This issue begins with Foxilion wandering around a seemingly endless black space. Foxilion initially calls out to his companions, but upon getting no answer he tries to remember how he got there in the first place.
After screaming at the darkness for a bit, a door suddenly appears. He is a bit discomforted by its sudden appearance, but remembers the old Halfling saying, “If doors weren’t made to be opened, they would have been walls instead.”
Opening the door he finds himself looking down on his comatose body. His companions are all gathered around him, but neither Vartan’s clerical magic or Agrivar’s paladin abilities are having any effect.
Having had enough of this, Foxy decided to walk through the door and rejoin the land of the living. Unfortunately, it has decided to become a wall and he finds himself trapped as an onlooker.
In the real world, Agrivar, who is a recovering alcoholic himself, is the first to get a clue as to what is really going on. Agrivar notes that when he found Foxy in the alleyway he also found some disgusting looking green cheese next to him. The crew hypothesizes that he may be the victim of food poisoning.
Meanwhile, ghost Foxy is horrified when he sees the “Cheeeese.” Apparently, it is a powerful drug which only affects Halflings. He realizes that he must have taken some Cheeeese and is in La-La land for the duration of the trip. Just as Foxy is feeling sorry for himself, the a mysterious robed figure appears.
Foxy figures that the robed figure is a hallucination, but also figures there is no harm in talking with it. The robed figure reminds tells him that the best thing for him to do is remain calm and not think of anything. When Foxy asks him what he “shouldn’t think of", the robed figure tells him it is best not to think of the past and what happen the last time he took Cheeeese.
Of course, this is like telling someone not to think of pink elephants. Foxy immediately begins having flashbacks with the robed figure playing the “Ghost of Christmas Past”.
Foxy finds himself back in Luiren, the land of the Halflings. He is part of an entirely Halfling adventuring party who encounters a human named Joribel near the borders of their lands.
Once they had become addicted, Joribel began holding out on them unless they did his bidding. Soon they were stealing, looting, and killing at his command. Foxy wasn’t cut out for this, so he ended up in the arena to provide entertainment for Joribel and his guests.
Foxy protests that he stood firm and eventually broke free from the hold Cheeeese had on him. The robed figure reminds him that the only reason he stopped taking the Cheeeese is that a bigger and stronger Halfling began taking his portions.
The turning point for Foxy was at another of Joribel’s feasts, although Foxy was a beggar at this one. Foxy sees Joribel’s most recent Cheeeesed out recruit and believes her to be an old flame of his (she isn’t). Nevertheless, Foxy grabs a knife and mounts a rescue.
The element of surprise allows him to grab the girl and flee. He topples a tray of Cheeeese to stop his pursuers, but the Halfling bully continues to pursue him. Foxy triggers the portcullis as he runs through the castle gate, killing the bully as it falls on him.
Foxy literally runs into Captain Omen and Minder. He tells Captain Omen what was going on in Joribel’s tower. Captain Omen takes care of it, and by taking care of it I mean he uses powerful area of effect damage spells.
At this point Foxy grows increasingly dissatisfied with the condescending and sarcastic tone of the robed figure. Convinced that the robed figure is nothing more than his guilty conscious, Foxy disrobes it and gets a nasty surprise.
Rather than himself, the robed figure is revealed to be a giant spider! It claims that Foxy is not the only one to travel to “this land.” Foxy flees from the spider and eventually manages to return to consciousness.
Immediately upon awakening, Foxilion grabs the remaining Cheeeese and throws it overboard. He then sits on the rail of the ship looking out over the ocean. Captain Omen comes up, asking Foxy if he is alright.
Foxy rebuffs Captain Omen’s attempts to talk, so Agrivar decides its his turn. Agrivar relates the story of “a friend’s” battle with alcoholism. Agrivar tells Foxilion that it all boils down to the fact that his friends will be there for him no matter what.
Foxilion doesn’t rebuff Agrivar as harshly as he did Captain Omen, but the Halfling still looks miserable. This prompts Vartan to give his words of wisdom, which I will just let you read below for yourself.
- This is the issue of the Forgotten Realms comic book that everyone remembers. Whenever I speak to anyone about the series this is usually the first story that comes up.
- I seem to say this every episode, but Rags Morales’ art is simply amazing this issue. Since most of the issue occurs in Foxilion’s head, Rags felt he free to experiment with his artistic style and the page layouts. The result was spectacular.
- Even though this episode deals with one of the main characters having a drug addiction, it is so character focused that it never feels like a “very special episode.” Kudos to Jeff Grubb for walking this line successfully.
- I like that the spider was (possibly) a real creature. In D&D I like the concept of creatures preying on people having an out of body experience.
- The characterization of Agrivar at the end is spot on. I couldn’t help but notice that he was a bit too proud to just come out and say he was “the drunk.”
- I also like that it is Vartan’s sarcasm that finally jolts Foxilion out of his funk.