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Summary[]

Azu and Hamid are thrust back into a world that tried to leave them behind when Einstein ferries them to a safe zone.

Synopsis[]

The party with all the hostages, except for Sasha, Grizzop and Eldarion, made it back to Rome after planeshifting, where they were greeted by Einstein and received a quick debrief from him. The party has leveled to level 8. The episode picks up right where season 3 left off.

The party prepares to teleport the hostages to Cairo and to then meet up with Curie to find out if there is any way to save Sasha and Grizzop. Hamid realizes his little brother is now older than his twin, and that his family has probably been mourning them.

Einstein takes Azu and Hamid aside and warns them that Cairo is pretty beaten up now and that are not many people left there, and they shouldn't freak out when they can't find some people immediately. Azu and Hamid assure him they will try to be calm. Einstein tells them he can't teleport them all at the same time. Hamid wants to stay with his brother, and decides to go first, while Azu stays behind and goes last.

Azu and Hamid notice that Einstein is using some sort of magical ring to help teleport people. Everyone arrives in a slightly beaten up Egyptian-style waiting room. They can hear a sand storm raging outside. Einstein encourages everyone to sit down and chill for a moment, and then talks to Azu and Hamid. Hamid tells him he would like to get everything over with and to face the 'brave new world'. Azu opens the door and immediately finds out there is a minor sand storm going on, Einstein gives them sand storm gear to put on, and encourages Azu and Hamid to go first and to leave everyone else behind for now. Azu and Hamid decide to take Ed with them.

A digital drawing of Azu, Ed, Hamid, and Einstein. Azu, a Black orc woman, is standing in back with full pink armor. Or mouth is closed and her eyes are looking forwards. In front of her is Ed, a white human male. He is in full gold armor. He is smiling a wide smile and has his hand on Hamid shoulder. Slightly in front of him is Hamid, a brown halfling male. He is in a purple suit with a green tie and cape. His mouth is in a frown and he is looking to the side offscreen at something. In the foreground but only half visible is Einstein, a white human male. He is holding one arm up with his pointer finger extended. He his staring back at the others.

Einstein leads Azu, Ed, and Hamid into Cairo. Art by @skraak on tumblr. Used with permission.

Outside they recognize they are in one of the guard houses of Hamid's estate, which has been completely reclaimed by desert, although the main building is still standing. Hamid is unsettled and Einstein proceeds to give a lengthy, rhythmic knock on the door to the main building, then heads around the back of the building to a servant entrance, knocks again, and the door opens. The party enters the main kitchen, and Hamid doesn't recognize the person who opened the door. The interior of the main building appears to be in a decent shape.

Einstein speaks to a servant in Arabic, telling them he's trying to bring in Hamid and Azu slowly so as not to overwhelm them. Einstein leads them to the main atrium, where there are multiple people at desks writing and having hushed conversations. It is apparent that the al-Tahan estate has been retrofitted into some kind of Bletchley Park-style base of operations. Most of the people are humans, although there are some halflings, and they are a mix of Egyptian and European. Hamid recognizes several halfling servants.

Einstein tells Azu and Hamid he's taking them to a room and will give them a little bit of info, and then he will take them to meet Curie. Hamid tells him he was hoping to meet some of his family, and Einstein tells him 'that's what the little room is for, OK?". Hamid becomes incredibly worried, and grabs Azu's hand for support as they follow him. Einstein then realized his mistake and assures them everyone is fine, to Hamid and Azu's immense relief.

fanart of Einstein, Azu, and Hamid. Einstein is in full explorer's gear in a half shell helmet. There is text above him that reads: oh yeah everyone's fine!. Next him is Azu, an orc woman, and Hamid, a halfling male. They are holding hands. Azu is leaning forward with her free hand on her chest or eyes are closed and her mouth is open in relief. Hamid is leaning back with his free hand on his belly. His eyes are closed and mouth is open in relief. Text around the two read: Ah oooh okay okay okay okay.

Einstein reassures Azu and Hamid. Art by @art-heap on tumblr. Used with permission.

Einstein takes them into Saleh Jr.'s bedroom, and tells them their family is safe somewhere further inland, because Cairo is no longer a place where people actually live. Hamid's family has donated the estate to Curie to use as a base of operations, and Einstein has been teleporting in a lot of stuff here for Curie. Einstein tells them to wait so he can inform Curie that they've arrived. Hamid is very confused about Curie using his family's home as her base, seeing as his sister Saira was an aide to one of the Meritocrats Apophis, and Curie is a leader of the Harlequins. He wonders whether that distinction is still important, and Azu wonders whether Apophis is still around. Einstein confirms that he is, sort of, and then leaves to inform Curie.

Azu and Hamid have a moment alone with Ed, and talk about next steps to take and about who Curie is. Ed talks about Friedrich for a while, and Hamid and Azu let him, because they're stressed and worried. Hamid goes back to holding Azu's hand.

Einstein returns and tells them Curie is super happy to see them. Hamid has prestidigitated to look his absolute best and summons up some composure as they go to meet Curie. Hamid wants to knock on the door, but Azu immediately bursts into the room. Curie sees them and stands up, introducing herself to Azu and Ed. Hamid notices she has been having a rough time of it, and that she has a fresh scar running from her ear to the middle of her chin on the left side of her face, and that she's favouring the other side of her body a little.

Curie immediately tells them she has several important questions they need to answer before she can tell them anything. She asks whether Eldarion has made it back, and Hamid tells her no. Azu notices she is emotionally distraught by this fact, and they probably have some history. Curie then asks them if they discovered anything useful about the simulacra while they were in Rome, and Hamid and Azu tell her they did not.

Azu asks her if she's up to date with what happened in Damascus, and Curie tells them that she was updated by an agent. Hamid asks if this was Oscar Wilde, and Curie pauses and asks them why they would think that. They tell her they had been working with him, before they disappeared. Curie denies that she would ever work with a meritocratic officer. Hamid is angered by the fact that Curie is trying to be obscure, seeing as the current state of the world seems to supersedes past differences, and that everyone is on the same side now.

Curie tells them that everyone being on the same side is an assumption she has to challenge. She asks Hamid for minute details about his life, details which she has been informed about by Hamid's family, in order to make sure that Hamid is not an imposter. She tells them that their enemy has a tendency of sending back people they thought were dead, only for these people to turn on them.

Hamid tells her the story of the time he broke his father's urn, and Curie is satisfied. She then asks Hamid to take off his clothes, which he does. She explains it's to recognize the signs of somebody in the late stages of 'turning'. She asks the same from Azu, and Azu tells Curie the story of who brought her to Aphrodite. They then both vouch for the trustworthiness of Ed. Curie then tells Hamid about the conversations they had that only he knows about, and then also shows her naked body to establish she is also trustworthy.

Azu asks about Wilde again, and Curie confirms Wilde is his own agent now, and that he left the meritocracy before it was compromised. She tells them if their conversation is fruitful, that she will get them in touch with him soon.

BREAK

Azu asks how they can help Curie, and she tells them the best she can do is get them back in touch with Wilde, to continue the work they were doing before they disappeared. Hamid asks if their work is related to what is currently happening in the world. Curie tells them they are working under the assumption that it is, and Hamid is confused what the connection is. Curie says that the route of the infection/problem followed the exact same route that the party took from London, to Paris, to Prague, etc, although correlation is not causation.

Curie investigated all the paperwork that the party had found during their investigations. They found a connection between the organic components of the simulacrum and the organic components infiltrating their compatriots in Europe. Hamid asks whether it has to do with the seed in the notebook, and Curie confirms that it does.

Curie tells them that Wilde was under the impression there was some kind of device being made that could counteract simulacra, and that it is a top priority to find and acquire such a device for their current war. However, they cannot find such a device or the builder of it. Now that the notebook is back (still in Hamid's possession), Curie hopes she can convince the party to rejoin Wilde to continue their work. Azu asks what happened to the Cult of Hephaestus, whom Grizzop gave the fail-safe device information to. Curie says that the Hephaestus clerk was adamant he never received such a thing, and that when they pushed the matter, the clerk was taken underground by the church, probably due to his promise to keep it secret.

Hamid asks how the meritocracy has been compromised. Curie tells them that Guivres has been 'taken'/infected, and that the rest of the Meritocrats are not in as a robust health as they would like, and therefore have to consider their actions more carefully than in the past. Hamid asks whether Curie has reached out to them or is working with them. Curie says that the Meritocrats have rebuffed their advances for cooperation, and that the meritocratic forces are no longer their friends because they are heavily compromised.

The churches have been able to hold themselves together more than most other factions. They claim they have no way of formally detecting whether someone has been infected, but that they have 'additional tools' to their disposal. The Harlequins have stepped into the power vacuum that was created in the absence of the Meritocrats and churches. Power is difficult, some areas have taken matters into their own hands.

Hamid asks about Tesla, and whether he was a Harlequin. Curie says he was not, and that they have not yet been able to find him. They think Tesla was in London when London fell, which is less than convenient, because he might now be compromised.

Curie is surprised that Azu and Hamid have not yet asked about their families, and they reply that Einstein said they were fine. Curie is perturbed by this, because Einstein was not yet supposed to give them such information. She tells them there's only one way to find out whether Azu and Hamid have not been turned, and that is to wait 7 days, a 'quarantine' period during which the blue marks would show up. She tells them that everything she has told them is an uncharacteristic leap of faith, and that she'll hand them over to Wilde now, because Wilde is better equipped to deal with people who has been turned than anyone she knows.

Hamid tells Curie that, although he has many more questions, the most important question he has is about the planeshift spell that Eldarion cast, and how they might find Grizzop and Sasha and get them back. Curie tells them it's better to assume that Grizzop and Sasha are gone, which upsets Hamid, as he tries not to cry. Azu puts an arm around Hamid. Curie tells them the best case scenario (or worst case) is that Grizzop and Sasha could quite literally be 'anywhere'. She thinks it's foolish to assume they are anywhere 'habitable'. Hamid asks if there is any way to find out for sure. Curie says it would take an enormous amount of research and resources she cannot spare at the moment, but if Hamid and Azu continue their work, she will try to look into it. Hamid says he's not giving up, and that Azu and him will continue their work regardless, because it's not a 'trade', but the right thing to do.

Azu asks what the odds are of finding Sasha and Grizzop. Curie says 'infinitesimal'. Hamid grabs Azu around the waist and hugs her, and whispers: "She didn't say zero".

Episode Ends

Quotes[]

Bryn: "Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, this is season 3. And I can't help but notice... that you haven't.... put half the party in the room?"
Alex: "Oh, well about that. Yeah, gone now! So-"
Bryn: "No, no, no, I'm not, I'm not okay with this. When- when last time I was here they were trapped in the past, we were ALL in the episode and I assumed that would continue!"
―Episode introduction (and Bryn getting the season wrong)

Curie: "Squeamishness is a long time behind us."
Hamid: "I see. I guess we'll have to get used to some new, eh, social norms."
Curie has to check Hamid and Azu for blue veins.

Alex: "So, you're sat with arguably the most well-informed person on the planet. You don't have much time, they're very busy you see. So pick your questions, and pick them carefully."
Bryn: "Oh GOD, Alex. I need to know everything! Both in and out of character!"
Hamid and Azu speak with Curie.

Azu: "Are they gone?"
Curie: "It would be better to assume so."
Bryn: "Hamid is trying really hard not to cry."
Helen: "Azu puts an arm around you."
Curie: "The best case scenario, and this may be the worst depending on your perspective, is they could be quite literally anywhere, and when you know as much as I do about the nature of…"
Hamid: "The planes?"
Curie: "Let’s just say that anywhere is a very large a very empty place most of the time. This is of course doesn’t preclude the possibility that they could be somewhere habitable, but I think it would be extremely foolish to assume so."
Azu: "So, not dead but dying, slowly, where we can’t get them."
Azu and Hamid ask Curie if there's any way to get Sasha and Grizzop back.

"I’m not giving up on them. Once the world is ever in a stable place again, I’m gonna look for them. Just so I know, tell me how I’d start, tell me now so I can start...thinking about it. I promise I won’t let it distract me from what’s more important, from helping people here and now, but I need to know where I’d start so that when I get the chance I can do it."
Hamid is determined to save Sasha and Grizzop.

Azu: "Tell me the odds."
Curie: "Infinitesimal."
Bryn: "I walk up really close to Azu, I don’t even grab your hand, I grab you round the waist and sort of give you half a hug and just whisper:"
Hamid: "She didn’t say zero."
Alex: "Ohhhhhh, I’ll end the episode there. Ohhh, I end the episode there. Ahhhh, my heart broke."
Helen: "Good! This is your fault!"
Alex: "Yeah, I know. Ohhhh god. Oh that’s the worst thing I could ever imagine putting on a t-shirt with it’s context."
Hamid refuses to give up hope.


Dice rolls and Mechanics[]

  • Hamid and Azu Perception Check in the sand storm: 19 (Hamid), 17 (Azu)
  • Hamid and Azu Sense Motive on Curie: 23 (Azu), 10 (Hamid)

Plot Notes[]

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