"Through the Trees" (2x79) is the seventy-ninth episode of the second campaign of Critical Role. The Mighty Nein follow the trail of the Cult of the Angel of Irons in hope of beating them to their prize in the Lotusden...
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Previously on Critical Role Edit
So, last time: The Mighty Nein had been traversing their way across the lands of Xhorhas, returning to the empire where it all began, in search of information regarding where this beacon is currently being held, that the Empire still holds, and seeking information about this Obann figure, who has both taken your friend Yasha as a companion for the time being alongside his journey, as well as awakening (with your aid, unintentionally) a terrible entity, a champion of Torog known as the Laughing Hand. Upon keeping your eyes on them magically from a distance, you've been able to follow some of their exploits while researching information about them and some elements of what they might be trying to do. With this new-found information, and discovering that they had attacked the Archive of the Cobalt Soul in Zadash, and gathering this information, you decided to follow them towards the Lotusden Greenwood on the south of Xhorhas. You made an additional deal for rapid transportation with your sponsor, Shadowhand Essek Thelyss, who agreed, begrudgingly, for the very last time to do this. There, nestled within the darkened shadow of a city street in Zadash, you used a transportation circle to send yourselves to Rosohna, the city once known as Ghor Dranas, Nott flicking off some of the local townsguard before rushing off. We return with you all appearing beneath the Lucid Bastion, the familiar space beneath the main central palace of the Kryn Dynasty.
Part I EditThe Mighty Nein head back to the Xhorhaus and find Essek waiting outside for them. They explain that they need to get to the Lotusden Greenwood immediately to try to stop Obann, Yasha, and the Laughing Hand from awakening another demon assassin, part of the cult of the Angel of Irons. Essek says he doesn't need further convincing; he's already agreed. Beau would like to check in with Dairon first but Nott tries to send Dairon a message inside the house and there's no answer.
Essek misunderstands their intended target, thinking that they wanted to start on the north edge of the Lotusden where they had Scryed on Obann's party so they could track them and transports them there. When they realize this, they ask him to teleport them further south in an attempt to intercept or get ahead of Obann. Although he is extremely reluctant, after high persuasion rolls by Fjord and Caleb (and a little Caleb flirting), he agrees and teleports the party deeper into the forest, leaving immediately.Caduceus asks the surrounding forest for aid in their quest, and a fly lands on his nose. He takes this as a sign, and when it takes off tells the party to follow, but it's immediately eaten by a toad. Beau and Nott climb trees but see nothing except the approaching sunset. Caduceus casts Commune and learns that the object they seek is to the southwest, in a natural imprisonment of some kind, and that Obann's party is still ahead of them. They head off in pursuit.
After about thirty minutes of travel they come across the trail left by Obann's party, and begin following. Eventually they come upon two bodies killed between three to six hours ago and use Speak With Dead to learn they were killed by the Laughing Hand, and that Obann was seeking the Wraithroot Tree in the Moldered Grove, one day's travel to the south. Jester Scrys on Yasha, and sees their party camped for the night and evidence that Yasha is being controlled by the orange glowy thing on the back of her neck. The satchel containing the round object is still at Obann's waist.
There is much discussion among the Mighty Nein of possible plans, but they finally agree to push on through the night after a short rest, and then use Caleb and Jester's flying abilities to try to reach the Wraithroot Tree and acquire the heart before Obann's party reaches it.
Part II EditJester Polymorphs into a giant owl and Caleb into a giant eagle and they fly southward. As the spells begin to fade and they head toward the ground, Jester spots a group of leafless trees in the far distance. They re-cast and continue; as they reach the spells' limits again, they see the lifeless grove still about an hour to an hour-and-a-half's walk ahead. With a natural 20 perception roll, Fjord spots Obann's group's campfire directly where they are landing. They push the spells as long as they can, hoping to put distance between themselves and Obann, but their flying forms drop while they are at the edge of the leaf canopy high above the ground. Caleb and Nott quickly cast Feather Fall and they land safely.
Once down, they pause to listen, and hear the heavy footfalls of the Laughing Hand coming closer. Moving stealthily, they get as far away as they can and hide as he passes within 15 feet of them. Fjord, using Divine Sense, also picks up on a second blip about 50 feet behind them, and they stay in hiding as Yasha and Obann approach. Obann notices the damaged tree branches from the party's fall, and flies into a tree to look around, sending Yasha to search in their direction.
Nott casts Invisibility on herself and climbs the tree Obann is in, getting within the 30-foot Mage Hand range of him and hoping to get the skull away from him, but he flies back down to Yasha and they move off, suspiciously, following the Laughing Hand towards the grove. The party follows behind, but must stay about 300 feet back since Obann now knows he's being followed. After about fifteen minutes, he hears something and sends the Hand searching for them. Fjord uses Summon Greater Demon to create a barlgura, which engages the Hand as the party sneaks past. The Hand summons his three shadow hounds while he fights the barlgura, and the hounds chase after the party. Fjord successfully casts Charm Monster on the Hand who, at Fjord's suggestion, dismisses his dogs and begins patrolling the perimeter to stop anyone trying to get in.
Obann flies back to the tree, reaching into it once more and his hand emerges with a dull glowing blue stone. Nott moves directly under him and drops invisibility to use Mage Hand to attempt to detach the bag containing the skull. The attempt fails and Obann notices both the attempt and Nott. Beau then attacks Yasha while Caleb abandons the Teleportation Circle and runs forward. Jester successfully casts Incite Greed on Yasha and the tree, effectively taking both of them out of the fight, but Beau attacks and damages Yasha, snapping the charm. Obann then flies down, holds Yasha's hand, and they Plane Shift out. Caleb is just slightly too far away to Counterspell.
While Beau is all for attacking the Laughing Hand (whose charm has ended after an hour and can be heard approaching), the others are discouraged, tapped, and glad simply to still be alive. Caleb completes his Teleportation Circle and the party transports to Rosohna.
Featured Characters Edit
- Beauregard Lionett
- Caduceus Clay
- Caleb Widogast
- Jester Lavorre
- Yasha Nydoorin (controlled by Matt)
- Caduceus: (after his guide fly is eaten by a toad) I’m going to walk over there to the toad and look down.
Caduceus: Not cool, man. That was not cool.
Caduceus: I don’t suppose that you feel like helping.
Caduceus: Yeah, I thought that. Go on, get out.
Matt: (croaks) Starts leaping off.
Fjord: Are we following the frog, the toad?
Caduceus: Naw, he’s no help.
- Obann: (to Yasha) “You knew the seed of darkness within you only needed the right guide to germinate into something beautiful... We draw close to completing our found family, becoming her will manifest, striking from the lightless realms and breaking her chains one by one. You remind me of her, a vision of her intent, walking towards destiny. I’m proud of you.” He reaches out to touch her chin. There’s a small spark of blue lightning that sparks from under her chin to his hand and he pulls back as she recoils a bit to one side. You see him look at his fingers and look at her, furious. His eyes glow orange and you see behind her, from underneath the hair, the orange glow emanate and she winces for a second, before her face going slack once more. He now takes her chin in his hand without a fight and looks her in the eyes, and says, “Stubborn as you may be, you are mine. You belong to her. Where we shall walk, no cloud or storm can touch us.”
- ↑ Fan art of The Lotusden, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
- ↑ Fan art of Caduceus vs the Toad, by Elaine Tipping (source). Used with permission.
- ↑ Fan art of Falling, by siriusdraws (source). Used with permission.
- ↑ Fan art of Nott vs. Obann, by PhoenixStart (source). Used with permission.