Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E74 “Roots Between Worlds”
Written by Dani on October 11, 2023
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 74 Roots Between Worlds!
LIFE ON KALUTHA
Bells Hells begin their trek through the jungle of Kalutha, anticipating a two-day journey to the mountains ahead. Laudna, once more able to read all languages due to Delilah waking up (and a behind-the-scenes swap of Eldritch Invocations), examines the Raito Charm. The words are written in the Ywan language and read: “my promise to Shotas”, “my love of my children, Ro and Sakagi”, “my faith in the cycle of destruction and creation, endless”, and “my guilt over my father, Gyodoba”. The name “Iffodola” is etched on the cage encasing the carved stone.
The charm seems to act as a reminder of an individual’s priorities. It is likely that the Aishio are still around, so the group hopes they can return this charm to someone who may have known Iffodola. FCG confirms with his Changebringer coin that they should choose the path to the right and they continue into the jungle. Chetney leads them to a deep and winding river that they attempt to cross via a rope held by both immovable rods.
Before crossing, Chetney does some fishing and Ashton requests to send Pâté out as bait. Nothing attacks him, so they attempt to ford the river. Laudna falls into the water, so Ashton immediately dives in to help her. This attracts the attention of a monstrous hippo-like creature. Fearne is able to pull both Laudna and Ashton out with her telekinetic Stonkey’s Ring, but the hippo charges, flanked by three of her babies. FCG casts speak with animals and the hippo allows them to leave with a hearty ‘fuck off’.
SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT
As night falls, Fearne makes a plant growth tent for them to sleep under. Chetney and Ashton take the first watch, during which Laudna and Orym begin taking damage in their sleep. Chetney notices a dozen shadows gathered around his two friends, plucking at them. Everyone wakes up and Imogen senses the undead shadows yearning to be warm. FCG uses turn undead, with Ashton holding onto Laudna so she doesn’t get turned by the ability.
The Changebringer’s power turns the shadows away, scattering them into the nearby bushes, and the shadows leave them alone for the rest of the night. In the morning, Chetney does not smell any undead, giving them the sense that the shadows only come out at night. Fearne leads them back out and the group’s trek continues. Orym eventually notices the ground ahead is a different color, with foot tracks nearby. Imogen throws a stone and the path falls in – this is a deep, two level trap of pikes, likely for very large game.
Bells Hells continue on, noticing more hunting traps and snares as they go. They finally reach the base of the nearest mountain. As they ponder how to find the tree, Orym notices five figures stealthily approaching. These five figures leap out, armed with woe steel swords and dressed in cloaks of woven moss. FCG quickly casts tongues and speaks with the leader. She, however, addresses the group in Common once they drop their weapons. She wants to know who they are and how they got here.
Imogen says the name Iffodola, getting the leader’s attention. Orym gives her the Reito Charm, which she recognizes. The family will be grateful to have it returned. She wants to know why they are looking for Evontra’vir and Ashton says that he is looking to know his own self and looking for older answers. They were sent by Keyleth and Jirana – the leader knows of Jirana. Ashton is unable to convince the leader to give them any guidance, but she and her group will allow them to continue on.
The leader does give them one piece of advice – they protect themselves against the shadows by keeping their convictions close to them. The group leaves and Bells Hells ponder her words. Imogen flies above the canopy of the forest, bringing Orym with her. He spots a massive hole between the mountains, a dark throat within Exandria itself. That must be their destination.
LEAP OF FAITH
The group makes their way to the chasm, where the darkness stretches out before them as a black expanse. They question if this is a portal to the Shadow Realm or a creation of Evontra’vir that lives in between. Laudna does sense something familiar about this place, as a woman who also lives between life and death. FCG asks the Changebringer if they will die if they jump into the hole. The coin is tails, assuring them that their death is not imminent.
Bells Hells leap into the dark abyss. Laudna casts featherfall on the others while flying with Imogen, and Fearne wildshapes into a shoebill. They realize that the ground they thought they were approaching is the jet black leaves of the top of a tree. They fall into the tree canopy, with Laudna and Imogen going further down to investigate, keeping each other in their minds for protection. They see a blanket of endless roots and skulls littering the ground. Everyone arrives safely on the ground.
Skulls are also tied into the tree branches and numerous objects are laid at the base of the tree. These objects seem to span many places across Exandria. Chetney uses Grim Psychometry on one, learning that it belonged to a soldier who had accepted the demise of their innocence and left this simple bear carving as a final sacrifice. The tree itself is ancient and resists Imogen and FCG’s attempts to peer into its consciousness.
THE ABANDONED CHILD
Ashton steps up to the tree, where he cuts his hand and presses it to the trunk. This awakens Evontra’vir, whose stretched face appears in the bark. He asks Ashton what they seek. Ashton is the abandoned child of the Hishari, the blood of titan, and they seek what is owed to them – their past, their power, and the knowledge of what they are. Evontra’vir knows the son of Efterin, a broken man who felt owed by the world with visions that promised greatness and a fated path to history.
Evontra’vir let Efterin gaze into the future and see the fated relic that would usher in a renewed ancient power, showed him the way to the necropolis of Toramunda where the relic waited – a remaining shard of Empress Ka’Mort, the earth primordial, that Efterin recovered. He was meant to take the relic, to create and destroy the Hishari, and to create Ashton. Efterin’s destiny was Ashton, but he arrogantly could not see beyond his own aspirations. Now Ashton returns to find another piece of history’s sorrow.
THE MAN AND THE TREE
Evontra’vir was one of the Gau Drashari who protected Toramunda and helped mediate the division of Mt. Ygora and trusted the wizards of Avalir to ruin. He saved the few he could in the destruction and still carries those he could not. Ashton presents his pipe and explains that he doesn’t believe in destiny. Their secret is being a nobody and the power that lies in that. Evontra’vir can confirm that fate exists, as his roots reach into the skein of fate itself, but Ashton just wants the tree to be a small man for a moment.
With consent, Ashton blows the smoke from the pipe into the tree. As the smoke pours out, each cloud becomes a person running and then caught, all brought to a tree and vanishing through. Hundreds of people were saved in the destruction of Toramunda – Evontra’vir’s most heroic moment. Ashton wants to be great like that in their own way. Evontra’vir says that Ashton has no choice but to be a somebody soon. There are no nobodies who take this journey.
Evontra’vir shows Ashton that a spark of Rau’shan burns in the heart of the Chynus Maw, a volcanic mass on the island of Iktholas within Athos Peak. He warns them that holding the strength of both emperor and empress in one vessel may sunder it. Ashton bears the dormant strength of the empress, so he must find and bestow the might of the emperor.
THE DRAW OF DESTINY
All of Bells Hells are bound to this journey. They are the tangle of fate’s threads, the chaos that can undo this careful plan. Should they wish to. Their choices will guide the future of the gods. When FCG asks what will happen to the gods if Predathos is not stopped, they are shown a vision – the Bloody Bridge widening, a gold lattice shattering, beings of light and shadow chased by a red glow. As those lights fade, the blues and greens of the world lay bare.
Evontra’vir cannot say whether the gods are a blessing or a bane on the world. The titans are gone. The divine are pilgrims made idols, refugees become conquerors. The gods take what is found and remake it anew; sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrible. He cannot say what is right but their convictions guide their path. Look for conviction and trust, look for allies, look to each other. Ludinus must be stopped. There will be harder choices to make as they court destiny.
Evontra’vir stops and warns them that they are being watched. They see a scrying orb behind them that shatters. Evontra’vir opens a doorway to a snowy mountain range and Bells Hells rush through into the cold. They are transported to Athos Peak and spot one cavern entrance – their only entrance into the mountain where they can find the shard of Rau’shan.
That is it for Episode 74 of Critical Role!
- My head is spinning with all that lore. Let’s go, shard of Rau’shan!
- Who was scrying on them? Could it have been an ally? Probably… probably not. Bells Hells aren’t lucky enough for that.
- I wish they could have stayed with the tree longer! There was so much more to ask! Hopefully they’ll return.
- If Ka’Mort and Rau’shan sound familiar (or don’t), they were featured in ExU: Calamity. Check it out!