Episode 48: Homeward Bound
The Mighty Nein return to Nicodranus to see war has reached their doorstep. After leaving the Ball Eater in Orly’s care, the Nein visit Jester’s mother, the Ruby of the Sea. She reveals that the Xhorhasian army cut their way deep into the south of the empire, striking a local farming community named Felderwind.
Fjord encourages Jester to spend an extra day here in Nicodranus with her mother before they try and set out towards Felderwin. He is also a bit surprised to learn that Beau does not care to return home, even though she has a little brother there she’s never met and they might be in danger. Nott is anxious to get to Felderwin as her goblin clan use to roam nearby and she got to know some of the locals very well.
The Nein decide to make a quick pit stop while they gather supplies. They attempt a visit to the mysterious Wizard’s tower. After looking for a way in and finding none, Beau gives a knock to the solid stone wall. Suddenly a door appears and a gnome servant asks their business. They bluff their way into a meeting with the Wizard named Yussa and enter the Tidepeak Tower.
Yussa, a centuries old elven mage, asks what pressing business they must have to disturb him so urgently. After a bit of hemming and hawing, they reveal the “magic fun ball” that Twiggy left them. Yussa recognizes the ball and knows of the man who previously owned it, though he has not been seen in some time. He asks to hold onto the puzzle box for the time being.
The Nein also reluctantly show Yussa the Crick dodecahedron they’ve been hiding. After struggling to identify what this could be, he finally realizes that this is an ancient form of alien magic. He agrees to let the Nein keep it, under the condition that they keep it well hidden and out of dangerous hands. In exchange for this information he agrees to let Caleb learn the transportation rune magic that would allow them to travel freely across the country. Though Caleb will need to study for many hours and grow his potential, this could be a very useful tool in the near future.
The Nein say their goodbyes to Nicodranus once again and set of for Felderwin. Along the several days journey, Caleb grows more agitated about their visit with Yussa and ends up confronting Beau, saying she could have gotten them all killed and it was too dangerous to flounce around like they did. Beau misunderstands and promises Caleb that they will always have his back and fight by his side. The argument ends in a shouting match between the two and Caleb storming off silently screaming at the trees.
The Nein arrive in Felderwin to see that the town has been utterly ransacked and burned. The crops have been destroyed and most shops and homes have signs of damage. Caleb freezes after spotting two mages from the Cerberus Assembly. They seem to spark a deep seated fear in Caleb and he quickly hides in the bottom of the cart. The Nein quietly travel through the town swarming with crownsguard, trying not to draw attention to themselves. Suddenly Nott calls to stop the cart and she begins running towards a destroyed shop.
Nott has found her friend Yezzah’s shop destroyed and his alchemist tools broken. They search the room and find a locked door to the basement. After dispelling the arcane lock, they break their way in and discover another ransacked room. It seems someone was searching for something in the shop and destroyed it in a rage. They do manage to find three vials of silvery, gaseous liquid and a tripod that might fit the dodecahedron. Nott and Jester also find some scraps of letters among a burned pile of notes. They discover that Yezzah was hired by the Cerberus academy to perform experiments on the dodecahedron and extract a material that would allow users to bend time and space. The notes mentions Trent Iktheon and his students, which sends chills down Caleb’s spine. Nott’s emotions boil over and she begins to scream at Caleb that his people have hurt her people. Caleb becomes physically ill as Nott has betrayed this information, outed him to the group, and accused him of grievous harm. Caduceus removes a retching Caleb from the basement as Nott begins to take the cart down to a row of houses.
Nott stops the cart at a particular house, disguises herself as a halfling woman with a round face and braids and knocks on the door. She greets the elderly woman, named Edith and asks to see the child. A shocked Nein watch as Edith recognizes the woman Nott has disguised herself as (though she is amazed and says that she thought she was dead) and uses the name Veth familiarly. Edith brings a young, five year old boy named Lucas to the door. Nott immediately breaks down and clutches the boy, calling him her son. He seems a little wary at first, but then opens up. He says his father Yezzah told him the the goblins had killed her. Nott/Veth apologizes and says she had to go away but wanted to come home sooner. Lucas reveals that Yezza has been missing since the night of the attack. Nott promises that she will find Yezza and bring him back so they can be a family again.
Nott turns with a determined look on her face and stares down the bewildered Mighty Nein.
God dammit Sam Riegel! I was not prepared for the heaviness of the last half hour of this episode. I knew that the story was hiding in there somewhere, but I wasn’t ready.
This episode definitely feels like a strong opening to a new story arc that has been a long time coming. You could really tell that Matt was itching to get back to the empire and unleash the full force of a war onto the Nein’s personal lives.
There were many great moments in this episode that showed a lot of character growth and backstory. Caleb and Beau’s conversation was one of my favorites so far. I know some were thrown off by Beau’s insensitivity, trying to pin it on Marisha’s role playing. But it was so beautifully explained by Marisha in tuesday’s Talks Machina that Marisha heard and agreed with everything Caleb was saying, but Beau is a stubborn ass bitch that thought Caleb was accusing her of being a bad friend. It was a wonderful ‘immovable force meets unstoppable wave’ moment.
Another heartwrenching moment was watching the Nott and Caleb drama play out. Watching Liam’s visceral reaction to Nott’s accusations was priceless. We’ve only ever seen the kind and motherly Nott, and watching that relationship implode in real time was so painful. Next week is going to start out with some heavy emotional conversation.
We have a new NPC!! Much as Allura aided Vox Machina in campaign 1, Yuzza seems to be a potentially useful ally. Though he is much more on edge and reluctant to trust the Nein, his true value has not yet become apparent. Caleb and Yussa seem to have formed a reluctant friendship, much like a mouse shaking hands with a cat. It remains to see if Yussa will be the ally the Nein are hoping for.
Don’t Miss Out!
The Art of Exandria fan art show was a spectacular success! The pieces on display were all wonderful and several well-loved artists made appearances through the show. Also, the Vox Machina one-shot is definitely one for the books! Keep your eyes peeled for the VOD releasing in the next few weeks, sometime in early February.
There are two new Critical Role shows you can check out now! Pub Draw’s debut episode features Marisha Ray and artist Babs Tarr drawing everyone’s favorite Cobalt Soul Monk. You can catch Mame Drop on Wednesday’s at 5pm pacific on Critical Role’s Twitch stream. Mame Drop also released a second episode featuring Taliesin, Marisha and Matt playing through their favorite fighting games. Also, Between the Sheets Season 2 kicks off Monday the 28th with Logic as the first guest.