The party plan their descent back to the city of Prague in pursuit of Kafka. Hamid continues to engage with his backstory, Bertie continues to argue with his sword, and Grizzop and Sasha continue to focus on the mission.
Bertie has shown up randomly in the tower office without any idea of how he got there. He looks around, confused, and asks how he got there. Everyone ignores him; Sasha asks if he can look over the maps with the plague pits, and Hamid asks Einstein about the ley lines map. Einstein points out the spot where the ley lines converge, and Hamid realizes that it’s the opera house, where they’ll be seeing his sister perform later. Bertie heads over and looks at the maps, agrees with them, and then asks again how he was teleported here. Einstein takes the sword from him and converses with it for a moment, before laughing and handing it back to Bertie. Bertie tries to sell Einstein the sword instead, but Einstein says he isn’t going to be able to. Bertie tries to speak with the sword, but he only hears silence.
Hamid asks if they can take the maps, and Einstein says yes, before saying something about not burning (and then trailing off). Sasha asks what he means, but Einstein has no idea. Bertie is still confused, but Hamid says that they’ll need to leave, since they’re seeing the opera tonight. Grizzop and Sasha disagree, saying that they need to investigate, but Hamid says that he believes the ritual is going to happen at the opera house. Grizzop says that the opera house is just close to the ley lines, rather than exactly on top of it, and Einstein starts ushering them out of his office. Sasha remarks that he seems relatively unconcerned since someone is trying to destroy the entire city, and Einstein says that people are always trying to destroy the city - Kafka, the Romans, etc. Then he kicks them out of the office.
They all head out; on the way down the stairs, Bertie is hitting the sword against the walls and torches. As they head down, they hear someone coming up the stairs, and Hamid casts invisibility again just before Gideon appears, holding a cup of tea. Bertie takes the cup of tea from Gideon, drinks the entire thing, and hands it back to Gideon. Gideon begins heading back down the stairs after the party. Grizzop asks where Hamid’s gone again, because they wanted to make a plan. Gideon mentions that he knows Hamid, and Bertie announces that he and Hamid were in university together. Hamid starts walking a bit faster, and Grizzop asks Gideon whether he knows Hamid. Gideon says just by reputation, clearly lying, and Bertie recognizes his name, but can’t remember anything beyond the fact that he knew him at university as well (it seems there’s a wall in his mind that he can’t get around). Grizzop asks why Gideon wants to know about Hamid, and he says checking up on people. Gideon starts accelerating down the stairs as Grizzop starts pushing him on it. Down the stairs, Hamid hides before his invisibility spell fades, and it seems to work; however, at the last moment, Gideon turns and sees motion out of the corner of his eye, spots Hamid, and then falls down the rest of the stairs. Bertie continues down after him, asking why he recognizes Gideon, pushing him back down into the ground. Gideon has a broken leg, and Grizzop heals him before Bertie can hurt him more.
Hamid has come far enough down the stairs to hear what’s going on, but not close enough to be part of everything. Sasha and Grizzop turn to him and ask if Gideon is his ex, to which Hamid says absolutely not, making a disgusted face. Bertie asks why he doesn’t remember Gideon, and both Hamid and Gideon are silent as they try to figure out what to say. He starts to intimidate Gideon, but Gideon squeaks and runs away immediately before Bertie can say nearly anything. The second he’s gone, Hamid rejoins the party and says that they could just ignore him, and that it doesn’t matter, that Gideon won’t help, and Hamid looks furious and miserable. Sasha and Grizzop are convinced that Gideon is Hamid’s ex, and think that Gideon broke Hamid’s heart, while Hamid successfully doesn’t cry. Bertie, assuming that Sasha and Grizzop’s interpretation was correct, thinks that the reason he doesn’t remember Gideon is because he was trying to be discreet on Hamid’s behalf.
They all exit the tower and Bertie heads toward the forge to figure out what happened, and how he got to the tower. Hamid says that they’ll also need to find clothes for the opera that night; Grizzop and Sasha are both a bit more concerned with finding Kafka and stopping the ritual. Hamid argues that the most likely place for Kafka to start the ritual is at the opera, since all the powerful and rich will be there. Grizzop and Sasha want to check out the plague pits beforehand, but Hamid wants to stop Kafka at the opera. Sasha suggests that they send the university wizards to the opera while they check out the plague pits. The entire party start arguing: Hamid and Bertie want to go to the opera (Hamid because he knows Kafka will show up there and they’ll be able to stop him, Bertie because it’s the opera) and Grizzop and Sasha want to go investigate the plague pits (because they want to stop Kafka as soon as possible and don’t think he’ll wait to start the ritual and be dramatic about it).
During the argument, they make it to the forge and see Stormskull again. He’s in the middle of a class, and 30 students are looking at the party. They’ve been speaking quite loudly, and so Grizzop asks the class if they should go to the opera or stop the evil wizard. About 6 people vote for the opera, and 5 for stopping the evil wizard. Bertie asks Stormskull what happened (why he showed up in the tower with no memory) and Stormskull says that Bertie suddenly stopped counting out the money, called himself an idiot, and then left. Hamid is shocked to hear that Bertie was trying to destroy the sword. Bertie explains that the sword, as Bertie tried to destroy it, took possession of Bertie’s body and compelled him to walk back into the tower. Both Hamid and Grizzop say that it sounds like self-defense, and Stormskull finally realizes that this is all playing out in front of the class, and pretends as though this was all an act for the benefit of the class, learning about ethics. Grizzop doesn’t buy it, and says he’s going to tell Freud about it, and Stormskull gives him a rude gesture as he leaves.
Hamid is still shocked that Bertie worked this hard to break the sword, but Bertie says that the sword is simply annoying. Hamid retorts that so is Bertie, but they all put up with him - Bertie agrees, and says that at least he’s useful. Hamid tries to convince him that the sword will be useful to him. Grizzop, who hasn’t been around for all the backstory, asks Sasha to fill him in, and she explains about the sword.
Bertie finally asks the sword what’s going on again, and the sword says that he wants to help Bertie be a hero. Bertie continues conversing with the sword while Hamid starts to lead him away slowly. The sword says that he wants to help Bertie get what he want, and help the MacGuffingham name shine again. He explains that years ago, Sir Everard commissioned dwarven smiths to make the sword so that they would make whichever MacGuffingham wielded it look heroic and wonderful. By the time they finish the conversation, they’re both much more on the same side, and the sword and Bertie have decided to work together. The entire party haven’t decided whether or not to investigate the plague pits or the opera. Hamid says that they could investigate both, but Grizzop still doesn’t think it’s going to happen at the opera.
They make it back to the teleportation machine, still arguing, and Bertie gets distracted by a pair of flying boots in a shop right off to the side. Hamid asks if Sasha’s sure that she doesn’t want a dress for the opera tonight, and she gives him a dark look as Hamid backtracks. They shop around a bit on the university level and the party all stock up on items for both fighting wizards and going to the opera. Bertie bought winged boots. Hamid bought a headband of overwhelming intellect. Sasha bought a ring of protection. Grizzop didn’t buy anything.
They go back down to the city level, and Hamid asks where they should start looking for Kafka. Grizzop says they should look within the ley lines, and they both compare the maps against each other. The first plague pit that they saw is along one of the ley lines that they can see, so Hamid points out the next three that they should go to. The next one that they choose to visit seems to be underneath one of the deserted noble houses in Prague. Bertie recognizes a few of the houses that they pass as former allies of the MacGuffinghams. They follow the map and are lead to a manor house; it was also an ally, but fell victim to a scandal that forced them to lose power.
Suddenly, all of them hear a ghostly moan coming from the house they’re stood in front of.
- Bryn: "Hamid's just super racist, he saw a posh white man and was like, "Aw I can't be in the same room as him.""
- Ben, (sarcastically): "How could you, they're all so nice."
- ―[add context]
- "Is Bertie's Use Magic Device higher than the sword's Use Mundane Person?"
- Sasha: "He seems remarkably unconcerned with the fact that someone wants to destroy the whole city and university with zombies."
- Einstein: "Oh someone always wants to destroy the university and all of the city, gah, always, all the time! It's not the Meritocrats, it's Kafka, it's not Kafka, it's the Romans. All the time!"
- Bertie: "When you say, "All the time," I mean, those events have been separated by several thousand years."
- Einstein: "Time is relative, get out!"
- ―[add context]
- "Bertie gets further away from Einstein but as he does, time seems to slow."
- "That's weird. What a weird thing to do. If you've only heard the reputation of somebody and just want to check up on them. No that's really weird. Very weird. Bad lying weird."
- "Rub-a-dub-dub, here comes your blood."
- Bryn: "Hamid is now trying not to cry."
- Ben: "Uh, roll for it."
- Alex: "I believe that's a fort. save."
- Bryn: "Fort? Surely will?"
- Alex: "You've already failed your will, it's been a hard day."
- Bryn: "19, suck it GM."
- Alex: "I will. (Alex slurps) There's your tears, no one saw them, carry on."
- Bryn: "Mm, salty Hamid tears"
- ―Hamid is shaken up after the conversation with Gideon
- "A gentleman would never kiss and tell, a real gentleman would never kiss and remember."
- "Bryn, put that TV tropes book down!"
- Grizzop: "We're not dealing with an evil genius, we're dealing with a man who's been possessed by an ancient Roman book, if you were maybe listening, so it might not work to your idea of dramatic tension."
- Sasha: "Did the Romans even like opera, do we know that?"
- Grizzop: "Did they even have the same basic story structure as we did? The Meritocrats have destroyed all (?) and we have no way of knowing! They came out of an oral tradition not a written tradition!"
- ―The party disagree on where Kafka will be going next.
- "Student democracy is the tyranny of those who turn up, let that be a lesson to you!"
Dice rolls and Mechanics
Bertie rolls knowledge history on the maps with the plague pits: 12.
Sasha rolls perception on Einstein: 19.
Everyone rolls perception as they go down the stairs: Hamid gets a nat 20, Sasha gets 27, Bertie gets 15, Grizzop gets 21.
Grizzop rolls a sense motive on Gideon: 12.
Bertie rolls knowledge nobility: 18.
Bertie makes a will save: 6.
Hamid makes a stealth check to hide from Gideon: 23.
Grizzop lays on hands on Gideon: 7 points of healing.
Bertie makes an intimidate check on Gideon: 15.
Hamid rolls to help Gideon avoid the intimidate: nat 20.
Hamid makes a fort save to not cry: 19.
Bertie makes a linguistics check to argue about Roman literature history: 20.
Bertie makes a knowledge history check: 19.
Sasha rolls knowledge local: 21.