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Summary[]

Join Alex, Helen, Bryn, Lydia and Ben as the party finally sees the sun! This week Zolf hopes for minecraft, Azu gets some stretches in, Hamid gets to make a call, Cel thinks about their future.

Synopsis[]

The party has just finished the fight in the bathysphere, and are almost out of the Shoin Institute. There are a decent number of bodies on the floor from before they came into the room. Barnes and Carter both acknowledge the party, with Carter flourishing a dagger. Barnes sheathes his sword, giving a bow to the party. Hamid asks how they are, and Azu asks who they are, prompting Zolf to introduce the two of them to the party. Cel introduces themselves, clarifying that their pronouns are they/them. Barnes asks what needs to be done next, and Hamid says that they need to go into isolation, with Zolf clarifying that they have Shoin’s brain with them. He explains that it’s a similar thing as Mr. Ceiling, and tells them that half of the brain is infected. 

They turn to leave, heading back toward the inn so that they can debrief with Wilde and be put in quarantine for a week, and Cel asks if they could do all of this at their tea shop instead. Zolf says that they can’t, because if one of them are infected, they could spread it through the village and thus through the entire island; they need to isolate themselves again. Azu is clearly not happy at the news. Barnes asks if there’s any chance that they will be followed back to the inn, and Zolf says that everyone they’ve run into is dead. Azu mentions the kobolds, but they don’t believe that the kobolds will be any trouble. 

Cel is a bit despondent at the news that they won’t be able to return to check on the village for a bit, but does accept it. Hamid promises that they will find out about their village when they can, and that they don’t want to leave Cel in the dark, but that the best thing is isolation for now. 

As they finally leave, Barnes mentions that they’ve cleared out most of the tunnel ahead, and Azu and Cel thank the two of them for helping with the escape. He accepts the thanks; outside of combat, Barnes is very reserved and dour despite the physical flamboyance. 

The party doesn’t loot the bodies of the two mooks who had fallen last; Hamid checks for magical items, but they don’t have anything beyond water breathing potions, so he leaves them be. Barnes and Carter lead the party out; they’re keeping an eye on the party as they walk, and Azu asks if one of them wants to walk behind them. Barnes says that that won’t really help, as the party will just need to keep an eye on them instead. The modus operandi seems to be - everyone keeps an eye on each other for any possible suspicious actions. Azu says that she hates this, but understands that it’s what has to be done. Carter says that this makes everything else look a bit more unimportant, in comparison, but he doesn’t really expand when Azu asks, and Hamid says that it doesn’t.

Zolf, watching the exchange, picks up on the tension between the three of them, and turns to Carter, asking what he did. Azu says that he’s a thief and annoying, and Carter counters it, saying that he’s an excellent thief. She reminds him that they found him in a pit, and Carter brushes it away, saying he’s been unfortunate; it goes back and forth in this manner until Zolf finally steps in, telling Carter to bring it down a notch, and then says that they should just walk in silence. Barnes silently thanks Zolf.

Cel, however, doesn’t do well with silence, so they start just rambling on about potential solutions to the problems of having to keep an eye on everyone and the quarantine itself (none of the solutions are workable); Barnes is patient and listens, and Carter is interested, and it carries on like this as they walk. The tunnel they’re in dips down a bit as they make their way through it, with a few more braziers on the wall, and then continues straight forward before finally curving upwards again. There’s another miner station and a pressure door, and mining cart rails lead to the door. The party continues along; Zolf presses the button to see if the mine cart will appear, and when nothing happens, gives Barnes and Carter a quizzical look. Carter smiles and then looks to the side, where there’s a crashed mine cart - Zolf is clearly exasperated. 

They head up through the mine shaft - it’s not clear what was being mined for here, but eventually they get closer to the top and daylight starts to filter through. They realise that they are far from the sea, and have come out into a heavily wooded area. There’s a lot of debris and foliage pushed aside where the entrance is, and a campsite with some wagons and crates a little bit away. There are two bodies splayed across the crates.  

Watercolour fanart. It shows a rough sea and a foggy sky, through which a lighthouse is only barely visible.

The Shoin Institute, clear of rain. Art by @amhil on twitter. Used with permission.

Once they’re out, Zolf’s breathing immediately becomes far more relaxed, as does Azu’s. She does a big stretch, cracking all her bones. They realise that it’s about midday, and for Zolf and Cel, it’s the first sunny day in months. Cel looks around and notices that the mineshaft has been built into a tor, and scrambles up the side so that they can try and figure out where they are. They recognise the area, and know that they are toward the coast, but not too far from where they set off in the boat originally. There are plumes of smoke coming up from the island in the distance, where the Institute is, and the beach itself has a lot of debris on it from the calmed storm waters. The cloud cover appears natural. Cel realises that they would be able to get back to the village by evening, but it would take a little bit longer to get back to the inn (a few hours).

Zolf follows Cel up the hill, and joins them, thanking them for their help and telling them that they did a good job. Cel thanks him in return and does the same, before talking about they’ve finally finished it after having held off the mooks for a long time. Zolf says that he hopes that their village can feel safer, now, but Cel seems to almost brush it off, clearly feeling guilty for not having acted sooner. Zolf tells them not to feel bad about that, and reaches up to pat them on the shoulder. He says that they can stay up here for as long as they’d like, but Cel just says that they were trying to get their bearings, and asks Zolf where he wants to go. Zolf says that they need to go back to the inn, because they have an anti-magic cell already set up that they can use. Cel says that they’re going to need to start walking hard and fast if they want to get back soon, and mentions that they could fly ahead, but Zolf turns them down, saying that they should all stay together now. Cel agrees, and Zolf heads back down to the party.

Coloured fanart of Hamid and Azu, both drawn in their usual clothes. Hamid smiles slightly and says ‘you okay Azu?” as he looks at Azu, who is lying facedown on the brown ground, with her arms to her sides. The background is white.

Azu lies facedown on the ground. Art by @sketch-cat on tumblr. Used with permission.

Azu, meanwhile, has gone over to Hamid and just laid face down on the ground. She takes Hamid’s hand, briefly, saying she’s happy Hamid came back because she was afraid when they’d been separated. Hamid says that he was trying to put on a brave face for Skraak, but that he didn’t like it at all either. Azu says that Hamid is brave, and he thanks her, before saying that he’s glad they found each other again and that they did a lot of good, in the institute. She asks if he wants to sit down, but he declines, saying that the quicker they get moving the better, since they have to be isolated. Azu is still not enthused with the idea of being quarantined, and is trying not to think about it. Hamid mentions that he’s doing alright since he’s been flying as opposed to walking, and laughs awkwardly; Azu pauses for a moment and tells Hamid that it’s alright if he isn’t okay. Hamid says he knows, and that he’s just worried about all of them - including his family and Skraak. Azu suggests that he uses the mobile stone to get in touch with them, and Hamid waffles, wondering if it’s safe for him to call. She says that it should be, and Hamid agrees. 

At this point, Zolf and Cel return, with Zolf saying they need to get going. Cel says that they’re going to have to move pretty quickly if they want to get back before dark, but then says that Hamid could cast dancing lights if they need. Zolf turns to tell Barnes and Carter to start leading them back, but Carter is missing - he asks Barnes where he went, and Barnes explains that Carter is getting the horses. 

Azu, instead of riding a horse, summons Topaz and hugs her. Barnes seems a bit taken aback by the camel appearing, but doesn’t really question it. Carter eventually returns - the horses aren’t in the best condition, and thinner than they should be. Each of them have a horse - Hamid and Zolf get a Shetland pony. Carter asks if they’re ready to go, and asks if they should try and take anything else from the island - Zolf immediately shoots the idea down, saying that if Carter goes back, he’ll probably get murdered by the kobolds. Carter shuts up, and they all head off. 

Coloured digital fanart of Ismail and Ishaq. Ismail standing next to Ishaq with one hand on his hip. He smiles as he demonstrates that he’s slightly taller than his brother by waving his hand over Ishaq’s head; there are lines to show the heigh different. Ismail, who looks annoyed, is pushing Ishaq’s face away with one hand and the other is balled up in a fist. Ishaq is wearing a cream-coloured vest over a red button-down shirt, while Ismail is wearing a dark red cardigan over a white button-down shirt. The background is off-white.

Ismail lords his height over Ishaq. Art by @kalgalen on tumblr. Used with permission.

While they’re riding, Hamid pulls out his mobile stone and psychs himself up, trying to convince himself to use it - eventually, he contacts Ishaq. The stone warms up in his hand, and Hamid calls Ishaq’s name at the mobile stone. After a moment or so, Hamid hears Ishaq on the other end of the stone - both of them are clearly trying to be quiet. Ishaq is clearly happy to hear from him, and Hamid is relieved to hear Ishaq is alright. Ishaq asks if Hamid is a zombie, to which Hamid says that he isn’t, and then says that they’re all aright. Ishaq also asks if everyone is super suspicious of him, and Hamid says that they are. He asks after Ismail and Saira, and Ishaq tells him that they’re all okay and that they’re all south of Cairo at the al-Tahan country home. Hamid asks about their parents and Saleh - apparently they moved their father to another prison, but Ishaq isn’t sure where, and he doesn’t get to see Saira much because of how busy she always is. Ishaq starts to complain about Ismail, who’s gotten taller than Ishaq in the 18 months he was lost in Rome. Hamid starts to laugh as he continues, talking about how Ismail is better at magic and being super annoying because he won’t teach Ishaq anything. Ever the big brother, Hamid tells Ishaq to tell Ismail that Hamid told him he has to teach Ishaq, but Ishaq says he’s already done that already (and also lied and said Hamid said that Ishaq was better than Ismail) but Ismail is just ignoring him. Ishaq says that they’ve mostly been spending time around the house and hunting. There isn’t much for any of them to do. Hamid asks after Emeka and Ed and the rest, and Ishaq says that they’re all fine: Einstein is busy, Emeka and Vesseek have gone off to help, and Ed is staying with the al-Tahans, hanging around mostly with the twins. 

At this point, Zolf asks Hamid who he’s talking to, and Hamid says that it’s his brother. Zolf, suddenly upset, asks how, and Hamid says that he was just making sure that they were okay. Zolf isn’t placated, saying that they can’t be talking to other people, and Hamid hangs up the stone as Zolf starts to explain that all communication could be compromised, now. He isn’t yelling at Hamid, but it’s clear that he’s not happy and is trying to be as cautious as possible. All messages, if Hamid wants to send them, need to go through Wilde for safety’s sake. He says that there is this communication structure for a reason, and Hamid says that he didn’t share anything sensitive and that he just wanted to make sure his family were okay.  

Zolf says he understands, but that they need to be more careful in the future because messages can be intercepted. Hamid says that it’s just like a sending spell and probably more secure; Zolf says that he isn’t the mage, but that Curie and Einstein and Wilde are and have told him that this isn’t safe. He clearly regrets that he had to stop Hamid from talking to his family, but he doesn’t budge on his position. Hamid starts to get frustrated, saying that he hasn’t even had a chance to check in on his family before being dragged to Japan, and Zolf says that he knows, and that he’s sorry, but that this is just how it has to be. 

The first three panels of a twelve panel digital comic of Azu, Zolf, and Hamid. The top panel shows Zolf, a dwarf, he has short hair and a beard. He is looking offscreen to the left of the viewer. The middle panel is of Azu, a Black orc. She is in armor with a cape wrapped around. She is facing and looking at something offscreen to the left. The third panel is Hamid, a brown halfling. He is looking offscreen to the right. They are speaking to each other. The first speech bubble comes from Azu which reads “I wanted to be high priestess of Aphrodite. Now I don’t know if there’s a… something to be priestess of.” The next, from Zolf, reads “They’re still doing good work- they exist, they’re still around you can-” Azu interrupts with the next speech bubble that reads, “Yes but… I feel like since I started to… I started this because I wanted to save the world and do some good...and I feel like I haven’t done that well.” The next speech bubble is from Zolf again, that reads “Well, you can only try.” A speech bubble from Hamid reads, “Azu, you’ve done plenty good…” The final bubble from Azu reads “I don’t know I...couldn’t save everyone.”
The fourth panel of a twelve panel digital comic. It is a depiction of the goddess Aphrodite. She is in a flowing toga with a halo around her head. She has long flowing hair. She holds a heart inside a circle in her right hand. There are speech bubbles from a continuing conversation from Zolf, Hamid, and Azu, who are all offscreen. The first two bubbles come from Zolf, they read “You can’t save everyone like that’s...this is where I was, Hamid can attest to that I don’t know, Azu, It sounds like you still have faith, and that’s good.” The next bubble comes from Azu, it reads “Well, I’ll always have faith, but I don’t always know what to do with it.” The final two bubbles come from Zolf, they read “Your best. Just try. That’s all you need. Like that’s- that’s it, you can’t solve everything. No one can do everything they want, especially at times like this. We just need people who keep going. That’s it.”
Panels five through nine of a twelve panel digital comic. Panel five is a back to back close up shot of Sasha and Grizzop. Sasha, a white human, is facing out towards the left of the viewer while Grizzop, a dark goblin, is facing off towards the right. The sixth and eighth panels are down the left side of the page and are close ups of Hamid, a brown halfling. He is looking at Azu, a black orc who is in panels seven and nine, which go down the right of the page. Hamid and Azu are speaking to each other in a continued conversation from previous panels. The first speech two bubbles comes from Hamid, it reads, “And Sasha and Grizzop that wasn’t your fault, Azu. That was a spell malfunction, you had no control over it. Neither of us could have done anything differently.” The speech bubble from Azu reads, “We didn’t need to go.” Hamid responds “we had to go!” Azu responds, “Neither of them wanted to go,”
Panels ten through twelve of a twelve panel digital comic. The first two panels are of Zolf. In panel ten he is facing the viewer. In panel eleven he is looking at something to the left offscreen. Panel twelve is a silhouette of Sasha. She is hiding her face and looking offscreen to the right. She has her right hand across her chest. Her hand holds a dagger. Below her and to the left is Azu, she is holding her great ax over her right shoulder. Her cape is flowing behind her. There are four speech bubbles on the page. The first three are from Zolf, they read “I didn’t know Grizzop, but I did know Sasha. And if she went somewhere she decided to go there. That’s her actions- everyone chooses and decides risk. We’re in this business. It’s a deadly business and this happens. And it doesn’t undo the things those people did.” the last speech bubble comes from Azu, it is just a set of ellipsis, indicating silence.

Azu, Zolf, and Hamid talk about Azu's feelings. Art by @planetsandmagic on twitter. Used with permission.

Azu rides up in between the two of them to cut off the conversation, and Zolf looks up at her, giving her a sorrowful look, trying to apologise. Azu looks disappointed with him, and Zolf looks more sad, before looking away. They ride next to each other for a moment, and then Azu says that Zolf mentioned that they should talk, back in the Institute. She asks if he wants to do that now, and Zolf starts to answer, but they notice Carter has started slowing his pace so that he can listen in. Azu calls him on it, but he doesn’t respond, so Zolf throws something at the back of his head. Carter starts picking the pace up again, and Zolf sighs.  

He starts to speak, stumbling a bit over his words, saying that it was tense in there, and Azu says she still feels tense. Zolf agrees, and then attempts to speak again, starting and stopping a few sentences until Azu says that he isn’t that good at talking for someone who says they need to. Zolf sighs and says that she isn’t wrong; he has a lot of experience of pushing his emotions down and ignoring them. He apologises to Azu for potentially speaking out of turn, and says that he knows how it feels to be there and be struggling with his emotions. He wants to make sure that she isn’t there, but also offers to be there to listen if she is, and if she wants to talk. He isn’t going to force the conversation. 

Azu acknowledges this, and then begins to ask Zolf about his relationship with Poseidon, before continuing to talk about how she’s wanted to be a high priest of Aphrodite and how she isn’t sure if there’s still something to be a part of anymore. Zolf knows that the cult of Aphrodite has been taking on a humanitarian aspect - running hospitals, being medics on the front line, and the like. In the gap that the Meritocrats left in the world as they retreated, the cults have sort of stepped up. Zolf tells her this, and that they’re still around, but Azu still seems lost, saying that she wanted to help save the world but that she doesn’t think she’s been doing a good job of it so far.  

Zolf says that they can only try, and Hamid jumps into the conversation, saying that she’s been very helpful. Azu doesn’t sound convinced, saying that she hasn’t been able to save everyone, and Zolf says that she’ll never be able to do that - he knows what it’s like to hold yourself to that unrealistic expectation. He says that she still has faith, which is good, but Azu says that she doesn’t know what to do with it, all the time. Zolf says she just needs to try - no one is going to be able to save everyone, but they just need people who will keep trying and who won’t give up. Hamid adds that Sasha and Grizzop weren’t Azu’s fault, but Azu just seems despondent, saying that they didn’t need to go to Rome, and that neither of them wanted to go in the first place. Zolf chimes in, saying that Sasha wouldn’t have gone if she didn’t want to, and that it was her choice to go. Azu quiets, after that, clearly not convinced but thinking it over. 

Cel, meanwhile, is talking to Barnes and Carter, speaking about the mechanics and the stuff they saw on the island. They get excited to share, and get really into it. Eventually, Barnes says that they need to be careful about sharing this information, but Carter leans over and tells them to just continue quietly and talk to him. Cel starts to continue, but then Barnes, like Zolf, chucks something small at Carter’s head, and Carter accelerates to ride next to Barnes, keeping quiet. 

Hamid accelerates his own pony so that he’s riding next to Cel, and thanks them for helping the rest of the party in the Institute. Cel doesn’t seem that enthused by another heart-to-heart but Hamid continues, asking if they know what they want to do after this, and if they want to stay with the party. Cel looks down at their hands, upset, and says that they have a lot to think about. They pause and say that they’ve spent years not fighting back, but that maybe they should have. Hamid says that would have been a big ask, and that he’s been impressed with them but that being a team is better.  

Cel is clearly incredibly guilty about what Shoin has done to the kobolds and their own inaction over the years, and says that they’re old and have seen a lot, and getting involved has hurt people, sometimes. They say it’s easy to not get involved, sometimes, and that when you get involved it’s easy to become the monster. Hamid says that he knows what they mean, but Cel says that they have quite literally become the monster. He says that they’ve also been through a lot, saying that he’s lost friends and family, and Cel says that that’s not something they want to go through again. They say being friends with mercenaries leads to losing a lot of people. Hamid says that it’s important that Cel has a choice, and that for himself, he’s choosing to continue fighting despite what he’s lost - he thinks that what they’ve done matters, and offers to help Cel whatever their decision. Cel seems comforted, by that, and says that Hamid has a big heart - Hamid is really touched by it, starting to well up a bit. 

A digital drawing of Azu, a Black orc woman. She is in full pink plate armor with a yellow cloth falling from her midsection. She has her arms on her hips. She is looking down and frowning at something off screen.

Azu just wants to take a bath. Art by @brinnanza on tumblr. Used with permission.

Time skips to them returning back to the inn. They’ve made pretty good time, thanks to the horses, and it’s around 11pm by the time they get back. It’s a quiet evening. The innkeeper knows that they’re back, and a stablehand comes around to take care of their horses. Wilde is waiting in the doorway. Zolf sees Wilde, and tells him not to touch their stuff, to let them have a shower, and then he can put them in the cell. He says that they’ll need to be supervised, which Azu isn’t a big fan of, but she still does want to take the bath. Zolf seems exasperated by Wilde’s behavior, even though he knows that Wilde always acts incredibly cold toward people before it’s been proven that they’re affected. The party all go to have a wash, and then they’re led down into the cell. It’s more crowded, because Barnes and Carter are with all of them as well. Wilde says that he isn’t going to force all of them into the cell, but that they won’t be allowed higher than the trap door, locking it behind him.

Quotes[]

Helen: "Well, emotions are my bag...but not Azu’s at the minute."
Lydia: "Bag of holding? It’s basically infinite sadness in here!"
―Episode introduction.

"Mutual suspicion, order of the day! No touching, no hugging, no happiness!"
Carter, cheerfully.

Azu: "I hate this."
Zolf: "Yep, but it’s how it is now."
Azu: "I hate it."
Carter: "On the bright side, it sort of puts everything else into perspective, doesn’t it?"
Azu: "What’s everything else, to you?"
Carter: "You know, just makes everything else seem a little trivial, really."
Hamid: "No, not really."
Carter: "Onwards!"
Zolf: "Hang on a minute...you’ve met before, right? (Zolf looks at Carter) What do you do?"
Carter: "Me?"
Azu: "He’s a thief."
Zolf: "Oh, I knew that."
Azu: "And he’s very annoying."
Carter: "I am an excellent thief."
Azu: "No, you’re not, we found you in a pit!"
Carter: "I have been unfortunate, as have we all."
Azu: "You got cursed! While trying to thieve, like, the same place?"
Carter: "Big words from Ms. Cursed to Miss A Year! I don’t really understand what happened there."
Azu: "That wasn’t...that was something else."
Zolf: "Carter. Just...maybe...don’t."
Carter: "A nine to like a four?"
Zolf: "Let’s just walk in silence."
―[add context]

Zolf: "Thanks for your help. We’ve, uh...good job."
Cel: "Oh, uh...thank you, Mr. Smith. Good, good, good job you, good fighting...and finishing it, you know, I’ve been just trying to hold them off for a very long time and that’s, uh, turns out that wasn’t good enough."
Zolf: "Well, I hope your village can breathe a bit easier and get back to living."
Cel: "Well, so can a lot of other people, right, like, don’t know if I can, if I can excuse waiting as long as I did to go after him."
Zolf: "I wouldn’t beat yourself up about that, honestly, and also…"
Ben: "And I’ll reach up and pat you on the shoulder."
―Zolf and Cel share a quiet moment.

"Well, let’s be off. That way? If you can still trust my directions, honestly I wouldn’t trust my directions either. There’s, there’s being good and there’s being good at directions, that’s a different thing. I’ve known some very evil people that are really great with directions!"
Cel.

Azu: (takes Hamid's hand) "I am glad that you came back, because it was scary when you were missing in the horrible tunnels."
Hamid: "Yeah, it was...I wish we hadn’t had to split up, I didn’t want Skraak to worry, so I...was, uh,  trying to be brave, but…"
Azu: "You are brave."
Hamid: "Thank you. Yeah, it...I didn’t want to be separated either, but I knew we’d find each other again, I didn’t ever...and we did a lot of good, we..."
Azu: "Yes, that was horrible in there."
Hamid: "Nasty place, but it’s better now."
Azu: "Mmmm...do you want to sit down?"
Hamid: "No, no, the quicker we start the isolation, the quicker it’s over."
Azu: "Oh...I keep not thinking about it. "
Hamid: "And...to be honest, flying just really isn’t as, um, tiring as walking and running so I’m probably doing okay compared to the rest of you, I reckon." (gives a weak, fake laugh)
Azu: "You don’t have to be okay."
―[add context]

Ishaq: "How’re you doing? Wait, wait, are you a zombie?"
Hamid: "No."
Ishaq: "Oh, wicked. Okay, cool!"
Hamid: "We’re alright, things have been a bit stressful, a bit complicated, a bit dangerous but we’ve made it through."
Ishaq: "Yeah, is everyone dead suspicious now of you as well?"
Hamid: "Yes, very much so."
Ishaq: "Proper weird!"
―Hamid calls Ishaq.

Ishaq: "Ismail’s being rubbish! He’s really tall! He’s really really tall, and he’s well good at magic now! He can do, like, that, that lights thing. And he keeps shooting stuff off the...he’s really annoying!"
Hamid: "He’ll be able to teach you, Ishaq."
Ishaq: "He’s not teaching me nothing!"
Hamid: "Well, tell him I said he has to."
Ishaq: "I did! I kind of lied and said that you said that I was better than him and he had to make sure, but he’s just, he’s ignoring, he’s rubbish!"
―Ishaq complains about Ismail.

Hamid: "Do you know where Ed headed off to?"
Ishaq: "Yeah, he’s still with us, he mostly just sort of...he doesn’t really do much, if I’m honest, but he’s here, you know?"
Hamid: "Oh, well, I mean it’s good that he’s with you, that’s nice."
Ishaq: "Yeah, golden boy’s alright, we like golden boy."
Hamid: "Yeah, he’s lovely and he’ll be able to look after you all as well, in case…"
Ishaq: "I mean, I’m gonna be honest, I spend a lot of time looking after him."
―Ed has stayed at the al-Tahan house.

 


Hamid: "I just needed to know my family were okay."
Zolf: "I understand. But it doesn’t matter if you didn’t...things can be located, right? We have powerful people, things, working against us."
Hamid: "It’s no different than a Sending spell. It’s actually quite difficult to interfere with those."
Zolf: "You’re the mage, but then so is Wilde, and so is Curie, and so is Einstein, and I’ve been told by all of them that we shouldn’t be doing this, okay? So, I’m sorry but I’m listening to the people who are organizing this thing."
Hamid: "Look, I was dragged to Japan before I had a chance to see if my family were okay, before I had a chance to give my brother back to them after he’d been taken for 18 months, I just needed to know."
Zolf: "I am sor-...yeah, I know."
Hamid: "I won’t do it again."
Zolf: "Good. I understand and I’m sorry that’s the situation, but that’s how it is now. Everyone is having to deal with this. Alright?"
Helen: "Azu rides up on Topaz and doesn’t say anything but just goes between Zolf and Hamid."
Ben: "I will look up and try to make eye contact with Azu...I give you a sorrowful,  “I apologize” look. I’m not glaring or anything, I’m just like, “I’m really sorry, but…""
Helen: "Azu looks disappointed."
Ben: "I look more sad. And look away."
―[add context]

Azu: "So, you kept saying we had to talk about something. Dealing with feelings."
Zolf: "Yeah."
Azu: "Do you want to do that now?"
Alex: "Both of you notice that Carter’s clearly caught wind of conversations happening and has been slowly pulling his horse back a little bit further and further. So, Barnes is still up front and Carter’s just been reining in more and more to start listening to everyone."
Azu: "Not you, Carter."
Alex: "He doesn’t respond."
Ben: "I get something small and inconsequential and throw it at the back of Carter’s head"
Alex: "Carter slaps it like it’s a mosquito, takes a moment, and then his horse starts picking up its pace and he starts catching up with Barnes again."
Zolf: "Thought so. Yeah, look, I don’t know, Azu. It’s...it was tense in there...I just…."
Azu: "I still feel quite tense."
Zolf: "Yeah, I can understand why, um...but...I….um…"
Azu: "You’re not good at talking for someone who says we need to talk."
Zolf: "You’re not wrong. The...pushing things down, feeling it later, um,  ignoring, that kind of stuff, I’m just...um...I...I might be speaking out of turn, I’m sorry if I am, but...I, I’ve, I’ve been there. And it’s not a good place to be. And I want to make sure that, you know, you’re...not there or if you are then, you know, you can talk to...me, if you want. I might not be able to talk but I can, I can listen. I’m not gonna force a conversation."
Azu: "You had a difficult relationship with Poseidon, didn’t you?"
Zolf: "Yeah…"
Azu: "Um...I was going to, I wanted to be High Priestess of Aphrodite, apparently a long time ago now. Now I don’t know if there’s something to be a priestess of."
Zolf: "They’re still doing good work, they exist, they’re still around, you can still do that if you want."
Azu: "Yes, but...I feel like since I started trying to, you know, I started this because I wanted to save the world and do some good and I feel like I’ve not been doing that very well. So maybe…"
Zolf: "Well, we can only try."
Hamid: "Azu, that’s...you’ve done lots of good, Azu."
Azu: "Oh...I don’t know. I...couldn’t save everyone."
Zolf: "You can never save everyone. Like...that’s...this is where I was, I mean, Hamid can attest to that. I don’t know, Azu, it sounds like you still have faith, um, and that's good, and…"
Azu: "Well, I’ll always have faith, but I don’t know always what to do with it."
Zolf: "Your best. Just try. That’s all you need. Like, that is, that is it. You’re not gonna solve everything, no one’s gonna do everything that they want to do, the point is they try, especially at a time like this. We need people who just keep going, who keep trying, who, you know…"
Hamid: "And...Sasha and Grizzop, that’s not your fault, Azu. That was a spell malfunctioning that you had no control over. Neither of us could have done anything differently."
Azu: "We didn’t have to go there."
Hamid: "We did have to go."
Azu: "Neither of them really wanted to go…and I..."
Zolf: "I didn’t, I didn’t know Grizzop, but I knew Sasha. And if she went somewhere, she decided to go there, like, that’s her actions. She made that...everyone chooses or makes risks. We’re in this business. It’s a deadly business. This happens. And...it doesn’t undo the things that those people did."
―[add context]

Hamid: "Hey Cel, I just wanted to…"
Cel: "Oh, it’s another heart to heart. Love these! Great!"
―Hamid chats with Cel.

"I’ll be honest, little, little buddy, I think I’ve got a lot to think about. Uh, I...I spent years keeping my village safe, and not fighting back, and I mean, that’s something I told Mr. Smith is that, you know, I could, I could maybe have gone in there, I mean, I’d probably have died, but I could have followed them. I could have gone back, and I maybe, I could have ended this a long time ago if I’d gone in."
Cel

Cel: "I can be very big. And I, you know, and I, all that time he, he was hurting all those kobolds and, and, all those people that I was scaring off, and I was so confident that they were leaving. They were going back to do more terrible things, and so, I don’t know if looking after my village is enough. Little buddy, I am older than, than...I am old. Maybe not for a halfling, maybe not for a dwarf. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve...getting involved has often hurt people more than….Not getting involved is good, you know, in that you can, uh…it’s very easy to become the monster, y’know, when you get involved? And I…I’ve been the monster before, little buddy, I have been things…"
Hamid: "I know what you mean, I’ve...I’ve had to do stuff that..."
Cel: "No, I cannot overestimate, like, how literal I am being when I say I have become a monster. I mean, morally, as well, that’s complex, but like, I mean, quite literally."
Hamid: "Well, I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’ve been through. I just know that...what we’ve been through is, you know...well, it’s been hard and I know there’s been a lot of cost. I mean, I, I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost family."
Cel: "Yeah, that’s all stuff I don’t want to do again either, you know. If you mix with mercenaries, you go to a lot of — well, you don’t go to a lot of funerals, usually cause there isn’t much to bury, but you go to a lot of memorial services, and sometimes, because things are complicated, those people turn up again, because, you know, it’s quite hard to keep track of track of other mercenaries, so, you know, that can be nice when that happens. But usually, lots of memorial services and lots of not knowing and lots of…but on the other hand, maybe I don’t have much of a choice, so as…"
Hamid: "Well, I think that you do and you should have a choice. For me, I would choose to...despite everything I’ve lost, I would do it again because I honestly believe that what we’ve done has mattered, but...I can’t make that decision for you. I just want you to know that either way, we’ll be here to help, whatever you decide."
Cel: "You know, I just want you to know that whenever I refer to you as little buddy, I’m not referring to the size of your heart."
Bryn: "Hamid is really touched by that, he actually starts to well up a bit."
Ben: "And he says he doesn’t like Harrison Cambell."
Alex: "That’s the thing! He’s such a hack! And yet…"
Bryn: "Hamid’s a snob, man. If he could let himself like Harrison Cambell, he would!"
―[add context]

Zolf: "Wilde. Three things. First of all, leave our stuff alone. Secondly, let us all go have a shower. Thirdly, put us in the cell."
Hamid: "Oh, and some food, please!"
Zolf: "And that."
Cel: "Oh! And some tea, please."
Zolf: "And that."
Wilde: "You’ll need to be supervised in the, uh...in the baths."
Azu: "How supervised?"
Wilde: "Fully supervised."
Helen: "Azu puts her hands on her hips and looks at Wilde, like...I just want a bubble bath."
Wilde: (Gestures to the baths) Go, you’ll be supervised, no one’s gonna be acting inappropriately, but I don’t know what to say...you have the choice between the bath that is supervised or no bath at all.
Azu: "Then I’ll take the bath."
Wilde: "And there we are."
Zolf: "Wilde, man."
Alex: "For Zolf’s benefit, you know that any time people disappear and come back, he is cold as stone until they’re proven otherwise, just nothing, it’s like a switch goes off there."
―[add context]

Dice rolls & mechanics[]

  • Hamid casts detect magic on the bodies of the mooks
  • Cel makes a knowledge (engineering) check: 15
  • Hamid makes a Use Magic Device check on the mobile stone: 29
  • Zolf makes a Perception check to notice Hamid on the stone: 21
  • Zolf and Azu make a Perception check to notice Carter: Zolf gets 20, Azu gets 25

Plot Notes[]

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