Did you hear this story when you were little? The story of the light-bringer, the assassin, and the robot, the party who defended the champion? Well, it sounds something like this.
This recap covers the events of the first two arcs of Join the Party, Episodes 1-11: Wedding Party and Political Party.
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Eric: Who is a hero? Is the chosen one, with the weight of history pushing them to greatness? Or they someone just…like… you?
At this point in the bedtime story, grandparents point their finger right at the blanketed chest of their spellbound grandkid.
On the next page, we meet our main characters:
Johnny, the bringer of light
Inara, the knife in the shadow
and Tracey, the mechanical marvel.
In the beginning, they weren’t much at all. Petty criminals, stuck in the Kiko jail for the goofiest of crimes. Tracey wasn’t even charged at all. But, that would change all too quickly.
Rushed from the dungeon to the heights of the castle gardens, they’re hired for the most important job of the millennium - defending the wedding between the son of the representative of Fidapolis, Alonzo Kiko, and the son of the representative of Cronopolis, Greg Necteria.
The party accepts the task and sneaks into the wedding disguised as a cook, a waiter, and an honored guest. Events go off without a hitch until the Red Throat Gang attacks. The anarchist group, bent on ruining the Kiko establishment, threatens the newlyweds with poisoned frogs, throwing the wedding into absolute chaos! As Greg succumbs to the poison, Alonzo’s medallion, an heirloom from his great great great great grandfather, begins to glow and spin.
In the night’s sky, a constellation of five stars glows brightly. A star winks out.
Time freezes for everyone except Alonzo, Johnny, Inara and Tracey. This must be a sign! said Alonzo. I don’t know about this! yelled our party. They quickly concocted an antidote for Greg, Alonzo calms himself and the medallion, and time rights itself.
Johnny, Inara, and Tracey settle in for the night, contented to have defended Alonzo so well. They couldn't have known the events they set in motion:, a single match that sets off in a wildfire.
Every storyteller knows that no epic would be complete without a cast of supporting characters. Like Stoneface, the smooth-talking gargoyle guarding the Kiko rookery. Tammy and Taylor, the teenage dragonborn apprenticing in the potions room. Nessie, the owlbear that nests in the basement of the castle. And Kohl, the devilish inventor with a workshop full of wonders.
When dawn breaks after the wedding, Johnny, Inara and Tracey realize they’ve been locked in their room. At Alonzo’s urging, they decide to break out of the Kiko estate with the prince in tow. With bravery and cunning, they sneak out through Nessie’s pen, only for a disguised Alonzo to be kidnapped by the Red Throat gang. The party catches up with Alonzo, as Tracey tumbles into a mud puddle. Johnny buys a mighty steed, Joe the Acrobatic Camel, and Inara adopts the blink dog Oatcake.
Safe once again, the party asks Kohl for help. Kohl pulls an old, old book from her library, pointing to a photo of Alonzo’s great great great great great GREATEST grandfather. He was a champion of the Centering, the cataclysmic event that defined the Concentric States a millennium ago. And he was wearing that exact medallion in Alonso’s possession.
Overcome by the weight of history, Alonzo flees the scene with our characters close behind. No sooner do they step onto the Kiko Estate than Greg, a dangerous and powerful bard in his own right, attacks the party. He accuses them of kidnapping his new husband, Alonzo, and sicks his goons and a magical arrow on the party. Just as Tracey rages and buries an axe into Greg’s leg, the battle is quickly defused by Speaker Martinson, the ethereal speaker of the Concentric States.
The speaker may make heroes out of our party yet.
She invites the three to become Alonzo’s security team, defending the champion as he tours the States, bringing peace to the realm. They accept, but they must pass the challenge first.
They’re given a magical spyglass that, when pointed to the constellation with the missing star, reveals clues of a seafaring voyage. In two days time, Johnny, Inara and Tracey report to the large lake behind Kiko Castle, eager to prove themselves. With the help of pirate captain and shapeshifter Alex Delahye, they navigate her ship through treacherous waters and Greg’s attempt at magical sabotage.
Back on dry land, the speaker rewards the party with three powerful magical items: a retractable arm for Tracey, a shadow-hopping cowl for Inara, and, for Johnny, a shard of the Undying Light, his omnipresent deity. For the first time, they’re accepted. They are good. They have purpose.
At the official swearing in ceremony for Alonzo, the Red Throats attempt another raid upon the castle. With help from ALL of their new friends, the party defends Alonzo, but is quickly overwhelmed.
Facing the possible death of his loved ones, Alonzo’s medallion spins. He conjures magical knives that cut down the Red Throats where they stand. Once again, the sky changes – a second star in the constellation blinks out.
With that, the grandparents stretch their backs and snuff out the candle. The rest of the story will have to wait for another night.