The Mighty Nein Origins: Mollymauk Tealeaf

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The Mighty Nein Origins: Mollymauk Tealeaf
The cover, featuring Mollymauk Tealeaf
SeriesCritical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins
Issue number6
Creative team
Writers
ArtistHunter Severn Bonyun[1]
LettererAriana Maher[1]
ColoristCathy Le[1]
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
Publication dateMay 17, 2023
Format
ISBN9781506723778
Chronology
Timeline833 to 835 PD
Preceded byThe Mighty Nein Origins: Nott the Brave
Followed byThe Mighty Nein Origins: Beauregard Lionett

The Mighty Nein Origins: Mollymauk Tealeaf is the sixth issue of Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins, written by Jody Houser with direction from Matthew Mercer and Taliesin Jaffe and with art by Hunter Severn Bonyun. It was published by Dark Horse Comics on May 17, 2023.[2] The comic explores the backstory of Jaffe's player character Mollymauk Tealeaf.

Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]

What strange events created Mollymauk Tealeaf?

Entertainer, fighter, and performer, "Molly" has a knack for hiding his true self behind the shifting color and shape of a personality he seems to wear like his singular coat. But as with every member of the Mighty Nein, his past will eventually catch up with him...and it's a strange one indeed.

— Publisher's summary[1]

Plot summary[edit | edit source]

Somewhere within the Savalirwood, a scarred lavender tiefling emerges nude and hairless from the ground. Unbothered by the wood's wildlife, the tiefling follows the sound of a voice singing and happens upon the camp of the Fletching and Moondrop Traveling Carnival of Curiosities and Toya as she practices her act. Upon being asked his name, the tiefling replies, "Empty." Gustav Fletching, Bosun, Orna, and Toya discuss what to do with the tiefling, whom Gustav dubs 'M.T.', and they decide to bring him into the carnival's fold.

A short time later, enough for his head to have grown peach fuzz, M.T. awakes in a caravan from a dream of a city watched by nine red eyes. Sounds of merrymaking draw him out of the caravan and Lestera invites him to join in before the carnival moves on to the next town. He's gifted a mug of snake wine and partakes in the revelry. To commemorate the occasion, he receives a tattoo of a snake on his right arm.

Time passes as M.T.'s hair grows and the carnival travels. M.T. gains new clothes, tattoos, and carnival skills, eventually working as a presenter for acts. Deeming him capable, Lestera begins teaching him her method of fortune telling. Gustav interrupts a session to tell them the authorities of the town in which the carnival is currently staying need to see the papers of all carnival members. When M.T. mentions he does not have papers, Gustav presents him with forged documents and a new name: Mollymauk Tealeaf. Mollymauk accepts.

The carnival moves on and Mollymauk continues integrating himself into the carnival's day-to-day and enjoying a flirtatious relationship with Lestera. In a town between Berleben and Felderwin, Mollymauk overhears a landlord bragging about forcing families out of housing. After the carnival has finished its show for the night, Mollymauk sneaks out and finds the landlord's home. He wanders the building and gathers up trinkets and other small items of potential value before winding up in an office, where he tips a lit candle onto stacks of paperwork. He flees without consequence and strolls back to the carnival's camp, claiming he was out doing 'choir practice' when questioned by Kylre. He celebrates his successful endeavor with drinks in Lestera's company.

In another town, carnival goers exit a show, and a pair is beset by bandits on their way home. Mollymauk confronts the bandits, fighting them hand-to-hand. In the scuffle, he slices his palm on a blade and discovers he is able to create ice with his blood. With Lestera's encouragement, Mollymauk presents this ability to Gustav. Gustav gifts Mollymauk a pair of cheap scimitars and prompts that they decorate them so Mollymauk can build an act around them. Mollymauk then performs as the Ice Spinner, wielder of the magical Iceheart Swords.

Mollymauk cheerfully arrives at Lestera's door with a basket of food and drink, only to find her having passed away. He gives her a kiss on the lips, quietly lamenting that she started drinking without him. The carnival tearfully drinks in her memory, and at her funeral, Mollymauk receives her coat and fortune telling deck from Gustav.

In a town near Bladegarden, Mollymauk is in the process of getting a new tattoo when he overhears townsfolk making a ruckus. He follows the shouts to the exterior of a temple to the Platinum Dragon, where a crowd has circled around Yasha Nydoorin, her necrotic shroud visible, exclaiming for her to be kicked out or killed. Mollymauk puts on a display in Yasha's defense, claiming she is a demon looking to be redeemed and transformed by the Platinum Dragon. The crowd loses interest and scatters. Yasha reveals she is wandering and looking to feel "less empty". Empathizing, Mollymauk offers her a four-leaf clover and a place with the carnival as security. Yasha slowly grows comfortable.

In a town in the middle of the woods, Mollymauk passes Mona and Yuli on his way to 'choir practice' and, ignoring the twins' assumptions, continues on to confront a group of bandits planning to attack the town. The bandits threaten Mollymauk on his own, and Yasha appears after having been gone for days. She and Mollymauk handily take the bandits down. Mollymauk explains to Yasha why he helps the townsfolk alone and without them knowing, and Yasha tells him he's not alone anymore.

Mollymauk continues reading fortunes, getting tattoos, and listening to tavern rumors, eventually suggesting the carnival head to Nogvurot to deal with its scamming lawmaster. Upon arriving in Nogvurot, the carnival presents Mollymauk as the duke of an empire the lawmaster falsely claims to have connections with. After surveying the town and complimenting its people and their work, Mollymauk reveals the lawmaster's lie, and the lawmaster is subsequently exiled, his collected wealth distributed to the townsfolk.

The carnival arrives in Trostenwald and Gustav sends Mollymauk and Yasha out to town to sell tickets. Mollymauk tells Yasha he finished the Love card of his oracle deck and that he based it on her, claiming she is family now. Yasha says she feels less empty. The pair finds their way to an inn and pick their marks: a human in blues and teals, a half-orc in mismatched leathers, and a blue tiefling in green at one table, and a goblin in bandages and a mask and a red-haired human in browns at another. Mollymauk invites them to see the show.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in Campaign 2.

New[edit | edit source]

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

  • Lestera, previous carnival fortune teller

Publication[edit | edit source]

The comic was originally announced for a release date of September 14, 2022.[1] However, due to the 2021–2022 global supply chain crisis and unidentified circumstances with creative teams, many Critical Role titles were delayed,[3] and Mollymauk Tealeaf was postponed to instead release May 17, 2023 for comic shops[2] and June 6, 2023 for retailers, bookstores, and digital platforms.[4]

ISBN Released Publisher Format Price Ref.
9781506723778 May 17, 2023 Dark Horse Comics Hardcover [2]
May 17, 2023 Dark Horse Comics Digital [2]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • As of the release of The Mighty Nein Origins: Mollymauk Tealeaf, Molly's graphic novel is thus far one of two in the Mighty Nein Origins series without narration from the titular character, the other being Caleb Widogast.
  • The composition of the cover illustration of Mollymauk Tealeaf is reminiscent of the Fool card in the Rider-Waite tarot deck, with Mollymauk similarly posed upon a cliff edge and framed as though he is the focal point of said card.

References[edit | edit source]