Previously on Critical Role
Last we left off, The Mighty Nein had made their way to the Menagerie Coast, got swept up in a bunch of chaos, and found themselves out at sea, amongst the Swavain Islands, taken in by a pirate crew, captained by Captain Avantika, basically at threat of death otherwise.
[They were] sent to an island to investigate a temple, learn about seals that possibly are keeping [Fjord's] patron, Uk'otoa, at bay. [They] made [their] way back across the Lucidian Ocean, towards the city of Darktow. Actually, actively partook in some piracy. "Polite" piracy. [...] And found [them]selves at the pirate city of Darktow, surrounded by the Dragshallow Reef.[They] had just arrived, with both ships, the Squall-Eater and The Mistake. The crew [they] had hired out of Nicodranas, looking very confused and concerned at their current fate, given the fact they were just hired hands at sea. [They] were ushered up along the sheer cliffs alongside Darktow Isle, a long stone shelf within the cavern where the Plank King himself greeted [the party], bid [them] entry to the Revelry, this extending band of pirates across this part of the ocean. [He] laid some ground rules and sent [them] on [their] way. And that is where we left off.
The Mighty Nein walk to the Bloated Cup tavern with Avantika, contemplating pushing her off the stairs on the way and claiming she fell, but deciding against it. Beau asks about the amount Avantika gave to the Plank King, and is told it's a tithe of about 25-30%. In exchange they get free ship repairs and the promise that doublecrossers will be dealt with by him. Avantika claims he doesn't bother her and does a fine job. They join Avantika's crew at their table.
Jester decides to fight a gnome seaman, Sorris Cade, at his invitation, and they have a friendly glorious bar fight until she decides that's enough and heals him a bit. Other bar fights break out regularly. They have a few drinks and Beau learns from Avantika that they're going to head north to the location of the Vandran shipwreck, and do some diving on the salvage mission. Orly notes it's near the Diver's Grave, and Sorris asks if they've heard the tales of that place. Jester vaguely remembers the name Dashilla the Dreadful, and Sorris sings them Dashilla's Shanty.
Avantika goes to bed, whispering to Fjord, "Upstairs, second room on the left." Nott and Beau go to the alley to try to meet a rival of Avantika's, who ignores them, and Caduceus and Fjord go stand out front, leaving Jester and Caleb at the table. Jester says she doesn't like Avantika very much, but when Caleb suggests it's because she's a murderer, Jester says that's not it. She worries that she might never be able to go home, and Caleb promises her they'll get her home. When Caleb asks if she's sweet on Fjord, she says that she doesn't know. As she's gotten to know him, she's not sure if she likes him, or what she thought he was. Caleb says that's outside his experience, and she replies, "You had a girlfriend before though, yeah? You said her name when we were dancing and then I put you to sleep and you said her name again." Although she tries to get more information from him, he's evasive and changes the subject back to Avantika.
The group regathers. They give Orly 100 gp to watch the ship and the crew of the Mistake until they return, hopefully in about two weeks. If they don't come back, the ship is his. He tells them ships have been going down for a few hundred years at the Diver's Grave.
They leave the tavern for a walk, deciding to use code: Avantika=Tiffany, the Apricot=the Orb, Bouldergut=Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fjord=Honda. They want to get the next apricot before Tiffany does. Caleb wants to know what Fjord's plan is for the apricot-- Fjord wants to seize it and decide later if they're going to make marmalade or not. They decide to break into Tiffany's quarters while Honda keeps Tiffany busy. Beau really wants to go, but can't disguise herself, so they decide to send Nott with Jester. What could possibly go wrong?
Caduceus and Yasha stay downstairs in the Bloated Cup. Beau and a disguised Caleb head to the docks, while Fjord goes upstairs. He and Avantika chat before she begins "keeping him busy". Jester Dimension Doors her and Nott to Avantika's quarters on the ship, and Nott Messages Beau to let her know. Caleb sends Owl-Frumpkin up to keep an eye on the activity on the ship.
Nott and Jester search Avantika's quarters, and Nott finds a hidden compartment in the wall holding a book. When she picks it up she springs a trap that fills the room with fumes. They hold their breaths while Nott tries to pick a locked drawer, fails, and forces it open, breaking it. Inside the drawer is jewelry, which they take. Hearing footsteps, Jester paints a hole in the floor which they dive through, pulling the rug over the hole as they go.
They find themselves in a sleeping crewman's quarters. Nott puts one of the jewels in bed with him as they hear someone enter the room above, and they dive under the bed. The crewman above falls through the carpet-covered hole into the room with them, waking the sleeper, who stabs him. They apologize to each other and go off to find a surgeon. Jester lifts Nott up to look through the hole in the ceiling into Avantika's room, and the gas there hits her. She is confused, and cannot move or speak, but recovers shortly. She messages Beau to create a distraction, which Beau passes on to Caleb, and he starts singing and acting drunk. She complains to the guards about him to distract them.
Meanwhile, in the tavern, the stabbed crewman staggers in with his assailant, looking for help, and Caduceus heals him. Nott and Jester disguise themselves as Keg and Molly. As they reach deck, Nott casts Phantasmal Force on the crewman on watch in the crow's nest, making him think it's on fire. Nott and Jester jump overboard as the crewman leaps from the crow's nest to the deck, breaking a leg and screaming, creating an uproar on deck. Nott and Jester make it safely to shore and stroll away to the tavern, joined shortly by Caleb and Beau. Fjord concludes his business with Avantika and goes downstairs.
Caduceus heads down towards the ship to see what's going on there and heals the crewman with the badly broken leg, suggesting that perhaps his hallucination of fire was due to the fruit from the temple island. The Nein gather in a chamber upstairs, and Nott shows them the book. It's in an unknown language, so Caleb casts Comprehend Languages on it. It is Avantika's journal, written in her personal cipher. It mentions Vandran, being given the mark, and the eye on her person. After a ritual that was shown to her by Vandran, the dreams began, which sound very similar to Fjord's. It says that Vandran guided her and then got cold feet. She attempted to gift Vandran as a sacrifice, but he got away, and she searched for months to no avail. She then chose to continue to earn the yellow light of the eye, getting rid of people in her way and finding others to join her in the promise of ruling the seas. No matter how much Darktow is the center of the Revelry, and the power of the Plank King, who can possibly not choose to bend the knee to those who control the oceans they sail on?
It then goes on to talk about the finding of Urukayxl and hiring of Jamedi Cosko. There are other notes about another location, from another dream she had, that involve three land masses of different shapes. There are a few notes and questions around it, one of them is saying, "Archipelago?" The final note is, "I've found another chosen. Perhaps this one will be more useful than Vandran." With a 25 intelligence check, Caleb determines he can create a key to the cipher by staying up all night. They talk about what to do next with the book and the jewels they found, but reach no conclusions and everyone goes to bed except Caleb, who creates the key they had discussed.
The next morning just after sunrise, they are all wakened by loud banging on their doors and Bouldergut telling them they are require immediately on the deck of the Squall-Eater. They realize they still have the jewels and the book, and in a panic try to figure out how to hide or get rid of them, but are hustled out by the crew. On the way, Jester manages to dump the jewels off the dock into the ocean, but Caleb still has the book.
They are brought aboard, joining the crews of the Squall-Eater and the Mistake. Avantika tells everyone there's been a break-in of her chamber, and she questions several crewmen. Just as Vera casts Locate Object, Caleb takes a bit of phosphorus, squelches it through his hand, and casts Wall of Fire across the entire length of the boat.
- Caleb: "Yeah you seem distracted. Around this woman, you seem distracted around this woman."
Jester: "I don't like her very much."
Caleb: "Is it because she's a murderer?"
Caleb: "Oh. I don't like that part about her."
Jester: "Oh. But we're all kind of murderers sometimes, aren't we?”
Caleb: "I don't think that all of us are murderers."
Caleb: "Are you a murderer?"
Jester: "I mean we have killed some people."
Caleb: "Yeah, but that's a very specific thing. You know, if your life is in danger, that's one thing. You know, if something happens in the heat of the moment or there’s danger in both directions. Murder is premeditated, that’s a very different thing. I find it hard to believe that you have killed someone with premeditation. I could be wrong, but..."
Jester: "No, I don't, I haven't ever done that."
- Caleb: "Well there's parts of it that he likes."
Jester (sourly): "Like Avantika."
Caleb: "I don't know. You, uh, you're sweet on him, eh?"
Jester: "*sigh* I don't know. It feels funny."
Caleb: "How do you mean?"
Jester: "Well, you know when you really like somebody, but then you start to know them, and you go 'do I like them, or do I like who I thought they were?' And then you don’t know?"
Caleb: "I think so."
Jester: "And then you think that they were flirting with you but then you find out they probably weren't, you know? And so you feel like kind of sad about it. And maybe a little stupid?"
Caleb: "I—that's...a little out of my realm of experience, I'm sorry."
Jester: "You had a girlfriend before though, yeah? (whispering) You said her name when we were dancing and then I put you to sleep and you said her name again."
Caleb: "I don't forget anything."
- Caleb: "That was a long time ago. Let's just focus on getting out of this place. Away from...that woman."
Jester: "And now she's saying we all have to take the same boat! How are we going to get away from her??"
Caleb (via Message): "We'll take care of her if we have to."
- Travis: "That's a natural one, this is gonna fucking suck."
- Caduceus: I can-- No. I can find creatures. I can't find objects.
Matt: (as Avantika) "Hmm. Vera?" Vera's sitting back there and nods. You see her fingers trace this weird symbol in the air that leaves a slight trace. Her eyes flare for a second and she goes, (as Vera) "But that is okay. Because I can."
Caleb: I take a bit of phosphorus and squelch it through my hand and cast Wall of Fire across the entire length of the boat between them and us.