"Lingering Wounds" (2x89) is the eighty-ninth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein take a couple days of downtime in Rexxentrum to research, train, and reconnect with faces from the past...
Last session of 2019! Not to worry, they'll be back next year.
- Returning after a long absence, one of the early sponsors of the show, Backblaze. On a restored hard drive, Sam was shocked to find an old script for an anime trailer from the mid-90's, a remake of Gale Force Five. With the power of friendship, Ashley Johnson as the mutant Gale goes up against the Forces of Evil in her high school. Get a 15-day free trial now so you too can find old anime scripts lost on your hard drive.
- The second sponsor, from the beginning of Campaign Two, is D&D Beyond, for a limited time offering 15% off digital books at their web site.
- Check out their recent "End of 2019 Fireside Chat" (Sx50), now available on Twitch and YouTube.
- Vox Machina Origins Volume 2 Issue 4 is now available in your local comic book store or online.
- The long dark winter has commenced. They are off for three weeks, until January 9, 2020. Travis misses Chutney, as do we all.
- Some content is migrating on YouTube from the Geek and Sundry channel to Critical Role's. It takes some time, so bear with them.
Previously on Critical Role
Last we left off, the Mighty Nein, after having their showdown with the cult of the Angel of Irons, destroying Obann, the Laughing Hand, and freeing Yasha and the Inevitable End from his influence, you were taken to the throne room of King Dwendal, and upon meeting members of his council and the Assembly, you were tasked to prove yourselves a bit by helping bring some sort of an arrangement between them and the Dynasty, to essentially help forge a possible peace talk or negotiation in this conflict that’s been going on for quite some time, based on the relationship that you have seemingly built with the Bright Queen. You were brought under Ludinus Da'leth, the Martinet and oldest member of the Assembly, who then spoke with you in his private quarters about elements of the conflict, some of the source of the tension that has led and eventually brewed into the war that broke out, and you were given a little bit of guidance as to how much you were to guide the next step in this. You asked as part of this arrangement to inspect the beacon that was supposedly found by the word of Trent Ikithon. As such, you were brought by Ludinus to the Vergesson Sanatorium, a hidden structure somewhere in the northern elements of Western Wynandir, where you were brought to a subterranean research facility where you met Trent Ikithon as well as two of his Scourgers, one of which was familiar to Caleb. You inspected it, found it to seemingly be indeed an actual beacon, had a bit of a tense back-and-forth interrogation via conversation, and then upon returning to Rexxentrum, began to forge a few paths with the time that you had given. It was up to you as to when to choose to engage and begin these negotiations. There was no timeline set, but time is of the essence, for the more time that goes by, the higher chance there is of this temporary ceasefire to be broken.
After voicing a few possible interests here in the city of Rexxentrum, you now stand in your chambers within the Camarouth Cottage, figuring out what to do with the time that you have. So, Mighty Nein, after venturing back from some purchasing at a nearby creepy store, and having some conversation about what the next order of business is, you are still gathered and the city is yours. What would you like to do?
During the first day's down time, Caduceus works on playing his new bone flute death whistle, while Yasha reads the book that Fjord gave her, taking a point of exhaustion to read through the first night. Fjord spends his time meditating on the Wildmother and working out with Beau. Nott buys more crossbow bolts, including ten with a rubber tip as training bolts for a young child.
Jester uses Scrying to check in on Kiri, who seems to be doing well although there is visible war damage to Hupperdook. She then casts Sending three times. First, to the Plank King, who doesn't remember her at all. The next message is to Beau's father Thoreau, asking if he heeded her warning and saying they're keeping eyes on him. He responds by thanking her for "helping with the competition," which seems to relate to Obann's attack on the Stassman family when he recovered Jourrael's skull. Jester's final message is to the Inevitable End, thanking her for her aid in the fight and telling her if she wants a friend, just let them know. The response is curt: Their aid in breaking Obann's will is appreciated, and therefore she will let them live. They will not meet again.
Caleb asks Fjord and Nott to accompany him on a walk to the Soltryce Academy. Nott asks him what he imagines he might have become if Trent Ikithon hadn't gotten his hands on him, and Caleb thinks he would probably have remained at the Academy as a teacher. For the time being, though, he'll focus on teaching Nott, and attempting to read and understand Halas's research notes from the Happy Fun Ball regarding permanent transformation of bodies. After studying them, he can tell that this is a goal he's capable of achieving, but that it will take a long time.
Beau heads to the Cobalt Soul Library to research, learning that there is indeed an archaeological excavation at Pride's Call where a few weeks ago, a Luxon Beacon was found that was claimed by the Cerberus Assembly. This means that the Empire has had three beacons: the one the Mighty Nein recovered in Zadash and returned to the Bright Queen, the recently found one they were just shown at the Vergesson Sanatorium, and the one that Yeza had in Felderwin, the current whereabouts of which are unknown.
When Beau returns to the Camarouth Cottage, Jester confronts her, asking if Beau's avoiding her because Jester failed to save her in the fight against Obann. Beau reassures her, saying that she was simply busy. Jester then shares the message she sent to Beau's father, which startles Beau, although she finds endearing the fact that Jester wanted to make her father suffer because he was bad to Beau. Jester promises not to do it again unless Beau is present. When Beau disparages tarot card readers like the ones her father believes in, Jester leaps to Molly's defense and assures Beau that he knew things and could see the future, but Beau responds that it's just nonsense while still admitting her respect and fondness for Molly, and says that he was an inspiration for her when it comes to balancing lies and truths. Jester agrees to disagree on the subject. Beau then gives her the deck of tarot cards that she took as a remembrance when Molly died, and Jester immediately begins learning how to use them.
After sundown, everyone except Caleb heads out to try to find a clandestine fighting pit. They are referred to the King's Cut, a large butchery with a secret basement fighting ring, where after closing time the proprietor books them for three fights to be held the next night: Beau bare-fisted, Fjord with weapons and armor, and Yasha bare-fisted against the Champion. The price is 75 gp for Beau and 200 each for Fjord and Yasha. While they arrange the matches, Jester paints googly eyes on all the carcasses with her magical paint.
Twenty minutes after the others left the Cottage, Caleb goes upstairs and uses his newly-purchased amber pieces to cast Widogast's Vault of Amber, shrinking his books and harness into one of them. He then walks to 31st Woadstone Manor, Astrid's home, on the grounds of Trent Ikithon's tower in the Candles. The door is opened by a male halfling servant, to whom Caleb gives his birth name: Bren Aldric Ermendrud. He is admitted and shown inside, where after a few minutes, Astrid enters. She looks much the same as he remembers, though older, with a new scar down her face from brow to chin and black maze-like tattoos on her arms like those on the halfling Scourger at the Sanatorium. They speak in Zemnian.
He asks how he got to the Sanatorium, that the last thing he remembers is his home burning. She replies that he had a breaking point and began to lash out, implying that a burn scar on her neck was caused by him. "They" took him to the Sanatorium, but had to subdue him first. They always hoped he'd improve, and at times he did. Now, he's defied their expectations and she is proud of him. She has been doing "a bit of tutelage" and what they were meant to do: keeping their people safe. She seems genuinely mournful for Bren's pain and suffering, but accepts that life is suffering and some things are necessary. While understanding his anger, she is pragmatic enough to realize that Trent is an old man who will one day die.
Bren tells her that he will never forget what they were, and that he still cares a great deal about her - or at least, the girl he knew, but that Trent has blinded her and Wulf. He mourns their childhood and their souls. When he says he thinks he'd better go, she replies that he's welcome any time and she'd like to see more of him. As he leaves, she squeezes his hand and he hangs on her face for a minute and thinks about staying, but then goes out, back to the Cottage.
The next morning, Beau heads back to the Cobalt Soul library, after first checking if Jester wants to join her. Caduceus wants to come too until he's told he can't bring his bone death whistle, but Caleb brings Halas's papers and joins her. Her first research topic is who instituted the six approved gods of the Dwendalian Empire, and she learns it happened almost 300 years ago in an effort to reduce rebellion by choosing only gods that fit within the overall goals of the Empire. She also clarifies that there was only a single shackle of the Chained Oblivion under the Chantry of the Dawn, and that information as to the whereabouts of the other five is almost impossible to find.
While Beau is researching, Caleb studies more of Halas's notes and determines that the magic of the collar that was found in the Happy Fun Ball is beyond his current understanding. Meanwhile, Jester volunteers to go work out with Fjord, who accepts. She manages to do 25 pushups, but to his shame, he manages only three before developing a hernia which she cures for him. Yasha continues reading her book.
In the evening, they walk to the King's Cut Butchery in the Mudtop Ward, and after some issues getting in because they have forgotten the password, they are ushered to a hidden staircase leading down into the fighting pit of the Stone Coffin.
Beau is up against Ovo, a half-elf in his late fifties that the Mighty Nein immediately christen "Pop Pop." She makes quick work of him while feeling deep guilt about beating up an old man. Fjord is then up against Darrow Allocke, whom they recognize as the leader of the Stubborn Stock that they were co-champions with at the Harvest Close Festival. Fjord does 50 hit points of damage immediately with Armor of Agathys, but with a critical hit and several smites, Darrow does 92 points of damage with one hit, and a few hits later knocks Fjord out. Meanwhile, Nott has sneaked out of the room.
The final bout is Yasha vs. the champion Kal Dimmins. At the outset, Yasha does not rage, and it quickly becomes apparent that her goal is not winning this fight. She pulls her punches and grapples rather than hitting, and repeatedly whispers goads into the champion's ear. When she is eventually knocked out smiling in relief, Kal leaves quickly, totally freaked out. While the rest of the Mighty Nein are concerned and confused, Caleb tells her, "I get it."
Meanwhile, Nott has been burgling Cy's Toppers, the hat shop next door. She steals a hat for each of them: a baseball cap for Beau, a tiny doll's hat for Jester, a fez for Caduceus, a yellow beanie for Yasha, a Bavarian hat for Caleb, a large top hat for herself, and a clerk's visor for Fjord, which she swaps out for a cowboy hat. They all head off to a bar for mai tais.
- Kiri (via Jester's Scrying spell)
- Plank King (via Jester's Sending spell)
- Thoreau Lionett (via Jester's Sending spell)
- Jourrael (via Jester's Sending spell)
- Darrow Allocke
|Transferred||1||Deck of Tarot Cards||Beau||Jester||This is the deck Beau took from Molly's body as a remembrance.|
|Acquired||20||Crossbow Bolts||Unnamed merchant||Nott|
|Acquired||10||Rubber-Tipped Crossbow Bolts||Unnamed merchant||Nott||Training bolts for a young child|
|Transferred||6||Hats||Nott||The Party||Nott gave one to each of the rest of the party, and kept one|
- Caleb: (to Astrid) It’s strange, I find myself wanting to apologize. Still. So much of me feels like I failed. But a lot has changed. I know some things now that I didn’t as a boy. And I am so glad to see you.
- Caleb: What we did that night– I did fail. But I didn’t fail the Empire. I failed myself and my mother and father.
- Astrid: (about Trent) “I understand your anger. And as much as he’s been our teacher, he’s not infallible. He’s just an old man, with the right connections, who will one day pass like they all do.”
Caleb: You always were ambitious.
Astrid: “So are you, apparently, Bren. Like I said, I’m proud of you.”
- Yasha: I ruin people.