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Needs part II summary
"A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) is the fourteenth episode of the third chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina returns to Emon to prove their innocence. Now on the hunt for the treacherous Riskel Daxio, they must once again face the Clasp, along with some shady characters from Scanlan's past.
Previously on Critical Role
"Vox Machina had finished an extensive, dangerous, tension-filled adventure to the city of Whitestone, the historical landscape that Percival grew up in, to take down the Briarwoods, a husband and wife team who had been responsible for ruling it with an iron fist for five years, doing a series of atrocities and seemingly preparing a Ziggurat, or an ancient temple beneath the city, for some unspoken deity the party then discovered to be an individual referred to as Vecna. They defeated the Briarwoods, managed to help the rebellion of the people of Whitestone retake their town, and help them prepare and have their first Winter's Crest Festival in five years since they were taken by the Briarwoods. There was much game-playing, and eating contests, and Polymorphed bears, and very fun adventures and exchange of gifts—some fun moments. The festival ended, a few days passed, and the party began to put their affairs in order to return back to Emon and what their next order of business is."
Farewell to Whitestone
During the few days after the Winter's Crest festival, Percy deconstructed then rebuilt Ripley's pistol. He added a fifth barrel intended to be used for short range explosives. After getting a letter signed by Cassandra de Rolo and Keeper Yennen confirming their story about the Briarwoods, Keyleth cast Transport via Plants to create a portal from the Sun Tree to the tree in the temple of Sarenrae in Greyskull Keep.
Safe Travels, Stormwind
As the group heads out of the temple, they find themselves in the main foyer area. At this point, they hear a loud metal clang in the hallway to their right, causing a moment of alarm and rousing suspicion. Scanlan goes forth to investigate, and Vax calls out after him, "Don't get caught, shithead."
Scanlan ventures forward, following the sound to the arcane laboratory in the keep. The door is ajar, and he hears someone rustling things around inside of the lab. Scanlan turns himself invisible before entering inside. As he tiptoes in, he spots Tiberius Stormwind, who had previously departed abruptly before the remaining members of Vox Machina ventured towards Whitestone. Seeing that the source of the disruption was in fact a friend, Scanlan drops his invisibility and goes to hug Tiberius, who is startled and appears flustered.
Scanlan calls for the rest of Vox Machina, and they join him and greet Tiberius. The dragonborn, however, has other news to break to the group.
Tiberius reveals that while the rest of Vox Machina traveled to Whitestone, he had spent the last few weeks in Draconia attempting to secure reinforcements for them, only to be continuously rebuffed by his father. He revealed that he had intended to join them in Whitestone, but when word found him of their triumphs he decided to stay in Emon. Having spent the better part of the week on his own in Emon, he has had the time to reflect on his mission. He expresses that his role as a diplomat has fallen to the wayside, his personal mission to recover the arcane artifacts that he has sought after has grown stagnant, and he feels that he has yet to gain the respect of his family back in Draconia.
Solemnly, Tiberius tells the rest of the group that although he thinks of Vox Machina as friends and fine warriors, he has decided to take the opportunity to leave them and carve his own path. Emotionally, a tear begins cresting on his nose, and he claims that it is merely dust and looks away from the group.
With a few further sentimental words from the party, as well as directions from Tiberius to appropriately clear his name with the Tal'Dorei Council and to let Allura Vysoren know that she is welcome to visit him in Draconia any time, the dragonborn declares that he is terrible with goodbyes, and promptly activates a Circle of Teleportation. With a flash of blue runes, Tiberius's image scatters into nothing.
Releasing the Captive
Scanlan and Grog exchange a couple of passing remarks about checking Tiberius's room to see if he left anything for the group before Grog suddenly remembers what they were originally planning to do: check on their captive, Desmond. The party moves down to the prison cell, although Vex'ahlia stays behind and walks around Tiberius's room a little bit.
As the majority of Vox Machina descends the stairs, they encounter Jarett Howarth in the middle of breakfast. Jarett joyfully greets them and states that he is glad to see them all in one piece. He tells them that everything has been fine at Greyskull Keep. Within the cell, they see their "captive," Desmond, who is also eating breakfast and is in fact mid-bite. He appears to be in good health.
Vax and Grog ask whether Jarett encountered any other attacks since the party had been gone. He replies that there were no further attacks, and that the guards had kept a very close eye on things with additional help for a time from Keyleth's summoned elemental. Keyleth inquires about how things worked out with the elemental, given that it had been a sort of a "test run," to which Jarett states that it was "very unsettling," and that he is generally uncomfortable with "haphazardly-tethered creatures from other realms."
Percy is pleased to break the news to Desmond that the Briarwoods "will not be a problem anymore," and that he is free and clear to be let go. However, the other members of Vox Machina interject and say that he is not free to go just yet; they still need him to testify in front of Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III to prove that their earlier actions at the feast held for Lord and Lady Briarwood were justified (see: The Feast / Crimson Diplomacy).
Rejoining the party, Vex wonders aloud why Desmond is still in the cell. Percy responds that it was originally for his own protection, but that since the problem has been taken care of, it is a precaution that is no longer needed. Jarett opens the cell, and Desmond seems immensely relieved that the Briarwoods are, in fact, no more. He tells the group that he cannot wait to get back to Whitestone.
Vex confirms with Desmond that he will, in fact, testify to Sovereign Uriel about them, and then invites him out of the cell to eat breakfast with Vox Machina instead. He comes out of his cell and holds his half-consumed breakfast up to her, expectantly. Grog offers to carry Desmond's plate for him, and then promptly begins to eat his food while he is too excited to notice.
An Audience With the Sovereign
- Percy recommends that Desmond be appointed the first correspondent to the new rulers of Whitestone, as he does need to return home at some point, and additionally moves to have Greyskull Keep designated as an embassy.
The party parlays with the guards at the entrance of the Cloud top District, and Percy convinces them to let the party have a meeting with Uriel. Six guards escort the group through the Cloud Top District, gaining the attention of the locals. They are led into the palace, and overhear the guards plotting to kill them. A squadron of palace guards appears, and the party sees Uriel and Seeker Asum in the throne room as the throne room doors swing open. Behind them stands Tofor Protores, head of the town's guard. The party steps up to the dais to meet Uriel. Uriel apologises for his behaviour, now cleared from the Briarwoods' charm. Asum talks about his investigations in Wildemount. He found out that the Briarwoods' had been accused of necromancy six years prior, and they were thought to be dead, killed by a mob. They were however seen in port Damali a few months later, where they bought a ship and hired a crew. The Briarwoods' announcement that they were planning to build a bridge in Wildemount, which was their reason for coming to Uriel's banquet, appeared to be false as well. They had utilised this announcement as a means to not arouse suspicion so they could get close enough to Uriel and his entourage to control their minds. Uriel concedes that the attack within his walls was instigated by the Birarwoods' themselves, and Vox Machina are not at fault. It was the Briarwoods' mind control that clouded his judgement. He pronounces Vox Machina reinstated in the council and their charges dropped forthwith.
Uriel asks how Vox Machina fared in Whitestone. Percy answers that the De Rolo family has been reinstated and peace has been brought back to the city. He apologises for Vox Machina's poor choices that led to this whole mess. He informs Uriel that Cassandra De Rolo now rules Whitestone with a council, and asks Uriel to open trade with the city. Uriel says he will continue working with the rulers in Wildemount to make sure the proposed bridge is built. Scanlan asks Uriel if Vox Machina can be of any aid in protecting Uriel from further mind control. Vax chimes in to promote Allura, pleading to Uriel to put trust in her.
The letters Vox Machina found in Whitestone reveal to Uriel and Asum that Riskel Daxio is a traitor. Uriel tells his guards to go seize Riskel Daxio. Vex inquires about Fort Daxio. Fort Daxio is a northern military post, where Riskel Daxio's father Mikael is in command. Uriel promises to look into the possibility that Mikael Daxio is also compromised.
Vox Machina brings forth Desmond, the Briarwoods' former driver. Percy asks Uriel if Desmond can become the official letter carrier for any communication made between Whitestone and Vasselheim. Percy proclaims that the De Rolo lineage now has been restored, and asks from Uriel if the process could be started that would instate Greyskull keep as an embassy. Uriel promises this will happen. Scanlan asks if Desmond can be rewarded for his troubles. Uriel gifts 1.000 gold pieces to Desmond.
- Percy: "The debt that I owe you is larger than coin, and is...
- Desmond: "That's a lof of coins, huh?..."
- Percy: ".. and it's ongoing, so if you can think of how - what sort of trade you would like to spend your next years of life pursuing, whether it be in..."
- Vex: "Probably not lute playing, I'm just gonna throw that out there."
- Percy: "...
- drums, drums it is."
- Grog's jaw falls open as a tense pause falls over the chamber, and everyone looks at Vex. Seeker Asum stifles a chuckle.
Vax informs Uriel that Vex had promised to match any gift Uriel would give to Desmond. Two guards rush in to Uriel and whisper something into Uriel's ear. Uriel concludes the talks with Vox Machina and dismisses them. He does inform them that Daxio seems to have fled the palace, and would appreciate it if Vox Machina could deliver him to Uriel if they find him.
Searching for Riskel Daxio
Keyleth muses that Riskel Daxio might have constructed an escape route or something of the sort in Greyskull keep, as a means of getting away safely might he have been found out to be a traitor.
Vex says she wants to check out Riskel's room to look for secret passageways. When they enter the room they see that guards are already rummaging through the room. When they enter, it becomes clear that anything of worth has been taken with him. Vox Machina investigates the room, and they discover that Riskel's taken a large amount of money with him. Certain glyphs are written on pieces of furniture that match glyphs that Vox Machina found in the Ziggurat. Grog remembers that these glyphs protect the room against scrying. They don't find any hidden compartments in Riskel's room.
Vex asks a guard when the last time was someone saw Riskel. The guard answers that a few days ago he was seen together with Jeffrey, who is being interrogated in the next room. Grog and the rest of Vox Machina storm into the room and ask the guards that are interrogating Jeffrey to leave. Grog wields takes out Craven Edge menacingly. Scanlan and Grog start a good cop/bad cop routine with Jeffrey. Jeffrey tells them that he last saw Riskel 3.5 days ago, that he packed his things and said he would be back within a month. Jeffrey continues to tell them that he escorted Riskel a few times every few months to a tavern in the Graveyard District, the Diamond Nest Tavern. Grog hears the voice of Craven Edge in his head, urging him on to kill Jeffrey. When Grog tries to intimidate Jeffrey a bit more by holding the blade right under his chin, he mistakenly shoves it under Pikes' chin instead. As they leave Jeffrey to find Riskel, Grog hears Craven Edge sighing unhappily in his head.
while this is going on, Keyleth is in the palace courtyard, where she casts Commune with Nature. She asks if Riskel is anywhere in Emon. The flora in Emon answers positively. She asks where Riskel is now, and she finds a vision of the Graveyard district, honing in on the space under the Diamond Nest Tavern. Lastly, Keyleth asks if she can see any secret tunnels or passageways leading out of the city. She finds out that there are a number of tunnels that snake under the city, some of them going to the city docks. A single tunnel comes close to the Diamond Nest Tavern. Vax recalls that the Diamond Nest Tavern was the tavern with the secret entrance where he and Pike spent time with The Clasp, the Thieves' Guild of Emon. Vox Machina heads to the Graveyard District to seek Riskel Daxio in the Diamond Nest Tavern.
The Diamond Nest Tavern
In the early afternoon, Vox Machina goes into the Graveyard district to check out the Diamond Nest tavern. Vax gives his Mountebank cloak to Pike to make her less obvious to the clientele of the inn. A live band plays in the inn, and Scanlan recognises Kent Plucker, a fellow bard. He also recognises Dr. Dranzel in the half-orc violinist. Scanlan asks Dr. Dranzel if he can jump in. Scanlan pulls out his flute and starts performing with the band, playing the flute together with a female gnome flutist. This attracts the interest and cheers of the rest of the pub. The song ends on an impossibly long note held by the two flutists. This ends the musical troupes' set. Scanlan learns that the name of the female gnome flutist is Kaylie. Scanlan and Kaylie get to talking, and Kaylie quickly dismisses Scanlan's flirtations. While they are talking, a small young halfling boy called Samson comes up to their table and shakes out the spoils of his thievery on the table for Dr. Dranzel. The musical troupe asks who the rest of the group are, and they introduce themselves as Vox Machina. Dr. Dranzel finds this name a bit too formal, so Vex tells him he can call them the Shits. Vex disvulges that Scanlan is a Kingslayer to Dranzel.
Dranzel proposes to Vox Machina to help in stealing the wealth from the basement of a certain old man. If Vox Machina steals from him using the information that Dranzel has, Dranzel would take 40% and the group could keep the rest. Scanlan accepts the proposal, but Keyleth keeps questioning him to make sure he doesn't know more than what he says. Percy chimes in and tries to get everything he can from Dranzel. Dranzel divulges that he doesn't know who the wealthy person is, that the gold is in an abandoned building in the Cloud Top district, and that it's long abandoned and boarded up but hard to get into. Percy says that this building has probably been pillaged already. Other thieves had gone into the building before and had come out with a good share of gold, even though they hadn't been inside for long.
Vex asks Dranzel if he has seen a man matching Riskel's description, and Dranzel answers that Riskel had been in the tavern a few times in the past week, and he last saw him two days ago. Dranzel says he assumed the guy was staying in the tavern. When asking the barkeep if Riskel is staying in the tavern the barkeep becomes guarded and defensive, saying that no one matching that description is staying there at the moment. Bribing her doesn't work, but when Vax writes the Thieves' Cant on the bar with chalk, she divulges that he is in the basement.
Scanlan creates a diversion by challenging Kaylie to a flute duel on stage in the tavern. Vax stealths into the kitchen and Vex follows. They go down a small staircase that leads to a cellar, and the rest of Vox Machina (excluding Scanlan) follow suit while the kitchen staff's attention is diverted. Behind sacks of grain and rice Vax finds the hidden hatch that he had gone through before. Pike, Grog and Trinket can't make it to the cellar unseen, and they end up in an alleyway outside the inn. Vex leaves Trinket with Pike and Grog before she tries to sneak back downstairs. Meanwhile, Scanlan has an epic flute duel with Kaylie and lets her win, giving her his purse containing 2600 gold. Scanlan goes invisible and joins the rest of the party in the cellar of the Diamond Nest Tavern.
Down the hatch
The party enters the tunnel uncovered by opening the hatch. They go down a wooden stairway. At the bottom of the stairway is another door with five visible locks. Next to each of the locks they find scratchings in the wood, each scratching in a different language. Three locks' scratchings translate to the Common equivalent of 'open me', one of the locks' scratchings warns the party not to open it. Vax discovers that the lock saying 'No' is trapped, and the ones saying 'Yes' aren't. There is one lock with a scratching in a language no one understands, and Vax discovers its lock is trapped as well. After a discussion on whether Vax should try and unlock the trapped locks, he finally only unlocks the ones that aren't trapped and tries to open the door. The trapped locks give no resistance and are revealed to be false locks, whose traps would be set off if Vax had tried to pick them. Behind the door lies a hallway curving off to the left and right. Vex discovers the tunnel has been used by many people recently. Vax calls out to the darkness that Vox Machina needs to parlay with the Clasp. About fifteen hooded figures surround the party, parting to reveal a half-orc leader. Scanlan deceives the Clasp leader with a blue gem that can grant one wish if they say the password while holding the gem. He gives the leader the gem and promises to give him the password if they can visit Riskel. The leader reveals the Clasp helped Riskel prepare for his escape. Before telling the party more, the Clasp inspects the gem. Percy showing the hooded figures a note sways them to tell Vox Machina that Riskel is currently in holding, and the party can see him for a while. It becomes clear that the Clasp leader probably knew Scanlan was bluffing about the gem, but the leader knows that the gem actually holds great magic, and accepts the trade. Vox Machina is led into a hallway with several cells, and stop before what the Clasp tells them is Riskel's holding cell. As the members of the Clasp back away, the group spreads out over the hallway a bit, weary of what might be inside the cell.
Vax peers inside the cell and gets attacked by Riskel Daxio with a large glaive. The party starts to battle Riskel. Keyleth manages to magically hold Riskel in place. Pike doesn't succeed in taking Riskel's glaive from him. Grog football tackles the held Riskel to the ground. Vax pummels riskel with the blunt end of his daggers. Keyleth restrains Daxio further with a vine. Grog shackles Daxio with manacles and pulls him out of the cell, smashing him against the opposite wall. Grog tries to tie Daxio up with the infinite rope, but Daxio breaks free and he trips Keyleth prone. Percy shoots Daxio's glaive out of his hands, and his two following shots shatter both sides of Daxio' collarbone.
- Daxio: "Do what you must. But I am his blood. His dominion will call back, call me back when everything else has fallen into nothing...
- Vex: "Are you talking about Vecna?"
- Percy: " Oh, that didn't go very well, I think you might be out of luck... Grog, tie him up!"
Daxio is tied up, falling in and out of consciousness. The party loots the room, taking Daxio's glaive and finding a large sack of gold in the bedframe. Vax writes a message of thanks on the walls of the hallway in Thieves' Cant. The party head back up the stairway to the kitchen, carrying the bleeding and unconscious Daxio into the alleyway where Trinket is waiting. Rummaging through Daxio's pockets, they find a skull missing its left side, a symbol to Vecna. Scanlan heads back into the tavern to say goodbye to Kaylie and Dranzel. He tells them to come visit in Greyskull Keep.
Vox Machina makes its way back to their keep with its current quarry.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Tiberius Stormwind (DM-controlled)
- Grog Strongjaw
- Pike Trickfoot
- Desmond Altham
- Guardian Tofor Brotoras
- Seeker Assum Emring
- Arbiter Brom Goldhand
- Jarett Howarth
- Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III
- Laina Yor
- Percy: "And I must also, at this point, offer our own apologies which are in order. While there was a supernatural flame of distrust in your heart, it couldn't have been ignited without the embers of our own rash judgements, and poor choices. It is difficult for men of action to necessarily pay attention to the smaller details of their world and realities, and for this we do apologize. I wish I could say it would be the last of it, but again, it is a difficult world, and we are prone to action, and for that you have our apologies. I would also offer, my lord, that perhaps these infernal powers are attracted by your innate goodness, and that would be worth meditating upon."
- Keyleth: "Yeah, you know, I'm wondering: If I was a sneaky bastard—"
Scanlan: "You're not, don't say that about yourself."
Keyleth: "Thank you so much. I sometimes get concerned."
Percy: "I know where you're going with this, you should finish the thought."
Keyleth: "If I was a sneaky bastard, and I wanted to make sure—"
Scanlan: "You're not."
Keyleth: "Thank you. And if I were to make sure (laughs) I had an emergency escape route outside of the city, and was maybe tasked to build, I don't know, say, our keep, within the last year, I feel like we need to start at home here."
- Tiberius Stormwind officially leaves Vox Machina in this episode.
- Laura sang the line, "This was a triumph" which is the first line to the song Still Alive by Jonathan Coulton from the video game, Portal.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 15:49.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) from 25:37 through 27:00.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) from 27:02 through 29:56.
- ↑ See "The Sun Tree" (1x28).
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) from 48:34 through 48:45.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 1:06:45.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 1:23:17.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 0:26:58.