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"Against the Tide of Bone"
(3x09)
Against the Tide of Bone
The thumbnail for "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09), featuring Ashley Johnson as Pike Trickfoot.
Episode
Chapter 3, Episode 09  (G&S #32)
Airdate
2015-11-12 19:00 PST
Runtime
3:36:29
Link to Episode
Chapter Order

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"Reunions" (3x10)

Airdate Order

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"Reunions" (3x10)

"Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) is the ninth episode of the third chapter of Critical Role.  Exhausted and facing an undead army, Vox Machina prepares to storm Whitestone Castle!  Thankfully, they're about to get some help from divine intervention...

Synopsis Edit

Pre-Show Edit

Announcements Edit

  • Zac Eubank starts things off with two, three really quick announcements:
    • Geek & Sundry starts early the day after the episode (2015-11-13) for some special programming. By request, Erika and Josephine are playing Tomb Raider at 13:00 PST despite not being on the schedule. Amy joins them for it as well.[1]
    • Taliesin Jaffe is stated to join as a guest player on the G&S show Group Hug the same day.[2]
    • The chat room is on sub-only for the night due to requests from viewers.[3]
  • Ashley Johnson joins in via Skype from New York for this episode after she informed Matthew Mercer out of the blue that she could play shortly before the show went live.[4]
  • Marisha Ray put up her Spotify playlist for Keyleth on the Geek and Sundry site.[5]
  • Wyrmwood Gaming is still a supporter of the show and the code "critrole" can still be used for free shipping of their products.[6]
  • The character portraits are updated with new artwork by Critical Role official artist Kit Buss.[7]
  • The "Critmas" segment of "Gunpowder Plot" (3x08) goes up tomorrow.[8]
  • A plug for the merchandise on the Geek & Sundry online store.[9]
  • Fallout 4 came out, with Matt voicing the characters MacCready and Z1-14. Marisha laments that the way she as a player gets critiqued by MacCready in the game for picking up junk is similar to how Matt does so in real life.[10]
  • BlizzCon had recently happened with Matt, Marisha, Taliesin, and Liam O'Brien attending and meeting a whole bunch of Critters. Liam was "prom queen" at BlizzCon.[11]
  • The Geek & Sundry crew went and donated a nice, fatty check worth $115,204 earned from the Extra Life charity to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Ashley was amazed due to having mistakenly misread the amount thinking it was lower.[12]
  • Marisha and Taliesin announce their weekly comic strip, the first run featuring the party's first Winter's Crest festival, written by Marisha and Taliesin and illustrated by Critical Role artist Wendy Sullivan Green. The first strip can be found here.[13]

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"The party of Vox Machina, having traveled across Tal'Dorei to the city of Whitestone to seek a pair of seemingly vicious and evil individuals known as Lord and Lady Briarwood, members of the past that Percy's family fell to oh so many years ago, leaving what he thought was the sole survivor to the de Rolo family. Upon coming to Whitestone, finding its people downtrodden and oppressed by the Briarwood rule, as well as the cutthroats and mercenaries that they had brought along with them when they took the city, now given lordship and plots of land, rule over this entire town. The word began to spread of possible new rebellion, as [the party] trudged through the town leaving burned marks, burned houses, and very, very slaughtered people in the process, very bad people. As these murmurs began to continue to roll and coalesce, [they] spoke to a number of individuals in the city that were involved in previous failed rebellions, and seemed to build up what may be the last chance for Whitestone, as part of this information was revealed that Percy's thought-dead sister Cassandra still existed within the castle, and had been what people thought the only living de Rolo and bastion of hope within the city—now there were two.

"Upon triggering the initiation of this, the party split: Scanlan Shorthalt running to one of the nobles' home, while the rest of the party went to the other, to set a diversion at the same time. It may not have worked as intended, but it definitely worked, as we had an epic bard versus goliath rainstorm rooftop showdown. The rest of the party made their way into Count Tylieri's home, destroyed his vampiric self, and got some information out of the guards before escaping into the town, which has now gone into chaos.

"Many of the townsfolk have become the militia that they've been preparing to be. Armed with whatever they could find, they've managed to take down a number of the large hulking zombie giant guardians throughout the city. Many lives were lost in the process and the battle is ongoing. As [Vox Machina] rushed towards the center of the town to check in on the Sun Tree, finding all the previous bodies that resembled members of Vox Machina cut from its boughs, [they] saw, swarming into the center of the city, a large horde of skeletal undead, clattering forth into the dark, as the sun has now set over the horizon, the rain beginning to pour heavily onto the center of the town. There were efforts meant to keep the army at bay, as [they] all rushed towards the west to escape the immediate fray."

Part I Edit

Divine Intervention Edit

As the downpour continues and lightning cracks across the sky, Vox Machina runs through the muddy streets of Whitestone. Behind them, a seemingly endless horde of skeletal soldiers gives chase. Ahead of them, a voice shouts out. "There! Run! Aid them!" Ten armored civilians appear about a hundred feet away from them, led by Keeper Yennen, who is also wearing armor, holding a shield and a holy symbol of Erathis.

Keyleth is unwilling to leave the civilians to fight the undead horde alone and breaks out of Vax'ildan's grasp, running back towards the skeletons. Vax, Percy, and Trinket also turn around and follow, the bear carrying Vex'ahlia on his back.

Keyleth drops her Call Lightning spell that she had activated previously and begins conjuring a Flaming Sphere. Trinket charges up next to her. On his back, Vex pulls out an arrow and casts Conjure Barrage, the arrow splitting into numerous shards as it flies towards the skeleton horde. The front row of five or six skeletons is completely disintegrated and the row behind that is riddled with splinters. The skeletons collapse into the mud as sixty more close in behind them.

Keyleth raises a Wall of Stone underneath herself, lifting her ten feet into the air and blocking off the entire street. Close to seventy skeletons run into the wall and begin scraping at the wall with swords and shields and bare bones. Still running for the treeline, Scanlan notices that no one else is with him and turns around to rejoin the others. Percy and Vax climb up onto the wall. Some of the skeletons are climbing on each other to get to the top.

Percy pulls out his pepperbox and prepares to shoot anything that gets too close. He looks around for any undead stone giants, but has difficulty seeing due to the poor visibility from the storm. Scanlan shouts to Grog to throw him to the top of the wall. Vax turns back to the approaching civilians and Keeper Yennen and shouts for them to bring fire.

Fire won't help, but I can! And so can she.

Yennen looks over his shoulder. The villagers part, and from behind them a small armored humanoid runs up, glowing with radiant energy. An avatar of Sarenrae in the form of a tiny gnome cleric charges forward, the raindrops sizzling off her form. Vax helps Percy lean down from the wall and they help pull her and Keeper Yennen to the top. The glowing form is warm to the touch but not entirely solid, as if she is an apparition of her physical self.

Vox Machina excitedly greets Pike Trickfoot. Keyleth worries that Pike has died, but the cleric assures her that she is just fine. Vax asks how she got here but she says there's no time to explain. The horde of skeletons is swarming the wall. Percy takes a shot at one as it reaches for his leg, exploding the skeleton into splinters of bone. However, another one immediately takes its place. Percy shouts "Whatever you're going to do, do it!" as he fires a second shot with The List, blasting a chunk off the skeleton's skull. The gunslinger takes his third shot and destroys the rest of the skull, causing the skeleton to fall backward and disappear into the swarm.

As the horde of skeletons push forward, they begin to swell up, slowly reaching the top of the ten-foot wall. Keyleth sends her Flaming Sphere into the thick of them, incinerating and turning seven to dust and damaging a few others.

With a boost from Trinket, Vex reaches the top of the wall. She fires a Lightning Arrow into another cluster of skeletons, instantly destroying the main target as well as twelve more in a ten-foot radius, various pieces of bone and weaponry being flung into the air. The horde fills in the gap with about sixty-five remaining.

Grog tells Scanlan "Go get her," as he throws the gnome onto the top of the wall. Upon reaching it, Scanlan is simply stunned at Pike's presence, distracted by her beauty but still ready to kick some ass, a sentiment which Pike happily agrees with.

Scanlan:  "Hi baby. It's been so long! Man, you look good. Oh man, I'm so distracted by your beauty! Hey, let's kick some ass together, shall we?"
Pike:  "Let's kick some ass, come on, let's go!"

Pike makes a daring leap off the wall, angelic wings shooting from her back for a split-second. They flap once then disperse into feathers as she lands deep into the horde. With her height, all she can see are chattering bones with a sliver of skyline above. As the skeletons reach for her and swing their blades down, she clutches her holy symbol and channels Sarenrae's power to use Destroy Undead. The resulting shockwave of radiant energy annihilates thirty-six of the skeletons, leaving only about twenty remaining which rush towards the glowing beacon of a gnome.

Against the Tide of Bone-Amanda-Robertson-@AestheticRift

Fan art of Pike Trickfoot fighting the undead army of Whitestone, by AestheticRift.[art 1]

Scanlan, thoroughly impressed with Pike, jumps off as well but due to the slickness of the wall falls short of reaching her. Seeing Pike in danger of retaliation, he casts Lightning Bolt through his crotch in an attempt to impress the cleric, the resulting thrust an arcane display of virility if ever there was one. The spell barely misses Pike and slams into a row of seven skeletons, destroying five of them and heavily damaging the remaining two.

On the other side of the wall, skeletons converge on the party but are being repelled by Yennen's group. He shouts to the party, "You! Don't worry! We've got this! You do what you must! It has begun! Finish it!" With that, he jumps into the fray, shield and holy symbol in his hands.

As the surviving skeletons converge on Pike, Vax jumps off the wall towards her. Three of the skeletons reach Pike and take swipes at her, but the cleric's shield and armor easily deflect the attacks. Vax decks one of the skeletons with his right fist which has the symbol of Sarenrae sewn into the glove. The skeleton shrugs off the weak attack.

Grog leaps up onto the wall and uses it as a stepping stone to jump off, entering the fray with his Firebrand Warhammer attached to the Chain of Returning. He easily smashes the two nearest skeletons and throws the warhammer into a third, destroying it. Grog then pulls the hammer out of the slick mud back to him as he licks it off, his tongue burning due to the warhammer's hot surface. Over time, Vox Machina picks off the remaining four skeletons on their side.

The rains pours heavily and as lightning flashes Vax sees one of the undead giants slamming its fist into something on the other side of the town square. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a second giant to the south. Vax urges the party to go finish off the giants while they have a holy gnome on their side.

Percy calls out to Keeper Yennen, asking if he could hold the attack until morning. The older cleric is clutching his holy symbol as he charges toward the skeletons, casting Destroy Undead and disintegrating them instantly. He looks over his shoulder and says "Til morning? Why wait til morning, we're fighting now!"

Giant Hunting in the Streets Edit

Vox Machina splits into two groups: Percy, Keyleth, and the twins in one; Grog and the gnomes in the other. The "Big and Smalls" group, as dubbed by Scanlan, will head to the south and the other group will head to the east. Vex takes some of the Dust of Tracelessness from Grog. Percy tells them all to meet near the western wall of Whitestone when they're done.

The party makes their way around the Sun Tree. They see the tracks left in the mud by the skeletal army and hear shouts of combat and commands throughout the city. They split into their groups at this point, Grog carrying the gnomes on his shoulders. He feels that Pike is lighter than normal and her presence has a slight vibration. He charges to the bottom of the town square, almost slipping in the rainwater but managing to catch himself. He passes by several streets before seeing another patch of skeletons off to the left, fighting against five villagers. Several bodies of villagers lie on the ground, one of which is still alive and dragging himself towards the goliath and calling for help.

As Grog approaches with the gnomes, they see that the man's face is covered in blood and his side appears to have been torn through by a spear. Grog lowers Pike to the ground and she begins to cast Cure Wounds on the wounded man. Looking up at the radiant gnome, the man mistakes her as an angel and says "No, no, not yet, not yet!" She holds the sides of his face and smiles down at him as the energy of Sarenrae flows through his body and starts closing his wounds. The man takes a deep breath and sits up, glancing around in confusion. Looking at Pike, he calls her an angel. Pike tries to deny it, but the man reaches forward and thanks her as the gnome helps him to his feet. Grog tells the man "Run. Now." Still wounded but no longer on death's door, the man says "I intend to", grabs his sword out of the mud, wipes it off, and runs back into the fight with a battle cry. "I like him," Grog says. Placing Pike back on his shoulder, they continue charging southward.

They pass several more streets, the buildings all dark and closed down. They hear the sound of a large, heavy mass hitting the ground, and as they turn the corner they see three standing rebels with a pile of wounded or killed at the giant's feet. The giant is nearly untouched and seems to have caught the villagers unprepared, swinging its club at them as they try to decide whether to run or fight.

Scanlan jumps off of Grog's shoulder, pulls out his Wand of Magic Missiles, and fires eight darts at the giant, causing some of its flesh to fall off and expose bone. The giant turns its head to face him, aware that it is now flanked. Scanlan darts off into the alcove of a building on his left and inspires Grog.

Well now Whitestone's got problems
And now we really can't solve 'em
Unless we make really deep cuts
So baby show me that Grog blood!
– 
Scanlan's Inspiration for Grog[16]
(based on "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar)
[!h]

Grog goes into a frenzied rage and rushes at the stone giant, slamming his warhammer into its leg, breaking the bone and destroying the bottom half of it.

Using one hand to maneuver on the stump of its leg, the giant turns to face Grog, raising its club up. Grog, who is familiar with stone giants, notices that half of its face has been torn off by some kind of claw and its jaw has been broken. The giant strikes Grog twice with its club and the goliath takes each hit without moving, showing off his own strength.

The three members of the resistance run up with their shortswords out and stab into the giant.

Pike holds her holy symbol and casts Guiding Bolt, releasing a beam of divine energy from her hand that hits the giant, searing through its body and leaving a pulsing glow within it.

Grog swings his hammer at the giant's head, cracking its skull and causing it to cave in slightly. He strikes again, caving it in further as the jaw hangs loose, and the third strike takes the jaw off entirely, sending it flying down the street.

Scanlan runs up near Grog and fires a Lightning Bolt up at it, this time aiming through his backside. The lightning arcs through the giant's body, nearly knocking it over but it catches itself. Scanlan then turns to Pike and inspires her.

Turning its attention away from Grog, the giant limps over to Scanlan, taking a slash from one of the citizens in the process. As it raises its club to strike, the gnome pulls out his shawm and plays a horrendous note on it as he casts Cutting Words. The noise does not distract the giant as it strikes, hitting Scanlan and damaging his shawm. It raises its club again, but Scanlan ducks down to fix his shawm and the club just passes over his head.

The civilians move up and attack. One misses entirely, the next manages to stab into the giant, and the third jumps up onto the giant's back, pierces the sword into its spine and drags it down. A horrible rotting smell emerges from the wound, nearly causing the man to vomit as he jumps back to the ground.

Using her Sprinter's Boots, Pike runs around to the back of the giant, pulls out her Mace of Disruption, and slams it into the open wound on its back, burning away the undead flesh. Pike leaps onto one of its knees, jumps into the air, drops her shield, and slams the mace into the front of its chest. The torso rips open and bursts with divine energy. The giant's organs turn to ash and its body disintegrates. Pike lands perfectly, picks up her shield, and looks over at Grog and Scanlan. Scanlan faints.

The three soldiers step towards the goliath and the gnomes.

Soldier:  "If I might ask, who are you? And how did you do that?"
Grog:  "We're the deliverers of this town. Go, spread the word. It all comes down tonight."
Soldier:  "You're with the de Rolos?"
Grog:  "Aye, with the de Rolos."
Soldier:  "Then let it be done. Thank you for the save, we're gonna gather our wounded and prepare for the next attack."
Scanlan:  "Prepare, wait for our signal, spread the word."
Soldier:  "Alright, alright. Men! Come!"
– 
[!h]

The soldiers pull their wounded friends to their feet and begin moving the corpses of the others off to the sides of the road, using torches to set the bodies aflame.

Grog, Pike, and Scanlan head for the western wall to meet up with the other group. Scanlan keeps an eye out for any sort of beret or other hat.

Giant Hunting at the Temple Edit

The other group—Percy, Keyleth, Vex, and Vax—rushes past the town square through the rain. They see the first giant that Vax had spotted just outside the city on the outskirts of the forest near the temple of Pelor. The zombie giant has been pushed back by the civilians and is swinging at them with a large metallic weapon. Vax goes stealth and Vex places her Hunter's Mark on the giant when she is within range.

The party runs in through the gates of the graveyard and see that all of the graves have been exhumed. They get the feeling this is where a lot of the undead have come from, although someone had to have given them weapons and armor.

Six guards are remaining, fighting back against the giant and pushing it towards the temple. Vax splits off from the group and approaches the conflict from the side. Vex leaps off of Trinket's back as they get closer.

Percy pulls out Bad News and aims at the giant. When it raises the morning star it wields, Percy fires at its hand, blowing two of the fingers off and causing it to drop the weapon. He reloads the rifle and fires his second shot into its legs.

The giant, now unarmed, turns to look at Percy, growls, and grabs a big piece of stone rubble from the temple. Lifting the rubble over its head, the giant lobs it towards Percy, slamming into the human and knocking him off his feet. His arm is pinned under the rubble for a moment but he manages to shove it off.

Using her Earring of Whisper, Vex asks her brother if he remembers the giant they fought a few years before. He says he does. Vex shoots two arrows, one into the giant's knee and one into its chest.

Vax dashes towards the giant, leaps off its thigh, and uses the arrow protruding from its chest to pull himself onto the giant's shoulders. He stabs the Flametongue Dagger into the center of its skull and uses his weight to tear the blade down its face, easily breaking through the brittle bone underneath. The giant clamps down on the blade as it passes through its jaw, causing Vax to catch himself and kick off from the giant, landing on the ground beside it.

The members of the resistance use the opening granted by the arrival of Vox Machina to begin jabbing their spears into the side of the giant, taking chunks out of it and scraping away at its form.

Keyleth moves closer to the fight but realizes if she starts bringing down lightning bolts she'll end up killing the guards. She looks around for Vax and, seeing him standing near the giant, closes her eyes and casts Heat Metal on his daggers in an attempt to help the rogue deal more damage. However, he ends up dropping the red-hot daggers into the mud as they burn his hands. Vex'ahlia turns to Keyleth and says "What the fuck?" Not noticing, Keyleth uses a Grasping Vine to grapple the giant and pull it downwards.

Percy gets back to his feet, reloads Bad News, and shoots at the giant's face. Using his Action Surge, he reloads, fires a second shot, reloads again, and fires a third shot. He then uses Second Wind to recover some health.

Now missing large chunks from its body, the undead giant reaches down and picks its morning star back up. It swings the weapon down towards Vax but the rogue easily dodges out of the way, the morning star sinking harmlessly into the mud. The giant pulls its weapon free with a sucking sound.

Bracing himself, Vax reaches down and picks up his still-hot daggers, further burning his hands in the process. He slices both daggers down the front of the giant's body, breaking open its chest. The giant stumbles back and the air releases from its lungs...then it staggers back up, barely holding on to its undead life.

Vex fires an arrow at the giant through her Blazing Bowstring. As the giant raises its hand to strike back at Vax, the arrow pierces straight into its eye and out the back of its head, flames licking out of the other eye. The giant lurches forward and falls as Vax and one of the guards quickly dodge out of the way.

Vax sticks his hands in a puddle to soothe the burns. Vex and Trinket run up towards the guards. Keyleth sees what Vax is doing and is momentarily confused. The rogue holds his burnt hands out and asks Keyleth to fix them. The druid is immediately apologetic and grabs Vax's hands to cast Cure Wounds on them. Vax holds her hands as she does so. Vex'ahlia walks between them, breaking their connection as she goes to talk to the guards. Percy puts his guns away and follows her.

The guards are stabbing into the fallen body of the giant to makes sure that it's dead. Although they are wearing guard armor, underneath they are dressed more like farmers. Vex puts a hand on the shoulder of one of them.

Vex'ahlia:  "You showed great bravery here."
Guard:  "Thank you. Thank you for comin' and helpin'. It got a little hairy there for a minute. We didn't lose any of our men, thankfully. And that's thanks to you." [He wipes a bit of blood from his chin.] "So. What's next?"
Vex'ahlia:  "Now we rest up. You heal, and you get ready to attack tomorrow."
Guard:  "Alright, what time?"
Percy:  "Tomorrow at dawn we take the castle."
Guard:  "Alright...alright. Men!"
Percy:  "Spread the word."
Vex'ahlia:  "Dawn."
Guard:  "Dawn." [He nods.] "Dawn it is."
– 
Vex'ahlia and Percival de Rolo speaking with a member of the Whitestone Rebellion[18]
[!h]

The guard sheathes his weapon. His men walk over to him, one making a final stab at the body of the giant. The group of citizens begins walking back towards town. As they leave, Keyleth tells them to keep watch for the sign of Pelor in the sky. Those words remind them of something, and three of them run back to the doorway of the temple. They stop in front of it and give a silent prayer to themselves, hand over their heart, then rejoin their companions and head back to the city.

Vax investigates a few of the open graves and sees that the coffins are still present but have all been opened, the lids taken off. The bodies are missing from them, as expected. In one of the coffins he finds an ornamental dagger that has a golden sheen and gems encrusted into it. Vex encourages her brother to jump down into the grave and get it. Vax leaps down, lands on the coffin, and picks up the dagger to examine it closer. It's lightweight and purely ornamental, and there don't appear to be any enchantments on it. Vax returns the dagger to its place in the coffin, pats it, and climbs back out of the grave.

Keyleth looks to see if there is anything she can harvest from the undead giant's body, but everything is far too rotted to be of any use or value.

The party decides to head west to meet up with their companions. Vex takes out the bit of Dust of Tracelessness she received from Grog, but finds that it has turned to plain sand. Apparently its magical properties only apply when it is fresh out of the bag. Nevertheless, together Vex and Percy manage to lead the group on a path that reduces the tracks they leave.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

Secret Tunnel Edit

The rain continues to pour heavily. At the western wall, Grog, Scanlan, and Pike huddle in a bush to try and stay dry. Eventually the rest of Vox Machina arrives and rejoins their companions.

Scanlan asks the other group if they defeated their giant. When they confirm they did, the bard tells them that Pike defeated the other one. Keyleth tells Pike that they've missed her so much. Scanlan hugs his fellow gnome. Her glowing, translucent form feels like hot gelatin and her hair blows in a mystical breeze.

Keyleth asks how Pike got to Whitestone and how she knew they needed her. Pike tells them how she's been working very hard on restoring the temple of Sarenrae in Vasselheim and thinking about her friends constantly. She had felt a heaviness and was receiving visions...and also she got a letter from Allura Vysoren back in Emon.

Pike asks if the party is making a decision in Whitestone. Scanlan tells her that they've been making a lot of decisions, especially Percy. Keyleth asks Pike to take a look at Percy, but Grog cuts her off by saying that Percy is fine and Pike can check him out after the Briarwoods are defeated. Percy start to say something but stops.

Grog asks Percy how he's feeling. The gunslinger admits that if Pike wasn't here, he would say he is fine. He asks the cleric how she thinks he is. Pike says that most of the heaviness and visions she received were about Percy. She knew that Vox Machina was in a very dark place and prayed for Sarenrae to send her to her friends. She is here to help in whatever way she can. As she says that, her form flickers for a moment. The others get the sense that it is only Sarenrae's power that is keeping her here. Keyleth asks Pike how much longer she'll be able to stay with them, but the gnome isn't sure.

Percy says he'll lead the party to the secret entrance near the west side of the castle. Vex tells Pike about the black smoke that has shrouded Percy on several occasions. The cleric agrees to take a look at him once they are somewhere safe.

Vox Machina heads southward, leaving the city to travel through the forest on the outskirts. The trees shield them from most of the rain, but it still drips down on them from the leaves. They travel west for about five minutes then Percy and Vex leads them northward. After about thirty minutes the rain has subsided a little bit and they begin to hear the sounds of native cat-like creatures that live in the trees. As they walk, Vax tells Pike about everything he's seen happen with Percy since entering Whitestone, from the smoke to his violent actions to his persistent cough.

After another hour of travel, they make their way out of the dense trees and see the castle in the distance, an ominous dark shape outlined against the clouds. Very familiar with this area, Percy leads the group to the edge of the mountainous platform that the castle is on. Searching for about twenty minutes, he is unable to find the secret entrance. Percy describes the entrance to the others: a cavern opening hidden by a few bushes. The twins start searching as well. Grog warns that this could be an ambush set up by the Briarwoods.

Ten minutes of searching later, they still haven't found the entrance. However, Vax notices a portion of the mountainside that is comprised of looser rock than the rest. He calls Grog over, admitting that he's not strong enough to move the rocks.

Vax'ildan:  "Big guy, come here."
Grog:  "What?"
Vax'ildan:  "This is new, these haven't been here long. Ah, I'm not very strong, you wanna start hucking rocks?"
Grog:  "Say that again?"
Vax'ildan:  "I am extremely fast and nimble, but I can't lift that much, including door jambs. Could you help me move these rocks?"
Grog:  "I suppose." [He starts moving the rocks.]
Vax'ildan:  "You look very handsome in that beard."
Grog:  [He gives Vax a sharp glare and mutters to himself.] "Never forget."
– 
[!h]

Grog begins moving the rocks out of the way without any difficulty. As the smaller rocks are removed, a couple of crushed bushes become visible underneath. Percy recognizes that the bushes are in the place where the tunnel should be. He tells the party he thinks this might be the secret entrance. Keyleth inspects the pattern the rocks fell in and determines that the localized rock slide was intentional, presumably in order to block off the exit. Grog moves the larger rocks out of the way, revealing a small tunnel. Scanlan agrees to be the first to go in.

It is pitch-dark inside the tunnel. The ground is very dry compared to the rainy exterior. The tunnel seems musty and disused. Vax leans down towards the tunnel and asks Scanlan if he thinks the party could rest in there for the night. Scanlan responds that he can't see anything and asks for a torch. Vax hands him the Flametongue Dagger. With the light from the dagger, Scanlan can see that the tunnel is about six feet tall and widens to about eight or ten feet. About fifteen feet in, the tunnel curves out of view.

Scanlan says he doesn't know if there are any guards in the tunnel. Percy and Keyleth point out that if someone blasted the opening closed, they wouldn't need to guard it. Vox Machina enters the tunnel and Keyleth ignites her hands to provide more light. Vex investigates the tunnel and doesn't find any footprints; it has been quite some time since anyone else has been here. Scanlan tries to sneakily put the Flametongue Dagger in his back pocket but Vax looks right at him as he does so. The rogue reaches out and grabs him by the wrist, taking his dagger back.

Grog grabs some of the boulders and begins covering the entrance to the tunnel again. He asks Keyleth if she can cover the entrance with a Wall of Stone, but she is really low on spells and needs to rest. As this conversation is happening, Pike grabs her holy symbol and closes her eyes. As she casts Guardian of Faith, the energy around her shifts away from her somewhat and coalesces into an armored ghostly entity. Pike gives the entity a nod. It nods back then turns toward the inner portion of the tunnel and begins patrolling a section of it. Vax thinks to himself "Oh, that is badass." Vex pats the cleric on the back and says "Good work, Pike."

Pike goes over to Percy and asks how he is. The human mentions his cough and Keyleth explains that she checked it out previously and determined that it wasn't natural or disease-related. Pike takes a moment to examine Percy: looking at his features, checking his pulse, and generally getting a sense of his life-force. The gunslinger's eyes are sunken, his jowls are shadowed, and he is twice as pale as he normally is. She feels an unrest to his energy and, although there is no physical illness or disease, there is something unsettling about his presence that Pike has never sensed before.

Pike reaches up and grabs Percy's face, closing her eyes and concentrating as she casts Greater Restoration. Her hands begin to glow even more vibrant than the rest of her form. She puts so much energy into the spell that her legs dissipate and vanish. Percy feels warmth rush through his entire body and for the first time in weeks he feels a moment of serenity. He closes his eyes and feels as though he is standing next to Pike in a void of darkness. Pike senses a seed of darkness within Percy, and in their imaginative space she thrusts her hand out and grabs onto it. The darkness fights in her grip, but she pulls it out and feels it burn and dissipate.

Percy and Pike open their eyes and breath in succession with each other. The energy fades from Pike's hands as the rest of her body re-materializes. Percy feels less corrupted than he did earlier, although he still looks a little sickly. Scanlan compliments Pike. Grog asks if she can help with his aching neck, but Vex takes care of it by pounding her fist against his neck. Pike once more asks Percy how he feels. He says he feels better and more like himself, although he is still coughing. The cleric asks if part of him wants to hold onto this corruption. Percy isn't sure, but he thinks he might, since he has yet to complete his revenge.

While the rest of Vox Machina was distracted by watching this, Vax slipped away and began heading down the tunnel. The others look around and notice his absence. Vex is angry, but Grog doesn't care and decides to go to sleep.

Vax walks around the curve and about sixty feet down the tunnel, which begins to straighten out and then curves again to the left, then to the right. Over the earrings, Vex asks her brother "Where the fuck are you?" He doesn't answer. Vex gives an exasperated groan. Vax'ildan continues down the tunnel. After another sixty feet he comes to a section where the dirt stops and becomes smooth stonework, looking like a broken portion of a wall. There appears to be an entrance, but it is covered by a stack of assorted objects. Vax sits down and closes his eyes, listening for a minute. He doesn't hear anything, so he heads back to the group and sneaks up behind Vex, startling her. Keyleth asks where he went. He tells her he was just ten feet around the corner. Vex glares at her brother then lays down to go to sleep.

Percy wants to charge his Diplomacy glove before turning in, but doing so would make a lot of noise. Vax uses two pebbles to block Grog's nostrils while he sleeps, causing the goliath to snore loudly. Vex is awoken by this and punches Grog in the shoulder, causing him to wake up and sneeze the stones out of his nose. One of them hits Vax in the temple.

Vox Machina begins settling down for sleep. Vax stays awake to keep watch. Keyleth asks him if he's going to sneak off again. When he says he won't, she tells him that the rest of them notice when he disappears. He points out that they really don't. Nevertheless, he promises not to wander off while they sleep.

Vax sits and watches his companions fall asleep. After twenty minutes, he nudges Percy to wake him up. Vax asks him what he really knows about the thing that causes the smoke, but the gunslinger says he doesn't know anything about it, except that the last time was different from the first time. He says he felt more like himself and less like he was being drawn somewhere. Although he was still not entirely himself, he felt like he had managed to contain it a bit, and he thinks that maybe he can keep it under check.

Vax'ildan:  "I want to tell you something. We are almost like family now, and I have seen you do many great things. And you have earned my trust. But if you hurt my sister, if you hurt anyone else in this group inadvertently..."
Percy:  "I would expect no less."
Vax'ildan:  "...Well alright then."
Percy:  "...Vax? I have a sister."
Vax'ildan:  "It's pretty cool, isn't it?"
Percy:  "I...I am hoping."
Vax'ildan:  "Well, um...hold onto that."
Percy:  "I shall."
– 
Vax'ildan and Percy, while the rest of Vox Machina sleeps[20]
[!h]

Grog lets out a fart in his sleep. Vax asks for a pinch of Percy's black powder. Percy initially refuses due to running low on it, but as the smell hits him he agrees. Vax licks his pinkie, dips it in the black powder, and draws a pair of testicles on Grog's forehead. Percy immediately goes back to sleep so he can ignore this.

Vax stays awake for another two hours to keep watch, but when nothing happens he goes to sleep as well. Percy once more has strange dreams. He sees flashes of images: his family hanging from the Sun Tree, his sister screaming out to him as arrows pierce her chest, and a skull with blood pouring from its eye-socket. He hears the now-familiar voice in his dream.

Do not forget our deal.
– 
The voice in Percy's dreams.[21]
[!h]

The Whitestone Dungeons Edit

The party begins to wake in the cold morning air, uncomfortable after sleeping on solid rock. Scanlan looks around for Pike, who is still present, although her image is slightly diminished while she sleeps. When she comes to consciousness, it flares up again. As Keyleth wakes up, she feels a cold sensation within her body and she cannot seem to make herself warm no matter what she does. Her hands are shaking and her teeth chattering.

Vex'ahlia suggests that they have a feast before they get going. Scanlan and Keyleth agree, but the druid says if she gives the party a Heroes' Feast she will not be able to cast Sunbeam later. As they discuss this, Vax goes over to Grog and wipes the drawing off his forehead before he can notice. Grog is upset with the physical contact. He leans over to Vex and asks how he looks; she absentmindedly says he looks lovely and pats him on the cheek.

Scanlan asks how they're supposed to signal the rest of the town from the tunnel. Vex points out they can just open up the entrance again and have Keyleth Skywrite the signal. Scanlan proposes sending Pike to lead the rebels, since she might not be with them for much longer. Vex quickly shoots down this idea, insisting that Pike stay with the party.

Taking one of the fancy chalices from Keyleth, Pike prepares a Heroes' Feast for Vox Machina. They all gather around the conjured table and dig in.

With Grog's help, Keyleth removes some of the rocks blocking the opening of the tunnel and leans out. It is no longer raining, but the sky is still cloudy. She uses her Skywrite spell to darken some of the clouds and shape them into the de Rolo crest. Two minutes later, small beacons of light begin to ignite within the city as lanterns and torches are lit. The remaining members of the Whitestone Rebellion are preparing to attack.

Scanlan:  "Before we do this, I love you all and I wish us all the best of luck today. I especially love Pike, and I'm so happy she's with us for this, but if some of us don't return, I think that the glory of what we're doing today and the justice of what we're doing today has been worth it. And Percy, I hope you get some sort of redemption in all of this."
Keyleth:  "To the de Rolos!"
Scanlan:  "To the de Rolos!"
Keyleth:  "To Whitestone!"
Percy:  "To Whitestone!"
Vex'ahlia:  "To Vox Machina."
Keyleth:  "To Vox Machina."
– 
Scanlan giving a short speech before Vox Machina begins their attack on Whitestone Castle[22]
[!h]

Vox Machina all raise their glasses and drink. What remains of the Heroes' Feast sinks back into the dirt, leaving the tunnel empty. They re-barricade the entrance and begin heading down the tunnel, Vax taking point. Keyleth lights the path with her flaming hands.

They eventually reach the wall where Vax had stopped the previous night. It is made of roughly-chiseled stone and is about a foot thick. There is also some sort of statue depicting an armored soldier, which Percy recognizes as being carved from the white stone mined in the region. He also recognizes this area of the tunnel and knows that the statue is used to hide the exit. Grog suggests that someone should check and make sure that it's just a statue. Keyleth goes up to inspect it. She senses a very, very faint magical aura from the statue, but there is no specific spell or enchantment attached, just magic from the stone itself.

The twins tell Grog to move the statue out of the way. The goliath cracks his knuckles, grins, goes to push the statue...and immediately feels a painful pop as he throws out his back. He slides down to the floor and says he doesn't want to take all the glory, so maybe the others should try. Vex calls over Trinket, who puts his rump against the statue and begins backing into it. The bear is also unable to move it.

Amused and frustrated by their frequent failings to open the doors in Whitestone, the twins, Keyleth, Percy, and Scanlan all try pushing the statue together. Unfortunately, their combined strength is not enough to force it past the clutter on the other side. Vax is impressed by Keyleth's biceps, though.

Pike steps forward, sets her shield to the side and puts her mace down. She closes her eyes, places her hands on the statue, and pushes. The statue begins moving, and she manages to shove it six feet ahead, clearing a walkway into the basement area of the castle.

Vax gives the gnome cleric a fist bump, puts his hood up, and heads into the next room to check it out. Trinket begins massaging Grog's back. Even with the noise made by Grog, Vax manages to successfully stealth into the room. It is dark, with one sconce giving off a flickering light. There are two paths, one to the right and one to the left, that curve out of sight. Directly across from Vax is a central area. All he can see are a series of bars and cells arranged along the walls. This is apparently the subterranean Whitestone dungeon.

Back in the storage room, Keyleth and Vex are looking around to see if there is anything good. There are a lot of work materials—pickaxes, crowbars, etc.—but there are a few crates that have residual bits of white stone, although most of it has been taken elsewhere. They pick up a few tiny pieces of white stone and gather a bit of the dust.

Vax begins moving forward as he hears Keyleth and Vex opening crates. He cringes at the noise, but then a crackly and dry voice echoes from around the corner. "Hello? Is someone there?" Vax stops moving completely and waits. After a moment the voice hesitantly says "Hello?" again and then there is silence. Vax slowly backs up, then goes to the edge of the corner and listens. He hears a body shifting against hay or some sort of bedding and the clink and shift of metal.

Vax goes back to the rest of the group, where Vex is still shifting crates about. Her brother quickly tells her to stop and then describes the area up ahead. Percy confirms that this is the dungeon, as this is where he woke up after the Briarwoods took over, although Vax had figured that out for himself. He tells them about the old person he heard and asks the group what they want to do. As they discuss this, Percy begins walking towards the cells. Vex quickly casts Pass Without a Trace and the rest of the party follows after him.

Percy goes down the left hallway, looking for the cell that had been his, which is also the direction the voice came from. There is a single lit torch sconce near the furthest cell on the outer wall. Inside that cell, squatting on the ground, is a woman with her back up against the bars. Vax draws out one of his daggers just in case. Scanlan gets her attention with a hissed greeting.

The woman turns her face and they see that she is a much older woman, probably in her early seventies and looking like she's had a hard life. She squints through the darkness, looking around. Scanlan tells her to keep her voice down if she wants to get out. She agrees, and asks who they are. Vex asks who she is. The woman again asks who they are, very nervous about the voices she can hear but can't see. Vax gives Scanlan his Flametongue Dagger again and pushes him forward. The gnome smiles and tells the woman that they're friendly and here to get her out. He asks who she is, and the woman introduces herself as Gloria Cyn. The woman asks how they got into the dungeons. Scanlan tells her that they are ninjas, which only confuses her. She asks if they work with the Briarwoods, which Scanlan denies, saying they are against the Briarwoods and all they stand for, and that they are here to save her and anyone else they can.

Vex walks up and takes a closer look at the old woman. She seems spooked and closely guarded, but Vex doesn't pick up any sort of animosity from her. Percy and Scanlan ask why she has been locked up. She says that she traveled from Drynna to ask why the waters had been growing brackish, killing the fish and causing them to taste of ash. She says that Delilah laughed and threw her in the dungeons, saying she'd make a better offering than a fisherman. The old woman says she's been in the cell for about a week.

Percy thinks it would actually be safer for her to stay in there. Vex begins explaining to the old woman how there's about to be a lot of violence in the castle and it might be safer to stay put. Scanlan and Keyleth counter that they could release her and let her run back out the tunnel they entered from. Vax says they could always come back and free her after they destroy the Briarwoods, and also that they can't trust that this woman is really who she says she is.

Scanlan asks the woman to describe what she saw when she entered the castle and met with Lady Delilah. She says that she was brought into the main throne chamber to speak with the Lord and Lady. She had to wait for an hour, as apparently they were busy elsewhere. The discussion itself was brief: they laughed at her and threw her in the dungeon. At Scanlan's further questioning, she describes how there were many guards, as well as several dozen undead creatures in the courtyard. When Vex asks, the woman says that someone comes down to feed her every few days, but only enough to keep her alive. Vax takes out some rations and a waterskin and tosses them through the bars.

Vox Machina spends a few moments telling the woman to stay in her cell for safety as she pleads with them to let her out. The party continues to debate on whether to leave her or release her. Keyleth reminds Vax that he's the only one who can pick the lock. Scanlan offers her a "magical whip" to protect her. As he steps closer to give it to her, the woman grabs his wrist with her left hand and begs for him not to leave her.

Grog steps up behind Scanlan, purposefully intimidating the woman. The goliath insists that they will come back for her if they succeed, but if she makes any noise after they leave, then she won't be making noise anymore. The woman shrinks back, huffs, then angrily sits down in the cell, telling them to go. Scanlan takes the whip back.

Vax goes to check out the other side of the cells, but doesn't see anyone else except for a few rats. He asks Vex to have a look as well. Scanlan points out that it's been twenty minutes since they placed the signal for the rebellion and they need to get going. Pike asks the group whether the old woman actually ate any of the food they gave her. The twins check all of the cells and don't find anyone living, but a few of the cells do contain long-decomposed corpses and piles of bones.

Grog goes back to the old woman and asks whether or not she's hungry. The woman says she was fed that morning and needs to make the food last. Grog insists that she take a bite of the food. The woman gives him a strange look and takes a small bite. Pike tries to discretely cut her own hand, but her form here does not have any bloodflow. Seeing what Pike was attempting, Grog just bites into the meat of his own hand, causing blood to drip down. The old woman is shocked to see this. Grog shows off the blood, trying to tempt her with it to see if she is a vampire. She is just confused and disgusted by the display.

As Vax begins walking towards the stairs, the woman begs Vex'ahlia to help her. Vex pretends to try and pick the lock, putting on a show of trying to help her. The woman runs up to the cell door and grabs her hands with her own, trying to assist. Vex purposefully snaps the lockpick, jamming the lock. The woman angrily reprimands her. Vex realizes that when the woman placed her hands on hers to help her with the lock, she only felt one hand.

Featured Characters Edit

Returning

Appeared

Mentioned Only

Inventory Edit

Quotations Edit

References Edit

  1. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:00:12.
  2. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:00:35.
  3. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:00:42.
  4. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:01:22.
  5. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:02:38.
  6. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:03:47.
  7. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:04:19.
  8. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:05:14.
  9. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:05:43.
  10. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:06:05.
  11. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:07:32.
  12. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:08:05.
  13. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:09:37.
  14. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:25:04.
  15. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 0:31:27 through 0:31:42.
  16. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 1:01:06.
  17. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 1:23:43 through 1:24:33.
  18. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 1:52:28 through 1:53:10.
  19. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 2:24:32 through 2:25:04.
  20. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 2:44:24 through 2:45:18.
  21. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 2:47:49.
  22. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) from 2:58:58 through 2:59:32.
  23. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 0:17:30.
  24. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 2:15:25.
  25. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 3:10:48.
  26. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 3:15:33.
  27. See "Against the Tide of Bone" (3x09) at 2:56:02.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Pike Trickfoot fighting the undead army of Whitestone, by AestheticRift (source).  Permission needed.


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