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Critical Role Recap: The Briarwood Arc Part 2

By: I.Am.No.Man.

Chapter 3: The Briarwood Arc

Story Arc Recap of Episodes 24-38 Part 2

Episode 31: Gunpowder Plot part 1 &2

Vox Machina continues their assault on Count Tylieri’s forces. Scanlan, in triceratops form, smashes an opening into the mansion. Grog rushes in, only to have an entire firing squad waiting for him. He takes the brunt of the crossbow bolts and rages through the pain. The rest of the group make their entrances and begin to take out enemies. Scanlan shrugs off his dinosaur form and teleports to the roof, safely out of harm’s way. Grog, Vax and Trinket surround Count Tilieri. Grog gets bitten, unable to break the vampire’s unnaturally strong grip. Trinket the bear comes to his rescue and tears Count Tylieri’s head off his body. Percy systematically takes out multiple guards with his gun and demonic smoke combo move. The leave only one bloodied survivor to interrogate for information. Vax, still angry over the innocent lives hung on the Sun Tree, ruthlessly kills the guard after questioning him. Keyleth sets the place on fire.

Vox Machina step outside of Tylieri’s burning house and see a full-fledged rebellion taking place. Peasants have taken up arms and do their best to fight the vampire and zombie-hulk horde. Exhausted, but determined, the group joins the fray. The battle seems to be going well, until out of the dark mist a massive, skeletal army marches towards the city center. Vox Machina yell for the townsfolk to run and take cover. They do what they can to hold off the horde but are quickly overtaken.

Episode 32: Against the Tide of Bone

Losing hope and surrounded on all sides, Vox Machina dig in for their final battle. A war cry breaks through the sound of battle. They turn, and see a small group of armed villagers led by a glowing, tiny gnome woman. Pike’s spiritual projection takes her place at the head of the battle and uses her divine protection to obliterate a swath of skeletons. Scanlan, inspired by Pike, leaps to her side and unleashed an arc of lightning from his private region. The rest of the group redoubles their efforts against the skeletons and manage to take them down. They rush to the city center to find a zombie giant wrecking a group of townsfolk. Grog tackles the giant head on and deals some gory damage. Scanlan tries his newfound ‘cock-lightning’ again. Pike, still glowing radiantly, leaps into the air and swings her mace. Blinding light surrounds the giant’s head and it explodes in divine fire. With the city center now secured, Vox Machina make a mad dash to the Briarwood’s fortress. They take down another giant along the way; Vex’s fire arrow exploding through its skull.

Finding a brief respite from the battle, Vox Machina rest and heal. Pike tells the group of her horrible visions of death, danger, and a dark presence haunting Percy. Her prayers reached Sarenrae and she was allowed to aid her friends in this spirit form. Pike attempts to break the Darkness’ hold on Percy, tearing into the evil shroud around him. Percy feels better, though Pike warns she may not have banished the evil completely. The group continues on towards the Briarwood castle’s secret entrance. Vax and Grog uncover the tunnel entrance and the group rests for the evening.

In the early morning, they set off deeper into the tunnel towards the castle. A white stone statue blocks the passageway. After many embarrassing tries, and Grog injuring himself, they manage to move the statue just enough to sneak past. The path leads to an old dungeon where Percy and his sister were briefly held. It is empty, except for one old woman, calling for help. Scanlan and Vex approach the woman and question her. Vex doesn’t trust her and pretends to break the lock to her cell. Angry, the woman grabs Vex. Vex looks down and realizes she can only feel one hand, though the woman appears to be grabbing her with two. Realization dawns on Vex. This is Dr. Ripley, Percy’s arch nemesis and the one who stole his gun prototype.

Episode 33: Reunions part 1&2

Panicked, Vex breaks the old woman’s grip and retreats back to the group asking Keyleth for help. Keyleth breaks Dr. Ripley’s illusion, revealing a young woman, missing a hand. Percy, now disguised, demands information or he will leave her to rot in the cell. She explains the Briarwoods hired her to build a construct called a Ziggurat. She completed her task and was planning to escape the Briarwoods when she was betrayed and thrown in jail. Percy asks her to take them to Cassandra. Confused, she asks what business they have with her and Percy removes his disguise. Recognizing him, Ripley agrees to help the group find Cassandra, but she needs some supplies from her room in the castle.

 Pike’s radiant form begins to waver, and she says a strong evil is coming. She cannot hold her form any longer and promises to try and find them soon. Her form blinks out and Vox Machina are left without their cleric once more. Ripley ushers the group into the castle and up to her room. She gathers vials and powders out of a chest. Vax searches it and finds a hidden gun. Percy takes it then demands to be taken to Cassandra.

Stepping into his little sister’s room, Percy cautiously looks for Cassandra. The room appears empty but he can hear a woman crying behind the door to the study. Vax silently pushes into the study, telepathically using the code word “Jenga” to alert his companions to danger. Vax sees a man standing over a young woman, holding a dagger to her throat. He sends two daggers flying as he runs into the room. Cassandra yells out “it’s a trap,” before her captor Anders, slices her throat. Vax manages to save Cassandra, taking many blows from Anders and his two armored golems. Grog rushes in but Ander’s uses a spell to make Grog attack Vax. Vax falls under a barrage of attacks and is nearly killed. Vex and Keyleth get him and Cassandra out of immediate danger. Percy chases after Anders. Black smoke billowing around him, Percy loses control and sticks the barrel of his gun into Anders’ mouth and lets loose. The rest of the group takes down the remaining foes while Percy regains composure. They realize Ripley has escaped in the chaos. Percy rushes to his sister.

Cassandra is overjoyed to see her brother alive. He asks her to join their fight against the Briarwoods and she agrees. She leads them to the tombs where the Briarwoods and the Ziggurat await. She relays the story of her escape and capture and the past years of enslavement to the Briarwoods. While exploring the tombs, three electric, ghost-like creatures surround them. They possess Grog, Keyleth and Vax. Vox Machina turn on each other, not recognizing friend from foe. The fight gets ugly very quickly and Keyleth, Percy, Vex and Vax are knocked unconscious and the ghosts leave their forms. Vox Machina, all seriously wounded and exhausted, find a place to heal and recover before continuing their pursuit of the Briarwoods.

Episode 34: Race to the Ziggurat Part 1

After taking a moment’s rest, Vox Machina regroups and plan their next actions. As they are talking, a glowing symbol of Saranrae appears and Pike’s spirit form materializes. Everyone is surprised to see her and she is happy to have found them again.

Percy and Cassandra use their knowledge of the tunnels to lead the group to where the Ziggurat may be. They come across a room completely plated in bronze. The smell of acid clings heavy in the air and Vax worries they are walking into a trap. The group ever so cautiously makes their way across the bronze room, noticing gems and stones inlaid along the floor and walls. The door on the other side is locked with no handle or mechanism to open it. Scanlan, growing bored caution, saunters up to a gemstone in the middle of the room and presses it. Nothing happens, but the rest of the companions begin pressing gemstones and searching for hidden levers. Cassandra triggers a hidden tile on the floor and two glass walls slam down around the group, trapping them. Grog tries to smash his way out but the glass is too thick.

The door quietly opens; Lord and Lady Briarwood glide into the room and merrily tease Vox Machina for falling into their trap. Vax, using his cloak of Elvenkind, appears on the outside of glass walls and presses the panel to open the glass. To his horror, acid begins to pour from the walls onto his friends. Lord Briarwood gives Vax a smirk and beacons him closer. Vax falls under Lord Briarwood’s spell and walks out of the room beside them. His companions desperately try to break the glass. Cassandra walks up to the glass walls calling for Percy. He calls to her, saying everything will be ok and they will see each other soon. Her tearful smile slowly fades and she tells Percy his sister died the day he left her behind in the field. She has a new name. She is a Briarwood now. Cassandra turns to join the Briarwoods, leaving Percy stunned and heartbroken.

           

How will Vox Machina escape the Briarwoods this time? Find out their fate in Part 3, coming soon!

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