“The closest I’ve gotten to actual self-respect in weeks” was how E-Merl described his interaction with Frigg last chapter. And not to put too fine a point on it, but watch what she does as soon as he makes it clear he doesn’t need her company.

In the early days of putting this chapter together, I had an idea for how it’d begin that I shared with Phil. It would’ve involved the Fightopians and Gastonians slowly returning to the city, stopping along the way to put on shows, drink plenty of ale, and do small good deeds. It’d serve as a reminder that adventurers have a place in the community beyond whatever battle occupies their attention at the moment; that many of the common people celebrated and loved them. This is as close to that as we’re gonna get: it’s got the place-in-society theme down, but it’s not exactly a feel-good sequence.

Also, you are correct, Sundar: E-Merl is a terrible gambler. Lucky for him, he’s too bad at it to have ever had the chance to get addicted.