"The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) is the one hundred thirtieth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. Reunions abound as the Mighty Nein find a momentary refuge among family and friends, but their uncertain and dangerous future casts a pall on their time together...
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Previously on Critical Role
So, last we left off: The Mighty Nein, having absconded from Eiselcross to prepare to try to cut off the race against the Tombtakers towards the center of the ruin, head to Nicodranas, then a few other places, where they try to steal some necklaces to keep them hidden from hopefully the divining of Lucien and the other magics that would wish to follow and peer into their goings-on. Upon breaking into the subterranean basement of a portion of the Vergesson Sanatorium, they caused a ruckus and Master Trent Ikithon was summoned.
Had a brief, tense exchange. You escaped, and as such, a chase continued, as you seemed to be hunted by this individual and the Cerberus Assembly. Grabbing some family members in Nicodranas, specifically the family of Veth Brenatto and Marion, the Ruby of the Sea, you went to Tidepeak Tower and tried to find a way out as it seemed Yussa was currently on, spiritually, another plane and could not give you aid.
You managed to escape by sending some of you into the Happy Fun Ball, the Folding Halls of Halas, and some of you to an unfamiliar space, what you came to discover to be the Elemental Plane of Fire. While you all managed to converge, not without some temporary losses, one of which happened to be Veth's child, brought back from beyond the pale.
You all gathered yourselves in Zadash, where you had, at the very last minute, let The Gentleman know you were arriving with some people that needed to stay there, one of which (the Ruby of the Sea) has an old history with the Gentleman.
As the party descends the stairs into the Evening Nip, the Gentleman greets them and asks for privacy and discretion during their stay. He offers drinks, but they notice he is very flustered and nervous. Marion thanks him for sheltering them, and takes a seat at his usual table. The Gentleman asks for a private word with Jester, and in his room, she explains this is dire and Marion needs him to protect her. She tells him everything that's happened and that very bad people are after them. He agrees to shelter their families temporarily. When he leaves, Jester searches the room and places reminders of Marion prominently, including the ruby Jester created the last time she was there.
Meanwhile, the employees serve the party food and drink and they talk about their next steps. Veth and Jester stay behind while the rest head to the Invulnerable Vagrant in disguise. Pumat Sol immediately recognizes them through their illusions and greets them warmly, but a hooded browsing figure lingers nearby so he reverts to pretending (badly) they are strangers. Caleb requests spell scrolls, but they are too expensive. Beau suggests they are heading to Darktow, and the hooded figure hurriedly leaves.
With some difficulty, at another store they locate a jeweled chalice for casting Heroes' Feast, and several small diamonds worth 150 total for potentially powdering. Meanwhile, Veth spends time with her family, and Jester hangs out with her mother, catching each other up. Marion is concerned that where the Nein are going is dangerous, and although she believes Jester is capable of doing anything, she is worried. Jester admits it's dangerous and she doesn't know if they'll come back. Marion is proud of her and understands what they're doing is necessary, but makes her promise to come home safely, and Jester does so. At the end of their conversation, Marion makes her way upstairs to join the Gentleman in his room.
Veth and Yeza also talk, and Veth says again she hopes this will all be over soon and she can be with him and Luc. She thinks this is the last one, and that afterwards, they can live in Nicodranas. She thinks it will be two more weeks. Jester watches over Luc while Veth and Yeza craft two more fluffernutters, one of which (on a natural 20) has something special about it.
While the rest of the party heads back to the Evening Nip, Trent Ikithon's voice enters Caleb's mind, saying, "You run like you carry a guilty conscience. Absolve yourself, and tell me why I shouldn't continue to pursue." Caleb responds that there are things larger than Trent.
Once everyone gathers again, Jester casts Sending to Yussa, asking if he's all right. The only response is the sound of hundreds of screaming voices, and they realize his use of Astral Projection has put him in Cognouza itself, among the Somnovem.
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Jester tells the others what she heard, and they decide to try to contact Wensforth before bedtime. Veth thanks Caduceus again for saving Luc, and then asks his advice about whether she should stay with her family or go with the party. Caduceus tells her he doesn't fear for Luc's happiness even if bad things happen, but that he, Caduceus, needs her. She decides to come with them.
Caleb Teleports the party to the Blooming Grove, where a storm is approaching. The grounds have blossomed, plants growing lush within the fenced-off areas surrounded by crystalline tree-like pillars of purple crystal thrumming softly. They walk to the house where the Clay family greets Caduceus warmly. Constance tells them of the dreams the family has been having that seem to bear an undercurrent of dread and warning, and seem to have a connection to Caduceus.
Upset, Caduceus goes out to the spring to meditate, and Calliope follows him. He tells her he knows this was supposed to have happened to her, not him. He doesn't want to go, but he has to, although he doesn't think he's coming back. Wading into the spring holding the crystal from the top of his staff, he casts Commune. The Wildmother responds with a vision of seeds representing all of life, gradually surrounded by screams that extinguish their lights, one by one. As it does, the color fades from her and she withers.
Caduceus goes back inside and tells everyone of a vision he had before the Nein arrived: a forest where the trees and the sky had eyes and there were eyes at the bottom of the spring. Nine butterflies drank the nectar of blooms growing on the Clay family graves. He woke up and started packing, and the next day, the Mighty Nein came seeking his aid. Caleb realizes that the corruption of the Savalirwood, while it may be related to Aeor, is unlikely to be related to Cognouza or the Somnovem. Caduceus's subsequent Commune confirms this.
Beau, with Caduceus and Caleb, goes outside and finds a good meditation spot near a stone bearing the three-eyed symbol of Ioun. She seeks someone or thing who might give her an answer on how to use the eyes now on her body. Her vision focuses on the eye on the stone, and it turns red. The voice of Lucien enters her mind and greets her, asking her to imagine what she could see with three eyes instead of the two she bears now, but she is able to resist him and break free. Caleb suggests they are now past fact-finding. It's time to go to confront the Tombtakers.
Fjord and Jester go for a walk around the grounds and she tells him about her conversation with her mama, and that she lied to her and promised to come back. She brings up that Fjord never got to talk to Vandran, but he says that's just all the more reason to come home. He doesn't want her to send him a message or scry on him. They hold hands.
Caleb casts Greater Invisibility on himself, goes away from the Clay house, and sets up the dome. He summons Frumpkin, and sorts all of his belongings in front of him while he talks. He tells Frumpkin that if they survive the coming battle, he plans to let him go, because he's been a good boy, but he's not Caleb's cat. Caleb's cat is dead. He changes Frumpkin's fur to white, writes briefly in his second book, then heads back.
Yasha goes out into the storm and finds a flower that seems kind. She sits with her piece of bark from a storm-blasted tree, eats a petal of the flower, and speaks to the Stormlord, asking him to walk with her. She lays the Holy Avenger out in the rain, telling the Stormlord she doesn't know how to use it. There is no answer, and she eats the rest of the flower. As she meditates, she closes her eyes, and when they open, she is no longer in the Grove but in a broken, open badland scattered with open cages, broken chains, broken blades, and bones. As she runs into the storm, the voice of the Stormlord enters her mind, asking what she is. Yasha replies, "I am your champion." He responds, "Chainbreaker. Angel reborn. Punisher and redeemer. Show me."
- Beauregard Lionett
- Caduceus Clay
- Caleb Widogast
- Jester Lavorre
- Veth Brenatto
- Yasha Nydoorin
- Yeza Brenatto
- Luc Brenatto
- Marion Lavorre
- The Gentleman
- Pumat Sol
- Trent Ikithon (via Sending)
- Constance Clay
- Clarabelle Clay
- Cornelius Clay
- Calliope Clay
- The Stormlord
|Acquired||1||Flask of Perpetual Booze||Invulnerable Vagrant||The party, for Veth||Contains endless rosé.|
|Acquired||1||Jeweled chalice||Unidentified Zadash shop||The party||Worth 1000gp. For casting Heroes' Feast.|
|Acquired||Several||Small diamonds||Unidentified Zadash shop||The party||Worth 150gp total.|
|Crafted||2||Fluffernutters||Veth and Yeza||Veth||One was crafted on an ability check of 28. Matt said to note it with an asterisk in Veth's inventory.|
|Acquired||Some||General food, milk, juice||Unidentified Zadash shop||Yasha||For the families, while staying at the Evening Nip.|
|Transferred||1||A now-dried white flower||Veth||Yasha||Given to Veth by Vilya to give to Yasha.|
|Transferred||1||Silk and burlap bracelet||Calliope Clay||Caduceus||Contains glass beads woven throughout it.|
- Jester: Well, do you want to keep [Marion] safe or not?
The Gentleman: Of course! I just--
Jester: This is important! Do you think I would just willy-nilly bring her here?
The Gentleman: Yes!
Jester: No! She's very scared of traveling. This is very dire. And you're the only person in the entire world who could keep her safe right now. She needs you as a protector. Don't you want to keep the woman that you love more than anything in the entire universe safe?
- Marion: Sometimes, fate brings us to places we never expected to be. And there are rare moments where individuals have the chance to really change the future for everyone else, to protect those who may or may not know that they need protecting. And it's... I am challenged to find a word to describe how proud I am of everything that you've done. But-- you are my Sapphire, and and I want you safe. I don't want a martyr for a daughter.
Jester: I don't want to be a martyr. I want to come home.
Marion: Good. Promise me that you will-- if it begins to look very bad, that you come home.
Jester: I promise.
- Trent Ikithon: (via Sending) You run like you carry a guilty conscience. Absolve yourself, and tell me why I shouldn't continue to pursue.
Caleb: For once in your very little life, consider that there are things larger than your own machinations. Take some time off.
- Caduceus: (to Calliope) I know it was supposed to be you. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want any of this. I was going to be the one who stayed. Sometimes I feel like I stole this from you. [ ... ] I have seen things that are amazing, beautiful beyond anything I could have imagined. And I have seen things that have taken parts of me, and I will wake up in the middle of the night for the rest of my life. It is so big. And I don't know what you saw while you were gone on your travels, but it is just so big out there. And I didn't want it. Maybe a little.
- Lucien: (to Beau, in her vision) Well, if this isn't unexpected. Looks like the children are all growing up. [ ... ] You can see quite a bit with two eyes. Imagine what you can see with three.
- Caleb: (to Frumpkin) Oh, buddy boy. This is like the beginning with us, for one more night. For years, it was just you and me, before we added one. Then we added more and it turned into nine. So many families. You've got such a big family here, and Veth and her family, and... all these close ties. So much family. You know, we're probably all not going to make it back from where we're going. Probably. But maybe we will if we try very hard. You and me, we'll do our best to keep families together. You and me, we'll keep people together instead of letting families break apart. [ ... ] If we do make it back, you've been a good companion all this time. Actually, it's a win-win for you, because if we all die out there, you get to go back to where your home is. But if we do make it back, I'm going to let you go, anyway. Because you're not my cat. My cat is dead. But you're a good boy anyway, and you've done a lot of good for me, so one way or another, you'll be free soon.
- The Stormlord: The dark sky that claims the horizon. The crackling light that splits the tree and flesh. The flood that carves stone and earth. [ ... ] In our wake, the rains that nurture and cleanse. I am the storm. What are you?
Yasha: I am your champion.
The Stormlord: Chainbreaker. Angel reborn. Punisher and redeemer. Show me.
- Veth told Yeza she thought it would take about two more weeks (in-game) to complete the Mighty Nein's current tasks. Interestingly, the one-year anniversary of the formation of the party (on 16 Sydenstar 835) is almost exactly two in-game weeks away from the date of this episode, which took place on 31 Brussendar 836.
- See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 2:11:13. Jester paints a large glass ruby and leaves it by the Gentleman's bed.
- See "Labenda Awaits" (2x20) at 1:00:10. Yasha took, and kept, a piece of bark from the tree that was lightning-struck while the party slept nearby and she heard the Stormlord's voice for the first time.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 0:20:24.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 1:22:10.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 1:37:02.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 2:38:54.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 3:25:35.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 3:43:29.
- See "The Calm Before the Storm" (2x130) at 4:01:27.
- Fan art of the fire guardian, by Kieran Slate (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the Gentleman and the Ruby, by Sakyora (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caduceus's Commune in the spring, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Frumpkin, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Yasha and the Stormlord, by Madeline (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caduceus's Commune, by Omegasama art (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Calliope and Caduceus, by adelistic (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caleb making Frumpkin white, by Sofía Sombra (source). Used with permission.