SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 106 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 105 can be found here.
Vox Machina continues petitioning to the gods for help in the fight against Vecna. This time to the Knowing Mistress, Ioun.
Previously on Critical Role
Fresh in the wake of their communion with the god Pelor, the Dawn Father, Vox Machina sought the key to visiting Ioun. They found it in the gnome hermit, Sprigg the Obnoxious. After an altercation with Vecna’s assassins, the party used Sprigg to planeshift to The Endless Antheneeum, the realm of Ioun.
They look into the circular common area to see Ioun. Sitting at a table is an old, olive-skinned woman with purple eyes. She smiles at them and beckons them forward.
Sprigg calls out to her.
Sprigg: “Let me ask you a question–and I didn’t phrase that as a question because I know how gods work and that would have been my question, and then I might as well have talked to a turnip, which I’ve done. Found it pleasant. That being said, this is my question: why did you choose me to be your key? I’m nothing. I’m a coward. Why would you ever choose me?”
The tendrils of parchment move to reveal small pathways leading to the goddess. She responds to Sprigg’s question.
Ioun: “The purpose in choosing you, Sprigg, was, as with all the other keys I’ve chosen before you, an unlikely choice. You were at odds with many of my outlooks. But I saw within you still the seed of a seeker of knowledge. So, in that balance, I found the proper vessel. Someone who at once would not be the choice that I make to hide my key, but a person not within the realm of redemption in the domain that I look over.”
She invites them to sit and asks them to explain what they are there to discuss.
Scanlan explains the situation with Vecna. Ioun admits that she knows of this threat. She adds that he is in direct opposition to her domains, but he has precautions against her still.
To give her full gifts, she must choose an champion among their ranks. She warns that she does not give her gifts lightly. She considers each of the party not beholden to another god, starting with Grog. She apologizes for his discomfort in her domain. She focuses on Keyleth, saying that she seeks knowledge, but is not the right choice. She moves to Percy. She notes his thirst for knowledge, but she points out that his want for secrecy is in opposition to her ideals.
Finally, Scanlan. She starts by examining his facade as a buffoon. She deconstructs it and sees Scanlan for what he is: a storyteller. As the keeper of stories, she chooses him to take on the task of the champion.
Scanlan: “Not to question your infinite knowledge and judgement, but my stories are more of little barroom tales and silly poems to pass the time. I would hardly call them epic histories of civilization.”
Ioun: “For now, perhaps.”
Ioun points out that his silly tales and poems have inspired his companions to overcome great obstacles. Scanlan agrees to trust her judgement.
She gives him her task. She tells him that, within the library, is the book that contains the incantation of isolation, which will help them in their quest to stop Vecna. She explains that he has one hour to find it. His friends can help in his task, but he must find the right book and present it to her.
When she starts counting the hour, she disappears.
Vex casts locate object, but does not sense anything. She then begins to pray to the Dawnfather to help them in their task.
As she prays, the others try to figure out a filing system. Scanlan speaks to one of the spectral librarians. It doesn’t respond.
They walk through the labyrinth of shelves. The books surrounding them all contain names, indicating that they are similar to the books Percy found earlier. Above them, they notice shelves moving and rearranging. Vax flies up to them.
When he reaches the top of the shelves, he sees another library upside down on the ceiling. Spectral librarians sort through these books as well. Scanlan wonders if the separation is pre and post-divergence.
Vex offers to fly him up on her broom. He clutches his Ioun stone and inspires himself, hoping to find the correct book. When they reach the inverted library, they see about 10 spectral figures stop and stare at him. However, when they land, the spirits all go back to work. Scanlan asks for the book they seek, but, again, there is no response.
The others suggest that he sing his request and pull out Mythcarver. He does so. This time, it catches their attention. The spirits begin to move through the hallways of shelves. Keyleth suggests singing the history of the Calamity. As he does so, the spirits quicken their pace towards the tome. He realizes that there is a connection with the pace of his musical story and the spirits leading him. More and more librarians join them.
After about 30 minutes, he begins to feel the pulse in the Ioun stone. He recites a poem as they rush faster and faster towards the tome. After another 10 minutes, they see a grey metal bookcase. All of the librarians are circled around it. Locks cover it.
Vex begins to pick the locks. She finally gets to the one in the center. She breaks her lockpick, but manages to open the door in the process. She sees 25 different ancient tomes in many colors. They can read some of the titles, but not all. One has no title. Vex begins shoving them all into the bag of colding. Vex’s locate object spell pings on the book with no title.
Scanlan flips through the book. The pages are blank. He tries singing to it and casting spells into it to no avail.
Finally, he casts dominate monster, a spell powerful enough to reveal the book’s secrets.
They rush back to the others.
Text appears on the page in common. The script on the cover says Tome of Isolation. Vex flys down to the bowl where they met Ioun, and wait to present her with the book. The wind picks up, and Ioun appears in the center of the dome.
Scanlan presents her with the tome. She asks if its his final choice, and he responds that it is. She accepts it and examines the book.
Ioun: “This will do you well in the coming fray.”
A third eye opens in the center of her forehead. Scanlan feels a warmth spread over him. There is a purple glow on his forehead in the same place as Ioun’s third eye. The glow fades and he gains the blessing of the knowing interest.
Vex pulls out her pearl from Pelor and asks how to make a prime trammel. Ioun tells the party that they need a divine fragment: a piece of the gods themselves. It will weaken them, but for a great purpose. The original trammels were made on the core anvil. The weaker Vecna is, the easier it will be to apply the trammels and the fewer they will need.
She also tells them where to find the core anvil. She tells them it is in a volcano called Scaldseat at the bottom of the ocean.
Her third eye looks at Keyleth, and she sees the location to where they need to travel: a fishing village called Shorecomb. Ioun warns that the fumes from the volcano are toxic. She looks towards Grog and mentions that the strength to forge the trammels requires a titan. Her third eye looks to Grog, and suddenly his mind is filled with centuries of blacksmithing knowledge.
She says that the design of the trammel requires the work of a madman. She turns towards Percy and his mind is filled divine blueprints. He falls to his knees in pain as he gets a searing headache. Ioun tells him that the knowledge will only be there as long as required to make the trammels.
Ioun tells them all that they have choice in their next actions.
Ioun: “We need you, perhaps, but you do not need us. That is our gift. You, fate-touched, you are the embodiment of this truth.”
Vax asks about Vecna’s history. She explains that he rose to power once before. He used the Celestial Solstice to rise to power. This was discovered and reverse engineered. Under the Dawnfather, a champion led The Beacon of Arms to Thar Amphala to defeating Vecna. Vecna defeated the champion, and he was slain by his own lieutenant, Kas, who betrayed him in the final moments of battle. All that remained of the three were Vecna’s eye, his hand, and the sword, though none were ever recovered. The Sword of Kas was last seen in Thar Amphala at the scene of the battle.
The party immediately realizes that they have one of the three: the eye.
Vax asks if anything from The Raven Queen’s ascension would help them with the coming conflict.
She pauses for a moment. Rather than answer, she sadly informs them that Vecna’s ascension has been completed. She warns them again that there is no time to waste. She shows them a wound on her avatar, made of infinite nothing.
She turns to Scanlan. Reaching into her robe, she gives him a small stone. There is a terrible crack throughout the library. Books fall all around.
Ioun: “I can spare no more.”
Sprigg offers her the piece of Ioun inside him to help heal her. She smiles and asks if he would like to be her steward instead. Sprigg accepts, though he admits that he only just started to believe in the goddess.
Under the guise of Keyleth wanting to know, Sprigg asks about Demetrick. Ioun assures him that he is fine.
Sprigg takes a moment to say goodbye to the party. He says goodbye to each party member individually, leaving them each with an iota of wisdom. He ends with Keyleth, saying that she is hardest to say goodbye to.
Right before they teleport out, Vex suddenly remembers the books stuffed in her bag. The spectral librarians escort the books back to their place. Before they leave, Ioun tells Scanlan to not forget that he’s important.
Keyleth asks Vax if this is what it’s going to be like when he leaves. He says that he doesn’t know.
They planeshift back to Sprigg’s cabin.
Their feet touch the ground at their intended destination. Percy walks back into the burnt building. He kills the undead he captured earlier and takes back his bindings.
Keyleth searches the building for a memento by which to remember Sprigg. She takes a dead potted plant to regrow later.
The twins move away from the rest of the group. Vex apologizes for not telling him about her marriage, but Vax says he’s very happy for her. Vex says that the marriage was spontaneous, and it never seemed like the right time to say anything. Vax admits that he had always imagined himself standing at her side during her wedding. Still, he says he has no time left to be upset.
He asks his sister to keep Keyleth company.
Vex: “If she ever talks to me again, I swear I will.”
Across the yard, Keyleth asks Percy if he thinks any gods will want them as champions. Percy says he doesn’t think that they will, but he also assures her that he isn’t worried about it. Keyleth confides in him that Ioun’s speech about balance helped her come to terms with her own non-belief. She also compliments Percy on Ioun’s comment about him.
Keyleth: “A god called you a madman.”
Percy: “Honestly, I’m a little touched.”
Percy also reveals why he kept the secret of his marriage. He tells her that so little of what they have is personal that he just wanted to hold onto it for a bit longer. Then, after Vex’s champion task, he was simply afraid of his new wife’s reaction.
Grog asks Scanlan to see the small stone from Ioun. He sniffs it. It smells like old books. Grog tells Scanlan to swallow it. He pretends to swallow it while teleporting it into the pocket dimension. The others immediately see what Scanlan did, but Grog panics, thinking Scanlan really swallowed the essence stone.
Grog: “I mean, I hope I know what you’re doing.”
Grog holds the gnome up to his ear to listen to his stomach. He listens for the essence stone. Hearing regular stomach noises, he worries that it’s beginning to grow.
As he sets Scanlan down, they all notice a figure in the doorway of the remains of the cabin. They turn around and see Vecna.
Vex looses an arrow at him. It passes through the illusion.
He congratulates them on finding him and killing Delilah. He points out, however, that they still failed. He also tells them that there will never be peace, but, with him, there will be a second life.
Vecna: “I can see your every move. I know your plot. I know your destination. I know you plan, your capabilities, you allies, and your imminent demise, should you continue. I offer you the chance to stand down.”
Grog laughs at this and accuses Vecna of being scared. They sling a few more insults before teleporting to Vasselheim.
They find the city in chaos. They stop a man running by who says there is an incoming attack.
As they run through the city, Scanlan casts seeming on Grog to make him appear like an aasimar. They head for the Temple of the Raven Queen.
When they reach the temple, they enter into the central communion chamber. They see a pool of scarlet liquid. Vax tells the others that he cannot be disturbed. He disappears into the pool.
As Vax descends into darkness, he hears the Raven Queen’s voice around him. He explains that Vecna has ascended. He asks for a stone of her essence for a trammel. She is suspicious of this request, asking if it is a ploy to weaken her. After some convincing, she agrees.
Raven Queen: “I put my faith in you, fate-touched… All I ask if that you put all your faith in me.”
Vax finds himself back in the pool of blood. He realizes that he no longer needs to breathe under the surface. He emerges carrying a small onyx stone.
Scanlan: “This has been the craziest 48 hours of my life.”
Keyleth kisses Vax despite the blood. The others express their disgust.
They discuss their next plan of action. They decide to see Kord next.
Scanlan creates the magical mansion. Vex, Scanlan, and Grog go to see Earthbreaker Groon while the others head to the spa.
As they walk, Vex wonders to Scanlan if the sword in Cravenedge is the Sword of Kas.
They reach the temple. A monk greets them, not recognizing Grog. Scanlan drops his illusion. They go inside to seek out Groon.
When they reach the sand pit, Grog jumps in. He tells Groon that they have urgent business and must speak with Kord. Vex asks Groon if he knows of any divine tuning forks. Groon insists that communication with Kord is reserved for the most pious and religious of his followers. Vex urges him to find another way, citing the lack of time.
He tells them that Kord is not the sort of god who will respond to words and platitudes. He promises that he will do what he can, but he cannot promise Kord’s communication. He also mentions that Kord resides in Ysgard.
Grog asks Groon for a bean. Groon, looking up for the first time, nods to one of the monks. The monk leaves and comes back with a satchel of beans. Grog is proud that he got so many more “beans” than the other party members.
Before they leave, Vex warns that Vecna will bring undead in the attack.
Groon: “That’s okay. We’ll bring the storm.”
They head back to the mansion, all disguised as assimar.
In the sky, they see wyverns. Vex notices they have are dressed in silver and blue barding, signifying reinforcements.
When they reach the mansion, Grog proudly shows the others his beans.
He notices four rotten in the bunch. He puts them on his knuckles and squishes them. He prays to Kord to bless his gauntlets. Nothing happens. He throws the beans behind him and announces that he has been blessed.
He discusses Kord tattoo ideas with Pike. They decide on Kord’s sigil despite Vex’s suggestion of beans.
They discuss what to do next. They realize very quickly that they cannot fail and they must make the trammels quickly. They discuss where to get the required platinum. They also decide to check on their Allura, Kima, Gilmore, and the rest of their friends.
Keyleth steps out and scrys on Allura. She sees her writing at a desk. Kima walks in and brings her tea.
They decide to interrogate Delilah out of the bag of holding. As they set her up, Keyleth scrys on Shorecomb. She finds a tree to which they can travel.
Pike casts speak with dead on Delilah’s corpse. They are unable to recall her soul.
Keyleth, guessing that she may have been resurrected, scrys on Delilah. She sees Delilah (with both eyes) in Thar Amphala. She looks over her shoulder beyond what Keyleth can see with her scry. She notes that “it” is almost ready.
Vecna: “Like what you see?”
Keyleth’s scry is interrupted.
Vecna: “Don’t worry. All shall be revealed soon enough.”
They realize that they have to get the platinum and get to the forge as soon as possible. They wonder how they will get past the toxic fumes.
Before bed, Scanlan tests out his true polymorph ability. He transforms into a planetar, the creatures he saw at Pelor’s fortress.
They all go to sleep, regaining their abilities and spells during the night.
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.