The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone

The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone
The cover, featuring Fjord.
SeriesCritical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins
Issue number4
Creative team
Writers
ArtistSelina Espiritu
LettererAriana Maher
Colorists
Cover artists
  • Selina Espiritu
  • Diana Sousa
Editors
  • Rachel Roberts
  • Jenny Blenk (associate)
  • Anastacia Ferry (assistant)
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
Publication dateDecember 14, 2022
Format
Page count56
ISBN9781506723754
Chronology
Timeline816 to 835 PD
Preceded byThe Mighty Nein Origins: Yasha Nydoorin
Followed byThe Mighty Nein Origins: Nott the Brave

The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone is the fourth issue of Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins written by Kevin Burke and Chris Wyatt, with direction from Matthew Mercer and Travis Willingham, and art by Selina Espiritu and colors by Diana Sousa.[1] It was released by Dark Horse Comics in comic shops on December 14, 2022. The comic explores the backstory of Travis's player character, Fjord.

Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]

More than just an orcish face!

Growing up in an orphanage on the Menagerie Coast, Fjord Stone has never been comfortable with the assumptions people draw from his half-orc heritage. His sweet, sensitive nature will do him no favors in Port Damali. Luckily, a chance encounter on the docks lands Fjord with a job, a mentor, and more adventure than he could ever dream of on the path that will eventually lead him to the rest of the Mighty Nein!

— Publisher's summary[2]

Plot summary[edit | edit source]

At the Diver's Grave in 835 PD, Fjord and the Mighty Nein visit the wreck of the Tide's Breath.[fn 1] Fjord muses to himself that he has not told his friends everything about this ship because his story there begins long before that.

About twenty years prior, Fjord is diving for salvage in Port Damali. He excitedly shows the pewter he found to Grankton, headmaster of the Driftwood Asylum orphanage. When Sabian finds gold-plated objects, Grankton hits Fjord and reprimands him for wasting his time. Grankton claims he salvaged the boys and gave them value but Fjord is useless as stone. On the way to the orphanage, Sabian whispers to the others and mocks Fjord for his half-orcish ancestry. From the present, Fjord remembers that Sabian is one of the reasons he wanted to escape.[fn 2]

Fjord finds working in the wood shop tolerable. The others focus on their work, and the noise masks the whispers. However, Grankton disapproves of Fjord's work because the tools are incorrectly sized for Fjord's hands. Over time, the others begin ostracizing Fjord, and Sabian openly targets him with racist mockery. One day, Sabian and the others draw a grotesque caricature of Fjord on a door, then viciously attack him in the night. Before morning, Fjord files down his tusks, feeling the pain is worth it to get rid of something that causes mockery. However, Sabian says it changes nothing and dares Fjord to retaliate. Fjord does not. Grankton suggests that Fjord use his greater physical strength to intimidate the others. Fjord doubts this will work.

Years pass. Life at Driftwood Asylum changes little. The salvage dives become increasingly dangerous, and Grankton profits off the boys through connections with The Myriad and other criminals. When Fjord is seventeen, Grankton allows Captain Vandran to visit and solicit deckhands for his merchant ship. Vandran warns that the work is difficult and conditions poor, but they will be paid a small but regular wage. Though Fjord knows this somehow benefits Grankton, he does not care and intends to volunteer. However, Sabian volunteers first. Fjord stays quiet to avoid Sabian. Nobody else volunteers, and Vandran chooses Fjord to come too.

After warning the recruits not to cross him, Vandran explains that Fjord needs a surname for the ship's manifest. Fjord tells him that Grankton called him "Stone", as in useless. Exasperated, Vandran thoroughly dismisses the idea that stone is useless and lists him as "Fjord Stone". To Fjord's surprise, Sabian no longer harasses him, and their relationship seems to improve. However, after Vandran compliments Fjord's seamanship, someone unseen (implied Sabian) cuts a rope while Fjord is tarring the hull, nearly sending him overboard. The same day, Vandran promotes Fjord. Fjord attempts to refuse because he worries that it will cause him to be further targeted. Vandran, who noticed Sabian watches Fjord closely, offers to teach Fjord how to draw less attention to himself. Fjord is skeptical, as Grankton advised the opposite, but Vandran dismisses Grankton as a fool.

That night in port, Vandran teaches Fjord to watch others and mimic their behavior. Fjord is surprised to learn he can change the way others look at him. Over time, Vandran teaches Fjord to blend into his surroundings, to persuade others to do as he wishes by convincing them it is their idea, and to mask his vulnerabilities. Using what he learns, Fjord finds he happily fits in with the crew.

Years later, Fjord has been promoted multiple times. Knowing that Fjord cannot hide from all unwanted attention, Vandran begins to teach Fjord swordmanship. Fjord improves across several months of nightly lessons, but he is unable to best Vandran in a duel. Fjord is finally able to win one night, but Vandran reflexively uses magic to defend himself. Vandran apologizes and declares it Fjord's victory, but he ignores Fjord's questions about the magic and sends him away. Fjord resolves to ask tomorrow if he can be taught this.

On his way to his quarter, Fjord notices a vicious storm. As the crew attempts to secure the ship, Fjord sees Sabian going below deck. Fjord follows and finds Sabian lighting the fuse on an explosive. Sabian escapes to the deck and jumps into the sea before Fjord can stop him. Fjord orders the crew to abandon ship, but the explosive goes off. Fjord is thrown into the water and is found by Uk'otoa.

Fjord wakes up on a beach to discover his injuries have healed, but he is unsure how he survived. He finds a mysterious sword and, feeling that it is calling to him, takes it with him. He discovers that the sword magically charms someone into helping him back to Port Damali. He asks about the Tide's Breath at a tavern, but the sailors blame him for the sinking because he is orcish and chase him through the streets. Unable to escape, Fjord prepares to defend himself, but he is instead magically disguised and the crowd does not recognize him. Fjord visits Vandran's office, discovering that Sabian just raided it.

Unable to find Sabian, Fjord searches in Nicodranas. Though he finds the sword's magical influence makes people willing to talk to him, he cannot find Sabian's trail. Outside the city, he is joined by Jester Lavorre, who convinces him to let her travel with him.[fn 3]

In 835 PD, Fjord and the Mighty Nein search the interior of the Tide's Breath. Fjord muses on the many questions that remain to him and on how neither standing out nor blending in has worked out. Though his already lengthy journey promises to be longer still, he finds comfort that he will not have to seek answers alone.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in Campaign 2.

New[edit | edit source]

These character have not previously appeared in Campaign 2 or any other Critical Role work, though they may have been previously mentioned.

Publication[edit | edit source]

The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone was scheduled for publication by Dark Horse Comics, originally with a July 12, 2022 release for book retailers and digital platforms and a July 13, 2022 release for comic shops.[1][7] However, due to the 2021–2022 global supply chain crisis and unidentified circumstances with creative teams, many Critical Role titles were delayed,[8] and Fjord Stone was postponed to instead release December 14, 2022 at comic shops[2][9] and January 10, 2023 at bookstores and retailers.[10][11] It released on Dark Horse Digital the next day.[12]

ISBN Released Publisher Format Price Ref.
9781506723754 December 14, 2022 Dark Horse Comics Hardcover $17.99 [2]
9781506723846 January 11, 2023 Dark Horse Comics Digital $10.99 [12]

The graphic novel was originally announced as the fifth installment, after Nott the Brave,[1] but it ultimately released as the fourth installment after both comics were delayed and Nott the Brave was pushed to release after Fjord Stone.[2][13]

References[edit | edit source]

Footnotes:

  1. The visit to the wreck of the Tide's Breath takes place in "In Hot Water" (2x43), during Campaign 2.
  2. Fjord's narration here ("I'd known Sabian as long as I could remember, and he was always a piece of shit of one variety or another.") is a near quotation from "In Hot Water" (2x43): "I've known him for many, many years, and he's always been a piece of shit of one variety or another."[3]
  3. Rather than what is depicted in this comic, it is stated in Campaign 2 and elsewhere by Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey that Fjord and Jester initially met in Port Damali before the sinking while Jester was in the city searching for her father. They began traveling together after the sinking when Fjord left Port Damali and he, having seen her cast magic, chased her to the next city on the Menagerie Coast.[4][5] They were said to have not entered Nicodranas on their way into the Dwendalian Empire.[6]

Citations:

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The next Critical Role comic tells the story of half-orc Fjord Stone from Polygon
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins--Fjord Stone HC on Dark Horse Comics' official website
  3. "In Hot Water" (2x43) at 26:26.
  4. "Emerald City Comic Con (Day 2) | Wil Wheaton, Firefly, and Felicia Day | SYFY WIRE" from 2:02:38 through 2:04:56.
  5. "A Show of Scrutiny" (2x02) at 1:16:52.
  6. "Waste and Webs" (2x10) at 18:55.
  7. MAR220332 - Critical Role Mighty Nein Origins Fjord HC at Previews World archived from the original on February 18, 2022.
  8. Updates from Critical Role and Dark Horse Comics on Dark Horse Comics' official website (backup link)
  9. MAR220332 - Critical Role Mighty Nein Origins Fjord HC at Previews World archived from the original on November 14, 2022.
  10. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins - Fjord Stone listing at Barnes & Noble.
  11. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins - Fjord Stone listing at Amazon.com.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins--Fjord Stone at Dark Horse Digital.
  13. 'The Mighty Nein Origins – Nott the Brave' Product Page on Penguin Random House