Into the Eye

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03:27

"Into the Eye" (2x131) is the one hundred thirty-first episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. After wrapping up with family and steeling their nerves, the Mighty Nein return to the frozen peaks and valleys of Eiselcross to weigh allies and plot their next course of action...

Synopsis

Announcements

  • Tonight's first sponsor is Ravensburger, and their newest expansion to the Disney Villainous games, Despicable Plots, with three new villains that can be played standalone or with the other games. Sam gives the cast a chance to be despicable villains by customizing the hair on his head live onstream, but they're too nice to be truly evil with it. Check the game out at bitly/CRDespicable.
  • Without shaving any part of himself, Matt explains Elderwood Academy's new keyring spellbooks. For 15% off everything, use code "criticalrole21" at checkout.
  • Once again, thanks to D&D Beyond for being with them since the beginning of the campaign. Their bot "Avrae" works with Discord for dice rolls and character information.
  • Critical Role is now livestreaming on both Twitch and YouTube, but the moderated community live chat is on Twitch.
  • Announcing the first official Critical Role novel, Vox Machina - Kith & Kin, featuring the twins Vex'ahlia and Vax'ildan... and of course, Trinket the bear, before they meet Vox Machina. It's scheduled to release 26 October 2021, and is pre-orderable now. For more info, head to criticalrolebooks.com. Ashley just wants to run their bookstore, wearing an apron.

Previously on Critical Role

So, last we left off: [The Mighty Nein],[1] having to tie some loose ends before making their return trek to Eiselcross, decided to take a turn towards the Grove that was once the home and abode of Caduceus to go and check up on the Clay clan.

At that space, you got to see some folks. You got to check up a bit on these visions that were being had. Some of you had some conversations, had some realizations, and some shared anxiety with the adventures to come. Toward the end of this evening's final rest, the storm crashing in the distance, the darkened clouds and lightless night, a heavy rain falling all around, Yasha went out to think on the Stormlord and the connection they have been steadily dancing around since her escape from Xhorhas. In the fits of this vision, this blasted wasteland of broken weapons and isolation, the brewing storm slowly coming towards you as flashes of lightning grow stronger and louder, you run into the storm, with the final voice of the Stormlord saying: "Show me."

Part I

Yasha and the lightning - CT Chen.jpg
Fan art of Yasha and the lightning, by CT Chen.[art 1]
Yasha sees three lightning spirits and three massive storm spirits snaking down from above and surrounding her, and the rest of the cast play them for the fight with Yasha. They attack, causing significant damage. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning streaks down from the sky, and in the crater it leaves, Yasha finds the Holy Avenger. Wielding it, she counterattacks against them. Their attacks are strong, but their defenses not so much so, and Yasha is able to destroy Laura's storm spirit. However, on death the storm elemental activates Exploding Thunder, which massively damages all creatures around her including the other spirits.

As the battle continues, Yasha is brought to what would normally be unconsciousness. As a 14th level zealot barbarian, however, she continues fighting - but any damage to her causes her to lose a death save. She manages to take out the spirit operated by Sam, and the area effect generated by his death destroys Taliesin. Yasha's second attack that round kills Marisha's spirit, which explodes, killing Travis... and Yasha, but she continues fighting with Rage Beyond Death. Liam, operating the only remaining spirit, hits her, and in one blow, Yasha brings him down as well.

Yasha flying into the storm - BlackSalander.jpg
Fan art of Yasha flying into the storm, by BlackSalander.[art 2]
Beau and Yasha, asleep - Bunchu.jpg
Fan art of Yasha with Beau, asleep, by Bunchu.[art 3]
Alone on the battlefield, she continues to rage while flying upward until she can rage no more. In the middle of the storm, surrounded by lightning and roiling clouds, she raises the Holy Avenger above her head and a bolt of lightning arcs into it, flickering along the blade and sustaining her. She reaches the center of the storm and sees the face of the Stormlord, asking, "Where do you find your strength?" Yasha's response is that she protects. She finds her strength in her friends and family, and she lays her life before them. With that, the storm picks up strength and everything goes dark. She takes a deep breath and finds herself still sitting in the mud where she began her meditation, the Holy Avenger before her in the dirt. As she picks it up, energy streaks between her and the blade, and it feels warm to the touch. She goes back inside, where the party is asleep, and joins Beau.

While Yasha was outside and before the party went to bed, Jester sent a message to Wensforth, asking what happened at Tidepeak after the party Plane Shifted. He responds that Yussa is still on his Astral Projection, and they're safe. Jester asks if Trent Ikithon hurt him, but he didn't. He thinks he might have been ensorcelled to let them in, but they didn't stay long.

Vandran - TheTaterArt.jpg
Fan art of Vandran, by @thetaterart.[art 4]
Jester then goes off by herself and casts Scry to locate Vandran. She sees ocean water, then a jungle. Inside a small makeshift driftwood cabin is Vandran, peacefully reading Tusk Love. She Sends to him, asking if there's anything he wants her to tell Fjord, and he answers for Fjord to take care of himself.

In the morning, they all get in the hot spring and Jester confesses to Fjord that she contacted Vandran. They discuss plans, and Fjord asks if they should consider working with Master Ikithon and the Cerberus Assembly. Caduceus and Jester immediately agree. Caleb hates the idea of spending any time with Trent, but Beau suggests maybe Trent will be killed during the fight. They discuss it, and Veth mentions Trent's been reaching out to Caleb. Beau asks Caleb if he could work alongside his abuser, although for the record she wouldn't want to wish it on anyone, but... Caleb says that for a short period of time, he can manage it. Her concern is that Trent's presence will cause Caleb to again fall into a dark place, and the party needs him on his A-game. She doesn't want to weaken Caleb by bringing Trent. He tells her Ikithon is not a temptation he needs to worry about, and after Veth tells him this may be a chance to button up that part of Caleb's life, Caleb says that while that might be a bonus, dealing with the Somnovem is a requirement. They should warn Essek now, and can reassess when they reach Eiselcross.

Jester Sends to Essek, warning him that Ikithon may be coming, but that maybe he can help. Essek very nervously replies that if so, he cannot stay long and they should all leave soon if the Nein still need his help.

They bid farewell to the Clay family and Teleport to Eiselcross.

Break

Part II

Caleb's Teleport to the Kryn Dynasty outpost at Aeor, even using a stone he kept from the location, is significantly off target. Caduceus casts Find the Path to discover they are southwest of the outpost by about two or three days travel distance. They set off through a gathering snowstorm to the base of the mountains, then Polymorph into giant eagles and travel onward, eventually reaching the valley holding the ruins of Aeor and switching to giant owls when it grows dark. They camp in the dome for the night.

Jester Sends to Essek to check in, learning that he has increased the guard, and there is a lot to discuss. She then Sends to Vandran, asking which jungle he's in, and he responds that he thinks he is near Bisaft Isle, which is close to where the Tide's Breath went down years ago.

They talk again about what's coming. Caleb tells Veth that if it's necessary, he'll send her back to her family. Jester promises that if she dies, she'll come back and haunt them all. They promise to take care of each other's families if anyone dies. Jester makes Veth promise to keep her parents together if Jester dies, and makes Caleb promise to draw a dick in every temple. Caleb asks them to make sure that no more children are bent away from their purpose in life. Beau asks everyone to "take her out" if the eyes take her over, and Frumpkin moves into her lap to comfort her. Caleb asks Fjord, specifically, to take him out as well if the eyes take over, telling Fjord he's calling in the favor Fjord owes him.[2] Everyone is silent, contemplating the grim future, and Jester asks Caleb to put the pretty pictures on the dome again[3] tonight. Not having that spell, he starts a small fire in the dome and uses Control Flames to create shapes and images within the fire.

The next morning, the Nein check the Empire Kids for new eyes but no new additions are found on their bodies. With that relief, they Polymorph into giant eagles again, seeing no signs of the Tombtakers anywhere. When the spell ends, they continue on foot, reaching the Kryn outpost around early afternoon. The guards escort them to Essek, who welcomes them. Jester immediately gives him an Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location. Caleb explains that they have had run-ins with Trent Ikithon and that Trent almost certainly has realized Essek has been aiding the Nein. It may make sense to negotiate a temporary alliance with him to aid in the battle.

Essek is not happy with this idea. He realizes he has to leave the outpost because he is putting all the others there in danger, and he is willing to go into the ruins with the Nein. But he does not trust Trent. He understands if they need to, but he cannot be a part of it. Caleb attempts to persuade him, and shows him the eye on his shoulder. He proposes as a side venture they try to eliminate Trent during the fight. Essek is not persuaded, and gives them the choice: If they work with Trent, Essek's aid will only be from a distance. He leaves them to decide while he packs.

Essek's winter clothes - Omegasama.jpg
Fan art of Essek's winter clothes, by Omegasama art.[art 5]
Caleb suggests that one person they can trust is better than three that they can't. Jester casts Sending to Astrid to ask if they are being followed to Aeor. Her first message is so confused that Astrid has no idea what she's asking. Her second try is better, now that they know Astrid is alone. Astrid responds that no volstrucker has ever broken free of Trent Ikithon before, and since the Nein have the respect of both the crown and the Kryn, Caleb is a huge threat to Trent. The party realizes that means Trent is probably continuing to pursue them.

They decide to ally with Essek, and try to be ready for Trent and the volstruckers to appear at any moment. Caleb gives the silencing collar to Beau, telling her that if they have the opportunity, Yasha should try to grapple Trent while Beau clasps it around his neck. Beau reminds the party of Lucien's defenses and immunities. They also discuss the idea of having Essek's men seal off the main entrance but then realize there are multiple entrances to the ruins.

When Essek returns, they tell him they have decided to stick with him. They can trust him more than Trent. Essek is thankful for the trust, and he is ready to go. The secret entrance has been guarded since the Nein left the last time and no one has tried to make entrance there yet. It lies about a day's travel away, but if they make good time, they can arrive by sundown. They set off into the Aeorian crater.

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 2 Opals Calliope Clay Jester Worth 100gp each. To cast Symbol.
Transferred 350 gold pieces Caduceus Calliope Clay As payment for the opals.
Acquired 1 Necklace Constance Clay Caduceus Gold woven cord with a sculpted Wildmother icon made of fired clay from the bottom of the Grove pool.
Transferred 1 Letter Veth Constance Clay With instructions to mail it to Luc and Yeza in the event the party doesn't return.
Transferred 1 Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location Jester Essek One of the spares.
Transferred 1 Silencing collar Caleb Beau To potentially use on Trent.

Quotations

  • The Stormlord: Where do you find your strength?
    Yasha: I- I protect. I find my strength in my friends. I find my strength in my family, and laying my life before them.
    The Stormlord: Then, protect them. Protect them.[4]
  • Jester: Hello. You don't know me, but I know Fjord. Is there anything you want me to tell him? Make it good. Tusk Love rocks.
    Vandran: Rather unexpected. Well, whoever you are, just tell him to take care of himself. Also, it's pretty good. No spoilers, please.[5]
  • Astrid: A volstrucker has never disentangled from Trent before. No one who knows what he does, how he breaks us, has shared their trauma with the world, with the king. Imagine the threat you are to him now that you carry the respect of both Crown and Kryn. So, yes, he's invested.[6]

Trivia

  • Sam's storm spirit was named "Tempest Cloudburst", and was inexplicably Italian. Marisha's was named "Low Barometric Pressure", "Barry" for short. Liam's was named "Shock Hudson", and is described as handsome. Laura's was named "Windy", and Travis's was named "Cyclone". Taliesin's is the only storm spirit without a proper name, being referred just as the "older version of a lightning" due to a mistake in Taliesin's sheet, which showed an older version of the creature.

References

  1. Although Matt actually said "Vox Machina" onstream, it was an apparent slip of the tongue.
  2. See "The Diver's Grave" (2x44) at 3:45:51.  Fjord promised Caleb a favor in return for blood to activate Dashilla's pedestal.
  3. See "Maritime Mysteries" (2x103) at 1:41:44.  Caleb uses Programmed Illusion to create a montage of happy memories for the group on the inside of the dome while on Rumblecusp.
  4. See "Into the Eye" (2x131) at 1:08:35.
  5. See "Into the Eye" (2x131) at 1:25:14.
  6. See "Into the Eye" (2x131) at 3:57:00.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Yasha and the lightning, by CT Chen (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Yasha flying into the storm, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Yasha with Beau, asleep, by Bunchu (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Vandran, by @thetaterart (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Essek's winter clothes, by Omegasama art (source).  Used with permission.
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