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Transcript: Season 2 Episode 39: A Service Worth the Money

A Knight of Shreds and Patches Transcript Season 2 Episode 39: A Service Worth the Money Transcript by Cameron Robertson


Intro: [hurdy gurdy music begins]

Nick: Welcome, listeners, to A Knight of Shreds and Patches. An immersive actual play podcast. This episode features the talents of –

Penn: Penn Van Batavia as Marathon Messenger.

Kit: Kit Adames as Birdie Foundling.

Cameron: Cameron Robertson as Emma Blackwood.

Sydney: Sydney Whittington as Cassidy Shard.

Nick: Nick Robertson as GM and Narrator.

Sydney: Hello listeners, this is your editor, Sydney, with today’s messages:


Who has two thumbs and appreciates you for listening? This girl. And also, the rest of the cast <3. Thanks for joining us today, and we hope this episode treats you like a long stretch after a great night’s sleep. And if you need some figurative warm slippers to keep your toes cozy as you get up, consider backing our Patreon, which gives you access to bonus episodes, campfire conversations, and other fun rewards.


And with that, we wrap up today’s announcements and head into Season 2, Episode 39: A Service Worth the Money. And so...


“Join us, for now our tale to yours attaches To carry hope: a Knight of Shreds and Patches.”

[hurdy gurdy music ends]

[electronic beeping] [robotic powerup noise begins] Distorted Robotic Voice: Power restored. Systems online. Reconfiguring audio connection. [robotic powerup noise fades to radio frequency static]


[over radio] Nick (as Kelsey): Last time on a Knight of Shreds and Patches, I got my heart broken. We had a night of lovely passion in a tank, me and Birdie, and next thing I know, I wake up and she's gone and the money is gone. And I've got a very angry group of mercenaries with no payroll. This is probably going to be a problem, but you know, the most important thing is that I'm over it, and that I'm recovered.

Cameron (as Teno): If you're over it, Kelsey, I really wish we could stop talking about it.

Nick (as Kelsey): Hey - part of processing trauma is talking about it and that's what I'm doing but I've fully healed and recovered and you're not allowed to be any sort of critical to me when it's your bestie that's the one that took the money in the first place.

Cameron (as Teno): I think I can be just as critical as I'd like. Thank you very much.

Nick (as Kelsey): Are you over the fact she stole your motorcycle?

Cameron (as Teno): You know, I'm a little heartbroken but I haven't been the one talking about it nonstop for the past three and a half hours.

Nick (as Kelsey): I haven't been talking about it as long as the night of lovely passion we had inside the tank that was quite long.

Cameron (as Teno): I know we all heard it. We all heard it. Sounded like you were having a great time.

Nick (as Kelsey): We were. I don't think it was worth what the end cost was but it was, it was it either way. We're gonna move on from this.

Cameron (as Teno): Yep, someday I'm sure you will.

[radio static]


Episode Start:

Nick: The Patina has traveled for about 11 days. The atmosphere has been functional, but there's still quite a bit of tension in the air as you all continue your trip West. The land has been quiet. Sunlight streams through the woods as you were watched by small wildlife as you continue the journey. Everyone takes some time to heal emotionally and physically. This time of peace is eventually interrupted as your path intersects a small town. You're running a bit low on supplies and no one has traveled this area before so it makes sense to stop and collect any rations and materials you can, especially with how much cash you have on hand thanks to the Rust.


Whenever you stop to ask the members of the village about where you can park, where you can find food, and any landmarks of this small town, everyone points you to the same building just on the outskirts. A wooden building - tall, the sides are polished and clearly well cared for. And as you pull up front in the rig, you're greeted by a tall thin person who has gentle features and dark hair pulled back into a high wavy ponytail with just a few streaks of gray. They're comfortable flannel and jeans are well worn but clean and they wave in a friendly manner and wait for you all to shut down the rig and climb out. As you approach the front porch, some of you notice that the rocking chairs all appear to be hand carved and comfortable. And the person who greeted you says in a quiet voice.

Nick (as Camden): Well hi. It is nice to see some new people in town. Welcome to French Lick, and welcome to the spa. My name is Camden and anything that you need, just let me know. Will you be staying the night or longer?

Penn (as Marathon): [stage whisper] Associates - what is the plan?

Cameron (as Emma): [snort]

Kit (as Birdie): You're staying the night in French Lick?

Sydney (as Cassidy): I mean, I'm done to hang out for a bit. I'm taking it slow.

Sydney: Cassidy we can see she's still using her tank top with one strap on and the other one rolled over, but her stitches have been taken out. She is healing but she's in a sling still. The ripped up t-shirt version has been replaced with a proper sling from a town that they stopped in, but she's still got a ways to go.

Cameron (as Emma): We will probably be staying at least the night.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, at least one.

Cameron (as Emma): TBD on if it's longer.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, I think we will have all the travel and everything lately, we deserve a day off or two.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): And maybe you could even convince us, Camden, for three. So

Nick: They smile pretty widely at that.

Nick (as Camden): Well, it's just always nice to have visitors out here. I don't know how much you know about this place, but it's always good for travelers, especially people who seem to have had as rough a road as you, to take some time to look after themselves. To set things aside and relax and try to heal. If you need any supplies or anything I'd be happy to get them for you during your stay as well. We can talk about that another time. I just don't want you to worry about anything. I'll make sure that you're taken care of. I do hate to bring it up but it is half a triangle a night for the group. You don't have to pay it now, just want you to know what the price is. I know it's a little expensive, but trust me it's worth it.

Cameron (as Emma): We deserve it.

Kit (as Birdie): We do deserve it. It's been -

Cameron (as Emma): Cassidy got shot. We deserve it.

Penn (as Marathon): [laugh] Cassidy got shot. Cassidy deserves it.

Cameron (as Emma): I'll use Cassidy as our excuse.

Kit (as Birdie): Cassidy deserves it.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yes, let's use me for as the excuse for everything. I deserve it.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, Cassidy deserves it and it would be irresponsible of us to leave Cassidy on our own.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, yeah.

Nick: Camden looks very concerned and looks to you, Cassidy.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, do you need a doctor or anything? I could I could run into town and fetch someone for you if there's anything that needs looking after.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I've already been seen to. We're just healing now.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, okay. Well, that half a triangle does get you a lot. Why don't you come in, I'll come out and grab whatever stuff that you need later or you can get it yourselves but let me give you a little bit of a look around the facility since you're all deciding how long you're going to stay anyway.

Nick: And Camden swings open the door and walks into a warmly lit entryway into a facility that's a lot bigger than you would have guessed it was on the outside. And as they show you around the facility, you see that this place is set up as pretty much a full service relaxation hotel campsite mixture entertainment area. The building is set up as a square hallway with rooms leading off towards the perimeter and in the center there is a large open courtyard with pools of water and benches and chaise lounges set around. Camden is quick to point out several different rooms full of games and quiet comfortable spaces to sit, bedrooms where you will each have your own with comfortable looking beds and a very large dining area. And Camden from their back pocket pulls a small notebook and says

Nick (as Camden): So is there anything while you all are getting settled in that you'd like me to get from town for you? I'll of course have dinner ready in a few hours, but are there any restrictions on what you all like to eat or don't like to eat, are allergic to that I can cater the menu around?

Penn (as Marathon): Wait you cook?

Nick (as Camden): Well, yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Camden Wow.

Penn: Marathon, as she says that gives Birdie a little elbow nudge.

Kit (as Birdie): [threatening whisper] I will kill you right now.

Nick: Camden seems unaware of the ribbing and whether that's because they're particularly tactful, or because they're focused on taking care of you all is unclear, but they say

Nick (as Camden): I take a lot of joy in making sure that the people who stay here are comfortable and taken care of and as happy as possible, so I cook because I want to make sure that I can control that aspect myself because of how important food is to people's well being. That applies for everything else here as well. We don't have any other guests right now. Sometimes people from the town will spring for a stay but you have the facility to yourself, so make yourselves at home.

Nick: And then they look kind of pointedly at the notebook. They're holding a stub of a pencil as well.

Cameron (as Emma): Can I request no clams and no mushrooms, please?

Nick (as Camden): Well [laughs in not near a body of water], I don't think clams are going to be an issue all the way out here, but yeah, we can avoid any fungus if that is not something that you enjoy.

Cameron (as Emma): Yes, please.

Nick (as Camden): Consider it done. Anyone else?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Uh no pumpkin for me. I don't know if it's - we're quite in the season yet, but

Nick (as Camden): All right, no barley harvest soup. That's alright. We didn't have the ingredients anyway, but always good to know. How about you two - anything I should be aware of or any preferences?

Penn (as Marathon): I'm happy to die of allergenic shock as long as you're cooking it Camden. Sounds delicious.

Nick (as Camden): Wow. That's extremely concerning.

Nick: And Camden stops for a second as though they are going to say your name and then shakes their head.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, my apologies. I've introduced myself but I didn't gather everyone else's name. If we're going to be staying together it would be a little easier to know who you are. I got Cassidy. Cassidy has been injured. Might I ask the rest of your names?

Kit: Birdie will step forward and offer her hand.

Kit (as Birdie): Birdie.

Nick: Camden takes your hand gives it a friendly shake. Their palm is warm and soft and their hand incases yours firmly and they nod to you in a friendly way.

Nick (as Camden): It's a pleasure.

Kit (as Birdie): [giggle]

Penn (as Marathon): Birdie is definitely the coolest member of our group by far and would probably have a lot to share with you actually about customer service? [hadn't quite figured out where she was going with that]

Penn: Marathon gives a side eye.

Penn (as Marathon): But I'm Marathon Messenger. So nice to meet you. Just Marathon.

Nick: Camden smiles at you Marathon.

Nick (as Camden): Well it's a pleasure to meet you and I hope that you won't be dying from my cooking tonight.

Cameron (as Emma): [chuckle]

Nick (as Camden): That would be a shame.

Penn (as Marathon): And you know what? I would be too, too full of great food to be able to tell ya, so.

Nick (as Camden): Portions. All right. We'll make sure there's a lot. I can read on subtext there.

Cameron: Emma looks confused at what Marathon just tried to say. [laugh]

Penn: Marathon gives a little shrug.

Cameron (as Emma): I'm - I am Emma. It's nice to meet you.

Nick (as Camden): It's good to meet you as well, Emma. Thank you for introducing yourselves. That's - it just makes everything feel a little more comfortable, you know?

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm.

Nick (as Camden): Well, would you like me to get your bags? Or would you all be more comfortable getting your own possessions out of the truck?

Cameron (as Emma): Oh, they're kind of spread out everywhere in the truck so we can grab them.

Nick (as Camden): All right.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I would like to make a request for fresh bread, because I know we have appreciators of the uh,

Penn (as Marathon): The yeast arts?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yes.

Nick (as Camden): Well, luckily I've got a loaf of sourdough that should be just about done rising so I'll make sure to put that in the oven as well and all make a quick run further into town get some more food because I was only planning on myself this evening. And while I'm gone you all make yourselves comfortable. Feel free to pick a room, any one is fine. I would really recommend that you definitely take advantage of the hot spring that's in the middle of the spa. That's really why people come here, the rest is all just also nice. And they're also cold pools for dipping in as well. It's good for the skin and the complexion and vitality to go back and forth from the warm to the cold. But you have the run of the place until I get back unless there's anything else you need right now.

Nick: Camden, again, just emanating peace and trust heads out the front door and into town, gently shutting the door behind them and is appearing to go do some shopping to work on dinner and you have this facility to yourselves to settle in, pick rooms, and relax until dinnertime.

Cameron (as Emma): Cassidy, have I told you recently you're my favorite person?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Uh no, but I'll happily accept the compliment.

Cameron (as Emma): Okay, you're my favorite person. Thank you.

Sydney: Cassidy nods her head regally.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I got you, Emma. [laugh]

Penn (as Marathon): Good call on the bread.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, very good call on the bread. Thank you.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I mean, bread is great.

Cameron (as Emma): [duh] Yeah.

Sydney (as Cassidy): But hey does someone wanna help me carry my trunk in?

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah, I got you. No worries.

Sydney: Cassidy waves the wrist that's in her sling.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, Marathon's got it.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I'll go scout rooms.

Penn (as Marathon): Birdie. I hope you uh -

Penn: As Marathon heads over to the rig.

Penn (as Marathon): I hope you appreciated the setup.

Cameron (as Emma): [snort]

Kit (as Birdie): Mhm.

Penn (as Marathon): It's an alley-oop for you from here.

Kit (as Birdie): Thank you, Marathon.

Kit: Just smiling through gritted teeth.

Sydney: Cassidy is shaking her head as she wanders off down towards the bedrooms.

Kit (as Birdie): [low grumble] I can flirt with my own people.

Cameron (as Emma): [struggling to contain laughter] But Marathon does it so elegantly. [busts out laughing]

Kit (as Birdie): [shocked] No she doesn't!

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] I I know. I wasn't being serious, Birdie.

Kit (as Birdie): Oh okay, sorry. Sorry. [laughing]

Cameron (as Emma): There's just there's so much finesse, you know, it's just it's hard - you know, it's like it kind of just like slowly leaks into your brain. You don't even realize really that flirting is occuring. Super subtle.

Kit (as Birdie): Oh, yes. Marathon is absolutely the Olympic champion of subtle flirting.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. Must be the reason why Cassidy has no idea.

Kit (as Birdie): Cassidy definitely knows.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. [laugh]

Kit (as Birdie): Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): Do you want me to grab your backpack for you?

Kit (as Birdie): No that's fine. Thank you. [laughing]

Nick: So as you all grab your things and settle in, the rooms are all pretty much identical. They're along one side of the building. They are large. You're surprised to see that the rooms have ceiling fans that are able to be turned on from a switch in the wall, so this place presumably has electricity. The lights are comfortable from golden glowing light bulbs inset in wall sconces and in each of the rooms if you open a window and run the fan a really pleasant cross breeze comes through keeping you cool on the summer night. As you are all settling into the rooms, Cassidy as you sit on the bed you hear a faint purr and pulling itself out from under the bed on its belly you see a long haired orange tabby cat with long tufted ears. The cat immediately starts twining itself around your legs and seems to have welcomed you immediately.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Aww hey buddy.

Sydney: Cassidy reaches down and scratches behind his head and then reaches down under the collar for the name tag.

Nick: The name tag is a thin metal plate shaped like a bone with a hand etched name that says Shorty on it. And as you were looking at the tag, Shorty stands on his hind legs and attempts to headbutt your forehead and has his front legs tucked up into his armpits and then almost falls over in the enthusiasm of his affection.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh boy. So excited. Wow, you have the best life here just lounging at the spa.

Sydney: Cassidy sits on the side of the bed and pats the bed next to her for the cat to jump up.

Nick: Shorty rolls over on his back and wiggles around and then grabs the side of the bed and pulls himself back under the bed with his paws and disappears.

Sydney (as Cassidy): All right, back to your lair.

Nick: You hear enthusiastic scratching and pulling noises from below.

Sydney: Cassidy sits and just enjoys the stillness for a second for how much they've been on the road for forever and just that moment to catch her breath and sleep in a bed. She is halfway asleep by the time Marathon shows up with her trunk like 45 seconds later.

Penn (as Marathon): [noise of exertion] Miss Cassidy you're uh, you're - [whisper] Oh, sorry. I didn't -

Sydney (as Cassidy): I'm I'm awake.

Sydney: Cassidy sits back up.

Penn (as Marathon): Just go ahead. You can just rest. No worries.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Thanks for the stuff Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): I was never here. Get some good sleep.

Sydney: Cassidy gives a thumbs up and then lays back down.

Penn: And then Marathon carefully tiptoes back out to go check on everyone else in their rooms.

Cameron: So do we think we all picked rooms next to each other?

Kit: Yeah.

Cameron: Did Birdie and Emma pick the ones on either side of Cassidy? [laugh]

Kit: Yeah, just happened like that.

Cameron: Yeah, it's really weird.

Kit: Yeah, I definitely think that Birdie chose the room farthest down the hallway from the main atrium area. And she's laying facedown starfish on the bed. Just enjoying not having to sleep on the ground - the concept of being in a bed again. I think the Birdie finds a little album book of local flora, drawings and pressed flowers between each page and she spends a little time going through it. She may or may not steal a couple of the pressed flowers, but I think it's like someone definitely left it here after their stay for other people to add to and to enjoy.

Nick: And on one of the pages past the flowers, there's a charcoal drawing of the spring in the courtyard in the middle of this place. It's a little impressionistic, but somehow manages to come across as relaxing even in drawing form.

Kit: Birdie leaves it open on that page so that she can show the others later, and will start unpacking a little bit to pass the time.

Cameron: Emma has taken the room on the closest part of the hallway to where we entered on the other side of Cassidy and has also fwumped into the bed like everyone else in just sheer appreciation of its existence. The bed is a very large four poster canopy bed with curtains and so she immediately pulls shut most of the curtains to create a dark little cave.

Penn: As Emma is closing the curtains, there's a little knock on the doorframe.

[knock knock]

Cameron: Emma peeks the curtains back open and sticks her head out.

Cameron (as Emma): Hello?

Penn (as Marathon): Hey, I was just wondering um, we got any like - we just kind of resting up? Are we gonna - before food and then we're going to swi- I was just, I guess we can kind of do whatever we want as individuals.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. If you want to swim, I'm down. I was just enjoying these.

Cameron: And Emma swishes the curtains shut again.

Penn (as Marathon): Ah dang!

Cameron: And then swishes them back open.

Penn (as Marathon): We get cool rooms. That's right. I gotta pick one. Uh. Is there any next to Cassidy~?

Penn: And she peeks down on the room on the other side of Cassidy's room.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, shoot. Okay.

Cameron (as Emma): You can go across the hall and stare lovingly into her eyes.

Penn (as Marathon): That's true. Okay. No, I uh, Miss Emma - I was - I have plans tonight. Anyway.

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh]

Penn (as Marathon): I'm going to stave off swimming for later tonight um after our feast is what I was thinking personally. In the meantime, would you want to adventure around this little resort? Is it?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah! Sure.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah. Should we grab Birdie? Cassidy's sleeping, so

Cameron (as Emma): Oh, yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): [quiet yell] Let's go grab Birdie~! [normal voice] Oh sorry I - yeah, I did say that quietly. Okay.

Cameron (as Emma): You like, you like yelled at quietly. It was kind of impressive.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah. [laugh and sniff] Yeah.

Cameron: Emma bounces out of the bed through the curtains.

Cameron (as Emma): Let's go.

Penn: Marathon quickly bumps open the door to the room she's staying in and without looking just tosses her bag in it.

Nick: So the three of you Emma, Birdie and Marathon walk around the resort. It is bigger than you expect, but it doesn't take more than a couple of minutes to walk the perimeter. The pools look very inviting. It looks like the dining room is set and ready, that Camden must have done that before they left. Next to the pools you can see that there is some sort of game setup with little cups that have been buried into the ground and metal bits and bobs stacked in them - looks like the point of the game is to throw the metal bobs into the cups, as well as another game that's similar, but there's beanbags and you throw them at a board with a hole in it. There's several tables with decks of cards and some board games that don't seem particularly comprehensible. There's also a large table with a little net strung across it, and paddles and a hollow plastic ball that it looks like you're supposed to play tennis on the table. And besides that, the entire place seems to be designed for quiet comfort. Lots of comfortable chairs next to fireplaces and windows, a couple of hammocks strung on the edge of hallways next to windows looking out on the pools or outside, and lots of good comfortable seating and places to relax in between activities.

Kit: I don't think Birdies ever been to a place like this before, so she's definitely very much taking it all in and is looking at the little tennis table in curiosity, just

Kit (as Birdie): Should we play a couple games?

Cameron (as Emma): Sure.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah. Yeah. I haven't played a resort game in ages.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Usually I just take a jog on the - is there a track?

Penn: Marathon cranes her head around.

Nick: There's not a track.

Cameron (as Emma): And that that's supposed to be a fun activity?

Penn (as Marathon): Running?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): I mean, it can't be if you let it.

Cameron (as Emma): [increasing incredulity] Mmm. Mmm. Mmmm.

Penn (as Marathon): Nope ope, well.

Kit (as Birdie): Mm Mmnm.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhnm.

Penn (as Marathon): You know, two disagreements huh?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): I guess my brains just just weird, huh?

Kit (as Birdie): Just a little.

Nick: You're having this conversation is you set up the table tennis to play. You find another paddle and you're preparing to serve.

Penn (as Marathon): Emma, have you played this before?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah. Hell yeah. Okay, Birdie. Just go ahead and watch Emma get schooled. [cocky laugh] This will give you a little taste of the rules.

Kit (as Birdie): Uh huh.

Penn: And Marathon sets up a bounce over to Emma. Marathon is attempting to do a really cool nonchalant, no look serve, while serving it over, so I would request that she takes a black die if we are rolling.

Nick: Sure. Roll me a Coordination check with a black die against Emma's Coordination.

Cameron: My Coordination is two greens, so it'd be two purples.

Penn: So in total to serve a ping pong ball and crush Emma, [laugh] I've got two yellows, a green, a black die and two purples.

[dice rolling]

Penn: Three successes, which includes a triumph, and four threats.

Nick: Okay, so there is a bit of a rally. Emma you're able to return it but it does not go for very long. And then Marathon, you smash the ball for the point and it disappears under a couch nearby.

Penn (as Marathon): Boom! Crushed!

Nick: When you lay on your stomach to go and get the ball you realize that it's actually been dented in by the force of your hit and the ball is not usable anymore.

Penn: Marathon sees that under the couch and is like,

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, um. I think it got away. I think it rolled away. Uh. Sorry guys.

Cameron (as Emma): The ball escaped?

Penn (as Marathon): Yep.

Cameron (as Emma): That's fine. We can just grab another one.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, perfect. Okay.

Penn: She has an invisible sweat thinking about the dented ping pong ball she's just going to leave under the couch, but

Penn (as Marathon): You kind of get it now, Birdie? You want you want in? I can, [very suggestive] I can guide your hands if you want.

Kit (as Birdie): Ew. No. I'm fine. Thank you. I think I get the jist. You gotta like, let it bounce once on the table before you hit it, right?

Cameron (as Emma): Yes.

Penn (as Marathon): Mhm.

Kit (as Birdie): Okay. Okay. I'm a little scared, but okay.

Cameron (as Emma): It's okay, I don't hit it as hard as Marathon does.

Penn (as Marathon): It's just like pickleball.

Kit (as Birdie): What's that? Do you play with like the - is the ball a pickle?

Penn (as Marathon): No, no, it's like big ping pong. And -

Kit (as Birdie): What's ping pong?

Penn (as Marathon): - pickleball - That's this game.

Cameron (as Emma): This game. Table tennis, ping pong.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, table tennis?

Nick: Okay, so I need you all to roll just a simple Coordination check no difficulty.

[dice rolling]

Kit: Birdie's Coordination is two green plus one yellow, and I rolled three successes.

Cameron: Four successes.

Nick: Okay, well, you all play a full game and Emma you win, but it's fairly close. And as you are continuing to play, Cassidy you wake up to a comforting vibration on your chest and you wake up to see Shorty the cat is laying on your chest parallel with your sternum staring you in the face and purring extremely loudly and from somewhere down the hall you can hear a strange bouncing noise and your friends shouting in triumph.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Hello.

Sydney: Cassidy scratches him behind the ears and then under the chin with her good hand.

Nick: The cat headbutts you in the bridge of the nose just hard enough that it waters a little bit but purely with affection.

Sydney: Cassidy has a very big smile, getting to interact with small furry creatures in a way that does not have to be food related, or varmint hunting job related, just animal. She carefully positions her bad arm out of the way of Shorty and resolves to sit here and pet the cat until he decides to move.

Nick: You are surprised at Shorty's patience with pets, but eventually you hear the front door of the resort open and Shorty perks up and jumps off your chest with enough force to knock the air out of your lungs and goes pattering down the hall towards, you would assume, Camden returning with groceries to cook dinner.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well. Bye!

Sydney: And Cassidy stands up, rested and rejuvenated from her short nap and wanders out to the main hall, casting a glance out the front door at the rig just to calm any insecurities about knowing where her stuff is. From the level of trust that Camden had showed with letting them have the free run of the place while they were out shopping, she doesn't get the vibe that anything is going to be at risk out here, but just a peace of mind check before she wanders off to find her friends and the potential for food later.

Nick: The rig is where you left it. It looks secure. There doesn't even appear to be any fresh footprints or disturbed dirt where you parked it. It looks like it's being left well enough alone. And as you walk to find the rest of the Patina, what scene does Cassidy find herself on after 15 minutes of competitive ping pong?

Penn (as Marathon): [yelling] Go for the kill Emma!

Kit (as Birdie): [much concern] What the hell Marathon!?

Cameron (as Emma): [obviously had this argument already] That is not the goal of this game! That's how you dent balls.

Penn (as Marathon): Nobody dented a ball. Nobody!

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, Miss- Miss Cassidy. Uh, you're joining us.

Kit (as Birdie): Cassidy, Marathon is being mean to me!

Penn (as Marathon): Oh um.

Sydney (as Cassidy): We're relaxing, by the way.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, sorry if I woke you up. Um, just get really excited.

Sydney (as Cassidy): You are very spirited.

Cameron (as Emma): She's a very enthusiastic coach.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah she's been-

Sydney (as Cassidy): Have you been learning?

Kit (as Birdie): She's teaching me.

Kit: And she holds up the little paddle.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I got to pet a cat.

Kit (as Birdie): [gasp]

Cameron (as Emma): There's a cat?!

Kit (as Birdie): Where??

Penn (as Marathon): Cat? Eugh.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah. He's an orange one named Shorty.

Cameron (as Emma): Aww.

Kit (as Birdie): Shorty~.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Apparently he was sleeps in my room. So

Cameron (as Emma): Ugh!

Kit (as Birdie): Lucky - you got a cat? I just gotta lame plant book.

Penn (as Marathon): Wait you guys got special stuff in your rooms?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Marathon have you even-? What have you done when you got here?

Penn (as Marathon): I just I tossed my bag in. I wanted to hang out. I don't know.

Cameron (as Emma): How did you not immediately collapse on the bed?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): For at least a second.

Kit (as Birdie): Cause Marathon got to sleep on a bed for - [laugh]

Penn (as Marathon): I don't know. I was figuring I was going to take a jog around and

Sydney (as Cassidy): Nah see, you got to, as soon as you get there, you got to lay on the bed and test it and make sure it is a bed and then you have to sleep until tomorrow. [laugh]

Penn (as Marathon): I see. I've just been in a lot of these types of places. I guess I didn't realize this one was so special. Okay. Okay.

Cameron (as Emma): I mean, I've been in a lot of these too, but it's been a while since [laugh] I've had a nice mattress.

Penn (as Marathon): True.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, it's not really typical road fare. The most we normally get like go into town. Maybe we stop and get dinner at the local bar and a couple of drinks, but we still sleep by the rig.

Penn (as Marathon): That's true. That's true.

Kit (as Birdie): Only time I slept in bed in the last decade when I slept in other people's beds.

Penn (as Marathon): I guess I haven't been in a bed in a long time now that you think - now that you mentioned it. Wow. Well, that's cool.

Cameron (as Emma): You missed an opportunity.

Penn (as Marathon): It's true.

Cameron (as Emma): To collapse on it immediately.

Penn (as Marathon): Yup. And that's an opportunity I guess I just didn't get and that's that's okay. I'm I'm thinking about other things.

Cameron (as Emma): It's okay. I'm pretty sure you're gonna get that opportunity later.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah, I will. Yes. [small laugh]

Kit (as Birdie): [peak younger sibling energy] What were you thinking about Marathon?

Penn (as Marathon): Ah, I am thinking about -

Penn: And Marathon makes a quick little shut up eye contact like sibling thing to Birdie.

Kit: Birdie grins.

Penn (as Marathon): I'm thinking about that amazing feast that Camden is about to cook up for us. Aren't you all? And then I was thinking, you know as a digestif - if I'm using that word, right - a little swim.

Sydney (as Cassidy): We're gonna drink the spring water?

Penn (as Marathon): No. Well, not as an actual digestif, but like, when - like, we'll go swimming after we eat.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh okay.

Penn (as Marathon): To digest. Yeah. We'll wait our 10 minutes though, you know?

Kit (as Birdie): It's actually like 40.

Penn (as Marathon): Shut up.

Kit (as Birdie): You shut up.

Cameron (as Emma): I actually don't think it matters at all.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I don't think we're gonna be like, yeah, we're gonna sit and absorb the warmth of the hot springs and let all of our tensions wash away.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah I'm pretty sure I'm not swimming. I'm sitting.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah okay.

Penn: Marathon and Birdie eye each other down. [laughing]

Sydney (as Cassidy): I'm gonna go wander off and scout the springs. Have fun!

Penn (as Marathon): Okay.

Sydney: Cassidy wanders off to do her own exploration having slept through the group's previous one.

Penn (as Marathon): [rushed and too late] Can you and me talk later tonigh- [giving up noise] I know I'll wait. Nevermind.

Cameron (as Emma): You waited a little bit too long.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah I did didn't I? [sigh] Fuck.

Kit (as Birdie): [younger sister energy] What do you want to talk about to Cassidy, Marathon?

Penn (as Marathon): Well, Birdie, I've been dancing around a lot of things. I just thought I would let you two know, uh, I plan - in case you know, it affects the group dynamic, I plan to ask - nope, not ask - I plan to just tell Miss Cassidy of of what what is going on internally um and uh,

Kit (as Birdie): Like you have a tummy ache?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah like a disease? [laugh]

Kit (as Birdie): [laughing]

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah, I got cooties, Emma.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah you do have cooties.

Cameron: Emma and Birdie high five the paddles.

Kit (as Birdie): Hell yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): But that is the -

Kit (as Birdie): But seriously you are?

Penn (as Marathon): That's my plan. And uh, [deep breath]

Penn: Marathon takes a breath, smooths her hair back and it's super shaggy right now.

Penn (as Marathon): And uh, yeah, that it's gonna go smooth because we are relaxed and smooth about this today. Birdie um, no offense, but like when you left, you know, I don't know, it just it just made me - I was there's a lot of things going on my head. Number one, I miss Birdie. Of course. Number two is like, I don't know if like the dynamic changed and I it just got me thinking like I should say something. You know? And I've been kind of carrying that. I don't know. It's It's not weird for you guys like this?

Cameron (as Emma): You were gonna make me -

Kit (as Birdie): No.

Cameron (as Emma): - the third wheel because Birdie left?

Penn (as Marathon): Emma... you didn't have to look at it like that, I mean -

Cameron (as Emma): That's what you said, though.

Penn (as Marathon): I - No? Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] Yes.

Penn (as Marathon): Unintentionally, you would you - I - you would never be a third wheel to me, Emma.

Cameron (as Emma): I mean, I don't want to be involved. [overlapping] So I'd rather be the third wheel.

Penn (as Marathon): [overlapping] That's not what I'm saying either.

Kit (as Birdie): I'm proud of you Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): Thanks.

Penn: And she shoves her shoulder.

Penn (as Marathon): But just in case things um, you know, not that - I don't think they would go poorly. But in case things go awkwardly, I just thought I'd let you guys know now. So yeah,

Kit (as Birdie): I just, I didn't think you had the balls to do it. But I'm proud of you for doing it. I really am.

Penn (as Marathon): Well, thank you.

Cameron (as Emma): I appreciate the heads up.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): To potentially tiptoe around this topic.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, you gotta let us know like after you did it, how it goes so that we can act accordingly.

Penn (as Marathon): I'll give you a signal.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, we need to avoid this turning into one of like the miscommunication tropes.

Penn (as Marathon): Hmm. Mmm. Of those - yeah, the romance - that's always my least favorite part.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah cause, like, we don't want like one of us to go and ask ask Cassidy about how went before you talk to her like,

Penn (as Marathon): That's true.

Cameron (as Emma): We want to avoid that.

Penn (as Marathon): God.

Cameron (as Emma): You know, like, like adults who talk to each other?

Penn (as Marathon): Yes.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Yes. Which we are, which is what I'm doing.

Cameron (as Emma): Uh huh. Right now.

Penn (as Marathon): Yes. Well, not right now. After dinner.

Cameron (as Emma): No, but we're adults and talking about it right now -

Penn (as Marathon): No, we're - yes.

Cameron (as Emma): - so that Birdie and I don't go and fuck it up.

Penn (as Marathon): Exactly.

Kit (as Birdie): Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm.

Penn (as Marathon): High five!

Penn: Marathon holds your hand up for high five.

Cameron (as Emma): Which one of us?

Penn (as Marathon): All three of us?

Kit (as Birdie): Emma you can go first.

Cameron (as Emma): Okay.

Cameron: Emma high fives Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): Yep.

Kit: Okay, Birdie goes to high five Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): Nice.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Thank you. Thank you.

Kit (as Birdie): [gasp] The secret handshake! Marathon!

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, yes. Oh my god. Wait, isn't it tainted? No, just kidding. I don't care.

Kit (as Birdie): Your mom's tainted.

Penn (as Marathon): I miss it. Oh fuck. [laugh]

[secret handshake noises]

Kit (as Birdie): [giggle] Secret handshake!

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah.

Nick: So you do your magical secret handshake and pass some time good naturedly ribbing each other playing some more table tennis. Cassidy you explore the spa and you hear a gentle bell rung from what must be the dinner area. And as you all wander in that direction to the dining room, you can see that there are several large covered platters and Camden is standing nearby with a big smile on their face. And as you pick seats and sit down, Camden pulls away several dishes to reveal a platter full of baked fish and a large spring salad with fresh greens, vegetables and what looks like some berries thrown in. And then what looks like a large tureen of mashed potatoes and gravy and then also a bunch of sliced cheeses and chilled meats as well - just a large, wide ranging feast. And they are in the process as you walk in of sticking large serving spoons or forks into the various dishes and they greet you as you come in and say

Nick (as Camden): Thank you for joining for dinner. I hope this is all to your satisfaction and no need to abide on principle. I'm sure you're all very hungry, so dig in. Serve as much as you want and I can always make more if this isn't enough.

Nick: It is a full banquet table lined with dishes and food. If this isn't enough for five people, that would be a concern.

Cameron (as Emma): This looks amazing Camden.

Kit (as Birdie): This is what heaven looks like.

Sydney (as Cassidy): This looks delicious.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh my god. This is gonna disappear.

Sydney: Cassidy goes down the table, puts the plate down, puts a little bit of each thing on it, picks the plate back up and moves it down, not being deterred by only having one good arm from allowing her to try everything.

Penn (as Marathon): Camden, thank you so much. Oh my god. And I think I don't know if you've talked to Birdie much since we last discussed, but Birdie is excellent at coming up with the like good food descriptors,so I would ask Birdie about the meal after.

Nick (as Camden): All right. I'll make sure to do that. Hopefully this is enough. And no need to keep thanking me over and over again. You're paying for the service and I take pride in it being a service worth the money that we charge. So

Cameron (as Emma): We're just excited.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah.

Nick (as Camden): That's understandable.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It's been a long time on the road lately.

Penn (as Marathon): Cassidy I bet you could cook this if you had, you know, enough time and a nice kitchen.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, I mean, road cooking is a little different because I have limited tools and limited supplies.

Penn (as Marathon): Yup.

Kit: Birdie hangs back by Camden and will just lean over and say

Kit (as Birdie): I'm sorry about Marathon. She's -

Nick (as Camden): What do you mean?

Kit (as Birdie): [high squeaky voice] Nothing!

Nick (as Camden): I think that she's been very nice. You can tell that she must be going through a lot right now. I don't know what has her so stressed, but hopefully I can help reduce that a little bit with the with the location and the food, you know?

Penn: Marathon looks up from a plate of food, her mouth still full and sees Birdie and Camden together and gives Birdie a little wink.

Kit (as Birdie): No, she's just an ass.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, that makes sense.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah.

Kit: She'll go and get her food and find a place to sit down. [laugh]

Nick: Camden's seated off to the side, but you can tell that they've picked a spot that's close enough that if anyone wants to talk to them they can, but far enough away not to be intruding too much, being very unobtrusive. But you all find that if you need more dressing for the salad or more sauce for one of the dishes that they've seemed to have already slit it within arm's reach of you before you realize you wanted it. They are being extremely attentive.

Kit (as Birdie): [quietly] I really like this Camden person.

Penn (as Marathon): [quietly] I thought you would.

Kit (as Birdie): [quietly] You shut up.

Sydney: Cassidy's eyes are closed every time she takes a bite of a new dish.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Guys, this is really good.

Kit (as Birdie): It is.

Penn (as Marathon): Insanely.

Cameron (as Emma): How long have you had the place, Camden?

Nick (as Camden): Oh, I grew up here actually. My parents - this used to just be a family getaway and then we turned it into a getaway slash business as my parents got a little older and didn't want to work in the mercantile business anymore. And after they passed away, I took it on myself. Luckily, it's it's not too much work on the day to day, we're rarely busy enough that it's too stressful. And I get to meet new and interesting people and make the world a little bit better place so

Cameron (as Emma): Well and if you get stressed, you can go have a soak.

Nick (as Camden): That's incredibly true. Although I like to think of it as quality control. Doing testing, you know?

Cameron (as Emma): You know -

Sydney (as Cassidy): You got to maintain a good product.

Cameron (as Emma): You can do both at the same time.

Nick (as Camden): Yeah, but so I guess you could say on one hand, I've been doing this all my life and on the other I've been running the place on my own for about six years now. It's been pretty good. The the village isn't particularly interesting, so having people come by to talk to and I enjoy just seeing different people watching what they do things like that this is this is a good a good job for me. And the rest of the time, it's nice and quiet.

Kit (as Birdie): That sounds really lovely.

Nick (as Camden): Yeah. It is generally. It gets a little lonely from time to time, but it's pretty rare.

Nick: And at this point, you hear a surprising loud high pitch yowl from under the table near Camden and it's been so peaceful except for the clatter of silverware that some of you may jump at how sudden the noise is, and Camden makes a facial expression that's half smile and half grimace and leans over to the side to reach under the table and with both hands pulls up a orange tabby cat with tufted ears. She is holding him under the armpits, so he's slouched with his shoulders up around the sides of his head and she says,

Nick (as Camden): Well, I can never get too lonely because the most demanding tenant I've ever had is here full time. This is Shorty. I don't know if you've met him yet.

Cameron (as Emma): Aw~.

Kit (as Birdie): Aw~.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Actually, yeah, he was sleeping under my bed when I went in, and then was sleeping on my chest, which was wonderful.

Nick (as Camden): Well, I'm glad that you were okay with that because it's very hard to stop him. Just as a warning, he can open doors. So

Penn (as Marathon): [panic] What?!

Kit (as Birdie): That's very impressive.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Smart boy.

Nick (as Camden): He figured that out.

Nick: And as Cameron is talking, they're holding him under the armpits and wiggling him side to side and you can see that his body is limp and shaking back and forth like a pendulum.

Kit (as Birdie): [gasp] The good boy test.

Nick (as Camden): I wouldn't go that far. He's a charmer, but uh, just be careful. He'll get into things.

Nick: And Camden sets him back on the ground and he goes galloping out of the room, and you can hear his feet thumping against the hardwood floors as he begins running up and down the hallway.

Sydney: Cassidy rips off a big fresh chunk of bread and starts buttering it with various condiments on different bites.

Nick (as Camden): And what about you all? Have you been traveling for quite a while? You seem to have quite a bit of supplies and equipment out there. What line of work are you in? Surveying?

Penn (as Marathon): [cackle]

Kit (as Birdie): Uh we, we do odd jobs for people.Um just you know, a little traveling crew of specialists.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Most recently we were doing caravan escort.

Kit (as Birdie): Mhm.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, okay. You all see a lot of combat then doing guard work?

Kit (as Birdie): Well,

Sydney (as Cassidy): More than we'd like, I think.

Nick (as Camden): Isn't that always the way?

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, Cassidy did get shot. So

Sydney: Cassidy waves the fingers of her hand in her sling.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Still healing, unfortunately.

Penn (as Marathon): And some of us are still learning.

Nick (as Camden): Oh, okay. I see. Well, I find it's always good to have somebody new to the job providing fresh eyes occasionally. Haven't had that here, but you see it around town and congratulations on the position Marathon,

Penn (as Marathon): Oh thank you!

Nick (as Camden): - and I hope that learning is going well for you.

Penn: Marathon looks over to the rest of the Patina with wide eyes.

Kit (as Birdie): She certainly brings fresh eyes, and she's very helpful.

Kit: Birdie will lean over to try and reach up to ruffle Marathon's hair. It's a little awkward because it's like a bit out of her reach, but she tries.

Penn: After an awkward half second Marathon leans her head towards Birdie's hand.

Sydney (as Cassidy): We're, we're getting there. Progress every day, huh?

Nick (as Camden): Sounds like you have a good group.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, we do.

Nick (as Camden): Well, I'm gonna go ahead and walk the grounds one more time, the perimeter outside, just make sure everything's good and ready to go if you need anything.

Penn (as Marathon): Do you need any help? I mean, Birdie would be more than happy -

Kit (as Birdie): I

Penn (as Marathon): It's kind of dark out here so

Kit (as Birdie): I - I

Nick (as Camden): I-

[queer stammering]

Nick (as Camden): I mean, I don't I walk the walk all the time by myself. Birdie if you were looking to go on a walk, you're welcome to join me but don't feel obligated by any means.

Kit (as Birdie): I mean, if you would like the company.

Nick (as Camden): Sure. That sounds great. And in the meantime, if anyone else needs anything, feel free to leave a note by the door and I'll see it when we're back. But otherwise, the evening is yours. Don't worry about dishes or anything. This is - everything's inclusive. I'll take care of it later this evening.

Nick: And Camden scoots back from the table and stands with a big stretch as they get ready to leave on a walk.

Cameron: Emma is glaring dull daggers at Birdie. It's not a super sharp glare, but there's a very strong message of 'you're leaving me with the two of them?'

Kit: Birdie just smiles so big and so pleasantly.

Cameron: Emma rolls her eyes and sighs and slumps back into her chair.

Kit: She does glare at Marathon though.

Penn: Marathon gives a little finger gun and a little click.

Sydney: Cassidy passively absorbs all of these expressions being exchanged and takes another bite of bread.

Cameron (as Emma): The bread is really good, huh?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Penn (as Marathon): Emma, you didn't - yeah, you you what are your thoughts on the bread?

Cameron (as Emma): It was really good.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah, you're an important part.

Cameron (as Emma): Mine's gone already.

Penn (as Marathon): Oh, yeah.

Nick: Camden is backing towards the door sensing that things have gotten a little weird and just trying to extricate themselves from the situation and make a little C'mon gesture to Birdie inviting them to also escape.

Kit: Yeah, Birdie will go with Camden and will just gently usher them outside.

Kit (as Birdie): They're always like this. Sorry.

Nick: As the door to the dining room is closing the group still eating hears Camden saying a low voice to Birdie,

Nick (as Camden): Wow, that got really awkward really fast.

Nick: And then the door clicks shut.

Cameron (as Emma): It's weird how it becomes more awkward when someone points it out.

Penn (as Marathon): Say what you will about Ms. Messenger, but as a wing woman, relentless and successful.

Cameron (as Emma): [voice ever so flat] And just so much finesse.

Penn (as Marathon): You don't - now, I know you're saying it maybe sarcastically, -

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh]

Penn (as Marathon): - but it - do you really-

Cameron (as Emma): I've never been more serious in my life, Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): Wing womaning is not necessarily surgery, you know? You don't need to be delicate. It's more like, not surgery.

[pause as that sinks in]

Penn (as Marathon): [laughing]

Cameron (as Emma): Wow that is a fantastic analogy.

Penn (as Marathon): No, I couldn't think of something. I'm sorry.

Cameron (as Emma): I feel like I understand wing woman- wing womaning so much better now.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, that was that was perfect. Thank you.

Penn (as Marathon): It's like no, it's more like like -

Cameron (as Emma): Poetry. Oh my gosh.

Penn (as Marathon): - from what I understand about bowling, since we're talking about you know, resort sports. You just chuck that thing.

Cameron (as Emma): Um.

Sydney (as Cassidy): There is an art to it, Marathon. I - brute force only gets you so far.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah gets you eight pins at least.

Cameron (as Emma): It depends on what angle you brute force, I guess?

Penn (as Marathon): You throw it hard enough, it it jumps out of the gutter. So.

Cameron (as Emma): [sigh] All right.

Penn (as Marathon): [cracks up] So bowling -

Sydney: Cassidy takes one more piece of bread and goes to stand up.

Penn (as Marathon): Yeah. So um, Emma as an important part of this trio of ours um,

Cameron (as Emma): Uh huh.

Penn (as Marathon): - who I value very much,

Cameron (as Emma): [snort]

Penn (as Marathon): - are you interested in us all going to the hot tub as our, you know, our hot springs for the for digestion purposes.

Cameron (as Emma): [sounds like she's questioning it with current company] I was looking forward to that.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah you make it sound so good, Marathon.

Penn (as Marathon): Thank you. Thank you. Cool. Okay.

Sydney: Cassidy gives a side eye to Emma.

Penn (as Marathon): I'm gonna go change and I'll meet you guys over at the hot springs. Okay?

Cameron (as Emma): All righty.

Penn (as Marathon): Okay. [awkward laugh]

Penn: And Marathon turns around and quickly, speed walks back to her room.

Nick: As you open the door, you're surprised at the weight of opening it and there's a cat hanging off the doorknob on the far side.

Penn (as Marathon): [surprised yell] Oh fuck! [sigh] Cats.

Nick: He yowls at you in protest, drops to the ground, headbutts you in the knee and then runs away again with loud galloping steps.

Penn (as Marathon): God, where's Derek when you need him?

Nick: Marathon you get ready to change and as you open the door, you notice the interior of the room after everybody talked up what their rooms look like. You notice that there is sports memorabilia on some of the walls and it is particularly comfortable.

Penn (as Marathon): Whoa. Oh my god. Hey, am I on here at all?

Nick: As you look closer at these jerseys, you see that it appears to be hockey teams.

Penn (as Marathon): Ah hockey. Oof.

Nick: It seems to be mostly older jerseys, not any names you recognize and it seems to be a mix of local teams and teams from around the Allium area.

Penn (as Marathon): Well, cool. At least I do like sports. So time to

Penn: Marathon starts inspecting some of these things together a little closer, and then once she realizes they're hockey she's like

Penn (as Marathon): Eh. Another hockey head, okay.

Penn: And starts changing into her swimming gear.

Sydney: Cassidy hears the commotion of the cat on the doorknob from Marathon down the hall and shakes her head in amusement, eating the last bite of her bread while leaning on the back of her chair having stood up but not quite made it out of the room.

Cameron: Think Emma has grabbed the remaining bread - just however much of it was left.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It's good bread.

Cameron (as Emma): It is good. Bread is always good, but this is really good bread. And it's still kind of warm.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah. And it has the advantage that we didn't have to make it.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. That is always a perk.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [sigh]

Cameron (as Emma): [sigh]

Sydney (as Cassidy): I don't think we've got to like properly relax since Eagle Hill kind of?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, no that, that's that's accurate. Yeah.

Sydney (as Cassidy): At least in Eagle Hill we were sitting still, but like relaxing is hard to say when it's like well, Wyatt and Zee-o they'll be here any minute! Checks calendar.

Cameron (as Emma): I mean we were relaxing occasionally.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, but that's - we've been going for a while.

Cameron (as Emma): I think this is the first real bed I've slept in since Eagle Hill as well. Or the first bed I will be sleeping in,

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): Cause I did not nap.

Sydney (as Cassidy): This is, I think, a well deserved rest for us.

Cameron (as Emma): Agreed.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Not even - besides this whole thing.

Sydney: Cassidy waves that her shoulder.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. Even if you hadn't gotten shot, I still would have said that we deserved it. [laugh]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh yeah. Well and Birdie, [laugh] stole the Rust's entire nest egg I guess.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. So yeah We can, we can spring for half a triangle.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): Especially because there's a cat.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, there's a cat. He's a friendly boy.

Cameron (as Emma): I'm gonna need to go pet him.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Hmmm. How's mercenary life treating you, Emma?

Cameron (as Emma): Um, pretty good. Don't have a lot of complaints.

Sydney (as Cassidy): We've seen~, I think almost all sides of it now. We got kicked out of a city. We got in a fight with another mercenary company. We did some potentially unethical things. Worked for Advantia.

Cameron (as Emma): You know, all things that were on my bucket list.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. [laugh] Checking them all off. [sigh] Yeah, it's, there are moments when things get a bit chaotic where I'm like, you know, [laugh] I bet that it's pretty chill in Thunder Bay right now.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, you could be tinkering on your same tractor or maybe a new tractor.

Cameron (as Emma): The tractor was pretty close to being done - unless I'd taken it apart again to start over. It's -

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, I guess it's a year later. What do you think you'd be doing if you hadn't been here?

Cameron (as Emma): Uh. Well I mean, I guess it depends on if I was able to strong arm my way into my aunt's business to continue being a mechanic with my family. And if if that hadn't happened, I probably would have had to go find a different mechanic's shop in the city to see if they would take me on as an apprentice or something like that. So I could still be totally surrounded by other Blackwoods. Um.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, how many cousins and siblings did you say you had?

Cameron (as Emma): Uh so I have 2 siblings. 23 cousins, plus me and my siblings.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh, geez. Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): [mental math] So there's 23 cousins and two older siblings.

Sydney (as Cassidy): That's a lot of family.

Cameron (as Emma): I, I refuse to count the next generation like, -

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): - cousins kids? [laughs in too much math] No, I - uh uh.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I mean, I'm 10th of 11. So like, there were kids over running everything, but no other kids from anywhere else in my family. So,

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, there were a lot of us. There still are a lot of us.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I assume there's still a lot of us, but I don't really hold a attachment to them.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. So probably have a lot of siblings, not necessarily an us?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah. Well, maybe my 3rd and 4th oldest are starting to have kids now. The first couple kind of got, shall we say conscripted?

Cameron (as Emma): Hmm.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Quirk has opinions on capable people and their ability to exist and have freedom to choose careers. So

Cameron (as Emma): Sounds like a lovely place. That's a lie. Also, because of that, but also I know how hot it is. So

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah it's, it's pretty warm. There's a lot of there's a lot of cool stuff, um but the infrastructure and the science it needs to drive that is not free in monetary or in you know, people effort cost still.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I think it's still better being here. I don't want to be there. I don't want to be, I dunno, anywhere else. I don't want to be back sitting in a ranch town with the old cartographers, retired. I like being on the road.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah I can't really picture you like setting down roots.

Sydney: Cassidy tips and imaginary hat.

Penn (as Marathon): [yelling from down the hall] Y'all this bed! You we're not joking. This bed feels - how long has it been since I slept in a bed?

Cameron (as Emma): [quiet laugh]

Penn: Marathon shouts from down the hall.

Cameron (as Emma): [yelling back] A while?

Sydney (as Cassidy): [yelling back] Yeah, I can't count that high on my fingers, Marathon.

Cameron (as Emma): [yelling back] Especially because she's only got one hand right now.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [yelling back] Yeah, I did get shot.

Penn (as Marathon): [yelling from down the hall] Holy Zimbie this is - my back has been like misaligned I think.

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh] You don't need to keep reminding her that you got shot, Cassidy.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I know, but I want - yeah. See it's the it's the conflict between I got shot and it was that the particular handling of the situation was mostly her fault.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm.

Sydney (as Cassidy): And I don't want to establish any more patterns of weakness because I can still do things, just not everything.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhm. I don't see how it would be establishing a pattern of weakness at all like, it's highly likely one of us would have grabbed your trunk anyway and brought it in like

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, but like dumping turmeric all over Birdie.

Cameron (as Emma): [snort to laughter]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well okay dumping turmeric all over herself and then putting it all over Birdie by transfer.

Cameron (as Emma): Oh so is this your weakness or Marathon's weakness? I thought we were talking about you.

Sydney (as Cassidy): No - well, the problem is, if I look too weak, then Marathon tries to help more.

Cameron (as Emma): Oh, okay. Okay, that's how it - all right. Yeah.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah yeah yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well, and then like the same thing with the like, we had the can of fish that kind of exploded. Like, she's, she's well, meaning.

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] Yeah.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I appreciate the effort. [laugh] But I don't like not being able to do things.

Cameron (as Emma): I can understand that. Having broken an arm before.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): I understand those feels. It's sweet that she's trying to help.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah. Like it's a good thought.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I - it's sweet how she's trying to help, however, based on the things that you just called out, I can see why you keep asking me to do your hair.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well and we'll see how swimsuit goes. I might need your help with that too.

Cameron (as Emma): Okay, yeah.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Straps. Ties.

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] How many ties does your suit have?

Sydney (as Cassidy): I mean, only two.

Cameron (as Emma): Okay.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It's just in the back and at the neck, but like I can't do behind my neck with one hand so

Cameron (as Emma): No. Yeah, and please don't try.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh, but I could like pin it against the wall and with -

Cameron (as Emma): [slightly concerned that she'd try] No~.

Sydney (as Cassidy): - one hand and then like catch it behind my shoulder.

Cameron (as Emma): No. Cassidy no~.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well fine. Then we can we can get ready together and you can help.

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] Okay.

Sydney (as Cassidy): And we can can make a group appearance so I'm not wandering through the hallways trying to, [laughs] hands over the goods going,

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing]]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Emma! Emma tie me up! Not like that though.

Cameron (as Emma): [laughing] Yeah. You go, you go find your suit. I'll go change into mine real quick and then I'll just come to your room to help you.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Okay.

Sydney: Cassidy gives a thumbs up.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Hot springs time. Let's go relax.

Cameron (as Emma): All right.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Odds on Birdie making it to the springs?

Cameron (as Emma): I think it'll happen.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Okay.

Cameron (as Emma): I'm not putting any bets on what occurs after spring.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): It depends on if Birdie was able to salvage the situation that Marathon setup for her.

Sydney (as Cassidy): There is a certain amount of charm to it. I'm surprised at the success rate.

Cameron (as Emma): [laugh] I- [laughing] It's just there's so much enthusiasm.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah.

Cameron (as Emma): And you can you can tell that you know, especially when she's hyping up Birdie like she really means it. So like it's it is it's very genuine. It's just, it's not how I would want to be introduced to a potential partner.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Congrats. Here you go. Good luck.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. Yeah. Not that I think Marathon would be successful in identifying a potential partner for me that I would be interested in, but

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well just give Marathon your checklist of exactly everything you're looking for.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, no. Cassidy if I had a checklist, life would probably be a lot easier.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Yeah, fair. I mean, I don't know what I'm looking for half the time and the other half the time I also don't know what I'm looking for, but I know [laugh] I'm on the road and I'm not going to sit down and build emotional attachments anyway to get to that point, so. All right, let's go. Let's go sit in Hot Springs.

Cameron (as Emma): All right.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Enjoy your - the last pieces of bread.

Cameron: Yeah, Emma heads to the room carrying the rest of the bread that she hasn't finished yet.

Nick: And as Emma and Cassidy leave the room, we cut away from that to a few 100 yards away from the building where Camden and Birdie are walking along a path that leads into the woods. Birdie, you can see that this path is made of crushed gravel - it's well paved. It's extremely comfortable and there are periodic lights at about shin height lining the trail that makes sure are that while you get the peacefulness of the evening, you can see where you are and the more wild aspect of the woods is kept at bay. It's all very nicely maintained.

Kit (as Birdie): So you keep all of this up yourself?

Nick (as Camden): Yeah. But it doesn't take as much as you would think. The lights are solar powered, so you don't have to do anything with those. It's gravel, so you don't have to really do anything with that and not a lot of people tend to go on walks except for me. It's enough work to fill the day, but it really - I have nothing to complain about.

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah. Um. At least you know, you love what you do and that's what's important.

Nick (as Camden): Yeah um. It's good. I like - I wonder sometimes if I'm doing - if I'm putting as much good into the world as I could. It feels like a lot of time I'm just hiding up here, but there's a lot of good memories here. It's worth keeping up I think. I don't know what else I would do, honestly.

Kit (as Birdie): Well, I mean, I've been all over. So if you wanted to know about any places to go, since you spend pretty much all your time keeping up this really lovely place, you deserve to go out and see things for yourself. You only have one life.

Nick (as Camden): Yeah, I suppose that's true. Makes me wonder, like you said, we only have one life, it would be a shame to try and travel and lose it when I'm so comfortable here. Like I have everything I could possibly want. It seems almost ungrateful to think that that's not enough. You say you've been everywhere right? So

Kit (as Birdie): Yeah, I -

Nick (as Camden): What's the best place?

Kit (as Birdie): Oh, gosh. Depends on what you want to do.

Nick: Camden has a mischievous smile like they know that that question isn't really answerable.

Kit: Birdies playing with the ends of her her braid and trying to think of which place Camden would like the answer for the best.

Kit (as Birdie): I think that you would be most inclined to go keep up in the in the north, maybe? I don't know, because the two major cities that I think you'd like are Mellowtone and Tree All. You just seem like someone who'd enjoy that sort of pace, especially Mellowtone. Mellowtone's, I mean, it's mellow. There's, there's aspects of it that have the liveliness in the city, and everything you could want, but it's not go go go all the time, don't enjoy life, just live it, you know? And I don't think that it would be ungrateful for you to travel. I mean, it's a luxury to be able to travel for pleasure and not for necessity, I think. I've traveled everywhere out of necessity.

Nick: A little look of concern crosses Camden's face.

Nick (as Camden): Why are you being chased or something?

Kit (as Birdie): [laugh] No, no, I'm not being chased. I grew up on Sasnak and, you know, it's just like, no one ever really felt like home and so I just kept looking. And I found new places and met new people that I loved and I thought about staying at and it just, they were good deals everywhere I went, but you'll know if the thing is right when you get there. I think if that makes sense.

Nick (as Camden): Yeah, it does. I'll admit, I spend most of my time asking questions of the guests and trying to learn more about them. I don't know if I've ever had somebody try to learn about me before. It's - I'm not used to it. It's not it's not bad.

Nick: They hold out a hand to like, reassure you.

Nick (as Camden): It's just different. And Mellowtone, Mellowtone does sound nice. That was definitely on my short list. I've heard about it from travelers before.

Kit (as Birdie): You should go.

Nick (as Camden): Maybe I should.

Kit (as Birdie): I think it'd make you happy.

Nick (as Camden): It's interesting when you find out that happiness and comfort don't necessarily go hand in hand.

Kit (as Birdie): Oh, no. Yeah. [laugh] Most of the times that I've been the happiest are when I'm sleeping in on the ground and there are bugs everywhere. And one time a mouse was chewing on my hair when I was trying to go to sleep it was very distracting. Or when I was home on Sasnak and we were sleeping in a boxcar. It's it's those kinds of things that make you grateful for the things that you do have though, because you can always come back here. It'll always be here when you come back from Mellowtone or wherever you choose to go. And I think that more people deserve to know you.

Nick: They blush a little bit. You could see it even in the light of this trail. You see that the trail goes off into the woods and then loops around and comes up the other side of the grounds of the resort. Camden makes themselves very busy checking how deep the gravel is on the trail, kicking it along, bends down to smooth some of it back out again, just very focused on the grounds and then straightens back up as you're walking towards the building.

Nick (as Camden): Well, thanks. I I focus so much on helping others, making others happy, I think that might be something that I don't think about as much. But you are certainly, Birdie, one of the most interesting guests I've had here in quite some time. So thank you for that.

Kit (as Birdie): [laugh] I take that as a, as a compliment. So

Nick (as Camden): Oh I mean it as one. I sincerely do.

Kit (as Birdie): Well. I'm happy to help. I mean it. I mean, seriously. See the world. Be happy.

Nick (as Camden): Well, if not one, maybe I can manage to nail down the other I don't know which it would be but thank you for going on a walk with me that I haven't had company out here in quite a while, so that was nice.

Kit (as Birdie): Well thank you for letting me be on your walk.

Nick: You've approached the front door and Camden pushes it open and starts to walk through and then stops and says

Nick (as Camden): Um. Infer out of this what, what you want Birdie, but my room is just at the end of the hall if you need anything.

Nick: And they don't make eye contact and shuffle their way into the room before you can respond.

Kit (as Birdie): [giggle] I'll remember that.

Nick: They refuse to look back and awkwardly half wave before moving as quickly as they can down the hallway and out of your line of sight.

Kit: [laughing] She's grinning and she's gonna go and change into her swimsuit.

[hurdy gurdy music swells]



Outro: Penn (as Marathon): Welcome back to MTR 1153, that was just the end of today’s broadcast and we’ll be right back to the music after this little break. The particulars of the subsequent can be found in the show notes.

This has been A Knight of Shreds and Patches, an actual play podcast using the Genesys game system from Fantasy Flight Games. The show is edited by Sydney Whittington, and features the talents of:

Kit Adames as Birdie. Kit can be found on Twitter and Instagram @ venusvultures. Kit is also a voice actor for Elevator Pitch Podcast, a queer genre-hopping anthology podcast that can be accessed on Spotify and YouTube.

Penn Van Batavia as Marathon. She can be found on Twitter @ acquiredchaste. Penn is an indie TTRPG designer whose most recent work includes Wasmannian, a prompt game about gender and wasps. Check out faer other work at pennharper.itch.io.

Sydney Whittington as Cassidy. Sydney can be found on our Discord server, which is linked in the show notes, and on Twitter @ sydney_whitt. She’s also a contributing editor for the Orpheus Protocol, a cosmic horror espionage actual play podcast..

Cameron Robertson as Emma. Cameron can be found on Twitter @ midnightmusic13 and on Instagram @ reading_and_dreaming. Cameron is also a player on Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars Edge of the Empire actual play podcast.

And Nick Robertson as narrator. Nick can be found on Twitter @ alias58. Nick is also the GM for Tabletop Squadron. Nick can also be found as a player on the Orpheus Protocol.

This podcast features the musical talents of Dora Violet and Arne Parrott. You can find Dora at facebook.com/doraviolett. You can find Arne at atptunes.com.

The official artwork for this podcast was created by Rashed AlAkroka, who can be found on Instagram and Artstation @ rashedjrs.

You can follow the Patina on Twitter @ akosap_podcast or visit the website: www.akosap.com. To further support the show, consider joining the Patreon at www.patreon.com/AKoSaP, where we’ll be bringing you weekly content including bonus episodes, campfire conversations, and other fun rewards.

Until next time…

…Signing Off

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