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Description

With both leads and allies dwindling,The Dragon Friends are forced to head directly into the belly of the beast as the mysteries of the shadowy cult start to come to light, Blood is drawn, deceptions are made and puns are misunderstood in a meeting of old nemeses and slam poetry.

Synopsis

The Dragon Friends, Table's top half and Chair's decapitated body have activated the teleportation circle inside the Sanatorium, and arrive in a cell under Daggerford Castle. The Friends waste no time looting Chair's body, and then decide to go through the cell block to Thomas Smedley's room; but they find Smedley gone, the locks of the cell forced, and the easels smashed. They call for Lecroix who informs them that some "people wearing 'oods" had entered and taken Smedley away. Philge starts to insist that Lecroix remove his shirt to reveal if he is branded with the sign of the Lampwick; Lecroix is outraged by the suggestion but reveals that he is unmarked. Philge insists that he removes the rest of his clothes too, which he does, then loudly announces he's quitting, spits on the floor and leaves.

Baston returns to Smedley's cell to try and re-assemble the smashed paintings; and finds that the painting Smedley was previously working on was actually finished; it now shows a man stretched over a stool with three robed figures surrounding him, one of them apparently draining knowledge from the trapped man. Bobby recognizes that the figure on the stool is Thomas Smedley. Bobby decides to eat some of the paint to see if it will induce a trance (as in How Erect Are These Trees?). Because last time Bobby did this he also summoned a monster, the other Friends decide to lock him in an empty cell first.

Bobby finds himself walking down an unknown city street, the moon high in the sky and nobody visible; he senses this is Carcosa. He reaches a giant facade of a Cafe with a sign outside showing an image of a naked tattooed man. Inside the basement of the cafe are several robed figures, one of whom is the Herald. He announces: "My children, we are so close that where we have failed we have triumphed; where we have lost our way we have found the truth, and the Lady smiles on us once more. Behold, in a single night, two gates stand at the precipice of.. opening.. We have found the Tome and his secrets will be revealed to us tonight; but beyond this, miracle of miracles, I have another gift for you. For last night, the Others have returned. Behold." A door opens revealing rows and rows of hooded figures in a darkened corridor.

Bobby reveals to the Friends that they need to travel to the Illustrated Man, and they call for Lecroix before he calls back that "I quit, you fuckwits." Baston offers to give him his pants back if he arranges a carriage for them, which he agrees to do, but still intends to leave after doing so..

They arrive at the Illustrated Man, a beatnik cafe that is hosting a poetry slam. Philge walks up to the bouncer, abruptly steals the bouncer's rapier and stabs him in the throat with it, causing a woman passerby on the street to scream and panic everyone on the street. Baston flashes the ducal badge to convince the passers-by that this is a ducal affair, and the woman turns away (only to scream again on seeing the facade of a shoe shop called Shoe Will Die) while Bobby continues sawing the bouncer's head off and Baston steals his beret. Examining the bouncer's chest, Bobby sees that he was bearing the sign of the Lampwick, and Baston begins propping the body back up in front of the bar before the Friends remember there was no need to kill the bouncer just to enter a bar.

Inside, Baston attempts to impress the guests by joining the Poetry Slam by giving a speech about how much he hates the Dukes of Daggerford, which is interrupted by Philge calling out to him to remind him that they're the Dukes, and she attempts to give an apologetic speech; the compere invites Baston to a backstage party and encourages him to go there straight away. Meanwhile, Philge and Bobby sneak behind the bar and into the basement, but Table is intercepted by the bartender while attempting to follow. Baston gets an invite to the backstage party for Table, and the compere announces there will be break in the performance before Grimm Saltback performs.

Philge and Bobby arrive in the bar's wine cellar, where they find that one of the barrels hides a secret passage; sneaking down the passage, they find a meeting of the cult with Thomas Smedley chained to a rack, and the others chanting "We take the knowledge from the Tome." Meanwhile, Baston and Table are walked into the party room which is filled with Moptop clan gnomes. The bartender reveals that he is also a disguised gnome, and explains that he believes Baston and Table have come to join the cult, and invites them to visit a tattooist in the room to recieve the Lampwick tattoo. Baston attempts to impress the bartender and mentions that he is "Level 7 in the cult", and the bartender says that he should therefore be taken directly to the Dark Lord, and takes them both downstairs to the ritual.

Bobby casts Disguise Self to disguise himself as Strahd von Zarovich, but due to the spell's limited ability to change his height, finds himself quite a bit shorter than the real Strahd was; so he decides to jump on Philge's back and wraps both of them in one of the curtains, and shouts "Hey, cunts!" This immediately attracts the attention of several hundred gnome cultists.

Cast

Dragon Friends

NPCs

  • Table
  • Lecroix Pamplemousse

Places

  • Daggerford Castle
  • The Illustrated Man

Themes, Tropes and Running Jokes

Trivia

  • The opening music of this episode is the extended performance of the Season 5 Theme from PAX 2019.

Quotes

  • "It's like Stockholm Syndrome but.. when you like the victim."
  • "You sneak down into the wine cellar and this place mostly sells wine.." "That's not what a wine cellar means."
  • "The Herald's not in." "Oh, he's everywhere, right..?" "No, he's literally not in."

Table Talk

  • "Wait.. this is a turning point. We can't blame it on Hing any more." "Was Hing inside us all along?"
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