SPOILERS for Critical Role Episode 58 (obviously). Go check out the full episode at GeekandSundry.com!
My recap of Episode 57 can be found here.
After an evening of catching up with friends at Whitestone, Vox Machina has unwanted visitors in the night.
Previously on Critical Role
After visiting Vasselheim so Vax could commune with the Raven Queen at her temple, the party travels back to Whitestone to touch base with their allies: Percy’s sister Cassandra, Arcanist Allura, Lady Kima, Zahra, and Gilmore. After a lovely dinner of catching up with one another, they all head to their chambers for the night. In the early morning hours, Vax is awoken by a visitor at his door. Gilmore gives him a fine silver silk cloak to wear and asks him to walk with him. After leading him to the top of the west tower of Castle Whitestone, Gilmore suddenly attacks Vax, plunging a poisoned dagger in his gut. The illusion shimmers for a moment, and Gilmore is revealed to be Hotis, the rakshasa previously killed by some of the party and mocked by Vax as he dealt the killing blow.
The rakshasa slashes the unarmored Vax with his claws and dagger. Vax instinctively clicks his boots of haste and attempts to grapple Hotis but fails. He screams into his magical earpiece “ASSASSIN! WEST TOWER AND COURTYARD! JENGA!”
The rest of the party is awoken by this (except Scanlan, who had decided to stay up to read his Tome of Leadership and Influence) and, while they couldn’t catch everything Vax said, they certainly caught “West Tower” and the party’s universal distress call: “Jenga.”
Percy, Keyleth, and Pike don’t have long to process it though, as they quickly realize they are not alone in their rooms. They find cloaked assassins looming over their beds, moments from stabbing them in their sleep. The assassins seem just as startled to see them suddenly awaken.
This realization doesn’t provide them enough forewarning to avoid the flurry of poisoned blades, however, and they all take damage from the assault. All but Percy are able to shrug off the effects of poison.
Percy grabs his four-shot revolver from under his pillow and opens fire on the assassin. His gunshots echo through the castle as he hits the assassin square in the chest with the first shot. The assassin is blown backwards through the door into the corridor. His second shot misses, and his third just grazes the assailants face.
Back atop the West Tower, Hotis continues to assault Vax, lashing out and shredding him further with his dagger and claws.
Scanlan tosses his tome aside, grabbing Mythcarver, the legendary longsword and vestige bestowed to the party by the sphinx Kamaljiori, and some of his musical instruments. He casts Dimension Door to the West Tower.
He steps forth to see what appears to Gilmore, a dear friend of Vox Machina, attacking Vax. “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON, GILMORE!?” Totally-not-Gilmore snarls at him.
Grog leaps from his bed and, without much in the way of effects to gather, grabs his weapon and runs out into the hallway. “I know ‘Jenga’! It’s one of my favorite words!”
He turns the corner to see the assassin, Percy, knocked back into the corridor. Grog rages as he begins to bear down on him, a sinister smile creeping onto the barbarian’s face.
Keyleth, reacting to suddenly being slashed with daggers, rolls off of her bed and casts Thunderwave into the assassin’s face. With a deafening thunderclap, he is thrust backward. His heels hit the widow frame, sending him flipping end over end out the window and out of sight.
“IT’S NOT GILMORE! ITS A DEMON!”
Vax screams at Scanlan as he attempts to grapple and disarm the rakshasa but is unable to pry the dagger free. He yells to Scanlan to follow him. Before Scanlan can reply, Vax grabs Hotis, pulling the two of them off edge of the 80 ft. tower.
Scanlan hears two successive thuds from the courtyard bellow.
Pike, now having grabbed her nearby shield, reels to defend herself from another set of strikes from her assassin but fails to deflect one of the blows. The poison from his blade takes effect.
The assassin in the corridor turns and bolts away from the charging goliath. He turns a corner out of sight, heading toward the top of the tower.
Pike sends a blast of guiding bolts into the chest of the assassin who staggers back from the divine flame. Pike grabs her gauntlets of ogre strength and her mace and pushes past the assassin to get out of the room. He lands a blow on her as she slides past. She bursts out of the room naked except for her gauntlets and shield with a large gash across her chest, barely standing and barely conscious.
Percy quickly slips on his gloves of missile snaring and grabs his ammo, Bad News (his rifle), and his sword from under his bed. He steps out of the room and sees Pike and the assassin in her room beyond. He fires twice, hits once, and severely wounds the attacker. The assassin turns to flee and Percy burns an Action Surge to finish him off, blowing his head off as he gets to the window.
He tosses Pike a potion of healing and reloads his revolver.
Hotis staggers to his feet, the illusion of Gilmore fading to reveal its true tiger-like devil form. Before Vax can even find his footing himself, Hotis stabs him twice with the dagger and he falls unconscious.
Scanlan gets to the edge of the tower in time to see Vax’s body go limp. Realizing that none of his spells would reach all the way from the ground, he unsheathes Mythcarver and flings himself off the tower at the rakshasa.
Scanlan jumps down from the 80 ft tower. The rakshasa does not see the attack and the legendary blade sinks into his a back. Hotis snarls in pain and Scanlan’s momentum carries him rolling over the rakshasa and landing hard on the courtyard floor. Mythcarver clatters to the ground nearby.
The wind knocked out of him, Scanlan feebly manages to sing out to Vax a healing word and he stirs awake.
Hearing the exchange at the tower through the magic earrings, the rest of the party heads toward the courtyard. Keyleth blasts a hole in the castle wall, creating a tunnel that leads up to the courtyard. Grog barrels through and sees Hotis rising to his feet while Vax and Scanlan are still on the ground.
Vax reaches out and grabs Mythcarver and leaps to his feet. Swinging at Hotis but missing, he then dashes out of the rakshasa’s reach.
The assassin ducks out from around the corner he fled to and flings a dagger at Percy, critically hitting him. Percy deflects a chunk of the damage with his gloves of missile snaring but the blade still cuts deep.
Vex sends Trinket after the assassin, and she zips out through Keyleth’s tunnel on her broom as the bear lumbers down the corridor, snarling at the assailant. She knocks and fires a series of arrows at the rakshasa, missing and nearly unseating herself on the first, but landing the others. She casts Hunter’s Mark, but it has no effect.
“Oh that’s right. He is a rakshasa. He’s an asshole.”
Pike heals herself and casts Shield of Faith as she runs through Keyleth’s tunnel to the courtyard.
Percy follows Trinket down the hall and unleashes three shots, landing all three, the last of which lands right in his forehead. His body goes limp right as trinket lashes out, bringing the corpse to the ground to “kill it.”
“Trinket is so good at killing dead people!”
Percy heads past the bear attack to run up the stairs to the top of the tower.
Hotis attempts to charm Vax but he resists. He moves away from Scanlan, who casts Bigby’s Hand as a reaction (War Caster) and attempts grapple the rakshasa but the hand passes right through it with no effect. Scanlan has the hand give him the two-fingered salute as a consolation.
“He appears to be immune to hand-based magic! Would a foot have worked?”
Scanlan casts Eye Bite to no effect and heals Vax some more.
Grog recklessly throws his axe and strikes the rakshasa, returning it with his chain.
Keyleth casts Wall of Stone to corral the rakshasa in from three sides. She sees the rakshasa, and being the only one of the current group other than Vax to fight (and kill) him previously, she yells over the ear piece, “VAX, IS THAT HOTIS!?”
” ‘IS WHAT I SAID!”
Vex: “WHAT THE HELL IS A HOTIS!?”
Pike runs out into the courtyard. Seeing the rakshasa, the naked gnome grabs her holy symbol of Sarenrae and casts Flamestrike. The rakshasa’s form is lifted into the air as the divine flame builds inside of it, fissures beginning to develop in its fiendish form.
Vax flips him the bird. “See ya next time, motherfucker!”
His body erupts into a massive column of holy fire that illuminates the entire castle.
The rakshasa is reduced to nothing but a pile of ash on the cobblestone of the castle courtyard.
Grog opens with the important questions: “Vax, what are you wearing?” Grog simultaneously gives Pike one of the fancy robes from the bag of holding. It is comically too large for her.
Vax explains that the rakshasa impersonated Gilmore and gave the silk cloak to him.
“Ya know what, I don’t want to wear this right now…” and he begins taking it off. The cloak magically tightens on him.
Keyleth attempts to dispell magic as she removes the cloak. It feels as if the flesh is being peeled off of Vax’s body and he takes damage.
Percy rushes forward to Vax and calls Vex to help him. “I have an idea, come with me.” He begins leading them down below the castle. Pike, Grog, and Scanlan follow.
Keyleth runs off to find Gilmore and Allura.
They traverse the tunnel to the zygurrat and enter the anti-magic field generated by the mysterious orb Allura believes to be a siphon.
Scanlan casts Mage Hand to slap Percy in the face to test if they are in range. Nothing happens.
They remove the cloak from Vax without issue. Percy hangs it on the end of Bad News and keeps it at a distance from everyone.
“Grog, do you have any more of those fancy cloaks?”
Grog, grinning slyly, “….no.”
Vex shields her eyes from her twin brother who is now completely naked except for his boots.
“WE LOOK ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME!”
“I don’t have any dangly bits!”
Keyleth reaches the home Gilmore had been staying. She hears a commotion and polymorphs into a mouse and sneaks inside in time to see Gilmore, frazzled and angry, crush the body of an assassin upon itself with powerful magic.
Keyleth transforms into her normal form nearly giving Gilmore a heart attack.
“IT’S ME! IT’S ME, KEYLETH!”
“Tonight is not the night to be doing that to me!”
She quickly tells Gilmore about the rakshasa that impersonated him and attempted to kill Vax. He interrupts her by grabbing her wrist and they both suddenly appear in front of the group on their way back from the zygurrat, Vax still very much naked.
Vex kocks an arrow.
Grog: “Are we killin’ this one?”
Keyleth: “No! It’s actually Gilmore!”
Scanlan suggests that Vax ask him something only Gilmore would know.
Vax asks him if he remembers what he said to him in that tavern those weeks ago.
Gilmore’s expression sobers “You told me, you had interests elsewhere…”
Keyleth gets adequately awkward and conjures a small fog cloud to obscure Vax’s privates.
The party rushes off to properly dress and arm themselves and then make sure everyone else is okay. Zahra was undisturbed in the night, but they arrive at Kashaw’s room to find a group of guards are beginning to gather. Worried, as Kash was also there when they first fought Hotis, they rush forward. They find Kash, cleric of Vesh, sitting on the edge of his bed, spear in hand, himself and every surface of his room covered in a layer of blood.
Grog: “How many of them were there?”
Kash: “Just one.”
Grog is awestruck and impressed.
Pike and Kash, the two clerics, finally meet for the first time. One covered head to toe in blood and the other in comically oversized cloak.
Allura and Kima arrive. Kima, maul over her shoulder, is dragging an assassin by the foot. His face bashed in beyond reasonably being called a face any longer.
They realize the assassin Keyleth blew out the window is unaccounted for and Percy sends guards to check bellow it.
They tell Allura about the rakshasa. She tells them that rakshasas are fiends, and that when they die they are transported back to their home plane, the Nine Hells, where they are slowly reformed in a very long and painful process. The rakshasa will continue to seek vengeance against Vax, and now Pike (and all their allies) unless it is slain on its home plane.
Vax suggests having a word with Vanessa of the Slayer’s Take for not disclosing this to them when they were first contracted to kill the rakshasa.
They realize leaving it alive is a liability to them and Whitestone, as it now knows about them and may sell them out to Thordak and the Conclave. Allura says it will take some time to locate it in the Nine Hells, but that she could do it, and then they could travel there to finish off Hotis for good.
Pike casts speak with the dead on Kima’s assassin. They learn that Hotis hired them. They are members of Stillbend chapter of The Clasp, a group of assassins and theives Vax was once a part of. The party has tangled with them in Emon on several occasions. They learn that Hotis had information of the party’s whereabouts and instructed the assassin’s strikes. He did not disclose where he got that information to them. There were six assassins in total, making the Keyleth’s the only one not accounted for.
Percy has Gilmore identify Vax’s silk robe. He identifies it as a robe of flaying, a dangerous cursed item.
The party decided to keep it, just in case. Entrusting it to Grog and his bag of holding.
While Gilmore is at it, Vax asks him to inspect the Deathwalker’s Ward. He inspects the vestige and reaffirms the basic abilities Vax was already aware of: resistance to an element of his choice, greater chance of staving off death, but also a new feature…
“You know what? Come with me.” He beckons Vax to follow him. “No. Its really me this time.”
Vax follows Gilmore to the cliffs edge outside the castle. “Do you trust me?”
Vax nods and Gilmore suddenly pushes him off the edge.
Giant black raven wings burst from the back of the armor and Vax swoops above the treetops, circling back around and back up to Gilmore. Grabbing him and lifting him off the ground.
“YOU FUCKING BRILLIANT BASTARD! THANK YOU!”
He sets him back down. Vax assures him that he still considers Gilmore a close friend despite it not turning into more. Gilmore assure him the same.
Vex, having watched this whole ordeal, is incredibly jealous.
Percy presents Vax with the scented broach he created by casting the raven skull Keyleth had given him. Presumably to cover the musty smell of the very old armor. It smells wonderful and similar to the Raven Queen’s temple.
“Now go talk to Keyleth.” And Percy walks away.
“You’re hard to read, man!”
Over his shoulder, “I know!”
The group goes to thoroughly drink off the stress of the night until early morning.
Nothing is found of Keyleth’s assassin. Before joining the group, Percy first heads to the edge of the forest and calls for the wolf, Galdric, the companion of the last champion of the Raven Queen and original occupant of Trinket’s magic locket.
Percy has him sniff a bloodied cloak left behind by the assassin. “There was six. Now there is one. If you can find him we would be incredibly grateful.”
The wolf sniffs the air and runs off.
Percy joins the group and they drink until sun up and sleep until the afternoon.
Vax is plagued with nightmares of the events that night and wakes in a cold sweat, unrested. He has Vex fetch Allura. She eventually returns with both Allura and Kima and they inspect Vax. Nothing seems to be medically wrong with him, and he isn’t being affected by a spell.
Percy inspects Vax’s vomit and excrement for signs of poisoning.
Keyleth and Pike together cast greater restoration and remove the rakshasa’s curse.
They neglect to tell Percy this and let him finish poking through the filth on his own time.
Goldric returns with the dead body of the final assassin. On him they find a small black orb. Allura identifies it as a Scrying Eye. The party pockets the useful item. Allura cites this as one of her current concerns for Whitestone, and she and Gilmore assure the party that they are working on warding the city and even the whole region from such magic.
The party decides to depart to the Feywild the next day. Allura asks Pike to stay and help her study the rakshasa so that they may eventually quest to slay it for good. Pike reluctantly agrees.
Scanlan finds Pike and rescinds his proposal to her. He says that he doesn’t want there to be any lingering ties when they part ways again. He confesses that all he has ever wanted was to matter to someone but that now he has that in his daughter.
The group spends the evening relaxing and drinking. Percy, however stays in to finally complete the riding harness for Vex’s broom he promised her so that she many finally shoot her bow from it with ease.
Scanlan finds Vex and reminds her of the time he helped her figure out how to use her broom and she told him that she owed him one. He presents her with the “witch’s” hat he had commissioned and tells her that his “one” is that she wear it whenever she uses the broom.
Percy finishes the harness and meets the group out at the tavern and presents it to her. Vex excitedly tries it out, flying it around the tavern and disrupting several patrons.
The party takes the revelry to all say their goodbyes to Pike.
Vex kicks Grog in the back of the head as she flies by.
Grog starts a massive tavern-wide brawl that serves as a great opportunity to blow off steam.
The next morning, the party says their more formal goodbyes. They leave Pike with one of the two Gatestones should she ever need to quickly join them. Allura, Gilmore, and Cassandra also see them off.
Keyleth casts plane shift and the group are transported to the Feywild.
To be continued…
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