Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E124 “A Walk to Warmer Welcomes”
Written by Dani on February 10, 2021
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 124 A Walk to Warmer Welcomes!
A NARROW ESCAPE
The Mighty Nein manage to break away from Tombtakers, despite the cultists’ continued efforts to pursue. Exhausted, they eventually make it to the mountain range and locate a safe spot in the peaks to rest for the night. Caduceus suggests they hide the threshold crest a distance away from them, so that if the Tombtakers show up, they won’t find the Nein. They bury the crest in the snow and search through the Tombtakers’ bag, discovering four more intuit charges. They contemplate leaving a trap, but decide to just leave the crest buried in the snow and put up the dome, desperate for a full night’s sleep.
With a long rest achieved, the Nein wake up and confirm that their threshold crest has not been stolen in the night. They ponder options for the crest, whether to attempt to destroy it or teleport it, and choose to teleport it to the Cobalt Soul in Rexxentrum. They don’t know if it will make it there, but hopefully it’ll at least get far enough away that Lucien can’t get to it. Caleb casts teleport, which successfully sends the stone away, but leaves them unsure where it landed. Moments later, the Nein spot five shapes at the base of the mountain – the Tombtakers have arrived! The Tombtakers set off an avalanche and the Nein take to the skies, deciding to locate their closest ally – Shadowhand Essek Thelyss.
The Nein fly for the extent of their hourlong polymorph and land in the strange valley to talk. As they walk around and investigate the strange ice spires in the vicinity, Beau deduces that they’re standing on Aeor itself. Caleb notices an odd clump of spires in the distance and Jester messages Essek, who directs them to the spires. As they approach, members of the Aurora Watch spring on the party, but they show off their medallions of the Bright Queen and ask for their friend. The Watch leads them past the illusory spires as Essek himself floats out.
Inside the outpost, the Nein offer hot cocoa and begin to inform Essek about the Nonagon and the Somnovum. Essek leads them to privacy in his quarters, sealing the room with magic so they can talk freely. Essek is clearly nervous and explains that he requested this appointment, so as to be as far away from politics as possible. He is worried that he is a dangling thread and that the Cerberus Assembly will be sending assassins to his door.
Essek is learning Aeor as he goes – he is here to study the city and find relics for the Dynasty. Caleb asks Essek about teleporting, which Essek confirms is difficult but possible. It’s easier to leave using a teleportation circle, but returning is harder. It’s easy to go off-course or get injured, both of which Essek has experienced. He explains a bit about the wild magic of the area, which is more intense when close to the ruins. Aeor is a dangerous place for mages.
Beau is keeping a close eye on Essek and notices how on edge he is. Shame weighs heavy on his shoulders and he is unable to maintain eye contact with the Nein or look Caleb in the eyes at all. Essek explains that the Vurmas Outpost, a collection of Dynasty ships on the coast of Eiselcross, is the Dynasty’s response to the Empire’s Balenpost. This outpost is their Aeor stronghold. Within the ruins, the Dynasty has uncovered iconography of a Luxon beacon and even depictions of dunamis. Aeor must have discovered a beacon even before the Kryn did.
Jester explains the Somnovem and the Cognouza Ward, as well as the Tombtakers’ desire to bring the city back and unleash its madness upon Exandria. When Caduceus mentions trusting him, Essek interrupts, saying that he knows he was a selfish person who focused solely on his own rise and gains, leading to an inability to trust others. But the Nein’s trust in him gave him a striking perspective of himself and shook him to the core. He appreciates the wake up call. But they don’t owe him their trust – a sentiment the Nein are divided upon. Essek believes he is living on borrowed time, but with the time he does have, he will help the Nein.
It is then that Dagen arrives, having found a path inside the Outpost, facing the guards and trying to explain he was sent by friends. The Nein jump to his defense, explaining who he is and why he’s arrived. Fjord extols the virtues of Dagen’s abilities, suggesting the Dynasty hire him. Essek is interested and has Dagen go with the Aurora Watch to have them test his skills.
PLANS TAKE SHAPE
Back in Essek’s chambers, Caleb explains the Lucien and Molly connection. The description of Lucien’s displayed abilities makes Essek even more nervous. The Nein are unsure as to where Lucien is going within the ruins, but they have some guesses, due to the threshold crests. Essek explains that the crests require a ritual to bind them to something before they can bring it back through, the crests can’t just open portals. If their goal is to use the crests to bring the city back, then they have to go TO the city. In the Astral Sea. That means the Tombtakers are looking for something in the ruins that will allow them to travel across planes.
Essek thinks they need more allies, or individuals with more knowledge. He cannot return to the Dynasty, as he is high on the list of suspects of people who may have been working with the Empire. Veth suggests contacting people within the Cerberus Assembly like Trent, Astrid, & Eodwulf. Essek knows Trent – he was an envoy to Essek when Ludinus was unavailable. He warns the group to not trust Trent in any situation. This leads to the Nein revealing Vess’s death at Lucien’s hands, which deeply rattles Essek.
Jester asks if Essek knows a way to use the beacons to pull a soul out of a body, but Essek is unsure. Caleb wonders if the beacons are what created the time bubbles that the Aeor denizens are trapped in. Essek doesn’t buy into the divinity of the beacons, but the power is real. If they were to uncover a beacon and unlock its potential, there lies the potential of manipulating the fabric of time. Not just forwards. But the ability to undo mistakes.
ASSETS AND ALLIES
Essek is nervous about the eyes of the Assembly being on the Nein, so he asks them to leave soon. He is sorry and he will happily go into Aeor with them, but until they’re ready to delve, he’d prefer them to keep their distance. His list of allies is short, but he has a brother in Bazzoxan and a friend, Star Guide Oraya, in Rosohna. He encourages them to gather their resources and allies and then return, ushering them out. Caleb stops him, telling him that “it takes time.” The Nein count up their contacts and allies – Yussa is an option, but he seems content to study. There’s Allura, but she has a lot of responsibilities on the Tal’dorei Council.
Veth wants to reach out to Astrid & Eodwulf. Veth thinks Astrid was looking to jump ship, plus she has connections! Beau thinks that doesn’t make her a trustworthy ally, but they don’t have a lot of trustworthy allies at their beck and call. It’s worth it to reach out to everyone they can. Jester attempts Divine Intervention, failing, but summons Artagan anyway. She asks him about his ability to teleport, but he’s just *here*, he’s not teleporting. He’s an Arch Fey with a mai tai.
Caduceus attempts his Divine Intervention and it succeeds! He learns the exact location of the northwest entrance, the one the Tombtakers are heading towards. Jester scries on Zoran and sees the group trudging through the snow, heading northwest. Cad casts commune:
- Are they heading to find another threshold crest in a ruin? Yes.
- Would you be able to tell me if they had acquired one? Yes.
- Are they headed towards a ruin that we do not know of? Noncommittal unknown.
Cad will continue to check in as to the status of the crest. They decide to head to Nicodranas and speak with Yussa today. They check in with Dagen and let him know they’re leaving and are hopeful he’ll still be here in a week. Caleb draws the teleportation circle to Yussa’s tower in Nicodranas and the Nein rush in, leaving Eiselcross behind.
- Level Up! The Mighty Nein have hit Level 14!
- Caduceus with the Divine Intervention! Touchdown, Wildmother. Artagan, bring more mai tais for the group next time.
- Apparently the eyes on Lucien’s body can move and I’m just. That’s such intense body horror, Matt is not playing around.
- The Nein don’t have a lot of allies that aren’t…mages. Who are they going to call that will actually join them?
- Oh Mighty Nein.