"Passed Through Fire" (1x69) is the thirteenth episode of the fifth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina is left shaken in the aftermath of their battle with Anna Ripley. They hurry back to Whitestone to save one of their own and end up being offered an alliance from the most unlikely source...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Announcements[edit | edit source]

  • Sam delivers a spooky Loot Crate ad and the cast open crates.
  • Matt will be at Twitchcon tomorrow
  • Laura shows off some HDYWTDT hoodies

Previously on Critical Role[edit | edit source]

"Vox Machina had been traveling to collect the Vestiges of the Divergence, artifacts from an old ancient time, to gain enough power to combat the Chroma Conclave, a group of chromatic dragons that assailed Tal'Dorei, led by Thordak the Cinder King.

"In searching for these artifacts, they found one in the city of Ank'Harel, that had been taken from out from under their nose by a long-forgotten NPC named Ripley. They gave chase down to the Glintshore Island of the Hespet Archipelago, and upon storming the beaches and destroying her ship, they walked into the jungle where an ambush turned into folly. They charged into what appeared to be a couple of illusions as the floor detonated beneath them, sending them across the ground and starting an encounter with snipers in position, at half health and below for most of the party.

"They gave a very, very good fight and still managed to push through, unfortunately Dr. Ripley—with the reveal that she has now bound herself to Orthax, the shadow demon that once plagued Percy's inspiration and nightmares—bent on vengeance, managed to take Percy, slay him, and leave him cold on the ground. As a group, Vox Machina did manage to...dissect Dr. Ripley, very aggressively, and get vengeance back for their friend."

Part I[edit | edit source]

With Vox Machina reeling from Percy's death, Vax confronts Kynan, who hands Whisper over to him. Kynan says that he left Emon to seek his destiny and that Ripley had taught him a lot. She'd also told him that Vox Machina were responsible for the Chroma Conclave's attack. Vax tells him to put that out of his mind and to help them if he wants to redeem himself. Checking for signs of Orthax, Vax senses a fiendish presence from near Ripley's body. Vex recovers Cabal's Ruin from her, as well as some money and rations and her gun. Vax immediately recognizes the gun as the source of the fiendish presence, and notices three names carved on it: Richter Wells, Oz Gruude, and King Bertrand Dwendal.

The party discuss their options for reviving Percy, but their abilities are tapped and they are unable to get to Pike before resting. Amongst the loot from Ripley is a Scroll of Gate that she had retrieved from a cave on the island. They discuss using it to bring Pike to them, but decide that the best thing to do would be to rest and go to Pike in the morning. Grog loots the remaining bodies and retrieves money, several guns and bullets, a great sword, a set of full plate armor, a Potion of Superior Healing, and Bracers of Defense +2.

While Scanlan looks for and finds his onyx dog and Keyleth tends to Percy's body, the rest of the party go to investigate the cave. They find Ripley's tracks inside, which leads to a severely burned chamber filled with skulls, with an altar in the center. This is where the Scroll of Gate was found. Not finding anything of use, they head back. Vex persuades Captain Damon to help in the coming battle at Emon and instructs the captain to meet them in Whitestone. Then the party and Kynan rest in Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion and the next morning Keyleth's Transport via Plants sends them all to Whitestone, where the sun is already setting.

They rush Percy's body to Pike in her half-built temple of Sarenrae. She sets up the ritual and tries to reach out and contact Percy's spirit, but she is being blocked somehow. Thinking of Orthax, Keyleth hands Ripley's gun to Pike, and she immediately senses that he is the one in the way, as he is "hungrily feasting on the soul of Percival." They know that he is anchored to the gun, so Keyleth casts Greater Restoration on it and severs his connection to it, releasing Percy's spirit.

Pike begins casting Resurrection and the ritual begins. Vex'ahlia pleads with Percy to return because Whitestone needs him and because she needs him, and she kisses him. Pike reaches out to Sarenrae for her aid. Keyleth holds the raven's skull she gave to Percy and tells him that his journey isn't over, and she conjures a swarm of crows around herself. Vax unfurls the wings from the Deathwalker's Ward to aid in the effect. The ritual succeeds and Percy's life returns to his body.

I should have told you. It's yours.
– 
Vex'ahlia to Percival at his Resurrection ritual[1]
[!h]

Break[edit | edit source]

  • A Loot Crate ad is played


Part II[edit | edit source]

A shaken and exhausted Percy asks where he is and Vox Machina take turns telling him of what's happened since he fell. Cassandra bursts in with Seeker Assum and some guards, but is relieved to see Percy upright and breathing. She tells him to stay out of trouble and thanks Pike, then returns to the castle. Percy describes a bit of the experience, but most was worse than he'd care to mention.

The party and Kynan move to the castle to give Percy a place to lay down, and encounter Jarett and Gilmore discussing the recent events. They have Gilmore Identify Cabal's Ruin and Whisper, and give the cloak to Percy and the dagger to Vax. Scanlan gives Jarett one bag of the Fusaka he purchased in Ank'Harel and tells him what he paid for it. Jarett says Scanlan got swindled. Vax tells Jarett that Kynan is in need of work and can serve the castle guard well, and Jarett welcomes him into the ranks. Jarett then gives Keyleth a letter that arrived for her from Kerrek. The letter includes some kind and encouraging words for her and a ring he'd made from the metal of a sword, with the inscription "I have passed through fire." Percy takes his leave and collapses in bed. At Grog's insistence, Pike casts Detect Evil on Kynan and senses nothing, but notes that he is mentally unwell.

Everyone is "teleportation-lagged" so they go out for a drink with Jarett. Grog shares a shot of the "Sand-kheg's Hide" that he got from Ank'Harel and both men's mouths immediately go numb for the evening. Vax goes to Kynan and shows him the daggers he bought for him, saying that he's worried about him right now but will give them to him soon. He tells Kynan that looking inward will not help him atone and that he should instead be of use. Kynan apologizes and says that Ripley was charming and confident and that he was easily persuaded, which showed that Vax was right that he wasn't ready to strike out on his own. He will do his best now to make up for what he's done.

Jarett offers Pike a shot of the Sand-kheg's Hide, which she downs with no numbing effect. Grog gives her another shot, which she downs, immediately goes numb, and the passes out on the table. Scanlan tells Jarett that Vox Machina are friends with J'mon Sa Ord and can make Jarett's legal troubles go away, but Scanlan wants him to get ahold of some illegal drugs for him in return. Jarett is very uncomfortable with the situation but agrees to find him some Suude and takes his leave for the evening.

Keyleth sees the look on Vex's face and asks her what's the matter. Vex shows everyone a letter that Percy had on him when he died: a good-bye letter to all of them. Vax reads it aloud, though Pike didn't hear a word in her state. After a few more drunken shenanigans, they all head back to the castle for bed. Vex sneaks into Percy's room and sneaks the letter back into Percy's coat pocket before going to bed herself.

The next morning, Seeker Assum comes to them at breakfast saying that there is new information he has to share with them and to meet him in the war room when they are finished eating. They finish up and head to the war room where Assum is waiting for them. He tells them to close the door, and despite Vex and Keyleth's insistence that they move downstairs to the Ziggurat, he continues, asking them to think before they act, that not all is what it seems, and that he comes to them as an ally. His eyes glow green and then take on a yellow reptilian appearance and green scales begin to show on his face, revealing that this is not Seeker Assum, but Raishan in disguise. Raishan points out that she has had every opportunity to destroy them and hasn't, proving that she comes to them in good faith, and she asks for the party's help in destroying the Cinder King.

Featured Characters[edit | edit source]

Vox Machina[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Acquired 1 Whisper Kynan Vax
Acquired 1 Cabal's Ruin Anna Ripley Percy
Acquired 1 Animus Anna Ripley Percy
Acquired 1 Gate Scroll Anna Ripley The party
Acquired 2 Pistols Ripley's henchmen Grog
Acquired 185 rounds Ammunition (for pistols) Ripley's henchmen Grog
Acquired 2 Rifles Ripley's henchmen Grog
Acquired 26 rounds Ammunition (for rifles) Ripley's henchmen Grog
Acquired 1 Long-barreled gun similar to Bad News Ripley Grog Broken, discarded by Ripley during the fight.
Acquired 1 Bracers of Defense Ripley's henchmen Grog + 2
Acquired 1 Potion of Superior Healing Ripley's henchmen Grog
Acquired 620 Gold pieces Ripley's henchmen Grog
Relinquished 1 bag Fusaka Scanlan Jarett
Acquired 1 Letter from Kerrek Jarett Keyleth Delivered while they were away.
Acquired 1 Iron ring Kerrek Keyleth Contained in Kerrek's letter.

Quotations[edit | edit source]

Keyleth,

I write to let you and your companions know that the repair of Westruun is proceeding well. I will not bore you with the details. Suffice to say that our children are well-fed and safe, our elderly and infirm are cared-for and comfortable. Without the help of you and yours, this would not be the case.

The folk in charge argue constantly, but that is to be expected. And it is no bad thing; they all want the same good things in different ways. I listen, mostly, and do what I can to make sure they listen to each other. Without listening, nothing good can happen.

The town… when I say the repair is going well… it is a hard thing for me to talk about. I am not a particularly clever man, and much of this is new to me. When you make a mistake with metal, you can melt things down and start fresh. It is irritating, and it costs in time and soot and sweat, but it can be done. There is a comfort in iron, knowing that a fresh start is always possible. But a city is not a sword. It is a living thing, and living things defy simple fixing. Roots cannot be reforged. They scar, and broken branches must be cut and sealed with tar. And this makes me angry, as it always has, and my anger has no place to go.

It was easier when I was young. I could use my anger like a hammer against the world. I was so sure of myself, and my friends, and my rightness. I would hammer at the world, and breaking felt like making to me, and I was good at it. And while I was not wrong, neither was I entirely right. Nothing is simple.

I do not work in wood. I am not brave enough for that. There is a comfort in iron. A promise of safety. A second chance if mistakes are made. But a city is more a forest than a sword. No… it needs more tending than that. Perhaps a city is like a garden, then.

So these days, it seems I have become a gardener. I dig foundations in the earth. I sow rows of houses. I plan and plant. I watch the skies for rain and ruin. I cannot help but think that you would be better at this. But circumstance has put both of us in our own odd place. You are forced to be a hammer in the world, and my ungentle hands are learning how to tend a plot of land. We must do what we can do.

Did you know that there are some seeds that cannot sprout unless they are first burned? A friend once told me that. She was… she was a bookish sort. I think of gardening constantly these days. I wear your gift, and I think of you. And I think it is interesting that there are some living things that need to pass through fire before they flourish.

I ramble. You have the heart of a gardener, and because of this, you think of consequence, and your current path pains you. I am not wise, and I do not give advice, but I have come to know a few things. Sometimes breaking is making. Even iron can start again, and there are many things that move through fire and find themselves much better for it afterward.

I have enclosed a gift. Once it was a sword, but it has changed. It is a small thing and silly. Please forgive an old man for his foolishness. Still, I hope it brings you some small comfort.

Kindly,
Ker

– 
letter from Kerrek to Keyleth[2]
[!h]

My friends,

I have just taken an audience with the Raven Queen, who has snuffed any hope of my redemption, for which I am truly grateful. With new clarity, I can finally see my life as a series of compounding poor choices. There was nothing I could have done to save my family, yet I still sold my soul in search of vengeance. Later, I allowed Ripley to leave, knowing full well she was a greater threat to the world than the Briarwoods would ever be. I traded the world’s safety for the belief that I could murder my way to peace, that if I could be a greater horror, it would bring my family back. Once this lie was shattered, I scrambled to find a solution, to make a deal, to undo my mistakes and balance the scales. I now understand that there are no scales. There is no redemption, and no ledger that judges me good or evil. I am free to simply be myself and live with the terrible mistakes I’ve made.

Tomorrow, I start upon a new path beyond the gods and demons who have tormented me, and it’s your friendship that makes this possible. Though a shadow lingers, the need for vengeance is gone. I will try and do my best for you all. I will strive to buy the future more time free of my legacy. I will stand against the children of my madness in hope, rather than in anger. And if you are reading this, then my travels on this path have come to an end.

Scanlan, thank you for destroying my gun. Do not let the weight of life’s consequences crush your bravado. It is your greatest weapon.

Grog, remember that your compassion has brought you this far, not just strength. For the record, I would have wiped the floor with you that time.

Vax, you often remind me of myself, and yes, I know that that is a bit of an insult. Stop indulging your desire to sacrifice and try being the man that these two women seem to think you are. They may actually need you one day.

Vex, you often remind me of myself, and that is the highest of compliments. I hope you free yourself of whatever voices haunt you. Also, since I’m gone, you’re the clever one now.

Keyleth, don’t let the world break you. Learn to forgive it for not living up to your standards. We promise to try harder.

Pike, it is wonderful to have you home. You bring everyone closer to their best selves, and I can only imagine what a burden that must be. Allow yourself some vice and failure. They’ll still love you just the same.

As to what must be done, I’d be content to be left in a ditch, my weapons and notes burnt and broken. But I imagine that would upset Cass. If you can, take me home. If you can’t, I understand. She knows where to find the rest of my instructions. Times being what they are, burn my work or bring it home in the hopes of aiding in the defense of Whitestone. I leave this judgment in your capable hands. Please find Ripley before she does too many terrible things and erase my legacy wherever you find it. That silence would be the greatest eulogy I could ever hope for.

With eternal gratitude,
Percival of Vox Machina.

– 
letter from Percy to Vox Machina[3]
[!h]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See "Passed Through Fire" (1x69) at 1:12:40.
  2. See "Passed Through Fire" (1x69) from 1:58:15 through 2:03:50.
  3. See "Passed Through Fire" (1x69) from 2:33:48 through 2:37:39.

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