SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 84 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 83 can be found here.
Vox Machina deals with the aftermath of the final battle with the Chroma Conclave.
Previously on Critical Role
Vox Machina engaged in the final confrontation with Raishan, the final member of the Chroma Conclave. They traveled to the island where Raishan was hiding, and, after defeating the traps and other enemies in a cave, fought her and won. This came at a price, however, as both Scanlan and Percy were killed during the battle. Percy was able to be brought back right away, but Scanlan’s body was taken back to Whitestone. His daughter was notified, and everyone began to prepare a resurrection ritual.
Everyone waits in disbelief at Scanlan’s passing. Pike prepares the materials for the resurrection ritual.
Suddenly, Percy feels the gate stone in his hand begin to warm, and Kaylie, Scanlan’s daughter, appears in front of him. She rushes over to Scanlan, pushing past Grog. She crosses her arms as she reaches her father.
Kaylie: “He made me a promise.”
Pike: “I know.”
Kaylie leans forward and slaps him across the face. She then storms out of the room. Pike chases after her. Eventually, Kaylie stops and turns to face Pike. Pike pleads with her, saying that they need to at least give Scanlan another chance to be the father she’s always wanted. She tells Kaylie that he loves her, despite his absence in her life.
Kaylie: “He’s loved a lot of girls in his day. Of that, I am certain.”
Pike: “That may be true, but not as much as you.”
Kaylie agrees to participate in the ritual, but says it is for her conscience.
Back inside the temple, Grog looks over Scanlan. Scanlan’s body still looks the same to him, though paler and with tattered clothes. Grog reaches out and places a hand on his chest. He’s cold.
About ten minutes after Pike and Vax finish preparing the temple for the ritual, Kaylie returns. The smell of alcohol coming from her is strong. As she walks in, Grog points out to her how much she looks like Scanlan. Kaylie breaks the sentimental moment by giving him a firm tap in the groin.
Pike gathers everyone around Scanlan. She places a diamond over Scanlan’s chest and begins chanting. The ritual has begun. Grog is the first to contribute to the ritual.
He steps closer to Scanlan and removes his titanstone knuckles and his belt of dwarvenkind. He wraps the belt around the knuckles and places them next to Scanlan.
Grog speaks to Scanlan, saying that he has helped Grog to realize that his true strength is not physical, but rather the strength he gets from his friends. The knuckles and the belt are mere trinkets, he says, compared to what Scanlan has done for him.
Grog: “While my best buddy Pike taught me to love, you taught me to laugh. I don’t want to know what life is like without that.”
Pike is the next one to contribute to the ritual.
She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a doll. She explains that this doll of Scanlan was given to her and it saved her life. Scanlan put healing words into the doll, which brought her back from the brink of death. She places the doll next to him and recites an original poem about Scanlan.
Pike: “… You see, I love this gnome very much/He’s small like me, but he’s touched/He’s raided and slain/He’s pooped while he’s sang/But if he’s gone forever, I won’t be the same…”
Kaylie is the last to contribute to the ritual. She flips up to the alter. She lands but wobbles a bit, still drunk. Vax gently takes her wrist, stopping her from continuing.
Vax: “It’s no small thing to have a father that loves you.”
He casts lay on hands, instantly sobering her. A few tears roll down her cheek. She finally lets her guard down for a moment. She nods at Vax without looking at him, and begins to play the fiddle. She plays a lively tune and begins to dance. Although it is still a very sad occasion, everyone begins to smile as Kaylie continues with her piece. She ends with a flourish on a giant crescendo. The final contribute is complete.
Divine energy flows around the room. It shoots into the diamond on Scanlan’s chest, shattering it. Several moments pass. Then, a smile crawls across Scanlan’s face, and he takes in a breath.
Kaylie: “Wipe that smile off your face. We’re going to have another talk.”
She slaps him again and stumbles out of the room.
Everyone else examines Scanlan. He’s alive again, though still unconscious. He has also wet himself a second time.
Kima, who was waiting outside with Allura, pokes her head in the door. She nervously asks about Scanlan’s fate. When they tell her he’ll be fine, she lets out a sigh of relief.
Allura tells them that they are going to soon head to Emon to help rebuild. Keyleth says that they are all tired from the recent events and they should rest before leaving. Kima says that the important thing is getting a council presence back into Emon to help put things back into order. She and Kima leave and head back towards the castle.
Grog and Pike take Scanlan to his room in the castle. Percy tells them that he’ll make sure someone cleans him up and puts his things away.
Back at the tavern in Kymal, Eskil and Vex sit at a table. He asks why they came to Kymal, and she avoids the questions. Vex is still exhausted from the days events, and Eskil tells her about the arrangement for that night. He insists to her that she not try to make any moves on him since his heyday was long, long ago. Vex sarcastically tells him that he better get to bed before she jumps him.
After he leaves, Vex gets up and goes over to sit with Dr. Dranzel, Scanlan’s old mentor.
He sits in the back corner, dozing off. One hand is on a tankard, and the other is below the table. Vex glances under the table and sees a crossbow pointed in her direction. Dranzel and Vex both laugh at this. He reminds her that his corner is his.
She asks him if he overheard her conversation with Kaylie. He confirms that he has.
Dranzel: “When you lose enough people, you learn to just move on.”
Vex points out that Scanlan is special. He agrees, and they toast to Scanlan.
They continue their conversation before Vex announces that she is going to head off to bed. She firmly tells Dranzel not to follow her to her room and winks. Dranzel is confused by the mixed signals.
She waits up in her room for any word on Scanlan.
In Whitestone, Vax and Keyleth talk to Kerrek. First, Vax asks him for his ring back, which Kerrek obliges. Then, Keyleth warmly thanks him for helping them defeat Raishan. He says it was his pleasure to help them. He says that he must meet back up with his people in Emon. Keyleth hugs him tightly and says goodnight.
Pike stays with Scanlan for the night. Grog stands guard outside his room.
Keyleth goes to find Allura. She finds Allura getting ready for bed. Keyleth requests that she send a message spell to Vex to tell her that Scanlan was brought back. She sends the spell.
Kerrek finds a bottle of liquor and searches for Grog. When he finds him, he offers Grog some of the drink. Grog, thinking himself a connoisseur of sorts, taste it. He detects notes of alcohol and informs Kerrek that it is the finest in the land.
They chat for a while, and slowly Kerrek begins to lead the conversation towards the topic of resurrection. He asks Grog if they’ve done that before. Grog confirms that they have. Grog asks Kerrek in return if he’s known anyone who has been brought back. Kerrek replies that he has not seen it done successfully, but he knows people who are interested in that area of magic.
Grog is surprised by this and asks if bringing people back is rare. Kerrek tells him that his experiences with resurrection before this have been with theory and legends, but that he never knew how practical the ritual would be. When Kerrek begins to quiz Grog on the finer aspects of resurrection, Grog begins to get confused.
Kerrek backs off and focuses on sharing the drink with Grog.
Pike pokes her head out of the door.
Pike: “What are you drinking and why haven’t you given some to me?”
Kerrek: “This is why the gods gave us two hands. I will bring back more bottles.”
Grog: “Is that why the gods gave us two hands?!”
Grog is stunned by this religious realization. Percy comes around the corner and Grog excitedly tells him what he learned about having two hands. They all chat for a minute and head into Scanlan’s room.
Pike asks what the two were discussing, and Kerrek quickly says their conversation was regarding the brackish notes of the alcohol. Grog confirms that there were “notes of brack.”
Grog also tells Pike that she’s really special. When she questions why, he tells her that Kerrek said that resurrections don’t always work. She confirmed this and then asked why Kerrek was so interested in resurrection. He claims that his inquiry was his curiosity from having witnessed such an amazing event. He then asks out loud to no one in particular if he is still wearing his armor, and then begins to take it off in the room.
Kerrek: “You know what I’ve forgotten after all these years? The sweat gathers in your ass.”
Abruptly changing the subject, Percy announces that he doesn’t feel as though his life is his own anymore. He continues to say that the fact that they cannot even rest in death proves that they are no longer in control of what happens to them.
Percy: “My life is all of yours. My life is my sister’s. My life is this castle’s.”
He goes on to continue that he misses people, and he doesn’t understand why they get to choose. He toasts to “the unyielding unfairness of the universe.”
They begin to scheme and think of pranks to pull on Scanlan while he is comatose. Percy asks Pike to fetch one of her nightgowns and pudding from the kitchen. They put him in the nightgown and smear the pudding around the room and on Scanlan himself. As they finish, Kerrek suggests that they tie his arms to the bedposts. Percy gently ties Scanlan’s wrists to the bedpost with scarves. Kerrek instructs Percy on proper technique.
In Kymal, Vex recieves Allura’s message. She excitedly tells Trinket and runs downstairs to the bar, screaming about how Scanlan is alive. There are only a few people left in the bar, so she buys the bartender a drink in celebration. She also asks that he pour Trinket a bowl of ale.
Vax doesn’t leave the temple during the night. He slowly takes off his armor and strips off the rest of his clothing and lays it down by the alter along with everything else on his person. He sits, staring at his possessions, wondering what the future will bring.
The next day, Vex returns, asking to see Scanlan. They tell her that he is still unconscious, but will likely wake up soon.
She then tells the party that she and Eskil had a wild night. Despite his advanced age, she lies, he was able to keep up with her. Shortly after, he comes shuffling in and grows confused by everyone’s amuesment to him before shuffling up to his room.
Vox Machina begins to discuss how to kill time while Scanlan is in a coma. Then Kerrek, very hungover, walks in. They continue the conversation before Vex notices that Vax is still absent. Pike tells her that he may have stayed overnight in the temple. Vex leaves, shouting “where is my brother?” through the castle.
Vax meditates throughout the night. As the night turns into day, his thoughts begin to fill with anxiety. He can see no further plan, but he also knows that if The Raven Queen would not let Scanlan die, something just as large or larger than The Chroma Conclave may be coming.
The doors burst open. Vex stands in the doorway and tells Trinket to wait outside. Vax adds to Trinket that he is naked.
Vex, also heeding the warning, covers her eyes and wanders into the temple. She calls out to him and then turns around so she can open her eyes. Vax gives her a hug from behind, still naked. Vex yells out that it’s creepy and to get off before asking why he was sleeping in the temple.
Vax lets go of his sister and tells her about the ritual. He begins to get dressed. He changes the subject to their newfound freedom. The Chroma Conclave, he reminds her, have been slain. They can now do what they please. She says that she has a keep and money and land, and could probably do what she pleases. Vax then admits that he’s thinking he may go back with Keyleth. Vex is surprised and saddened by this. She reminds him that there’s still time and no one knows what will happen.
She offers to come with him and Keyleth. Vax responds that he will never turn her away, but that her home is in Whitestone. Vex tells him that this is a time for celebration, not sorrow. They hug each other tightly. Vex helps Vax put his armor and clothes back on before they leave the temple. They rejoin everyone else.
Kima and Allura tell everyone to gather everything they need. They also point out that they must leave Scanlan behind. Kerrek says to tell the nurses to change the knots occasionally.
Kaylie comes around the corner laughing. She tells them that she has just been to Scanlan’s room and found the prank hilarious. She also says she’ll stay behind with him. She wants to be there when he wakes up.
Allura teleports everyone just outside the Cloudtop District.
The fire has begun to clear up and the town has come together to start anew.
A voice shouts out for Kerrek. Samantha runs up to him and punches him in the face. She begins to frantically question where he’s been and what he’s been doing while he stands bewildered. Vex quickly interjects that Kerrek is a hero. The others begin to agree with her and tell her how Kerrek slayed Raishan, the final dragon in the Chroma Conclave.
Samantha: “I just punched a badass.”
She says that she is glad to see Kerrek back in action. She grows more somber and says that they have collected the bodies and are ready to leave on his command. She tells him where to find his team and leaves.
Kerrek says goodbye to the group.
Kerrek: “I can’t thank you all enough. And I need you all to look after each other because I will not be here to do it.”
He stands there for a second and turns to walk away. Keyleth calls after him.
Keyleth: “Vox Machina was better to have you.”
They tell each other that the other knows where they are, and Kerrek leaves.
The party begins to discuss their next action. They agree that they’re all tired, and that a simple task may be best for now. They decide that if they can, they will go to Vasselheim to bury Cenokir’s wife’s ashes.
Vex asks around the city, and finds that half of the armies stayed to help put everything back in order. The Clasp has also been escorting refugees back home. No one has heard from the council that was in Emon at the time of the attacks. Vax advises that The Clasp is in a good position to take over the city. Allura adds that there is technically a structure in place, but they quickly need to put into place a new structure and reinforce it.
She says that they have rebuilding Emon under control and if they need to leave they can. Before they leave, Vex asks Allura to detect magic on the box. She says that there is a magical aura, but it is very faint.
Keyleth quickly reminds Vax and Vex that they need to get their boots back from Kima. She reluctantly gives them back.
She sincerely thanks Vox Machina for their service to Emon and the world. She also thanks them for letting her come along with them. As she walks away, she tells them to tell Vord that they haven’t seen her if he asks. Grog points out that this is a lie. Kima assures him it is not, and just to tell him. Grog is confused.
Keyleth asks around the city about the Ashari. A guard tells them that they chased off the remaining wyvern riders. Keyleth leaves a message for them saying Vox Machina lives.
They head to Greyskull Keep. It’s empty, but still neglected and ransacked. They decide to lend it to the council to temporarily house refugees. Vex runs off to tell Allura of their plan.
Grog finds a small barrel of black powder. He pours some out into his hand. Vax sneaks down to watch him. Grog quickly grows bored and leaves, running into Vax. He lies to the half-elf and claims he stopped a robbery from a man covered in black soot. Vax pretends to believe him.
Vax quickly changes the subject to a more serious tone. He says that Grog saved Scanlan.
Vax: “Don’t hurt me. I love you. Thank you.”
Vax then slaps Grog as hard as he can and quickly maneuvers away from him.
They plan their trip to Vasselheim. Pike asserts that she feels there is more to this task than meets the eye. She is suspicious of Cenokir’s motives. They realize that they are all bitter from their various dangerous journeys.
Vax examines the box for traps and finds none. However, he does find four locks. Vax says he still thinks it’s simply ashes. Grog and Pike shake the box. It sounds like ashes inside a box. Vax doesn’t feel anything fiendish or undead in the box. Pike is still against it, but they agree to carry out the mission anyway.
Keyleth uses transport via plants to bring them to The Abundant Terrance. It is Melora’s part of Vasselheim. Their instructions are to bury it beneath the Birthheart.
They begin to further question the mission, wondering if it is even okay to bury their dead in The Abundant Terrance. They stop a random person walking by. The party asks if they know of the Birthheart or if they have heard of Cenokir’s wife. They seem startled by Vox Machina’s sudden interrogation. However, they answer them anyway. They are directed to the Birthheart, but no one has heard of Zophine.
They go into the forest. Vex searches for tombstones, but finds none. Vax also searches but comes to the same conclusion as his sister.
Finally, they come across the Birthheart. It is mind-blowingly beautiful. Melora’s followers gather around tables and chairs. Keyleth goes up to one of the women.
Vox Machina introduces themselves to the woman. She tells them that her name is Lamor, and she is one of the followers of Melora who tends to the Birthheart. Keyleth asks if they are able to bury ashes here. She confirms that they will be able to, but they will need a witness (she volunteers to be their witness) and the box will be removed if it ends up being harmful somehow. Vox Machina readily agrees to both of these terms.
She leads them off of the path into a field of wildflowers where the trees are less dense. Vex begins to dig a hole and thanks Melora for her support in the battle against Raishan. Pike and Vax also pray. Vax prays to the Raven Queen, and Pike prays to Melora, apologizing for anything sacrilegious they might accidentally do.
When Vex is done digging, Pike places the box in the ground. They cover it back up with dirt. Keyleth uses stoneshape to create a stone gravemarker from the rock in the ground. She magically transforms it into a wedding ring with a firebrand marking the place where Zophine was buried.
Keyleth asks to take a few flowers to press before leaving. Lamor agrees.
As they walk back, they ask Lamor if they can go up into the Birthheart. She says that it is an area not typically open to the public, but they were welcome to speak with the priests of Melora. Keyleth also adds that they have a staff of Melora, and pulls out her spire of conflux. Lamor is amazed and lightly touches the staff. She explains that it is one of the great artifacts of Melora. She tells Keyleth that it would be a great service to the followers of Melora if she were to leave it there with the priestesses.
Keyleth becomes immediately nervous. She has no interest in giving up her vestige, but she also understands the connection the followers of Melora have with the staff. Keyleth anxiously asks if the staff’s best place is on the field of battle rather than kept away. She stumbles over her words and Vex clarifies for her.
Lamor says that this would be Keyleth’s choice. Percy suggests that there may be a time in the future when the staff can be returned to Melora’s followers. Keyleth begins to nervously ramble again. Lamor gently shushes her. She tells Keyleth that if it is still needed to protect the world, then she should keep. But, she adds, if there comes a time when the staff could be retired, she asks that it be returned to the Birthheart. Keyleth promises that she will.
Keyleth asks if there’s a way she can thank Melora. Lamor ponders for a moment and responds that if Keyleth was still in possession of the staff and using it to spread Melora’s love, she is likely in the goddess’s favor.
Lamor: “There is great wisdom in that staff as there is great wisdom in you.”
They quickly leave the Birthheart and head back towards the town.
They talk about things they need to do while they remain in Vasselheim. Pike mentions visiting Sarenrae’s temple and other mention running various errands. Vax mentions that Grog seems like he may need to blow off some steam and suggests bringing Pike to The Crucible. Grog becomes excited, but Pike does not know what it is. They explained to her that it is pit fighting, and she immediately agrees. Grog also mentions that he wants to go to the Temple of Kord. The party agrees to go here first.
They travel from the Birthheart to the Braving Grounds. Grog and Pike enter. There are no sentries or worshipers as there were last time. They head further into the temple.
They come across a pit. Earthbreaker Groon faces away from them in the center of the pit.
Groon speaks to Grog.
Groon: “You have took my words and you found your strength. What have you learned?”
Grog: “That without my friends and love, my strength would be nothing.”
Groon: “Then show me what you have learned. Show me what you possess. Show me your worth under the watch of Kord, half giant. Show me.”
He turns around, slamming his fists down, creating clouds of dust in the temple. He lifts a hand, and beckons Grog over to him.
To be continued…
Episode 85 – “A Bard’s Lament”
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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.