SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 105 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 104 can be found here.
Vox Machina finds the key to Ioun.
Previously on Critical Role
Using the tuning fork given to Pike by Sarenrae, Vox Machina planeshifts to Elysium, home of Sarenrae and Pelor. They visit both gods and ask for their help in the coming battle against Vecna. The gods agree, but warn that Vecna’s ascension has already begun, and there is little time left. Their only remedy is to weaken Vecna enough to lock him away. Pelor questions why he should help in this battle when he has no champion among their numbers (unlike Sarenrae and The Raven Queen who have Pike and Vax, respectively). Vex offers herself as Pelor’s champion. He agrees on the condition that she passes his test. She successfully ascends his tower and dives into the flames of his beacon. The others tell Pelor why she is worthy of being his champion. During this, Percy reveals that they are betrothed. Vex returns to them reborn as Pelor’s champion. He agrees to help them in the coming battle.
After leaving Pelor, they wonder about their next steps. Scanlan approaches one of the guards. He bends down to greet the gnome. Scanlan asks how they are supposed to leave.
Guard: “I imagine the same way you came in.”
He also asks if there are any other gods in Elysium. The guard tells them that Elysium is home to only Pelor and Sarenrae. They are glad that they have made the most out of their trip, and Keyleth planeshifts them to Terrah.
They walk down into the village to greet the leader of the Earth Ashari. Pa’tice welcomes them and they sit down to dinner. Keyleth updates him on the progressing situation with Vecna. He tells her that he is aware of the situation but appreciates the update. He also tells her that they would be happy to house refugees in the coming crisis.
After discussing the matter a bit further, they travel as mist through the forest to find the home of the key. Grog laments that they never use traditional means of travel anymore. Vex tries to comfort him by suggesting they travel to the area before searching on foot. Vax promises that, after everything is over, they will go on a long trek together.
The next morning, they prepare to continue their journey. Vex goes to find her brother before they leave. Keyleth greets her before leaving the twins alone.
Vex asks her brother if he is decent. He says that he is. When she walks in, he is still naked. She turns around. She asks why he never asked for his boots back. He responds that they were going to be hers anyway. She tells him that there is no point in taking his things if he is not going to get irritated about it.
She turns back around. He is now clothed.
She angrily asks why he is so calm about his coming demise. He simply tells her that he knows he is on borrowed time. She feels for his heartbeat and becomes more frustrated when she feels how slow it is and how cold he is. He shows her he is still alive by slicing his hand.
Just before Vex is about to cast cure wounds, it seals itself back up.
Vax: “I didn’t know it did that.”
He explains that The Raven Queen gave him the option, and he decided to stick around for as long as possible. Vex asks how long they have after Vecna is defeated, but only The Raven Queen knows the answer to that question. Vax tells his sister that
Vax: “Everybody dies. And all that matters is what you do with what you have. And I’ve done a lot. I have great pride in watching all that you have done, I have good friends, and I have fallen in love. More than most, I’ve had.”
Vex: “After you die, do you stand by her side.”
Vax: “That I don’t know. I imagine she’ll keep me close.”
Vex asks if he wants his boots back.
She reluctantly agrees to give them back on the condition that she get them back when he returns to The Raven Queen. He puts the boots back on.
He admits that he lost her boots in The Feywild a while back. She gets grumpier. He hugs her and gives her the boots back.
They set off after Keyleth casts windwalk. Vex leads the way.
After traveling for a while, they come across a geothermic cluster of pools. They see humanoid creatures lounging around and swimming in the pools.
As they pass over, Percy and Vex look for signs of living quarters or civilization, but neither find anything. They continue on, looking for hunting traps, trails, and more subtle signs of intervention from people.
Vex spots a humble two-story home. She lands and changes back to her physical form behind a tree. Grog notices that the house looks a little bit too small for him.
Scanlan, Trinket, and Vex walk over to the door. The others hang behind.
As they’re walking, Vax stops his sister from walking into a bear trap. She tells Trinket to watch out and to spit on it. He drools onto the trap before continuing on. They see several more bear traps situated around the house. They carefully walk around them.
Vax notices a welcome mat in front of the door. However, something seems off about it. It is raised higher than it should be. He sees a small cord running from the mat over to the tree. He looks up to see a heavy trunk waiting to fall on unsuspecting visitors. With Grog’s help, he dismantles the trap.
Scanlan knocks on the door.
They hear many locks open, and a small, elderly, balding gnome with a long white beard answers the door. He asks them if they’re real. They say that they are.
Gnome: “Prove it! Say that you’re real to my invisible frog companion!”
Scanlan: “Hello there. I’m real.”
Gnome: “Yes, you’re real. There’s no frog companion.”
He explains that the voices in his head would not have spoken to the imaginary frog. He excitedly tells them that he has not had visitors in over 35 years.
The gnome calls out for Demetrik, a red imp. Demetrik tells them to get out before slamming the door in their faces. Behind the door, they hear muffled arguments about how long the imp will be staying. Both the gnome and the imp open the door to apologize for the others’ rudeness.
Before he can close the door again, Vax makes an impassioned plea to speak to the gnome. In support of his friend’s argument, Scanlan begins to play a traditional gnomish song on his flute. Despite the imp’s protestations, the gnome is moved, having not heard any music in decades. The imp vanishes, and the gnome agrees to see them.
They walk through the door, Grog having to crawl through.
When they all enter, they see a chaotic mess of quills and papers stacked around the room. Vax looks for more traps and notices that the gnome is avoiding a certain portion of the floor. Keyleth asks the gnome his name.
Gnome: “That was taken from me a very long time ago. I only have what they call me. You know, names are an odd thing, aren’t they? Somtimes a name can stick to you like blood on a knife or your fingers on a wallet that might not be your property, and then who you were is not who you are. And yet, here we are.”
They ask again what they should call him. He answers that he is called “Sprigg, the obnoxious.” Vax suggests shortening it to just “Sprigg.”
Through his ramblings, Sprigg begins to tell them about his former companions. He says that they all perished, leaving him alone. He turns to Scanlan and says that he once was him. He tells them that he was Scanlan, and there was one like Grog and another like Vex.
Pike holds his hand and casts greater restoration to try to restore some of his memories. Nothing happens.
Sprigg: “Thank you. That’s very kind of you. Don’t ever do that again.”
They ask more about his companions. He says that they died 37 years ago fighting hobgoblins and foolish bravery. He says that he ran when the others were lost.
Percy asks to look at the books around the house. Sprigg says Percy is welcome to explore, but he will require something in return. He asks for abstract concepts like sadness, intelligence, love or power. Grog offers him Percy’s glasses from the bag of holding, but Sprigg is only interested in power and redemption.
As they wonder what they can offer Sprigg to bring him power and redemption, he calls Demetrik over for a side conversation. Though they think that they are whispering, they can be clearly heard by the others. They discuss a code-word to use in case they need to take out Grog. They decide on “goliath grab.”
Grog offers him a card from the deck of many things. Sprigg considers this and agrees to allow them to see one book in exchange for one card. He asks about the subject they are wanting to study. Once the others mention Ioun, he becomes frustrated. He insists that he knows more than Ioun.
As they debate the issue further, Sprigg tells them more about his past.
Sprigg: “37 years ago, I ran away. I’ve been here deciding how to live again. How not to run away. That’s what all this is about. You can’t just hide from the world. I’ve done it for a long, long time. Maybe you being here means that I should hide no longer. Or maybe I just have an invisible frog friend. Or maybe, I have nothing here.”
He points to his head.
“Or nothing here.”
He points to his heart.
Percy offers Sprigg a piece of residuum in exchange for a book. He uses a ring of telekensis to further examine it.
They ask about his relationship with Ioun. He says that he is not a champion of Ioun, but he is more than that. They tell him that the information is of the utmost importance to saving the world. He wonders if it would be a terrible thing to have the world end, and the others insist that it would be.
Vax offers Sprigg another deal: to find redemption in stopping a would-be god. Sprigg calls over Demetrik again and they discuss a mnemonic device to signal to the other if Vax gets too tricky for them.
Sprigg asks why Keyleth has been so quiet.
Keyleth: “You are my worst fear incarnate. Sorry. That was rude. You are my worst nightmare incarnate.”
She tells him that it frightens her that she has fully understand all of his ramblings.
Getting things back on track, Vex asks about the key to Ioun. He says that Ioun is not tangible like the books are. Percy begins to look for titles on the books.
Suddenly, everyone except Sprigg hears a voice in their head.
Vecna: “Thank you for showing me where he is.”
They hear the sound of something rushing through the air. Crossbow bolts crash through the windows. All of the bolts are aimed at Sprigg. He falls over, unconscious.
Looking out the windows, Vox Machina sees figures rushing to cover. They recognize some of the figures from the Shadowfell. Percy rushes upstairs. He sees two figures. He restrains the first while the other loads a crossbow.
Grog rushes in after Percy and attacks the cultist aiming a crossbow at Percy.
Vax rushes upstairs as well. Looking out the window, he sees more cultists trying to hide. He throws Whisper at one of the cultists, teleporting himself over as well. The attack leaves the cultist greatly wounded. Vax stabs him again, killing him.
He throws whisper at another cultist, teleporting over.
Inside the house, Scanlan casts healing word on Sprigg. Sprigg regains consciousness. Scanlan prepares a dimension door spell.
Sprigg uses his ring of telekinesis to use the many books around the house to attack the assailants. He calls for Demetrick, but there is no response.
The attackers fire at Sprigg and Vox Machina, but do little damage. Scanlan, however, takes two crossbow bolts to the back.
Vex looses arrows at the cultists. She fires a brambleshot, restraining one. She looses two more arrows into the cultist.
Keyleth casts firestorm around the house in an attempt to damage any hiding cultists. Vax dodges out of the way, leaving the cultists to burn. Keyleth uses healing word to further revive Sprigg.
Soon after, however, Keyleth realizes the flaw in her plan as the flames burn dangerously close to the house.
Scanlan finishes his dimension door spell. He teleports himself into the forest. He sees two large creatures in the distance.
Pike casts guiding bolt, dealing radiant damage to one of the ghasts.
Suddenly, a large figure bursts through the wall of the house. The structure of the house becomes dangerously weak as the outer walls are destroyed.
The creature attacks Keyleth and Trinket.
Grog smashes his titanstone knuckles together. He grows larger, destorying part of the ceiling in the process. The floor collapses beneath him and he falls on a cultists. The debris from the ceiling hits a ghast, killing it.
Vax teleports over to the large creature. He uses divine smite to destroy it.
As the battle continues, Keyleth takes the form of a fire elemental. She attacks the remaining large figure, who is barely alive.
Vax throws his dagger again, accidentally activating the trapped floorboard. A beholder appears. Pike shouts out that it is merely an illusion as she uses guiding bolt to destroy the creature.
After they kill the last of the assailants, Keyleth uses tidal wave to extinguish the remaining flames. Many of the books around the house have been destroyed in the battle. Vex sifts through the remaining tomes. She finds books on varying subjects, and picks out a few of the books for Percy.
Grog apologizes for destroying Sprigg’s house. Sprigg tells him that the destruction of his home was the gift of redemption. He explains that it was a mental prison for him. Grog pretends that it was intentional.
Vex asks if there is anything of value in the house that he would like them to save. She hints at needing a key. He asks Pike if she will assist him in praying to Ioun for answers. She tells him to take the book that connects him to Ioun, close his eyes, and apologize for the things he said about the goddess.
Sprigg tells the others to turn around while he prays. Trinket watches him intently, but the others turn around.
Sprigg: “I don’t know if you’re listening, Ioun. It’s been many many many years since I’ve actually spoken to a god. I’d like to express my deepest sorrow. You see, this home didn’t mean as much to me as light, and I think these people gave that to me. If you could give me–if you could give us anything, any little hint, it would be greatly appreciated and I would be a warrior in your name forever more. Please.”
He asks Trinket’s approval.
“Was that okay, bear?”
Trinket licks his face.
The only thing Sprigg receives from Ioun is silence and darkness.
Demetrick appears again and laughs at Sprigg for praying. The gnome asks for his assistance, but the imp merely laughs again before flying off.
After Demetrick leaves, they notice that Sprigg has begun to glow blue. They all realize that Sprigg is the key to Ioun.
Sprigg: “House gone. The imp gone. Burny burny. Sad sad. Pray. Nothing happened. Now I’m blue. That’s a day for you, isn’t it?”
He is also vibrating slightly. Vex points out that its similar to the tuning fork. Sprigg announces that he thinks he is a divining rod.
Keyleth worries that Sprigg will simply be used and discarded after his purpose is finished.
Sprigg: “Look at me and just remember. Whatever happens, just remember me. That’s all that’s important. That’s all that we have. My friends are gone and I don’t even remember their names.”
Sprigg begins to cry. He tells Keyleth that he has not been used in 37 years. He hopes that she will remember him unlike him forgetting his friends.
Keyleth: “I guess I have to start getting used to losing things.”
Sprigg takes her hand. He tells her that he has escaped his prison, and she can escape hers too. Keyleth casts planeshift.
A bright light flashes before their eyes, then darkness. They pass through the divine gate. They find themselves adrift. They begin to worry that they somehow missed their destination. Then, another bright light. They find themselves in a small chamber resembling a bathhouse. Glowing lights hang above them. There is a hallway in front of them leading to the only other chamber.
Keyleth turns and is relieved to see Sprigg still holding her hand.
Keyleth: “I’m glad you’re with us, Sprigg.”
Sprigg: “It’s good to be alive.”
Keyleth: “It is.”
Sprigg: “Remember that.”
They walk through the featureless hallway. A darkness consumes the area about sixty feet in front of them. They hear wind flowing through cracks in the building. The hallway opens into a giant library. Shelves of books stretch upward for hundreds of feet. Though glowing lights light the chamber, the shelves extend up into darkness. Spirits of the library shift through pages of books, reading and learning.
Percy: “This is immortality. This is everything. I may never leave.”
He goes over to a stack of books. He looks for titles, but finds none. He picks one up and begins to read. It is written in celestial, and it describes a birth: a tunnel and then light. He turns to the final page. An old man lays in bed, surrounded by his family, dying.
Before he can finish, he picks up another. It starts in a similar fashion. The ending, however, ends in a horseback riding accident. He turns to 115 pages into the book. The book laments over a heartbreak.
He tells the others that the books are the lives of people. He excitedly flips through them. He sifts through the books, trying to decipher a decimal system.
Scanlan looks around for an information desk, clutching his Ioun stone. Percy and Vex follows. Scanlan, in an attempt to harass his friends, plays a wedding march on his flute.
Percy: “He may have heard.”
Percy explains that he said they were betrothed when she was fighting to become Pelor’s champion. He assures her that he was vague. Vex asks Scanlan what Percy said. He responds that Percy said they were betrothed to be married. Percy corrects him, saying that he never said it was “to be married.” Scanlan begins to yell in excitement, and Percy quickly casts cone of silence on the bard.
Across the library, Keyleth hears the wedding march and becomes angry that she and Vax will never have the opportunity to marry.
Grog simply sits in anger and discomfort. Libraries are his least favorite place. Pike leads him over to some chairs.
Sprigg runs around the room, seeing if his glowing becomes more or less intense depending on the direction. He finds Percy, Vex, and Scanlan. Percy turns off the cone of silence when Scanlan agrees to not say anything. Grog and Pike join the group as well.
Vax and Keyleth notice that they’re alone. He guides Keyleth into the labyrinth of shelves. When they reach the rest of the group, Vax and Keyleth confront them about the wedding march. They say that they know that Vex and Percy are engaged. Vex admits that they got married.
Keyleth responds with silent anger. They say that they didn’t want to make a big deal of the marriage. Keyleth storms off.
Percy asks if he is the only one who recognizes the importance of this place.
Percy: “Nothing ever goes away.”
Keyleth: “It just all gets filed away so that one or maybe two people get to experience it ever.”
Percy: “One or two people are all it takes to experience something.”
They hear a voice coming from further up the path.
“Nothing is forever, Percival.”
They see an end to the shelves. There is a circular common area that bows into a pit. Tables and chairs covered in teacups and writing implements stand on the floor, never sliding despite the dip in the floor. Sitting in the center of the dome is an old woman with long silver hair. She has a warm smile and purple eyes.
“I have felt that you would find me.”
To be continued…
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About the Artist: Nick Uroseva (@Nick_Uroseva)
Nick is a professional graphic artist from Youngstown, Ohio. He has a BA in Multimedia Technology. When he isn’t doodling for one thing or another, he spends is his time writing and Dungeon Mastering several D&D games, enjoying craft beer, shooting zombies with Nerf blasters, and tweeting about #CriticalRole.