“They Found Themselves in a Small and Cosy Room” A little move-into-the-room montage before we get back into it. And back to gobos talking! A little crowded for a group meeting but far better than planning in the public area.

Typically, I take a week or two off after posting the big end-of-year cliffhanger. I decided I would instead make up for my downtime and post an extra comic this year.

Happy Holidays, everyone! See you in the new year. If I can get a sizeable buffer going, maybe I’ll do some double posts in 2024.

Be careful out there.

↓ Transcript
Panel 1
In a long shot from a booth near the bar with a blue shield emblazoned with a yellow anvil and trim, Puccini places a hand on the banister at the foot of the stairs, back to the viewer as he watches three of the gobos - mystically disguised as gnomes - approach the foot of the stairs leading to the upper level. The procession is lead by Wak, followed by Nik and Pōk, whose hand repositions the wide-brim hat for a proper fit.

Panel 2
A direct view of the stairs shows a wall of light blue as the upright facing wood had been painted to match the walls. The last three of the "gnomes" ascend. Hob is on the left, raising a hand to catch Fip if the drunk archer decides to tumble backward. Nak has an arm around Fip and takes a big step to pull their companion up.

Panel 3
A close up shows the knob of a room door. Puccini's fingers enters view - preceded by the key - as he prepares to unlock the door.

Panel 4
Puccini takes a slight bow and smiles as he swings open the door, gesturing for his gobo companions to enter the unlit room.

Panel 5
In a large spread panel, the back half the warm apricot-painted room is revealed. This is thanks to Pōk, who had used the room's lamplighter tool to light the lantern above (offscreen). The one-eyed gobo stands near the center of the room and looks down at the flame as pointer and thumb are about to extinguish the flaming wick. There is a stool-like chair in the left corner, mostly obscured as Wak enters the room. Next to it, along the back wall with the headboard in the right corner, is a small, human-sized bed. A chamberpot is under the foot of the bed, while near the other end is a two-step box for smaller-than-human guests to use. A two-drawer dresser is near the head of the bed. Nik, back towards the wall while waiting for the rest to enter, tries to be discreet while peering over a shoulder and pulls open the top drawer to see if anything was left inside.

Panel 6
From about Nik's point of view, the rest enter. Puccini is the last to enter, staying by the door. While holding the door knob, he looks outside the room one last time to see if anyone is nearby. Hob slows and looks back up to the wizard to engage him in conversation while Nak disengages with Fip. The archer staggers forward towards the bed (offscreen).
Puccini: "Alright, we are good to talk now."
Hob, nearly interrupting: "<Nak had a good point.>"

Panel 7
Puccini turns, back to the viewer as he begins to close the door. He is a bit surprised as he takes in what Hob says. The armored gobo has turned fully to face the wizard. Nak rests a hand on the hip, still monitoring Fip (offscreen).
Hob: "<This is taking quite some time.>"

Panel 8
From Puccini's point of view, Hob raises a hand and gestures. Nak turns a head toward the wizard and the conversation, but glances over towards Hob as the declaration reaches its end.
Hob: "<We do appreciate the room, food, and drink...>"

Panel 9
The scene shifts to Puccini, eyebrows raised as he takes in Hob's statement. His right hand is high on the door as he closes it shut.
Hob: "<But we are on a mission.>"
Puccini: "Yes. Sorry about that."