Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E77 “The Promise and the Price”
Written by Dani on November 15, 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 77 The Promise and the Price!
Laudna, Imogen, and Fearne wake up in the middle of the night to explore Whitestone Castle in order for Laudna to find answers about her past. They sneak around the castle, locating the kitchen and searching for the servants’ corridors. Laudna would use these routes when she first awoke to steal tools and trinkets to take back to her safe haven. Imogen gets directions to the second floor and Laudna recalls a path to a set of doors carved with the Sun Tree.
The doors are locked, but Laudna knows this is the room where she was tortured and killed. The witches hesitate, but Laudna needs answers about who she is and who Delilah was. Imogen summons a Reilora named Sivaana into the room to unlock and open the door for them, granting them access to the ornate, dusty bedchamber within. There is a portrait of the de Rolo parents and five of their seven children, including a young Percival.
The bookcase rings familiar to Laudna and she successfully finds the hidden book to open the adjacent wall – only to discover a new wall of bricks. The bricks bear a message, likely meant for Gwendolyn de Rolo, of ‘Clever as you are, there is nothing for you here. Now go find your mother and apologize.’ Fearne melts the bricks to give them an entrance, revealing a staircase that they descend to a lightless chamber behind another door.
The chamber is a dark laboratory, containing a table with shackles, a lectern for a book, and alchemical contraptions. Three ghosts of former servants materialize in the room, mistaking Laudna for Delilah. Laudna takes her form of dread, adjusting it to resemble Delilah, and gives the ghosts permission to unleash their decades of rage. She and Imogen destroy them, and Delilah herself speaks to the three women.
This was Delilah’s lab, where her love Sylas rested, where she experimented and worshiped the Whispered One. Laudna is Delilah’s last material thread in the world, just as Delilah is for her. She is aligned with their goals against Predathos, as the Whispered One’s power runs through both women. If he is lost, so are they. Laudna wants her patron’s help, but Delilah needs more: more power, more life, like from Imogen’s crystal and Bor’Dor’s soul. This is how Delilah endures, but it is a long road to separating from Laudna fully.
Delilah claims to know little of Ludinus, but she was aware of his dangerous, conniving nature. She waxes poetic about Laudna’s fate, angering Imogen and Fearne. Delilah teases Fearne about her own darkness, telling Fearne to embrace it. Fearne reminds Delilah that she already killed her once. That’s never stopped Delilah before. Her death is only possible by killing Laudna, too. As for Imogen, she’s the child of the god-eater. She might choose the future of the world, if her mother Liliana doesn’t do it first. Imogen is unmoved by her words.
A PROMISE MADE
Delilah understands their malice towards her. She tells Laudna that they need each other and to consider her offer of aid – she is always here and always listening. The shadows of her presence vanish. Imogen is more determined than ever to save the gods and find a way to free Laudna. Delilah can’t be more powerful than the gods themselves. If they save them, the gods will want to pay them back.
Laudna, however, is prepared to do whatever is necessary. Imogen refuses to accept that, but Laudna reminds her that she’s been dead for a long time. Laudna begs Imogen for a promise, with Fearne as their witness – if something happens, then the greatest honor Imogen can serve her is to move on and be happy. To live. Laudna views herself as a dead end. She doesn’t want to be Delilah’s puppet and trusts Imogen to make the right choice.
Imogen promises, but she will also do everything possible to ensure that never happens. They are not sealed to fate and Imogen will find a way. They have all the power; there is no harm in playing by Delilah’s rules, because this is Laudna’s game. Laudna takes a fragment from the remains of Sylas’ coffin. Fearne burns the room as they leave. Delilah speaks again to Laudna, telling her that they will work together. Laudna must flourish so Delilah may, too. Delilah cares for her. Laudna says they will do terrible and beautiful things.
In the morning, everyone wakes to fresh snowfall. Orym tells Fearne that he is so happy and grateful that she is here with him through everything. He’s loved watching her blossom as their family grows and her love for the world gives him hope. He gives her the stolen spyglass from the ghost ship, which delights her. She can keep an eye on him while he keeps an eye on her. They return to the others, where the witches tell everyone about the events of the night.
Ashton wants to take a moment to be normal, to remember that they all like each other, as people will do stupid things. Orym agrees, though Imogen is worried they are running out of time. FCG asks everyone what they are fighting for. Chetney wants to make a difference and leave a legacy. Orym doesn’t know what will happen if Predathos is released. This is bigger than his lost loved ones. He’s fighting for a happy ending of tomorrow, to live and be with his friends.
FCG is starting to feel like he’s part of the team and that this is a family. The witches present him a copper wok that they stole from the kitchen and the whole group goes sledding in the fresh snow, taking the time to bond.
FAITH AND CAKE
Imogen finds the Dawnfather temple. The priest within, Mother Brazilda, gives her advice on how to pray, telling her that the miracle of faith demands trust. Imogen goes to the altar and gives her Whitestone is for Lovers t-shirt as an offering. She tells the Dawnfather they are trying to fix things and help them. She hopes he can help her in return with Delilah and Laudna. She knows he is more powerful than Delilah, which is its own faith.
As she leaves the temple, Imogen sees the temple to the Matron of Ravens and the statues of the Matron and her Champion – the visual personification of death. She hears the call of a raven as it flies away from the statue. She says she doesn’t accept it and leaves for the castle. Meanwhile, Orym purchases some healing potions and a potion of heroism, as well as a platter of pastries from the Slayer’s Cake bakery for the meeting.
Ashton invites Fearne on a walk to the clocktower. Ashton has been thinking – if everything goes poorly, Fearne will be missed by her nana, while no one will miss him. Ashton has always wanted family, hence why they called her a sister, but recognizes that Fearne is very hot. Fearne thinks Ashton should take the shard and doesn’t want it herself. She feels he is meant to have both pieces. Ashton doesn’t believe they were meant to have anything.
Bells Hells mean a lot to him, but the group won’t let him do what needs to be done with the shard. It should just be the two of them and if something goes bad, they ask her to try and save their life. Ashton isn’t looking to die, but he trusts her to do this more than he trusts the others. Fearne is okay with this, but isn’t fully sure what it means. She will be by their side, though.
Ashton apologizes for putting this on her and if he isn’t okay, it’s not her fault. Everything is better than Ashton ever thought they’d get. If he dies, please steal all his stuff. Fearne tells Ashton they’re pretty hot, too, and runs away.
Everyone meets in the war room with Allura, Percy, and Cassandra, where Percy explains his plans for the distraction. If they take down an automaton, it would draw attention. He gives them two clockwork devices that can be placed near something mechanical or arcane to destroy or scramble it. Allura will be on hand to create an illusion of an attacking creature. Carts filled with meat will give the illusion some physical heft should parts of it be destroyed.
Bells Hells will take the Bloody Bridge while this distraction plays out. Allura gives out numerous items to assist them – two scrolls of mass non-detection, a scroll of dimension door, healing potions, a potion of speed, two potions of gaseous form, and FCG’s jeweled baking pan for heroes’ feast. She also gives them a scroll of greater restoration in case they are able to locate the petrified Planerider Ryn.
The staff might be their only exit. They will have to ride the Bloody Bridge back down and then teleport out. The only thing left is the shard. Bells Hells are taken down to the ziggurat beneath Whitestone, which unnerves Laudna. Ashton requests that everyone but Fearne go to the bottom. Fearne tries to tell the others that she isn’t taking the shard, but Ashton interrupts her. The others descend while Allura puts up a protective bubble around the top of the ziggurat.
Fearne and Ashton are alone at the top. Ashton thanks her and Fearne puts the harness on him. She is nervous, asking what happens if Ashton dies? Then that will be a story. He doesn’t care if something happens. Ashton knows Fearne is worried about her friends, but Ashton needs this: to save everybody. They remind her of her promise and Fearne agrees. Ashton kisses her and Fearne once more hesitates, but she puts the shard in place.
The harness lights up and the shard hovers. Ashton feels a warmth in his chest that begins to blossom and burn as his golden fracture lines glow orange. This process takes a minute. Their body begins to crack, their shoulder crumbling, but Ashton says fuck pain. The shard crumples and shatters as Ashton’s chest glows and his body breaks. Imogen enters his mind, but all she hears is a repeated phrase – ‘from the earth, of the earth, to the earth.’
Imogen realizes something is wrong and the group goes to the top just as Ashton’s right arm falls off, shattering. Ashton tries to rage through it, thinking of his past and future and the people he wants to protect. He doesn’t care what he becomes, but he has to become something and not lose anyone. FCG and Fearne begin casting numerous healing spells to keep Ashton alive. Imogen and Orym pull the harness off them, but the process has already begun.
LIFE AND DEATH
Halfway through, Ashton’s body shatters into a thousand pieces. The pieces stop in mid-air and reform as their ring of temporal salvation breaks. Ashton is alive, but barely, and the process is not finished. Imogen and Laudna leave the bubble, with Laudna grabbing Chetney, as well. More healing is poured into Ashton from Fearne and FCG as their body takes endless fire damage. FCG attempts divine intervention, but fails.
Finally, the heat begins to subside as Ashton falls to the ground, unconscious. He erupts into steam and begins to cool. Their arm has been replaced with one of molten rock. Ashton thanks Fearne for trusting him, for saving him, but Fearne kicks him in the face. She is never listening to them again. Everyone stares at Ashton as the weight of what they all just witnessed, of how they nearly lost Ashton, settles over the group.
That is it for Episode 77 of Critical Role!
- No thoughts, only screaming. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!