"Clay and Dust" (2x72) is the seventy-second episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Distant family waits at the Kravaraad Volcano in the Greying Wildlands, and a difficult decision changes everything for one of the Mighty Nein...
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Previously on Critical Role Edit
So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein had finished their business in returning the remnants of Nott’s family to safety on the Menagerie Coast in Nicodranas under the watch of Marian Lavorre, mother of Jester. They had figured out what business they wished to focus on for the time being, and, with a little bit more knowledge about the history of Caduceus’s family purpose and main goal, along with the unveiling of information regarding these shattered artifacts that you’ve been slowly assembling in disparate places across Wildemount, you decided to travel far north, to the Greying Wildlands, beyond both the Dynasty and the Empire, into the outskirts of the conflict and beyond.
Through the help of Essek, the Shadowhand, within Xhorhas, you found yourselves instantaneously teleported, with a brief misfire and a bit of physical damage to the party. You emerged underneath a growing flurry of snow in the center of the Flotket Alps, looking upon what looked like the snow-covered pine forests that swallowed the valley before you, the large cragulous peaks covered with ice and white, as the clouds above began to grow darker and darker, with the growth of a blizzard making its way in your direction. A lake in the center of this valley, and along this singular black mountain where snowfall cannot seem to find purchase long enough before melting, various slow glowing trickles of molten rock finding their way down the mountain from various vents, before hissing into a large column of steam as they reach the outskirts of this lake. And that is where we pick up.
Part I Edit
Essek wishes the Mighty Nein good luck and casts Teleportation Circle, taking himself back to Rosohna. From where the party stands, no sign of civilization is visible. Caduceus decides they should head to where the lava is springing from on the volcano itself. They walk through the forest in a gathering snowstorm towards the lake at the base of the volcano and into a thick mist filling the bottom of the valley. The mist starts revealing shapes, eyeless figures standing silently, some looking out over the lake that the party must either cross or go around.
Suggesting they go under the lake to the other side, Fjord casts Underwater Breathing on the party. They then discover the lake is frozen over, and although they break a hole through the ice, the water is freezing. They decide that going around the lake is the better option. When they leave the hole in the ice, the ghostly figures swirl around it, re-closing it with a barrier of ice.
The party trudges through the snow surrounding the lake, as the figures in the mist swirl around them, following them. Jester begins reading Tusk Love aloud, hoping to provide them entertainment, and it seems to work.
When the party reaches the edge of the lava flow, the spectral figures disperse. Dark is coming, and Jester and Caleb polymorph into giant eagles to scout for a possible entrance to the volcano. They find one across the lava, and Caleb returns to transport Nott and Caduceus, while Jester carries Beau and Fjord in her talons. Partway there, the wind forces Beau out of her grasp, but Jester is able to dive and retrieve her before she impacts the ground. They all land at the entranceway, and go in.
Inside is a firelit central chamber with a pool of molten rock at its center and a great black anvil at its edge. Above are dozens of chains holding various tools and implements. They are greeted by an older dwarven female who introduces herself as Jeramess Dust. She greets Caduceus warmly and tells him that his relatives Constance and Corrin (his mother and aunt) and also his brother Colton, have been there recently, but left seeking materials. She calls Tyla Dust in, who introduces herself as the Lorekeeper of the Kiln, the Cinderrest Sanctum, the Burning Lodge, the Underforge.
The party asks to spend the night, and since Tyla's husband Ichabod and their son Brumhelm[spelling?] are off on the day-and-a-half journey to Uthodurn for supplies, they are offered Brumhelm's room. Caduceus recalls his visions of placing shards of green glass-like material within fire to be transformed. Tyla's brother Khemdal examines the broken sword but can only say that it looks like it was made by Dulgrim Smeltborne, who they haven't seen in some time but is from Uthodurn. Tyla looks at the bag of powdered residuum they recovered from the Overcrow Apothecary and tells them that the glass-like form they need is refined residuum, found only in Whitestone but exported in limited quantities.
Beau recalls that Molaesmyr was the most powerful elven nation in Wildemount early in this age. However, through some strange, not entirely understood cataclysm, the city fell, and the surrounding forest was corrupted, which is now known as the Savalirwood. The elves scattered in two directions. Some of them fled westward and became the elves of the Empire in Bysaes Tyl and throughout the rest of Western Wynandir. The others went northward and joined Uthodurn, which had previously been founded by the dwarves.
The party begins to settle down for the night.
Part II Edit
Fjord asks Jester to use Sending to contact Vandran. She Sends: "Hello! You don’t know me. I’m here with Fjord. He wants you to know he’s okay and that he’s thinking about you. Where can he find you?" After a pause, Vandran replies, "You said you know Fjord. I haven’t heard that name in a while. Glad he’s doing well. Let him know I’m okay. Retired on an island. Good folks. He’d like ‘em." Fjord interprets that as Vandran not wanting to find or see him. He and Jester talk about his fears of Uk'otoa and desire to get away from it. He admits that he lost his powers briefly once before and that it terrified him. He tells her he's decided to see if the Wildmother will take an interest.
Meanwhile, Caleb sorts through all his items and components, and writes in his second book. While the party sleeps, Fjord dreams of waking on a beach, and seeing above him the moon turn into the eye of Uk'otoa. Tendrils reach out and restrain him, and the familiar voice says, "Don’t. Run. Find. Take. Consume." As the tendrils draw him through a huge mouth, the voice says, "Return. Or consume," and he is crushed within the mouth. He wakes, and his powers are again gone.
Fjord finds the falchion resting at Beau's back as she sleeps. He picks it up, and stealthily goes to the lava pool. He holds the falchion against his chest, saying, "You need me more than I need you. Give it back." Nothing happens, and he gradually pushes the sword into his chest until he is very close to death. With no response, he pulls the sword out, dripping with his blood, and holds it over the lava pool. Smoke begins to rise as his blood hits the lava, surrounding him and obscuring his vision. A calmness comes over him, and he throws the blade into the pool, where it sinks into the molten rock.
The wounded Fjord wakes Caduceus and tells him what he's done. Caduceus heals him and seems convinced that the sword they are seeking to mend is destined to be Fjord's new weapon. Caduceus is very encouraging of Fjord's actions, and Fjord admits that Caduceus has inspired him. Cadudeus commends Fjord for winning a battle of wills to take the first step in freeing himself from Uk'otoa, though he does not believe this is the end of Fjord's struggle yet. Fjord notices an engraving of the symbol of the Wildmother on the anvil as they pass it.
In the morning, Fjord drops his Texan accent in front of the party, speaking in his native British accent, which Jester had heard before they found the rest of the party in Trostenwald and Caleb had noticed and previously asked him about. He explains that he adopted Vandran's accent in an effort to gain the respect that Vandran had had. He tells them that he threw the falchion into the lava, suggesting that the reason was to destroy the final key to release Uk'otoa so that no one in the future would fall under its sway. He admits that he is now powerless.
Caleb suggests finding out, and puts the Glove of Blasting on Fjord's hand, which Fjord is able to use. The others join in, with Jester giving him her whip and her enchanted axe, Caduceus contributing a shield, and Nott donating the Dagger of Denial. Beau says regretfully she has nothing to give him other than drugs, which he refuses. Moved and embarrassed, Fjord urges the party to their next destination, Uthodurn.
Featured Characters Edit
- Constance Clay
- Corrin Clay
- Colton Clay
- Ichabod Dust
- Brumhelm Dust
- Dulgrim Smeltborne
|Destroyed||0||Sword of Fathoms||Fjord||Lava pool||Fjord threw the sword into a lava pool in order to try and break free of Uk'otoa's control.|
|Transferred||1||Dagger of Denial||Nott||Fjord||Enchanted dagger lent to Fjord.|
|Transferred||1||Hand axe (+1)||Jester||Fjord||Enchanted axe lent to Fjord.|
|Transferred||1||Inescapable Lash||Jester||Fjord||Enchanted whip lent to Fjord.|
|Transferred||1||Shield of Retribution||Caduceus||Fjord||Lent to Fjord.|
|Transferred||1||Glove of Blasting||Caleb||Fjord||Scorching Ray 1X/day, lent to Fjord.|
- Caduceus: That's the trick with faith.
Beau: Is that it's always an experiment?
Caduceus: That if you're not willing to move forward in it until you know, then you don't need it, do you? If you know, it's not faith.
- Fjord: Sometimes it’s just hard figuring out who you should be instead of who you want to be.
- Nott: Before we go, can I just out of morbid curiosity, could–
Fjord: If you make a comment about my strength, I might throw you in the lava.
Nott: You couldn’t.
- Nott: Could you, just because I’m curious, how would you say the words that are spelled E-L-D-R-I.... G-E, B-L-A-S-T. How would you pronounce that? How would you say those words?
Fjord: (British accent) Eldritch Blast.
Nott: “Blahst”– No! (Texan accent) Wellll, hell.