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Essek and Verin Thelyss - JustHustina

Fan art of Essek and Verin, youngest souls of Den Thelyss, by @JustHustina.[art 1]

Den Thelyss is one of the three ruling Dens of the Kryn Dynasty. Like all Dens, it is a family that an individual may enter upon consecution and is "returned" to in a new life after anamnesis. Most of the Den lives in the Lucid Bastion in Rosohna, and it appears to hold a supervisory role over the Marble Tomes Conservatory. It is led by Deirta Thelyss, and its youngest souls are her sons Essek Thelyss and Verin Thelyss.

Essek is the only member of Den Thelyss to appear on stream so far, though Verin is described in a "Figure of Interest" entry in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount and appears in Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep.


Den Thelyss is one of the twelve noble Dens of the Kryn Dynasty and one of its three ruling Dens. As a Den, it is considered a family; individuals may enter into the family upon consecution, and reborn individuals are "returned" to the Den after anamnesis, the process by which a consecuted soul remembers a past life.[1] Essek Thelyss says of consecution, Den Thelyss, and his personal lack of religious faith in the Luxon: "There is an expectation of advancement within the faith to be consecuted. I really do not care for the specific theology behind it, but I was lucky enough and privileged enough to be born within a den to where it was not questioned[.]"[2] Like the other two ruling Dens, it is led by an Umavi, a revered "perfect soul";[3] the Umavi of Den Thelyss is Deirta Thelyss.[4]

When a new member is welcomed into Den Thelyss, the Den holds an elaborate feast, one staple of which is a stew with herbed dumplings, root vegetables, and the rarest meat the Den's hunters can find, preferably that of the frost worm.[5]

By tradition, each Den manages an aspect of local industry in Rosohna,[3] but it is unstated what Den Thelyss customarily controls. However, it appears to hold a supervisory role over the Marble Tomes Conservatory, as Professor Tuss Waccoh stated any apprentice or intern she takes must be approved by the Den.[6] Most of Den Thelyss lives in the Lucid Bastion in Rosohna,[7] though Essek lived elsewhere in the Firmaments[8] and the Den owns other property there as well.[9] Members of Den Thelyss are well-recognized in the city, and traveling with one draws attention.[10]


In 833 PD,[11] Essek began working with the Cerberus Assembly in the neighboring Dwendalian Empire. Feeling the Dynasty had misread the Luxon beacons, were not using them to their full potential, and were misusing them to extend their lives[12], alongside Essek's mistrust of anyone else who may do the research first, he ultimately turned two beacons over to the Assembly in secret. This would eventually culminate in the War of Ash and Light.[13][14]

Shortly before 835 PD, Verin Thelyss was appointed to govern Bazzoxan, where he maintains martial law due to the constant threat of invasion from the Abyss.[1][15] At some point before 836 PD, Essek's father disappeared in the labyrinth below Bazzoxan after a dispute with Essek, who stated his father went unprepared as a result of Essek angering him. However, Essek claimed to be unbothered by the situation. Essek's father is apparently presumed dead, but there is possibility he may return and a Luxon beacon is within range of Bazzoxan.[16]

Campaign Two: The Mighty Nein[]

Essek was present at court when the Mighty Nein arrived in Rosohna and Lythir VaSuun revealed they attacked Dynasty soldiers. After the Nein presented one of the stolen beacons, the Bright Queen Leylas Kryn absolved them of Lythir's accusations in the eyes of the three ruling Dens and assigned Essek to be their steward.[17][18] Shortly after, in recognition of the beacon's return and the favor performed for Professor Waccoh,[19] the Nein received a home in the Firmaments as a gift from Den Thelyss.[9]

In "Stone to Clay" (2x91), when asked what Den Thelyss thought of halting the attack on Rexxentrum, Essek stated that the Den wants "very much" to see the Dynasty recognized and respected by the rest of Exandria. However, he lamented that the Dwendalian Empire's poor opinion of the Dynasty impedes that.[20]

Shortly after the war ended, rumors circulated that there was an Empire collaborator within the Dynasty, leading to tension between the Dens. The list of suspects correctly included Essek. Seeking distance from Rosohna politics to protect himself, and to buffer himself from possible Assembly assassins, he asked to be sent "far away" and received an assignment managing the Vurmas outpost on Foren.[21][22] While there, he ventured into Aeor with the Nein to defeat Lucien and the Somnovem, as recounted in "Aeor" (2x132) to "Long May He Reign" (2x140). Though he was uncertain of his future in the Dynasty,[23] Essek returned to managing the outpost and was still there in 837 PD to embark on a research expedition into Aeor with Caleb Widogast. Shortly after, Essek, feeling too scrutinized by the Dynasty, vanished from the outpost to build a life abroad.[24]

Known members[]


Fan art of Deirta Thelyss, Umavi leader of the Den, by @tshortik.[art 2]

Family tree[]

DeirtaMale drow


  1. Essek is a drow, so it logically follows that both his parents must also have been drow.
  2. Verin is described in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount and in "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) at 3:24:37 as Essek's brother without qualification, implying Verin is also the son of Deirta and the man who disappeared.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 41. Chapter 2: Factions and Societies. "Kryn Dynasty".
  2. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:31:28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 144. Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer. "Rosohna: Government".
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:23:06.
  5. See Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role, p. 176.
  6. See "Agreements" (2x61) at 2:36:00.
  7. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 1:48:10.
  8. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 1:34:30.
  9. 9.0 9.1 See "Agreements" (2x61) at 3:24:53.
  10. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 2:20:30.
  11. See "Dark Waters" (2x98) at 0:16:55.  Essek states that it has been three years since he began working with the Cerberus Assembly.
  12. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 47:37.
  13. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) from 0:37:26 through 0:39:20.  Essek speaks about his research interests in the beacons and the Dynasty's lack of priority of it.
  14. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) from 3:53:40 through 3:56:45.  Essek admits his role in the beacon theft and his reasons for doing so.
  15. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 134. Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer. "Wastes of Xhorhas: Bazzoxan".
  16. 16.0 16.1 See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) from 0:58:36 through 1:00:00.
  17. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 0:08:50.
  18. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 0:46:15.
  19. See "Agreements" (2x61) at 3:12:00.
  20. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) from 0:24:30 through 0:26:20.
  21. See "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) from 2:33:59 through 2:35:15.
  22. See "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) at 3:09:30.
  23. See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 0:21:28.
  24. See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) from 6:36:10 through 6:48:20.
  25. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) at 1:37:15.
  26. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:32:16.
  1. Fan art of Essek and Verin, youngest souls of Den Thelyss, by @JustHustina (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Deirta Thelyss, Umavi leader of the Den, by @tshortik (source). Used with permission.