"Stoke the Flames" (3x07) is the seventh episode of the third chapter of Critical Role. The seeds of rebellion begin to take root in Whitestone! But as the members of Vox Machina make their move to bring the population to revolt, they learn that another de Rolo may still be alive...
Previously on Critical Role Edit
"Vox Machina had an encounter with two individuals known as the Briarwoods, Lord and Lady Briarwood, who currently control Whitestone, the city that Percival once lived in and his family once essentially ruled before they were usurped and most of them murdered by the Briarwoods. So upon meeting them, a vengeance urge kicked up within Percival, the rest of the party following him to Whitestone to attempt to free the city from the clutches of the very, very, seemingly evil—and in some cases undead—Briarwoods, as Lord Briarwood appears to be vampiric in nature.
"After arriving they had some stealth missions, they went around, discovered a fair warning on the Sun Tree—one of the central items of Whitestone, a relic of Pelor from long ago that the city was built around—now dead and holding a series of bodies hung from it, all dressed and painted to look like members of Vox Machina. While they were here they managed to find and hole up in an abandoned tavern, closing the windows off, and after doing a little bit of digging spoke to the head of the Lady's Chamber, the temple to Erathis, to which Percival and most of the team seemed to be interested in starting a rebellion within Whitestone. They planted the seed there, to return to germinate at some point, then began to follow a couple of individuals, or at least an individual, who was partly responsible for the really, really, honestly shitty social atmosphere in Whitestone.
"Following him back to a home, it was discovered that Sir Kerrion, one of the individuals responsible for the death of Percival's family, was still part of the ruling class here. The party then snuck in through the bottom of the building, stealthed into a full surprise ambush upon him and his compatriots, and murdered most of them. They took his toadie, essentially, Vouk, and instead of murdering him, tore out his tongue and then burned the de Rolo family crest into his forehead before throwing him out the window. The party then escaped into the night rain, returning to their tavern."
Part I Edit
Morality up in Smoke Edit
The party questions Percy about the smoke that emanated from his body in the previous battle, as well as the strange cough he's developed since entering Whitestone. Percy explains the dream he had about a year after the Briarwoods took the castle, where an entity asked him if he wanted revenge and the means to achieve it. In return, he would have to offer up the souls of those he killed. He says he woke up the next morning with an idea which he then built, creating his first gun. Percy defends himself, saying it was just a dream and it wasn't real.
Vax'ildan points out that it definitely was not just a dream, since they all saw the smoke. He asks if Percy has any theories, and the gunslinger says he doesn't know, he's never thought about it because it didn't matter. Vex'ahlia asks who the last bullet is for. When Percy doesn't answer for a moment, Vex says they don't want to lose him.
Percy says that he talked to the captain of one of the ships he spent some time on after leaving Whitestone. He showed the man what he was building and what he was intending to do. The captain said if revenge was what he was after, there would be no stopping it and there would be casualties along the way. He said Percy would have to gives things up, and to hurt people, and that was the price of revenge. Percy says that the last barrel is because there are not just five names: he is going to have to keep hurting people because it never ends. He has killed a lot of people on his journey with Vox Machina, more than five. The last barrel is to remind him that this is the path he has chosen.
Vax argues that they had a reason for killing those people. Percy counters that the names on The List also have reasons they should be killed. Vax agrees the Briarwoods and their allies need to die, but the level of violence displayed in the previous battle went beyond that.
Percy says that he no longer feels in control and he does not trust himself anymore. He doesn't expect anyone else to trust him either. However, he does trust Vox Machina.
Grog asks if Percy is afraid that he is going to hurt them. "No," he immediately answers. "I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint you." Keyleth asks how he would do that. He thinks Vox Machina has come to Whitestone out of justice and maybe friendship, but he himself has not. Percy is here for revenge. He wants to hurt his enemies and he wants them to know it is him. He is grateful that there is justice to be found by doing this, but even if there wasn't he would still be here.
Vax wants to know what happens after the last of Percy's targets are killed. Percy says he's never had to think of it before. He thinks Vox Machina will either have to save him or finish him.
Grog says that if Percy gets out of control, they'll just bop him on the head and take him to a temple. Vex says that's actually a pretty good plan. The two of them also agree that Percy looked pretty awesome wreathed in smoke, although Vex is quick to point out that she doesn't like how dark the situation became. Grog gives Percy a thumbs-up from behind her.
Scanlan says he doesn't understand why everyone is so upset about what happened; the whole point of their mission was to assassinate Sir Kerrion. Vex says that ripping Vouk's tongue out went a bit too far. Percy agrees that it got out of hand. He says he hopes Vox Machina will restrain him if he starts acting like that again, and the moment he threatens any of the party is the moment he is no longer in control. Vex walks up to Percy and kisses him on the cheek.
The group begins discussing plans for their rebellion. Scanlan suggests waiting to see the citizens' reactions to their first strike against Sir Kerrion. They decide to rest for the night and plan to visit a magic shop known as The Alcove in the morning, as Percy is familiar with the owner. Vex senses for undead presence within the town and feels there are more around than there were before. They seem more active after Sir Kerrion's house was set ablaze.
Vox Machina heads down into the tunnel Keyleth previously dug out around the roots of the Sun Tree and settle down for the night. Percy and Scanlan take first watch, using Grog's Firebrand Warhammer as a light source. Grog and Vax take the second watch.
Ambush in the Night Edit
As the night goes on, the temperature steadily drops. A low mist begins to form within the tunnel. Vax wakes up his sister. Grog is convinced the fog is just normal fog and steps closer to prove it. As he leans in, the fog begins to form into a humanoid shape and reach for him.
Three pale, feral-looking humanoids with elongated fangs emerge from the mist. The one in front of Grog quickly moves to his side and grasps onto his armor, pulling him in. It attempts to bite into the goliath, but its fangs catch and deflect off of the little bit of chainmail around his neck, given to him by Scanlan.
The second vampire also grapples Grog, reaching up with its claws to move the chainmail out of the way, and then bites into his neck.
The third vampire heads for Vax, raking both of its clawed hands at him. The first swipe hits, but he manages to dodge the second.
Vex shouts "Wake the fuck up!" Scanlan, Keyleth, Percy, and Trinket all jolt awake. Vex casts Hunter's Mark on the vampire attacking her brother. Using her Blazing Bowstring, she shoots an arrow at it which ignites in the air, dealing significant damage. As she fires at it a second time, the creature manages to swipe the arrow out of the air before it can hit.
Vax ignores the vampire in front of him, clicks his Boots of Haste, and throws three daggers at one of the two surrounding Grog. All three sink into the chest of the vampire, who screeches in pain and glares at Vax.
As the daggers embedded in the vampire blink back to their wielder, Grog goes into a rage, raises the Firebrand Warhammer, and slams it into the creature's chest. Fire wreaths around its torso and it is slammed into the wall. As Grog makes his second swing, the vampire manages to duck out of the way and the warhammer wedges itself into the wall of dirt. Grog begins struggling to pull it free.
One of the vampires near Grog begins heading towards Percy, who is still waking up and prone on the ground. The remaining vampire next to Grog attempts to grapple him again, but the goliath just slaps it away as he continues to dislodge his warhammer. The vampire then strikes with its claws, but Grog easily dodges and laughs in its face.
The vampire next to Percy lifts him up by the front of his shirt, opening its jaws with a hiss. Percy gasps in pain as the creature sinks its fangs into his throat, a cold sensation pulsing through his body as the blood is drained from him.
The vampire in front of Vax grabs him and leans in to bite, but the rogue was prepared for this and shoves a dagger towards its face, causing it to back off.
Vex shoots an arrow at the vampire looming over Percy, but can't get a clear shot and the arrow misses. Percy breaks free from the grapple, draws out his new rapier, and stabs at the vampire in a blind panic. The first stab hits, catching it off guard, but Percy's inexperience with the weapon and the pain in his throat allow the creature to grab the blade and pull Percy towards itself. Vex fires again at the vampire, the arrow sinking deep into its side.
Scanlan gets up, turns to face the wall, and begins urinating. As he does so, he pulls out his Wand of Magic Missiles, firing two missiles at each vampire. All three of them turn towards him and give him a strange look as they see what he's doing. Then Scanlan inspires Grog.
Grog finally pulls the warhammer out of the dirt wall, slightly embarrassed that it took him so long. The vampire in front of him laughs, so he recklessly attacks it, grinning as he slams the hammer directly into its face. He pulls back and repeats the attack, dislocating the creature's jaw. The vampire, now looking scared, claws at Grog as the goliath backs up against the wall to clear some space.
Vax rapidly jabs all three daggers into the abdomen of the vampire in front of him. Grinning in its face, he says "Vampires ain't shit".
The wounds on the vampires are slowly sealing themselves, the flow of blood slowing as they heal. The one that had its face smashed in by Grog moves over to join its comrade in attacking Percy. It rakes its claws across him, but as it swipes again Percy manages to dodge out of the way, only to be grabbed by the second vampire and shoved against the wall. As the vampire leans in for a bite, the gunslinger jams his pepperbox into its mouth, forcing it to pull back.
Keyleth finally gets to her feet as the rest of the party assure her that this is not a dream; they are fighting real vampires. She positions herself in order to line up with the two attacking Percy, shouts to the party "Shield your eyes!" and casts Sunbeam. Gathering the nature-based energy in her hands, she feels the presence of the Sun Tree, and fires out a burst of sunlight energy that slams into the vampires surrounding Percy, immediately turning them to ash. Turning to the final vampire, Keyleth wraps a Grasping Vine around it and yanks it away from Vax, slamming it into the opposite wall.
Vex pulls out a wooden stake and jams it into the vampire's chest. The creature yells in pain, but manages to pull the destroyed stake from its chest and angrily hisses in Vex's face.
Percy lifts up his sword and stabs the vampire three times. He backs away as the vampire, hurt but still fighting, swipes at him and misses. Vex wonders if they should try asking it questions, but Percy thinks they should just kill it.
Scanlan turns, still urinating, and casts Vicious Mockery, taunting the vampire. "What's up? What's up toothy? Hey! Bite me!" The urine streaks across the vampire as it turns to face him, and Grog instinctively smashes it into the ground with his hammer. Scanlan is pretty sure that his "running water" is what killed the final vampire.
Grog informs the group that the fog is bad and they should probably find a new hideout. The twins agree with him. Percy tries to persuade the party to get a full night's rest first, but Scanlan suspects that the vampires might be spawning from the Sun Tree.
Vax tries to settle the discussion with a coin flip, the result being that Vox Machina will search for another place. Vex and Percy ask Keyleth to tunnel them under the city, but she doesn't have enough energy to cast the required spell. Grog and Vex point out that they don't want to be traveling out in the open at night when the town is full of vampires.
The party decides to stay in the tavern, moving into the cellar as Keyleth blocks up the tunnel with a Wall of Stone. They open up one of their many bottles of "expensive-ass" wine to share. Vax and Keyleth take the first watch. Vex also stays awake because she doesn't want the two of them to be alone together. The other half of the party goes back to sleep. Grog and Trinket take the second watch and the night passes without incident.
As they all wake the next morning, Percy feels more corrupted than before. He's having difficulty controlling his sadistic tendencies, and he now aims to torture his enemies before their deaths.
Scanlan once again uses Seeming to disguise Vox Machina as a bunch of peasants. Percy is wearing his Hat of Disguise as an extra precaution. The party prepares to split up, Vax and Scanlan going to talk to the townsfolk while the rest search for a new hideout. They decide to use the code word "dorito" if anything goes wrong, then head out into town.
Part II Edit
Finding Sanctuary Edit
Percy, Vex, Grog, Keyleth, and Trinket the donkey all head towards the magic shop known as the Alcove. Walking through the streets, they see a bit more energy to the town. People are hustling about doing their business, and a slight plume of smoke is still rising from the house in the distance.
Continuing to the northwest, they arrive at a plain wooden building with a sign out front reading "The Alcove". They enter through the open doors. The building seems generally unkept. Across the room, behind the counter, is a young girl in her late teens who looks up as they enter.
She greets them nervously. Percy asks if Simon is around. The girl says that he was called away by the Briarwoods for a special project six months ago, and he told her to look after the store while he was gone. She apologizes for not having much in stock at the moment.
Percy questions her further about the "special project". She says that Simon lives in the castle now and he would visit every week or so, but he hasn't been back in almost a month and she's a little worried. He never told her any details about the project.
The girl introduces herself as Jordana Whisk, enchanter-in-training and Simon's daughter. Vex, once again disguised as a crazy-eyed old woman, asks if Simon liked the Briarwoods. Jordana looks around the room before hesitantly saying, "The Briarwoods are just and fair, and you should not speak ill of them...in public."
Vex beckons the young girl in closer. Jordana first closes the main doors that Vox Machina had entered through, then heads back behind the counter. She is reluctant to say any more, as she does not recognize any of the group and they are speaking dangerously.
Jordana offers to sell them something, pulling out several healing potions and a metal rod. Percy says he's interested in something more complicated and more dangerous. He walks over to a dusty wall and draws the de Rolo family crest. Jordana warns him that drawing that symbol is dangerous around here, and he wipes it away.
The girl asks what the group is doing here. Percy says he's looking to purchase sanctuary. He mentions that they're hiding from the Briarwoods, causing Jordana to become incredibly nervous and worried that the group will lead them to her shop. Vex manages to calm her down somewhat.
Jordana says that if she's going to allow the party to stay in her shop, she needs to know what they're trying to accomplish by raising the symbol of the de Rolos. Vex tells her that they may know some de Rolos, but the girl doesn't believe her, saying that they've all been dead for five years.
Percy says that not all of them are dead. Unable to drop the Seeming illusion in order to prove his identity, the rest of the party try to compromise by saying that only one person would know Percival de Rolo's full name. Vex, Grog, and Keyleth spend a few moments trying and failing to pronounce Percy's entire name as Jordana watches in confusion.
Clearing his throat, Percy says, "Simon Whisk was a good friend...to Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III. Percival lives. And he is coming."
Jordana puts several potions on the counter. She gives the party two regular healing potions, one Greater Healing Potion, and the metal rod from earlier. She demonstrates the rod's function by clicking a small button on it. The rod stays fixed in place. Keyleth recognizes it as an Immovable Rod.
Jordana apologizes for not being able to help more, as she is not a fighter. Percy promises to compensate her when the current ordeal is over, and requests that Vox Machina be allowed to sleep in her shop for the night. She leads them to the back, into a very small bedroom that used to be her father's. Jordana recommends that they talk to Keeper Yennen, as he is very influential within the city and could help spread information. Using his Earring of Whisper, Percy tells everyone to meet at The Lady's Chamber when they've finished their business.
The Sparks of Rebellion Edit
Vax and Scanlan, disguised as an abusive father and his young son, walk through Whitestone, keeping an eye out for anyone they could talk to. They come across a young man and Vax asks him for directions to a tavern. The man points them towards The Journey's End, and Vax drags Scanlan in that direction.
They reach the tavern and walk in. There are only three people inside, two of them employees. The lone patron is sitting at a table, drinking his woes away as he goes through a ledger of some kind.
Vax and Scanlan sit down near the man. He is rather annoyed, asking why they're bothering him. Vax complains about the horrible living conditions in Whitestone, and the man agrees with him. The man says that multiple people have committed suicide to try and escape, but they just get back up the next day. Vax suggests that someone should run the Briarwoods out of town, but the man is doubtful that could happen.
Scanlan says he heard from his friend Kevin that there are rebels in the city, the ones who set the house on fire the day before. He says they're really strong and they're going to free them all.
The man looks at the "boy" in front of him. He seems to believe the story and is interested, although not optimistic. He hopes these "saviors" are more prepared than the last ones. Scanlan asks what he meant by "the last ones".
The man says there was an uprising three years ago. He tells Scanlan that if he hears anything else about this savior coming into town, he should tell the barkeep, Trevor. He and the rest of them would rather go out in a blaze of glory than continue living in the current conditions.
Scanlan asks the man what his name is. He says it's Patrick. Scanlan thanks him and begins to lead Vax out of the tavern. As they leave, Vax—acting completely sober for the first time since entering—turns back to Patrick and says, "Pelor has returned." The man gives him a keen glance and nods. As the pair leaves, Patrick turns to the bartender and calls him over in a hissed whisper.
Eventually Vox Machina gathers at The Lady's Chamber. There is a much larger group gathered now than there was last time. Keeper Yennen is currently giving a hushed sermon or discussion to the gathered citizens. Vox Machina takes seats near the back to listen.
Keeper Yennen is speaking of the evils that reign over Whitestone, and how whispers have come to his ears about a hidden ally, the same one that cut down Sir Kerrion. He believes that this is the time for the citizens to band together and show their support. He warns them to be careful and be quiet, and that word will find them as things progress.
He finishes by giving a prayer in Celestial, which Percy understands to mean, "By the guidance of the Lady, may civilization flourish and those that keep progression at bay be squashed beneath our feet." After this, people begin to scatter and walk away in silence, looking around warily and being careful not to exit in a large group. Vex looks at all of the faces, but doesn't see anyone too notable. Scanlan and Keyleth recognize two of the people as the farmers they saw when they first scouted out the city.
Keeper Yennen notices the party, and tells them to follow him. He heads around the back of the amphitheater, where a simple brick building is constructed. Inside is a small room with a table, tea set, small stove, and many shelves with various items displayed on them. Keeper Yennen asks the group to sit and talk with him.
He says he has spoken privately with several community leaders, but they haven't yet been convinced to help. Revolution has been attempted before, and failed. Percy asks what happened the last time. Keeper Yennen tells how a group of individuals attempted to storm the castle, but they were not prepared for the dangers within. Because of that, the citizens are reluctant about another attempt.
Keeper Yennen also says that his informant within the castle has gone silent over the past few weeks. Keyleth asks if his informant was Simon. He says no, Simon has been missing for some time. Percy asks who the informant is. Yennen does not know their name, as he gets the information through someone else, who should be arriving shortly.
Percy asks what the Briarwoods have found beneath Whitestone. Yennen says they have been repurposing and rebuilding something old and terrible beneath the city. He has heard it being referred to as the Ziggurat.
Yennen says that there is a legend that the Sun Tree was placed by Pelor himself to "seal a wound in the light", and Whitestone rose around it. He says it's just a fable, but the Briarwoods' recent interest in whatever is below Whitestone has kept him thinking about it.
The door across the room opens and a very elderly man enters. "I ask you, strangers: what makes you so sure you can change the tide of this battle?" Percy recognizes the man as Archibald Desnay, a respected philosopher in Whitestone and once the chancellor to Percy's father.
Scanlan pulls out the notebook he took from Sir Kerrion's desk and hands it to the two old men, saying it should be proof of what they say. Archibald says it is helpful, but killing a mortal man is nothing compared to what lies in the castle. Percy removes his Hat of Disguise as Scanlan drops Seeming from him.
Archibald drops the notebook. "Hello Archie," Percy says. The older man is stunned to see him, having thought he had perished. He smiles, joyful and energized. "With you here, Percival, we have two de Rolos spearheading the rebellion. We have the guiding light the people need."
Percy asks who else survived. Archibald says that the Briarwoods are nearing their goal, according to Cassandra. "Your sister lives, Percival." He confirms that she survived the Briarwoods' attack, and was taken to serve as their personal assistant or slave. She has been feeding information to Archibald and the others for years, and helped guide the last two rebellions that were attempted.
Archibald says he will talk to his people, and promises that they will have their militia. He requests to be guided by Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, and by Vox Machina. Scanlan wonders how he knows their group, and the man says that they've had a few friends come from Emon, most of whom met dire ends, but he has heard of Vox Machina's exploits.
Percy says he may have a plan, and asks about the status of Professor Anders. Archibald confirms that he is working for the Briarwoods and living in the castle. Percy then asks about Lady Ripley and is told that she once lived in one of the mansions in town, but recent reports say that she's been quick to pack and her current location is unknown. With one mansion burned, two of the remaining ones belong to Duke Goran Vedmire, who was placed in charge of the temple of Pelor, and Count Tylieri, in charge of timber production.
Archibald tells how the Briarwoods came to Whitestone with a small army of mercenaries from Wildemount, and those who helped them the most were given titles, nobility, and homesteads. As payment for their services, they were allowed to rule over the citizens of Whitestone.
The party asks which person they should target next. Archibald says that Count Tylieri is known for being sadistic, and his death would send a great message. The group recognizes the name Tylieri as the man that their captive, Desmond, had previously worked for and been abused by.
Percy proposes creating a distraction at the Vedmire estate, then going to attack Count Tylieri. Keyleth offers to draw the de Rolo symbol in the clouds during the attack and Scanlan offers to be the distraction.
The Second Strike Begins Edit
Rain begins to fall. Percy puts his Hat of Disguise back on. Scanlan heads for Vedmire's house while the rest of the group heads for Tylieri's.
When he reaches Vedmire's mansion, Scanlan sees one guard at the front of the building, a second one around the back, and light coming from inside. He Polymorphs into a dragonfly and buzzes closer. All the windows are shut and the front door is closed. The front guard sees the dragonfly go by, blows a puff of air at it, then goes back to his duties. Dragonfly-Scanlan perches on the door frame to wait for his cue.
The larger group outside Count Tylieri's mansion do not see any guards at first glance, although there is a light on inside. The twins stealth around the building and find a single guard patrolling. They also see two humanoids pass by one of the windows. Vax uses his Earring of Whisper to tell Scanlan to go ahead with the distraction.
Scanlan turns into a triceratops. He falls from his place on the door frame, crushing the guard beneath himself. Scanlan bashes the door in with his horned head, part of the wall collapsing from the force. Five guards rush into the main foyer, two holding crossbows armed and ready.
Meanwhile at Tylieri's mansion, Vax runs up behind the lone guard and knocks him out with a single blow. Running back to the group, he tells Grog to go for the door. The barbarian immediately goes into a rage and begins sprinting for the door. The rest of the party chases after him.
Vex, Vax, Keyleth, and Percy head around back to climb in through a window. Grog, with Trinket close behind, charges straight towards the front door.
Featured Characters Edit
Vox Machina Edit
- Percival de Rolo
- Scanlan Shorthalt
- Grog Strongjaw
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 0:23:15.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 0:47:03.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 1:09:18.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 1:13:22.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 1:21:29.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:04:06.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:08:54.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) from 2:09:25 through 2:09:53. The video and audio were frozen during this time. An annotation on the YouTube video provided some of the missing information.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:26:46.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:33:25.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:36:24.
- ↑ See "Stoke the Flames" (3x07) at 2:36:55.