"Reunions" (1x33) is the tenth episode of the third chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina enters Whitestone Castle, led by a new, unlikely ally in hopes of rescuing Cassandra de Rolo. Battles commence, debts are settled, and secrets are revealed as the group descends into the haunted catacombs.
- Sam Riegel released his Spotify playlist for Scanlan Shorthalt full of "panty peeler" music here. He says to log on to "geekandsundry.com/finditonthatsitesomewhere".
- The first Critical Role comic strip, written by Taliesin Jaffe and Marisha Ray and illustrated by Wendy Sullivan Green that details the party's first Winter's Crest festival in Westruun, was released on the Geek & Sundry site. The strip can be found here with five more subsequent strips coming out the next few Wednesdays.
- Zac Eubank hops in to note something that he forgot to put on the document, that the chat room is still sub-only. Also, there will be giveaways available to everyone watching (including non-subscribers) at the halfway point. The giveaways will consist of "tons of cool shit". Liam O'Brien notes that the giveaway packages will probably include t-shirts and volumes of Rat Queens courtesy of a care package from the writer, Kurtis Wiebe.
- Laura Bailey announces new merchandise in the Geek & Sundry store, including a couple of Critmas hoodies and "How do you want to do this?" mousepads in addition to the t-shirts being made available again very soon. Taliesin also requests that those tuning in please check out the Spotify playlists, the comics, and such on the G&S site because the more traffic the site gets, the more excited they are to do new stuff for them.
- Matthew Mercer mentions that most of the show announcements can be found on the official Critical Role Twitter handle.
- Donations for this episode are going to a special charity called "Doctors Without Borders" to help support people in crisis around the world.
- There will be no Critical Role next week due to Thanksgiving. Instead, a rebroadcast of the episodes will be run as a marathon over the weekend.
- Star Wars: Battlefront was released this week, with Matt and Marisha voicing stormtroopers.
- Wyrmwood Gaming continues its partnership with the show with the code "critrole" for free shipping on any of their products.
Previously on Critical Role Edit
"The party has traveled to Whitestone, partially to free their name of some negative political ramifications back in their home city of Emon, and to aid Percy in possibly freeing his hometown of Whitestone from the oppression of Lord and Lady Briarwood, a couple who have risen to power over the past five years after slaughtering his family and taking it over and keeping it all this time. After arriving they found a very heavy undead presence in the town: giant zombies roaming the streets as sentinels, most of the townsfolk kind of kept under perpetual watch in this slowly will-crushing atmosphere. But as Vox Machina arrived, they began to instill the thoughts of rebellion, stoking those flames once again with the return of the surviving de Rolo. They began to sway the peoples' minds to make a final stand. During that time they also discovered that Percy's sister Cassandra is also a surviving de Rolo and exists somewhere in Castle Whitestone, seemingly under lock and key.
"The party began to systematically take out members of the "New Nobles" who worked underneath the Briarwoods, setting many buildings on fire, leaving emblems of the de Rolo crest across the town and written in the sky, and after an extensive battle began to make their way towards the Castle Whitestone itself. Burrowing into a partially collapsed but long remembered secret passage underneath the castle, the party rested for the evening, with the help of their recently-arrived cleric, Pike, who had managed to project herself through the will of Sarenrae as a spiritual body given temporary physical form. While they were searching this tunnel, it led to the dungeons, the prison cells beneath the Castle Whitestone where Percy once woke up five years before, before Cassandra helped him escape. While they were walking through those cells, they discovered an old woman currently locked down below there, who is asking for the party's aid in freeing her from her imprisonment."
Part I Edit
The Bottom of His List Edit
Deep in the dungeons of Whitestone Castle, in feigning helping a suspicious old woman out of her cell, Vex'ahlia breaks the lockpick she was using intentionally. The old woman angrily clutches Vex's arm, and the ranger notices a very disturbing sensation, or lack of, from the woman's grip. She then releases her grip, upset at being denied her freedom. As Vex apologizes and mentions that they will come back for her, she slips back into the shadows where the rest of Vox Machina are lying in wait. During this exchange, Vax'ildan had been inspecting the cells for any other signs of life and finding none.
Returning to the group, Vex calls out for Scanlan and asks about how his Seeming spell works when it comes to physical contact, noting that she was expecting to feel both of the woman's hands, but only felt one. Scanlan notes that that was an illusion of some sort, that even if one were to look the same, they won't feel the same in reality.
They deduce that the woman is definitely being disguised by some illusion and that she may be a caster. Gathering together, they talk about how to dispel the illusion. Keyleth reveals that she can with Dispel Magic. Debating what to do with the "old woman", Grog and Scanlan approach with Keyleth in the shadows ready to cast and the twins ready to attack with daggers and arrows.
As Scanlan is requesting that the old woman reveal her true self or be left in her cell to die, that they are not fooled by her deception, Keyleth casts Dispel Magic. The spell hits the woman, and in her place, there is now a black-haired adult woman a little over the age of forty, wearing travel clothes and a slightly ragged duster coat. Panicked, she steps back, her back hitting the wall as she realizes she's been made.
Dropping all further pretense, she introduces herself as Anna. She wants to be set free, and that she can be of assistance regarding the Briarwoods. Percy, of course, immediately recognizes her as Doctor Anna Ripley. They also notice that her right hand is missing.
Percy steps out of the shadows, disguised as a reasonable Whitestone peasant due to his Hat of Disguise. He threatens Ripley with the fact that she can either die in her cell or convince them why they shouldn't kill her. Vax throws a dagger into the wall, the weapon a foot away from Ripley's head. She reaches for the dagger but is only able to grab the hilt briefly before it teleports back to the rogue. Getting a better look, they notice that she's seen the world due to her features, that she's traveled a lot.
Seeing no other course of action, Ripley keeps her composure and tells them about her role in the Briarwoods' scheme. She was involved in the fall of the de Rolo family five years prior and helped Sylas and Delilah reestablish their rule over the city after its destruction. She was also one of their chief scientific designers for the project beneath the city involving the Ziggurat. When pressed for information about the experiment, she mentions that the Briarwoods know more about the reasons behind it, that she was not involved with the more intricate details of their plot other than the construction she was brought in for. Keyleth is able to discern that she is telling the truth, but is unsure as to what extent. Ripley wasn't concerned with their designs, just the challenge behind the construction. She notes that she enjoys challenge, but challenge that pays well she enjoys even more.
Percy presses her on why she's currently in a cell. Ripley tells him that her work was finished, and she no longer wanted to stay in the city with an impending battle on the horizon. She prefers not to choose sides nor get involved with any altercations, so she tried to leave, but Professor Anders caught her. Seeking to gain favor with the Briarwoods, the professor threw her into the dungeon to wait out the experiment until its completion. Upon being asked by Vex why she lost her hand, she does not go into detail other than the fact that experiments can be dangerous. She dabbles with chemical and alchemical reagents that can be miscalculated and she had to pay the price until she could find a way to fix it.
Grog asks if she's seeking revenge against her former employers, and she mentions that perhaps she would based on the treatment she had endured. Percy than asks if she can lead them to Cassandra de Rolo. Curious, she says that she can and asks why, to which the disguised gunslinger replies that accepting would be worth her life. Ripley requests that the party free her again, but Percy steps forward and stares her deeply in the eye, saying, "You should know who your friends are here. Do you know that we're friends?" In the process, he casts Friends and then asks if she's been truthful to them. Ripley mentions that she has no reason to lie at this point, and reluctantly agrees to aid the party in finding Cassandra.
Vex asks the doctor if she is a magic user. Ripley replies that she's a woman of science, that her entire purpose for being in Whitestone was for the experiment and that she has no interest in the arcane, but she's not without her tricks. Percy lays down the terms of her release: that she takes them to Cassandra, she tells them what she knows about what is in the basement, she tells them more about the Briarwoods, and that she tells them where they can find Anders. And in exchange, she may be let go and that she may leave the castle. Ripley then asks if they will keep her safe until it's time to part, and they agree. Vex remarks that this is Clarota all over again.
Percy then removes the Hat of Disguise, revealing his true self to the woman who had tortured him five years ago. Upon seeing him, Ripley is taken aback, smiling and laughing but not without fear in her eyes and voice. She mentions that she has many questions and found his recent work very fascinating, and Percy promises to give her an up close and very personal demonstration, unless she'd rather talk about other topics. Ripley wisely chooses the latter.
The doctor regains her composure and expects to be set free for real. Vax reluctantly gets to work on undoing his sister's "error" and picking the lock properly, but not before threatening Ripley with the fact that his allies are very good at what they do, and that she should tread very carefully. After a couple of minutes, the broken pick is removed and the cell is unlocked. Vex asks Trinket to keep an eye on her as Anna Ripley steps out of her cell a free woman, but still under the watchful eyes of Vox Machina.
With Percy's threat understood, and Percy saying that to shackle her would arouse suspicion, Ripley requests that they stop by her room to gather her things. The party agrees under the stipulation that they get them for her. Telling Ripley to keep quiet, the party follows the doctor out of the dungeon, Keyleth still feeling cold from her earlier hypothermia. Ripley mentions to Percy that despite the job paying well and piquing her curiosity, she'd be very happy to see it out of her life forever.
Infiltrating the Castle Edit
Going down a hallway, Ripley approaches the door at the end, opening it and taking a peek, only to notice an empty hall. The group steps out into an entrance chamber within Castle Whitestone. They quickly survey their immediate surroundings and find that they are alone, the room empty and eerily quiet with the exception of their very soft footsteps. Ripley notes that there are usually more individuals within the halls. The party suspects that it's due to the rebellion happening outside. Vax looks around, but there is still no signs of life.
Knowing that time is of the essence, the party debates why they're going to Ripley's chambers. Percy is insistent on seeing Ripley's work for himself, and then he takes The List and presses the barrel gently into her back, mentioning that it's not personal; he's simply a little nervous. Ripley voices her understanding and they continue onward towards her room, the doctor very conscious of the weapon at her back and of the group itself.
Vex checks one of the rooms in the hall and opens the door, revealing it to be a music room. Vax accompanies her and the two inspect the room further, looking out the window and noticing sounds of the Whitestone Rebellion coming from outside. Vex resists the urge to loot the room due to it being Percy's home. As they leave, Vax voices his concerns to his sister.
Despite Vex'ahlia's protestations, he gives her the Cloak of Elvenkind to keep her safe; saying he no longer needs it. Vex puts the hood up and the twins step out into the hallway. Pike, still in her astral state, stops walking, lost in thought. She notes that there is a great evil here and her form begins to flicker and shake. She's only able to get out that something is willing her away as her form ultimately vanishes. The party laments the loss of their friend's presence as Vax notices a warmth on his hand, the symbol of Sarenrae on his glove pulsing with a faint light.
Moving on ahead, now without the cleric, Percy shifts his disguise to that of a Whitestone castle guard and lowers his weapon, Ripley breathing a sigh of relief. As they keep moving, they notice the closed front doors to the castle and Grog tosses ten caltrops towards the doors. Vax follows suit with thirty more, noting the good idea Grog had.
As they make their way up to the second floor, to aid Percy's disguise, Keyleth casts Enhance Ability to give Percy a boost to his charisma in case they get busted. Slowly, the party makes their way down a long hallway that goes all the way down the eastern side of the castle. Percy recalls that the hallway contains guest rooms as well as the rooms that housed Frederick de Rolo's study as well as Anders' study. Eventually they make their way to Ripley's chambers and enter, Keyleth and Vax keeping watch outside.
The Doctor's Creation Edit
Inside Ripley's chambers, Percy notices the lack of decoration compared to the usual way the rooms within the castle are, designed more for function than anything else. He also notices that the vast majority of the room had been converted into an alchemical laboratory, a caustic smell in the air. At the back of the room, Ripley pulls out a small chest as Percy watches on very intently. She opens the chest, pushing the clothing aisde and revealing a set of basic leather armor.
Percy tells Ripley that he had almost killed her in Stilben long ago, and she didn't know that it was him. Vex takes the leather armor from a begrudging Ripley. Reaching into the chest, she pulls out two small glass vials and sets them aside. She then removes the chest's false bottom and pulls out her own work: a metallic weapon similar to The List in function but with a single barrel and a rotating chamber, the weapon much more refined compared to Percy's style. They also note, Percy especially, that part of the setup within her room is for the purpose of making and refining ammunition and powder for the weapon. They see on the table sketches containing outlines and notes of The List recalled from secondhand accounts, corroborating with the partially-burned note Percy had found in the temple in the cemetery.
Percy notes his disappointment at how "unimaginative" her weapon is compared to his. Ripley notes that she prefers function, to which Percy calls her a hack. When she reaches for the weapon, the party stops her and she is informed that it will be given to her when she leaves. She protests that she won't be able to defend herself without it should things go "ass-up". She correctly assumes that they are here to end the Briarwoods' reign and that it won't end peacefully. Vax notes that Grog could kill her at any time. She begrudgingly surrenders the weapon and any available ammunition for it to the party, but they agree to give her the armor as a sign of good faith.
Ripley then takes the vials and a pouch of money with her. Grog inquires as to what the vials contain. They see one of the vials to be what they recognize as being a Potion of Greater Healing. As for the second vial, she mentions it being very handy when it comes to escaping. Upon being threatened again, she gives up the two vials, nearly shattering them upon handing them over as Vex notices that the second vial is a Potion of Flying. Percy takes Ripley's notes and anything else useful with him as they leave, muttering how much he hates what she had done to the room. Vex and Keyleth note that he can always come back to inspect the room more once the Briarwoods are gone.
The Experiment Beneath Whitestone Edit
Continuing onward, they head to Cassandra's own chambers as Vax sneaks ahead. They arrive at her door as Percy quickly asks Ripley if there will be anything inside that will cause him to have a violent reaction towards her. Ripley hopes that there isn't as Percy opens the door, pushing the doctor in as he enters behind her.
The room itself is dark as Grog lights up a torch and hands it to Percy. The torchlight illuminates the room enough for the gunslinger to notice that Cassandra had been in the room recently but there is no sign of her. He also notices her vanity cabinet and her closet, inspecting the latter and finding it empty with the exception of several outfits.
Percy inspects the cabinet and finds several keepsakes, including a partially-burned picture of herself and her family. He also notices a stack of notes that are addressed to Archibald Desnay. They contain details about the general unrest in the city, preparation for a possible rebellion, and past failures. Based on the notes, she had been working with Archibald in various attempts to overthrow the Briarwoods with no success.
Percy laments that she's not present. Ripley assumes that she could be elsewhere within the castle. When asked where she could be, Ripley claims that she prefers not to pay attention to the well-being of others, only that she is usually in her room. Percy then starts to lose his patience.
Giving in to Percy's threat, Ripley mentions that Cassandra is not allowed anywhere near the Ziggurat or the "distillery". He lowers the weapon to allow her to explain. The distillery is the project that Ripley had been working on with the Briarwoods. When she was brought in, she was tasked to create an acid meant to dissolve the whitestone within the region and distill it. The resulting "residuum" would allow for the bulk creation of very powerful magical essence for use in construction and materials that they can instill and use apparently for the Ziggurat and other such things. Ripley notes that they were ahead of schedule weeks ago and thus she was no longer needed.
Keyleth presses Ripley further about "the schedule". Ripley elaborates that they were attempting to create enough continuous acid to develop enough residuum to be used in the reconstruction of the Ziggurat. Once enough was developed so that there was no need to create more, her job was done. Hearing this, Scanlan pulls out his Potion of Acid Resistance and drinks it. They press her for more information on the Ziggurat's purpose. Ripley has nothing to give other than it is related to the Briarwoods' scheme involving a third party and that she also has no information on that either, considering she was never interested. As to the location of the Ziggurat, Ripley notes that it is past the distillery underground, most likely directly underneath the Sun Tree and Whitestone itself. Upon being asked, Ripley confirms again that the melting process has concluded and that there is still a surplus of acid beneath the castle.
The party begins to fear the worst and make plans to pursue the Briarwoods downstairs beneath the castle, but Ripley mentions Professor Anders. Hearing his name stokes Percy's anger as Ripley smiles, continuing to bait him as the party tries to convince him that the Briarwoods are the primary target, not Anders. Falling for Ripley's bait, Percy asks where Cassandra would be. The doctor replies that she would probably be in Anders' study. Vex silences her by threatening to shoot her. Scanlan asks where Anders would be, and Ripley answers that he would be in the study as well. Despite Keyleth's protests, the party heads towards the basement as Vax is urged by his sister to sneak off down another hall towards the direction of Anders' study.
Anders' Trap Edit
Following the direction that was described, Vax puts on Clarota's Helmet in addition to the cloak he had taken from Count Tylieri's coffin. As he nears the double doors that lead to Anders' study, he hears a muffled female voice from behind them, leans into the doors, and listens in for a full minute. He's able to pick up two voices in the room, one of them being a young girl and the other being an older male ordering her to be quiet until ordered to speak and that "they" should be close.
Vax gently creaks the doors open, just enough to peer inside, and notices the two individuals in the center of the study. The male, Professor Anders, is holding the girl, most likely Cassandra, by the hair with a dagger to the throat. He then orders her to say exactly what she was told to say, the girl crying in his grasp. Vax backs away five steps, grabs his Earring of Whisper and mutters, "Jenga." The party receives the message and immediately run back down the halls to rendezvous with the rogue.
Having sent the message, Vax kicks the doors open and immediately throws two daggers at Anders. Despite having substantial cover by holding the girl close, due to Vax's keen marksmanship with a thrown blade, the daggers strike true. The first dagger gouges his left eye as the second dagger hits him in the shoulder. As the blades teleport back to their wielder, Cassandra is only able to get out "No! Run! It's a trap!" before Anders takes his dagger and slits her throat. Two sources of metal clank together but Vax can't tell who or want made the sounds.
Enraged at seeing Cassandra grievously wounded, Vax runs into the study, barely evading a trap of freezing-cold magic, and stabs the professor repeatedly as he drops Cassandra to the ground. Vax then notices two suits of armor, the sources of the metal noise being two helmed horrors, suddenly coming to life and approaching him. Angered at the sudden assault, Anders attempts to cast Confusion but thanks to the Heroes' Feast fortifying his willpower, the rogue shrugs off the mental assault. Anders backs away as Vax takes a swipe and then he inspires one of the helmed horrors to defeat Vax. The creatures then approach and attack Vax with their longswords, the second horror striking true with its two strikes. Cassandra clutches her bleeding throat, not unconscious yet but barely clinging to life.
As they run to the study, Percy turns to Ripley and tells her that if Cassandra lives and the doctor takes them to the caverns beneath, she'll walk with her things and goes into a full sprint down the hall. Meanwhile, shrugging off the attacks, Vax takes his last Potion of Healing and feeds it to Cassandra. The potion seals her neck wound, keeping her alive for the moment, as Vax places himself between the horrors and her. Grog sprints into the study and witnesses the grisly scene, Scanlan trailing behind and inspiring Vex.
The barbarian prepares to enter the fray, but Anders casts Dominate Person on the goliath who easily falls prey to the spell. He then orders the dominated Grog to kill Vax, who looks at the goliath with trepidation. The helmed horrors then surround Vax and while the first one misses, the second once again strikes true with its weapon and deals heavy damage to the rogue.
Keyleth sprints down the hall, sees Cassandra, and casts Healing Word on her. Vex orders Trinket to clamp onto Ripley's arm and then she sprints down the hall as well. Ripley, now held by Trinket, stays put, nervous without her weapon in hand.
Percy runs into the study, notices his barely conscious sister, and looks towards Anders, pulling off the Hat of Disguise. The smoke from before billows out of his body and begins to encompass him, only now more intense due to his rage. Anders looks towards the source of the smoke and is shocked at seeing his former pupil—whom he had betrayed five years ago—alive and ready to take his life, but as Percy brings up The List and pulls the trigger, the gun misfires. Percy screams in anger as he is forced to repair his weapon, the scream sounding more like a roar that shakes Anders to the core as the professor finds himself trapped.
A wounded Vax disengages from the helmed horrors and stabs Anders twice, but Anders maintains his concentration on the spell. Behind him, the dominated Grog approaches Vax and smashes him twice with the Firebrand Warhammer. Despite the assault, Vax barely clings to consciousness. Grog manages to break free of the spell's hold and despite feeling bad for Vax, he can't help but laugh a little.
Scanlan finally makes his way to the doors and sees the entire room. Unable to determine Vax's current state, he pulls out his Wand of Magic Missiles and fires three darts at each helmed horror. He then inspires Grog with a tune that is not quite the goliath's jam.
Anders, unable to find any other way out, attempts to cast Dimension Door but Scanlan, intimately familiar with the spell, blows his broken shawm and casts Counterspell, the sudden noise disrupting his concentration and the door slams shut. Angrily, the professor then inspires the other helmed horror.
One of the horrors goes for Vax, the other going for Percy. The one attacking Vax lands a blow on him, the rogue unable to stand any longer and falling unconscious. The creature then stabs him while he is unconscious, bringing the rogue even closer to death's door. The second horror manages to strike at Percy with its longsword twice but the gunslinger shrugs off the attacks, his entire focus directed towards repairing The List.
Seeing Vax go down and suffer a near-fatal wound, Keyleth immediately casts Healing Word on him and then casts Grasping Vine to grab Cassandra's ankle and pulls the human towards her. At the same time, seeing her brother fall, Vex screams and slides towards him, casting Cure Wounds once he is within her grasp. The combined healing energies from the female half-elves manage to wake up the badly wounded rogue. Out in the hall, as Trinket is dragging Ripley, the doctor breaks free of Trinket's jaws and reaches into her pocket. She throws a stone down onto the ground, the stone detonating and releasing a fog-like substance. Shrugging off Trinket's retaliatory strike, Anna Ripley makes her escape.
Percy manages to repair The List and rushes towards Professor Anders, pushing the helmed horror away, unloading and stepping closer towards the professor with each successive shot. The first shot blasts out the shoulder, the bone exposed and the breastplate sundered. Anders, despite the odds, stands defiant as Percy approaches. Percy shouts "Traitor!" as he fires the second shot, the bullet bending his breastplate inward. Anders spits out blood from the sudden wound and maintains his defiance, the gunslinger lowering his mask.
Percy jams The List into Anders' mouth, shutting him up.
Percy fires a third shot, blowing the back of Anders' head off and killing the traitor that aided his family's destruction. Holding The List with a shaky hand, he notices—much like with Kerrion Stonefell before him—Anders' name vanishing from the barrel. The smoke subsides as Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III stands there, motionless.
Managing to stand up, Vax darts away from the helmed horror that nearly slew him and throws a dagger that strikes true. Grog goes into a rage and smashes the horror next to him with the warhammer. Scanlan approaches the nearby creature and casts Thunderwave to knock it back, but it easily shrugs off the attack and slashes Scanlan in retaliation as the other horror slashes at Grog, all the attacks hitting their intended targets.
Keyleth, maintaining concentration on Grasping Vine, grabs the helmed horror next to Scanlan and drags it towards her. She then attempts to hit it with her staff but the attack is deflected easily due to how thick the armor is. Vex, kneeling next to a smoke-covered Percy, grabs his hand.
The ranger then darts past the armor next to her, taking the attack of opportunity, and fires two arrows that finally fell the creature which falls to pieces. Anna Ripley completely evades Trinket's second attempt at attacking and sprints away.
Percy removes the mask and unloads his remaining shots at the remaining helmed horror, but none manage to damage it. Vax walks along the wall, unable to attack from a distance, and heads to Scanlan. Grog directs his attention to the remaining horror and smashes it twice with the warhammer. Scanlan jumps onto Grog's knee with the Singing Dawnblade and attempts to strike but, realizing that Pike isn't around to witness it, fails to hit the armor, which manages to land a retaliatory strike on the bard. Keyleth once more tries to hit it with her staff but it still has no effect. Vex casts Hunter's Mark and fires two more arrows, the first one bouncing off harmlessly but the second one manages to strike some sort of arcane core as, like the other helmed horror, it falls apart and collapses to the ground.
With the brutal battle finally over, Trinket does his best to pursue Ripley, following her scent. Back in the study, Keyleth inspects if Cassandra is fine as Grog and Scanlan leave the room to pursue Ripley as well, the resulting inspection showing that Cassandra is no longer in danger of dying. Percy is cleaning himself of Anders' blood and gore. Vax, clutching his wound, stumbles over to Keyleth.
Keyleth is taken completely by surprise at Vax's sudden confession as the rogue kisses her, stunning everyone in the room.
- Zac Eubank's announcement about "Doctors Without Borders".
- A promo for No Survivors on Monday at 19:00 PST.
- A promo for Tall Walls' appearance as a musical guest on Friday at 19:00 PST.
- The Critical Role Fan Art appreciation slideshow.
- As the second part begins, Zac announces once more that giveaways will still happen for anyone watching. Also, he elaborates on the aforementioned No Survivors episode happening next Monday.
Part II Edit
Breaking the unexpected kiss, Keyleth is utterly red-faced as she looks at the badly wounded Vax, who remarks that her ability to transform is really cool before noting his rapid blood loss. Keyleth, still stuck in the moment, casts Cure Wounds on him. Vex, unable to witness this moment any longer, walks out of the room to follow Grog, Scanlan, and Trinket as they continue to pursue Ripley.
As Keyleth finishes casting the spell, Percy gathers a bundle of Vex's arrows and starts whacking Vax on the chest with it, chastising him for being reckless especially with Cassandra's life being in danger. Keyleth backs away as the moment is ruined, both her and Vax pointing out that the younger de Rolo would've died if he hadn't taken action. Regardless, Percy thanks Vax for his action, asks him to count to ten next time, and walks over to Cassandra. The two of them tearfully embrace, finally reunited for the first time in five years, as Percy apologizes to his sister, noticing that his sister has changed considerably compared to the happy little girl she once was.
Cassandra is relieved, happy that both she and her brother are still alive despite their differing circumstances before turning stoic. She tells her brother that he shouldn't even be here, that they were using her as bait for the trap which nearly killed Vax. Upon being asked if she's herself, she affirms that she is. Despite her words, Percy gleans into her demeanor, but can't seem to find any sort of deceit in her expression or tone, again sadly noticing the change in his sister compared to five years ago.
Percy assures Cassandra that they are putting an end to the Briarwoods tonight before the sun sets, and that they will stop their plot from coming to fruition. Cassandra notes that she and the populace had already tried twice and failed, but he again assures her that this is it. Cassandra tells Percy that he left her to possibly die, which Percy again apologizes for. She steels herself and declares that she will be joining Vox Machina into the catacombs. Percy protests that she will not, that she is to go to her room. Cassandra agrees that she will, not to rest but to gather her things and the armor that belonged to their mother, Johanna de Rolo. Despite Percy's protests, the younger de Rolo reminds him that she'd been fighting the Briarwoods for far longer, that if their goals to save Whitestone are aligned, then they should do so together. She then points out that she doesn't have to listen to Percy. The gunslinger, exasperated, finally acquiesces as she heads to her room to prepare.
Meanwhile, Vex catches up to Grog and Scanlan as Trinket continues to pursue Ripley, but the doctor manages to evade the caltrops placed at the front doors earlier, slip through the cracks, and escape out into the city. Trinket also avoids the caltrops and forces his way through the doors. By the time the four gather together, Ripley's already long gone. Vex notices the sounds of the struggle happening in the city, with no clear way to determine which side is winning. Vex whistles for Trinket to return inside, the four of them giving up the chase.
As they head back to the study, Vax, Keyleth, and Percy take a while to rest to bandage their wounds while they wait for Cassandra. Vex's group comes back and informs them that Ripley is already gone. Percy concedes that Ripley is not a priority compared to the danger that lies beneath them. Percy requests that Grog set Anders' body on fire, but before he does, Vex loots the body and takes his boots as well as a handful of gold pieces. Scanlan identifies the boots as being Boots of Levitation. He and Vax then look around the study for anything else. Vax notices one of the drawers in the desk is locked, and upon inspection sees that the drawer is trapped. With ease, he disarms the trap and discovers that it was meant to fire a poisonous bolt at whoever would set it off. Vax then unlocks the drawer and opens it, revealing a collection of letters. Percy walks over and shares his findings with the party.
Many of the letters detail a slew of disconcerting things such as the removal of key magical defenses during a political meeting in Emon to ensure that certain individuals and safeguards that are usually made during said meetings were not present during that endeavor. The party discerns that this can be evidence that will clear their names. The letters also go into detail about the best construction methods using the mined whitestone in repairs for the Manse in the Ziggurat as well as multiple warnings to Anders over the years about the arrival of Seeker Assum Emring's spies. In addition, there are letters that talk about plotting and diverting political attention away from Whitestone to leave it a political enigma and letters about planting information within Wildemount that would lead their investigation team to believe that the Briarwoods had been found dead. And throughout these letters are mentions that "The Undying King shall return. We are his blood."
The letters are not signed, but they are of the same handwriting. They also find one unrelated letter that talks about business ledgers related to the construction of the bridge between Wildemount and Emon as well as future plans related to the construction, and the letter is signed, "Lord Riskel Daxio". The party realizes that Daxio is a member of the Tal'Dorei Council and therefore deduce that he is a spy for the Briarwoods. They also remember that he oversaw the construction of Greyskull Keep. As soon as Scanlan hears this, he decides to scry on the keep, and after a while sees nothing suspicious happening in the kitchen. The keep appears to be safe.
Grog then sets Anders' body on fire and then asks Percy if they can get down to the caverns beneath the castle. But before he can answer, Cassandra appears in the doorway saying that she can, hair pulled back and tied off, wearing ornate armor and wielding a sheathed shortsword and dagger. Grog inspects her neck and does not see any bite marks. As Cassandra begins leading the party to the undercroft, Vex asks if there are any more traps that can be expected. Cassandra says that she's not aware of any, but knowing the Briarwoods, there no doubt will be. So she warns the party to be prepared for anything.
As they proceed to the undercroft, Scanlan asks Percy for Ripley's pistol. Percy points out that he would have to train him in how to use it, but Scanlan says that it's easy: just point, pull the trigger, and shoot. Reluctantly, Vex hands the pistol to Scanlan who spins it, holsters it in his pocket, and ends up pulling the trigger. Fortunately, the gun is not loaded. When Scanlan asks for ammunition, Percy starts handing him some, but Vax takes the gun away from him and Vex takes it back.
Cassandra's Ordeals Edit
After taking the weapon, Vax walks up to Cassandra and asks her about Anders and what he wanted her to say. The younger de Rolo says that she was to shout for help, to draw Vox Machina in. Vex gleans into her demeanor, and finds her honest as she answers Vax's question about why she had a blade to her throat today despite living in the castle.
Cassandra tells the story of what happened after Percy left her behind, arrows having felled her. After nearly dying, she recovered thanks to Father Reinall[spelling?] finding her and bringing her back from the brink at his temple in the cemetery. Things hadn't quite fallen apart back then and there were more people in the city. At the time, the Briarwood rule was still fresh and folks were more eager to speak out against their oppressors. The de Rolo family was still believed to have fallen from plague; that due to unfortunate political business the Briarwoods had come to power. But people began to question, and Cassandra knew the truth; she voiced as such to the populace once recovering.
Their first rebellion then began to form over the next two years before making their first move. However, they were somehow ready for them, cutting them off at every end. They weren't sure who was leaking information about their movement, only that the source was close. Before she had the opportunity to find out, she was leading a group to utilize the same secret passage she and Percy used before. However, Sylas was waiting for them and he showed no remorse as he slaughtered everyone in the group with the exception of Cassandra.
Having recognized her, Sylas chose not to kill her, but to take her back to the castle, making her a prisoner in her own home. Cassandra assumed that by keeping her under lock and key in the castle, the Briarwoods would hold even more sway over the city. Sylas used his unnatural charismatic influence to make many people work beneath him against their will, but Cassandra resisted; her hatred was too strong. So instead, Cassandra was left to her own devices, the girl unsure as to why. But she didn't question their "generosity" if it would give her the chance to undermine them.
As the eight of them make their way to the back of the castle interior, finding their way to the cellar that leads to the undercroft and the de Rolo mausoleum, Cassandra continues her story. She had spent three years in Frederick's library, reading and learning about strategy, tactics, and the myth and history about Whitestone. She had found allies within the castle, and used them to relay information to Archibald and Keeper Yennen to plan another rebellion, Archibald having been necessary in getting the people this far. She mentions that Archibald is alive, which Percy already knew by meeting him face-to-face. As they reach the entrance to the cellar, Cassandra pats her mother's armor, saying with a smile that she's glad Johanna wasn't the only tomboy in the bloodline.
A Question of Trust Edit
Before they go down into the cellar proper, Percy tells Cassandra that this is the best day of his life but he can't help but be suspicious, therefore he wants to do one more thing. Cassandra voices her understanding. Percy wonders if his sister is somehow being controlled, but the party is unable to think of a method to determine this, especially since Keyleth did not prepare Greater Restoration; the druid was hoping that Pike would still be with them through this.
When asked if he trusts her, Percy notes that he does trust Cassandra which is the problem. They suggest giving her Clarota's helmet which may theoretically disrupt any control she may be under. Vax offers the helmet and the proposal that should she still fall under any control, one of them could strike her to break it, and that it would go a long way towards earning trust. As they enter the cellar, Cassandra accepts Vax's offer and dons the helmet as it is attuned to her over the next half-hour.
Percy suddenly has an idea and pulls out a potion bottle, claiming that it could fix things if she is controlled. He hands the potion to Cassandra and she drinks it, but Percy reveals that it was only a Potion of Healing, the offer being a bluff. Cassandra remarks with a smile that Percy always was the clever one. As Vax takes the helmet back, she notes her armor and says that it feels good to have something close to Johanna with her. She mentions that Simon Whisk, Jordana's father, was the one who repaired the armor, and that she hadn't seen him in a while, which worries her.
As the party prepares to head downstairs, Keyleth brings up that the Briarwoods may already know they are coming. Scanlan asks Cassandra if they are downstairs, and she answers that they very may well be. She notes that she had been ordered never to go down, but she managed to sneak her way through several times. In the times that she did, she made it through the undercroft all the way to the distillery. She then mentions that Sylas and Delilah are usually accompanied by guards, and that there is a high probability of traps or sentries along the way.
As they head downstairs, Vex asks about Delilah, and Cassandra mentions that she's not like Sylas and that she's human, but she's also a powerful necromancer. And although Sylas and Delilah are husband and wife, they speak of another known as "The Whispered One". They assume that "The Whispered One" may refer to the smoke demon that Percy made a pact with. Scanlan inquires about Goran Vedmire, and mentions that the goliath's house was the one he burned down, but Vedmire may still be around so he advises caution. Cassandra notes her amusement and wonder at Scanlan's story about his exploits, much to Percy's chagrin.
Before they head to the undercroft, Scanlan—to show their enemies that they have Percy's back—proposes that he cast Seeming to disguise them all as Percy and Cassandra with the de Rolo crest emblazoned on their chests. The spell is cast, with humorous results such as Grog being a huge Percy and even Trinket getting the same treatment.
Cassandra is understandably confused. And due to the confusion that the spell provides, Keyleth tries talking to Vax but the moment is ruined thanks to Scanlan and Percy messing with her.
The Undercroft Edit
Continuing on, the party makes their way to the de Rolo mausoleum. The mausoleum itself contains stone structures that house the entombed bodies of past families, a place of silent prayer to pay respects towards previous generations, but the tomb doors are open. Using their various light sources, they continue onward as quietly as possible, noticing more open tomb doors. And where there was once a wall to mark the end of the room, there is now a gaping tunnel entrance in its place, large piles of dirt put aside. They also notice broken pieces of whitestone carved into parts of walls or pillars that had failed in their construction and had since been discarded.
As Percy, Keyleth, and Vax look around, they notice two slivers of an unknown glass-like material. No one is able to discern its origin, but they begin to assume that the glass may be the residuum that Ripley had spoken of. Vax heads to the back of the group with a piece of the glass in hand. Vex and Grog check for tracks, but Grog discovers that there are a cluster of tracks from around seven people that are a day old at most that lead into the tunnel.
Percy, Vax, and Keyleth suddenly notice a drop in temperature and, looking around, they notice in the darkness something that the half-elves had faced once before, in Vasselheim: ghosts.
Percy becomes the first to act, alerting the others, and backs into the corner as he fires The List. The first shot phases through with no effect, but he spins to the fire barrel, firing a second shot. The bullet this time hits the ghost which disperses and reforms. Percy fires one more shot, this time from the ice barrel, and the bullet hits. The ghosts creep forward and Vax and Keyleth once more find themselves possessed. Grog also finds himself possessed.
Left with no options, Percy turns to Cassandra and asks for advice, but she's unsure as to what to do. Percy backs into the tomb and aims to drop Vax, but The List misfires, Percy feeling distraught but somehow relieved. The possessed Vax attacks Percy with one of his daggers and hits.
Suddenly, the symbol on his glove flares with light, and Vax hears Pike's voice in his head. The ghost is suddenly forced out of Vax, his body his own again. Scanlan pulls out his scroll of Spirit Guardians and reads it, the resulting spell targeting the ghosts within Keyleth and Grog. He then inspires Vex with his harmonica.
Keyleth, under the thrall of the ghost, attacks Scanlan with her staff and hits despite the bard's Cutting Words. Due to attacking the bard, she and the ghost suffer damage as a result. Vex tries to get away from Grog and dodges his strike, and has Trinket cannonball into Keyleth and Grog. Keyleth manages to strike the bear, but the armor absorbs much of the damage. Trinket barrels into them, but also hits Scanlan as a result. Vex follows up with an arrow but fails to damage Grog. Grog heads for Vex but both he and the ghost suffer damage due to being in proximity with Scanlan. Vex dodges the first attack but gets slammed by the second.
Percy repairs The List and moves behind the tomb he is near, relieved that Vax is fine now, but the ghost passes through the stone and possesses him. Now free of being possessed, Vax reluctantly clicks his Boots of Haste and attacks Percy. The Keen Dagger hits but he fails to hit him with his fist. Scanlan casts Thunderwave and hits Grog, Keyleth, and Trinket. The druid and Trinket are pushed back, but Grog holds his ground as shortly after, Scanlan inspires Vax.
Keyleth, still in proximity of Scanlan, is shocked by the Spirit Guardians spell. She attempts to hit Vax, but misses. Vex has Trinket try to distract Grog by tripping the goliath, but to no avail. She tries to dodge out of the way, but suffers another hit. Vex then shouts for help. Cassandra then takes action and manages to hit Grog with her shortsword. Grog then aims for Cassandra, but the Spirit Guardians spell destroys the ghost within him. He then attacks Keyleth but misses as she's too fast for him. Now possessed, Percy then attacks Vax with his gun, all three shots connecting.
Vax, with regret, attacks Keyleth three times attempting just to knock her out but she's still standing. Scanlan blasts Keyleth and Percy with Lightning Bolt but they manage to endure it, and then he casts Healing Word on Vax. Keyleth suffers damage from the Spirit Guardians spell and falls unconscious, but the ghost is forced out of her body. Vex takes aim and fires at the ghost with the Blazing Bowstring, the arrow striking true and destroying the ghost. She then attacks Percy and hits, the Blazing Bowstring used once more.
Cassandra heads to Percy but is unable to act. Grog runs to Percy and attacks with the warhammer, smashing him twice. As Percy backs away, Grog smashes him once more, knocking him unconscious and jettisoning the ghost out of him. The ghost then strikes the unconscious Percy, the gunslinger inching close to death. Vax runs next to Cassandra and throws his daggers at the ghost, all three striking true and damaging it due to their magical nature. Scanlan vaults over Keyleth's body towards the ghost, quickly heals Percy with Healing Word, and then looks in the direction of the apparition, doing what he does best.
The ghost, wearing robes with the de Rolo crest, ends up crying and being ashamed of itself, its form dissipating. Percy briefly wonders which ancestor Scanlan shamed to death... again. Vax rushes to Keyleth and stabilizes her. Scanlan sings a Song of Rest.
Vox Machina and Cassandra, weary and exhausted from the sudden encounter, catch their breaths as they take a short rest and press on into the tunnel, bracing themselves for what lies beneath Whitestone. With the rebellion occurring up above with seemingly no end in sight, and the possible dangers that may still await beneath the city, the final confrontation with the Briarwoods draws ever nearer, and only time will tell as to who will prevail...
Featured Characters Edit
- Percy: (to Anna Ripley) "You are, at the moment, the luckiest person in Whitestone. Do you know why? [...] Because you're at the bottom of my List."
- Percy: (to Anna Ripley) "Here's the deal, Anna. You do what we ask, you do not betray us, you do not make our life difficult in any way, and you have my word—my word—that you will leave Whitestone unmolested by us. If I sense the slightest hint—if I have a moment where I think that you might make a run for it, if I have a moment where I think you may cough inappropriately—I would ask you to think about everything you did to me. And I would like you to know that I've learned so much more than what you taught me that day. And I cannot wait to show you—and I will—but not until I find you again."
- Vax'ildan: (to Keyleth) "You know I'm in love with you, right? (to the DM) And I kiss her."
- When Professor Anders cuts Cassandra's throat in front of Vax'ildan, it is actually an illusion.
External Links Edit
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:00:05.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:01:08.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:01:53.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:03:33.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:06:16.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:06:34.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:07:10.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:08:05.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:09:12.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:31:48.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 0:36:01.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, from 0:46:01 through 0:46:36.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, from 1:06:55 through 1:07:35.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 1:33:38.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 1:48:14.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, from 2:01:22 through 2:02:06.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, at 2:02:09.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 1, from 2:09:21 through 2:09:40.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, at 0:04:24.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, from 0:04:13 through 0:04:26.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, from 0:22:20 through 0:22:30.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, from 0:53:52 through 0:54:04.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, at 0:55:24.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, at 1:39:13.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, from 2:00:00 through 2:00:16.
- ↑ See "Reunions" (1x33), part 2, at 2:02:37.
- ↑ Matthew Mercer confirmed that Professor Anders cutting Cassandra's throat was an illusion.