Dice and Pizza

Guardian Quest Ep. 3 - A Storm Gathers

October 04, 2021 Dice & Pizza Season 1 Episode 3
Dice and Pizza
Guardian Quest Ep. 3 - A Storm Gathers
Show Notes Transcript

Things get nasty as Zaba, Driftwood, and Ernie follow the trail of Tang Kai as they row north towards an ancient temple by the coast...
Ep 3 Transcript

Content Warnings:
Profanity, Kaiju

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Dice & Pizza is
Zaba is Mya Worrell @worrellmya
Driftwood is Justin Ricafort @sleepyjuppy
Ernie is Kyla Worrell @switchnow on Letterboxd
The Guide is Derek Aiello @derekaiello

Cover art by Jean Young (jeanyoung.me)
Music by Itamar Ben Zimra (https://soundcloud.com/itamar-ben-zimra)
Original Sound FX by Brian Kim (https://brianminjaekim.wixsite.com/briankim

Learn more about the show on our website! http://diceandpizza.com

Justin: Dice & Pizza contains descriptions of peril, natural disasters, and kaiju. Content warnings can be found in the episode description. 

[theme music begins]

Derek: Hello, wayward listeners! Welcome to Dice & Pizza, a Quest show that follows Zaba, Ernie, and Driftwood, a ragtag group of strangers who are chasing after Tang Kai, an ancient dragon bent on owning the world of Mirios.

My name is Derek, my pronouns are he/him, and I will be your guide for today's journey. For those who are unfamiliar with Quest, it is a tabletop role-playing game that uses one 20-sided die. A 1 is a catastrophe and a 20 is a triumph with a gradient of successes and failures in between. Instead of skills you have abilities that you spend adventure points, or AP, to activate. And the game focuses on character and world building. But that's really all you need to know about the mechanics. Now go ahead and meet our wonderful, incredible cast of players and characters.

Mya: Hello hello, I'm Mya Worrell, they/them pronouns please. I play Zaba, the party's naturalist. He is the masked guardian of Kokoru chosen by the god Bainon at birth. This responsibility makes him serious, but behind the mask, you sense a curious individual. 

Justin: Heyo, my name is Justin, he/him pronouns. I'll be playing Driftwood, they/them pronouns. Driftwood is the party doctor. People notice their seafoam skin, tattoos, and luxurious dark blue pompadour. Driftwood is an offbeat nomad from the island village of Noro looking to travel, and learn, and eat too much food.

Kyla: Hi, my name is Kyla. My pronouns are they/them/theirs. I play Ernaeus, or Ernie for short, a skilled spy having some difficulties in their career path of choice. They go by they/them pronouns and sport a pair of red-lensed goggles and a long flowing cape that drapes over one shoulder. 

[theme music fades out]

Derek: And welcome back. Last week on Dice & Pizza, the gang, they uh, well, they, they, they, went and had a shopping day. They ate a lot of food, they hung out, kind of. Driftwood lost a tooth, Ernie lost an earring, Zaba didn't sleep. [chuckles] And they took a canoe and went North to chase after Tang Kai, the sun dragon that they unleashed a little bit ago. And last week ended with, the, one of the rowdiest lines ever. Ernie said the famous catchphrase “I like nasty.” 

[laughter]

And that's where we're gonna kick things right back off. You all, the three of you are in, are in a canoe, there's an arrow that's been shot through part of the side of it, and there are six vagabonds standing along either side of the river, covered in brush, leaves, furs, and one of them has a crooked sword that is pointed at you. And they're the one that said,

???: “Give us your Ruuk, give us your food, give us your supplies, or else this is gonna be nasty.”

Mya: Well. I'm immediately going to ask, “What are you -” There's three of them?

Derek: There's six of them.

Mya: There's six of them. Oh shit, okay. That's a lot of people,

Zaba: “I'm Zaba, Guardian of Kokoru village, and I demand to know all six of your names!”

Justin: Are we like, drifting past? Like, while this is happening? [laughter]

Derek: Yeah, you're like, slowly drifting as they're like, kind of like shuffling alongside the river to keep up. Very slowly, very slowly. The one with the crooked sword says,

Ricero: “My name is Ricero and that's the only name you need to remember, Zaba of Kokoru village.”

Zaba: “Where do you hail from?”

Ricero: “Hail from the wilds around here. We don't have a home!”

Zaba: “I see. Hmm.”

Mya: I, I'll turn to, to you two.

Zaba: “What do you think we should do?”

Driftwood: “Do you have any food?”

Justin: Driftwood yells. [laughter]

Ernie: “These people just attacked us, I don't know why we're trying to be civil with them.”

Derek: They're, one of the, one of the vagabonds covered in like a sort of like, what looked like a shrubbery, like, pops up with, like, a little like bow and arrow and says,

Vagabond: “We don't have food, that's why we're asking for your food! And I really want to eat all the food!”

Derek: And they like point their bow and arrow at you, Driftwood.

Driftwood: “Hey, no need to get tough with me, pal. I, I'm hungry as well. We are in the same boat, even though you're over there.”

Zaba: “Do you not know how to find food in the wild?”

Vagabond: “There's danger in the woods. It's easier to, it's easier to -”

Zaba: “Danger?”

Vagabond: “- Why are we even talking, boss, why are we even talking with them?” [laughter]

Zaba: “You have bow and arrow - you have bows and arrows, and swords! What do you mean dangerous? You don't even need weapons. There was, there's food in the ground, there's food on the bushes. Who is your teacher?”

Derek: They all kind of look to Ricero with the, who has the long, like, crooked wavy sword.

Zaba: “Have you taught them?” 

Ricero: “Uhh.”

Zaba: “You say you're from here, but it doesn't seem like you're from here.”

Ricero: “Well the forest is our home because we make it our home. We own the forest, we own the river and you're on our river.”

Zaba: “The river that's. Thousands of miles long?”

Ricero: “Yes, we own the entirety of this river!” [laughter]

Zaba: “You own all of it.”

Driftwood: “What about the ocean? Do you own the ocean too?”

Ricero: “Oh, that belongs, that belongs to the pirates.”

Driftwood: “Do you have some bargaining with the pirates about who owns which body of water?”

Ricero: “The instant you can taste salt, that's how you know it belongs to the, to the Windsharks!”

Zaba: “How old are all of you?”

Ricero: “We don't have to answer that!”

Zaba: “Why not? [laughter] Why don't you have to answer this?”

Ricero: “Because, because because we're trying to rob you!”

Zaba: “Are you?” [Mya laughs]

Mya: Zaba’s just trying to piece this together.

Zaba: “If you have to, if you have to accost travelers to get your daily bread - there's not a lot of travelers who come this way. How are any of you alive?”

Justin: Is the arrow stuck in the boat?

Derek: Yeah, the arrow's stuck in the boat.

Justin: Driftwood gets the arrow from the boat, dives into the water, and comes back out with three fish in hand.

Derek: Roll me, roll me a 20-sided die for this trial.

Justin: Yep. [rolls die] 19.

Derek: You do exactly that - you rip the arrow out of the boat, dive into the water, and you emerge with three fish.

Driftwood: “I am queen of the ocean! You want fish? Take it, take it!”

Justin: I throw the fish, I throw two fish over to them as peace offerings.

Kyla & Mya: Just slaps - just slaps them in the face. [laughter]

Derek: Yeah. Yeah, they all get slapped in the faces, and they're like,

Vagabonds: “What the?”

The bandits, the vagabonds are very distracted.

Vagabonds: “Oh my god, there's fish!”

They all start like, diving on top of the fish. The fish is like, squirming and jumping, it's like a cartoon as it's like popping in and out of the dog pile as the ones across on the other side of the river jump into the water and start to walk and like, wade through and like, doggy paddle over. Utter chaos. As the, as the three of you float and float -

Driftwood: “I guess they were, they weren't lying, they were very hungry.”

Justin: Driftwood starts drying their hair, first and foremost, combing it.

Zaba: “Have either of you been attacked by, by people when you traveled to my village?”

Driftwood: “If they're not the Windsharks, I don't know who they are.”

Zaba: “I don't find them too threatening.”

Ernie: “It's not them, that's not them that they should be worried about. Or, we should be worried about.”

Driftwood: “Ooh.”

Zaba: “By who? Who, who should we be worried about then?” [Mya laughs]

Ernie: “Me.”

Zaba: “You? I'm not worried about you.” [laughter]

Derek: The three of you feel an increase in the wind around you as very clearly, up in the sky, you begin to see sort of small flecks of gold begin to kind of shimmer and like fall around you, almost like dust. They're sharp to the touch when you touch them; they're like, very, they're very fine, not good for catching.

But looking up into the sky, the three of you see in fact Tang Kai, his long body flying high, high, really high up in the sky. Like, it's almost like you have to like hold up your hand to block the sun to kind of see. [Justin & Mya shade their eyes] But he's flying up and above and, sort of, you see him like kind of take a left back over land and begins to fly towards the ocean. 

Ernie: “What are we hoping to do when we reach - well, if - we can reach him?”

Driftwood: “My feeling is that, if Tang Kai communes with the spirits, then maybe the spirits have answers for this as well.”

Mya: Tang Kai is very, very high up, right?

Derek: Yeah. Very, very high up.

Mya: I'm going to use my Animal Form Shape Shifter to turn once again into - I forgot what I turned into last time - a hawk or a little, a little bird? A sparrow. I have six HP. I can make basic attacks. I hit for two HP. I can't cast spells, use items, or speak languages.

Oh, I can't speak! [Kyla laughs] Well, okay I'm still going to turn into a bird so I can get it, I can go and get another better look.

Derek: So you transform. Do you say anything to anyone before you transform?

Mya: I'm going to look up and say,

Zaba: “I'm going to take a closer look.”

Mya: And then I turn into a bird and go.

Derek: Driftwood and Ernie, you see Zaba transform into a, into a sparrow and take flight back up into the sky once again.

Driftwood: “Show off.

Ernie: “Can you -”

Kyla: I look at Driftwood.

Ernie: “- Can you do that?”

Driftwood: “Well. Maybe one day.”

Derek: Zaba, you fly up and up, and up into the sky, you know, past the clouds, higher than probably any normal bird could go. But because you're a naturalist, you have a bit of magic on your side to help you fly this high. And, you manage to sort of see, well, first off when you look back down at the world, back at your friends, they're very tiny, very tiny. But you see a lot more of the world.

In fact, you see now, sort of, kind of what Goro is talking about in the village - how there are, might be other temples or other settlements outside of the village. Because from up here you see it all. Like, you see that there is a temple on the coast, and that is in a similar direction to where Tang Kai is flying, flying over that.

He doesn't seem to be, like, going down at all. He seems to be maintaining this altitude. But you notice that the soot - that the flecks of gold are what appear to be like parts of his scales shedding. You see Tang Kai flying North, North, like, Northwest, towards this temple that's close by to where you are. And then to the North of that, you see that there's a lake and smoke stacks from where there would be villages in the distant north.

Mya: And Tang Kai is just doing his thing, just flying?

Derek: Yeah, he seems to be just doing his thing, flying.

Mya: Well if I can't irritate Tang Kai, then I will go back down to the boat.

Derek: So yeah, you descend back down, it’s noticeably cooler when you return to the boat. Which, Ernie and Driftwood, have you two been rowing and following

Justin: Yeah -

Derek: Or have you two just kind of sitting here. [Kyla laughs]

Driftwood: “Like, and, and that's how I ate 10 jellyfish in one day, and it was, it was amazing. You should try it one day, you know, we should, we'll go and catch jellyfish. It, it, amazing tasty morsels.”

Mya: While you're talking about that, Zaba lands on your head, pecks you [Driftwood gasps, affronted] and then hops off, and then transforms.

Zaba: “10 jellyfish is too much.”

Driftwood: “Um, you have clearly have not had one jellyfish.”

Zaba: “Is it good. Is it yummy?”

Driftwood: “If you were listening, then yes.”

Ernie: “If we could eat jellyfish, do I have to eat all 10?”

Driftwood: “No, the, the, the innards are just as good, you know, when plucked out. It's deep fried, it's, it's quite amazing, actually. Guardian Zaba, quote, unquote. What, where, did you find out anything? Did Tang Kai talk to you and tell you his evil plot?”

Zaba: “Unfortunately I can't speak when I am a bird, or any animal for that matter. Uh, but I did get a better sense of the lay of the land. It does seem that Tang Kai is headed towards a temple that's to our, that's close by to us. If we followed the river far, far up it, we would meet a lake where we would meet some other people. But I believe that if we head to the temple we may learn some things.”

Driftwood: “Ooh. Well, I suppose we can go to the temple. Yes. Hopefully, something to gain of interest there. Maybe, [chuckles] just maybe, we can spend some time fishing over there as well.”

Zaba: “Get some more jellyfish. Jellied fish.” [Kyla laughs]

Driftwood: Yes, there will be jellyfish. Let's go to the temple.”

Zaba: “I'd love to try these jellied fish that you speak so highly of.”

Driftwood: “Jellyfish, jellyfish.”

Ernie: “Can someone help me row. [laughter] Can you all, can you all stop talking and help me row?”

Mya: You, you're just rowing like on one side, so the boat is going in circles. 

Derek: Oh, it’s just spinning.

Mya: Yeah. [laughter] While you’ve been talking, it’s just been spinning. [laughs]

Derek: Yeah, you’ve just been spinning the whole time.

Kyla: I’m just like,

Ernie: “Is this how boats are supposed to travel?” [laughter]

Mya: [regains composure] I take the oar from you. It's like,

Zaba: “No.” [loses composure]

Ernie: “Oh, okay.”

Justin: Driftwood grabs the other oar. And yeah, yeah. They flip it all around.

Derek: Zaba and Driftwood, the two of you - with your expert rowing abilities - the three of you are able to get to shore a little bit farther up the river where now, very clearly in the distance, you see a temple built on top of like a cliff side. And it looks to be not as old as the other temple you saw, but it looks to be, you actually kind of see that there is smoke coming from it, like there are people that live here. And you're able to, and you'll, you'll have to beach the canoe and take the canoe with you, or, or leave it here, up to you.

Zaba: I think, it makes sense that we would go to the temple and then return to this point and go up the, the river, unless someone would like to carry the canoe.

Driftwood: I, I do not want to carry the canoe.

Ernie: I - It would take multiple people to carry the canoe. Well yeah, we'll beach it -

Mya: I mean, [exhales] I'm not particularly worried about people stealing the canoe.

Kyla: I'm - I'm just, I'm, I'm busy covering it in foliage -

Mya: Okay - I, I put it down and, you immediately start covering it, and Zaba lets you do that.

Ernie: Yeah. Actually would there be like a more strategic place to drag it, where it would be more naturally hidden, like a bank, or? Maybe not.

Derek: Ernie go ahead and roll me a 20-sided die.

Kyla: Ooh-hoo-hoo, let's see [dice rolls] that's a 12.

Mya: Ayy!

Derek: That’s a 12, that's a success. Yes, you're able to find like, like an easier place. So instead of covering it with grass, you're able to find like a little, like nook between like two big rocks that you can kind of shove the canoe between, and then just kind of cover lightly with some brush you find on the ground.

Kyla: This is going to be a pain to, to take out once we come back. But, nobody can see it -

Derek. - But it is hidden.

Kyla: Yeah.

Derek: Yes, it is, it is by your standards, Ernie, it is, it is well hidden. You know, like you see the - Zaba in particular, you see that there are like sort of parts where the grass and the ground has been sort of stomped on, or where people have traversed here. You're able to kind of make out like a rough path from multiple sort of directions that people have kind of walked to come to this temple as the three of you make your way over there.

Zaba: “Do you think we should bring offerings or gifts?”

Driftwood: “Gifts... What, what”

Ernie: “It is a temple.”

Driftwood: “Like uh, food?”

Zaba: “That is one offering.”

Ernie: “Are there any plants? I don't know if they are, are they, if they're in need, in need of medicine.”

Driftwood: “I can offer to heal them, doctor them up as well.”

Zaba: “I see. I wonder to which god this temple is.”

Mya: Could I have gotten any indication of it, from up above?

Derek: You could assume because it is by the coast, that it is a, a temple to Mitra, the night god.

Kyla: Okay.

Mya: And they are the god of seas, winter, and rest.

Justin: Does Driftwood know that, or is, that - Zaba knows that. 

Derek: That's what Zaba saw, Driftwood, as you do get closer, you begin to see sort of, like, the colors and painted on the, on the front of the temple.

Justin: Ooh, okay. Driftwood gets excited. Driftwood loves the god that, loves Mitra.

Driftwood: “That was my prophetic dream, too.”

Zaba: “Prophetic dream.”

Driftwood: “Yes. Well, I've seen there are grubby thumbprints in my journal, so I'm sure people know about my prophetic dream. Um, anyway, yes -”

Zaba: “You carry a journal?”

Driftwood: “- Mm. Yes, I do, I do, and -”

Kyla: Ernie says nothing [laughter]

Driftwood: “- Someone here has been reading it. But anyways, it doesn't matter, matter it not. I had a dream of the god Mitra. They, they are so wonderful, so powerful, just like the oceans, just like my kin folk, just like me. I'm a big fan of Mitra. If these are folks who are over there, who are paying their respects to Mitra, I'm sure they'll be great decent folks. Probably handsome as well.”

Derek: The three of you make your way up a, sort of, not so worn path up to this temple. And you see that there aren't a lot of people, but there are some, there's a couple people dressed in sort of like, purple and like blue, kind of like, like faded like, kind of like, robes. Nothing too fancy.

And there, there is smoke coming from a fire in what appears to be like a kitchen inside the temple, and then there's also like, there's like an altar to Mitra that you, as you walk up these like, sort of stone steps of this temple. It is pretty, the paint is like pretty faded. The inlay needs some repair. It's not dilapidated, but it is an old place that is barely being kept together. Right as the three of you sort of walk up to the staircase, right before like the temple with the shrine to Mitra.

You, the three of you see, like, the more of the flecks, the golden flecks fall down. You, the three of you noticed, that you didn't really notice when you were in the, like, in the, in the river. But here you notice that when they, when the, when the flecks land on the ground, most of them will like, almost like, like, like steam off in a way? And they'll leave like, little, little like - not like - they'll leave some soot behind on the ground. Nothing, nothing dangerous. Nothing that would like, burn you, but they were at one point very hot. Some of them, although, have cooled off enough to kind of just be like, little gold like, flecks that people - that you see like, like a couple of people have, like, collected a couple.

Kyla: Can I pick up one of the scales on the ground?

Derek: Sure, yeah. You pick up maybe like a, just like a tiny, almost like dime sized like, fleck, scale fleck, and it's, this one is particularly cool to the touch. It appears to be like, made of gold. Compared to a Ruuk, not worth as much when you just have one little, like, shaving, but when you have a couple of these, yeah, probably worth something.

Kyla: I, I show it to the others. Unless they've picked up their own pieces.

Mya: Do we see anyone like, just like, sweeping? [laughs] I imagine if you're getting a lot like, a rain of flakes - 

Derek: Yeah

Mya: - Sweeping a little bit just, even to keep the plaza clear.

Derek: There's an elderly woman that comes out with like, a broom made out of like, sticks that are all wrapped together at one end. And she hands a couple of other tiny ones to like children that are around, and they all begin to kind of sweep together. And she's like ordering them like, “Sweep here, sweep there.”

And they're all kind of cleaning together as they all kind of, start to clean out some of the streets and some of the houses. Like, not - so it's not like, it's not like, houses. But it's like little huts that have been kind of formed around the temple.

Justin: Driftwood looks at all of the, the soot everywhere, is pretty disgusted that Tang Kai is just leaving their leavings everywhere for everyone else to clean up.

Mya: Skin flakes?

Justin: Yeah. [laughs] Yes, ew, disgusting, it's disgusting. Driftwood keeps getting soot in their hair and it's, it's ridiculous [laughter] and has to keep combing every couple of seconds to get it out and just dumps it on the ground. [Mya laughs]

Mya: So rude!

Kyla: I like how you’re like, wow just leaving it around and then you’re just like, dump it on the ground too.

Justin: Moves it, moves it away with my foot, a little bit. Um, [chuckles] just like,

Driftwood: “This is, this is a nightmare. This, this, everyone is completely occupied with, with this dragon. Disgusting.”

Justin: And, Driftwood, Driftwood finds another child. [laughter] And is like,

Driftwood: “Hello, what are you doing? Tell me what you are doing.”

Another child: [another kermit voice] “Hi. I'm helping Gram Gram clean.” [Mya laughs]

Driftwood: “Right. That's your grandmother?”

Child: “Uh-huh, yes. She’s the best.”

Driftwood: “Yeah? Are you all siblings?

Child: “No.”

Driftwood: “No? Wh -”

Ernie: “Driftwood, what are you doing?”

Driftwood: “- What is your name?”

Bee: “They call me Bee.

Driftwood: “Hello, Bee. Bee?”

Bee: “Bee.”

Driftwood: “Like the Bee.”

Bee: “Like, short for Biri, which is my, my full name.”

Driftwood: “Oh, what a good name. My name is Driftwood. Is this the temple of Mitra right here behind you?” 

Derek: Biri nods.

Driftwood: “Well thank you. Me and my companions here have been traveling quite a ways to visit this place. We think there is much interest, can you tell us, do you know anything, can you tell us someone who might know something, Bee? Biri?”

Mya: Zaba has fully walked away from the two of you to go to the altar, so I'm not there. [laughter]

Derek: Biri’s like,

Bee: “Oh. I mean Gram Gram knows a lot. And I'm sure someone in the temple would know a lot, too. I just live outside of it.”

Driftwood: “Okay. Alright, Biri. I'll be seeing you. Do you like jellyfish?”

Derek: Biri nods approvingly.

Justin: I look at Ernie.

Driftwood: [whispers] “See? I'm not lying.”

Derek: Biri runs off -

Ernie: “I never said you were.” [laughter]

Derek: - Continues sweeping. It's like a playful sweep, they're all like, playfully sweeping, they're like skipping and sweeping. Some kids have started sword fighting with their brooms.

Mya: It's not like, it's, it's not like the grandma's asking them to to sweep, like, because she thinks they're gonna do like, the best job. It's like..

Derek: Yeah.

Mya: She's doing most of the work. [laughter]

Derek: Yes, yes. She is furiously sweeping and redoing all the sweeping that the kids are doing.

Kyla: Now I was going to say I'm observing the kids who are play fighting like,

Ernie: “They could improve their form a little bit, but that's, that's pretty good.”

[pause for laughter]

Derek: Ernie, the critic.

Mya: [still laughing] So weird. [laughs] I'm glad Zaba’s not here, because Zaba would, would just -

Ernie: “I started, I started, I started training earlier than, earlier than this. My form is in tip top shape.”

Driftwood: “Sounds like you want to join in on the fun.” 

Ernie: “No. I do, we do not fight children.”

Derek: Yeah -

Mya: If Zaba was here I would have asked if you're a Guardian, like. [laughter]

Derek: Which, speaking of, Zaba, you, you said you were going to the altar?

Mya: Yeah.

Derek: What did, what are you doing? At the altar.

Mya: Well. I'd like to look at the altar, and I would also like to pray.

Derek: Okay, cool. Yes. You, you, you climb up the stone steps, and you pass by a pair of monks that, that bow and gesture for you to enter through the, through the columns of this temple. It's like an open air temple, and you see this sort of like, old stone statue of, of what, you know, people think Mitra looks like. And you see at the very bottom there is a brass or bronze like, like plate that people have put incense in and, or, and stuff like that. And then there's a little bit of food and other like, paper goods and some like, other various little offerings surrounding the, the foot of the, of the statue.

Mya: Are there, have there been like, incense that's been provided for people to take and burn?

Derek: Yes. Yeah, there's a little bit of incense when you enter next to one of the pillars.

Mya: Okay. So, I mean Zaba will, will take one and then light the end of it to stick in, in the altar. So does this altar indicate that it's solely to this, this god?

Derek: It's solely to this god.

Mya: Ah right, okay. Because the previous one we, we encountered had all of them. Right. This is like, I think this is more what I, I would have expected from the other temple. Zaba is going to pray to Mitra. Mitra is the god of the sea, rest and one other thing?

Kyla & Derek: Winter.

Mya: Winter. I see. Okay, well I'd like to pray for, as we are weary travelers, I'd like to pray that we get a good night to sleep each day, to, so that we can better travel quickly.

Derek: Go ahead and roll me for that.

Mya: Cool.

Derek: See how good your praying skills are.

Mya: My praying skills? [chuckles] Well, more like, maybe if, if the, the god Mitra hears or cares to hear.

Derek: Yeah, 100 percent. Yeahyeahyeah, roll to see if Mitra hears.

Mya: It’s a nat 20.

Derek: Whoooooah!

Justin: Whoah.

Kyla: What?! You call, you call, you call up Mitra. [laughter]

Derek: Wow.

Mya: Hello? Ring ring. It's Zaba here. I know I don't usually talk to you, but -

Derek: Yeah, okay. I guess, tell me what you say in character and I'll respond to that.

Mya: Yeah. I don't know if this, if I'm saying this out loud or in my head. Zaba says,

Zaba: “Hello, Mitra. I don't have any offerings here but this incense that has been provided, but I hope you will listen to, to my plea nonetheless. I am traveling here today with my two companions, Ernaeus and Driftwood.

Driftwood seems to be rather enamored with you [both Justin & Kyla cover their mouths in glee] and I hope that, in whatever, in whatever way you speak to us, that you might also give - send a hello to Driftwood as well, and - but we are, we are but travelers. We are not weary yet because we are in the beginning, but we are soon to be weary travelers.

And I would ask that you, if you can, provide us some good rest on our journey, so that we may, we may better face what is yet to come, which is the, the dragon Tang Kai. Thank you and may the tides bear you on well.”

Derek: Once you finish your prayer, you notice that the sounds around you begin to kind of fade out, and all you hear is the sound of the tide coming in and coming out, the [Derek mimics the whooshing sound of waves]. It's very relaxing, it's very peaceful. For the first time since leaving the village, you feel at ease. You feel relaxed, almost like you can kind of breathe a little bit, with, considering the severity of what's going on. And you faintly hear a voice in the back of your head, and it says something, and, and you, you hear the words,

???: [echoing voice] “Find us, find us... Zaba...”

Derek: And then it, you come to when one of the monks taps you on the shoulder and says,

Monk: “Sir, are you okay?”

Zaba: “Yes, yes of course. Just in contemplation.”

Monk: [inhales and exhales slowly] “The tide will do that.”

Derek: And he returns to sweeping. So yeah, as you rise from the, from, from prayer, you do feel a sense of calm and a sense of relief that, within the confines of this temple, and within the confines of night, you all will be safe this night. You will be able to get rest at night.

Kyla: I think at this point I'm, I don't know if Driftwood is, but I think I'll also enter the - at least if not the altar area, into the temple area.

Justin: Yeah, Driftwood will, will come in shortly after too.

Derek: The three of you are back inside the temple, feeling the gusts of coastal wind.

Mya: [sniffs] Oh yeah. And you can, you can smell the, the, the sea on the breeze.

Justin & Derek: Yeah.

Justin: Driftwood's like,

Driftwood: [inhales loudly and deeply, then exhales with a loud sigh] “Oh, yes. This is, this is amazing. This is the best temple so far, and the best one that we will ever go to. I swear it, I swear by it. [inhales again] Give me that air!”

Kyla: I look at Zaba.

Zaba: “Mitra says hello, Driftwood.”

Driftwood: [doubtful] “Right, okay. Sure, sure, sure Mitra did.”

Zaba: “Have, have you two found anything?”

Driftwood: “I mean, there's a great fishing spot over around the other side of the, of the rocks. Some of the kids were over there jumping around and, and picking at pickle crabs. But yeah, I'd be, that would, that'd be a great spot to go and get dinner. I don't mind getting dinner tonight.”

Mya: Ooh. You can't, you can't see most of Zaba's expression because I have just a perpetual poker face because of the mask, but you can see that Zaba does actually get a little excited at that, some local cuisine.

Ernie: “So are there jellyfish there?”

Driftwood: “I don't know. If we're lucky, maybe we'll get some. They're not particularly in season, it looks like, and it looks like the delicacy here is mostly shellfish, but we can catch a couple things, we can try.”

Zaba: “I should have prayed for jellyfish.”

Mya: Should we try to talk to the, the priests or do you think that - 

Kyla: I was thinking that too. 

Mya: - we've gotten all the information we can get here?

Kyla: I don't think it would hurt to talk with a priest and see if anything, anything has happened since Tang Kai’s flown over.

Justin: Yep, we could do that. Let's do that.

Derek: So there's several like priests, monks that are walking around. Most of them are sweeping. There's one that's reading, there's one that's standing with their arms behind their back just at the far end of the temple overlooking the sea. They're very, very, they're shorter than Zaba, and they're a little hunched over.

Kyla: I think Ernie asks first if they're free. Like,

Ernie: “I'm sorry, excuse me. Are you free to -”

Kyla: - To the, because they're staring off into the ocean, right?

Zaba: “So polite.”

Ernie: “I mean, you need to be polite to your elders, I don't, I don't know.”

Derek: Yeah, they, they turn to you, Ernie, and look at the three of you and they go,

Elder: “Oh, yes. I'm just dilly dallying, enjoying the breeze.”

Zaba: “Yes. Do you know, do you know anything of this -”

Ernie: [scoffs] “Zaba, introduce yourself!”

Zaba: “- Oh of course, of course. I've been rude, I apologize. I am, I'm Zaba, Guardian of Kokoru village. With me are my companions Ernie and Driftwood, and we are here traveling, trying to - yes, we are traveling. But.”

Elder: “Mm. Very nice to meet you, Zaba.”

Derek: And they take your, your, your hand and they like, put it up to their forehead.

Elder: “A Guardian. We haven't been blessed in the presence of a Guardian in quite some time. It is good to see that the Guardians of Mirios are traveling again. But, could you repeat your question? I appear to have misheard it - I was swept up in the old days.”

Zaba: “Yes, of course, of course. I was wondering if you had any information about this recent turn of weather and these gold flakes falling from the sky.”

Derek: They look out towards the ocean and gaze back at you. Their eyes - they are very old, like, older than Goro, like very old -

Mya: That’s pretty old.

Justin: If that’s even possible.

Derek: - and they say to you,

Elder: “Yes. The golden rain. [sighs] Do you know of the god Ooli, the god of knowledge and people and Spring?”

Zaba: “Yes. I, I've been taught such things of the different gods.”

Elder: “Mm. Well, legend has it, shortly after Ooli ascended mount Iida for the last time, the great sun dragon known as Tang Kai came forth. They say wherever he travels to ruin the hearts of people, turn them greedy and turn them against each other.”

Zaba: “We can confirm that the dragon known as Tang Kai is back, and you're correct in that, that this temple will provide some rest and some refuge from Tang Kai.”

Justin: Driftwood is sleeping on the floor cuddling one of the, the pillars.

Driftwood: “Just got, just got too hungry.”

Justin: But, but Driftwood's smiling. Driftwood’s happy.

Zaba: “I did say that Mitra, uh, did say hello.”

Mya: Say - I say this while looking down at Driftwood, who is sleeping.

Driftwood: [loud snoring sounds] “M-Mitra...” [snores] [laughter] Jellyfish! Jellyfish...”

Mya: Then I, then I lightly kick you.

Driftwood: “Ah!”

Mya: Lightly, though. 

Driftwood: “W-what’s, uh, what” -

Justin: Driftwood wipes drool from their mouth.

Driftwood: “Um, sorry - I, I just, a spell was definitely casted on me. It was just, it's too, it's too comfortable... comfortable...”

Justin: Driftwood's like, still - [laughter]

Mya: Kick again. 

Driftwood: “Ah!”

Kyla: I'm still talking with the, I'm still talking with the elder. [Mya laughs]

Driftwood: “What?”

Justin: Yeah yeah yeah.

Kyla: Yeah, but I think I'm mostly like, I'm wrapping things up like, thinking.

Mya: Yeah, I, I, I think after that I would have bowed my head and then gone over to Driftwood.

Kyla: But yeah, I think I have like, both of their hand, I'm holding both of their hands. I'm just like, like profusely thanking them.

Derek:The, the elder says one more thing to you, Ernie, before you head off. And they, they pull you in, like, down, and they whisper to you and they say,

Elder: “If Tang Kai succeeds, the Hundred Years of Sun will return. And then we will all perish. I hope Mitra will protect us like they did back then.”

Kyla: Um, so I'm assuming the others didn't hear that, right? No. I think, I don't think I'll say it immediately, but once folks are like fishing, we're all, I don't know, if we're all sitting together while this happens, but maybe over dinner I'll bring it up.

Mya: Yeah. I, I, Zaba would also like to share what Mitra said to him in prayer, which was “Find us,” which is quite cryptic. But,

Zaba: “What, what is, what's for dinner today, Driftwood?”

Justin: Well, okay. So we're still in the, are we still in the, the altar? Is it past golden hour - like, is it, is it like dark now, no sun?

Derek: It's, it, it's like about, it's like right before golden hour.

Justin: Okay, got it. And is it like, even more bright because of Tang Kai?

Derek: A little bit, yeah.

Justin: Yeah, okay.

Derek: Yeah. In fact when you come out from underneath the temple, you see as you're, like, making your way down to like, the cliffs to go fish, you see that like high up in the sky Tang Kai is just circling above, shedding scales, just circling, doing nothing.

Ernie: They don’t know who Tang Kai is.

Justin: So everyone is just, still sweeping. [laughs]

Derek: Everyone's still sweeping. Some of the monks are like, have like, looked up. They're like,

Monk: “What is that?”

Derek: And then someone’s like,

Another Monk: [noncommitally] “Mm-mm.”

Driftwood: “Booo!”

Justin: I boo at the sky, leading everyone into the rocks to go and get fishing.

Driftwood: “Are y'all hungry? Are we good to go?”

Ernie: “Good to go.”

Driftwood: “Okay.”

Ernie: “What have you got for us?”

Driftwood: “Well, so this rock’s over here.”

Justin: I assume there's maybe some other folks who are, who are also like fishing over in the area. So I talk to the closest person who's over there, is like, so,

Driftwood: “Hello, hello, greetings. My name is Driftwood. These are my companions. We're looking to get a bite to eat, fresh from the water. Are you all, do you all cast line here, or do you do net work?”

Derek: One of them says, 

Folks: “Lines up here, nets down there, hands even farther down.”

Driftwood: “Oh, you do hands here too? Well, we can go get some, wow, okay. We can, we can just pick the, the crabs from there if we're a little more daring. Have you been getting any jellyfish here lately?”

One says,

Folks: “Yeah, a couple. Yeah?” 

Driftwood: “Okay. All right, sounds good. Well, what folks, what are we hungry for? We can go hand, we can go fish - or we can go line, we can go hand, or we can go net. Let me tell you that hands are the most fun, though we might not eat as much.”

Ernie's down for hands. I don't - Ernie's not as caring as much for the food, but wants to catch some fish.

Zaba: “I'm down for, for some show-and-tell.”

Driftwood: “Okay, all right. We're doing hands then.”

Justin: Yeah, we go over to where they're, we're doing some, some hand catches over and out by I assume -

Kyla: Just grabbing jellyfish.

Justin: - near the beach. Oh yeah, if we can grab a jellyfish, yeah. So Driftwood starts, starts demonstrating, rolls up their, their like, their pants parts and then put - drapes over their, the apron over by some rocks. Starts wading over by the edge of some water and some tide pools, and there's like,

Driftwood: “Okay. Well, first, all you got to do is wait for the second, second sign of movement here, okay. The first, first sign of movement means they're going to get away, um and you'll get disoriented quick. So just wait for them to pause and then -”

Justin: - and then Driftwood like dives in, hands, and grabs, grabs a pretty sizable pickle crab, which it has four four claws and it's snapping. And we're like,

Driftwood: “Okay, you might - if you, might wanna avert your eyes here.”

Justin: Driftwood kind of just, snaps all four claws off [chuckles] and is like,

Driftwood: “You want to disarm them really quick, okay.”

Kyla: Just, still wriggling, just the arms.

Driftwood: “So it's just kind of the, the, the, you know, the middle compartment of the, of the pickle crab, and it's like, ‘And that's how you catch a pickle crab!’”

Zaba: “Seems cruel.”

Driftwood: “Well it's, uh, this is the movement of the land and of the people and of the tides, so -”

Zaba: “I understand”

Driftwood: “- Yes. This is how we do it around here.”

Kyla: Ernie's rolling up their pants because they want to have a try, they want to have a go for these pickle crabs.

Derek: Yeah. Whoever is going to try and catch stuff, roll me a 20-sided die.

Mya: A nat 20..? [Justin gasps]

Kyla: Again?

Mya: Again.

Kyla: I got a 10.

Derek: Ernie

Kyla: I have like a dagger out.

Derek: Yeah, yeah - for some reason. So you like have your dagger out in one hand, because you just don't know what it's like to not have a weapon in one hand, and you have your hand in the other, and you like go in and you realize you have to choose between two things. Cuz you could, because you got a 10, that's a tough choice. You have to choose between catching a pickle crab or getting a jellyfish.

Kyla: I think I skewer a jellyfish on my, on my dagger.

Derek: You skewer a jellyfish as you avoid getting, like, snapped at by a pickle crab, and you have a jellyfish.

Mya: Should have had to - oh sorry - should have had to grab the jellyfish with your bare hands.

Kyla: It is, it is wiggling. [laughter]

Mya: Like, stung a little.

Ernie: “What's this? What’s this? I got some slime.”

[pause for laughter]

Derek: I got some slime.

Ernie: “Is this not a baby slime? I didn't know they were aquatic.

Derek: So yeah, Zaba, you, you go in. Is there anything you do to prepare yourself to fish with your hands?

Mya: [laughing] No.

Derek: Okay, yeah. You just walk in [Mya laughs again] and you're like, okay. You see Ernie like shank a jellyfish, you're like okay, it seems easy enough, and you like reach in and you grab a pickle crab and a jellyfish.

Mya: YEAH! 

Ernie: I just stare with my one -

Justin: Driftwood stands in shock.

Driftwood: “Oh. Oh, I see how it is. It’s -”

Zaba: “I got a biiig crab too.”

Driftwood: “- Oh my goodness. Well, we're definitely eating tonight folks. Peeyoo! Wow y'all should be living by the ocean, as far as I'm concerned.”

Ernie: “No. Absolutely not.” [Justin laughs]

Mya: I'll give Driftwood the big crab.

Zaba: “This is yours for teaching us how to fish pickle crabs.” 

Driftwood: “Alrighty. Let's get a fire and a pot done. We got a boil and stew going on tonight.” 

Zaba: “How do we prep this? Can we, can we help?”

Driftwood: “Yeah. So, alright. We already got the claws separated from the pickle crabs. All we got to do is, you know if you have a knife.” 

Justin:I grab my knife comb and just start shucking the crabs live and just like, 

Driftwood: “I have to, I mean this is how we do things here, so prepare yourselves.”

Justin: So I just put it in, like, the front piece of the crab and just, you know, get it and then flick it open with the knife, and it's like,

Driftwood: “And this is, you gotta, you got a good amount of meat in the middle of this one. So, next thing you do, you can just fry this up. Maybe we can get some herbs from the shop - oh, there's a, over there, they're doing a cook off over there.”

Justin: So on the beach there's, they're also having a cookout over there, and Driftwood goes in, waves

Driftwood: “Hey, do you mind if we borrow one of your pots and a little bit of oil? If you got herbs that would be great, that would be great. We could share some of our food with you as well.”

Folks: “Oh yeah, sure, yeah. Whatever, yeah.” 

Derek: So yeah, the, one of the temple folk let you borrow a pot, some herbs.

Justin: Great. Driftwood's in action right now, Driftwood's in their element. So - 

Kyla: I’m looking at the crab and I’m like,

Ernie: “There's not that much blood in this.”

Zaba: “Yeah, I can - we have many hands here. Is there anything we can do?”

Driftwood: “Well, you can start chopping up the, the jellyfish, start tearing out some of its organs. And we're going to actually fry those up so it's going to be like gizzards, if you've ever had gizzards. We'll put them in here and go for a deep fry. Let me, let me soften up some of the meat and - they gave us some seasoning so we can try what their local, local flavor looks like.”

Justin: So Driftwood goes at it, is wearing their apron, looks like a darn cook on the beach, with, over some coals in the wok that they borrowed, fries over some, some clams? Looks like that they're, they're plating here are also like giant clams, giant open clams. And so serves it up over, and then we start prepping the, the fried jellyfish.

Derek: Yeah. By the time, like, it's sort of like, like, sun is setting over the ocean, the three of you have like your meals before you, and you're able to indulge. How do each of you react to the jellyfish?

Mya: [Mya rolls die] It's my favorite food.

Kyla: Did you just roll a dice? [laughter]

Mya: It's my new favorite food, because I rolled another nat 20, for some reason.

Kyla: I think your dice are loaded, Mya.

Mya: I think my dice are fucked up. [Kyla laughs]

Kyla: Here I'm going to roll a dice too. [Justin laughs] Mya’s doing it, I'll do it. [Kyla rolls die] I got a 14, so it's pretty good.

Zaba: “Yeah, I, I see, I see why you ate 10 of these.”

Driftwood: “Yes.”

Zaba: “I would, I too would eat 10 of these.”

Driftwood: “On a good summer's day you can get up to 20, share it with the, with the rest. And actually the local delicacy over in Noro is, is, drying out the tentacles and eating them like, like kind of like a fried noodle. But yeah, this is what we do. And I mean, the jellyfish variety here is pretty, it's pretty big, but Noro, we're known for even bigger jellyfish down over there.”

Zaba: “You must invite us, you must invite us back one of those times.”

Driftwood: “Yeah. Still thinking about it. Got some folks over there I kind of don't want to see. But, um, yeah - I mean if I bring you two, then, maybe I can pretend that uh, uh - well not pretend, because I guess you're a Guardian - that I was able to do what I was asked, to share the knowledge and wealth of Noro and you know make something out of myself.”

Zaba: “Well I think you've, you've already made something of yourself. You've made these delicious jellyfish and crabs.”

Driftwood: “Uh, yeah. It's, it's, it's good, it's good - no undoubtedly, it's good - there's just still so much. Just always feel like there's so much to see, so much to do. It was a pleasure, it was a pleasure making these meals for you. You're clearly naturals at hunting. Um, but yes, I, this is, this feels very peaceful being here.”

Ernie: “It is.”

Kyla: They're just eating looking out over the ocean. Once most of the plates are clear - sadly for Zaba who clearly wants more jellyfish - we only caught two - I'm gonna look at the both of you and ask,

Ernie: “Have either of you heard of the Hundred Years of Sun?” 

Driftwood: “I have not heard of it, but it sounds, sounds unpleasant.”

Zaba: “No, I'm, I'm not familiar.”

Ernie: “The last thing the elder told me is that if Tang Kai is not defeated, we will see a Hundred Years of Sun. It sounded like something that had happened before, and something that Mitra had helped prevent, or stop.”

Zaba: “I'm sure Mitra has blessed this meal, because I spoke with her. And she was not able to tell me much, but she said ‘Find us.’”

Driftwood: “Find us.”

Zaba: “Find us.” “I'm not sure. I imagine that maybe that includes Mitra, or maybe someone else. But I, I do believe we have one, one thread that we can pull.”

Justin: Driftwood kinda has giant eyes.

Driftwood: “So wait - Mitra, you weren't joking earlier? You actually talked to Mitra?”

Zaba: “Yes. I don't joke about these things. I... I don't joke. Much. Yes.” [laughter]

Mya: There's a pause.

Justin: Driftwood kind of blushes and is like,

Driftwood: “Did you mention me?”

Zaba: “Of course. [Driftwood gasps] You seem like a devoted, you seem much -”

Ernie: “Devotee.”

Zaba: “- Rather smitten, of course I mentioned you.”

Justin: [Driftwood] kind of, covers their face,

Driftwood: “Uh, I'm gonna go take a swim.”

[pause for laughter]

Mya: Just jumps into the sea.

Ernie: “Looks like someone needs to cool down.”

Justin: You see Driftwood just dunk their head in the water and they start screaming. AAAA

Kyla: Just gargling, like [gargling sounds].

Mya: Bubbles.

Justin: Come back out with another crab though.

Kyla: Hell yeah. [laughter] Just like, pinching you in the face.

Driftwood: “Don't mind me, I'm just - I'm just getting more crabs -”

Justin: - Dunk my head back in.

Zaba: “I think they're doing just fine.”

Justin: Okay, Driftwood comes back. Well. Yeah. Just sopping wet. Yeah, it's like,

Driftwood: “Okay, continue. Yeah, 100 years of day, of sun you said?”

Zaba: “Do you two know who Mitra might have been referring to, in the, with the us, find us?”

Driftwood: “I mean, it must be the other gods, right? Mitra is not the only one, Mitra is just the god of, of night and winter and rest. There are other gods - their name escapes me - but that must be what ‘us’ means. That's what I think. Well, it sounds also that Tang Kai has done this before - that Tang Kai has attempted this before, and has succeeded before? Question.”

Ernie: “Perhaps, but it seems like they were defeated.”

Zaba: “This just reminds me of the altar. We did - correct me if I'm wrong, and correct me if I'm remembering poorly - but we did see an altar with all of the gods and Tang Kai. So I imagine that it was a collective effort between them to, to cage Tang Kai.

Ernie: “It seems like this elder's the first person we've met so far who is familiar with Tang Kai, and, considering their age, this must have happened a long time ago.”

Driftwood: “Well I don't know if I have anything to contribute, but I think this follows my gut feeling of being able to consult with the spirits and that we are getting more answers, maybe even more questions, as we try to discover what's going on.”

Justin: There's still like, other folks camping near us, right? Who are like cooking and stuff?

Derek: Yeah, yeah.

Justin: I'm gonna - so, they're like, they're like singing and stuff, too, and they're playing tunes and everything, and then Driftwood kind of looks off and gets, gets nostalgic about being at their village. Looks back into the water, like, kind of contemplates everything that's happened so far, and is like,

Driftwood: “You know, sometimes the answer comes to you. Sometimes we, we don't need to keep digging in a hole with no water, and - that's something my grandmother used to tell me. Maybe it's enough that we are trying and that we are following a path that maybe doesn't have, you know, our fate set yet. I believe that Mitra has what's best for me in mind. When I think about my friend - my, my family, and maybe something will come to us, in that way.”

Mya: I imagine - this is what I'm imagining, is that we're all like sitting and then, as you mentioned, not far from us are, it's people singing and like a fire and then the glow of Tang Kai - but then also, across the sea and the tides, there's a full moon shining down on us.

Driftwood: “Maybe that old man had it right. Just got to listen to, to the ocean, to the sound. Be patient, even if that means…

Justin: Driftwood’s kind of falling asleep.” [laughter] [Driftwood snores]

Derek: Yeah. Do the three of you sleep on the beach? Or do you go back up to the temple to sleep?

Ernie: I think we'll sleep on the beach. I think it sounds like, probably a lot of people sleep on the beach. 

Derek: For the first time since leaving the village, like, the sand is like, warm - it's like a comforting warm, not like a blazing hot. The sound of the ocean, you know, it's just enough noise to kind of drown out people speaking, to drown out your own thoughts. You all fall asleep with ease, and what feels like a long amount of sleep for each of your individual characters - whatever that might be, if it's six hours, eight hours, ten hours, 24 hours - that's how it feels.

Everybody roll me a 20-sided die and tell me what you get.

Mya: Okay. I’m gonna shake it, I’m gonna shake it -

Kyla: Mya’s gonna get a nat 20 again.

Mya: - No, I'm gonna shake it really well in my hands.

Justin: [sighs] Rolled a five.

Kyla: I rolled a five tooo.

Justin: Oh my god.

Mya: Fifteen, fifteen!

Derek: Ernie and Driftwood, this is such comfortable sleep, there's no reason to wake up, so you continue to sleep in. [a wind sfx fades in] But Zaba, you begin to feel as, as you're starting to come out of your slumber, you begin to feel, you begin to feel the sun kind of beating down on all of you and just as you look up, staring up into the sky above the temple, you see Tang Kai still flying in circles. But what's different now is that, instead of clouds, you notice the clouds have all been kind of pushed away and the sun is just kind of beating down on the temple, and you're starting to feel like hot air kind of rising and beginning to like, move and spin around this area. And despite the the night's rest, the morning sun brings a sense of dread as, as you feel the wind intensifying, stronger than you ever have before. [a wind sfx ends, replaced with a low roar sfx]

[theme music fades in]

Dice & Pizza is Mya Worrell as Zaba, Justin Ricafort as Driftwood, Kyla Worrell as Ernie, and Derek Aiello as the guide. Cover art is by Jean Young, music is by Itamar Ben Zimra, with additional original sound effects by Brian Kim.

You can follow the show on Twitter and Instagram @diceandpizza for updates on the show, and you can check out the video or audio version of this on Youtube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode, our next episode will be coming at you in two weeks on Monday, October 18th. So check back then to see how Zaba, Ernie and Driftwood get out of this one with Tang Kai. Thank you so much for listening to our show. We really appreciate the support. We'll catch you then! Thank you.

[theme music fades out]