SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 64 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 63 can be found here.
Vox Machina finally returns to Whitestone from their extended stay in the Feywild, but not without complications.
Previously on Critical Role
The party ventured into the Feywild and trekked to the Shademurk Bog, the tainted land home of the legendary bow, Fenthras. After confronting and defeating the archfey that held the bow, Vox Machina plane shifts back to Whitestone with their prize.
The party arrives suddenly in the square of Whitestone, on the spot they departed seven days prior.
Grog: “Alright, I’m ready to go!”
Percy turns to Keyleth, “How long does the spell take?”
While the rest of the party’s mind seems lightly clouded but otherwise, intact, it appears that Percy and Grog have no memory of their entire seven days in the Feywild.
They have no memory of anything: arriving, being blinded by the nymph, Garmelie, Syngorn, titling Vex, The Moonbrush, Saundor, nothing.
Vex shows Percy the note he wrote with her title on it. He is perplexed.
Scanlan casts modify memory on Percy, but realizes he can only alter 10 minutes of a memory. He implants the completely manufactured memory of Percy arriving in the Feywild, being greeted by a field of naked nymphs, them giving him a full-body massage, Vex walking in on him, him granting her her Title in exchange for her silence on the matter. Vex agreed to keep his secret “and he had a wonderful time before his memory fades.” The spell creates the memory and makes Percy believe it as true.
Percy suddenly “remembers” and is instantly struck with embarrassment. Looking at Vex’s note, “Oh! Wait! There was… No! Yes! That’s right! I did do this! And we shall never discuss why again! But, yes! Right! I…I’ll have this approved…”
Grog is amazed of Fenthras and is in awe of the events the party tells him transpired. Scanlan grandly over-exaggerates Grog’s achievements, much to his satisfaction.
Percy discovers all his sketches in his sketch book and is awestruck. Keyleth promises him they can go back whenever they want now.
The make their way up to the castle and they run in Jarett–one of the hired guards of the party’s keep in Emon–on his way down the steps from the castle with several Whitestone guards. He tells them he is happy to see them and that it has “been awhile.”
“How long?” Vax asks, fearing the time fluctuations the party has heard about visiting the Feywild. Jarett, confused, tells them it has been only about a week. The party is relived that time seemed to pass the same for them.
He tells them that the arcane protective barrier has been erected over the city. He also tells them that Allura, Drake, and Kima left to search for information on Raishan, the green dragon.
He also mentions that Seeker Asum of the Tal’dore Council survived the Conclave’s initial onslaught and managed to make his way to Whitestone, arriving a few days prior. He is meeting with Cassandra, Percy’s sister, and Gilmore as they speak.
They party immediately goes to see them, paying no regard that their clothes are soiled with the sludge-like mud of the Shademurk.
Cassandra greets them and invites them to sit with them. Percy tells her their quest was successful but that the others will have to fill her in on the details. He hands over the letter titling Vex. Cassandra says she will see to it. “Welcome to Whitestone, Lady Vex’ahlia.”
Asum fill them in on the goings-on in Emon. Thordak has the entire city congregate every day and forces them to kneel to him and praise him, devouring those that refuse. He has amassed all the wealth in the city and it piles up around him like a giant nest of riches. He has enslaved sculptors and has them chiseling his face into many of the walls and surfaces throughout the city.
Asum tells them that he has been working with the Clasp, the organization of thieves and assassins, to shepherd over a thousand people to refuge underground.
He reports further that Thordak was roaring in anger about a day ago, and sent a majority of his army eastward. Asum says that this event was what provided him cover and the lax enough security to sneak into the Lyceum, the magic academy, and used a teleport circle to Whitestone.
Keyleth asks about the wearabouts of the green or white dragons.
Gilmore speaks up and says he has attempted scrying on both of them. Raishan, the green dragon, could not be located. The group already discovered she was the most practiced in the arcane and likely has wards against scrying. As for the white dragon, Vorugul, Gilmore scryed roosting among a ruined city in a massive ravine, subjecting a hoard of dragonborn to harsh winter weather. The ruins of Draconia.
Keyleth: “You just used a simple scrying spell?
Percy: “We must be careful. We cannot let Whitestone be discovered.”
Keyleth: “Yes. As we have learned, scrying can give away your position.”
It is at that time two guards come bursting into the room shouting for the Lady Cassandra. Before they can speak, everyone hears a loud, deep, roar, from somewhere on the distance.
They turn to Gilmore and ask if his barrier will hold and keep them hidden. He is visibly nervous. “I guess we’ll find out….”
Keyleth tells Cassandra to get everyone underground. She nods and turns to the guards to relay the orders.
Another roar echos into the chamber. Louder this time. They run out the front doors of the castle.
They look up in the distance to see several winged shapes fast approaching the city: two or three dozen lizardfolk mounted on wyverns, accompanied by the gargantuan white form of the ancient dragon, Vorugal.
Keyleth goes to cast skywrite to warn the townsfolk but the party stops her, afraid that it will alert the dragon.
“DRAGONS HAVE TRUE SIGHT, THEY ALREADY KNOW WE ARE HERE!”
“WE DON’T KNOW THAT!”
The sounds of screaming begins to emanate from the town.
The dragon flys around the west side of the city directly for the castle.
The dragon flies past the castle, out over the forest, and lands on the nearest peak. Its eyes peer out across the city, it looks around, but is unable to see them.
Percy tells Keyleth to go down in the caverns beneath the city to use move earth to expand the caverns and create bunkers. The rest begins trying to keep the villagers quiet and usher them below ground.
The dragon takes off again with its wyvern army, and they head South East, disappearing on the distance.
The party exchange massive sighs of relief. Gilmore, who had ran to the top of the castle to hold the barrier, seems completely exhausted.
They go to find Pike. They discover her sheltering several hundred villagers in the temple of Pelor. She is happy to see them.
Scanlan: “Do you remember the Feywild?”
She says that she does. The party tells her that Percy and Grog don’t remember any of it. She is puzzled by this and examines them. She casts greater restoration on Grog. All his memories come flooding back to him all at ounce.
She turns to Percy, removing his glasses, and casting on him as well.
Pike: “Did it work?”
Percy hugs her. “Thank you!”
The spell also makes Percy aware that Scanlan’s fake memory was indeed, fake.
The party oversees the villagers out of the bunkers and back out into the town. They are greeted by a flood of “thank yous” from the townsfolk.
Keyleth walks up to Percy. “I hope you know that I would never-”
Percy, interupting her, “Shut up. Shut up.” He pulls her into an embrace.
The two finish their hug and Scanlan approaches Percy. “I hope you know, that I was only trying to improve your life with a wonderful happy memory. It was mostly true…”
Percy hugs him as well and whispers in his ear. “I know where you sleep and I have people that work for me.”
They regroup with Asum. He inquires with them about what advantage or allies they have to gain against the dragon threat. They tell him about the vestiges and about the army amassing in Syngorn (with the remains of the Emon army from Fort Daxio). They also mention Gern as a possible ally, the other Ashari tribes, the werewolf, Ukurat (Asum: “Lets not count on that one.”). They also mention the Clasp, though the admit to Asum that someone else would have to parlay with them, as their last dealings with the Clasp did not end on good terms.
Scanlan questions how the Vorugul knew where they were, since he couldn’t know they are at Whitestone. Vex points out that perhaps Gilmore’s scrying alerted the dragons to their presence.
Gilmore, blanketed in sweat and exhausted from his aid of the deference turn to the group: “So, whats your plan? Whats the next order of business?”
Vex: “Get you a drink, I think!”
Gilmore: “A drink would be great!”
Percy: “I think we talk and drink.”
Gilmore: “I could definitely use that right now.”
They head into town and find an abandoned tavern. As they push together tables in the middle, Vax pulls Gilmore aside and asks him how he is doing. Gilmore tells him that he is fine but exhausted. He admits its nice to be using his abilities for more than making “shiny things.” Vax complements him on his magic prowess. He tells them he is nothing next to Allura.
Scanlan suggests they drink more of the expensive fine wine recovered from Umbracyl’s lair. Grog pulls out five bottles from the bag of holding and passes them around.
Asum wastes no time cutting to the chase, restarting the conversation about vestiges, allies, and other defenses against the dragons.
They party discusses the locations of the remaining vestiges and begin debating their next course of action. The last vestiges lie in Osment Sea, Elemental Plane of Fire, the Abyss, and the continent of Marquet to the south. They realize that Draconia, where they just learned the White Dragon made roost, is on the continent of Wildmount to the west, nowhere near any of these places.
They party debates attempting to turn the dragons against each other. They debate trying to insert a spy of their own in their ranks.
Jarett points out that they cannot wait. The longer they wait the greater the chance the battle will be fought at Whitestone.
Percy suggest using the siphon at the ziggurat below the city. The black sphere, the result of Lady Briarwood’s failed ritual, and its subsequent anti-magic field it generates. He suggests moving to council table to inside the anti-magic field so no magic spying would work or magic disguises could work.
Gilmore: “I love your mind, Percy.”
Percy: “That is probably a bad sign, but thank you.”
Grog questions how they can help the dragonborn of Draconia. He points out that Draconia has an army, if they help them, perhaps they can earn their help in return.
Percy: “We can help them by killing the dragon.”
Percy: “Vax is agreeing with me!?”
The party becomes soberly aware that it is unlikely that killing or even attacking another member of the Conclave will garner retaliation from the other two.
They party is split on their next course of action, but they realize that Vorugal and his army would by flying over the ocean now and wouldn’t arrive back in Draconia for a few days. They acknowledge the merit of traveling there to scope things out before he returns.
They decide to sleep on it an decide their next course of action in the morning.
They depart up to the castle. Percy grabs Vax and leads him to the cemetery. “I have something to show you.”
Vax, annoyed: “What is it?”
“You’ll like— well, I don’t know if you will like it. I don’t know what you like.” Percy leads him to the crypt. “The title I gave your sister doesn’t come with much. It does come with the tiny plot of land were this crypt sits. This was the resting place of the father, grandfather, and family of the man you killed the first night we came here.”
“You want my sister to live in a mausoleum?”
“No. This is for you.” Percy opens the door. “Do you trust me?”
Percy: “Good answer. I’ll go in first”
Vax follows Percy within. The sconces on the walls bath a shrine to the Raven Queen in dim light before them.
“I figured it would be a good idea. I’ve had my fill of gods, but I am not so foolish to think we don’t need them still. This is here when you need it.”
After a long pause, Vax breaks the silence, “I am having trouble…”
“Me too. I do not want to die who I am. I would like to live long enough to be someone else. I think you understand that.”
“I’ve been really angry at you.”
“I’ve been encouraging it.”
“I don’t know if its entirely fair, but I don’t know if I am willing to let go of it yet.”
“Good. I certainly do not deserve it yet. I don’t know if I ever will. But I can’t think of anything else to do with my time on earth right now other than…this.” Percy says, gesturing to the shrine. He continues, “I am finished with gods. They will not help me. Maybe you will.”
“Percy, I’ve always liked you. From the beginning, I have always liked you. You are intelligent, and charming, and good in a tight spot.”
“Thank you. I’ve always liked you too. Its the open spaces where I suffer. The tight spots I feel very good about.”
“I would like to be friends with you again. I just have a condition.”
“My pension for forgiveness with my sister’s welfare is razor thin. If you can respect that then we don’t have a problem.”
Percy asks him if he knows why he titled Vex? Vax says he has sort of an idea. Percy explains that Vex was feeling like she was missing something. That feeling was unfair and was preventing her from seeing the world for what it is worth and that Percy believed that giving her a title is an simple fix. “She is going to wake up one morning, not yet, but soon, and realzies that money will not make her happy. And that trying to please that awful father will not make her happy. The first step in that is realizing that he is weak. And there is no better way to do that than being better titled than your parents.” He finishes with a smile.
Vax: “I don’t agree with that line of thinking.”
“I know, but you are not her. I will never hurt her. I will never hurt anybody intentionally, especially not you. In return I ask that you never take your eyes off me. Never trust me. And that is the best friend that you can be.”
“You can like me. I hope that I can earn your ‘like.’ I just never want to earn your trust.”
“Then it is your lucky day.”
Percy turns to leave. Vax lingers for a moment, observing the shrine. After a few moments he prays softly to it, reaffirming his loyatly to the Raven Queen. He leaves.
Keyelth stays up late, listening for Vax to return to his room. She never does and resolves to go to sleep on her own.
They wake and convene over breakfast. They debate whether to go to Marquet or Draconia. The put it up to a vote and it is a dead tie. They flip a coin and the coin decides Draconia. The resolve to have Keyleth scry for a possible tree they can use transport via plants on.
They group walks outside of the city to the nearby abandoned giant fortress. Keyleth uses the scrying eye to scry for Tiberius and gets no response.
“That could mean a lot of things.” Percy reasures. He points out that Tiberius might be on another plane or something else to block the spell.
Keyleth casts scry on Lockheed, Tiberius’s psuedodragon pet. She sees the tiny green dragon sleeping on a stone outcropping in a snow-covered ravine. Through the scry she spots a single tree jutting out from the side of the ravine wall 50ft up from the bottom.
They debate how they should proceed. Grog isn’t keen on the idea with the new information. Scanlan calls him a coward and Grog makes the decision to go for the whole group in response.
Scanlan and Vex get on the broom. Vax activates his wings and grabs Keyleth. Grog and Percy tie themselves to a rope. Keyleth casts the spell and they all go through. Vex steers the broom down to the snowbank bellow and her and Scanlan land safely. Vax slows his and Keyleth’s decent and does the same. Grog and Percy drop straight through the hole. The portal closes and the rope snaps, sending them plummeting to the back. Grog lands hard but catches Percy, absorbing his impact.
The spot Lockheed some distance away. The pseudodragon startled and flew up a few levels away from the sudden commotion. They beckon it forward. It approaches cautiously. Vex pulls out some food and it eagerly flies up and perches on Vex’s arm and scarfs down the food. Vex feed him a few more snacks and he crawls up to her shoulder.
The party prepares to approach the ruins. Scanlan cast’s seeming on the party to make them all appear to be dragonborn survivors. They decide on metallic colors and to have tails, as what little they have learned about Draconia included that tailed dragonborns were a higher class.
They approach and they begin to see massive piles of rock and rubble and ruined buildings. They recall that Draconia was built upon massive floating islands of stone. Floating no longer, the rubble litters the entire floor of the ravine.
The spot reptilian humanoids observing them curiously as they approach. They make it a bit further before they are confronted. A bronze-scaled dragonborn calls out to them. Vex takes the lead as she is the only one that speaks draconic. She shouts to him that they are friends of the Stormwinds. More dragonborn begin to encircle them, lowering the points of their spears at them. They notice that none of these dragonborn have tails.
Scanlan: “Well, we had a 50/50 chance!”
The large dragon born calls out to them. “Friends of the Stormwinds!? That would make you Sky Walkers! I see your tails! What are your last words?”
Vex: “I don’t know what to tell ya. Everyone with a tail is an asshole. We got what was coming to us.”
This conversation is in draconic and the party stands by awkwardly, not knowing what is being said. Nearly two dozen dragonborn have now surrounded them.
“Here are your choices! You die here like the scum you are or–”
Vex: “Choice B.”
“Then, slavery it is. You’ll join the rest of your ilk. You will seek food for us and you will know what it is like to be bent.” He turns to the other dragonborn, “Put them in chains!”
Vex tells them to wait, and admits that they aren’t actually Draconian. The dragonborn steps forward and inspects her closely but can’t detect the illusion. “From where I stand you look pretty fucking Draconian.”
“Well, we have some really good magic users with us. Look, forgive us for making tales. We don’t know anything about your culture. We’re idiots. We came here because we know you are under attack and we want to help.”
“BRING THE CHAINS!”
Vex: “Scanlan, drop seeming!”
Scanlan dispels the illusion, revealing the true appearances.
Vex asks about the dragon. The dragonborn tell her that the dragon freed his people, the Ravinites, from the oppression of the Draconians.
Vex stands by that they are only here to help. The dragonborn tells them they should talk to Tooma, their chieftain.
They are lead deeper withing the ruins. They notice now larger piles of rubble and ruined buildings. The begin to see large spikes of ice, impaled on each, the body of a dragonborn. All with tails. Draconians. “Sky Walkers.”
They are lead into some semblance of a village among the ruins. They enter a system of tunnels. They come across more dwellings carved into the stone. They pass a massive pile of broken chains.
Keyleth: “Tiberius never mentioned this side of Draconia.”
They are lead into a large chamber with a fountain in the center. On the far side, upon a large stone throne, the see an elderly female dragonborn. The dragonborn escort stops at the entrance should to shoulder, blocking the exit.
The bronze dragonborn tells her that the party comes claiming to fight the “Frigid Doom”, that they arrived under the guise of “our enemies.”
Vex steps up and addresses her in draconic. She apologizes for misleading them, and reassures that they are here to help.
Tooma tells her that if she would be lying if she denied that the dragon gave them the freedom from the Sky Walkers they so craved, but in return they are now just as much slaves as they were before.
“Do your friends speak common?” She asks, in common, much to the relief on the rest of the party. She asks them if she is to let them go, they will promise to slay the white dragon.
Vex: “We will do everything in our power to watch it die.”
She tells them it has been gone for some time now.
Scanlan asks if she knows where its lair is. She tells them it is but an hours walk away and that she can take them there. Tooma suggests they set an ambush for it. The party admits that their main focus is gathering information now and that they fear they are not ready to fight the beast. They tell her that Vorugal’s defeat may bring the wrath of the others on them.
She says she does not recognize their accents and asks where they are from. They dodge the question.
Tooma expresses her distrust of them. “I have lived to see this day by not being decieved or tricked. You speak words that are not direct. They wind. They spin. They circle. What guarantee do I have that you will not just flee?”
Keyleth: “What guarantee do we have that you won’t kill us. That the ambush is meant for us. I believe the is distrust on both sides.”
Tooma slides off her throne and approaches them. He form is much less imposing now. She has a severe hunch. “We are a proud people, even when pressed into the dirt for as many years as we have been. We reclaim our honor. We reclaim our place in this world. We wish to do this as peacefully as possible. We have been forced to scrounge and survive through this freedom. We wish you no folly. We wish you no ill-will. But we also have also learned that trust needs to be earned, it cannot be given so freely. Both ways. You are right to distrust, as are we of you. But that is the impasse, we must have faith if there is to be a compromise.”
Keyleth: “I think faith and trust are not mutually exclusive. I can not trust you and still have faith. You should not feel lack pride in living in the dirt and surviving. But I understand you urge to rebuild and become the great culture that I know you all are. So, you should at least trust that we have similar interest in the end.”
Tooma reaches forward and lifts Keyleth’s chin, looking into her eyes. “There is much wisdom in there for such young a face. Alright. There are not many options we have either. Come, we will walk. And at the very least, if you decide to flee, never return.”
Vex asks if any agents of the dragons remain and Tooma reveals that there are a few. They decide to disguise themselves again.
Scanlan turns to Tooma: “What should we disguise ourselves as?”
Tooma points to the dragonborn waiting outside the chamber. “Tiny gnome, the faces of those that lead you here.”
“The ‘tiny’ was uncalled for but I understand.”
“Be glad you walk with someone so wise.”
Keyleth perks up. “Oh, is she talking about me? That’s awesome!”
Tooma shuffles her way to the door and the dragonborn part for her. Two reach out to take her arms to help her but she stubbornly waves them off, declaring that she can walk herself.
Scanlan casts seeming again to make them appear dragonborn as before, but sans the tails.
As they walk Vex tells Tooma that if the dragon should return the party will be forced to flee. She nods and assures her that the beast won’t know that they ever saw the party.
Scanlan, asks Tooma if she knows a Gern Blanston, the tail-less dragonborn the party met previously. She says that she has not.
Tooma leads them through the ruins, deeper into the ravine, more and a terribly slow pace. They enter the widest portion, where the ruins of the vast majority of the city. They witness more and more ice spike, impaling more bodies.
They eventually reach the dragon’s lair. They scale a slope of coins and treasure fully encased in ice. The reach the top and enter the basin-like nest.They part twins check for traps.
Percy asks about the bodies on the spikes. Tooma tells them that when the Dragons first attacked, the survivors of Draconia, the Sky Walkers of the once-floating city, banded together to fight the dragon. The Ravinite slaves refused to help. When the battle was over and the dragon was victorious, it asked them why. They told him that it was not their fight, and that they were waiting to see if their oppressors would emerge triumphant or not. The dragon declared them free and raised dozens of ice spikes, impaling all remaining Sky Walkers, as a symbol of the Ravinites new “freedom.”
The group finds Vorugal’s orbs it uses to communicate with the others of the conclave embedded in the ice.
The party debates their next move. The dragonborn escorts do not venture far. The group asks if Scanlan can leave one of his “Magic Poos” through which he can scry on the location. He admits that he can’t do that anymore.
Vex, Vax, and Percy together: “What!?”
Scanlan: “I used my last magic poo to look at my daughter.”
The group pauses to let the inanity of that sentence sink in. Scanlan, in fact, did leave his last usage of the “shit-scrying” potion in the scabbard of the sword he gave to his daughter, Kaylie. Scanlan continues, “I need to know where she is, I need to know that she is okay. Gilmore can maybe make me more potion but I haven’t wanted to bother him about it because he is busy keeping a shield around Whitestone!”
Vex: “You did not just say that out loud!”
They party debates on a few ideas on how to proceed. They decide to have Keyleth leave them a small grove of trees they can use as firewood as a sign of good faith.
Tooma tells them that she trusts them to return, but that she wants to set a time to establish what the limits are. She tells them that if they do not return in eight days.
They party tells her that due to the distance they need to travel eight days is not enough. They ask for two weeks.
“Two weeks. Fourteen sun cycles passed, if we do not hear from you, then the Frigid Doom hears of this Whitestone of which you speak.”
Vex: “Fucking shit balls, Scanlan!”
Vax: “You’re extorting us.”
Tooma: “Not extorting. Making sure that you are good on your word. Because otherwise you leave us here to die on promises that are fake and false.”
Before they depart, Scanlan tells Tooma that he has one last question about Gern Blanston. She leans forward to him. He casts modify memory to replace the mentioning of “Whitestone” with “Emon.” It appears to work but they are unsure.
Percy asks Tooma if she thinks the dragon will notice if the bodies on the spikes are disturbed. She tells them that one or two looted will make no difference to the dragon. Percy points to one and has them pull it down.
As they do so, he turns to the party, knowing something they don’t, and softly tells them to be quiet. “No sound.”
They lay the body at their feet and Percy thanks them. They look upon the frozen body of Tiberius Stormwind, frozen in the moment of the valiant defense of his city.
They resolve to give him a proper burial. Grog picks up the remains.
Vax: “Where are we taking him?”
Percy: “Remnants of the library, perhaps.”
Keyleth, eyes the Ravinites around them. “We can’t even act like he was our friend.”
Percy: “No. We absolutely can’t.”
They decide on the library, at least for the time being, agreeing to move the body once the dragon is killed.
They take him to the ruins of the library of Draconia. Keyleth melts the ice and uses move earth to create a tomb and Grog places the body within.
Lockheed flutters from Vex’s shoulder onto his chest and curls up.
Vex says a few private prays to the Raven Queen.
Grog begins to pour an ale, then stops, remembering that Tiberius preferred water, and uses the alchemy jug to pour water into a goblet and sets it next to him.
Keyleth rips off a piece of his robe and ties it to her belt.
Vex picks up Lockheed. Keyleth closes the makeshift tomb with a slab of stone, before breaking down, sobbing.
Percy standing over the tomb: “Hopefully this war will go on schedule.” He turns and walks out.
Vex: “We will avenge you.”
Scanlan: “Goodbye old friend. We will come back. We will fix this, because this is….poppycock.”
Vax places his hand over the tomb.
They leave. Keyleth creates a tree outside of the ravine as a symbol of their promise made to Tooma and the Ravinites. She then cast’s transport via plants and they head back to Whitestone.
To be continued…
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