Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5
Cover art by Selina Espiritu, featuring Vax'ildan aboard the Mockingbird.[1]
Issue number5[1]
Creative team
ArtistOlivia Samson[1]
LettererChris Northrop[1]
Cover artistSelina Espiritu[1]
EditorF. Avedon Arcadio Barrera II[2]
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics[1]
Publication dateMarch 7, 2018[1]
Page count24[1]
Preceded byCritical Role: Vox Machina Origins #4
Followed byCritical Role: Vox Machina Origins #6

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5 is the fifth issue of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins and the fifth issue of Vox Machina Origins Series I. It was written by Matthew Mercer and Matthew Colville, the interior art was produced by Olivia Samson, and the cover art was produced by Selina Espiritu. The issue was published by Dark Horse Comics on March 7, 2018.

Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]

Vax—alone on the Myriad's floating fortress galleon, The Mockingbird—fights his way to freedom with nary a weapon or ally around save his wits and agility to escape his captors.

— Publisher's summary[1]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Vax'ildan:  "This isn't a story, gnome. You don't know how this ends. We could all die."
Scanlan:  "First of all, yes, it is a story. Everything's a story. Don't ever say that again.
Secondly, I know exactly how it ends.
They're trying to kill an entire city. We're gonna stop 'em.
We're gonna get on that boat... and we're gonna burn the fucking thing to the ground."

— Vax'ildan and Scanlan on the conclusion of their adventure.[3]

Twins' business[edit | edit source]

Onboard the Mockingbird, The Servant, Iselda's minor flesh golem, is preparing a ritual. Opening a case of vials of bright green liquid, it takes one out and pours it into a large circular engraving in the wooden floor. The liquid seeps itself into the entirety of the engraving, turning it to the same bright green. Finished, the golem shuffles into the ship's brig, where Vax is imprisoned. Reaching Vax's cell, the golem only sees a pile of hay. The Servant pulls its hood back, pulls the key from a pocket between stitchings in its scalp, and unlocks the cell and starts searching through the hay for the prisoner. While the Servant is distracted, Vax descends from the roof and swings out the open doorway, silently lands and makes a run for the exit. The Servant is too late to notice and only looks on, confused.

Elsewhere, Vex and Keyleth are trekking through the swamps surrounding Stilben. Vex asks Keyleth who her partymates are, to which Keyleth explains that the only one she trusts is Tiberius Stormwind. Vex compliments her judge of character and asks why she agreed to help her. Keyleth stutters but explains that, compared to her, Vex seems like someone who has everything "figured out". Vex raises an eyebrow and asks Keyleth if she helped her because she looks up to her. Keyleth laughs and explains that Vex seems like someone who is not afraid of anything. Vex laments that she used to be someone who was afraid, particularly of her father, her old school, and her future, and adds that she refuses to live her life in fear. Keyleth asks what changed in her life, but when Vex only glares at her, he apologizes for being intrusive in her attempt to get to know her and offers to "just shut up".

Vex says again that Keyleth is risking her life to help her (followed by a brief mixup of the twins' names). Vex explains her background: as children, she and Vax were enrolled in a "secret assassin school" for children of elven nobles, where they were supposed to fail to prove their father correct in his view that, despite his children happily living with their mother, they were better off living with him than in peasantry. Keyleth comments that it sounds like he was proud of them, but Vex laughs and says that he only wanted to save face. She continues on by telling Keyleth about how she and Vax were treated like cockroaches and, when they finally complained to their father about their treatment, he laughed a them, a fact that shocks Keyleth. Vex continues further, explaining how their father had made a bet with his friends on how long she and Vax would last at school, and he bet against him, which was the moment the twins realized that, in addition to his callous, neglectful nature, he was not even on their side. Upon that realization, she and Vax left home and, since then, "it's been [her] and Vax against the world. So far... the world's winning." Keyleth comforts her, reminding her that she has her brother, who seems nice. Vex mentions that she is the nice one, not Vax.

Back aboard the Mockingbird, two Myriad operatives walk through a corridor as one tells the other to return Wildemount and see how long it takes to get promoted there. The other explains that he only volunteered for the trip to Tal'Dorei to advance his career, not get killed, to which the first solemnly says that he chose the wrong career. At the opposite end of the corridor, an orc is following the other operatives down the stairs but stops when he notices one of the sconces on the wall lacking a torch. Vax appears from behind, hitting the orc over the head with the missing torch, and grabs a blade from the orc's belt and sinks it into his side. The orc punches Vax in the face and takes out two more blades as they stare each other down. The orc takes two swings, one at Vax's head and another at his feet, both of which he dodges. The orc prepares to take a final swing by raising both blades over his head. Vax avoids the hit and jumps over the orc's shoulders, where he clings and sinks the blade between the orc's collarbone and neck. The orc gacks in pain and staggers into the wall, pinning Vax, who twists the blade, causing the orc to spit up blood. The orc's face eventually turns slack as his body slides down the wall, allowing a panting Vax to push himself out from behind him. Vax steals the orc's leather armguards, shoulderguard, and belt, as well as his blade and keys, and staggers away. Soon after, the Servant shuffles past the orc's corpse after Vax.

Different encounters[edit | edit source]

Back in the K'Tawl Swamp, Vex and Keyleth (who had Wildshaped into a saber-toothed tiger) just finished an encounter with a giant crocodile, whose corpse is peppered with arrows. Vex compliments Keyleth on their teamwork and the fact that, unlike Vax, she did not get eaten. Keyleth turns back into a half-elf and they continue. Keyleth observes that Vex and Vax are not much alike, with which Vex agrees, but adds that they see the world the same way. Keyleth notes that it does not seem that way. Vex says that, while they think little of much and that people are generally "cruel, venal cowards", she is not bothered by that while Vax is. As they make haste through the swamp, Keyleth asks what she meant by "people", and Vex explains that she is referring to "everyone" as all one has to do is be a little different and everyone becomes quick to hate and treat badly. Keyleth asks Vex if her life was like that, and Vex says it is not just hers.

Vex asks Keyleth why she asks and what she is afraid of, to which Keyleth sheepishly smiles and answers that she is afraid of everything, a claim Vex doubts after seeing her transform into a lion and fight against a greater crocodile, showing courage. Keyleth corrects her that she turned into a tiger, adding that it is much easier to act brave in the form of a tiger or a bear. Vex smiles, mentioning that she likes bears, and asks Keyleth what she is actually afraid of. Keyleth shyly supposes that she is scared of letting her family down and, after a moment of silence as they think, compares such a fate to her mother. Vex asks Keyleth what her mother was like and Keyleth explains that her mother was a druid exactly like her, but she failed on an important quest and now it is up to Keyleth to finish the job as she and Vex approach a cave.

Back on the ship, Vax peeks around a corner to see an empty corridor, and, after checking an adjacent room, dashes to the other end. Unbeknownst to the half-elf, however, the Servant is close behind as it unlocks a hatch on the room and climbs up.

Back in the swamp, Vex orders Keyleth to stay outside the cave as she enters. Keyleth takes note of bear tracks leading to the cave as Vex greets her bear Trinket, who licks Vex with slobber. Meeting Keyleth, who is surprised to see that Vex has a bear, Vex explains that her brother thought that bringing Trinket into town would be more trouble that it would be worth, which she admits she agrees but adds that they need all the help they can get. Trinket licks Keyleth's face, a gesture that Vex jokingly says means they can be friends. As their next order of business is to find Vax, Keyleth remembers that Iselda smelled "very strange" and that it should not be difficult to find her scent, so long as they get lucky.

Vax is encountering resistance as he tries to find an exit, nearly getting hit by a knife and an arrow as he bursts through a door. He unlocks another door and runs through, soon turning a corner only to find The Servant waiting for him at the end. Turning around, he sees Iselda behind him, who comments that Vax is more skilled than she originally thought, but not by much. Iselda shoots a bolt of lightning from her hand, which Vax dodges, allowing it to hit the Servant, who takes the magical energy in his fist and tries to smash Vax, who dodges once more, allowing the golem's hand to break through the floor as Vax runs over its back. Iselda orders the golem to stop Vax, who is backed against a wall. The Servant raises a magically charged fist to punch Vax, who sneers, having an idea.

Reunited and the next plan[edit | edit source]

Elsewhere, Vex, Keyleth, and Trinket have met up with Tiberius, who they found "wandering the swamp", a description Tiberius objects to, explaining that he was looking for them but is inexperienced in tracking people. Arriving at the docks, Keyleth takes note of the strong smells in Stilben as Tiberius asks if Vax is aboard a ship. Scanlan confirms so as he and Grog arrive, delighting Keyleth as an unimpressed Vex asks if they brought the book. Scanlan tells her to forget about the book, which was both encoded and only a plot device, but he did overhear Myriad operatives discussing which ship was bringing in the poison. Vex crosses her arms and asks the Scanlan how much the information will cost her, to which Scanlan fakes shock at the questioning if he would sell her such personally important information. Grog reminds Scanlan that that that is what he intended to do, but Scanlan explains that following through would make Vex right. Vex tells him to prove her wrong and point where their destination is, and Scanlan points to the nearest ship.

At that moment, the party hears a loud boom as a hole is blown in the wall of the ship, where Vax immediately jumps out of and dives into the water. Vex screams out her brother's name while Scanlan, surprised that he was right, figures that the ship must be the Myriad's headquarters in Stilben. An exhausted Vax swims to the docks, climbs up the ladder, and rejoins the party. Vex embraces her brother and repeatedly apologizes for what she had previously said to him, adding that she cannot afford to lose him. Vex is ready to abandon Stilben and allow it to be poisoned if it means she does not lose her brother again, but Vax explains that Keyleth and Tiberius were wrong in their theory that Stilben was poisoned; it is under a curse, for which the poison is simply a component, and will kill everyone in Stilben who consumed or even touched the water. Vax promises to stop them, alone if he has to. Vex is initially hesitant but decides to join him, as they always go together. Vex turns to the rest of party and asks them what they will do. Keyleth, Tiberius, and Scanlan agree to help stop Iselda, who Tiberius calls a "huge butthead". Scanlan ask Grog is he wants to help tackle an entire thieves' guild with them, to which he answers "not really". Scanlan corrects his answer to a yes, to which a surprised Grog supposes that he does.

Vax turns to Scanlan and notes that he understands the others' intentions but does not understand him. Scanlan explains that, as a bard, he has no intention of "derail[ing] the narrative". Vax controverts the idea that their adventure is some sort of story and that they could all die, but Scanlan disagrees, saying that everything is a story and that he knows exactly how the story will end: the Myriad is trying to kill off an entire city, so the party will board their ship, stop them, and burn it and the Myriad's plans to the ground.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Collections[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5 on Dark Horse Digital  (backup link)
  2. Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5, page 1
  3. Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #5, page 24


External links[edit | edit source]