This article is about the episode. For the Aboleth, see The Lord of Madness (Character).
The Lord of Madness is the thirteenth episode of The Chain. It aired on April 24th, 2019.
In the Court of Lord and Duke
Before barging in, the group decides to spend an hour resting up. Boots notices that after that hour, the revenant is doing exactly the same actions as he was when they first saw him: pouring tea, offering cake to the dead woman, etc, leading them to expect that this is all illusion. Boots thinks the crown in this room may be a sort of trap.
There are mirrors in the room that look like ornate dressing mirrors. Leech sends Odie into the room to look into the mirrors. He sees a very handsome imp and nothing else. He then flies to another mirror and doesn't see himself, only a reflection of the rest of the room. He describes the reflection of the room, but there are things seen in the room that are missing, for instance a tree and the dead lady. The revenant in the other chair isn't wearing noble clothes -- instead, it's wearing wrappings and looks mummified. The officers spend some time also looking in the mirrors and see what Odie described. They try to move one, but it's immovable, like other items in the manor were.
Suspecting it's some sort of puzzle, Judge looks into another mirror to see if the reflections bounce and reveal something different. Boots confirms that the mummified reflection of the nobleman is wearing the same crown. The nobleman, as he goes to pour the tea says to Slim "Tell me, what is it like outside. Do the guilds still fight over money?" Slim replies that yes, they are, but he doesn't have much experience in this world. Slim asks the nobleman a question and in the ensuing conversation offends the nobleman, who accuses him of working for the damnable guilds and threatens to see him hanged for his insolence. Battle commences.
Slim attacks with a trip attempt, but fails. He tries again and fails again. Frustrated, he uses his action surge, but again fails to land a blow. After Slim's action, the nobleman takes notice of the rest of the party and shouts, "Damn you all, guild agents," which results in Slim being stunned. The nobleman's eyes glow and for a second Slim can see the reality behind the illusion, which causes him to be paralyzed. King summons his spiritual weapon and attacks, doing a bit of damage and then casts a guiding bolt at the nobleman mummy. Leech orders Odie to move next to Slim and to become invisible. Copper shoots him twice, but Bigcat misses. Afterwards, Duke Maximo turns into a tower of twisting sand, disappears, and reforms behind Boots. Leech uses Odie to cast invisibility on Slim, who disappears. Boots casts a spell, but the mummy lord doesn't seem to be affected. Judge casts hex on the nobleman, reducing his strength, then throws a javelin, which hits right where his heart would be, but it slides out the other side and doesn't appear to have done any damage.
The light in the room begins to dim. The only source of light was the pool and there's a large, dark shape that seems to be rising up in the pool and blocking out the light from below. Slim is still stunned and unable to act. The mummy lord punches Boots and does enough damage to get Boots' attention. Then his eyes glow again and Boots is frightened and paralyzed, incidentally freeing Slim. King casts toll the dead on the mummy lord, which again doesn't seem to have any effect. Odie dashes to take up a station next to Boots. Copper shoots him again and has Bigcat move to within striking distance. Leech throws two eldritch blasts, both of which miss. Boots is still unable to act. Judge moves and uses the wand to make his sword magic.
Slim looks around and sees that the light is continuing to fail as whatever this is rises through the pool. Outside the glass walls of the solarium, all he can see is gray fog. He runs around the pool to also get within striking distance. The mummy lord picks up Boots and throws him in the water. As Boots begins to sink, paralyzed and stunned, he can't tell how far down the pool goes, but he gets the sense that it's quite deep. He sees a giant, pale green figure with three eyes rising up from the deep, the Lord of Madness itself. It looks at Boots and he feels an overwhelming presence pressing down on his mind, but he's able to resist. King casts a spell, but the mummy lord resists it. The invisible Odie dive bombs the mummy lord and snatches the crown. Copper shoots the mummy lord again. The arrows slam into his body and he grabs at the arrows. The illusion dissipates and the mummy falls to the ground, collapsing into a heap of rags and bones.
Leech runs across the room towards the mirror where they couldn't see their reflection. He runs into it and disappears. They hear Odie put on a crown and celebrate his freedom as Leech vanishes. Boots climbs out of the pool and exclaims, "We need to leave!" and everyone begins scrambling for the mirror. Judge notices a large shadow now being cast on the walls of the solarium and hears a voice inside his head say, "You will become a featured player inside my puzzles." Slim sees Judge stop, turn to him, and move as if to attack. King notices this and orders Slim to throw Judge in the mirror, which he does. Judge hits the mirror and disappears. Leech orders Odie to fly through the mirror. Bigcat runs into King, pushing him through the mirror and Copper follows. Boots runs to the mirror, stops, and begins playing a song. Seeing that it has no effect, he quickly touches the mirror and disappears. Slim is the last one through.
Leech finds himself climbing out of the pool in the main temple, shortly followed by the rest of the officers. Leech takes the crown from Odie and hands it to King. They retreat from the Temple of Antisanity and make their way across the island and onto the ship. Slim gives the coordinates of Capital to the Navigator and they travel back through realms to arrive about an hour off the coast of Capital.
Back to Capital
The Chain quickly make their way back through the docks and Customs. Everyone returns to the Pharaoh's Dream and Leech obtains a parasol that he makes Odie carry for him when they're outside, to protect him from the sunlight. They arrange to meet the undead solicitor the following morning, then go to find Angel and the rest of the junior officers, most of whom are at the Footstool. Angel is not there and Two-Shoes says he's been out and very busy. Two-Shoes had left orders for everyone to check in at least once a day, but they realize they haven't seen Angel since the senior officers left. Despite the missing Angel, everyone gets down to celebrating the return of the senior officers. Boots plays the ballad he composed about the Underdark Job and everyone is suitably impressed.
Boots proposes that Slim be inducted as a full member of the Chain. Slim quizzes King about what that means, what the oath is, what rules he'd have to abide by, etc., then agrees. King makes plans to sell some of their loot in the morning.
Shadows at Dusk
After a night of carousing, Boots is awakened from sleep by three soot like forms coming out of the shadows in his room. They're only slightly more substantial than the shadows from which they are emerging. Boots grabs his mandolin and as his plays, his song creates a hypnotic pattern of lights in his room. All of the shadows appear to be incapacitated, so he quickly gathers his things and puts his boots on (but nothing else) and leaves the room. In the hallway he encounters other members of The Chain who are also engaged in battle or fleeing the shadows in their rooms. He charges to assist a ranker in another room who is beset by two shadows. The shadows overwhelm the ranker -- he falls to the ground and another shadow emerges from his body. Two Shoes rallies everyone to keep fighting. Boots hits one of them and kills it. The remaining two attack him, but they're unable to score a hit. Two Shoes turns undead and one of them is evaporated. Boots and the shadows exchange blows until eventually The Chain prevails.
There are bodies all over, but only a few of them belong to The Chain. The others were civilians who were also staying over at The Footstool. Boots finds that the front window is broken and there's an iron bar inside on the floor. The owners of The Footstool are angry that The Chain chose their establishment for their party, believing that The Chain brought this calamity upon them. In frustration, they send for the police and insist that Boots stay there until the cops arrive. Boots says he needs to leave to check in with the rest of the officers. Boots tries to convince the owner that leaving Ox, a junior officer, in charge there will be just as good as him staying. The stone giant, Gront, is adamant: "No one leaves until the police get here."
Meanwhile, the remainder of The Chain is at the Pharaoh's Dream, having a wonderful evening. Leech is enjoying having a servant to lord it over. In the morning the other senior officers meet with the solicitor. He confirms they have retrieved the crown they were sent for and then writes them a note for their fee. He also gives them an address for a curator of magic items, along with an appointment to visit them.
The Chain discusses another job they'd been offered, to take over The Citadel. The solicitor asks: "Haven't you seen the broadsheets?" Judge asks a servant to bring over a broadsheet and learns that someone else has taken over the Citadel. Judge also sees an article about 15 dead being found at The Footstool. He stands up and announces, "We need to go, now."