39. Labor Party IX

Ze’ol has run out of labors. Let’s clean up the mess and go to the movies. Inara throws for fetch. Tracey checks in on Johnny. Greg is Gervin.


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- music: brandongrugle.bandcamp.com

Cast & Crew

- Dungeon Master: Eric Silver

- TR8c (Tracey): Brandon Grugle

- Inara Harthorn: Amanda McLoughlin

- Creative Contributors: Connor McLoughlin, Heddy Hunt, Julia Schifini, Mischa Stanton

- Multitude: multitude.productions


Amanda: Last time, on Join the Party...

Eric: Inara and Tracey try to get answers from Ze’ol about Johnny’s whereabouts. But Ze’ol has other plans, when something changes on a cosmic level. Ze’ol scoops the Speaker up and leads the party on a chase through space and time, stopping in an enchanted field, the dungeon of Kiko Castle, and a prehistoric jungle with a magical T-Rex.

Eric (as Ze’ol): Yeah, I thought it would be fun, yeah to give it ice breath.

Brandon (as Tracey): I. am going. To chop. Your head off.

Eric: Luckily, they pick up Greg along the way, who was willing to mend their strained relationship with Alonzo and the speaker’s lives at stake.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg, I want to welcome you to the Jailbirds, only we said that back when there was a very serious threat against your life

Eric: In the final room, Ze’ol brings the trio to the outer reaches of space, probing each of their minds with temptations of power and knowledge. All they have to do is not touching the glowing purple star...

Amanda (as Inara): Touch the star, Greg. Touch it!

Brandon (as Tracey): Reach for it!

Amanda (as Inara): Touch it!

Eric: I guess we’re touching the star! Let’s get the party started.

[theme music]

[low hum of the auditorium]

Eric: The violet glow retreats and you’re back in Ze’ol’s dome. He’s leaning against the pedestal that the compass used to rest on. He’s back in his relatively human form, his old man clothes with his googly golden eyes.

He’s pretending to be lounging, but he looks pretty uncomfortable. The Speaker is laid out on the floor. She is wholly out of it. She looks incomplete without her poise or the glow that usually surrounds her. It’s like a chapel with all the lights off becomes just a room again.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, you got me! You kicked an old man while he was down. I hope that you're happy.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m rather happy with our decisions.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, no, pretty - feel pretty good here. What about you, Greg?

Brandon (as Tracey): Wouldn't have changed anything.

Eric (as Greg): [shouting, flustered] Why am I - How did we get back here?!

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh, Greg.

Eric (as Greg): This is so confusing!

Brandon (as Tracey): Um…

Eric (as Greg): I was in space!

Brandon (as Tracey): Would a hug help?

Eric (as Greg): Yes!

Brandon: I hug Greg.

Eric: Roll for hug.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: Oh that’s a 15- I think my bonus is a 10. 25.

Amanda: Sounds right.

Eric: It’s a good hug, surprisingly good. Greg’s tall enough that his head reaches your shoulder and like that little - that nice little spot.

Brandon: Yeah I give him a little bit of a …

Eric: Oh, you give him a pity pat on the back?

Amanda: Back of neck caress?

Brandon: Yeah, a little bit of a pity caress.

Eric: Nooooooo!

Brandon: Like in a genuine, comforting way.

Eric: But in a nice way?

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric: That’s fine.

Eric (as Greg): I am surprised this is a nice hug, because you're all - there is no soft parts on you.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m soft on the inside, Greg.

Eric (as Greg): That’s gross.

Amanda: I’m gonna leave this adorable moment behind and run over to the Speaker to sort of peer into her eyes and try to shake her shoulders a bit to see if she’s okay.

Eric: She’s extremely groggy. It’s like she’s trying to shake herself out of an extremely deep sleep.

Eric (as the Speaker): Who … Who is this?

Amanda (as Inara): It’s Inara. It’s Inara. Me and Tracey and Greg, we’re here. Long story kind of, but are you alright? Can I do something for you? Like puppy licks? Like potion? Like water?

Eric (as the Speaker): No I’m - I’m okay I just need to - I need to sit up.

Eric: She tries to drag herself towards one of the big desks.

Amanda: Yeah, I’ll help her up and kind of prop her against one of the desks.

Brandon: And I rush over there and start helping to prop her up as well.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Well I don't wanna ruin such a tender moment, so I’m just gonna be on my way. You all have fun, no hard feelings, I’ll see you -

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol, don’t move. Just - just stay there for one -

Eric (as Ze'ol): I am an extremely busy man -

Brandon (as Tracey): Second.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I am an extremely busy - I have things - I don’t wanna get in the way here!

Brandon (as Tracey): You don't have any friends. The other two gods don't like you.

Eric (as Ze'ol): That’s hurt-

Brandon (as Tracey): All you do is screw everything up.

Eric (as Ze'ol): That’s true.

Brandon (as Tracey): Stand. There. Please.

Amanda (as Inara): Aren't you supposed to make things better? And how do you have a body anyway?

Eric (as Ze'ol): You think I just float around in a compass all the time? Of course I always have a body when I’m walking around on the - walking around here.

Amanda (as Inara): [demanding] What changed?

Eric (as Ze'ol): I’ll show you, but you know what, listen - I - Ze’ol never backs out on a deal. I do owe you some things. That’s right. Okay, you guys - you two - you two get some - time and space videos. So come on. Get your prize. You did all the things I told you to do. I owe you.

Brandon (as Tracey): First thing’s first, what’d you do to the Speaker? Is she gonna be okay?

Eric: Ze’ol pinches his two googly eyes together. He steps back and he picks up the compass.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Do you know what this is?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, it’s a compass.

Amanda (as Inara): It’s the home you should be in because you make less trouble that way.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, that too.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Do you know what its name is?

Amanda (as Inara): No.

Eric (as Ze'ol): This is the Labyrinth Key. What a terrible and flowery way to explain the way that humans and elves and whatever you are…

Amanda (as Inara): Warforged.

Brandon (as Tracey): Rude.

Eric (as Ze'ol): What a terrible and flowery way to explain locking a god away. The maze is time and the key is actually a key. They had me trapped here because the humans who first founded Chronopolis decided that they needed weather more than they needed a passage to the afterlife properly. Why… they - doesn't make any sense. Doesn't make any sense.

So I was there and now I’m out. Okay fine, I might have tricked the Speaker to try to just go in there as a part of Adamah. We have some beef. It’s fine. They would have been in there, it’s fine.

So now you got your Speaker back, but now someone’s in there - something’s in there instead! Someone, something, I don't know. Something’s in there instead. And I can stretch my old bones and I’m back to full health. I just want to run - things need to run here.

Amanda (as Inara): Not good enough. What's in there instead? You don't get something for nothing in this world.

Eric: Ze’ol holds up one finger to you and puts his other hand on the compass.

Amanda: I pull out my dagger.

Eric (as Ze'ol): A- I need to check. I can’t just see it… [muttering] kids and their daggers these days, always trying to stab…

Eric: He puts his hand on the compass and says,

Eric (as Ze'ol): I’m feeling… I’m feeling… It’s not me. It’s not my two siblings. It’s… something else?

Brandon (as Tracey): Helpful. Very good.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I don’t know… shh… I’m gonna kill you both so soon. You're gonna die and it’s gonna be very uncomfortable.

Amanda (as Inara): I actually didn't realize you had so few powers and stuff…

Eric (as Ze'ol): You know what, fine! Hold on - I’m feeling - Oh, god I haven't - this freaking guy. Yeah, the Undying Light’s in there. It’s fine. No one cares.

Brandon (as Tracey): What?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Yeah, the Undying Light’s in there. And they have enough Light to go around, so good, it doesn't have to be me, it doesn't have to be you-

Eric: And he gestures towards the Speaker.

Amanda (as Inara): Is our friend in there too?

Eric (as Ze'ol): No, no this is - this is for the adults. Can we just do this? Can we - then I can go? I don’t - I have a deal that I have to keep with you two. Can we just do the thing?

Brandon (as Tracey): As long as you promise to leave this town and go do your godly business somewhere else, far, far away.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I promise I will not do any more godly things in the city of Chronopolis.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don’t believe that…

Eric (as Ze'ol): I promise.

Brandon (as Tracey): Cool.

Amanda (as Inara): And is the Speaker gonna be okay?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Eh, she needs to re- sleep it off. It’s fine.

Amanda (as Inara): And are you gonna be haunting her in her dreams or whatever things that Gods of Death apparently do?

Brandon (as Tracey): Gonna be ushering her down to the underworld or whatever?

Eric (as Ze'ol): What- you gonna trust me?

Amanda (as Inara): No.

Brandon (as Tracey): [at the same time] No.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Eh it’s fine. That’s fair. No I won't do that, no. Alright who wants to go first? Who wants to see the thing?

Amanda (as Inara): Also I am like almost fainting all the time. Can we like get better?

Eric (as Ze'ol): [sighs] Okay [muttering] They're asking me so many things. I’m trying to do the thing - [speaking] Okay fine.

Eric: He lazily gestures and both of you get the effect of a long rest.

Brandon: Hey!

Amanda: Hey!

Brandon: Because I was at like 7 Hit Points.

Amanda: You're welcome.

Brandon: Spell slots… I suddenly feel great!

Eric: All of your spell slots are back. All of your Hit Points are back.

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, better.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Can we pl- I have things to do. I can't just kibitz around with you two while you tell me I’m not a god, or I’m just a terrible influence on this world, or the entire fabric of the universe is gonna fall apart …

Amanda (as Inara): Okay! I know what I want.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, thank you.

Amanda (as Inara): Can we like go to the back of the room or something? I don't wanna just do this right here.

Eric: [chuckling] You wanna go over to the corner?

Amanda: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, go.

Amanda: I wanna go to the back of the room - back of the lecture hall.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda: Where you can nap, and chew gum, and check your texts.

Eric: You go up the stairs to one of the seats in the back and Ze’ol follows you.

Amanda: So I’m gonna sit on the desk, legs on the chair in front of me, facing him, and holding my dagger in my lap.

Amanda (as Inara): I wanna see the Centering.

Eric: As soon as the question is out of your mouth, you feel the desk under you disappear. And you get the sensation of falling for a second, but you are caught by a plush red velvet chair with two armrests on either side that are a little bit sticky.

[film reel rolling]

And in front of you is a massive movie screen which is currently blank, and Ze’ol is sitting in another chair to your left holding an oversized popcorn bucket and just throwing popcorn into his wide open mouth.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh I love this one! It’s a classic! All the other gods think that old movies are boring, but I think they are the backbone of culture and I’m so - we’re gonna see this one, it’s so great. You can look at the subtitles if you need them. It’s very cultured.

Eric: As the lights dim, Ze’ol claps respectfully, and the screen starts counting down.

[film reel fluttering and beeps counting the film down]

Eric: The movie starts with a shot of the night sky. The full moon hangs in the sky, and next to it, something seems like another moon, or a hole in the sky. It is strange, and amber, and lit from the inside, and it’s drowning out whatever stars there could be there to see. There are bars over the amber hole, and every few moments you hear a loud metallic thump that rings out over the sky.

That’s the brightest light, illuminating most of the scene as the camera zooms in on a building, through a window, into a room not unlike the conference room at Kiko Castle. It glows with low candlelight. Inside, five people are getting up from their chairs at a round table. Some are shaking hands; some walk out. A sixth, an aasimar with golden wings and a rigid posture, takes a step back, watching them gather themselves.

On each of the five, you see that one object catches your eye- like it’s colorful, and brighter, and more filled in than the rest of the scene. A dwarf with a beard full of tiny bells touches the sword on his belt, which glows like a furnace even inside of its sheath. A green dragonborn relaces her boots, the same boots that you watched Representative Brink throw down to you in the muddy pit. An aarokokra with bold, colorful feathers reaches for the labyrinth key and snaps it closed in a heavy looking iron box. A kenku with a deep hood spits something out into their wing. It’s a clownish mouth with big red lips and bright white teeth. They slip it into their bag and walk out without another word or sound.

A man with a shock of black hair and an expectant look on his face touches the bright medallion on his chest. The medallion is multiple circles inset with another, and it spins around as he fiddles with it. This man looks a lot like Alonzo. He looks at the aasimar who points outside.

All five people and the aasimar collect a few steps away from the door. This building seems to be in the middle of nowhere. You can’t see any other roofs or lights on nearby. Your view pans around the landscape and you see why. The building is surrounded by broken glass, and brick, and smashed stone, and shattered wood as far as you can see. In the dark, it looks like a sea rising and falling around piles of rubble.

The aasimar moves their hands, conducting some sort of ceremony, and motions towards the moon. Or maybe the amber void in the sky. Slowly, the sky closes around the void and the thumps you heard get softer and softer. The amber recedes and five stars appear where the border of the void just was. The aasimar sighs deeply and everyone else, without looking back, walks away.

[reel stops fluttering]

Eric (as Ze'ol): That is brilliant filmmaking from the beginning of time! Beginning of time! It’s - I always stick around for a post-credits scene, but it’s not worth it for this one. It exists - it’s a real-

Amanda (as Inara): I guess we’re like living in a post-credits scene if you really think about it, huh?

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh man that’s - you know, okay. Okay. Alright. If you kill anybody - I’m gonna be very nice to the people that you murder. Very good.

[Brandon laughs]

It’s very good.

Amanda (as Inara): That is actually kind of sweet of you.

Eric (as Ze'ol): I do what I do. That’s all I got.

Amanda (as Inara): Alright, let’s go.

Eric: Tracey! Your legs fall out from under you, and you're now sitting and you are now in the movie theatre.

Brandon (as Tracey): Why is it so sticky?!

Eric (as Ze'ol): I tried to make it authentic! I brought you to a real - this is what I do for working with details, I get -

Brandon (as Tracey): Can I have some of your popcorn?

Eric (as Ze'ol): What? No!

Brandon: I take a handful of his popcorn.

Eric: It tastes like nothing because you're a robot.

Brandon: That’s rude.

[Eric laughs]

Eric (as Ze'ol): What do ya - how do you - what are you feeling?

Brandon (as Tracey): Um, I could use some Raisinettes…

Eric (as Ze'ol): No, not snacks.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’ll go to the concession stand and just -

Eric (as Ze'ol): There is no concession stand -

Brandon (as Tracey): I’ll just go -

Eric (as Ze'ol): No, I’m talking about the movie.

Brandon (as Tracey): I have to go to the bathroom though.

Eric (as Ze'ol): That is physically impossible for you. I know how - it’s not even a thing.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don't know…

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, um -

Eric: Ze’ol puts down the massive bucket of popcorn, and in his hands is one of those really big DVD cases. And he opens it up and he starts flipping through it. They have like very vague names written on them, like one is “War” and one is “Monsters” and he’s just flipping through, like -

Eric (as Ze'ol): Oh! These are great! We’ve got the creation of the world, we have - oh the full life of the murderous three-headed dragon. Oh! We have the birth of the warforged. That could be fun. You might like that!

Brandon (as Tracey): Oh that’s interesting.

Eric (as Ze'ol): That’s good… I mean, I’ve got everything. You want comedy? Drama? Whatever you want.

Brandon (as Tracey): I just… I really want to know - I just gotta know if Johnny’s okay. Can you show me that?

Eric (as Ze'ol): It’s a recent masterpiece. Okay.

Eric: The lights dim and Ze’ol gets himself comfortable in his big chair.

Brandon: I steal another handful of popcorn.

Eric: And the movie starts.

[film reel fluttering and beeps counting the film down]

Eric: You watch Johnny talk to the Undying Light. You hear the offer, his concerns about you, the obviously bristle in the Undying Light’s voice, and finally, Johnny coming to terms with this request. As soon as the lights come back on, Ze’ol groans.

[film reel stops]

Eric (as Ze'ol): [sighs] If I did not control the theatre with time and space, I would have just walked out of this. Can we put on a comedy? I have so many wars, hilarious!

Brandon (as Tracey): Let’s look at that dragon one.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Get out of here. You get one.

Brandon (as Tracey): You'll never catch me saying this ever again, Ze’ol, but thank you. Next time I see you, I’m going to kill you.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Fair. Not the first time someone’s threatened my life, but you know what, we’re - we’re not done. That’s right. I didn't answer all of your questions. Okay.

Eric: You hear a loud pop, [bursting sound] and next to you is Inara, sitting in another big chair that wasn't there before.

Amanda: My mouth is full of cookies.

Brandon (as Tracey): Inara, where’d you get cookies?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh…

Eric (as Ze'ol): No outside food in the theater!

Amanda (as Inara): I checked the drawers of the desk. It was full of cookies.

Eric: And then you hear another pop [bursting sound] and Greg is sitting next to you in another chair.

Eric (as Greg): Why do these things keep happening to me?! Why am I friends with you now? It is just as messed up as before.

Brandon (as Tracey): You want some cookies?

Amanda: I offer a ziplock bag of cookies to Greg.

Brandon (as Tracey): They're a little full of spit, but -

[Eric laughs]

Eric (as Greg): No!

Brandon (as Tracey): What about some old man popcorn?

Eric (as Greg): I hate this so much!

Eric (as Ze'ol): Alright, here’s a movie I think you’d all like to see. Roll the tape!

Eric: And the movie starts up again.

[film reel fluttering and beeps counting the film down]

Eric: This movie starts in Alonzo’s room.

Brandon (as Tracey): I know that one!

Eric (as Greg): Yeah, me- me too.

Brandon (as Tracey): [whispering] Oh you've been in there, right. Sorry, don't talk during the movie. My bad.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Shh! Shh! Tracey! Shh!

Eric: It starts with a happy montage. Alonzo is sitting in different places around his room. He doesn't sit in chairs properly, so he has like a leg over one chair arm, or he’s upside down, and then he’s laying on the bed in different ways, and you see like the sun is in different positions in the sky.

And then he like looks out the window a little bit, then he goes back to bed, then he goes back to a different chair. And in every single one of these shots, you see the unicorn is standing in the doorway. At one point, Alonzo walks to the doorway to see if he can walk by the unicorn, and as he tries to cross the threshold, it opens its mouth and the Speaker’s voice comes out.

Eric (as the Speaker): [grainy, through the film] Alonzo, stay here. You are not allowed to leave until I come back.

Eric: And he sighs deeply, and then he goes back to his chair. And then it more just cuts around the room. Then at one point, he tries to get his hands around the unicorn, and the unicorn is unmoved. And this goes on for days, and days, and days, and you see they slide food to him and drinks and eventually there’s plates all over this room. And no matter what, the unicorn is standing perfectly still in his doorway.

Eventually, the jaunty 80s music fades away and the speed slows down and we’re just kind of watching Alonzo. He’s laying on his bed, throwing a ball into the air and catching it. And he throws it in the air and catches it, and throws it in the air and catches it, and he throws it in the air, and suddenly the unicorn jerks forward.

It stumbles into Alonzo’s room just uncontrollable and it just keeps stumbling around and just smashing into all of his furniture. The ball hits Alonzo in his face, and he’s holding his eye, and he’s trying to jump out of the way of the unicorn. And he’s like -

Eric (as the Alonzo): Ah- what - what’s happening? I need to go get help! Stay right there.

Eric: And he runs to the doorway, and as he’s about to step out, the unicorn is still extremely shaky on its legs and it attempts to right itself, and you hear again, the Speaker’s voice

Eric (as the Speaker): Alonzo, stay there. You are not allowed to leave until I come back.

Eric: And he says,

Eric (as the Alonzo): But there’s something wrong - I obvious - I need to help you!

Eric (as the Speaker): Alonzo, stay there. You are not allowed to leave until I come back. This is your final warning.

Eric (as the Alonzo): Wait hold on. I have to - I gotta go get someone!

Eric: And he walks out the door, and he takes a left outside of his hallway, and he’s walking quickly, and the unicorn, still shaky, charges towards the exit, and it smashes into the wall outside of his door. At this point, Alonzo is twenty feet down the hallway now. And the unicorn picks itself up even on its shaky legs and it starts barrelling directly towards him.

He turns around and he’s shocked, and he only has enough time to throw his hands up, and nothing happens. The unicorn, mere inches away from him, is stopped in its tracks, bound by translucent chains. Alonzo just can't believe this. He’s looking around- he’s like looking for someone else to corroborate how ridiculous this is. And he just starts screaming,

Eric (as the Alonzo): I cannot believe this! I am just trying to help! I did everything that you told me to, and no one lets me do anything around here! I am the Champion! Let me do something!

Eric: And as he’s screaming, an aura starts to surround his body. It is bright white light. It is piercing, and excruciating, and just hard on all of your eyes. He seethes and he heads back into his room, picks up some clothes from the floor and just stuffs it into a bag. He picks up a bow and arrow from the wreckage of his room and puts it over his shoulder, and as he works, the aura is getting brighter and brighter.

He looks out the window, and the camera is behind him now, so you get a really good shot of the sky, and you see his face contort with anger, rage, disappointment, frustration. He grabs an arrow out of his quiver and fires it at the wall. Emanating from where it hits is a translucent mist that spreads until it’s the size of a doorway. He steps through, and they're gone.

The camera lingers on the wall for a moment, then turns slowly to focus on a window over Alonzo’s empty bed, where just minutes ago, Inara saw five stars arranged in the sky over the former void. Now, there’s just two and one blinks out.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Yes! This is - winner! [applauding] Best picture of the year, for sure. I can say. It’s perfect. It had everything. There were teens...

Brandon (as Tracey): Ze’ol just shut up.

Eric (as Ze'ol): There was comedy…

Brandon (as Tracey): Just for two seconds…

Eric (as Ze'ol): I just - I loved it. So yeah, that’s  what happened.

Brandon (as Tracey): Where did he go?

Eric (as Ze'ol): I don’t - I don't know.

Brandon (as Tracey): Greg, do you have any idea where he might have gone?

Eric (as Greg): Why… wh… why is there a unicorn protecting him? What was that? That’s not real, right? That's not real.

Amanda (as Inara): The Speaker did it before we left. I tried to convince him to come so we could bring him to you, but she wouldn't let him.

Eric (as Greg): Come on, that’s not real. That did not happen. Come on. You're - God of Trickery, okay, no you're just trying to mess with us. Good try.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s a good point, Greg.

Eric (as Greg): Let's go. We need to go to Fidapolis. Screw it. I don't care - political implications. Let’s just go. Can we go? Let’s go.

Brandon (as Tracey): I’m behind you.

Amanda (as Inara): Let’s do it.

Eric: Ze’ol snaps his fingers [echoing snap] and you are back in the dome.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Okay, I am done here. I’ll see ya later. As the kids say, goodbye.

[Brandon laughing]

Amanda (as Inara): Wait, Ze’ol, you owe us. Can you give us one of those magic doors and let us back out by the castle?

Brandon (as Tracey): Bet you can’t!

Eric (as Ze'ol): Can I leave now?

Brandon (as Tracey): Bet you can’t!

Amanda (as Inara): Bet you super can’t. Bet you can't send four people through one of those doors, huh? Only fit three before.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you've only done three, I haven't seen four yet.

Amanda (as Inara): Four people and a dog is really hard stuff.

Brandon (as Tracey): And an alligator bag.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): You know?

Amanda (as Inara): Right, right.

Brandon (as Tracey): Bag-agator?

Amanda (as Inara): Alli-bag?

Brandon (as Tracey): Alli-bag.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh.

Eric (as Ze'ol): Can I just stop talking to you? I guess if you're gone I can stop talking to you, which is good, so fine.

Eric: And he throws open a door [metal door slamming open] on the far side of the dome where you walked for all of your labors, and it swings open, and you see the familiar road in Fidapolis that winds up the hill to Kiko Castle.

[transition tone]

Eric: Hey, it’s Eric! Super Smash Bros Ultimate came out just a few days ago, and I have been playing it non-stop. My favorite character is Donkey Kong, but I’m excited to mess around with the other heavys: K Rool and that wrestling fire pokemon for sure. And I find myself gravitating towards the heavy characters because that’s how I see myself sometimes, a little slower, but packing a big punch. And for everyone’s main character, they’re finding a bit of themselves in this fictitious, animated fighting game. This is the moment you find your main. Welcome to the midroll. Hold Z to block.

Hey, hi, hello and welcome to our newest patrons: Rachel, Sarah H, McKenzie, Bethany D, Jacob Edwards, Julian Bucklin, MDB, Sarah Y, Jessica, Documancer, Emma, Julia, Drew Morgan, Ryan, Noelle, Jeroen, Francis, Haley, Sam, Josh, Anuschka, Tess and Ben! It’s the season of holidays and you’re giving us the greatest gift of all: artistic support. You can continue to support us at patreon.com/jointhepartypod. I feel like I’m really in my groove for NPC backstories, where I write what some of your favorite side characters do when they’re not interacting with the crowd. I did a tumblr shitpost from greg about the ice-breathing T-Rex, which was very good if I do say so myself. If you want that, I know you do, that’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

Hey, do you wanna see us in meetspace? Like in real life? In reality? We’re having a Multitude live show the same weekend as PODCON 2 in Seattle! We’ll be in Seattle on January 17th and 18th at the Rendezvous Theatre with all our other multitude friends. And maybe, just maybe, there’s gonna be some special guests. Go to bit.ly/multitudeinseattle for your tickets now!

If you live in the Brooklyn area and are around on Saturday, Come hang out, drink beer, and watch me play D&D live Dungeons and Dragons on stage! I’m a special guest at No Experience Necessary, a live D&D game. Saturday, December 15th at Pine Box Rock Shop, That’s at 12 Grattan St, Brooklyn, NY. Can't make it out to Brooklyn? Watch the live stream on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/noxpnecessary. You can check all of that out in the description of the episode.

We’re sponsored this week by Shaker and spoon! Shaker and Spoon is the best cocktail box that only requires you get the alcohol, they bring everything else. We record at Brandon’s and he has a muddler, and St. Germain, and seven different whiskeys, so he can make cocktails all the time. I have a stout so I need support. Shaker and Spoon are here for you. They give you the strange supplies to make amazing drinks, and not so much so you’re holding onto unshaved nutmeg for like three years.. Go to shakerandspoon.com/jointheparty and get 20 off your first box! That is so much off! Once again, shakerandspoon.com/jointheparty for $20 off your first box.

We’re also sponsored this week by - I don’t even have a joke. It’s 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve talked about Betrayal on the House on the Hill before, but now we’re kicking up a notch. There is a new game called Betrayal Legacy! A legacy game, which I learned from Lauren at 20 Sided Store, means that you are working with one board and going through a campaign type game. So we’re getting our own ghost hunting party together and playing against the game! If you want Betrayal Legacy or are thinking of any other game for your holiday presents, go to  twenty sided store dot com or in person in Brooklyn, NY. Use our discount code, JOINTHEPARTY, for 20% off. That’s twenty (the full word) sided store dot com and use our discount code JOINTHEPARTY.

And now, let’s get back to the show.

[transition sound]

Eric: Greg kicks in the front doors of Kiko Castle and just starts running through the hallways, throwing doors open wherever he can go. You guys check every single room in this place and Alonzo’s not here.

Amanda: Are his parents there? Do the staff know anything?

Eric: Since the prisoners’ swap for Gregina with Chronopolis, they've been pretty tied in political problems, so they haven't really been around. The staff knows that he’s not there. They've been dropping food at his door just assuming he’ll show up, but they know that the unicorn is not there and neither is Alonzo.

Brandon: Has anyone seen the unicorn either? It’s gone too?

Eric: No, the unicorn is also gone.

Amanda: Oh good.

Eric: You guys check Alonzo’s room and it is a mess. The furniture is trampled on.

Brandon: Tracey takes all of the dirty plates and silverware to the kitchen.

Eric: While Tracey busses, Greg says,

Eric (as Greg): Oh it’s - it happened.

Eric: And he points to a wall, and there’s an arrow stuck in it.

Amanda (as Inara): Well let’s get it ready for when he comes back.

Amanda: And starts straightening up the furniture, clothes, shards of wood and glass, starts sweeping up and try to put the room ro rights.

Eric: A few of the servants took the Speaker off your hands when you guys walked in, and she needs to rest for a few days. She’s not ready to talk to people lucidly just yet.

Amanda: So, Greg and I put the room to rights and then we meet up with Tracey back in the room that we first stayed in way back when, when we got rescued from the jail cells to help defend Greg and Alonzo for their wedding.

Brandon: We’re gonna settle in for the night. I think we all know we have a couple days of waiting for the Speaker to get back to full health. So Tracey takes the bottom bunk in case it collapses, he doesn't want to crush Inara.

Amanda: Mhm, thank you, thanks.

Brandon: And we wake up the next morning. Tracey, for the first time, does his routine of Tai Chi by himself and gets himself ready to do his errands in the castle today. He wants to get his gun fixed.

Eric: Cool.

Brandon: I think he wants to hang out with Greg a little bit more.

Amanda: Yeah, I wanna see - I wanna just look around, see how the city’s doing, maybe go to the dog park. That’d be nice. Does Greg look like he wants to come with us?

Eric: Yeah.

Eric (as Greg): Hey, what are you doing today? Anything on the agenda?

Amanda (as Inara): Um, maybe walk around - kind of almost got arrested last time we were in the markets. So it’ll be kind of nice to revisit. Do you wanna come?

Eric (as Greg): You two are such messes.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Eric (as Greg): Like big, massive, terrible… rule breaking messes.

Brandon (as Tracey): Well, when you compare us to other people, we’re just fine.

Eric (as Greg): I think that’s the opposite.

Amanda (as Inara): In fair, we’re often messy in service of cleaning up a different mess.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s the point.

Eric (as Greg): That is… yeah. You know what, okay sounds like fun. Let’s go do some stuff.

Amanda (as Inara): Cool.

[birds and animals chirping]

Eric: So I think the first thing you guys are gonna do is let’s try to fix Tracey’s gun. Now, Tracey, who might be able to fix your gun in Fidapolis?

Brandon: I mean, Kohl!

Eric: Oh yeah!

Brandon: Call up my good buddy Kohl. Who definitely does not have a lot of friends.

Eric: Who definitely likes you and you definitely didn't try to wreck her shop the last time you were there.

Brandon: Yeah, maybe a time heals all wounds kind of thing. More importantly I gotta get my gun fixed so -

Eric: Okay, cool.

Brandon: That’s the only option.

Eric: You walk down to the market in Fidapolis and you try to go down some side streets. You get yourselves turned around about five items. It takes a lot longer than when Alonzo tried to wheel your way through, but eventually you make it to Kohl’s house.

And you see the same lock that holds the gate together, and her front door which, you know, eventually leads up the stairs to her workshop. But it seems just as impenetrable as you saw it the first time.

Brandon: Tracey yells into the shofar.

Brandon (as Tracey): Galaxatron!

Eric: The lock unfurls and the gates open. And as you walk through, you see that there is a note pinned to the front door. And it says, “Off to Infropolis! See you at the Concentric Wrestling Championship! Goooooooo Alabaster! - Kohl.”

Brandon (as Tracey): Alright, I guess we gotta come back another time. Inara, what’s on your list?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh I don't know, I think-

Eric (as Greg): Wait, we’re just not doing anything? What was the point here?

Amanda (as Inara): I was just gonna suggest, Greg, that we go for a little walk to my favorite place in Fidapolis.

Amanda: And Oatcake is wagging her tail excitedly, and kind of jumping around Greg’s feet.

Eric (as Greg): Okay… Okay this is really cute. Okay. Oatcake! Poof into my arms!

Amanda: Oatcake poofs into his arms.

Eric (as Greg): Yeah!  Okay, let’s go to the dog park! Oatcake, do you wanna go for a walk? Do you wanna go for a walk? Do you wanna play with the other pups? Yes you do!

Eric: Dog park day!

[dogs barking and playing]

Brandon: It’s just “Ruff! Awoo!”

Eric: You know, we’ve never actually talked about it. What does the dog park look like?

Amanda: So it’s in like an elaborate kind of hedge garden, like one of those immaculately manicured, English-style gardens with a bunch of low hedges that are kind of like a natural barrier. But there’s a long run where the dogs can do their zoomies back and forth down this sort of lawn-bowling style lawn.

Eric: Sure.

Amanda: There’s a little mud puddle. There’s a couple of stone troughs of water, and there are benches lining the span of it. So I’m gonna go ahead and sit down on one of those benches with Tracey and say to Greg

Amanda (as Inara): Go at it, man, just like lay down, let some puppies climb on you, and I don't know, see how it feels.

Eric: Greg walks to the middle of the dog park, and he looks around and sees like twenty dogs that are running around, and he squats down and he says loudly

Eric (as Greg): Hey dogs, I’m going through a very strange breakup. Can you just like - can you help me out?

Eric: And a bunch of dogs turn around and run at Greg at full speed, and six dogs are currently on top of Greg. You also look around and there's a little shack that has a bathroom, and you see that Oatcake has poofed on top of the shack with the bathroom.

Brandon: She is the queen of the dogs!

Eric: She just likes watching everything go on.

Amanda: Yeah, very relatable.

Eric: There’s also an interesting thing. Inara, you're about to try to take Oatcake off of the bathroom door and there is a poster that says some rules about the dog park, like dogs must be on a leash outside the dog park, all that stuff. Keep big dogs and little dogs away from each other. But it’s printed on a poster of someone walking a dog. It’s staged and this is like an actor. This person is very pretty, and you look at it, and the dog looks a lot like Oatcake.

Amanda: I’m gonna look between the poster and Oatcake, and the poster and Oatcake, and then just say,

Amanda (as Inara): Be safe, girl. I’ll just be over there.

Amanda: And walk back to the bench with Tracey.

Amanda (as Inara): So… listen, I know we have had our differences before… but I - I guess I never really talked to you about it and I just want you to know that I really wanna be a good person, and I really wanna do good things, but I think sometimes you have to do bad stuff to make things better. And I don't take it lightly. And I don't do it for fun. And if there ever comes a time again where I have to pull a Callie, just know that I’m not gonna do it lightly.

Brandon: Tracey shuffles his feet a little bit.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah I think I- I think I understand that a little better now. I - I learned a lot of stuff. I don’t think I can see things as black and white as I used to, and I don't think I was right to see them as black and white as I used to. There’s grey areas. I mean, I did some stuff I’m not thrilled about. You did some stuff that I’m sure you've thought a lot about. But in the end I think we’re both on the same page, and we’re working towards the same goal, and -

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): I think everything's sort of shifted. You know?

Amanda (as Inara): It’s funny being back here, where you were just some guy enar me when I got arrested right over there.

Amanda: And she points where right next to the dog park is the same market stall we were arrested outside of.

Brandon (as Tracey): I did steal a cantaloupe but the way, I never told you that.

Amanda: Yeah, I figured as much.

Brandon (as Tracey): Okay.

Amanda: Okay.

Brandon (as Tracey): It was actually - it was pretty much my fault.

Amanda: Cantaloupe is very underrated.

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s the best fruit!

Amanda: It’s a good melon.

Brandon (as Tracey): I couldn't resist!

Amanda: It’s a good melon.

Eric: You look over at the market stall and there are pictures of all three of you and you're all looking deranged into a camera.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah and I guess the stuff that brought me to Fidapolis doesn't matter as much to me anymore, and the important thing to me is sticking with you and keeping you safe, keeping Oatcake safe, trying to make things right with Alonzo. Even that slobbery mess.

Amanda: And I gesture over to where Greg is covered in ten dogs.

Eric (as Greg): It’s so beautiful! It’s relieving all of my sad feelings!

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, I - Look, I came here searching for things that I realize that it’s here. It’s Oatcake over there. I think we’re family now. Stoneface is our cousin.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, I feel like more of a young uncle, you know.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah. So as long as you're okay with it, I think slate’s clean. And I’m with you moving forward.

Amanda (as Inara): I don't think I ever asked, but do you like hugs?

Brandon (as Tracey): [screaming, high pitched] I LOVE HUGS!

[all laugh]

Amanda: All the dogs turn, ears pricked. And I’m just gonna give Tracey a big ol’ hug, like an under cape hug.

Eric: You really wanna roll for this?

[dice rolling]

Brandon: It’s weird, I got a 40.

Amanda: Whoa, I got a 37.

Eric: 200! Yeah, it’s a very good hug.

Brandon (as Tracey): I think we might just shovel Greg out from underneath these dogs at some point.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, maybe one of us should learn Prestidigitation, huh?

Brandon (as Tracey): It might be helpful.

Amanda: So we’ll collect Greg and helps him straighten up, summon Oatcake down from the room and kind of start an ambling walk back to the castle.

[dog barking fades]

Eric: Sure.

Brandon: I think for the rest of the night we’re gonna take it easy. Greg’s had an emotional day with all of these dogs. A lot of catharsis, you know?

Eric (as Greg): There was just so many dogs. They were all so cute. They're heavier than you think they are.

Brandon (as Tracey): They really are!

Amanda (as Inara): It’s like a weighted blanket, right? It’s nice.

Eric (as Greg): But like a nice weighted blanket.

Amanda (as Inara): Oh yeah, they're all nice.

Brandon (as Tracey): Do you guys wanna get pizza and just like watch the water - kind of in the lake?

Eric (as Greg): Sure, yeah.

Eric: And as you guys head back to the castle -

Amanda: We’re definitely gonna put in an order for four pizzas, by the way, with the first staff member we see.

[Eric chuckles]

Brandon: One with pepperoni, one plain cheese…

Amanda: One with peppers…

Brandon: One with, yeah literally every vegetable.

Eric: Every single vegetable.

Amanda: Yeah, Garden pizza.

Brandon: And then the other one is dessert pizza.

Amanda: Yep.

Eric: Nice. I like it.

Brandon: Yeah, cinnamon sugar, frosting kind of situation.

Amanda: Oh yeah.

Eric: So you grab somebody from the kitchen and you give them your pizza order, and instead of heading away from the kitchen as you guys usually do, Greg takes a turn that you didn't know was there. It’s like around the corner from the kitchen.

You take a left, then a right, then a left, then a right, and then two rights, and Greg puts his hand on a door. It looks no different like all the other doors in the castle. And he looks around.

Eric (as Greg): Inara, you showed me your favorite place in the city. And I remember before you were talking about, Oh man there are so many rooms in the castle.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, it’s so big! It’s such a castle! There’s so many rooms!

Eric (as Greg): I know, it’s such a castle.

Brandon (as Tracey): There’s seventeen rooms just for plants.

Amanda (as Inara): And there’s one just for shields. Not even swords. Just shields.

Brandon (as Tracey): Just shields.

Amanda (as Inara): The most boring part of any amor.

Brandon (as Tracey): There’s one that just has a fountain. Indoor fountain.

Amanda (as Inara): Just one.

Eric (as Greg): That’s a good one. That’s actually a very good one.

Brandon (as Tracey): I don’t -

Eric (as Greg): It’s not my favorite, but it’s very good. Listen, you haven't seen the three different rooms for raisins exclusively.

Brandon (as Tracey): That’s my favorite one. I love raisins!

Eric (as Greg): So many raisins.

Amanda (as Inara): Raisins are great!

Eric (as Greg): But actually my favorite room - I’d like to show you.

Eric: He opens the door and leads you inside. And this room is chock full of stuff.

[Amanda gasps]

Amanda: Room of stuff?!

Brandon: [chanting] Room of stuff. Room of stuff.

Amanda: [joining in] Room of stuff! Room of stuff!

Eric: And Greg says

Eric (as Greg): This is where everything else goes. No one even know that half of this stuff is in here. And there’s some pretty powerful stuff in here.

Brandon (as Tracey): I'll take one of each, pelase.

Amanda (as Inara): This seems insecure.

Eric (as Greg): Well I don't wanna - yeah it’s definitely dangerous. Definitely insecure. I don't take too much. It’s like I don’t want anyone to notice that I’m just picking off things.

Brandon (as Tracey): Because then people are gonna ask where you got it-

Amanda (as Inara): Oh yeah, it’s like stealing from a market. You gotta just do one by one, like different stalls...

Eric (as Greg): No I don't wanna compare myself to thieves. It’s not a thief, it’s like a small crime. Very small crime.

Eric: You know in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ with Indiana Jones, they take the ark and they just put it into a box and it’s like this massive warehouse that goes on forever?

Amanda: Yes.

Eric: it looks like that in here. It’s just piles, and piles, and piles of stuff. But it’s sort of like a thrift shop, so you guys can just root through and pick out something you want.

Brandon: Tracey’s gonna take two steps back and run for exactly six seconds and stop.

Amanda: Whoa, that’s pretty far.

Brandon: And he digs his Long Arm of the Law - so he doesn't get hurt -

Amanda: Smart.

Brandon: Into a pile.

Eric: Brandon, roll a d20.

Brandon: Don’t you let me down, 20.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 11.

Eric: Okay, I want you - now I want you to roll a d6.

Brandon: Don’t you let me down, 6.

[dice rolling]

Brandon: 2.

Eric: Ha, nice. Alright, you shoot the Long Arm of the Law down and it latches onto something heavy.

Brandon: Oh, I like heavy.

Eric: And you pull out a shield.

Brandon: Oh, I like shields!

Eric: Yeah, the shield is shimmering silver and it has a blank expression of a face on it. This is called the Shield of Expression.

[Brandon and Amanda chuckling]

Eric: So when you are bearing the shield, you can use a bonus action to alter the face’s expression. If it matches the tenor of the encounter, you get a bonus that would -

Brandon: Help that encounter?

Eric: Help that particular tenor. But if you want to do a different sort of emotion…

Amanda: Throw ‘em off! Make it laugh!

Eric: If you want to do a different sort of emotion that doesn't match the tenor of the room, you need to do a Deception check to convince it that it is something different.

Brandon: That is delightful and very helpful for a not robot.

Eric: Exactly. So for example if you were at a fancy party, but you wanted extra AC, you would have to convince it you were in a fight, and put on an angry face. And then you would do a Deception check. So that is the Shield of Expression.

Brandon: Cool. I dig.

Amanda: Awesome!

Brandon (as Tracey): [yelling] Inara, look what I got!

Amanda (as Inara): Whoa, what’s its name?

Brandon (as Tracey): Shieldy!

Amanda (as Inara): I like it! Shiela?

Brandon (as Tracey): Sheila's good…

Eric (as Greg): I also heard Sheila.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah I said Sheila originally!

Amanda (as Inara): Sheila and Tally, friends forever.

Brandon: [singing a tune, snapping] Sheila and Tally, friends forever. They get into hijinx, they get into hijinx-

Eric: [singing] They go on adventures and they're both smiling! Because they both have mouths.

Amanda: I am going to walk to the side of the room, so not super far back, not in the corner necessarily but kind of want to be in a random side of the room, and look for a pile that has a book on it, because to me that’s the most boring… I’m in character here.

[Brandon laughs]

And I’ll stick my hand into the pile under the books and grasp the first thing I can.

[dice rolling]

I got a 19.

Eric: Roll a d6.

[dice rolling]

Amanda: 1.

Eric: Okay…

Brandon: That’s the number one item. She gets the best one.

Eric: [laughing to himself] Alright…

Amanda: Uh oh.

Eric: You stick your hand in hand you feel something rough on your hands.

Amanda: Okay.

Eric: You pull it out and you have a stick. Like a-

Brandon: Wooooo!

Eric: It’s pretty hefty, and it’s buffed and shined.

Amanda: Is it like a stick you can hit people with?

Eric: You could, but it’s more -

Brandon: Can you roast marshmallows on it?

Eric: You also could, but really as you move it around, you realize it has a really good weight to it and you could just toss it. And Oatake is staring at the stick.

Amanda: Yeah, I’m going to toss it down the room.

Eric: Okay.

Amanda (as Inara): Fetch, I guess?

Eric: You toss it and you hear a loud pop. And it disappears. Oatcake barks, and she goes for a running start and she blinks out of existence.

Amanda (as Inara): Inter-dimensional fetch!

Eric: We’ll come back to that. Greg is rooting around in a box. He’s like off of his feet and he roots around and he pushes himself up and gasps for air like

Eric (as Greg): [gasps] Okay I got something.

Eric: And he’s holding an ID card. It says “Manager at Doöve & Boöster's”

Brandon: Oh my freaking lord.

Amanda: Oh no.

Eric: And the name on it is Gervin.

Eric (as Greg): Hey look, I’m the manger now. I’m the manager of Doöve & Boöster’s.

Brandon: Wow.

Eric: If Greg makes a very low Deception check, he can convince people that he’s the manager.

[Amanda laughs]

Brandon: That is freaking delightful.

Amanda: That’s so specific.

Eric (as Greg): Hey, I’m Gervin! ANd I’m the manager of Doöve & Boöster's.

Brandon: Eric, I do need you to roll a Deception check for me.

[dice rolling]

What did you get?

Eric: He rolled a 22.

Brandon: He deceives me.

[Amanda giggling]

Eric: Yeah so you wto both think for a moment that he works at Doöve & Boöster's and he’s a manager.

Amanda (as Inara): Wait, did you lose that ID card?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, you’ve always worked there.

Amanda (as Inara): Is that what you were doing? Oh wait…

Brandon (as Tracey): Wait is that the game?

Eric (as Greg): No see this is the thing does -

Brandon (as Tracey): Whaaaaat?!

Amanda (as Inara): Whaaaaaat?!

Eric (as Greg): Hey look! I’m Gervin! Welcome-

Brandon: Can you roll another Deception check for me?

Eric: No, it’s still the same one.

Eric (as Greg): Hey I’m Gervin! You need cash! Our credit card machine is broken!

Brandon (as Tracey): That sounds about right for Doöve & Boöster's.

Amanda (as Inara): That’s pretty good Greg!

Eric (as Greg): My name’s Gervin!

Brandon (as Tracey): It’s pretty good.

Eric (as Greg): Gervin - I’m not good at impressions.

Amanda (as Inara): Greg, that was really fun. Thanks for showing us.

Eric (as Greg): Yeah, let’s not come back here. I’ve stolen so many things from here.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah that’s probably a good idea.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeha quit while you're ahead, that’s a really good crime lesson!

Eric (as Greg): Oh wow, I’m a criminal now. Cool!

Brandon (as Tracey): Welcome.

Amanda (as Inara): Hi.

Eric (as Greg): I don’t like it.

Brandon (as Tracey): [in low, growling voice] Welcome.

Eric (as Greg): No! Ah!

Amanda (as Inara): Well you know Greg that the best crimes end with pizza so why don't we go see if they're ready.

Brandon (as Tracey): [chanting] Pizza! Pizza Pizza!

Eric (as Greg): Alright, pizza it is.

Amanda: So we’ll go pick up our pizzas. What’s the fantasy equivalent of a pizza box? Does it just - pizza box?

Eric: Yeah it comes in pizza boxes.

Brandon: [laughing] You can't improve upon perfection.

Amanda: Fair.

Eric: It’s true.

Amanda: So we’ll pick up our pizzas and then go down to sit by the lake.

[birds chirping, water gently rolling in lake]

Eric: A few hours later, you're pretty far into your chill sesh, just hanging out. Most of your pizza is gone, and Greg is playing Tracey at chess. And Inara, Oatcake comes back.

Amanda (as Inara): Ah! Girl, I was worried about you!

Eric: And she has the stick in her mouth and she also has something else. She has a trident in her mouth.

Amanda: How long is the trident?

Eric: It’s like longer than the stick.

Amanda: I hold up both of my hands so she can deposit it in them.

Eric: And she goes, “Bleh.” You got the Trident of Needling. This thing if you throw it, you can crit on a 19.

Amanda: Oh. And is the stick just a stick?

Eric: So the stick is called -

Brandon: The stick of fetching…

Eric: It is called the Stick of Fetching.

Brandon: You are fucking shitting me.

Amanda: What?!

Eric: It’s called the Stick of Fetching. You can throw this stick up to one thousand feet. This thing flies.

Amanda: Damn!

Eric: After throwing it, the stick becomes lost in time and space, but magically appears with Oatcake when she returns it in 1d4 hours.

Amanda: Okay.

Eric: Every time you do it, your dog may bring back something retrieved.

Amanda: Okay, so we’re just gonna be playing this forever then. Love it.

Eric: And Oatcake will be gone for a few hours at a time, but yeah.

Amanda: Love it.

Brandon (as Tracey): Check and… mate. I’m pretty sure mate.

Eric (as Greg): I don't know how you're so good at chess.

Brandon (as Tracey): I should have taught you how to play first.

Eric (as Greg): Yeah, probably!

Brandon (as Tracey): Anyway, hey guys, I’ve been thinking a lot and - do we wanna do something for Johnny?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, sometimes when someone you know… left… what we would do back in the Great Green is a bonfire. And then you write something to them. And at the same time, you put it all in.

Brandon (as Tracey): I love that.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, it’s kind of nice and you know, wherever he is I think he would like that.

Brandon (as Tracey): I think so too.

Eric (as Greg): I’ll get the word out. You guys plan it. I’ll tell everybody.

Amanda (as Inara): Let’s just do it here. Tomorrow at nightfall?

Eric (as Greg): Tomorrow at nightfall. I’ll start working on the calligraphy now.

Amanda (as Inara): Thanks Greg.

Eric (as Greg): It’ll be very swoopy.

[crickets chirping]

Eric: The next night, you start to get ready for the ceremony. Tracey, you've collected some scrap wood from the woods and set up the pyre. Inara, you've cleared out everything on the beach, and raked it, and made it look real nice. And as the sky starts to darken, you see Greg is running up to the edge of the water.

Eric (as Greg): [out of breath] Okay, I got ask many people as I could find. I think they all - they heard Johnny’s name, and so I got a lot of people. I don't know some of them, is that okay?

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah, that’s great.

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, okay.

Eric (as Greg): They seem chill.

Eric: Right behind Greg walking at a swift pace you see three men in dark green robes.

Amanda (as Inara): Huey, Dewey and Louie?

Eric: The three men look at each other and say

Eric (as man in green robe): Who- who is this Hubert, Dubert, and Loubert?

Amanda (as Inara): Uh, that’s really embarrassing, I’m so sorry. I must have mixed you up with somebody else.

Eric (as man in green robe): Is this the Johnny B. Goodlight ceremony?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah.

Brandon (as Tracey): Yeah.

Amanda (as Inara): Just you know, a little way to say goodbye.

Eric (as man in green robe): We’re so sorry for your loss. We’ve known Johnny when he was only a child, well our grand - great, great grandfathers did. We’re from the…

Amanda (as Inara): Oh are you from the monastery?

Eric (as man in green robe): We are.

Brandon (as Tracey): Welcome. Thanks for coming.

Amanda (as Inara): Wow, thank you. It means a lot.

Eric (as man in green robe): We’ve only heard stories of Johnathan, but we hear he was fun and that’s more than any of - we can say for any of our grandfathers. We came to pay our respects.

Brandon (as Tracey): We can talk about stories for sure. We’ve got a few.

Amanda (as Inara): There’s some paper over there, and you're welcome to write down a memory or a wish and then we’ll put it all in together later.

Eric: They bow deeply to you two and they walk over to the waiting station. You then see ten women, all of different races and outfits, and it seems that some of them were a little worse for wear; others look extremely pristine. and you have no idea how they’re all related to each other or know Johnny.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hi, welcome.

Eric: One of them steps forward, a dwarven woman with a very, very, long red beard.

Eric (as dwarf woman): Excuse me, is this the Johnny B. Goodlight ceremony?

Amanda (as Inara): Yeah, yep, welcome. Hi, I’m Inara.

Eric (as dwarf woman): Hi, I am Alphaba. It’s nice to meet you. We all kind of meat on the way in here. It’s an interesting… I guess it’s kinda funny to say collectively. We’re all Johnny’s ex-girlfriends from various times and places. We’re all now best friends, turns out. Recently. It’s very quick. We’re all bonded by this one thing.

Amanda (as Inara): He was something else, so I hope you guys have a lot of good stories.

Eric: All of them laugh when they hear you say that.

Eric (as dwarf woman): Something else is right, I can tell you that much!

Amanda (as Inara): Okay, I really don’t wanna know any more, thank you for coming, please write down a wish!

Eric (as dwarf woman): I remember-

[Eric laughing]

Amanda (as Inara): Please write down a memory. Write down a wish. Writing it where I can't hear it. Just pretend I’m like his adopted daughter. That’s the level of detail I want on your dating life. Thank you. I love you.

Eric (as dwarf woman): I remember this one time-

Brandon (as Tracey): Thanks for coming!

Amanda (as Inara): Right that way, ma’am.

 Eric (as dwarf woman): Alright, girls, let’s write some secrets down.

Eric: You see three young men who all look very similar to each other and they all have Alonzo’s shock of black hair. They are leading Joe the Camel up the gravel path to Kiko Lake.

Brandon (as Tracey): Hey, Joe! Whaddup!

Eric: Joe spits at you, but kindly.

Amanda: I hug Joe’s leg.

Eric: You look down and you see that Joe’s sneakers have been shined for the occasion.

Amanda (as Inara): Aw, thanks guys.

Brandon (as Tracey): Nice sneaks. Uh hey, hi… Uh…

Amanda (as Inara): Huey, Dewey, and Louie?

Eric (as Huey): There! Ah!

Amanda (as Inara): Ah! What’s up! You guys should go meet those monks.

Eric (as Huey): Oh wait, solemn, solemn, we have to be solemn. What’s up. What’s up.

Amanda (as Inara): Listen, there are some monks over there in green. I think you guys would be weirdly best friends. So maybe go say hi.

Eric (as Huey): Okay-

Eric (as Dewey): Uh we only knew Johnny for one day, but -

Amanda (as Inara): What a day right?

Eric (as Dewey): What a day.

Eric: More people come through, a lot of people you’ve interacted with over your time. Captain Alex comes in her formal pirate outfit. James walks through wearing white because he doesn't believe to wear black to any sort of ceremony.

Amanda: Does he have white flowers in his beard?

Eric: He does. They're very, very fragrant. And then as the sun dips behind the horizon, you hear a loud flapping noise. [fluttering of wings] A flock of bombilates led by Stoneface cut across the red sun.

Eric (as Stoneface): Ay, I didn't miss anything, did I?

Amanda (as Inara): No, you're right on time.

Eric (as Stoneface): Ay!

Eric: And Tammy and Taylor, they come running up to make sure they're not late.

Amanda: So I’m gonna look over at Tracey and nod, and we’ll walk over to the pyre which is ringed in alternating black and white stones that we found on the beach, and using a flint firestarter, I’m going to light the pyre.

Brandon (as Tracey): Wait, wait, wait, Inara.

Brandon: And I stop Inara right before she touches the fire to the wood and hand her a pair of socks and a pair of sandals.

Brandon (as Tracey): I thought it’d be appropriate.

Amanda (as Inara): Thanks, Trace.

Amanda: So I’ll sit my butt in the sand and switch out my boots for the socks and sandals. And once the pyre is lit, [fire lights and crackles] I’m gonna kind of wave to the crowd and say

Amanda (as Inara): Thank you guys so much. We really appreciate you coming, and I know that we haven't known Johnny for as long as some of you did, and others only had a quick visit, but he meant a lot to all of us. And where I come from, it’s important to let the person know what they meant to you, so please feel free to come down to the pyre and put your paper in. And what we say is - may your words turn to light. Thanks.

Amanda: And she’ll place her paper into the fire.

Brandon: Tracey places his paper into the fire as well.

Eric: The rest of the crowd takes their step forward and puts their papers in. Each piece catches light, and slowly turns into ash and smoke. And as all of you are standing there on the edge of the lake, you smell the night’s breeze; you smell the distinct waft of a bonfire, and then it changes. You smell old books, and drying ink, and the undeniable smell of apples.

Brandon: Tracey’s gonna spend the rest of the evening trading stories with all of Johnny’s friends and family and lovers… [laughs]

Eric (as dwarf woman): I remember one time…

Amanda: I walk abruptly away to stand silently next to Captain Alex on the shore, for about ninety seconds- that’s all I can take. And then I’ll come back to hang out with Joe. Oatcake sitting on his hump.

Brandon: And the evening winds down, people trickle back to the castle, Trace and Inara make sure the bonfire is completely out, and we and Greg walk back to the castle.

Eric: As you’re heading back, one of the servants runs out and grabs Tracey and Inara and says

Eric (as servant): The Speaker needs to see you now. SHe’s awake and she asked for both of you by name.

[theme music]

Eric: Join the Party is co-produced by Brandon Grugle, Amanda McLoughlin and me, Eric Silver. Special thanks to our creative consultants, Heddy Hunt, Connor McLoughlin, Julia Schifini, and Mischa Stanton. Our visual design is by Alyson Wakeman, the art mom, and our transcripts are by Nicolle - with two Ls - Siegart.

Amanda: The party doesn't stop here. The day after each episode comes out, we publish the Afterparty, where we sit down to discuss what just happened, learn what could have happened, and answer your questions.

Brandon: You can keep the party going by following @jointhepartypod on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also got merch, music from the show, and transcripts for every episode on our website jointhepartypod.com. And you can email us at hello@jointhepartypod.com.

Eric: For even more Join the Party goodness, check our our Patreon. By becoming a patron, you get access to a wonderful community in our Discord, exclusive merch, character backstories, bloopers and so much more. That’s at patreon.com/jointhepartypod.

Brandon: Another great way to help the show is to recommend Join the Party to a friend. Get them caught up fast by sending them the link to our start page, which contains the beginner episodes for those new to D&D and our plot recaps, at jointhepartypod.com/start.

Amanda: Join the Party is a founding member of Multitude, an audio collective and consultancy. Type “Multitude” into your podcast app to subscribe to the fantastic other shows in our collective, HORSE, Potterless, Spirits, and Waystation. Or ind out more about us and access our resources for podcasters at multitude.productions.

Eric: We’ll see you in two weeks. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.