"The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) is the ninth episode of the fifth chapter of Critical Role. Vox Machina travels to Marquet in search of Cabal's Ruin, the next Vestige on their list. They explore the city of Ank'Harel, get involved in some questionable activities, and eventually find themselves standing before the mysterious ruler of the city...
- 1 Synopsis
- 1.1 Pre-Show
- 1.2 Announcements
- 1.3 Previously on Critical Role
- 1.4 Part I
- 1.5 Break
- 1.6 Part II
- 2 Featured Characters
- 3 Inventory
- 4 Quotations
- 5 External Links
- 6 References
The following pre-show content was removed from the final Geek & Sundry YouTube video:
- The updated Critical Role fan art appreciation video.
- Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, and Taliesin Jaffe will be gone next week (Thursday, 2016-09-01), so Liam O'Brien will lead a one-shot in lieu of "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66). Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Ashly Burch will join the cast for the special episode, "Critical Role Extra – The Return of Liam!" (Sx15).
- LootCrate continues their sponsorship of Critical Role with $3 off a subscription when using the promo code "criticalrole", which Sam Riegel humorously explained by mathematical analogies.
- The English cast video for Final Fantasy XV was officially released, with Matthew Mercer playing Cor Leonis. (Mercer's part in the video begins at 4:24.)
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided came out recently, with Matthew Mercer scattered throughout the game as various characters.
- Critical Role has been nominated for a Streamy in the "Gaming" category.
- Also, Muzzled the Musical was nominated for a Streamy in the "Indie" category. It was co-created by Matthew Mercer, directed by Sean Becker (who also directed Marisha Ray's Signal Boost!), and starred Ashly Burch.
- Travis Willingham announced that the Dallas Cowboys were, at the time of airing, playing the Seattle Seahawks.
- The 50th anniversary live-action opening credits aired after the announcements.
Previously on Critical Role
"Our band of adventurers, Vox Machina, in raising an army, hopefully, of allies and powerful artifacts to face the Chroma Conclave, a gathering of powerful, dangerous chromatic dragons that have been tearing through the countryside of Tal'Dorei and distant Wildemount.
"They have recently found some information, had a close call with the Frigid Doom known as Vorugal, the white dragon, flying over, did not pierce through the apparent illusionary barrier that was placed with the help of Allura, Gilmore, and Pike there in Whitestone. The party then decided to go ahead and—using that cue before the dragon returned to its current roost that it has created over the ruins of the city of Draconia—they traveled across to the continent of Wildemount.
"They had a meeting with the Ravenites, apparently a rather subverted and long-enslaved offshoot species of dragonborn kin, tailless and now surviving amongst a recent winter that seems to have come with the ruin the dragon brought. They also discovered that most of Draconia and its royal elite have been slaughtered as a means of the dragon establishing its dominance, and the worship of the Ravenites that survived the fall of Draconia.
"Vox Machina made a deal with Tooma—apparently the current clan leader of the remaining Ravenites—that they would aid in destroying this dragon—basically the master that they replaced the Draconians with—when it came. However, to ensure the party's help there is a two week time limit, and if they do not return before then, the Ravenites would see them as not keeping their end of the deal, and they would instead direct the dragon towards what was going to be Whitestone, until Scanlan altered Tooma's memory, which she recalls now as Emon.
"Before they could find their way home, one of the corpses upon one of the ice spikes outside of the dragon's new nest Percy saw to be the remains of Vox Machina's long-traveled friend Tiberius Stormwind. The party had a fateful farewell, set him to rest within the ruins of the nearby library fallen from the islands of Draconia, said their goodbyes, and then—upon prepping a bit, plotting and planning—found their way back to Whitestone to continue the next leg of their adventure."
Facing One's Fears
Late into the night in Whitestone as the sky turns to dusk, as Vox Machina is resting from the harrowing day that they had after returning from Draconia, Vax'ildan stands in his room with Keyleth by his side after she had knocked on the door and asked if she could be with him for the night. Together, they quietly stare up into the ceiling for a while before Vax breaks the silence and says to Keyleth, "We really fucked things up, haven't we?"
The young druid asks for him to clarify, but Vax then goes on to say what has been on the forefront of his mind regarding his acceptance of the Raven Queen, his sister Vex'ahlia consistently teasing the two of them whenever they tried to share a word together, and his own confused thoughts that had plagued him for weeks, after which he admits that he had been pushing everyone in the group away, Keyleth most of all because he was afraid. He then apologizes to her, saying that she didn't deserve the treatment she had received.
Vax goes on to assure Keyleth that despite all that had happened, nothing has changed about how he feels towards her. He mulls over the near-misses they had endured and their ragtag family now having experienced a true death in their fold due to having found Tiberius' frozen corpse outside of Vorugal's lair. He goes on to say that death is unavoidable, that it's all the more reason for life to be lived. He then states that it does not matter whatever he and Keyleth have between them, that he'll consider himself lucky if she spends any time with him at all.
As Vax goes on to tell her that she is very dear to him, Keyleth interrupts, saying that he's talking too much. She then admits that she hadn't been making herself very accessible either, and that the fault lies with both of them. Keyleth then goes on to make her point.
Vax begins to chuckle, completely stunned by Keyleth's confession, and apologizes, which Keyleth returns in kind. He then admits his love for her once more, and the two half-elves seal it with a high-five, after which Vax tackle-hugs her into the bed. The two then spend the night together in each other's company, the two of them as well as the rest of Vox Machina in their respective rooms reminiscing about their journey thus far, trying to figure out where they are as individuals and where their story will lead them going forward.
The next morning, they gather in the dining room for breakfast that is mercifully free of chicken, but initially lacking in bacon. Zahra Hydris soon enters the room and joins them for breakfast as they soon begin filling each other in on recent events. Percy inquires about Zahra's family and whether they can be counted on as allies, but the warlock informs him that they will get no help from them, especially due to her having an "estranged" relationship with them. Before she leaves, Percy then inquires as to where Kashaw may be, but she tells him that she hasn't seen him for days due to her continuing research on the Ziggurat beneath the castle.
As Zahra leaves the room, the party discusses what their next course of action may be. The general consensus leans towards going to Marquet to hunt down Cabal's Ruin. As they go through their options, Scanlan points out that before they go to Marquet, they really need to consider a plan to wrangle a beast large enough to attract the Frigid Doom, and he recalls that its most recent prey was that of a remorhaz, a dangerous burrowing creature with a body and blood that burns on contact.
Percy goes on to say that they need the beast that they find to be able to wear down Vorugal enough so that the party can go in for the kill. Scanlan argues that they need to return to Draconia to find such a beast, but Percy's rebuttal is that they can send a letter to the Slayer's Take so that they can figure out what creatures can be provided for the plan to work. Scanlan then suggests that instead of Marquet, they need to talk to the Take right away, but Percy suggests sending a letter to save time and that Kashaw would be the one to bring the letter with him back to Vasselheim so that they are not doing everything themselves. Coming to a consensus, the party leaves the castle to go find the cleric.
Kashaw the Messenger
Not far from the base of the pathway that leads to the city, the party sees a bunch of guards and civilians training in order to bolster the defense of Whitestone should it be needed. They then spot Kashaw serving as an instructor for the civilians, training them in using spears and shields effectively. Vex notes that they shouldn't really send Kashaw since he's training their army, but Percy notes that they are not an army but just a bunch of people that will die horribly no matter how hard they try, a cynical response that Keyleth agrees with for a change.
Keyleth goes on to say that perhaps Kashaw may not be so keen on being their messenger. Scanlan and Vex convince her that it's not just about sending a message, but also about defeating a dragon. After further arguing about what to do regarding whether to return to Draconia or return to the Slayer's Take, Keyleth urges them to just talk to Kashaw already.
The party approaches Kashaw as he is still training the civilians, utterly exasperated. He notices Vox Machina approaching and asks the recruits to take thirty and greets them in his usual deadpan demeanor. The party then asks if he wants to return to Vasselheim to give the Slayer's Take the letter. Kashaw, despite his griping about returning to "frozen-ass Vasselheim" just to be a glorified messenger, accepts the request. Percy then agrees to draft the letter as soon as possible. The party then debates about what to add to the request to sweeten the pot.
Keyleth and Vax both notice Grog getting bored with the discussion continuously going in circles. Vax then picks up a wooden sword and smacks him to attempt to give him an outlet to get rid of his boredom, the attack itself sending a jolt of pain through the goliath. Grog turns around as Vax attacks again, the blow this time having no effect. Grog asks if Vax has a death wish, but the rogue insists that he's doing him a favor. Percy walks away, intent on finishing the letter. Vax then picks up a gauntlet and attempts to throw it, but pulls a muscle and drops it. Seeing the humorous "battle" take place between them, Scanlan jumps up on a chair and gets the recruits' attention.
The forty-five armored recruits all then turn towards Grog... and just freeze, and then turn towards Scanlan and whisper amongst themselves. Looking at Grog, they then slowly inch towards him, spears and shields at the ready. Grog, amused at this, smashes the Titanstone Knuckles together and casts Enlarge, becoming much larger. The recruits, upon seeing this, immediately back away. Kashaw notices this and yells to the students that Scanlan is messing with them and that everything's fine, and then turns to the gnome and remarks that that was pretty funny before asking the party to not kill them. Scanlan nervously asks Grog if he was really planning to kill them, to which Grog replies in the affirmative.
The goliath then turns to Vax, who tries to dodge out of the way of the incoming retaliatory strike but is too slow as Grog kicks him across the way, the rogue tumbling and skidding to the ground about thirty feet away. Vax, stunned and in much pain, mutters that he feels so alive. Grog then checks if the knuckles have changed from kicking a friend in the face, but is disappointed when there is no change. The recruits, thoroughly shaken by the display, all flee from the training area. Vex walks over to help her brother up, who then says that it was worth getting his ass kicked so that Grog wouldn't be bored.
As this spectacle comes to an end, Percy finalizes the letter which summarizes the situation they are in, and that the Slayer's Take will be well compensated for their aid, and that it must be finished within fourteen days. A confused Scanlan notes that they need to ask them for their aid in finding a beast, which Percy points out is already in the letter. Vex notes to Scanlan that that is part of "listening". Percy jokingly asks if there was a way to enchant his voice with Scanlan's so that the bard could actually pay more attention.
Percy then offers the letter to Kashaw, who is asked by Vex to not mention Whitestone's existence to anyone. They then plan to have Keyleth send him back to Vasselheim through the Sun Tree with Transport via Plants. They wonder how he will plan to get back, but Kashaw assures them that he'll find a way. Keyleth and Kashaw then head to the Sun Tree. After they leave, Scanlan and Vex ask Vax why he's not going with them, the former along with Percy joking around and claiming that the cleric has eyes for him, something that Vax is quick to dismiss as he doesn't want to encourage it due to his recently established relationship with Keyleth.
When the two arrive at the Sun Tree, Kashaw and Keyleth share a very awkward conversation regarding getting drinks once the situation with the Chroma Conclave is resolved. Embarrassed and flustered, Keyleth asks about what kind of drink he had in mind, to which Kashaw replies that she already answered her own question. Unable to give a straight answer, Keyleth mentions that she's trying to allow herself to feel things now but Kashaw, not knowing about her confession to Vax, remarks that it doesn't work out for anybody. Not sure what to say to that, and unable to say outright that she has to turn him down, Keyleth puts a pin on his request, casts the spell, and shoves him through the tree, cutting him off mid-sentence.
The rest of the party (minus Pike) meet up with Keyleth. Scanlan thinks that they should rest before heading to Gilmore's house, but the others remind him that they have no time to waste due to their time limit and that they are leaving right now.
The History of Marquet
Vox Machina makes their way to Gilmore's house. As they come to the front door, they knock but there is no response. After worrying a bit, he responds and after a while, the barrier flickering and then strengthening, he finally answers the door looking a little worse for wear. Keyleth gleans a little into his exhausted state. The party asks him for his help in getting to Marquet. Or more specifically, his hometown of Shandal, a small oasis village south of Ank'Harel. He agrees and then invites them into his house for some tea. They inquire with Gilmore about Marquet, to avoid a repeat of what happened in Draconia, and he informs them that while he doesn't know what to expect from there considering he had left fifteen years prior to seek his calling, he does tell them about Marquet's customs and laws and how to avoid causing a ruckus.
The party then inquires with him about the current owner of Cabal's Ruin, but he's unable to come up with anything useful. They consider bringing along Jarett for the trip. Scanlan and Vax then ask Gilmore if they can do anything for him, such as saying hello to someone he hadn't seen in a long time, to which the wizard gives Vex a silver locket saying that when they find "them", they'll know. Keyleth then asks if Gilmore is alright, noticing how worn out he is, and he admits that keeping the barrier up has been tiring, especially without Allura around. He then requests the party to hurry and deal with the Conclave quickly so that he can set up shop again, which the party agrees to.
They then leave Gilmore's abode, intent on getting proper desert wear and speaking with Jarett. As they leave, Sherri shows up with breakfast for Gilmore, and Vax asks her how he's doing. Sherri admits that she's noticed his weariness as well and expresses her worries, and she also asks the party to hurry with their business before heading inside the house. They then head off to look for Jarett.
The party heads back to the castle and finds the Marquetian mercenary doing his job, crossbow at the ready. They then inquire about his own knowledge of Marquet. According to Jarett, he had left the continent ten years prior, not under the best terms as he mentioned that he would've been jailed if he stayed, hinting that he had been a criminal in the past as he also mentioned that breaking the law in Marquet is quite severe.
Jarett offers advice to Vox Machina as he adamantly refuses to return there for fear of being imprisoned. He mentions the Scarlet Prison (otherwise known as the Scarlet Oubliette) and the Cerulean Palace of Ank'Harel, where the Hand of Ord (the city's peacekeepers) and the ruler of the city itself, J'mon Sa Ord, reside. He highly recommends that the party (especially the twins) not steal anything unless they are damn sure nobody knows it. They also ask if he had ever heard about the unscrupulous Den of Druja that is tried to Cabal's Ruin, and Jarett mentions that they were a rather serious gang running violent activities within the city about seventy to eighty years ago before Jarett's time and that they have not been around for the past fifty.
The party asks about the current ruler, and Jarett mentions once again J'mon Sa Ord and that they brought the city together four hundred years ago, and that there are many rumors as to their identity. Jarett's personal belief is that J'mon Sa Ord is in reality many people, that the name is more of an office or station of power, titles passed on from person to person. They also inquire some more about Shandal, Gilmore's hometown, and that it is very small in comparison to and located southwest of Ank'Harel, which is a day's travel away and is even larger then Emon.
Upon being asked if he had heard of a one-eyed merchant warrior, referring to the current owner of Cabal's Ruin, Jarett draws a blank and, upon being asked if he can't be persuaded to go with the party to Marquet, again vehemently mentions that he will not go, not even with the temptation of titles. He makes a point that that he is much more valuable to them in Whitestone. They do learn, though, that water is very valuable there, as much as coin is if not more so, and that the general greeting is "Be pleased" with a small bow. They are also told that as long as they follow the laws, they should have no trouble. And despite his strong refusal to join the party, he does make a request of them to bring back a special spice harvested only in Marquet known as fusaka that is used for cooking. Keyleth than requests that he keep an eye on Gilmore in their absence.
Upon saying their farewells to Jarett, the party divides to gather additional waterskins and changing into proper clothing for their upcoming trip, such as Keyleth grabbing a set of clothes that she received from the Fire Ashari and Percy grabbing a white silk cloak for Vax who was breaking into a cold sweat about being extremely warm in his armor. Before they return to Gilmore's house, Scanlan begins scrying to determine the whereabouts of Kaylie. He sees her hustling a bunch of other individuals in a game of cards and winning big. As one of them threatens her, Dr. Dranzel intervenes and as the guy leaves, the two performers fist-bump. The vision fades, leaving Scanlan feeling extremely proud of his daughter.
The party then returns to Gilmore's house, where the sorcerer starts casting his Teleportation Circle spell. Upon completion of the spell, the party jumps through one after another. Gilmore quickly accepts Vex's thanks as the portal shuts behind them.
Arrival in Marquet
Upon arriving on the other side, the party finds themselves completely crammed inside a tight, dark space the size of a cupboard or closet. Desperately trying to find a way out, Vex takes her dagger and undoes the lock, the six of them stumbling out of the large closet. Looking around, they notice that they are in a room coated with dust and cobwebs. Percy tries to will the nearby carpet to fly, but to no avail. Looking outside, they see a simple street below them with buildings made of fine wood and thin palm trees. Based on the belongings left behind, they deduce that they are in Gilmore's old room, presumably on the second floor of the house they are in.
Leaving the room, they notice signs that there are still people living in the house. As they head downstairs, they are greeted by an elderly couple eating and sitting at a table. They greet the spooked couple, Vex mentioning Gilmore by his first name. Upon hearing the name "Shaun", they become more friendly as they talk about his accomplishments. The couple introduce themselves as the Geddmores, Gilmore's parents. Noticing the different name, they discover that Gilmore had changed his name when he sought his calling in Tal'Dorei. Knowing that time is of the essence, the party asks for directions to Ank'Harel, which Mr. Geddmore eagerly gives to the best of his ability.
Vex then gives them the locket that Gilmore had given her, the contents of the locket containing a small picture of him when he was younger. The couple then ask the party to let Gilmore know how they are doing. When they ask for fusaka, the party starts assuming that the spice may not be legit despite Jarett's words. Before they leave, Grog uses his Alchemy Jug to fill up the Geddmores' well. Keyleth then casts Wind Walk so that the party can get to Ank'Harel much faster compared to walking all the way there. As they depart, three kids watch on in awe as one by one they transform into mist, with Keyleth telling them to "stay in school" and Vex scarring them for life.
As they cruise in their mist forms, they arrive on the outskirts of Ank'Harel long after dusk. After scoping the outside walls as well as the interior from high up, they head down to the ground and revert to their normal forms. Scanlan wants to sneak inside in their mist forms, but the rest of the party convince him to use his Magnificent Mansion spell so they can camp within it for the night. After Scanlan finishes his incantation and the door to the mansion is created, they enter one after another beginning with Keyleth and Vax and then Grog.
Only Scanlan, Percy, and Vex remain outside as they are approached by members of the Hand of Ord. One of them expresses their nervousness and distrust about the "strange magic" that was just used, warning that the party should keep its usage outside of the city. The guard then mentions that there will be twelve guards outside the door in case anything else strange happens. Apologizing for the confusion and that there won't be any funny business, the remaining members of the party enter the mansion to rest for the night with the plan to enter Ank'Harel the following day.
As everyone else goes to sleep, in her room, Vex holds onto Fenthras. She mulls over the words that the previous wielder of the bow, Saundor, had said to her not too long ago, sleep not coming easily to her...
Vex and "The Dagger"
Early the next morning, while everyone else is still asleep, Vax begins sneaking out of Keyleth's room after having spent another night together with her. However, he doesn't get very far as Vex comes out of her room, still drowsy and with a bedhead, and notices her brother just having left the druid's room. Seeming mock-horrified and pretending to gag, Vex gives him a thumbs-up and begins to go back to her room. Vax, however, stops her and asks if he can have a word with her. Reluctantly, she lets him in and sits down, taking a full minute to digest what happened and get over it. A minute passes and she calms down, with Vax remarking that she should've gone into acting, that it was her calling. Vex then mentions how happy she is for her brother, as foul as it may be, and then asks what is on his mind.
Vax then gets to the point of his visit. He brings up his thoughts about their encounter with Saundor and the things he had said to Vex, namely about "the dagger". Vex's demeanor immediately turns sour, unable to believe that her brother is pressing her about it. Vax mentions that despite her earlier words that she was fine, he can't help but think that she was lying to him. Vex protests about him bringing it up, but Vax reminds her that he could be dead the next day and asks her to elaborate.
Vex admits that Saundor knew a lot about her faults, and that he was not completely wrong, especially about "the dagger". Vax, shocked at hearing this and feeling heartbreak, tries to convince her that the corrupted archfey was not right, that her strength of character runs deep and that she has always been stronger than that. He goes on to say that she has always been a good person and that everyone knows it. Vex expresses her thanks, saying that it makes her happy to see her twin happy, something that Vax had forgotten the feeling of.
The rogue continues to press her about "the dagger", and then she finally reveals the one thing that she had never told her brother: the truth regarding how she first met Trinket.
Vax asks if she's creeped out because Saundor knew what happened and asks why she is so upset, but Vex affirms that she is not. Vax mentions that since she did come back to him, it couldn't have been wrong, a sentiment that Vex agrees with as she breaks down in tears. Vax then hugs her fiercely, saying that she would have to do something very terrible for him to feel disappointment in her, and that she hasn't done so yet. He then tells her one more time that she is a good person and he has always seen it, and begs her to see it as well.
Vex mentions that it's good to self-reflect once in a while, and that she needed it. She goes on to say that while she knows that her heart is always in the right place, she fears sometimes that actions speak louder than intentions, and that if things she had done could be read the wrong way, then perhaps she needs to change what she does. Vax tells her that she's always been bold, that it is not a crime. Vex, once again, affirms that she is fine. Vax remarks that he feels like a boy again, and Vex pleads with him to not worry about her.
Vax, seeing the conversation going in circles, concedes and tells her he loves her and that even though she doesn't have to talk to him about everything, if she ever needs him, he's there for her. He then apologizes for earlier in the hall and shortly after leaves Vex's room to go take a shower.
Arrival in Ank'Harel
After a while, the party gathers downstairs for the usual chicken-centric breakfast. Vex voices her opinion that they need more variety in the menu such as veggies, but Scanlan objects with the argument that it's "nutritious and delicious", much to Vex's frustration. Grog suggests "chicken ravioli", which Scanlan immediately agrees with and orders the servants to make them dozens of bowls. After their less than varied breakfast, the party leaves the mansion and is greeted with the blistering heat of the desert as they head to the walls of Ank'Harel. Upon determining what their "angle" is, Scanlan suggests the story of them being simple, weary travelers from Emon, but Vex, Keyleth, and Percy object with the notion that honesty is more important.
The party heads to the gates of the city and find themselves greeted by more members of the Hand of Ord, one of them being the same one that accosted them the previous night. Choosing to go for broke, Scanlan mentions that they wish to seek an audience with J'mon Sa Ord and Percy notes that they wish to do so for potential aid in their time of dire need. The guard warns the party to keep their weapons sheathed and to keep Grog reined in, and then allows the party to pass. Percy asks for suggestions for lodging, and the guard suggests places such as "The Shade" and "The Debt's Respite" within the Suncut Bazaar. The gates open and they step through, finding themselves within the city proper.
Finding themselves in awe with their immediate surroundings, the party begins walking through the sandy streets in search of information and lodging. As they walk, Scanlan approaches two teenage boys peddling produce and asks about where he can get it before asking for a more... shady product.
The boys, utterly confused and flabbergasted at Scanlan's unexpected request for "spice" and his insistence on it, quickly leave. The rest of the party, looking on, shake their heads at the audacity of Scanlan's request before moving on towards the Suncut Bazaar, noticing how similar and yet different the city is to Emon, feeling a sudden longing for their home. They continue onward, being greeted with various expressions from the people ranging from amusement to mistrust as they pass by. As they finally approach the bazaar, they notice a cluster of towers with a larger one in the center with a very high platform at the top, as if it were like a watchtower or a beacon looking out over the city.
Entering the bazaar, briefly noticing that races of many kinds inhabit the area (including tieflings) and sampling the local wares, the party then divides into three groups with Vax choosing to keep an eye on Grog just in case (and Grog admiring a "magical rock"), Scanlan still searching for "spice" and following a shady half-elven individual, and Percy, Vex, and Keyleth searching for a soothsayer so that they can get information about their goals.
Eventually, Vex's group finds a soothsayer with a deck of cards. Paying him for his services, he answers their three questions for five gold each, the questions being about a garment that they are searching for, about the individual who possesses said garment, and about what they should know about the conflict they are moving towards and what they should be prepared for:
The soothsayer puts away his cards and returns to his meditative stance, eating his apple, but as they leave:
Seemingly satisfied with the reading, Vex says her farewell to the soothsayer and rejoins the others as they all head to the Shade, albeit Scanlan is still absent.
Meanwhile, Scanlan is walking with the half-elf down an alley and he inquires about fusaka. After some discussion and agreeing to meet up in The Luck's Run casino at night wearing a red shirt, Scanlan mentions that he needs enough for the week to get him by. The half-elf is puzzled by his strange behavior and doesn't recommend that much, but Scanlan assures him that he could take it, that when he started using, he was as tall as the half-elf. Scanlan then finalizes the agreement and departs for the Shade to meet up with the rest of Vox Machina, absolutely giddy about having made his first drug deal.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party arrive at The Shade, a lounge tavern with segmented spots that doubles as a hookah bar. Keyleth reveals that the Earth Ashari are "super into hookah", which could mean that when she visited months ago, she had partaken in it. They quickly realize that The Shade is not a place meant for lodging. They inquire with one of the patrons about the "merchant warrior" and are told about people known as "Scarbearers" who seem to be mercenaries. They are also told that they tend to set up shop in The Debt's Respite.
After a while, after Scanlan meets up with the group and relays them the details about his spice deal, they decide to try out the hookah. Vax in particular makes the mistake of inhaling and Keyleth gives him some water to help with his coughing. As the other are enjoying the tobacco, Grog inquires about strong alcohol and is shown a drink known as "Sand-kheg's Hide". Upon being told that the price for one bottle is an obscene 350 gold pieces, he decides to buy two of them... for 800. Grog brings the bottles to the group and Percy and Keyleth sample it, immediately becoming intoxicated and numb and unable to speak properly as a result. After a while, the party then heads to The Debt's Respite.
In Need of a Cloak
After ten minutes, they arrive at their location. Despite the rough exterior, the inside of the establishment is well-populated and similar to some of the taverns of Emon. As they enter, they end up noticing a strange masked individual leaning against the back wall of the tavern as well as a male bronze-scaled dragonborn among the patrons. They decide to inquire with the dragonborn, Vax keeping an eye on the masked person. The dragonborn, introducing himself as Treev Bonebreaker, is visibly annoyed about being disturbed as Vex inquires about staying the night. Treev, being the current caretaker of the establishment, brightens up as he and Vex discuss pricing for lodging, referring to Grog as being "scrawny". He mentions "bear tax" being included due to Trinket being around, which Vex objects to. The asking price for one night is 30 gold for the three rooms combined, but Vex is easily capable of telling that Treev is jacking up the price.
Noticing the lack of a tail from the dragonborn, Vex tells him of the fate of Draconia, news that gives him cause to gloat and celebrate. She offers more details in exchange for a more reasonable price of lodging, and Treev invites everyone to sit down, agreeing on 15 gold. As promised, Vex tells him the entire account of the fall of Draconia, the status of the Ravenites, and the occupation of Vorugal. Upon hearing this news, Treev's demeanor slowly transitions from one of jovialness to one of acceptance. Percy informs Treev of their intent to overthrow Vorgual and free the Ravenites, but to do so they need his assistance in locating the owner of Cabal's Ruin, whom Treev reveals to be Mistress Asharru, one of his finest and most expensive. Treev informs them of how busy she is, that it would take at most a week for word to reach her despite Percy's words that they don't have that much time to waste. He expresses his growing impatience for the gunslinger beating around the bush as Vex looks around the room. Everyone has taken notice of the conversation but have not moved an inch. Grog asks what kind of entertainment they have in Ank'Harel other than gambling, and Treev mentions that there are performers of all kinds, including gladitorial events which are not available for months, and that fights unsanctioned by the Hand fights will get someone imprisoned. Sanctioned duels to the death in the "Bowl of Judgment" in the Cerulean Palace, however, are another story.
Resigning to the given circumstances, Percy writes up a summary of their intent to buy, rent, or trade for the cloak, being entirely truthful and including a payment for meeting Asharru of 400 gold. Treev whistles for the same hooded figure from before and hands them the scroll case and gold. The figure takes the items and leaves the tavern. Vex pays for their rooms and receives the keys from Treev as Vax follows the masked figure to where they are heading into several alleyways, his skills in pursuing those who wish to be hidden serving him well. Eventually, he notices the figure entering a closed store called "A Kingly Home" and depositing the scroll inside a barrel before sneaking off. Vax then heads back to the tavern as Grog is asking about Sand-kheg's Hide and is disgusted with the process by which it is made.
The Cerulean Palace
Finishing their conversation as Vax returns, they head up to the rooms as they choose who is staying in each one: Vax with Grog, Percy with Scanlan, and Keyleth with Vex. They decide to get Scanlan his red shirt as well as shop for potions and Grog only finding ornamental weapons. Percy decides to try his hand at finding a magic shop. Despite his efforts at haggling with the storeowner he does find, he utterly fails to convince her to sell her wares for a reduced price. The party then heads to the Cerulean Palace, seeking an audience with J'mon Sa Ord.
Upon arriving at the palace and finding themselves mesmerized by the beauty and structure of the grounds, the party is greeted at the front gates by more members of the Hand of Ord. One of the guards, a woman, approaches the party asking for the nature of their business. Keyleth convinces her to let them pass, identifying themselves as ambassadors of Tal'Dorei and that the reason for seeking an audience with the emperor concerns the fate of the world. The woman leaves and then returns with the "Grand Maven" of the city, Gameshega, and she invites them to enter. Upon entering, the party is brought to a waiting room and is asked to sit and wait for J'mon Sa Ord to make an appearance as Gameshega makes her leave. After over ten minutes of waiting, she returns and says that their audience has been granted. The party follows her into another chamber, and as they wait, the room suddenly shakes. All of a sudden, the party discovers that the room itself is in reality a lift that leads to the top of the tower. The party is in awe as they see all of Ank'Harel and beyond from their rapidly ascending position past the glass-like walls.
Upon reaching the top, the doors open and as they ascend the staircase, Vox Machina is greeted by a room decorated with hundreds of beautiful tapestries and windows. As they go further into the room, an androgynous individual without any form of jewelry and wearing simple clothes can be seen sitting on a tall, brass throne, the features making it hard to determine their gender. The eyes, black as night with pupils like molten metal, catch the party's attention. They rise up from the throne, about as tall as Grog, and greet the party with a smile.
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- Dr. Dranzel
- Jarett Howarth
- Kashaw Vesh (DM-controlled)
- Shaun Gilmore
- Zahra Hydris (DM-controlled)
- Keyleth: "For the longest time I was... terrified... that I was going to lose you. First to death and then to the Raven Queen – which is still kind of like death – and then ultimately to yourself. And then, I had an interesting talk with Pike here recently. And she said something that really stood out to me, and that was that some people just have more of themselves to give. And I realized this whole time that I was afraid of losing you to a future that ultimately has not yet been written, which is… stupid."
Vax'ildan: "Maybe so."
Keyleth: "But you’re ultimately right. We have nothing to lose. I love you, Vax. I have for a long time. And I’m sorry for being me and that it took me this long to say it."
- (After Liam O'Brien rolls two Natural 1s in a row)
Marisha Ray: (to Liam) "You are so walk-of-shaming right now!"
- Scanlan: "Spice? Do you spice?" 
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:00:19.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:01:06.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:03:46.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:04:21.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:04:40.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 0:14:54 through 0:16:35.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:30:30.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 0:34:55.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 2:05:04 through 2:06:31.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:23:27.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 2:43:09 through 2:43:55.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 2:44:14 through 2:45:07.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 2:46:21 through 2:47:02.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 2:47:56 through 2:49:11.
- "Sand-kheg" is a desert variant of an ankheg designed by Matthew Mercer. (source)
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 4:11:13.
- Matthew Mercer spelled the last name of Gilmore's parents on Twitter.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 0:14:54 through 0:16:35.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:00:23.
- See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:23:27.
- Fan art of Keyleth confessing to Vax'ildan in "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65), by Elaine Tipping (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Keyleth with Vax, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Shaun Gilmore's parents, by David Rodrigues (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Ank'Harel, by Miloš Radojkić (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of the streets of Ank'Harel, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Sandkheg's Hide, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of J'Mon Sa Ord, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Vox Machina in Marquet, by NLN4 (source). Used with permission.