Caps and Naps is the fifth episode of the first season of Top of the Round.
Caught in an eerie forest, two of our adventurers fight for their lives while the third enjoys a nice, home-cooked meal.
The Brad Report
To be added
Talice is hearing the spores talk. They’re high-pitched voices that claim to want to be friends. She gets freaked out by them badly enough that she jumps up and runs to the cabin.
To Chaz it appears that Talice and Se’ku are fading. They become harder to see and hear, and when he tries to touch them, his hand passes through. The sun begins to set and night creeps in. Chaz just barely sees Talice running toward the cabin so he does so as well. By the time he reaches the cabin, the sun is completely gone and it is night time. Chaz bangs on the cabin door calling for help, and hears an answer from inside.
To Talice and Se’ku, Chaz is now completely gone, and it’s still broad daylight. Se’ku follows Talice as she begins knocking on the cabin door. Medium-sized mushroom people covered in thorns appear and attack Talice and Se’ku. They fight, Se’ku faring better than Talice. She’s cornered with the cabin at her back and is already down in hit points from the poison.
Just as Talice is about to go down, a flaming arrow speeds out of the surrounding forest and strikes some mushroom people, exploding on impact. Talice looks for the source of the arrow, and the Auburn Celestial steps out from behind a tree. He is dressed in a dark red leather cloak and a red-stained plague doctor mask. With the Auburn Celestial’s aid they wipe up the last of the mushroom people.
Meanwhile, in Chaz’s perspective: the cabin door opens. There stands Corvalis Blackwood, an elderly man with solid white hair and gold eyes. He welcomes Chaz in. He recognizes that Chaz has been affected by the fungus spores and may be hallucinating. When he looks out, he doesn’t see any sign of Talice or Se’ku.
He takes Chaz’s burned hand and heals it instantly. Corvalis offers Chaz dinner. To Chaz, it seems that the man immediately returns with a plate of cooked venison, but Corvalis claims he was gone for half an hour cooking the meal. Corvalis sits and answers Chaz’s questions, telling him that he may have hallucinated his friends. He claims the mushroom spores don’t bother him because he doesn’t disturb the mushrooms. When Chaz talks about needing Moon Lilies, Corvalis gives him a bouquet of them. He doesn’t want to be paid for them. He also gives Chaz one platinum. Corvalis is a hunter, with an apprentice who’s currently gone tracking elk. He offers Chaz some tea and tells him to spend the night on the couch.
When Chaz mentions Talice by name, Corvalis reacts subtly. Chaz then notices a silver and black mantel hanging up. When Chaz draws attention to it, Corvalis covers it up with a cloak, and is evasive about answering any questions. Chaz sips the tea and passes out, drugged to sleep.
The Auburn Celestial approaches Talice. Se’ku doesn’t know him and is concerned, but Talice waves him off. The Auburn Celestial offers her a green potion which she takes and downs without hesitation. She is no longer poisoned. The Auburn Celestial is silent in Se’ku’s presence, and ignores his questions.
Annoyed but understanding that he isn’t welcome, Se’ku walks off to inspect the cabin. He knocks without answer, and shoves in. The cabin is rotted and delipidated. There’s nothing of interest inside, but Se’ku can faintly hear Chaz’s voice talking. It sounds like he’s talking to someone, but Se’ku can’t hear anyone responding. Se’ku calls out for Chaz but gets no answer.
The Auburn Celestial walks off a bit and motions for Talice to follow. She does. The Auburn Celestial asks, “Have you found out anything?”
Talice nods and tells him that Chaz is an Ocean’s Keeper, but he vanished with the spores.
The Auburn Celestial tells her that Se’ku will play an important role in the situation. Talice is surprised he knows Se’ku’s name. He also tells her that all Ocean’s Keepers are kind of sheltered. Talice tells him about the grey figure that’s been following her. When she admits she was poisoned because she was careless, he mutters, “I thought the Jade Celestial trained you better. Try not to make it a habit.” He then makes a portal in space and walks through it.
Talice returns to Se’ku in the cabin. She can also hear Chaz’s voice. She tears a hole through a rotten spot in the floor. Under it, she finds a nest and a skeleton. The skeleton has the feet and wings of a bird, but the skull is humanoid without a beak.
Se’ku suggests they look around outside, since there’s nothing more inside the cabin. The spores aren’t in the air anymore, but there are still mushrooms again, and the mushroom people corpses are left. Talice attempts to loot them, but gets some spores to the face. She jumps away in time that she isn’t affected by them. She immediately gives up looting.
Se’ku tries to ask her about the Auburn Celestial. All she’ll say is that he is her boss.
Se’ku and Talice look for clues to Chaz’s whereabouts, but they find nothing. Back inside the cabin they can still faintly hear Chaz’s voice. Se’ku sits in seiza pose and attempts to meditate on the area. He gets the impression that Chaz is present, but in a different time. He feels that the conversation they’re hears happened in this location, but either in the past or in the future, not now. During his meditation, he opens his eyes and see himself glowing in the same way he was when he touched the staff, but he doesn’t feel anything.
Talice doesn’t see the glow. She’s confused when Se’ku talks about it. Se’ku tells her about his impression that Chaz is misplaced in time. Se’ku notices the glow around him is reaching towards Talice. He convinces her to take his hand, and the glow leaves Se’ku and wraps around Talice. Talice still can’t see the glow, but she is healed to full hit points.
After a bit of time, Se’ku becomes drowsy. Being a Drow, Talice is immune to the sleepiness, but notices Se’ku is beginning to fade the same way Chaz did. She grabs Se’ku and starts dragging him away from the cabin. The further they go the more tired Se’ku becomes. He passes out as soon as he steps off the porch.
Talice drags Se’ku’s body away from the cabin, feeling certain that it isn’t safe. The further she goes the more he fades, so she stops when he’s about half transparent. She starts getting comfortable for the night when she hears wolves howling. She sees a dire-wolf stalking her, with other smaller wolves around.
Talice grabs Se’ku and runs back into the cabin and shuts the door. Once in the cabin Se’ku is fully present, no longer transparent at all, but is still asleep. Through the window she can see the wolf pack surrounding the cabin. She sits and meditates.