Critical Recap: Exandria Unlimited: Calamity E3 “Blood and Shadow”
Written by Dani on June 15, 2022
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity Episode 3 Blood and Shadow!
The Ring of Brass approaches the necromancer Lycretia Hollow outside Avalir’s Helm. They talk for a moment, with Lycretia bringing out Magister Milus Phren to answer their questions, and Cerrit immediately notices that Milus is under an illusion disguising his true form. When Cerrit takes to the sky, Lycretia calls on the k’nauthi cultists in Infernal, kicking off an intense battle in the street. Nydus summons a dragon, the spirit of the original dragon of Mt. Ygora, and attacks Milus, who transforms into an enormous devil.
The street is soon thick with mages, k’nauthi, demons, and eldritch spell knights – former guards of Avalir led by the corrupt Spellsword Findras. Lycretia casts blink to travel the battlefield and commands her minions to kill them but keep the blood of the master’s chosen. Though she speaks in Infernal, Zerxus can understand her. One of the mages reads Cerrit’s thoughts to learn everything he knows about Vespin’s tools and escapes the battlefield. Meanwhile, Laerryn reverses gravity on the battle, sending most of the enemies into the air.
Both Zerxus and Laerryn are contacted by their second-in-commands, informing them of an attack on the city’s twelve eldritch batteries. Laerryn gives permission to cut off the Arboreal Calix from the batteries to save power; when she does so, Zerxus notices both demons vomit blood. Laerryn drops reverse gravity and teleports to the closest battery with Loquatius to try and save as many batteries as they can, hoping that the city’s other defenses will assist them.
Zerxus kills Milus Phren and hears a proud voice from the stars say his name. Zerxus then unknowingly speaks infernal, telling Xartaza, the erinyes, that this was not the deal and that the Lord of the Hells must stand down. She still attacks him, telling him they must deliver in order for their agreements to be honored. With Zerxus’ blood on her sword, Xartaza leaves the battle, telling Zerxus it will be an honor to serve him.
Nydas casts detect thoughts on a mage, seeking to learn their plan, and pulls a thread of memories from the mage that he can inspect later. Lycretia attacks Patia, who traps the necromancer within Por’co’s Impenetrable Bubble. Lycretia’s own necromantic spell goes off inside the bubble, killing her. Nydas kills the final mages, refusing to accept their surrender.
A FAIRY’S LOVE
Laerryn and Loquatius teleport in front of an eldritch battery, saving it from harm. The other defenses around the city protect the other batteries and they lose only one of the twelve. They discuss Laerryn’s work, with Loquatius voicing his deep concern about Laerryn having done all this in secret. He knows what happens to mages who step out of line and thinks the Septarion will vilify her. They discuss her lack of support for his work over the years, but Loquatius just wants to keep protecting her.
Calum, the Chief Artificer, calls Laerryn and reports that the downed battery has caused the city to lose even more of its energy. Laerryn tells him to short the tithe, the amount of energy that they will give to the Gau Drashari, to make up for the loss. Loquatius is shocked, but Laerryn is unconcerned about the opinions of the druids. She believes that it will be worth it, that history will remember her, but Loquatius knows that history is whatever is reported by people like him.
Loquatius sends out messages to his staff, intent on protecting Laerryn once more. He tells them that Lycretia Hollow caused a disturbance but they must wait to report on it until word gets back from a stalled chain of command. They must keep everything quiet or be fired. He records a message in case of his death saying that there was a great evil that Laerryn spoke up against, but he stood in her way. He keeps this message as a back-up and reflects on their love story, that of a fairy who fell in love with a mortal.
Meanwhile, the others in the Ring of Brass deal with the aftermath of the fight. Patia can process the extracted memories with her magic orb. Cerrit tells them about the records that he and Loquatius found, including the empty report on Evandrin. Zerxus recounts his dream, of seeing Evandrin with a tree, and Patia questions whether Evandrin might actually be alive. After Evandrin’s death, Patia took a memory from Zerxus at his own request.
Zerxus wants to know more, so the Ring of Brass meets back up in the Meridian Labyrinth. Zerxus wants the truth from them all and casts zone of truth; Laerryn and Loquatius resist its effects, prompting Zerxus to believe they are hiding something. An angry Nydas, who chose to succumb to the spell, reminds his best friend that Avalir is under attack and they all need to work together right now. Humbled, Zerxus agrees, and Patia returns his memory to him.
After Evandrin died, Zerxus went to Patia for help. She found a ritual of true resurrection – they attempted it, but it didn’t work. This failure caused Zerxus to beg Patia to take the memory away. Patia believes it failed because Evandrin is still alive. Zerxus heard Evandrin’s voice when he killed Milus. Laerryn confesses that Evandrin chose to jump planes as a test run to assist her. She successfully sent him to the Celestial Plane, but he came back and began to disappear. She believes that the Calix is why it didn’t work, that the druids are interfering to prevent powerful magic.
THE MAGE’S MEMORIES
Patia shows the group the memories that Nydas took from one of the mages. They learn that Cormorant brought the k’nauthi in and that Purvan Suul was invited to the party to prevent him from aiding Vasselheim. The disguised hodmedod was supposed to get Zerxus’ blood at the party. The mage went to the arcane furnace to get Vespin’s tools but they were pulled before he got there. There is an attack planned for the Giant’s Slumber, the headquarters of the Gau Drashari. They also see Lycretia talking about her disdain for Patia and how she did something that would upset Nydas.
Nydas asks Patia what this means and she explains that she went to the Septarion to get them to fund the Sorcerer’s University by telling them that having young gifted children would benefit Avalir. Her plea resulted in the school being funded. She offers to let Nydas see the memory for himself, but he trusts his friend. The last memory involves Lycretia explaining that they need to go to the helm and stop the city from reaching land.
Cerrit finds this memory odd, wondering why they waited to kill the helmswoman after the city had started its descent. He realizes that this memory has been altered. Lycretia wants them to make landing the city the priority. Cerrit asks Laerryn if it is possible to stop the city in the air. There is, but it would be treason and Laerryn would miss her chance to activate the Astral Leywright. When Laerryn is cagey with this information, Cerrit asks her three questions.
Do they need to be docked with Cathmoira in order to use the Leywright? Yes. Did Evandrin go to this other place, return, and was never the same again? Yes. Does Laerryn want to send the entire city, with their families, to that place at that risk? At Laerryn’s affirmative, Cerrit leaves. He notices the druidic scroll in Laerryn’s possession and points it out to the others before calling them out on their selfish actions and leaving to go take care of his family.
Cerrit flies to the Hawk’s Nest to see whether his office was attacked. There are no documents on his desk and the artifacts are gone. He calls his son Kyr and tells him to get his big sister Maya and come home immediately, though tries to downplay the seriousness of the situation by using Kyr’s codenames. He then finds the body of his fellow investigator and friend, Orwyn, as well as two Runes of Recall. Orwyn wrote a final note telling Cerrit that the runes are for his kids, to use them to send Maya and Kyr to their mother. Cerrit takes the runes and flies home.
SEEKING A THIRD OPTION
Meanwhile, the others in the Ring of Brass uncover the mage’s real memory. Lycretia told him that the city must land before sunrise, that the apogee solstice is the perfect time and that the Betrayers are coming here. Vespin can handle any other problems. With that, Loquatius lays out their options: either they land, or they stop Lycretia. Laerryn refuses to accept that, believing that the Calix must hold a third solution. Nydas and Zerxus clear the air and Laerryn apologizes to Loquatius for not trusting him while Patia reflects on Cerrit’s words.
They arrive at the chamber of the Arboreal Calix, which holds a very large, very real blossoming tree. They see Laerryn’s partially translucent toy boat stuck in the branches. Somehow the tree grabbed the boat and kept it. Zerxus tries to talk to the tree, but the tree does not deign to respond. The tree seems to be somehow connected to the act of passing through the planes. Laerryn thinks they need to get rid of the tree – she begins to cast blight, but Nydas stops her. He tries to explain how the tree is connected to the prophecy, that they can’t destroy it lest Avalir fall to ruin, but Laerryn ignores him when she sees Evandrin’s face in the branches.
Laerryn is undeterred from her goal, so Nydas casts hold person on both her and Loquatius, who had risen to her defense. Patia has no patience for their squabbles, so she goes to the tree, wanting to know what it knows. She touches the tree and is immediately bombarded with information. She sees her grandfather, Imyr Por’co, and the leader of the Gau Drashari discussing the tree. The leader tells Imyr it will be a boon to the world but refuses to say more.
Loquatius breaks out from hold person and Nydas tries to reason with him and Laerryn, explaining that the destruction of the tree could harm Avalir. He is interrupted by Dweomer, Laerryn’s Aeormaton assistant, who arrives and attacks Nydas, though Zerxus counterspells her disintegrate. Laerryn breaks out of hold person and tells Zerxus she saw Evandrin.
Loquatius goes to pull Patia away from the tree, but when he touches her, he sees a gate open into the Fey Realm and Lady Elmenore of the Burning Vale, the leader of his court. She tells him that something moves upon his world and he can’t let “her” find the names. Loquatius looks at Laerryn, clearly afraid of her actions. Laerryn stops what she is doing, but then the tree’s branches defensively shoot out and impale Patia and Loquatius. In horror, Laerryn casts blight on the Tree of Names.
THE TREE OF NAMES
Patia delves as deep into the tree’s knowledge as she can. She looks into the past, learning that the two primordials, Emperor Rau’shaun and Empress Ka’mort, were not killed but sealed under Mt. Ygora by the Dawnfather and the Wildmother. The Gau Drashari built their temples to tend to the seals and keep the primordials locked away. Over centuries, the mortals forgot. The wizards wanted the mountain’s brumestone to bring magic to the world, but the druids did not trust them. Imyr Por’co suggested the tithe to replenish the land and the druids agreed to let him take the peak alone.
The Gau Drashari created the Tree of Names to protect Exandria, to travel the leylines with Avalir and inscribe the names of things beyond that should not come to the world. The tree is a pen, inscribing runes of protection on the surface of the world to keep it safe for 292 years. The Gau Drashari believed in protecting Exandria. Centuries from now, they will become known simply as The Ashari, druids who protect the elemental rifts. However, the Gau Drashari’s distrust of the ambitious wizards makes them withhold the tree’s true purpose.
Zerxus sees Evandrin’s face in the tree, looking frightened. Laerryn’s blight hits the tree, and it immediately begins to rot. The tree sunders and a seam appears from which Vespin Chloras crawls out. Behind him, the Betrayer God compliments his puppet as the Lord of the Hells takes his first step back in Exandria.
That is it for Episode 3 of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity!
- As Brennan and Aabria like to say – the promise of the premise!! THE BETRAYER GODS ARE BAAACK. Absolutely brilliant work by the amazing Aabria Iyengar.
- Brennan Lee Mulligan made me cry real tears with that ‘fairy in love’ speech and then I cried again writing about it.
- Cerrit calming his son down by reminding him to keep up the codenames was too much for my heart to handle.
- The impeccable lore dives! There’s so much still to learn about Exandria!