Campaign 2 (Astragar) Episode 57: Silver Thread Assembles

Episode 57 July 07, 2024 01:05:38
Campaign 2 (Astragar) Episode 57: Silver Thread Assembles
Carrots and Suffering: A D&D Odyssey
Campaign 2 (Astragar) Episode 57: Silver Thread Assembles

Jul 07 2024 | 01:05:38


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Show Notes

Our come face to face with the remaining vestiges.  Zirus negotiates the end.  Bulain confronts her tormentor.  Kriden gets mushy.

Music by Todd Ferguson, My Pet Machine on Facebook

Logo by Julie at Elaborate Flight of Fancy

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:29] Speaker A: Welcome to carrots and suffering. A D and D odyssey. We are nearly to the end. But this is not the end. The big idea for this campaign was that we would spend the first half learning about the empire and the gods discovering some of the flaws. Part two, they were supposed to see the empire for what it truly is, both its ups and downs. Generally speaking, they missed most of the ups and downs. Hopefully you, listener, picked up on most of that from Max and dread. And some of the stuff that I intended to have happen on screen. Speaking of Max and dread, less time on carrots and suffering. The empire is hurt. Cities are being abandoned, the dead are marching east. And our heroes took a brief stop on their way to save the world. To save their friends. The sharp edge of the pub first stop, find the local lieutenant of the undead and put an end to him. [00:01:24] Speaker B: Well, depends on how zealous you are if negotiations succeed or not. Because my aim in this is for you to not serve your or any God. And that really depends on the only thing I can offer you, which is not killing you. [00:01:40] Speaker A: I was going to try to use me not killing you as the bargaining chip. [00:01:45] Speaker B: Well, seems like that puts us in an impasse right away. [00:01:49] Speaker A: Having deprived the undead of their leadership, our heroes prepared to kick down the catacombs door and kick some butt. [00:01:56] Speaker C: Yes, were going to be descending into the catacombs to bring them down and into this undead issue weve got, but were going to need some help. We just fought some of them out in the woods. Things are real rough out there. Can you cast daylight? [00:02:13] Speaker A: I can. I have prepared it. Although, oh, I don't usually and my daylight is not nearly as powerful as Celestia's. But we could wake her up. [00:02:22] Speaker C: I think we should wake her up. I think there should be much rest for everyone after this. [00:02:27] Speaker D: And honestly, having two people who can cast daylight would be better than just one. [00:02:32] Speaker A: Not to be morbid, the fight in the catacombs is dangerous and it costs a fair number of lives. But our heroes and the undead army and save an appeal. With a little help from Max's mom, Maxine rages and with samsonite power grabs the massive door that was on here. You shout get some, girl. Or whatever. [00:02:55] Speaker C: That's exactly what you shout, get it girl. [00:02:59] Speaker A: And she rips the door off of its hinges and throws it back. [00:03:05] Speaker C: Yeah, she does. [00:03:06] Speaker A: That was six successes and no failures. No one else dies. [00:03:09] Speaker C: Yay. [00:03:10] Speaker A: Lets get into it. Hi, Im Nate and I will be your dungeon master. [00:03:24] Speaker D: I am Mandy. I play boulain the grave domain death cleric just killed a zombie bear, boss. That was cool. [00:03:31] Speaker C: Hi im Claire and I play Creedon the sorcerer of love is very excited to have met her boyfriends parents. I think they like me. [00:03:40] Speaker B: Hi, I'm Robert. I play Zerus, the grumpy paladin with no time for love. [00:03:47] Speaker C: That's a perfect description of yourself, grumpy. [00:03:51] Speaker D: It'll catch you off guard. The love. One day just wallop you knock your. [00:03:55] Speaker C: Socks off, you're gonna realize you love us. Your traveling companions, your friends, some Zerus. [00:04:01] Speaker A: Next character is gonna be 100% new relationship energy. Just like. Yep, all the way across. He's gonna be like the cuddliest teddy bear. [00:04:10] Speaker B: But a very strict. It's cuddle time now. [00:04:14] Speaker A: This is cuddle time. [00:04:15] Speaker D: There is a regimen on uncuttled 32 seconds left of cuddle time. So get it in babe. [00:04:20] Speaker A: That sounds like my life. [00:04:21] Speaker C: Babe, wake up. It's cuddle time with my axe. [00:04:25] Speaker B: No, like literally like cuddle the axe. [00:04:27] Speaker A: Yeah. No. Some people like to sleep on a cold surface. That's why I like a good satin pillowcase. You know, it's just sort of chilled a little bit. An axe would do the trick too. [00:04:36] Speaker D: It's just not quite as soft. [00:04:38] Speaker A: Yeah, you gotta make sure you don't shave yourself on accident though. [00:04:42] Speaker C: This is the best opener we've ever had. I would love a long rest. Gang. I am down first and second level spell slots and one fourth. [00:04:54] Speaker A: There are some stragglers. And you see the remaining citizens of Nepeel hack them apart with axes, serving nothing like mercy as they chase them through the forest, destroying anything that escaped. [00:05:12] Speaker C: I like Nappeel. Yeah, I think I'll visit here more often. [00:05:15] Speaker A: Tough hearty folk here hanging out with the lumberjacks. They make great flapjacks out here. [00:05:20] Speaker C: I bet. Oh, that's how he got so good at making pancakes. [00:05:32] Speaker A: The dark arbiters have always been dedicated to finding a path to justice in a lawless world. They plunged into the problems of the empire with righteousness and certainty. But when they came to understand the nature of the realms divine, they forged a new resolve to trespass into the realm of the gods and bring a justice that forges anew order. The sharp edge of the pub always believed the empire corrupt based on lies and rotting at the edges. They had always sought to bring illumination to the things power would keep hidden. They entered the lawless lands to bring truths to the people who might reforge chains to crowns. It turns out the empire was much like the gods. And now that they know they are resolved to one mortals shall have no crowns in a future defined by secrets. Our heroes gather. They understand now the same truth as Astragarian Contessa. The truth of the mask, and the truth of the sister that bears its name. Mortals do not serve gods. They make them to put society in order. The church hid the truth to protect themselves. The gods hid the truth each time they ended a life to hide it. They passed a sacrifice to the God of secrets taken to the grave. And the empire was built on so much blood. Vecna was waiting, preparing, gathering a strength to rival all the gods combined. They do not yet know to what end. Vecna marches to protect themselves, to end death. Perhaps they will never know. As the last boon of the green men fills cretan with power, the group of heroes fades into mists and drifts among the clouds to the eastern border. They rush ahead of an army, a seemingly endless horde of walking dead, cloaked in death to keep the power of the gods at bay. Tirelessly, they gather in the caves at the base of the mountain, just a few hours from the city gates of Meloria, where it all will end, one way or another. The cloud rushes to the top of the mountain, and our heroes appear at the city gates. The miloria is an underground city, so you see a small little village up in the snowy mountain pass. As you arrive there, there is, however, a massive door in it, concealing a massive city. The first thing you notice is the very large dwarven population. As you journey deeper into the main tunnel, the air grows colder and the darkness oppressive. Suddenly, you emerge into a vast underground cavern bathed in ethereal crystalline glow, refracting shades of blue and green in a constant twinkle. Welcome to Meloria, the underground city. Towering stalactites and stalagmites form natural columns that stretch towards the caverns vaulted ceiling, giving the impression of a subterranean cathedral. Elaborate dwarven architecture blends seamlessly with the natural rock formations, creating a harmonious fusion of civilization and nature. The sounds of bustling activity echo through the caverns as dwarves, dark elves and other fey races go about their daily lives. Market stalls line the streets, offering goods available nowhere else in the empire. But the city has mobilized for war. And everywhere you look, barricades have been constructed and people gather in small groups, armored and armed under the banner of either volund, steelmaker of divine hammer, or draven battle heart of brother ambition. A tension is unmistakable as people eye you nervously, half expecting you to be the one to announce the start of the battle and the ravaging army of the dead. Welcome to Meloria. [00:10:09] Speaker C: That was a great description. I think that Cretan's a little, like, slack jawed, like, kind of looking with wonder. Never seen anything like it in her life. [00:10:18] Speaker B: I'm impressed that these people are actually ready. [00:10:20] Speaker D: Boulain looks very, extremely not excited to be here. Would I, Nate? Remember how find the Vanu lare section of the city? Like, would I know how to find them? [00:10:36] Speaker C: Or has it been too long a. [00:10:38] Speaker A: Disadvantaged history roll eleven. You were a child last time you were here. You know, it's down. You don't know how far down, and you don't really remember how to get there. [00:10:51] Speaker D: Okay. Vilain says, well, the last time I was here, I was a child, and that was over 200 years ago. So I'm afraid I am not going to be very helpful in finding our way around. [00:11:03] Speaker C: Every time you talk about your age and your childhood, you always just see Creedon's brow, like, knit in an inability to comprehend. [00:11:11] Speaker B: Where do you want to go? [00:11:12] Speaker D: Well, it seems like we could maybe check in. Is there a mayor here, Nate? Like all the other cities. Is it the same structure? [00:11:20] Speaker A: Yes, there is a mayor here. It is, believe it or not. Currently a contested position between Volens, steelmaker of divine hammer, and Draven, battleheart of brother ambition. It would seem the undead army has arrived in an election year. [00:11:36] Speaker D: Aha. She says, well, we could try to find the city officials. It might behoove me to find somebody who is decidedly not a city official. And suddenly she looks at Brandir and says, could you take me to her? [00:11:50] Speaker A: Brandir bobs his head. [00:11:52] Speaker D: There is a way I can find that person too. [00:11:54] Speaker C: Who is this? [00:11:55] Speaker B: Yeah, I've kind of lost the thread here. [00:11:57] Speaker D: Uh, she is a member of the silver thread. [00:12:03] Speaker B: What was our objective here, too? I've. [00:12:04] Speaker A: The plan is to take the book of Vecna, which is keeping Vecna from being killed on this plane, because he just respawns wherever the book is, and throw that book into the plane of the dead using the portal below meloria. Then you can kill Vecna and it will work. You also have another book that is currently barring the worship of many, many, many gods, and you have not yet decided if you are going to double down on that or destroy it by also throwing that book in. [00:12:41] Speaker C: So I think I have the orb in my inventory. You have the book of the waning mining yours. And I think you also have the book of Vecna. Zerus. [00:12:47] Speaker A: Zerus has the book of Vecna. Yes. [00:12:49] Speaker D: All right, so we know that the portal to the death plane is down below us. Boulain also knows van Ulare is down below us. What would you all like to do? [00:13:01] Speaker C: I mean, I think we need to deal with Vecna no matter what. That for sure. I still don't know if I agree with throwing the book in there. The book of the waning mind. [00:13:11] Speaker B: I think we should just write everybody's name in the book. The waning mind. So I agree. [00:13:16] Speaker C: If we do throw the book in there, does that undo everything, or would that just destroy it so nobody could use it again? [00:13:21] Speaker A: You think if you destroyed the book, the gods wouldn't come back tomorrow, but nothing is stopping them from being remembered again. [00:13:29] Speaker D: Huddle, group huddle. Here is my apprehension. Two of the members of the Silver Thread is an organization that purports to be hunting down and eliminating vestigial gods. At least two of the members of the silver thread are themselves vestigial gods. Why are they in this organization killing vestigial gods? And what is the arch sage actually up to? Is he looking to become the new God? And he has promised them a place in his pantheon. [00:13:58] Speaker B: So while you're talking about this, I've been having this other thought while we've been here. We could let Archmas Sage Mason know we're here, ask him to join us. I'm assuming there's a room in the silver thread that's typically where he'll teleport to. We silence that room, and we murder him. [00:14:14] Speaker D: I am suspicious of the arch stage. [00:14:18] Speaker C: We don't know that he's evil. [00:14:21] Speaker D: Do not know that I have reached the murder stage of that suspicion. [00:14:24] Speaker B: We do know that he's a vestigial God with his own agenda. And we've already discussed many times over the course of this entire adventure that we don't trust him. [00:14:38] Speaker D: I think I would like to speak to Vanna Ulari first. [00:14:42] Speaker B: Sure. [00:14:43] Speaker D: I doubt she will be completely straight with us, but we could at least try to ask her about it. [00:14:50] Speaker B: Let's go. [00:14:50] Speaker D: Okay. She looks at Brandir and says, take us to her. [00:14:54] Speaker A: You follow Brandir as he flies through the glowing tunnels. You go down several levels of the city and past some signs that say, do not travel danger, and arrive in a stray set of tunnels that are kind of small and lean and boulain. This is the first time you start to get that sense of deja vu. You've been here before. This is the one place that, after 200 years, has not changed. And Brandir lands solemnly next to this sort of rock outcropping where there's a small door. And he immediately begins to transform. It's a grotesque process as his bird form sort of expands rather painfully looking. And he turns into a dark elven man. And he says, she's behind this door. [00:15:52] Speaker D: Will you please go in and tell her that sonwen Toivoa is here? [00:15:59] Speaker A: He nods, opens the door and steps in and closes it behind him. [00:16:03] Speaker C: Sorry. Was that Brandir turning? That was Brandir turning into a guy. [00:16:08] Speaker A: Brandy. The bird turned into a man. [00:16:10] Speaker C: Okay. I feel like Creedon's just like in the background, like elbowing Zerus and like Dredd and Max just being like he could do that. [00:16:20] Speaker B: Dred's like, I knew. [00:16:25] Speaker A: Cause it's clear he's not a normal bird. [00:16:28] Speaker C: Yeah, but I thought he was like a familiar. I didn't think he was a guy. [00:16:31] Speaker A: Brandier opens the door. This time he is wearing an outfit. And he says, she will see you now. Please come in. [00:16:38] Speaker D: All right. Boulain goes in. [00:16:40] Speaker A: You wander into a long hall with lots of little doors running off of it. [00:16:45] Speaker C: Are you taking us with you? Are we all? [00:16:47] Speaker D: Yeah, totally. [00:16:48] Speaker A: And there's this banquet table. And at the head of the banquet table sits a dark elven woman. She has this veil covering her eyes, even in the dark. And you can tell she's a dark elf, mainly because the ears poke out from her hair. She seems timeless, almost ageless. But she's wearing the outfit that you've only seen in ancient paintings of old, old, old silent judge priests, just like an ancient death robe. And she says, welcome, fellows of the silver thread. Please have a seat. We have much to discuss. [00:17:25] Speaker D: Boulain will take a seat. [00:17:27] Speaker A: Max looks over at Dredd. And Dredd shrugs, and she says, oh, and your friends. Members of the silver thread and your friends. Please have a seat. [00:17:38] Speaker C: I think Creiden just follows Boulain's lead. Whatever Boulain's doing, she's kind of awkwardly mirroring. [00:17:43] Speaker B: Agreed. I sit down. [00:17:44] Speaker A: Welcome. There's an undead army at our doorsteps. [00:17:48] Speaker D: There is. [00:17:50] Speaker A: The last of the divine vestiges makes a valiant final grasp to prevent his elimination. [00:18:01] Speaker D: So Boulain is really uncomfortable talking to this woman. And it's really obvious she doesn't even want to be here. But she's like, okay, we need. We need to know more about the silver thread itself. [00:18:16] Speaker A: Hmm. Very well. Is there something specific, or should I start at the beginning? [00:18:21] Speaker D: Why are three vestigial gods hunting down other vestigial gods and eliminating them? Is there a usurpation you're hoping to achieve? [00:18:37] Speaker A: No. And it's only two vestigial gods and one active astragarian. Contessa set the world in order and established the church and travelled to the realms of the divine to learn more. And when she returned, she had realized that the gods were abusing their powers and that they were violating the law that she had established. And she was quite upset. The last few years of her reign, she created the ten God church, eliminating all of the pretender gods. The ones that had used their powers to injure humanity. And the ones who did not get in line were destroyed. And the ones who were not destroyed fled to the mortal plane to hide. One God owed her a favor, and so she agreed to help. But she is only a God in the fae realm, not in the mortal realm. So she wasn't a threat to the order. One God was a God of innovation and invention who saw a new God of innovation and invention as more inventive. And he willingly stepped aside and agreed to take on a lesser role. Surrendering his divinity to power. The order that astragarian contessa made. And another God didn't like how humans treated them. I was a source of comfort. People aged and they mourned for their younger selves. They feared aging and they feared death. And I counseled them. And when that vision became a God, long after my death, humans changed the stories. They turned me into a monster. They built me into a boogeyman. They gave me the powers of wrath and death. They are the reason I am the empire's assassins. And I hated them for it. So I left being a God. But my choices were to dwindle and die in the realm of the dead with the rest of the gods, or to come here and be of some service. And I chose to continue existing. [00:21:01] Speaker D: And that service is to prematurely age and kill people with poison. [00:21:08] Speaker A: I use what little divine power I have left to find enemies of the empire. And I despatch my agents to kill them. Yes. It is not a power I ever wanted. [00:21:22] Speaker B: Maybe it's time to relinquish it. [00:21:24] Speaker A: I have been attempting to relinquish it for some time. This was supposed to be the way in which I relinquish it. Your kind made me into a murderer. And this. This is a lesser version. A retirement plan, if you will. [00:21:42] Speaker B: It doesn't seem to be suiting you. So if you want release, I can provide mercy. [00:21:50] Speaker A: I appreciate the offer. My existence was to eliminate the vestiges. There is one left. And he is on his way here with all of his forces. To prevent you from tossing the book beyond the veil and into the realm of death. Perhaps I'll go with it. [00:22:09] Speaker B: I like that idea. This is the realm of mortals. Gods don't belong here anymore. [00:22:14] Speaker A: We have been fighting for that ideal for 500 years. [00:22:18] Speaker B: I'm trying to fight fire with fire though. [00:22:20] Speaker D: Why did Astrogarian Contessa. Why did she choose the ten gods that she did? Why did she not just write all of their names in Daeron's book? [00:22:31] Speaker A: You can't eliminate all of the gods. [00:22:34] Speaker D: Why? [00:22:34] Speaker A: The gods are ideas. They are a lens that magnifies the thoughts of mortals. You create them. If there were no gods, you would create them. [00:22:51] Speaker D: So? [00:22:52] Speaker A: So if you get rid of all of them, you just create chaos. She chose the ten that were largely benevolent to humanity, who refused to use their powers to injure directly the same creatures that made them what they are. It created order. And Astragarian Contessa, while at the end of her life, may not have been as supportive of order as she was, for the rest of it, did try to preserve her legacy. [00:23:31] Speaker B: I think it was a flawed execution. [00:23:34] Speaker A: It worked for 500 years, Iris. [00:23:37] Speaker B: Yeah, I don't particularly enjoy the cost. [00:23:42] Speaker A: Hmm, yes, interesting, given how attached to you she became. [00:23:50] Speaker B: Well, maybe she's changed her mind like I have. [00:23:54] Speaker A: I very much doubt that. She was never a creature to change her mind. Much. [00:23:59] Speaker B: I can be very persuasive. [00:24:06] Speaker A: The archsage will arrive. We will travel further below the city to the haunted tunnels. The place where no one else goes. Where the portal, the tear in the vale resides. The arch sage will open it just long enough for you to throw the book through. And then our job on this plane will be done. And there will be no more need for an arch sage or a von a Lara. [00:24:31] Speaker B: So you two will go with it? [00:24:33] Speaker A: I believe that is the ultimate fulfillment of our agreement with Astragarion. [00:24:39] Speaker D: Contessa, that was not a yes. [00:24:42] Speaker A: I can't speak for the art sage. He already gave up his divinity. [00:24:46] Speaker D: Is it a paranoid concern that we are taking a book of a vestige death God and we are going to throw that book into the plane of death? [00:24:59] Speaker A: When gods die, thats where they go. [00:25:02] Speaker D: Even the death gods? [00:25:05] Speaker A: Especially the death gods. [00:25:07] Speaker D: Can I roll insight on her? [00:25:09] Speaker A: I mean, you roll insight against a God? Sure, roll it. [00:25:13] Speaker D: You get a good bonus on this. [00:25:14] Speaker A: I think it's extremely hard. [00:25:17] Speaker D: 27. No, 28. [00:25:19] Speaker A: 28. Okay, well, I mean that actually is a very hard pc. [00:25:24] Speaker B: You get something, you get a little bit. [00:25:28] Speaker A: Your impression of her is that this is a creature whose entire existence has been bent around the idea of teaching people not to fear death and punishing them when they do. And so you think that this person is absolutely not afraid of dying and is intent on ushering themselves to the end. Like there's nothing here that leads you to believe that they are anything other than being incredibly truthful and purposeful with you? Daeron is not a God of death. [00:26:05] Speaker D: Wait. When do you expect the archsage? [00:26:08] Speaker A: He should arrive any moment. But I think we can get our business out of the way before I let him in. [00:26:13] Speaker D: Our business? [00:26:15] Speaker A: You are here. And I assume it is because you want something. You could have called for the art, sage. You didn't. [00:26:22] Speaker D: I wanted to hear from someone who was not the archsage, the answers to the questions we had about the silver thread. Because I do not trust him. I do not particularly trust you either. [00:26:41] Speaker A: When you have many millennia of experience, it creates a sort of view of the future that is hard for younger people to understand. I think you understand this sentiment just at a much smaller level as you have far longer lived than your associates. You don't have to trust Dan or myself. But it is very unlikely that you'll understand the reason we do what we do. No offense. It's not for lack of intelligence. You're just simply too young. [00:27:17] Speaker D: What are you hoping will happen here after you are gone? [00:27:21] Speaker A: That is a good question. [00:27:22] Speaker D: Because your entire little empire of death and assassins will that hold together without you? [00:27:33] Speaker A: No, it won't. I think I can let this organization go as easily as I can let go of anything else. Everything is temporary. It is the nature of death. Gods. [00:27:46] Speaker D: I am not as concerned about you being able to let it go as I am concerned about the mortal makeup of your organization. Once you are gone, you are going to leave behind a power vacuum. [00:28:06] Speaker A: Hmm. All I can tell you is that when I am gone, a few hundred years is likely to persist in the grand scheme of things. Thats really nothing. [00:28:21] Speaker D: Why did you single me out? I ran away. Why did you care? [00:28:26] Speaker A: I'm sentimental. Sure, I surround myself with the dark elves, the darklings, the people who created me, who made me a God. After my death, I surround myself with them. It is an added bonus that they get to watch so many people age and die. It's how I get what little power I have left. The fear of aging. You are no exception. You have watched several people you love age and die. [00:29:03] Speaker B: Great. [00:29:03] Speaker D: Well, you will not find fear for such a thing from me? Only grief. [00:29:11] Speaker A: I think the silver thread was a wonderful selection for you. [00:29:14] Speaker D: She looks at Zerus and says, I think I am finished. [00:29:17] Speaker B: Well, if we're gonna take on a vestige, namely Vecna, we're gonna need weapons up to the task. And I don't think my blacksmith Longsword is an adequate weapon. As sufficient as it is for many. [00:29:36] Speaker A: Tasks, Dan has a century of built up enchanted items he's been keeping himself busy producing. Great. I'm afraid I can only offer you poisons and daggers. [00:29:51] Speaker B: Any that are good enough for godly constitutions. [00:29:56] Speaker A: They were never meant for that. [00:29:58] Speaker D: No, she went after much smaller targets than herself. [00:30:04] Speaker B: Well, that doesn't mean you don't have something hidden away. [00:30:09] Speaker D: Really? You had nothing set aside for your fellow ex deities who might, may or may not betray you? [00:30:16] Speaker A: I am the most powerful member of the silver thread in the mortal plane, and my contingency plan was always just to die. But there is one thing that might, might make a difference. But it's not an item. It is, however, something I crafted and built. [00:30:35] Speaker D: What is that? [00:30:36] Speaker A: You already know what that is, Boulain. [00:30:39] Speaker B: Are we talking about an organization? [00:30:42] Speaker A: No. No. It's about time. Someone is going to have to make some choices about what the future is and how people relate to the gods and which gods they should relate to and why someone is going to make that choice. And I have crafted my weapon for the task. [00:31:07] Speaker B: Please be less cryptic. [00:31:12] Speaker A: I felt like I was being very blunt. [00:31:14] Speaker D: Does this weapon have a name? [00:31:17] Speaker A: Of course it does. Not always the one that goes by. [00:31:21] Speaker D: Hmm. [00:31:22] Speaker A: And I am not the only one who's crafted a weapon. [00:31:25] Speaker D: I think she's saying we're at Zuras. [00:31:27] Speaker B: Yeah. Kind of started getting that feeling. But that just hones my edge. [00:31:35] Speaker D: I'm sure it flatters your ego to suppose you crafted me. [00:31:45] Speaker A: Gods are definitely egotistical creatures prone to hubris. I am no exception. [00:31:53] Speaker D: No, you are not. I made myself. [00:31:57] Speaker A: But delightful thought. In my experience, no one makes themselves. This is the last will and testament of like frickers. I am not of my own mind any longer. Something expands. It turns my emotions on its shelf, shifts the landscape. My mind is like a tiny sailor clinging to a ship, desperately cranking the wheel, only to have the ocean change direction while the decisions I make are my own. The outcomes can no longer be trusted. It will not be long now. And the entity inside me will have full control. It is not in its nature to tell secrets. But will I still have a bit of me left? I will commit a few here, Vecna has a few agents who remember them. It turns out that creating secrets by waning mortal minds, if anything, makes a God of secrets more powerful and its followers more determined. They had, over the centuries, infiltrated the different church factions, borrowing power from whatever God would give it to them and inevitably joining the more extremest factions. It was a small task for them to reach out to their sympathizers throughout the empire and warn them of an 11th God who wished nothing but to align itself with their cause. In each city, a few agents of the gods came to the aid of this ally and helped them frame the church of the silent judge to give this God an opening for societal change that they all craved. This was all a ruse. The bodies they hid were animated by me as I leaped between the corpses that hold my power. Smuggled about by fools. Blinded by their belief in the faults of the current world order, the bodies deployed. Dark rituals long forgotten to draw in the power of death and hold it. The city furthest west will try to draw the army out of the path. And once the dead begin walking, east will. Unlike a living army, they do not rest. They will reach the tear in the vale, and I will be there to send the energy wild. I will let it go. And the vale, the veil, will sunder. The dead and forgotten will return to the world. The vestiges so vigilantly hunted will be among the first. And they will find thousands of hosts waiting. If they are smart, they will spread across the land and build up their power again. Will the gods fight over closing the rift? The souls who escape will also find vessels. And the chaos will allow the gods the COVID they need for safety. This creature, this Vecna, seeks not to end life or death. It cares not for the empire or its people. Self preservation is irrelevant to a death God. It isn't even concerned with those gods who remain. Vecna will achieve the ultimate expression of his nature. To preserve secrets lost by death, Vecna will give dead gods new form and add to the world the ultimate undead. And I. I will be the general of this revolution. I will spark the truest form of rebellion. The mask will forever regret its failure to choose me. And I will become greater than anything the mask ever dreamed of. And when I die, as all mortals do, the memory of me will become one of the gods. Like the trickster God of rebels. Maybe I will return to the swamp and claim my old tree house again. If I want this to pass. Perhaps I shouldn't be telling the secrets of the gods. If there was more recorded by like freikars. It was lost to the flames. As these few pages are all that could be found next to the campfire in the catacombs of Duomo. Alright, you folks are in the meeting hall of Vana Ulare, the empire's assassin order. When in walks Archsage Mason. Last time you saw him, he looked about 20 years younger. Perhaps having some control over his physical form. He seems to not have as good control because he walks in looking decrepit. [00:37:22] Speaker D: What happened to you? [00:37:23] Speaker A: Oh, someone remove the source of my power from this plane of existence. Not to worry. [00:37:29] Speaker D: How does one do that? [00:37:31] Speaker A: Apparently they take it through a fairy gate. [00:37:34] Speaker D: Who could have those bastards. What jerk would have done that? [00:37:41] Speaker A: Yes, well, unfortunately, my oath bound my power to this plane. And it appears to be a little broken. [00:37:48] Speaker C: So you will not be able to help us much in the battles to come, then? [00:37:54] Speaker A: I didn't say that. But we really need this last little Vecna push to work. Because to be honest with you, he is the last one. And if I don't get done in time, well, I don't get done. [00:38:09] Speaker B: All right. [00:38:09] Speaker D: We'd not want a vestige to be half baked, would we? Have the book of Vecna. Shall we go throw it into the death plane? Is that the plan? [00:38:20] Speaker A: Yes. Okay. We just need one last thing. He looks over at Vana Ulare and says, would you be willing to command the angels out of the way? I seem to be missing my power. And Vana Ulare gives a little smile and says, no, they're your angels. You command them out of the way. And he says, okay, I cannot guarantee that will work. And whanau? Lare says, well, we'll find out then, won't we? [00:38:52] Speaker C: Vestige fight. [00:38:54] Speaker D: Fight to the death. [00:38:55] Speaker C: Become not our problem. [00:38:57] Speaker D: This is what we're here for. [00:38:58] Speaker A: And perhaps if there isn't next time, you will not put angels under my goddamn house. And he says, okay, fine. Be that way. Let's see, what did we. Oh, you've recruited. And he looks at Dred, Max and chim with confusion. Yes, recruited. [00:39:17] Speaker B: These are sharp edge of the pub. They've helped us on many things. [00:39:21] Speaker A: I see. Have you inducted them then, into the silver thread? Do they understand the ramifications of the work we do and the danger we are in? [00:39:31] Speaker B: I'm sure Dredd's put it all together. [00:39:34] Speaker A: Dredd nods and says, so the empire lies then, right? [00:39:41] Speaker B: Is this really the first time you're coming to that notion? [00:39:45] Speaker A: No, I've been tracking it. But proof is hard to come by. [00:39:49] Speaker B: Let's talk after this. [00:39:51] Speaker A: Archsage says, well, let's give it a shot, shall we? [00:39:54] Speaker C: The more swords we have for this, the better. [00:39:57] Speaker A: He says, well, give me a follow. Follow me. This is gonna be quick. This is the quick part. And he wobbles in rough shape to the back of the room and then just passes through a wall like it's not there. [00:40:12] Speaker B: I follow. [00:40:13] Speaker D: Rude. [00:40:14] Speaker A: Excellent. You bang your nose. No, you don't. It's awkward for a moment as you pass through the wall, but you walk through what is essentially a maze of illusory walls and some real ones. It occurs to you, after a fashion, it's good you have a guide, or you would have a whole lot of trouble finding this thing. [00:40:34] Speaker C: We'd need a ten foot pole for sure. [00:40:35] Speaker A: And then, of course, you emerge. And I describe emerge, because you find yourself on the ledge over a massive ravine that plunges into total darkness at a depth that is unfathomable. [00:40:50] Speaker D: Holy shit. [00:40:51] Speaker A: And he says, yes, yes. Don't fall. [00:40:54] Speaker D: Thank you. [00:40:55] Speaker A: He says, well, just a moment. And steps up to the edge of the ravine. Kindly reveal the path. And you hear this sort of booming voice that rolls across the just emptiness and echoes through the caverns repeatedly such that you cannot figure out where it's going from. You do not command me, please. And that's when Harold walks to the front. [00:41:20] Speaker C: Hey. Harold's been so quiet, it's almost like. [00:41:23] Speaker D: We forgot he was there. [00:41:24] Speaker C: I didn't forget. Occasionally I would ask how people are reacting to the pain panther that's just hanging out with us. Nobody seems to care. [00:41:32] Speaker A: And Harold grows a few sizes larger. [00:41:35] Speaker C: Oh, my God. [00:41:36] Speaker A: I describe him now as saber tooth tiger esque. And he shouts into the cavern with a voice that is, you think, telepathic, like, his mouth is not moving. And Harold says, when stars fall to borders, nigh the veil asunder in the sky past returned and truth denied. An end and a beginning a question answered. The world reels. Choices. Known deaths. Rye. This is the moment of the prophecy. I, the Herald, outrank you. [00:42:14] Speaker D: Dang. [00:42:15] Speaker A: And appearing with massive feathered angelic wings, is this blue skinned giant wearing sort of a loincloth and wielding a massive greatsword. You would. And he looks down and says, very well. Are these your champions? And Harold nods and says, the gods have chosen. [00:42:38] Speaker C: Like, give Harold a pet behind the ears. [00:42:40] Speaker D: Ebulle's like, are we your what now? [00:42:43] Speaker A: He purrs a little bit, no. And the angel says, very well. The path shall be revealed. And then it just sort of fades away. And over the top of this endless gap appears this light blue haze. It remains very transparent. It's alarming. But archsaid steps on top of it and says, all right, it's stable. We're gonna go to the middle of this gap. [00:43:12] Speaker D: The middle. [00:43:13] Speaker C: About how far are we from our destination? Like, are we talking five minutes, an hour? It sounds like you've been here. [00:43:21] Speaker A: Well, it's not necessarily a stable thing. It's usually about a five minute walk. Could be ten. [00:43:27] Speaker C: Okay, just for the party. I'm asking this just because, like, before. Before it comes time to, like, actually throw books, I want to, like, do some stuff, you know, do our buffing and other things. [00:43:38] Speaker A: You have a short walk over a bottomless void to a thing you can't see, being watched by a thing you can't see. My question to you is, does anyone want to have any conversations now? Because it'd be a good idea to do so. [00:43:53] Speaker C: I think Creedon, like, kind of wants to fall back a little bit with dread. I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the silver thread. You know, it's supposed to be, I guess, kind of a secret organization. I'm still not even completely sure what exactly I'm doing in it. We're just trying to, you know, get rid of this evil, and we're kind of figuring things out as we go. But maybe I should have given you more information. [00:44:21] Speaker A: I told you, when I don't have enough information, what I do, I trust someone with good instincts. And I will follow you wherever you go. [00:44:31] Speaker C: Creiden smiles. If you were able to change the world, to change the way that things are, but you weren't sure if it would be for the better or not, would you do it? [00:44:46] Speaker A: I don't think I would have the information. I don't think I would know what I needed to know to choose. So I would ask you maybe Max. But what I can tell you is the empire is built on lies and deceit and the destruction of the truth. You do what you need to do. But if you thought it was anything else, well, I know you wouldn't. Cause you're smart. [00:45:20] Speaker C: Dredd. There's some other things that I haven't told you. And what I'm about to tell you is going to sound completely insane. But you're gonna have to trust me on this. She kind of lowers her voice. She really doesn't want anybody else hearing this. And she'll kind of whisper, I kind of killed two gods in the Fae realm. Or at least I wiped them from everyone's memory, which is kind of the same as killing them. And I don't even know what one of them was anymore. But I know that I did it. And then there's another one that I did. And you probably don't even remember them. And you have no idea what I'm talking about. But I. We can make people for forget them. And I've already done it. And I'm thinking about doing it some more. [00:46:07] Speaker A: I have never chosen to follow the gods. And they have found me lacking, I guess. But you have power. It wouldn't hurt me. But it might hurt you. [00:46:21] Speaker C: I think Creedence heaves a big sigh of relief and is like, oh my God. I thought you might tell me that I was a heretic or an apostate or something for this. My relationship with the gods has been really complicated. It still is. I think it might always be. But my relationship with you always feels good. And I'm glad that you're here with me. And please be safe in the fights to come. I don't want to do the rest of what we may have to do without you. [00:46:56] Speaker A: I think. Dredd reaches his hand out to hold your hand. [00:46:59] Speaker D: Aw. [00:47:00] Speaker A: And just walks solemnly next to you with your hand in his hand. [00:47:03] Speaker C: Creiden quietly holds his hand too. And I guess we kind of like catch up with the rest of the group. [00:47:08] Speaker D: Boulain will have a conversation with Vanna. Ulare. Bulayne will fall back to walk with her and say. It probably does not matter at this point, but I did answer your question. [00:47:19] Speaker A: You know how you're different from your goddess? [00:47:23] Speaker D: Yes. [00:47:24] Speaker A: Good. You're about to need that when you choose the future. [00:47:28] Speaker D: It is interesting to me that in hearing a little more about your own story, that you also lack freedom. [00:47:38] Speaker A: I chose something when I had free will. But when I became an idea, I lost that thing and I didnt enjoy it. [00:47:48] Speaker D: And so you did your best to become the idea that you hated. You had become what? A self serving, strange little cycle that is. [00:47:58] Speaker A: Theres less choice in it, Boulain, than you are implying with your words. [00:48:03] Speaker D: Oh no, I understand. There was no choice in it. People came up with an idea of what you were. And ever since then you have been fulfilling that idea out of your own resentment. She smiles. And she doesn't smile very often. She says, I spent so much of my life afraid of you. And afraid of you finding me and bringing me back here and facing a life I did not want to live. And I did not feel free for all of that time, I felt like I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran and I hid. And I cannot figure out now whether it is funny or infuriating to find out how trapped and afraid and angry and how small you actually are. [00:48:58] Speaker A: If I told you any of the truths, I'm pretty sure you would settle in, too. Infuriated over funny. But if it makes you feel any better, that's not really what I want for you. [00:49:10] Speaker D: Well, what do you want? [00:49:12] Speaker A: A new generation, a new era is about to be born. I wish you had found more truths before you got this far, but I think you've found enough to know who you are, and that's really all you need. [00:49:28] Speaker D: You do sound like you care. Well done. [00:49:31] Speaker A: When we reach the end, legacy becomes important. [00:49:34] Speaker D: Well, I will work very hard to make sure that is my legacy and not yours. [00:49:39] Speaker A: I would have it no other way. [00:49:42] Speaker D: Sure you would. [00:49:43] Speaker A: So Max feels left out and slaps Zerus on the back. [00:49:49] Speaker B: Actually, I was about to go ahead and motion a few others over, namely Creedon and Boulain. [00:49:56] Speaker C: Oh, I wanted us to have a party chat, too. [00:49:59] Speaker A: Yeah, definitely before that. Hey, Zerus. [00:50:04] Speaker B: Hey, Max. [00:50:05] Speaker A: So I learned a thing just like, two nights ago. You're not gonna believe this. I heard, and this is like, a wild heresy, all right? So I'm not telling you I believe this, all right? Because that would be stupid. I heard that my God and your God are like the same God. [00:50:24] Speaker B: What do you mean? [00:50:25] Speaker A: I heard that the mask and sister truth are like buddies. They're like this, you know? And he twists his fingers together. They're, like, tied together. [00:50:38] Speaker B: All right, did you hear that? Did I hear that? I've heard a lot about the gods. Enough. That makes me not care about little trivial details about who is and who is and what mask. Any God chooses. Talk about heresy. To be honest, Max, I'm done with a lot of them. [00:51:02] Speaker A: Whoa. You're the rebel, man. Like, I thought I was the rebel. You are the rebel. [00:51:09] Speaker B: Do you like rebels? [00:51:11] Speaker A: Let's. [00:51:11] Speaker B: Let's go, rebel. [00:51:13] Speaker A: I love rebels. And he throws his axe up and just happily whistles himself along the, uh, the path you're on. [00:51:22] Speaker C: I love Craydon. And be later having these deep, important character interactions, and Cyris is like, oh, God, Max, stop talking to me about the gods. [00:51:33] Speaker D: And, like, last week, he would have been all over that conversation, too. [00:51:39] Speaker B: Well, a couple weeks ago, I didn't mean to shut down, Max. I just was giving my opinion. Like, that wasn't to go. [00:51:46] Speaker D: I think it's funny, though, because you did just fulfill what he just said your God was sister truth, and now you're, like, all about, like, fuck, fuck her. We're rebelling. [00:51:55] Speaker A: You made Max very happy, but he's a himbo, so that's not a great sign. [00:52:01] Speaker C: The himbos should always be happy. [00:52:03] Speaker D: It's important to keep the himbos happy. [00:52:05] Speaker C: Caden will let go of Dred's hand and kind of jog up to chat with Zerus and Boulain for a minute. We'll lead the way a little bit, I guess, behind Darren, who's actually leading the way. Arts age nation or whatever we're calling him. [00:52:21] Speaker B: Vanulari says she's done after whatever happens. [00:52:26] Speaker D: Here, so she says I will hold. [00:52:28] Speaker B: Her to that as best I can. But Archsage Mason seems a little more reluctant to cede the stage. [00:52:40] Speaker D: Does he? He does not look like he is going to have much of a choice about that at some point. Apparently we dealt quite a blow. [00:52:48] Speaker B: If he thinks he has a choice about it, I'm going to disabuse him of that notion. [00:52:56] Speaker D: All right, excellent. [00:52:58] Speaker B: Anything else on others minds? [00:53:00] Speaker D: I am worried about coming through this fight at all, but I am also quite worried about the aftermath of it. Just on the part of mortal society. That is tomorrow's problem. [00:53:13] Speaker B: I don't understand your concern. For all we've talked, the only outcome of this fight is that one less vestige has their hold in the world. [00:53:26] Speaker D: No, I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about the larger implications of the lies that our empire is built on. Starting to crumble apart. [00:53:38] Speaker C: I get it. Boolean. If society goes to shit, you. You live so long. So long. That would be a really long time to deal with society gone to shit. [00:53:50] Speaker D: Yes. And it also makes me quite wary for your sakes, because if that happens, it would likely not be resolved within your lifetimes, and that is going to be a hard life. [00:54:02] Speaker B: Is this not the kind of event that's best to do as big, bombastic, and messy as possible as quickly as possible? [00:54:12] Speaker D: I think the dissolving into chaos will indeed be quick. Cirrus. I think climbing back out of that pit is what takes a very long time. [00:54:20] Speaker B: Then let us make sure it's a clean break so that it will set properly. When the bone is jagged and rough hewn, that's when it forms improperly as it heals. [00:54:35] Speaker D: You realize that once we make that clean break, the three of us will be no better informed than anybody else. Wyatt has all gone to chaos. Who are we going to be to lead them anywhere? We won't know. [00:54:56] Speaker B: I don't. I don't know that that's entirely true. I agree. Details will be lost. Names mostly functions. Perhaps. But their lies, their betrayal, their grievances against me will last in. In my mind forever. [00:55:23] Speaker C: If anybody could remember what happened, Zerus, I do believe it's you. [00:55:28] Speaker D: You do understand that erasing this pantheon of gods. Eventually, there will just be a new pantheon. People will not stop believing in powers higher than they are. [00:55:42] Speaker B: Not as I live. [00:55:43] Speaker D: I wish you luck on that uphill climb. Yeah. [00:55:46] Speaker C: Human stuff. We don't have to worry about the long term implications. That's your problem. [00:55:54] Speaker D: It is ineffable, though, is it not? New beliefs will fill the void of the old ones, of course. [00:56:00] Speaker C: You can't fix something forever. [00:56:03] Speaker B: Wow. With this book and a proper order of guardians to maintain it, the weeds can be cut back rather quickly. [00:56:13] Speaker D: Time will tell. [00:56:14] Speaker C: Zeris, I really appreciate you two being my traveling companions and my, I guess, guides a little bit. I know. I know I'm young. Really young compared to, well, you, boo ling. And I know I'm very inexperienced. I didn't have a lot of life experience. I guess I still don't. But I feel like you two have helped me grow up some. And I. I just want to say thank you. And that if I don't make it through this, and I know that this is asking you to do a lot of work, but, like, if I die and one of you makes it, I kind of don't feel that bad about asking you to do something. Especially you, blaine. You're gonna have, like, all the time in the world if my body's still around. Cremate me and spread my ashes in the places that we adventured together and give some to my moms. [00:57:08] Speaker D: It would be an honor to see to your remains, creedon. [00:57:12] Speaker C: I don't know if I want a silent judge burial. [00:57:17] Speaker D: I pray fervently that today is not that day. [00:57:20] Speaker B: I remember a young individual falling asleep in a nest of some crazy chicken snake. [00:57:33] Speaker C: Yeah, and I'm still mad about that. [00:57:34] Speaker D: And there we agreed not to talk. [00:57:36] Speaker A: About that after the all father green response. [00:57:41] Speaker B: And now the person who stands before me has grown changed and different, and I'm proud of you. [00:57:48] Speaker C: Yeah, I haven't complained about walking through this nasty tunnel once. [00:57:52] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:57:55] Speaker D: Our surrogate babies, all done. [00:57:57] Speaker C: Grown up. [00:58:01] Speaker B: I appreciate getting to know you. And thank you. And I'm very happy that it seems like we're all on the same page. [00:58:08] Speaker C: Also, Zerus, if after all this, you become a hermit. You better at least give me your mailing address. [00:58:13] Speaker B: I will not be a hermit. It sounds like there's going to be a lot of work. [00:58:19] Speaker D: I have to say, I did not see it at the onset of our companionship that we would likely ever be on the same page for much of anything. But I have learned so much from the two of you. Companionship like this is not something I thought I would ever enjoy again after I lost my wife. And I am pleased to be wrong about that. [00:58:44] Speaker C: Creiden gives boulade a big hug and also tries to hug Zerus. I don't know if he'll allow. [00:58:49] Speaker D: It's like hugging a warm rock. [00:58:54] Speaker B: No, I'm hung. Absolutely. [00:58:56] Speaker A: The arch sage stops and says, why? Is there someone down here? [00:59:01] Speaker C: What? [00:59:02] Speaker A: And out at the edge of the darkness, just at the edge of the vision that you can produce, you see, like frikers. [00:59:12] Speaker D: Oh, fuck. [00:59:14] Speaker A: Pale, but perhaps a little rotten in places. And he steps forward and says, I've been waiting. Welcome. [00:59:22] Speaker C: We thought you were dead. [00:59:24] Speaker A: Well, I am. I am dead. But I wanted you to know before the plan comes to fruition that I didn't wish any ill on you. When I look at this group of people, every single one of you. When I look at this group of people, I think, this is a group that gets it. You're ready. You're ready to rebel against the whole system? To turn it on its head. And I'm here to help. [00:59:51] Speaker C: Yeah. Zombie brothers. [00:59:53] Speaker B: Care to elaborate? [00:59:55] Speaker A: My forces have gathered all of the latent death energy from every major city in the entire empire and walked it here. And he lifts his hand up, and you can see in the darkness that extends behind him. It's not actually just darkness. It is a cavern of negative necrotic energy. And they brought it. They brought it here for us. [01:00:29] Speaker D: Oh. [01:00:29] Speaker C: I'm starting to think he doesn't really want to help. [01:00:34] Speaker D: I'm sorry. Were you fooled? [01:00:40] Speaker A: This. This is gonna be the thing. The final moment when mask realizes, you should have chose me. [01:00:47] Speaker B: And didn't you have sided with a different master just to spite the previous one? [01:00:54] Speaker A: Of course. [01:00:56] Speaker B: I did that too. I did that too. And then I realized I was a dog under masters both ways. And so instead of whatever it is you're thinking, I say, let's be brothers and fight both these masters because they both deserve our scorn and we deserve to be free of any influence beyond our own. [01:01:20] Speaker A: He smiles. And you see something behind his eyes that is not like Freikor's. Give me? A persuasion role. [01:01:27] Speaker D: Is there any hint of jade about his skull? [01:01:31] Speaker A: Okay, some of the rot spots. You think you can see a little jade under there? [01:01:36] Speaker D: Hmm? [01:01:37] Speaker B: It's gonna be a 25. [01:01:38] Speaker A: He says you're very compelling. But there is something you simply didn't understand. I am the master. The master is me. We are one. And that means that, for the moment, I am the God of secrets. The secrets taken to the graveyard. You don't even know why I'm here. You've already lost. And that's. That's the thing that's different about us, Sirus. You broke from your masters. You tried to become whatever the hell you think you are now. No, no, no, no. I became the master. The king that I was always supposed to be. [01:02:22] Speaker D: King of. A lot of zombies, that's. That is reaching high, Master Freikors. [01:02:30] Speaker A: You think this is about zombies? Oh. Oh, you miss so many opportunities to get in on the secrets. Well, I'm going to take them to my grave, too. And you see that sort of. The darkness behind him start to fill like rikers. And he grows. He starts to become this form of shadow. Huge shadowy horns roll out of his head. His hands become claws, and he just elongates until he's taller and taller and taller. And what is before you now makes giants look small. This figure of shadow looks down on all of you and says, well, I believe you have a book of mine. You might want to do something with it before we start. [01:03:28] Speaker B: I mean, is there a portal to the plane of the dead? Cause I haven't been told one of yet. [01:03:34] Speaker A: You don't see one? The archsaid says, well, I got this. And he snaps his hands together and sort of wobbles in weakness. And from each of your chests, a little silver thread forms. [01:03:48] Speaker C: I don't like that. [01:03:50] Speaker A: And it strings out across the area in front of you, merging into a single point, which then becomes kind of visible. There's a tear in the veil here, a very small one. All three of your threads, plus a thread to dread and max and chom and the arch sage all wrapped together. And a portal opens. It is not big, but it slowly grows until it's about the size of a small person. And he says, the silver thread is here and the portal is open. And that is our show for today. Special thanks to Todd Ferguson, a my pet machine for our tunes, Julie at elaborate flight of fancy for our logo and you for the rating and review that you will leave irrevocable decisions. Next time on carrots and a D and D odyssey our.

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