Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E29 “Dark Portents”
Written by Dani on August 10, 2022
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 29 Dark Portents!
NICE TO MEET YU
Confusion abounds as Bells Hells are introduced to Yu Suffiad, Dusk’s true changeling self and representative of the Unseelie Court. Yu apologizes for lying to Fearne and reminds everyone that they never hurt any member of Bells Hells, despite having ample opportunity to do so. Birdie is on the defensive and goes invisible, telling Fearne to run, while Yu tells her that the Calloways are charlatans who lied and stole from the Unseelie Court. Birdie claims that what they took didn’t belong to the Unseelie and that they’re using it for good.
Orym holds Yu at swordpoint, so Yu flirts with him by transforming into a half-elven man, getting Orym’s blade in the back as a warning. Yu explains that the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are part of a complex political system in the Fey Realm. The Calloways’ theft threatens to throw the balance of the Courts into disarray. Bells Hells block the exits while Birdie swears she has never lied to Fearne, truly believing that it has only been six years since they left her.
The group urges everyone to calm down and talk things out, unsure of who to trust, but Birdie attacks Yu. She explains that Fearne was born in Exandria under a Ruidus flare. When they brought Fearne back to the Feywild, Ruidus began appearing in the fey sky for the first time. They had to figure out what was going on, so they took something that could help. Birdie asks Fearne who she trusts and Fearne goes to stab Yu with her flame blade.
Before Fearne can hit, Yu says that if they kill her, assassins from every Fey Court will come after them. Yu shifts into Imogen, upsetting Laudna. Fearne is willing to kill more assassins, but Chetney thinks Yu has answers. Imogen casts detect thoughts on Birdie and she and FCG encourage everyone to stand down. Ashton grapples Birdie and Orym breaks the bead of imprisonment trying to unsuccessfully capture Yu, but the room does calm.
Imogen knows Birdie is trying to do the right thing, but she looks like the bad guy. Imogen saw Ira, the Nightmare King, in her thoughts. Birdie explains that Ira has done bad things, but they’re working on something big that they have sacrificed much for. Birdie quickly explains that Ruidus began appearing in the Feywild about seven years ago. The Unseelie were utilizing its boons but the Calloways learned of the moon’s unsavory history.
Ollie began having visions of the moon that no one believed. These visions involved Ruidus destroying the Feywild, with Fearne at its center. They left to figure out what was going on, leaving Fearne safe with Morri. They saw the Unseelie working with people from Exandria on an arcane device involving Ruidus. The Calloways took a relic from what they were building – the Moontide Crown. They took it to Ira, believing he was clever enough to help.
WHO TO TRUST?
Yu scoffs at Bells Hells for trusting Birdie. Why is Birdie different from Armand Treshi? They both worked for Ira. Yu directs Fearne to take a hand mirror out of their pocket – it contains shadow assassins. She didn’t use it on them, but no assassin that comes after her will hesitate. Laudna tells Birdie that Ira was killing children, which Birdie had no idea about. She’s sure he was doing it at someone else’s behest. They were all trying to raise funds to continue their work.
Birdie is trying to make a device to determine the true nature of Ruidus and why everything is overlapping. They have a month until Fessuran, when an apogee solstice is coming around the 21st or 23rd. Ira is just a means to an end. The device is missing a couple of pieces, one of which Ira had asked Morri to make for them. Birdie needs to take them to see Hondir to explain more. Hondir is a friend who is also concerned about Ruidus.
Yu loves the Feywild, even its darker parts, and Birdie tells her that if they love it, then she shouldn’t let the Unseelie continue their work because it will destroy the Feywild. Yu thinks this is just the Calloways’ own dreams and suppositions, but Birdie explains that a lot of people in Exandria share the same ideas and are putting things together. They’re running out of time to stop this and people like Yu are going to ruin everything.
A PLAN IN MOTION
Chetney proposes that Yu gives the Calloways a month to get results from the device. Whether they succeed or fail, Yu gets the crown back. Yu will also need the Calloways, as only their death will appease the Court. Yu told the Unseelie about Fearne, though she claims that she wouldn’t turn her over to them. Fearne offers to go to the Feywild with Yu in a month if her parents fail. Yu wants Fearne to unlock her full potential and offers to take her there right now.
Laudna accuses Yu of mind games and infiltrating their comfortable family. Yu asks if this is the same family who has barely asked Laudna about the woman in her head. Laudna thinks that Delilah and Yu sound very similar – they both know how to influence others. Birdie explains that Ira reached out to Morri, who is a friend but not Fearne’s real grandmother, about the item he needed. Fearne gives the green gem that Morri gave her to FCG, who identifies it. It is similar to a Weave Lens. It allows FCG to see everyone’s magic items with information in runic script.
Birdie agrees to give the crown to Yu in a month and return with them to the Feywild as long as they leave Fearne alone. Yu thinks Bells Hells need her, as they’re so indecisive, and Imogen points out that their indecisiveness saved Yu’s life. Yu plans to continue following them. Yu and Birdie shake hands and Yu leaves, shifting into Ashton as they go. Birdie agrees to take Bells Hells to their hideout, which is 45 miles east of the city. They’ll go see Hondir while Imahara Joe repairs their crawler. Birdie reveals that she stole Yu’s tracker ring and Fearne kept their mirror.
Bells Hells follow Birdie through Bassuras to Hondir’s research hideout, located in a shed by the Storm Cisterns. Hondir is a paranoid goblin whose entire hideout is rigged to explode, just in case. He explains that leylines run across Exandria in a net of magical energy. At various intersections, or nexus points, fantastical magical workings can occur. In Marquet, a unique network of leylines has been shifting – a sign of an upcoming apogee solstice.
Every few decades, a celestial solstice occurs when specific astral bodies and energies synchronize, making the nexus even more potent. An apogee solstice is rare and powerful enough to rewrite leylines. Hondir was working at the Yios Seminary when he and his fellow researchers discovered that a nexus point would likely form in the Hellcatch Valley. Their research was shut down and many people tied to their work have gone missing or died. Orym realizes that Hondir is a member of the Grim Verity, the organization researching Ruidus.
Hondir knew the Lumas Twins. They were very eager to expose the truth, but their lack of experience left a trail. They were murdered by the Gray Assassins, who have killed half of the members of the Grim Verity in the last couple years. Hondir had a close call with them recently, when he returned to his home and found it destroyed. That was when he fled to his safe house.
THE CALLOWAY TALE
Birdie tells her story again, with more details. She and Ollie decided to have their baby in Exandria and when she gave birth to Fearne in the Verdant Expanse, Ruidus flared suddenly. Later, Ollie had a dream that the moon was following them. When it found them or Fearne, the light would burn the Fey Realm to dust. Ruidus showed up in the Feywild the next year. It eventually disappeared, but they could still feel it. They were laughed out of the Seelie Court when they asked questions, so they went to the darker side of the Feywild.
When they passed a threshold, they saw Ruidus again, as if Unseelie magic was obscuring it. They saw a clandestine meeting of higher court members with Exandrians, building a machine that was focused towards Ruidus. They got a bad feeling and tried to warn the Unseelie about the machine, who tried to push them back out. So the Calloways stole the shiniest part of the machine and ran. It was later that they realized they had the Moontide Crown.
They’re now using the Moontide Crown in their own machine, on a more discovery basis. The group asks how they can trust that Ira isn’t also doing something terrible, but Birdie explains that Ira can’t do his work if the world is destroyed. He’s been listless since the Apex War and is the only person they knew who could help them, despite moral disagreements. Birdie describes the Exandrians they saw in the meeting – one was Otohan Thull and the other was an older elf.
THE STOLEN TEXTS
Hondir mentions that they won’t know where the apogee solstice will be focused in Marquet until they get closer to its arrival. There are three possible locations: the Panagrip Sands, the ocean north of the Oderan Wilds, and the Hellcatch Valley. Somehow, Ruidus itself evades any instrument that tries to study it, but it is somehow penetrating the Fey Realm. The Fey Realm and the Shadow Realm are the closest planes to the Material Plane, nearly overlapping. Catha is tied to the Fey Realm because the Moonweaver’s essence is tethered there.
Imogen wonders if a divine entity might be allowing Ruidus into the Feywild in a similar way. At their urging, Hondir tells them that a Grim Verity member in Vasselheim recently discovered ancient texts from the Founding kept hidden in the temple vaults. These texts seem to reference a time before Ruidus, when Catha was the only moon in the sky. The texts also reference two gods that don’t exist in the pantheon – forgotten deities. The Verity believes that the forgotten gods and Ruidus are connected somehow.
FCG asks who would want to stop the spread of such important knowledge, but there are many people who want to keep the information on the Prime Deities controlled. These texts were stolen from a temple of the Lawbearer, but the various temples are very united. Imogen brings up her mother; Hondir knew Liliana Temult twelve years ago when she volunteered for the Omen Archive study into rare Ruidusborn who had a strong connection with the moon. Liliana had powers that Imogen shares.
Birdie explains that all of this dangerous information is why she couldn’t explain more in front of Yu. Birdie is focused on getting the telescope device working and hopes that will answer all their questions. She received more batteries from Imahara Joe and hopes they will be enough. As for Morri, she raised Birdie when she was young. Birdie thinks Morri took a shine to Fearne and used magic to extend their time together.
The group decides to meet up at A Taste of Tal’Dorei to give Joe time to finish repairs and let Hondir grab his things before they all go to the Calloway Layaway (as named by FCG). They need to meet with Paragon’s Call, but the trip out east should have them back by sundown. Bells Hells get their crawler and Joe attaches a 2-person rickshaw to the back so it can carry more people. They meet back up with Birdie and head out into the Valley, but not before having to turn around and pick up Hondir, who they nearly left behind.
That is it for Episode 29 of Critical Role!
- Holy shit y’all, two forgotten deities?! A time before Ruidus?! This is huge!
- Fearne is Ruidusborn! Are they ALL Ruidusborn??
- Yu mentioned the Gnarlrock, that everyone always returns to it for better or worse. I don’t think that shattered crystal is the last we’re going to see of that thing.
- Incredible work by the amazing Erika Ishii as Yu! What a fun guest run!