While the twins argue, Betha finishes making two vials of Swift Step Draught and seventeen-year old Yannic congratulates Remi on his engagement. A few hours into the argument, Andra shouts for Ondelin, and half an hour later, he comes out looking overwhelmed. He tells us he’s worried about the twins because they are super drunk.
Andra shouts for Kaiva, who wants to know if it’s time to drown Kean. Andra says she punched him and they’re on better terms now. Kean isn’t evil, he’s just super stupid. Andra notices Kaiva’s returned to her normal age. She still means to go with Kaiva, just maybe not tonight. She says she doesn’t want to be around the others for a while. Kaiva says she’s pissed at them too and offers Andra more soup.
After leaving the soup pot in the twins’ room, Kaiva tries to persuade itty bitty Yannic to go to bed. Yannic accepts Remi’s offer of his and Ondelin’s bed. We go to set up watches, but Betha says she’s planning on staying up all night. Everyone else wants to try it too, which Ondelin thinks is a terrible idea. They decide to make it a sleepover, and Ondelin gets playing cards from the twins’ room. Kaiva suggests poker, and upon seeing how naive Ondelin is, sets him up to be played.
Kaiva looks for Fen, to see if she wants in on the action. She finds her sitting by the boulder at the bottom of the hill, but Fen ignores her. She refuses to play with Kaiva because she betrayed their friendship. Kaiva explains that she isn’t mad at Fen; she’s mad at the four Banishers as a group because they let her down with respect to things that are really important to her. Fen argues that there were things important to her too that she sacrificed to survive and save herself and others. Kaiva says she’ll try not to be mad at Fen. When Fen asks if Kaiva’s still leaving, Kaiva invites her and mentions that they aren’t leaving tonight because Andra got drunk with Kean. Fen tries to convince Kaiva to agree to rob Kean, and the plan involves blankets for plausible deniability. They decide to get all of Ondelin’s magical flowers first, plus half of Remi’s money. Together, they head back up the hill, leaving the boulder behind.
Meanwhile, Betha and Ondelin have been on watch, and they’ve seen a few things prowling around the cave, staying about 30 feet away. Ondy elects to stay on watch, so when Kaiva and Fen return, they briefly try to figure out how to incorporate betting in Go Fish. Failing that, they decide to play Pictionary instead.
Ondelin asks Betha why she wants to try staying up all night, and she tells him it’s to disprove Yannic’s theory that time travel gave him the ability to not need sleep. Remi goes to check on Yannic then, and finds him trying to sleep with no success. Frustrated, Yannic blames it on the cave. Remi offers to cast Sleep on him, but Yannic politely declines. When Remi goes back to the others with the news that Yannic can’t seem to sleep, Betha shares Yannic’s theories about why he hasn’t been sleeping, and the group discusses how it might be that Yannic doesn’t seem to be dead from not sleeping. Ondelin argues that some of us should sleep, since he can only stave off the effects of exhaustion for a couple of people. We notice that we’re actually feeling tired, so Ondelin manages to convince some us to get some sleep. Kaiva sleeps on the floor where she was sitting, and Remi decides to sleep as well. Fen eventually falls asleep despite trying to stay awake.
Before Remi goes to sleep, he offers to cast Sleep on Yannic again, and Yannic grumpily agrees. However, when Remi casts the spell, it doesn’t take, even though he knows it really should have, given the strength of his casting. He apologizes to Yannic and rushes back to the group to share what happened. We conjecture whether or not it might have something to do with Keanvari, but we decide not to ask Kean until Yannic’s back to his normal self. Ondelin says some nature spirits can’t sleep, and all celestials don’t need sleep. Knowing now that Yannic can’t sleep, the rest of us decide to sleep, and Ondelin offers to take all the remaining watches. Yannic remains awake for the rest of the night, grumbling to himself.
Before dawn, Kean shakes Remi awake to ask where Yannic is. Kean starts the conversation with Yannic by apologizing for not having been a good friend the previous day. Yannic asks if he’s okay. Kean says he drank too much but he’ll deal. He wants to try to get Yannic back home where things are okay, and he has a theory of how to do that, since Kaiva turned back to herself. Kean asks if he can cast a spell on Yannic, warning that it’ll be weird. Yannic agrees, and Kean takes a minute to do so. It’s the strongest spell that seventeen-year old Yannic has ever seen Kean cast, and when it’s done, he can see a second or two into the future. Kean says it should help get Yannic home when sunrise arrives, and if it doesn’t, they’ll try again and again until it does. Yannic thanks him.
Kean asks if he could do anything for Yannic until then, and Yannic asks for food, maybe toast or something? So Kean goes to cook way too much food while Yannic watches. Andra comes over and sits next to Yannic. She outlines Kean’s theories about why Yannic probably won’t remember this de-aged time: Yannic is from the past or his mind was messed with. Given that Kean thinks Yannic won’t remember, Andra tells Yannic, “I’m going to work on forgiving you guys.” She says it will take a while, and she’s only telling Yannic because he’ll probably forget. Andra says she’s surprised by how nice her brother has been to the party, and we should be grateful he’s being more merciful than she. Yannic asks if we did something wrong, but Andra refuses to tell him, in case he does remember. And in any case, Kean is right. She simply says she’s working on it and she wanted to tell one of the party. When Andra walks away, Yannic tells Kean his sister’s weird.
Seeing all the food prep, Remi offers to bake bread. Kean accepts. Before Kean’s cooking is done, dawn arrives, and he leads Yannic outside the cave. As the sun rises, Yannic’s mind returns to its nineteen-year old state, but he’s still physically 17. Remi is also still physically older. Contrary to Kean’s theories, Yannic does remember everything that’s happened over the past day. He tells Kean he’s mentally back, and Kean says they’ll try again after breakfast by teleporting someplace where dawn’s just arriving.
When Kean finishes making breakfast, we eat. Betha grabs some food for Ondelin, and they chat about what might have been rustling around in the dark last night. Andra scoots over to Kaiva to ask if they’re still on for a trip to Sylyarus’ compound. Kaiva says she doesn’t have to come, but Andra insists because she said she would. Andra asks if they’re still kidnapping Yannic, but Kaiva, thinking that Yannic is still 12, expresses doubt about their collective ability to rear a child. She does suggest bringing Fen, which Andra is reluctant to do.
Andra explains that she recently got news, and she’s just a little peeved with everyone except for Kaiva and Ondelin. Andra explains through an extended metaphor of a boulder squashing a frog that she’s upset with the others, even though she knows it wasn’t their fault and they didn’t mean to. Kaiva says she understands because she wanted to go back to the other plane to help Morthred. Andra asks if Morthred isn’t helped already, and Kaiva says she doesn’t know, what with all the time stuff. Kaiva wonders aloud if they could ask Yannic or Betha about the time stuff, and Andra tells Kaiva to do the asking, since Andra’s mad at them. Andra says the plan is to fix Yannic and to have a discussion, and after that, they can leave. Kaiva asks if the discussion will be about the squashed frog, and Andra says she doesn’t want to talk about it, but she was the frog.
While Andra tries to stack squirrels on Ondelin’s head, Kaiva goes to ask Betha and Yannic about the timelines and planes. They are unhelpful. Betha expresses concern about Yannic’s not sleeping being potentially connected to Keanvari, so Yannic calls over Kean to explain the situation. Kean says it probably isn’t because Yannic has turned immortal, and he asks if Yannic feels particularly devilish or fiendish. He asks if Yannic has prayed to not need sleep or somehow otherwise wished or willed himself to not need sleep. He asks if Yannic has done anything to prevent sleep. Yannic says no and suggests Kean cast Detect Magic.
When he does, Kean is shocked to learn that Yannic has a devil’s hand and traces of Modify Memory in his head. Yannic explains that Andraki shot off his hand and we all went to hell on Banfey so Keanvari could fix his hand, which is when Modify Memory was cast. Kean is horrified, and when someone mentions our plan of a drinking contest with Jan the beholder, he immediately seizes on it as a good idea. Yannic says he was able to recover some of his memory from the Modify Memory, but then it just cuts off.
Kean asks Kaiva about her plans to leave, so Kaiva shares that she plans on leaving to run some errands on her own. Kean asks if she and the rest of us wouldn’t mind coming with him in case he needs to be protected while casting magic. We agree, and off we go. Luckily, in the first place we go, both Remi and Yannic return back to their normal physical ages, and we get to go back the safety cave immediately, startling all the squirrels off of Ondelin in the process. Ondelin becomes obsessed with the idea of celebrating Remi and Yannic’s “birthdays” and Remi finally acquiesces. He and Andra settle down outside for more squirrel stacking while Kean takes us inside the cave to explain a thing.
With resignation and an air of preparing for complete doom, Kean tells us to sit down. He starts by saying Kaiva is not one of the problem people; the problem people are the ones who opened the very first planar gate to the Shadowfell about ten years ago. The very first weakest of demons snuck through because the problem people sacrificed a child, and the gate opened when a group of kids killed a demon and sent it back.
That gate opening was never supposed to happen, not that early. When Keanvari originally decided to create the clones, he placed a contingency on them so they’d only wake when the gates were open. Because the gate was opened early, the clones woke up without being occupied by gods. The clones were supposed to be empty bodies that a soul could take over, not walking, talking bodies that a different consciousness would take over.
While Andra has kept herself hidden very well to avoid being possessed, Kean hasn’t been able to. As such, he’s been possessed multiple times, and in the interest of self-preservation, he and Keanvari have had an agreement for a while: if Kean does what Keanvari wants, he doesn’t have to possess his clone.
Because we killed the person who opened up the extraplanar system, each of us became the nominal representatives of each plane, including the material plane, in a future conference. A mediator will decide what happens with the planes, and that mediator is Kaiva. Kaiva was selected because she’s an independent party who is considered open to change and new ideas.
Remi asks if Kean knows who was chosen by whom, and if so, if we’re allowed to know. He says it’s pretty obvious: Yannic was chosen by the fiends, Betha by the fey, Remi by the undead, the one that died was chosen by the celestials, and Fen was chosen by the primordial version of the material plane. Because Pruaga died, the celestial plane doesn’t have a chance unless all of us are killed, which would reset the representatives.
Kaiva protests that she can’t possibly be the mediator and laments that this is really much more complicated than a boulder crushing a frog. Kean says he doesn’t know all of the plans; the plans he knows have already been achieved. He never expected the Banfey plan to work, but it did, partly because he did what he could to keep us from interfering.
Fen says what’s done is done and we can only move forward. Remi asks what moving forward means and what will happen in the future. Kean says that we’re all likely to become proto deities of interplanar travel, particularly Kaiva, who would be known for her decision, whether she was praised or cursed for it. When Fen expresses excitement about becoming a god, Kean tells us he remembers ascending, and it wasn’t pleasant. He says ascension involves losing oneself, and there’s a reason others have gone around killing people while on the cusp of godhood. Betha asks if Kean knows the timeline for our ascension, and he says no, though he’s been looking for one.
Andraki and Keanvari waver on how they feel about us, but they see our roles as a necessity. Some others want to kill us, to start again with different representatives. Someone asks what would have happened if we had stayed in the other plane, and Kean says he doesn’t know. Betha asks if that’s why he wanted to bring us back, and he says no, it was for other reasons.
Kean describes how when he first met Yannic, he was not what he expected. Kean hadn’t known how young and unaware of everything we were. He didn’t know we were scared, and he’d expected something that wasn’t there.
Kean says that’s all the big, important stuff he has to tell us. He created some planar gates for himself to prevent having his body possessed, and he and Andra are going to go close or destroy them after Andra runs the errand with Kaiva. One of us asks if Kean will be safe, and he says he’s never safe and he will never be safe. Kean says all he can do is try to do not evil things, which seems like a good idea. Possession is still a problem, but Keanvari doesn’t have to possess Kean anymore, and Andra’s a lot safer than that because Kean has made sure of it. Yannic silently takes Kean’s hand.
Kaiva asks if the rest of us are supposed to get in charge of our respective planes. Kean says we could, though we aren’t supposed to do anything other than make choices. Fen points out that we aren’t very good at those. She’s incredulous that there have been people watching us for half our lives and they couldn’t pick better people. Kean says it was the trees and nature spirits that were watching Fen. Vega took Fen home with her because of all this; it isn’t something she would normally do.
Remi asks if that’s why Eric Bridger was at every party Remi has ever attended. Kean says probably, and also he is very dangerous. He advises Remi to run in the opposite direction if he ever sees Eric Bridger. He has multiple faces, bodies, and planes of existence. He is everything and nothing, and probably the most dangerous member of the council. Nobody knows what kind of entity he is, though he’s mostly likely a god, possibly a god of the unrecognized and unnoticed.
Fen wonders what Kaiva would be the god of, if she became a god. Kean says he doesn’t know; it’s sort of a personal choice. We wonder if Sandy would know how much time we have until the conference, or until ascension. Kean says one of us will take over the material plane, and Kaiva will decide who. Kean tells us the council will know we know soon because Kean is a clone. Kean confirms that choosing one person does not cause the others to perish. He says there will be envoys and we will be invited to council meetings. We’ll know when the conference is happening, because it’ll just be the five of us.
The point of all of this is to tear down every wall between planes that they can. If Fen is chosen, it’ll just be a world of Fen, the trees, and Kaiva. Choosing Fen means destroying civilization and returning the material plane to nature. Fen says she likes trees, but wonders how she and Kaiva would live a life on the edge in a such a world. She asks if all of us can be chosen. Kean says maybe, if Kaiva can think of a way to do it. He doesn’t know what choosing the others would really look like, because it hasn’t happened yet.
Kean says Andra needs some time to deal with the knowledge that we were the ones who woke her up. Remi says he’s sorry. Kean says he knows we are, and that it wasn’t our fault. He knows we were kids and didn’t know. Unlike Andra, he’s had a few more years to get over it.