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The Briarwoods are Sylas Briarwood and Delilah Briarwood, a married couple originally hailing from the continent of Wildemount, specifically the region of Wynandir. They arrived as guests at Whitestone Castle several years before the events of Critical Role. They were responsible for the deaths of Whitestone's rulers, Frederick de Rolo and Johanna de Rolo, as well as all of the de Rolo children, save Percival and Cassandra.
Very few things were generally known about the Briarwoods prior to their arrival in Whitestone. They claimed to be nobility from Wildemount and presented themselves as Lord and Lady, though that might have been a ruse in order to gain access to the royal family of Whitestone. [disputed] Delilah herself was a necromantic wizard, having studied in part at the Alabaster Lyceum in Emon, indicating that she spent time in or might have originally come from some portion of Tal'Dorei.
Arrival at Whitestone Edit
The Briarwoods arrived at Whitestone Castle and were welcomed as guests of the de Rolo household. During a feast that was held in their honor, the Briarwoods' party suddenly and violently took control of the castle, killing or capturing anyone that opposed them. The only two survivors from the whole of the de Rolo family were second son Percival and his youngest sister, Cassandra.
The Briarwoods had Percy imprisoned beneath the Whitestone dungeons, but he was later rescued by Cassandra and the two fled. The Briarwoods either were alerted during the escape or quickly found out, as their men chased down Percy and Cassandra. While Percy escaped, his sister was hit by several arrows and collapsed. Percy presumed that she died as a result of her injuries, and he continued fleeing.
Cassandra was heavily wounded, but survived, and the Briarwoods placed her in Whitestone Castle as a prisoner once more, managing to brainwash her over a period of years to believe that she was a Briarwood rather than a de Rolo and convince her to help them in their plans for dominion over Whitestone.
Rulers of Whitestone Edit
As rulers of Whitestone, the Briarwoods promoted the followers who helped them defeat the former rulers to nobility, namely as Barons, while they themselves took up residence in Whitestone Castle. To maintain their iron rule over the people of Whitestone, as well as hide the secret of the de Rolo family murders and Sylas's vampirism, they ordered that communication with the rest of Tal'Dorei be cut off, isolating Whitestone and plunging it and its people into a era of hopelessness and hardship.
In the years following their ascension to power, they instructed that large portions of ground underneath Whitestone and Whitestone Castle be excavated to reveal the Ziggurat that lay beneath the castle. This would later be revealed as part of a long and elaborate plan to perform a dark ritual that would resurrect the god Vecna.
Letter to Emon Edit
Having heard, close to five years after their rise to power, that suspicion was being cast on the Briarwoods and their status as Lord and Lady of Whitestone, they sent word to Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III that they would like to visit Emon to open communications and establish a plan for an official trade route into Wildemount that included a bridge from Whitestone to the neighboring continent.
Through their letter, they were able to convince the Tal'Dorei Council of their sincerity concerning the plans for a bridge and a trade route, though it seems as though such an idea was merely a ruse to remove suspicion from themselves. As well, they seemingly were able to establish some sort of believable validity to their inheritance of power from the former de Rolo rulers.
An unforeseen side effect of the letter to Emon was Percy being informed of their communication with Sovereign Uriel.
Visit to Emon Edit
After arriving in Emon, they immediately sat down for dinner with the Tal'Dorei Council (including Vox Machina). After the dinner concluded, Vax'ildan proceeded to sneak into their guest quarters, only to be caught by them. After Sylas revealed his vampiric nature, a fight broke out between the Briarwoods and Vox Machina. After a few substantial blows, they fled back to Whitestone to lick their wounds and recover. They were then put under investigation by Uriel (though no extensive investigation efforts were carried out by anyone, save Vox Machina and Seeker Assum).
Faction Members Edit
The Briarwoods established and maintained control over Whitestone by earning loyalty and forcing obedience.
- Sylas Briarwood: The Lord of House Briarwood and self-proclaimed Lord of Whitestone.
- Delilah Briarwood: The Lady of House Briarwood and self-proclaimed Lady of Whitestone.
- New Nobles: Subordinates upon whom the Briarwoods conferred titles, land, and power.
- Undead minions: Sylas created vampires and vampire spawn, and Delilah created necromantic thralls.