PREVIOUSLY, ON LOST: sidonie named my sister after her cat and now
pippin voice all is memes
- we head to a tea shop, that is run by a high elf (not a tea elf). she knows a lot about exotic teas, and riaeki has an involved conversation with her about her rare teas and orders a jasmine tea, which sharzad joins her in. afa orders something herbal, and nalia something warm and spicy. sharzad, having never had tea before, is basically drinking hot flower water, and thinks it’s weird.
- the gang discusses the ring of jumping. sharzad thinks it could help her get the high ground. afa and nalia aren’t particularly interested, and afa tries to steal sharzad’s cake— sharzad notices, but lets afa do it. riaeki suggests a contest, but maybe that they shouldn’t have it in the shop, and maybe it would be fun to take bets? sharzad suggests afa be our hype person. we head to the entertainment district to become entertainment.
- afa, who finds this ridiculous, attemps to hype up this competition, which is ridiculous. riaeki is stronger, and used to do ‘sailor movements’, while sharzad is more nimble. a city guardsman calls sharzad a ‘goblin’, and riaeki punches him in the face. he looks like he might fight her, but his partner, a halfling woman, thinks riaeki could probably take him. sharzad thanks her, in a way that seems regretful and ashamed— and then goes to hype herself up.
- ‘friends! countrymen! people i know!’
- the first jump is the standing long jump— riaeki rolls badly, and still goes about 30 feet. sharzad rolls better— she goes about 45 feet. the crowd is abuzz, and the two of them top gun high five.
- next is the running long jump— sharzad jumps okay, but does a wild acrobatic handstand and wins over the crowd. riaeki beasts it, and goes much farther.
- lastly— the high jump. riaeki bounds off the ground, but does not nail the landing, and hits flat on her back.. sharzad doesn’t do as well— she has to pull herself over, but lands much better— though it doesn’t matter, as riaeki’s won! (ed: WOOOP WOOP). she collects her prize and asks sharzad whether she’s actually as scary as the bookie seems to think. (she’s not as scary as afa.)
- we gonna head to a NIGHT CLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUB (we’re on a PAYROLL)
- in preparation , sharzad drinks a shakshuka, unaware that this is not a beverage, then helps afa with her hair. nalia straightens her robe, and wrings her hands nervously. sharzad, always fashion forward, constructs a hairpiece out of braids and wire, and FINALLY MENDS NALIA’S ROBES, DANG. afa and sharzad go dress shopping and bring riaeki and nalia along. sharzad buys a GOWN, afa finds a shiny dress that was probably supposed to be a top for someone bigger, and nalia finds nice robes. riaeki isn’t enthused about taking off her armor in a mafia clubhouse, but sharzad assures her she looks fine.
- we enter the SINKHOLE, wearing just truly ridiculous clothing. strobelights greet us as we descend down the stairs, and we walk through an archway onto THE DANCE FLOOR. basically. most of this place is dance floor, and it’s pretty big. the ceiling, having been carved by said sinkhole, is vast, and we can still see the dirt and rocks in the walls. there’s second floor balcony, which seems possibly more lowkey, or vip. the clientele is multiracial, and dancing, and the vibe is pretty cool.
- afa tries to look for a cute person to flirt with, and straightforwardly walks up to what is clearly (to other people) a couple, or two people about to be a couple. sharzad doesn’t understand why no one is dancing in formation, and nalia seems intimidated, so riaeki drags them onto the dance floor. sharzad is a fuckin bomb ass dancer, and riaeki can move despite only knowing sailor’s jigs. a rough looking human woman asks sharzad to dance, and whisks her away. they discuss mercenary possibilites— sharzad inquires after ‘finding people, dead or alive’-type-work. nalia sees that other things are going on here— transactions, of a buisness nature or a commercial nature, furtive discussions, your normal black market jazz.
- the woman orders sharzad a whiskey, and inquires after her resume, basically. sharzad… badly explains the history of the lightheart company. “how much do you know about the ruffians of mistfall?” “they’re… powerful?” the woman offers to take sharzad to someone who can tell her more, and asks her name…. which sharzad gives fully. come on sharzad. the woman, apparently, is selene.
- riaeki, afa, and nalia follow as selene leads sharzad off. they head up a staircase into a private, quieter area. (sharzad is not more appropriately dressed for this environment.) she brings sharzad to an older mafia man (ed: hot), who doesn’t think that sharzad is up to the task, or at least that selene is thinking with the wrong body parts. the man points into the crowd at a green dragonborn woman, saying if sharzad can ‘catch’ her and collect from her. and sharzad /vaults/ over the balcony into the crowd, and tries to dance with the woman, who is INTO IT. riaeki casts detect thoughts on her, and she calls sharzad a butterface, which is ruuuude. sharzad asks if she wants to get out of the club— “lemme go talk to my dealer, and then let’s go!”. riaeki moves detect thoughts over to sharzad, who is feeling a ton of guilt and panic— riaeki attempts to save her with a kiss and a ‘hey babe, where you going?’
- this confuses sharzad.
- and the dragonborn, who in a bit of a turn of events, invites riaeki to come with them. baffled, they go out into the back, where the dragonborn, who calls herself lydia, offers them some good good drugs— sharzad, bamboozled, tries to take it, but riaeki knocks the drugs out of her hand. sharzad, pulling her gun, tells lydia that she’s collecting for the family. riaeki covers her mouth, but it doesn’t seem to be completely necessary, given how whacked out she is. they tie her up, and search her, and ask her what she owes— 20 gold, far more than she has on her (which includes some rogue-y tools). sharzad offers to pay her debt for her, and riaeki mentions that they could use the talents of someone who knows thievery. by this point, nalia and afa have joined them., and riaeki suggests that sharzad take afa to ensure the debt is settled and make contact with the
family, while she and nalia take lydia home with them.
*lydia, super mellowed out fantasy shrooms, chats with nalia and riaeki about theoretically joining their mercenary band— they let a tiefling join up, so they seem pretty cool. riaeki misinterprets and thinks lydia is insulting nalia, but she’s talking about lived experience as a chromatic dragonborn, and thinks its rich to be called out by a high elf. nalia assures her their company isn’t like that.
- afa and sharzad go to mend fences with the MOB. sharzad tries to tell the mob guy that she attacked lydia, while afa
correctsthat she cast a spell on her. this seems to convince him, especially when they hand over the twenty gold. selene seems impressed, and gives sharzad a kiss on the cheek as they leave. sharzad exists in a world of bafflement. theoretically we now have an in with the mafia, but no one is focused on that.
- sharzad and afa get back to the inn, where riaeki and nalia have waited to see them home. sharzad is visibly distressed, and riaeki asks what’s up, which prompts nalia to drag afa away from the pair on pretense of potatoes.
- riaeki asks sharzad not to throw herself into danger without the party for backup, and sharzad apologizes— riaeki responds that she knows sharzad is capable but also worries about the safety of her friends. but that’s clearly not what’s bothering sharzad. riaeki then apologizes, for getting in the way of sharzad’s fun— she panicked, worrying that sharzad was in danger, and assuming she needed rescuing.
- that was not the problem. the opposite was the problem.
- riaeki demands an explanation. sharzad’s answer is to kiss her on the cheek and run for (their shared) room, but riaeki stops her. there’s a long moment.
- “if you don’t give me an answer, sharzad, i’m going to have to cast a spell on you.” “i don’t know if i can say it. maybe you should cast a spell.” so riaeki detects her thoughts. there’s awkwardness, and fear, but also… well. so she probes further.
- sharzad thinks back— meeting the party for the first time and wanting so badly to impress them, explaining how guns work and this elf not understanding their power, diving into a volley of arrows, heartbreak and sadness over a bottle of strange wine. learning a secret, and being angry, and trying to fix things, and doing the opposite of that, and understanding suddenly what the problem was; taking that heartbreak into herself, knowing it. looking out into lights in the fog and protecting, uselessly, with a blanket. a kiss, and then a kiss over again, a kiss stretched out in an eternal moment. love.
- riaeki comes out of the spell, stunned. she looks at sharzad, puts a hand on her shoulder. “please don’t take this the wrong way”. and she kisses her again. and she bolts from the inn.