In “The Trials of Vasselheim”, Vox Machina struggle to find allies in Vasselheim. They learn of an ancient creature who has critical information on the dragons of the Chroma Conclave.
Welcome to Vasselheim
Keyleth’s portal opens to a peaceful tree on a mountaintop. Scanlan steps through and falls, as the portal materializes over a cliff. Keyleth transforms into a giant eagle to save Pike, Vex’ahlia/Vex, and Vax’ildan/Vax. Scanlan creates a pink cushion in the shape of a giant butt to catch himself, Percy, and Grog. Pike sees that they are outside Vasselheim and they make their way there.
At the gates, Percy attempts to use his rank as a Lord and his painfully long name to request an audience with the Dawn Marshals. The guard dismisses Percy’s attempt to assert his authority, but he does admit the group, minus Trinket the bear, into the city. “That usually works,” Percy grumbles. When the guard bids them good day, Grog mishears it as “bidet” and starts to repeat the word with every greeting.
Once they reach the Platinum Sanctuary, Pike decides to handle the introductions, as Percy’s tactics at the gate failed. She tells Highbearer Vord about the dragon’s attack in Tal’Dorei. Vord confirms her story with a scrying vision and offers the group her sympathy. However, that is all they are getting, as Vord insists Vasselheim’s isolation is key to the city’s survival.
As Vox Machina leaves the temple, Vax sees the same long black-haired woman he noticed during Emon’s invasion. One of the dignitaries follows them out of the temple to suggest they ask for help from the patron of the Slayer’s Take. The Slayer’s Take is a group of hunters for hire who once saved Vasselheim from legendary beasts. Vax is hesitant to work with them until Vex reminds him that her old friend, Zahra, is there. During the conversation, Grog hears someone whisper “Hunger… I hunger”, and wanders off from the group in search of food.
Old Friends, Old Scars
As they reach the Take’s headquarters, Vax cautions the group to trust no one. As if on cue, Kashaw flirts with Keyleth as he introduces himself, making her blush. He recognizes Vax and Vex from a wanted poster and alerts the rest of the Take. Vox Machina remains unfazed until they realize that their muscle, Grog, is not with them.
Vex attempts to explain that she is friends with Zahra, but Kashaw and Zahra are not impressed. Zahra has not forgotten the last time she saw Vex, when the ranger poached her monster and stole the reward for it.
“You heard about our little prank?” Vex jokes, but Zahra’s voice is cold as ice. “You’re not as charming as you think, Vex’ahlia. You never were.”
Zahra and Kashaw demand that the group gives them 12,000 gold or the head of a hydra if they want to see the patron. Vex offers to give them the wealth of four dragons instead. Frustrated, Pike argues that this isn’t about money, it’s about saving lives. The Take is closing in, until a female voice tells them to stop. She’ll take care of Vox Machina. The floor opens beneath the party, and they fall. Again.
So where did Grog wander off to?
He’s finishing an ale at a pub when he spots the temple of Stormlord. He walks in and is greeted by an elderly man named Earthbreaker Groon. Groon states that anyone who enters the Stormlord’s ring is seeking something, but he accuses Grog of not being a true warrior because he is clouded by weakness. Groon invites Grog to strike first, and he’ll learn what he’s lacking.
Instead, Grog gets the ale beaten out of him. Over and over, while Groon repeatedly asks him, “Where does your strength come from?” He warns Grog that his dependence on his dark sword is proof of how weak he is. The next time Grog is asked where his strength comes from, he assumes it’s a trick question and says his strength comes from his heart, but he is manhandled in response. Finally, Grog admits that he doesn’t know where his strength comes from.
Groon helps him to his feet, saying he has much to learn. Groon has already shown him the next step, but Grog still doesn’t understand.
The Patron of the Slayer’s Take
Back at the Take’s headquarters, Vox Machina find themselves in a large, dark hall, trying to get their bearings until they find themselves face-to-face with a sphinx. She is not just any sphinx—she is Osysa, Chosen of the Knowing Mistress and Patron of the Slayer’s Take. Osysa already knows what the party wants, but warns them that they don’t understand what defeating the dragons will cost them. To make her point, Osysa pulls Vox Machina away from each other and haunts them with their weaknesses:
- Vax is entirely dependent on his twin sister Vex.
- Vex is hopelessly seeking her father’s love.
- Percy is begging to be trusted again while he wallows in self-pity.
- Pike doesn’t even have faith she can save her friends, let alone the world.
- Keyleth’s fear of failure causes her to run away from her responsibilities.
- Osysa flat out tells Scanlan that nobody cares about him, and she’s no different.
Osysa continues to torment the party by calling them fools for thinking they could make a difference. She tells them to leave with the little dignity they have left, but Pike says she’s not going anywhere. They may die, but they’re not giving up. An impressed Osysa tells the party about the Vestiges of Divergence, powerful enough to strike down the gods themselves. The Vestiges are scattered and hidden with one of the pieces, the Deathwalker’s Ward, buried near a lake to the west. If the party brings Osysa the Deathwalker’s Ward, she’ll reveal the location of the remaining Vestiges.
The party left the Take’s hall, accompanied by Kashaw and Zahra. They met a beaten-up Grog as they walked into town. Percy decided to purchase some black powder at one of the shops. The shop’s owner told him that he was the second person to buy the powder that week. The first customer was a one-handed woman, who may or may not have been Percy’s rival, Anna Ripley.