Spoilers for Critcal Role Episode 6 (obviously). Check out the recap for Episode 5 here.
Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
Vox Machina breaks into the Emberhold.
While searching for Lady Kima, the party traveled into the Greyspine Mines. The party made friends with an outcast illithid named Clarota. They successfully attacked a duergar warcamp, but it also alerted others to their presence. In an escape attempt, they crash landed away from the camp, and once again began venturing through the mines. As they explored the tunnels, they got a better idea of where they needed to go to reach their destination.
They continue down the tunnels. As they travel, the air becomes more and more sulfurous. They pass by pools of lava, being careful to avoid the molten rock.
As they go, Vex checks if any duergar have passed them. She notices evidence of a regular patrol with some much larger creatures. She also sees evidence of large creatures burrowing through the tunnel.
Several miles later, they begin to sense a small town a few miles ahead. As the twins scout ahead, they notice on the far end of the cavern a small cluster of buildings. They see seven black obsidian watch towers constructed around the buildings. In the center of the cluster of buildings stands a gargantuan ebony fortress: Emberhold.
Vax ushers Pike up to the front of the group. He asks if she recalls any details from her vision. She confirms that they are in the right place.
Keyleth casts pass without a trace on the party. Vex leads the way through the dangerous terrain as they sneak forward. They avoid the main paths.
Vex and Percy stop the party, as they hear whispers ahead. Everyone hides while the twins sneak ahead, trying to hear what the enemies ahead are discussing.
They see duergar walking along the main path. They warn each other to keep an eye out for the “thing still out there.” One worries that none of them are safe. They walk too far away for the twins to hear their conversation further.
The twins push forward, searching for the flow of lava that hides a trap door. Scanlan, noticing the others are moving ahead, attempts to sneak forward as well while humming to himself.
As the three reach the bottom of the spire, they notice it is covered in dried blood. Only an arm remains from whatever duergar was slaughtered there. Vex quickly hushes Scanlan. Vax looks around for what could have caused the bloody scene. Vax notices that the body was torn apart and then eaten by a creature with sharp teeth.
Vex immediately looks for things to loot. She finds a few coin purses. One holds gems. Her brother and Scanlan quickly hurry her away. They try their best to keep Scanlan as silent as possible.
Grog pours ale for the rest of the party while they wait for the return of the scouts. After a few minutes, the twins and Scanlan return. Vex throws the dismembered arm to Grog.
As they begin to move, Percy makes a small noise, compromising their hiding places. Scanlan kisses him, thinking that it will prevent the gunslinger from making even more noise. The others rush to shush him as well, and they move forward with little issue.
They sneak towards the back wall of the cavern, circumventing the city. Vex notices a strange person standing about fifty feet ahead. They stand perfectly still, giving no indication if they can see the party or not.
Scanlan polymorphs into a fly and buzzes over to the person. He notices that the person isn’t just unmoving, but they are also a single color. He flies closer and see that it is an illithid, turned to stone in an reactionary postion.
He buzzes back over to the group and tells them what he saw. Clarota tells him that the duergar have trained a beast to attack their enemies and turn them to stone. They speculate that the beast is a basilisk.
Clarota takes a closer look at the frozen illithid. Vex asks if he knew the illithid. Clarota admits that he has, and, though he was not the kindest creature, he hopes they can find a way to reverse the process. The party assures him that it is possible. They leave the statue where it is and push ahead.
Vax finds the falling streams of lava. It is curled around a hunk of cooled rock against a solid wall. He is unable to find the trap door. Vex comes up to search as well. She notices a slight raised surface beneath the lava.
They notice a few duergar on the roof of the stronghold, watching. The guards haven’t noticed them yet, but could easily alert others to their presence.
Scanlan casts dimension door. He grabs Pike and pulls her through the portal with him. They pop up onto the parapet, surprising both guards. Scanlan casts Thunderwave, knocking both guards back. There is a dull flash of light and crash of air. Both guards are knocked off the edge.
Scanlan asks Pike for a kiss, but she tells him to wait until they’re out of danger.
The guards land on the ground, dazed and hurt, but alive. Grog goes into a rage and rushes over to the guards. He immediately kills the duergar. Keyleth rushes over to the remaining guard and pushes him into the pool of lava. He lets out a horrible painful scream. Keyleth lets out a stream of apologies as she uses magically conjured wind to submerge him into the lava.
Between the horrible screams of pain and Scanlan’s thunderwave, the other guards are alerted, and they begin to rush towards the source of the noise.
Pike and Scanlan use dimension door to get back down to their friends. Keyleth uses wall of stone to divert the lava stream above the trap door. Vax quickly ducks under the lava to check for traps. More duergar appear above them. Percy and Vex fire shots, which are returned by the duergar. Vex kills her target.
They find a chain to open the door. With Pike’s help, Grog pulls open the chain. The door opens half way, partially blocked by the wall of stone.
Scanlan conjures an unseen servant. It attempts to push the last guard off the parapet. It slaps the duergar rather than pushes. Vex takes the opportunity to kill the last guard.
Temporarily free from the duergar, they rush into the trap door. They enter a musty storage room. They see a stairway and a door leading further into the stronghold.
Vax cautiously opens the door. It leads into a hallway. He sneaks forward, looking for guards and others that could be alerted to their presence. He sees that the hallways fork off. Looking to the side, he sees a staircase, without alerting the others, he walks down. He sees two duergar.
Vex, frustrated by how long her brother is taking, exits the room as well. Tiberius, Scanlan, and Pike, exit the room as well.
Tiberius asks Vax what he’s up to over the earrings.
Vax: “I’m killing someone. Hold, please.”
He goes back up the stairs and retrieves his sister. In the distance, they hear footsteps rushing towards the front of the stronghold. Before the twins venture off again, Keyleth casts guidence on Vax.
The twins sneak back down the stairs and silently assassinate the two guards.
Pike tries to sneak down the stairs, but Pike’s armor clangs loudly as they go. They see two doors: one open and one closed. They decide to look through the open door. They see dwarfs held captive in cells. Tiberius and Keyleth enter the room, looking for Lady Kima. Some of the cells contain decayed corpses.
They hear heavy footsteps coming down the steps. Vax and Vex flank the doorway, waiting to attack, while the others hide in the cells.
A few moments pass, and the footsteps trail off. They emerge from their hiding places.
Just as they begin to relax, a huge blade swings at Vax’s head. The axe hits him, and embeds itself in the wooden door behind him. The duergar wielding the axe smiles as he dislodges his weapon. The duergar backs up into a room that they can now see is a torture chamber filled with various hooked blades and other torture implements.
Tiberius rushes out of the cells and into the hallway. He sees the duergar in the torture chamber.
Tiberius: “I encourage violence.”
Keyleth tranforms into a tiger and takes one of the dwarf corpses in her mouth. However, this dwarf wasn’t quite dead until being picked up by the tiger. She moves out of the cells and pursues the duergar. Seeing him in the chamber, she foams at the mouth and lets Grog rush past.
Grog runs into the room, inspired by his surroundings. He pushes the duergar up against the wall, attempting to spear him onto the meat hooks hanging on the wall. He successfully pushed the hook through his chest. Grog grabs him by the jaw and pulls as hard as he can. He renders his jaw from his face. He then pummels him with his detatched jaw until the duergar goes limp.
Pike: “Good job, Grog! That’s your best one yet!”
Now getting a better look around the room, they see Lady Kima strung up on a rack. Pike rushes over to heal her, and they release her from her bonds.
Kima jumps down and tears herself free from the remaining metal bindings. She looks around the group.
Kima: “So I take it you’re not from around here.”
They tell her that Allura has sent them. She says that she hoped she would. They quickly outfit her with various pieces of armor. She asks to see Pike’s mace. Pike is reluctant, but hands it to her.
She goes over to the duergar on the wall and beats it mercilessly against him. By the time she’s done, the corpse is unrecognizable. Kima magically burns the blood and gore off of the mace before handing it back to Pike.
Percy suggests collecting Kima’s things before they leave. She says she does not know where they are, but they are in either the vault or the armory. Vax asks if these objects are of vital importance, and Kima responds that they are divine implements from Bahamet.
While Kima talks, Keyleth buries the dead dwarf in her mouth.
They go over to the cells and open the doors for the remaining dwarves.
Kima stops suddenly at the bottom of the stairs, staring up at Clarota. She begins to draw her sword. Tiberius quickly explains that they have allied themselves with Clarota.
Kima angrily asks why they would make that decision. Vax clarifies that he is an outcast and that his alliance is sincere, but Kima stands firm in her prejudice.
Tiberius angrily insists that they have considered all of the options, and the alliance is for the best and Clarota’s intentions are honest. Still, Kima insists that they must choose between her and Clarota.
Clarota insists that he will not continue with Kima if she will betray him at this first opportunity. Vax insists they tell each other what they seek. When they come up with the same answer–defeating K’Varn–Vax begs them to see reason and work together for the moment.
Kima still does not agree, saying that she has watched the illithids eat the minds of her traveling companions for the weeks leading up to this point.
Scanlan tells Kima that they have aligned themselves with Clarota, and they intend to keep that promise. He asks if she is with them or against them.
Kima looks at Scanlan. She hesitates, but ultimately agrees to travel with them. However, she threatens Clarota, saying if he does not walk in line with them, his life is forfeit.
Clarota agrees, but says that he will not go quietly.
Kima goes up up the stairs. She raises her sword. Clarota puts his hands up defensively, arcane energy sparks around him. Kima uses her sword to push him to the side as he passes. Clarota watches her before looking back at the party.
Clarota: “Shall we?”
Pike quickly gathers some weapons from the torture chamber. She rushes back to the party, ready to continue.
They go up the stairs after Kima.
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.