abruptly say goodbye. The next several hours go by. Theyna struggles in his bat form. Celosia’s glance at the lake reveals three figures standing at the shop, who must have appeared within the space of a second. Celosia tells the rest of this group. These figures are cloaked, with their hands interwoven into the sleeves. They stand motionless. Everyone’s attention is on them now. Pie suggests disguising herself so she can kidnap one of them, leaving a window for Pie to take their place. Pie hopes she can mimic the language they speak well enough. As the group watches, the figures move closer. Celosia notices no normal movement beneath the cloaks; it appears that these figures are floating. Pie’s magic surges, as she unintentionally dispels Theyna. Erani returns to their vision, from where they were looking at the world as Theyna. 

 

These adventurers have their attention diverted from where the figures are standing, long enough for the figures to disappear. Rynae spots them standing on the roof next to where they are. They float in place, for now. Rynae switches to Marquesan, so Pie, Mercy, and Erani can understand. Erani translates Marquesan to Elvish for Celosia. The group covertly warns each other to not react. Mercy observes that it’s not possible to attack across planes of existence. For now, this group believes the strangers can’t touch them. Rynae, as the only one that can see through their illusion, sees scaly lizard-like tails curled up behind them. Erani and Rynae prepare attacks. Mercy rips a wooden plank off the roof, painting “Are you OK?” first in Common, then in several other languages. Pie uses Starlight Step to move behind Erani. Jimothy experiences a surge of his magical ability, which passes to Celosia as a stronger version of Bardic Inspiration. Rynae blinks. The strangers have disappeared. 

 

Abruptly, they appear right in front of this group. With their arms no longer interlinked into the sleeves, they reveal their lizard-like claws. The three Eyeless lunge for Rynae, Jimothy, and Erani. Rynae shouts. Pie is unable to detect any magic from the Eyeless. Rynae and Jimothy feel an ice cold sensation pass through their necks. Rynae, seeing into the Ethereal plane, glimpses hands around their neck. Rynae and Jimothy manage to resist this attack. Erani does not. It passes through their body, settling in their skull with agonizing pain. As the rest of the group looks on, Erani’s eyes glaze over and they are Blinded. Celosia verbalizes what she’s doing as she grapples Erani. Rynae tosses their Returning Axe at the Eyeless that attacked Erani, but they realize they’re still on the Ethereal Plane. Pie uses her Fey Presence, leading Celosia and Rynae to see Artagan offering them a plate of cookies if they will show themselves. 

 

Rynae sees the Eyeless cast Silent Image. Words appear in Marquesian. They translate to, “Do not meddle with our affairs. We only give one warning. This was it.” Rynae responds, “Do not mingle in the affairs of the town, and we will leave you alone.” The Eyeless’ parting words: “Continue to ignore our warnings, and we will keep your friend’s eyes.” Mercy creates a semblance of the mushroom from Simon’s shop through Druidcraft where the Eyeless can see, before leaping from the roof. As Mercy lands, he is surrounded by the Eyeless once more. A response from the leader, in Marquesian, “Someone who can grow what we need. A prize that we will take.” The Eyeless close ranks. 

 

Elsewhere, Artagan the Traveler and Jester Lavorre converse for what could possibly be the last time, on the roof of the water tower in Nicodranas. Artagan confesses that he’s been having visions; some of which have involved Pie. He parted ways with Jester because he realized the visions he’d been having were actually premonitions. Artagan believes he might be dying. He’s losing his abilities, which has never happened before. Jester looks terrified, but reasons that it would be fucking stupid if Artagan died. He only wanted to see Jester one last time, distracting her so that he may disappear. Jester looks sad. 

Episode Eleven
"Names On A List"

The group watches from the rooftop as Mercy is surrounded by Eyeless on the streets below. The Eyeless start to spin around Mercy. They appear to be phasing between two planes, which confuses the brains of Mercy’s friends. As Jimothy abruptly grows in size, Celosia and Erani shrink in size. Erani casts Fly on themselves, staying as far away from the Eyeless as possible. Jimothy is worried - it’s possible they’re in shock. Pie uses Starlight Step to move right next to Mercy, feeling an intense pressure in her head. As she shrugs this sensation off, the air around her grows humid and heavy. Pie attempts to distract the Eyeless with Mercy’s idea of a diversion, by creating a similar mushroom. Celosia struggles with what to do next, until picks her up and casts Heroism on her. Perhaps Celosia will switch from alcohol to tea. Mercy speaks loud enough for the rest of the group to hear. He tells Pie to take care of them, and find him later. He can do this. Using Crimson Rite with his Glaive means Mercy will be able to tell when Pie and the rest of the group have found him later. Pie slips a ring of hers onto Mercy’s finger. 

 

As this involved a swipe of his glaive, the two friends put on a show of betrayal for the benefit of the Eyeless. The rest of the group sees Mercy’s head on Pie’s shoulder. Rynae’s Eldritch cannon walks down the building and toward Mercy and Pie. Rynae is abruptly lifted into the air, the energy surrounding them becoming a gale force wind. As they throw their hands forward, spectral purple leaves emerge. Rynae has inadvertently cast Wind Wall on these creatures. The Eyeless fail to stay upright. The battle begins. Celosia rages on Jimothy’s shoulder for the first time, adding that Jimothy should throw her directly into the fray. Rynae’s Eldritch Cannon protects Mercy and Pie while Rynae casts Scorching Ray. Jimothy performs his fastball special, throwing Celosia into the healthier looking Eyeless of the bunch. Jimothy’s got plenty of Bardic Inspiration for Rynae. Now, the Eyeless are angry. The healthier looking Eyeless casts Find Familiar to manifest a sinister version of Theyna to float in front of Erani, who is unable to tell the difference. 

 

The group are attacked with Eldritch Blasts. Mercy’s Hex brings a sense of color to the Eyeless that is not their own. Pie attempts to cast Suggestion on the group’s leader. Erani is frozen with fear. This situation is beyond their control and they are panicking. Electricity courses over their body, but they do not move. Celosia threatens the Eyeless, “Fix my friend, or I’m gonna fix your face.” Given no response, she goes in swinging. Mercy, Celosia, and an Eyeless are in range of Rynae’s Faerie Fire. They summon their Eldritch Cannon to their side. Celosia bears the brunt of the damage. Jimothy sneaks into the fray, attacking the roughest looking Eyeless with his dagger, and ending them. The form of the Eyeless scatters into spectral butterflies, though Mercy causes them to swarm toward their nearest Eyeless compatriot. Jimothy adds some Unsettling Words. Mercy witnesses a horrifying vision of an Eyeless face, as they lunge at him for an attack. Mercy’s Hex ends the frightening Eyeless and eradicates his terrifying presence. The purple glow of Rynae’s Faerie Fire makes Mercy’s attack more intimidating. 

 

Pie might be off her game without direct contact with the Traveler. Erani is still catatonic, though they’re straining their ears to catch the sounds of the battle. Celosia makes jam out of the last Eyeless’ kneecaps, demanding they fix Erani. The last Eyeless dies in a burst of spectral butterflies, which vanish. Erani’s sight slowly returns, as they hear a familiar voice in the back of their mind. A recent familiar voice. “Really? But, I expected more.” Pie is unable to capture an Eyeless for questioning, suspecting that the Traveler has vanished because her spells aren’t as effective. Celosia makes a smoothie out of the last one. Rynae’s use of See Invisibility lets them see a figure running down an alleyway. This figure shimmers in a familiar way. Rynae bolts after this figure, followed swiftly by Pie. Mercy will head the figure off at the pass, from the other side of the alleyway. Celosia scales the building to check on Erani. Erani tells the voice in their mind to fuck off. Since everyone else is already running, Erani will keep a bird’s eye view on the situation. Given Erani is okay for now, Celosia pursues the figure as Erani flies. At the last moment, Jimothy runs to catch up to Mercy. 

 

Rynae casts Faerie Fire so the stranger is unable to remain invisible. Soon, they are surrounded. A small purple silhouette is revealed. It’s possible this could be a Halfling, who struggles in Mercy’s grip, speaking in an alien language. Mercy might know what language this Halfling is speaking. The strange Halfling knows how Mercy is; where he comes from, Mercy’s something of a big deal. Pie recognizes the language to be Infernal, though before communicating with the Halfling Pie makes sure that he is not an Eyeless. The Halfling is deliberately vague with the information he imparts, which frustrates Mercy. Jimothy attempts to scare him with a Minor Illusion of a fiery axe lunging toward his face. The Halfling reveals that he’s a spy. He seems unwilling to accept any other bargain for his services. While the Halfling was born in Felderwin, they spent some time in the Truscan Vale. There was a brief stop to the Hells when they died, until they got bored and came to Wildemount. Mercy is visibly angry with this Halfling’s vagueness. Creatures scurry out of Mercy’s sanctuary as he steams. He attempts to threaten the Halfling with, “Your job is to observe, so you are very aware of what I am capable of. Why are you following me?”

 

Mercy squeezes the Halfling’s shoulders; his patience having run out. Pie attempts to play Good Cop to Mercy’s Angry Cop. With Pie’s encouragement, this group learns that the Halfling was sent to follow the Eyeless, until they stumbled upon a much bigger bounty. Pie learns a bit more about the Halfling. An Archfey stole his name. With some encouragement, Pie learns his Patron is Asmodeus himself. Pie gushes with the Halfling; now that they’re friends, she switches to Common. He’ll be amenable for more of a sensual back massage. Pie learns the Halfling was only following the Eyeless because they were doing fucked up shit and it seemed kind of cool. The Halfling only followed the Eyeless because they were trouble causers, and they understood the assignment. He doesn’t know what this group means when they mention the cage that Asmodeus is locked inside. When the Faerie Fire fades, this Halfling becomes visible again. This is more like a stitched together rag doll in a well-maintained dress suit. Pie assigns this man a name. Since he’s used to being called a foolish minion, Jimothy suggests Philip Michael, or Phil for short since he’s a bit of a geezer. The Halfling’s name is decided: he is now Lil’ Phil. 

 

Mercy’s concerned. He doesn’t want this Halfling to be his friend. Jimothy changes tactics. He would like to speak to Phil’s supervisor. Pie understands, and asks Mercy for input on what Phil’s fate should be. Mercy doesn’t want either option. There’s a larger bounty on Mercy than there is on the Eyeless. For the last time, Mercy presses him for information. Phil adds that he was put through a form of torture in order to gain knowledge about his target for this assignment. Phil reveals what he learned about Mercy, and his assumption that Mercy is a special edition Aeormaton. Since Phil is part of a recruitment program, he suspects some people in the Hells may want to offer Mercy a job. What sort of job, he can’t say. There are all kinds of positions available in the Hells. Any of them would have better job security. Phil unfortunately has no supervisor; when his observers need him they will rip Phil’s soul from his body and drag it back to the Hells. Pie makes another valiant attempt at getting Phil on their side. Erani asks Phil, “What would you do if you knew the big boss was watching you right now?” Asmodeus may see all, but he just spoke inside Erani’s head. Staring Phil down, Erani reminds him that he’s just a pawn in their stupid schemes that never get to the point. 

 

Given Pie’s questions, Phil reveals that he’s somewhere between alive and undead. He originally died a brutal death: having been crushed by a cow. Phil reveals he wanted to get Jimothy & The Brassfangs t-shirts for himself and his team after Jimothy tries to reassure Mercy. While Jimothy has never played in hell, he reasons that it could be the last stop on the tour. He promises Phil to write a death metal song after Phil’s Hellish Rebuke. Phil dreams of being the headliner for his own band someday. Pie’s sonic creates flames inspired by a metal concert. Now they’re cooking with butter! Mercy wants to get back to the task at hand, wondering if there are any more Eyeless to contend with. They learn that the Eyeless they fought were part of a scouting party. There’s more Eyeless in the cave system. Jimothy signs a Jimothy & The Brassfangs t-shirt for Phil, who has a proper fanboy moment. Mercy adds a note to be delivered to Phil’s superior, stating, “I would like to set up an interview.” If need be, Phil will also put in a good word for him. This group takes another moment to get to know Lil’ Phil, who mentions Vasselheim much to the surprise of Pie. She wonders if he knew Vox Machina. 

 

Mercy’s had enough of his interaction. Whether they see Phil again matters little. Pie offers up a potential deal with the Traveler as an alternative to being a cog in Hell’s hierarchical employment machine. Phil knows a little something about Artagan the Traveler. While Artie isn’t one of his assignments, Phil hears he might be spending a bit more time in Hell soon. Phil reveals the list of names, which include Mercy and Artagan. Most of the names on this list are strong individuals. Phil promises not to give his new name away to an Archfey any time soon. They may have exhausted all of their options for discovering new information at this juncture. Phil reveals to Jimothy that each time he returns from hell he’s a bit more broken down. He didn’t make a deal after death; he was just offered a job. Erani attempts to communicate with Asmodeus in their mind, but receives no response. When asked by Celosia, Phil reveals that Ghor Dranas had something to do with the Calamity. Phil knows the widely held belief is that the Calamity is over. He’s heard whisperings around the office that those people believing the Calamity is over will soon find out that they are wrong. 

 

Phil can’t answer questions about the other names on his list. Mercy is quite the unique Aeormaton, which might be why he’s so highly sought after. Erani would speak to one of Phil’s superiors about what the word Timberlyn means. In the meantime, Phil has Mercy’s note to deliver. Pie asks for as much information as she can about how assignments are given out. One vital piece of information? The Eyeless are not not guarded in the Underdark. With that, Phil heads back into the streets of Trostenwald. Pie goes over what she has learned; making the assumption that there are at least fifteen people on that list. Pie knows of one possible name: Pike Trickfoot, a Cleric who was a part of the Vox Machina adventuring party. Erani is familiar with those adventurers. Rynae would recognize the name De Rolo, perhaps in a business sense from Port Zoon, as they have also dabbled with black powder. Celosia’s brother worships the same deity as Pike Trickfoot. Together these adventurers discuss what they know about the names on the list that have been revealed thus far. 

 

The hypothesis is that the names on this list are significant individuals within Exandria that have connections to historical events. Should Artagan’s name be on the list, he’s probably pretty high up. They reason Pike Trickfoot probably isn’t more powerful than an Archfey. Pie confesses how she worries for Artagan’s safety; she thought he was mad at her, as she hasn’t been able to speak with him in a while. Not to mention, her powers are off. His name being on the list is nothing short of terrifying for Pie. The worst information they’ve learned is that the Calamity might not be over. Rynae theorizes that they’re collecting powerful minions to bring under their control, with the purpose of bringing the Calamity back. Keeping these people captive where the forces of good can’t reach them will weaken their defenses significantly. While the group stands together in the quiet evening, they contemplate their next moves. Meanwhile in downtown Whitestone, the Slayer’s Cake is in the middle of their daytime rush. A small Gnomish woman does the baking. A tattooed Goliath runs into the kitchen wearing a frilly pink apron. This is Grog. As this cake is burned, they’ll pick up fresh ingredients to the market. 

 

The door to the Slayer’s Cake opens. Grog emerges to greet their customer, only to find a crumpled figure clutching their chest. They speak, “You’re the one they call Trickfoot, aren’t you? I need your help.” Artagan can’t quite make it through the doorway before falling to the floor. Pike rushes out to intervene, promising to bring Artagan back to life.

Episode Twelve
"Dancing With The Devil"

Several surges of wild magic leaves Pie deafened for a minute and Celosia feeling out of sorts! Erani has a proposal. Right now, Rynae is the only one that can see these creatures in the Ethereal plane. They could either steal some Skein and blame it on the Eyeless, or negotiate with Simon in the morning to obtain more for the sake of their mission. Mercy agrees that waiting isn’t a bad idea. While this group deliberate their plans, the bodies of the Eyeless disappear. Mercy reaches out to where the Eyeless were, only to find empty space. Perhaps it was the wild magic, but Pie suddenly backflips off of the nearest building. This group has undergone some drastic changes as of late. Instead, Pie dexterously races up the nearest roof to provide Mercy with a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. Nothing to report, though Pie recommends they all gather up here to watch the sunset. 

 

Mercy offers to carry anyone who wants to be carried back to the Nestled Nook, and to bed. Jimothy leaps into Mercy’s arms. They’ll have some tea before they rest. Pie waits and watches the sun rise, sadly receiving no response from Artagan when she attempts to communicate. Pie follows her friends back, while wondering if she should go back to the Lavish Chateau. Eventually everyone returns to the Nestled Nook, reclaiming their much warmer room for the evening. Erani heads to bed right away. Pie prepares treats to go with Jimothy’s tea, which he prepares on ice but declines to drink himself. He’s had enough tea for one day. Pie compromises with a Goodberry, which he’ll use as a midnight snack. Pie shares with Rynae how she tried and failed to talk to Artagan. Celosia pours a fair amount of booze into her tea, downing it like a shot. She then wraps herself in a blanket and collapses onto the floor. 

 

One by one, everyone drifts off to sleep as the sun rises in Trostenwald. Erani is the only one in this group with dreams that are not disturbed. Erani revisits the Rifenmist Jungle south of Tal’Dorei, enjoying a semblance of their childhood naiveté from before they became an Air Genasi. Everyone else awakens in the familiar dreamscape. The first thing they witness are the small embers of a dying fire which ignite into a larger blaze. They’re standing together in the ruins of an ancient city, somewhat similar to those that have been in the city ruins before. However, this is Mercy’s first time surrounded by ruins. Mercy would recognize this place to be Avalir, more specifically Excelsior Plaza. The last time he was there in real life, this place was in far worse shape. Now the city looks miles away from the paradise it was once hailed as. There’s silence all around them save for the crackling of the embers. 

 

Jimothy urges Mercy not to run away again; they’re stronger when they are together. Mercy is in agreement. He knows this city, and he thinks everyone should stick closer to him. While this place is scary, Mercy recognizes this as an opportunity to find out what information they can. Mercy reveals that they are in the ruins of Avalir, at Excelsior Plaza. Once, it looked much better than this. Rynae’s eyes widened. Despite their fear and anxiety, Rynae’s eyes still brim with curiosity. Rynae knows more about Avalir than the rest of the people. Mercy searches for the murals he once painted while he worked in Avalir. Pie wants to fly again, wondering if Mercy needs to give her the permission. Should the circumstances call for it, Mercy will give Pie that permission again. For now, they should stay on task. 

 

Mercy finds the most unimpeded path to the closest mural. As Mercy moves through the streets, the flames part as though acknowledging his presence and moving aside. He finds what’s left of a mural, though instinct tells him to look back at Celosia. Mercy notices his friend is distinctly on edge, and trying to stay grounded. Reassured that Celosia is maintaining, Mercy gets reacquainted with one of his murals. More than anything he wants to figure out who is going through all this trouble to get to him. Right now his new friends are walking through his old life; so he’s doing what he always does and trying to determine the answers in color. This mural was once an advertisement for a spell component shop that heavily featured a greenhouse and depictions of advanced botany. The flower in this advertisement has been altered; it’s now inside a crudely drawn cage that does not reflect Mercy’s style. 

 

Celosia scans the area. While there is a threat around every corner, for now the immediate vicinity is deserted. For a split second, Celosia sees a glimpse of yellow eyes while looking into her own reflection. Time seems to stand still. As Celosia stares at her own reflection, she realizes it’s moving independently. Celosia watches her reflection smile, before holding a finger up to her lips. The view shifts to Celosia’s perspective, as her consciousness is now trapped in the mirrored surface. She sees her body now has flaming eyes. The rest of the group has not noticed this exchange, as they’re still examining the mural. Still, they hear a voice that comes from Celosia but is not her own, as she slowly claps. Asmodeus is glad that this group could finally join them. Celosia’s eyes are burning flames, and they glance to Mercy. “An abundance indeed.” 

 

Typically people have a hard time reaching Asmodeus even once, but these guys just keep coming back! Perhaps they enjoy it here. He can’t blame them for that; he likes it in his crib, too. Some of them already know this is Asmodeus. He’s never had a body like Celosia’s; this is doing wonders for him. Jimothy demands he returns Celosia’s body, but Asmodeus says that he was merely accepting his invitation. Though now, on to better things. He’s got an interview to conduct. Asmodeus casts Timestop on everyone but Mercy and Celosia’s consciousness from within the mirror. Asmodeus was quite flattered to get Mercy’s note. While Mercy must have questions, he’d like to start with just one. He wants to know why Mercy keeps popping up. People have trouble sneaking things past his ever-encompassing perception. And yet, something is drawing Mercy closer to Asmodeus. As much as he’d love to take credit, he can’t account for the root cause. 

 

Mercy insists that for the sake of transparency Asmodeus needs to be more frank in their discussion. In the blink of an eye, Celosia’s form appears directly in front of Mercy. Her proportions change until she meets Mercy at eye level. Once and for all, Asmodeus wants to know who the fuck sent Mercy. During this confrontation, Mercy points out that portraits are the most difficult subject to paint because there are countless variables. While Asmodeus’ trick of taking over bodies is incredible, the eyes are always wrong. It’s the darndest thing, Asmodeus says. There’s a reason the eyes are the gateway to the soul. That’s how he travels. Celosia leans closer, as Asmodeus wonders out loud if there’s a soul inside Mercy’s wooden metal form. He’d like to know the answer. Mercy backtracks. While Asmodeus wanted to know who sent him, Mercy heard the subtext as Asmodeus is frightened. This is something Asmodeus is used to hearing from others. (Mercy wonders if he’s ever listened to the others before.) 

 

The Devil and the Aeormaton discuss the definition of insanity. While the definition is true of a single individual, Asmodeus implied there were many people that expressed similar behavior. Mercy senses he’s still not asking his real question. Glancing over his shoulder at the flower with the cage surrounding it, Mercy posits that while he keeps showing up here, these cages seem to be following him and his friends around. Asmodeus ponders this observation, until he appears to be struck by sudden inspiration. As his eyes land on the mirror, Mercy looks back to see Celosia punching at the glass from the inside. Asmodeus smiled, assuming Mercy has delivered his lock pick. Mercy can’t hear Celosia talking back to Asmodeus, but he appreciates her feistiness. Perhaps in another lifetime, they could have done great work together. Celosia’s threats appear to have no effect. Asmodeus reminds her that he was invited in; he’s just making himself at home. After all, what’s *not* to appreciate about Celosia’s body? 

 

Mercy suspects a lot of conversations Asmodeus has dance around truth and objective. He’s one of the few who has seen the grand scale of the Lord of the Hells’ exploits. He asks this question not with malice or offense meant: what does Asmodeus truly want? Celosia also asked him that question, but clearly Asmodeus thinks Mercy is the most informed out of this group. Asmodeus is intrigued - after all, Mercy was there the day Avalir fell! Mercy shows his scorch marks as proof that he was there, but also to show the type of wood Mercy is made from. This is meant to communicate how truly ancient Mercy is. Asmodeus describes the Calamity as a passion project of his that didn’t really pan out. Still, the fireworks display was spectacular. Mercy ignores his request to rate the experience on a scale from one to ten. Surely Asmodeus is not a man of spectacle, Mercy observes. He empathizes with the fact that the Calamity was probably disappointing to Asmodeus because people got away. The continent was shattered, but surely Asmodeus wanted more than that. 

 

Mercy asks if Asmodeus intends to try and bring about the Calamity again. “After all, a friend once told me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result.” Asmodeus likes the cut of Mercy’s jib. Still, he has the same flaw as most mortals, in thinking it all comes back to them. It didn’t really matter to Asmodeus that the people escaped and the continent got shattered. He has nine realms at his beck and call, after all. Mercy decides to compromise with the Lord of Lies. They each get to ask the other one question, which the other will then answer as truthfully as he can. This only works if there is honesty on both of their parts. Asmodeus agrees, and makes it a pinky swear. Mercy’s first question is easy. Nine realms don’t seem like enough for Asmodeus. Are they truly enough? Asmodeus responds that it’s more about the quality than the quantity. Perhaps his motivation is homesickness, as he was cast out of his home and branded a Betrayer God by his own kin. He believes his trauma is justified, as eternity is a long time to grieve. 

 

Asmodeus comes in with a hard hitting question. How much did it hurt when Mercy lose Elunorae? Rather than react any other way, Mercy smiles as though he’s glad Asmodeus brought this up. Mercy may share in Asmodeus’ homesickness. As an Aeormaton, he’s prepared to grieve for all eternity, but he knows it will not be long enough at the same time. Perhaps these two are more alike than they realize. Did it ever occur to Mercy that the both of them were victims of the Calamity? Mercy makes an observation that victimization is all about perspective. In that regard, Asmodeus can victimize himself all he wants. Mercy goes on to say that perhaps Asmodeus should work through some of his self-destructive tendencies. It might be possible that Asmodeus jumps into the bodies of others because he can’t stand his own skin. Asmodeus retorts that when people look at him they see the one thing they do not want to see in this world, which can have adverse effects on the mortal mind. That is why he jumps into the bodies of others. After all, why else would it have been so easy for him to take over Celosia’s body? 

 

Mercy looks from Asmodeus to the mirror. Celosia stands in defeat, because she knows that Asmodeus was right about that. Mercy asks what sort of job he’s being headhunted for. Asmodeus clarifies; are they still being honest? Mercy says yes, as he does not like to lie. He’s interested in helping to solve problems, if he can. Asmodeus finds this rather ironic. Mercy doesn’t like to lie, and yet they call Asmodeus the Lord of Lies. What a pair they make. Asmodeus will offer full disclosure. He honestly doesn’t know who Mercy is or what he’s doing here, but he’s not upset. At first Mercy had his curiosity, but now he has his attention. With a snap of his fingers, Asmodeus ends the Timestop and returns Celosia to her own body. Before Mercy stands a Devil with crimson skin. Mercy sees a face he hasn’t seen in a long time: his idea of the most beautiful face in existence. He sees an older woman who valued empathy, kindness, botany, and a love of animals and bugs (but especially butterflies) that he spent a long time with. She had preternaturally youthful skin, deep red hair, and control of/kindness towards all plant life. Mercy never got to say goodbye to her. He appreciated her beauty, and her face reminded him of someone else he would see around Avalir from time to time. 

 

Mercy sees this face again, and admits that it is heartbreaking. Asmodeus gets that a lot. Mercy genuinely asks, “Are you okay?” Asmodeus doesn’t imagine that he’s ever been okay, but he’s used to that. Mercy gently reminds him that just because he’s used to it doesn’t make it okay. Asmodeus finds it cute that Mercy is attempting to empathize with the Lord of the Hells. It’s an original take that no one else has tried before, but it’ll wear off in time. Mercy posits that since Asmodeus is just as clueless about why he and his friends are here, perhaps there’s something he could do to prevent this group from returning to the dreamscape. It seems to be happening at an alarming rate these days. When asked why Asmodeus would do that, Mercy responds with, “Because I asked.” Asmodeus will take the request under consideration. While Mercy can’t answer his original question, he’ll say that ever since the dreams began he’s been enjoying drawing stars. It’s been a long time since Asmodeus has seen stars, but he remembers what they look like. Mercy mentions that he carved a star into the forehead of the guy who attacked him before. Asmodeus thinks that’s pretty metal of Mercy, and the two share a fist bump. 

 

Mercy offers that should Asmodeus leave Celosia alone, if Mercy figures anything else out he will set up a second interview. As long as they are not continually tortured in their dreams like this. This group needs their rest. While they may be asleep, their dreams are certainly not restful. (Though Asmodeus loves his semantics.) Mercy peaks the curiosity of the Lord of the Hells. Why stars? Perhaps it’s the same reason that fire is a persistent element in the dreamscapes with Asmodeus. It’s Mercy’s inspiration. Mercy is polite enough to ask what inspires Asmodeus. It might sound self-centered but Asmodeus often inspires himself. He doesn’t have a lot of options around here. Asmodeus posits, “You can’t get inspired by the people beneath your boot.”  Mercy suggests he tries not wearing boots. Mercy truly has an answer for everything! This is why he wants to see them again - this is the most fun he’s had in centuries. Pie chimes in with her agreement. She uses her Starlight Step to remind Asmodeus what stars look like. Pie now sees the most beautiful face she can imagine - the face of Artagan the Traveler with flaming eyes. For a split second Pie sees what look like black veins on Artagan’s face. Pie’s confused, and full of questions. Though she suspects that this 

group keep showing up here because Asmodeus is secretly bored. 

 

Asmodeus as Artagan moves closer in the blink of an eye, to caress the side of her face. It’s clear Pie looks up to Artagan. If he isn’t careful, Pie might ramble on about the Traveler. Asmodeus warns Pie that she should be worried about Artagan. Last time he saw the Traveler, he wasn’t doing too well. Pie pulls out a fresh Creme Brûlée, attempting to cast Suggestion on Asmodeus. The spell gets counter spelled immediately. Where once there was dessert in Pie’s hands, there is now a roaring fire! Pie tries to get rid of the fire, but finds that it burns. Jimothy cautions Pie. There’s no use playing with him; right now he’s playing with them. Pie’s still having fun, even as the fire crawls up her arm. Pie’s still convinced that this isn’t real, and she can do whatever she wants! Pie uses Hellish Rebuke against the Lord of the Hells. What’s Pie’s reasoning? If Artagan is so bad, then why doesn’t Asmodeus teach her how to control fire? Perhaps he could be her new lord and savior. The fire burns Pie again, until the flames are snuffed out by Asmodeus. He threatens Pie, “Keep running your mouth, and I’ll go pay a visit to Jester Lavorre.” The subtext being that he thinks the Lavish Chateau could use a makeover. Perhaps it has the potential to become more suitable to the tastes of Asmodeus. 

 

Pie’s resolve does not falter. Asmodeus wants another realm, because he’s bored. The Lavish Chateau is not worth his energy. Now Pie wants to know if there’s anything they can bring for Asmodeus, should they return here again. All Asmodeus really wants is his lock pick. Pie asks if Asmodeus is stuck. He never said that the lock pick was for him. Though now, revealing who the lock pick is for would be spoilers. Pie teases that she likes being spoiled. That’s Pie’s problem, Asmodeus adds. She *is* spoiled. Look where flouting Fey abilities have gotten her precious Archfey. Asmodeus stubbornly refuses to reveal Artagan’s precise location. Mercy mentioned what he’s learned; that he’s well known in these parts. Would that have anything to do with why the Traveler is missing? When Asmodeus hesitates, Mercy adds that they don’t have to like each other. They’re both trying to get the same questions answered. They could be friends, but holding Artagan hostage won’t get Asmodeus his answers any faster. Though as Mercy has been so polite, it might be improper not to release the Traveler with the promise to do him no harm. Except, Artagan brought it on himself. Mercy presses; they’ve talked about self-victimization already. He explains that being punished on top of already punishing ourselves isn’t very fair. Really, it’s almost lazy. 

 

Asmodeus reveals that Artagan flaunted stolen powers and proclaimed themselves to be a God amongst mortals. What level of self-victimization would cause that? Mercy posits that Asmodeus sounds insulted. Mercy can’t speak for the Traveler. He can only try to solve the issue at hand. Mercy guesses that Artagan could have flaunted their power out of insecurity. Asmodeus gets down to brass tacks. While he wants to be Mercy’s friend, he wouldn’t have any use for the Traveler. Even if he did have a use for the Traveler, he wouldn’t share that use. Mercy proposes a trade. Asmodeus clearly enjoys having Mercy around. Mercy himself has a lot of questions about what goes on in this space, as he’s received conflicting information so far. There’s been a mysterious development happening inside of Mercy for a while. Maybe neither of them deserve the answers. But, Mercy promises to share what he sees. So, the issue in front of him is that Pie is hurt because something clearly happened to Artagan. Should Asmodeus be able to find out what happened to Artagan, he’d be interested in a trade in exchange for information. In return, Asmodeus would get Mercy. Pie shouts at Mercy using Message. If he stays, she will too. Pie wants to learn more about this place. Mercy attempts to wink at Pie with his hollow eyes, which gets Celosia to stop staring at the mirror and turn around to the group. 

 

Mercy sets the terms of their proposed bargain. Asmodeus cannot have unfettered access to Mercy for an eternity, because that’s boring. However, Asmodeus is welcome to show him around, give him a tour, or share more information from whatever mission he’s on, as those are all things Mercy is interested in. Then Mercy can return, and they can stop dreaming about this place. After that if Asmodeus wants Mercy’s company, he would be flattered. They’ll settle the terms of that particular arrangement later. Asmodeus observes that a lot of people have tried to get on his good side. This is the most original pitch he’s heard in a while. He’ll tell them what they want to know about Artagan, and he’ll give Mercy a list of names. It’s not any that Mercy may have heard of before. Though at the mention of their new associate Phil, Asmodeus will be sure to pay him a visit. For now, Asmodeus is amenable to their arrangement. He’ll reveal to Mercy what the list of names means eventually. Certain things have to play out naturally, and there will be no skipping ahead. In the meantime, Asmodeus encourages Mercy to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Though he adds that Mercy’s intuition is correct: he is very well-known around here. Mercy asks for a reprieve while this arrangement takes time to become truly settled. If something’s happening right under his nose, Mercy posits that it may not be beneficial for Asmodeus if they keep showing up here. Of course, Artagan would need to remain stable during this reprieve as well. 

 

Jimothy ties his life force to Mercy’s as his friend makes an argument that could spell the end of their lives if it doesn’t go over well. Fortunately, they’ve caught Asmodeus in a good mood. Mercy has made his argument as a symbol of a time period that was properly beautiful to Asmodeus, but also represents his biggest defeat. Mercy has presented himself as someone that has not been dishonest to a total narcissist like Asmodeus for a single moment. This is the Lord of the Hells’ chance to undo his mistake. Mercy reminds Asmodeus of an old friend that used to have see more in Asmodeus than perhaps was there to begin with. He had a saying - “Redemption is for everyone.” Though Asmodeus wishes better luck for Mercy than for his former friend. Mercy reasons that they should perhaps go, though the proper thing to do at this juncture would be to exchange gifts. Mercy gives Asmodeus a limited edition Jimothy & The Brassfangs limited edition shirt, with flames on the back. Adding that it would be weird if he didn’t honor the process of a gift exchange. Asmodeus certainly has never received a gift like this before. Pie has an idea; he and Mercy should both wear the shirts and form a fan club for Jimothy! Asmodeus already knows how talented Jimothy is, and he’ll pass. Mercy thinks it’s nice that he’s been to a Jimothy & The Brassfangs show, though Pie wonders if it’s more than one show by now. 

 

Asmodeus posits that he *is* the show. He doesn’t have an answer on what his preferred name is, but he does enjoy it when Mercy calls him Friend. Pie has just one more question. Asmodeus has said that he’ll reveal this information when the time comes. Since time works differently here, hasn’t enough time already passed for him to reveal what they want to know? While they agreed to an exchange of information, they failed to specify the terms of where or when the information will be exchanged. So for now, Asmodeus will keep that card close to his chest. He will dole it out whenever he deems it to be appropriate. Jimothy bribes Asmodeus with a listen to the Brassfangs’ new single, which Asmodeus declines. He admires their efforts, leaving them with a few parting words. “If only the world will end up remembering any of you.” With a snap of his fingers, everyone comes to consciousness. Pie couldn’t draw a dick on him fast enough. She just wanted to make the Traveler proud. Pie starts to cry, and Celosia wakes up with an upset stomach. Erani wakes up after a pleasant night’s sleep. Still, Erani’s friends look troubled. Although it's old hat at this point, the group launches into another dream debriefing. Pie doesn’t have any burn marks from her encounter with fire in the dream. Though she observes that Celosia might need some tea. 

 

Pie asks for Mercy’s honest opinion on Asmodeus. This group has a few choice words for how to describe Asmodeus, but it can best be summed up with Celosia calling him an asshole. Pie observes that if there’s no love in your life and you’re bored, then that’s where your soul goes as you turn into a mess like Asmodeus. She gives him a quick shoutout in case he’s listening somewhere. Mercy thinks Asmodeus is probably misunderstood. He’s got a lot to say. Though he might put down an audience given half the chance. He’s clearly got a lot of ideas and misplaced anger. Unless his motivations become a problem, Mercy believes it’s not on them to solve that riddle. All Mercy did was speak to Asmodeus like the Calamity affected him the same way, even though he knew Asmodeus was the cause. Mercy wishes to check on his painting, and the campfire. When Asmodeus said he did not know why Mercy was there, Mercy believed him. When Erani asks, Mercy clarifies that he painted a campfire by the Loch after everyone woke up from their last visit to the dreamscape. There have been far more coincidences than Mercy is comfortable with observing. Though Mercy noticed that Asmodeus seemed more frustrated that the answers hadn’t been revealed yet than deceptive. 

 

Mercy wants to buy some time now, because he feels bad that none of them are really resting at night. When prompted, Mercy fills Erani in on the terms of their proposed bargain. Erani is disbelieving and lashes out. Why would he trust the Lord of Lies? What about that makes Mercy think he’ll honor any agreement? Mercy cites that he works on deals, which made him trust that Asmodeus would cooperate. Besides, he had to buy time in order to figure out what happened to Artagan. Erani needs to know what Mercy promised in exchange. Mercy promised to find out some information, in exchange for learning why he is so well known and his image is plastered everywhere. Plus Asmodeus will impart an unspecified list of names to Mercy at some point. Pie wonders where the balance of Asmodeus lies. One one side there’s the Hells, but what’s on the other side? Mercy suspects that even Asmodeus doesn’t know the answer to that question. Still though, Asmodeus has been stewing for quite a long time and undoubtedly has cruel intentions. Regardless of whether anyone knows the reasoning, this group seems to be really mixed up with Asmodeus. They can’t seem to get away. Mercy recalls what Phil pointed out, that their interactions seem to be leading toward a continuing Calamity. Mercy can’t let that happen again. 

 

Erani is all for ignoring Asmodeus, walking away, and not cooperating. Since he’s using them for information, if they don’t give it to him then Asmodeus is screwed. Pie compromises; why not cause chaos in the dreamscape by any means necessary? That way Asmodeus will either get bored and leave them alone, or give them the list because he’s interested in other entertainment. Erani reasons that Pie’s method would work better in their own domain instead of his. Mercy learns from Celosia what Asmodeus meant about the lock pick. It’s no surprise that Celosia is a thief. Before she realized how much trouble they were in, she might have made an offer to Asmodeus. Jimothy is aghast. Too bad for Asmodeus, there’s nothing Celosia wants that he could offer. As far as her reasoning, Celosia saw a person in a cage. It didn’t matter who. Jimothy presses that it does matter. This is the most the group have ever seen Celosia shrink in on herself. All of her bravado is gone. Jimothy’s encouragement, as he casts Heroism. “You are stronger than you think.” They just want to know what they’re getting themselves into, and if there’s any way they can help Celosia. To be honest, Celosia isn’t sure. But clearly he can take her from here, and she is not safe. Maybe they’re Asmodeus’ friends right now, but that fact remains. 

 

Jimothy reasons that he doesn’t think they’ll ever be friends with Asmodeus. It’s hard to be friends with a narcissist, especially someone as calculating as Asmodeus. Jimothy speaks from experience. Celosia meant that they’re only his friends until they outlive their purpose. Pie makes a pact with their group. Can they all agree not to sacrifice themselves for Asmodeus? They’re being used by him to begin with, so nothing changes with their sacrifices. That’s why they’re stronger together. Jimothy looks straight at Pie when she says that this group is stronger together. Jimothy is frustrated that when he told Mercy to stop running ahead in the dreamscape, he did it anyway. Mercy reasoned that everything stopped during the Timestop. The two of them had to talk. When prompted, Jimothy and Pie reveal they might’ve been aware that time stopped for two hours. Still, time is a weird soup in the dreamscape. At around this time, there’s a knock on the door of their room at the Nestled Nook. Mercy opens the door to reveal a tall slim figure in blue robes. He’s been looking for Jimothy & The Brassfangs. Mercy and Jimothy freak out, wondering if they’re finally getting a record deal. This man assures them that that’s not the case. This man introduces himself as Expositor Boson from the Library of the Cobalt Soul. He has no time for Pie’s theatrics. 

 

Rynae has always wanted to visit the Library of the Cobalt Soul! It might make for a nice change of pace. Mercy requests that Expositor Boson tip the downstairs bartender, as they caused quite a ruckus. That request will be honored. As Celosia leaves the room, she glances back one last time. From the nearest reflective surface, she sees a familiar figure holding a finger to their lips. Celosia hides the tear stains from her mascara using Prestidigitation. Meanwhile, the view moves elsewhere in Wildemount, back to Nicodranas. Standing on the deck of a ship docked in the port are Jester Lavorre and her husband Fjord. Jester looks like she’s been crying, recalling her last meeting with Artagan the Traveler. He thought that he was dying, and now she’s felt a strange emptiness and her powers aren’t working right. She’s worried that she’s losing her abilities. Fjord puts an arm around Jester, telling her that they can take this one step at a time. They’ve definitely dealt with worse, and they’ll fix it because they always do. Even if it means calling in some old friends. It’s also possible that Artagan could be fucking with Jester. Jester shakes her head; this isn’t like Artie. Fjord reasons that when he needs peace, he looks to the ocean. Jester smiles. They will take this problem one step at a time. 

 

The view pulls away from the dock, to a nearby alleyway. There’s a sudden flash of electrical energy, as a figure apparates into view. They wear a tattered green cloak and have a frazzled mess of ginger hair. Artagan climbs to his feet, gasping and clutching at his chest. Artagan shouts for Jester, as he stumbles toward their ship. People stop and stare as Artagan starts to run. He trips and falls over, but gets up and continues running. Artagan screams Jester’s name. At this point, Jester and Fjord hear the commotion. Jester’s in disbelief, but runs toward the side of the ship and calls for Artagan. Jester sounds heartbroken. She sprints off the deck of the ship, nearly falling into the ocean as she races toward Artagan. The Archfey has collapsed, but seems to have stabilized. He doesn’t remember how he got there. Jester is furious; his tricks are good but this one really scared her this time. Artagan can’t account for what happened. Clearly they have a lot to talk about, though Jester is glad he made it. And through a kind of divine intervention, the Archfey escaped the clutches of death and lived to fight another day. Though his experiences have definitely left him changed. 

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