SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 98 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Our recap of Episode 97 can be found here.
Vox Machina seeks and audience with “The Many” to make a deal that might save the Darrington estate.
Previously on Critical Role
After the departure of the Trickfoots, Vox Machina headed back to Whitestone to rest before their next adventure. However, shortly after arriving, they discovered that Tary was missing. After some magical intervention, they found Tary and his kidnapper, who then admitted she was hired by Tary’s father to bring him home. The party decided to meet Tary’s family and demand an explanation. When they arrived, Tary’s father admitted that, despite what Tary had been lead to believe, the family is very poor and in massive debt. Their only way out is for Tary to marry Lydia, a daughter of another powerful family who has agreed to pay off the debt after their marriage. Vox Machina, not wanting Tary to be married against his will, began to search for another option.
Taryon departs from the others to find his sister, Maryanne.
When he enters her room, he notices that it is now in a motif similar to their father’s study. She notices him and greets him.
Tary begins to question her about the arranged marriage. She assures him that Lydia isn’t horrible and is also bookish, similar to him. However, she skirts the issue when Tary asks if the marriage would be a long-term solution to their family’s woes, saying only that she would not repeat the mistakes of their father.
Before he leaves the room, she lets out one final plea. She asks that he consider the family when making the decision. She pulls him into an awkward hug before he leaves.
When Tary regroups with the rest of Vox Machina, they express their displeasure with the current situation. Though Tary’s family is not as rage-filled and hateful as he described them, they are cold and distant about a distressing situation. It is also pointed out that they have not asked about Tary’s wellbeing or adventures. Vex advises Tary that he should do what he can without sacrificing himself for his family.
Tary considers the short-term and long-term problems. They agree that the huge debt does not have to be handled in full immediately, but they need time to consider their options. They decide to meet the conglomerate to which the Darringtons owe a huge debt as well as Lydia, Tary’s potential bride.
As they depart for The Grumpy Lily, they run into Tary’s mother, Maria, who greets them warmly. Tary asks her if she has been happy since his absence. She says that she has been ill, but she has used her time to read through the books in his room. She asks Vox Machina to excuse her and her son for a moment.
She tells Tary that she has found joy in his escape and has been doing her duties as a wife and mother in his absence. Tary wonders what kind of person she would be if she never married Howart. Maria responds that, because of Tary and Maryanne, she wouldn’t change any of her decisions. Tary sadly reminds her that things have to change if they are going to regain normalcy. Maria agrees, but reminds her son that he needs to keep his best interests in mind.
She tells him of one more books she read before Tary leaves for The Grumpy Lily.
When they arrive, they see that the tavern is much smaller than anticipated. Grog’s head scrapes the ceiling when they walk in. Keyleth confuses the bartender by asking for a Shiraz. She clarifies, asking instead for a red wine. The twins look around the tavern, but can find nothing other than old crumbs and rats.
An older bartender brings their drinks. Vex asks him to tell The Many that they have visitors. He pauses for a moment before walking away.
The other bartender asks them what they had requested. Vex reiterates that they wish to speak with the many. Vax writes a message in thieve’s cant to the bartender. She reluctantly leads them through the back of the bar. Eventually, they pass a locked door and get to a staircase. The bartender leads them down.
Before they get to the bottom, Keyleth takes ten minutes to inspire the party before they enter. The guard at the bottom of the stairs gets increasingly annoyed the longer he has to wait.
Eventually, they arrive at another bar. This one is much more active than the false bar upstairs. Again, Keyleth asks for a Shiraz, and this time the bar is able to accommodate her.
Around them are people playing cards and hooded elves and half elves.
When the bartender brings Keyleth her Shiraz, he takes everyone’s order. Taryon asks for one for himself and one for Korshad. He pays special attention to the direction the bartender looks when Korshad’s name is mentioned.
Vax asks the musicians in the room if they have come across Dr. Dranzel. They have not.
The bartender brings a fancy drink over to a man dressed in silks with many rings and tattoos. Vex watches him. In return, he salutes her.
The party is brought the rest of their drinks. Pike is handed two mugs that appear to be filled with syrup. She is warned about not drinking them too fast. She makes no promises.
Grog heads over to a female goliath musician.
Vex continues to watch Korshad. He notices this and covers his mouth so she cannot read his lips. In response, all of Vox Machina covers their mouths.
As Vax looks around the room, he sees 12 people with crossbows above them. He warns the others against taking sudden movements.
As he approaches the goliath woman, he notices she is well-kept, particularly her boots and her hair. As she plays, Grog blurts out a compliment about her musical prowess.
Pike advises him to compliment her boots. Grog mishears.
She abruptly stops playing, and Grog walks away, dejected. Vax notices however, that she grins before resuming her playing.
After another 20 minutes, they have made no progress with Korshad nor has he left. Vex begins to question the bartender about him. The bartender reveals that he usually sticks around a while, though he says his company varies. Vex asks the bartender to inform Korshad that Taryon would like to speak to him.
The bartender nervously approaches Korshad and explains the situation. Korshad looks over at the party and gets up from his table, slowly making his way over. Vax notices that the twelve people above them are closely watching this exchange. Korshad sits down at their table.
Vex introduces herself and the rest of the party. She explains that she knows about the debt and was hoping they could come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Korshad reveals that he knows who they are, and he asks them to give further explanation of a potential offer. He explains that any services must be the equivalent of 230,000 gold, which is what the Darringtons owe. He explains that the Darringtons have six months to pay the debts, though they will not be in any danger if they transfer ownership peacefully.
Percy makes an offer to Korshad. He offers a favor from Vox Machina and the farmlands if the Darringtons are able to keep their estate and enough income to keep living comfortably. Korshad, however, is not ready to accept this deal due to the uncertainty of the definition of “comfortable.” Tary asks for the estate and all residential properties, but Korshad quickly shoots this down.
Korshad offers their estate (including personal property) and a small amount of gold, saying that they could pursue income other than land barony to rebuild their fortune, and complete erasure of their debt. This would be in exchange for their farmlands and residential lots and a favor from Vox Machina.
Tary asks about the favor. Korshad explains that the mines The Many owns have been subject to frequent erosion, costing money. They have come to find out that this is due to an ancient being living within the mines. They agree to take the job, but add that they will need some operating fees and the Darrington name should stay strong through this process. Korshad smirks and responds that fees will be taken from the Darrington estate and that The Many has no interest in the Darrington name, as the family has already ruined it themselves.
As they leave the bar, Grog yells over the music to ask for the goliath’s name. She tells him it is Camilla.
They travel 120 miles to the platinum mines of Harethis. They decide to fly, and then camp to regain lost spells. Tary knows that the name is for a fallen hero, and the mines are controlled by the Myriad.
Before they leave, they discuss hiring K’ryyn to find Scanlan for them. Vax firmly argues against this, citing that Scanlan does not want to see him and K’ryyn’s methods are less than orthodox.
Vex realizes that she has the other gatestone and can see Scanlan whenever she wants.
Eventually, they decide to keep her favor open. They find K’ryyn, and she tells them where they can find her when they need their favor.
They wind walk to the location. When they arrive, they see two tower, and two more that have fallen into a sinkhole. Vax circles the ravine in his gaseous form. He sees broken carts and corpses.
Vex casts pass without a trace before they go back to cast speak with dead to find out more about the area. Pike and Vex fly over in their gaseous forms. When they transform back, Vex gets on her broom and prepares to grab Pike should she fall.
Pike begins to speak with one of the corpses. It explains that skittering beasts with pincers devoured them. It then adds that these beasts were awakened by the “smaller one.” It compares the beast to a baby, explaining that its anger shook the walls.
They return to the party and explain what they discovered. They realize that the “skittering beasts” were likely ankhegs.
Keyleth communes with nature to discern more information. She finds out that whatever is in the mine is something long dormant and recently awoken. She also finds out that the sinkhole goes a quarter of the mile down. Keyleth figures they can jump down, but the party reminds her of her recent death. She also discovers that there are approximately 100 ankhegs in the area.
They prepare a hero’s feast in preparation for the next day.
The next morning, Keyleth wakes them with a rousing and inspiring speech.
Tary passes out several coins: revivify for Vex, jump for Grog, blur to Vax, and cure wounds to Percy. He then gets dressed in a new robe.
Vex fires one of her arrows to see down into the mine. The light and spell dissipate before seeing the beast below.
They all prepare to fly down through various means. Vex casts pass without a trace.
As they descend, they see shadows skittering across the walls. As they reach the bottom, they see a small recess and a caved-in tunnel. The creature is no where to be found. Tary senses no undead.
As they look around the chamber, they see runes. Lighting the way, they step closer to examine them. They read in celestial that something was born in the mines. A name, Symphior. Suddenly, there is another source of light. They quickly extinguish their flashlights.
A small cherubic figure hovers in a ball of light. Its angelic wings are tattered. This is Symphior. It lets out a piercing scream. The party is protected from this by their hero’s feast.
However, the shriek affects the integrity of the cave. They begin to act quickly to destroy the baby celestial.
They quickly move away from the creature before attacking. Symphior, in retaliation, freezes the air around the twins, stunning Vex and harming them both.
Pike casts beacon of hope and summons a spiritual weapon. The weapon misses the creature, however.
The ground beneath the carpet cracks open and molten lava spews out. The lava hits Keyleth and Grog. This distracts Pike from her beacon of hope.
Keyleth uses an air elemental and blight to attack the creature. The ground opens up and partially swallows her, restraining her from attacking further.
Grog uses his coin to leap towards the baby. He begins to swing at the creature. Despite his best efforts, the creature is small and dexterous and his second attack misses. Grog is also swallowed into the ground.
Tary tries to use his ring of the ram to attack the baby, but misses. The creature magically summons a wall to separate itself and Tary from the rest of the party. Still, Percy is able to cast hex on the creature.
Vax moves towards the creature and attacks again with his dagger.
Pike casts guiding bolt and successfully hits. While Symphior is distracted, she uses her spiritual weapon to attack it again.
Keyleth, underground from being sucked into the earth, turns into an earth elemental. She pulls herself out of the earth and grabs the celestial infant, slamming it into the ground. Her air elemental joins in on the attack, beating the creature while it is down.
The creature, close to death, reaches inside of itself. It rips itself open, exposing a giant burst of light. Everyone, distracted by this radiant display, is distracted for a moment. When this happens, Symphior tries to use misty step to escape.
Vex mounts her broom and flies after the baby. Her first arrow strikes the creature, but it is still alive. She reloads again and looses her arrow. The arrow again strikes Symphior, but this time, it pins the creature against a wall. Vines burst from the arrow and squeeze the baby until it bursts into glittering dust.
Keyleth digs Grog out of the ground. They begin to look for loot, but they realize that many ankhegs are coming their way. They quickly fly back up the ravine. Keyleth casts daylight on her spire.
As they fly past, the ankhegs spit acid. Percy and Vex fire back at them.
As they rush up the ravine, the hordes of ankhegs become more and more thick. Injured from the battle with Symphior, Vox Machina clings to life as they rush past the attacks, trying to avoid them while leaving as quickly as possible. Keyleth casts windwall, deflecting their acid sprays.
Eventually, they reach the end of the tunnel, and find themselves looking once again at the vast night’s sky. Before landing, and now out of range of any attacks, they cast several spells back into the ravine, destorying dozens of ankhegs.
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.