GADGETS

Vex and Vax meet their father


Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia, as they appear in the cover image of Kith & Kin.

The elven brothers and sisters of the Vox Machine are ready to see their story told.
Picture: Nikki Dawes / Del Rey

Later dominating table real playground, branching to the world the table settings themselves, and now it turns in the transmedia kingdom with an animated adventure,, Critical role is ready to enter the world of original fiction this week. New Marieke Nijkamp is a novel digging deep into the past of the two biggest stars of the Vox Machine — and we have a look inside.

Nijkamp’s Kith & Kin follows Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan, thieving characters of brothers and sisters played by Laura Bailey and Liam O’Brien in the first series of the group’s campaigns,, Vox Machina. Located long before the duo joined a group of heroes, Kith & Kin follows Vex and Vax’s common days from their childhood to the harsh lives they livedd before they became heroes, including time spent in a criminal organization the Clasp — testing their relationships as brothers and sisters in ways the duo had never faced before.

But before the twins have to deal with it, they have to deal with something even more personal: they meet their father, Syldor Vesar, and discover that their promised life in the mystical elven city of Syngorn is not all they thought it could be. Look excerpt below, in which Vex and Vax meet their father in the body for the first time, debuting here on io9!


Inside the walls, Syngorn was as beautiful as Tharyn had promised she would be. The houses and other buildings showed the level of craftsmanship that any farmer in Byroden would look at with jealousy, and perhaps with a hint of practical doubt. The grace of the buildings was that forest around them: impassable and invincible.

But the buildings did not take Vex’s breath away. It was the vastness of it all. With the sun high above its head, the white citadel in the distance shone like a lighthouse, and the city stretched as far as the eye could see. Sunlight also refracted on the lake downtown, causing calm water to glisten. The occasional blinding light did not prevent the elves from wandering along the shore of the lake or crossing it in small, colorful boats. A family of three – two sharply dressed, dark-skinned elves and a girl a few years younger than the twins – stepped into a narrow boat with purple flowers strung on its side, using some kind of magical spell to drive them to the lake. Vex could hear their voices and laughter echoing across the water, as if no one here in the world cared.

Syngorn was a place of promise, and above all because of this she and her brother followed their father’s instructions. The promise of a better life and future far beyond what Byroden can offer them. But with every elf they passed and who looked at them with mocking contempt, that promise was transformed and turned into something much less delicious, and all she wanted was to run home again.

“It’ll be better when we get to our father’s house,” Vax whispered, so softly that Vex doubted anyone but that she could hear.

“He will accept us,” she said. “That’s why he invited us to come at all, isn’t it?”

“He said that in a letter he sent to his mother. We won’t want anything. ” Vax’s voice took the edge of determined despair.

But when their companions took them to the east side of the city, where the houses were large and imposing, carefully crafted to reflect the proud, tall trees, their discomfort grew. As with any enterprising child in Byroden, there were times when they played the wrong joke, made the wrong person angry, and made them feel small. Here they felt smaller and more vulnerable than ever before.

Especially when Tharyn pointed to Syldor’s house: a villa three times the size of their old house, with cracked white marble walls and a jade roof. Ivy climbed every wall and circled around the tall windows, and a handful of large red trees were placed around the building like ancient guards. Small strawberry-colored birds raced between the branches.

“This is going to be your new home,” Tharyn said. “Your father will be notified of your arrival.”

If that was the case, there was no sign. The door remained closed as they rode to the building, where the twins disembarked and the three Green Guards remained in the saddle.

“We’ll leave you here,” the gray-haired woman said, without a hint of kindness or consideration. “Horses are ambassadors. He will take care of their – and your – care. ”

“We can wait until they get inside,” Tharyn claimed, with little strength behind their words.

“Our duty was to escort them safely to the ambassador’s house. That ends here. We have to take care of other responsibilities, Tharyn. ” The last words carried a note of warning.

Tharyn is slightly colored and straightened. They adjusted their uniforms and nodded once in the direction of the twins. “Goodbye then. I wish you well here. ”

“Thank you,” Vex whispered, her throat tight. Next to her, Vax pursed his lips in a thin line and turned away from the guard. She reached for him. “Go.”

Vax took her hand. He tightened the passenger’s cloak his mother had made around their shoulders and winced at the sound of horseshoes pulling down the road. “Let’s go back.”

It was a tempting option, and she imagined it for a moment — turning around and giving in to her tendency to sneak back past the gate and find her way home through the woods. “We can not. We should try to stay here, right? It will be good for us. It’s a chance for a better life. ”

That’s what Tharyn told them. It was written by their father. That’s what their mother said, when she hugged them and whispered that she wished them only the best.

“I do not want a better life. I want our lives, ”Vax said. He withdrew, lines of tension still creeping along his shoulders and spine.

“We will have to make this ours. At least for now. ” Vex took a deep breath, and the air was as strong and powerful as everything around them, and approached the door.

Before she could knock — or before her brother could stop her — the door opened and a young man walked away to discover the same elven traveler they had seen in Byrod so many months ago.

Syldor Vessar looked different here. He replaced his practical travel gear with heavy brown dresses with gold embroidery. The long sleeves were open so that fine gold silk could be seen under them, and the high neck of the clothes made him taller. And Sterner, if that was at all possible, because the way he looked at his children was nothing like the way he looked at Elaine. He watched in disgust as they looked on their travels and snapped his fingers at another elf – who looked like some kind of servant. “Take care of their horses and all the things they carry. Discard their clothes and find something more suitable for them. Son, daughter, come in. ”

It was not so much a request as an order, and Syldor turned, obviously expecting it to be obeyed. The servant took the horses from the two of them and took the horses. The door remained open, reminding the twins to follow their father.

Vex swallowed her injury, even as she felt her brother’s anger radiate. She took a step back, deliberately wanting to get down on her brother’s foot, and hissed, “We have to try it to make this life ours. Mother expects that from us. ”

“I already hate him,” he frowned.

“Maybe he’s just not used to us yet. He didn’t even know we existed. Give him time. ”

“He was six months old. He could have chosen to stay away from our lives. ”

She reached for his sleeve and pulled him in the direction of the building. “She’ll be fine.”

“You don’t know that,” he retorted.

She didn’t answer. She didn’t know that. But it had to be, because that was the only reason why this trip and leaving everything behind was worth it. Besides, he was a family. Doesn’t that count for something? This was not to take them away from their home, but to be their home.

But as they passed through the wide hallway, with the light streaming through the windows above, the wood-paneled walls, and the comforting scent of cedar enveloping them, it seemed as if they had transgressed.

At the end of the hall, next to a number of closed doors, Syldor stood at the opening of a large office. With his arms crossed and his eyebrows arched, his impatience was palpable. “Come in. Sit down.”

He closed the door behind him and took his place behind a large wooden table. It was as skilfully made as any of the buildings they passed, with legs carved like branches and handles of countless small drawers like leaves inserted with emeralds. The two walls were covered with bookshelves, with volumes and scrolls from ceiling to floor. The wall perpendicular to the door had a long and narrow window, as tall as the shelves, with stained decorations along the edges and a view of a forgotten vegetable garden, while on the last wall was a large picture of a beautiful lake glistening in the pale moonlight. On one of the shelves, in front of a row of books bound in red leather, stood two charcoal drawings of elves, without any markings or names to identify them.

Everything in this house can be beautiful, Vex realized. Instead, it was as cold as the reception they received.

Syldor rested his hands on the table and leaned in their direction. “I appreciate that your mother chose a wiser path when she sent you here. Your existence surprised me, otherwise I would have reacted earlier, but you are still young enough that not all hope is lost. “

Vax cleared his throat, a defiant expression on his face. “What it means?”

“Your education is insignificant, even for those like you,” Syldor continued, as if Vax hadn’t spoken at all. “I have already made sure that you are given the best teaching and schooling in the country, until the moment when you can study among others of your age and not inflict shame on my name.”

“Wouldn’t that be?” our name? ” Vax pressed. He raised his chin and only Vex could see how his hands were shaking. Although neither of them knew what to expect from this meeting, they certainly did not expect this.

Syldor’s mouth thinned. “Of course. Our name.”

He wrapped the bracelet around his wrist and stared at his children. “When Alin examines your horses, he will show you your rooms. Your tutor will come in the morning. You will not leave the house unless you have my express permission. You will no longer dress in those peasant clothes. You will not disturb me during my meetings or my work. ” His gaze jumped on Vex, and she could only imagine what he must look like. Dirty, unworthy and on the verge of tears. All her thoughts were intertwined with hurt, confusion, and contempt for the small part of her who was cautiously excited about meeting her father. She wanted him to be glad to meet them, to understand how much he could take care of them and how wonderful it could be to become a family together.

She pressed her fingernails into her palms and did the only thing she could: tilted her head like her brother and refused to blink.

He sniffed and took the scroll from the box next to him. “You’re welcome. Leave me now. ”


Vox Machina: Kith & Kin arrives on shelves tomorrow, November 30th.


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Naveen Kumar

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