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Description

With their only lead dashed on the streets below and a fire fueled by their incompetence nipping at their heels, The Dragon Friends are forced to return to the Sanatorium to confront a suffering artist. Bobby perfectly executes a completely necessary act of deception and Baston puts his Parkour skills to use. 

Synopsis

Following William Ascot's suicide by gravity, paving stones and horse hooves, the Dragon Friends find themselves alone in his second-story alchemist's study pondering their next steps in unraveling the mysteries of the Glimmering and seemingly unfazed by yet another in a long line of deaths in their vicinity. Banknote is at this point starting to suspect the Friends' reputation, but is put in his place by Philge's timely reminder of his own recent murders.

Philge (or "Detective Philgachu") investigates the study and discovers vials of Alchemist's Fire, the remains of a diary in the fireplace and a large portrait of two lovers that has a gnarled knot pattern reminiscent of that in Smedley's cell scrawled across it. Philge obviously pockets the highly volatile Alchemist's Fire without a care in the world, and Bobby Mage Hands the diary from the fireplace, which bears further writing about the appearance of The Herald and more knot symbols.

Hearing footsteps pounding up the stairs, Banknote hides behind the door, Philge pretends to be a bear rug, Bobby disguises himself as William Ascot with Disguise Self and Baston takes in the air on the balcony. The Daggerford Town Watch bursts in; Philge has no problems avoiding detection. Banknote, hiding behind the door, is not so stealthy.

Following a barrage of confusing explanatory technical mumbo-jumbo and Christopher Nolan film references from Banknote, the guards decide they have better things to be doing and leave. Boggins is not so easily bamboozled however and quizzes Bobby (in disguise as Ascot) as to an explanation for how he could be standing there when several witnesses swear to have seen him leaping from the balcony to a grisly demise. Bobby/Ascot makes up a story about a Glimmering-affected drunk wandering into traffic while he (as Ascot) looked on horrified from the balcony.

Offering to make a written statement, Bobby goes all-in on hoping that Boggins can't read. Boggins is immediately defensive and, via all sorts of nonsense about being president of the book club and such, takes the statement on which Bobby has written "This man is a danger affected by the Glimmering. Arrest the bearer of this note." Boggins accepts the note which he clearly cannot read, and departs to present it to the Dukes... who unbeknownst to him are the very people he's interrogating. Philge instructs Banknote to send out a newsletter so they are in future recognised, and Banknote dings level 2.

Banknote, on Philge's instruction, analyses the vials as Alchemist's Fire, which Philge immediately distributes by throwing (notwithstanding the fact that Banknote had just described it as "violently flammable") to each of her companions. Being used to Philge's ways, Bobby catches it dextrously, but Banknote fails and is engulfed in flame - only being saved from death by the fact that he had just levelled up and gained 3 HP. The fire sets the study alight, and Banknote uses his technomantic sunglasses to cast Ray of Frost to cut a safe pathway to the door. At this point Edan, who has been very quiet and largely forgotten, asks "What does Baston hear from the balcony?". Failing a Perception check, Baston continues his blithe enjoyment of the "lovely day" on the balcony.

Philge bamfs (via her Amulet) onto the balcony to rescue Baston, who seems pleased at Banknote's "potential" having set the joint on fire. Taking him into her arms, she bamfs to the street but is surprised when she is unable to teleport Baston with her. Baston instead trusts his monk skills, leaping down the same drop that recently killed Ascot, but mostly sticks the landing and survives. As the rest of the party exits the building, it explodes in green fire. The Dragon Friends, being cool guys, don't look at the explosion and stroll away in slow motion to really cool accordion music.

Trying to piece the mystery together, the Dragon Friends connect the knotted symbols back to the artist Thomas Smedley at the Oldhill Sanitorium. Banknote, coming from a family that are long term patrons of the arts, decides to take Smedley under his wing and take him to a temple for aid, and the party returns to the Sanitorium (later revealed to have previously been Philge's primary school).

Making their way to Smedley's heavily graffiti-ed cell, he reveals he expected Ascot (whom Bobby is still disguised as) to be dead, but sees through the disguise and asks about the "opening of the lover's gate", appearing to suggest that each of the seven days in the countdown to the arrival of The Herald will involve a new gate. Bobby asks perspicaciously about the second gate, which Smedley reveals will appear in dreams. Smedley also reveals that he was to be The Herald but another has had that gift now bestowed upon them.

Father Brackenvald then enters, and Philge demands the release of Smedley into Ducal Arrest. Philge indignantly and unnecessarily shoves the confused and unprotesting Brackenvald into a cell, and then awkwardly asks him for the keys. Brackenvald instructs the guards to release Smedley from the Sanitorium.

Back at Daggerford Castle, Lacroix Pamplemousse greets them with the happy news (over Dave's protestation at the retcon) that Crawford has made a full recovery and passive-aggressively asks for a refund of the vet bill. The Dragon Friends also learn that there is a large and suspiciously green fire burning in Daggerford, which Dave reveals to have killed six people so far; hoping to chide Hing but forgetting that Hing is far more interested in six more times 15 xp in his goal to ding level 3. Hing protests, convincingly, that the deaths were unintentional but that they should still count.

The Friends pass Smedley into Lacroix's care to stash in a dungeon cell/studio, with artist's supplies to continue producing clues. With the sun reaching its zenith halfway through the day, with six gates and 5 and a half days remaining on the clock, the curtain closes on the episode.

 People

Dragon Friends

Guest PCs

NPCs

Bestiary

Places

Themes, tropes and running jokes

Trivia

Quotes

  • "That was just a smacky giraffe." - Ben to Dave re Dave's gritty Nolan reboot of Harold the Giraffe
  • "The oxygen flow really lets you cum hard - it's like high altitude training for your chongus." - Banknote re wanking in a hyperbaric chamber, horrifying Dave as his mum is in the audience
  • "Not talking to you Lacroix, keep your mouth shut." - Philge being Ducal
  • "What we're talking about is the difference between murder and manslaughter." - Banknote/Hing re gaining XP for killing commoners with a town fire

Table Talk

  • Alex becomes "the new Dave" after mispronouncing "enveloping"
  • Hing defaces Dave's map by marking the Big Merino on it
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