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"Between the Lines" (2x78) is the seventy-eighth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein return to Zadash, where lore and knowledge await those that know where to look...



Why is Sam the way he is?


Previously on Critical Role[]

So last we left off: The Mighty Nein, after making friends with the Bright Queen, after finding their way across the entirety of Xhorhas seeking some strange demon entity known as Obann, losing an ally to some sort of magic, and seeking information about this Laughing Hand figure, you made your way back to Nicodranas to head northward back into the Empire where all of this began. You met up and are currently that night spending the evening within some rooms provided by Marion Lavorre within the Lavish Chateau in Nicodranas. You Scryed on your friend Yasha and discovered that there was some sort of attack in the midst of happening in some sort of a library. Gathering your thoughts, you rested for the night as well as you could with this new information, and we begin with the familiar for some of you and welcome warm sunrise in the city of Nicodranas on the Menagerie Coast.

Part I[]

The road to Zadash - Gina Garavalia

Fan art of the road to Zadash, by Gina Garavalia.[art 1]

The party meets up in the breakfast room and Jester shares with Caleb her nervousness about meeting her presumed father, the Gentleman, in Zadash, suggesting that she could make herself look like her mother when she meets him. No one else in the party thinks this is a good idea. Beau shares that there are Cobalt Soul archives in Rexxentrum and Port Damali as well as in Zadash and she believes they all have well-guarded teleportation circles. Marion greets them but is sad that they have to leave immediately. When she says goodbye to Jester at their departure, she gives her 750 gold that she has saved for her. Jester forges a letter from Archivist Zeenoth giving them permission to travel and they purchase horses and head north.

On the road, Nott makes two bola arrows. Caleb transcribes the two new dunamancy spells into his spellbook. Jester gives the traumatized Sprinkle lots of love, while Beau and Fjord work out together. At the Wuyun Gorge gate, security has tightened. Their forged paperwork fails to convince and the guards turn them away until Jester casts Charm Person on them, convincing them to allow the party through. They continue northward.

Yasha - @BlackSalander

Fan art of Yasha, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

Jester casts Scry on Yasha again and sees her with the Laughing Hand and a cloaked and hooded figure, presumably Obann. They are in an area of grassless rolling hills at the base of rocky mountains, the soil dotted with multi-colored minerals and odd scrub brush, with occasional geysers shooting up. When she describes the landscape, Beau recognizes it as the area around her hometown, Kamordah. She can think of no reason Yasha's group would be interested in that area. Beau describes her father, Thoreau, to Jester well enough for Jester to use Sending to contact him (posing as Archivist Zeenoth), saying that Beau is an Expositor now and asking if everything's okay there. He responds that everything's fine.

They decide to continue toward Zadash, reaching Trostenwald, where they first met.[1] They discover that Beau's sharing of the Baumbauch family's stolen letters with the Gentleman has resulted in the brewery shutting down.[2] Beau buys the party two bottles of her family's wine and they find the dicks Jester had carved into the table.

To Zadash! - Elaine Tipping

Fan art of To Zadash!, by Elaine Tipping.[art 3]

They reach Alfield and learn that Bryce Feelid has been sent to Bladegarden. A day or so out of Zadash, Jester Scrys again on Yasha, seeing her with her companions in a Xhorhasian swampy plain. Jester also checks with Thoreau via Sending again, and everything is still okay there. At dawn, Caduceus and Fjord notice a thin trail of smoke a third of a mile off, and Nott and Frumpkin investigate, finding three massacred men and two dead horses, apparently killed by goblins and possibly something larger as well. Caduceus uses Speak With Dead but learns only that they were farmers traveling to sell produce and were attacked by a lot of small things and a few bigger. They continue on to Zadash.

Outside the gates, Beau puts on her Cobalt Soul vestiges while the rest of the party either trades their Xhorhasian clothing for more local styles or uses disguise spells to achieve the same effect. Caleb uses Seeming to make Nott look like Veth. The guards at the gate look them over and admit them.


Part II[]

The city continues to have the increased military presence the party observed when they left as war was declared. They head immediately to the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul, hitching the horses outside, and learn that Archivist Zeenoth was among the wounded in the attack, which killed nine. He escorts them to the room Jester Scryed on, and the archivists identify the missing book as one on entities involved in deific conflicts of the past both for the Betrayer Gods and the Prime Deities. The group begins a mass research effort, looking into:

  • Torog, the Crawling King: Patron of torturers, slavers, and jailers, banished to the Far Realm.
  • Baphomet: Demon Prince of Beasts.
  • Origins of the Kryn Dynasty: At the end of the Age of Arcanum, the Kryn broke away from the worship of Lolth and built a religion around The Luxon.
  • The Angel of Irons: A relatively new, sparse cult not more than 40 years old. It mingles celestial iconography with twisted chains. The Angel speaks of being bound in shadow and tells followers to "release the fanes that hold its shackles."
  • Tharizdun: The Chained Oblivion, one of the Betrayer Gods. Described as darkness unending, a malevolent entity unlike any of the others, whose dreams bring the Abyss into being.
  • The Lotusden Greenwood: A cursed forest south of Xhorhas.
  • Veluthil: The historical name of the Savalirwood before the corruption of Molaesmyr.
  • Jourrael: The Caedogeist, a chosen assassin of Lolth. A nightmarish specter who walked through wall and mountain like water. Since she could not be killed, at the end of the Calamity her body was bisected, her heart sealed in the Lotusden and her head in Veluthil.
  • Obann: Once the Master of Wills of Graz'zt, the dark prince of the Argent Palace, shamed and destroyed after a terrible failure to his lord.
  • The Laughing Hand: Once a warrior named Ganix who sought to strike down Torog with his army, his soldiers were slaughtered and himself captured and tortured into an endless cycle of servitude, his ever-living heart locked in extra-planar space to ensure an eternal pact.

Caleb secretly looks into books on the manipulation of time, learning that one of the top archmages of one of the floating cities during the war between the mages and the gods had performed a ritual in which he hoped to go back and change the past, but was never seen again. The city was destroyed and its remnants became the Zemnians. He also asks about the Traveler and in the same book on cults that spoke of the Angel of Irons, there is a short note describing the Traveler as seemingly benevolent at the moment, but his cult is sparse and strange. At first it was thought to be a mass hallucination, but now there is enough evidence over distances for worry.

Jester casts Scry again on Yasha, seeing her pushing through a dense forest with Obann and the Laughing Hand, searching. She notices a very faint orange glow at the base of Yasha's skull. Obann has a bag containing something roughly spherical.

Zeenoth is convinced to allow the party to use the Cobalt Soul's teleportation circles, being told they are in pursuit of the creatures that attacked the Soul a few weeks earlier. The Valley Archive has circles leading to Rexxentrum, Port Damali, the Cobalt Reserve in Tal'Dorei, and Vasselheim. They decide to bring their horses, and teleport to Rexxentrum, but the noise alerts the guards who accost them and Jester takes a crossbow bolt when she attempts to cast Enhance Ability. The very suspicious Archivist Kathedoc takes their names and checks with Zeenoth, who confirms they have been given temporary right of passage. However, they are until further notice banned from the Rexxentrum Archive.

The party tells Kathedoc they actually meant to go to Port Damali and he unlocks that circle and allows them to leave. When they appear there, they are again met with guards and a Cobalt Soul member, and Jester is again shot for trying to cast Enhance Ability. Zeenoth is again contacted and told to allow them passage this one time, but they are banned from the Port Damali archive until further notice. They return to Zadash and to Zeenoth's relief, leave the Archive.

They decide that the need to try to stop Yasha's party from reuniting the severed portions of Jourrael is urgent and Jester Sends to Essek Thelyss, who agrees to discuss transporting them directly to the Lotusden. They find a deserted alley where Caleb inscribes a Teleportation Circle to Rosohna and they leave, with horses, as Nott flips off two suspicious and investigating crownsguard.

Featured Characters[]

The Mighty Nein[]





  • Nott: To Zadash!
  • Matt: (Speaking of The Luxon) Most of the notes speak with dubious interest, debating whether or not it's actually a god, and fearful that such entities that have no historical record could be fronts for other entities.
  • Cobalt Soul archivist: Also, I have a message to Beauregard from Archivist Zeenoth. He says "Please, for the love of Ioun, stop".


Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes


  • The phrase "To Zadash!" was said 13.5 times in this episode.
  • As of this episode, Caleb now knows the Teleportation Circles to the Cobalt Soul in the Empire's capital, Rexxentrum, as well as Port Damali in the Menagerie Coast. However, free travel through them is questionable since the Mighty Nein have been temporarily banned from both.
  • Sam's flask says "Equi'boa" with the picture from the Tavern Keeper Build stream[3] as augmented by /u/Speterius on Reddit.[4]


  1. See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01).
  2. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 1:15:56.
  3. See "Tavern Keeper Build" at 55m approx. (originally streamed September 17, 2019) at the official Critical Role YouTube channel.
  4. See [No Spoilers] I rendered the majestic Equi'boa with Grog from yesterday's stream.


  1. Fan art of the road to Zadash, by Gina Garavalia (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Yasha, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of To Zadash!, by Elaine Tipping (source). Used with permission.