Episode 110: Dinner With the Devil
The Nein pop back to Nicodranus to grab Veth after meeting with Vess DeRogna. Veth agrees that they should take the job and agrees to go to Eiselcross with her companions. But first, the Nein all agree that if Caleb wants to have dinner with his former mentor Trent Ikithon and his childhood friends Astrid and Eodwulf, he will need all the backup support he can get. They spend the evening at Veth’s family home making plans for the dinner with Trent and catching Yezza and Luc up on all their travels.
Once the Nein are ready to go back to Rexentrum, Caleb teleports them into the Cobalt Reserve library. Beau and Caleb stay at the library to do more research on the Eyes of Nein and Eiselcross. Beau remembers that Halas, the Archmage who made the Happy Fun Ball, may be the last remaining survivor of the Aeor/ Eiselcross pre-calamity era. The Nein realize they should probably grab some new cold weather outfits to survive their northern expedition in comfort. They spend several hours, and several large handfuls of gold on consigning fancy new snow suits for their trip.
Time for dinner with the devil. The Nein arrive at the entrance of Trent’s tower. An elevator transports them skyward at a dizzying pace until the doors open into the dining room entrance. They gather themselves and quietly walk into the room where they find Trent, Astrid and Eodwulf already waiting for them. After a bit of shuffling and musical chairs, everyone takes a seat and Trent begins a quiet conversation with Caleb. Trent attempts to grill the Nein over their involvement with Vess DeRogna and their possible excursion with her. The Nein do not give away any information but get the feeling Trent already knows exactly what they will be doing with Vess.
The conversation gets a bit heated with Trent and Caleb exchanging verbal feints and jabs at each other. Trent never shows his hand, but praises Caleb’s growth and progress while also seeming to take credit for guiding him through the suffering he ‘needed’ to unlock his true potential. Caleb argues against Trent’s power, both political and psychological. He tries to discern how Astrid and Eodwulf truly feel about following Trent’s bidding. It seems like Trent keeps his friends close, but his enemies even closer-he never truly trusts any of his pupils and lives with the realization they may try to betray him at any moment.
Astrid quietly pleads for Caleb to stop instigating Trent and stop threatening him with death or the dismantling of his position. Astrid knows exactly how cunning Trent can be and he is getting exactly the response he wanted from Caleb. Caleb resigns his verbal assault on Trent and the dinner winds down. He says his goodbyes to Astrid and Eodwulf at the gates of the tower. Caleb hopes that the glimmer he sees in her eyes is a shadow of the woman he once knew and loved still fighting in there.
The Nein decompress at a nearby dive bar and decode all the information they learned at the dinner. Beau, several drinks in, begins to see all the threads connecting and starts to do some intense digging into her notes. Something fishy is hiding somewhere beneath the surface. This all stinks of conspiracy and the meddling of higher powers. The Nein decide to sleep on all these bubbling crazy ideas and see if it’s any clearer in the morning. Caleb takes the Nein to a crummy inn nearby and they buy a few small, dirty rooms.
The friends are all a bit confused, since they’re flush with cash and could afford a much nicer place. Caleb, who specifically asked for a wardrobe/closet to be included in his room calls his companions to his room. They watch in slight confusion as Caleb begins placing some random items into his special closet and mutters a few words under his breath. Suddenly a bright glowing doorway opens up in the closet and the Nein peer into the entrance of a gorgeous, magical mansion. Home sweet home! Looking forward to a much more luxurious night of rest and the promise of adventure on the morrow, the Nein walk through the new doorway.
MORE SHOPPING! I thought we were done. I was ready to move on with the story and get back into some action. It took a couple hours for the story to pick back up. The whole first half of the episode is mostly spent collecting Veth, catching her back up on the situation and buying new winter clothes. You’d probably be find to skip right to the second half of the session and not have missed anything super important.
I was much more engaged with the second half of the episode, diving right into the dinner with Trent. That dinner went WAY better than I thought it would. No one died, no one got arrested or framed or mind controlled, or emotionally mutilated. Trent is a horrifically slimy human being though. His true intentions sealed away behind an impenetrable wall, he never reveals a hint of how he really feels. There is always a speck of truth to every propaganda lie he spews and that’s what makes him so hard to spar with. He can see the whole chess game in his head before you’ve even made the first move. Caleb does his best to not get too lost in his fiery emotions, memories, and anger. But it’s Caduceus who seems to strike Trent through to the quick. Ugh! I’m still feeling a little singed from that Caduceus burn. “I sincerely hope you can find someone who will mourn you when you’re gone.” Who does that?! Caduceus is a badass mofo hiding in a teddy bear’s body.
Let’s dive into some of those conspiracies the Nein started sniffing around. The one that set off the most alarm bells for me was the one that Molly may have been connected with. No, not the Eyes of Nine (though I am still desperate to know if the nine eye tattoos and this strange vision were somehow connected). I’m talking about the fact that Molly (or Nonagon as he was known in a previous life) and Cree, the Gentleman’s tabaxi mercenary, may have been involved with Eiselcross, Vess DeRogna, and the uncovering of some deadly ancient weapons. Beau/Marisha’s impeccable note taking skills helped the group recall that Nonagon and Cree were running from some sketchy archmage looking for information on ancient cities and books they stole from one of these relic sights. The unknown archmage may be, possibly Vess, who is a well known antiquities hunter. Something strange has happened to Cree though….either she lost her memory or she’s playing coy in not remembering the Nein. My guess is she’s been killed or brain wiped and has woken up with no memory, just like Molly. The conspiracy continues!
All the talk of conspiracies, shady brainwashy mentors, secretive missions to uncover secretive weapons and a new super dangerous mission has got me itching to watch the next episode of Critical Role! It’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
The first episode of Talks Machina aired last Tuesday! Watch it HERE if you missed it. It is so good to have the show back, even in its social distance format. I dearly missed the unpacking of all the lore, role playing, and fan theories of each episode. There’s a lot of catching up to do! Make sure you tune in to Talks Machina every other Tuesday on Critical Role’s Twitch channel.