"The Coming Storm" (1x73) is the fourth episode of the sixth chapter of Critical Role. With three of the five members of the Chroma Conclave dead, Vox Machina has a meeting with their friends in Whitestone to begin planning for the upcoming battle with Thordak. Percy decides it's time for one of their allies to stop keeping secrets from the rest.

Synopsis

Pre-Show

Announcements

The cast dressed as Critical Role NPCs

Previously on Critical Role

"Our band of adventurers, Vox Machina, were in the process of formulating their plan of attack against the Chroma Conclave, a group of chromatic dragons that had banded together and released Thordak the Cinder King, a great, massive-sized red dragon that sundered the Tal'Dorei countryside and currently sits on the main city of Emon.

"The party has traversed multiple planes, traveled all over the world, and gathered these various magical artifacts known as the Vestiges of the Divergence in preparation for this battle, honing their skills. And now, after finally defeating their third member of the Conclave and allying with a fourth, Raishan, they defeated Vorugal, the white dragon, over the ruins of Draconia in Wildemount.

"They are now returning, after gathering the spoils of the fight, making their way to the next leg of their journey, to the very, very fast-approaching conflict with the Cinder King himself."

Part I

Keyleth finishes revitalizing the plants and Vox Machina prepares to return home. Keyleth opens the portal and they enter Whitestone, arriving there in the early morning. They head towards the castle with Pike heading back to the temple. As they enter, they see "Seeker Assum" (actually the dragon Raishan in disguise) waiting inside the foyer. "Assum" puts a hand on Kima's shoulder and Keyleth attempts to use Dispel Magic to counter whatever spell is being cast. Kima says it is good to see Assum, her memory appearing to have been wiped by Raishan. Assum informs them that Kashaw is back and they will be having a meeting in a little bit, and leaves. Kima goes to test out her new sword some more while Vex and Grog go to the deposit the dragon hide. Keyleth grabs Vax and wants to track Raishan. She wants to kill her now but Vax protests against it, saying they will not be able to even if she is diseased. She wants this to be over with but she listens to Vax. They catch up with the others.

They head to the treasury and decide they have to check in with everyone. Percy advises they don't have a plan yet so Raishan can't tell they are lying. Vax'ildan stealthily heads to Gilmore's house. As Gilmore makes them tea, Vax tells Gilmore that they killed Vorugal. Vax says he is worried he will be dead in a few days and feels like he needs to apologize to Gilmore, explaining that he cares very deeply for him and loves him as a dear friend. Gilmore tells him that he appreciates his honesty and is thankful for the connection they do have. Gilmore tells him that he needs to stay alive and keep fighting because Vox Machina needs to keep promoting Gilmore's Glorious Goods. They say their goodbyes and Gilmore makes Vax promise he will see him next time.

Vex'ahlia and Keyleth go to find Kashaw. He doesn't answer his door so they open the door a crack and find him passed out, snoring. Vex sneaks in and flicks his nose, waking him and he nearly hits Vex in the face. He pulls out the two possible contracts for beasts that he got from Vanessa Cyndrial. They break the news that the dragon is already dead and Kashaw tells them to get out of his room. As they leave Vex excitedly tells Keyleth that Percy kissed her. Vex asks how everything is going with Vax and reassures Keyleth that she approves. The girls hug and talk about maybe going shopping. Scanlan manages to get some gold from Grog, although the latter is not great at counting.

Percy checks in on Cassandra and tells her they've killed another dragon. He hands her a warning written in Elven to keep quiet during the meeting. He apologizes for leaving Whitestone mostly in her hands while he is busy with the dragons, promising he'll relieve her of some of the burdens when they have finished the fight. Scanlan finds Jarett (who is eating) to talk about their drug deal. Jarett is concerned about him wanting to pick up a bad habit and suggests he tries to stick with getting laid, to get himself back in the game. Scanlan is worried about Kaylie and Jarett tells him to get a keepsake or something that reminds him of her. Scanlan says Jarett is much wiser than he gives him credit for but still wants to try the liquid courage. Jarett tells him to lean in and sucker punches him in the face, telling him that he now has to live to return the favor.

Grog goes outside into the courtyard and marks his territory with his pee. Vax returns to go find Kynan Leore and runs into Scanlan. Vax asks what is wrong and Scanlan says one of their employees punched him in the face. Scanlan thinks Vax is looking better these days and they haven't had a depressing chat in a while. Vax tells him he's in love and he has to run, but they'll talk about it later. Vax greets Jarett who directs him to Kynan with the other troops, finding him eating alone. Vax requests that he tries to fit in at Whitestone, keep an eye on Cassandra and gives him Simon. He tells Kynan he is a good kid before leaving for the meeting.

The party heads towards the meeting. Keyleth stops Grog before they walk in and asks how he utilizes his rage, being able to be patient. He says it comes down to family, to Vox Machina. Before he met Pike and the rest of the group, he would fight whenever and let his rage get the best of him. Now he realizes that he has to be patient or else he could mess it up for his family. Grog tells her to let her rage build and he will help her take down Raishan when the time is right.

The meeting mostly consists of the group trying to figure out their next plan of attack, settling that they will go for Thordak before Raishan. They know that Whitestone won't be safe for long and they should try to fight first. They discuss how they might be able to move their forces or if there is any merit in trying to sever Thordak's connection to the fire plane. They decide to try to reach out to their allies to tell them to prepare. Percy tries to mention J'mon Sa Ord but the rest of the party cover it up, not wanting to alert Raishan that they have another ally. Suddenly, Percy stabs "Assum" three times in the back to the shock of everyone present, but his sword shimmers through the image. There's a flash, and Assum is suddenly four feet away from where he was.

Break

Part II

Percy sheathes his sword, saying that they need everyone to know what's on the table. "Assum" demonstrates that his form is only an illusion, and admits that the real Seeker Assum is still back in Emon. This is actually Raishan, a member of the Conclave, until recently a tenuous ally with Thordak the Cinder King, who is now a mutual thorn in all their sides. She has made an agreement with Vox Machina, and using their combined strengths they were able to slay Vorugal the Frigid Doom in Wildemount.

Keyleth demands Raishan also tell everyone how the Fire Ashari were almost destroyed in order to break the bonds holding Thordak. Raishan admits that they had removed the anchor from the Elemental Plane of Fire, but discovered it was indestructible. She congratulates Allura for creating it. In order to bring Thordak through, they needed to bring the Fire Elemental Plane along with the soul anchor. Raishan researched this in Pyrah for years, learning of temporal travel between dimensions and the fabric of the Fire Plane. Eventually they were able to encase a bit of the Fire Plane, the Ember Seed, within the soul anchor or heartstone itself. They waited for Winter's Crest in order to create a hole large enough to bring both through, and when Thordak came, flames in his wake, he laid waste to the Ashari. The Ember Seed is what is causing Thordak to swell, driving him mad, and causing the land around Emon to erupt in fire. It is also what keeps Thordak's soul on this plane.

Keyleth is unable to contain her fury, telling Raishan she was a fool to trust Thordak to heal her, and that perhaps Keyleth can help intercede with Melora on Raishan's behalf. She demands to know what Raishan wants out of this deal. Raishan replies that she wishes to be given unfettered, unbothered, unwatched control over Thordak's corpse upon his death to extract the information she needs. She will then leave their sphere of existence forever.

They suggest Raishan could hide from Thordak, forcing him out of his lair to find out what happened to her, and suggesting she has fallen into the hands of Vox Machina. Raishan thinks this plan may have some merit. The party also demands that she bring the real Seeker Assum to Whitestone so that they can see for themselves he's all right, and talk to him about events in Emon. Although reluctant, she agrees and disappears.

All those present begin discussing potential plans. Cassandra is terrified, although Percy tries to reassure her that making the deal with Raishan was the best way to keep Whitestone safe. No one wants to allow Raishan access to Thordak's corpse. They adjourn to the Ziggurat so that its magic-cancelling effects can shelter their discussion from magical eavesdropping and begin throwing out ideas. Scanlan points out there is still one unrecovered Vestige somewhere in the Elemental Plane of Fire, the Plate of the Dawnmartyr which would be helpful for Pike. Another idea is to lure Thordak into the vicinity of the Ziggurat in hopes that it would destroy him or at least the heartstone keeping him alive. To test, Keyleth goes outside and uses Conjure Woodland Beings to summon a pixie, which is fine when it enters the ziggurat's zone, although it can't cast. Keyleth directs it to touch the actual black sphere and as expected, it disappears.

They go back to the plan to lure Thordak out with Raishan's disappearance, and decide that Fort Daxio would be the best location for a fight and that their forces should all be sent there. Keyleth doesn't like this as it puts all their eggs in one basket, and suggests that if she could lure Raishan into a meeting for the supposed purpose of interceding with Melora for a cure, she, Keyleth, could kill Raishan. Everyone else thinks this is highly unlikely. They decide to send word to all their potential allies to gather at Fort Daxio, but Keyleth continues to insist this is a bad idea. In the face of uniform opposition, however, she gives in.

They decide to check out Fort Daxio to make sure it's the best place for the battle before sending everyone there. Allura gives them a written decree from the Tal'Dorei Council so that those in charge of the fort will listen to them. Allura and the others will meet them there in a few days.

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Vox Machina

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