Episode 126: Worth Fighting For
Caleb and Beau awake after a night fraught with visions, voices, and eyes. A look of understanding passes between them and they begins to search their bodies for new eye markings. Caleb has a new mark right in the center of his shoulder blades. Beau’s new eye has appeared right in the center of her neck tattoo. The rest of the Nein awake and contemplate the meaning of these new dreams and eyes. Is Lucien’s grip over them getting stronger? They don’t feel any different, or sense any changes but this is new territory for everyone. For now, they will file this in the ‘deal with later’ pile. They have some shopping to do.
Fjord asks the Empire kids about some bloodhunter history. Caleb has done some minor reading about the practice, but it is mostly considered a forbidden necrotic art and details are scarce. Beau knows some information about the Claret Order where Lucien and his Tomb Takers came from before he became Nonagon. Mostly though, the Order is extremely secretive and nomadic, having no one temple or bastion where their followers gather.
Caleb notices a strange glow under Fjord’s shirt as they talk. Oh yeah, Fjord remembers now that during their fight with Lucien he was hit by a strange attack that left him scarred and marked. A red, glowing scare marked with hemocraft glyphs is carved into Fjord’s chest. Caleb understands it is divination based and is most likely being used to track or scry. Both Jester and Caleb try unsuccessfully to dispel the mark. Fjord mostly just feels like they are slapping his man tits just for the fun of it. Oh well, another one for the ‘deal with later’ pile.
Caduceus mentions his strange visions to the Nein and they offer to make a detour to the Savalirwood so he can check in with family. He appreciates the gesture, but a quick message to his father should suffice for now. Jester pops a quick call in with Cornelius Clay. Cornelius is happy to hear they are doing ok and says that the forest seems fine for now, though he has been having some strange dreams of late. Oh boy, another problem to deal with later. That pile is getting pretty thick. Saving the world is taking a little longer than they thought. Maybe some retail therapy will help.
Caleb has Jester send a message to Astrid to see if she is amenable to meet him later. She agrees to see him at the old dance hall after dark. And now, finally, some shopping. Fjord and Jester spend their time finding her a fancy jeweled chalice so she can produce a nice hero’s feast for them soon. She also pops in to a local jeweler to get Fjord’s 5000 gp ring of fire protection appraised and maybe get him some money back. Unfortunately, she seems to have picked a rather shady locale and the attendant tries to swindle her out of the ring for a mere 400 gp. Jester will keep the ring for now. Fjord is feeling weirdly sweaty, buyer’s remorse is a bitch.
Yasha heads into a shop looking for some kind of invisibility potion or item. Somehow she ends up buying a hideously expensive balm that supposedly protects you from scrying eyes for an hour. No one is sure how we ended up here or why she bought it, but this is what happens when you take a barbarian shopping.
Veth spends the day gathering weaponry, new Fluffernutter materials, and commissioning antlers for her earmuffs and one nice fresh cut flower. Eh, it’s a cute look. Caleb and Caduceus pick up little magical items for their spells. Gemstones and pearls, amber and ivory, saffron, incense, and a fork tuned to this plane of existence. The Nein should be all set for spells for now.
As shopping wraps up for the day Beau runs into Veth outside a shop. Veth hands her the flower she picked out earlier, saying she bought it for Beau to give to Yasha. Beau is overwhelmed by Veth’s thoughtfulness, and yeah maybe a tear or two leak out. She gives Veth a huge hug and thanks her for the help. She’s never gone on a date like this before and needs all the help she can get. They spend a few moments getting Beau all hyped up and ready for her date tonight. Oh! That reminds her, she has to get her list of requests to Caleb before dark.
Beau finds Caleb at a bookstore (where else) as he is buying a book of Zemnian fairy tales and a primer on Transmutation. Meh, Beau’s read better. They go over her list and Caleb agrees to all of it, even though he thinks the demands are a bit strange. He’s not one to kink shame though. But now, it’s time to dance!
The Nein gather at the dancehall to meet Astrid. They fall into their casual reconnaissance formation. Veth invisibly casing the joint. Jester and Caduceus, disguised as humans, mingle in the crowd. Beau takes the high road and perches in the rafters while Fjord, a drunk loiterer, watches the exits. Ah, here comes Astrid.
The Nein keep an eye on the Dancehall while Caleb and Astrid share an intimate dance discussing secret wants. Astrid warns Caleb that the Nein are being blamed for Vess DeRogna’s disappearance and suspected death. They were followed by Volstrucker into Eiselcross but luckily managed to evade the assassins by polymorphing to fly over a mountain range. Caleb thanks her for the information and asks for a favor. The Nein need more scry blocking medallions the Assembly are so fond of. Astrid might be able to get her hands on some, she’ll let Caleb know. They spend the next few minutes sharing their fears and concerns about the state of the world. Neither can fully trust each other yet, but they both need each other’s help. Astrid also drops a massive hint that now would be an amazing time to get the drop on Trent Ikithon and take him out of the game for good. What the hell is Caleb supposed to do with this information right now?? He’s got a whole planet to save, his ex-teacher may have to wait.
As Astrid is leaving, Beau follows for a bit keeping a careful eye on her. Around the next corner, Astrid sinks down against the side of a building holding her head in her hands. She’s obviously feeling conflicted about something, but what is anyone’s best guess. After a moment she gets back up and continues on to her residance and Beau rejoins the party. She has a date she can’t miss.
The Nein regroup back at the inn for the night and Caleb makes preparations to summon the tower. The rest of the friends help get Beau and Yasha ready for their first tryst as the nerves begin to set in. The tower doorway materializes and before the women are prepared, their friends shove them inside and tell them to have a great night.
Inside the tower, Beau and Yasha take a few minutes to share just how excited they are to finally have their long awaited moment. They walk into the first room, modeled to look like the Nestled Nook Inn for a pre-dinner drink. Caleb’s cat army has been transformed into adorably stubby dachshund’s as per Beau’s instructions. After a warmup drink and talking through first date nerves ( you know, a history of being mind controlled and a psychopathic killer trying to end the world) they move on to stop number two.
Over a picnic dinner of fish and bug tacos, Yasha shares the story of how she and Molly met. They both miss him a lot, but they are thankful for him bringing them together in this new crazy family. Yasha shares that the first time she fell in love with beau was visiting her family’s home in Kamordah. She loved seeing a little piece of Beau’s life growing up and seeing how far she’s come from the girl her parents treated her like. The two finally share a kiss. Just as things are heating up, Frumpkin comes in carrying a note that just says DIE…and suddenly…there are ninjas surroundign them.
Ah yes, what is a romantic first date without a fistfight. Yasha and Beau have an absolute blast handling the surprise attack ninjas. Bodies fly, there’s glitter bombs everywhere, because why not, Yasha’s wings bamf out. Things are out of control, sparkly, and sexy. Best of DnD right here baby.
With ninjas handled, the girls head off to the last stop on date night, a soak in the spa. They don’t stay for long though. Yasha’s curiosity over Beau’s above the bed mirror wins out and the two lovebirds rush away to end their night with a most marvelous bang. And thus ends this most adorable of sessions! See you next week Critters.
We finally have our fanservice episode. It only took 100 + episodes of disaster lesbian flirting for us to arrive at this magnificent date night. Everyone was on their best, most adorable behavior for this cutsie interlude session. But first, what’s up with all those weird dreams??
The most pressing impact from the night’s visions are Beau and Caleb’s brand spankin new eyes on their neck and back. There’s still not enough evidence to completely confirm the theory that Beau and Caleb are slowly being turned into Somnovum acolytes….but let’s be honest, what else could all those eyes mean. They still seem fully in control of their bodies and minds, for now. This ticking time bomb will hopefully keep the Nein focused during their Eiselcross hiatus.
Not so pressing, but still just as creepy, is Caduceus’ new nightmare. That forest would definitely haunt my waking consciousness too. Though the Nein offered to get Caduceus home for a check in with his family, he settled with a quick message to papa Cornelius. No real answers or information was gathered from the message, beyond the fact that it seems all the Clays have been having these new visions of disease and destruction. What clues did we miss or destroy in the tortured forest of Aeor? Should everyone survive the Somnovum encounter, there are many new and enticing threads for the Nein to follow next.
Thankfully the shopping montage was kept to a manageable minimum this session. Even Travis made it through relatively unscathed. I was much more interested in Caleb’s little encounter with Astrid later in the evening.
It’s still so hard to figure out how to feel about Caleb’s old flame. There’s a desperate faction of fans that wants to see them reconcile and live happily ever after, but Astrid’s emotional state after the meeting definitely throws up some red flags. Is she trying to set Caleb up to appease Trent, or was that guilt ridden facepalm more because she couldn’t believe she actually asked Caleb to help her take down one of the most powerful mages in the Empire? Either way Astrid seems like way too much for fragile Caleb to be dealing with right now, clearer heads and sharper wits are needed to handle this situation. The Nein are far to preoccupied with Aeor and the Somnovum to be taking on Trent and the Cerberus Assembly just yet. One big baddie battle at a time please!
I’m a bit torn over which story line I want to see first after the Somnovum arc is finished. Caduceus and his haunted forest mystery or the Nein VS the Assembly, or Fjord finding out more about Sabian and Vandrin? The first two arcs seem full of twists and danger, but Caduceus story line is basically a blank page with a bunch of question marks and some creepy flesh trees and toothy maws. Caleb’s conflict just seems like straight up suicide, but it’s true the Nein aren’t the early level noobs they once were. They’re well into high level boons and bonuses now. We also have a couple of loose story lines to tie up with Fjord or Essek. Fjord still needs to meet up with the mercenary, Kotho, he hired on Rumblecusp. They were able to hunt down Fjord’s mark, Sabian, back to Darktow but then the story took a hard turn in a different direction and this tread was left unfinished. The Nein could also try to get Essek back in the Dynasty’s good graces…even though he is the sole reason the awful war was started in the first place… Maybe leaving him to chill out in Eiselcross for a couple dozen more episodes isn’t the worst idea.
How sickly sweet was that date night for Beau and Yasha. The fans that have been screaming for this moment for months now must be over the moon! It’s always fun to see new romances bloom between characters. Up next, I think will be Fjord and Jester. Though maybe they’ll put relationships on the back burner until Lucien and his evil plans are dealt with first. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see the Nein dive back into Aeor and face down the Somnovum. They have some pretty amazing Vestiges, relics, and magical items on their side now. The longer they delay, the harder it will be to track and stop Lucien before it’s too late. We’ll have to see what next session brings us! Don’t worry, it’s almost THrusday!
Don’t Miss It!
The BlizzConline Diablo One-Shot is up on YouTube already! Catch it here. This short and sweet session features Matthew mercer as GM, Critical Role cast members, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, and Laura Bailey. It also features guest stars Mica Burton and Carlos Luna. Coming in at just over two hours, this is a great little one shot to tide you over until Thursday.
There is also a new episode of Critter hug with Matahew Mercer and Mica Burton premiering Tuesday, February 23rd at 4 pm on Twitch.