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Snowy Days and Blueberries Always Get Me Down

[James, as Vrixx the sprite]

Previously on The Dimension Door Podcast Season One: One summer's day, a wounded man gets drug into the town of Heldren by the married couple Marge and Norm Gunderson, two retired rat folk who were previously in search of their original home where they were raised. They take him to the nearby healers where local wise woman Vasilisa Morozova helps tend to his wounds and discovers signs of frostbite and cold exposure. Word travels fast in Heldren and soon to arrive is Valdeen, a mercenary who just so happened to be in the area. The wounded man's name is Yuln. He soon comes to consciousness and reveals his caravan was attacked by bandits and cold dwelling monsters after encountering a snowstorm. The caravan was transporting Lady Argentea Malassene, a noble woman traveling between the two largest cities nearby. Lady Argentea was seen being drug into the nearby forest and Yuln began to limp his way along the road, trying to reach the town for help.


Vasilisa points out that it is the centennial in Irrisen, a land far to the north where every 100 years the current queen is replaced by her successor whom the greatest of all witches, Baba Yaga, chooses. With the fear that Baba Yaga could be invading or maybe even the kidnapped noble woman may be the next forcibly chosen queen, Heldren's head of town council, Ionnia Teppen, asks for aid from the four individuals before her--the wise woman, the mercenary and the two retired ratfolk. They are to go to the forest, rescue the noble, and stop the cold if possible.


Before leaving, our newly formed party goes to Vasilisa's home, where she performs a Harrow reading. Looking to the cards for guidance and premonitions of the future, she binds their fates together, granting each a special token which will hopefully draw luck in its holder's favor. The group packs up Vasilisa's donkey, Marigold, and Marge's pet giant weasel, Ghost. Journeying south, they soon come across the wrecked caravan covered in snow with an icy wind blowing through. The forest that lays behind it is also blanketed in winter weather and a clear path is found where it looks as though someone has been drug against their will. Following the trail proves to be challenging; traps, creatures, and bone chilling cold.


The party later finds bandits have taken over the High Sentinel Lodge, an old guard post and hunting outpost near the center of the woods. Here they begin their siege on the lodge only to find that, when they begin to slay the bandits, frozen skeletons rise in their place. With the immediate threats cleared up, the group searches the lodge, uncovering a trapdoor leading to where Lady Argentea is being held. They continue to search the lodge, eventually finding a sprite locked in a bird cage and half starved to death. The sprite tries to escape, but is swiftly captured and shoved in a jar for later. A knock on the door to the lodge startles the party. On the other side is...another Lady Argentea?! with Heldren's woodcutter and Vasilisa's special friend, Joseph, leaning heavily on her. This is the real Lady Argentea; the one the party found locked up was a decoy who assumes the identity of the noble woman for various occasions. When the caravan was attacked, Lady Argentea fled into the woods before coming across the injured Joseph.


The group learns that there is a portal that has opened in the woods which is allowing the weather and the creatures to invade from Irrisen, the land of eternal winter thousands of miles to the north. Lady Argentea, her double, and Joseph head back to town while our heroes head further into the forest, using the captured sprite Vrixx to lead them directly to the portal. Upon arrival, they meet the Black Rider, one of the three heralds of Baba Yaga. He reveals that Baba Yaga has actually been captured by the current queen of Irrisen, Queen Elvanna. Elvanna has opened portals all over the planet and plans to conquer the soon-to-be frozen world. Before dying, the rider performs a blood magic ritual binding the party's fates to Baba Yaga. They receive the Mantle of the Black Rider, a nice boost to their stats, and level up. However, they are now bound by fate to save the Mother of All Witches.


With the portal secure, the party returns to the town of Heldren to stock up on supplies and say their goodbyes. After having a short rest, they returned to the Border Wood, stopping to spend the night at the High Sentinel Lodge. During the night, the lodge is raided by winter fey, surprising the party in their sleep and bringing Norm Gunderson's journey to an end. After defeating the fey, the party buries Norm and pushes forward. After entering the portal, the group finds themselves in Irrisen, where they meet Kapa, a ratfolk woman who looks exactly like Marge's girlfriend from childhood, who also died in her arms.


[Amanda laughs] Sorry [keeps laughing]


[James] I gotcha


[Zac] I mean, it is hilarious


[James] It is pretty funny


[Zac] How everyone you love dies in your arms


[Amanda stops laughing with a little 'oh']


[James, as Vrixx]

This isn't the end of the doppelgangers, though: Kapa takes the party to the nearby town of Waldsby, which is a spooky mirror version of Heldren; the same frozen clock tower, the same statue in the center of town, and even a gnome with a blue pompadour who does woodworking. The gnome turns out to be the long-lost brother of the gnome of the same description in Heldren. The party also meets Bolka, a local dwarf cleric who helps the party escape from a group of Tower guards that ride into town. With some magic distraction and only a minimum amount of violence, the guards who are still alive leave town and head back to the tower, but not before capturing Marigold the donkey, burning down Kapa's house and branding her a traitor to the crown.


Marge, Valdeen, Vasilisa, Bolka, Vrixx the sprite and his cousin Hatch the house spirit, Kapa, Kapa's children, and Arbagazer the gnome come together in Kapa's secret hideout in the woods, where they make their plan to infiltrate the Pale Tower in order to shut down the portal leading back to Taldor and Heldren. Our heroes, along with Vrixx and Hatch, head to the Pale Tower, hoping to close the portal and save Kapa's youngest child, Thora, who has been taken prisoner. Arbagazer sets off to the portal in order to join his brother on the non-frozen side of the portal, while Kapa stays in the hideout with her two children in order to keep them safe. Making their way to the tower, the group sneaks in at night, avoiding combat where they can and jumping from floor to floor of the tower using magical keys that allow them to step through giant ice mirrors. At the top of the tower, they find a magic spinning globe of the planet and an angry goat who lets out a scream alerting the towers current guardian, Radosek Pavril, witch apprentice to the region's White Witch. Battle ensues! Valdeen recognizes the face of Radosek as someone he might have known back in Taldor, but before he can be asked questions he comes to a swift death, in large part thanks to Ghost the giant white weasel.


The party searches the top floor, finding a dungeon guarded by a magical trap which curses Marge. The dungeon is empty and the child known as Thora is nowhere to be found. Vasilisa identifies the magic of the big spinning globe to be the key to closing the portal and that Heldren and Waldsby are physically linked through a magical ley line. Vasilisa is able to figure out and close the portal; however, it leaves the party stranded in Irrisen and unable to return to their homeland. With the first step to stopping Elvanna and freeing Baba Yaga completed, the spirit of the Black Rider appears again, this time taking on the guise of the deceased Norm. By manipulating Vasilisa's Harrow cards, the spirit transfers the blood magic that tied Norm to freeing Baba Yaga over to Bolka. With the fourth member of the party now adorned with the Mantle of the Black Rider and a step closer to saving the Mother of Witches, magic surges as the spirit of Norm vanishes and the party levels up.


[Music: opening theme plays (“Jelly Castle (orchestral remix)” by MDK Music)]


[laughter of the players]


[Zac] Wait, is that really what happened?


[Elizabeth, sing-song] We survived a book!


[Amanda] I love that last part, where the party levels up again


[David] Yes!


[Elizabeth, still sing-song] We're level 5!


[Amanda] Woo-hoo! And I love how everyone Marge has ever loved, besides her kids, has died in her arms.


[Elizabeth] You might actually want to avoid reuniting with your kids in case they decide to climb into your arms and die.


[David] Yeah


[Amanda] Exactly. Oh boy


[Elizabeth] Not good


[David] No more hugs


[Amanda] No more hugs!


[Elizabeth] If any of our party is wounded, we'll just be lying on the ground and be like, 'just keep Marge away, we might die; don't let her embrace us in her arms!'


[Amanda] 'Don't let Marge hold me!'


[James] and so we rejoin our party exactly where Season One, Book One, left off at the top of the tower, uh, the-the portal closed, the magic surges, the spirit of Norm Gunderson disappears, and we look around the room. Elizabeth, what's going on with Vasilisa?


[Elizabeth] Well, Vasilisa Morozova is looking really tense right now. You can tell that this is all starting to really get to her. Her freckles on her cheeks are now kind of hidden by the reddened skin from being exposed to the cold of Irrisen and in this ice tower for so long. Her- she's, she's clearly uncomfortable with the magical illusion of the clothes that she's wearing, with this drab Irrisen merchant garb, and she just wants her bright warm colors to be free and out there again. She's-she's cold, she's tense, and right now specifically, she is clutching this card and looking down at one of her Harrow cards and the one thing that she really inherited from her mom is her eyes so she's got these eyes that are the color of the ice of the tower around them, this piercing blue, and right now her eyes are just pinned to the card of The Mountain Man that, once again, her Harrow cards escaped her control and this card was chosen by Bolka or chose Bolka in some mutual way and she's just caught in this moment, looking definitely frazzled, definitely the worse for wear, and cold, and puzzled-it's so uncomfortable that her cards have once again done something of their own volition.


[James] and Zac, how's Bolka reacting after all of this? What-what's he looking like right now?


[Zac] So, he always-he always looks like a dwarf, even though he's a little bit thin and a little bit tall, but he looks more-his expression is a little bit more gaunt now than usual like he's also always a little bit underfed, um, and but you see now his eyes look a little bit darker and a little bit more sunken like 'oh my god' and um yeah his-his beard is a little bit frazzled from the ring that he had from the the wedding that he did for uh Kapa and her husband that he took out and was used and uh is to become blood tied to these people and blood tied to this quest. So the ring is now in his hand and his beard's frazzled and his eyes are sunken. His robe has goat blood on it, his mace has goat blood on it, plus maybe a little like little piece of lettuce too um from-from hitting the lettuce baby earlier


[James] that was perfect. That's perfect


[Zac] Yeah, so he looks very frazzled and if you were to try and do like a sense motive or read his face like he's unsure he went with it and rolled with it because it was like it seemed so important and intense and he does have this feeling like he was destined for something, but this doesn't feel like what it was supposed to be; this feels so much darker than he had imagined his purpose would be.


[James] and then we look over at Marge, who just watched her husband appear, completely ignore her, and then vanish again. Amanda, what's Marge looking like?


[Amanda] Her eyes are darting between everybody in the room and where she last saw Norm. She doesn't understand what happened and why there was no communication between them; that was her Norm. um. She's a sturdy rat woman and you can tell she's strong--with with her armor and her shield and her sword she's obviously strong, but she has a look of frailty about her; in her face you can see the pain of, well, being cursed and of losing her husband and the reminder of another loved one that she's lost before. Her sword is stained red and blue, and she smells faintly of blueberries.


[Elizabeth] That's Hatch's fault


[Amanda] You remember that--exactly.


[Zac] the blue sword


[Elizabeth] he made you smell like blueberry's, right


[Amanda] but she's standing next to this large giant white weasel that's got blood all over its face; it looks menacing, I'm sure to anybody else who who's looking at it. I'm sure Bolka might be a little taken aback as well, seeing what Ghost has done and-


[Zac] She was cute when I met her!


[Amanda] Exactly! So just this this strong duo of Ghost and Marge, but yet there's this this feeling of frailty and of maybe a little fear, but also anger and there's just a lot you can read in her face and in the way she's carrying her-her body uh on the back of Ghost. Yeah


[James] Yeah


[Elizabeth] That's really good


[James] uh and then we finally look over to Valdeen. David, what's going on with Valdeen?


[David] Valdeen's olive skin and gold eyes kind of stand out in contrast to the environment we're in; there's blue and white ice everywhere around us. And the normally maybe cool calm collected expression on Valdeen's face is replaced with one that is switching between a lack of understanding or confusion and back to a somewhat of a pained expression that kind of stares off and then shakes off and comes back to the present moment. He's clearly struggling between something current happening now in the moment and something in his past that has come back to haunt him through the visage of Radosek, a face he never thought he would see again. Valdeen's presence in the group--he's been acting as a protector trying to uh guide and lead with as much leadership of strategy as he can, yet he is not um a strong warrior; he's more of a strategic fighter. So, he's had to learn a different kind of way of being in a group, that is a mix, like this, of a ratfolk, now a dwarf, and a witch that throws cards.


[Zac] She's human, too, right?


[James] Yeah she's human, too


[David] Yeah


[James] That was really good. And here we are. Norm's spirit is poofed and we've obviously hit a really high note: everyone's leveled up, you closed the portal, everything's great in absolutely everyone's lives right now, um... No, this is a depressing victory is what this is.


[David] I know: we killed a goat!


[Amanda] and we couldn't find Thora and then Norm and then...


[James] You haven't found Thora, yet, yeah, and here you guys are


[Elizabeth] Marge got cursed


[Amanda] Marge is cursed [laughs]


[James] um, welcome to level five, first of all. um As was our last level up, this magical surge automatically grants you everything hit points, blah blah, class features, abilities, all of that kind of stuff um and our good friend Bolka also got the Mantle of the Black Rider which boosts an ability score and everyone's happy and full; the only thing that you don't have is getting spells that you need to prepare. You have to do that at your regularly chosen spell time. So you guys are, you're sitting in this ritual chamber: what do you guys want to do? What happens? What is-what does the moment after Norm disappear look like? We saw the freeze frame: What happens next?


[David] oof


[Zac] What are these around the walls? Are those benches or-?


[James] So, those are bookshelves, uh little side tables. There is the area where the cauldron is in kind of a little corner and you guys do you see that uh surrounding it are all sorts of like vials and tinctures and that kind of thing.


[Zac] but are there any uh benches, chairs, seats, anything like that?


[James] Sure, yes, I will say yes, there are.


[Zac] I'm gonna go sit down


[James] Okay, that's fair. Very fair, Bolka; very, very fair.


[Elizabeth] How long did it take to shut down the ritual?


[James, Zac, and David] One hour


[Elizabeth] A whole hour?


[David] and then after that, Norm appeared, right?


[James] yeah and then after that--and that lasted maybe 10 minutes


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa is going to very carefully secure her Harrow deck away. It keeps doing weird things by itself and she doesn't really understand it or approve of it, so she's going to put it in its little pouch at her waist and then she's going to pull out her wand of mage armor and recast mage armor because it ran out at some point during her ritual closing of the portal.


[David] Smart


[Zac] So, if Norm's ghost had attacked you, he would have had a good shot


[Elizabeth] yeah


[David] Yeah, he would've


[Zac laughs]


[Amanda laughs] oh geez


[James] There goes the TPK I wanted to end the season with, but... forgot.


[Amanda] forgot


[Zac] It worked for George RR Martin


[James] So Bolka goes and walks over and he just sits down. You're looking gaunt, you're looking tired and probably a little bit overwhelmed.


[Zac] That's a fair way to put it. Like, you can't- you can't see all his motives on his face or everything he's thinking, but you can see that much for sure


[James] yeah


[Amanda] Marge is still trying to make sense of Norm showing up to begin with. I think she was so consumed with the pang of grief again


[James] So is Marge just frozen standing there?


[Amanda] She- she's thinking. Her mind is- is racing. She's looking at- just staring at the spot where she last saw Norm's ghost. It almost, I think, confirms for her that he's still around.


[James] Oof. That's good. I mean that fucking sucks, but it's good.


[David] Has- no one's said anything, yet, right?


[James] No one's said shit


[Amanda] no, I- I...


[James] Bolka walked over to a bench, Vasilisa pulled out a wand and recast mage armor on herself, and Marge is staring at the floor


[Amanda] Right, yeah, exactly


[Elizabeth] It's- We haven't tried to say a word.


[James] No one has said anything. I think there is definitely an extremely tense silence and like, especially because you guys are in a roommate of solid ice, so you hear-


[David] Oh, it's quiet, yeah


[James] -Bolka's footsteps echoing through the chamber as he just walks over and sits


[Elizabeth] I don't know: does ice echo?


[David] oh yeah, iciness like this? a room?


[Elizabeth] I've never been in an ice room


[David] yeah, it's echo- it's like like being, when it snows


[Elizabeth] Does it have a crunch?


[Amanda] if it's, if it's ice, it's almost like walking on marble


[Elizabeth] yeah. oh my gosh. and it's everything


[David] it might even be making that creaking sound that ice makes when it's like just sitting, like a glacier


[Elizabeth] Oh, it's an ominous silence so you can hear these little cracks and creaks of the ice


[David makes sounds like ice cracking]


[Amanda] oh that's creepy


[Elizabeth] Almost like the tower is breathing around us


[David] so since we're not talking, that's what we're hearing


[Zac] yeah, especially since this big boom just went off like from-


[James] yep


[Zac] -from the globe. So it's probably some settling still to do.


[Amanda] wow, yeah


[David, as Valdeen] "Well, you think anybody heard that? I mean, do we need to get ready to defend our position or-? And what the hell was Norm doing here?


[Amanda, as Marge] "Why, oh, I'm sure I don't know. I- I don't know."


[David, as Valdeen] "Was that actually- was that actually Norm? Vasilisa, do you know what what just happened?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "My best guess is it is some sort of spiritual manifestation of Norm passing along his role in our group in some way."


[David, as Valdeen] "Bolka, you- you doing okay over there, bud?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "I- I do not know."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Bolka, I know the cards have somehow chosen you in some way; the Mountain Man made that clear. Later, when we are in less immediate dire danger for our lives, I would like to sit you down and do a proper reading for us as a group, so that we may- I'd- uh, come to terms better? I think that we've been tied together in a magical way that I would like to explore with the Harrow, if you do not mind. Please don't mind. I- I would really much prefer if you did not mind."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, perhaps. That- that- that seems like very far off right now. Everything seems very far off from right now."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "We- in a way, we must uh hurry? Valdeen is not wrong. I think probably everybody knows we are here."


[David] How loud was the sound of the globe and the turning off of the portal? Was that a loud noise or was it just magical dispersion?


[James] It wasn't- it wasn't as loud as it was bright, and you guys definitely felt a force, but I wouldn't say it was loud.


[Zac] but you said the building shook though?


[James] yes


[David] okay


[Zac] so the people would've


[James] Not by noise, by force. Like, as it dissipated, you guys felt like a wave of energy, yes, and it kind of passed through you and hit you--


[David] oh yeah, everybody's awake


[James] yeah. It goes into the walls, shook the whole thing


[Amanda] oh man


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Bolka, Bolka"

[Zac, as Bolka] "Yeah?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Herstig, she is still your charmed friend for a few hours at least?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "yes..."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "We should take advantage of this. If- if we get to her before the rest of the tower can get to her, perhaps we can even get her to fight on our side? Unlikely, but at the very least we should ask if she knows anything about Thora or something." and Vasilisa just kind of puts a little a hand down on Hatch, Hatch's little head.


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh yes, we have to go get Thora! We--you know, we can't- we can't let another uh ratfolk get hurt here!"


[David, as Valdeen] "I- I think we have an opportunity to use...Her-Herstig, is that how you say that?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I believe it's Herstig- Herstig Orlov?"


[David, as Valdeen] "If we- we may have an opportunity. Bolka, could you- you think you could convince Herstig to lead a a group of the tower's defenders that are here? Say, 'I- I saw the intruders leave; they went out this way' and have- have her take them out of the tower-"


[Amanda, as Marge] "oh, yeah"


[David, as Valdeen] "-as we also depart, you know, with less resistance."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "We could pretend like uh Radosek, the infamous womanizer, wanted to have the intercourse with me and that you were helping him with that, and you could be like, 'oh no! they have attacked Radosek and fled via flying away!'"


[Amanda laughs]


[Zac] So, you noticed when you said 'take advantage' before like his brow furrowed a little bit. [as Bolka] "It seems like there should be a- a more honest way to do this."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Uh, what do you mean?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "There has been a lot of dark things that I- I have seen today and I do not want to add to it by- by compiling more lies and trickery. I- I know this is all for- for greater good, but..." [makes a sound of discomfort]


[David, as Valdeen] "You're not comfortable with deception?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "I mean, to a certain extent, in certain situations, yes; but this- this feels like perhaps too much- too much power?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "If, though, if we lie to Herstig Orlov and get information that allows us to save Thora's life-"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, so that-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "-that is worth the lie."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Perhaps. I- it's very important to me to find Thora. If we were to turn to Herstig and--I would have to wake her up, I suppose--I would like to ask her and see if she knows anything about- about Thora. Ask her about the ratfolk girl and then, if she has information, I would like to go follow up on it and perhaps I could leave one of you as my trusted friend to convey all of the falsehoods that we need to convey upon her? Perhaps she will trust you as she trusts me?"


[David] Do I get a- do players, do we get a sense--um, I guess as characters--do we get a sense of what's going on with Bolka? Are you- do you visibly seem--I mean, I know you described it earlier, but--do you seem more troubled? Are you like- are you like frowning a lot? What- what-


[Zac] Oh, as this progress- I mean, compared to how you've known him before, which is just telling jokes constantly and-


[David] yeah


[Zac] -and smiling, and even before the mandragora fight, still like cracking jokes and still trying to have fun, like, yeah, that's like it's just gone. Yeah, I don't know if you can really tell how long it's been gone, though.


[David] Okay, but I guess- I guess what I'm motivated by is: how do we know what's going on with you? I- I kind of asked. I asked- Valdeen asked what was going on with you


[Zac] oh sorry, that was not David


[David] No, Valdeen asked you, like, earlier, what was going on and if you were okay and you didn't really-


[James] David, David: more southern, more southern


[David] okay [as Valdeen, over-emphasizing his accent] "Bolka, what's going on?"


[James] there we go!


[Zac] oh Jesus


[James] That's the quality air content people are here for


[David, as Valdeen] "Bolka, you seem really troubled by what's going on right now. Can you- we don't have much time, but are you with us? What's going on?"


[Zac] He just looks at the ring and, which is still in his hand. [as Bolka] "I- I, yes. It certainly seems so."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "You probably are feeling a little bit different than you have ever felt before, maybe more powerful in some strange way. We have all been there."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh, yeah"


[David, as Valdeen] "That's a good point; I hadn't considered that."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "He probably is feeling that 'woof, what is this inside me that's changed?' feeling. I think we all feel that a little bit."


[David, as Valdeen] "Are you conflicted by different motivations? Like, I know you serve a higher purpose. Is that- And now you have another purpose you must serve... It- I'm certain you feel that. Is that what troubles you?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "I- I- I think I have a lot to consider."


[David, as Valdeen] "I don't mean to rush you, but we got some stuff to deal with here. The whole tower is probably awake, so I- Think you could get up and join us and we can get a plan and get- get on? I mean, you're sitting down and I'm worried..."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yeah, at the very least we should go-"


[David, as Valdeen] "We gotta go."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Okay."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "-and search everything for Thora, I think."


[James, as Vrixx] "Yeah, there's- there's one other place I mean that I guess she could be being kept."


[David, as Valdeen] "Where's that?"


[James, as Hatch] "Where- where- where is that? Vrixx, where is she?"


[James, as Vrixx] "Well, I mean, there's- there's the pixie room-"


[James (interrupting himself)] sorry [(leaning away from mic, yells)] fuck!


[everyone] Sprite! [laughter]


[James continues as Vrixx] "I mean, there's- there's the sprite room."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I am sorry, did you say-"


[Zac] Season two!


[more laughter]


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "-did you say the sprite room?"


[James, as Vrixx] "Yeah, it's the room with the sprite and the atomie housing."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Where is that?"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Yeah, why would they keep Thora there?"


[James, as Vrixx] "I mean, it's next to the air. I mean, she's a child: child things like flying things, maybe they were guarding her, keeping her company..."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oh, that is true: Radosek seemed like maybe he wouldn't want the company of a ratfolk girl child"


[James, as Vrixx] "Yeah"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "so maybe he was like 'hey, fey, look after her', eh?"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Okay, oh, well, we should go then!"


[James, as Hatch] "Yeah-"


[David, as Valdeen] "It's worth looking into anyway."


[James, as Hatch] "It was back in the aerie with all the birds-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "oh!"


[James, as Hatch] "There was that other room, um, I thought you knew-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "That storage area you mentioned?"


[James, as Vrixx] "Yeah, yeah yeah that storage area. I mean, we kind of rushed through there before because we wanted to get to the top and kill the guy, but now that's not here, I mean like and I mean if we could go back down, I could show you guys where I used to live and, you know, maybe if you wanted me to come along, we could bring my house..."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "You have a house?"


[James, as Vrixx] "yeah"


[David, as Valdeen] "Vrixx wants to come with us?"


[James, as Vrixx] "It's pretty... Hey! I- I mean, if you guys wanted me to, I could."


[David, as Valdeen] "I'm just shocked you want to go with us"


[Amanda] Marge narrows her eyes at Vrixx


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa leans over towards Marge because she sees the narrowing of the eyes and she says, softly, [as Vasilisa] "You know, he's probably less dangerous if we keep an eye on him than if he's just flying around knowing so much about us."


[Amanda, as Marge] "He'd be a lot less dangerous if he were dead."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay, you could always maybe have Ghost eat him later if he does something bad, but he's- he's been kind of helpful recently."


[Zac] Does anyone else hear it- hear what you guys are saying? I mean, you're just whispering to each other, but-


[Elizabeth] I would like to make a st-


[Amanda] You guys can do a perception check if you want


[Zac] Yeah, can I perceive what their whispering?


[James] Yeah, do a perception versus stealth


[Elizabeth] Yeah, our message spell ran out because it's been long enough, so I'll do a stealth-


[James] Yeah, roll me a stealth for whispers and anyone who wants to hear them roll perception


[David] Well, I don't hear anything; I'm paying attention to Vrixx.


[(sound of a die landing, Zac laughs) Zac] 23.


[David, laughing] oh


[Elizabeth] 21


[Amanda] 17. So, yeah, Bolka hears


[James] Yeah


[Zac] Okay...


[Elizabeth] Does Vrixx hear?


[James] No, he doesn't


[David] Yeah, Vrixx and I are still talking.


[Elizabeth] That's what matters


[Amanda] Oh, good


[Elizabeth] That's what matters. [laughter, and a brief pause, then Elizabeth adds] Does Bolka disapprove?


[Zac] Dude... Bolka has been shutting down more, like, more and more...


[James] Bolka is sensory overload right now


[Zac] Like, okay, so meta-wise, like, I'm still going to play this- this in game he's- he's closing off, but I'll tell you guys like, maybe it started with the the liter of blood drinking but- but then, but then once Marge was cursed and dropped you guys immediately looted the room; you blew right past her when she went down and it was so counterintuitive to him that he really is second guessing like- what, am Isure these are the right people? Are we the baddies? Like, he's got a bad case of that right now. The thing with- and then, looking over at Ghost and Ghost's mouth like you said, it's like... yeah


[Amanda] probably terrifying looking


[Zac] and now they're just like and now there's a party member and they're like 'oh we can just eat them later.' He's like, 'yeah, I'm in with the wrong people and I just signed like a permanent contract...' So he-


[James] You signed your name and then it turns out you made a deal with the devil!


[Zac] He feels alone- he feels like he's got no one to talk to


[Elizabeth] You're feeling a little bit of the curse part that comes with the oath


[Amanda] because you don't know these people before their hardships hit; if you were there at the beginning you would have loved Marge and totally understood where she was coming from right now, but because you've met Marge in her anger phase, mostly-


[James] So, while all of this is going on, Hatch is gonna go over and jump up and sit down next to Bolka and just like reach over and put his little tiny hand on your hand and just sit there and just kind of like look up at you.


[David] Valdeen starts pacing back and forth on the other side of the room. I'm not happy with us standing up here just waiting for feelings. Let's- come on!

[Zac] no no, yeah-


[James, as Vrixx] "I mean, if you guys don't want me along, that's- that's fine- I got, I got-"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh no, it's fine. You know, we should just get goin'."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Look, Vrixx, it's fine. We should check this sprite room anyway on our way out, but we must go talk to Herstig while she is still at least kind of a fake friend and uh, hopefully get ahead of these things, you know"


[Amanda, as Marge] "yes"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "yes"


[Zac] and then Bolka stands up, too, like he gets that yeah we do need to begin-


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Finding Thora"


[Zac] -he put his boon into wisdom, so he's feeling like he's- he's- he's got another layer of a being able to see this- this big picture maybe a little bit bigger, and it's not better...


[James] Yeah, it's like, all right so here's-


[David] welcome to wisdom


[James] here's Bolka and his metaphor for wisdom, all right, so like he's looking at a tree and he's like 'oh, that's a nice tree' and he's like 'oh wait, no; this tree's infested and it's dying.' He zooms out a little bit more and he's like 'oh- oh, the whole forest is infested' and he zooms out a little bit more, with his new bonus, and he's like 'oh, oh, the whole forest is infested and also it's surrounded by a raging wildfire.'




[Amanda] 'Crap, what did I get myself into?'


[Zac] 'and I just bought property here...'


[David] oh man


[Zac] Like, that's how- yeah. That's how he feels.


[James] Yep


[Zac] So, yeah, but he'll stand up; I mean, he still wants to find Thora and it's also nice to have one good thing that you can- that he can actually focus on like, here's a good yeah here's a good and yeah Hatch is good and I know that Hatch is like literally good and so that is-


[James] Hatch is a sweetie


[Zac] It is comforting. I don't think it's outward--you can't see it--but inside he is comforted a little bit by that.


[Amanda, as Marge] "So, no, we're sure that Thora is nowhere up here, right? I mean we've checked all the rooms?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "We have looked quite thoroughly, yes."


[James, as Hatch] "Oh, trust me, I've checked everything, yeah."


[Amanda, as Marge] "well then, we should go."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's go back and deal with Herstig and then go from there and double check the area again."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Yes, yes."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let us- Are we all ready? Are we- Take a deep breath, Marge, I wish there was more I could do-"


[Amanda, as Marge] "You know, I'll just stay on the back of Ghost; I'm still feeling strong, I just- I just don't know if I could take very many hits is all."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Give me- give me till tomorrow. I am feeling as though I could probably figure out a spell that would help tomorrow."


[Amanda, as Marge] "I sure hope so."


[David, as Valdeen] "If- if we need to, I'll- I'll take point. I think I can at least get us out of here safely."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, like I said, I'm still strong and I've still got Ghost and Ghost is still strong, so you know we can- we can still take the front, but if I get hit too many times I- I won't be able to stay up front anymore."


[David, as Valdeen] "I'll be right behind you, then."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, let's go, then. Let's go."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's go, yes. Okay."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, we should- we should go. We- we don't want to waste too much time; you're right."


[James] Okay, cool. You guys head on over to the uh big sheets of ice that are the magical teleporters and you hold up one of the many magical keys and you teleport back down to the level with the dining hall that leads with a red carpet. You got those two hot sexy naked lady ice sculptures on either side all posed and looking badass and neat, and this is the level that you guys saw Herstig on and you know where her bedroom is.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Maybe we deal with Herstig first, and then we do a loop of this floor before we check the aerie? Or, Valdeen, you're the strategic person: what do you think?"


[David, as Valdeen] "I think that's a fine plan, but I really think we need to get Herstig to lead as many people out of this tower as we can, so that we're not facing the full force of this. I'm- I'm- I gotta assume this place is awake at this point."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yes, Bolka."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "uh, do you want to maybe go in front because you're the person Herstig is magically friendly with?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, she should- she should see me first for safety's sake."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Here, let me- uh, ooh, ah...Hatch. Hatch, yeah you made Marge smell like blueberries earlier, can you-"


[James, as Hatch] "Make you smell like blueberries? Yeah! [(makes sound of effort and a magical sound follows)]


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oh, oh, oh, that's not bad, but-"


[James] You smell like blueberries, now.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "-but, uh, could you clean the blood and stuff off of us, maybe?"


[James, as Hatch] "Oh"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "clean up, perhaps, uh, Bolka a little? Make him look more presentable style?"


[David, as Valdeen] "Oh, clean up Ghost, too. Ghost is lookin' a mess."


[James, as Hatch] "Yeah"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh, yeah. Oh yeah."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Just a little magic would be-"


[James] and so Hatch, this uh wonderful extremely short hairy man with only a nose, two arms, and two legs sticking out from what I describe as a koosh ball of thick kind of brown hair, goes around and you see him making hand signs and he casts prestidigitation and he cleans everybody up [(magical sound effect)]


[Amanda, as Marge] "nice"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "okay"


[David, as Valdeen] "so much better"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "all right, Bolka"


[Amanda, as Marge] "It smells like blueberries!"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, I am- I can do this"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Be strong; we believe in you and- and stuff. Oh my."


[David, as Valdeen] "It's very convincing."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Look, I'm sorry. Here. Let me, uh- I'm more convincing with my cards." [Elizabeth describes] and I hold my Harrow deck in one hand and I cast guidance on Bolka. [as Vasilisa] "It's okay. I believe in you! Vara is with us. Go!"


[Zac] Plus one on my next roll!


[James] Nice.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's do this!"


[David, singing] Mechanics!


[Zac] You know, normally this would be his thing, like that's this is what he does and he's good at is just kind of like schmoozing people and charming people, but he's really having trouble summoning it like you know when you like, 'okay, I have to perform now...' This is not- I don't want to.


[James] Yeah


[Zac takes a deep breath and sighs]


[David] You're like shook right now, aren't you?


[Zac] oh yeah


[David] yeah


[Zac] yeah, it's been like exponentially- like each thing that shakes him it's a little bit more because he was already shook; it just keeps piling on.


[James] okay


[Zac] uh and he's just gonna gently rap on the door and be like [as Bolka] "Good morning, gorgeous, are you still in there?"


[James] no response


[Zac] does the door- is the door locked?


[James] no


[Zac] I'm gonna open it, just like slightly


[James] okay, you open it slightly


[Zac] and kind of like tip toe and be like [as Bolka] "Herstig? Herstig, good morn- good morning-"


[James] the bed is empty


[Zac, as Bolka] "Ahhh, shitballs."


[everyone laughs]


[Zac] So, he just deflates. Okay-


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa doesn't even have to translate that Skald for everyone else; it carries over quite-


[David, as Valdeen] "I picked up that word..."


[Zac] Don't you guys- so you guys both know Skald, right?


[David] We- we know more language now than we did before we leveled up, yes.


[Zac] Because you're still playing it like you don't know, and it's-


[Amanda] Well, we're- we can pick up words here and there, now, yeah, and I feel like yeah like our understanding will get better as time goes on...


[Elizabeth] ...for role-play purposes...


[Amanda] ...for role-play purposes, it's not like, 'oh, I'm fluent in this language now!'


[Zac] yeah, you can't hit a switch. It doesn't-


[David] It's kind of weird, yeah; that's what we talked about before.


[Amanda] Yeah


[Zac, as Bolka] "She is not here."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Agh, dermo"


[David, as Valdeen] "Well, let's continue with the plan, then"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, speed is important now, you know!"


[David, as Valdeen] "Yep!"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Quick, first-" [describes] and Vasilisa casts a fresh message on us [as Vasilisa] "-let's stay in touch a little bit easier, just in case we get split up somehow."


[David, as Valdeen] "Good idea."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's go to the aerie."


[James] uh, so you guys move slightly past Herstig's room and you head into the next ice portal, which leads to the aerie, the place where you guys found uh the cleric, um killed her in her sleep, and none of the birds attacked you. All the birds are just like there and you can see they're kind of- uh, I'm sorry: there are no birds there. um, let's start that over. uh, there are no more birds there.


[Amanda gasps]


[Elizabeth] oh shit


[James] um, yeah


[David] They all left when- yep.


[James] You guys pop in, the birds are gone from the wires that hang around this room between the different posts normally where they would be roosting. You guys see some feathers on the floor and you can feel the cold wind coming in from the turrets that perforate the far wall of this crescent-shaped room.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I don't know which is worse: having all of the ravens here or that they are gone now. Is the sylph still in her room? Check for the body. Marge?"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh, okay!"


[David, as Valdeen] "Vrixx: Vrixx, where did you say you wanted to show us in here?"


[James, as Vrixx] "oh yeah, it's right over here." [James describes] and Vrixx flies over and he heads uh to the east uh instead of going to the west like Marge does when she goes to check the body, and he just flies through a little hole at the top of a door that looks like it leads to a closet.


[Amanda] Marge will open the door to the west to check on the body of the sylph that she ran through.


[David] I'm following Vrixx and Ii open the door that he flew above


[James] so you throw open the door to this new kind of unit closet area that you guys haven't seen before and you see a bunch of different crates in this very triangular-looking storage room and then on some high shelves are a number of intricate looking dollhouses.


[Zac] Aw


[Elizabeth giggles]


[Amanda] Dollhouses?


[James] Dollhouses


[Elizabeth] I love it


[James] and you see a little glowing orb in one of them.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Vrixx?"


[James, as Vrixx] "Yeah?" [describes] and he opens the door and he comes out he's wearing a little robe, like a little house robe, and little slippers. [as Vrixx] "Oh, thanks for coming by!"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "That's a nice house you have there."


[James, as Vrixx] "Thanks, I had to- I traded a lot of shit for this house, it's one of the nicer houses, I think. I did some gambling and some backstabbing, but I got the nicest one here, I think."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "So, that's the one you want us to take with us, then? The one you're in now?"


[James, as Vrixx] "Yes."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Valdeen, you're quite tall: do you want to grab that and maybe we'll- we'll just strap the dollhouse to Ghost?"


[David, as Valdeen] "Could we put this in the bag of holding?" [describes] I just put the magic bag over it and like [(makes a shrrft sound)] on both sides.


[James, as Vrixx] "oh, hell yeah!"


[David, as Valdeen] "Move out of the way, Vrixx, and we'll take this with us."


[James, as Vrixx] "Alright"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Is there anything else in this room of value, Vrixx, that you think might help us?


[James, as Vrixx] "Ummm, let me check. You know, you know Jira and Lask, they- they had a room in here, too. They were kind of residents, so they probably had a lot of shit. Hold on." [describes] uh and he goes over into one of the other houses, uh and he's looking around, he's like, [as Vrixx] "oh shit, oh my- holy shit! Okay, hold on!" [describes] and then you-


[Amanda] Marge is like, "Did you find Thora?!"


[James] -you see-  you see the doll house sitting on the high shelf kind of shhk shhk and it moves closer and closer to the edge until it just falls off and it goes and hits and it clatters and smashes on the floor.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Uhhh, don't worry, Marge! It is just Vrixx being quite loud! Thora is not in here, though."


[James] and a small spattering of treasure explodes out of it, including a jeweled silver dagger with a hilt resembling the head of a blue-eyed winter wolf, a jade bracelet in the shape of a sovereign dragon, you see two porcelain dolls that miraculously haven't broken, a silver medallion decorated with sapphires, a gold signet ring, and three blue quartz crystals.


[David] I'd scoop up everything and throw it in the bag of holding.


[James] Meanwhile, uh, Hatch is going through boxes- [James makes grumbling/mumbling sounds in Hatch's voice]


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Here, Hatch, let me help a little bit." [describes] and I'll just cast detect magic and see if anything else in the room is magical


[David, as Valdeen] "I thought- I thought that Thora might be up-"


[James, as Hatch] "Thora's not magical..."


[David, as Valdeen] "Yeah, no, Thora might be up here, right? That was-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "But maybe there's a spell keeping Thora, you know- magical bindings..."


[James, as Hatch] "Oh, that's smart! Did you detect anything? Did you detect anything?"


[Elizabeth, in Vasilisa's voice] "Did I?"

[James] No


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "No, I did not. Thank you for asking."




[Zac] That was an interesting dialogue.


[more laughter]


[David] Oh, boy


[James] Yes, it was


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Marge, what is going on with you?"


[Amanda] I don't know, yet.


[James] There's a body!


[Amanda] So, they're going through stuff, there's just- she's just laying on the ground?


[James] Yeah, dead body. Blood.


[Amanda, as Marge (calling out)] "Well, there's nothing new over here! Uh, yeah, we should just get going!"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay. Sounds good."


[David, as Valdeen] "All right, where where else could Thora be?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "There's all the other rooms and maybe even something important in Herstig's room."


[David, as Valdeen] "Alright"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Yeah, we gotta go back and search the other-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's go back and look at that floor together."


[David, as Valdeen] "Alright, let's go."


[Amanda, as Marge] "The dining hall, yes."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay."


[James] Okay, so you guys-


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Wait a second, one moment!"


[David, as Valdeen] "What?" [sounding a bit impatient]


[Elizabeth] I would like to peer over the edge out into the snowy beyond.


[David] Oh, does this overlook the courtyard?


[James] Mhmm


[Elizabeth] Do I see where the birds went? Do I see if there's activity down below?


[James] um, looking down, you see the courtyard is a little bit active. You see people just kind of like looking around and like shrugging and talking to one another and kind of like pointing around and everything. You don't see any birds; there are no birds within your field of vision.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay, I cannot see any birds" [describing] I say kind of under my breath because message spell [continues as Vasilisa] "but there are some guards milling about in the courtyard. They probably felt something, but they don't seem to know what is going on, yet. Let's hurry."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Okay."


[David, as Valdeen] "Do they seem alerted? Are they running about? Or are they just there?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] They're just kind of milling about like they're maybe wondering what is going on."


[David, as Valdeen] "Well, situation might not be as dire as I thought, but let's keep going."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, yeah, before they come up."


[David, as Valdeen] "Yeah"


[James] Alright, you guys leave the aerie and you head back to that sort of second floor gathering area you come on uh just to the west of Herstig's room.


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, we should go to the other side. There's- there's- We've not been over there, yet."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Good point, yes. First, let me check-" [describes] I would like to uh detect magic in Herstig's room [magical sound effect]


[James] you detect magic in Herstig's room


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay, there's something magical in here." Just one moment." [describes] and I would like to hunt down the magical thing or things.


[James] Things


[Elizabeth] Things


[James] you look through like her dresser, which there is a potion inside of there, and then you open up her foot locker and inside you find three potions as well as some shinies. Do you want to collect the shinies?


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Valdeen, there's some shinies in here." [asks GM] are they magical?


[David, as Valdeen] "Here-" [describes] I already had the bag of holding open next to her.


[James] There's some magical and some not magical


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "There's some non-magical shinies" [describes] and I dump them into the bag he has ready for me, and I would like to try to identify these potions


[James] okay


[sound of dice rolling]


[Elizabeth] 12


[James] no. Give me another one


[Another die thuds]


[Elizabeth] 18


[James] uh three of the potions are potions of featherfall


[Elizabeth] Oh, good. Okay. Oh-ho-ho


[David] Only 3?


[James] Only 3


[Elizabeth] Only 3 [as Vasilisa] "Is anyone here much better at not dying from falling than everyone else?"


[James] Vrixx raises his hand


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Other than Vrixx, and perhaps also Hatch."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, I've never tried to not get hurt while falling before, so you know, what does that- what-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Okay, you know what? Look. I have a scroll of levitate that I just remembered I have, so..." [describes] I- I give a potion of featherfall to Valdeen, one to Bolka, and one to Marge [as Vasilisa] "...if you think you have to jump off of the tower to escape for some reason, drink this potion first. Also, Bolka, what is this other potion? I- I am frazzled; I don't know."


[Zac] You- you go to give the potion to Bolka and you uh you see his halo is back; he's- he has a golden halo floating over his head.


[Elizabeth, in Vasilisa's voice] "Oh my, Bolka. Looking shiny, are we? But, you still need, maybe, this potion? Okay, uh- if you want to look at this-"


[Zac, as Bolka] "I can-


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "If you want to look at this potion, I'd appreciate it."


[Zac, in Bolka's voice] This would be, uh, spellcraft. [sound of a die roll] This would be 11. No good.


[James] No good.  You guys have no idea.


[Amanda, as Marge] "Alright. Alright, we're goin' around."


[Elizabeth] Alright, let's go around. For our audience, uh, there's three small circular rooms attached around the exterior of the large, mostly-circular floor of this level of the tower.


[Zac] Just hanging on, hanging on like little nodes


[Elizabeth] Yeah. So, Herstig's was one, there's those ridiculous giant mirrors through which you can be spied on in all of these rooms. So, we did Herstig's and I think we're going around to the next of those two, three- might as well finish those little rooms first.


[James] okay, cool. You guys ready for this one? This is a fun one.


[Elizabeth (in a squeaky voice)] Okay


[Amanda (confidently)] There's nothing in there!


[James] Who opens the door? Do you knock? Do you check for traps? Do you check to see if it's locked? Do you knock?


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa does not open it and she leaves the rest of those answers up to everyone else.


[James] Nice, good, nice.


[David, as Valdeen] "All right, hold. Let- let's listen. Let's listen real quick and see we hear anything."


[James] give me a perception


[Sound of dice rolling]


[Elizabeth] 17


[David] Oh yeah


[Amanda] 18


[Zac] 23


[David] um, 27


[Zac] You always-


[Amanda] wowza


[James] over 20, so that's Bolka and Valdeen? You guys smell something really uh fragrant, really nice, kind of elegant.


[Zac] Flowers? Perfume?


[James] Very flowery, kind of perfumey, yeah; it could be one of those two, coming from the other side of this door.


[Zac] it's not bacon


[James] Not bacon, no.


[David] hmm [in Valdeen's voice, joking] "all right, next room, it's not bacon, let's go"


[James] okay


[David] no, um


[Zac laughs]


[David, as Valdeen] "Can you smell that?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yeah, it smells good in here."


[David, as Valdeen] "Like flowers or something."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "What do you think it could be? Could- maybe it's just a really nice incense? I like a good incense. Uh, Hatch, do you know what might be in here?"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh, it could be a girl!"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Does it smell like incense?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oh, look, maybe, let's just, let's check. It's not incense, but it could be a scented candle. Look, we don't know. Let's look."


[Amanda] Marge opens the door


[James] Marge opens the door


[Amanda] if it opens


[James] it does!


[Amanda] Okay


[James] It opens; it is unlocked. uh Inside, you find a small bedroom, um looking around it seems pretty nice, actually; there's a good carpet, it smells super super fragrant and your eyes soon fall on why because over in one of the corners you see a vanity mirror set up and on the table in front of it a variety of perfumes as well as a chair. uh Over on a changing screen um you guys see several dresses hanging from it and the style of Taldor


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa (gasps)] "What is going on?"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Oh, there's a Taldor girl here?"


[James] you also see a large mirror hanging between two windows and a pretty nice bed


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "What the..." [sighs] "Things just get stranger and stranger. Let's- if you want to do a quick look for anything else that might be a clue, I shall try to detect magic again."


[David, as Valdeen] "I'll do a quick look around." [describes] All right, just a quick check of the room to see if I see anything important or valuable


[James] Okay


[Elizabeth] You know, like a diary that explains who lives here, or...


[Amanda] Bolka's just going to love us more and more


[David] Well, Valdeen is going to Valdeen, so...


[Elizabeth] ...treasure


[James] Valdeen, give me- give me a quick cursory check


[David] that's a perception check, right? 29.


[James] 29. Uh, you find a couple different books: one of them is kind of a Learn How to Speak Taldane Common book.


[Elizabeth] What?


[David, as Valdeen] "Got a couple books, a couple books over here. I'll throw them in the bag."


[Amanda] Is somebody from Irrisen trying to look like somebody from Taldor?


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] They- they were planning to invade, specifically with a person, they-"


[Zac, as Bolka] "They're planning to infiltrate"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yes, yes. That is the word I was searching for"


[David, as Valdeen] "Yes, a spy operation."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "- I need one of these books of how to learn Taldane, apparently, my goodness."


[David, as Valdeen] "Couldn't hurt."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I try, I try"


[James] That's it; that's all you find.


[David] No magic?

[At same time, Elizabeth] Anything magical?


[James] No things are in here that are magic.


[David] No things. Next room!


[Amanda] I will, instead of just opening the door, I will perception, see if I hear anything. 23 (I had to count on my fingers).


[David] I also rolled a 23.


[Zac] 25.


[Amanda] Oh


[Elizabeth] 8




[Zac] I beat Valdeen!


[James] You guys don't hear anything. You don't smell anything, either.


[Amanda] I think Vasilisa is trying to put together the last room.


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa, uh, is distracted in her perception check because she has quietly pocketed one of the perfumes that smells nicest.


[James] Awww


[David] Nice


[Amanda] uh, so, Marge will look at Valdeen and kind of shake her head like, 'no,' like she didn't hear anything, and then-


[David, as Valdeen] "Yeah, let's go in."


[Amanda] -she opens the door.


[James] So, opening the door to this one, you guys find a bed, desk, and a storage locker.


[Zac] Vasilisa detects magic


[Elizabeth] uh yeah; I'm gonna try to detect magic


[James] You do not detect any magic


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "There's nothing magical in here."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Still no Thora. Okay. Well, we should- we should go to the uh the- the door across the hall."


[David, as Valdeen] "Alright."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yes, let's go."


[James] okay


[David] okay


[James] you go to that one


[Elizabeth] perception


[James] perception


[Amanda] perception


[Elizabeth, laughing] 6


[Amanda] 17


[Zac] 13


[David] 30: I rolled a nat 20.


[James] Nice. You don't hear anything.


[David] okay


[Amanda] Marge opens the door, if it opens.


[James] Yeah, it does. You open the doors and you find a library; floor to ceiling bookshelves lining the walls, a really nice kind of big study table, there's a back room with even more storage shelves, and there are also two floor-to-ceiling mirrors in here.


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I'm starting to really hate all these mirrors. Just saying."


[Amanda, as Marge] "If there's no one in here, we should just keep goin'."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let me do a quick scan." [describes] uh, detect magic. [magical sound effect]


[James] No magic


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Well, okay, let's go, yes."


[David, as Valdeen] "The question is, do we go down to the next floor? It opens up to the-"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, I think we still have- there's like a pointy part sticking out of the other side."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oh, that's true."


[James, as Hatch] "That's the kitchen."


[David, as Valdeen] "Oh, alright."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Let's double-check the kitchen. Maybe Herstig got snacky."


[Amanda, as Marge] "Well, Vrixx, what's the fastest way to get to the uh the kitchen?"


[James, as Vrixx] "You go through the dining hall."


[Amanda, as Marge] "oh"


[David, as Valdeen] "Yeah, right around the outside"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "let's go"


[Amanda, as Marge] "Let's do it, let's do it."


[David, as Valdeen] "Let's go"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "okay"


[James] cool


[Zac] Do we see the bodies of the atomies still there?


[Elizabeth] No, they were eaten by Ghost.


[Zac] oh, oh god. That's right.


[David, laughing] They're gone


[laughter from Elizabeth and Amanda]


[Zac, as Bolka] "Oh, yes, we should not expect any remains; that is correct."


[James] You guys open the door into the dining hall. Remember that the table is still sprawled with the remnants of food from the feast of the night before. And there you see uh Herstig Orlov uh in kind of her pajamas and she's just like kind of like sitting on the table like across from the other mirrors, and she's just like snacking and like you hear her chatting and you kind of turn that corner and, looking down, you see, sitting on the opposite side of the table, also sitting there a woman with kind of long red hair and really sharp facial features.


[Elizabeth gasps]


[James] and you're looking at-


[Zac] Really sharp, like a ratfolk?


[James] No!


[Zac sighs, David laughs]


[James] You're looking


[Zac] Damn


[James continues] at who three of you would instantly recognize


[Elizabeth] yeah


[James] as Lady Argentea


[David joins in to say 'Lady Argentea' with James]


[Amanda] Wait, what?


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa, gasps] "It is a third Lady Argentea!" [describes] Vasilisa exclaims before she can control herself.


[James] And they, both of them look over at you like mid- mid-cronch on a snack.


[James, as Herstig] "Oh, hello my friend, welcome back!"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Oh, hello."


[James, as Herstig] "Did you feel that, we had an earthquake or something?"


[Zac, as Bolka] "That is why- I was coming to see if you knew what happened."


[James, as Herstig] "Yeah, is quite- is quite bad. Have you all- have you all- all met our- our good friend Lady Argentea?"


[Zac] and I don't need to roll a bluff check [as Bolka] "No, I have never seen this person before."


[James, as Herstig] "Oh, she is wonderful. She is- she's wonderful, wonderful."


[Zac, as Bolka] "How do you know her?"


[James, as Herstig] "She works for us."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Oh, good."


[James, as Herstig] "Yes."


[Elizabeth] Vasilisa is currently covering her mouth with her hands because she can't believe she- she spoke like that, like, especially because she did it in Taldane, too; she's just like 'oh, I don't know what to say!' She looks full-on shocked.


[James, as 'Lady Argentea'] "Oh, you- you also speak Taldane?" [describes] says Lady Argentea over to you. [continues as 'Argentea'] "I- I've been studying it for some time; it is quite the interesting language."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "It is, isn't it? I would even say that your accent is much better than mine."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Thank you. You know, it's a very important part of my job."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I would believe that. What is your job?"


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Well, I am going to be the Lady Argentea."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oh my!"


[James] and she does like a little flourish


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "So,  you're not Lady Argentea, then; you are new Lady Argentea."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Yes, for- for all intents and purposes, I am Lady Argentea. I mean, I've been studying for weeks and I- they said that they have her now, so I think I'm gonna be going over pretty soon."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I must say, from what I have studied of Taldor: very good resemblance to a Taldane."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Yes, you know, we- we've had a lot of research and things like that, so, I'm glad- I'm glad. I'm glad you appreciate my work."


[Amanda] For clarification purposes what language is this?


[James] Taldane


[David] We understand this, yeah. It totally make sense


[Elizabeth] She's practicing her Taldane


[James, as 'Argentea'] "It's so nice to finally meet someone here who speaks Tal- why do you know Taldane?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Well, you know, I am a merchant, soo..."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Ohh, that's a very useful skill to have."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Indeed. So many people speak Taldane instead of the much greater languages of Irrisen, so..."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Have you ever been to Taldor? Like, around the Oppara area at all?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "You know, I personally have not, but I think my bodyguard here uh has maybe even been in Taldor. I don't know for sure."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Oh, really?"


[David, as Valdeen] "Yeah, I've been to Oppara before, yeah."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Oh wonderful! I- I hear that's where I'm gonna be spending a lot of my time."


[David, as Valdeen] "I can imagine you probably will."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "What's it like?"


[David, as Valdeen] "It's a big city."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Wow.


[David, as Valdeen] "Yep."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "I hear it's not cold there."


[David, as Valdeen] "Not at all."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Oh, man. I am so excited to experience like that for the first time. I hear you guys have this thing called rain."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yes, sometimes"


[David, as Valdeen] "Yep."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "It's like snow, but not!"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "It's...yeah."


[James, as 'Argentea'] "Whaaaat?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "It's not-frozen water, you know. And sometimes it is actually so warm that you feel even overly warm and you take off your outer layers and just let the sun soak into your skin." [describes] and Vasilisa is starting to-


[David] drift off?


[Elizabeth] -drift a little bit into thinking about better, warmer times.


[James, as Herstig] "So, anyway, what are they saying? I do not understand this conversation."


[Amanda] Whereas Marge is-


[Zac] Bolka's trying to get Herstig's attention.


[James, as Herstig] "Yeah, what is going on, Bolka? Everything good? Like, we- we've...I felt the shaking, I got up because, ah it's probably some just stupid magic shit, but I- I'm just hanging out here, just telling Gardhek is fine. If problem, Radosek will come down, he will tell me, and then we will go and fix things, but, eh, I figure it's just stupid magic shit."


[Zac, as Bolka] "Well, I came to see you because I- I was telling my friend here--she does not believe me--I was telling her that there is a ratfolk uh here in the tower somewhere because I- I heard there was one taken from uh from Waldsby, that was here in the tower, and she does not believe me that there is another ratfolk here. She's like, 'oh no! that's not possible!' but I tell her, 'yes, there is a ratfolk.'"


[James, as Herstig] "I mean, there used to be a ratfolk person here. A small child-"


[Zac, as Bolka] "Yes, yes; that is the one I was-"


[James, as Herstig] "Yeah, I mean, there used to be one here. Yeah, I mean, that wasn't long, though."


[Zac] He's like trying to ask 'oh, what happened?', but he doesn't want to ask what happened, um, because he doesn't want to hear the answer. [as Bolka] "Uh- oh, so- oh, so I guess- I guess you're right. I- I guess there is no ratfolk here. I- But, still, I was- was here for a minute. Um, okay, so where-" [voice falling, very quiet] "-where is she now?" [describes] Like, he's- he's trying to keep up the performance and it's just, he can't


[Elizabeth, laughing] It's so hard!


[James, as Herstig] "It's what happened with all the children who make it over to the Towers, you know? And she is over in Taldor."


[Zac, as Bolka] "I- I do not-" [describes] he's stunned [as Bolka] "I don't think I knew that..."


[David] What?


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "I apologize for breaking into your conversation" [describes] and uh Vasilisa is now speaking Skald [as Vasilisa] "uh, Herstig?"


[James, as Herstig] "Yes?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Did you just say that they sent a ratfolk child to Taldor?"


[James, as Herstig] "I mean, kind of, yeah, I guess, in a way."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Kind of?"


[James, as Herstig] "Yeah. I mean- I mean, so they they sacrifice her--they kill her--put her in doll, send her to Taldor"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Oohhh"


[James, as Herstig] "I hear they have a new hut over there to watch over?"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "She is a sentinel spirit, okay."


[James, as Herstig] "Yeah! See, there we go. That is- I do not always know how to- I just assume most people know, you know-"


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "Yes"


[James, as Herstig] "-when a child disappears and then when they go to Tower, they typically get turned into porcelain doll and sent to go watch stuff."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "You know, we have been traveling- I, personally, have been traveling away from Irrisen selling things and stuff, for so long that I- I almost forget, yeah, of course small child does something, gets sacrificed: you need them... sentinel...


[James, as Herstig] "Yep, yeah. You need them the soul in the doll to watch over for the crown, yeah. It makes sense."


[Elizabeth, as Vasilisa] "It only makes sense, yes."


[Amanda] Are they in Skald? Speaking in Skald?

[Elizabeth] Yes


[James] They're in Skald.


[David] We're picking up a word here and there


[Elizabeth] a word here and there, yeah


[David] Yeah, I'm-


[Amanda] Enough to know that Thora has been killed, probably.


[Elizabeth] Yeah, probably.


[Amanda] I am sure Marge-


[James] You probably understood 'child,' 'death,' 'soul,' 'doll,' 'chicken hut'


[Elizabeth] Yeah, you know 'chicken hut'




[James, as Herstig] "I mean, it is- it is not-"


[Amanda, as Marge] "You know, I- I think I've had quite enough of this place!" [describes] and she just picks up her sword and will actually just charge at Herstig.


[James] Okay


[Elizabeth (gasps)] Holy- !


[Amanda] Except I don't know where they are in relation to me...


[James, beginning to transition into his announcer voice] Yes, and unfortunately we're gonna have to figure out where they are-


[Amanda] oh no


[James, in full announcer voice with outro music beginning] -because as you charge her and we roll for initiative, the two ladies on the side are like 'holy shit! what the fuck?' and we're gonna enter our first combat of Season Two next time!


[Music: "Press Start" by MDK Music plays]


[Zac (as music plays)] Aw, man


[David] C'mon!


[Amanda] Ah, Marge was gonna kill everybody!


[David] Can we just keep playing?


[Amanda] Oh, god


[James] Thanks for listening to The Dimension Door Podcast. Stay tuned for a promo from our friends over at Tabletop Tiddies. Now is a perfect time to hop into our show! If you have friends or family that might be interested in listening, but they are intimidated by the backlog, tell them to start here. The opening is meant to catch anyone up to the start of Season 2 of the show. Also make sure you check out our sister show, Severed Fate. We have officially launched our $10 Patreon tier: signing up for this tier gets you access to our Periodic Table of Content, which we will try to update every month and features Zac's music orchestrations from the show, bloopers, and other downloadable fun. It also includes a personalized discount code for 20% off everything in our merch store! Thank you to our executive producers, Callie Rose and David Lester. Our editing and music is done by Zac Kreitler and our bumper tracks are by MDK Music.


[Tabletop Tiddies promo plays]

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